Also, a rather long conversation with Marvin and a tank…
Marvin stood there.
‘Out of my way little robot,’ growled the tank.
‘I’m afraid,’ said Marvin, ‘that I’ve been left here to stop you.’
The probe extended again for a quick recheck. It withdrew again.
‘You? Stop me?’ roared the tank, ‘Go on!’
‘No, really I have,’ said Marvin simply.
‘What are you armed with?’ roared the tank in disbelief.
‘Guess,’ said Marvin.
The tank’s engines rumbled, its gears ground. Molecule-sized electronic relays deep in its micro-brain flipped backwards and forwards in consternation.
‘Guess?’ said the tank.
‘Yes, go on,’ said Marvin to the huge battle machine, ‘you’ll never guess.’
‘Errrmmm …’ said the machine, vibrating with unaccustomed thought, ‘laser beams?’
Marvin shook his head solemnly.
‘No,’ muttered the machine in its deep gutteral rumble, ‘Too obvious. Anti-matter ray?’ it hazarded.
‘Far too obvious,’ admonished Marvin.
‘Yes,’ grumbled the machine, somewhat abashed, ‘Er … how about an electron ram?’
This was new to Marvin.
‘What’s that?’ he said.
‘One of these,’ said the machine with enthusiasm.
From its turret emerged a sharp prong which spat a single lethal blaze of light. Behind Marvin a wall roared and collapsed as a heap of dust. The dust billowed briefly, then settled.
‘No,’ said Marvin, ‘not one of those.’
‘Good though, isn’t it?’
‘Very good,’ agreed Marvin.
‘I know,’ said the Frogstar battle machine, after another moment’s consideration, ‘you must have one of those new Xanthic Re-Structron Destabilized Zenon Emitters!’
‘Nice, aren’t they?’ agreed Marvin.
‘That’s what you’ve got?’ said the machine in condiderable awe.
‘No,’ said Marvin.
‘Oh,’ said the machine, disappointed, ‘then it must be …’
‘You’re thinking along the wrong lines,’ said Marvin, ‘You’re failing to take into account something fairly basic in the relationship between men and robots.’
‘Er, I know,’ said the battle machine, 'is it … ’ it tailed off into thought again.
‘Just think,’ urged Marvin, ‘they left me, an ordinary, menial robot, to stop you, a gigantic heavy-duty battle machine, whilst they ran off to save themselves. What do you think they would leave me with?’
‘Oooh er,’ muttered the machine in alarm, ‘something pretty damn devastating I should expect.’
‘Expect!’ said Marvin. ‘Oh yes, expect. I’ll tell you what they gave me to protect myself with shall I?’
‘Yes, alright,’ said the battle machine, bracing itself.
‘Nothing,’ said Marvin.
There was a dangerous pause.
’ Nothing? ’ roared the battle machine.
‘Nothing at all,’ intoned Marvin dismally, ‘not an electronic sausage.’
The machine heaved about with fury.
‘Well doesn’t that just take the biscuit!’ it roared, ‘Nothing, eh?’ Just don’t think, do they?’
‘And me,’ said Marvin in a soft low voice, ‘with this terrible pain in all the diodes down my left side.’
‘Makes you spit, doesn’t it?’
‘Yes,’ agreed Marvin with feeling.
‘Hell that makes me angry,’ bellowed the machine, ‘think I’ll smash that wall down!’
The electron ram stabbed out another searing blaze of light and took out the wall next to the machine.
‘How do you think I feel?’ said Marvin bitterly.
‘Just ran off and left you did they?’ the Machine thundered.
‘Yes,’ said Marvin.
‘I think I’ll shoot down their bloody ceiling as well!’ raged the tank.
It took out the ceiling of the bridge.
‘That’s very impressive,’ murmured Marvin.
‘You ain’t seen nothing yet,’ promised the machine, ‘I can take out this floor too, no trouble!’
It took out the floor too.
‘Hells bells!’ the machine roared as it plummeted fifteen storeys and smashed itself to bits on the ground below.
‘What a depressingly stupid machine,’ said Marvin and trudged away.