120 Days of Robo-Zombie Sodom

On the first day, the sun was shining and the mechanical birds were singing, and the Royal High Artificer was feeling pretty darn good. He puttered energetically about his workshop like a Disney character on the verge of bursting into song, and as he puttered he brushed a loving hand over each of his creations. A proud father he was, and they were all his children, even the ones that looked not even vaguely humanoid.

Then the Sultan entered the room, and the Royal High Artificer fell to his knees in supplication.

“Most Honored Lord of Creation…” said the Artificer.

“No, no,” said the Sultan. “Just ignore me. Just go on working. Pretend I’m not even here.”

“Er, alright.”

The Artificer got to his feet and began nervously pacing the room, checking dials and gauges, occasionally glancing over his shoulder at the Sultan. The Lord of Creation watched him with interest.

“Fascinating,” said the Sultan. “Really mind-blowing stuff. All these clockwork toys and mechanical birds and what-not. It’s great. But I’m actually looking for something… bigger.”

The Artificer nodded. He didn’t like where this was going.

“The Prince,” said the Sultan. “You know the Prince, right? Real bastard, he is. He’s got these two daughters. And they’re legendary, these two. Beautiful beyond measure. And, you know, I keep thinking that if only I had a kill-bot, I could take over his fortress. Maybe add those two beautiful daughters to my collection.”

The Artificer was stunned. “A… a kill-bot?”

“Yeah, sure,” said the Sultan. “Fifty foot tall, flamethrowers for hands. That sort of thing. Have it ready as soon as you can. I command it.”

And with that, the Lord of Creation turned and walked out of the workshop, leaving the Artificer in a much less jolly mood.

For fifty days and fifty nights, the Royal High Artificer worked around the clock, hammering and welding and calculating and computing and assembling, until finally, on the fifty-first day, the kill-bot was complete. And he handed it over to the Sultan, who was most impressed, and who grinned like a spoiled child as he led the kill-bot away.

On the fifty-seventh day, the Sultan returned to the workshop.

“Well,” he said. “There was a bit of a problem.”

The Artificer cringed. “With the kill-bot?”

“Yeah. I mean, don’t get me wrong, it did great. Tore down the walls, burned everything in sight. Stepped on the Prince – I particularly enjoyed that. But it sort of happened to… kill the two daughters.”

“Oh,” said the Artificer. “Oh my.”

“I was worried at first,” said the Sultan. “But then I thought: Why be a quitter? Their bodies are still in good shape – and they are quite lovely, let me tell you – and what’s more, I happen to know a guy who’s good with robotics. That’s you, of course. So I figured you could, I don’t know, bring them back to life.”

The Artificer spluttered. “Bring… bring them back to life?!”

“Sure. I command it.”

And with that, the Sultan was gone.

For ten days and ten nights, the Royal High Artificer labored over the bodies of the beautiful daughters. He sewed and pumped and sliced and sutured, until one rain-lashed night, as the sky outside filled with lightning, he flicked a switch and brought them back to life.

On the sixty-eighth day, the Royal High Artificer presented the Sultan with the two beautiful daughters, looking almost as lovely as they’d ever looked in life. The Sultan was thrilled, and he took them straight away to his harem. As soon as they’d gone, the Artificer slumped down in his chair and breathed a deep sigh of relief.

On the seventy-fifth day, the Sultan returned to the Artificer’s workshop.

“Small problem,” said the Sultan. “They’re great, don’t get me wrong. Wonderful girls. Really pretty. But they’re a little too smart, if you know what I mean.”

“My lord?” said the Artificer.

“They’re causing trouble,” said the Sultan. “Disobeying my orders, stirring up the other harem girls, talking about women’s rights and so forth. I need you to do some reprogramming. Dumb them down a bit. I command it.”

And so the Sultan left, and the Artificer worked. He sawed and he soldered and he plucked and he programmed. And the Sultan was very happy with the final result.

On the eighty-ninth day, the Sultan returned.

“Got to say – I’m sick of brunettes. Got too many brunettes in the harem already. Can we make them blonde? Ooh, better yet… What if you program it so their hair changes colour every day, randomly? That’d be fantastic. And their eyes, too. I command it.”

And the Artificer, who was now graying at the temples, and who hadn’t had a good night’s sleep in he couldn’t remember how long, went back to work. He chopped and fiddled and carved and coloured, and finally he presented his work to the Sultan, who was pleased as punch.

On the hundred-and-sixth day, the Sultan came to the workshop.

“I’ve changed my ways, Artificer old friend,” he said. “I’m getting on in years, and the days of wild women and parties are behind me. I don’t need a harem of brainless bimbos anymore. I need real women I can talk to – share my feelings with. I want you to put those girls back the way they were. Smarter, even. Oh, and change their hair back, too. Don’t know what I was thinking with that idea. I command it.”

And the Royal High Artificer, whose hands now shook when he worked, and whose eyes twitched in the presence of bright light, went back to work. He tinkered and pried and rewired and hacked. And when he presented the final result, the Lord of Creation couldn’t have been happier.

On the hundred-and-twentieth day, the Sultan strolled into the workshop and said: “Right, they’ve escaped. Guess you made them too smart. Well, I’ll be needing another kill-bot to hunt them down. Don’t know what happened to the old one. It’s possible I’ve lost it.”

It was at this point that the Royal High Artificer finally snapped, pulled out a gun and shot himself.

He awoke three days later on an operating table. The Sultan was standing over him.

“Ah,” said the Sultan. “You’re back! Good thing you left all those notes, isn’t it? Otherwise we might have lost you for good, and I just couldn’t deal with that. Not while my girls are missing. Now get up and get back to work. I command it.”

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Xander Bennett rearranges words for fun and profit. Read a preview of his new book at www.cagescomic.com.

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