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Halloween ‘18 - Spooky Sketches!
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GrayscaleRain
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On A Razor's Edge - Scene 5: Situational Assessment

Halloween '18 - Tree Swirls
on_a_razor_s_edge_-_sc.05_situational_assessment.rtf
Keywords male 993739, female 879281, rabbit 111613, bat 30995, fanfiction 2403, calico cat 748, partners 2541 588, fire ant 17, on a razor's edge 9, travis brookstone 3, thomas talico 3, davis lane 2, isabella domina 2, incliment weather 1
Thomas and Domina stood in front of a large holographic white board, a diagram of the city of Brightwater projected a few feet in front of them as a detailed three-dimensional display.  

It was rather impressive, if a bit overwhelming and hard to understand for the untrained eye, the various layers of the city opened up and unfolded like a dissection with all of the little inner workings mapped out before them.

Most distinctive feature of the whole thing was the Rim itself, a flat disc resting just atop the ocean’s surface, with its artificial topography of buildings, terraces and road ways.  Then, below that, the four colossal supports with their elevators and ventilation shafts running vertically through them, along with all the bizarre and winding service tunnels and conduits that corkscrewed down through the superstructure in a thick mesh.  The supports joined at the bottom to the Bubble, with its massive glass dome and the many, many stories of layered facilities and habitats within.

It would be a lot to take in for someone who had never seen it before, but Thomas and Domina were both used to looking over it now and again to plan evacuation routes and judge shadow forecasts.

For now, what was distressing were the several angry red welts on the map: the places determined to be the impact locations of these ‘extraterrestrial objects’ that had suddenly come raining down on their heads.  

The ‘landing’ of these objects had created an immense amount of havoc in a very short amount of time; communications were completely cut off for the moment and there was significant damage to buildings and the overall structure of the city.  The Bubble itself had only had a few glancing blows, from what could information could be gathered, which was fortunate given its need to maintain its integrity, but the Rim was pockmarked all over and many places could be looking at serious structural damage.

And none of this even took into account their sudden ‘visitors’.

“So as you can see, there are several documented craters, such as the one in the commercial district and by the police station.  Strange creatures have been seen emerging from the sources of the impact, but aside from their general appearance, we don’t really know anything about them.”  Tommy reached forward into the map, turning it with his hand so that it was face on with the Rim from above.

He lightly tapped it with his finger, highlighting a few of the craters before reaching over and bringing up the video file from before.  The unsteady, blurry footage showed the strange, centipede-like monsters crawling out of the craters, skittering up the sides of buildings and mulling about on the roads.

Domina gave a sort of soft hiss, clicking her mouthparts together as she licked the inside of them, watching the footage with rapt attention.  

“How are these reports coming in?”  She asked, her lower set of arms folded tightly behind her back as she rubbed her upper pair of hands together in a slight display of anxiousness.  Her face was stern, however, and she looked over the information with a keen eye.

“Well, communications went down at the same time as the dome, most likely as a result of the storm, or possibly the dome itself overloading,” Tom responded, his ears twitching and turning a bit at the occasional knock or creak outside the shutters, “Aside from the hardline communications, the local PETNet is down almost completely, but some people have taken to hacking into the hardlines to send messages.”

“That’s very illegal,” Domina remarked flatly.

“Yep,” Tom acknowledged, sitting down on the table next to her, “but that is how we received this video; it was sent over the emergency frequency directly to all the government offices.”

“Then I’m sure Underpaw has it under his attention by now.  It’s not something we’re equipped to deal with, being the Weather Bureau.  Right now, with the dome offline and the weather control unresponsive, we don’t really have much we can do except wait things out until something changes…”

“Some of the others have been asking if we can open up the hardline to public traffic...”

Domina returned a terse laugh, almost a click as she unfolded her arms, gesturing with all of them.

“I doubt that will happen.  The hardline network simply doesn't have the bandwidth to hold the entire city’s traffic,” she remarked, shaking her head.

“I guess.  But, I mean, you’d think it would.  It was built as a backup for just this kind of thing, after all.  We could at least get some messages out to people’s families.”  Tommy pulled his legs up onto the table, resting his elbows on his knees as he looked up at the map.

“It was built as a redundancy, true, but we’ve far outstripped it in that time.  The whole thing would be gridlocked within minutes if even a fraction of us tried to access it.  Even with the recent population slump, it’s simply too old a system to handle something like that.”

“That’s what Davis said…”  Tommy murmured in response, “So that’s a no go.  Still, some of the IT people downstairs were talking about using the walkie-talkie functions in their PDAs.  If that still works, then that means that we might have some way to communicate, even if it’s just over a short range.”

“Way ahead of you on that!”  Travis spoke up from beyond the door, the bespeckled bat grinning as he and his bunny friend entered the room, the two carrying what looked like a large plastic bin of jumbled wires and circuitry between them.

Tommy glanced to his boss, Domina watching curiously as Travis and Davis set the mess of components onto the table.  She noted after a moment that they were all connected, lifting up a circuit board and examining it for a moment before finally getting an idea of what it was for.

“This is an instrument suite for a weather balloon.”  Domina stated, leaning forward to turn it over with two of her hands… and trying to put it back into the bin in a neater configuration if she was able.

“Yes!  Good eye, boss!  We pulled it out of the storage room downstairs.  Davis figured that if the short range radios worked, that we could use this to ad-hoc a temporary network.” Travis said.  

Dave nodded a bit in affirmation and started looking over the equipment, the rabbit brushing one ear away from his face back into a standing position

“If the walkie-talkie function was working, then there was a chance that we could still communicate using UHF stations,” he started to explain, “This suite has all the equipment we need to give the local radios a sort of “node” to go through in order to extend their range.  That way, if they knew what frequency to use, we could connect to nearby buildings’ hotspots and get a sort of short-range PETNet back up again.”  

“But if that’s the case, then why isn’t the Net working normally?”  Domina asked, still arranging the components inside the box as best she could, even as Davis inspected them.

“See, that’s the thing… I’m not sure.  There’s no reason it shouldn’t work.” Davis said in response, the bunny’s nose twitching a bit nervously.  He plopped down in a chair, scooting it over towards the box and kind of gently tugging it away from his boss for the moment, “But it might be that… whatever those things are, they’re jamming the most common frequencies.  That could be problematic, but if we can go over or under those, however, we might be able to get around it without too much trouble.”

He looked up at her, smiling nervously, “That’s the plan at least.”

Domina paused for a moment, mulling over something in her head before smiling and clasping all four of her hands together.

“Well then! It sounds like a plan!” the ant said, obviously happy that her employees were taking such initiative.  This would reflect well on them in the future, certainly, and her by proxy, so she gave Davis a firm pat on the back.

“When I see her again, I should tell Sandra to watch out.  You might be coming for her job.”

“I-I’d never dream of it, sir..!  Not my… sort of thing.”  Davis stammered, shifting nervously under Domina’s hand, though Travis nudged him a bit in the side with a wing regardless.  

After a moment the minister relented and began to pace the meeting room.

“So we’re going to set this up on the roof, yes?”  she asked.

“Well, we should probably try and get it set up as high as we can.  I can adjust the node in this building manually already,” Davis said, “but we really should put this in the tallest building we can find, just to get us as wide a reach as possible with what equipment we have on hand.”

“Well, The Citizens’ Tower is the tallest building in the district.”  Travis said, “and it’s basically next door.”

“If we can put it up there, we should be able to get a signal to the whole Commercial District that way,” Davis said with smile, perking up a bit at the prospect, “It might even be enough to reach the hospital.”

“Sounds like a plan.  And maybe we can finally get in touch Vicky.  She hasn’t been answering over the hardline, and I’m worried about her.” Domina said firmly.

“There’s just one problem with that,” Tommy remarked, hopping off the table and moving the diagram a bit, zooming in on their current location and adjusting the sensors to show the local water level, which was a bit more than its intended height of zero, “Without the shield, the storm surge is going to become a big problem.  The residential areas are leveed, but we have pumps instead, which, since we’re running on aux-power, aren’t operating.”

“Which means that the street is going to be under like twenty feet of water…” Travis cringed.

“And I hate swimming.”  Tommy said, plopping down on the table again.  There was a moment of quiet contemplation between the four of them.

“Well, there’s always the skybridge…”  Travis offered up meekly, but Domina just shook her head.

“I should remind you that the skybridge doesn’t have any shutters,” she said matter-of-factly,  “and walking out into a hurricane on what is probably no longer a glass covered walkway forty stories above the ground is most likely a very unwise venture.”

“Well that’s useless…” Davis remarked.
Tommy stood up once more and pulled the bin across the table.  “That’s fine.  We’ll do what we can here.  Let’s set this up in the utility shed on the roof and see if we can get it to work.  If it does, we might be able to reach the hospital with it, and that’ll take a lot of strain off of their systems.”

The bat and rabbit looked at one another and then gave a nod.

“I’ll let them know the plan.  Dr. Wiles is probably asleep, but I’ll leave a message with Nurse Snakeweed and let her know what frequencies we’re using,” Domina said, sitting back down in her chair and opening her computer’s screen to start typing up a message.

Tommy turned back to the others, motioning with his thumb towards the door.  “Alright, then.  Let’s go you two.  I want to get this done by sundown.”

Travis and Dave glanced at each other, then gave Tommy a nod, once again hefting the box of components and following the cat out the door.

---

Given that the elevators were out, it was going to be a bit of a trek up the stairs to the roof.   Dave carefully gathered the instrument suite together and secured it in a bundle with some duck before putting it gently in a bookbag they’d acquired from one of their coworkers.  A few POW! Bars from a nearby vending machine along with a couple of bottles of water and the bag was good to go, Travis taking it and slipping it onto his back.

“Okay, M’am, just keep your PDA set to frequency 625 and leave the program open.  We’ll try to get in touch as soon as we get into the utility shack on the roof.” The rabbit remarked, his nose twitching a bit as he picked up his little satchel of tools.  Domina nodded and glanced at her PDA before tucking it into her coat pocket as the other three made their way towards the stairwell.

“Just let us know if something happens.  We’ll be right back down,”  Tommy said, the cat looking back with a mix of determination and trepidation about the whole thing, “It shouldn’t take that long.”

“Right.  Just be careful up there; the roof is somewhat exposed,” Domina remarked, watching them getting ready to go.

“It’ll be fine!  Be back in a jiff!”  Travis said, grinning with his sharp batty teeth as he straightened his glasses.  He gave a little wave to his boss as he and the cat began up the stairs.

Dave took a moment by himself to look over his tools.  Most of it was just basic computer repair equipment, which hopefully would be all he needed.  Chuck keys, wires, wire clips, a couple thumb drives, a voltmeter, and the like.  He folded the satchel up neatly and threw it over his shoulder, nodding respectfully to his boss before jogging to the stairwell and starting upwards, catching up with the other two a moment later.

The Weather Bureau took up more or less all the upper floors of the building it resided in, so it didn’t take that long to get to the roof.  It wasn’t that bad, even if Tommy’s can-do attitude had all but evaporated by the time they’d reached the top, condensing back into his usual high-strung irritation.  

“I swear, if I ever find the person who invented stairs…”  Tom growled, pulling himself along by the railing as they neared the top.

“It’s good exercise, though…”  Dave said quietly from the back, Tom looking over his shoulder at him.

“Yeah, well, in the middle of a natural disaster, I’d rather not waste my energy on a flight of stairs…”

Travis just laughed, the little bat bounding along beside the two, despite him being the one carrying the equipment.  He seemed to be in high spirits in spite of the situation and even Dave seemed oddly relaxed at the moment, aside from his binder occasionally itching like crazy due to the satchel under his arm.

None of them got away from their desks all that much, come to think of it.  Perhaps it was the newness, or the risk, but it was kind of nice to get to do something different for a change.

They finally arrived at the roof a few moments later, stopping on the landing to rest a moment before Tommy stepped up to the door and put his hand on the pad next to it.

Instead of turning green and opening, however, it simply remained red, responding with a loud, angry sounding buzzer.

“Oh, come on you piece of crap.  What’s wrong now?”  Tommy hissed and pressed his palm to it again, getting the same result.

“Here, let me try,” Travis said, nudging an offended Thomas to the side before putting his own hand to the lockpad.  Receiving the same response, he furrowed his brow.  “That’s weird.”

“What?  Did you think there was something wrong with my hand?”  Thomas quipped, but Travis just waved him off.  

“I mean, no.  I was just… Maybe it lost connection to the server or something?”  The bat said, looking a little perplexed.

“Here, let me try…”  Dave said quietly, and stepping around the two, he knelt down, opening his satchel and going to work.  

Taking out some of his more basic tools, he pried the cover off and started to fiddle around with the wires behind it, his ears twitching as he concentrated. It was a pain and it was less than easy trying to trace down specific ones in the little nest inside the wall.  It didn’t help that none of them were labeled or colored any differently.

Tommy and Travis looked at each other and Tommy shrugged before they both turned to curiously, watch Davis work over his shoulder.

A few moments passed in relatively silence before Tommy’s PDA beeped at him.  Taking it out of his pocket, Domina’s voice came through, a bit compressed by the program that was processing it.

“Yes, hello?  Is this on?”  She said, and it took a minute for her to remember to stop broadcasting before Tommy could respond.

“Yeah, boss, we hear you.  We’re up at the roof now.  The door won’t open for us, though, so we’re trying to figure a way around it.”  He said, leaning over Dave’s shoulder to have another look as the bunny focused on the tangle in front of him.

“That’s strange.  I hope there’s no damage to the servers.  Anyway, I sent the message off to the Doctor.  I haven’t received anything back yet, but I’m sure I will soon.  How are you going to get the door open?”  She asked curiously.

“I think Dave’s going to ground the lock or something.” Tommy said.  Domina paused for a moment.

“He can do that?”  She asked quizzically.
 
“Got it.”  With a tug and a click, the lock powered off and Dave stood up, stretching a bit and starting to replace the tools in his satchel.

Apparently.  I’ll call you back once we’re in the utility room, boss.”  Tommy said, waiting just enough for Domina to give the affirmative before putting PDA back in his pocket.  Rubbing his palms together he stepped forward and grabbed the door, digging his claws under the rubber skirting at the edge to get a grip on the door itself.

“So they teach you how to do that in IT?”  Tommy asked offhandedly.

“Well, I… that is to say… understanding of electrical systems is very important.  It- It’s not all software you know.”  Dave said, stammering a little and doing his best to help with getting the door open.  Travis stepped in as well, finding a spot to stand and after a moment of labored pulling the door finally budged, the three of them getting sprayed in the face with rain for their efforts as the wind forced water in through the crack.

Travis and Dave stumbled back to wipe themselves off as Tommy pushed the door into the wall with a final shove.  The wind greeted them, and looking back over his shoulder, Tommy motioned for the others to follow, the three emerging out onto the roof.

The driving rain hadn’t even thought about letting up since the storm began and despite lying in the shadow of the grand Citizens’ Tower, which stood proudly next door, the roof was being scoured by sheets of water, the dark clouds tearing by at high speed overhead, unobstructed.  Luckily for them, the roof was crowded with scattered walkways and machinery to save space on the top floors, the office building lacking the impressive pinnacle that the Citizens’ Tower possessed.

“Let’s find that utility room.  It should be somewhere over there.”  Tom said over the wind, pointing towards what looked like a small triangular radio tower peeking over the various ducting and AC units from the other end of the building.  The other two nodded in response, and pulling themselves along the scattered walkways and machinery, the group made their way across the roof.

After a few moments, it became rather apparent that the Tower wasn’t doing so hot either.  Looking up, one could see that it had suffered some structural damage near the top, with wisps of smoke being pulled out of the tower by the wind.  Glass and various other items littered the Weather Bureau building’s roof, probably having been blown out onto it in the initial moments after the shield went down.

There were all sorts of things things scattered across their path as they proceeded, many of the machines and conduits having been dented or deformed in some way from falling debris.  

There were a couple of shattered chairs.  A broken lamp.  A destroyed laptop.  The remnants of a smashed vase.

One of the air conditioners had been heavily caved in by what appeared to be a desk that came to pieces on impact, its contents and remains strewn in the direction of the little radio tower as they made their way to it.

It was almost like a trail, and they followed it along a short distance before something gave the group pause.  Travis pointed out, causing the three to stop, the bat having noticed something curious-looking laying on the gravel groundcover a couple of yards from them.  It took them a moment to process just what it was, the object being oddly out of place even amongst the array of broken office equipment which was, in itself, rather out of place.

After a moment, Travis approached it and knelt down to pick the object up for a better look.

It was a single, black, high-heeled shoe, finely made, and almost pristine save for a noticeable scuff on one side, presumably from its landing.

Travis cringed and looked back to his compatriots.  Tom frowned intensely at the implication while Dave gave a little gasp.  The two looked around slowly, then, seeing nothing else, turned back to Travis and motioned to continue on.  

Leaving the shoe where they had found it, the three proceeded to continue across the roof until they came to what appeared to be the maintenance shack.  A small, free-standing rectangular structure with a beat-up old radio tower attached to it along with some other antiquated machinery, wires running into the shack as well as to the other machines scattered along the roof.

Proceeding around it towards the side facing the Tower, they found that the top corner of it had been worryingly crumpled in, as if something heavy had dropped onto it.  There was a door with a high voltage sign printed on the wall next to it, but the damage to this part of the shack was rather severe, so much so that the door had been knocked clean off its slide and was partially open, revealing some of the wrecked interior to them.

Bracing himself, Tom forced the door open with a bit more ease than the undamaged one leading to the roof.  It opened just enough for them to slip inside, and one after another they entered the ruined shack.

It was dark inside, the lights dead, save for the grey filtered sunlight seeping in through the hole in the roof.  The instruments within were absolutely destroyed and scattered across the floor, the breaker box hanging off the wall by some loose wires and the broadcast server and its control terminal knocked over and smashed to bits beside a completely demolished desk that was sitting against the wall directly underneath the breach.  

That was all rather disappointing.  However, what was on the crumpled desk was enough for them to completely forget about all that for the moment, being the apparent cause of the hole in the roof of the shack in the first place.

Laying atop the folded metal desk was a woman.  

Canid and perhaps in her late forties, being rather pretty in the opinion of all present.  She was dressed in a tightly fit brown suit, her full motherly curves packed into the stiff fabric with a black tie, matching skirt and dark pantyhose.  Her shoes were missing and she was sprawled in a somewhat unflattering position.  Her eyes were closed and there was a sort of serene look on her face, as if she was asleep…  The desk was curled up around her, as if cradling her body in its own depression, fit to her as she had completely folded it up around herself from the apparent impact.

The three approached slowly, apprehensively.  The inside of the room feeling oddly still, despite the creaking of the walls from the wind outside.  As they reached the side of the desk, glass and plastic from one of the broken machines cracked under their shoes, making them stop in place.  Thomas choked a little, his mouth screwing up a bit as he reached out to touch her shoulder, her clothes wet from the rain.  

He knew her.  

They all knew her, naturally.

It was the Minister of Personnel and Acquisitions, whose office was on the top floor of the Citizen’s Tower.

Victoria Dunerunner; Kassidy’s mom.

She must have been thrown out of the tower during the initial impact of the storm...

“Oh no…” Travis said quietly, clutching his hands together in front of his mouth, his words barely audible over the wind outside.

Dave stood beside him, pale and clutching his chest.

Tom leaned over her to look down at her, his mind drifting to Domina and Kaz and what he was going to say as the reality burrowed itself into his chest.

“Fucking hell…” Tom hissed.

He rubbed his eyes with his hands, wiping some of the rainwater running down his face away.

....

“...Thomas?”  A voice answered, feminine and dark.

It shook them out of their silence, and the three of them looked up towards where it had come from.

One of Victoria’s eyes was open.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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On A Razor's Edge - Scene 4: Not Too Far From Home
On A Razor's Edge - Scene 6: Searching For Security
We all have our areas of expertise.

---

Hey!

This fanfic takes place in
Norithics
Norithics
' fantastic Partners:2541 universe, that I've been gushing about to everyone I'm sure for the last couple of weeks.

It kind of assumes that you've read a good bit of the way through it, taking place sometime after the events of Vol.1

If you want to check out Partners, go here!
Partners - 'Issue 1' by Norithics
Partners - 'Issue 4' by Norithics
Partners - 'Issue 5' by Norithics


I highly recommend it!

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Type: Writing - Document
Published: 4 years, 4 months ago
Rating: Mature

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