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Chapter 10

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Chapter X

Secrets of the Answer

 

That evening, the first and certainly not the last storm of winter had arrived and Charlie rushes into the main living area with a sheet of paper, the results of the tests on the bluish liquid. It had been two days since the return of Codsworth and the group from their search, and there had been no word of Alexander cracking from the guards in the mines. Meaning that it had fallen to Charlie and Jimmy, who had been dragged away from his patrol duty to help, to be able to give them there first major breakthrough in the case. And after two days of almost none stop work and testing, they had been able to produce a damming report on the substance. Which they gave to the group that very evening, along with a vile of the drug itself.

“This news ain’t good, I’m afraid.” Charlie said putting the sheet of paper down on the table, she had deep circles under her eyes from the lack of sleep, jimmy to looked exhausted, but mainly because Charlie had somehow convinced him to be her lab rat in the testing.

“What is it” Bruce asked looking concerned, he had not been here for the initial report that Barca and Codsworth had given, but he had heard all about it, and from he had been told he was surprised that anyone could survive contact with that substance.

“The liquid is from what I can tell a drug that causes the target incapable of movement. Of any kind.” Charlie said as she looked around the room, not everyone was here for the debrief, but this couldn’t wait.

“You mean it knocks them out?” Codsworth asked, he stood leaning against the wall, his answer would make sense normally, after all, it had damn near made him collapse, but Charlie shook her head at this.

“No. They’re still awake, but it will completely paralyse the victim.” Charlie said, that was what happened from what little experimentation they had done, and whilst Jimmy had been able to move his limbs, he had found it difficult to do so for about fifteen minutes until the effects wore off.

“How strong is it? Could it be used to paralyse an adult? Vernon asked looking grave. If that was the case and that if the enemy could weaponize this drug fully. Their cause would be lost before it even began.

“No.” Charlie answered, trying to reassure herself more than the old butler. “It’s not strong enough for that. But it would certainly have the desired effect on a kid.” Charlie finished with a knowing look at both Codsworth and Vernon, who in turn looked at each other both being able to put two and two together and figure out what had happened to Martin that day in the woods.

“Is it permanent. Do the effects wear off?” Vernon asked as he began to examine the liquid properly for himself.

“It would depend on the age of the child. Even so it wouldn’t last for more than an hour at the most.” Jimmy answered, speaking up for the first time, as his mouth had still been feeling a little numb up to that point, and the room fell into silence. As Vernon spoke what the whole group was thinking.

“Ok, we have the how. Now all we need is the where. Where would they have taken him after the capture.” Vernon asked, more to himself than anyone else, they had a list curtesy of Dmitri, unfortunately he hadn’t been able to narrow it down to anyone of the locations specifically.

 

As if to answer that question Barca and Doraghek walk into the room, dragging Alexander between them. The smug look now completely gone from his soot covered face, his eyes also were now completely bloodshot, and his hair was burnt away in many places, not that anyone in the room felt sorry for the kidnapper.

“This scum has agreed to talk.” Doraghek said with a grin. “I told you, a few days in the mines is more than enough.” The dwarf finished as the eyes of the room turned to Alexander who was still coughing and breathing heavily, trying to get fresh air into his lungs, breathing slightly more harshly due to the cracked rib he had sustained back in the throne room, curtesy of Doraghek.
“I wasn’t involved with what happened to whoever you’re looking for. But they were most likely taken to Broken Mountain Institute. It’s a re-education camp on the southern side of the snow mountains. Just please don’t send me back down there.” Alexander said, taking regular pauses to savour the fresh air.

“And what happened there?” Bruce asked. He didn’t know about the others, but he would gladly drag this scum back down to the mines himself. Alexander looks up from the ground, as the shadow of his smug look returned.

“They re-educate kids to serve as loyal spies for my masters army. They are shown the light.” Alexander said smiling as he spoke the final few words, as if it was more of a prayer than a statement. At this latest outburst however, Vernon takes up his cane and begins to beat Alexander to within an inch of his life before being pulled away by Codsworth. As Doraghek steps over Alexander.

“You will hold your tongue scum. Unless you want to lose it.” Doraghek said looking grave, he had heard of the place of which Alexander spoke of, and not for any of the right reasons either. It had a dark reputation to say the least amongst the dwarves.

“What do we do with him now? Barca asked giving Alexander a kick for good measure, whilst there were no cracking bones this time around, the man still winced as the boot connected with his body. Vernon looks at the man on the ground. A completely pitiful sight to say the least, but that does nothing more than enrage him further.

“Send him back down the mines.” Vernon said looking down at Alexander, a look of utter contempt in the old butler’s eyes.

“Aye.” Doraghek said and smiled before heaving Alexander up and walks over to the door where two dwarves were waiting for them. “Take this scum back to the mines. He has a sentence to work off.” Doraghek said to his kin.

 

The two dwarves nod and Doraghek closes the door and walks back to the group. Who even though the doors were now closed, could still hear Alexander screaming as he dragged back to the mine entrance. “Broken Mountain Institute. That’s, that’s a long ways from here.” The dwarf said stroking his long beard. Barca nods in agreement at this statement.

“How many choppers do we have?” Codsworth said looking around the room, he had not had time to do a proper evaluation of their transport options since arriving here. What was the point after all, they had little fuel to power the vehicles.

“Three commander. Including the medical chopper.” Barca responds, he had noticed the machines on one of his patrols, they weren’t in that good knick, but they would certainly suffice for what he thought the commander had in mind.

“Get them prepped and loaded.” Codsworth said to the shock of the group, but it was the dwarf who raised the argument.

“You can’t go now lad; the weather won’t allow you to leave.” Doraghek said looking shocked. Whilst he recognised the urgency, he wasn’t about to get into a flying machine in a storm like the one that was raging outside now that winter was upon them. “We are showing a break in the storm tomorrow evening however.” Doraghek finished trying to end on a positive note at the very least. As Codsworth paces around for a minute thinking, it was too long of a wait, but ultimately what choice did he have.

“Of course. But I still want the choppers prepped and ready to leave the second the weather clears.” Codsworth said finally standing still.

“I’ll get right on it.” Barca said before leaving the room and leading towards the hanger bay on the south side of the mountain.

“Doraghek. Will you join us on this mission?” Codsworth asks, he wasn’t at all surprised when the dwarf nods, he had been making himself clear for months now to the king’s councillors that they should be more involved in the fighting.

“Aye lad I will. I’ll go and gather my company.” Doraghek said before leaving the room himself. As Dave and Nick entered the living area to inspect the commotion that was going on. Having heard the door open and close along with the pleas of Alexander from their rooms.

“Vernon I’ll need you and Nick here to hold down the fort.” Codsworth said. Vernon only nodded in return, which the commander silently thanked, he needed people of fighting strength on this mission, and for all the butler’s qualities, the old man’s fighting days were well and truly over, especially after his heart attack.

“Yes. I fear that my battle days are now long since over.” Vernon said calmly, Nick on the other hand did not take the news that he was being left behind as well.

“I’m going.” Nick said looking angry, he was about to continue on before the commander cut him off once and for all.

“No, you’re not.” Codsworth said with a finality that broke no arguments. “You are to young Nick. And that’s final.” The commander continued looking at the boy sternly. He felt bad for being harsh, but he knew what they would be flying into and he intended to keep Nick alive. Before turning to Charlie. “Charlie. You’ll be on the medical chopper, but first I need you to start working on an antidote for this drug, just in case.” He finished. He felt bad keeping the scientist away from the action, but he needed someone who was a skilled medic, as he had fighters to spare, but not one of them knew the first thing about medicine.

“On it.” Charlie said leaving the room as Abi enters the room. Codsworth looks around at the rest.

“Good, now that the rest of you are here.” Codsworth said. “Tomorrow evening we’ll be leaving to get him and anyone else we find there back. Do you want to come?” He asked looking at Dave, Abi, Bruce and Jimmy.

“Sure.” Dave said. And the rest nod, although the teen didn’t add what was in his mind, even if the commander look told him he suspected that he knew what it was. Something along the lines of: “About time’.

“Good Dave You’ll be in the helicopter with me, Abi and Bruce. Jimmy you’ll be in the second chopper with Barca, Doraghek and whatever dwarven volunteers that we have. You have your orders, we fly tomorrow.” Codsworth said looking around at the group.

 

Night had well and truly fallen when Dave heads back to his room and opens up a small container, one of the few things he had managed to save from his homes destruction what seemed like an age ago. Looking down he sees the armour Dmitri had given him before his first official scouting mission all those years ago. After looking down into the box, Dave takes out the lightweight suit and lays it on his bed, wondering to himself, he doubted if what he had in mind would work, after all he had grown almost a foot since it was made for him and whether it would still fit. ‘Here goes nothing’ he thought to himself and put on the suit.

Which to his amazement fitted. Dave looked down and saw that the suit was extending and reshaping itself to fit his new taller size. ‘Not bad Dmitri. Not bad indeed.’ Dave thought. As he holstered his gun and knife before sitting down on his bed, as the suit reshaping itself around him.

 

The following evening in the Normanguard hanger Codsworth walks up towards the three choppers, as a few dwarves finish fuelling them up. Behind him walk; Dave, Jimmy, Bruce, Abi, Barca, Charlie, followed by Doraghek and his company. Mazgux Herunbeard, Jotrulir Krarndun, Tursumlin, Throzzoug, Erilatir Horbain and Komatin Steelpike.

As the group of raiders walk up to their ride, the three choppers standing waiting for them in the hanger, currently being fuelled up by several dwarves. That wasn’t the only strange thing that Codsworth saw, as directly in front of the helicopters, waiting for them was Fierhand along with two of his personal guards. Guessing that Doraghek had told his father of the mission. Codsworth walks up to the king of the mountain as the others load themselves and their gear into the choppers.

“Fierhand, I didn’t expect to see you here.” Codsworth said looking down at the king, he knew that he had forgotten to address him correctly. However, the king didn’t seem to mind one bit.

“I thought it was the right thing to do, considering my son is going on this here mission of yours.” Fierhand said looking at the dwarves who although the most battle-hardened of the group, look absolutely terrified to get into the choppers. Codsworth could hear the dwarf called Jotrulir muttering to himself as he stood in front of the metal flying machine.

“No dwarf should get in something that doesn’t stay on the ground” Jotrulir could be heard saying as he looks at the chopper as if it was a machine from hell. However, the commander was distracted from this odd paradox by the king.

“Plus, I wanted to wish you good hunting sir.” Fierhand said smiling through his silverly beard. “Now go get your lad back.” He finished slapping Codsworth elbow, the highest point he could reach.

“Thank you. Your grace.” Codsworth responds before heading to the chopper and after loading his own gear in, hops on in and closes the door. There was a pause for a moment, then the blades begin to turn, and the three choppers take off from the rocky ground and fly out, one by one through the hanger doors heading due south. As Fierhand, along with his guard and others who worked in the hanger watched the group leave.

“May Hurfim be with you all.” Fierhand said as the as choppers disappear into the distant southern horizon, eventually the sounds of the choppers beating blades disappeared and his grace left the hanger bay and returned to the throne room.

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