...so in the end, we - this is me and Ed - said "to hell with moisture detectors" and built the giant robot instead. We used junk that was lying in the Technology workshop. Old capacitors and CRTs and junk. It was a monster of a machine. It must've been about fifty feet tall. It ran, it jumped, it could fall a thousand feet and take a cruise missile to the chest with no damage. Stayed active for 1000 hours - not like those nancy ones with external power cables - before needing recharging and could be piloted completely by remote control. As for weaponry, well, you were looking at twin chain guns, bazookas, a rapid-fire armour-piercing rocket launcher, tactical nuclear missiles... the whole Christmas family gift set. Oh, and Magnetic Physics loaned us their railgun, which was nice of them.

So we took it to the DOD and said "Hey, look what we've got!" and tried to sell it to them. But they said "yeah, we've got one too" even though we knew they didn't really, and didn't buy it. So we're left with this fifty-foot robot on our hands. The university said they needed the car park back, so we had to put it in Ed's backyard. We were well annoyed, especially Ed.

The alien invasion started later the same day. I am absolutely not kidding. What are the odds? We finished building a huge weapon of mass destruction just at the EXACT same moment that a massive alien army arrives. Second time that year!

As a number of unfortunate aircraft pilots discover, all our "conventional weapons" are totally useless against their "shields", because they "just absorb the energy to make themselves stronger" (yeah, right). So, predictably, a couple of hours later the DOD comes knocking on Ed's door saying "Hey, could we like, borrow your amazing, flying, all-conquering gigantic robotic war machine?" And Ed goes "Use the one you've got" and we laughed in their faces, coz it served them right.

I couldn't help thinking it was a bit unfair of us, to doom mankind just to get back at the black suits. But Ed turns around, reassures me. "It's okay," he says, "I've been practicing Mechwarrior for months." Which is true. He's been playing that game obsessively since before we even starting building the mech. I haven't been watching too closely but I know he's been getting rather obscenely good at it. So when he shows me the keyboard and mouse interface that he's worked out, I figure this could be a pretty interesting week.


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