Deacon laid on his mattress tossing and turning for the rest of the night trying to get the whole ordeal out of his head. He couldn’t shake the heavy guilt that he may have helped the enemy destroy his hometown.

The bed looked like a disaster area whenever he tried to find another comfortable spot. Bed sheets were kicked around, the blanket was hanging off the mattress, and one of his socks found its way on the floor while he wore the other one. His night was tough, but at least he was in the safety of his own home.

Deacon noticed a tapping noise coming from the area of his kitchen window. “What was that?”

The sound stopped for a few minutes allowing him some peaceful sleep before more interruptions decided to make him wake up.

His eyes were heavy and with the darkness of the room he wasn’t enjoying the moment— to put it gently. He spun himself to the edge of the bed then slowly leaned himself off to attend to the disturbance.

More light tapping noises echoed through his studio home. He didn’t have to go through hallways or other doorways to get to the kitchen; all he had to do was stand up and walk a few steps to make it.

Deacon slowly peeked over to the street in order to see what was keeping him awake. The image of Ragnar appeared in front of him.

“Oh no.” Deacon looked at the familiar figure standing below his window holding a few pebbles in its large hand.

The giant machine somehow ventured away from the forest and followed Deacon home then decided to wait outside for him like if it was a stray cat that the young man fed one time only to see it swing by his house every day.

“Shoo!” Deacon waved Ragnar off with a low, hushing yell in order to avoid waking up the neighbors. The last thing he needed was for them to see him harboring an enemy of the world.

Ragnar only returned a puzzled look and a confused whir followed by another pebble thrown at the window.

“I just wanted to sleep.” Deacon leaned in defeat by the window giving a loud sigh. He walked outside to get at a personal distance with the war machine.

Ragnar stood still waiting for his new friend to exit the house.

“You got a lot of nerv— wiring to be here!” Deacon scolded the titan.

Ragnar whirred again.

“Can you just at least get in the garage?!” Deacon pointed it toward the garage where his car was parked and covered with the tarp from before.

Ragnar’s heavy steps thudded loudly while its metal joints screeched. It was clueless to the ruckus it was creating and crouched to get into the garage due to its large size.

“It’s like a dog!” Deacon ran up his stairs to get his sleep. He didn’t want to waste anymore time trying to talk some sense into Ragnar and felt that it was something that can wait.

His phone buzzed with its screen shining the dark home.

“An annoying dog!” The young man felt like crying at that point.

The message from Ragnar read: Can you help?

“I really hope he didn’t do any damage to the car.” Deacon scoffed. He walked back outside before he could even get to his bed.

“This better be good!” His steps were heavily making contact with the wooden stairs, creaking as he descended.

Ragnar sat in the corner of the garage staring outside. As a machine, it didn’t need sleep, but its curiosity may have done some unwanted results.

Deacon tried to hold his scream when he saw his car scratched from where Ragnar crawled through to get to the corner of the garage.

And from where he pointed.

And sat.

“Why?” Deacon attempted to hold back his anger. “All I needed was a few hundred dollars to get it repaired!”

His phone buzzed again: Help?

“Oh yeah, sure!” Deacon waved his hands up. “Let’s ignore the fact that you demolished my only car!”

Ragnar reached for its chestplate to release the internal latches that were hid inside its chassis. A short hissing sound emerged from its interior; the chestplate began to open slowly as a blue glow emerged causing Deacon’s face to shift from an angry expression to a shocked look.

“What am I looking at?” Deacon walked toward the glow.

His phone buzzed: Fuel cell.

“From where? For what? Why do you even have something like that inside you?” Deacon had a lot of questions, but he didn’t know what answers he really wanted to know.

Ragnar sent a response: Elvander.

“You stole it from Elvander or you’re taking it to Elvander?”

Another response: Both.

Deacon examined the fuel cell to make sure it wasn’t some kind of trap that was created by Shadow Cannon. The blue energy were composites of the Shell mineral that was only found in Elvander. If squeezed with heavy pressure, it would release a gas that would encase the mineral in a blue light. The country of Elvander was known for its near-limitless energy resources. No one there had to pay any energy bill of any kind, maybe a tax but that was as far as it went.

Well, that was as far as Deacon knew from the articles he read.

“Is that why you got shot?” Deacon asked.

Ragnar nodded in affirmation.

“That’s heavy. That must explain the massive amount of empty spaces in your code.” Deacon scratched his head. “Did Shadow Cannon even build you?”

Ragnar let out a puzzled whir followed by a text message: I don’t know.

“I guess there’s more bugs in your code.” Deacon sighed. “Well, there isn’t much I can do for you at this point and if they shot you over that thing you’re holding; what makes you think I’m going to have a better chance if I’m helping you? So good night.”

The young man walked back upstairs to his living room and headed over to his bed. He threw himself onto his blanket and pillow to officially end the fiasco.

His phone buzzed: Representative.

“You’ve got to be kidding me! He’s relentless!” Deacon groaned. He sat back up to answer the text message. “What do you mean representative?!”

Ragnar responded: I cannot be seen in Elvander alone.

Deacon responded as to why did they even have Ragnar go in the first place without a representative. His phone’s keyboard clacked away as he angrily typed his response. All he wanted to do was sleep, not become some kind of babysitter for a giant robot that seems to be a glutton for punishment. The only thing that was on his schedule was to sleep in for his day off while the television played re-runs of some show he didn’t like.

That was living.

Ragnar replied: My escort is not here.

“Where is he?” Deacon read his text response aloud.

Ragnar sent another message: I do not know.

“Damn it.” Deacon groaned.

None of the things that were going on at that moment made sense to him. Why did someone send a rogue Shadow Cannon war machine to steal a prized fuel cell without an escort to get to him? That whole thought just sounded off.

Deacon stood up from his bed to go back outside in the early morning darkness. He was still mad, but now knew that it wasn’t going to help anybody in this scenario. His staircase creaked as his feet stepped back down toward the garage.

Ragnar’s red eyes looked out to the entrance. It whirred softly as it tilted its head when it saw Deacon standing in front of the garage.

“So who exactly sent you?” Deacon asked. “Someone altered your code, but I don’t know what to make sense out of it.”

Ragnar messaged: Help me?

“I’m not going with you on this suicide mission, especially when I don’t even know which side you’re working for.” Deacon protested, “But. I will let you stay here until you get your battery charged.”

Deacon pulled the tarp away from his car then popped the hood open to reveal the interior. His main focus was the battery; he grabbed the jumper cables that were in his back seat to hook them up onto the battery terminals.

“I don’t exactly know how much juice you need, but this should get you up and running for your trip.” Deacon climbed on Ragnar to connect the other ends to its neck to charge the large robot’s battery.

His hand turned the key to turn the car on in order to connect the cables to the terminals allowing the current to transfer to Ragnar.

“I know I’m going to get an ear-full from my neighbors, but I guess this is pretty important for you.” Deacon sighed over the sound of the car’s sputtering engine running.

The sleepy young man tossed the tarp over Ragnar to hide the machine from prying eyes while he tried to get some sleep in. For extra privacy, he closed the garage door about seventy-five percent from being closed to keep the noise at a minimum.

“Now if you need me and I hope you don’t. I’m going to be asleep inside.” Deacon exhaustedly yawned.

Ragnar whirred under the tarp that was hiding its head.

For what felt like the hundredth time, Deacon walked back inside his home then tossed himself on the bed while he stared at the window where the street light shined. The ambiance was already something he was used to and it always helped, but after all the moving back and forth with Ragnar it made him not able to catch his much-wanted sleep.

His hand moved slowly to his phone and scrolled through his apps until he found the news. His thumb pressed it open to look at any articles, specifically about the war between Shadow Cannon and Elvander. To his surprise, he found what he wanted, but much worse than what he expected.

Shadow Cannon launched a full-scale attack on a small town called Hazlan, they didn’t have enough resources to even be a challenge to the terrorists. The preferred weapon they used were what they were calling Golems.

No losses on Shadow Cannon’s side, but the small town of Hazlan was lucky if it would still be found on the satellite.

Deacon’s guess was that the Golems operated on a hive-mind protocol which basically meant they all shared the same code and followed the same orders. Ragnar was still in the forest when it happened. The coding that was inside Ragnar’s hard drive was completely erased causing the hive-mind network to be inoperative.

“What if they’re looking for the missing fuel cell?” Deacon whispered to himself. “They only shot Ragnar down without going to search for him or any remains. Hazlan is around the border of Cille.”

He gently dropped his phone onto the floor by his bed then reached for his television remote to watch something to get his mind out of the chaos he was reading. His thumb kept pressing on the channel button cycling through different networks until he could find something that was capable of distracting him.

The channel that was working for him was doing a show about a chef finding true love in his kitchen. Not something he would be watching, but desperate times call for desperate measures. The show was running a twenty-four episode marathon which would last a few hours if it counted the infomercials that ran at that hour.

“I guess this is looking to be a romantic-comedy kind of day.” Deacon got up from his bed to lay on his sofa to watch the show. He hoped it would get him bored enough to make him sleep.

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