Doghouse Blues

Rudolph the Much Abused Reindeer (2nd May 2181)

2nd May 2181

’Enery peeked out of a snow festooned window, squinting through the tiny panes of glass at the street outside. They had managed to break into an empty shop and apply their medipacs and first aid; they knew that they could not sit still for long though, and now they were keen to make their way towards the Town Hall before the droids started to organise.

The Town Hall was a double winged building sat within an area of parkland, near the edge of town. Children (probably robots) were skating on a frozen pond, and Victorian citizens hurried past in their mufflers and tall hats. In front of the building was a cenotaph and a brightly illuminated christmas tree, with several stalls at its feet selling hot chestnuts, toffee apples, toddies and the like. Nestled between the Town Hall steps and one wing was a life size nativity scene – complete with a red nosed reindeer apparently dressed in a tutu and what looked like a suspender belt and ill fitting fishnet stockings.

“Don’t hurt Rudolph: she’s worth 500,000 creds to us” reminded Clarissa.

As they strolled nonchalently across the street (making sure Moe looked both ways) to an annexe building along the side of the Town Hall, a bystanders head swivelled round 180 degrees and gave that laser beam look at Moe. Realising that the time for stealth was over they started running for the parkland and the cover of the smaller building.

More bystanders started to come to life, and ’Enery shouted that he would take backstop as he leaned out from the side of the building and took potshots at the droids as they started to become aggressive. There were a couple of bobbies in the mix.

A simple bugle call rang out, and just before he made it to cover ’Enery noted half a dozen soldiers dressed like something off a chocolate box smartly stepping out, and arranging themselves in a line across the Town Hall steps. On the windows, shutters slammed down.

Recieving ’Enery’s report Clarissa ran around the rear of the Town Hall, and as she gave the pretense of knowing what she was doing, Chick and Anwyn followed her.

Moe had another idea however. Dimly remembering some old movie he had seen, he pulled out one of the flare dispensers and pressed the ‘Point Blank’ setting, fixing its spike in the ground and pointing directly towards the cenotaph. He pressed the ‘5 second interval’ button and then ran, following the others around the perimeter of the Town Hall, and learning the hard way that it does not pay to run flat out on packed snow.

As ’Enery picked off civilian robots the others eventually tumbled round the front corner of the Town Hall, having run and slipped all the way round the building. They moved forward to the limited cover of the christmas tree and stalls. But no one was shooting at them.

The programmed flares were still going off only tens of feet in the air near the cenotaph. All of the robot bystanders and chocolate box soldiers were staring transfixed at the flares, their artificial eyes glistening.

Quickly appreciating a potential duck shoot, Anwyn and Chick started popping away, while Moe, Fearful that the flares would run out, set off the second flare dispenser. ’Enery caught up and joined in.

As their blasters wrought carnage among the static robots Moe ran across the Town Hall steps toward Rudolph, who was staring mournfully at him. Moe grabbed her by the base of the antlers and tugged, and with the resignation of the long suffering, Rudolph reluctantly followed.

The soldiers were just so much scrap metal. Anwyn ran up to the access panel (cunningly disguised as a piece of plastic stonework) and worked her magic with a handcomp and some illegal looking electronic widgets. The shutters rose up, and the doors opened.

“Please miss…no running in…..Bzzzzzzt” shouted a footman as Clarissa blew him to smithereens. Rudolph looked pleasantly surprised that Moe had let her go inside a reception room. She started to chew on a tablecloth. Moe looked out of the window and pondered the Baby Jesus.

“Roight!” said ‘Enery. "Oi’ll moind Rudolph while you gert orff dahhn to the basement and do the business."

“Goody! Goody!” burbled Mr. Boomer. “Oh yes! Yes! Take me there quick!”

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