Caution: Quills may be sharp Circulation: 187,881,946 Issue: 520 | 11th day of Storing, Y13
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A New Line of Work: Part Four


by thatsextraheretical

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++19th Day of Relaxing, Year 13, 3:38PM, Corridor 556, Lower Level, Bay 8, Airlock 32-B++

"We work for a jerk, you know that, Mori?"

     Kuvah was sitting in the corner, trying to keep herself calm while waiting for Norton to make good on his promise to have them thrown out the airlock. Moriarti, however, was busy banging on a control pad near the door with a scrap piece of metal.

     All the banging wasn't helping Kuvah's headache. "What in the world are you doing?" she asked her boss.

     "Trying to make sure we don't get blasted out the airlock," Moriarti replied, continuing to bang on the control panel in an attempt to knock it free from the wall. Sure enough, after one last whack, the panel popped free from the wall only to fall a short distance and stay suspended on a mess of wires running out of the wall and into the circuit boards on the back.

     Kuvah wasn't convinced. "Do you even know what you're doing with those?" she asked as he began to pull the various colored circuitry from the back of the panel.

     "Nope," was his blunt reply as he began to tap various wires together, causing sparks. "Saw it in a movie once, though. And if I don't try something, we're going to wind up dead."

     Kuvah scoffed. "I thought for sure you agents knew a little about everything. To, you know, get out of being blasted out of an airlock and the like as it came up," she admitted.

     Once again, Moriarti's reply was a simple "nope" before he went back to putting various wires together. As he did so, the lights went from harsh white to emergency red, then back again. The next set of wires he tried turned on a loudspeaker, which began playing some loud dance music.

     After a few more wires that did nothing discernable, he was left with one last possible combination. The music was still playing rather loudly, and he hoped it would provide a distraction. Over the music, though, Norton began to speak.

     "Well, Mori, looks like this is the end for you and Kuvah. Really sorry about that and all, but I'm sure you understand. Anyway, I'll start dallying and-"

     Moriarti crossed the two wires, sending a spark between them. The doors back into the hangar flew open, and Norton, who was standing at a console next to the door, leapt back in surprise. He began to reach for his blaster, but never got the chance. Kuvah tackled the elderly Eyrie to the ground and began wrestling for control of the laser. It slid out of both their grasps, but they didn't seem to notice; they were far too engrossed in going at each other's throats.

     Moriarti, however, made for the blaster, only to stop when he reached for it.

     "I'm afraid I can't let you- let you- let you do that, Mori," came a voice with a familiar metallic tinge to it.

     "Thirteen," Moriarti addressed the Ogrin, standing up, the blaster an equal distance between them. He could hear the sound of Norton and Kuvah's scuffle behind him, and it sounded like his Wocky assistant was winning.

     Thirteen Thirty Seven and Moriarti stared each other down, the piercing red glow of the robot's optics meeting the Draik's own crimson eyes. Then, quick as lightning, the Ogrin was airborne, sailing towards Moriarti with his fist out in an attempt to strike the agent. Moriarti dove out of the way as the heavy metal robot crashed and slid across the rough metal floor, screeching all the way before coming to a stop.

      Moriarti ventured a look over to see how Kuvah was doing, finding she had Norton by a wing. His attention was called back suddenly as Thirteen lunged forward, throwing a punch to the side. Moriarti dodged, the robot's fist grazing his right shoulder, and threw a palm into the oncoming Ogrin's chest. The attack met with a dull thunk that seemed to reverberate around inside the robot and disorient him, causing him to stumble back and shake his head as if he were clearing his vision.

     Norton was crawling along the floor with Kuvah on top of him, trying desperately to reach the blaster lying on the ground amidst the fighting. Moriarti's assistant was beating him on the head with a bundled up extension cord, obviously angry with the fact she had only barely escaped death minutes ago. Still, the Eyrie pressed on in an effort to grab the lethal weapon, something which Kuvah seemed desperate to stop.

     Meanwhile, Moriarti decided it was his turn to press the attack. Snatching a clipboard off the top of a nearby server, he threw it, sending papers everywhere and the clipboard hurling through towards the robot. Thirteen brought his arms up to block against the pitiful attack, but in doing so opened himself up to the real attack: a kick to the chest. Moriarti's foot caught Thirteen square in the chest and sent him sprawling across the ground towards the door out to the corridor.

     Not wanting to let up, Moriarti chased after the Robot Ogrin as he attempted to pick himself up off the ground. As Thirteen made to stand up, Moriarti kicked him again, knocking him back. The automatic sliding door to the corridor opened when it detected movement, letting the reeling robot fall on his back out in the corridor. Thirteen made no move to get up as Moriarti followed him out.

     Back in the hangar, Kuvah had Norton by his tail, and was dragging him away from the blaster by it. However, Norton proved to be a bit stronger and finally pulled free of her grasp, though in doing so only wound up on the floor again. This was all the ample time the Desert Wocky needed to get back to kicking her former boss in the side repeatedly.

     The Draik circled to the left of the splayed robot, wondering if he was just playing down and out to coax him into range. Moriarti kept his distance, but was startled when he heard Kuvah shriek again. The door back into the hangar had closed, and he figured Norton now probably had the blaster. Looking around, he found a piece of heavy metal pipe and picked it up while distancing himself from Thirteen and the door.

     After a long, tense moment, the door to the hangar opened again and Kuvah was pushed out, looking rather frightened. She quickly made a beeline for Moriarti upon seeing him and cowered behind him. Norton was the next to come out, missing more than a handful of feathers, and with a wing that looked like it was causing him pain. His face was filled with a seething malice and hatred, and he quickly leveled the blaster at Moriarti.

     "Alright, so maybe I should have just done this before, but I figured you'd have known when you were beat. Unfortunately, I don't think you got the message: game over, Mori," Norton said, eying the piece of pipe Moriarti was holding.

     Norton saw this and broke out into a deranged laughter, the stress and the feelings of near-victory washing over him in a way that showed his true colors.

     "You remember when I said he was a jerk? I take it back. Norton Aquila is absolutely INSANE, Moriarti," Kuvah said from behind her boss, her voice cracking a little in fear.

     "I think I picked up on that, actually," Moriarti responded, staring down his former employer as the giddy Disco Eyrie continued his manic laughter. Beside him, Thirteen finally came too and began to stand up and tried to take in what was happening.

     "Please tell me you've got a plan," Kuvah begged quietly. Moriarti just stood still, waiting for Norton to make his move.

     Finally, the Eyrie's laughter died off to mere chuckles. "Well, Mori, looks like you've got the short end of the stick yet again. Not much you can do with that pipe. I mean, really, what are you going to do? Throw it at me?" He asked, once again laughing at the absurdity of the apparent situation.

     In truth, Norton was probably right. There was some thirty feet between them, and Moriarti knew he probably wouldn't be able to hit Norton unless the Eyrie stayed perfectly still. And by then, Norton would've gotten his shots off, ending the Draik and his assistant.

     But that wasn't what Moriarti planned to use the pipe for. "Guess we'll have to see, Norton. Think you can get your shot off before-" he began, only to be cut off by Norton.

     "Before what? Before you turn and try and run away? I'd much rather shoot you in the front, Mori. I can at least give you that for all your hard work you've done for the company," he said.

     "I was going to say before I did this," Moriarti replied, throwing the pipe through the air.

     But perhaps startling to all except Moriarti himself was the fact that he didn't throw the pipe at Norton. Instead, he threw it at a large panoramic viewport against one side of the corridor. The impact was perfect, the end of the pipe striking the glass and causing a crack to splinter out every which way across the pane.

     Norton watched at the crack crept up to the top and bottom edges of the viewport and began to strain under the outward force of the atmospheric pressure trying to equalize with the vacuum outside. The cracking of the glass became more audible as Norton put together just what Moriarti had done, and made to level his blaster at the Draik.

     The viewport finally gave way with an explosive force, and emergency sirens and lights blared and flashed as the station's atmosphere was vented in a catastrophic decompression that threatened to suck the group out into space. Norton tried his best to aim and fired once, twice, thrice before the rushing air tore the blaster from his grip and out into space before two emergency bulkheads slammed down between the group, separating the two rival pairs and containing the leak.

     And while it may have bought them a little time, it had come with a price.

To be continued...

 
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Other Episodes


» A New Line of Work: Part One
» A New Line of Work: Part Two
» A New Line of Work: Part Three
» A New Line of Work: Part Five
» A New Line of Work: Part Six
» A New Line of Work: Part Seven



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