Friday, May 1

the writing on the wall

Darien emerged silently from folded space, still clad in the armor of the Blood Wing Knight and hovered on crimson wings over his Steelhead home. He descended slowly, twin beams of light illuminated his gaze from beneath his helmet as he scowled at the graffiti painted on the rear wall of the metallic box known as Mason Labs.

"Sparky! BOX! The natives are resorting to vandalism! Clean up this mess! Quickly!"

"Yes Doctor!"

The violet field of energy dissipated just before the doll emerged from the bleak aperture of the laboratory in a maid's outfit. She carried a mop, bucket, and a solvent can. BOX, a small black droid with yellow orbs for eyes lay the wooden ladder on the stairs and used it to safely glide on its treads up the precipitous incline.

The Basic Operational eXpendable unit was a wind-up model designed for laboratory work and had never been outside the facility, except in a shipping crate. It was equipped with treads which were perfect for transporting beakers of unstable compounds across the room, but were far from optimal for scaling the steep stairs leading up to the front portal. It tried to tilt its treads, but could not achieve the desired angle. It tried to jump, but only caught a couple inches of air an instant of hang time with each attempt. From outside, Sparky heard a flew loud CLUNKS from the attempts.

Sparky watched as the end of the ladder jutted 45 degrees upwards several yards from the portal. BOX, having never been outside the lab, assumed there was another wing of the facility beyond the field and sped to the tip of the far end of the ladder. BOX rotated its head backwards to register the error as it realized it was hanging precipitously on the tip of the ladder in open air. BOX rolled backwards towards the portal to avoid the fulcrum effect and the prospect of crashing it down on the steps and smashing the ladder to boot.

Sparky gasped in alarm as she saw the violet web of searing energy reform, severing the ladder down the middle. A clatter was heard from inside the field as the back half tumbled down the stone steps. The rest of the ladder began to slide backwards, vanishing in smoke as the field reduced inch after inch into black smoke.

BOX beeped in apparent terror as it immediately rolled its treads as fast as it could up its side of the ladder to avoid the disintegration field, which in turn sped the ladder's slide into the field. The droid quickly pulled out its key and ran its coils into overdrive, its metal frame rattling as it used the last yard of ladder to catapult itself into the air. It tumbled treads over antenna, and sparky dropped the mop and aerosol can and crouched, holding the metal bucket in front of her face as protection as BOX crashed in a heap on the cobblestones of the Port Harbor street.

Sparky laid down her cleaning equipment and quietly stood next to BOX. She picked up its key from the ground and pushed it through the aperture in its back. After several turns, BOX slowly righted itself and spun its limbs back into proper place. BOX noticed the twin wisps of smoke, and spotted a couple rungs worth of ladder left on the ground that fell from the stairway as he went airborne. The ends of the ladder still smoldered. Sparky picked up her tools and skipped her way around the street corner. Once she reached the back wall, BOX rolled up next to her, offering her the smoking fragment of the ladder. Sparky blinked. BOX propped the fragment against the wall. It was only a foot of climb at the most. Sparky shook her head at the droid.

Darien hovered above them silently, his attention wholly transfixed on the graffiti.

"What does this mean, Doctor?", she asked as she gingerly perched on top of BOX's shoulders.

Darien drifted to the roof by the defaced wall and landed.

"Nothing, sparky. Nothing at all."

Sparky shrugged and sighed as she began to spray the solvent, causing the first letter of GENESIS 27:22 to seep and bubble down the length of the black sheet of iron.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

A wonderful recounting of a hugely comic event with a dark, worrying end... and damn you for making me read a bible passage for the first time in well over 20 years!