Today’s blog continues my long-neglected satirical fantasy, In The Land of the Penny Gnomes
What happened next remained a blur in Will’s mind for years to come.
A sergeant ordered the Red Boots to deploy and engage the enemy while shouting, “Sir, get the reboot team out of here, we’ll hold them off!”
Someone grabbed Will’s arm, it took him several steps before he realized it was Sills, and led him on a mad dash for a nearby tree-line. Once under cover they were joined by Grimby, Fineflin, and Sindy. The last of whom was shaking with terror.
“Where’s my father? Where’s Bug?” she screamed as the sound of gunfire crashed over their temporary refuge.
“Your father’s here with me,” Oscar’s voice answered. “And than you for being concerned about me, by the way.”
Sindy rushed to Nobody and enveloped him in a vigorous embrace.
“There now, my dear. I’m all right. And I saw Bug enter the tree line a few yards from here.” His eyes then brightened with hope, “May I push the button, now?” Will didn’t see Sindy’s face following the Professor’s question and, as it turned out, she didn’t have time to respond anyway. The button popped out of existence, much to Nobody’s chagrin, “Oh drat. I’m sure it would have done something interesting.”
“Pout later, Professor,” Bug spat as he approached the group. “Rally point is at the top of the ridge. Let’s move, and be quiet.” The gnome then turned toward Fineflin, “You’re point, keep us safe.”
The elf nodded, “I’ll do my best, but our passage through the shield still has me disoriented.”
“I understand, just do your best. Grimby, keep close to him. Now.. go.”
The gunfire faded somewhat as the group moved deeper into trees. Soon the ground began to slope upward toward the top of the ridge. It was there the company was supposed to meet their two guides and begin the journey to Firewall Control. Only, they never reached the top.
Several hundred yards from the rock outcropping which marked their destination, a voice called out, “This is Litigator Snell’s of the Third Partnership. You are surrounded, lay down your weapons and surrender and you won’t be harmed.”
The group paused in shock and there was silence. The gunfire from down below had ceased. No one moved.
“Your defenders have been routed. No one is coming to help you. Please, lay down your weapons.”
Bug’s face was etched with frustration and rage, but he gave a curt nod and called out, “OK, everyone lay down your weapons.” He laid his own rifle on the ground and got down on his knees. “We surrender!” the gnome cried out.
“Good,” responded the voice. Several yards from their position a lawyer, clothed in the typical camouflage three-piece suit of the Horde, stepped into the open. “We’d have hated to have injuncted all of you.” A number of lawyers also stepped out into the open to join their commander. They had, indeed, been surrounded.
“It’s not like you’ve cared before!” Sindy shouted back at her captor.
The Litigator shook his head, “Ma’am, I assure you. We take no pleasure in this. But as long as the people of this land reject the Copyright Accords you leave us little choice.” He turned to a nearby lawyer and barked, “LA Wenton, please escort our prisoners to their transport. We need to regroup with the Partnership by nightfall.”
The Lawyer saluted, “Yes sir!” Turning to Will and his friends he parked, “Prisoners, forward to the outcropping. Move!”
The group was marched up the hill and ordered to board one of the several transports they found parked near the exposed bedrock. Bug loaded last, and after he was seated Wenton threw the group a wicked sneer. “Now, this door will be locked, but I daresay you could bust it open, easy enough. It’s not designed for prisoners. But if you do, or if any one of you is missing when we arrive at our destination, the lot of you will be injuncted, Litigator be damned. Do I make myself clear?”
The group nodded and Wenton nodded back. “Good. Have a pleasant trip.” It wasn’t long after that the transport began to move.
As the transport began to rock, Oscar was jolted out of his stunned silence and started a despondent chant, “We’re gonnadie, we’re gonnadie, we’re gonnadie, we’re gonna…”
Bug wasn’t amused. “Oscar, shut up.” In response, the dwarf closed his mouth but continued humming his mantra until Grimby landed a backhanded smack on his shoulder.
“Thank you. Now, does anyone have any ideas as to how we’ll get out of this? I don’t think these nice people are going to help us complete our mission.”
Sills spoke first, “Well, perhaps Will could get the Narrator to help us?”
Will sighed, “He says, ‘Not yet.’” Sills’ expression fell, and Bug grunted his displeasure, causing Will to stick up for his unseen patron, “I think the Narrator is going to help, eventually, but right now we’re on our own.”
The group sunk into silence, broken only when Nobody reached into his robes with a joyous shout. “Oh ho! I’d forgotten I’d packed this!” He pulled out his hands and revealed several bags of snack chips.
“Oh no. Wrong pocket, though I do recommend the smoked salmon with horseradish.” Nobody tossed the bags to Grimby as he began rummaging through his cavernous pockets once more. As he did so the dwarf popped open a bag of Salted Dandelion chips and began to devour the contents.
“What? I’m hungry,” replied to his companions’ incredulous looks.
“Here it *is!” Nobody shouted. He withdrew his hands a second time and held up what looked to be a deck of cards.”
Bug sighed. “So, Professor… you want to pass the time with some cards?”
The academic’s brow wrinkled. “What? Oh no. *This,” he thrust out the package in his hand, “…is a portability satire shield generator!”
“Wait,” Fineflin quipped. “We have those?”
“Well, not ‘those.’ We have one. I built it before we left Boarsblemish using a a can of cola and a pack of playing cards 1.” He grinned with child-like exaltation, “I think we may be able to use this to escape!”
Sindy beamed at her father. “Oh you blessed loon. Well done!”
“Hold on,” Bug cautioned. “Professor, what’s the capability of this thing?”
“Hmm. Well, it *should create a stable field with a twenty foot diameter and a two foot shield width. That should be enough to satirize any small arms fire and incapacitate any lawyers who happen to come into contact with it.”
“And how long will this last?”
“With this power cell? Perhaps four minutes. Satire takes a great deal of energy.”
“OK, so… four minutes. When the vehicles slow we force the door get out of this transport, and try to incapacitate as many of the enemy as possible before scampering off. It might just might work.”
Tell him no.
“What?” Will responded.
This is me, helping. Tell Bug no, but keep the shield handy.
All eyes had fallen upon Will. “Um, Bug. The Narrator says, ‘No.’ But he does say for you to keep the shield handy.”
“Oh great. So what are we supposed to do, then?”
“I think we’re just supposed to wait and see where they take us.”
Dang straight. You have them right where you want them.
- Never try to make sense of Applied Imagination, it has a mind of its own. ↩