Mini-Adventure 2

On an island hidden in the sea, at a harbour hidden in the reeds, it's Cogs! We join our episode, already in progress…

SOMEWHERE IN ASIA… A city of the orient. A marketplace. Luka Arlexi is running for her life. We can't see through the people to whatever it is that is chasing her, but we can follow its trail by the crowds of people that it tosses into the air when they get in its way. It's clear that it's gaining on her.

Luka Arlexi: "Newton, I don't know how this is your fault, but I'm willing to start blaming you now," she mutters.

Michael Harrel: There's a roar — it might be a huge animal, or it might be mechanical — from just behind her and she speeds up, dodging people and warning them that they might want to run away as well. Up ahead, on top of a nearby building, we see Newton, looking through the barrel of a rather large sniper rifle. Through the scope, behind Luka all he can see is dust, and people flying this way and that.

Newton Falk: "I bet she blames me for this…"

Michael Harrel: Meanwhile, Dr. Evelyn Higgenbotham stands, skin tinged with soot, in the middle of a blast radius. Several guards surround her with bayonets.

"Dr" Evelyn Higgenbotham: "FOR HENRY!!!!"

Michael Harrel: Luka runs for a clearing in the crowd. The thing chasing her breaks through the dust, and we see it: an enormous mechanikally-augmented rhinoceros.

Luka Arlexi: Luka looks back over her shoulder. "…I hate Tuesdays."

Michael Harrel: Through Newton's sight, we see the beast through the crosshairs. Luka has positioned herself right between the beast and Newton's aim.

Newton Falk: "Move, move, move… MOVE!"

Luka Arlexi: Luka sprints forward with all the energy she can muster. "Take the shot!"

Newton Falk: "Wa, what? Fine!" He fires.

Newton Falk: Luka throws herself to the side just as the shot is fired. The beast is hit between the eyes and blinks. When it looks again it's quarry is gone, a figure atop a nearby building is framed by gray smoke. Eyes meet.

"Shit…" says Newton Falk

Michael Harrel: The rhino charges at the building.

Newton Falk: "Oh no way…" scampers away from edge.

CUT TO: Evelyn, surrounded by bayonets. We see that they're on the balcony of some sort of mansion (in the eastern style). A short distance away, there's the sound of a loud impact, and a building collapses. There's loud shouting and threatening with bayonets.

"Dr" Evelyn Higgenbotham: "I DON'T SPEAK ASIAN!" Evelyn yells slowly.

Michael Harrel: The guards manage to convey, with angry gestures, that they want her to drop any weapons or explosives she may be carrying, and come with them.

"Dr" Evelyn Higgenbotham: "Oh, why not," she shrugs and drops the fountain pen she was holding.

Michael Harrel: She covers her mouth and nose as green smoke spews out of the pen, enveloping everyone in the room.

"Dr" Evelyn Higgenbotham: She starts to giggle then gags on a tiny bit of gas.

Michael Harrel: The soldiers start coughing, doubled over and gagging.

Dr" Evelyn Higgenbotham: "Ew. I'm leaving," she attaches a wire to the balcony and jumps down.

Michael Harrel: MEANWHILE. The rhino, with a dented front end, has refocused on Luka and is chasing her again. Newton has somehow landed on top of the mechanical creature, and is keeping a rather unstable seat on its back; though he is facing backwards.

Newton Falk: "I LOST MY GUN, HOW ARE YOU!"

Luka Arlexi: Luka makes an incoherent, strangled noise.

Newton Falk: "THAT GOOD?"

Luka Arlexi: Luka gives him the finger.

Newton Falk: "THIS ISN'T MY FAULT!"

Luka Arlexi: "I still blame you! But I have an idea! Follow me!"

Newton Falk: "No choice!"

Michael Harrel: Luka runs into a factory, with sparks from the creature's damaged smoke stack nipping at her heels

Luka Arlexi: "Get ready to jump, Mr. Falk!"

Newton Falk: "It's fast down there!"

Michael Harrel: Luka dives underneath a hanging cauldron of molten metal. The beast follows her mindlessly, but the gap is too small, and it overturns the cauldron on itself… and Newton!

Newton Falk: "Aw man…" He dives.

Michael Harrel: Newton lands as the liquified metal envelopes the rhino, which explodes. Shards of metal and white-hot molten iron shoot everywhere around the room. A piece of shrapnel lands right between Newton's feet.

Newton Falk: "You have to be kidding me!" He sees the metal coming. "Damn it, Luka!" -scrambles- -limps away-

Michael Harrel: Luka meets him at the entrance to the factory.

Luka Arlexi: "What took you so long? Let's go."

Newton Falk: He throws up his hands. "Don't say it, fine. Next time you pick where we eat."

Michael Harrel: Evelyn comes running up to them. "I followed the explosions," she says.

Luka Arlexi: "That's usually a good way to find Mr. Falk."

"Dr" Evelyn Higgenbotham: "Funny, the captain said that about me…" She leans in to Luka. "She's strange," she whispers.

Luka Arlexi: "Oh, did you find out anything about Vile Khan the Venemous?"

"Dr" Evelyn Higgenbotham: "Oh, I got these," she holds up a pair of boxer shorts.

Luka Arlexi: "…" Luka takes a step back.

Newton Falk: "That's… that makes no sense."

"Dr" Evelyn Higgenbotham: "What makes no sense, Mr. Falk, is your inability to take care of the simplest of machines."

Newton Falk: "People say they used giant mechanical rhinos to keep the peace, how was I supposed to know that was true?"

"Dr" Evelyn Higgenbotham: Evelyn grabs a loose thread and pulls the hem out. A piece of paper falls out. She catches it as it flutters to the ground.

Luka Arlexi: Luka blinks.

"Dr" Evelyn Higgenbotham: "The designs are really quite simple. Idiotic if you ask me. They should be no trouble at all."

Newton Falk: "How did yo—Never mind, don't wanna know."

"Dr" Evelyn Higgenbotham: "I just feel a bit embarassed about being so fascinated by them. ::mumbles on:: really quite embarassed."

Luka Arlexi : "The… plans, you mean?"

"Dr" Evelyn Higgenbotham: "Now I could have built a rhinocerous worth something… lasers… speach… oh…" She starts walking away.

Newton Falk: "Who'd want to talk to a rhinocerous?"

Luka Arlexi: "Maybe if you'd asked it nicely not to attack you…?"

"Dr" Evelyn Higgenbotham: "…song and dance… coffee… ::mumble::" Evelyn is still walking away.

CUT TO: The Aether. The three characters walk up the gangplank and onto the ship. The captain is nowhere to be seen, but Felix has stayed behind to watch the ship.

"What did we find out?" he says.

Luka Arlexi: "Mr. Falk has very poor horsemanship."

Newton Falk: "It was a giant mechanical rhino!"

Luka Arlexi: "The same principles apply, I'm sure."

Newton Falk: "You ride it next time!"

Michael Harrel: "No, no, no. What did you find out about Vile Khan?"

Newton Falk: "Well, he's very private with his plans." -big dumb grin- -looks around-

"Dr" Evelyn Higgenbotham: Evelyn giggles quietly, "…Penis."

Luka Arlexi: Luka rubs her forehead, as though she has a headache.

Luka Arlexi: "Yes, well. We've got a copy of his plans for the unmanned Rhinocebots, thanks to the Doctor."

Michael Harrel: "Come on, I've heard at least three explosions while you were away. You must have found something other than that."

Newton Falk: "I found out that no one in China understands what you order when you ask for Chinese food."

"Dr" Evelyn Higgenbotham: "I'm still wondering how we ended up in China."

Michael Harrel: "We flew," says Felix. "Now, how do we stop them before they've completely overrun the orient?"

Newton Falk: "Bigger gun?"

"Dr" Evelyn Higgenbotham: "Well, we have a little bit of time before he activates them. I can work on something tonight."

Newton Falk: "Like a bigger gun? I lost the other one."

Luka Arlexi: "There might be a weak spot in the design, too. I'll take a look."

"Dr" Evelyn Higgenbotham: "…" She is unable to speak.

Newton Falk: Smiles.

"Dr" Evelyn Higgenbotham: "I'll have to punish you, Mr. Falk." She smiles sweetly at him. "I suppose you can take a look at my drawings, Henry."

Newton Falk: "Punish the rhino, he broke my building."

"Dr" Evelyn Higgenbotham: "If only I drew up plans." She turns to her room. "If you'll excuse me, I have to save Asia. …flame spewing mongeese…"

CUT TO: That evening. Int. The Aether. Luka is examining the plans, when she notices an odd bump in the fabric of the paper.

Luka Arlexi: "What on earth…?"

Michael Harrel: Outside her window, a dark shadow scurries past.

Luka Arlexi: Luka prods the bump. "What is this?"

Michael Harrel: The bump pops open with a barely discernable hiss.

Luka Arlexi: Luka wrinkles her nose.

Michael Harrel: Something scratches at the window.

Luka Arlexi: Luka leans over and flicks the switch for the Doctor's speaking tube. "Hey, Doctor, do you have any small kits for testing chemicals? There was something in the plans."

"Dr" Evelyn Higgenbotham: Luka hears a bunch of clanging. "Wh… just… oh!… hang on… ::click::"

Luka Arlexi: Luka sighs slightly and adjusts her gloves.

CUT TO: The bridge. Newton is resting his broken leg, sitting in the captain's chair.

Newton Falk: "Felix, how do I get one of these hydrolic things for my chair?" He plays with the chair's controls.

Michael Harrel: "We'll put that on the list of to buys, right after the landing gear and the mechanikal window water removers."

Newton Falk: "Ouch, Felix." Goes back to playing with the chair.

Michael Harrel: They both hear a scuffling sound coming from the voice tubes, and then a "squeak".

Newton Falk: "Oh rats." He gets up and grabs the autopilot.

Michael Harrel: Evelyn is in her laboratory, doing… whatever it is she's doing in there.

"Dr" Evelyn Higgenbotham: Evelyn is on fire. She has taken off her lab coat and has removed her dress. She throws it on the ground. You see a flash of her nude back. "Blasted!…" She grabs a fresh lab coat, buttons most of it and runs out of her lab after stamping out the fire.

Michael Harrel: As she exits the lab, she hears… music.

"Dr" Evelyn Higgenbotham: "I never liked Wagner…"

Michael Harrel: Almost immediately after, she hears loud scurrying, as of tens of small rodents running through the airducts. The sound increases — more and more small animals.

"Dr" Evelyn Higgenbotham: Evelyn stops, puzzled. She grabs a crate, moves it under the airduct, and stands on. She lifts the grate and sticks her head inside.

Michael Harrel: Clockwork-bionic rats swarm out of the ducts!

"Dr" Evelyn Higgenbotham: She grabs one as it passes. Then she ducks out and runs to the engine room.

Michael Harrel: The rats follow her, on the floor and wall of the hallway. In the bridge, rats start swarming out of the voice tubes and airducts.

"Dr" Evelyn Higgenbotham: She arrives at the door, bursts it open and yells, "RATS!" Holding the one in her hand aloft.

Luka Arlexi: Luka looks up and blinks.

Michael Harrel: Behind her, there's a crinkle of breaking glass, and rats start pouring in from the broken window as well.

"Dr" Evelyn Higgenbotham: "Quick! Grab the paper!" She yells as one of the rats jumps down her lab coat. Another has pooped on her shoulder.

Luka Arlexi: Luka rolls up the plans and jumps back from the window. "Rats?!"

"Dr" Evelyn Higgenbotham: "The paper, take it somewhere!"

Michael Harrel: The rats converge on Luka and start swarming up her body to get at the plans

"Dr" Evelyn Higgenbotham: Evelyn grabs it out of her hand like a running baton and sprints to the exit.

Michael Harrel: The rats follow.

Luka Arlexi: Luka follows.

Michael Harrel: The rats chase Evelyn down the hallway and into the bridge, where more rats are crawling out of the voice tubes and Newton and Felix are fighting them off with the navigator's chair and a crutch. Evelyn passes by and throws open the main hatch. It's raining outside but she can see, through the rain and whipping wind, a man standing at the bow of the airship. He appears to be playing a flute.

"Dr" Evelyn Higgenbotham: Evelyn leaps into the air, roaring in slow motion. The man looks up at her first in confusion, then in fear. They collide and fall to the floor in a bonecrunching heap. The rats swarm over them. The man's flute goes flying.

Michael Harrel: The rats immediately all fall over, twitching spastically.

Newton Falk: "What the hell was that about, Felix?"

Michael Harrel: "I just work here," says Felix. The man underneath Evelyn moans in pain.

Luka Arlexi: "Good work, Doctor."

"Dr" Evelyn Higgenbotham: Evelyn stands up and walks over to the flute, shaking limp rats from her coat. She picks the flute up. "I wonder what this will do." she plays one note on the flute.

Michael Harrel: The rats twitch, in unison.

"Dr" Evelyn Higgenbotham: BWEEEEE! She plays a bunch of random notes.

Luka Arlexi: Luka picks up one of the mechanical rodents cautiously.

Michael Harrel: The rats begin to move randomly, rolling around and scattering. Chaos.

Newton Falk: Newton golfs one out of the broken front window.

Luka Arlexi: "Fascinating…" Luka holds it by the tail at arm's length.

"Dr" Evelyn Higgenbotham: She tries semi-sucessfully to play "Mary Had a Little Lamb".

Michael Harrel: SQUUUUUEEeeeeeaeaaaaaakkkkk…. The rats move in a uniform manner, but basically just circle around the airship and return to Evelyn.

"Dr" Evelyn Higgenbotham: "Fascinating."

Michael Harrel: The one Luka is holding struggles to get away from her whenever Evelyn is playing the flute.

Luka Arlexi: "Hold still, you." Luka begins examing the rat, pulling out a small metal pick to prod various parts of it.

"Dr" Evelyn Higgenbotham: Evelyn stoops down to grab one of the rats at her feet. She studies it as well. "I… I think I'd like to take this back to the lab." She grabs another one carefully and then walks back inside. "Don't hold it by the tail, Henry. It hurts."

Michael Harrel: Felix looks at Newton. "We should maybe tie up the prisoner?"

Newton Falk: "Take them all!" To Felix, "Sure. I'll get the rope. You start shoveling."

Luka Arlexi: "Right…" Luka carefully grabs hold of the rat around the middle, and takes it back to the engine room.

"Dr" Evelyn Higgenbotham: "Don't hurt them!" she calls back through the door.

Newton Falk: "You come and pick up all the ones you want us to save!" He reaches under the helm and retrieves a coil of rope.

Luka Arlexi: "I'll get some crates for them."

"Dr" Evelyn Higgenbotham: Evelyn seems very distracted as she walks back to her room. A far off look on her face.

Newton Falk: To the prisoner, "I'm going to call you Piper, because that's a girls name. You can correct me before we ask your name, but that would make me angry. You don't want me to be angry, because when we start playing 'Good cop, Bad cop' I always play Worse cop, got it? Good, Piper."

Michael Harrel: Piper begins talking hurriedly in Asian.

Newton Falk: "Damn, it's speaking Asian…"

Michael Harrel: "I knew I should have bought that phrase book back at the market," says Felix.

Newton Falk: "Yes, then we could ask Piper where the bathroom is. Besides, you only wanted to talk to girls."

Michael Harrel: "True," says Felix. "So, do you think he'll learn English if we hit him enough?"

Newton Falk: "We can try that…" He looks at the autopilot.

Luka Arlexi: Luka walks by carrying some crates, and mumbles something in Russian.

Michael Harrel: "It won't work!" says the Piper. "I don't know any English!"

Newton Falk: "Damn."

Michael Harrel: "How do you control the rats?" demands Felix.

"By playing on the pipes," says the man. "Their brains are programmed to respond to various audio stimulis. If certain notes are played it will provoke certain behaviour from the rats."

"Dr" Evelyn Higgenbotham: The crew can hear notes being played every once in a while from Evelyn's quarters.

Newton Falk: "Oh, Gods…"

Luka Arlexi: "… Is there any way to disable it without hurting the rats?" Luka interjects, returning with a slightly twitching box.

Newton Falk: "Off switches, Piper?" -holding autopilot-

Michael Harrel: "I've never tried to reverse the process," says the Piper.

"Dr" Evelyn Higgenbotham: BWEEEEEEE!

Newton Falk: "So what do you do with them when you aren't playing?"

Michael Harrel: "Well, you have to feed them every so often. Other than that, they aren't much of a bother. They just sit there and twitch a bit."

Newton Falk: Newton stands there with his mouth open.

Luka Arlexi: Luka scowls at the man, and then carries the crate back to Evelyn's lab.

"Dr" Evelyn Higgenbotham: BWEEEET BWEET BWEET!!!

Newton Falk: "Felix, you know how the Doc is always finding new projects?"

Michael Harrel: "I hadn't noticed," says Felix

Newton Falk: "I just wonder what's going to come of it all. And who's going to save us."

Luka Arlexi: Luka can be heard faintly over the tubes, "And yes, Doctor, they need to be fed. Don't forget."

"Dr" Evelyn Higgenbotham: "Ask how you get them to eat."

Luka Arlexi: Luka reenters, carrying another empty crate. "How do you get them to eat? And what?"

Michael Harrel: "Well, we usually feed them prisoners.


Newton Falk: "Now he's speaking my language."

Luka Arlexi: Luka sighs, and exits to fill her crate with more rats.

"Dr" Evelyn Higgenbotham: BWEE!

Michael Harrel: NEXT TIME, on Cogs:

Newton Falk: "You fed them my what?"

"Dr" Evelyn Higgenbotham: Evelyn lifts her fingers to look at them. There is blood on them.

Luka Arlexi: Luka pats a mechanical rat sitting on her shoulder. "Good work, Whiskers."

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