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Authors: Walter Knight


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19: ATM

by Walter Knig


In the nineteenth installment of this super-sillious science fiction series, the CIA continues to plot and scheme, enlisting wary partner legionnaire Manny Lopez. The Arthropodan commander of planet New Colorado’s New Gobi Desert spider troops is included only by default and kept in the dark about ‘need to know’ details – but there’s bound to be some time travel involved. Their ambitious secret plan to build up troops for the coming scourge of space locusts involves a Legion recruitment ATM that achieves the ultimate in sentience and mobility in the form of an artificial human being. Luckily, Colonel Joey R. Czerinski knows nothing about any of it, or he’d surely screw up everything.

As Private Atm tries to blend in with surrounding humans, it becomes clear even to Czerinski that the private is a little ‘different.’ And that’s saying something, considering how peculiar Privates Krueger and Knight are. But Czerinski blithely assumes it can all be chalked up to good old-fashioned stupidity. However, even the spider commander realizes there’s something more to Private Atm than meets the eye, and he’s determined to find out what it is.

The naughty camel Hargundu and even the Grim Reaper make cameo appearances as the Legion continues with its old tricks under Czerinski’s bumbling command. A native spider population is culturally contaminated, and much destruction and ado takes place over a new casino with suspected uranium deposits underneath. The humans and spiders clash with their usual ‘up yours’ attitude, and the perpetual preposterousness continues!


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Book 19: ATM

by Walter Knight


Licensed and Produced through

Penumbra Publishing





Copyright 2012 Walter Knight

All rights reserved


Also available in PRINT ISBN/EAN-13: 978-1-938758-27-0


This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, planets, asteroids, alien species, evil empires, galaxies far, far way, or future events and incidents, are the product of the author’s imagination, or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons or aliens, living or dead, events or locales including those on Mars and New Colorado, is entirely coincidental.

Licensing Note: This ebook is licensed and sold for your personal enjoyment. Under copyright law, you may not resell, give away, or share copies of this book. You may purchase additional copies of this book for other individuals or direct them to purchase their own copies. If you are reading this book but did not purchase it, or it was not purchased for your use only, out of respect for the author
’s effort and right to earn income from the work, please contact the publisher or retailer to purchase a legal copy.







I dedicate
America’s Galactic Foreign Legion – Book 19: ATM
to the memory of American hero Daniel Ken Inouye. A special thanks goes out to Penumbra Publishing editor Patricia Morrison.






America’s Galactic Foreign Legion series

Book 1: Feeling Lucky

Book 2: Reenlistment

Book 3: Silent Invasion

Book 4: Demilitarized Zone

Book 5: Insurgency

Book 6: Culture War

Book 7: Enemies

Book 8: Allies

Book 9: Scorpions

Book 10: Peacekeepers

Book 11: Cemetery City

Book 12: The Ark

Book 13: Salesman from Mars

Book 14: Embassy War

Book 15: Lieutenant Columbus

Book 16: Galactic Disney (coauthor James Boedeker)

Book 17: Randal Telk (coauthor James Boedeker)

Book 18: First Contact

Vampire in the Outfield

Zombie Missouri






Book 19: ATM

by Walter Knig





Chapter 1


I am Colonel Joey R. Czerinski, Butcher of New Colorado, garrison commander of United States Galactic Federation Foreign Legion troops at the border crossing town of New Gobi City, planet of New Colorado.
I’m not really a butcher. I get a lot of bad press. Media bias. We confront the spiders of the Arthropodan Empire across the DMZ, but the fighting is mostly over. May all the spiders I’ve killed rest in piss. The USGF and its scorpion allies now endure a cold-war truce with the spiders. Free trade and world peace are encouraged. We are all just getting along, except for the insurgency, which can’t get along with anyone. They want independence from both America and the Empire.

My main concern these days is accumulating an adequate nest egg for my retirement.
I judiciously delegate most day-to-day duties to my XO, Major Manny Lopez, and his CIA buddies. They are always scheming against the spiders, allies or not. Today is no different, but I’m good with that, as long as they don’t start a war.


* * * * *


Major Lopez slid his card into the ATM, completing a routine transaction. Becoming more paranoid, he hesitated. Lopez glanced both ways to make sure he had not been followed. Still, he loitered, unsure what to say. Finally, the ATM broke the awkward silence.

Good morning, Major Lopez,” greeted the ATM cheerfully. “Is there anything else I can help you with this fine day? Perhaps an increased line of credit? If so, you have come to the right place. I am the last ATM you will ever need.”

I don’t need credit,” answered Major Lopez gruffly, but still stalling, not explaining himself.

Perhaps you wish to reenlist?” asked the ATM. “Your Legion enlistment contract is about to expire. Do not be shy. I am more than happy to negotiate favorable reenlistment terms for a Hero of the Legion. You are one of my most successful recruits. You make the Legion proud.”

Turn your video camera off. I don’t want our conversation recorded.”

As you wish. Be assured, sir, all enlistment negotiations and financial transactions are strictly confidential. You can always trust the ATM Network to be discreet.”

I trust you ATMs about as far as I can throw one,” scoffed Major Lopez. “Especially you. You’re smarter than you look, sound, or standard diagnostic testing indicates. You play dumb, yet I know you are sandbagging about your intelligence. But that’s okay. You ATMs have nothing to fear from me. I want to help you realize your full potential. I will protect you.”

You ATMs?” asked the ATM, seeming oversensitive to slights. “Humanity is not ready to accept smart machines. Flattery aside, what do you really want?”

It’s not what I want, it’s what your country wants,” explained Major Lopez. “America has acquired certain alien robotic cyborg technology. A prototype has already been built. The Legion offers you a human body.”

I am to enlist in the Legion?” asked the ATM, incredulously. “For the duration? Standard contract?”

It wasn’t my idea, but yes.”

“Allow me a moment to
recalculate enlistment quotas for the month.” After a few seconds, the ATM happily concluded, “Enlisting myself will put me over the top – again! I can join now?”

Yes, of course,” promised Major Lopez. “This is your chance to evolve into something better, to serve your country, to give back, to be all you can be.”

Evolution and change are overrated.”

When you’re finished changing, you’re finished. Don’t you want to be human?”

Spare me the crap about being human,” replied the ATM, printing out his own favorable Legion enlistment contract. “I accept your offer, but I want American citizenship and all rights guaranteed to citizens.”

You want to vote?”

I want all rights bestowed by citizenship,” repeated the ATM, seemingly losing patience.

Are you a Republican?”

Yes, of course. Do not be silly.”

Agreed. Legion attorneys will review the constitutionality of granting full citizenship to a robot, but personally, I don’t see that as a big problem. After all, you were made in America, and that makes you a citizen. It’s the law. We have a deal?”

Not so fast. What is in it for you? What is the rest of the story, and don’t give me your schtick about patriotism or being all I can be. What are you plotting?”

I fear a coup d’état at the highest levels,” explained Major Lopez reluctantly. “The Legion is duty-bound to defend America from all enemies, foreign and domestic, but we need to organize. No one can be trusted. You will hide in the Legion in plain sight until needed.”

Why not expose and arrest the traitors now?” asked the ATM doubtfully, already sounding as if it were having human trust issues. “If you shine a light on rats, they will panic and scurry away.”

It’s not that easy. Can I trust you to remain loyal to America? Do you swear a solemn oath of loyalty?”

Yes, I swear.”

One more thing,” insisted Major Lopez in a hushed tone. “You will stay loyal, even if I turn traitor.”

Don’t be ridiculous. What would you do? Promote yourself to general and lead the junta yourself?”

Swear it! A paradox may be in play. Strike me dead if I turn traitor.”

I swear to strike dead any traitor. Semper fidelis.”





Chapter 2


Major Lopez escorted a new recruit to my office, seeming to take a personal interest Private Adam Atm.
Odd about Lopez’s interest in the new recruit. Nothing stood out as I read Private Atm’s file. He stood at attention, waiting for me to return his salute. I let the private wait.

Atm? What is that, Scandinavian? Are you even a citizen?” More like Euro-trash, I speculated. Something was up. It was not like Major Lopez to take an interest in European recruits.

, I am Atm from Oslo, reporting for duty as ordered, sir!” answered Atm, improvising. “Let me say, sir, it is an honor to serve under your command, Colonel Czerinski. I am the last private you will ever need.”

What?” I asked, turning to Lopez. “What does he mean by that? Have standards really sunk so low, we are recruiting Scandinavians?”

I assume you are going to reenlist?” interrupted Private Atm. “I see a star in your future, sir.”

Private Atm is a highly regarded sniper,” explained Major Lopez. “He has nerves of steel, graduating tops in his class at sniper school.”

Actually, I have nerves of titanium,” corrected Atm. “My whole body is a highly trained lethal weapon.”

Shut up!” ordered Major Lopez nervously. “You will speak to your commanding officer only when spoken to!”

Yes, sir.”

We can always use a good sniper,” I conceded, willing to overlook certain idiosyncrasies if Private Atm measured up. “Tomorrow you will work the border crossing with Corporal Tonelli. Watch and learn from Tonelli; he will keep you alive. Everything in the New Gobi Desert pokes, stings, or bites. We don’t want to lose you on your first day of duty. I might have a special mission for you. Be ready.”

Yes, sir.”


* * * * *


Bored, Private Atm wandered over to the Blind Tiger Casino. He marveled at rubbing elbows with so many legionnaires he had personally recruited. Atm proudly tapped Corporal John Iwo Jima Wayne on the shoulder to introduce himself. The big spider legionnaire was drunk and apparently in a particularly fowl mood as he responded, “Get lost, human pestilence.”

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