Sunday, October 14, 2018

Rubberman's Blackout peek

Hey, maybe I'll use this blog a little more now- my updates more reliably found on FB at my Rubberhack page- but it's a little messier to link to posts from there than from here to twitter... so here we are. ANYWAY, here's a snip, unedited and not-so-proofread from Rubberman's Blackout, the in-progress 3rd book in the Rubberman series.

We join Lenth checking up on Leena in the sealed-off Citizenry though the big, closed, door joining it to the Grand Elevator shaft. Formatting, as usually, nerfed by HTML format junk.

Lenth gave the thick metal door a couple of hard knocks, pounding with the base of his fist. The sound echoed in the shaft. He was unsure how much of the sound would get through the door, and of the other door on the other end of the loading bay was stuck closed, there'd be no way to hear.

Wait, that was dumb, the other door was only closed when the Messenger came with the Grand Elevator. Before he could ponder it any further, a voice came through the door.

“Hi? Someone out there?”
“Leena?” Lenth yelled back, “are you okay?”
“We lost lights in here! It's so dark!”
“Yeah, lights went out everywhere. People are trying to fix it, figure it out. But people are behaving in there?”

It was a legitimate, literal concern. Until recently, Citizenry was known for nothing but misbehaving, and hurting each other. It might have been 'solved' by most measure, but this darkness was a daunting new element.

“Yeah,” came Leena's tired voice. “as far as I can tell. But everyone's kinda freaked out. Some people are saying Actual is punishing us for... well, the past-”

“No, no, tell them no. In fact, feel free to say that Messenger says so.” Lenth didn't think Messenger would mind Lenth lying on his behalf.
“Whenever anyone said something like Actual judging us, I try to tell them otherwise. I mean, we both met him, he's not the type, right? I can only imagine what that blowhard Edgar would be saying if he were still here.”
“Well, thankfully he's not here, Leena. Just relax. We're all doing our best to figure it out and fix it out here.”

“Lenth...” Leena said, barely though enough to be heard through the door. “It is... was this caused by the Enemy?”
The thought hit Lenth hard enough that he nearly slipped his grip on the ladder. Lenth and Leena had both seen the flying enemy above in the space above Actual. It patrolled regularly, dumping an unusual radiation everywhere above, making conditions unlivable; its' power flooding everywhere.

“Leena... the Enemy hasn't done anything to us in generations. Not since the big war, as far as anyone can remember. I don't see why they would attack now.”
“... fine. But what else would it be?”
“Things break. This is probably just a repair. We just have to find it, and make sure everyone's safe until it is.”
“Are you sure it wasn't the Enemy?”

There was no way of knowing right now. How would the Enemy do it? Whatever force it could press against them surely would be noticed. There's be... something. Or maybe the blackout was that first thing. It made Lenth wonder what could be next. But that was a thought he'd keep to himself. NO need for Citizens panicking. “Of course.”

He'd take too long to reply, and now he was answered with a pause of silence.
“Food and water are all right?” Lenth asked.
“I hate to say it, but it might be smart to not go through them too fast.”
“You mean water might run out too?!” Leela yelped without thinking.
“Citizenry gets water from a reserve of water that usually gets refilled by pumps sending freshly filtered water from-”
“How long?” Leena asked, voice now controlled, not wanting to give fellow Citizens reasons to panic.
“A good while. Maybe not bathe or use water to make dizzy water for a while until this is fixed. It just kind of makes sense.”
“How long?”

Lenth didn't have an answer. “We... we're working on it.”
Leena replied after a moment. “We... the Citizens... are trapped in here if these doors can't get power to unlock. Should we be trying to break out? Break the door? Find another tunnel?”

The door had held up for generations. Another tunnel... maybe. “Leena. Save your strength. We... I'll get you out.”

“You better, Lofu.”

Lenth banged on the door twice with the base of his fist. “Be good.”