The panzer-kampftruppen’s gunfire collided with the pack of mutant chickens, causing tails, flanks, and fore claws to burst into clouds of blood and feathers. Yet still they came, showing no concept of pain or fear. Dr. Scott’s reverse-evolution process had distilled into them every ounce of hunger and territorialism possessed by their most ferocious dinosaur ancestors.
The flock ripped and tore at the meat which still hung from the robotic intruder, too close now for the rotating barrels to pick them out. The panzer-kampftruppen smashed at them with its heavy fist. It caught one with a solid blow, sending the beast sprawling to the far side of the barn, but the rest crowded in even closer. They clogged the arm and leg joints with their tails and feet as they climbed their prey’s back and sides. One lunged its toothed beak into the narrow view-slit, searching for the pilot’s head the way an ordinary chicken might peck for a grub inside a log. Another seized the machine’s leg in its claws and dug its teeth deep into the hydraulic pump behind the knee, sending a spray of black oil down its face.
“Let’s get out of here before we find out who wins,” Reggie said as he hoisted the loft ladder up into the jagged gap in the roof. Preferring to lead by example—particularly when that example involved swift retreat—he scampered out into the daylight.
Dr. Scott followed him, and Clem appeared a moment later.
“This here’s one peach of an escape plan,” said Clem. “You reckon there’s a way to get down off’n this roof?”
Stepping lightly to avoid losing his balance or breaking through the damaged roof, Reggie worked his way over to the edge and peered down. There was a small haystack below, but they were at least twenty feet up. Once, one of his stunt men had broken a leg making a jump just like this one.
Reggie turned to tell the others that, out of the goodness of his heart, he would allow them to jump first. However, before he could open up his mouth, he saw the glinting silver and red fuselage of the Scrumtumbler S-1 hover-plane lifting up behind them like the glorious sunrise.
“See!” Reggie said, running past the other two towards the open side door of airplane. “Everything’s going exactly as I planned!”