(The story begins here.)
(The last recap is here.)
Dr. Fleming got what he wished for, and Darren what he prayed for. The globes did not pulse, and eventually everyone agreed it had to be daylight. So they did the best possible thing; they ate some of their provisions and slept as best they could.
The doctor said it was probably early afternoon when they got up, and he eyed the globes warily. “On the one hand, it would be a good idea to cover them now and try to prevent the monster’s formation. On the other hand, I’d prefer to wait until they begin pulsing so the solution will be fresh and the energy can perhaps help harden it. I’ll definitely want everyone as close to the stairs as possible: if those globes do explode, even one of them, it will be infinitely worse than when Darren struck the globe last night.”
“You realize,” Darren said, “that there’s a flaw in your brilliant plan.”
Dr. Fleming didn’t even scowl; in fact, he half smiled. “Which is?”
“Those are spheres. I doubt I could achieve better than fifty percent coverage on even a remarkably good shot. It will take at least two shots to cover any one of them more than that, and at least one of those shots will be unprotected: I’ll have to fire on the inner side sometime.”
“You’ll fire on it first. The globes are fairly close together; this arrow has a larger charge than the others, and you’ll aim it at the center point of their circle. It shouldn’t create the murderous din of a direct hit, and it should largely cover the inner surfaces. You can shoot from cover at the outer surfaces of at least two of the globes, so the overall coverage should either prevent the Shiny One from forming or overload the globes.”
“But everyone else will be on the stairs, ready to run outside?”
“I am confident, not foolhardy.”
“Good to know. When do we do it?”
“In a few hours. I noticed that the globes glowed last night, probably at moonrise, and I have a fair idea when they’re likely to start tonight. We’ll strike just before that. I wish I could use rockets to get complete, simultaneous coverage with fuses for delayed action, but I didn’t pack any.”
And so it was that some hours later Darren fired a heavily wrapped arrow almost straight up into the midst of the globes. The detonation caused at least as thunderous a reverberation as the previous night’s direct hit, and Dr. Fleming recovered in time to help Darren to his feet. Darren gazed up at the darkened inner surfaces of the globes, but the doctor directed his attention to the usually placid surface of the pool, now strangely turbulent even after the aftershocks had mostly died away.
“The Shiny One has had a wake-up call, and I don’t think it likes it a bit.”
The globes began to pulse and the pool to shimmer, and the doctor added, “I’d been going to ask you to hit the center again, but all things considered, I think our work here is done. Head for the stairs and prepare to fire on the globes from there.”
They ran for cover, but they couldn’t help looking back at the pool’s choppy, scintillating surface.
Next: The Shiny One
1 year ago