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Heavy Metal - Chapter 8: Are You Ready to Go?

 
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PostPosted: Sat May 22, 2010 1:16 pm    Post subject: Heavy Metal - Chapter 8: Are You Ready to Go? Reply with quote

Heavy Metal
Chapter 8
Are You Ready to Go?



“What the hell is going on Walt?!? Why did you take so long to return? And what the HELL is all this business all over the news about your truck being at the McCarran airport? That’s right, witnesses are saying they saw a truck tearing away from the airport that matched your truck’s description and while the cops might not have any idea what your old beater looks like, I sure as hell do! And what’s up with those agents? Are they after you because of whatever happened in Vegas… *wheez*-*wheez*”

Betty rarely displayed such frantic behavior, arms flailing in angry gestures, an almost upright posture, spears flying from her beady eyes, her flower-patterned day gown ruffling about like a witch’s robe. As she had strode up to Walt, her usual shuffling gait had taken a spry bounce in her wrath.

Walt merely harrumphed and slammed his creaky truck door shut behind him in a puff of dust, visible even under the starlit night. He sighed as he looked upon Betty whom, although still recovering from her rant, still managed to hold up a quivering finger under his nose while maintaining a stabbing glare. For a moment, Walt wondered if she were suffering from a heart attack, wondered if he could be so lucky, but then reminded himself that he’d more likely suffer that fate long before she did.

If he were to survive this evening that is.

Raising his hands defensively, yet speaking assertively, he began, “Now, look here Betty…”

“NO, YOU look here you old goat! I’ve been sitting here worried sick about you for hours and I’m NOT spending my golden years with my husband in PRISON!” Glancing over towards the dented and scratched fuel tanks jutting up from the back of the truck that rattled together as Dave tried to slip out of the passenger side covertly, she gestured towards them. “I see you got your precious fuel. What happened to the fourth tank? Did it fall out of the truck as you tore across town escaping the police?”

“One damned question at a time, Betty! Look, I really don’t have time to explain everything to you. We got caught up in forces… larger than ourselves.” Walt stammered to find some justification.

“And YOU,” Betty jabbed a crooked finger at Dave as he slunk along behind the truck towards the barn, freezing him in place. He stared at her as a rabbit looks at oncoming headlights. You could almost see his nose twitch. “Just WHERE do you think YOU’RE going? Those agents were after YOU weren’t they!?”

“Now Dammit, Betty, you don’t know what the hell you’re talking about!” Walt roared in Dave’s defense.

“No, I don’t. You’re right about that, mister. I don’t have any idea what’s going on. All I know is suddenly I’m realizing I’m not married to a man who I respected for chasing some crazy idea about becoming an astronaut before he died… no… no… instead, I’m finding myself married to a criminal. You’ve got the feds after you, the cops. What other secrets are you keeping from me? How do you think that makes me feel, Walt?!? I didn’t agree to waste our life’s savings on buying you a jail cell!”

Betty had suddenly had enough of words and the rest of what she had to say suddenly welled up in her eyes. She put her head in her hands and sunk to her knees in the gravel driveway, her shoulders surging as she sobbed.

Walt turned and nodded at Dave, giving his assistant leave to carry out their plans, then turned and put a weathered hand on his wife’s shoulder. Dropping to a knee, he hugged her as she bawled into his gray chest.

“Betty,” he rumbled tenderly, “There isn’t enough time to explain everything. I have to launch. It’s tonight or never. You’re right. I’ve screwed up. But I promise I’ll make it all ok. You have my word on that.”

Betty paused to look up; her misted spectacles remained in her hands, making her eyes look unusually small to Walt. Her gaze pled the question, “Can I trust you Walt?” He nodded in understanding.

“I do love you Betty and I won’t let any harm come to you. Which is why I need you to go get ready to visit Ben in LA. You need to go stay with him for a while. Just because he’s not talking to me doesn’t mean he’s holding anything against you.”

Walt never used Ben’s name these days. In fact, Betty couldn’t remember the last time she’d heard it uttered from the old man’s lips. Ben, their son. She did miss Ben terribly, and had been looking forward to a day when they could visit. But… like this?

For Walt, even mentioning his son’s name brought back little more than the painful words that had passed between them upon parting. “I’ve grown up with a freak for a father and I’m not going to take part in your craziness anymore! You’re nothing but a sad, senile old man and I’m ashamed to call you my… dad.”

The words echoed through Walt’s mind like thunder. Pursing his lips, he nodded, and thought to himself, We’ll see about that tonight, won’t we son.

Calmly, relaxing in her husband’s arms, Betty asked, “Are you going to prison, Walt?”

“Possibly, Betty. Possibly. But I promise you this,” Walt paused, looking up to the sky. “Not before I go up there.”

Betty nodded, and surprised herself by smiling. “Alright Walt. I’ll go pack my bags. But I’m watching you take off, you hear me?”

“Fair enough. I owe you that much,” Walt nodded.

“Damned right you do.” Betty declared as she stood up and dusted herself off.

~

Walt smiled as he entered the barn. Dave had been busy making rapid preparations already. The tarps were removed and lying in the corner.

There she was. His ship, fondly named the ‘Independent’, stood there majestically like a fallen warrior brought back from the dead. She’d seen space before, but never with the kind of control and command of the skies that she would have on this flight.

Perched on her platform in the middle of the barn, she looked like some sort of gigantic hourglass. Her lower ‘bulb’ had been nicely refurbished, a splash-down landing module from the early days of rocket flight. It had last seen use when man had just barely begun his exploration of space, sending tiny mortals to be overwhelmed with awe as they entered Earth’s orbit.

Yet for its time it was a marvel of construction, fully capable of withstanding the depths of space, deflecting lethal radiation and providing a rock-solid shield against all the miniature, gravel-sized meteorites that could still inflict great damage upon modern space-faring vessels. She had proven herself capable of withstanding the heat of re-entry, falling to earth like a shooting star and surviving the journey.

Perhaps, despite her extensive remodeling, she would find such a journey impossible to make successfully for a second time around; they weren’t designed for repetitive use. But the way things were arranged for her this time around, she shouldn’t have to.

It was ironic, of course, that one of the first vessels to carry man safely through a journey to space and back, would now become the first vessel to attempt to do so for a common man such as Walt; that such an outdated space-faring technology could be adapted and updated to reflect what could well be the very cutting edge of technological advancement.

Now modified, she sported a new attachment, nearly her twin in shape, placed above her, tip to tip like an inverted pyramid standing on her head. The upper ‘module’ was not, however, designed for a passenger, yet its function and engineering were only slightly less complex. It did not require the depth and intensity of shielding that the passenger module required, but it did require intensive wiring, piping, and stress testing to design.

It was here, in the upper module, that the ship’s engine was housed; the core of its capacity for flight.

Walt felt a welling of excitement growing in his gut, invigorating him as he stood upright, filling his lungs with a deep breath. As Dave fiddled with some electronic sensors, he glanced up at Walt with a smile on his face like a big kid playing with simply the best toy ever.

“How’d she take it?” Dave asked.

“Better than I figured she would,” Walt said as he walked over to the changing area, where another old recovered piece of outdated space program equipment awaited him, a glimmering silver space-suit he’d held onto since his Apollo days.

As he changed out of his dusty clothing and into the pressurized suit behind a faded, second-hand oriental fold-out veil in the corner of the barn, he continued, “I think she was blown away by my mention of our kid. Kinda’ snapped her out of it.”

Dave looked back quizzically. “You never told me you had any children.” For having known each other for years, Dave found it odd that he was suddenly finding out about this.

“Yeah, ungrateful cur. At least I found you. Without your help, none of this would have been possible.”

“So I’m a replacement for your errant son then?” Dave connected the dots as rapidly as he scoured through the wires of the ship, thoroughly making sure all were in order.

“I guess you could say that. Ben… was… supposed to help me with this project. He chose another path.”

“Yeah, well, seems all things happen for a reason, old man.”

“What do you mean?”

“You wouldn’t have gotten far trying to build that rocket you were planning when I met you.”

Walt chuckled. “Heh, yeah, I suppose that probably wouldn’ta worked out so well. Woulda’ needed a LOT more fuel for THAT.”

“Speaking of fuel,” Dave mentioned, “Systems check out. I’m gonna go pull the truck in and fill ‘er up.”

“Alright. This damned thing takes forever to put on anyhow, ‘specially at my age,” Walt muttered.

“Hey,” he shouted at Dave just before his assistant left the barn.

“Yeah?”

“Turn on some music will ya?”

Dave smiled and reached over to a wooden bench, pressing ‘play’ on the boom-box CD player there.

Music blasted out to fill the barn as the CD spun, declaring the words of Powerman 5000, “Spinning complacently in the darkness, covered and blinded by a blanket of little lives, false security has lulled the madness of this world into a slumber. Wake up! An eye is upon you, staring straight down and keenly through, seeing all that you are and everything that you can never be. Yes! An eye is upon you, an eye ready to blink! So face forward with arms wide open and mind reeling. Your future has arrived.

Are you ready to go?”

~

The fuel tanks on the Independent were full. Radio contact had been checked and rechecked. The camera systems, adapted from deep sea explorers, had been confirmed online and functional. All systems had been thoroughly tested and sunlight was crawling over the mountain ranges on the horizon.

They had towed the launch platform into the center of the courtyard in front of the house. Betty had packed her things and her car awaited her travel.

Walt had finally taken some brief time to explain, omitting any references to the supernatural, some of the events of the day before, painting the Bouncer as a heartless gangster who could come after them at any time. This had helped Betty to understand the need for her leaving that went above and beyond the call to avoid authorities that may soon come to investigate.

Walt stood before the Independent, sunlight glinting off his suit, smiling as he lifted the hatch to step inside one last time in preparation for takeoff. The whole experience was beginning to feel like a dream. He smiled softly at Betty, who sat on the steps of the porch, dressed a bit more prepared for a day of activity than usual. She seemed to glow as the first rays of the morning sun caressed her face. Her worry was there, but there was something more… pride perhaps?

He nodded towards Dave who stood in the doorway to the barn, prepared to take his station at the computer control panels within. Dave’s smile was wider than the boy’s face! Walt realized he must have been wearing a similar expression himself.

He waved at them both and was about to step into the pod, when a movement around the side of the barn suddenly caught his attention. Perking up to peer towards the source, a glint of light reflected off of something metallic and dazzled him for a moment.

“Don’t move!” yelled a wiry blond man in a snazzy black suit and dark sunshades across his eyes. As Walt’s eyes adjusted, he quickly realized the glint had come from the gun that was in the man’s hands, leveled directly at him. “Step away from the vessel,” the man firmly insisted.

Dave ducked inside the barn, perhaps to find a place to hide?

Walt threw up his hands, despite being somewhat hindered in his movements by the weight and cumbrance of the suit. The thing could stop all sorts of radiation… but not a bullet. And he couldn’t risk harming the ship… could he?

Rounding the corner of the house, a tall black man in an equally fashionable black suit and sunglasses leveled another pistol in Walt’s direction, exclaiming, “Stay calm! We only wish to have a conversation with you Walt… and David,” he spat in the direction of the barn.

Walt glanced at Betty and she nodded as she held up her hands and half crouched into an upright position, indicating that these were the gentlemen she thought she had dismissed entirely the afternoon before.

“Damn,” Walt muttered under his breath, “So close…”

His eyes briefly twitched towards the craft. He could jump in and close the hatch, fire up the engine and leave in a flash… maybe.

“Don’t even think about it Walter,” the wiry one warned.

“We’ll arrest them both if you don’t comply,” the ebony man affirmed.

“We know you’re in trouble Walter,” stated the blonde as he stepped forward without lowering his weapon.

“We just want to discuss your options,” stated the tall one.

“While you still have some left.”



Need I say more about the DP? A bit weak, I know, but hey, debate it out. Should he jump in and take off now or stay and talk it out with the agents first. The police could be arriving at any time and so could the Bouncer, or perhaps Thomas. The longer the delay, the greater the chance he may never get to fly, and the agents COULD be bluffing him about ‘options’. Then again, leaving Betty and Dave to rot in jail as accomplices, at the least, doesn’t sound appealing. Something, by the way, is vaguely familiar to Walt about these gentlemen in black.
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CHAPTER 25: Near-Light Speed (NEW CHAPTER! (12/4/2011))
Zephyrrr! And...


Last edited by Thunderbird on Sat Oct 23, 2010 9:24 am; edited 3 times in total
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PostPosted: Mon May 24, 2010 2:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Congratulations on coming back with a bang! Betty's attack on Walt in the opening paragraphs I thought was very well done.

It may be the long wait since the last chapter but I'm a little lost on what would be a little familiar to Walt about the two agents, and whether this would mean a good or bad thing. That would have a bearing on the DP.

Without knowing what these options are that they want to discuss, he can't know whether blasting off or surrendering would be a good or bad thing for him, Dave or Betty.

If their intentions are well meaning, though, it may be worth hearing what they have to say. But at what risk?

Inside the spaceship he will be safe. They can't shoot at it, not with all that fuel around. And he doesn't care too much about whether or not he dies trying to get into space anyway, so threatening him with Dave or Betty's life would not be a strong card for the agents.

Presuming Walt can communicate to Dave via the technological set up in the shed, then it shouldn't take too much for Dave to rig up something for him to communicate directly with Agent Johnson and Agent Danforth - from the ship. Either through a loudspeaker or into their little earpiece thingies that all agents wear.

So, I say get in the ship, give Dave his instructions to set up a communication channel. Then the pair of them can negotiate with him, while he has his hand on the ignitiion switch.
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PostPosted: Mon May 24, 2010 6:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Walt's vague recognition of the agents has not yet been explained in the least. I just thought I'd throw that in as a factor.

I like the idea, but keep in mind that bullets on the hull (if they did fire at him, though you bring up an interesting point as to why they might not) could mean for a one way trip.
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PostPosted: Mon May 24, 2010 3:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Welcome back TB! Smile

My own sense of morality prevents me from saying anything but that he should wait and listen to what the agents have to say. Wink To leave Betty and David to deal with the situation is just not on. Plus, their guns could damage the ship. Or someone might get hurt if that is the way events unfold.

So, I say hear what they have to say, and go on from there.

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PostPosted: Mon May 24, 2010 3:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks Tika! Nice to see you're still here Smile
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PostPosted: Thu May 27, 2010 7:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Polling should commence shortly.

Thanks to those who've commented so far. I know it can be tough to pick up an SG that's laid dormant for some months.

And, too, while I know this hasn't been my best work to date, I feel its going to allow me to express some of the most pressing of the things I have to say.

And some may feel that I really should get back to some of the other loose threads I've let lie, to which, I agree. And that shall happen, eventually, provided the interest remains. To that, I say, keep in mind that everything I write here is interconnected and pertinent to the whole.

Of course, I also admit, every time IF starts slowing down I start feeling a bit freaked out about that. I do love this site, and everyone who's taken part in it up to now.
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PostPosted: Mon May 31, 2010 11:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sorry, TB I read this on Thursday, but didn't get round to actually posting.

Great to see this continuing and the chat between Walt and Betty was sweet.

Quote:
He could jump in and close the hatch, fire up the engine and leave in a flash


I find it unlikely he could do this given his elderly frame. And yet adrenaline and being so close to a goal has caused more crazy things to happen.

Is Dave just hiding or is he popping into the barn to flick on the outdoor lights attached to the barn... directly in to the eyes of the authorities, dazzling them just long enough for Walt to get in the ship and go for launch.

Too many ifs and buts and maybes. I look forward to the poll.

Happy Writing Smile
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 01, 2010 12:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've been thinking about this some more - this type of DP where there are pro's and con's to each possible action is one I like. However I think it is a little limiting, because we don't know what is going on in the minds of the others.

I could certainly think of some possible good ones which would involve Dave, Betty and Walt acting as a team, but they cannot communicate with each other due to the positions they are in, without giving the game away. And the relationship between Walt and Betty is such that a good discussion / rant / argument would be required before them reaching a decision anyway, and they don't have time for that!

I just feel that if Walt comes away from the vehicle now, he'll never get his chance. He has to negotiate - has to call their bluff somehow to have some level of comfort that they're not bluffing and are just looking to turn him in.
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 01, 2010 7:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the additional comments guys! (and gal frog Wink )

I'll put up a poll on this when I find more time later today.
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 02, 2010 4:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

A day later than intended but... poll's up! Happy Voting!
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 02, 2010 11:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've voted for jump in but communicate with them.

They claim we still has some options - they better demonstrate that very quickly, because they don't seem to be men who give many options.

Looking forward to the next chapter.

Happy Writing Smile
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 03, 2010 1:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Umm.

Well, I've been wavering between the first two. I think it now comes down to whether we think these guys are bluffing or not. Do they know about Bouncer and Thomas? If they don't, will they just lock Walt up in the funny farm for spouting nonsense about being caught up in a superhuman struggle between good and evil?

I guess the clue might be in the topic title.... yeah, he's ready to go... but in more ways than one.

Something is still tugging at him I think, about what might happen to Betty.... I think he'll want to make sure she's all right... And I still think they'd be fools to shoot at the rocket.... all that fuel...

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PostPosted: Sat Jul 10, 2010 10:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I will be returning a new chapter soon but, yes, times are slow here, and I've been a bit distracted from being online at all of late. So much to do, so little life to do it all in.
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 31, 2015 1:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

etty rarely displayed such frantic behavior, arms flailing in angry gestures, an almost upright posture, spears flying from her beady eyes, her flower-patterned day gown ruffling about like a witch’s robe. As she had strode up to Walt, her usual shuffling gait had taken a spry bounce in her wrath.
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 14, 2015 4:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

johson wrote:
etty rarely displayed such frantic behavior, arms flailing in angry gestures, an almost upright posture, spears flying from her beady eyes, her flower-patterned day gown ruffling about like a witch’s robe. As she had strode up to Walt, her usual shuffling gait had taken a spry bounce in her wrath.

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So close! What should Walt do?
Leap in, fire up the engine and get outta there! (takes a minute or so but they shouldn't be able to interrupt it without a lucky shot)
0%
 0%  [ 0 ]
Leap in, seal the door and communicate with them via radio to command center (in the barn). (again, bullets could become a risk to the ship's full voyage)
60%
 60%  [ 3 ]
Keep a foot in the ship's portal while attempting negotiations. (Could risk never having the ability to launch)
20%
 20%  [ 1 ]
Full surrender to their discussions, stepping away from the vehicle as they demanded. (Perhaps a stronger risk to his ability to launch, but shows compliance to their demands)
0%
 0%  [ 0 ]
Author only vote box
20%
 20%  [ 1 ]
Total Votes : 5
Who Voted: Crunchyfrog, Emperor, Smee, Thunderbird, Tikanni Corazon

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