Beyond the Sphere

Claudette Brice looked in despair at the computer monitor.

“No no no!” she said as she quickly hit a few keys on the keyboard. The monitor continued to display the words ‘signal lost’. The screen was split into two sections; the top one displaying nothing apart from the two words, and the bottom section had three red horizontal lines that should be green, indicating heartrate, temperature and blood pressure. “What have you done?”

She pushed herself along in her chair to the other computer on the arched desk she was working at, and looked at the monitor there. ‘Location currently unknown’ the monitor told her. With her computer mouse, she selected an option within a dropdown menu, ‘last recorded location’. The monitor displayed ‘Rear of Midway East High Street’ and a couple of coordinates. Claudette used the mouse again to click on the coordinates, which opened a smaller screen and the exact location of the coordinates was displayed. ‘Trusted Unified Bank.’. She then selected another section of the screen, which gave her access to the camera on Cloud’s motorbike. A very blurred grey image appeared on screen, but with a few keyboard clicks Claudette was able to view the infrared image clearly.

Most of the view was blocked by a wheelie bin, but she could make out Cloud’s boots. He appeared to be down on the ground, and standing over him, pointing some kind of weapon, was Finger Bones.

“No no no!” she repeated once again.


Previous episodes can be found on the Storylines page.

The Cloud jumped onto his motorcycle and sped across town to where he thought Finger Bones would strike next, The Trusted Unified Bank.

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He quickly rode passed the front of the branch and everything seemed quiet, but he knew Finger always took the back entrance in. He rode along a side street, flicking a switch on his motorbike which silenced the revs. He also switched the lights to infrared mode, which activated a camera and directed the image clearly into his visor. He rode silently into the back street. Hidden, at the back of the bank behind a couple of wheelie bins, the Cloud spotted Finger’s car.

“I’ve got you this time!” Cloud whispered to himself. He removed his helmet, placing it onto the bike, and ran towards the bank.

Finger had just managed to force the door open as Cloud grabbed his shoulder. He pulled him backwards to the ground. Stunned at being apprehended, Finger reached for his spray gun and the Cloud grabbed it just in time, tossing it between the wheelie bins. He then knelt on Finger’s chest, pinning him to the ground.

“Oh, this will not do at all!” Finger struggled to say, pinned down beneath the Cloud’s weight. “Mr Williams will be entirely disappointed in me. And you, Mr Cloud.”

“Who is Mr Williams, Finger? And why are you stealing these files?”

“Do you really think I can divulge that information, my dark friend? I do what I am paid to do, no questions asked.”

“So, where are you taking the files? You must know that!”

“Of course I do, but I cannot tell you that either.”

“Well, I’m not moving until you do, my bony friend. And I tend to get heavier!”

“Not for the time you are upon me.” Finger smirked. A heavy plank of wood crashed across Cloud’s shoulders, stunning him this time. He fell to the ground, allowing Finger to break free. Finger retrieved his spray gun and fired it squarely at the Cloud’s back. “I mustn’t be stopped. Certainly not by you.”


Previous episodes can be found on the Storylines page.

“I’m presuming Finger Bones did this?” The Cloud asked the startled security guard. “He’s just broke into another bank on the other side of town, and I lost track of him. Do you know which way he went?”

The guard pointed in the direction the car drove away. “He’ll be long gone now, Cloud. That way goes to the main road and from there he could have gone anywhere.”

“Quite possibly, but there’s one more bank over on that side of the town, and I’m guessing he will be going there. He seems to have a plan, does Mr Bones! What did he take by the way? Nothing much, I’m guessing.”

“Just a file.”

“Like at the last bank. He’s definitely up to something.”

“The manager’s on his way, he’ll be able to say what was in the file…” The guard realised that his second visitor had also disappeared into the night.

With the alarm box wires cut, Finger Bones forced open the door. He smiled as he heard the familiar sound of silence. He stomped through the back of the bank towards the vault. The night security guard appeared at the end of the corridor, and Finger laughed as he sprayed him with his neutralising rayspray. The guard could only watch on, the rest of his body frozen, as this invader opened the vault door and disappeared inside.

A moment later, the guard watched again as Finger emerged from the vault carrying a single folder. “Good evening, Seb!” Smirked Finger as he passed the immobilised guard. From where the guard stood, he could see Finger get into a waiting car outside and speed away. A couple of minutes later, the neutralising ray’s effects wore off, and the guard was able to run to the door. The car was nowhere in sight, so he returned to his office to raise the alarm, closing the vault door on his way passed.

“It’s Seb from security,” Seb called the duty manager first, as is the bank’s protocol in these events. “We’ve been hit. Finger Bones. He just took a file, nothing else. It’s as though he knew where the file was. It’s as though he knew me!”

After the call, Seb walked to the back door of the bank to try to close it securely. Footsteps on the road behind startled him and he turned around quickly, coming face to face with the unmasked avenger, the Cloud.

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Unexpected Item in the Bagging Area

Blogging from me may be slightly more sporadic than usual, for the next few weeks at least (what do you mean ‘more than usual???’). External forces have conspired against me, and a family member’s health issues (broken bones, of all things!) are taking up quite a bit of my spare time and energy at present. When things become more mobile, I’ll get back to blogging with gusto.

Keep on keeping on, and all that.

And to keep on keeping on, here is this week’s instalment from The Superhero Diaries:

Tales from the Superhero Diaries 6.11: The Museum Piece

“I’ve got one curator out,”

A cut and bruised Simba Kataya explained to Muriel Magnificent as she arrived at Mid Museum. “The other has locked herself in the vault at the back of the building. There are about fifteen of these identical men around the building – quite stocky in build and they seem very focussed on their goal.”

“Do you have any idea if they’ve taken anything, Simba?” Muriel asked.

“I don’t know. I concentrated on the curator who was getting a lot of trouble from three of the gang. I managed to fight them all off to get the curator out – he’s in one of the police vans around the corner. The trio ran their separate ways inside the museum. They are very strong, Muriel.”

“I know. We’ve ran into a few of them just now at the marina. If these are the same as those we encountered, they’re robots. But all of ours blew themselves apart at the same time when one was damaged. It’s as though they are connected – but if these lot are active, they can’t be. Go and get your eye sorted out, and we’ll take things from here.”

“We?” Simba asked and Muriel nodded over Simba’s shoulder. She turned, and saw the Cloud, Lycralad, Bettystretch, Firetop and the Diver standing there. “At least the numbers seem a little better now!” She added. “Remember their strength!” she shouted, as she started to walk away from the group in the direction of the EFB headquarters. “I hope Dr Flopp can work miracles… this is my best cheekbone!”

“Should one of us go with her?” Lycralad asked.

“She’s fought off three of those robots herself, Lycra,” Muriel answered. “I think she’ll be fine. Besides, Charlie’s still there – and the doctor.”

“They’re a brazen bunch!” Betty commented, as she pointed to one of the robots approaching the double doors where the group stood. The robot was carrying an ancient artefact.

“Whatever you do,” warned Muriel, “watch the goods! Remember, some of these, possibly all of them are irreplaceable!”

Bettystretch wrapped her arms around the robotic robber’s legs, tripping him in the direction he walked. The artefact flung out of his arms, to be caught by Lycralad as he flew across its trajectory. He rolled as he crashed into one of the stone pillars, keeping the artefact safe. The robot managed to free himself from Betty’s grasp and strode over to Lycralad, who lay stunned on the ground.

***

Raymond Reide stood in the doorway, deliberately blocking Simba’s path as she arrived at the headquarters. “What are you doing here, girlie?” he asked with a sneer. “Has the pretty girlie had enough of the fight and come running home, tail between her legs? You can hardly call yourself a hero, can you, deserting your team in their hour of need?”

“Why are you so obnoxious?” Simba couldn’t help herself. The cut on her face was throbbing and she really needed it cleaning up.

“Because people like you make me so, girlie.”

“Just get out of my way.”

Raymond grabbed Simba’s arm harshly, squoze it tightly and shook her in front of him. “Remember who you are talking to, girlie. Your stay with this, erm, team, could erm, be very short indeed.”

“Get your hand off me. Touch me like that again, and I will break your hand. I don’t know who you are, where you have come from, how you managed to weasel your way into this position and to be honest, I don’t care. I was given this role in the team by the government, by an agency of a higher rank than you, so you have no jurisdiction over me. You may be able to treat the others with the disdain you show, but not me. Although you can treat me how you like. Now, I asked you before to get out of my way. Now I’m telling you.” She forced her arm free, and pushed Raymond backwards into the hallway. He lost his balance and fell backwards, landing on his back on the floor, just as Invisible Charlie walked into sight.

Charlie ignored Raymond, and ran over to Simba. “Simba? Are you OK?” he asked, helping her inside. He walked with her to the doorway to the stairs that led up to the medical centre.

“I’m fine, thanks, Charlie. I just want to get this cheek sorted and then I’ll be as right as rain.”

Behind them, Raymond muttered something as he hurled himself up. Smirking, he walked into his office.

***

In the medical centre, Angela and Dr Flopp ran into the room where Psychic Sue was asleep in bed, connected to half a dozen monitors. The alarms on three of the machines were screaming for attention. The Psychic Recorder was glowing red on top of a unit on the other side of the room.

“Is she under some kind of attack?” Angela asked, not really knowing how to calm Sue.

“I don’t know,” the doctor replied. “This is the first time she’s spiked like this.”

As quick as it started, everything settled down again. The machines beeped and hummed as gently as they had done so before, and the Psychic Recorder regained its normal look.

“We’ll have to note it.” Dr Flopp said to Angela, motioning to the clipboard at the end of Sue’s bed.

Natalie popped her head around the door. “Doctor… can you see to Simba Kataya? She’s in reception with Invisible Charlie. She has a nasty cut on her left cheek, which needs cleaning.”

“Will do, Nat!” Dr Flopp said. “Ange, you finish here, and then come to join us.” Angela nodded and the doctor and Natalie walked out to reception.

***

The Cloud caught the clay mask as it flew across the room at speed. The robot had thrown it away as he was held back by the Diver and Firetop, neither of whom could use their powers inside the museum. The robot regained his balance, and flung both heroes away from him; the Diver hitting his head on the corner of a unit, rendering himself unconscious. Firetop crashed into a window, breaking the frames and smashing a couple of panes, but caused himself no real damage.

By the main entrance, Lycralad used his powers to create a tight elastic belt to bind together any of the robots who came that way through, attempting to escape with their goods.

Muriel Magnificent had made her way to the vault at the back, and was fighting off three more of the robots who were trying to get something from the curator. One of the robots picked up an old mummy case, and smashed it over Muriel’s shoulders, shattering it beyond repair. This made Muriel see red.

“That. Was. Priceless.” She exclaimed, shouting each word as she kicked, punched and kneed each robot in turn. She grabbed hold of the nearest robot’s arm, and swung it around, snapping it off as she had done with the robot at the marina earlier. As before, the robots broke apart, limb from limb in cascades of bright white sparks, and fell to the floor. A rectangular piece of shiny metal landed by Muriel’s foot. She bent to pick it up, and tried to read an inscription that was etched upon it.

The robots with the Cloud, Firetop and the Diver, Lycralad, and Bettystretch (who had been fending them off in the dinosaur room) had also broken apart.

“It looks like we’ve won again!” Lycralad shouted to his colleagues in the bygone relics room.

“But won what?” The Cloud shouted back. He knelt beside the Diver, who had started to come round.

“Do you have to shout?” The Diver asked. “I have a splitting headache now!”