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Stories from the Verse
Chapter 64: Brown 127
Table of Contents
Previous chapter: Chapter 63: Slade 110
By the time Derek reached Pete, the latter had already removed the cover from the bomb and had a collection of tools laid out on a rolling bed alongside. His attention was focused on the opening.
“What do I do?” Derek asked.
“At this point, stand by the tools and hand me what I need. I might also need an extra hand at some point to hold something, but not yet.”
Derek stepped to the gurney and glanced at the bomb. It looked like so many others, those he had seen in the training sessions and the many more he had seen in movies.
Movies, he thought as he absently handed Pete the tools as requested--needle nose pliers, screwdriver, vise grips, Philip’s head, Allen wrench, side cutters. This is so like a movie. What happens next is the timer suddenly starts running fast, everyone panics, and the expert has to decide under pressure whether to cut the red wire or the blue. Then he picks one and cuts it, everyone holding breath, and there’s a sigh of relief as the clock--
“Done,” Pete said.
“Done?” Derek asked, surprised.
“Well, there’s more that could be done, of course. I didn’t remove the fissionable core or unpack the primary explosive, but the detonation circuits have been disconnected so it’s safe to move it and examine it more closely in a secure facility. At this point it would take a bomb expert to detonate it.”
It was not like the movies.
There was something in that which was comforting. It meant his life was not being written by some author trying to get cheap thrills from a movie audience. There was also something a bit frightening about it, too, he realized. It meant that he could make mistakes, real mistakes--not just the kind of thing that creates plot tension, but stupid mistakes that cost real people real lives. He could get it wrong.
This was not the time to ponder that. “Jim,” he said, “call downstairs, tell them we have deactivated the bomb, captured the leader, and that the back entrance should be open. They should send teams to round up the remaining terrorists. Give them as much of a report as we can and find out what they want us to do from here.”
It took a few minutes to get a response, but the answer was that his team should stay with the bomb just in case someone else attempted to detonate it. “Well,” he suggested, “we might as well get comfortable. This may be a while. Anyone see a bathroom in this office?”
There is a behind-the-writings look at the thoughts, influences, and ideas of this chapter, along with twenty other sequential chapters of this novel, in mark Joseph "young" web log entry #243: Verser Redirects. Given a moment, this link should take you directly to the section relevant to this chapter. It may contain spoilers of upcoming chapters.
As to the old stories that have long been here: