Meanwhile, in the massive complex beneath Mr. Smittington's Bakery, Mr. Smittington finished replacing the clone Smittington's hypothalamus. He also added a lube job and rotated the tires, at no extra cost. Smiling, he stood up and surveyed his handiwork.
"Urk!" said the robot."Swing-bobble zloop weet?"
Smittington frowned. Maybe he'd torqued the sprockets a little too tightly. He reached up, to adjust the gyro and made a faulty connection.ZZZzzap! Smittington fell back, dazed.
"Where am I?"
Mr. Smittington looked around, confused. He reached his hand to his face, and felt particles falling off it as it came along.
"Hmm..." he tried to growl, but all that came out of his mouth was a soft "whizzz..."
He didn't at first understand but slowly realisation dawned upon him - his mind had been downloaded and become trapped in the robot's body....
The door swung open and two assistants walked in. Upon seeing his body lying in a crumpled heap on the floor. One immediately ran across picked Mr. Smittington's body from the floor and slung him across his soldier, the other turned to the robot.
""bumble", mumbled Smittington. "Brrrr whiz Brr." he added, confidently. The assistant glared into his eyes.
"Can we make the robot shut up for a while?" he asked the other assistant.
"Gulp grr whiz buzz" explained the robot Mr Smittington- but to no avail his speech centre was shut down.
The body of Smittington was taken away to his private apartments in another part of the complex. As it was being taken way all the time it kept saying:
"Smittington version six 101 active"
The assistants looked at each other.
" Let's just get him back to his quarters make him comfortable..."
"+ + Fatal exception error at line 36 79 - redo from start. + +" burbled Smittington as he was dragged along the corridor.
Annabel, leaned back into the welcoming leather of her stretch limo. Her network of surveillance technology allowed her peer into the goings on of various people almost anywhere. When she'd seen the robot clone of her father destroy the robot of bob dressed as her she'd wondered what her father was up to.
She cast her mind back to the original accident all those years ago when the harmless, goofy and amiable, guidance counsellor and part-time electronics teacher had suffered a bizarre series of personal injuries culminating with a blow to the back of the head. When he had awoken gone was that man and instead there was a scheming and calculating engineer determined to take over the world.
Naturally this had a profound affect on Annabel as a child. She idolised her new father -he had been her role model. However this new personality was not stable, he would occasionally lapse back into his old self and she hated him for that lack of commitment.
That phone call she'd received in the car earlier had been from him, he was obviously 'having an episode' "oh well" she thought.
Now her attention turned to other matters. She touched the screen in the car once more and it now displayed the concert taking place at the Smittington bakery on Barnes Avenue. She could see the groupie robot working it's way past the front of the stage towards Jill.
Cliff reached a crescendo. The thunderous music quietened while he strummed a bridge, Gonzaroolio hit the drums like it was Fate himself knocking on the door.
The music sank into oblivion and the band stepped forward to rapturous applause.
The robot, it's eyes a fire as it stalked up the steps leading from the stage, pulled apart the curtains and made it's way backstage towards Bob and Jill.
Cliff waved Gonzaroolio to come forward. The little clown hopped down from the stool and joined the rest of the band on the stage front.
Meanwhile, across London, the seismologist was talking on the hotline to the British Geographical Survey.
"Yes of course. Contact the others - this may be the sign we've been looking for."
He put down the red hand piece. and walked across to the other side of the room. He opened up his globe and selected one of the single malts, and took a slug straight from the neck of the bottle. Glancing up to the high ceiling adorned with frescoes of angels and cherubs he knew, deep down, that this was a portent of things to come.
He looked again at the table of instruments The seismograph needle has stopped it's mad sweep. At one point the entire width of the graph chart was solid black. Occasionally now, it registered the odd blip of a passing bus but whatever that event had been clearly it had now ceased. Now he just needed to locate the epi-centre. But the great-great grandson of the inventor of the Richter Scale in Seismology was a patient man and he would bide his time. No sense in rushing the end of the world.
Back at the concert.....
Jill was clapping with the others when suddenly a horribly ripped and bemuscled mechanical arm reached out from behind the curtains and in one movement grabbed her by the neck and hoisted her over one huge shoulder.
The insane grinning face of Annabel's loyal servant droid spoke in a primitive computerised voice.
"DEAD - YOU'RE COMING WITH ME."
"Don't you mean dead or alive?" pleaded Jill.
"Help me Bob!!" she screamed.
Bob seeing his love was in danger ran across the stage, ducked under the arm of the droid - stood square on to the approaching monster delivered a swift kick to the lower regions of the colossal robot.
In between the flashes of pain running up and down his leg and just before he blacked out Bob thought:
"That was really, really stupid."
The robot, naturally was completely unaffected by such heroics and stepped over Bob's crumpled form to continue with its objectives.
"Help me, help me!!" Jill bellowed, and began beating on the back of the thing holding her but her cries were drowned out in the cheers from the crowd and the sirens from the St John Ambulance people quietly attending to the drummer in a secluded corner of the amphitheatre.
Cliff turned and saw Bob fall. He spread his moth wings and took flight grabbing his precious fender start and proceeding to beat the robot about the head with it.
The robot picked him up by his antenna with careless ease swung him around his head. Cliff was sent hurtling over the rest of the band into the heart of the crowd where he spotaniously began to crowd surf and receive a standing ovation.
Heddingly jumped down and swung the microphone like a club.
The robot caught it and bent it like a paperclip.
The machine, pivoting at the hips, swung an arm round and picking up Heddingly brushed him aside.
Gonzaroolio brave and squat clown that he was recognised the design it was A Smittington Labs Cryo Clown Model.
The following moments passed in a blur:
He found himself charging at the monster machine, grabbing the biggest cymbal from off of the drums and skimming it across the stage - where it buried itself in the chest of the robot.
The machine looked on in some bewilderment but this did not slow it down. It bore down on Gonzaroolio and there it all would have ended but for Colin.
Still possessed by the spirit of Leica the first dog in space, Colin couldn't stand watching all this excitement any longer and let go. The thin arc of water created a small puddle between the killer robot and the plump clown. The robot took another step and slipped.
As it fell backwards, it's grip loosened and Jill utilised her special agency training and vaulted off of the shoulder of her abductor and grabbed onto the curtain. The robot crashed down onto the floor of the kiln, the ancient stone work cracked and it disappeared with a roar and an explosion of masonry and dust.
The building's foundations, already weakened by the shock waves created by the clown's drumming, began to give away.
"Run for it!" Bob yelled and grabbing Jill's arm, dragged her to the entrance.
As the building was evacuated, the chaos created by the exodus of the band and the fans gave Annabelle the perfect opportunity.
She motioned the driver, and the limo trundled up behind Gonzaroolio, ominously stalking him...
The building came crashing down!
In the aftermath of smoke and rubble - Bob looked around. "Is everyone Okay?"
It was only then that he noticed the clown was missing...
Richter the seismologist was consulting some mystical scrolls, wrought in ancient runes and script, they each bore at their head an odd kind of symbol:
A large blue circle set just above a dark red oval, that was itself overlaid with a series of grey coloured roughly shaped triangles.
The first two were arranged back-to-back in the shape of a lop-sided diamond. The last was stuck point-to-point with the second.
To the untrained eye it was a series of meaningless blobs.
To Richter they were the key to the future.
He put down his compass and ruler and leaned heavily on the sideboard, stroking his chin, massaging the feel of fine bristles that had accumulated there.
"So the prophecy is coming true after all." He mumbled quietly to himself and steepled his fingers as he wrestled with
the thought of action. Eventually a new light passed across his face. he walked over to the desk and pressed the inter-com:
"Yessir?" Inquired the voice on the other end.
"Albert - instruct Robin to meet me in the cave."
"Very good sah." intoned the gravel-pitted sardonist on the other end.
Richter walked over to the bust of his great-great grandfather and pulled back the head. There was, naturally, a large red button.
He twisted it one quarter turn to the left and two impressive looking ornate spears launched themselves from between the old vases on the other side of the room and, passing over his head, buried themselves in a rather fetching Van Gogh hung on the opposite wall.
He glanced side-long at them and returning to his present concern absent-mindedly muttered something about remembering to hang priceless works out art outside the trajectory of the office security systems.
This time he twisted the button a quarter turn to the right and now the bookcase was drawn back into the wall and away - revealing two slide-poles that descended down into The Cave.
He pointedly removed the small jar of lubricant from the shelf on which it lived just inside the mouth of the entrance. Carefully, he applied the emergency Vaseline to the pole and then slid down into the darkness.1
Robin was waiting below in the cave. He had grown old after all this time and had developed a little paunch - but his spiffy black Lycra outfit was still slimming.
Seeing his boss; he jumped up, turned off the game show he'd been watching and ran forward eagerly.
"Is it the Prophesy yet? Is it? huh? Is it?" dancing around the cave with excitement, he watched as Richter fired up the computer.
'At last!', he thought, 'I'll finally get to drive the car'. 'I'll be able to fight the Chosen One and I'll finally get to leave the damned cave!'
The computer screen showed a map of England.
It is worth noting that the large flashing red dot that was clearly the sole purpose of the current programme was, oddly enough, centred on the ruinous monument of Stonehenge.