Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Hanna Turned Eight

The C.W.A. of Dr. Z. Smith: Episode #87: The Radiophonic Racket

“I'm bored”
 “Zachary, sit back down.”

-=fig. 576: phone=-

About an hour ago Dr. Smith and Capt. Brown had been ushered in to this beige room, with beige walls and beige carpets by a friendly enough man with a zany voice, they had been encouraged by the receptionist to take a seat and told that Mr. Radio would be with them soon.
This boring room was the headquarters of QPFA, Downtown Legopolis, Your Source For Radio Programming.

It was also where Capt. Brown had convinced Dr. Smith they should start looking for radio dramas to play on TaVee.
  ”Remind me again why I had to come?” Dr. Smith whined, he wasn't good at sitting in one place for what felt like hours.
   “Because I have no idea how this thing works.   Don't worry, just leave most of the talking to me.”  Capt. Brown {being the Mayor,} was a good talker.
The big beige doors opened, and Mr. Radio stepped through.
   “I Apologise for Keeping you waiting.” He said.  “I hear you have something to sell me. If it's encyclopædias I have a set, if its cookies I'll take a dozen boxes of the mint ones.”

-=fig. 577: mr. radio=-

Mr. Radio was an older man, with a boring grey suit, a boring grey briefcase, and a boring grey beard.
  “Well, You don't look like little girls so you can't be pushing cookies.”
      “Mr. Radio,” started Capt. Brown “I am Captain James Brown, the Mayor, and this is my associate, Dr. Smith.”
     Dr. Smith was wearing his best tweed suit, which, if we're being honest, is just his cleanest tweed suit. Capt. Brown could only be described as…scruffy.
    Pressing police business had prevented him from shaving this morning, {but he probably wouldn't have remembered anyway,} And his leather trenchcoat was at this point more trench than coat. 
     Mr. Radio eyed them suspiciously.
The mayor everyone knows from the coins is clean-shaven.
   And has a funnier hat.
    “How did you get in my building?” accused Mr. Radio,
       “Sir,” Dr. Smith said “I have invented a technology that will revolutionise radio forever.”
    “Oh you have, have you?  And what have you invented?  A deeper bass? More powerful antennæ? A new kind of cowboy? You and every other crackpot. Get out of my lobby.”
    Dr. Smith couldn't understand sarcasm, so Mr. Radio's speech was baffling to him.
  “I haven't invented any of that, what I have invented is a way to transmit and receive moving pictures over the radio waves. Cheap, too.”
    Mr. Radio stopped, “Moving Pictures…You mean like movies?”
       “Oh yeah!  It could do movies too!”  This had never occurred to Dr. Smith.  “James, next we need to talk to RKO.”
    “You got it Zachary.”
     Mr. Radio waved off the guards who had come to firmly escort the crackpots out.
       “Maybe we should talk in my office.  Did you bring it with you?”
         “Yeah–” Dr. Smith said, then Capt. Brown stepped on his foot.  Things tended to go south fast when Dr. Smith had a chance to talk to actual people for any length of time.
              “It's the thing on wheels with the cloth covering it.” Capt. Brown finished “If you could get those strong-looking guards you just waved off to bring it in, it's pretty heavy.”
“Do you have an AC plug in this room?”  Dr. Smith asked.
   “In the corner.” 
    The TaVee Flickered, and emitted a gentle static. 
It sparked to life.
-=fig. 578: on-the-go-tavee=-

“Ah! Who's that?”
 “Jeeves.  He's my…” Capt. Brown had warned Dr. Smith about this earlier, he had said that people don't buy things from a guy with a butler.  It gives the impression you don't need the money. “…Jeeves.” Dr. Smith finished lamely.
  “Sir?  Does the red light mean it's going?” Jeeves asked.
Capt. Brown handed Dr. Smith a phone. “Do you mind if we use your phone?”
Mr. Radio shrugged.
  Dr. Smith dialed, and the phone in the laboratory rang.
    “It's Live.” Mr. Radio gasped,
      “Didn't I mention that?”

 “So what do you call this thing?” Asked Mr. Radio.
   “TaVee.” Answered Capt. Brown.
    “Sounds foreign.”
      “It's an acronym,” Piped up Dr. Smith, who had forgotten all about letting Capt. Brown talk “It stands for Tele-Audio-Visual Entertainment Engine. ”
         “Free bit of advice, nobody will go for something that sounds that foreign.  Make your acronym two letters, TaVee won't go anywhere, but I can see TV taking off.  So what is it you want me to buy? ”
   This is where Capt. Brown knew what he was doing, in his role as mayor he dealt with a lot of trade professionals, “What we'd like you to buy are the rights to broadcast Ta–TV signals, you have the radio infrastructure, and we also think that some of your existing shows would look great in Living Monochrome, with very little initial financial outlay on your part.”
   Mr. Radio looked hard at Capt. Brown, “Have you ever seen a Radio Program being produced?  It's all done in a studio, where the sounds are best. Our Cowboys come in dressed in suits, our horses are cocoanuts.  Creating visual content would be a huge outlay on my part.  Why do I want the rights?  How do I Even know this is going to be popular?  What if nobody goes for it? I mean, It's awfully grainy.”
    “That's because I'm piggybacking AM 91.1 with a little radar dish strapped to my roof.” Dr Smith chimed in  “Once you start broadcasting it yourself the quality will increase exponentially.”
     “What  if somebody tunes into 91.1?”
“I think it's time to leave.” Capt. Brown said “I was going to let you in on the ground floor here, but I guess you're not interested.  Zachary, Where's RKO headquartered?”
  Mr. Radio stopped him, “I never said I wasn't interested, I just said it would cost a lot on my end.  How much do you want?”
   Capt. Brown took a quick glace at Dr. Smith, they hadn't actually discussed price.
      “Four-hundred dollars.  With a fifteen percent royalty on any advertising revenue you make. ”
    Mr. Radio took a step back.  “Four-Hundred… That's steep. Two.”
            “Done.  Dr. Smith will have the rights, all written up official-like, to you within the week. C.O.D.*, Because I'm nice.  Have a day.”
They left.
-=fig. 579: e street=-

Dr. Smith and Capt. Brown walked along the sidewalk, towards the next radio station.
“So…What did we sell him?”
   “The rights to broadcast on television. Being the first one on a new medium is a huge advantage.”
      “And he paid Three-Hundred-and-Twenty-five dollars for that?  Sucker.”
         Capt. Brown laughed, “Yes he was.” He said.  They'd started early, so they were planning on knocking out a couple more radio stations before lunch.  It was a nice enough day, slightly overcast, but nothing too threatening. If this weren't a city, A bird might have sang. Since this was a city, A seagull mugged a robin within an inch of it's songbird life.
   People buzzed about, obviously, stupidly busy.
      A phone-booth rang.
        It rang again.
          Dr. Smith passed it by.
             It stopped.
                Another phone booth, a few yards away, started ringing.
                  This pattern repeated twice more before Dr. Smith figured it out and picked up the receiver.
  “Sir?” Said a nervous, faintly robotic voice on the other end, “We have a…Problem.”

*Cash On Delivery

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

The C.W.A. of Dr. Z. Smith: Episode #86: It's good to be back, Sir

Last week as you recall…
-=fig. 572: firmware=-
“I hate to be a bother, Sir,” Jeeves said “But when may I resume my duties?” 
He had been instructed by Dr. Smith to stay put as a rather large cable was attached to his head. 
This wasn't anything to worry about, though, because that's where his external connection port was located. 
The other end of the cable was connected to Dr. Smith's computer, and Dr. Smith was typing with abandon. 
  “Pretty soon,” He said, “I just need to update your firmware and run some tests on your diagnostic system.  Now that you can diagnose problems in an instant, I want to make sure it works. ” 
 Jeeves could feel the new data coming in.   It was odd sensation, not unlike how he imagined chocolate milk would feel.
 Jeeves was a robot.
  Dr. Smith's robotic butler, in fact.
   He had recently been put out of commission by a large amount of electricity, but he was fine now.
     He hoped.
Next to Dr. Smith, among the mess of tools and wire that was the floor of the laboratory, a Duke Ellington record reached it's conclusion.
 Dr. Smith, engrossed in code, didn't notice.
    Capt. Brown did. He exchanged it for music that more his taste.
       Elvis Presley rocked out.
         Capt. Brown was the mayor of Legopolis, {rhymes with Metropolis} the city where Dr. Smith lives, but he was also Dr. Smith's only friend.
     This was entirely Dr. Smith's fault, not that he would realise that.  Dr. Smith didn't mean to alienate people, it just happened, Usually.  Or I should say, regularly.
   Capt. Brown didn't mind though, he knew Dr. Smith was someone he could trust with his life.
  Being mayor is a dangerous game, and trustworthy people are few and far between.
    They never discussed this, however, being Men.
As Dr. Smith typed, Capt. Brown fiddled with the gizmos inside of the TaVee, {A Dr. Smith invention, used for the display of moving images, conveyed over radio waves.  There was only one in existence, but they planned on changing that once they went into Production}  Dr. Smith had explained the whole business to him, and he felt that he should know where the vacuum tube goes.  The old one had burned out, so Capt. Brown had removed it and got a new one, but he couldn't remember where it went.
  Ah, not there, then.
    Ooh, that looks promising.
*Click* *Brrrooo*
 “This is, um.  ‘LNN’  The er, Legopolis New Net– Oh this is stupid.”
 Capt. Brown hurried around to the other side of the TaVee, where a couch was set up,

-=fig. 573: news guy=-

He laughed, a deep belly laugh, like only a basso voce can produce.
  “Hey Zachary!” he said, “Somehow they convinced Karl Fester to be the news…guy. We need to think up a better name for that.”
   Dr Smith looked up, “News…talker?  News…Announcer?  You work on it, but you're right, NewsGuy doesn't roll off the tongue. ” He went back to his work.
   Karl Fester was Capt. Brown's third in command, after Brigadier Black.  Karl was a sneaky, conniving little upstart, but he did his job well.  Capt. Brown suspected he wasn't above assassination to climb the ladder to mayor-hood, so Capt. Brown watched his back, and kept Fester in plain view at all times.
  A job in TaVee was just perfect for him, actually.
   They had set up one of Dr. Smith's live-cams on top of the Mayoral Building, where they could enlist the help of the Rooftop Police, Capt. Brown's ace team of specially trained policemen.
Keep going…” Urged an off-screen voice.  Karl grumbled but consulted his script.
   “…Network…I'm reporting LIVE from the top the Mayoral Building in downtown Legopolis, where not moments ago tragedy stuck.  We go now to our…damn, work on your handwriting Goose, what does that say?”  Another policeman came into frame, he couldn't have been more than 5"2', but he had a fantastic neck.  He told Karl something, then hurried off-screen.  Karl started up again “We go now to camera 2 and our Man On The Street,  Harold?”  The Picture went black.
  It was black for so long that Capt. Brown was on the verge of getting up and seeing if something inside the machine had broken, then it came back. “Thanks Karl,” said a man who could only be Harold, He was standing outside a baroque-style building, with arches and flutey bits, it would have been pretty impressive had not all the broken glass ruined the effect.  “Today was a slow news day” Continued Harold, “At least, it was until 4:27 this evening, when the 3rd national bank was broken into.  They got away with quite a bit of money, we don't know how much yet because It's hard to count money that…isn't there.  Officials at the scene are unavailable for comment. We do have a picture of the criminal, and as soon as we figure out how to patch it into the feed we will.  This is Harold Rhydd, from downtown Legopolis.”  The picture clicked off again, and Capt. Brown figured they were trying to switch the feed back to Camera 1.  Capt. Brown reflected that this new technology had a lot of potential, and if they could find some programming that wasn't news or a live feed from the opera house, He and Dr. Smith would have a hit on their collective hands.  
  If only he could  convince the radio play people to make the switch to TaVee, that would do it. 
 “There.” Dr. Smith said. “You can get up now Jeeves.”

-=fig. 574: heroic pose=-

“How d'ya feel?”  Asked Capt. Brown.  
   “Just fine, Captain.” Jeeves Answered “And a lot lighter than I've ever felt before.”
     “It's that new alloy,” Dr. Smith nodded, “It's a third as strong but twice as light as the old stuff.  We shouldn't have any problem carrying you when you break down next time.  To work!”
   “Yes Sir!” 

   “Yes James?” James was Capt. Brown's first name. 
    “When are we going into Production, with the TaVee?”
      Dr. Smith shrugged, “Oh, as soon as we find somebody to manufacture the things, why?” 
          “Well, couldn't you do it?  Manufacture them here, with robots.”
      Dr. Smith looked at him, “James,” He said, “Jeeves has been my most expensive project ever, and It took me most of my life to make him.  I can't just…whip up another one.” 
             “No, but he could, and besides, you don't need most of his features, these would be production robots, they wouldn't need AI or a little hat. All they would need is a basic manufacturing program.” 
    Dr. Smith thought it over, the man had a point. 
   “I have just the thing” he said “Jeeves, C'mere.”
        “How long do you think it would take you to…whip up…a couple of Mk4's?”  Jeeves was a Mk12.  Every new prototype got a new Mk number. 
           “How many would you need, Sir?” 
             “Half a dozen or so.” 
                “About half an hour. Sir.”
                  “Do it.”
                    “Yes Sir.” 
       Capt Brown was taken aback, “Half an hour?” 
                     “He can go a lot faster than he does usually. Besides, we have most of the parts here.  I'll write up the Manufacturing Program.” 
     “Well… What do you want me to do?”  Capt. Brown liked having a project. 
        “You can write the manual.  It'll also need Helpful Diagrams, so you can, you know, draw those in too.” 
“Bravo, Jeeves, Bravo

-=fig. 575: 6 mk4’s=-

“They're not all the same.” 
   “I apologize Sir, but the Laboratory has not been set up to produce Mk4's since…shortly after you invented the Mk5. We ran out of copper with the fifth one,  so I did what could with steel.”
    “Well you did a great Job, Jeeves.  Load the code into them.” 
       “Yes Sir.” 
  The code was small, consisting of only few lines,  but it got the job done.
Var.MK4= Status.PowerOn 
  <Open> Program.1; 
    <Start> Manfac.TAVEE <Ref> File.TaVee</Ref>
<WHILE> Var.Resources=1+ goto: line3;
 <IF> Var.Resources=0 STOP

It also included a grand schematic of the TaVee, Where the wires go,  what it's made of, that sort of thing.
  The Mk4's were no smarter than they were pretty, but like their source code they got the job done. 
 Soon the process was well on it's way. 
   “Good!” Capt. Brown said, he had finished the manual, “Now all we need is something to watch on all of our new TaVees.  And I have just the thing.” 
 “What's that?” Asked Dr. Smith 
    “Radio dramas.” 

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Happy Natn'l Hat Day!

What?  You've never heard of Natn'l Hat day?  [ let me enlighten you ]
There, now you know as much as I do.  I Actually only found out about this yesterday so I've had no time to prepare, but that's alright because frantic writing about a subject I know very little about is what I do every week.

I Do know about Hats, though.

Anyway, here are celebratory pictures of all my hats, vintage-ized to my liking.  And check My Tumblr  Every Fedora Friday for descriptions!
These are in chronological order, sort of, and to save space I'll only be showing you my Fedoras. I Have a Pith Helmet and a couple of Top Hats, but the Fedoras are my favourite.

Don't it just warm your heart?
I only wear the last one with any regularity because the others have been retired, for one reason or another, stopped fitting, heavy rain, a bed crushed that straw one.

 Those rain-destroyed felt fedoras were [ this hat ]
But only the second one was bought off the website, the first one was from a Bass Pro Shop, which apparently sold hats.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

The C.W.A. of Dr. Z. Smith: Episode #85: garage

Last Week As You Recall…
Our heroes, in an attempt to get away from a russian bunker, had stumbled upon a giant room, with one wall open. 
But that wasn't even the good bit.

-=fig. 568: hangar=-

“Wow!” Dr. Smith said, “I haven't seen one of these in years!”
   Capt. Brown eyed the giant machine skeptically, “What is it?”
     “It's a plane.  It's what we used before hover-technology.  You're older than me, you should remember these.”
       “It doesn't look like any plane I've ever seen.” 
  Dr. Smith had to agreee with him there, for one thing, it was pretty ugly. 
   The wheels were too small and the wings didn't look big enough to carry the fat undercarriage.
     And it was brand-new.  If fact, it was so new it hadn't even been painted fully.
 Behind them, a dozen heavy boots ran down the hallway, in their direction. 
      “Maybe they're going somewhere else?” 
          “Zachary, We're the only door in this hallway.  So can you fly this…plane?” 
         Dr. Smith shrugged,  “Sure,” he said. “Anybody can fly a plane.”  Dr. Smith didn't go into how it was the whole ‘Taking off and landing’ bit he was unsure of.
      “Good,” Capt. Brown shouted back as he scaled the side of the machine “You got any more impressive weapons in that suitcase of yours?” 
   Dr. Smith climbed into the cockpit and handed Capt. Brown the first gun that came to hand. 
   It was a revolver. 
      Capt. Brown gave Dr. Smith a look as if to say ‘Really?’  But Dr. Smith was too busy trying to figure out what all the gauges and dials meant. 
  This process was interrupted by the arrival of the Russians, who, having found their comrades unconscious in the hallway, had figured it out pretty quickly. 
   It seems they had stopped off at the Armory because were carrying guns quite a bit better than revolvers.
    Guns they weren't afraid to use.
       “ZACHARY!” Capt. Brown was trying to hold off a dozen machine guns with a revolver.
         It wasn't working.
  Dr. Smith tossed Capt. Brown the suitcase and pulled a promising-looking lever.
    Capt. Brown drew a fresh pair of guns and the plane shot off towards the open wall.
         As it turns out, the wall opened onto a cliff.
   As the plane plummeted, Dr. Smith remembered about yokes.
    “Oh, Of course!  You pull back to make the plane go up!” He giggled insanely as they sailed away from the hangar.
   Capt. Brown started yelling about how he thought that Dr. Smith knew how to fly and what were you thinking and…
   The wind whipped his words away from their open-air cockpit.
     Once he realised this, Capt. Brown leaned real close to Dr. Smith's ear and Yelled “JEEVES”
     Dr. Smith got the message that time.
 They circled for awhile until Dr. Smith spotted the black dot that was Jeeves, he had slid down the wall more.
  “SET 'ER DOWN THERE” Capt Brown gestured wildly at a flat-ish bit of land near Jeeves' body.
    Dr. Smith had, in fact, taken a course on this.
     One course, three years ago, but he had taken a course.
       He remembered landing not being as hard as taking off, because the basic idea was to get the plane on the ground and not have the plane look like his first three tester planes.
          They had thrown him out before he had gotten to a fourth plane, but by then he had the basic idea.
               It was all a matter of angles and going around if you don't think you're going to make it.
  But they were going it to fast.
     And it was too late to pull out.
       Dr. Smith did the only thing he could think of.
          It became quiet.
             “Zachary?  What'd you do?”
                “I killed the engine.  But with…Oh, Flaps!  Good! With the engine off, we'll slow down enough so we can just glide in, nice and smooth.”
              Capt. Brown had his concerns with this plan, but he withheld them.
 The glided in, it was bumpy.
     They didn't crash.
        So that was a plus.
Capt. Brown practically fell out of the plane.
  Actually, he literally fell out of the plane.
    “Next time,” he said from the ground, “I'm flying.”
        “Fine,” Dr. Smith shrugged, “if you think you can fly better than me.”
“How come it seems like we carry this robot more than anything?”
   “Because we do.  Remind me to make him out of a lighter alloy next time.” 

-=fig. 569: my back=-

  “Here,” Dr. Smith said “Hold onto him for a minute. ”
     And as Capt. Brown found out, 400 pounds of robot is not easy to keep upright by yourself.
       “Hang on James, I've almost got the latch open.”
  Dr. Smith was failing to open the cargo hold.
    “rgksh! ar!”
         “Hold your horses, James.”
                “Got it! James?  James? Geez, James, I turn my back for five minutes. Come on,  Get up.”
 Capt. Brown groaned.  Having a 400 pound robot fall on you can, surprisingly, take the wind out of you.
  “Come on James, get up, we need to get out of here before they realize where we landed.”
   Aux.Input=<Start> File.FullSystemsDiagnositc </Start>
 Aux.Input=<Export> Var.File.FullSystemsDiagnostic.Data </Export>
-=fig. 570: repairs=-

Jazz music played from a phonograph near the operating table.
Jeeves' eyes opened to the image of Dr. Smith standing over him.
    He quickly shut his eyes.
 “Did you know it takes you 48 hours to do a Full Systems Diagnostic?  And for what?  This! That's what!” he held up a tiny piece of circuitry.  “Your cranial-power-regulator. It fried when the cage zapped you.  I carry four of these around in my pocket.  It's tiny but important and if your” He jabbed Jeeves in the chest with his wrench “diagnostic program went a little bit faster I could have popped one of these suckers in in Russia and we could have saved my back. So as a precautionary measure, I'm skinning you in a lighter alloy and installing more processing power.  Lots more.” 

  “A week to manufacture a lighter, stronger alloy, two days to install it, and a total of twelve days miniaturizing, installing, and partitioning a terabyte of RAM.  On the plus side, you should diagnose problems like–” Dr. Smith snapped his fingers “–That.”
Jeeves sat up.  He was wearing his Faux-Skin and his Butlers Uniform. 

-=fig. 571: messy, messy messy=-

“This room,” he said “Is a Mess.”
   Dr. Smith laughed.  “Good to have you back, Jeeves.”

Friday, January 07, 2011

Today in 2009

This deserves a toast.

Today in 2009 I Wrote the Very First Continuing Weekly Adventures Of Doctor Zachary Smith.
Today, two years and 84 episodes later, we're still going. 

Click Here!

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

The C.W.A. of Dr. Z. Smith: Episode #84: Everyone Dies Of Hypothermia

Last Week as you Recall…
“At his moment,” Dr. Smith said “It Looks like we have two options, we could continue, and almost certainly die of hypothermia, or we could turn back, and almost certainly die of Russian.”

-=fig. 575: yup, definitely russia=-

Capt. Brown Shivered in his thick leather trenchcoat.
   “I vote for Death By Russian, at least then we have a chance.”
 Without warning, Jeeves fell backwards, sliding down the snowy slope.
    “Jeeves!” Dr. Smith yelled, chasing after him.
 Jeeves, being mainly made of metal, gradually sunk into the snow before he reached the bottom of the slope.
        “drzzz, Sri? <var.Jeeves>=status.Malfunctioning
                                <Start> file.HardReboot</Start>
                                        if; "Status.file.HardReboot=Failed" =yes; <Start> file.MessageFail:
                                             <VoiceBox>((Sorry, <var.Sir>. I did my best, honest.))</VoiceBox></Start>
Dr. Smith watched as the robot became silent in the cold snow.
  He removed his hat, as is customary.  
    Capt. Brown did the same, he had climbed more carefully down the slope.

Replacing his hat, Dr. Smith walked towards the hatch that led back to the Russian bunker.

   Capt. Brown looked up and saw Dr. Smith walking away.  “Zachary?  What about Jeeves?”
     Dr. Smith Looked back, “He's a robot, James, he doesn't Die.  Once we steal a suitable vehicle, we'll come back for him. Until then he's 400 pounds of dead weight.”
They silently climbed down the steel ladder, into the relative warmth of the bunker. 
  A troop of Russians stomped past.
“Remind me again why we can't just kill them all?” Capt. Brown whispered,
  “Because we're the good guys.”  Dr. Smith whispered back.
 They carefully snuck into the hallway, and ran straight into two stragglers.
   Capt. Brown was a faster draw.

-=fig. 567: standoff=-

     “Hi!” he said softly, “We're the escaped psychopaths! Point us to the place you store your vehicles and you might live!”   There's something about a humorless smile and a soft spoken threat that cuts right to a man's fear cortex.
  The two Russians, though, were trained for this sort of thing.
     Dr. Smith Drew his sword and considered it.
       The lead Russian nearly lost his nerve, no one had trained him on how a three-foot sword could fit into an eighteen-inch suitcase.
         Dr. Smith looked up, “I know what you're thinking, ‘is it solid steel?  Or is it a collapsible, trick sword?’ Let's…find out together.”  Dr. Smith smiled, but his eyes just weren't in it.
   That sold it.
      “Отлично! Отлично! Я сдаюсь! Мы сдаваться! Пожалуйста, не надо!  Гараж в том, что путь, сорок метров!” 
    Capt. Brown, being a gentleman, helped The Russians to sleep.
       “It's too bad we're the good guys, because we'd make great psychopaths.”  He quipped.
   “I don't know much Russian, but сорок метров means ‘Forty Meters’, and he was gesturing that way, so let's go that way.”
    “After you, Zachary.”
They hurried down the poorly lit passageway, it would seem that Russians were no more fond of proper lighting than they were colors that aren't in the gray family.   As they went on the passageway turned from gray stone, to a gray metal, and terminated in a gray metal door.
It was locked, but helpfully marked ‘Гараж’ which meant that they had the right door.
  “James,” Dr. Smith said, gesturing at the lock and standing back.
    “Zachary, I can't Shoot it.  It's a metal lock on a metal door in a metal room!  We have a better chance of the bullet bouncing around and then hitting on of us.”
Dr. Smith sighed and snapped open his suitcase.
  It was gradualy becoming more empty longer they stayed in Russia,  His lockpick set was gone, the wrench set was gone, the lyrics to a Gershwin number wouldn't help the situation any, neither would a trumpet or War and Peace, But maybe that would work.
 He pulled out a flat-head screwdriver.  It was small enough, certainly.
   Capt. Brwon kept watch, which wasn't hard because theirs was the only doorway connected to this hallway.
     The door clicked open.
        “Wow,” Dr. smith muttered, “What a cheesy lock. Single barrel tumbler?  Eight pin system? I could have opened that in my sleep.”
    Capt. Brown reached over Dr. Smith crouched form and pushed open the door.
  It opened into a large, really cold room.
     The lack of heat was probably because the wall was open.
Dr. Smith looked up, “Oh,” He hadn't been expecting that.