November 20 | David Perlmutter


When the ship arrived on Earth, Tobor called his fellow robot soldiers to the bridge.  “Attention!” he said, as his non-moving mouth gleamed with every word he spoke. “Invasion is imminent.”
“Exterminate!” shouted a small, white-paneled machine with a prominent turret gun, which it fired off abruptly. “Exterminate!”
“Not at this moment, please, Dalek,” said Tobor, rubbing his skull with one of the circular metal clamps that passed for hands on his body. “We are not in any danger at the present time.”
“Do you expect such danger to occur to us, Tobor?” said Robbie, whose giant metallic body was dominated by the expansive internal “brain” processor at the center of his faceless head. “When does it not occur, wherever we may go?” said Gort, whose red arms and torso balanced inadequately on the unicycle that stood in for legs on his body. “We robots are perennially at the end of the discriminatory salutations of the various races of the universe, who cannot conceive with their tiny little minds that we are their equals…..”

“What mean you?” slurred Clanker, a tall, grey-metalled giant who was not very intelligent. “That does not compute.”
“He is referring to us always being attacked wherever we attempt to invade the universe, lug nuts!” declared QT, the lone one of the operational machines who could be described as having a “female” personality. Being taller and of a shinier silver sheen than Clanker, she was thus able to clout him on the head immediately after insulting him.Tobor violently cleared what passed for a throat on his body, and spoke again.

“None of this discussion is of any meaningful usage to advancing our goal and cause,” he said.
“Our apologies for interrupting your explanation of what we are supposed to be doing,” said Robbie. “Please continue.” So Tobor did. He outlined in full detail, with exacting care, how it was that they were to march to wherever it was on this planet the center of political control was, and, implying that, if their demands were refused, they would proceed to destroy the entire planet until a surrender from their opponents was achieved, and they became its rulers. He managed to do so, despite various cries and gasps of surprise, gunshots, and declarations of “does not compute” from his compatriots that interrupted him from time to time.

The explanations completed, the group exited the craft, marching in precise military time. Until they discovered that they were on a countertop in some Earth merchant’s shop and were poised to fall off the edge.

And then, without warning, and without completely understanding what was going on, the robots found themselves caught by much larger beings, as those beings rushed inside whatever building they were inside and cavorted like ridiculous, crazed fools, not stopping until each of the robots, and many other beings resembling them, were hauled away within the larger beings’ pockets and coats….