Risky Business

An Earth 2 fan fiction


Douglas Neman

Another day, another campsite, another search for firewood.

"Zero, why don't you check East, I'll check West," Danziger suggested.

"I will do that, sir," the robot said simply and clumped his way east of camp. Searching for firewood hadn't been part of his original programming, but he'd learned to adapt. Now he could tell what pieces of wood made the best firewood – probably better than any other Zero unit in the universe.

Now there was something he could put on his electronic resume someday, he thought.

The area they were camped in had sparse vegetation, and Zero found himself going further than usual to find anything worthwhile.

Perhaps 200 meters away from camp he detected the heat traces. Rounding a boulder and looking down into a small ravine he saw two men and a boy. Zero had also been programmed to recognize certain facial features, and he knew what he was seeing now was terror.

"It's okay," he said, modulating his voice to the timbre and frequency that a human ear would find most reassuring. "I mean you no harm. I do not belong to the Council, nor am I associated with penal colonists in any way."

Even as he said it, he silently triggered his communicator to let the others know what he'd found. They would come running, but he knew it would be a minute or so before they arrived.

The strangers looked relieved and climbed out of the ditch. "Well, thank goodness for that," one of the men said. "Who are you?"

"I am a labor robot called Zero," Zero replied. "I belong to a group of people colonizing this planet. Who are you?"

"My name's Robert," the man said, and motioned to the others. "This is my colleague William, and my son Timothy. We were all sent here by the Council because we spoke out against their atrocities. Ever since we got here two months ago, we've been on the run from a crazy murderer who's been stalking us across the planet!"

"You will be safe with us," Zero said.

A new voice suddenly spoke up to the right. "Oh, I doubt that, my little lost robotic friend."

Zero swiveled his head to take in the newcomer, and his circuits did several flip-flops when he compared the face to his database and came up with the name "Gaal."

"Reunions are so wonderful, aren't they?" Gaal asked. He slowly drew his pistol from his belt and aimed it at the strangers.

Zero's voice boomed out as loud as possible. He shouted...










Wait for it....










Wait for it....










"Danger, Will, Rob and son! Danger! Danger!"



Yes, I actually had the Gaal to publish this. I am deeply ashamed, but that didn't stop me.

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