Part Two of Two
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Roger jolted from sleep, Rames' face blurry as it shook back and forth. Rames cocked his hand back to slap him awake.
The janitor flung up his arms, and yelled "I'm awake! I'm awake!" Bondo turned, then walked back to the server.
"The restore is done, but I can't seem to log in to the server. I've tried a hundred different passwords, but nothing works." Rames glared at the monitor, then grumbled, "Stupid VOS!"
Wilco puzzled at the screen, then asked, "What's VOS stand for?"
"It's an operating system made by a little-known division of Vohaul Enterprises. It's full name is actually Vohaul OS."
Roger puzzled on this further. The plans he had retrieved of the Star Generator had been created by Slash Vohaul. Perhaps... Roger blurted out, "Try 6858 for a password."
Rames eyeballed the janitor, then almost spoke. Changing his mind, Rames turned to the machine and keyed in the password 6-8-5-8, shaking his head. The screen went blank.
"Oh, great, Wilco... I think you've locked us out of the system. I ought to slap you upside the head!" Rames stood, and brought his arm back, apparently to do just that, when the server beeped and displayed:
PASSWORD ACCEPTED. ADMINISTRATOR RIGHTS GRANTED.
"What! Where'd you get that password, Wilco?" Rames demanded, then said, "Never mind, I don't want to know after all."
Rames began scanning files, looking for clues and hints. "Here it is! A complete rundown of the plans, dated yesterday! The tape must have been backed up, then accidentally shoved off the credenza when they were clearing everything." Rames read the plans, then continued, "It looks like they moved to their starting point, where they plan to..." Rames paled.
"Plan to what?"
"They are going to collapse the Government building today, during the Prime Minister's "State of the Solar System" address! All the ruling body, all the Ministers, and every Military head will be there! It's starting in ten minutes, too!"
Bondo and Wilco raced down the hallway and out to the hovercar. Rames skidded to a halt by the driver door, then sniffed. "Do you smell tha...?"
Roger, unable to duplicate Rames' quick stop, plowed into the spy, knocking him to the ground. Rames' head hit the ground with a sickening crack, knocking the man out cold.
The janitor looked at the spy, then at the car door. Grabbing the limp man, Roger struggled the body into the passenger seat, then slid behind the controls. He backed the vehicle out the hole in the wall, then sped down the alleyway and onto the city streets.
As Roger careened off a mailbox and around the next corner, Rames awakened. "Ugh... tell me we aren't driving the same hovercar..."
"Uh, yeah. Why?"
"Cause it's about to blow up." Just as the spy finished, smoke began billowing from under the vehicle. "The acid fuel cells are leaking... I could smell it."
Roger slammed on the brakes, but nothing happened. "The brakes are dead! What should I do?"
"Acid... probably burned through the electrical wiring to the brake systems. Start praying, and run into something relatively soft." Rames' eyes rolled back into his skull again, unconscious.
Roger began swatting at random controls, dodging pedestrians and vehicles with bare inches to spare. They were nearing the Government building, still screaming along at 150 miles per hour. Roger spotted a button labeled "DO NOT PRESS". Roger agonized, paralyzed with fear, his hand poised over the button. The fire under the vehicle was raging, now, with no sign of ending.
The hovercar hit a bump, causing Roger's hand to fall and hit the button. All power to the hovercar was instantly cut, causing the craft to ground on the concrete and slide several hundred yards.
The craft halted, perched precariously over the bank of the Xenoshattuck River. Roger kicked open the door, then dragged Rames and himself out of the burning craft. Once out, Roger dropped Rames, then shoved the craft over the side. The craft slid down the bank, then submerged into the river. Long seconds passed.
A huge geyser of water rocketed into the air, showering the entire area with fish and water. The craft had exploded.
The water awakened Rames fully, and he sat up and stared at the river. "Pushed the red button, didn't you?"
Roger looked at Rames, then responded, "Yeah."
"Why didn't you do it sooner?"
Roger looked a little sheepish, then replied, "I was worried I'd end up in a King's Quest-era aligator-infested moat."
"Never mind. Did you manage to get either of the laser weapons before shoving the hovercar over the side?"
Roger grinned, then produced one of the weapons from his pocket. "You had the other one, but I kept this baby in my pocket. Want it?"
"Yeah... I think I can walk now. Let's go."
The spy and the janitor walked toward the Government center. Reaching the shaded side of the building, Roger pried open a window and slid inside, then helped the spy inside as well. They found themselves in a small janitor's closet. Bondo peeked out the door, and found a long corridor heading in both directions.
"Let's split up. I'll go left, and you go right. This corridor should circle the entire building, so we will meet up on the other side. And be quiet, Roger!" The spy then slid out the door and quietly stalked down the corridor, laser pistol in hand.
Roger stared at the departing spy for a moment, then realized this left him weaponless. Glancing around the dark closet, he found some chlorine bleach, and... what do you know? Some of the same sewer cleaner he had used before! Grabbing the two bottles and an extra mop, he slipped out the door and headed to the right along the corridor.
About the time Roger figured he'd be meeting up with Rames, the janitor heard voices. It looked like a foyer of some type up ahead. Roger slowly slinked closer, then identified the voice of Creytis! And the other voice was familiar too... it was Corath! Peering around the edge of the wall, Roger could see the a small group of Creytis' henchmen standing around their boss, who was placing what appeared to be the last explosive charge in a massive support column.
Roger backed up, then saw across across the corridor on the other side of the foyer a dark shape. It was Rames Bondo! He was signalling to Roger... something about a diversion. The light finally shed in Roger's mind!
After several minutes of work, the diversion was finally ready. Roger could hear the men saying their work was just about done, as well, so Roger quickly poured the chlorine into the sewer cleaner, then capped the bottle.
Counting in his head, Roger waited a few moments for the pressure to build in the bottle. Then, he threw the bottle around the corner! The voices paused for a moment, then Creytis said, "Check it out, boys. Probably someone around that corner." Footsteps, then Roger realized his bomb was a dud.
Rising to his feet, Roger ran down the darkened corridor, then leaped over his mop. Someone shouted, "Hey, stop!" Footsteps running were quickly catching up, Roger glanced back just in time to see the two pursuing thugs trip over his mop, weapons flying!
Roger turned back, and grabbed the weapons. He began sneaking back up to the foyer, when a third henchman grabbed him from behind, and snatched the weapons from his grasp. "Hey boss! It's that wimpy janitor that blew up Joe and Bob."
A laugh came around the corner. "Bring him here! I was wondering what happened to him."
The thug came around the corner, holding Roger like a wet kitten. "Hi, Creytis! Remember me?"
"Remember you? Of course, and now you can be my scape goat for this entire disaster! You will be the body found over the detonator, killed by the blast that killed his enemies, the government! Not just a disgruntled postal worker, but a disgruntled Sanitation Engineer! Heh heh!" Creytis turned, and put the last wire in place. "Now I will take over and rule Xenon!" The man laughed.
They tied Roger to the pillar, then placed the detonator in front of the janitor. "Don't worry, you won't have to do a thing. This blast will be triggered by the remote control in the van parked outside. Just sit there and stare at that detonator."
The remaining henchmen and the two conspirators began walking away. As the henchmen stepped over the bleach bottle, one kicked it.
Creytis and Corath flew back, and hit the wall. The remains of the thugs... well, we'll just say there wasn't any.
Right then, Bondo stepped around the corner with a group of Secret Service Agents. "All right, boys, grab those guys, and let's get out of here. And, disarm that bomb, while you are at it, eh?"
Bondo and Wilco stood outside the Government Center in front of Creytis' unmarked van. "Well, Roger, it's been interesting working with you. I have to say that this entire episode is top secret, you understand? If word of this got out, we could have riots in the streets and wide-spread panic."
"All right, Rames. It's too bad, though, since I have no clue what my supervisor will say when I see him again." Wilco rolled his eyes. "He'll probably chew me out."
"You'll find out soon enough. I think that's him stepping out of the Government Center now!"
Roger turned, and, sure enough, it was his Supervisor emerging from the building. The supervisor's finger pointed at Wilco, then his voice was heard, "Wilco! Is that you? Where have you been for the last several days? We are really behind on the sewer maintenance schedule now!"
"I don't suppose you could shoot him for me, eh, Rames? Rames?". The spy was already gone.
This story is ©; 2002 Brian Lusk.
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