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And Why the Hell Not - Worm AU One-Shot

Discussion in 'Creative Writing' started by Ack, Jun 11, 2015.

  1. Ack

    Ack (Verified Ratbag) (Unverified Great Old One)

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    What if the Undersiders decided to use their powers to make money legally?

    And Why the Hell Not

    Brian

    From a distance, the nuclear reactor looked pristine, untouched. But then, as the helicopter drew closer, Brian made out the flashing lights of emergency vehicles. Ominously, they were holding back to a perimeter, a couple of hundred yards from the outer security fence. Closer to, it appeared that one of the smaller buildings had subsided a little and a pipe previously connected to it was spewing yellowish steam into the late afternoon chill.

    He braced himself as the chopper came in for a fast landing in the area where a rough 'H' had been spray painted on the asphalt of the parking lot. The skids bounced once, then settled. He unfastened his safety belt, slung his pack over his shoulder, and stepped down from the aircraft. Even knowing that the rotor blades were a good two yards over his head did not prevent him from performing the classic duck-walk till he was clear.

    The man coming to meet him wore a silvery radiation suit with the baggy hood pushed back to hang over his shoulders. "Clements," he said by way of greeting. "You're Laborn?"

    Brian shook his hand. "I am," he confirmed, just as the heli pilot opened his throttle again and lifted off in a cloud of dust and occasional bits of gravel. He ignored it; he was on site, and it was time to go to work. "How bad is it?"

    "Bad," stated Clements. "We had a minor earth tremor. Not sure who would have caused it. Ruptured that pipe, which is spewing coolant. If coolant runs dry, we get a meltdown, so we're pumping more water in. Unfortunately, the main buildings are so heavily irradiated that we can't even get a robot in to manually shut down the reaction."

    "Right," agreed Brian. "Well, you've got my fee?"

    Clements nodded jerkily. "Already paid."

    "Good." Brian opened his pack and pulled out a helmet with a cord leading to a reel; he donned the helmet and clipped the reel to his belt. Attached to the reel was a headset microphone; he pulled it free, unwinding a yard or so of cord to do so.

    "Put this on," he instructed Clements. "When I get in there, I'm going to need you to talk me through the shutdown process."

    Clements obeyed, looking dubious. "Why can't we just use radios?" he asked.

    "Because my radiation-blocking field blocks all electromagnetic radiation," Brian explained. "Including radio."

    "Oh," replied Clements. "Of course."

    One hand holding the headset in place, he watched the young man make his way across the parking lot, unwinding cord from the reel as he went. As he passed the safety barriers, black smoke suddenly billowed out from him, hiding him from sight. The cloud grew larger and larger; by the time Laborn entered the plant, as he advised Clements over the link, it encompassed the entire facility.

    It took him ten minutes to reach the appropriate control panel, with Clements guiding him along the way, and another ten to initiate emergency shutdown procedures. By the time Laborn exited the main building, the contaminated steam had ceased spewing from the pipe, and the local rad count was already falling.

    Brian retrieved his headset from Clements, and nodded to the man. "You can handle it from here?"

    "Count on it," Clements confirmed.

    "Good." Shouldering his pack, Brian walked off a little way to await the return of his helicopter. Another job, another half million. There's no way in hell that Mom can get her hands back on Aisha now.

    <><>​

    Lisa

    "Wilbourne Investment Services, Lisa Wilbourne speaking."

    "Hi, Lisa, it's me."

    "Brian!" Lisa leaned back and propped her bare feet up on her desk as she cheerfully answered. "How's my biggest earner doing?"

    "Pretty good. Just did another job. Reactor in the Midwest."

    "Nice," Lisa replied. She tapped on the wireless keyboard balanced on her lap. "And the payment just cleared. Congratulations, you're now worth eight figures."

    "Awesome. How's Aisha doing?"

    Lisa grinned. "Having fun playing secretary. Though I don't see her half the time."

    "So long as she's not a problem."

    "No, no problem at all. Look, there's a couple of start-ups that I've been financing with my own money, that I've got a good feeling about. You want I should throw some of your money their way as well?"

    "Sure, what are they about?"

    "Oh, a dog training place and a pest exterminator."

    "Well, if you've got a good feeling ... "

    "I do indeed."

    "Then sure, go for it."

    Just then, Lisa heard the faintest of noises on the line; she quickly discerned it as a teenage girl trying to mimic the Jaws theme in a whisper, and not giggle at the same time. She was succeeding at the first and failing at the second.

    "dun dun DUN DUN DUN DUUNNNNN..."

    "It appears that she has discovered the phone extension as well," Lisa observed, grinning broadly. "You two go ahead and chat while I get this set up."

    Hanging up the phone, she typed busily. "Let's see," she murmured. "That's ..."

    <><>​

    Rachel

    "Lindt Canine Training Facility, Cassie speaking."

    Rachel paused as she walked past the reception desk, listening to the chirpy voice of her receptionist. She still couldn't believe it; she had a receptionist. In fact, she had a hard time believing that she had an entire company built around her ability to train dogs.

    When the Wilbourne girl had come to her with the idea of actually making money training dogs, Rachel hadn't considered it possible. Now, six months later, she was receiving the intake from all the dog refuges around the city, and turning them into well-trained pets. And then there were the police and military dogs, drug sniffers and the like.

    She had other dog handlers on staff, of course, but they only worked with the simple cases. Rachel took pride in dealing with most of the work herself.

    A buzzer sounded, and she moved along to where a red light was flashing over a door. From inside the door, she could hear growling and barking.

    She swiped the door with her all-access keycard and entered. Within were three humans and a half-grown Alsatian-Rottweiler cross. Two of the people were the putative owners of the dog, whom she filed away as Type One style dog owners; treats pets like automatons; feeds and cares for them, but never actually loves them.

    The third person was one of her trainers, who was struggling to restrain the dog; the beast was leaping about within the confines of his harness, apparently out of control. Rachel stepped forward; as the dog lunged at her, she picked him up and dropped him on his back. He began to struggle, but her hand on his throat and her sharply voiced "No!" put a stop to that.

    The trainer began to babble an explanation or an excuse; Rachel wasn't listening. She was checking over the dog, hands sifting through the thick coat, gauging the dog's reactions to what she was doing. It wasn't long before she found what she was looking for; grim-faced, she rocked back on her heels to look at the trainer. "He's got parasites. Internal, as well as fleas and ticks. Why wasn't this spotted earlier?"

    The trainer paled. "We got disinfected just last month. That should have ... "

    "That did nothing," she growled. "That bastard's been skimping on the job ever since we contracted him. This ends now."

    Standing, she left the now-docile dog while she pulled out her phone.

    "Hi, Rachel, how can I help you?"

    "Yeah. I need a better pest exterminator. You said you knew one."

    "Sure thing. Texting you the number now."

    <><>​

    Taylor

    The building loomed over them as Danny pulled the car into a parking spot. On the concrete frontage were the letters LCTF. As Taylor opened the door, she could hear the faint barking of dogs.

    She got out of the car and straightened her cap so that it sat at a jaunty angle. "Coming in, Dad?"

    Danny climbed out of the driver's seat and closed his door. "Why not," he agreed. "It's always fun, watching their faces."

    Taylor grinned at him before heading up the concrete path to the front doors. She pushed open the glass door and stepped into the air conditioning; Danny followed close behind.

    "Hi," Taylor greeted the receptionist brightly. "You called for an exterminator?"

    <><>​

    Alec

    “Okay, James,” the therapist told him gently, “try to stretch your foot out and wriggle your toes.”

    The young man, recently recovered from a motorcycle accident, attempted to do so, but his foot barely quivered. “I can't,” he muttered hopelessly. “I just can't make it work.”

    “Let's try something different,” the therapist suggested. He concentrated, and James' foot stretched out, the toes wiggling energetically.

    “Holy crap!” James stared at his foot. “How are you doing that?”

    Alec grinned. “It's a gift. Now, can you think of how that felt, and do it again?”

    “If you can do it, I can do it,” James replied, and stared at his foot. After a few twitches, it was starting to stretch out most gratifyingly.

    When he produced a faint wriggle from his toes, Alec put a hand on his shoulder. “Okay, that's enough for today,” he advised. “We can do more tomorrow, but that's a really good start.”

    James grasped his hand and shook it vigorously. “Thanks,” he enthused. “Now I know I can do it!”

    He rolled his wheelchair from the room; Alec sat down and leaned back. He had done many bad things in his life before running away from Heartbreaker; perhaps in some small way, helping these people to start life anew might begin to make up for it.

    Of course, the money didn't hurt either.


    End​
     
    Last edited: Jun 11, 2015
  2. seeing_octarine

    seeing_octarine Unverified Colour

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    Now you've got me thinking about the implications of Brian's power and whether it would need supplementation to just walk into a near-meltdown nuclear facility. Gamma rays aren't the only form of radiation to worry about there.
     
  3. Ack

    Ack (Verified Ratbag) (Unverified Great Old One)

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    Probably a basic hazmat suit is all he would need. Just to stop alpha and beta.
     
  4. jcogginsa

    jcogginsa Versed in the lewd.

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    Cool.

    Honestly, i'd like to see this expanded past a oneshot, but it works as is
     
  5. CptTagon

    CptTagon Prolific Writer

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    I presume Rachel has someone handling the paperwork for her business, as even if she could read and write to an acceptable level, I don't see her having any interest in doing so. A very nice one-shot. While I agree with jcogginsa about wanting more of it, I don't see how it could be expanded very easily, and you have enough on your plate as is.
     
  6. Ack

    Ack (Verified Ratbag) (Unverified Great Old One)

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    That's what the receptionist is for.
     
  7. Prince Charon

    Prince Charon Just zis guy, you know?

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    That would make her rather more than just a receptionist, though. Personal assistant or business manager might be more accurate.
     
  8. Ack

    Ack (Verified Ratbag) (Unverified Great Old One)

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    Eh. Rachel doesn't know the difference :p