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It was only ten o’clock but the hot sun scathed the Sahara Desert. A windstorm tore across the sandy plain, sending a billion tiny sand arrows whipping through the burning air. A small green lizard pressed frantically into the narrow shade of a huge heart shaped rock. The lizard twitched occasionally as a whizzing piece of sand bit at its skin.
The lizard froze as it saw a flying form approaching it. The invader was in the shape of a black ball and was about the size of a large boulder. in a line behind the strange apparition were nine identical balls whizzing along at exactly the same speed. The lizard twitched as each machine cut through the air just feet above it’s head. Shortly after all ten of the black balls had vanished on the horizon, the lizard unfroze and forgot about them.
Inside the lead ball was a golden robot. The small golden body had four appendages, two used for walking but did not resemble a human body. The feet were small and circular and the body was a metallic mess filled with various machines. The arms were two long gun like appendages. Actually, one appendage was a laser gun and the other was used to collect myriad data in all the human senses, computer language, and twenty other forms of information unknown to man. The head of the strange robot communicated much more to the human eye. It was a carved golden statue of a ferocious wolf head. The eyes were glaring red lights and a huge set of menacing black teeth were barred in a permanent snarl. Actually, nothing at all was stored in the head, which was purely for appearance.
“Change course twenty-three degrees to avoid sandstorm,” the golden robot sent out in radio form through his left appendage. No sooner had the data been transmitted than the entire line of black ball ships changed course twenty three degrees, staying in a perfect line. Each of the other nine balls was filled with a silver robot identical to the golden one. The silver robots were programmed to obey the leader without thought.
The storage compartments of all the ships were filled with dead animals. Today had been a productive day for the collection team. They had killed a new sub-species of giraffe, whose head had been chopped off and put into a storage compartment. Next to the severed giraffe head was a less valuable prize, the head of a young black man who had been found in the area. The face was frozen in terror and a tiny stream of blood flowed out of the dead mouth.
The ten black ball ships were now pulling into a city. The giant city spread out like a beautiful oasis in the barren land. Every building in the entire city was built in white. A million identical black balls sped from place to place within the busy metropolis. The edge of the city was very clear cut; the white city was in the shape of a perfect heart. “Landing port D-3,”transmitted the gold robot. The line of black balls zoomed into the one tiny street that led directly to its destination. Here was the magnificent city of Bonecruncher.
The inhabitants of Bonecruncher City did not know when it had been created or how many thousands of years the city had existed before the human species evolved. Nor did the inhabitants know anything but one word, “obey”. With the exception of one opulent mansion in the center of the city, Bonecruncher was inhabited entirely by robots, moving computers with wolf heads.
Inside the Imperial Mansion lived the rulers of the city, the royal Bonecruncher family and ten other noble werewolf families. To human eyes, these creatures were the most gruesome creatures imaginable. They were giant black wolves that stood on two feet. Their eyes were glaring red bubbles and their gigantic metal teeth were used to crunch the bones of their meals. They ate a large variety of animals but humans, killed and prepared by robots, was a major staple of their diets. Each of these hideous creatures was also a million times as intelligent as an average human.
The leader of the bizarre creatures and the absolute dictator of Bonecruncher City was King Mohatma Bonecruncher. To the residents of Bonecruncher City, the king was a god. And in some ways he was. Only the King of Bonecruncher city and his son were allowed to study the art of wizardry, a force even more powerful than the space age technology which permeated the city. A mumbled curse from King Bonecruncher would electrocute its target.
But there was little conflict in Bonecruncher City. Things continued as they had for thousands of years past. Collection ships went out to kill various specimens, the rest of the city worked to turn the specimens into stone and the new specimens were installed into the collections of a million distinct museums of death. No one visited the museums, except the werewolf families and even they didn’t visit very often. Special specimens were taken aside to make all the furniture and appliances the werewolf families needed. They wanted to live around death.
Today, as the wheels of this city of death turned round and round, Mohatma Bonecruncher sat in a human stone chair. A girl’s head, turned to stone in the middle of a scream, was the end of the chair’s arm. He drummed his fingers on the girl’s eyes restlessly. He was deep in thought on his only son, Lucius Bonecruncher. Lucius had made a promising start. As a student of wizardry, Lucius had been unmatched in the history of Werewolf princes. Also, Lucius was possessed of absolute cruelty, which was prized among werewolves. Yes, not only was Lucius indifferent to others pain, Lucius delighted in it. Lucius would have made a perfect king of Bonecruncher city except that Lucius was infatuated with humans. For the last five years, he had been on a continual vacation in the human cities of the world, in human form. Lucius had taken human friends and human mates. Perhaps he even thought he was human, thought Mohatma mockingly. Mohatma would have replaced Lucius with another son but there was no such son. Perhaps Carolina Bloodrose will produce me a son, thought Mohatma. Then I will send a legion of robots to kill Lucius. Yes, perhaps. Mohatma remembered that the thing had been done once before, ten thousand years ago to an unsatisfactory prince.
Meanwhile, a thousand U.S. Army tanks rolled stealthily toward Bonecruncher city from every conceivable direction. Their mission was to blow up anything that tried to escape from the city. For all its elaborate technology, Bonecruncher City had no surveillance system to pick up on invaders. There had never been any such invaders. In one of the tanks sat Gen. Wolf Harrison. Harrison was a C.I.A. man. He had conducted a thousand dangerous missions and won almost all of them. He had saved a hundred brothers in arms in the Vietnam War and received a purple heart for it. They hadn’t given him a second Purple Heart for the hundred enemies he’d killed in the same war. This clashed with the values of a man who didn’t value rescue but only valued destruction.
But never, in his bloody lifetime, had he encountered anything like this. Intelligence had been dripping in about this city for a long time and his research men had been able to put together a fairly accurate description of the bizarre city. He couldn’t understand where this city had come from or what the city did with the huge collections of dead things it brought in every year. Furthermore, he didn’t care. The President of the United States of America had told him this city was his enemy and this city was his enemy, he thought. His only concern was how to blow this heart shaped Hades off the face of the face of the earth.
That’s what the bombers were for. A hundred bombers were loaded with ten highly destructive napalm bombs each. To finish off the job, a stealth bomber would move in to drop a single nuke on the ruins of the city. And nobody in the world was better at using bombs than Lt. Hawk, commander of the U.S. Nuclear Bomb Attack Fleet. It had been Harrison’s call to use Hawk , a strategical genius only two years out of the Air Force Academy, for this all important mission.
Harrison radioed General Conrad, Head of the 43rd Elite Tank Division, “Are all tanks ready to destroy any escaping vessels?”
“All tanks ready, sir,”replied Conrad.
Harrison radioed Lt. Hawk, “Tanks are in position. It’s time for your fleet to move in. I want this thing blown to hell. I want it annihilated. Do you understand, Lt. Hawk?”
“Yes, sir,” Lt. Hawk’s gravelly voice came through the radio. “Moving in, sir.”
The fighter planes dotted zoomed over Bonecruncher City, dropping their deadly cargoes. The city was falling to the ground and there were no anti-aircraft guns. Ten bombers headed for the imperial mansion, the most important of the targets. Suddenly, an electric blue laser beam shot out of the mansion, incinerating the lead pilot. The others continued their V-line for the mansion. The blue beam shot out, destroying the next pilot. “Hold steady,”came the message from the third pilot. The bomber line was approaching the mansion.
Zap. The third pilot was shot out of the air. The line broke but the planes held direction. They were almost over the mansion. Zap. Another pilot was blown away by the blue beam. Suddenly, the Imperial Mansion exploded into a roaring fire. The first napalm bomb had landed. The six remaining bombers circled the burning ruin, laying on explosion after explosion.
On the ground, there lay the charred carcass of King Mohatma Bonecruncher, magic wand in hand. A powerful ruler, he had held control, masculinity, and feeling in his hairy palm. In his feudal society, there had been no disorder. But now, as the orderly city was ripped to shreds, feudalism died and the wolves came out to feed upon its carcass.