Monday, August 5, 2013

Gauntlet - Episode 16.



Episode 16 – An Explosive Emergency

“This should do nicely,” Boom-Boom remarked as she surveyed the building around her. It was an old pioneer shelter erected back in the town’s earlier days for settlers before they struck out to establish homes of their own. Sturdy tetrasteel beams ran throughout the structure providing it more than enough strength to weather the ravages of time. But where time’s heeled step had failed to falter the firm foundation, Boom-Boom was certain she could succeed.

Her heart soared with the rushing thrill of her work as she threw herself into placing several charges about the building’s support beams. With each wired connection she rode the rising wave of glee until the temptation to torment her target grew to be too much. Surrendering to her sadistic side she reached into her satchel of supplies and rummaged about only to withdraw a shinning oval of polished chrome.

Responding to her touch the device registered her unique signature and sparked to life to displaying its holographic interface. A short series of gestures with her thumb and index finger navigated her way through the shimmering screen to call up the precise information she desired. “Active transmission, full security encryption one way broadcast,” Boom-Boom verbally commanded the diminutive device.

The words ‘Connection received’ floated in the air like threads of gossamer and Boom-Boom relished the thought of someone on the receiving end answering the curious call. “Unless you want to see Sundown Sanctuary turned into a collection of kindling and ashes come there straight away. Better hurry, if even a single soul tries to leave or you make me wait too long and I will not hesitate to blow this building to bits. Happy hunting, hero,” she challenged and then closed the connection with a wave of her hand.

Feeling quite pleased with herself Boom-Boom allowed herself a brief moment to imagine being on the other end of her call. She tried to picture herself answering the incoming transmission from some unknown source only to hear a distorted digital voice. Surely an endless series of puzzling thoughts must be pouring forth to harass this self-styled hero. By now Boom-Boom was certain someone was worrying over the fate of strangers and wrestling with what to do to save them.

As she returned to her preparations she started to wonder at just how this drifting do-gooder would try to sneak past her to save everyone. It was the only logical response she could fathom anyone would risk. Perhaps he would try to make use of the rooftop to rescue them, or scale his way up an exterior wall. No matter what he tried she would be ready she reminded herself. She had the detonator for her devices of demolition, and just for fun she always brought with her some bash-batons. Just the thought of blowing the place or breaking some bones made her horribly happy. She couldn’t wait to see which way things worked out; with any luck maybe she would get the chance for both.

♦♦♦

“Well, I don’t know who that was and frankly I don’t give a DuskHound’s hide who it is – there are some good folks who call Sundown Sanctuary home,” Grandma Grael exclaimed. “There isn’t a question about it; you’re going to have to do something. You best get over there and handle the situation, before somebody gets hurt. I hope you have a plan, Mr. Hero.”

Marshall snatched up a handful of small things and slid them into his pockets before considering any other gear. What he needed was some options this time, but his eyes kept going back to some of his grenades. It defied every sound strategy known to him to go marching into a situation that involved explosives while packing even more. Odds were all he would manage to accomplish that way was making matters worse or setting things off his self.

But he wanted options and by his own figuring those would definitely fit in the optional category. So he grabbed up a pack, shoved an assorted few inside and secured it to some clips along his lower back. Satisfied he was as prepared as he might ever be without wasting even more time he decided to share his brilliant plan with Grandma Grael.

“If those folks fates are resting squarely on my shoulders then I don’t see how I can do anything but give this person exactly what they want; me.” Grandma regarded Marshall carefully for a moment before shaking her head with disapproval. “That is a terrible plan, horrible in fact – are you just to walk right in there and say here I am,” she asked with a raised eyebrow.

“Actually,” Marshall added as he tried to resist a quick chuckle. “I thought I would just knock and ask ever so nicely what they needed.” The bit of humor immediately brought a warm laugh out of Grandma. “I like it,” she admitted, “good luck.”