Robot Warriors

Robot Warriors by Zac Harrison

Book: Robot Warriors by Zac Harrison Read Free Book Online
Authors: Zac Harrison
right?”
    The silent room didn’t answer. John looked to the door, at the ceiling, and back at the door again.
    Come on, Kaal. What’s keeping you?
    John stood up, unable to relax. He paced up and down, feeling restless and nervous about the impending contest. He couldn’t understand why Kaal hadn’t come back to the dorm, too, and began to wonder if he might be avoiding him.
    John gave a start as the door slid open.
    “Hi,” said Kaal.
    “Hi,” John replied.
    “So, um, here we are,” said Kaal.
    “Yes,” said John. Wow, this is awkward , he thought.
    Kaal looked at the wall. John looked at the floor. Seconds ticked past. Finally on our own, John thought, and I can’t think what to say.
    “Good luck,” Kaal suddenly burst out. “In the final, you know.”
    “Oh. Yeah! Good luck to you, too.”
    Suddenly Emmie sprung into the room with a bundle of white fabric under her arm.
    “Yes! I got to you in time! OK, boys, listen up. I was going to make one of these for whoever got to the final, but then you both did, so I had to make two, and that took ages . But they’re done now, so... here you go!”
    She spread two white jumpsuits out on John’s bed, one his size, the other Kaal’s. The material glimmered with translucent threads, with little pulses of light running through. It reminded John of Emmie’s hair.
    “It’s biofeedback mesh!” she announced proudly. “It keeps your body comfortable, no matter what’s happening to you. You’ll never be too hot or too cold. Plus you’ll look awesome.”
    “These are amazing!” John said, feeling the soft, shimmering fabric. “I don’t know what to say!”
    “Thanks, Emmie,” Kaal said, sounding emotional. “I – I’d better go and put it on.”
    “Good luck, both of you,” Emmie smiled. “Oops. Time’s up. I need to go, so you two can make your grand entrance. See ya! I’ll be right in the front row!” With that, she was gone.
    John changed into his suit in the bathroom. When he came out, Kaal had disappeared. But something else was there.
    Waiting for him in the doorway was a crimson globe as tall as him, pulsing with light and completely enveloped by flickering orange flames. The flames gave off no heat – it had to be a holographic trick of some kind.
    All the same, John backed away from it, wary.
    “Is this what Emmie meant about a grand entrance?” he said to the globe. The flaming globe hovered patiently on the threshold. John could just make out a small circular platform inside it.
    “I’m supposed to step into this thing, am I?”
    It’s here to fetch me. Kaal must have had one, too. The final’s about to start. I have to get inside.
    He tried to make his legs move. And found that he couldn’t.
    All he could do was stand there, paralysed.
    He couldn’t face it. What was he thinking? He was going to fail, and the whole school would laugh at him, Mordant loudest of all. Although at least Kaal might be his friend again...
    John imagined flying through the ship inside that flaming ball, and felt a little sick. He turned away, not wanting to look at it.
    Nope. He wasn’t going. They couldn’t make him go. He folded his arms. The red globe would just have to hover there all night.
    “Hey, John!” Zepp’s voice rang out. “You’re meant to get into position inside the globe. Kaal’s already heading to the Centre in his.”
    “I figured that out by myself,” John said hoarsely. He still didn’t move.
    “What’s wrong? Getting cold feet?”
    “To be honest, yeah. I don’t think I’m cut out for this after all.”
    “Really?” said Zepp, sounding as genuinely amazed as a computer could. “You stayed on Hyperspace High when Lorem said you could go home if you wanted, you built a robot although you’d never made one before, you made it through ALL the rounds, all the way to the grand final, you’ve got half the school cheering for you... and now you want to back out?”
    John laughed. “Well, when you put it like that,

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