Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Incident at Obsidian Bay

I found myself exploring the S.C.S.E. Headquarters in Obsidian Bay.

The orrery used an unusual holographic projection to trace out the planets.

I found the place quite civilized - it even had a nook to gain sustenance and keep awake. I ordered a cup of coffee.

"Here is an interesting spot," I thought to myself. "Whatever could 'Rocket Launch Control' mean?"

Inside, I studied the array of controls. "Well, the Emperor surely would not have left this room with any controls active that could be dangerous. Hmm, I wonder what this button does?"

Suddenly, a loud buzzing filled the room. "Countdown sequence initiated," a robotic voice intoned. "Liftoff in T minus sixty seconds...T minus fifty seconds..." I started to get a little nervous. "T minus forty seconds..." I peered out the window and saw the rocket on the launch pad. Smoke started to rise from the bottom of the craft.

"T minus thirty seconds...twenty seconds..." I looked about. No one to bail me out of this jam. "...ten seconds..." I pushed buttons wildly. "...nine, eight..." Nope, not that one, either. I toggled an entire row of switches with one swipe of my hand. ", six, five..." Okay, I was going to have some 'splainin' to do when the rocket launched - or, more properly, when it landed. Maybe it was aimed at Zindra and no one would notice if it wiped out a continent. "...four, three, two, one..." Out of desperation, I slammed my palm into a big red button that labeled Do Not Press This Button. Immediately, a whine of machinery rose, along with a clickety-clack sound of servomechanisms changing position. The voice intoned, "Launch aborted. Launch aborted." The last tendril of smoke came from around the side of the rocket and was whisked away in the sea breeze. I breathed a sigh of relief.

"Well then, no harm done," I said to the walls. "I'll be moving along now."

"Not so fast," said the robotic voice. "Do you think you can start and stop a rocket launch without consequences? There are always consequences. Do you have any idea of the paperwork involved?"

I sighed. "No, but I suppose I'm about to find out."

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