[You step through the door and out of the laboratory.]
The corridor stretches long and straight, well-lighted with warm globes of light spaced evenly along the ceiling. At what might be the midpoint, a spiral staircase leads smoothly up into an unseen room beyond. The floor is hardwood inlay, and the walls are painted in an almost regular pattern of cream and red that varies as it continues, lending a touch of imperfection to precision.
There are some masks mounted between the doors.
Aziraphale's Room Constantine and Tanith's Room Ghent's Room Kazuyo's Lab Marith's Room Infirmary Eldrik's Room Autumn's Room Staircase Up
Eldrik closes the door to his room, looking around the corridor.
Kazuyo emerges from the lab. Machine-gun fire sounds in the background, as she slams the door shut and spins the wheel lock.
A large stainless-steel door with a ten-key cypher lock where a handle would normally be expected. A large radiation symbol and biohazard trefoil are emblazoned on the surface of the door near the top, and beneath are a series of admonitions:
WARNING: HAZARDOUS AREA
AEROBIC RESPIRATION STRICTLY PROHIBITED
NO FOOD OR DRINK BEYOND THIS POINT
DO NOT OPEN WHEN RED LIGHT IS ON
AUTHORIZED PERSONNEL ONLY
DANGER: GENETIC WASTE
BEWARE OF BLAST
There is, perhaps inevitably, no sign of a red light anywhere in the vicinity.
Eldrik blinks at Kazuyo, taking in the outfit. He straightens and then clears his throat.
Kazuyo pauses. Little *ping* *ping* *ping* sounds, as of .50 cal. rounds striking the inside of the door, are heard.
Eldrik says "Problems?"
Kazuyo says to Eldrik, apologetically, "I was just baking."
Eldrik scratches his throat. "Baking."
Kazuyo says "It's a new recipe."
Kazuyo looks back at the door. The pinging noise increases in rhythm.
Eldrik says "And it's shooting at you."
Kazuyo says "I hope they don't figure out how to use the recoilless rifles."
Kazuyo says "Well, yes. That was the *point*. I mean, pacifistic cookies wouldn't be any good, would they?"
Eldrik frowns vaguely and takes a few more steps away from Kazuyo's door. "How are you supposed to eat them if they're shooting at you?"
Kazuyo says "Well, um."
Kazuyo says "There are some minor bugs to be worked out in the recipe."
Eldrik mms. "So. Need any help?"
Kazuyo says "Are you a good cook?"
Eldrik says "Not really. But I'm generally good at handling things that are shooting at me."
Kazuyo says "Well, they're really supposed to shoot at *other* people."
Kazuyo says "The idea was to have an army that, um, carried its rations with it, if you see what I mean."
Eldrik says "Nice idea. But you kinda have to get back in your lab and work on the problem, neh?"
Kazuyo says "Well, I suppose I could just nerve-gas them all."
Eldrik says "Cookies have a nervous system?"
Kazuyo says "Sure. They'd be no good without, you know, reflexes and stuff."
Eldrik says "Doesn't that screw up their flavor?"
Kazuyo says "The guys who tried them in the bar didn't seem to think so."
Eldrik ahs. He considers this a bit.
Eldrik says "Well. You should do so before they mess up your lab more."
Kazuyo says "Well, I would, except there are some beta versions in there that were working out well." A faint, distant, explosion is heard, and she ducks reflexively. "Ah, there goes one of the recoillesses."
Eldrik winces. "So, like, gas them."
Kazuyo says "But but but."
Kazuyo says "The betas don't have gas masks."
Kazuyo says "And they're *good* betas."
Eldrik says "Would you rather go in and deal with homicidal cookies with recoilless rifles?"
Kazuyo says "Do you have any idea how hard it is to hit a human-sized target with a recoilless rifle?"
Eldrik reminds, "They have machine guns, too."
Kazuyo says "Good point."
Kazuyo says, reflectively, "Fifty-caliber. Go through an engine block and come out and kill a guy."
Kazuyo says "Or cookie."
Eldrik nods sagely. "Or cookie."
Eldrik looks at the door, considering. "You don't have to go in to gas them I'm assuming."
Kazuyo says "Well, um."
Kazuyo says "Unless they've blown the control circuits."
Eldrik says "Mm. Better hurry then, don't ya think?"
Kazuyo says "I suppose so."
Kazuyo steps to one side of the door, and slides down a metal panel with a sharp *kaCHUNK*
Kazuyo manipulates some switches and inspects a large cluster of blinkenlights.
Eldrik steps to the other side of the door, watching curiously.
Kazuyo says "Uh oh."
Eldrik raises an eyebrow. "Uh oh?"
Kazuyo says "*Damn*, they're smart."
Kazuyo says "You wouldn't happen to have a flamethrower handy, would you?"
Eldrik says "I could go get one."
Kazuyo says "That might not be a bad idea."
Kazuyo takes the helmet off her shoulder, fastens it on, and clamps down the face shield. "Don't forget a gas mask," she suggests.
Eldrik nods and starts walking down the corridor, concentrating
Eldrik mms distractedly. He fades from view.
Eldrik fades back into view moments later, walking back in. His attire is different and a large, ugly-looking flamethrower rests in his hands.
And yes, a gas-mask is around his neck.
Kazuyo brightens. "You must be an *Amberite*."
Kazuyo says "How *wonderful*. Could I get some tissue samples?"
Eldrik chuckles slightly. "Sorta, and probably not." He stops next to the door. "How many cookies?"
Kazuyo says "Um, just one batch. Unless they've baked more."
Eldrik says "Thirteen in a batch?"
Kazuyo says "Of course."
Kazuyo says "Okay. When I open the door, um, do something clever."
Eldrik frowns to himself. "That's a lot."
Kazuyo says "They're lousy shots."
Eldrik pushes a button on his gun and kneels on his side of the door, where it opens out. "Go ahead."
Kazuyo throws switches and pushes buttons. The blinkenlights flash; a large rotating red light extrudes from the wall and starts whirling; an ear-piercing alarm siren wails.
Eldrik frowns again and waits, tensing up.
Kazuyo jerks down a large lever, and the door slowly begins to swing open. High piping cries of alarm are heard from the other side.
Eldrik leans over slightly and takes a look in. Appearing to find some likely targets, he fires a few long blasts of flame into the room. He's rewarded with the screams of several cookie troopers.
Kazuyo says "Nice shot."
Kazuyo pulls the door the rest of the way open. Abandoned near the door is a recoilless rifle on a tripod, a burning cookie corpse lying sprawled over it. Several more seem to be dashing about the lab, one crouched behind a machine-gun.
Eldrik dashes in, making for cover. As he runs he fires another shot of flame at the machine-gun wielding cookie.
Kazuyo follows Eldrik in, spatula in one hand, gun in the other. The flame blast roasts the cookie where he sits; his high-pitched piping agonized scream stretches out for quite a while.
Eldrik dives behind a large piece of lab equipment as several of the startled cookies manage to shoot back. He waits a few moments.
Desultory gunfire erupts from the remaining cookies. *ping* *ping* *ping* One makes a dash for one of the abandoned tripod .50 cals.
Kazuyo ducks behind a lab table. A bullet *whangs* off her face-shield.
Eldrik rolls to the side and fires a spout at the dashing cookie. Then turns a longer stream at a group. Unfortunately he isn't being to careful about the rest of the lab.
Shrieking cookies go to meet their baker in a carnival of flame and lead. The remaining pair huddle behind a table, cowering. One yells, in his piping voice, "Hold your fire! We have a hostage!"
Kazuyo pokes her head up, cautiously. "Beta? Is that you?"
Eldrik ducks back behind some machinery, glancing at Kazuyo. Waiting.
A childlike Kazuyo-voice calls back, "Sorry, Gamma. They've got me."
One of the cookies yells, "Now, we're just gonna walk out of here, nice and calm, and you aren't gonna shoot us! Okay?"
Eldrik carefully sets down his flamethrower and pulls out a handgun.
Eldrik looks to Kazuyo, ready.
Kazuyo calls back, "Okay. You can come out now. We're not going to fire."
Kazuyo adds, to Eldrik, under her breath, "Shoot to kill."
Eldrik nods curtly and listens.
A rustling sound as of cookies getting to their feet is heard. Then footsteps, cautious at first. Then closer...closer...closer...
Eldrik rolls to his right, getting a clear view at the renegade
cookies. A trio of bullets imbedd themselves into each of their heads.
Or in the approximate are of where their heads would be. If they weren't cookies.
Kazuyo leaps up from her crouch and dives over the table, gun blazing
almost in unison with Eldrik's. A pair of stunned cookies, with a
twelve-year-old small Kazuyo between them, *thud* to the floor of the
lab, which is, incidentally, on fire.
Kazuyo says "Beta! Hit the Halon system!"
Eldrik gets to his feet, looking around the lab. "Well."
Kazuyo-the-Younger scurries over to the side of the lab, yanking a lever, and then races for the door as jets of white gas pour down from the ceiling. The elder Kazuyo follows posthaste.
Eldrik makes for the exit at a more than liesurely pace. Passing one of the cookies, he puts another bullet into it.
The cookie squeals once and expires, bleeding a chocolaty brown fluid.
Eldrik keeps going after he exits the lab, taking a few more cautious steps. He looks at Kazuyo and Beta. "Sorry about the fire." He shrugs with a slight smile.
Kazuyo says "It'll grow back."
Eldrik holsters his handgun. "Nice trick, that."
Kazuyo says "Well, this kind of thing *has* happened before."
Kazuyo says "Oh, yes. Kazuyo 1.1 beta, meet, um. Who are you, anyway?"
Eldrik nods. "Eldrik." He points down the corridor at a door. "My room.
Though I don't use it much."
Kazuyo says "Ah. I was wondering what you were doing here. Beta, meet
Eldrik." Beta waves, obediently. "And I'm Kazuyo n'ti'Nakadai n'at'Tohru n's'Viola n'ti'Dinesen ti'Uoknor v'Larisa d'Marion. But most people call me Kazuyo."
Kazuyo-1.1b observes, snidely, "Gamma."
Eldrik mms. He thinks a moment. "Eldrik d'Sand ti'Uoknor at'Aldebaran.
Or something like that."
Kazuyo says "Pleased to meet you. You're family, in a manner of speaking, then?"
Eldrik nods. "Easiest explained by Constantine or Tanith, I think. Seen them around?"
Kazuyo says "I think Tanith is about somewhere."
Eldrik nods. "I was just wandering around." He chuckles slightly, running a hand through his hair. "Thanks for the entertainment. I should be going. Look me up if something like this happens again?"
Kazuyo says "You're sure I can't get some tissue samples?"
Eldrik says "Why do you want them?"
Kazuyo says "I'm a geneticist and biologist. I want them for study and experimentation."
Eldrik says "I'll pass, thanks. Sorry."
Kazuyo says "You'd get a fifty-percent share in marketable spinoffs."
Eldrik grins a touch at that. "Naw." He slips out a card from a pouch. "Take care Kazuyo. Both of you."
Kazuyo says "Bye."
Eldrik stares at a card in his hand.
Eldrik moves forward and vanishes in a rainbow sparkle.
Eldrik has left.