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Friday, April 2

Grace Under Pressure: Part 6 – Horseshoes…

The agents were all battered and bruised. Caprice lay unconscious on the floor with a bloody head wound, a strip of gauze over one eye. Archive sat rolled up in a ball, whispering to himself over and over: "Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn!" Guppy was in the pilot's seat. Hammer sat at the co-pilot's seat next to Guppy, but he wasn't entirely sure what to do.

Ho had it the worst. He just laughed and laughed and laughed.

Behind them, Jim-Bean languidly kept one arm on each chair. He stared in fascination at the collapsing black mountain. Something was emerging from it, wings unfurling like a butterfly exiting a cocoon. It was so alien and yet strangely beautiful to him.

The psychic pressure was pounding now, like a heartbeat. Jim-Bean had trouble focusing.

The comm. crackled. "Mayday! Mayday! This is the RSV Horseshoe, we need immediate help, is anyone there? Christ!" There was the sound of banging in the background. "…They're outside now…listen, we're under attack! Repeat, we are under attack!" There was a muffled explosion. "Wallaby! Wallaby!" A sudden crack. Then a couple of heavy thumps and static.

Guppy yanked the wheel hard as the Horseshoe, still sparking and falling into the subterranean depths, suddenly loomed into view. The Wallaby skidded off the side as the huge metal form slid past as the Horseshoe sank into the depths, down towards the thing that was assuredly coming for them all.

"That's it!" Hammer turned to Guppy. "The Horseshoe is nuclear powered, right?"

Guppy blinked. "Yes, but…"

"Guppy, that thing can't reach the surface. We've got to stop it. No matter what it takes…"

Hammer and Guppy exchanged a look. They had their differences in the past. Guppy had threatened to kill Hammer; Hammer had Guppy committed. But in that moment they weren't enemies, or allies, or fellow agents. They were all that stood between humanity and the end of the world. more

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posted by Michael Tresca at 8:41 AM


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