Xing Saga Part 16 – Immortalised
Mount Barker, South Australia
In which metalbots get the chance to appear on TV and Polly finds his chance to shine. A continuation of the saga about metalbots from the planet Xing.
The immense behemoth stomped menacingly towards the trapped teenagers, bright lights reflecting blindingly off its metal sides. They whimpered in fear and struggled to free themselves.
‘Resistance is futile!’ it bellowed, then it looked directly at the camera and beamed owlishly.
‘Cut!’ shouted the director, fuming with exasperation. ‘How many times have I told you to ignore the camera? And the new line is: Resistance is useless!’
The creature hung its head. ‘I forgot’ it said.
The director Carlo Bassotto, who had rewritten a large portion of the script, dumbing it down so that there were no “big” words that the general public may not understand, had originally intended to cast a burly man in the part of the scary robot guard. Then it had been brought to his attention that he could more easily employ a metalbot in the role and thereby save significant outlay on the costume. However, the filming was not quite going as planned.
A few weeks ago, he had set out with a film crew to approach the residents of Xing Town with an offer too good to refuse. He arrived in a bad mood due to thick mud on his stylish boots, as the town was not accessible even to his fancy 4-Wheel Drive. He stared at the few residents that came out to greet him. So far, he was not impressed. A pink metalbot with white spots reached the gate first.
‘Hello, I’m Oggie. How can we be of service?’
‘I’m the well-known film director Carlo Bassotto, no doubt you’ve heard of me.’ Faced by the creatures’ blank stares, he blustered on: ‘I’m casting the part of a robot guard in my new hit series “Escape from Helltown” so some of you can take advantage of this once in a lifetime opportunity to screen test for the role.’ He beamed at them, mistaking their expressions for awe.
‘Just one of you will be immortalised on the silver screen, but I will take another as understudy. Now, show me to a suitable indoor area and we can begin.’
Oggie ushered the group into a large public hall, where they immediately began to set up their equipment. After a while, Carlo was becoming impatient. ‘I don’t have all day! Where are your aspiring actors?’
Some whispered conferring was going on, one bot dashed out and after a few minutes returned with four bots to take the screen test. They were all adult male metalbots, and bright red. The tests did not go well, but Carlo accepted the least worst two.
The one currently on stage, and costing him a fortune in re-takes was known as “Piggie”. He was the understudy, as the original choice had been woeful. The two teenage actors were taking advantage of the break for a snog and a smoke, not necessarily in that order. Piggie was now conferring with a couple of his associates who had come to watch, and to cheer him on. One of these was Oggie, and the other was a juvenile, red, with a spiky head. Bassotto was wondering whether they might be better actors when Oggie approached him.
‘Excuse me, Sir,’ Oggie began, politely, ‘might I have a word with you about my partner’s role?’
‘Hmm,’ grunted Bassotto, non-committally.
‘He’s not happy about the artificial voice that’s used, as his own is perfectly capable of indicating menace or any other emotion.’
‘He’s supposed to be a bloody robot,’ replied the director, ungraciously, ‘so he’s got to sound like one.’
‘I see,’ said Oggie, thoughtfully, ‘he was under the impression that he was playing a metalbot. He will be disappointed.’
‘Metalbots, robots, what’s the difference? The problem with your mate Piggie is that he can’t act to save his life!’
‘I’m sorry you think that way. We always found him quite entertaining at home.’
‘What about you? Or the boy? Do you want to do a screen test?’ asked Bassotto hopefully.
‘Not me, no. But I’ll ask Polly. He’d be interested.’
Some time later in the day, the same scene came around again. The two teenagers were whimpering and struggling to escape their trap when a dramatic shadow emerged with the lights behind it, its spiky head and stocky build scarily alien.
Two red eyes suddenly shone from the shadowy face and a voice from the depths of Hell boomed:
‘It’s no good trying to escape me, kiddies. I’m going to eat you up for breakfast. But first, these messages …’
The lights shone on Polly’s gleeful face, now immortalised on TV, then cut to a commercial break.