Thursday, December 16, 2010

Pass the Parcel

Sweating in response to the robot Judge's words your eyes flick to Durham's reflection in the mirror, where you see her staring at you, rolling her eyes and making slight jerking motions with her head.

As much as you want to turn and run, screaming your head off for Anderson, you get the feeling Durham wants you to do the opposite, and surprise yourself by starting to move forward. "Stop there!" The Judge Robot snaps, lifting its arm to jab its trombone at you like a pointing finger. "It's not time to play pass the parcel, not yet. I have strict instructions, I must detonate the bomb at precisely 2100 hours!" "Bomb?" you repeat, the robot's words confirming what you already suspected. "Why do you have to detonate a bomb? Who gave you these instructions?" Edging forward as you speak, you manage to get in front of Durham's chair, stepping closer to the dressing table to conceal her from the robot's view. Luckily, it doesn't seem to notice what you've done. "Need to know basis, need to know basis," the fake Judge shakes its head. "Strict instructions. Don't need to know." You realise you are sweating like a pig as you cross your fingers and pray for Red to hurry up doing whatever she's doing. You can hear her breathing through her nose behind you, hear the rustling of her satin dressing gown against her skin, hear the soft rubbing of the ropes she is tied with and a scratching, scraping, clawing sound. A clock on the wall reads 9:58pm. "Please," you plead, trying to hold the robot's attention. It has started to move sideways, attempting to get Red back into view. "You don't have to do this. You're going to hurt a lot of people if..." "Silence!" the robot snaps. "Move away from the chair! I said step away from..." Swallowing hard as you realise the game is up, you are suddenly slammed into the dressing table as Red rips free of her chair, hissing and spitting like a wild animal and pushing you aside to lunge at her captor. Her gown slips to the floor behind her, exposing a perfect body in all its vampiric glory, a sight that could stop a man dead. Unfortunately for Durham, it doesn't have the same effect on robots. "Bad bad bad!" it blares, dropping the parcel-bomb to take its trombone in both hands and swing it towards her. A blast of energy rips from the bell and pounds into Red's naked belly, knocking her screaming to the floor. No, no, no, your mind races, as you see the time on the clock change to 9:59. Can't let it regain control... Knowing Red would never be far from her blaster, you jerk open the drawers of the dressing table until you find it, along with her badge. Grabbing the gun, you turn back to see the robot now standing over the vampire, aiming its trombone at her head. "You've been a naughty girl," it says. "This year, there'll be no presents for..." With no time to spare and no room for failure, you take aim and pull the trigger, firing a single round into the robot's chest and knocking it back from Red as a second blast of energy blasts from the trombone. Red rolls clear and sits up as the robot totters backwards, jerking her hand towards you and shouting: "Give!" Not needing to be told twice, you toss the blaster into her waiting hand - trying not to be distracted by her heaving buxom - whereupon she hops to her feet, spins, and opens fire, blasting three, four, five holes into the robot and shutting it down for good. Job done, she dashes forward to grab the parcel, sinking her teeth into the lump of C4 and ripping it clear of the timer as the clock goes to 10. "Snecking robots," Red growls, spitting the explosive to the floor. Awkwardly, you retrieve her gown and bring it to her, holding it out for her to slip into while averting your gaze. Surprisingly, she doesn't make any move to pull it on, and when you look back at her you find she is staring at you, grinning cheekly. "What's the matter?" she purrs. "Scared of a little flesh?" Before you can reply, the stage door out in the hall bursts open and a second later Tharg is rushing in to the room, his eyes wide as he looks all around. "Red? Are you okay?" he calls, taking in everything before his eyes settle on you and Red. "The Dictators of Zrag... I caught them snooping around, they said they had an agent at the party, a bomb..." "Relax, all taken care of," Red smirks, finally taking the gown from you and slipping into it. "There's your robot over there. The Zrags, huh? Dang, I hate those guys." Tharg walks over to look down at the bullet-riddled remains of the disguised robot and kicks it in disgust. "Bloody Zrags," he curses. "They're getting good at this..." "Yup. I might have to have words..." "Who are you?" Tharg asks then, turning to stare at you. "Me? Oh. see...I...umm...that is..." "He's my choreographer," Red saves, winking at you as you look at her in surprise. "I'd be lost without him. Wouldn't know how much to bend over, how wide to spread my legs..." "Oh, I see," Tharg says, though you daren't turn to look at him as your face is beetroot red. "That's fine then. Speaking of which, aren't you due on soon?" "I certainly am," Red beams. "If you gents would like to take a seat out front, I'll be with you in a jiffy!" "Zarjaz!" the green-skinned alien thrills, putting his arm around you and ushering you out of the dressing room with him. "Would have been a disaster if the Zrags' plan worked," he confides, as you come back out into the lounge. "Would have absolutely ruined the party. Here, grab a seat, I'll go fetch us a couple of plastic cups!" As Tharg heads to the bar, you shake your head and try to make sense of what's happened. All of a sudden you are a welcome guest at the party! There's a turn-up for the books. But you can't relax yet. Remembering that Toby is still on the loose, you hurry from the lounge and start to make your way down the corridor in the direction of the other party venue, where Halo was heading to watch Dredd in action. It's not long before the sounds of brawling in the distance reach your ears...and that's not all. Approaching a junction in the corridor, you are startled by a sudden scream, which comes from an open door in the wall ahead. Hurrying to it, you skid to a halt in the threshold and stare in, finding Halo on the floor, with Toby atop her, snapping at her face! "Stop!" you shout, distracting Toby so Halo can kick him off and get to her feet. The room they are in is some kind of storage space, with rack upon rack of shelves stacked high with piles of books and comics. Skating for her life, Halo flees deeper into the warehouse, Toby scrabbling back onto all fours and giving chase, ignoring you completely. "Not this time, Jones!" he barks, his metal claws scraping across the floor as he runs. "I've been waiting a long time to pay you back! Every dog has its day, and today, my dear, is mine!"

Do you...

Run into the warehouse to help Halo, or...

Run to the bar to get Dredd?