NaNoWriMo is over for me, and it’s been a long month, but it hasn’t been boring. Tomorrow night, I’ll be giving you the character progression of Dr. Jim Kleverland, the story’s antagonist, as well as my final thoughts. But for now, I’m giving you the final excerpt from True Automaton. You can read the other three by clicking the following links:
Please keep in mind that this is a vomit draft. The only editing I have done to it was a simple check over to make sure it was readable. Enjoy.
“And you’re sure that Dr. Kleverland is dead?”
“Yes. There’s no way he could have lived, Your Majesty. Sam shot him in the head. He’s dead.”
The king nodded his head. “That’s good news, Mr. Deus. I shall be keeping my promise to you, Mr. Deus. Sam is yours by right. When this war is over, I’m sure you’ll be allowed to reveal him to the world, but that would be the call of President Wilson. I’m guessing that having Sam back and relatively unharmed, you’ll be able to replicate what you need for our True Automaton?”
This was the part of the conversation Saul had been dreading. He didn’t want to talk about this just yet, but he didn’t really have much of a choice now. He decided to choose his words carefully so he could avoid an issue. He cleared his throat. “Yes, I’ll be able to take a closer look at the heart and brain now, I’m sure. Between the physical parts and the schematics I have for them, I should be able to backwards engineer them. However, I won’t be making a True Automaton for you, Your Majesty.”
Saul heard one of the two men behind him utter a small gasp.
King George just stared at Saul, not blinking. His eyes didn’t show anger, only slight confusion. “I don’t understand, Mr. Deus.”
Saul repositioned himself in his chair, it felt like his collar was suddenly too tight. The air in the room felt thicker. “I have personally seen what a True Automaton can do. Sam’s accuracy and skill was unprecedented. I don’t know how any human being could do what he did. A True Automaton in a fight would cause a lot of damage.” Saul paused for a moment before going on. “Sam is more than just a living machine. He has a conscious. Something stopped him from killing me when he was ordered to do so. He knew me, and understood that he shouldn’t kill me. I don’t know how my father built that into Sam, and I’m not sure if I can replicate that. I can try, but there’s no guarantee I will be able to do it. I wouldn’t trust True Automatons in a war without whatever it is that Sam has. If something goes wrong, they could kill the wrong side, or even civilians. That is something I cannot do, I think that’s why my father called off the original deal with your father, may God rest their souls. I think he understood that they would be used as warriors. Because of that, I will not be making you a new True Automaton.”
The king leaned forward. “We had a deal, Mr. Deus. We get Sam back to you unharmed and you would make us a True Automaton to replace the one your father made.”
Saul nodded. “I know the deal we made. However, if I may be blunt,” he summoned Jill for a moment to help him be blunt, “You did not keep your end of the deal.”
The king stood up. “You have Sam, and by your own admission he is unharmed. I don’t see the problem.”
Saul remained seated. “You didn’t get Sam back.” Saul felt his face growing hot. He was starting to get angry. “I got Sam back. I do admit that it was with your help and the bravery of your men that we were able to get into Germany, but we were alone most of the time there. We extracted Sam, not you. Our deal no long applies, and because that is the case, I am refusing to build you a True Automaton.”
The king’s face was angry. “You’re splitting hairs, Mr. Deus.”
“That may be,” Saul said. “But we have no physical contract. We shook on it. I am a man of my word, but according to the deal we made, I’d help you if you got me Sam. I got Sam for myself with your assistance getting to him, so I will not make you an Automaton.”
The king apparently didn’t expect that, he didn’t say anything, he just stared at Saul with his mouth open. Saul had left him speechless.
“Your Majesty,” Saul said. “I just don’t think it will help. We dealt Germany a mighty blow by taking Sam back.”
“You can’t break your deal with me, Mr. Deus.”
Saul shook his head. “You didn’t live up to your end. You knew were Sam was, you had the capability to get him, but only when I came along to do it myself did you do anything. You did not get him back to me, I went and got him myself.”
The king’s face changed, there was still anger there, but now he was starting to sweat a little, he almost looked like he wanted to scream a little in frustration. “We need a True Automaton! They will make great warriors, you said so yourself that Sam’s skill was unmatched,” he said through gritted teeth.
“You don’t need clockwork warriors, Your Highness,” Saul said, keeping his cool. “You already have warriors, fine ones too from what I’ve seen. Between the might of England, Russia, and America, you should be able to stop Germany and her allies. Sam was being replicated, but without Sam to copy and without Kleverland to figure out how to make it all work, they’re stuck. Even if they built the body, they’re still at a loss. They’re just clockwork shells shaped like men. Brilliant clockwork engineers all around the world have been able to make True Automaton shells, but never able to make one that worked until my father, may God rest his soul. They have shells, they are useless. You have nothing to fear from them other than their war mechs, but I happen to know that Stentov Engineering supplies you with those. You and Germany are on equal footing again, take advantage of that.”
Saul stood up and looked at Wittman and Eastwin, who were looking at Saul like he lost his mind. He glanced at the king of England. “Your Majesty, I’m sure my government wouldn’t like it if you threatened to do anything to me or my friends. I’m going to be taking Sam back to America, and I don’t want to have to hear of this deal again. You broke it as far as I’m concerned.
“I’m sure one day someone else will learn how to make more True Automatons and use them in war, but not anytime soon. Sam will not be made public until I’m ready to do so, and no one will ever get the plans for building a Deus style True Automaton. You have nothing to fear for now. If there ever come a time when we need clockwork men in war, I may consider building you some. But until that time, our business here is finished.”
Saul hoped the king wouldn’t order his head cut off or something like that. He also hoped he wouldn’t try something vindictive like trying to steal Sam. He had an invitation to visit the White House, he would have to use that to speak with President Wilson if England tried anything funny. But he didn’t think it would come to something like that.
He walked to the office door and turned the knob. He pointed at the two Brits that had been involved with this situation since day one. He really didn’t like Wittman and Eastwin. “And I don’t ever want to see these two ever again. Have a good day, Your Majesty.” He walked out of the office and closed the door slowly.
-Excerpt from True Automaton; Chapter 31, by Andrew Ronzino
There it is, I hope you liked it.
Until the final night,
Andrew Ronzino, Clockwork Engineer