Arvid8 sat in the security room watching the monitors. The half-starved population outside the gates knew about Lord Grazorius’s food storehouse; Arvid8 looked for criminals who had slipped past the guards. Peasants could be tricky.
He was also vigilant for smaller intruders. Mice still plagued humanity in the late 22nd century. There hadn’t been any trouble since the Great Raid when more than ninety mice made off with an astonishing amount of food. Lord Grazorius had been furious, and security had installed hundreds of additional traps.
Arvid8 heard a motion alarm. He switched the view to the holographic tank, recreating the scene life size in his office.
A single mouse crept toward a box of food. The trap sitting by the box caught the mouse’s attention. As it should, Arvid8 thought as he magnified the view.
The trap’s enclosure was almost invisible. The mouse walked straight in and a little door folded down, sealing the opening. The mouse walked onto the platform and grabbed the bait. As the trigger tripped, the powerful spring propelled the titanium hammer onto the mouse’s back.
The hammer bent around the rodent.
Arvid8 gasped as he watched the unharmed mouse eat its prize. Then it backed out from under the hammer and one back leg kicked the trap’s door open. The mouse skittered out and looked directly into the hidden camera, making Arvid8 feel uneasy.
The mouse leaped to the box of foodstuffs, and its powerful jaws made short work of one corner of the steel box. Arvid8 dispatched a hunter-killer robot, but the mouse fled with its loot.
Arvid8 cleared the holoimage and turned to his hardwired communicator.
“Security Control, this is Security 2, Arvid8.”
“Go ahead, Security 2.”
“I need a probe team in here, armed and with extra robots for perimeter security. And tell Lord Grazorius the mice have evolved again.”