Saturday, July 15, 2006

Mortimer takes the Metro

The snake jerky had been surprisingly invigorating, but Mortimer had to get to work. Unfortunately one couldn't just waltz into Hell - at least not if one expected to come back. There was a gateway at the Mindor Shrine, but it had to be opened. There were a number of ways to accomplish such a feat, but Mortimer wanted niether to sacrifice a virgin nor pledge his own soul to Hal'duin, lord of Hell. Most people would justgive up on finding another way, but Mortimer knew one man who loved impossible challenges, and had already tackled that one. That was why he'd have to go home before going on.
He wondered if he was doing the right thing. But, what else could "Look to the dead to find it" mean? Oh well, at least he was afforded the chance to go home, he had left in far too much of a hurry. He could check on Millie. And it would be good to see the man he was going to see as well.
Narrin was tired; she had flown far and long and needed a good rest, but Mortimer needed no such thing. He touched down in the town of Iggersby, home of one of the only stables he'd trust with Narrin, and a loyal city of the Queen.
Mortimer left Narrin with the stablemaster, a close friend of his, and walked to the subway station.
The subways were new, and were almost entirely Mortimer's doing, but he loathed to use them. About two years ago while expanding palace security, Mortimer had made a shocking discovery: Dwarves had tunnelled under nearly the entire kingdom. The Queen's head General, a disgustingly dense man named Lord Sneall, went as far as to employ a talented inventor to design a system of demolishing the tunnels swiftly without damaging the palace, and had even commissioned it's production by the time Mortimer caught wind of it and carried out his plan. Using the machines as leverage, he coerced the Dwarves into turning the top tunnels into a working Subway system for Her Majesty. The Dwarves performed admirably on the production, reaching it all the way throughout the queendom, but outsourced management as a way of snubbing the royal government. The system was now extremely seedy, thanks to it's being run by Froogs, ugly, stooped creatures notorious for their lack of work ethic.
A Froog was now regarding Mortimer incredulously as he flashed his royal pass.
"Thakth not a sthtandard ticketkkk," it said.
"No, it's a royal pass. Admits me anywhere, for free."
"I don'th know about thatkk. I'd haff to thchekkk witthhh managgmentkkk."
"I am Mortimer Lima Bean, Royal Protector! I created this entire infrastructure. You owe your job to me."
"And you're holdinkk upp the line." He gestured to the empty space behind Mortimer.
"What line?"
"Sthtepp to the sthide while I getss the managgmentkkk."
Mortimer obediently stepped to the side to allow no one through. The Froog continued to stand there, and went back to reading his magazine.
Mortimer waited about a minute before blurting out.
"The management! Weren't you going to get them?"
The Froog looked at him with a look that said, "Who are you, a lowly customer, to tell me how to do my job." He looked back down at his magazine .
Mortimer whipped out the marmalady and set it to stun. Holding it on the Froog, he jumped over the rope and ran down the stairs toward the trains. The Froog didn't look up.
A train was waiting on the track. They were large mining carts, but had been fitted with seats and sanded reasonably well. Mortimer was one of three or four people on the train. It jolted into action. The trains were mostly pulled by some sort of underground serpent imported by the Dwarves - Mortimer had never asked the details. It was a long ride to Higgansnorg, and Mortimer drifted to sleep, dreaming of that day, years ago, when an avacado had burst open.