They were in an interrogation room. Billy, who was cuffed, and another man.

“Colonel Bishop K. Fire, Kreutzmann.”

“Can I call ya Shoppy?”

“No.”

The colonel was an authoritative black guy, around 50. He had a noticeable, but photogenic, injury that you just knew had a heroic story behind it that you would hear at a dramatic moment. He wore the very snappy Dress Greens.

“Let me tell you a story, soldier–”

“Oh, knock that shit off, man. And cut this hard light police station bullshit out: your resolution’s shit and I’m getting a headache.”

“Um.”

“Dude, I’m with the Eleventh: I’m a Hound. I’ve been leapfrogging all over the chronosphere doing weird shit and killing the results for a million lifetimes or so.”

“We were unaware of that.”

“Fucking amateurs. Turn off the holodeck, man.”

The room shimmered and then Billy was seated in a tastefully futuristic chair. The office was futuristic, as well: everything was vaguely Asian and made of either chrome or filth. Now, what was going on outside those windows? That was maybe a bit too futuristic. Picture the most futuristic view out a window, like, ever. Now, picture that same view a month later. That damn futuristic.

Stop that.

In the distance stood Mecha-Billy. Shuttles and workers on thrustlifts swarmed around the incomplete giant robot, and there was equal work around the base behind it. Spires and landing pads jockeyed for space: the building was so big, it made its own skyline.

“Kreutzmann, this is…would you mind if I called you Billy? It’s just that every time I say your name, I think ‘what if some poor, weird bastard had to type that Bavarian mouthful over and over’ and that makes me sad.”

“Billy’s cool.”

“Mecha-Billy is almost complete, Regular Billy–”

“Just Billy.”

“–and you are the last piece to the puzzle. Since the Battle of San Francisco, the Terrordactyls have wreaked havoc across the world and this is how humanity makes its stand. The mech requires a human driver, Billy. One with complete limb independence and mental autonomy. And just a bit of genocide in his eyes.

“Stand with us, Billy! Stand with your fellow man, and rise like a colossus: stand ’til you reach the sky and fight our damn monsters!”

“I just think you guys are not grasping the full meaning of possessing a time machine.”

“THIS IS THE PLAN. I don’t know what kind of world in outer space you actually do come from, but here? On earth? When giant monsters show up, you build giant robots to punch them to death. And I don’t want to discuss it anymore with fucking anybody!”

“Okay!”

“It’s a sore subject!”

“I have gathered that, yeah, fine, okay.”

“Sorry.”

“Does the base have a name?”

“While we were building it, they got Boston. We honor that great city’s memory with the pedestal from which we shall seek our vengeance on the demons. I give you: Beacon Kill.”

“That’s terrible.”

“You got something better?”

“How about ShatterDome?”

“Shat–get the fuck outta here, that’s awful.”

“I know, right?”

To be continued.