Thursday, June 18, 2009

Heist, Part One

By way of introduction:

Some time ago, back when the Doctor Who novels were still accepting submissions from unpublished authors, I came up with an idea for a Doctor Who novel featuring the Seventh Doctor and Ace, where they assembled a group of criminals a la "Ocean's Eleven" for a grand theft of an expensive jewel that also happened to be the computer core of a fleet of invincible battleships. The range editor, Justin Richards, liked the idea...but unfortunately not quite enough to commission it. He did encourage me to submit something else, though. At that point, with what I have to consider to be perfect timing, the entire range collapsed due to the prominence of the new series, and novels set in the "classic" Doctor Who timeline ceased to be. Oh, and they decided that the new series novels would exclusively use authors who'd written for the range before.

But I've still got the two sample chapters I wrote and the synopsis, just sitting there on my hard drive. And here I've got a blog that's always starved for content. So, for the next few "until it's dones", allow me to entertain you with a serialized version of "Heist", an adventure for the Seventh Doctor and Ace!

(Um, they don't show up until Chapter Two. Just to warn you.)

Chapter One

To Catch a Thief

The safe itself had pressure-sensitive plates that measured the weight of its contents, instantly setting off dozens of alarms if the balance of its weight changed in any way. The computerized lock on the safe responded only to the genetic code of its authorized operator, and any attempt to open it by unauthorized users fused the lock into a solid mass of metal. This left force as the only option for a potential thief, and given that the material of the safe was composed of pure styronium, a metal whose melting point could only be reached by the heart of a star, it seemed like the one-billion-diam insurance policy that came with each safe would remain safely in the pockets of its manufacturers.

The room in which the safe was located, in turn, had a number of security measures of its own, all of which triggered more alarms; three separate and redundant sets of motion detectors, each with its own internal power supply, more pressure sensors on the floor, electric eye laser grids, and a web of nano-machines that prowled the room, constantly in Brownian motion and looking for anything out of the ordinary.

Outside of the room, one encountered two guards; after all, computers had their advantages, but the living brain still beat it in some highly specialized areas and as a further redundant system, it helped the owner of the contents of the safe sleep at night. They patrolled the hallway leading to the room, which had a lock of its own with a numerical keypad that accepted a ten-digit code, thus presenting the hypothetical thief with a further ten billion possible errors to make in their quest for ill-gotten gains.

The hallway, in turn, was part of a house whose entrances and exits all contained security devices of their own, and which had guards patrolling the different floors. A private security firm that catered to the very rich employed the guards for their ability to seem reassuring and non-threatening to their clients, while at the same time remaining highly capable of dealing with intruders through a number of options, up to and including lethal force.

They also employed them to handle boredom very well, because any potential intruder would have to have gotten through the grounds before getting to the secured entrances to get to the guards inside the house, and the guards patrolling the grounds would take care of them. Even if they didn’t notice anything—after all, the grounds were quite vast—the owners had twenty-seven German Shepards, imported at vast expense from ancient Earth. They weren’t even clones; these dogs had actually been bred from the original ancestral beasts that had guarded humanity before they made their leap to the stars. Their owner could sell any one of them to buy a small continent, but preferred the reassurance that came from their excited barking when they happened upon an intruder.

Of course, that intruder would first have to scale the three-meter wall that surrounded the entire estate, keeping everything inside in, and more importantly, keeping everything outside out. The owner, a sweet old lady who’d inherited a vast munitions fortune, considered all this a small price to pay for knowing that she and her belongings were safe.

A little knowledge is a dangerous thing, thought Amanda Delacourt, professional cat burglar, as she went over her selection of tools one last time. The dogs were a nice touch, though. Very quaint.

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