Featured Story: How to Kill a Cyborg Dinosaur

Cyborg dinosaur

David BallLast week we posted a starting point titled “How to kill a cyborg dinosaur” (you can see it here). I encouraged our readers to write a story based on the idea, and Steven Lyle Jordan accepted the challenge. Here’s his story:

The cadets reacted variously, some showing clear respect and awe for the massive dreadnought, others trying to work out strategies.

Denver just laughed. She continued to laugh, until enough of the cadets noticed and stopped what they were doing to stare at her.

“Rooks,” she finally said to them, “you gotta learn to pay more attention in briefings. Look at that thing.” The cadets mostly turned to glance, quickly, at the advancing T-Rex, before turning back to their Sergeant. Denver read their faces, and laughed again.

“Look at you! You look at that critter, and all you see is teeth! Guys… what DON’T you see?”

A few of the cadets looked again, briefly, and looked back in confusion. The others waited for Denver to finish.

“You don’t see its eyes, do you? Or its ears? Even its olfactory systems are being rechanneled through that helmet. It’s being totally driven by its electronics.”

At which point, Denver reached into her gear pouch and removed a single grenade. Hefting it idly, she smiled. “And what’s the one thing you know about electronics, rooks?”

Finally one of the cadets smiled back, and reached for his shut-off switch.
“They don’t like EM pulses!”

“Right.” With that, Denver tossed the grenade a few inches in the air, caught it with a slap in her palm, and curled her fingers around it meaningfully. She pitched it at the T-Rex’s head, not bothering to see if the other cadets would be fast enough on the take to hit the emergency shut-downs on their own gear (and a few of them were heard to mutter a hasty “Oh, shit!” before reaching for their switches).

The grenade went off against the dinosaur’s head, a flash-bulb pop of light and a palpable pulse that they could all feel in their bones. The T-Rex flinched from the surprise, then bellowed… then froze, realizing it was now deaf, blind and scent-disabled.

Denver waved an arm at the T-rex, and used her other arm to pull her rifle forward and hit the charger. “And I think you know what to do with it now… right, rooks?”

Finally, the cadets smiled, and their smiles looked as feral and satisfied as her own. They unlimbered their rifles.

“Good.” Denver pointed. “Go get dinner!”


Written by Steven Lyle Jordan. Check out Steven’s blog for more thoughtful articles.

  • “Good.” Denver pointed. “Go get dinner!”

    A volley of gunshots rang out in the humid jungle air and the T-Rex toppled to the ground.

    Cadet Idaho advanced towards the fallen dinosaur, cautiously hefting his rifle. Something didn’t seem right – this had been too easy. Could the galactic empire they were fighting – a civilization advanced enough to create cyborg dinosaurs – have possibly overlooked such an obvious weakness?

    Lost in his gloomy presentiments, he didn’t see the T-Rex’s tail swooshing out at him and his fellow cadets. They were toppled and flung away like pins before a bowling ball. He heard a sick crunching sound as his back smashed against a tree, cutting his flight short. Sliding to the ground, he coughed up blood, and looked up as the T-Rex lumbered up from the ground. He noticed with horror that some kind of… swarm… was buzzing around the dinosaur’s gaping gunshot wounds, rapidly sealing them back up. Medicinal nanobots, he thought, with a mixture of fear and admiration.

    Denver was still standing from where she’d thrown her EMP grenade, staring at the newly risen T-Rex in slack-jawed horror.

    “Shit, its electronics must have been shielded. For crying out loud, the Faraday cage is a 19th century technology. How could I have been so arrogant, so stupid?” she muttered aloud. She remained rooted to the spot even as the T-Rex’s jaws clamped around her midriff, bisecting her in a flash of blood and gore.

    The world dimmed, and blackness started to creep in from the corners of Idaho’s vision. At least he’d have the mercy of unconsciousness when the cyborg T-Rex came to eat him was his last thought.