I actually have something to post here today! I don't think I'll have another something to post by the end of the month, but at long last I am done chapter 3's first draft. Woot! Not much more to say. Spent the last weekend in Calgary statisfying my wife's dire need for horse things. The Master's show jumping tournament ran all weekend, so we went to that. The whole time I was there I was writing this blog entry in my head, but I think I'll stay my hand. I will say this though; the riders and their horses make what they do look effortless. And there in lies the rub. To an uneducated man, one outside the realm of horsecraft, the necessary details are lost. Most don't know the difference between a lead change, the proper amount of paces between jumps or the benifits of a bitless versus a bitful bridal. The decades of work some of these athletes have put in to be the best in the world are so a part of how they preform that they are invisible to the untrained eye. Similar to golf, bowling or darts, the prize is given to the most consistant participant. The perfect round they strive for is, arguably, the most unremarkable round to watch. At least in bowling you get to watch the pins crash.
That's my rant on that :) Next year I think I'm going to the ZOO! Cause, you know, monkeys.
Chapter three, as promised. I didn't even do my normal edit of this fellow, so we'll see how that goes. The next installment, I suspect, will be at least two weeks hence, thus breaking my goal of two per month. We shall see, as I have the chapter formed in my mind, it just needs to be exhaled. Enjoy, till we meet again!
"I find it opputune at this time to point out that I said we would both handle this situation when I returned. I beleive I put emphasis on the when I returned part." Jonas said angrily, "Imagine my surprise when I see you through the window of a premier cafe wrestling that brute by yourself. Exactly what part of my request did you think that I meant for you to come and handle the job by yourself?"
"When they called back and doubled their offer." Paddy said.
"Oh, well then, job to be done." Jonas said, his mind suddenly filling up with possibilities to spend their new found wealth. They only needed to catch a 30 ton monster withough hurting it.
The two of them were hunched behind the wreckage of a produce cart while the escaped creature was running happily amok in Tacturn square some three blocks south of Cafe L'Oriet. Jonas had collected Paddy from broken counter that stopped her flight and the two of them had chased the creature as far as the square which, up until the hungry tortoise had arrived, had been in the middle of a lively farmers market. Now the market had turned into something of a buffet and the monster was munching happily on a wagon heaped tall with cabbage having already depleted a similar wagon full of patatoes. A few of the more valiant and fool hardy city watch were attempting to bring the monster down with small arms fire and a slightly more creative watchman was hurridly requesting heavy backup. If the heavies were dropped in, Mynfield Investigators could kiss their commission good bye. Jonas tapped his chin, deep in thought.
"Its a red tortoise, they live mainly in lava fields. They love the heat, their bodies are built to withstand all kinds of heat and pressure. It actually makes the perfect digger, which is probably what Juris labs was commissioned for."
"What does that mean?" Paddy asked impatiently.
"It means to stop it we'll need to get it cold or wet, or both." Jonas said. He tapped the gun that Paddy was carrying, a heavy looking cannon with a glowing blue sphere near the business end. "Whats that do?"
"Super heated plasma..."
"Right, won't even make a scratch on that fellow. It'll do about as much as those idiots out there with their carbines." Jonas said, "we need a way to lure it closer to the bay. Do you have a way to contact Juris?"
"They gave me a line..."
"Ok good, good. Give that here. Good, good" Jonas said, head bent and quickly thinking. "What I need you to do is head over to the front of the alley and shoot that thing."
"I thought you said it would be resistant to this weapon?"
"Oh it is, you'd do more damage if you threw it at it." Jonas said, "it'll heat it up though, and maybe, just maybe, we can use the charge to lure it away. Maybe to somewhere less populated."
"You have a plan?"
"Of sorts." Jonas waved his hands, "if it follows, head for the bay. I'll tell Juris to meet us there. Assuming they have something that can transport that monster. Honestly, if you're going to make a super creature thats incredibly reistant to damage AND heat, you better make sure you have a way to catch it if it runs away. We are NOT equiped to handle this kind of thing!"
"If it doesn't follow?" Paddy said skeptically.
"Well then I am open for suggestions!" Jonas said, "given that you have already accepted the job, I would be loathe to back out on it now. Working with royals is like dancing with an elephant; it leads, and you better follow else you're losing a foot."
"The Paloscia family will take more than a foot."
"Precisely why this must work, scuttle along now, I've got a call to make."
Paddy growled then hefted her gun and loped off into out of view. Jonas sighed, took a deep breath and activated teh direct line to Juris labs.
"Hello, this is Jonas Mynfield of Mynfield Investigations." Jonas said brightly. There was a stream of demanding and angry words from the other end and Jonas reacted by moving the ear piece away until they had subsided. Hesitantly he put the ear piece back within hearing range and continued. Victory favored the bold, so they said.
"Right right, I understand you have a rather large... er, project that has disappeared from your labs. Yes, yes... right. I also understand that you may have understated the size of said project when you were speaking with my associate. No, I'm not being difficult, I am trying to clarify. No, I am also not being coy. Yes this is a business call." Jonas rubbed his forehead with a hand. "What I would like to know is if, in fact, you are able to transport your project. Right of course you can. But you can't capture it yourself? No I thought not... Right."
From out in the square there was a loud whine followed by the sounds of city watchmen yelling and diving for cover. Jonas didn't quite close his eyes soon enough as the square was lit up like the surface of a star for a brief second, and had to blink away the spots that resulted. There was a loud rumbling and what Jonas hoped was a happy roar. The cobblestones under him shook as teh creature lumbered off in teh direction that Paddy had been told to head. Jonas breathed a little sigh of relief. He turned his thoughts back to the nattering voice on teh other end of the line.
"Yes, ok, I understand. Now you need to listen to me, we are working ahead of the city watch and hope to have the creature in a transportable position before heavy reinforcements arive to deal with it." Jonas had to stop for more nattering.
"Yes the army has been called, it is the only way the watch has of dealing with a threat of this size. We are currently working ahead of them, and will continue to do so. What we need from you is to be ready to collect your project near the bay. A large boat or drigible would probably be best. Do you understand? Good. We will see you presently."
Jonas stood, brushed the dust of his pants and storlled over to help up a watchman who happened to be a Serian woman, large with red skin and think black hair.
"Are you alright miss?"
"I be ok. Thank you." she grunted, accepting his hand. Jonas had to brace himself to help her back up onto her hippo like feet, holding teh wide palm in both hands. Her comrades were shouting things and trying to find their guns, even though they'd proved ineffective so far.
"Seems quite teh ruckus, has the army been called?" Jonas asked inocently, bending to retrieve a lost belt as the Serian checked teh actions on her gun.
"Ja, we call them quick." She said, "they sending a mystical response team, be here soon. You not worry. Thank you again." She accepted the belt and looped it around her wide waist.
"Goodness, its that big a problem? I hope they do get here soon." Jonas said, smiling big and plucking at his pocket hankerchief. "I have a meeting soon in this quarter."
"They give time, five minutes. No worry, we take care of it." The watch-woman tried patting Jonas' hand sympathetically, but ended up leaving a bruise. Her unit was running off and she followed the path of destruction down what was once a sleepy little street. Jonas waited until they had turned the corner and sprinted off at an opposing angle. The beauty of knowing where something was going to be is that you'll likely get there first. Paddy was making her winding way with the monster in tow down the widest streets she could find, Jonas had no such restictions and vaulted back yard fences to race down blind alleys. By the time he reached teh bay, he was a good five minutes ahead of Paddy and her monster. He could still hear the whining of her gun, and see the bright white light over teh roof tops, but they were still blocks away. He slouched down and caught his breath a moment before looking out and down to teh water, trying to find something that would serve his purposes. There was quite alot to sort through.
Where Jonas now stood was a merchant district full of markets and people of all nationalities and colors. What functioned as the docks doubled as an airship port as well, the actual water of the bay being some three or four levels down from street level with several layers of berths in between. All manner of craft were now docked there, from Mayon flying beasts perched on roosts to dull grey Ka' submersibles bobbing darkly down below. The wide open avenue between the docks and the city line was filled with men and women, some plying their craft as merchants, labourers, artisans prefromers and beggars. Still more were there on business, buying and selling merchandise from their ships, from carts from the backs of pack animals and mechanicals. As exciting and busy as it was, it was about to get more so. Jonas glanced to teh skyline of buildings that rose up behind teh bay, spied teh tell tale cloud of dust and debris rising up into the air and cupped his hands to his mouth.
"Attention, attention!" He yelled as loudly as he could. No one paid him any mind. Grumbling Jonas pulled a small cylinder out a hidden belt pocket and pressed one end to his throat.
"Attention everyone who can hear this!" His voice now boomed, drowning out the cries of the loudest hawkers. All eyes turned to see what the noise was and a large number of those eyes came to rest on Jonas. Jonas tucked the cylinder back in his pocket and jumped up onto the back of a truck that was mostly sold out of Ginish Greens.
"Thank you. There is a large and dangerous animal coming this way. It should be here any minute. I am not with teh watch, I only want to make sure that no one gets hurt while we attempt to restrain it." Jonas said as clearly as he could. "We are planning to drop it into the bay, off this empty berth. If anyone has ships beneath this area, they would be very wise to move them."
The immediant time following his space was quickly filled up with laughter and jeers.
"He musta lost a pig and 'e's scared someone will catch it before him!"
"No worries little fancy man, we'll catch your creature, it won't be too big for us." Three burly Natac Roughers standing nearly double Jonas' wiry height laughed.
"He's drunk! Or high on some other substance." A lady dressed in black decalred, waving a book fluttering with ribbons, "this is the path of folly! See him! The path of temperance is one of clear head!"
"Oi, maybe you can tell us where you found your folly, I've got a craving for folly!"
Jonas shook his head and hopped down from the truck box, "I tried, heavens help me I tried." He muttered. Louder he called out, "fine don't beleive me, beleive it." He pointed to the wide alley where Paddy was running out of, screaming people streaming away from her like the advance waves of a flood. The monster's head soon appeared, dripping whole cabbage from it's mouth and was soon followed by it's massive shell. It gave another roar and the the crowd that had surrounded Jonas broke into a cheering section that suddenly was betting on the survival of the monster versus the survival of the immediant area. Arconis was like that.
"Excuse me," Jonas asked one sailor, "what are the odds on me winning?"
The grizzled looking man squinted hard, "yer one of those adventuring types aren't cha? Are you with that scaly girly with the scary gun?"
Jonas sniffed, "as it so happens I am."
"I'll give you five to one in the monster's favor." The old man said after a moment of beard scratching, "seems fair seeing as you've got a fair amount of competition now."
"Competition...? Oh, hmm, I was wondering when they would show up." Jonas muttered, following the grizzled man's nod. "Their response time is getting better. A hundred on me then."
Jonas took off running towards where a small airship marked with Arconis City Watch crest with the words 'Special Response Team' was setting down onto stone of the docks. A great barrel chested man with short legs and a crisp blue uniform stepped woodenly out of the airship first and was followed by scurrying men and women in full tactical gear, crouched low and guns held out at the ready. Two more men and a woman emerged slower, each wearing a blue smock in the design of the watch's mystic division. Two of them Jonas didn't recognize, but the young blue man with the crooked nose he knew as Jamison Nook, a foul tempered man with a quick temper. The large man in front was none other than Chief Ronald Fairweather, a general that had refused to retire and so had taken up the position of Arconis city chief where he preformed mundane tasks with maximum force. Jonas had worked with him before; he was an animable old soldier. Fairweather spied Jonas in the crowd and waved him over with a hand the size of a scoop shovel.
"Ah, young Mynfield, here for the sport I see? I thought that was Paddy out there running around," Fairweather said in a booming voice. He held his hands behind his back and surveyed the square with a very critical eye, looking lastly on teh monster that was still plodding as fast as it could after Paddy as she threw shots of blue fire against it, the glare not even causing the old general to blink. "Looks to see that your Paddy is not doing such a bang up job, that weapon of her's is ineffective. You best step aside and let the watch handle this from now on."
"No sport, on the job, as it were. Just trying to draw the monster out of the city to where it wouldn't do so much damage Sir. We weren't trying to hurt it." Jonas said, "it likes heat, you see. Pady shooting it got her to follow her here."
"Heat eh? Well we'll give it plenty of that!" Fairweather chuckled, "now you watchmen, hop to! get those people back! You three, Jamison, Cawl, Nord, do whatever preparations you need to get rid of our friend there."
"Er, get rid of Sir?" Jonas asked carefully. His pocket where he'd stored the direct line was buzzing.
"Definately. Can't have a beast of that size running amok." The Chief said, hands still behind his back. Then he finally lowered his gaze and stared intently at Jonas. "Your job today isn't to capture that thing, is it? Highly inadvisable my boy, you'd be interfering with the Watch's business. And nobody interferes with the Watch's business while I'm watching over it."
"No, no of course not." Jonas said quickly, smiling broadly. "If you need anything from us Chief...?"
"We've got everything well in hand. Jamison there will cook that thing right in the shell with teh help of his two people. You can tell Paddy to quit running around like that. Best to just take a seat over there behind teh line and watch the show. Should be a bloody good one. Had roast turtle back in Neesee. Lads were starving for some meat and so they caught this turtle, cooked it up in a soup." Fairweather smacked his lips, "should think this one would taste well with a red Brazle Ale, eh Mynfield?"
"I fancy a clear Snaphle myself, but to each their own." Jonas bowed his head, "if you should need us..."
"We won't. Much appreciation for your assistance thus far," Fairweather said briskly, "if I had a medal on me I'd give you one."
"Right... right. Best of luck!" Jonas scurried away, grabbing the direct line from his pocket as he did so.
"Hello, who is this? Right, of course it's you... of course. Right. You're here? I don't see... ok, on the water? A boat? Great! How long? That's.. well there's a complication that has arisen such that I can not, in good coincience, given a time estimate." The voice ont eh other end started talking very loud and very fast. It was not happy. Jonas drummed his fingers on his chin, walking fast to the low wall that kept people from falling to their deaths below and scanned the water line. There! They'd even flown the Juris labs flag on three points of the broad hulled ship. There was a net and crane appuratus near the back that Jonas thought should suffice, granted they could get the monster down there before the Watch decided to call in heavier guns than the Mystics could muster. Jamison could summon all teh fires of the stars and Jonas doubted the tortois would be phased by it. As soon as Fairweather found that, he would have no qualms with calling in an air strike. Best to move fast, teh mystics had already started their chants, it wouldn't be long now before things would be heating up and Jonas couldn't do what needed to be done if he was talking to someone like this.
"That is an excellent point and I shall take it to heart! No, I am never sacastic, I am always scincere, but I shall have to work on that I suppose." Jonas said brightly, cutting off the stream of words coming to him from the ship below, "tell your captain to get ready, there's about to be a large splash!" Jonas cut off the call and slipped the phone back into his pelt pocket.
"I just have to figure out how..." Jonas muttered to himself. He caught Paddy's eye as quickly as he could and pointed over to where the Watchmen mystics were standing chanting in their small circle. She growled, fired one last shot for good measure, stunning the bystanders and then ran to where Jonas was waving.
"What now? I got it to the docks." She said, breathing hard.
"Right, well I wasn't counting on candlewick and the matchstick brigade over there..." Jonas rubbed his temples. "Think Mynfield, think! There has to be something else, something we can use... The red tortois lives in lava fields, and migrates with the warm winds, following the flow. They mate for life and generally lay a clutch of six to eight eggs once every ten years. they have an extremely long life time, over two hundred years. They come out of the lava fields to feed on vegetation but gain most of their nutrients by absorbing minerals from the lava in which they live. They... wait! that's it!" Jonas smacked his head and looked around fast, finding what he wanted in the form of a massive dock crane dangling a magnet. "The minerals in it's blood stream will make it magnetic! If we do it right..."
"Whatever you are doing, it should be fast. Look." Paddy pointed to the three huddled figures a geyser of fire was crawling up toward the sky and, as the two watched, it turned white hot and arced its way across the sky to strike the tortoise in the middle of it's shell. Jonas groaned.
"The hotter that fire makes mr tortoise there, the faster he's going to get. Heat jump starts his metabolism."
"You mean you had me firing at him, knowing that?" Paddy asked.
Jonas shrugged, "you're very fast and the amount of heat that boom stick can give that monster is very isolated. I doubt an increase over fifteen percent would be expected."
"It would have been good information to know." Paddy growled, "it almost caught me several times."
"Occupational hazard, now." Jonas tapped the gun in Paddy's hand. "We have got to get that thing nearer the crane, and he's not paying any attention to us right now. He won't pay attention to that thing now either. Why walk by the light of a star when there's a sun to use, right? Right. The mystics have pumped enough heat into that thing to last it for days and our employers are waiting."
Paddy nodded, "Operate the crane, leave the tortoise to me."
"How are you... ?"
"For once, don't think about it." Paddy said grimly, "it is not a solution you would have entertained. it is not smart. Be fast, it will be near the crane soon."
Paddy sprinted of again, towards the direction of the tortoise, leaving Jonas momentarily stunned. Whatever crazy stunt was being planned and put into motion, Jonas could only play his prescribed part and hope it was enough to reap whatever reward might come. He ran for the crane and breathed a sigh of relief when teh controls were not occupied. After a quick glance, he started the engine and brought the boom around. A few more testing pulls on the levers brought power to the magnet and lowered it. From his perch at the controls Jonas could look down to the water below where the Juris boat was bobbing slowly. Out in the square the monster was still being doused with fire, but Jonas could swear there was a tiny grin on it's massive mouth and that it was waving back and forth in content bliss. Paddy was advancing slowly towards teh flame engulfed turtle with what looked to be an abandoned power shovel gripped awkwardly in her hands.
"My word," Jonas muttered, "no, I wouldn't have considered that. I never consider suicide. Well, good luck girl."
As Paddy neared the blazing tortoise she raised the heavy shovel in over her head, triggered it's engine and threw it as hard as she could at the monster's head. The blow rang true and the shovel struck right where it was intended to strike, the softer tissue near the tortoise's eye and the shovel that was build to split solid rock dug in deep to the tortoise's flesh. A roar cascaded through the square as the tortoise felt it's first real pain and swung it's head heavily to see what had caused it's agony. It's one good eye came to rest on Paddy standing defiantly near teh creature, her clothes starting to smoke from the heat of the mystical blaze. She shouted something that was lost over the distance and started sprinting towards the crane. Fairweather was shouting too, and the mystics were wavering, their concentration breaking. The tortoise, however, had a very keen focus for it's attention and was now devoting all it's being to running very quickly after Paddy.
"You have to admire that, I suppose." Jonas muttered, bringing the cranes boom into position as a hundred tonnes of mutant tortoise bore down on his accomplice. Despite her best efforts to avoid being crushed, it looked as if she wouldn't make it much further. Thankfully, she wouldn't have to.
"Only got one try at this..." Jonas gritted his teeth and swung the crane boom a quarter turn before quickly flicking it back like a fisherman's pole, the heavy magnet casting out in front and striking the turtle across the side. The magnet stuck fast, but the raging fire was quickly turning the chain attached to it cherry red.
"better be quick, and over the side you." Jonas flicked the controls back as fast as he could, not even giving the creature enough time to slow down from it's charge. Redirected, the tortoise's charge was now pointing right over the edge and before it realized what was going on it had crashed through the containing wall and flipped over snapping the crane's chain before falling to eh water below. There was a gyser of steam and water that reached the specators still crowding around the square and th distinct smell of fish stew. Jonas striaghtened his collar and jumped off the crane. His pocket buzzed.
"Yes? Right, thats what I said we would do. It's your problem now, just wait until the water's cooled that fellow down enough, the colder he gets the slower he gets and then you can deal with him however you like. No, I'm not telling you how to do your job, I'm advising you. Call me helpful. I'm sorry you feel that way sir," Jonas said, "of course, yes, all damages you incurred can be deducted from our bill of service which will, incidently, be mailed out tomorrow. Yes, yes. Do as you may. Good day!" Jonas closed the line and threw it over the side of the bay wall, making it follow the same route as the tortoise moments ago. he hopped off the crane and started off through the crane. Paddy joined him.
"That went well." she was still breathing hard from outrunning the tortoise.
"As well as it could I suppose, our employer is still not pleased, of course I do not think they will ever be truly pleased. Apparently the monster clipped the side of their boat as it fell, damaging it."
"Tell him that is the least of the damages." Paddy cracked a rare smile and pointed out over the square, "the chief will not be pleased."
"Oh he'll be ok. All's fair in love and war, he'll say after he s finished fining us and yelling at us." Jonas sniffed, "in the end it will be lucky if we turn a profit." He was now elbowing his way throught he crowd. He could hear Watchmen behind him yelling, but he doubted they would make it through. Arconis crowds respected entertainers more than lawmen and were leting Jonas and Paddy through much more readily, with a few pats on the back even. Absently Jonas pulled the box that he'd recieved earlier from his belt pocket and handed it to Paddy.
"Half payment from the Taras family for our next job. it is six bars of precious Adol alloy worth about half a million." Jonas said, rubbing his jaw in thought. Paddy's eyes went wide.
"That's more money than I have ever dreamed of."
"Precisely," Jonas said, "which is why I do not think the Taras plan on us keeping it. I beleive they plan on killing us both once the job is complete and taking back thier bars. I want you to take this back to the office and put it into the safe, for now."
"And where are you going?"
"To find a sailor about a bet I just won."