Saturday, July 19, 2008

Ok (for a Noob)

Hi Muse,

Thanks for the info on Creature #I859623-42. You wouldn't believe what happened last Friday night! Well actually you're one of the few people who WOULD believe it..

Have attached my spiel on the caper.


Friday July 18, 2008
The Agency
Staff Kitchen #2 (the one with the seemingly unlimited cache of M&Ms)

First tea for the day; strong, one sugar and a dash of soy milk. As I stirred my tea into a milky vortex, a colleague called from the hallway, "McWraaaaiiiith, the Director is looking for yoouuuuu."

That usually means one of a few things;
  • His wireless has dropped out
  • His Blackberry refuses to sync with Exchange
  • Or there's ectoplasmic residue that wants cleaning up

So you can imagine my surprise when I was told that he needed the file on dragons, and he needed it yesterday. Unfortunately I'm not a Time Agent so yesterday was out of the question.

I returned to my desk, tea in hand, and quickly browsed to "G:\Research & Surveillance\Mythical Creatures\Dragons", printed the contents and left it with the Director to peruse. Damn lucky I updated that file last week, I thought.

Apparently the radar boffins had picked up a dragon-shaped blob in our airspace. So over the course of the day, I monitored the emergency services dispatches, trawled news articles and filtered through mountains of internet traffic to see if we could get a lead on the creature's whereabouts. Then, at about 15:00 I found something solid. A local pilot had been coming in to land his Cessna when he noticed he was being tailed by what appeared to be a flying reptile.

Upon hearing the news, the office exploded into action and the Director sent a couple of Agents to check it out. I remained at my desk, listening in for more frantic calls to Triple-0.

At 16:13 I eavesdroped on a call to the Fire Department. A very confused woman was calling because the roof of her house had erupted into flames for no apparent reason. Sounded a bit dragon-y to me..

SUV #4 (The one with the new prototype heat-seeking missiles)

I hope I'm getting overtime for this, I thought. Driving into the mountains on a freezing Friday night to investigate a possible dragon sighting deserves some form of compensation.

Now the Agency wouldn't normally let me off my chain without someone accompanying, but an exception was made on account of us being short-staffed. Apparently there was a workshop on that evening for the new 500-Series Proton Packs, and all Field Agents had to attend.

My instructions were simple however;
  • Find the house
  • Take some readings
  • Bag any evidence
How hard could it be? Dragons don't stick around long so I was assured with reasonable certainty that I would not be meeting one.


Standing on the scorched roof of the house, I took a moment to admire the view. Thousands of tiny lights hugged the coastline below and twinkled in the clear winter night. Frak, it's beautiful up here. I rubbed my gloved hands together trying to keep the cold away, then I remembered what I had come here for.

Pulling off my backpack, I grabbed my torch and scanned the tiles around me. They were utterly blackened by the fire, some broken and a few missing altogether. How on earth are they going to explain this mess to the insurance company?

I scanned a little further down near the gutter and saw something interesting. Carefully sliding down the apex of the roof, I came to a stop right near the object. It was about 10cm in diameter and looked remarkably like the scales that young dragons periodically shed during a growth spurt.

I quickly slipped it into a plastic evidence bag and marked the outside with the date, time, locale and in very large letters underneath, "FOUND BY MARMALADE MCWRAITH (ALL BY HERSELF)."

Suddenly there was a loud crash behind me. I was knocked onto my arse and had I not found a handhold where a tile had once been, I'm sure I would have fallen completely off the roof. Bits of scorched tile rained down and I squeezed my eyes shut. I knew I should have worn my steampunk goggles..

When the tile and ash stopped falling, looked up to see a dragon a few feet away, staring intently at the torch I was miraculously still holding with my free hand. I felt suddenly very ill-prepared. The files Muse sent said 'approach with extreme caution' but what if the dragon approached you? How the frak was I supposed to avoid becoming barbequed when I had nowhere to go but 2 storeys down to my death?

I weighed up the options; death by fire or death by fall? They both sucked..
How about Option 3: kick arse and live. Sounded good to me.

I let the torch slide off the roof and into the darkness below. My cunning plan worked and the dragon leapt off to follow it, showering me in bits of broken tile again. Oh hell, my new trench coat, ruined. I heard the dragon hit the ground and I looked down to see it pushing the torch around, a bit like a dog with a chew toy.

With not a moment to lose, I scrambled for my pack and extracted a NFDDD (Noise Flash Dragon Diversionary Device), pulled the pin and dropped it over the edge. I hit the deck and shielded my eyes from the flash but my ears weren't so lucky. The bang sounded like thor the god of thunder had just used his hammer on my head.

The smoke cleared below and I could see the dragon laying there completely stunned out of its scaley little skull. It probably wouldn't be getting up for a bit and the chemicals in the NFDDD would render it completely unable to spit fire for a few hours at least.

Time to call it in. Just as I hit speed dial on my phone, the driveway to the property lit up with the headlights of two SUVs and a truck that I hadn't even noticed was there.

A suited figure got out of one of the SUVs and came towards the building.
"For God's sake McWraith, get off the roof." It was Agent Bayne and he was his usual pissy self. What the hell was he doing here?

I slung my backpack over my shoulder, and took my time getting down on account of my shaking hands. If they saw at least I could put it down to the cold. Of course they had everything under control when I hit terra firma. The dragon was in some kind of net and was being hauled into the back of a truck. No doubt he'd be released in a more unpopulated realm.

"I thought you guys had a workshop? The 500-Series?" I asked Bayne incredulously.

"Nope, just a ruse," he said with that stupid smirk he always wears when he knows you've been pwned. "The boss wanted to see how you'd do."

"Good God, I could have been fried!"

"Relax McWraith, it was perfectly safe." He was enjoying this, the sick son of a ...
"We had a bazooka on him the whole time."

I was not reassured by that statement and I shot him a death glare.

He chuckled and gave me an encouraging slap on the shoulder before sauntering off, but I waited for the parting shot. "You did ok.. for a Noob."

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