Make Room

Copyright Ken Brady. No reproduction without express permission from the author.
(Originally published in DAILY CABAL, 2011)

The first wave came through fragile and could hardly stand on their own. A few dozen of them from each makerbot, barely half a meter tall, gray, unfinished. They opened their mouths slowly, closed them again, as if in anguish, but no sounds escaped the holes where their mouths should have been. When they raised swords above their heads, their arms could not bear the weight, and snapped off.

Once we figured out their ill intent we were able to stop them with a well-placed boot, a whack with a broom. We dropped a few in the fire just to be sure they were no more than simple resin.

But they learned quickly.

In moments, the next wave through were bigger, sturdier. Fast, less brittle, still resin but flossed through with fibers. They carried rifles that looked convincingly like AK-47s. They shot and killed several security guards before we were able to set fire to the lot.

And then the onslaught. Wave upon wave, each bigger, faster, meaner, and more solid, until they were unstoppable.

Turning off the breakers did no good, and the reservoirs of resin were empty regardless. Power and materials were coming through from the other side.

They were made of carbon, glowing liquid, scrap metal, garbage. Those who didn’t shoot or hack at us simply sat down, piling up in the corners, in the alleyways, in the ditches, in the gaps between cars.

And then there were no gaps. On our side at least.

Resources, we learned, were not everything. Sometimes you just run out of places to put things.