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Lords of Being

Chapter 17: A Meeting with Lord Hanuman

by Barry Tannenbaum

New Blood Logs:

Tom Noon's Tale


In Chaos

Voyages of the Nones



Mother Goose Chase

Ancient Oz


Adventures of the Munch

Lanthil & Beyond

Lords of Being 17: A Meeting with Lord Hanuman

While we're in Halifax, Hellgrammite goes shopping at the local Wal-Mart and returns with a microwave oven, a laser pointer, a set of planar speakers, a pile of lithium-ion power tool batteries, a paint pellet gun, dried eggs, and assorted other bits and pieces. As well as a bag of playground sand for Glass. He claims he's planning to make some sort of weapon out of these things.

We depart Halifax without incident a couple of hours after we arrive. Four pleasantly boring hours later, we arrive in Reykjavik.

After a quick refueling, we get stuck in a queue for departure from Iceland. When Captain Barron asks the tower for the cause of the holdup, they reply that they're having computer problems. All radar and flight systems are down until the problem is worked out. Funny how they went down just after we arrived.

Glass manages to get a link from the plane to the local network access point, and Glass, Hellgrammite and Zabeth open their computers and start exploring the local net. Hellgrammite gets into the airport systems. They're in a really bad way. The routers are up, but several of the machines are crashed. Only small peripheral systems are up. Hellgrammite examines the router logs. There's an interesting access from a non-local system which showed up just before the systems started crashing. He tracks the connection back to a wireless link which is relatively close. The system is a netbook which is full of nice hacking tools. And a bunch of documents. Unfortunately, none Hellgrammite knows. However, the character set is Hindi. Fortunately Glass knows Hindi, but he's rusty.

Catalyst volunteers that he knows Hindi. He examines the documents and can read some of them. Sort of. It appears to be technical notes on hacking. Some may be encoded or using code names. Or perhaps it's Hindi "L337-speak."

Hellgrammite manages to triangulate the netbook's position using data from the WiFi access points, and notes that the netbook is moving through the airport. Possibly towards us, but that's not sure. He downloads the recently received email & files. He then has the system erase the WiFi drivers and start playing "I am a hacker" at top volume. The system drops off the net.

Hellgrammite tells Captain Barron that he's getting off to see if he can help fix the problem. Captain Barron replies dryly, "I kinda thought it was your kind of problem." He opens the rear hatch and Hellgrammite, Mabel and Hookie goes sprinting towards the terminal.

As Hellgrammite is heading out the hatch, Zabeth calls out "One of them is very, very tired."

They enter the terminal without setting off alarms. Though a couple of locals are rather disturbed that they're coming in through a doorway off the runway. When Icelandic doesn't work, they try English.

Hellgrammite brushes them off with "Sorry, we have an emergency and the phones on the plane are not working" and goes dashing down the hallway. He runs around a corner and sees a group of four Indians who look like they shouldn't be there. Three appear to be human. He recognizes the fourth as Hanuman. Hellgrammite challenges, "What do you think you're doing?"

Hanuman replies, "I would think it was obvious."

"You're keeping us from the anomaly."

"The anomaly will wait. You're keeping us from a bit of Lord Asiras."

Mabel retorts, "Lord Asiras is happy where he is."

Hanuman chitters something, then he and one of his minions launches at Hellgrammite, The other two launch at Mabel.

Hanuman appears to be trying to restrain Hellgrammite, not hurt him. He's got an arm around Hellgrammite's neck.

Apparently no one in Hanuman's group has noticed Hookie. He's rather upset that anyone would be making aggressive moves against Mable, and jumps up to bite one of Mabel's attackers. He hangs off the Indian's forearm, growling and doing his best to shake his head and reach his opponent with his claws. Mabel and her other attacker collide. They bounce off each other. Mabel cries out for help, loudly. This is, after all, a crowded airport terminal.

Hellgrammite grabs a heavy something from his pocket, possibly a pocket knife or multitool and hits Hanuman, who grunts and tightens his grip on Hellgrammite's throat. This might be a problem if Hellgrammite needed to breathe. Hellgrammite's other attacker is trying to get Hellgrammite's arms pinned behind his back, but he seems to be moving slowly. He must be the one who's tired.

Mabel's attacker knocks her to the floor. She continues to scream and can hear footsteps coming their way. Hookie gets tossed down the hall, with a mouth full of sleeve.

Hanuman and his henchman are trying to drag Hellgrammite somewhere. Hellgrammite smacks him again. Hanuman says the name of a god that has not been worshiped since before the Indo-Europeans came to India.

The man who Hookie had attacked says something in a language that Mabel doesn't know. Both of her attackers break off the fight and run off for parts unknown.

Hellgrammite punches his human assailant in the gut, who doubles over. Hanuman is still holding his head.

Three people in airport uniforms and two healthy looking young ladies in U.S. Army uniforms arrive, unsure what's going on. Mabel rolls to her hands and knees and cries, "Jonathan! Are you alright?"

Hanuman gives Hellgrammite a nasty look. With his free hand he flips something out of his pocket, barks something in a language neither Hellgrammite or Mable know, and tosses it to Hellgrammite's human assailant. The airport and U.S. Army personnel pile onto the three struggling figures.

Mabel sees the item that Hanuman tossed go sailing over the target and land on the floor. It's a small bottle. She points at it and calls out, "Hookie, fetch. Whole." Unfortunately Hookie is still a ways down the hall, returning from where he was tossed.

Hanuman is fighting his way out of the people who are trying to restrain him. They're only human, after all. Hellgrammite grabs the leg of his human assailant who's trying to squirm out from under the pile and reach the bottle.

Mabel steps on the hand that's reaching for the bottle and tells Hookie once more to get the bottle. Poor Hookie is clearly torn between re-entering the fray and following her command.

Hanuman succeeds in extracting himself from the scrum. The Army ladies are now starting to look around for the thing that was thrown. They don't yet realize that it was the bottle.

Mabel grabs for the bottle. Unfortunately Hanuman reaches it first and grabs it away from her. As he rises, Hookie grabs onto his sleeve with his teeth. Mable cries out, "My dog! He's got my dog!"

Ignoring Mabel and the humans, Hanuman is trying to shake Hookie off, but is really more concerned with opening the bottle. Mabel attempts to grab Hanuman's thumb, to prevent him from opening the bottle. This gets another curse from Hanuman, who shakes off Mabel.

Three more assistants arrive, two airport personnel, and one more guy in a U.S. Army uniform. Mabel cries, "Don't let him open that bottle!"

This galvanizes the Army personnel, who grab Hanuman. Sensing that he can't get away cleanly, Hanuman surrenders the bottle. Mabel comforts Hookie. As Hanuman and his henchman are lead away, one of the airport personnel asks, "Can we please see your papers?"

Mabel, Lady of Order, of course has papers. For both of them. The trio is invited to an airport office for tea while this is sorted out. While Mabel soothes and praises Hookie for being such a hero, Hellgrammite sends a text message to Glass explaining what's going on.

Over tea, the airport personnel take names and stuff. One of them asks, "Excuse me, you got off the plane? It's waiting to take off."

Mabel replies, "The captain told us that the computers are down, and we weren't first in the queue, and the dog—"

"We had time-critical issues—" begins Hellgramite at the same time.

"Time-critical dog," murmurs one official, who seems to have found his own explanation for things.

After explaining that they were clearly breaking airport regulations, the airport personnel allow them to return to their plane. "Unless you'd like to stay for the trial?"

Mabel declines, "No, we do have time-critical things to take care of."

They're escorted back to the plane, which is still queued for takeoff. As the small car approaches the aircraft, the rear stair descends and Captain Barron comes down to welcome them back aboard. While they were gone, Glass wired the rear-door window into a camera to allow us to monitor the rear of the plane. After Barron promises to keep his passengers on board in the future, the airport personnel depart.

Now that they're not longer being attacked, the airport computers start to come online. Priority is given to arriving traffic, which has been circling the airport and is low in fuel. As a result, it takes about an hour for us to take off. While waiting, we discuss what is needed to augment the plane.

After discussing the options for augmenting the plane we come up with

  • Reduce drag. Glass will attempt to coat the plane with a smooth, thin layer of silicon. That's what the playground sand is for.
  • Increase fuel efficiency. Catalyst will look at what can be done to amp up our fuel to increase our range. Unfortunately, this has the risk of burning out the engines.
  • Perfect the existing engines. Even with the closest of tolerances, no engine is perfect. The vanes are slightly askew, or not perfectly smooth, or the seal isn't quite perfect. Hellgrammite and his clanks will attempt to "perfect" the parts of our existing engines, making them as efficient as possible.
  • Increase engine efficiency and thrust. Hellgrammite will look at what can be done to redesign the engines to improve them. This should be more satisfying than mere tinkering…

Glass calls Lady Diamond to have her get together a group to act as the inspection crew who will provide cover while Glass resurfaces the plane. Ragnison suggests that there are mortals in Holland who are familiar with the Courts of Order & Chaos; the family of one of the Lords of Order. They could be in England in a few hours… call it half a day. Or at the airport in Amsterdam in 4 hours.

Glass checks with the systems in Holland. We can land in Amsterdam in 3½ hours. Rotterdam, the airport that serves the Hague, has plenty of hanger space at the moment. He books a hanger, and asks Captain Barron to change our flight plan to land at Rotterdam.

Ragnison closes the call with a promise to call Jan van der Linden and have him round up as many family members as possible by the time we arrive at Rotterdam.

Last Updated: Jun 19, 2009
©2009 Barry Tannenbaum, All Rights Reserved

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