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Feb 27, 2024

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Reinventing the Lightbulb - Part 7


Previous - Reinventing the Lightbulb Part 6


Zorro has no real plan yet, he just need to start scouting. He scurries quietly along the tree line, edging around the camp. The soldiers must be somewhere around here. He also keeps an eye out for traps. The whole ‘boobytrapped ruins’ thing may be silly, but he reads a lot of books, which totally assure him this sort of thing happens.

Raziel kneels beside a rather large wooden structure he’s been building, and will continue to build, while Zorro is away. It is essentially a light and portable yet tightly bound sled. He knows it’s a terrible idea, and he doesn’t have the materials he needs to bring the design up to his expectations, but he hasn’t given up on the plan of retrieving the statue yet, and if a quick getaway is required in that scenario, this will (hopefully) supply it.

Zorro sits a while.

Raziel continues working on his makeshift sled. He’s making progress…slowly.

And quickly is about the time it takes for one to be bored from watching a stone temple for nearly an hour. But that hour pays off, and soon there is a shifting at the bottom of the massive structure, and a chunk of the stairs pulls out from the middle of them, right at the base. And out comes a guard, who starts to walk up the stairs while another walks down them from the top. If one were to see all sides of the temple at once, they would find that this is happening on all sides. As it were, the two guards pass eachother right at the middle of the massive length of stairs, indicating a precice training regiment. Once the guard from the top reaches the bottom, he enters the cave and the stairway closes back up once more.

Zorro blinks at this. Oh. Well. Hmm. This could be an interesting problem to solve. But now he knows where they’re coming from, and where they’re probably keeping their friend. He waits for the rotation to complete, and creeps back toward Raziel.

Raziel growls at his contraption. How did people get along before technology? Vines and ivy make /terrible/ bonding agents. He’s resorted to using odd bits of metal from his pack and a few non-essiential tools to help increase integrity in key areas of the sled.

Zorro pads up to Raziel, “Soooo… I know where they’re coming from.”

Raziel looks up. “Oh? Where’s that?”

Zorro points to the pyramid, “Inside the damn thing. If you look really closely at the base of it, you’ll see some of the bricks line up instead of stagger. Those are actually slide out doorways. Every long while they seem to open, probably on all sides— I could only see two, but I saw people walking around in a rotation, and change posts.”

Raziel nods. “That would explain their impeccable response time. Though…it doesn’t explain how they knew we were up there. They must have lookouts stationed somewhere outside.” The tiger stands up, and cracks his back. “That will also pose a problem getting in to retrieve Viktor. Unless there’s some mechanism to open it from the outside, we’ll have to wait for them to change shifts to get in…”

Zorro nods, “It’s also possible that, you know, us walking up the steps made noise for them.” He notes, “Anyway, I think I have some idea how to cripple their ability to respond to us.”

Raziel considers this. “…Possible. But the steps seemed fairly thick. I’m not sure how far down footfalls would carry. Regardless; what do you have in mind?”

Zorro explains, “Well, in order for those bricks to open, they must be on some sort of sliding action. Maybe a very primitive railing. I figure if we jam something into the base of them at all sides, we will have them trapped. We can also rescue Viktor by opening just one of the walls and using that as a choke point for their exit while you point your gun inside.”

Raziel paces as Zorro elaborates. “Yes…that could work. And I don’t know how much it will help, but I do carry around a bit of black powder in my pack. Certainly not enough to damage all the doors, and not nearly as subtle as jamming them, but it may help put the final door out of comission once Viktor is out.”

Zorro mms, and nods, “So far as I can tell, there are four dudes guarding the temple from the outside. At nightfall, they probably won’t be able to see us at the bottom. So what we should do is wait for the rotation to happen at a late hour. Then, we can jam all of the doors. The question remains, though, what to do with the four that remain.’”

Raziel groans. “That’s a good question. I’ve faced worse odds, but I’d rather not have to fight 4 men armed with pointy sticks at once. I could try to knock them out individually - I have a wrench rather well suited to such applications - but stealth is not my specialty, and there may be some gunfire involved. But yes, we should certainly jam /all/ the doors while we deal with that.”

Zorro nods, and looks at the strange contraption Raziel’s been working on. “So, is this a fancy shield to ward off their spears?”

Raziel looks at it, seriously considering that for a moment. “Depending on how we carry it…yes, it could be. It’s primary function, though, is to bring the statue down to ground level, whether or not we’re there to carry it.”

Zorro blinks a few times, looking at the tiger, “Uhhh… What’d I say?”

“You asked if it was a shield,” Raziel responds. “It is not. It is a sled.”

Zorro’s ears lower, “Ah… oh… ummm…” He knows how terrible he feels when someone misunderstands his work as a writer. He imagines it works something like that for engineers, “Ah.. uh— sorry?”

Raziel sighs. “Don’t be. If I actually had the materials I needed to make something decent, I may be offended. Probably not, since survival justifies many unintended uses; but still. I know it’s essentially a makeshift plank of wood,” he says with a smirk. “So…what shall we do until nightfall?”

Zorro umms, “Well, I could start writing down what all happened in the journey so far. If we make it out, we’ll have it ready for editing. If not, then someone may be warned when they find our bodies and the note.”

Raziel blinks. “Well, that’s rather…grim. I have no intention of dying today. Nor any day in the near future.” He looks around the campsite. “I suppose I could begin making the wedges we’ll use to block the doors. I think wood would be best suited to the task; stone may be harder, but when used on stone doors it may chip unexpectedly…”

Zorro nods, “Oh! I like your idea better.” The fox’s tail swishes. He looks around for good pieces of wood to make wedges with.

“Oh.” Raziel states. “I don’t actually have an axe. One moment.” The tiger sets his bag down, and retrieves a large pipe wrench and a sharp, roughly semicircular piece of sheet metal. He fastens the metal in between the jaws of the wrench, and after a few experimental swings, nods. “It won’t be cutting down any trees…but it should split a few logs.

Zorro nods a bit, and winces at the metallic strikes. At least that’s over. He drops the wood he’s gathered in front of the tiger.

Raziel begins splitting the wood into rough wedges. His inexperience with woodworking is evident, and he mangles the first few; though after he gets the hang of it, compulsive perfectionism kicks in.

Zorro starts working with vines, trying to make good lengths of rope. He has an idea or two, apparently. The fox’s tongue sticks out the side of his muzzle while he gets a bit of a weave down. :9

Raziel stops and wipes the sweat off of his forehead, and leans on his improvised wrench-axe. “That should be enough, correct? Sixteen? Four for each door, four doors in all?” He looks over at what Zorro is doing, and chuckles. “Sorry, I used the last of the rope on the sled. Otherwise you could have that.”

Zorro nods, “I imagine it would. We might be able to get it jammed with one or two if we’re smart about it, but four would get them for sure. We’ll have to be quick, of course.”

Raziel asks, “Well have an hour to do so, won’t we? If we time it right, anyway. That’s not to say we should waste any time, but we should have enough to be thorough.”

Zorro nods, “Yes. We can do it in that time. We just have to be quiet.” He notes, “We’d have to be quick if we have any idea they might hear us.”

“Indeed,” Raziel states. “Perhaps that should be our priority over speed.” The tiger looks at the assembled materials. “Alright. The sled is done, the wedges are done. You’re doing…whatever it is you’re doing. Once night falls, we should be set.


Next - Reinventing the Lightbulb Part 8

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