David Murray and a handful of strangers find themselves trapped together in a freeway truck stop diner after semi-trailers and other large trucks are suddenly brought to independent life by an unknown force and proceed to gruesomely kill every human in sight. The survivors hiding in the diner include the narrator, a counterman, a trucker, a young man named Jerry, his girlfriend, and a salesman named Snodgrass. As the story begins, Snodgrass cracks under the strain, attempts to flee across the stop's parking lot and is knocked into a drainage ditch, taking hours to die. The situation worsens when the diner's power goes out, and the narrator's attempt to collect any available drinking water ends in near-disaster, but then a note of hope appears when the trucks begin to run out of gas. An enormous semi-truck noses up to the diner and demands, via morse code blasts from its horn, that the humans start pumping fuel. The narrator is out-voted when he suggests they comply with this, and a bulldozer arrives and proceeds to attack the diner. The narrator and a teenager named Jerry destroy the dozer with improvised Molotov cocktails, but the diner is half-destroyed and Jerry is killed. The remaining three humans surrender and, taking turns, start pumping the gas into the mile-long string of waiting trucks. As he toils, the narrator thinks that perhaps this will last only until the trucks rust and fall apart, but he then has a grim vision of forced assembly lines churning out new generations of trucks, and the entire world flattened out and remade in its new masters' image. The story ends as a pair of planes fly overhead, and the narrator laments that they probably are unmanned.