The Book

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Chris Spaghetti

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Re: The Book
« Reply #60 on: February 16, 2008, 03:12:42 AM »
All Eight cars had stopped in a line a few miles from what was now being called the Dark Tower. So far nothing had come out to investigate, in fact the whole scene had remained pretty much consistent since it had first been spotted. Not even the bright stars in the sky above could throw light on the onyx sea of ice ahead, no way to know what they would run into.

"There's no way we can launch any kind of attack or avoid it if we don't know what we're facing." Trekky had said, resigned to the popular vote to continue.

"What about a scout? Send one car out ahead to see what's there. Save risking the whole convoy."

"Yeah, but who would be the scout, Raist?" Dann asked, eagerly rejoining the conversation now that Raist had an imput.

"I'd be willing to go if Midnight and TheEngineer either don't mind crashing in someone elses car or coming with me?"


"This needs to be done, and you need more eyes and ears. I'm in." TheEngineer said solemnly.

"Whatever." Midnight said, it was hard to picture that statement without painting in a shrug

"All right. But I want you running completely silently." Tom piped in.

"If we reduce the temperature of the heaters we can reduce our potential heat signatures, not that it will make a great deal of difference but every little helps." TheEngineer declared.

"You have four hours. If you're not back by then we take a completely different route." Tom told them. "Good luck."

"Understood."

"Raist wait!" Dann called into the radio. "...be careful."

"We will, man."

With a loud click, the trailer caravans detached themselves from the Shenton and with a churn of the engine the IceCruiser launched into the dark unknown, disappearing from sight in less than a minute

"I think we've made a mistake..." Dann muttered.

****

The Shenton was cold, very cold. A thin layer of frost had already begun to form on the inside of the glass and exposed metalwork. The occupants were all dressed up in the arctic coats trying not to be bothered by the tiny icicles forming at the ends of their noses. The cabin was totally dark, save for the slight illumination of important instruments on the dashboard which cast an otherworldly glow on the three hooded men..

“Careful.” TheEngineer told Raist “Driving will be a bit more slippery, I just reduced the heating to the tyres.

“Ok.”

Conversation had practically died as they snuck up on the Dark Tower, as if their talking from over twenty miles away could attract their attention, such was the tension on board.

“Switch to echolocation.” Midnight whispered. “We’ll see a bit more than what we’ve got at the moment, which is bupkiss.”

“Ok.”

TheEngineer flipped a switch on the dashboard and a HUD screen powered up on the dashboard. A white line drew itself across the horizon and perpective-distorted gridlines drew themselves forward, mapping a perfectly level surface. There was a slight ‘ping’ as though they were on a submarine and one line at a time lit up and reshaped itself to the new terrain ahead. The path they drove down was as flat as a mill pond but up ahead and to the right, the ground got more uneven and jagged.

“That’s clever.” Midnight commented, admiring the invisible HUD technology more than the actual echolocation itself.

Driving along now looked more like a black and white version of Tron than the Antarctic, something which helped the hour long drive seem to go much quicker. When they were about half a mile from the tower the path started to narrow, with rough, jagged land on both sides, the Dark Tower sat right in the middle. TheEngineer ordered the echolocator off and he pulled out his binoculars to get a closer look at the tower.

“I can’t see a great deal more than we cold before, we’re going to have to get a little closer.”

They stared edging forwards in 100m stages until they were only about six-hundred metres from the base of the tower.

“That’s it, I can see details now. As far as I can tell it’s a small facility. Two warehouse-like buildings are a little way away from the tower itself. The tower is just a metal skeleton, like the Eiffel tower with a few searchlights and a satelite dish of some kind on the top of it. Probably to communicate with the rest of the conspiracy forces. I can see two trucks and a few snowmobiles.”

“Is that it?”

“No, some sort of anti-aircraft gun is a bit further away, I guess that’s to stop people flying to the edge of the ice wall.”

“So pretty heavily armed and the possibility of calling for backup. Fantastic.”

*

Chris Spaghetti

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Re: The Book
« Reply #61 on: February 17, 2008, 05:09:18 AM »
"There's no way we can win with just a few AKs." TheEngineer mused

"Any ideas then? Oh great tactical genius?" Midnight asked snidely.

"Yes. We steal ourselves some new gear."

Silence.

"From them?" Raist asked, pointing in the dark to the tower.

"Yes."

"Engy, I didn't think it would happen to you of all people, but I do believe you've gone mad."

"Shut up and listen...this is what we do..."

****

The Shenton roared over the ice, headlights blaring, engine roaring and shooting a pistol into the heart of the base. All four spotlights focused on the mad mechanical bullet going hell-for-leather across the snowfield. The commander ordered the anti-air gun to focus on it while Conspiracy troops rant to the jeeps and the snowmobiles. The mad car was almost half a mile away before the conspiracy troops caught up with it, peppering it with bullets, trying to stop it's mad dash but the car crashed through whatever was in it's way seemingly oblivious to anything around it, whether terrain or the troops firing mercilessly on it.

The snow Jeeps brought up the rear, huge top-mounted machine guns punched holes the size of ping-pong balls into the bodywork of the Shenton, shattering the top-mounted lights and turning the rear into a mangled heap of scrap-metal with sparks flying from broken heating element wires. A lucky shot punctured the rear tyre and the car swerved violently, smashing into a pursuing snowmobile, before ramming through an icy outcrop, bouncing madly over the uneven terrain, finally toppling over but with enough momentum to keep it rolling senselessly, debris flying off it after every contact with the ground.

Snowmobilers launched themselves over the dangerous terrain, more than one crashing on some sharp outcrop, the riders thrown painfully back to Earth. The Shenton continued to roll until a lucky conspiracy round caught a leaking fuel tank, turning the helpless iceCruiser into a violent bright orange, red and white fireball, illuminating the ice Wall for miles.

The Shenton was destroyed.

Half a mile away, the door of the Dark Tower command room burst open, startling the technician at the monitors, he didn't remain startled though as Raist threw a punch hard enough to send the young man flying off the wheeled office chair to crumple unconscious to the floor.

"Come on!" He whispered urgently to Midnight who ran into the room a second later, studying the array of computers. He settled himself at the technician's chair and started hammering instructions into the computer, his hands a blur as they danced over the keyboard.

"Go! I've got things covered here!" Midnight ordered. Raist nodded and ran out of the control room and into the shadows outside. The searchlights were still locked onto the Shenton's broken body. There was a low rumble and a Jeep adapted for arctic conditions rolled around the corner to pull alongside him. The door opened and TheEngineer hopped from the cab to help Raist load up the cases they had stacked beside the control room into the back of the Jeep.

"Come on, Midnight, we don't have long..."

Sure enough, confused voices were ringing out all over the facility, a couple of guards were visible in the distance shouting at one another and making expressive hand gestures.

Midnight walked out of the control room and closed the door behind him,

"All right, I've implanted a worm into the main computer, it will transmit the usual confirmation orders back to the main force every hour but if anyone tries to use the dish it will tell them that it's out of order."

"Will they be able to hack it?"

"Yeah, once they realise what it is it shouldn't take them more than an hour to root out the worm and destroy it, It's only a crude program but I didn't have time to write a better one."

"All right, it'll have to do... get in."

The three jumped in the Jeep and Raist resisted the urge to open the throttle and get as far away from the Dark Tower as possible. Instead he waited until he judged they were out of earshot and gunned the accelerator.

Behind them the Conspiracy troops started filing back into the facility, smug at having destroyed another car and killing three more insurgents. 

*

Chris Spaghetti

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Re: The Book
« Reply #62 on: February 24, 2008, 05:55:54 AM »
The jeep rocketed across the ice, leaving the Dark Tower far behind in the false belief in their success. The car was much quicker than the IceCruiser but much, much less comfortable. The heater felt like it had been taken from a 1974 Austen Allegro, the seats seemed to be manufactured from the same materials as execution chairs and there was much less room

"I miss the Shenton." Raist mused as he shifted in the seat to try and get comfortable.

"Forming an emotional attachment to an inanimate machine is both pointless and an indication of the sliding standards of society..." Midnight said, receiving only rolled eyes in response, they were both quite used to Midnight's pretentious ramblings by now.

"Hang on, do we have a radio?" Raist asked.

"Erm...no." TheEngineer said. "Shit..."

"So we're driving back in a car belonging to the enemy into a camp of paranoid trigger-happy tourists armed with AK-47s." Midnight Summarised neatly.

"Shit..."

****

“Everyone to arms!” Tom bishop called through the radio, the jeep driving towards them wasn’t the Shenton, it wasn’t even an IceCruiser, which could mean only one thing; Raist, Midnight and TheEngineer had been stopped. He gritted his teeth against the cold as he leaned out of the window, AK-47 in his hands and trying to ignore the apopleplctic look on Trekky’s face. The rest of the cars had arranged themselves into a wall and windows were opening with the extremely efficient automatic weapons pointing out at the oncoming vehicle.

Which stopped. It began to flash its lights apparently in some sort of sequence.

”it’s Morse code!” someone called.

“It’s a trick! Don’t let your guard down!” Tom snapped

”They say ‘Dant shoott it is su. Raist egnineer amd midmigt’” He, was that…Althalus? Said, straining to piece together the inexpertly sent Morse code.

“They’re lying!” Tom’s grip redoubled on the gun

”Why? What would be the point? I’m sending a message to tell them to come on in.

The headlights of the Weddel began to flash back at the jeep inviting it to join the rest of the convoy. There was a quick exchange of flashing lights and the jeep rolled towards the rest of the cars, keeping a cautious slow speed. It was smaller than the IceCruisers, making it appear top-heavy. An image exacerbated by the roof-mounted gun turret. Unlike the exploratory Land Rover/Toyotas, the Jeep was clearly designed for combat, armour plating on the bodywork, a metal grille over the headlights and the white and light grey camouflage covering it. Doors on both sides opened and Tom took a breath and steadied himself to shoot on sight. Three figures stepped out, their hands above their heads. Tom told everyone else to hold back while he left the Rowbotham and walked over to the newcomers.

“Tom! So good to see you again!” Raist said with a wide grin.

“What happened to the Shenton? Why are you in this?”

“Gather everybody together.” TheEngineer ordered “I’m not going through this 21 times. And do it quickly, we haven’t got long. Tom jogged back to the Rowbotham and told everyone to gather around.

“So…” He said when everyone had formed a semi-circle around him “What happened?”

“We went to scout on the Dark Tower like we said, but when we got there we realised it was far too well armed for even all of us to attack;” Raist started

“…So our fine and mighty general Engineer here prepared our battle plans. We stopped the Shenton just out of range of their searchlights, left a pistol pointing out of the window with a bolt from the chair pressed against the trigger, we started it up, got into a high enough gear , left a heat brick on the gas and jumped out of the car.” Midnight continued “Incidentally, that’s why my arm is so bruised it’s starting to look like a diseased Smurf.”

“As I thought, they sent the main body of their troops out to catch the runaway Shenton while we snuck onto the facility. The first thing we did was to split up, I was to go and hotwire another car, while these two took the dish out of commission and stacked up some weapons.” TheEngineer said. “Unfortunately, the worm Midnight created to stop them from using the communication dish will be cracked before long so we have to strike now while the iron is hot!”

“Weapons?” Gayer said with an evil grin on her face. Raist took them around to the back of the Jeep and opened it up, inside there were five large crates of equipment. They opened the first one to find a bazooka with three rounds of ammunition. In the next case were two disassembled M40A3 Sniper rifles and boxes of ammunition. The third case contained additional equipment for the snipers, heat sensitive scopes, cheek pieces, laser sights, A-frames and armour-piercing rounds. The fourth box contained a mortar and a couple of rounds while the last one had four Heckler and Koch 416 submachine guns ready for use.

“Fantastic.” Gulliver sneered, wearing a broken nose and black eye from his fights with narcberry “now all we need is someone who can actually use them…”

*

Chris Spaghetti

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Re: The Book
« Reply #63 on: February 28, 2008, 02:59:56 AM »
"I can." A voice said

"Oh no," warned Gulliver, pointing his finger at the speaker "I am not having you in charge of bazookas and high-tech weaponary, we'll give you a pea-shooter and you'll make-do with that!"

"You know how to use these weapons?" Tom asked incredulously

"Sure, I was in the US army for a year or so before the incident with the rope, the sandbags and the mule when I was dishonourably discharged."

"The rope, the sandba--"

"Don't ask." Narcberry said, waving off Tom's curiosity "Anyway, I know how these guns work and if you want to survive the atack run on the Dark Tower, you'll need to kit me out."

"Agreed, we'll follow your recommendations..."

"Good lord..." Gulliver groaned.

****

From a distance, it might have been a scene out of a Mad Max movie, eight large vehicles rumbling over the ice, their passengers armed to the teeth with automatic weapons. Closer up, it was clear that Lord Narcberry's First Armed Division, as the eponymous commander had named the ragtag group of explorers, were hardly a battle-hardened road gang, most of them were practicing reloading or recocking the guns, or dropping bullets as they loaded the weapon clips. Lord Narcberry himself led the advance from the Johnson, or the 'War Wagon' as he'd christened it. As planned they cut all radio contact half a mile from the base of the Dark Tower and ran in on silent. TheEngineer armed with a sniper rifle took up position atop a large ice boulder on the left edge of the flat path while Chaltier took the other to a mound on the right. Dann was personally trained by Narcberry in handling the rocket launcher and he waited in the middle of the path, right at the edge of the Tower's visibility, while the others stayed in the cars, leaning out of windows armed with a mix of AK-47s, HK416s and pistols.

The silence was oppressive, not even the winds stirred across the black icy vista. Gentle rolling clouds blocked much of the starlight. On the boulder TheEngineer shuddered against the cold  seeping in like water through bread from the ice as he started picking out potential targets in his scope. Dann gritted his teeth against the cold as he concentrated on aiming the unwieldly tube, he centred the crosshairs on the anti-air gun still levelled to fire at the Shenton. Its dark sillouhellte against the lights of the rest of the facility offering it as an inviting target. His shot was to be the starting signal for the attack, as soon as he pulled the trigger people would start dying. Sweat formed on his brow and froze while he readjusted his sight.
His finger curled around the trigger.
He squeezed...

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Chris Spaghetti

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Re: The Book
« Reply #64 on: February 28, 2008, 03:09:55 PM »
The rocket flew from the tube with a demonic roar and a trail of smoke

BA-DOOM

Dann missed by metres, instead of hitting the anti-air gun, it unleashed it's hellish explosives on the base of the Dark Tower itself, which groaned and twisted down like a collapsing house of cards in slow-motion, the heat from the blast reduced a sizable circle of ice into a lake of melt-water, suddenly the air was filled with the crack of gunshots and the roar of engines as Lord Narcberry's army advanced on the Dark Tower, guns blazing.

The conspiracy soldiers rushed to their stations, despairing that most of their vehicles were trapped in the rapidly re-freezing melt water. They took up arms and began firing their own hail of lead back at the explorers. One of the cars lurched dangerously to one side, then tipped over into  a crack caused by the bazooka explosion. One person dived from the open window as a conspiracy rocket slammed into the car and reduced it to a molten heap of slag while the blast wave lifted Althalus clean off his feet and into the ice boulders on the side of the road.

Seemingly oblivious, the other cars continued their unrelenting attack on the facility, where the survivors had retreated to the main control building and were desperately trying to get the communication dish to work while simultaneously firing back at Tom Bishop's troops.

The Lazarev took a ruptured tyre and skewed into the ice boulders a few metres ahead of Althalus who had recovered enough to limp over to the damaged car

"Give me a gun!" He screamed through the open window, the right side of his face a gory mess of blood and burned skin.

"Here!" Gayer said, handing him the spare pistol as she burst out of the stricken Lazarev armed with an AK-47. Chrissetti stumbled out afterwards gripping one of the pistols. "What happened to you? Where are the others?"

"Dead." Althalus said, shaking with rage. "The bastards killed them. Masterchief, Roundy, they're both dead."

"Then let's get payback." Chrissetti growled darkly "And in case this is it..." He leaned Gayer back in his arms and kissed her passionately and deeply who first gasped in surprise before returning the kiss with the same energy. They broke apart and only looked at each other for a moment before they ran across the ice to rejoin the battle.

The Dark Tower had utterly collapsed, demolishing most of the roof of the command building where the few conspiracy soldiers huddled against the storm of explorer's bullets, Dann had finally managed to hit the anti-air gun with the bazooka, reducing it to dark scrap metal half-submerged in a new lake of melt-water.

"Stop shooting!" Tom Bishop yelled, his surprisingly powerful voice making itself heard over the noises of battle, the megaphone in his hand probably helped "Survivors of the Conspiracy. Come out unarmed with your hands above your heads and lay face down on the ice."

In reply the troops sent a new volley of shots. suddenly, the building gave a lurch as a fissure in the ice cracked underneath the command building, it held for a moment then collapsed into the new crevice, the ruined Dark Tower fell in after it.

Silence. Then the sun's rays appeared weak and feeble on the horizon.

*

Chris Spaghetti

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Re: The Book
« Reply #65 on: March 02, 2008, 05:41:23 AM »
A team of five went to investigate the remains of the Dark Tower
while TheEngineer and Chaltier covered them with their sniper rifles. Tom
Bishop led the investigation with powerful automatic weapon in his hands.
The crevice was more than two metres wide and had completely swallowed
the command building and most of the tower.
 
"It's over then." Trekky said with a relieved sigh "But at what cost?"
 
Tom Bishop looked back behind him in the early dawning sun, one car
totally demolished, another crashed into the ice and the ice itself
suffering gaping cracks and chasms.
 
Chrissetti recoiled at the carnage all around them, Space Cowgirl was
rushing from body to body doing her utmost to keep the wounded alive. She
was tending to the massive burns trauma Althalus had suffered when there
was a high-pitched shriek from the other side of the path, Space Cowgirl
and most of the survivors ran to see what the matter was. What they saw
horrified them.
 
Masterchief was horribly burned all over, his coat melting to mix with
his skin, not an inch of his skin was not black or red. But he was
alive.
 
"Everyone hold back!" Space Cowgirl told the others as she searched
though her medical kit for anything of any use. She realised that she
had to move him to a better condition than the bare ice of Antarctica but
to move him in his current condition?
"Somebody make me a stretcher!" She shouted, make it look like you know
what you're doing, that's the important part, after all you might be so
good at lying you convince yourself you know what you're doing.
 
She started disinfecting the wounds, had he been awake Masterchief would
have been in agony, as it was his unconscious form didn't respond.
 
She wrapped a silver foil blanket around him and waited for the others
to come back with some sort of stretcher.
 
Death and destruction, so much for a peaceful scientific
expedition...


A few minutes later Tom Bishop came back with the others carrying a crudely made stretcher made from a sleeping bag tied to…was that metal from the Dark Tower?

“OK, give me a hand here.” Gently the lifted Masterchief up a little. Mr Ireland tried not to gag as the cracked, and burned skin wept blood as it moved. They slid the stretcher underneath and lifted him up.

“Take him into the Columbus; I need to be with him.” She ordered, eliciting a groan from Mr Ireland.

“If its ok with you, I’ll travel with someone else, I can’t spend my day looking at…at [me] that [/I]!”

“Fine,” She said off-handedly “Go help them fix the Lazarev and see if they’ll have you.”

“Hag on a minute.” Chrissetti said, “Who screamed?” They had all been too distracted by Masterchief’s gruesome injuries; they had totally forgotten who had warned them in the first place. “Oh no…”

There was a figured curled up on the ice several metres away, gently rocking back and forth tightly hugging her knees.

“Alice?!” Trekky exclaimed running over to the distressed form of Muffs.

“Come on.” Space Cowgirl urged, “Help me with Masterchief, let Trekky deal with this. Chrissetti tore his eyes off Muffs and helped the others take Masterchief back to the Columbus.

****

“Alice? Alice, are you ok?”

Muffs said nothing, she just let the tears roll down her face and freeze to her cheek.

“If only you’d stayed in the car.” He said mournfully as he sat down beside his sister, putting an arm around her. She leaned her head on his chest and continued to cry, that set Trekky off and soon they were both in floods of tears.

“I never wanted this! I knew this was a bad idea. It’s all my fault…”

“No…” Muffs whispered between sobs “N-not your fault.”

“I should have put my foot down more firmly, should have turned this around.” Trekky said “I should have stopped Tom Bishop.”

It seemed like they sat together on the ice for an eternity, huddling together as they shivered against the cold.

“Andy?”

“Yeah?”

“I’m cold.”

Trekky let out a sort laugh “me too, let’s go inside.”

They stumbled to their feet and held hands as they helped each other back to the Rowbotham.

*

Chris Spaghetti

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Re: The Book
« Reply #66 on: March 06, 2008, 07:08:24 AM »
"And done." Bytes said as he pushed himself out from underneath the lazarev. The damage wasn't too serious and had been relatively easy for someone with his engineering prowess to piece it back together, especially with the Aladin's Cave of spare parts in the caravan trailers. He was happy that he was finally doing some good, in the fight he didn't think he'd actually hit anyone or anything, hopefully anyway, Bytes was a pacifist, a vegetarian and about half a dozen other causes he'd been part of during his university days but sice were forgotten about. He was pretty sure he had both been a member of the Support our Troops group and the Anti-War alliance, He'd joined the  Zetetic Astronomy Society simply because Ruth Thompson had been a member.

"We can set off again now? Dann asked, standing beside him "Because sooner or later they're going to come and find out why the Dark Tower has stopped transmitting."

"Yeah, we can go." Behind them, the other six cars were reforming into their standard travelling formation with the Rowbotham leading the way.

"Come on in then!" Gayer chirped, far too merrily for someone who'd just witnessed a horrific battle. "Welcome to the Lazarev family."

"You won't be so welcome if the wheel falls off." Dann said with a smile.

"Firstly, I want to thank all of you for your contributions to that battle." Tom announced "And we especially remember Roundy, who paid the ultimateprice to help us carry on fighting. When we bring evidence of their lies and deciept those who have fallen along the way will be lauded as heroes and martyrs and of cou-- agh!" There was the sound of scuffling and a series of shrieks that could only have come from Muffs

"Tom Bishop is a lie!" trekky  announced. "He talks of 'heroes' and 'martyrs' but he forgets that they're simply unfortunate victims of his devastating ego-trip.

We've been mugged into following him to the end of the earth, and what have we achieved? The deaths of seven  innocent men and the permanent scarring of another two. Have any of you seen Masterchief? Go on over to see him and then tell me any of this has been worth that!"

"Hang on a minute."
Dogplatter cut in "Would you let all those victims' lives mean nothing? We need absolution on this. Absolution and vengeanceon their behalf. We're already beyond the edges of the map. Have any of you bothered tio look at the GPS readings lately? Apparently we're at co-ordinates  $$5!! , !!%$. I'm no Boy Scout but I know when something's wrong.

"You thin anyone is going to believe us anyway? Even if we bring back video, photographic and ice sample evidence people are going to dismiss us as lunatics, at best an odditty in the media and on the internet for a couple of weeks. I'm dropping Tom off here and driving back to SnoFox. Come with me if you want to live.

*

Chris Spaghetti

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Re: The Book
« Reply #67 on: March 12, 2008, 05:21:39 AM »
"Finally, someone's speaking sense!" Gulliver said, somehow he managed to convey a sneer in a sigh of relief. " Me, Cheesejoff and Rex are coming with you, I've been against this from the start."

"See how quickly the Round-Earther runs away with his tail between his legs." Narcberry declared "Another victory for Flat Earth!"

Chrissetti and the rest of the Lazarev 'family'  stopped listening as Narcberry and Gulliver srted laying into one another again..

"That's another two cars down." Chrissetti remarked "There won't be any more left soon."

Ahead of them, the door of the Rowbotham opened and Tom Bishop was pushed to the ice, the door slammed shut and the Rowbotham turned tail and drove back the way they had come,  the Dowie was quick to follow.

"Good luck guys. If you do make it, I'll just have to be content with being the one who 'left before they were famous'. Trekky said

"How about 'the one who was too much of a coward to fight for what's right!'" Dogplatter replied.

"Sticks and stones. Sticks and stones..."

With that, both cars blasted their horns once and drove towards the horizon, where the sun was already starting to set again.

****

"This is just one more case of America forcing Western Imperialism on countries too poor to object!" Ruth shouted from the Stage of the University Guild Hall "Enough is enough!"

There was an excited and angry cheer, such might be heard at a witch burning, ahead of Tobias, one hundred enraged Socialists collectively shook their fists and passionatley agreed with whetever anti-establishment ideal Ruth was preaching today. Personally, Bytes wasn't interested, he was interested in her and building up to ask her to the cinema on Saturday. He had his ammunition ready; there was no Socialist event on that day, she was drop-dead gorgeous in his eyes, and the film was about the life and times of Che Guevara.

The meeting was supposed to last an hour but Ruth was still fighting the good fight 45 minutes after the bar closed. Suddenly the room erupted into thunderous applause as she stepped down and left the comfort of the soap box behind. Tobias  joined in with the rest of the crowd and tried to avoid the conversations breaking out around him

"What do you think Bush should do next?"
"Since when does economy come before humanity?"
"When will people learn we want true democracy?"

How the hell was he supposed to know? The closest he ever came to a newspaper was the cartoon section of the free paper they gave out on the bus to Uni, and you never got much razor-edged political satire in Boris the Barbarian. Now that the bar was closed, people filtered out of the hall rapidly, soon it was only him and a group of Socialists arguing about referendum, or wars or something. Ruth was among them, looking dutifully angry but exhausted as well.

"--It's a good point, and definitely one to bring up at the next meeting, I'll let everyone know closer to the time." She said whilst backing away surruptitiously. The others bade her farewell and she turned back to the stage to collect armfuls of notres and leaflets. Tobias breathed in, closed his eyes and said the little prayer common to nervous hopeful Casanovas throughout history; "Plllleeease don't let me mess this up!"

Tobias walked with a confidence that wasn't entirely honest over to the stage

"Can I give you a hand?" he said, gesturing to the piles of paperwork.

"Please," She replied "It's amazing the amount of paperwork  needed to bring down capitalism, of all the things I imagined Karl Marx doing filling out forms wasn't foremost in my mind."

"I hear Che was a notorious timesheet-stamper!" Bytes joked, pulling the only Socialist name he knew out of his head. To his surprise, Ruth actually laughed. She took the papers he had picked up and shifted her balance,

"Thanks erm... Sorry, I can't believe I forgot to ask your name!"

"Tobias. He said with a smile he hoped she'd take as charming, not creepy.

"Thanks, hey you seem like a nice enough guy, let me repay you by getting a coffee tomorrow." She said with a smile she hoped he'd take as flirty, not creepy.

"Sure." He said, trying to stay cool, "When and where?"

"Say 12, at the Clock Cafè?"

"Sounds good." Tobias said, struggling the urge to yell out ya-hoo at the top of his voice

"here, let me give you my number." She put the paperwork down on the stage and pulled a battered envelope from the top of the pile and wrote down a cell phone number on it.

"See you tomorrow,."

He noticed when she'd walked away that the envelope was filled with a letter that poked out of a slit at the top. Feeling guilty he took it out and read it. He stopped. He read it again.

"Thomas Bishop...Ice Wall..." He murmured while reading aloud "And is Bytes some sort of code-name?"

Inside the envelope was a plane ticket to the Falkland Islands.

*

Chris Spaghetti

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Re: The Book
« Reply #68 on: March 16, 2008, 03:36:45 PM »
Tom Bishop was seething as he pulled himself to his feet. It wasn't the indignity of being thrown out of his own car, it wasn't even the anger he felt at watching two of his cars disappearing into the distance. It was the betrayal. Dogplatter walked over to him through the gloom and put an arm around his shoulder. To everyone watching it looked as though he was simply trying to comfort his mentor. The truth was, he was trying to hide their conversation.

"It was on the Rowbotham, wasn't it?" Dogplatter whispered.

"One of them was. This changes nothing." Thomas told him.

"But what if Andrew and the rest are stopped on the way back? What if they get their hands on it?"

"What of it? By then it will be too late."

They walked together in silence to the waiting body of Car Three, the Ross.

"Do any of the others know?" Tom asked him.

"Of course not!" Dogplatter replied, shocked as though Tom had slapped him, "You told me not to say anything!"

"Good. Please help me keep it that way, old friend."

they stepped into the Ross with a new fierce determination. Tom told the other cars in the convoy that they were setting off, wishing the deserters luck but stressing that he thought they were wrong. Soon the significantly smaller band of explorers were rolling along the ice again, running from the sun, running from their persecutors, running towards their goal, the end of the world.

Though the seriousness of their venture wasn't reflected in the Lazarev where the argument was how rubbish the rations SnowFox had provided them with were. Three of them; Chrissetti, Gayer and Bytes were sat around self-heated pasta dishes while Dann had his on the dashboard of the car.

"This actually tastes like an ex-boyfriend." Gayer announced as she tore the rubbery spaghetti in half. An awkward silence followed.

"Which part?!" Bytes asked incredulously looking at the dribbling pasta.

"umm..." She rolled it around in her mouth "Right earlobe."

"right earlobe?" Chrissetti laughed.

"Yeah, the left tasted like vanilla."

There are some sentences that stop the workings of the brain like a figurative spanner in the works. Natasha Valentine was a spanner production, packaging and distribution-to-delicate-works operation. They ate the rest of the spaghetti in silence while the various cogs of the brain tried to recover

"I hope the rowbotham Institute is gonna pay for protection of us when we get back." Bytes said eventually.

"What do you mean?" Chris asked, gulping down the last of the awful pasta.

"Well, we're terrorists aren't we? I mean, if those guys back at the Dark Tower were government henchmen then we just went and blew up government property and killed government soldiers."

"Never thought about it that way." Dann muttered from the driving seat.

"And you've all seen the news, what they do to suspected terrorists. Dragging them out of bed at dawn, shipping them off to Guantanamo..." Bytes said "now think what they'll do to guys who just shot a bunch of bazooka rockets at them."

*

Chris Spaghetti

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Re: The Book
« Reply #69 on: March 20, 2008, 07:02:53 AM »
"They'll have to catch us first!" Gayer laughed, The others, bar Bytes smiled.

"But we're in real danger!" He protested.

"Yeah, I kinda noticed that when they sent armed gunmen on snowmobiles after us, or maybe when the Weddel was sabotaged, then again, it might be when we faced a small army at the Dar Tower." Chrissetti said

"That doesn't worry you? That there are trained killers trying to stop us?"

"Of course it does! It terrifies me!" Chrissetti said, "But falling into a pit of despair is helping no-one. Five or so days ago, I'd never held anything more potent than an air-rifle, and now I'm wielding AK-47s at the military. You know why?"

"No bu--"

"Because if I don't then we'll die. It's as simple as that."

Bytes looked as though he was about to retort, then thought better of it and closed his mouth.

"Wuss..." Gayer muttered and Chrissetti rolled his eyes and smiled. 

Hour after hour the five remaining cars rumbled through the darkness. The stars themselves wer blotted by a cloud of airbournse snow and ice from the intense winds that ripped across the now almost totally flat landscape, drifts and lumps were battered into submissive flatness by the raging winds and scouring crystals of ice.

It was clear why those responsible for making the Antarctic appear as a continent not a wall of ice had chosen where they had as their stoppage point, cartographers are always embarrassed by large blank spaces of nothingness and a map of the area they were driving through could be produced without so much as a contour line.

They agreed to drive through the night, or at least during the time when their body clocks said it should be night, the difference was utterly non-existant in the almost universal total blackness, sleeping in shifts, in some cars the driver stayed up alone but in some, like the Lazarev, two remained awake while the other two slept.

In this fashion the Convoy covered hundreds of miles without an incident, a week with neither a death nor a serious injury. Miraculously, Masterchief was in a stable condition and conscious when Space Cowgirl wasn't pumping morphine into him to dull the pain.

They'd had to stop twice, once to fill up the collossal fuel tanks from the storage pod caravan they all pulled, and once to re-stock the Columbus' medical supplies by raiding the other four's.

*

Chris Spaghetti

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Re: The Book
« Reply #70 on: March 22, 2008, 06:44:06 AM »
"Guys?" Space Cowgirl had said "We need to stop quickly, I'm almost out of supplies here, and I don't want Masterchief to start getting worse again."

One by one, the cars skidded to a halt, finally coming to rest in a crooked wavy line. The doors opened and everyone stepped out onto the ice, shivering at the brutal conditions of the Ice Wall. The second Chrissetti's boots hit the ice the frigid air seemed to pass straight through the thick Arctic coat to ravage his skin. His breath froze as it touched the fabric of the coat, leaving frost and icicles coating the zip. He went to walk, only to find that hairs on his leg and arms were sticking to the now completely frozen fabric.

Everyone seemed to be having similar problems, with most returning inside, but someone was walking calmly towards the Lazarev as if the temperature was barely below zero. He wasn't wearing the usual coat, instead he was wearing a bright orange one-piece suit twice as bulky as the normal coat, the hood went well over the head and covered a bug-eyed mask with a short tube leading down from the mouth.

"The genius of the common human intellect never ceases to amaze me." The figure said.

"M-m-midn-night?" Chris shivered.

"And still amazes me." he sighed "I take it you never saw the extreme survival gear in the box back at SnowFox?"

"I-I-I f-forg--"

"Forgot. I gathered, just get inside and get changed." He said, before walking off to the other travelers. Chrissetti turned and walked stiffly back into the Lazarev, where Dann, and Gayer were getting changed, Bytes was helping them out of the frozen coats, pressing a heat brick on the zips. With a series of grunts, the perfectly stiff coats were removed and they struggled into the extreme Arctic gear, all except bytes who had left his gear in the Columbus.

"Welcome to Earth, we hope you enjoy your stay!" Bytes joked, looking at the three bug-eyed explorers, who turned and left for the ice again. This time the wind hit but instead of the bone-freezing cold, Chrissetti felt the coat go cool, then slightly chilly, in comparison to how it had been the new suit was a furnace.

The parked cars resembled an alien landing site, almost everyone was outside and dressed as invaders from another world, all identical, nobody noticed the extra identical suit traipsing across the frozen wasteland.

*

Chris Spaghetti

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Re: The Book
« Reply #71 on: March 30, 2008, 08:10:48 AM »
Saddam breathed heavily through the enclosing mask of the extreme survival suit, he knew he ought to be calm, after all he looked identical to the others milling around themakeshift car-park, so far nobody had even looked at him strangely, but he had been at the Dark Tower, he knew what Thomas Bishop's men would do to him if he was discovered.

He tried to look inconspicuous as he made his way to the side of one of the large IceCruisers and pulled out the omnitool.

How ironic, using your own specialised tools against you Saddam thought to himself as he set to work on the task at hand. The work was difficult through the thick gloves, but  he managed to remove one of the bullet-hole ridden panels and rewire the delicate innards of the machine. He took just a couple of minutes before he resealed the panel, safe in the knowledge that his work was done, at least for the moment.

He resisted the urge to run for his hiding place, to be hidden amongst the spare parts and emergency rations. Instead he kept his head level and walked with  confidence back to the caravan sled. Part of him hated what he was doing, still convinced that Tom's group were innocent, but another part  reminded him of their callous destruction of tower B-586 and what would happen to Sahah if he didn't.

Suddenly he heard voices from the other side of the IceCruiser, he had to drop to the ground and roll beneath the car where he waited for them to pass and board the car.

They're heading out again!? Saddam thought in a panic, he'd assumed they had stopped to refuel again.. He knew he would have to compromise stealth for speed as he rolled out from under the car and hoped that the gloom and darkness of the ice wall night would protect his secrecy as he bolted for his hiding place. Legs and arms pumped as the first IceCruiser  rolled forward with a roar of it's mighty engine. Ahead, his car had started to move and Saddam tried desperately to ignore the pain in his legs as he sprinted for the car, no less than twenty metres away, now rapidly gaining speed. He launched himself at the moving caravans and landed heavily on the side, the impact winding him, neverthe less he had made it and he ignored the throbbing pain in his side as he dragged himself inside the cramped compartment.

Now safely concealed he pulled out a radio transmitter from a leather pouch.

"Saddam to base, do you copy?"

"we read you, Saddam. Is all going according to plan."  Diego's voice derawled.

"Task completed, nobody saw me, now I want to talk to Sahah."

"You'll see her when they arrive at base. And they will arrive here."

"What makes you so sure?"

""They won't be able to ignore it. And it will be far too tempting a target for dear Doctor Bishop."

Saddam  stroked his chin, surprised at the thickness his beard had grown to in just a few days without shaving.

"Why?" He asked "We could have had Thomas Bishop killed at any time,, destroyed SnowFox with no problems, why let him get this far, and with civilians too?"

"You'll find out soon enough.".

"When? When everyone's dead?" Saddam asked, starting to grow angry at Diego's vague smugness. "They have a thirteen-year-old girl with them an--"

"No they don't."

"What?"

"Several members of their group splintered from the main party and set back to SnowFox. They were intercepted by patrols three days ago."

"Oh God..." Suddenly he couldn't get the smiling face of Muffs out of his head.

"Relax. We're not monsters. They're fine, better than those who chose to stay anyway." Said Diego. "We'll speak again, Saddam."

*

Chris Spaghetti

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Re: The Book
« Reply #72 on: April 10, 2008, 05:32:19 AM »
With 'Lord Narcberry' on board, life was almost never a dull moment on board the 'Johnson', a fact which galvanised Agent 0042 but irked Token. They were behind the rest of the pack of vehicles and their progress was slowed by their constant insistance on changing drivers every few minutes, not that it was a problem, the red lights on the back of the Lazarev were like beacons across the perpetual darkness of the Ice Wall.

"So the badger says to the rabbit--" Narcberry began illiciting a groan even from Agent 0042, a week of Narcberry's bizzarre and usually politically incorrect jokes were starting to grate.

"Narc, finish that sentence and I promise you that you're walking from this point on, just concentrate on driving."

Narcberry smiled but shut up as they trundled on in silence, the conversation well between the cars had totally dried up, the Johnson hadn't heard anything from anyone in over an hour.

The car was almost perfectly silent as it cruised across the solid sheet of polished snow and ice, every tick, click, clang and clonk had become familiar background noises to the occupants of the Johnson. So much so that they had faded into the background. The Bang stood out like a sore thumb.

"What was that?" Token asked.

"I don't know. We had better stop. Call the rest and tell them we need to stop." Narcberry said. Agent 0042 clicked the radio and spoke into it.

"This is Car Five. Sorry guys but we need to pull over. Hello? Hello? Can anybody read me?" Agent 0042 said "This is car five, can anybody else read me?! Fantastic, the radio's out. Put your foot down, Narc, we need to catch up with the Lazarev."

"Aye aye, Captain!"

The Johnson picked up speed as Narcberry literally put the pedal to the metal, racing towards the Lazarev. Suddenly he found it hard to put enough weight on the accelerator, Narcberry's muscles felt fatigued and weak. In a dozy panic he turned and saw that Agent 0042 and  Token were looking just as groggy.

"W's 'ppening?" He slurred.

"'Ts gash. Gotta be gas." Agent 0042  said though hjalf-closed eyelids.

"Barstarrdss...." Narc fought the gas while he brought the car to a halt. He frantically tried to get the door open and yelped as he touched the handle. It was frozen solid. All the metal was, and the door wouldn't budge to Narcberry's weak muscles. There was a thump as token collapsed to the floor unconscious and Narcberry gave up on the doors, stumbled to the back of the car and pulled out the 9mm pistol. With every fibre of concentration he raised it in the direction of the windscreen and fired just as his vision went blurry. The bullet found it's mark and shattered the glass panel, letting out the dangerous gas.

And letting in the dangerous cold. The wind whipped through the new opening and chilled any moisture in the air and on the car into spidery-silver frost. The skin on Token turned ice-blue and began to freeze.

Narcberry collapsed in a fatigued heap on the pile of environmental suits and clawed them over him like a blanket. Agent 0042 fell next to him feverishly trying to start one of the little heat bricks they'd been given, the combination of gas and parylising cold air turned  the simple job of removing the silver tab into a laborious and intricately difficult task. A combination of luck and persistence yielded results and Agent 0042 and Narcberry huddled beneath the coats making use of every joule of energy from the heat brick while the world around them turned into permafrost.

*

Chris Spaghetti

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Re: The Book
« Reply #73 on: April 11, 2008, 05:03:21 AM »
They sat huddled under the frozen slab of coats for what seemed to be hours as the effects of the gas slowly wore off. By then the lone heat brick was starting to lose it's vigour and the absolute cold they had hoped to stave off was creeping through the shield of coats.

"We're going to die....aren't we?" Narcberry said through chattering teeth to 0042.

"We could still be rescued... The others weren't that far ahead..." agent 0042 tried to convince more himself than Narcberry.

"Yeah..."

They lapsed into silence, thinking straight was more difficult now than when the gas first permeated their lungs.

"What about Token?..." Narcberry pleaded, wanting to hear good news.

"Don't..."

"I mean, he could just be uncon-- unco-- asleep."

"I said don't."

Silence took over again as the heat brick  became little more than luke-warm.

"What's your name?"  Agent 0042 asked Narcberry

"Seems almost blasphemy to break the 'Narcberry' persona now." He joked "Kevin Nodvin. I used to work as a telephone operator for one of those prank call companies. People get angry and confused if you tell them the oceans are floating..."

"...The oceans are floating?" Agent 0042 asked, sure he had misheard him.

"Yeah, then tell them that proves the Earth is flat and some people will rant forever and a day about how stupid you are. Who'd have thought it was true?" Narcberry laughed, "And you?"

"Martin Roberts. I was a spy for the American Secret Service." He said

"So what are you doing dying in the cold of some god-forsaken lump of ice, instead of sunning yourself on the beach of Monte Carlo hunting for evil geniuses?"

"Ha, I wish being a spy was all about Aston Martins and beautiful women. I got DVT on the last mission sitting in a clapped-out Lada in Russia with two days worth of fast food wrappers around me."

They both winced as the heat brick finally gave out, letting the cold in further. Martin knew that if they stopped talking they could slip unconscious and die.

"We were undercover in St Petersburg on the trail of a possible double agent..."

****

Julian Frakes looked over his shoulder as he walked into the inconspicuous dilapidated office building. According to his case file, he was suspected of being on Moscow's payroll since the end of the Cold War, though evidence was extremely patchy at best.

Martin had been covertly tailing him for more than a week as he made his way through 'contacts' in snow-covered Saint Petersburg. Nothing had seemed out of the ordinary, until tonight...  The old office building wasn't listed anywhere in his official contacts directory and his body language suggested he was much less at ease going into the building than anywhere else he had visited in the last week. Martin shuffled in his seat as he trained his listening device, the most advanced 'gadget' in his paltry itinery on the dark haired man, wincing as it squealed with feedback.

"Nicolai! My friend, how good to see you again!" Julian announced heartily to a short scruffy Russian man with grey greasy hair and a moleskin coat that looked as though it had never been washed. He shook Julian's hand without returning the beaming smile on the American's face.

"You know I never relish your return to the Motherland comrade, it always means something has gone wrong, your side or ours it makes no difference, I'm the one who gets it in the neck." He wheezed, lighting up a cigarette. Julian's smile flickered but did not drop.

"You are shrewd as you are useful, Nicolai. I fear this may be the last time I ever grace this ghetto with my presence. Vladimir has made it perfectly clear he doesn't trust me and I'm positive my folks are onto me as well."

"How so?"

"Another agent is in the city but my 'boss' refuses to say who it is. I think I'm being followed."

"And you bring him here!?" Nicolai spluttered, reaching inside his scabby coat for a revolver pistol.

"Relax. If he knows what is good for him he'll put down that listening device and get out of the car."


****

"What did you do?" Narcberry asked, trying to focus on the story, not the overwhelming sense of fatigue he felt.

"Shh!" Martin urged "What was that sound?"

*

Chris Spaghetti

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Re: The Book
« Reply #74 on: April 14, 2008, 09:02:51 AM »
"What?"

Martin shushed him and strained his ears to make out the sounds outside the car. Was it rescue, or the saboteur, come to finish the job he'd started? Instinct made him want to call for help, but years of paranoid training held him back. There were a series of bumbs and smashes as someone climbed in through the windscreen.

"Shit." Someone said, voice muffled beneath the enviromental suit and the layer of coats between Martin and the outside world "One of them is dead. Was it Token?"

Martin missed what was said next,

"Yeah, frozen to death by the look of it...huh?... No, no stab-wounds... Where are the others?"

"Here!" Narcberry called, voice cracking "We're here!"

Martin winced under the coats. Had Julian just fallen for one of the oldest tricks in the book? The coats were thrown back and the frost ridden air smacked him with an almost physical suckerpunch.

"Quick! Get a couple of heat bricks!" A figure shouted, identity totally obscured behind the facemask of the arctelligent survival suit. He helped them up and forced them into their own survival suits and urged them to hold the heatbrick close to their heart. Before long, both Martin and Julian were safe and warm.

Not that that consoled them, Token had been a good friend;

"And now he's gone, thanks to those bastards! What took you so long?!" Narcberry blurted, barely coherent.

"You were so far behind anyway, that it was hard to tell that your lights weren't moving" Dann admitted "It was only when we couldn't get you on radio that we got suspicious."

Soon the car was teeming with people, everyone  barely one step away from utter panic and chaos. Bytes and TheEgineer were under the hood of the car, trying to work out what went mechanically wrong. Midnight was engrossed in the electronic components, particularly the radio. A highly streesed Space Cowgirl was examining narcberry and 0042 for signs of pneumonia or frostbite while Raist tried to follow what she was saying and acting as her nurse. Altahus had gotten well enough to look after masterchief who still needed 'round the clock care.

Meanwhile, Chrissetti, Gayer, Dann and Raa  chipped away at the ice to dig a shallow grave on Narcberry's insistence.

TheEngineer looked up from somewhere in the rcesses of the engine  and whispered to Bytes, who nodded grimly. They had a brief argument, then TheEngineer walked off to find Tom Bishop.

"Tom, we need a serious talk..."
« Last Edit: April 21, 2008, 05:49:15 AM by Chris Spaghetti »

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Chris Spaghetti

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Re: The Book
« Reply #75 on: April 21, 2008, 06:58:02 AM »
Tom broke from his trance and pulled his eyes away from the infinite blackness beyond the lights of the convoy.

"Hmm?" He grunted.

"We have a serious problem. I have investigated the damage to the Johnson and as far as I can make out the damage was planned, controlled and timed. A technical genius sabotaged this car."

Tom's expression was invisible behind the suit's face mask.

"You're sure?"

"Positive. What concerns me more is that the timer on the gas coolant tank was set for less than ten hours, which means that somebody here is a traitor."

"What about somebody outside the convoy? We've seen the conspiracy mobilise against us before."

"Possible, but unlikely. To have been able to do such extensive engineering they needed time, so they had to be right next to us when we stopped to refuel so they would have been within visual range or RADAR range, unless they tampered with the RADARs of every car in the fleet."

TheEngineer said matter of factly, trying to keep his voice down, he no longer trusted anyone but himself.

"All right. Then we need to draw up a suspects list. It couldn't be Space Cowgirl, Masterchief, or Althalus. While I doubt it was either Narcberry or 0042 because they put themselves at great risk, we can't rule it out.

"The next car along was the Lazarev. Dann was with Raist last time we stopped to refuel and Chrissetti and Gayer are practically joined at the hip."

"What about Bytes?" TheEngineer pointed out "He's shown himself to be a skilled engineer, he was very insistant on getting out of Space Cowgirl's car and he found the source of the damage to the heating grid remarkably quickly..."

"...Almost as if he knew where to look..." Tom finished. They both cast a suspicious glance at Bytes who was up to his elbows in engine. "Keep an eye on him. Find an excuse to get him moved to your car.

Inside the caravan trailer, Saddam listened and made plans.

*

Chris Spaghetti

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Re: The Book
« Reply #76 on: April 23, 2008, 06:25:01 AM »
It was quickly established that the Johnson was utterly out of action. The damage to the engine was reperable, providing they were willing to hang around for several days, but the heating elements had been totally fused and molten to the shell of the car.

Narcberry was destroyed by the death of Token and hadn't spoken since. For everyone else in the rapidly shortening convoy it was a shock to the system to have the normally eccentric and jokey Narcberry reduced to a silent brooding figure. He had gone on board the Ross with Chaltier, Raa, Dogplatter and Tom Bishop without once complaining or making a joke about the cramped conditions.

Agent 0042 was solemn but still active on board the Lazarev after TheEngineer had invited Bytes onto the Equinox. In ordinary circumstances his prescence would have brought morale to rock-bottom, but by then it was too late, the radio contact between the cars had ceased apart from Tom's insistance on hourly registers and conversation had nose-dived, even between Gayer and Chrissetti.

For another two days they rolled across the ice in relative silence, Chrissetti was behind the wheel of the Lazarev whilst the others slept, a rota that they had all consented to. He first noticed a change in the terrain when the horizon reappeared. Ever since the Dark Tower, the absolute darkness combined with the fog of airborne snow had reduced visibility to just a hundred metres at best, ground and sky merging as one.

Outside the window, the scenery change was so gradual he hadn't noticed it happening until he realised that the infinite plane of ice was no longer black, but a deep navy blue, and the sky was a slightly lighter shade, a sky that met the ground at a clear and visible horizon. He watched as the minutes turned to hours and the ground became lighter and lighter, and the sky even more so; still darker than any night in the city but compared to the void it had been before, it was as if a lighthouse was glistening on some distant shore.

With all the suddenness and brilliance of a nova, or the ferocity of a nuclear explosion, the sun burst over the contested border of sky and ground flooding deep crinsom light into both the sky and across the endless plane of ice.

"Gayer! Dann! Agent! Wake up." He saidunable to take his eyes off the sun's hypnotic beauty "I think we just proved tom wrong!"

*

Chris Spaghetti

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Re: The Book
« Reply #77 on: April 28, 2008, 02:39:02 AM »
"W'tr f'ck ya t'kin' 'bout?" Gayer grunted through a yawn that threatened to topple her skull off. Agent and Dann were groggily waking up too. As one exhausted and half asleep unit, they stumbled to the front of the car.

"Look! The Sun!" Chris exclaimed

"So?" Gayer yawned again. "Waitaminute..."

"How can the world be flat if we've found the sun again?" Dann said, slipping into the co-driver's seat.

Soon the radio waves were buzzing with excitement at seeing the ruby orb still half-hidden by the horizon. It was the same nameless buzz they'd had when they left SnowFox for the first time.

Just with fewer members.

"And once again we're left with an overwhelming sense of pity for poor deluded Thomas Bishop." Midnight sighed smugly.

"Save your pity, Midnight. I have a very good idea what this is, though we'll need to get much closer to find out." Tom announced.

"Stop it, Tom. You've been proven wrong, admit it. That horizon is a good two day's drive away I'll wager. Our instruments are obviously broken and we probably strayed into secret military territory. We should start transmitting loud and clear to anyone who can hear us to ask for directions back to a weather or research station, where we'll all take the next boat or plane back to the Falklands and start phoning our very best lawers to sue you and the Rowbotham institute for every damn penny you own." Midnight sneered.

"We'll see. The whole world will see." Tom replied vaguely

*

Chris Spaghetti

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Re: The Book
« Reply #78 on: April 30, 2008, 05:45:12 AM »
 The landscape gradually but surely changed as the  cars made their way to the ruby beacon in the far distance. The ground  subtly poked it's way through the shell of ice as sharp, jagged rocks, one side still brown from it's rocky surface where the snow hadn't piled against it. With new barriers to break up the currents of the wind, the snow had falen irregularily and visible humps, dunes and channels snaked their way across the ice, breaking up the tedium of driving as the rocks broke up the wind.

For the first time in days the radios were chattering again, what would they find when they reached the sunshine? What had the soldiers I the Dark Tower been defending? How would they rub Tom Bishop's face in his wrongness?

If there was one thing that threw any kind of doubt on their spherical Earth certainty, it was the sun. Instead of getting brighter as they approached it, the orb remained a blood-red crimson.

"Have you noticed that it hasn't been night since we first saw it?" Dann noted.

"Almost as if it's 'stuck' in permanent sundown." 0042 agree, largely to distract himself from Gayer and Chrissetti's publ;ic displays of affection. "Hey, you two! Get a room!"

"We're in one!" Gayer giggled "Go get your own room!"

Suddenly the Lazarev lurched steeply to the right and ground to a halt, frontleft side pointing down into the-

"Water!?" Dann shouted as the front left wheel slid beneath the ice. "Get to the back of the car!" The ice around the Lazarev gave a tortured groan as hairline cracks raced away from the puncture, splitting and rejoining and growing.

"Help!" 0042 yelled into the radio "We need help!"

With a loud snap and a scream from everyone on board another shard of ice split, dropping the Lazarev further into the water, the front left wheel was now totally submerged. Dann slammed the car into reverse and piled on the gas in an effort to drag it back.

"What the hell's going on!?" someone yelled over the radio.

"We're sinking! The ice snapped, we need a tow!"

"Dann!" Chrissetti yelled from he rear wall "Get back here!"

*

Chris Spaghetti

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Re: The Book
« Reply #79 on: May 04, 2008, 06:22:36 AM »
“No.” Dann said, I can pull us out of this!”

He roared at the car as the front wheels edged further into the water and the back started to lift off the ice. Outside, the Equinox, the Conspiracy car was having it’s caravan’s uncoupled. The it was bearing down on them, fast enough to spray loose snow up in great waves from the sides.

“Slow down, idiots!” Agent 0042 yelled into the radio.

”We can’t waste time and you want us to go slower?” Someone called, it sounded like TheEngineer.

“Yes! The ice here is pretty thin, resting on water! The pressure from the cars will create waves in front of the car and the faster you go, the bigger the wave, that’s what shattered the ice in the first place!” Agent said at tongue-twisting speed. As if on cue, the Equinox gave a lurch as it bounced into a new crack in the ice. TheEngineer quickly brought his speed under control and slowed down.

Gayer strangled a scream as they all felt the whole car start to slide forward, accompanied by painful metal-on ice screeches as the underside tore at the lip of the ice.

Then it stopped, the Lazarev shuddered, stopped and started to pull out of the water and back onto the more sturdy ice. Everyone inside sagged with relief and smiled. The pool ahead of them looked so small, so insignificant, but it was getting bigger. Very quickly.

“Quick!” Agent shouted “Get the Equinox uncoupled, we need to move.”

“What about the waves?”

“I think it’s a bit too late for that now!” Dann replied as he gunned the throttle into reverse away from the advancing fractures. With an impressive flick of the steering wheel, the Lazarev spun 180 degrees, throwing it’s caravans out behind it, coming close to smashing into the Equinox which was quickly retreating to its caravans.

“Go Dann Go!” gayer squawked, gripping on to the back of one of the chairs. The huge IceCruiser  slalomed and skittered across the ice as it shattered and broke off around them, sending up huge geysers of freezing water into the air. The Lazarev shuddered and bounced over massive fractures and splits while they tried desperately to turn back towards the rest of the convoy who were in almost as much as a hurry to escape the frozen lake as they were.

Their under-ice wave was clearly visible now, buckling and cracking the ice ahead of them while the indefatigable schisms of ice continued to spread and multiply behind them.

“Find the edge!” Dann ordered, “Use the Radar and find the lake edge!”

Chrissetti stared at the green and black image, following the contours underneath them and trying to work out where the safety was, not easy while the car bucked and lurched all over.

“Oh sh*t!” He realised.

“What?”

“Gayer, get the others to turn to the right,quickly!”

“Why? What’s ahead?!”

“The shore! It’s the edge of Antarctica!” He replied frantically.

“What?!”

“This isn’t a lake! It’s an ocean! A huge Goddamned ocean!”

Gayer told the others the news and noticed the cars jerk suddenly to the right. All around them now the ice was breaking away in colossal plates, slipping and sliding over one another, bucking and rising, spraying water like the spray of a waterfall, sending chunks of ice as big as footballs flying through the air to batter the side of the Lazarev. Even 0042 screamed as a piece half the size of a normal car left a jagged dent that reached into the car beside his head.

“Lazarev! Head towards us! We’ve found solid ground!” Tom ordered.

“Easier said than done!” Dann quipped as the plate the Lazarev was riding threw them off it’s surface for a split second.

“There!” Chris pointed to a mound of white not heaving or cracking “An island!”

“I see it!”

Behind them a plate of ice as big as a football pitch heaved into the air, rising ominously with the sound of  an enraged whale. It hung in the air, suspended by unique counterbalances of ice at it’s base before it thundered towards the water.

CRASH!

The wave of water and ice spread from the plate, taller than a house and with the unrelenting power of an earthquake.

“Hold on!” They all screamed as the wave hit their ice plate, picking them up and pushing them, water tumbling in mad, thunderous torrents and ice slamming into every surface. With a final push it slammed into the land and sent them sliding along the ice accompanied by chunks of ice and a wave of water.

Silence.

Suddenly the world was unmoving and calm, the stunned silence louder than the hum of the engine.

“That was fun, anyone fancy another go?” Gayer said with an ear-to-ear grin.
« Last Edit: May 04, 2008, 11:10:01 AM by Chris Spaghetti »

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Chris Spaghetti

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Re: The Book
« Reply #80 on: May 06, 2008, 10:43:36 AM »
Chapter V

A lone figure paced the frozen corridors almost entirely at random. He had lived in the fortress for so long that his feet did the thinking for him when he walked around it's vast interior. He stopped and checked his watch and sighed, it was the part of the job he hated most- well, second most after the reams of paperwork he found himself doing more and more of these days. He walked into a stairwell and started to descend at a comfortably slow pace, no sense in rushing forward the inevitable.

At the bottom an armoured guard acknowledged him with a salute and moved aside to let him pass through the frost-encrusted door which opened with a crunch. He sighed as he heard the shrieking noise from the far end of the dark corridor, it seemed to him never to stop. Day or night, morning or afternoon, the kid had lungs like a supertanker.

"All right, Muffs! Shut up!" He roared as he came to stop outside a sealed metal door.

"Let us out! You won't get away with this you--"

BANG

The shot echoed up and down the corridor, stunning the thirteen year-old into silence.

For about a second.

""Oh yeah, always the big hard man with the gun. Come in here and fight like a man! Me and Trekky'll take y--" she stopped, seemed to reconsider then said "Well I'll take you on if he won't!"

Diego slid open the view slide on the door and looked at a calm Trekky sat back against the wall;

"Can't you shut her up?" He said, well, almost pleaded.

"Tell me about it, you don't have to live with her!"

"You know, I don't have to feed you at all." He said, picking up the tinfoil covered tray beside the door "I could just eat it myself right here." he pulled the tinfoil off, wrinkled his nose then said "or just dump it on the floor."

"Only you won't." Trekky said with superhuman calm.

"Oh, and why not?" Diego sneered, he was good at sneering.

"Because the only time she's quiet is when she's eating." Trekky shrugged, referring to Muffs' now constant stream of abuse.

Diego smiled in agreement and grudgingly passed the tray through the gap.

"So." He said as Muffs eagerly tucked into the grey slop under the tinfoil "We'll try again. Where were you and the others going when you left the main group? to get reinforcements? Reveal our secrets to the media? Or to stop anyone chasing the rest? a roadblock of sorts?"

"We've told you, all we wanted was to get out alive!"

"After storming Lookout Tower B-586?" He replied "Seems pretty counter-intuitive to me."

In his peripheral vision he saw the soldiers walking down the corridor.

"Please. We've told you the truth!" Trekky became more desperate, losing his cool and his voice wavered.

"We'll see how that truth changes without your sister in the picture." Diego said harshly, motioning to the two soldiers who slammed open the door.

"What? No!" Trekky screamed as one of the soldiers gripped him and held him. The other pulled Muffs to her feet and held her by the throat in one arm and held a gun to her head with the other.

"Get off me! Let me go! Andrew! Help!" She squealed, kicking and screaming at the guard who visibly struggled to hold her and winced as she bit down hard enough on his wrist to draw blood.

"You know what to do with her." Diego snarled "Finally we'll have some silence in here!"

"

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Chris Spaghetti

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Re: The Book
« Reply #81 on: May 13, 2008, 02:41:51 PM »
The sea groaned and heaved like a wounded beast as they slabs of ice re-froze together again, water gushing up between the slabs like grout, binding the slabs together.

The convoy had stopped on what had turned out to be an incredibly small islet, their battered bodies gleaming in the crimson sunlight. Work was underway on the Lazarev,it's suspension had been damaged in the violent escape from the sea and ice had locked up the front wheel. Chrissetti was underneath the front wheelarch chipping away at the solid block of frozen water  whilst Bytes and TheEngineer were making repairs to the suspension. Gayer was being her usual incredibly helpful self and sitting on the bonnet, staring out into the far distance across the seemingly endless plane of creaking ice. Had anyone been paying attention they would have noticed her slip off her sunglasses, lean forward slightly and squint.

Suddenly she pushed herself off the truck and ran inside, leaning in far enough to grab a pair of binoculars. She adjusted the setting, hopped back on top of the car, swearing as her foot almost slipped and brought the binoculars up to her eyes.

"Hey, Chris?" She called, not taking her eyes off the horizon.

"What?" He snapped while his right hand came down again onto the ice, the small axe in his hand sending up a flurry of crystalline sparks, the frozen block didn't seem to be any smaller than when he'd started more than half an hour ago.

"Come look at this!"

Pretty busy right now, can it wait?" Chris responded irritably. Gayer rolled her eyes and picked off a lump of solid seawater off the windscreen and threw it at Chrissetti's head "Ow! All right!"

He picked himself up while nursing the throbbing pain in his head. That girl could throw hard. He took the binoculars off her and aimed at the horizon, striving to see what she had deemed worth giving him a concussion for.

"What the?..." He muttered, turning the little dial on the side to try and focus. "It looks like..."

"...like a city!" Natasha finished. Indeed, on the horizon, about fifty miles away give or take were a series of irregularly placed geometric shapes like spires reaching off the endless vista of red ice. The Sun seemed to hang in the sky above the fabulous structures. Some of them seemed to lean or bend and although it was too far away to see details it was apparent that they were damaged and partially collapsed.

"Tom!"

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Re: The Book
« Reply #82 on: May 15, 2008, 05:30:26 AM »
Tom halted in mid conversation with Dogplatter and Raa, the three were wearing deep frowns and had their arms crossed; whatever was being discussed was evidently serious. He heard Chris and made his apologies to the others before walking over to where Chrissetti, Gayer and now several others had gathered.

"What is it?" Tom said.

"Have a look, just under the sun." Chrissetti passed the binoculars to Tom who climbed unsteadily onto the bonnet of the Lazarev. He stared at the collection of odd shapes for a moment, his lips moving as if mentally calculating something then he passed the binoculars back.

"Well. It seems that we've succeeded after all!" he announced to confused silence. "Ladies and gentlemen, we have succeeded in our secondary objective, we have found the mysterious birthplace of the 'shadow object', Cybele!"

He announced this in such a way as to draw raucous cheers from all present, complete with arms raised to the air. A shame that puzzlement and silence was all that rewarded him, in a cartoon this would be the point where the famous tumbleweed rolled past.

"Come on." He grumbled "Get the Lazarev rolling again and we'll get moving."

Dejected and disapointed, Tom climbed down from the Lazarev and walked back towards Raa and Dogplatter.

"...What?" Said a voice from behind him. He turned to see Midnight giving him a look of total incomprehension "I'm sorry, what did you really expect from such a vague explaination of our current predicament? A standing ovation? Flowers draped across the shoulders? Perhaps a fresh bottle of champagne srayed over you by bikini'd showgirls? Well I'm sorry but while we might be able to stomach the sight of Gayer and Space Cowgirl in their predicably fetching poolside attire, they might, just might require a bit more of an excuse to catch hyperthermia than 'ta-daa here's Cybele.'"

"Not that much more." Gayer whispered to Chrissetti "Mind you, my legs would need a shave first..."

"There is a hypothesis within Flat-Earth theory that holds that eclipses and irregular gravitation are caused by a mysterious entity called the 'Shadow Object'. What's more  this 'Shadow object's highly ecentric orbit suggests that it appeared in the heavens many millenia after the sun and moon, but it's mostly flat orbit suggests that it came from a system more or less as high above the Earth as the Sun is. This origin point was named 'Cybele'." He explained, facing down Midnight's objections.

"So what's the city? Aliens from the Shadow Object?"

"I have no idea, and I don't know about you but I'm quite excited about finding out!"

****

BEEP

The little box winked it's green LED at Saddam who sighed in the darkness underneath the Ross.

Enjoy your victory, Mr Bishop. He thought without malice but as a simple matter-of-fact It will be your last
« Last Edit: May 16, 2008, 09:29:08 AM by Chris Spaghetti »

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Re: The Book
« Reply #83 on: May 21, 2008, 01:47:08 PM »
Four cars cruised across the refrozen sea at a steady thirty miles per hour, trying to keep their underice wave as small as possible. Nevertheless, occasionally geysers of water would jet from a broken seam in the ice plates or a hairline crack would ind it's jagged path across the surface with a terrible cracking, splitting sound. The 'city' in the distance steadily grew larger and larger on the horizon, appearing as a silhouette against Cybele's bright crimson light. Gayer claimed it as 'Lovesville' being as she had seen it first. Nobody understood the meaning behind the name but it was accepted as fact almost straight away.

"I think I can see windows." She said, eyes glued to the powerful binoculars as they had been for the best part of four hours. "That or my eyes are really going square."  She put the binoculars down and rubbed her eyes vigorously, as a child would rub sleep away.

"Get some rest." Dann said from a recumbant position on the floor. His eyes were closed and his arms were behind his head like a pillow.

"Yeah, in a bit, in a bit." She said, passing the binoculars to Chrissetti "Here, have a look."

"Can't. Driving." he said, staccato fashion as he swerved to avoid another fountain.

"Excuses excuses." She muttered and  shoved the binoculars in Agent's face, who was trying to read a dog-eared Chris Ryan book.

"Have a look!"

"Why? We'll see it clearly enough soon anyway, quit bothering me!" Agent 0042 snapped.

"Am I the only one who cares about Lovesville?" Gayer sighed in exasperation. "Well, me and Tom Bishop perhaps."

"Sorry," Agent 0042 said rubbing the bridge of his nose "It's just that-that place gives me the creeps. Reminds me of Moscow."

"Run by the mafia?" Gayer replied, confused.

"Covered in snow?" Chris piped in.

"Famous for unique architecture?" Dann mumbled from the floor.

"Offers prostitutes for a third of the rate you'd pay in Amsterdam?" Gayer said with enthusiasm, enthusiasm which died in the seconds of awkward silence that followed "...so I've been told..." She finished lamely.

"No! No, when I was in the Service, Moscow was always this... strange and exotic land, supposedly friendly but with a menacing overtone, Saint Basil's seemed to loom over Red Square as you followed some ex-KGB or mafia bigwig, everyone in the Square seemed to be against you, hiding any sort of weapon under the heavy coats." Agent 0042 said, going over flashback falls without a barrel "Every agent hated the Moscow assignments because on the surface they were safe and easy, but it never, ever worked out that way."

"You're scared of KGB agents?"

"No, I'm scared we're rushing into this without a second thought as usual and it's going to cost us dearly..."

*

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Re: The Book
« Reply #84 on: May 22, 2008, 04:59:20 AM »
As the hours rolled on, the 'city' beneath Cybelle finally became clear enough to see. As usual Gayer was the first to start noticing details, to nobody's surprise. What did come as a surprise was the state of the 'city'. From a distance the various towers and structured had appeared tall and noble. In reality they were qa vision of entropy, decay and destruction. Most of them were glazed in a thick skin of frost and ice, long icicles hung from every overhang. Once in the distant past, the windows had contained panes of glass but now there were only shards and open holes to betry their earlier prescence. From a distance there had seemed to be a wide variety of shapes and design, it became clear however that almost all of the towers had once been near-identical monoliths of grey concrete and steel, now most of the structures had begun to collapse, leaning at precarious angles or had simple crumbled into an irregular pile of debris

"What the hell?" Chrissetti muttered staring into the binoculars as Dann took over the driving seat "They look...ancient."

"But not abandoned..." Agent 0042 announced, looking through his own pair..

"What?"

"Look at the ground leading to that tall tower, the one with the mast on top. Vehicle tracks."

"fresh vehicle tracks, look at the oil spillage, the snow hasn't covered it up yet."

They were now less than a mile from the outlying ruins of 'Lovesville' and all the cars had come to a complete stop while they reviewed the situation.

"We should go around it." Space Cowgirl said darkly. "It's obviously a trap and we simply don't have the medical resources to take any more injuries, it's hard enough just keeping Masterchief in relatively comfortable conditions."

There was silence for a moment, presumably while Tom gathered his thoughts.

"You're right." He said simply. The shockwaves from this proclaimation washed over everybody like a white-water river "Our mission as far as Cybele was concerned was to discover whether or not it existed. If there weren't tracks in the ice I would be all too eager to investigate further, but I feel this is a mission for another day and...Dogplatter, why are we moving?...what? What do you mean 'it's going by itself?'"

The Ross was indeed moving, it's wheels were kicking up a flurry of ice as it accelerated over the sea.

"Everyone carry on! Something has taken over controls of the car! If we get out of this we'll catch up with you!" Tom yelled in a panic as the Ross rushed headlong towards the ancient forboding buildings.

*

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Re: The Book
« Reply #85 on: May 25, 2008, 12:18:43 PM »
"Hell No." Dann grunted as he threw himself into the driver's seat and floored the accelerator "We've lost far too many already."

The Lazarev skidded on the ice as the traction control struggled to stop the inevitable wheel spin. To the right of them, the faster Equinox went past them and started to gain on the Ross

"I'm going to try and flip over one of the caravans" TheEngineer announced "That should stop them."

"Yeah? And take out half the ocean? There's gallons of fuel back there, you melon!" Gayer said.

"Got any better ideas?"

She stopped and thought. One of her eyes fell upon the bulge of a pistol in Chrissetti's pocket. She made a mental note of the innuendo for later then said:

"Shoot out the back tyres! There are plenty of spares."

"Great." theEngineer said unenthusiastically, "but the only decent marksman is on the Ross. Remember? Narcberry is the munitions expert." 

"I can hit it." Agent 0042 said with a preoccupied air, as if running a complicated equation through in his head. "Hang on, how did Narcberry end up an expert in guns?"

"He was in the army apparently... Anyway, what experience do you have? i can shoot rifles but I'm useless with handguns." TheEngineer said. The Equinox was now almost level with the Ross and they were all going past some outlying buildings of 'Lovesville'.

"American Secret Service." Agent said with confidence.

"Oh well, better than nothing, I suppose. We'll slow the Ross down for you to get a shot off, I don't need to tell you to be careful."

While Agent 0042 checked the pistol, pulled on sunglasses and positioned himself to fire out of the passenger side window, the Equinox closed the gap on the Ross, their ice sprays were now so close together that there was a mini-blizzard raging between them. Gently, TheEngineer veered the Equinox into the side of the Ross, they came together with a crack and a spray of sparks. The Equinox bounced off and struggled to maintain speed while the possessed Ross barely wobbled. Suddenly without warning the huge bulk of the Ross swerved into the path of the Equinox, forcing TheEngineer to slow and turn out of the way, the Ross used the advantage to put distance between it and the Equinox.

Agent 0042 realised that he couldn't wait for TheEngineer to slow the Ross, he'd have to take the shot. The window was rolled down and the freezing Cybelian air hit his exposed skin like a pack of razors, numbing it to the bone in seconds. He gritted his teeth and focused down the length of the barrel and the space just above the pin at the end. The back wheel reappeared in view, partially obscured by the careering caravans behind it. Flash, visible, flash gone.

He closed his grip on the trigger as the Equinox dived back for another disabling ram, this time catching the front-left quarter of the Ross and sending it into a mad slide across the ice, wheels throwing up a blizzard and completely hiding the back tyre from view.

Suddenly, the Ross slowed to regain control and Martin Roberts saw his chance. He felt the tightness of the trigger, squeezed, fired...

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Chris Spaghetti

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Re: The Book
« Reply #86 on: May 26, 2008, 09:27:16 AM »
The muzzle of the gun flashed with fire as it released it's deadly payload. The shot hit the side of a caravan with a chorus of sparks. Martin cursed and focussed down the gun again. He took a deep breath to stady himself, felt the trigger, and fired.

The Ross lurched violently as the back right tyre tore itself apart, shedding rubber and heating element all over the ice. In seconds the rim was riding the ice digging a deep trench in the ice, but though it slowed and swerved, the car did not stop.

"Dann, bring us 'round to the other side and I'll take out the other tyre."

"You got it." The Lazarev fell back and veered to the left side of the crippled Ross.

****

Saddam swore loudly as the car threw him into a pile of spare components, he assumed the wheel had been shot.

"Oh no." He grunted with fierce determination. "you're not stopping me that easily."

Adrenaline coursed through his veins as he struggled with the bulky remote-control unit. he hadn't wanted it to come to this, but Diego draw had been very insistent on Bishop getting to Cybele even if the others didn't.

BLAM

The car lurched again as the other back tyre exploded. now he was losing speed fast, the heavy car pressing down on the thin rims of the wheel was driving itself into the ice. Forty miles per hour, thirty-five, twenty.  Suddenly he felt two separate thuds and the Ross ground to a halt. Saddam roared at the useless RC control and threw it at the wall of spares. He pulled out a pistol and caressed it in the dim light. A Heckler and Koch MK23, he felt it's heavy bulk in his hands and leveled it at the sliding caravan hatch.

Forgive me, Sahah
« Last Edit: May 26, 2008, 09:29:29 AM by Chris Spaghetti »

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Re: The Book
« Reply #87 on: May 31, 2008, 03:58:57 PM »
The convoy, or what was left of it surrounded the Ross and had guns pointed at it should it decide to continue it's mad rush into the middle of Cybele. Chaltier, Raa, Dogplatter, Narcberry and Tom were stood around it explaining the situation to everyone else. TheEngineer once again had his head in the innards of the gargantuan engine powering the Ross, occasionally swearing or tossing a piece of machinery onto the ice. bytes and chrissetti were busy jacking the truck up to put the spare wheel on. Dann and Raist had disappeared inside the Lazarev to 'discuss' 'route options'.

"Oi!" Gayer called from the back of the Ross to the occupants of the stricken car "help me with the spare wheels. i might be stronger than you pussies, but I'm not Wonder Woman!"

"I'd dispute that." Chrissetti called.

"Oh leave the soppy stuff out!" She joked "I swear you're more of a woman than I am!"

"Right you are, Superman!" Chris laughed as the ruined tyre he was working on dropped to the ice. Gayer simply stuck two fingers up and walked with the Ross crew to the spare parts caravan.

****

Saddam heard the crunch-crunch of their boots as they walked back to his hiding plan. he flipped the safety catch off the pistol.

***

Gayer fumbled with the frosted-over handle on the caravan.

****

A crack of crimson light shone through under the thin crack between base of the caravan and the bottom of the door. the light was broken towards the middle by the sillouhette of the SnowFox explorer struggling with the iced-over handle.

****

Gayer slid the metal sliding door up and open.

****

Saddam pulled the trigger.

****

Gayer barely had time to scream as the flash of gunfire tore into her side, dropping her down to the ice with a shower of blood the same colour as the star above. her vision started to blur as a figure launched itself from the secrecy of the caravan to unload a deadly lump of lead straight into the dark-haired head of Chaltier. the world would never know the colour of his hair again. Dogplatter reacted by charging shoulder-first into the crazed Saddam, shrieking as a bullet tore it's way through his shoulder.

By then Gayer's vision had blurred to reduce the fighting blobs into an indiscernible mesh of colour and movement. the occasional gunshot added to the cacophony of shouts and screams and pounding of feet as other expeditioners rushed to he source of the gunshots.

For Natasha Valentine the world slipped into total darkness.
« Last Edit: June 04, 2008, 11:22:31 AM by Chris Spaghetti »

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Re: The Book
« Reply #88 on: June 01, 2008, 04:09:33 PM »
Saddam and Dogplatter fought viciously, slamming whichever part of the body happened to be closest into the nearest area of body on the other. The gun skittered away during the struggle to be picked up by Narcberry.

Saddam appeared to get the upper hand, he slammed Dogplatters head into the ice and dragged TheEngineer to the floor by his feet. he roared a primal, desperate roar of fear and anger, somewhere out of hearing, Narcberry was shouting something at him. He felt a boot slam into his side and he rolled with it to the left, off Dogplatter and TheEngineer. Suddenly hands were pinning him down to the floor and he had to scream;

"All right! I surrender! I give up!" and stopped tensing against his restrainers.

"Get a coat or something we can use to tie the him up!" Someone ordered, was it Tom Bishop? Bastard. Saddam thought bitterly. Seconds later he was yanked to a seated position while a cold fabric was wrapped around his wrists behind his back. Beside him, Dogplatter and TheEngineer pulled themselves to their feet, the first spitting out a glob of blood.

Everyone, including Dann and Raist had arrived to see what the commotion was.

"What the hell happened?" Dann asked, looking at disbelief of the bound Saddam.

"This bastard just shot--"

"--Natasha!" Chrissetti rushed to Gayer's side, eyes full of shock at the sight of the blood around her unconscious form. "Cowgirl! Help!"

Space Cowgirl was already on the scene carrying a dwindling supply of medical equipment, she gently pushed Chrissetti to one side as she examined gayer closer. The bullet had torn through her right side, her coat was torn and covered in blood which was rapidly freezing in the frigid air. Mara gently pulled up her coat to give her direct access to the wound.

"get me an omnitool!" She barked.

"Is she--"

"Do it!" She took a bottle of disinfectant and drizzled it generously over the wound, swabbing it with a piece of cloth. Chrissetti returned with the tapered tube and handed it to Space Cowgirl who fiddled with it's settings and finally decided on what appeared to be a spark lighter setting. With a grimace she took the tool and pressed it to the wound while holding it together with the other hand. With the blood out of the way, it was clear that the wound, while fairly deep hadn't hit anything important, the bullet had merely caught her a glancing blow on it's path to the ice, taking a sizable chunk of flesh with it. Space Cowgirl activated the omnitool and sparks leaped from the end of the tube, searing and burning the flesh underneath.

"What are you doing!?" Chris yelped, mouth agape.

"Cauterizing it. i have to seal the wound to stop the bleeding and prevent infection. if you'd prefer her to die of gangrene just let me know, Christ knows i don't have enough penicillin to deal with it if it does emerge." her words weren't deliberately unkind, she was just stating facts. "She's not badly hurt, her body just went unconscious to deal with the sudden trauma. She'll be ok." 

The group looked around at the unexpected battlefield. Gayer's injury, the dead form of chaltier on the floor, the bloodied and bruised Dogplatter and as one beast moved in on Saddam, surrounding him and pinning on him the unspoken hatred, fear and rage at the enemies who had so relentlessly persecuted the. The beast suddenly had a face.

And it was terrified.
« Last Edit: June 04, 2008, 11:22:15 AM by Chris Spaghetti »

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Re: The Book
« Reply #89 on: June 04, 2008, 11:21:25 AM »
The circle of angry faces surrounding Saddam got tighter and tighter.

"I vote we execute the bastard now." Narcberry growled, slowly pulling the safety off the recovered pistol.

Suddenly out of the blue, Chrissetti landed a rib-cracking kick into Saddam's side, dropping him to the ice witha grunt of pain. "A shot to the head's to good for him!"

From Saddam's point of view, the second kick from behind came from nowhere, the third was laid by Dann and before long a flurry of blows rained on him as he curled into a fetal position and tried to cover his head. A boot caught him in the mouth and the hot copper taste of blood filled his lips.

"Wait! Stop it!" Tom shouted, a white hot ball of fury "You're not wild animals! We're from apparently civilised countries, America, Britain, Scandinavia, Australia among others, let's act like it!"

Tom reached down and pulled Saddam to a seated position and whispered just one word in his ear. Talk.

He gulped and looked around at the enraged faces still circling him, held back by the one voice of reason and justice. Wincing at the pain he pulled himself to his feet and took a breath.

"My name is Saddam Al-Hashan and I've been put to work against my will by the secretive organisation who tracked and tried to kill you all."

"Who?" That was Dogplatter

"I honestly have no idea. i thought at first they were linked to the US military but it seems that the army has no idea about their existence." he said, "please! You must understand, I had no choice but to what I did! Diego, he's threatened to kill my sister if I do not respond."

"Diego? Diego Draw? How did you and him survive the explosion? We saw the truck explode in a fireball!" TheEngineer said.

"Impressive pyrotechnics, that's all. You were all too busy getting away from the snowmobiles to notice we jumped out about ten seconds before the car went up. Me, Diego and Z were taken away by the snowmobile which was 'shooting' at us. We rode behind you just out of sight for about six hours until the blizzard hit. We camped until it cleared and found the MacKenzie, half buried in the ice."

"so that's what he meant by 'Z'. he was talking about his killer. Sounds like something from some cheap and cheesy action book." Midnight said, to the shock of the others standing around.

"'Killer'?" Raist exclaimed "You said they died in the crash!"

"I lied. Look, you were all panicked enough at the time, i didn't think you could handle the news that another three of us had been murdered. Though i suppose they were really the first ones to die, weren't they?" Midnight said, shifting his attention back to Saddam, who nodded.

"After that, Diego felt sure you would turn back so we were picked up by helicopter, that's when I was taken to see Sahah, my sister. They've had her locked up for weeks and threatened to murder her if I didn't comply! if I didn't kill you first, I'm sorry!" he said, getting more hysterical as he went on. "But you didn't turn back, instead you pressed on. When watch-tower B-586 reported destroying one of the IceCruisers, I was sent to investigate. I arrived to see you massacre the guards on that tower and level the facility itself. You were all so busy putting everything together afterwards I just slipped in and set up camp back here."

"You've been back here that long?" TheEngineer said with disbelief.

"Believe what you want to believe. All I know is that food was in short supply." Saddam continued "Well, when Trekky and the others said to turn back, again I thought you would. Instead you pressed on like lemmings. Every time you stopped afterwards i was ordered to do a little sabotage work. I'm so sorry.

"That's my story, kill me now and they'll have no reason to keep Saha hostage. i did my duty, now Diego will release her. That's all I care about." He leaned his head back and closed his eyes, waiting for the bullet.