November 11, 2005
Week 28 - Impossible Dreams 11
Powell steps a few feet back. "Um... Coyote Man... I've, uh, managed to dodge the giant robot..."
"Good work, Pan Boy!" Lamont shouts. "Try to disable the launch pad! We must prevent the satellite component from reaching orbit." He pulls back his foot and gives the base of the turbine a powerful kick. "I'll keep this cybernetic behemoth occupied!" He winces in pain as his boot hits the metal.
"Right...," Powell mumbles, "the launch pad..." He stares at a thick, heavy iron hook that hangs, a few feet over the ground, from the crane. He walks toward it, passing the rottweiler whose enraged barking fills the night. "Um... good boy," Powell says, keeping his distance. The dog strains at the chain that binds it to the foreman's shack, a dozen yards away.
Powell climbs into the open cabin of the crane and looks at a row of levers and knobs. "If the only way to stop this nonsense is to launch a satellite," he mutters, "then we'll launch a satellite." He pulls out the ring of master keys. "I hope one of these works..." He tries several until one fits into a hole on the control panel. As he turns it he hears a motor whir to life.
He pulls one lever toward him. The crane rotates sharply clockwise, sending the iron hook swinging into the fence that surrounds the field, creating a small rip. "Oh no!" Powell shouts, and he quickly pushes the lever forward. The crane swings the other way and the hook slams into the foreman's shack, shaking the entire structure. The rottweiler howls frantically, and strains at its taut chain. Powell winces. He very slowly pulls the lever toward the middle and the crane returns to its original position.
He takes a deep breath and gingerly pushes a button on the panel. He hears a grumble of machinery and the iron hook begins to rise. "Ok," he mumbles, "this should get us out of here..." The hook continues up, until it reaches the apex fifty feet in the air. Powell watches and then shrugs. He turns off the engine, jumps out of the crane, and runs back to the turbine, dodging the hysterical dog.
Lamont stands, perfectly still, staring up at the iron hook. "We've failed, Pan Boy," he says, very quietly. "The second component of the Illusion Ray Satellite has been launched."
"I know, um, I'm sorry. But... we haven't lost yet, right? There's still one component left..."
The barking of the dog echoes through the field, until, suddenly, there is a loud snap and the animal falls silent. Powell looks and his face turns stark white. The bolt that had attached the dog's chain to the foreman's shack has popped. The animal turns its head back to examine the situation and then returns its gaze to Powell and Lamont, its eyes narrowing. It crouches and begins to softly growl. "Oh shit!" Powell says. He looks around frantically and notices the tear in the fence he had accidentally created with the crane. "This way!" he yells, pointing. Lamont nods and they begin to run. The dog takes off after them.
Lamont reaches the fence first and he pushes through the tear. "Quickly, Pan Boy!" he shouts, from the other side. "The beast is almost upon us!"
Powell tries to squeeze, backwards, through the fence, but his shirt gets caught on the twisted metal. "Oh God, oh God! I'm stuck!" The dog rapidly closes the distance and, when it is a few feet from the fence, leaps into the air toward Powell. "Oh God!" Powell repeats. He grabs the frying pan that hangs at his belt and swings it hard at the rottweiler's skull. The dog staggers back, stunned. Lamont pulls Powell from behind and he twists free. They run back to Lamont's car.