Friday, May 6, 2011

Walnuts, Part II

Author's Note: I intended to post this yesterday, but time got away from me. Brownie points to anyone who can source the blatant references I've used in Part II.

I began to hear shouts echoing through the train, coupled with many sets of footfalls coming my way. One set was particularly heavy, and it belonged to a bald Russian with arms the size of my legs and fists the size of my head. As if that wasn't intimidating enough, the minigun he was carrying looked like it had been forcibly detached from a ship or some sort of aircraft. The multiple barrels started rotating as soon as he saw me.

Getting out of the way of a minigun is difficult in most cases. On a train, it’s impossible. I quickly instructed my suit to divert all of its power to deflection. Each bullet vaporized as it hit the suit, but the force of the attack threw me back into the bulkhead.

We’re losing power, said the suit, sounding almost frantic. At this rate it won’t be long before we won’t have enough power to lock onto the temporal beacon.

In hindsight, I probably should have pulled out my Z-10 Sleep Pistol before then, but now was as good a time as any. Ducking under the bullet rain, I yanked it from its holster and fired it straight into the Russian’s face at nearly point-blank range.

Nothing happened for several seconds, and I feared that the shot had been somehow ineffective, but his eyes rolled slowly up into his head. The minigun fell to the ground with a crash, and he followed soon after.

“Cloak!” I told the suit. My body shimmered and became invisible, allowing me to move freely through the rest of the train.

I saw a group of armed men running in my direction. From their shouts, I could tell they were a mixed group mostly composed of Czechs, Russians, and Lithuanians. I slid against the bulkhead, allowing them to pass.

It was a long way to Timmy’s car from the caboose, but I finally made it. The door was locked.

“Phase!” I whispered. “But keep me cloaked.”

That’s ridiculous! I’m a utility suit, not a magician. Besides, if I tried to do that, we wouldn’t be able to find the beacon!

“Do it. I’ll use the train’s power system to recharge.”

Are you sure? Please say yes to confirm.

“Yes, I’m bloody well sure!”

It doesn’t have to end this way. I could push you off the train…

“Your programming won’t let you. Now, do as I ask.”


I suddenly felt very strange, like my molecules had all become slightly looser than normal. It reminded me of some strange anesthetic, only I was still fully in control of myself.

I stepped forward through the door. I mean, quite literally through the door. The room was opulently decorated in red velvet and solid gold molding.

In the center, on a velvet and gold throne decorated with intricate scrollwork, sat Timmy. Timmy was not at all what I expected. Timmy was…a child. He couldn’t have been more than 12 years old, really. The briefcase man stood in front of him.

“You’re sure everything is as I ordered, yes?” said Timmy in a high, squeaky voice. My suit was translating for me.

The briefcase man nodded. “Yes. Moscow sends its compliments.”

“Good.” The boy pulled out a silenced pistol and shot the briefcase man right between the eyes.

I saw an opportunity and seized it. Grabbing the briefcase, I ran as quickly as I could in the direction of the control car.

“NOOOOOOOOOOOO!” echoed Timmy’s voice behind me. Suddenly, I heard a roar that sounded somewhat out of place.

Apparently, I had forgotten to account for the genetically engineered lion. The beast was racing after me at breakneck speed, smashing through anything in its way. Thankfully, I had some lead-time, so when I reached the control car I piled up anything I could in front of the door. The conductor was looking around frantically trying to find the source of the moving objects, so I conked him on the head, knocking him unconscious.

The lion had reached my barricade, and was pounding itself against the door.

“Suit, activate recharge mode.”

Finally. This will only take a moment.

I opened an access panel and shoved my hand into a mass of wiring, drawing as much power as I could from the train. Meanwhile, the door behind me was starting to look more and more like a smashed tin can. Just as the lion managed to push its way in, my suit chimed.

It’s done! Locking onto the beacon now.

I disappeared as the lion began to close its mouth around my arm, reappearing in the mission room at Central Command. The walnuts were finally where they belonged.

“Well done, old boy!” shouted Commander Tibbs. “We’ll send these on to Great Britain as soon as possible.

And so, the human race was saved once again from Russian hegemony. To this day, I still haven’t figured out where the lion came from.

The End

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The Institute for Circular Reasoning by Peter Semple is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.