Adama looked out the north windows, the ones facing Mount Areola at the exact center of the Backstage ring. He could see the swimming pool from here: a Huey helicopter had crashed in it and was giving off a plume of oily black smoke. One half of the pool was still full of clear blue water, but the other half looked as if it had been filled with tomato juice. Only it wasn't tomato juice. Now Adama could see something else: several Men in Gray climbing up the sides of the building.
"Whose idea was it to STAIRSTEP the floors?" shouted Adama. Perhaps it would've been just as easy normally, but the Men in Gray were climbing up the outside of the building one floor at a time, balcony by balcony, roof to roof.
"Letter opener!" Adama said loudly, extending his hand back to the others. "Top desk drawer!" JigSaw found it and handed it to him. Adama smashed the window with a chair, climbed out onto the roof of the office below, and walked to the edge, where a climbing rope was tied to the end of a grappling hook. Adama began sawing through the rope. The strands parted; there was a short yell and a crash.
But more grappling hooks were appearing now at the edge of the roof. F-Cup Fitzgerald climbed awkwardly out the broken window onto the roof as Adama retreated back into the office for something sharper. There was a loud gunshot, and suddenly a grappling hook appeared at the edge of the building, tied to a climbing rope. Fitzgerald hurried to the building's edge, staying low, and lay next to the hook. In a few more seconds, a face appeared--another of the Men in Gray. Fitzgerald grapped him by the necktie and leveraged the surprised man up onto the roof. He was dressed in the usual gray clothes and he had a rifle slung on his back with another grappling hook fixed into the barrel. Fitzgerald began pummeling the guy. The MIG squirmed out of his awkward rifle-sling and started to reach into his coat. But Zorlond was out on the roof by this time, backing up Fitzgerald. The MIG pulled out a knife and sliced it once in front of him, slashing Zorlond's robes. Zorlond grabbed the arm with the knife, while Fitzgerald pushed the MIG back across the roof. The man back-pedalled his way almost to the side edge of the building--the side that was not stair-stepped. Zorlond let go of the arm as Fitzgerld gave one last push--
--"Don't! We want him alive!" shouted Adama from the window.--
Too late. The MIG's knife clattered to the rooftop, and Fitzgerald fell backward as the man made one last grab. Fitzgerald yanked Zorlond out of the way, pulling him down awkwardly onto the roof, as the MIG went over the side. Screaming horribly, the MIG fell headfirst toward the pavement below--and straight through the windshield of a parked limosine next to the building. Nothing was visible of the man's body except his trousered legs sticking up through the center of the windshield.
Zorlond picked up the knife, Fitzgerald collected the MIG's grappling gun, and both Authors climbed back inside.
Zorlond put the knife on Adama's desk. "Why don't you keep it, Zorlond?" Dabbler asked.
In reply, Zorlond sparked a little electricity from his fingertips. "Someone else can use it," he said. "I guess, since I'm the only character that was WRITTEN with magic powers, that some of my abilities aren't dependent on the Crays working." The others looked at Zorlond enviously. "I was using it in the fight downstairs, but I forgot about it until now. Someone else should get the knife."
The other Authors began searching for usable weapons and pooling their resources. Fitzgerald drew Adama aside, and pointed out Subgirlie, seted in an armchair in the corner, taking all this in with growing disbelief. "This isn't her fight. Let me get her to the Emergency Command Center where it's safe." Adama nodded. He picked up a phone from the desk and handed it to Fitzgerald, who hit "0."
"Operator." The Op didn't exactly sound like his usual mellow self, but it had been a long day.
"We're up in Adama's room. We need some transport. Can you take two more? Subgirlie is coming as my guest."
"Sure, Fitz, but we've got a little--"
SCREECH! There was a metallic sound on the line, then an unfamiliar voice: "Surrender now and we'll let you live!" SCREECH!
"--blocked the transporter pad! We can't beam anyone until we get it cleared! Can you--"
"--Don't say anything, Op, they've bugged the line!--"
SCREECH! "No shit, you drunken bastard!" SCREECH!
"Now they've PISSED me off!" shouted Fitzgerald, slamming the phone down on the sofa. He turned to the others. "The Men in Gray have found the cell phone's frequency, and they've blocked the transporter pad next to the Command Center!" He turned to Subgirlie, who had risen from her chair. "I'll take her down there myself Adama, it's not very far."
Adama looked at him sagely. "Come back if you can't get there safely. It's not safe to split up."
JigSaw approached, and held out one of his guns, butt-first. "Here, take this one. It shoots real bullets, not caps."
Fitzgerald walked to the desk and picked up the grappling gun. "Thanks, but I'll just use this. You guys keep it for now." Dabbler began directing the other Authors in the rearranging of furniture to block the windows. Others began checking nearby suites for usuable items. "We need food," called Dabbler, "if we can't just ZAP it in!"
Fitzgerald guided Subgirlie to the double doors of the suite. "I'll be OK, the Command Center is indestructable."
Fitzgerald and Subgirlie made their way to the stairwell. A thin column of smoke rose up through the central rectangle. The two made their way uneventfully down to the Hotel floors. The Hotel was eerily quiet. Down in the lobby they made their way out into the Concourse. The space seemed a little too quiet, although there still seemed to be some fighting going on down at the Bar & Grill end. Fitzgerald and Subgirlie could hear automatic weapons fire. Suddenly, from around the side of a decorative planter came a short, small man dressed in a Hotel bellman's uniform. "Come with me!" he shouted at Subgirlie, trying to pull her away from Fitzgerald. Subgirlie bashed the guy in the nose with the flat of her hand and gave him a kick to the groin. The man collapsed to the lobby floor, groaning. Fitzgerald led Subgirlie away hurriedly. "I'm glad you're along to protect me, "Fitzgerald grinned. "Where'd you learn self-defense?"
Subgirlie blushed. "Kickboxing class," she said. They were at the doors to the kitchen, away from the direction the bellhop had appeared from. Fitzgerald's idea was that, with the Crays off, the kitchen was the only source of food. He ducked inside the kitchen doors while Subgirlie waited, only for about fifteen seconds.
Fitzgerald stared out at the silent kitchen, motionless and speechless with shock. There was the smell of cooked steak, only it wasn't steak. He plucked a large butcher knife from the corpse of a man in a hotel uniform, wiped it clean, and went back out through the double doors. Subgirlie started to walk through the doors herself, a determined look on her face, but Fitzgerald put out an arm to stop her. "Don't. Don't look," he said. He led her away, cautiously, toward the west entrance to the Concourse. They went out of the building, past a screen of bushes and decorative plants, into the entrance to a non-descript underground corridor. The corridor extended into the distance, with a concrete floor and exposed pipes and power cables. After about a minute, they reached a side passage and Fitzgerald stuck his head around. One of the MIG's was on the transporter platform, standing atop three heavy-looking tool cabinets. He fired at Fitzgerald, who ducked quickly back around the corner and readied the grappling gun. After a few moments there was a CLICK! CLATTER! Out of ammunition! But from the other direction in the corridor came another figure, sticking his head around the corner, Fitzgerald was still fixated on the MIG, however, who had nearly finished inserting another clip into the gun. The MIG looked from one figure to the other, not knowing what to shoot at--and Fitzgerald fired the grappling gun at him. The MIG fell dead from the tops of the tool cabinets onto the concrete floor, a grappling hook imbedded in his sternum.
Fitzgerald finally turned to the other figure: it was TuxedoH, who hadn't posted in awhile, dressed, naturally, in a tuxedo. Introductions were made. Fitzgerald noticed a camera behind bulletproof glass in the corner near the ceiling. The doors to the Command Center swung slowly and silently open. "Inside, quick," said the Operator. The three rushed inside and the doors closed after them.
"Subgirlie is here as my guest," said Fitzgerald. Subgirlie introduced herself to the Operator, to DJWoohoo, and blinking in amazement, to Elizabeth D. Fruitbat. Before being led away exhausted to a private room, Subgirlie turned to Fitzgerald. "Thank you for getting me here," she said, warmly taking one of Fitzgerald's hands in both of hers.
"You'll be safe here--much safer than up in the Author Suites," Fitzgerald told her. TuxedoHentai bowed gallantly as Subgirlie left the room. The two Authors sank heavily into chairs and watched the monitors carefully. . . .
Fri May 11 15:48:20 2001