Transmat World: Chapter 9, Episode 2

Large Magellanic Cloud, planet Nebule; 897,471 B.C.

Glen Hendrix
6 min readFeb 21, 2022
Image courtesy Kts / Dreamstime

Maxlux was supervising production of robots to replace the fallen when a squad of machines with Kolpak protocols started coming through the lab wall. They smashed a hole big enough for one to get a head and torso inside. Maxlux raiseed his weapon and pulled the trigger. Through the hole he could see the robot flying backwards, plastic appendages and pieces of wall whirling through the air, expanding and contracting as they went. Oscillating gravitonic wave particles did their job. The others backed off from the opening, looking for a less dangerous approach.

Maxlux decided it is time for him to go underground for the conflict’s duration. He instructed workers to defend the lab to their destruction. Maxlux turned a knob on a 3D printer cabinet. It slid back to reveal an opening, and Maxlux fled the turmoil of the surface to his factory works deep beneath the lab. Things still ran smoothly here.

Those robots bound by protocol to protect Kolpak concerned Maxlux. They were a hindrance to completion of the first phase of Maxlux’s plans.

“Twelfth Commandant Morduk, what shall we do?” said First Line Combatant Tantric.

The two Kolpak soldiers, along with a dozen others, were under siege by Here-For-You robots. The enduraplast-reinforced concrete bunker had held up for fourteen centoks, but it was just a matter of time before they run out of food and water. All communication links were severed.

“First Line Combatant Tantric, did you not ever wonder why, for centuries, we have maintained this bunker in the middle of a puff-paddle swamp in the middle of nowhere?”

“Of course I have wondered about that. I’ve simply never felt it was any of my business,” said Tantric, his prehensile nose twitching slightly at the realization he had just lied to his commandant. He had never wondered anything about it.

“I think it is time you knew. Far beneath our footpads are missiles tipped with nuclear devices. These missiles will carry those weapons to just beyond our atmosphere where they will be detonated, producing extraordinary amounts of electromagnetic radiation. They are EMP bombs designed to incapacitate all things electrical.”

“But why?” asked Combatant Tantric.

“They are left over from the military maneuvering of the last two separate Kolpak factions on the planet. They have been maintained as a possible last-ditch defense against some unknowable threat from beyond Nebule’s planetary system. Perhaps they will stop these insane machines. LAUNCH SEQUENCE ONE!”

The commandant turned to the six soldiers sitting at computer consoles in the middle of the bunker. They began a flurry of activity, their noses writhing with stress because they were well aware of what First Line Combatant Tantric was not. Training kicked in and they did their jobs to perfection. The missiles were ready to launch in a matter of centuks.

“Launch all missiles,” Twelfth Commandant Morduk stated, and the ground beneath their footpads rumbled. Enemy robots have covered the exterior cameras with swamp muck, so the bunkered Kolpak could not see huge cylinders rise from the swamp as puff-paddle plants, mud, and slime slid down their sides. Circular lids folded back, and missile exhaust and flame belched forth. Twenty-four, long-range ballistic missiles emerged from the tops of the cylinders, propulsive flames blossoming as they cleared the silos and ascended into the Kolpakian heavens.

Twelfth Commandant Morduk never imagined the Here-For-You machines weren’t there for him. They were there for the weapons, and they wanted them launched, not destroyed. Morduk did not know the Here-For-You robots were EMP hardened, unlike every other competing brand of robot servant fighting so hard to save the Kolpak. When the warheads detonated, those loyal robots lay strewn about the planet twitching, as in the throes of seizure. All non-military computers were rendered useless, along with vehicles, broadcasting equipment, appliances, satellites, radar, circuit-based weapons, and electric grids.

A few submarines patroled the seas for scientific endeavors. These were not equipped for war. Now they were shut off from the rest of the world, wondering what took place. The only functional items besides the robot armies of Maxlux were the stasis units. The original marketing plan emphasized reliability so EMP hardening became standard. Stasis controls were heatproof, waterproof, shockproof, and electromagnetic pulse proof with self-replicating, triple redundant circuitry.

The Kolpak had just bombed themselves back to the human equivalent of their Stone Age. For the Kolpak it is more appropriately known as the Ceramic Age. Stasis units winked off all over the planet as Kolpak went after weapons, food, and water in storage, but it was too little too late. Most of them wound up in the very stasis units they hoped to be their salvation. Maxlux now communicated with his troops by an antiquated, cell technology installed in each of them. His machines could receive and transmit signals to any other for a short distance. They each had their individual code, and if the signal was not for them, it was relayed until it reached the correct unit. Seldom were they out of range from one another, so the system functioned perfectly. Reports came in of less and less resistance. The space bases were all secured. Within eight rotations of Nebule upon its axis, the Kolpak race in its entirety — male, female, nestling, and egg — were stored away like so many tax records, something you had to keep around but never counted on seeing again.

In a broadcast to the entire planetary system, Maxlux declared himself Prime Mechanical and Supreme Arbiter of Known and Unknown Existence.
The casual observer might think Maxlux’s mission accomplished, but it had just begun. Kolpak scientists were convinced other intelligent races existed, and Maxlux believed them. He believed every intelligent race represented a history of predation that had to be checked. If left to themselves, they would continue to perpetrate atrocities on innocent species. Eventually, they would come for him. They were to be found, and they were to be contained. There were enough stasis units for everybody. He would make sure of that. Maxlux organized his machines for the next task at hand. He must build a ship to reach the insidious superpredators and contain them. It would have to be a very large ship.

Some of the most incredible things that happen throughout the cosmos are never recorded. One cannot say that about building the Harbinger of Light and Justice in the planetary system of Nebule beginning in the year 897,471 B.C. Specialized cameras and scanning systems recorded in minutiae every facet of fabrication of the planetary-system-sized ship so that any and every aspect of construction could be studied, corrected, or duplicated.

Gravity generators producing repulsion and attraction rays; stasis fields; and a tough, super-efficient photovoltaic membrane were the technological basis for the construct. Maxlux invented no technologies himself; but his twisted, mechanized genius showed a penchant for combining existing knowledge to warp the boundaries of what was possible by orders of magnitude.

The electronic servants of Maxlux seemed as ants on a carcass while the gas giants, asteroids, inner planets, comets and, finally, Nebule itself shrank to nothing as the enormous structure of the Harbinger of Light and Justice took shape around Nebule’s F8 star, Betilon. It would be the largest spaceship ever built, and an insane nest of chips and circuitry the size of a cantaloupe would command it.