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Call Him Savage
written by "Pollard, John"
...he spaceship again, not hurrying and not crawling, head still up, spine still stiff, eyes straight ahead. Feet slithered in the grass behind me and the sound made the skin between my shoulder blades twitch like an aching tooth. Every instinct that had anything to do with self-preservation was fighting to make me turn around. That was when the robots moved. They seemed to come alive at the same instant, metal clanged on metal as they strode stiffly down the ramp to meet me. Violence hung over them as it hangs over a Patton tank. Every step toward them was like pulling my foot out of quicksand. Only twelve kinds of a cretin would have gone on when faced with anything like this. I went on. I couldn't do anything else. Once you show an Indian a molecule of cowardice, you're twelve lines on the obituary page. The space between us was down to a narrow ribbon of grass by this time. Four—three more steps and I would have to stop. Nobody could push aside a couple of tons of animated steel. Metal arms were lifting slowly, preparing to close on me. Inside me a silent voice screamed a prayer for Wetzel to pull that trigger and pump a bullet into one of those round, staring, faceted eyes.... The robots seemed to go dead. They hung there motionless, arms lifted, each with a massive foot caught in midstride. What had stopped them at the last possible second I had no way of telling. All I did know was a sudden release of tension that left me with just enough strength to keep my feet moving. I went on. The edge of the ramp was getting uncomfortably close. I was here to see the head man, but I would prefer to see him out in the open. The thought of walking into that black hole left me as cold as a barefoot Eskimo. The ramp. It was a good six feet wide, made of what seemed to be some form of an aluminum alloy, and was waiting to be walked on. I started up its shallow slope, the rubber soles of my basketball shoes soundless on ...

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