Gabriel looked down at the pit and screamed. He was thrashing around, pleading to be rescued.
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“Help me!” he screamed. “Ken! Pete! Brent! Steve! Save me! Oh, please, help me!”
“Don’t make me drop you, boy!” Mace warned. “You’ll be falling forever!”
That was when Brent yelled, “Hold it right there, cream puff!”
He used his powers to hurl Mace back into his safe. Mace was hit so hard, he dropped Gabriel in an instant. Ken ran over and picked him up by his suit.
He turned to Chris, Gabriel and the girls and shouted, “Go, everybody, run! Get out of danger!” They left right away as Ken and Pete punched Mace twice each. Ken ninja-kicked him in the head, to make sure he wouldn’t get up.
Chris and the children were halfway to the work area when they saw two robots. Valerie and Sara screamed, and they all turned and ran. They hurried back into the office, and Sara yelled, “The robots are coming! The robots are coming!”
The brothers set Mace aside, and prepared for another battle. The robots broke through the doorway and lined up to face them. Steve and Brent grabbed Chris, Gabriel, Valerie and Sara, and put them all in the broom closet.
“What are you doing?!” Gabriel cried. “I want to help you fight!”
“Sorry, Gabe,” Steve said. “This is too dangerous, even for you.” He closed the closet door quickly.
Steve and Brent went back to their places, then Ken pointed at the robots and yelled, “Attack!”
Ken charged towards one robot and shoved it a foot back. He stood in his place as he extended his arm to punch the robot’s chest. He brought up one leg and gave it a karate-style kick in the thigh.
Pete charged toward the other robot like a bull. He gave it a hard head butt in the chest. He put some dents in the head with his fists. He tried to twist the robot’s arms but they kept going around and around. He tried to pick it up, but the robot picked him up first, shook him around, and dropped him.
Steve prepared his arms and said, “Out of the way, guys! I’ll finish them off!” Ken and Pete jumped, and Steve shot at the robots with missiles. The robots weren’t hurt. They just took the missiles out of their bodies. The brothers were horrified.
“They didn’t work!” Pete cried. “Quick, Steve, try something else, anything!”
Steve used his laser beams, but he couldn’t melt the steel. None of his other weapons worked either. The robots caught his mini-grenades, extended their arms, and dropped them out the window before they went off.
Brent tried to use his powers. He gritted his teeth, and tried picking up the robots with his mind, or making them fall apart. But nothing was working. The robots started towards him. They picked him up and twirled him over their heads like pizza dough.
“It’s no use!” he cried. “My brain powers have no effect on them! They’re too strong!” The robots threw Brent into the back wall. He landed on the floor, unable to get up or move. He tested his powers by staring at the lights, trying to turn them on and off, but he couldn’t do it.
“My powers, they’re not working,” he said weakly. “That must be some blow.”
Ken, Pete and Steve were worried. It was all up to them now. They huddled to plan another attack. But while they were doing that, the robots went to the closet and took Brent, Chris and the children. The other three brothers could hear the children screaming as they were being carried from the office.
Steve looked at his brothers and said, “We need a new plan of attack, and quick!”
Pete went to Mace’s desk drawers for a pair of gloves, and put them on. He went to the window and punched it all out.
“What are you doing?!” Steve cried. “Stop fooling around!”
“I think I have an idea,” Pete answered. “We can take those robots by surprise!”
He went back the drawers, looking for some rope. He couldn’t find any. He searched the closet, and found a big gun with four sharp arrows sticking from the nozzle. He turned to Ken and asked, “How far is it from the window to the tunnel?”
Ken studied the distance. “Let’s see,” he said, “I’m guessing about one hundred something feet from the tunnel to the pit, and the pit is around fifty to sixty feet wide…. I’d say around one hundred seventy-five feet wide.”
“Great, because it says this gun can shoot up to two hundred fifty feet of gliding rope,” Pete said. He looked at Steve. “How far can you shoot with those arms?”
“The gas bombs and grenades have gone about twenty feet when I shoot straight,” Steve said. “I’ve never shot them from an angle, though. The bullets and missiles can go any distance.”
“Great, because we’ll need you to hold this when we go down there,” Ken said.
“And don’t let go until after we’re on the ground,” Pete advised. Steve gave the “thumbs up” and took the gun.
The three watched as the robots put Brent, Chris, Gabriel, Sara and Valerie in a steel box supported by a chain and pulley. Gabriel and his sisters clung to each other in fear, as the box moved closer to the pit. They could hear Sara scream. Ken took a quick glance out at them. The box was directly over the pit.
“What is it?” Steve asked.
“They’re in big trouble,” Ken said.
Soon, Ken could hear his walkie-talkie go off. He took it out of his belt pouch. “Hello?”
“Ken, it’s Valerie,” she answered. “Do you guys plan on rescuing us any time soon?”
“Yeah, Val,” Ken said, still looking at the robots. “We’re just choosing a target and waiting for the right time.”
“What?!” Valerie screamed. “Ken, what in the heck are you guys doing?!”
Before Ken could answer, they saw all four robots with their backs to the window. Pete nudged Steve and asked, “Got a target?”
“Sure do,” Steve answered.
Steve fired, and the rope shot out from the gun. The steel arrows punched holes into the outer wall of the tunnel. Ken and Pete grabbed the rope, screamed, “It’s Manheart time!” then they slid quickly down the rope with their feet out, hitting the robots in their heads. All the workers fled from the work area to avoid getting hurt.
To their surprise, the robots stood back up, and Ken and Pete were soon dodging the laser beams shooting from their eyes. From the window, Steve dropped the gun and started using his missiles and bullets at them. But they were no use.
The brothers knew they were in danger. Two robots picked up Ken and Pete and threw them into a mining cart. All four robots lined up side by side facing them, opened up their chests and stomaches, and presented all the sharp objects – scissors, knives, ice picks, and all else. They started towards the brothers.
Chris looked worried. “If those robots get to them with those things sticking out,” he said, “they’re history.” Right away, he had an idea. “Maybe if their eyes got smashed out, they won’t be able to use the lasers.”
“I’ll tell them,” Sara said. She took out her walkie-talkie and contacted Ken. When he responded, she told him, “Ken, I want you and Pete to get out of that cart, and take those robots’ eyes out. Chris says it’ll disable their lasers.”
“Yes,” said Pete. He jumped from the cart, and took Ken’s hand to get him out. They waited until the robots got close enough. When they were, Ken and Pete jumped up high, and punched and kicked them in their eyes. Soon, the robots couldn’t see, and they started moving all around like a bunch of headless zombies.
“Great, they’re distracted,” Ken said. “Now, let’s work together to finish them off. Watch out for those sharp objects, Pete.”
“I know exactly what to do with those sharp objects,” Pete grinned.
Just then, Steve ran back into the work area, went up to two robots, and bent all their knife blades and scissors with his steel hands. Just what I was thinking, Pete thought.
He had an idea. He ran to some full mining carts and brought back an armful of rocks. He gave a bunch to Ken and said, “We’ll use these to dull the blades.”
Just then, the robots with the bent blades activated their chainsaws and cutting discs. The brothers used the rocks on the blades. When they were all dulled, Steve reached into the robots’ stomaches, and cut all the wires with his nails. The robots stood in their places, motionless.
At that moment, the two other robots activated their moving blades. Ken and Pete jumped. Steve went up them, pointed at the lifeless robots and said, “Go over there and take those apart. I’ll deal with these guys.” Ken and Pete did so, and Steve picked up more rocks to dull the moving blades. He finished off the remaining robots the way he did the first two.
Meanwhile, up in the steel box, Gabriel was bouncing around like popping corn as he cheered on the Manhearts. The box was rocking a little bit. Brent, Chris, Valerie and Sara were grabbing on the edges. Chris turned to him, smacked his head and said, “Stop it, you’re going to tip it over!”
But Gabriel didn’t listen to him. When Steve dulled the moving blades on the robots Ken and Pete battled, Gabriel stood up and cheered. He shouted, “All right, Steve! Go, go, go!”
“Gabriel, sit down!” Valerie shouted. “You’re going to…”
But Gabriel suddenly fell back down, and as he did, the box began to tip over. Everyone clung to the edges as they hung in mid-air, the bottomless pit just below them. They were all screaming.
Ken and Pete heard them. They ran over to the pulley and quickly studied it. It was about twenty feet from the ground. Pete climbed up on Ken’s shoulders and tried to reach it. It was still too high.
“Gee, these robots must’ve really extended their arms to get them over there,” he said.
“Steve!” Ken called. “We need you over here, buddy!”
Steve abandoned the robots, and went to his brothers. He climbed up onto Pete’s shoulders. But he couldn’t reach the pulley.
“Ken, move up a few steps,” he ordered. “I can’t reach.”
Ken walked up to the pulley. But, as he tried to grab it, Steve leaned forward a bit too much and lost his balance. He fell off Pete and landed on his backside.
When Steve recovered, he saw the two active robots coming towards him. He brought up his forearm, turned the arrow to “mini-grenades,” and fired a few shots.
“Everybody get down!” he shouted. All the slaves squatted down and ducked their heads. Pete jumped off Ken, and the three brothers took cover. Fifteen seconds later, the grenades exploded, and the robots exploded with them. Sharp objects, wires and parts were scattered all over the ground.
The explosion startled Gabriel so much, he let go of the box. He started to fall, but Chris caught him in time.
Chris looked over at Brent. “Brent,” he said, “can you use your powers to move this thing towards the ground?”
“I’ll try,” Brent answered. “Hang on, everyone.” He looked over at the ground and concentrated on it. Soon, the box began to move away from the pit.
“Brent!” Ken cried. “Your powers, they’re working again!”
When the box was halfway between the pit and the tunnels, Brent let go and landed on his feet. He stood under the box and held out his arms.
“Okay, everyone, you all let go one at a time, and I’ll catch you,” he said.
Chris dropped Gabriel, who landed in Brent’s arms.
“I’m next, my hands are all sweaty!” Sara announced. She let go and fell into Brent’s arms.
Ken went over to the box and held out his arms for Chris. He said to him and Valerie, “You two let go at the same time, and we’ll catch you!” They nodded and let go. Ken caught Chris, while Brent caught Valerie.
“Thanks, guys,” Gabriel said. “You saved our lives.”
Pete was picking up robot parts, and throwing them into the pit. His brothers started following him. Some slaves saw this, and they rushed over to pick up wires, sharp objects and parts, and threw them into the pit.
When the robots were all gone, Chris, the children and the Manhearts all went back to Mace’s office. Sara shook Mace to see if he was all right. He was injured very badly, lying limp up against his safe. He responded by mumbling; but he was still conscious. She checked his pulse. It was very slow.
She turned to the group and announced, “I say we finish him off”
The Brothers Manheart picked Mace up by his arms and legs. Suddenly, he became fully alert as his head was out the window, and he saw the pit below him. Ken counted to three, then they threw him out. Everyone watched as Mace fell into the pit, screaming.
“Now that that’s done, what do we do now?” Valerie asked.
“I saw some big bags in the closet,” Gabriel said. “Let’s take some of these jewels back with us.”
He opened the closet and got four bags, while Brent used his powers to open the safe. It was filled with jewels. Brent kept using his powers to fill the bags. The jewels were being sucked into them like a vacuum. When they were full, Ken tied them all up, and each brother carried one out of the office.
The group went back to the work area to see a light in the very middle tunnel. Valerie gasped and cried, “Could it be?”
“Our ticket back to Marigold City?” Gabriel guessed.
“Wait,” Sara said. “We don’t really know where this will take us! What if we end up in the Old West, or New York in the 26th century… or even the prehistoric era? I’m afraid of dinosaurs.”
“Let’s just see where this goes,” Gabriel said. “Maybe it can take us back to Marigold City.” He looked at the slaves and grinned. “You all can go first. You’re the adults.”
“Hey!” Steve protested, pointing at his brothers. “We’re adults, too”
Gabriel looked at the slaves again. “Yeah, but many of these ones are older than all of us. Our elders first, Steve. Just wait.”
One by one, the slaves walked into the light. While they were going through, the Brothers Manheart and the children said goodbye to Chris. When Valerie said goodbye, she said to him, “Find a light that will take you to heaven, and see if you can get in. It’s where you belong.”
“I’ll try, I promise,” he said. Then he watched the last of the slaves, and his friends walk through the light. Moments later, everybody found themselves back on Viscount Way. They looked at the police, fire fighters and military officers who were ex-slaves. In the distance, they could see the Manhearts’ van.
“It’s a miracle!” Gabriel cried. “We’re home!”
After a short celebration, Ken quieted everyone down and turned to the ex-slaves.
“Okay, now I want all the military and fire fighters to either go home or get back on duty!” he ordered. “Police, go back to your stations, get into your cars, and meet us at Vinnie Napoleon’s headquarters. It’s time to take him down!”
Pete collected all the bags and dropped them in front of the authority figures. “And could someone please take these jewels to a nearby bank?” he added. “These could be worth millions.”