Thursday, January 12, 2006

Walking Death, Chapter 9

     Rachel listened to the tale of the Ambulamort for the second time as Frieda recounted the tale to Liberty. Once the recounting of events was complete, the leader of the New York City Resistance leaned back into his chair.

     “This combines too nicely with some other matters that have come to my attention,” he said. “Word is that the planes of the Iron Falcon squadron has been refitted to disperse chemicals.”

     “You mean that they’ve been turned into crop dusters?” asked Rachel.

     “It seems funny until you remember that it’s our people that are going to be sprayed down like pests,” returned Liberty. Rachel looked down abashed.

     Frieda looked past the girl and at the tight confines of the room. It was a storage space converted to a meeting room by the addition of a folding table and three chairs. Mr. Watson was not present. Liberty had sent him to investigate a new Order of Illumination mage that had just arrived in the city. That left Frieda and Rachel to take the meeting with the leader of the Resistance.

     “We do have a plan for dealing with the air squadron, however,” said Liberty, picking up a crate and setting it on the table.

     Rachel reached in and pulled out a canister the size of a hand grenade. The body was smooth and was topped with an assemblage of flanges and valves covered over in obscure runes.

     Frieda noted seven more just like the first in the crate. She carefully picked the one from Rachel’s hand and scrutinized it.

     “Excelsiol steel for body, warding runes on the valves. They are clearly some sort of containment devices for non-corporeal creatures. I must say, however, that I have not seen a model with this degree of sealant before.”

     Liberty nodded in agreement with Dr. Kellner’s analysis.

     “That is because of the nature of the creatures. What we have here are eight gremlins, one for each of the planes of the Iron Falcon Squadron. Those containment devices had to be specially reinforced so that they can’t jinx their way out of them.”

     Frieda had to stifle an urge to throw the canister out of her hands. Gremlins were the bane of scientists who pursued the new arcane paths of science. The creatures fed off the enforced order of engineered structures, especially those devices that drew their energy from excelsiol. She had seen more than one experiment go horribly awry due to their contagion.

     “I take it that we’re going to do a take a little trip to the airfield?” asked Rachel.

     “Yes, go to the airfield, gain access to the hangar, place the gremlins, and get out,” said Liberty. “The squadron should be airborne by the time the first indications of the gremlins will appear. At the very least, it will force them back to the ground. At best, they come down hard.”

     Frieda looked over at Rachel.


     “Tonight,” said Rachel. “I do love playing with flyboys.”

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