"Excuse me," he asked the man walking up the stairs "Where is Glamboro Hall?" the man shrugged. Eric asked the next person, a human woman. She gave him direction and he thanked her.
"There!" He spun and at the top of the stairs a student was pointing at him while looking at her phone. She showed it to the students around her and they nodded. So much them not having a picture of him.
Or not running. He took off.
Glamboro Hall was three blocks down. The old library, the woman had said. Renovated to hold the science department. She'd apologized for not being able to tell him more, but she was late for her class. When he wasn't busy being chased by mind-controlled students, he'd look up the building's history.
At least he was in better shape than his pursuers. He glanced over his shoulder and only two were still after him. And one looked like he was about to give up. Far behind them he could see more students, hand on their knees, panting hard.
He ran through the pedestrians and streets, grateful no one drove here. All the cars were in the lots at the entrance of what had been downtown Strongburgh years ago.
Some of the people looked at him, but none of them showed alarm. They probably thought he was running late for something.
He considered calling the police, but immediately dismissed the thought. What could he say? Sure, it was true that she was mind-controlling them, but could he prove it? Could he convince them to x-ray their necks? He'd have to find another Builder who could see diagrams like he could, and how likely was that? The students would say whatever she wanted them to.
And if convincing them wasn't enough, they'd ask for his ID. He'd been lucky twice already. The first time because Doctor Reignheart had known the officer, and then because Peek had made the officer think everything was already fine. But now? He didn't have anyone to vouch for him. Isabel would, but he doubted she was on first name bases with any officer who would show up.
He didn't think the professor would call the police either. She had to worry that someone might believe Eric's story. If anyone examined her students, what she'd done would be revealed.
He glanced over his shoulder and cursed. The girl was still after him. Not gaining, but not giving up either. At least she was human. If she'd been a cheetah, or any large cat really, she'd have caught him already.
He saw the building, wide, three stories, with a clock at the peek over the double door entrance. Seven minutes to noon. That couldn't be right, it was way past that. Broken then. A look at the diagram told him one of the gear was missing, deep inside. They'd have to take the clock out just to figure out what needed to be replaced.
He grabbed the gardener's rake that was leaning against the stair's railing. Inside he pushed the door closed and shoved the rake through both handles and he was running again.
Goal. The word popped up as he opened his ability wide. His mind knew his plans were changing. He needed to incapacitate the students after him, there were too many of them he couldn't fight them all.
The diagram formed before him from components he was seeing all around him. The hunger to create something grand hovered at the back of his mind, but it wasn't insistent. Good, he didn't have time to deal with that on top of everything else.
The item took shape before him, but it was too large. He needed something portable. With the change in criteria it altered and became something palm-sized. Now he needed to find all the parts to make it.
He heard the rake break.
Ideally find them someplace where they students wouldn't find him in return. He went up the stairs.
He saw the rows after rows of electronic parts before he reached the top of the stairs. A storeroom. Perfect. The door had an electronic lock, but it was the same as on Professor Amirel's office door. So it easy to get the right numbers for it. He entered and carefully closed the door behind him.
He grabbed the items he needed still panting. He couldn't slow down. At least the door didn't have a window so the students couldn't see the light, or the shadow he cast as he moved about.
He took out his took and began assembling his...what was he going to call it? It needed a name, inventions always had to be named. Disruptor, that was a good name for it.
The Disruptor took shape. Its form meant it would fit comfortably in his hand. He could add a strap so he wouldn't have to worry about it falling out.
The most impressive thing, to him, was how powerful and small the batteries had become in sixty years. By his calculation, the battery he put in the disruptor, barely the size of his thumb had enough power to short most electronics. He'd have to recharge it after each use, so ultimately he couldn't use that to stop Amirel, but it would let him deal with the students chasing him.
So long as they came at him one at a time.
Yeah, really not the final solution.
Once the disruptor was done, he plugged it in. He'd also build a charger for it. Something better than what he'd seen. In two minutes the disruptor was fully charged.
He placed an ear to the door. The downside of now having a window was that he couldn't look outside until he opened it.
With a chuckle he rested his head on it. He didn't need to open the door. For his purpose he could actually see through it or walls. He looked for the diagrams. He saw one on this floor, further down the hallway, two on the floor above and five below, with more approaching the building.
11 August 2018 at 19:57:06 MDT
Going Home is a series that Explores the city of Tiranis through the eyes of Eric Clarkson, a returning veteran, who finds that the city has changed more than he expected in his absences.
Each section of the series will focus on a different part of the city while Eric gets pulled into problems typical to that area, or sometimes not so typical.
This is about 1000 words of the 9,100 words chapter.
You can read the full story, as well as other stories set in the world of Tiranis by joining my Patreon at the 1$ level: https://www.patreon.com/posts/20705840