SW10: December 2010 #4: Cauldron Book II Part 4 (of 7)

Scott Eiler seiler at eilertech.com
Sun Mar 20 19:25:38 PDT 2011

What Has Gone Before.

Summer Morgan and her friends Holly, Liz, and Margaret Jean have been superhuman 
agents for the United States in Nashville. Holly's been captured. When the U.S. 
Government says it can't rescue her, Summer and all her friends resign to mount 
an independent rescue mission.


Body Up
Operations Report
Friday, December 10, 2010

Hi, Norma. I still have this report template on my computer. Brain2Web helps me 
fill it out. Hope you don't mind.

Liz still has someone from USIB who talks with her. (Liz is really good at 
making friends. I never appreciated that until now.) Her contact says, the 
mermaid calls itself Cathy. It usually swam in the Cumberland River near where 
the militias were. They must have talked it into the impersonation mission. And 
it must have really been missing salt water by the time we found it.

Wow, it's really cool you know the people who run the Challenger II. They took 
us to Wyetheville, Virginia. That's about the only place people could take Holly 
northeast from Knoxville, Tennessee if they wanted to get somewhere else. No 
trace of them on the highway past here, though.

Challenger II brought the help you sent us. Thank Bandolier for us. His "Granny 
Sphere" is probably as good as all of USIB. But we're still getting used to its 
vocabulary. "Eeeee" means it's happy, right? (Citation)

But Granny Sphere still can't track Holly. I gave it some of Holly's old 
clothes. It's flying near Interstate 81 everywhere they could have driven, 
trying to "sniff" her DNA. But no luck yet.

Dammit, they must have realized we could still track Holly. They must want her 
alive, so they must be drugging the sh!t out of her. Holly, please survive...

Uh, Norma, see you tomorrow.


Body Up
Operations Report
Saturday, December 11, 2010

Norma, I don't care if "Philippe St. Jean Lateran himself" is in Massachusetts 
now. Do you really think that Massachusetts stuff is more important than 
rescuing Holly?

But thanks. The Body Up bus got to us in Virginia today. Brett loves it. He's 
gotten back into the old Ellipsis Z compartment with all the electronics. I 
still can't believe you actually had Ellipsis himself as your electronics tech 
once. (Citation)

I said hello to Mel the bus driver. He said, he'd done a lot of jobs since 
driving for Body Up, but he liked this one the best.

... Damn, it's hard to wait. Holly could be anywhere by now. Don't you have 
friends who can track brainwaves throughout the world? Or is it just Ellipsis, 
who has his compound in Western Australia now and doesn't care about the rest? 
Can't you find anyone else?

I still trust you. But let me know.


Body Up
Operations Report
Sunday, December 12, 2010

We finally got Holly's signal, from an abandoned lodge on the Blue Ridge Highway 
in Virginia! Her captors had made it past us on back roads and holed up there. 
We drove there, left Brett and Mel with the bus, and moved in on foot.

We found two women in USIB suits blocking the parking lot entrance! One said, 
"Summer Morgan, I have been so waiting to meet you."

"Fine. Let's have that meeting later. Right now, we've got a job to do."

"We've got one too. It'll be easier if you just let us do it."

Margaret Jean was trying to flank. The other USIB woman was countering. But Liz 
was just standing there.

Then Liz said, "Aren't you Karen Bodil? You were the best when you swam past 
Detroit!" (Citation)

"Uh, no comment."

"And you!" Liz pointed at USIB's other agent. "Aren't you Mary O'Hanrahan? Like, 
the reason they call the combat suits the Mary Suits?"

Mary said, "Karen, we're busted."

Combat suits? I said, "Please tell me you have combat suits on."

Mary looked at Karen. Karen said, "Uh, no comment."

"USIB won't give you combat suits either, huh? Even on a combat mission?"

Karen Bodil was spared from saying "Uh, no comment" again, because a car came 
out from behind the lodge. It accelerated at us, and the driver brought a gun 
out from his door window!

My team dodged, different directions. USIB's team threw something in front of 
the car, then dodged too.

The driver might have gotten a couple of shots off. But the car sagged. Its 
tires were flat! USIB had caltrop spikes now! Like jacks, only pointy.

But the car kept going. I've driven on flat tires. Why shouldn't they? How could 
we stop them?

It was going past me. I was on the passenger side. I jumped on, grabbed the 
handle, and punched in the window. I didn't have USIB equipment, but I still had 
gloves, so I didn't hurt my hand.

The driver didn't start shooting at me. But the car went around a curve. I hung on.

We went around another curve. He was busy steering, and I was busy holding on. 
The park barricade was ahead. We'd parked the Body Up bus right across it! I 
couldn't stop the car before it hit the bus!

But before the barricade, five big man-like things with shields instead of faces 
were standing together to block the road! What the hell?

Eek! I let go of the car door and rolled off. Oof! But I wasn't going that fast 
when I landed. Flat tires must have slowed the car down.

Crash! When I got the chance to look up, the car had crumpled into two of the 
flat-face things. But it hadn't gone as far as them; they'd moved up to it! The 
driver was unconscious up against the steering wheel. Oh, shit, some new enemy 
wanted us all!

But then I heard Brett's voice on a loudspeaker from the bus! *_"Perpetrator, 
you are apprehended."_*

The trunk of the car bashed open from inside. Imperilus stood up with two 
machine guns, and said, "The HELL I Am!"

... To Be Continued.


Author's Notes:

I've finally got the story moving again. I'd like to get it over with so my 
storyline can start invading 2011 in earnest instead of just reacting to plot 
challenges. Probably three more episodes.  I'm likely to just shove them through 
so I can be done.  Maybe that'll lead to more "story patches", but sometimes you 
just have to say "good enough" and move on.  I say that when I'm spending more 
time on the author's notes than the story...

This episode is online at http://www.eilertech.com/stories/2010/cauldron8.htm.

(signed) Scott Eiler  8{D> -------- http://www.eilertech.com/ ---------

Only their myths concerned peace and contentment, and that in such a
coercive, sullen package it was obvious that the Earth humans resented
the very idea.

- from "Passing" by Elaine Radford, Aboriginal SF, May/June 1987.

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