Click, Whirr

A click. A whirr. A pully turned, a chain drive marched. And pair of modified cooking tongs holding a cigarette rose and inserted the butt into a metal fitting. An air pump engaged and filled a lung with smoke.

Maz let his lung deflate through his nose, the smoke forming silver threads that merged with the hazy air in the stuffy basement. "Leck, there is no fucking way you gonna to be able to use that peice of shit."

A solonoid snapped Leck's head up, a half-grin on his half-face. "I got me plans, Mazzie. I got me big plans."

A cracked telescopic sight swung in front of Maz's eye, only slightly improving his view of Leck's treasure. Maz's air pump refilled his lung with smoke. "Yeah, you always got plans. I yet to see one single weapon a-yers hurt anybody but yerself."

Leck's neck solonoid disengaged, letting his head loll back down. Two pair of needle-nose pliers hovered over a circuit board, one holding an over-sized soldering iron, the other holding a small blob of solder. "This here's from a real laser printer, Maz! One of the moles dug it up and it's in primo shape. It gots an optic fiber an everything!" He raised the soldering iron triumphantly over his head. But when he tried to lower it back down, the gears in his elbow jammed.

He struggled for a moment, then his head snapped back up. "Uh Mazzie? My other arm doesn't bend that way. Think you could give me a nudge?"

Maz raised one leg impossibly high. The aluminum pole that stuck out his pant lag whacked Leck's arm, which dutifully ratcheted back down. "I told you to leave one arm meat. Whatta dip."

Using one deformed bony hand, Maz plucked the butt of his cigarette from the cooking tongs that protruded from his other sleeve. Then he laborously extracted another cigarette from a dispenser on his belt and mounted it in the tongs. He pushed an automotive cigarette lighter into a socket on his hip.

There was a scurrying sound outside, followed by a knock. "Door's open!"

The voice on the other side of the door was shrill. "Can't reach the knob!"

With a symphony of clinks and clanks, Maz toddered over to the door and opened it. He saw a large four-legged furry mammal with an almost-human face. A canvass bag was clipped to a harness around its body. "Got a treat for ya, mecho man!"

Leck dropped his soldering iron and shuffle-clanked to the door. "A MOLE! OHH! OHH! LEMME SEE! LEMME SEE!"

Maz gave Leck a shove, almost tipping both of them over. "HEY! Show a little respect here. I got the damn door."

With one deformed hand and the pair of tongs, Maz opened the bag and looked inside. He stared for a moment ... two moments ... then he extracted the lower half of a laboratory remote manipulator arm, the kind used by old-time radiation workers.

Maz murmered to himself. "... 270 degree rotation ... three degrees of freedom ... variable pressure feedback loop ..."

The mole smiled widely. "Stainless! I hardly had to clean it at all! Mint condition! For you, only 75 kilowatt hours!"

Leck was disappointed that it wasn't a weapon. He half-grinned and nudged Maz. "Gee, I was just getting used to your tongs there."

Maz looked at his tongs and smiled. Then he looked at his hand. The smile dissolved. His voice turned throaty. "Leck, give the mole an energy credit. And start some water boiling."