Margo was aghast. "You're going to WHAT?"
"Hang from a spider rig."
"Underneath the boat."
"Yes, underneath the boat! Can't very well hang
"And you want me to drive - and to hover it."
"Yes. And don't smack me into the building. I can do that well enough myself" neno observed.
"You're crazy" Margo accused.
"So? I can't get killed. What's the problem?"
Margo rolled her eyes at him before replying "Killed or not, it's a long way down from up there, and that fall couldn't leave any pleasant results.
It'll hurt at least, and probably leave some marks."
Nenothtu shrugged, and turned to leave the cockpit and get the spider rig ready for the descent. he never saw the concerned look Margo shot his way as
she muttered "The man is crazy. Just nuts. There isn't any hope for him at all."
Several minutes later, the Starwolf hovered over the tallest spire in the ruined city with Margo nervously at the helm. Nenothtu dangled at the end of
a cable tether suspended from a cargo gantry of the Starwolf lowering himself incrementally towards the spire.
Reaching the roof, neno was chagrined to find that there was no access to the building from there, either, that was not locked and sealed. "We'll see
'bout that" he mumbled as he unfastened the cable from his harness and refastened it to an access port in the rooftop that was sealed with apparently
millennia of rust, dirt, and crud. He ran the cable through a metal loop in the hatchway apparently made for such things, and re-snapped the snap link
back around the cable, forming a loop.
"Lift, Margo. There's gonna be some resistance, and probably a sudden give, so be ready for it to happen and counter it so's ye don't fly off into the
wild green yonder."
"Lift?" Margo queried.
"Yes, dear. LIFT. We're snatching a door off it's hinges so I can get inside the building. Starwolf seems the most convenient for that, since I never
brought any 'splosives down here with me, and you're driving Starwolf. See how that works? I've tied off the cable to the entry. You just apply lift
and pop the top."
"Won't it break something?" Margo asked.
"That's the whole point" neno replied. "We MEAN to break something - in this case, an entry way into this building."
"Can't you just set that plaque on the rooftop without going inside?" Margo sounded concerned. She seemed not to like this idea even a little bit.
"Sure I can" neno said "and probably WILL, but I'm going inside regardless of all that. This is the tallest building around, probably has an excellent
view for miles, and may ver' well make for a grand base of operations here. I need to go in and check that out, see if it will work."
"You don't need that... we have Starwolf for a base of operations..."
Kali. Morrigan, and Harvey the Big White Rabbit! neno thought. Women! Can't live with 'em, and can't talk to 'em either! "Starwolf: this is your
CAPTAIN speaking... got that? Your CAPTAIN - the guy who says what to do... do what I just told you to do, or I'll fire the lot of you and hire
another crew!" It was an empty threat of course - the "flight crew" really consisted solely of he and Margo at the moment, and he'd hired neither, nor
could he fire either.
Margo picked up on that "Can't fire slaves - you've got to sell us." But she proceeded to do what he'd said, merely balking to lodge her protest.
"Sell you hell! I'll trade you in on two economy sport models, if you don't get the lead out and pop this door!" The cable went taught as the slack
was jerked out of it, and neno barely had time to dive for cover before the tighened line popped the access panel out of the roof and swung it wildly
around like a mace at the end of a medieval chain. Adjusting channels, neno had BIAD reel in the cable and attached door to unfasten it and lower a
cargo net at the end of the cable. A net was much softer if it was swung into you, and a lot handier for retrieving spoils.
Entering the building, neno found a stairwell running downward, apparently for roof access only for a long gone maintenance crew. Easing down the
stairs, he found a doorway on the landing at the bottom. The door wouldn't budge when he pushed, but fairly flew open when he leaned back and kicked
it in the center. It had been locked, but was of flimsy construction, such that applying sudden pressure to the center of the door flexed it enough to
pop the bolt out of the jamb.
Nenothtu entered the room on the other side, and was mildly surprised to find the room was well lit via sunlight blazing in through unbroken windows.
It had apparently been, at one time, a room in a suite of living quarters. The place was unkempt, as if a bachelor had lived there. "Odd that a man
could live in the penthouse, and not be able to afford a maid" neno mumbled into the dusty echoing room.
He explored the suite, finding mostly bits and pieces of disused technology from the civilization that once was, together with some more primitive
sorts of low-tech. There appeared to not be much there that was usable to him, although at one point during his time marooned on the planet, he would
have killed to get his hands on it. He was in a bit better shape now.
In one room, neno found a grisly sight. A very large window in the room looked out over the expanse below, giving a wide view as he suspected it
would, but it also illuminated the mummified husk of what had once been a relatively recognizable humanoid. The former occupant of the suite lay in
repose in a cot, as if he had simply laid down there and gone to sleep, never to reawaken. The man - for neno had no doubt it had once been a man -
had been dead so long that even the smell of death had vacated the room. Long gray hair and a long gray beard showed that the man had died at an
advanced age, but there were no clues as to his identity that neno could read. Neatly stacked on a desk against the opposite wall from the cot were a
stack of books. Nenothtu perused them, and found that they were handwritten volumes on what had once been blank pages, but had been filled over what
appeared to have been years, perhaps by the very mummified hand that now lay in estate for all eternity.
Neno gathered the books even though he couldn't read them, and packed them into a sack that he had found in another room, preparing them for
transport. Just because HE couldn't read them didn't mean that no one could, and information was often the key to any number of mysteries. Leaving the
room, neno said to the mummy "I'll not disturb yer rest any further, old timer. If you lived long enough to get that gray hair on this rock, you
earned all the rest ye can git" then he turned and left the room, closing the door behind him to re-seal the tomb, and headed back to the roof, sack
of books in tow.
Neno had no way of knowing, but if he had been able to read the books, he would have found them titled "Journals of Rebo - the Chronicle of the fall
of Khalamzadar", written as the planet died by the last living man there, and before it came back to life a much wilder place.
Back on the roof, neno set the claim plaque beacon on the rooftop and prepared for ascent by clipping the cable back on to his harness and dropping
the bag of books into the cargo net, There was nothing he could do to re-seal the destroyed door at this point, but he planned to return later and
close of the penthouse chambers permanently. The old timer, whomever he had been, deserved the rest of eternity as a reward for the horrors he had
Touching his earpiece, neno said "raise me up and git me the hell outta here. Ain't nothin' but a charnel house down here."
edit on 2012/9/4 by nenothtu because: (no reason given)