Barren Planet

Kazer walked down the barren path deprived of life and color. Along the lifeless path were mass grave sites, ruined buildings, deteriorated vehicles, skeletal remains of humans and animals, and withered trees. The only sound was his own steps crunching the dry, cracked road below him. As he approached a large cluster of buildings, more military vehicles populated the area. Beside some of the vehicles were the remains of soldiers and human-shaped robots. The motionless corpses of both were stripped of their gear. The only thing left behind were cracked helmets with a flag on them. However, the was flag sun-bleached, which made it hard for Kazer to make out what country the soldier had once belonged to. Kazer pulled out his map once again to reconfirm where he was.

“So if the Alpha zone is here…” He paused for a moment and looked at the helmet once again. He inspected the faded flag and found a hint of red and blue bands.


Kazer jumped as an ominous sound of a sniper echoed throughout the area. On edge, Kazer quickly placed his map back into his tool belt and held his pistol close to him.




Kazer looked up to same a large group of birds fly above. There were orange with a brownish accent and they reflected parts of the sun as they passed over Kazer.

“Annmarie? No, those were pure ballistic weapon shots…so the combat robots are still active?” He looked off into the distance, towards where the shots came from. He shook his head in denial. “That can’t be. If I recall, there was a global EMP with the strength of a solar flare that hit Earth. But if that were true…” He walked up to the skeletal remains of a human that sat next to a deteriorated tank that had a faded flag with three vertical bands of blue, white, and red hidden underneath a thick layer of dust and dirt. Kazer brushed his hand across it. “So I’m somewhere in France…” He then crouched down next to the remains and inspected the bones.

The ribcage of the skeleton was cut with a precise tool as if a bone saw had cut into it. The right arm was shattered and fragmented while the head was completely missing. Kazer picked up the hip bone of the deceased person and found a small amount of mean and dried blood fixed on the inner pieces. Kazer gently placed down the skeletal remains and slowly stepped back.

“What the hell-!?” He tripped on a large pile of rubble and hit his head on the side of a tank. “Oww….” He looked back at the tank. The steel armor that usually would protect the tank was cut out, leaving only the internal components of the engine and cockpit visible bits of metal shavings shifted around as the wind gave a gentle push. “Huh?… HUH!?” Kazer could not hold back his surprise. “Intel suggested that this planet was unable to support life after the war, yet all of this stuff happened recently.” He pulled out his map. “And there is no way in hell Annmarie or the others cut this themselves.” He reached for this his tool belt and pulled out a small metal rod with a blue button fixed on the bottom. He pressed the button, and the metal rode liquefied and changed into a hand-held, electric, circular saw with a shining blade that was twelve inches in diameter. There was a small gap between the tips of the blades. On the inside of the handle was a trigger-like metal piece that his fingers rested on. Kazer looked at a sizeable chunk of steel left behind on the exposed side of the tank and powered up his saw. “And besides, I’m the only one with the gear to do so.”

He carefully cut out a large rectangular piece and pressed the small button on the bottom of his saw and it morphed back into a metal rod. Kazer examined the metal simple that he had cut out and felt a chill go down his spine. He dropped the piece and reached for his pistol. However, just as he places his hand on the grip of his pistol, a cold metal gun barrel rested on the back of his head. Kazer froze in fear. He tried to prevent his fear from being shown as the being behind the barrel spoke.

“IDENTIFY YOURSELF” An emotionless robotic voice spoke as it pressed the barrel deeper into Kazer’s occipital bone. Kazer looked at the faded flag on the tank and said a recalled a name that he had once learned in history class.

“General Sébastien Dimitri,” Kazer’s voice cracked as he named the man who lead the charge during the end days and allowed the humans of Earth to escape to Mars.

“NAME:… CONFIRMED. VOICE:… ERROR INCORRECT VOCAL PATTERNS.” The barrel of the gun heated up. “USER LIE DETECTED. BEGINNING EXTERMINATION.” Kazer quickly ducked as the tank in front of him had a large molten hole appearing out of the blue. He turned to face the mechanical force that threaten him. Before him was a steel skeleton armed with a large barrel for a right arm and a left arm that appeared to be heavily damaged. The machine was covered in rust and it wore a large bullet-proof vest over its torso with a faded flag that matched the tanks. The vest itself was extremely damaged as its insides spilled out. As the machine took aim at Kazer, a set of exposed wires dangled out from behind the vest. “SWITCHING TO ENERGY BURST.” It said its attack out loud as a volley of lasers came flying towards Kazer.

Kazer crawled across the ground in desperation as an unending wave of lasers heeled him. He then got back on his feet and jumped over the tank’s front and took cover. The lasers stopped, however, so did the sound the machine made. Steeling his nerves, he peeked over the tank to where he was once at. There was nothing but barren soil coved in charred holes with mini flames that burned within. Believing that the threat had left, he breathed a sigh of relief and turned back around. At that moment, his heart stopped as he was staring down the barrel of a gun. Hesitant, Kazer did not move, as the barrel in front of him was orange white with small metal flakes dripping off.

“ERROR ERROR” Kazer took the opportunity to run. “WEAPON MODULE OFFLINE. WEAPON TEMPERATURE HAS REACHED CRITICAL.” The robot turned to face Kazer, who was now high tailing away. “SWITCHING TO CLOSE QUARTER-COMBAT MODE.” Kazer made an audible gulp as he overheard the machine say its actions out loud. Within seconds, the machine sprinted in front of Kazer and attempted to bash him with its over-heated arm cannon. Kazer forcefully tripped himself and rolled to the left. After getting back up, the machine kicked him in the gut, sending him airborne for a few seconds as he crashed onto the ground. Because of his suit, Kazer was unfazed by the attack and stood back up. However, this time, instead of running, he pulled out his baton and gave the machine a cocky smile while his body quivered.

“So it’s not strong enough to damage my suit.” He said in a low voice. Kazer could barely hold his baton without shaking. The machine stood idly as if it were trying to analyze Kazer’s actions as he stared at him with a pale face.


“I give up!” Kazer shouted immediately while dropping his weapon and placing his arm in the air.

The machine stood there for a few seconds, trying to process something. “ERROR: COMMUNICATIONS TO HANDLER HAS BEEN LOST. INTERNAL DATA HAS BEEN CORRUPTED.” Sweat now poured down Kazer’s face as his fate had become clear. “ERROR: TARGET PATH: MERCY, IS UNKNOWN. NOW BEGGING BRUTAL EXECUTION.”

“Heh… Heh… what the hell…?” Kazer slowly picked his weapon back up while keeping his eyes on the robot. “Why the hell did you offer it if your damn programming is corrupt!? The robot ignored him and slowly walked towards Kazer with its broken hand in front. The arm sparked as if there was once something that was supposed to originally come out during this mode. As the robot stood in front of him, its soulless eyes looked down on Kazer as it raised its left arm. The exposed wires were once again visible to Kazer, and he took a deep breath and stuck his baton into it. A blinding flash of blue light etched itself into his retinal as the robot violently spun around uncontrollably. After a few moments, the machine gave off and strange shutdown noise as it collapsed to the ground. The torso was still sparking as smoke poured out of it. Kazer, still terrified, grabbed the bone of a nearby skeleton and poked the unresponsive machine. After confirming it was safe, he used the bone to knock his electric baton out of the machine’s inner workings and tossed the bone with a mortified look. He wiped his hand on his suit and picked up his baton. “Man… I’m such a bitch…” He looked at the remains of the machine. “No wonder they tossed me aside.”

After calming down, Kazer sat beside the machine and analyzed its body. Its rusted exterior gave the exoskeleton a toxic smell as a small gust of wind danced through. The metallic smell was welcoming to Kazer as it reminded him of the time he spent in a workshop back on mars. Snapping out of his nostalgic state, Kazer retrieved a small PDA and connector wires out of his tool belt. He removed the robot’s vest, revealing roasted wires and a large black box that had a flashing red light on it. Kazer put down the PDA and wires and took out his metal rod. After hitting the button, the metal rod morphed into a small pair of wire cutters and walked over to the deteriorated tank, and began to savage its parts. As he pulled open a control panel near the remains of the driver’s seat, a family of medium-sized roaches came crawling out, leaving behind a hand that once belonged to a human. The hand gave off a rotting smell as it was recently severed and carried here as if someone was trying to hide evidence of a crime. Kazer picked up the hand with his thumb and index finger and tossed it aside as he focused his attention on extracting the wires from the control panel.

After hours of hard work, the sun had fled over the horizon, leaving behind a chill wind and a purplish-brown fractured moon. The moon had four large chunks with a red core in the middle. The rest of the moon orbited around the four chunks in a ring-like formation. Kazer sat under the moonlit sky with his small PDA connected to a modified version of the machine from earlier and was typing away. During the process, he made a small campfire and roasted a small portion of the mutated rat meat he had collected earlier. As he took a bite of the meat, his face tensed on as he struggled to chew. He resisted the urge to gag as the rotten taste blanketed his taste buds. After finishing his meal, he resumed working the robot till the crack of dawn.

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