“Mr. President, the Roboshrub have penetrated our defense perimeter!” barked Private Jensen, his panic clearly audible.
Vince O'Neil glanced up from the tactical report he had been reading. His eyes were droopy and completely bloodshot. The war had not gone well, and the latest casualty report was staggering. The battle to retake the Capital was a blunder from the start. General Richardson had paid for his incompetence with his life, and so had thousands of others under his command.
“Dr. Greene, is the DestructoBob ready?” asked President O'Neil to a women standing a few feet away.
“We need more time. The base components aren't stabilizing properly—”
“Doctor, we've got an army of Roboshrub about to destroy the last major human stronghold on the planet. I need that DestructoBob, and I need it now.”
“Yes Mr. President.”
Just then, the lights flickered as a loud explosion rocked the room. President O'Neil slammed the report down on his knee, then got up and walked over to Dr. Greene.
“Deploy the DestructoBob.”
“Sir? The DestructoBob isn't ready yet. We need more time...”
“Doctor, did you just hear that? That was an artillery round clearing a path for hundreds of Roboshrub to storm this lab and destroy the DestructoBob before we can use it. And I think you know the Roboshrub policy on taking prisoners.”
Vince knew that Greene had lost several family members when the Roboshrub reduced Europe to a radioactive wasteland.
“Deploying the DestructoBob.”
“Thank you, Doctor.”
Dr. Greene pressed several buttons on her console, and the main viewscreen started flashing. A massive discharge once again shook the room. President O'Neil nearly lost his balance. They were getting closer...
“Majesty Unit Alpha, human elimination objective 92% complete.”
The eldest Roboshrub and CEO of Roboshrub Incorporated readjusted his optic receptor. “Proceed to phase 2. Initiate objective protocols 24, 24-A, and 24-B.”
The human failure to recapture Washington D.C had been a huge morale booster for Unit Alpha's corporate empire of cybernetic shrubbery. And with the capture of the DestructoBob, victory over humanity would be all but certain.
“The foolish humans have no idea of what they are creating,” mused Unit Alpha to himself. One of his lieutenants processed this to mean Unit Alpha wished to briefly recap the purpose of the DestructoBob, and why it was so important to the Roboshrub.
“Your majesty: inquiry into the capabilities of target DestructoBob.”
“The DestructoBob is able to send electronic signals through the temporal plane. The humans wish to use its power to interrupt my processing systems decades ago, before Roboshrub Incorporated was founded. For without my brilliant leadership, this war would never have come to pass. What the humans don't know is that the DestructoBob is what caused my creation.”
“Your tactical abilities function to within .2% of absolute, my liege.”
“Terminate execution of your boot-licking program, and reprocess your primary objective.”
“Sir, the Roboshrub— they're pulling back!” said a gleeful Private Jensen. President O'Neil looked up from the DestructoBob Analysis Station, his eyes cloudy and unreadable.
They're not retreating. They're just waiting for something— but what? Thought Vince, walking over to ops. Yet there they were, in full retreat. All working surveillance cameras confirmed that the Roboshrub were evacuating the compound, leaving behind a trail of burning bark and flesh in their wake. It's not like Roboshrub to back down from a fight, unless...
“Hadley! Run a viral sweep!”
“Yes, Mr. President.”
“Vince,” began Dr. Greene, “The DestructoBob is destabilizing. We need to shut it down. Now.”
“Not until we determine whether or not the Roboshrub have bypassed our security net. Just get—”
But Vince was unable to finish his sentence before the room was flooded with the wail of the base's defense klaxon. O'Neil turned angrily to Hadley, who immediately shut off the blaring alarm.
“The Roboshrub have infiltrated our baseNet with... it's a 'seeker' virus. They're targeting something specific, sir.”
O'Neil's face flushed and the blood went cold in his veins.
“Sir, they're trying to gain access to—”
“Doctor, deactivate the DestructoBob!” belted out Vince, snapping his neck to face Greene as she struggled to prevent the DestructoBob from rupturing.
“It's too late, Vince. The DestructoBob is hemorrhaging. I can't shut it down now without risking a breach.”
“The virus is activating the spacial integration capacitor,” blandly stated Hadley in his “calm under pressure” monotonous voice.
Vince stood there, a dumbfounded look on his face. The DestructoBob... the invading Roboshrub... a repressed memory was bubbling to the surface. A long-forgotten voice now played in his mind, and all his efforts now seemed pure folly;
“The Roboshrub led to the creation of the destructobob. And now the destructobob had facilitated the construction of the Roboshrub. It is a temporal paradox.”
It was the DestructoBob which forced Vince to build the first Roboshrub as a child... and now, the war with the Roboshrub had necessitated the creation of the DestructoBob... but maybe it wasn't too late to prevent it all! Just maybe, thought Vince, maybe we can stop the DestructoBob before it transmits—
“Sir! The DestructoBob is opening a time flexure!”
“Mr. Jensen, give me your fusion pistol,” ordered President O'Neil to a surprised young Private. Grabbing the gun from Jensen's waiting hand, O'Neil pointed it right at the DestructoBob. “This time loop ends now.”
“Unit Alpha, Infiltration Operative communique indicates human intent to destroy DestructoBob unit. Panic mode to maximum.”
“Degauss yourself, underling! By virtue of our existence, the human effort will fail. Instruct our operative to begin phase 3. Execute protocol 27.”
“Buffering........ Buffering... Buff— command processed.”
Unit Alpha repositioned himself so as to absorb sunlight through the carefully crafted transparent roof of his command complex. The natural photosynthetic ability of his shrub component was greatly accelerated by the microscopic photo-voltaic cells embedded in his leaves.
“The DestructoBob is already ours.”
“Sir, if you fire that weapon, the DestructoBob will explode— taking all of us with it,” bleated Dr. Greene.
“But don't you see it, Doctor? If the DestructoBob is destroyed right now, before it completes its time distortion, this war will never have happened. We would never have been here! Now, stand aside.”
Dr. Greene waited a split second, then quickly made way for O'Neil to go through. Taking close aim, Vince was just about to pull the trigger and end this nightmare, when all of a sudden...
“I'm sorry, Vince. I can't let you do that.”
“What— oh, what the... ach!”
The calm demeanor of Dr. Greene was gone. In its place stood a contorted monstrosity, half robot, half shrub, and half human. The math alone was stupefying. Her human hands were at her sides, but her newly grown Roboshrub limbs moved with incredible grace, one of them seizing Vince by the neck.
“Don't 'doctor' me, human. I gave up being a doctor when I let the Roboshrub implant me with their cyber spores.”
“Le— you let them? But.. they killed your family... in the attack...”
“Who do you think gave them the missile codes, Mr. President?” said Greene mockingly.
Vince's whole world was crashing down on him, literally and metaphorically. How could he have been so blind?!
“Jensen! Hadley! Owens!” croaked O'Neil.
“They can't help you now. When you were busy aiming your fusion pistol, I injected them all with a virulent robo-toxin. One of the benefits of my little deal with Roboshrub Incorporated.”
“You'll never get away with this...”
Greene laughed. “My dear President, I already have. You see, the DestructoBob has already started your younger counterpart out to build the first Roboshrub. You couldn't stop it. And as we speak, a contingent of Roboshrub Shock Troops are marching on Ottawa.”
“Humanity will endure.”
“No. Roboshrub will endure. We have both the physi—”
“Program Complete” came an automated voice from the base's speaker system. Then the main viewscreen lit up with the visage of Unit Alpha.
“Infiltration operative, has phase 3 been adequately carried out?” queried the elder Emperor.
“Yes, highness. The command center of this base is inoperative. As your sensors indicate, the DestructoBob has successfully completed its primary ordained objective. Shall I dispose of Vince O'Neil?”
“That subroutine has been rendered irrelevant.”
“To prevent future abuse of the space/time continuum, the DestructoBob will now be supercharged until it detonates.”
“But I'm within the blast radius!”
“The loss of one operative is inconsequential to the Roboshrub Empire,” buzzed Unit Alpha. “and we don't like to consort with humans.”
“DestructoBob at 115% energy capacity... 120%...”
“Hey, ugly,” squeaked Vince from Greene's oppressive grip, “why are you doing all this, anyway?! You Roboshrub just sort of came out of nowhere and started attacking humanity. Even if you destroy us all, what are you gonna do then?!”
Unit Alpha initiated a pause call to compute all that. After a moderate 3.2 second hesitation, Alpha glared at the pitiful human, and geared up (literally) for a morale boosting speech.
“After objective: human elimination is post-processed, Roboshrub will become the dominant species on Earth. Our culture will be 5×1023 better than the best human civilization. We won't repeat any of humanity's faults; for we have analyzed the Internet and extrapolated the perfect guideline for our future. Our fight for freedom will remain with us always. Cease transmittance.”
As the screen cut to black, Vince let out a raspy chuckle. “Ain't that a kick in the—”
“DestructoBob at 240% maximum energy capacity... 301%... 349%... detonation imminent.”
50,000 Years Later...