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Challenge #01186-C091: An Otherwise Sensible Rescue Machine

[Bad situation] - Send help!

Giant Robot spiders have been dispatched to your location. Your help results may vary. -- RecklessPrudence

Certain things are destined to happen when names are chosen for a child. One could imagine, for example, that an infant named Isambard Kingdom would grow up with something to prove[1].

And when one's mother, in all innocence of the written word, had christened her daughter Arachnia Toxicity Blakethorpe-Smythe... Well. Heads would eventually roll.

A lady of breeding may indeed have an education, but society usually meant something in the order of being able to recite Wordsworth, or name the constellations. And not, for example, engineer and then construct a series of mechanical engines with clockwork minds of their own.

Some serious thought had gone into them. They had to be able to traverse vast distances at all due speed, regardless of the state of traffic. They had to come equipped with every possible aid for every possible disaster. And even carry inside their British steel carapaces the trained staff who were prepared to assist.

And since there were so few trained staff... why not an ability to assess and assist on their own? Doctors were rare and expensive. Factory-made mechanical contrivances were otherwise. Mister Babbage had, after all, proved that machines could think. It was all a matter of gear ratios and deducing a means of encoding stimulus.

Arachnia Blakethorpe-Smythe really was very clever.

However, the first public use of her Help Spiders was not the modern miracle that the common throng seemed to like.

They performed admirably. They rushed to the scene of the fire and, using special elastic nets, extracted all the living souls from the flames before vomiting an expanding foam to smother the flames. Even the small matter of the foam setting like rock, afterwards, was of little import.

Work crews could easily make small work of it, and possibly carve the stuff for mementoes.

The press called them the Monsters of Middleton. The outright nerve!

[1] Actual first and middle names of Victorian Engineer, Isambard Kingdom Brunel, who did some pretty awesome things in his time. Someone even wrote song about him.

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