S is for StockBot-52, affectionately known as Stocky.
The Multi-Mart use stockbots, artificial beings, to stock shelves, clean the vast store, gather shopping carts and deliver goods to those customers whom can't leave their worlds.
Stocky is the only stockbot to escape the the store takeover by Warlord Oskar from the Terran Dominion.
He escaped with Kyle Jordan across the many off limit Earths to get help. Thanks to the attack on the Multi-Mart, Stocky was damaged. He now acts goofy but nevertheless he's brave, loyal and an excellent guide.
Here's a brief scene with him...
“Thanks. Does that hurt?” Kyle pointed to Stocky’s damaged chest. Ripped metal and scorch marks made his front look horrible. A hole showed exposed wiring underneath.
Stocky waved it off, “Only when I pull my wires out and tie them in knots. Want to see me try?”
“No, no it’s alight. You’re... uh... personality has changed a bit.”
“I think that bad guy’s blast hit my emotion circuits. I won’t be able to repair it until we go back to the store and chase away all the mean people.” He started to twirl his left arm in circles while staring at it with clear fascination written across his face. “I don’t like mean people. They never bring donuts.”
“Uh...OK. So what is this world we’re on? Why all the snow?”
“That’s an easy one.” Stocky pulled on the left nub on his head. He had two equally spaced nubs that seemed to represent ears. Once he tugged at the left one, his orange eyes lit up. A soft hum came from Stocky’s head, followed by two small beams of light that shot outward and merged into a fuzzy light six inches from Stocky’s face. The light became the same image of a world that Kyle saw on the PPP.
The image of the mostly while Earth rotated as Stocky explained, “You’re on World X2020. Like most of our client worlds and banned worlds, it’s another Earth. On this one, the world has suffered a new Ice Age some time ago. No, that doesn’t mean mammoths, saber tooth tigers and sloths are paling around. It means most of the Earth’s human population is dead and the survivors all live around the equator in tribes. Civilization has to rebuild what it’s lost.”
“So this image shows the whole Earth?”
Stocky began to sing, “I’ve got the whole Earth... in my head.” The image changed to a view of New York City buried in deep snow. The Statue of Liberty looked strange with a white horizon of snow obscuring the statue’s body from the waist down.
Stocky explained, “I’m equipped with holographic processors that can show any spot on any Earth within our library of worlds.”
Kyle tried to reason things out, “So if the only survivors live on the equator, we’re all alone here.”
“Oh no. The human survivors live there. I can list many variety of wildlife that live right here in New York. In fact this building alone has--”
A hungry growl reverberated through the building, followed by other growls some distance away. Something large shuffled outside the door. Kyle noticed that the door wasn’t closed but instead stood ajar.