(#00681 - A316)
“No, Rabbit. We’re almost there. Just a little further.”
“…my everything hurts,” whimpered the copper robot.
Rabbit should never have come to Vietnam. The Jon, already hiding in the little cave that The Spine had found, should never have come to Vietnam. The Spine didn’t want to, either, but he had to pay for his military upgrades somehow. He had to support the Walter family. Pay back the debt.
The Jon had had the idea. The contract stated that The Spine had to maintain a position in the armed forces in times of war. It didn’t say one word about fighting.
So he had found this place, miles from anywhere. And rescued his robotic siblings from the fray.
Rabbit was in bad shape. Bullets did nasty things to copper. Worse things to the gears and workings underneath. And worse, Rabbit never did get completed surface plating like the others. Which meant that any damage happened directly to his workings.
Which, in turn, was why The Spine was literally dragging Rabbit to safety.
“Sorry, Rabbit. My other arm’s not working. I can’t carry you.”
Rabbit shuddered as his servos misfired. He’d been glitching a lot more, lately. But there was sunshine and tools and a stream of water. And a jerry-can of motor oil. All waiting in the cave.
They just had to get there.
“How much longer, th’ Spine?”
“Just a little more. You can make it. I know you can make it.”
“…ev’ryth’n feels… wrrroooooonnnn—*”
Rabbit became a sudden dead weight in The Spine’s working arm. Which wasn’t in good enough shape to hold him. Rabbit’s battered form fell to the jungle floor.
“I’m sorry…” The Spine knelt and checked his brother. Empty boiler. And a crack that made it leak. Typical Rabbit. Not letting on he was more damaged than he seemed.
Come to think of it. He was running low, too.
There was a stream nearby. He could refill his canteen and Rabbit’s. Re-stock them both.
He shut down Rabbit’s power core so that he wouldn’t overheat. Safety first. Rabbit didn’t have automatic shutdown protocols like The Jon and himself.
It was harder to get to the stream than he thought. Too many vines. Too many jungle roots. Too many thick leaves…
Just a little further.
Just a little fur—
The Spine opened his eyes in the brief terror that the soldiers had found him. Found poor broken Rabbit. Found The Jon.
Rabbit was in his field of view. Repaired. Wearing a different face. And grinning in the way that only Rabbit could.
“War is over,” confirmed The Jon. “If you want it.”
Good. For the first time in decades, The Spine smiled.