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Self Configuring Modular Robot (Chapter Cover)

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Chapter 21 - Self Configuring Modular Robot[]

"Dad had to IMPORT friends for..., Arthur!!" Peter Steiner-Davion sneered. He's ten, almost in the right age group but not quite, and too young to have the tact a royal scion should have, especially when being disagreeable with his younger brother. He's a middle child, and while he's more athletic than his younger (or older) brothers, he knows he's 'the spare' and deep inside, he feels inadequate.

This wasn't helped by his parents going to great lengths to bring playmates for his little brother. Peter had tutors, and playdates with peers carefully supervised from the Royal Court's hangers-on.

"You maybe wanna re-phraze thet?", came from just around the side of the tree in the garden. "On 'counta yall's're bein' all rude an' stuff, ayeh?" Jesse "Jess" Harper's not the biggest child, or the most well-fed. He is, however, tougher than he looks at first glance, and fiercely loyal to his friend.

"I said, you're just a toy!" Peter sneered.

"I don't feel like a toy...Sierra, do you feel like a toy?" Elizabeth seemed to materialize from one of the flowerbeds.

"Nawp." Sierra said, striding up with Penny Doons. "Penny?"

"I think Peter better apologize for trying to make Arthur cry." Penny Doons said, "What do you think, Vonnie? are we toys? a little gadget to keep Arthur busy and minding??"

"Peter's bein' mean." Yvonne contributed, "I tink I should tell."

"No, no..." Elizabeth shook her head. "Remember, Vonnie, Don't snitch, Snitches get Stitches."

"Guys!" Arthur held his hands up, "This is between me and Peter."

"One bean?" Penny prompted.

"Th' Whow Burrito. Nobody messes with Art or Vonnie." Sierra agreed.

"Not a fair fight." Peter sulked.

"Oh?" Elizabeth pulled out a deck of cards, "We'll play fair." she assured him. "One at a time."

"I gots firs' debs, aft'n Art." Jess announced, "Terry, y'alls wants in?"

"I'm good." Terry said, "We shouldn't do this."

"Peter's tryin'a make Arthur cry. I think we should make Peter cry instead." Elizabeth pronounced.

"Lizzie, I've got this." Arthur insisted.

She looked thoughtful, "You're right. He's your brother, but he needs to apologize."

Peter was just beginning to learn tactics from Ardan Sortek, but that little bit of learning has taught him something about being one-on-five...that is, being surrounded sucks.

Even when they're all smaller than you are.


"Say it." Penny said.

"I'm sorry...I said that." he stammered out.

"Too right you are." Penny told him, "Arthur?"

"It's fine." Arthur said nervously, watching his friends not-relaxing their hostile stances, "Really, it's fine."

"You say so." Sierra commented.

"I do."

"Fair 'nough." Terry said, "Guys, let's go, Miss DuCain's class is in like, five minutes?"

The younger kids looked thoughtful, then formed up around Arthur.

"Yeah, let's go..." Arthur urged, "I want to see what she's got for us today."

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