, , , , , ,

Part 14

Jessica Kinkaid had been locked below ground for so long she was blinded by the sunlight of the surface. They had forced her to change into a beautiful red evening gown and she stumbled in the tall heels on her feet. Before she could hit the ground she was caught by her two massive female guards. Since her capture by the machine men, the two guards had not left her side. They fed her meals, forced her into the clothes her captor wanted her to wear, they even restrained her at night and drugged her so that she slept. Everything had to be perfect, they kept saying, everything had to be perfect for the Professor.

The Professor stood next to a massive door in the ground, speaking with two men that appeared to be very old scientists. They were small in stature and dark skinned, perhaps Indian or Arabic. When Professor Irons saw her coming he beamed, a lecherous grin spreading across his grizzled old face.

“Ms. Kinkaid! You look marvelous, dear. Simply marvelous.”

The Professor threw his metal hands into the air and then clapped them together in joy. The guards shoved Jessica toward him and she toppled over, falling to her knees.

“Careful!” Irons shouted at the butch women, “If you damage her, you’ll pay!” He held out his hand to Jessica but she recoiled from him, so he grabbed her roughly by the wrist.

“Let go!” she screamed but the Professor only leaned in closer. His metallic voice horrified her and she pulled with all her might, but she could not break the grip of his metal fingers.

“Pretty girl, why make this difficult for yourself? I can easily bring you with me in a box, my dear.”

When Jessica realized what he was implying she stopped fighting and let him help her to her feet. Although she appeared to be calm, her eyes blazed with fury.

“There, that is much better isn’t it?” The Professor asked. He placed a hand on her chin and she could not hide the revulsion on her face at his ice cold touch.

Taking her by the arm he pulled her back away from the metal hatch on the floor. The two men with him quickly scurried to either side and the sound of a massive machine began to whir and grind somewhere deep below ground. The monstrous door began to retract slowly, pulling back into the floor beneath them, revealing a huge hole deep into the foundry. Something large and white began to rise from the hangar and Jessica recognized it; it was a massive balloon.

Slowly the balloon lifted into the air and the ship beneath it became visible. The Professor’s men rushed around the hangar, opening the roof of the warehouse with a series of pulleys and levers so that the balloon could continue to rise into the air. Even in her anger Jessica had to admire the beauty and craftsmanship of the vehicle. While the balloon was very basic and plain, the ship itself was a work of true art. The ship was a hundred and forty five feet long and twenty feet wide. While it appeared to be wood, it was not; the ship was made of lightweight steel with wooden decorative panelling. There was a massive exhaust on the back, and the ship had a thick plastic canopy. Whatever it was for, it was not for sailing on the seas.

“Behold!” Professor Irons shouted, his metal support frame creaking as he threw his hands in the air, “the RA!”

On the front of the ship was a massive ankh and elaborately carved hieroglyphics ran along the top and bottom of the ships frame.

“The ancient Egyptians were a wise people,” Irons rasped, “who truly understood how thin the barrier between life and death truly is.”

Irons motioned for the two female guards and they took Jessica by the upper arms.

“Take her aboard. It is time for me to get dressed as well.” The guards nodded and the two scientists waved toward a group of workers waiting off to the side. The men ran over with a massive crate, dropping it in front of the Professor. Irons smashed the lid with a metal fist and tossed the splintered wood aside easily. Inside the chest was a strange breathing apparatus; a sealed helmet similar to a diving suit as well as fabric very similar to that used to construct the balloon. The scientists directed the men, furiously berating them to hurry but Irons shook his head.

“Take your time. We don’t want to make a mistake now, when I am so close! This suit will serve as a canopic jar, preserving my body for the afterlife. The ancient Pharoah’s would see in me an equal. A king among men.”

“A mad man.” A deep voice growled. It had come from somewhere inside the hangar. Professor Irons turned from side to side, his men loading their weapons.

“Is this what this was about? A funeral barge?” The voice echoed off the walls of the hanger and the guards searched frantically for the Spider hidden somewhere within.

“Are you so greedy you have to take your wealth with you, Professor?”

“Come out, Spider!” Irons shouted. “This is not a funeral barge! This is a rocket to the stars!”

“This is quite possibly the most insane thing I’ve ever heard. You’ll have to explain it to me.” The Spider shouted.

“Come out and I will.” Irons replied.

Suddenly the Spider strode confidently into the hangar, his hands in the air. Where he had come from it was impossible to tell, perhaps from deep below where the ship had been docked. Perhaps he’d been hiding in the hangar all along. The guards wasted no time in surrounding him.

“You should have run, vigilante! You’ve fallen back into my hands.” Iron said joyously.

“Oh I wouldn’t want to miss this for the world.”