Doghouse Blues

Down, Down 'Neath Christmastown (2nd May 2181)

2nd May 2181

A set of steps led down to a basement, and within this an access hatch and ladder led down to a sub basement. Moe climbed down, finding a ramp that sloped down in a left hand curve ahead, with another corridor going off to the left. Motioning the others down he crept down the ramp, pausing only to blow his nose loudly.

The ramp emerged into some sort of control room, and hovering in this was a Handibot, which immediately scooted out of a door on the far side. Moe chased after it, but by the time he had re opened the door with his access card it had vanished from view. Their route to the missile defence controls lay southwards anyway, and waiting for the others, they made their way down though several rooms and corridors until they stood outside the designated station.

Anwyn opened the door: nothing. Ahead of them lay the control panels. Clarissa entered the room, and as she reached the panels Mr. Boomer scuttled down off her shoulder and cleared his throat.

“As required by GCC law I am now giving the compulsory 60 second warning before nuclear detonation. No personal claims for damage, injury or sterilisation will therefore be accepted. Ok ’Bye guys!” He started to sing.

“When you walk through a storm, hold your head up high
And don’t be afraid of the dark……..”

“Bugger” said Anwyn.

“Ahhhh……” cried Clarissa flinching, as a laser bolt from a hovering handibot up near an access pipe shot at her, narrowly missing."

“Run fer it!” called Chick, making as good as his word. Clarissa wasted precious seconds exchanging fire with the handibot.

“At the end of the storm, there’s a golden sky
And the sweet, silver song of a lark”

Chick and Anwyn pounded back towards the entrance, only to find additional robots appearing to frustrate them. Chick was near the front when a handibot, and even worse, an Atari ‘Kill U Like’ Mark Vlla Security Robot appeared alongside it. Anwyn ducked just in time as its heavy blaster made a hole the size of her head in the adjacent wall.

Meanwhile Clarissa had disposed of the handibot, and rushed past Moe.

“Move it Moe!” she yelled. But Moe was not paying attention.

“Walk on through the wind
Walk on through the rain
Though your dreams be tossed and blown”

Moe was singing along with Mr. Boomer, admittedly improvising the words somewhat (as he didn’t know most of them). There were tears in his eyes.

What Clarissa didn’t know was that the song had particular resonance for Moe as a Liverpudlian. During the mutant rebellion it had been a sort of anthem for the people of the city, when they had rebelled against the Kreelers and fought side by side with the mutants in the streets of the ruined city. Their co rebels in Glasgow had also adopted it as a sign of unity. For generations before that it had been a hymn of sports fans. He had sung it as a kid: and he was singing it now.

“I love you Mr. Boomer” wailed Moe, picking up and cuddling the tiny droid.

“Walk on, walk on
With hope in your heart
And you’ll never walk alone
You’ll never walk alone”

Anwyn badly damaged the securibot, and raced forward towards Chick’s cover as another securibot and handibot appeared behind her. Just as she neared cover the second securibot blasted her down, even as Chick’s twin blasters downed the first.

As Boomer continued to count down, Clarissa was cut off from the exit now by the second securibot. She hid in cover and took potshots, seemingly to little effect.

“I should have carried my VCB” she thought.

“Moe, stop pratting about and help me out here!” she yelled at Moe, who was still singing along and crying. Moe jolted back to some semblance of reality.

“Goodbye Mr. Boomer” he sobbed, “I’ll always remember you.”

“Walk on, walk on
With hope in your heart
And you’ll never walk alone
You’ll never walk alone”

“Take some of this!” screamed Moe, standing full in the corridor and firing both laser pistols. He took a a shot which staggered him backwards and caused his force field to fritz and spark, but fortunately it held. Chick and Clarissa also poured their fire at the deadly machine, and finally it lurched to the floor.

“Twenty four seconds guys, so long!” called Mr. Boomer. They raced past the destroyed robots towards Chick, and Moe helped him with Anwyn as they raced towards the ladder.

As Chick bundled Anwyn up they could still hear the final strains of Mr. Boomer.

“Walk on, walk on
With hope in your heart
And you’ll never walk alone
You’ll never walk alone”

“Up! Up!” called Moe pushing Clarissa (and watching her bottom). At the top of the hatch Chick reached down and hoisted Clarissa up. Moe finally started to climb. Chick grabbed the back of his jacket and pulled him though, slamming the hatch down.

There was a loud whoosh and the cellar started to shake.

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