Tuesday, July 6, 2010

The C.W.A. of Dr. Z. Smith: Episode 61: The Undercity



Last week as you recall…
  Water dripped from somewhere.
   Drip.
   Drip.
   No one comes to this portion of the city anymore, not if they can help it.
Thousands of pipes, some functioning some not, hung at head height, just waiting for the next careless blunderer.  Legopolis, {the city above,} like most cities is mainly built on itself.
  But unlike most cities Legopolis is built on a plateau high above a desert, and the forgotten alleys and lost sewage systems are exposed on all four sides.
   A security flaw the french were only too happy to employ.

-=-
Dr. Smiths head smacked into another pipe. 
 This one wasn't marked, but he could guess by the smell its application. 
   "Are you sure my charges will be safe?" asked, Teresa, recently rescued schoolteacher.
   "Don't worry.  Jeeves' hands are cold and robotic but thoroughly capable of handling forty-odd children."  Dr. Smith was beginning to get the hang of this 'talking to women' thing.  It was just like talking to regular people, but with the underlying threat of being murdered for a misconstrued tense.
"…shkz… Nous avons les idiots qui suivent le fou brun casquette dans le manteau coincé dans un garage. Au cours. …brzt."
Dr. Smith made a 'be silent' motion with his finger and his lips, and they faded into the shadows.

-=fig. 389: cleverly hidden=-

A man in black was holding a radio.
  It was not the kind which you could get Tchaikovsky on, but more of the hand-held communication sort.
  He had ensconced himself thoroughly into the belly of the city. Light was provided by a grille in the ceiling, tea by a teapot and a tap in the waterline. 

-=fig. 390: nefarious planning=-

He looked to be planning something nefarious, judging by his map and gun. 
He spoke into his radio:
"Droit. Tuer les idiots étrangers.  Laissez aucun survivant.  Au cours."
  Teresa gasped. 
   Dr. Smith looked at her, "What?"  He whispered.  They sneaked out of earshot of the Frenchman, and she told him.   
  "They're talking about Capt. Brown!" 
    "How can you tell?" 
      "Well, they're using code names, but 'the brown hatted fool in the coat?' Who else could that be?" 
         "What was the rest of it?" 
            " 'Right, kill the stupid foreigners.  Leave no survivors.' Don't you speak french?" 
     Dr. Smith chose not to answer.  He did not, in fact, speak french. It was a flaw, but he had never gone to school. 
There was an intermittent blast of steam escaping from a vent around knee height.  This made conversation difficult, because it's hard to squirm in pain and talk, but Dr. Smith had a plan.  
-=-
The man in black pored over the map. 
  His task was interrupted by the clouds of steam obscuring his vision.  
 His spine stiffened when he felt the thin metal presence at his Adams Apple. 
 "Hi there."  Said Dr. smith as the steam cleared, and pressed the knife threateningly closer to the man's neck. 
"Qui êtes-vous? Que faites-vous ici!"
   Dr. Smith looked to Teresa, Who was standing just off screen, she knew this signal.  "Tell him we won't hurt him, we just need him to call off his forces."  
Teresa nodded and translated: "The madman will kill you instantly unless you call off your troops."   The Frenchman quivered.  "Never! My life will end before I surrender.  For king, for country!"   
 "What'd he say?" Asked Dr. Smith. 
  "We have a patriot on our hands." Replied Teresa.
During all this conversation the Frenchman's hand had been sidling across the table, and now his fingers closed around the handle of his gun.  It was a small thing, easily concealable, but concealing it was not what this Frenchman had in mind.
-=-
The French forces moved closer. 
  The one who looked to be in charge received an order in french over his radio, 
The French forces charged.  There were quite a few of them, actually.  Certainly more than the few measly troops of the Legopolian army, who were trapped in the garage. 
Suddenly, gunfire from above.
-=fig. 391: the honourable brigadier=-
Brigadier Black laughed that guttural laugh of his and strafed the French once more from his position above the action.
  The French retreated.
   He removed the grate which separated him from the fight, and swung down.  "Why hello thar Cap'n. Be you needin' some help?"
 "Actually Brigadier, what we need is an escape." Said Capt. Brown, the rest of the measly troops agreed. 
 "Right then Cap'n, Here's me rope. Cap'ns first."
Capt. Brown went up the rope first, followed by the rest of the measly troops.   The French showed their heads once more, and Brigadier Black shot at them in a halfhearted way, just to keep their heads down.   Once the troops were safely in the higher-up passageway, Capt. Brown turned to Brigadier Black.  "Thank you Brigadier, that was a daring rescue.  You'll receive commendations for this."
 "Thank ya Sir, I'll add 'em to me others."
-=-

"Now, let's not do anything…hasty." Said Teresa to the Frenchman, but he continued to point the gun at her.
 "I'm prepared to die for my country, but by Jacques I'll take as many Legopolians with me as I can.
"What'd he say!"  Dr. Smith was getting worried now.  Teresa translated.   " I thought you told him we weren't going to kill him."
 "Some things get lost in translation, for example, the words for 'idiot' and 'foreigner' sound almost identical–"
   "Tell him I'm disappointed." 
Teresa was halfway through this translation when Dr. Smith kicked the Frenchman in the back of the knee, which, as anyone who has been kicked in the back of the knees will tell you, hurts like the devil.
The Frenchman collapsed.
 The poor man had hit his head on a lead pipe.
  Dr. Smith threw the lead pipe as far as he could, then removed the gun from the Frenchman's fingers.  He also removed the map from the Frenchman's makeshift table, and disappeared into the maze that is the Undercity.
 Teresa followed.
The Frenchman stirred…





-=Best Regards=-
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Sir Jacob D. Fredrickson Esq.
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Chief Executive Officer of Early Bird Industries, Inc.
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