Going home: Strongburgh, Part 4 of 4
He shoved the metal slim between the wooden door and the frame, just above the lock and pushed against it. The door cracked and the lock assembly bulged, but not enough. He forced the slim back in, this time going a little deeper and giving him better purchase. It still wasn't enough, but on the third try the wood shattered and the lock fell out of the door.
Sometimes, even for a Builder, it was the application of direct force that got the job down. But, as soon as he had the time he was making himself some sort of multi-key, this was the second, not third door he's broken to open, and that didn't count the minivan.
He peeked inside, relieved to not hear any alarm. The large storage room smells of dust and mold. The only light came from the door he held open. It was enough to show him boxes after boxes with signs of water damage. A few had papers spilling out of broken sides.
He stepped in. This, he figured, was what had happened to all the books and pages of tests once computers had been introduced. This was what he'd used to learn. It was depressing to see all of it abandoned like that, but the Builder in him knew that technology always moved forward.
He saw the door leading inside the hotel on the other side of the room, and closed the door. The darkness was near complete, what light that entered through the missing lock no enough to let him see past the first few stacks of boxes
He almost tripped on an errand box, and did end up on his back when he stepped on papers made slick with mold and humidity. He cursed as trashing to get up just covered him with more of the gunk. As soon as they were over he was going to need a shower.
The door opened without resistance and in the crack letting light through he could see it didn't have a lock. Clearly the university didn't care if someone stole what was in this room.
He searched for Amirel's device, and saw only one, heading for the cluster by the entrance. She'd posted them all there? She hadn't kept any for protection? Since she didn't know he could see the diagrams, this wasn't a trap. She was that confident in their ability to keep him from getting in.
Eric located Amirel's briefcase above him, where he thought her office was. She'd be near it, he was certain of that. He considered turning on the sphere right now-he had to give the thing a name. He could repurpose 'Disruptor' since he'd left his in the elk's classroom.
He could turn the Disruptor on now, but he still had to cross to the other end of the building to access the stairs, and if she noticed the disruption, she'd have time to find a way to get reinforcement to her office.
When the student had reached the cluster he opened the door. As he stepped out he saw the shiny mold on his pants and hoodie. Fortunately there was no one around to see him. He ducked back in, and found dry papers to scrap as much of it off as he could. He tried not to think of it as desecrating the past, after all he wasn't the one who had abandoned all these papers here, the school system had.
Once the spots on his clothes only looked dirty and damp, rather than wet and slimy he left the room and headed for the stairs. A few students had appeared, but none of them with devices in their necks, and some gave him a curious glance, but they didn't seem bothered seeing him.
No one yelled at him by the time he made it to Amirel's floor, and he took that as a good sign. He turned the Disruptor on before leaving the stairs. He could wait until he was before her, give her a speech about the evil of her way and how he as going to stop her. He chuckled at his own idiocy, this wasn't a movie, at least he hadn't seen any cameras following him around. Until that happened, he was playing it safe, instead of the trying to rock it.
He kept his gaze on the briefcase. If she hadn't moved it, it should be at the foot of the desk, on the other side form the door. In the desk itself he could see the components to the device stacked in their boxes. And on the shelves all the other devices.
The door was locked, but even if he didn't remember what the combination, he could now work them out at a glance. He punched it in and entered the room.
"How-?" she froze on seeing him.
He closed the door behind him.
"Everyone to my office, now." She spoke in a calm voice, didn't even raise it. For all appearance, Eric was the only one who could hear the command. It confirmed that the briefcase transmitted her commands. He wondered what the range was.
He stepped around the desk. "I don't care what you think." She grabbed the briefcase before he got close to it. "But what you did to them is wrong."
"If you think you can stop me, you'll be surprised." She spoke with such certainty, such superiority it made Eric study her. "There's on their way here, all of them. You through they had to hear my voice to obey me? You're-"
Eric hadn't planned on showing her the Disruptor, it felt too much like a movie moment, but he figured it would shut her up.
"What is that?"
"It's a signal disruptor, radio, cell. I had a Tecker student build it for me because, no, I didn't think they had to be here to hear your orders. You hold on to that briefcase too tightly for me to think it isn't important to all this. It transmits your orders to them, or it did. I turned this on before I opened the door."
11 September 2018 at 17:24:56 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 4,600 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/21358703