Chapter Thirteen: Epilog

We stayed in touch with the robots for almost four months. For this time the twin ships continued to orbit facing each other with readied weapons while we rocketed away. We communicated continuously with the talking ship; the twin continued its monotonous babbling.

The robots listened to our plan and actively debated it with us. They finally decided the best way to implement their new philosophy of tolerance was to evacuate the planet entirely and base on the moon. They would be safely out of reach of the creatures, who would have to fend for themselves against their natural enemies unaided by robot extermination programs. Hopefully these other pressures would make the creatures wither away or evolve into something less threatening to civilized technological life of every kind. We helped out by sending a lot of data on space rock technology.

When the world below had changed enough to develop a civilization that could reach its moon, it would be ready for the robots to teach and they would be ready to teach it.

In the meantime we learned a lot about the Mechtrons and developed a deep respect for how far the robots had come. They strove to overcome their genocidal origins, and it wasn’t easy. Omni had to work patiently with them, going back to first principles and first programming, to excise all the roots of the killer thought process.

Finally, as we pulled to the limits of our communications capabilities, the talking ship opened up on the twin, destroying it. But the twin responded in kind, and was equally successful at eliminating the talker. We had been wondering why they’d waited so long. Smart fellows.

Now the long trip back really begins. Mary is giving me one of her memorable backrubs and I’ll soon be back into hibernation, probably searching once again for my princess. I just hope I don’t have any nightmares. I don’t look forward to running into Tin Woodmen that dissolve into millions of little black ants!

Q: Where does the 500-pound alien sleep?

A: Anywhere he wants!

The End