The Shasta Caper
by John Pirillo
The spot where Samuel and his friends had been taken from bore the signs of massive footprints left by the weight of the mechas, for even though they flew as they moved, they did touch down when still and their weight was massive.
Noting the prints was a tall man, wearing a cape, strange colored pants and a sash like belt, with a quiver over his right shoulder. Alongside him stood another man, much taller. A giant.
"Robin. It would seem someone we had expected didn't make it." The giant said.
Robin swept his cape over his left shoulder, his eyes, a deep purple and blue color, sparkled with amusement. "It would also seem you are right. I gauge these prints to be less than an hour old."
"We should have been swifter to meet them."
"I know, but Methusaleh always has his reasons for staying his hand. And I won't go against his advice now after all these years."
The Giant laughed, his belly, which was bare, jiggled with his amusement.
Robin looked at his giant friend. "You really should learn to wear something over that torso of yours. I think it would appear unseemly to the maiden we are about to rescue."
The Giant laughed again. " A few hairs never hurt anyone."
"A few!" Robin said with a smirk on his lips. "You have enough for a herd of elephants to nest in."
"Pigmy elephants, maybe." The giant conceded.
"My point is taken."
Smarn, the Giant's name, lifted his heavy weapon, a long spear with a wicked barbed shaft and a grip in the center made of some kind of leather with semi-precious stones, hefted his spear and slung it over his left shoulder. It swished over Robin's hair, causing its golden cascade to flutter from the breeze of it.
"Shall we go a hunting?"
Robin stood to his feet and brushed his pants off. He wore colors that would stand out in the open, but in the forest, they blended quite well. "I think we can guess where they are headed."
Smarn began striding to the East, which rimmed the lake, and gradually swept towards distant peaks. "One day we are going to have to do something about those people, they are beginning to get on my nerves."
Robin caught up with his Giant friend, and easily kept pace. His own long, muscular legs making stride for stride with his larger friend, quite effortlessly, even though Smarn stood a good five heads taller.
"I think that day might be sooner than they realize. I found two of our friends castrated by their weapons from the sky. The One Light only knows how many more are dead or missing."
Smarn glanced at his friend. "You think they are preparing to break out?"
Mysteriously. "Or in." Robin said, his eyes hardening.
With those words both men picked up their speed.
Behind them came the shuffling of padded feet and trumpeting. They didn't hear it, they were too far away, but where they had left a much larger Mother Elephant came up, leading a herd of minature elephants, all standing about a foot high. She was massive compared to them. She stood almost two feet tall.
She stopped where one of the backpacks had lain and snuffled at the dirt, then raised her trunk and called out loudly. No answer.
Her eyes grew narrow with anger and trumpeting angrily led her small army of pachyderms towards the east, the east where Robin and Smarn had traveled.
Samuel gazed out his narrow view at the changing scenery around them. They had traveled the distance of about ten miles, all of it uphill, but towards the East. Al materialized next to him and made himself comfortable on a piece of machinery to Samuel's right.
Samuel glanced at Al uncertainly. "What's so nice about it?"
"Things are moving along nicely."
"For who?" Samuel asked, definitely starting to get mad at Al.
Al looked at him with a solemn look. "The straight path to freedom is not always the best one, Sam. You know that."
Samuel sighed, took a deep breath and looked away. "I understand most men, but not gods, not angels, and definitely not God!"
Al chuckled. "I'm still learning too. Why should you be surprised that you are also on a path of discovery?"
Samuel looked over at Al. He was serious.
"I thought it all ended when you died. You got the Big Bang in the head and knew everything."
"Samuel, oh Samuel." Al laughed lightly. "How can anything infinite ever be grasped all at once. It's a process, not an explosion."
Al winked at Samuel, then vanished, leaving Samuel to his thoughts.
Several moments later the Mecha stopped, his door swung outwards automatically and two Soldiers urged him out with weapons drawn on him. He obliged them and was allowed to tumble to the ground roughly.
He wouldn't give them the pleasure of knowing it hurt, but instead got up and stretched as if it were no big thing. At least until a third soldier he hadn't seen planted his rifle in his back and stretched him back out on the ground again.
He heard footsteps, then Saron stood over him.
"Trying to teach my men something?"
"They seemed educatable."
"Then you are a fool. They are as dedicated to the Truth as I." Saron blasted.
Samuel dared to sit up. He wasn't struck. He saw Nanny and Jimbo being herded towards a flying ship, where a ramp opened from it.
"Which truth is that?" Samuel asked honestly.
Saron smiled. "I like a man with an open mind."
Then he slammed a fist into Samuel's right cheek. "But I am not one of them."
Samuel fell to the ground again.
Saron turned to his men. "See to it that he is chained inside our craft. If he escapes, I will feed you to the Tubes!"
The Soldiers hustled Samuel to his feet, and he allowed himself to be half dragged, half carried to the ramp, his head reeling with pain.
The interior of the ship was all made of some finely crafted metal that more resembled a combination of glass and fibre. Some kind of marriage of unique materials found only in the interior of the earth no doubt. He pretended to still be half out of his mind, so he could pay more attention to the surroundings. It worked. The Soldiers were satisfied he would offer no more resistance and led him along a corridor with a maze of entrances and exits, soldiers and people dressed in pure white uniforms coming and going.
Once a very tall woman of extreme beauty exited a room he was passing. She was going to ignore him, but when he looked at her, her eyes widened as if in recognition, then she hurried a different direction, looking back at him again and again as she did.
In a minute he was thrown into a cell along with Jimbo and Nanny. They were all chained to the back wall with plastic cuffs for their hands and iron of some kind for their legs. The chains and cuffs could slide up and down, so they could sit on the floor, but awkwardly and not with any degree of comfort.
"I hope this is a short flight." Jimbo announced after their captors had given them a quick once over, then exited, slamming home a sliding door from the ceiling, which threw the room into semi-darkness.
"No such luck." Samuel groaned, his jaw aching where Saron had struck him.
Nanny saw the bruise purpling there and gasped. "Those bastards!"
"Bastard." Samuel corrected her. "Saron."
"I stand corrected." She growled. "He's just the biggest one!"
Jimbo tested his cuffs behind his back, then smiled. "I thought so!"
"Thought so what?" Samuel asked.
"My kid sister used to tie these kind of knots back when we were kids playing lawman."
They heard the plastic cuffs make clicking sounds, then Jimbo stretched his arms out in front of him and began rubbing his wrists. He then looked at his leg chains, an amused look on his face.
"What's so funny?" Samuel and Nanny both asked at the same time.
"Piece of cake." Was all that Jimbo uttered, then he easily unlocked those cuffs as well. He stood up, and then began working on Nanny's.
Outside the door of the cell Saron watched Jimbo from a screen. An amused look grew on his face. He turned to his adjutant, who stood to his right, face looking straight ahead.
"The Tubes will have a glorious battle tonight. Especially when these fools realize they have excaped the pan, only to leap into the fire!"
"Let the Magistrate know we have fighters for the Tubes tonight!"
"At once, Lord Saron!" The soldier snapped, saluting him, then rushing off down the corridor.