Fiction Tuesday – Caught In The Middle

Today’s blog continues my long-neglected satirical fantasy, In The Land of the Penny Gnomes

Convoy vehicles were falling into formation ahead of the group’s transport as their turrets came alive. Bug pressed down the accelerator in order to join the formation as Fineflin brought their own guns to life.

“What are you doing!” Oscar shrieked. “We need to get out of here!”

“If we stay on our own we’re done for,” Bug shouted in retort. “Now shut up and let me drive!”

As they pulled into formation next to a light tank, Bug turned their vehicle to face the right side of the highway. Two more explosions came from their left, and the transport rocked on its wheels. The radio chattered a litany of confused reports and requests for orders as Bug opened fire with the driver’s gun.

“Oh dear,” Nobody mused. “I think this is quite enough excitement for me.”

Bug frowned, “I don’t think they really care about your excitement threshold, Professor.” He squeezed off another burst of his gun before he spoke again. “Sills, what is going on? What’s the play call here?”

“I think Roundabout One was the first vehicle hit. I’m hearing a bunch of people asking for orders and no one’s sure what to do!” Sills then flinched as a rattling sound echoed off the right side of the transport. Will looked over and saw a spider web crack in the window next to Nobody’s head.

“Will, Professor, get down!” Bug commanded. “Fineflin, two o’clock!”

The Elf grunted an acknowledgment and swung his turret to face an approaching group of lawyers, each uniformed with the ridiculous camouflage suits of the Copyright Horde. He squeezed the trigger and several of the approaching figures fell backward, the rest scattered.

“Your fashion sense is a war crime!” The Elf spat with fury.

“Wow, they’ve really got him worked up,” Will heard Grimby utter from the rear. “I haven’t seen him this enraged against someone’s fashion sense since we busted up that drug ring a couple of years back.”

“We can’t stay here!” Bug declared, “What are we, ten miles from the Satire Shield?”

“About that, yes,” Sills nodded.

Bug held out his hand, “Give me the radio.”

As Bug reached over to receive the microphone Will, Nobody, and Oscar all huddled on the floor. They were joined by Sindy, who crawled under their bench.

“Will, can’t you do anything?” the gnome begged as she pulled off her false beard..

The teen shook his head, “I don’t know what to do. I’ve never tried to do anything, it’s always just happened.”

Sindy’s eyes narrowed into a ferocious stare. “Well maybe you can ask your Narrator for some ideas!”

Now there is a gnome with a brain in her head.

“Huh?”

“You know, that voice you say you keep hearing?”

“I know what you meant. I wasn’t talking to you.” Sindy smirked her understanding as Will tilted his head upward. “What should I do?” he asked while another explosion rocked the transport.

Close your eyes, and see. Where are the lawyers?

Sighing in frustration the teen closed his eyes and took a deep breath. Exhaling, he tried to imagine the lawyers who were attacking he and his friends. Suddenly, a picture fired to light in his mind. A mass of camouflaged soldiers, and a smattering of heavy vehicles, were moving toward a nearby explosion at a rapid pace. Will gazed into the eyes of a lawyer in a particularly fine suit, assuming he was an officer. He expected to the the face of a confident enemy, but instead the teen noticed an emotion there he was not expecting, fear. As Will was about to turn away a thought formed in his head.

Where’s the second wave? They should have attacked their rear by now.”

Will’s eyes jolted open, “There’s no lawyers on the left of the road!”

Sills glanced down toward the floor, “What?

“There’s no lawyers on the left. There should be, but whoever’s attacking us thinks something’s happened to them.”

Sills and Bug shared a glance, and the floppy-hatted gnome snatched the microphone from the agent’s outstretched hand.

“Roundabout, this is Breadbasket. All vehicles form up on me and prepare to withdraw to the left of the highway.” The gnome silently examined the deployed vehicles for a breath before he sighed and continued. “Wheel one, you’re going to have to deploy and cover our movement.”

“Who is this?” A call came back through the radio.

Bug huffed in annoyance as he keyed the mic a second time. “I’m the gnome who’s going to save your slow-moving butts! Now let’s go, and keep up the covering fire!”

The gnome tossed the microphone back to Sills and threw the transport into reverse while gunning the accelerator.

“What are you doing!” Sills cried out.

“Trying not to give them a bigger target!” Bug screamed back as the transport flew into the ditch between the North and South bound lanes. He was fixated on the rear view mirror, but managed to call out, “How many vehicles are following?”

Sills peered out the windshield. “It looks like most of them.”

Bug grunted as the transport climbed up over the lip to the South bound lanes.

“What are the others doing?”

The radio suddenly crackled to life“Wheel one to Breadbasket. Narrative go with you.”

“Three transports look like they’ve deployed troops.”

“Great, that’ll give me a chance to turn around.” Bug braked hard and spun the wheel as the transport came about, the vehicles following them did likewise as firing intensified where the skirmishers had set up.

Will felt the transport speed up, and he risked a glance out the cracked side window. They were speeding North past the ambush.

“Why are we going North, that’s not what I said!”

“Kid, unless you can take down a wall and navigate a truck through a forest we kinda need to get to a ramp! Now shut up and keep your head down!”

“Look!” Sills cried as she pointed out the front windshield. There, emerging from the trees by the opposite lanes, were two tanks. Their turrets were already turning toward their line of transports.

“This is going to hurt,” Bug muttered, even as he began to swerve the transport in random intervals.

An explosion lit up the sky, and Will assumed one of their companion vehicles had been struck, but then Sills called out.

“That’s friendly fire!” Will clamored to his knees and saw one of the tanks burning. The other was backing into the trees from which it emerged when, it too, was struck and disabled.

The radio cracked to life once more. “This is the First Guards to the convoy, exit the the highway at the ramp and turn West at the top. We’ll rendezvous two miles down the road and escort you in to Boarsblemish. But be quick, hostiles are already moving to intercept.”

Bug breathed a sigh of relief and smiled. “I guess we know what happened to the rest of the ambush.”

Will grinned, but was troubled as he remembered how many lawyers he sensed when he reached out during the ambush. He knew then attempting to reach the firewall controls was going to be impossible, but he also knew he had to try.

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