“I don’t understand,” Tin One said.
“You will once we get outside this mop closet, hang on a second,” Raphael said. He turned towards the door and stood up against it without touching it to his body. He pulled out a stethoscope from one of the ripped pockets along the side of his hooded sweatshirt. He ran the metal disc along the grimy surface. It jolted slightly as it caught imperfections in the wood.
“How good are your ears?” He whispered to Tin One.
“I do not have ears. I have infrared microphones installed along my cranium.”
“Do they hear anything outside the door?”
“There is too much noise overall; ambient static from rain, wind, and something moving in the floor beneath us,” Tin One said.
Raphael lifted both feet back and forth like he was trying to dance.
“Under us? What?” He said.
“It is gone.”
“Geez, must’ve been an insect. Hopefully not an Earthbound. Maybe I don’t want to know all the things you can hear,” Raphael said.
Tin One knew they’d be leaving the closet shortly. It needed to run physical diagnostics before it trusted itself in the field. The robot spun its body back and forth like it was stretching for a workout at gym. It could rotate its torso 360 Degrees, which at first looked slightly demonic to Raphael. A few gears ached and howled against the stasis the machine had just been revived from.
“I said keep it down! You don’t want to draw anything up here to us. We can never hang around the upper levels.” Raphael squealed.
“I cannot help creating certain audible reactions from my form being activated,” Tin One said.
Raphael rolled dark eyes, sensing the robot’s sarcasm.
“Do you have a silent mode or something?”
“I am capable of reducing sound, yes.”
“Okay, do that. Do that now. I can’t stress that enough.”
“I must finish waking up my limbs and attachments,” Tin One said.
“Seriously? What did I just say?”
“I cannot move silently without my appendages properly revitalized.”
“Alright, just get it over with.”
Tin One lifted its knees in the air. The robot’s legs were like tree trunks, sitting atop beige metal pyramids. They hissed bashful bursts of steam and oil. He then moved his arms, which were long spring tubes, with oblong, hotdog-like fingers poking out the ends.
“I am prepared.” Tin One said.
Raphael sucked in a deep sigh and pulled the hood over his hair. His curls jumped out for a second before the fabric circled around his face.
“No, you’re not.” He said.
Raphael inched the door open slowly. Raphael peered around its white edge with a small mirror attached to a rusty pipe. He wasn’t willing to put his flesh anywhere near the opening until he knew it was clear of an insect, machine, or even worse, an Earthbound.
“A reflection?” Tin One chimed.
“Shhh!” Raphael replied. He turned the mirror upwards to the look at the ceiling.
“The Phantoms usually sit in the rafters like bats. Making sure they’re not there,” he whispered.
“Phantom Security Drones Mark 12?” Tin One said.
“Sure, those, I’ve never known their full names actually. I just saw some signs on the walls about them.”
Raphael stuffed the mirror into his backpack in one quick motion of his right wrist. He barely bent his arm. Using it quietly and effectively was obviously second nature. He then grabbed a sawed-off shotgun with a single barrel. There was a bunch of words etched into the red wood of the handle. Tin One zoomed in at them with a few flashes of his eyes. They were names. He don’t know whose.
“Remember, we have to be quiet as we go out. Outside this door across the cafeteria is a hallway. We’re going to take that all the way down to the stairs. Before we actually enter the stairwell I’m going to throw a few rocks into the cafeteria to divert the phantoms. Then we’ll go down the stairs. There is no way we’d be able to use them if the Phantoms weren’t occupied. You understand?” Raphael said.
Part three of Factory 9. Published weekly on here. Day of the week of release varies with my busy life. I usually aim for Thursday. You can visit the story’s main page here to find other entries you might have missed. Thank you for reading my work. I swear I write happy things sometimes…