Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Sef-Taught Superheroes, Part Ten

My dream kind of skipped ahead to the point where I got caught.

In real life, it didn't happen right away. In real life, I managed to shift some of the sacks of rice around to the point where I could make a little bit of space for myself to squeeze into (I'm not actually very big. Like I said, I think I've probably got one more growth spurt in me. Either that, or I'm always going to wind up with a reputation as a dirty fighter solely because enemy groins are actually closer than their chins.) Lord Raptor's men unloaded the goods with the kind of bored, passive indifference you might expect from people who were hardened mercenaries dealing with non-threatening groceries, and left me in the pantry.

I pulled myself out of the rice as soon as they left. I figured they were probably leaving the putting away of the food for the actual kitchen staff, and I didn't want to hang around while someone put each bag of rice on the shelf and noticed the toy surprise at the bottom. I slunk over to the door, keeping an eye out for security cameras the entire way...and the door didn't open.

That was a little awkward, to say the least. Although superhuman reflexes did save me from smacking headlong into it.

After a few seconds of examination, I found the electric eye located alongside the door, and it didn't take a genius to figure out that Lord Raptor's men had some kind of device to open it. It was actually a really good idea; even if someone did get into the base, they'd have no way of moving from room to room without an escort, while Lord Raptor could maneuver troops around freely. It was the kind of detailed, extremely significant intelligence on Lord Raptor's operations that I really wished I'd known before I snuck into their base.

Then the door opened. I'm not sure who looked more startled, me or the guy staring at me.

He didn't stay startled for long, though. One of his hands was already reaching for his belt when I grabbed it and dropped my hips into a throw that sent him sliding into a few dozen cartons of eggs. (Jujitsu. Seven point six minutes, seven hundred ninety-six in the Dewey Decimal System. Time well spent, I think.) Because I didn't stay startled for long either. I covered the distance between us in a sprint that would have made Usain Bolt slink away in shame and converted my momentum into a kick that had very little mass, but lots of velocity. The mercenary's eyes rolled back in his head and he slumped into unconsciousness.

I searched him for anything I could find that looked like it might be a door opener. Took me a couple minutes, but I found what I was looking for. After that, it was off into the rest of the base. That was about when I realized just how stupid I really was when I came up with my plan. The base was huge, with miles of featureless corridors and no maps to be seen anywhere. Probably Lord Raptor's men drilled for ages to learn where the barracks were and how to find your way to the bathrooms and stuff, but I didn't know where I was going even if I knew how to get there, which I didn't. And of course, I was wearing a bright green and white outfit with a red mask covering my mouth. I could not have stood out more if I'd actually been wearing the cheerleader outfit I was dreaming about.

And I didn't know it was even worse than that. The doors were linked to a central computer system, and each door opener had its own unique serial code. As far as the computer was concerned, Raptor Soldier #97681 had just wandered away from his station and was taking an erratic walking tour of the entire base. Took them about ten minutes to decide to go after me and about thirty seconds to find me after that. Well, that's just a guess--it's not like they gave me their split time or anything--but given that they could track my exact location every time I went into a room, I figure it wasn't exactly hard for them.

Which was right where my dream jumped to. Me, in the middle of what seemed like endless featureless corridors that branched onto endless featureless corridors, suddenly finding herself trapped between two groups of soldiers wearing stun cannons.

That's when the alert sirens went off.


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