The Book of Enoch
Chapter 12 – Muzzle Velocity
She was walking between the Abdicates, slowly making her way toward the back of the building where Alvin’s workshop was located. With every step, the rejected contraptions became stranger and stranger, but a theme was emerging. Somehow the silent machines appeared more and more sexual in nature. They weren’t blatantly perverse, but she just couldn’t see any other use for many of the extensions and protrusions that hung like limbs from the forest of cast-off technological monstrosities.
Beth also found that the space between the tall devices was growing more and more difficult to traverse. Soon she had to duck under the long extension of one, then step around another that looked more like something that she might have found in the office of her gynecologist than a mechanical graveyard. Up ahead, she could see a warm, yellow light between the tree-like figures, and she began to hear the sound of a hundred clocks ticking. She pressed on, finally having to turn sideways to squeeze between two monolithic contrivances. She was almost through when her t-shirt caught on something, preventing her from going further. She cursed, and was just about to reach behind her to unhook the snag when she bumped into the other Abdicate. She was certain that it hadn’t been so close before, and now that she stopped, she could clearly see that it was moving. Very slowly, it was pressing in, either that or the one behind her was pushing her. Whatever the case, she could quickly see that she was running out of room. Going on was out of the question, but thanks to her clothing snag, she wasn’t even able to return the way she had come.
“Damnit…” she said to herself as she struggled to find a way out. She grunted in frustration, noticing that whatever she had caught her shirt on behind her seemed to be moving upward, and it was taking the garment with it. In only a few moments it had ridden up her bare torso until it caught under her arm pits. If she didn’t raise her arms, she would be lifted right off the ground. The shirt was just passing in front of her face on it’s way up her body, when she felt the front of her jean shorts catch on something else.
“Oh for goodness sake!” She said aloud and renewed her efforts to free herself. It was no good. Her shirt was now tangled around her upper arms, which she could no longer bring down, and all her struggles had done was to pull the top button of her pants loose.
A feint green light was the first indication that the Abdicates around her might not be quite as silent as she first imagined. She stared at the tiny lamp which was sitting just inches from her nose and began to hear an additional clicking sound, in fact, she could actually feel it in her thighs, which were pressed against the cylindrical body of the machine in front of her. Like a mini jet engine, she could just make out the whirling, reving-up of internal gears and flywheels. Confused, she almost missed that she had managed to wriggle her shorts right off her hips. The surface of the Abdicates in contact with her appeared completely smooth, but somehow it was abetting the gradual decent of her lower garment. They had just slipped to her knees when her bare nipples brushed the surface of the tower in front of her. A buzzing, electric tingle shot through her body and caused her to gasp. Her face flushed with heat as the raw sexual stimulation brought the darkened nubs to full attention, and to her surprise, put them in more direct contact with the vibrating post she was wedged against.
“Ughmm… hey! Stop that!” She protested, wiggling all the more. Her wrists had become so tangled in the t-shirt, that they were effectively bound and held above her head, and her shorts had finally dropped to the ground. Completely naked, Beth was still startled to find that she seemed to be leaning back, but the over-sized vibrator at her front wasn’t pulling away, which meant that both of the pillars were tilting, or at least from her waist down.
As stimulating as the buzzing at her nipples was, down in her lap she was being aroused at a whole new level. The titling only increased the contact with her sex, and it now felt as though the Abdicate was changing shape in order to cup her, perfectly conforming to her body so as to hit her in just the most pleasurable way. As she bent back, her feet finally left the floor, flailing in the air on either side of the mechanism until she decided to just wrap them around the cylindrical torso of the thing. She realized her mistake at once however, when the delightful sensations only increased with the contact of her flesh. Finally, she was laying nearly horizontal, with her arms still stretched up over her head. The frontal buzzing tower appeared to have bent into an inverted L shape to keep a close contact with her front and down between her thighs. The vibrations were really starting to be a distraction, and her heart rate and breathing was quickening in response to her rapidly rising arousal.
“Ughnn… ughmmmm…” she moaned, as she twisted helplessly against the metal lover. Her pelvis gently undulated to increase contact and she was happily surprised again to feel the Abdicate changing to settle over her sex more completely. It was beginning to press some smooth, knob-like part of itself right through her petals. Her whole body was starting to join into the motion of her hips as she felt herself nearing climax.
“Uhghnnn!! Oh god… ughmmm!”
“Good evening, Detective!” Said Professor Manatee. Her eyes flew open and she turned to stare up at the man who was standing right next to her. He was dressed in his purple pajamas and smiling happily.
“Ughn! Pro… Pro… Professor!… Ahhh! Ughn!”
“Do you like what I built for you?” He asked, patting the side of the machine as though it were an old car or an alarm clock, apparently oblivious to what it was doing to her, or her state of undress. “I Tinkered it to fit you perfectly. Look, it’s even the right height for sex!”
At that, the man pulled loose his robe and dropped it to the ground. He was naked beneath and Beth’s eyes went wide at the sight of his manhood.
Unable to hold back any longer, her hips ground against the metal lover as her world tumbled into bliss.
“UGHNNN!!” She moaned as her body spasmed in ecstasy, the wash of pleasure forcing her from the dream state. She panted and twitched as the effects of her orgasm slowly faded, and her eyes fluttered open. She saw the wall of Professor Manatee’s loft and the simple table and knew she was laying on her side in the papasan chair once again.
“Holy shit…” she sighed, relieved in many different ways. To her surprise, she wasn’t frightened by the dream that had just awakened her, and instead found herself smiling slightly.
Tossing the covers off, she looked to the couch and had a momentary panic attack when she didn’t find the Professor. But instead of letting her fear get the best of her, she stretched out her ears and heard some activity from the ground floor. He was probably down in his shop… just like in her dream.
She shook off that thought line and decided that whatever else was going on in the universe, it could wait until she had stopped in at the bathroom. She’d probably need to clean up a bit.
Getting up proved a mistake though, as her head immediately started pounding.
“Oh, that’s right…” she whispered to herself. “The wine.” Bringing her legs back over the side of the chair she noticed a slightly odd looking mug sitting on the table. To her rising delight, it was dark and looked like coffee. A slow trail of steam was rising from it surface. There was also note on the table.
Yes, it’s coffee – drink up.
I’m just downstairs.
Her smile broadened at she lifted the mug up to her face. Maybe it was just plain coffee (she had started to expect miracles in the Manatee household) but it smelled like the best thing in the whole world. At her first sip, she was ready to believe in the saints again. The dark brew warmed and awakened her, and she sighed happily. She could really get used to an orgasm and a hot cup of joe waiting for her every morning…
The bathroom held further surprises as she noticed rather large, opened package by the sink. Inside were most of the clothes that they had ordered for her the day before. Squealing with glee, Beth rubbed her hands together and extracted each item, carefully checking the size in case they needed to return something. It was the Professor’s card after all. He’d want to know. But everything fit as it should and she selected an outfit for the day and some toiletries and neatly folded everything else back into the box. Then, she stripped out of her shirt and shorts, which smelled like a whore house, and hopped into the shower. She spent nearly five minutes trying to figure out how to make the water work, but eventually got it sorted out, then took an additional two minutes to wash off. Finally, she found the douche she had ordered and after a final rinse, stepped from the shower feeling genuinely fresh for the first time since…
She stopped. Was it real? Was she really safe, or was she about to relive some horror just like the last time she had stepped from the shower? It had seemed real enough the first time. Her hands started to shake and her knees grew weak with fear.
“No.” She said aloud. He wouldn’t allow it. Alvin had said she was safe within his home, and she believed him. Gradually, the shaking lessened and finally ceased. She looked into the mirror at herself.
“Good girl,” she said, mimicking Alivin’s voice as best she could. She couldn’t suppress a giggle afterwards.
Retrieving her coffee, which was miraculously still steaming hot, and making her way to the ground floor, she could not help but feel a little apprehensive walking through the Abdicates. She even had a bit of a fright when she bumped into one that looked remarkably like the “gynecological table” from her dream that morning. But she took a deep breath and let it out slowly as she quietly stepped toward the back of the loft. Unlike her dream, things opened up and became more and more organized as she approached the warmly lit workshop. When she was still a good five meters away, she got her first look at Alvin practicing his trade, and her breath caught.
The man was sitting on a stool in front of what was most probably a work table, but it was nothing like any work table she had seen anywhere else. It was completely covered with a sea of whirling and spinning machines. Some were like the ball-shaped toy spider she had seen earlier. Others were larger and square, or hexagonal but supporting a completely different set of limbs. One even hovered like a balloon a few inches above and in front of his head. Dangling at the end of a string underneath was a bright light about the size of a marble. Hunched, and concentrating, the Professor himself seemed completely unaware of her presence as he peered through an outrageous contraption that was strapped to his head. Half binoculars, and half exploded disco ball, his scalp seemed to bristle and flash with the reflection of a what looked like a hundred different lenses, mirrors, and the occasional roach clip.
He was so intent on what he was holding in his hands that she hardly dared breathe, let alone interrupt him. She looked to her left an saw a second stool like the one he was seated on. She quietly tip-toed over to the stool and pulled herself up. Still oblivious to her, she decided to just enjoy her coffee and bide her time. There was certainly plenty to look at beyond the busy work table. All along the walls were thousands of carefully labeled bins as well as shelves of books, tiny toy models, and a seemingly endless array of tools. Some she recognised, like the simple hammer near his right hand. Others defied explanation, such as the miniature feather duster screwdriver that hung neatly on a hook higher up.
It was some ten minutes before one of the spiders seemed to be trying to get his attention.
“Er… what? She’s here?” He asked of the clacking toy. She grinned in mirth. Surely he couldn’t actually be talking to the toy. Abruptly, he looked up and scanned the space, then grunted and lifted the five inches of lenses away from his face.
“Detective! How long have you been sitting there?!”
“A cup’s worth,” she replied, holding up the now empty mug.
“You should have said something, my dear. I would have stopped at once.”
Still smiling, she watched him stretch his back with several loud cracks of his vertebrae, then hop down and approach her. He took her hand in his and held it warmly.
“You seemed… intent on your work. I didn’t want to interrupt.”
“Humph! You, Beth, may interrupt me no matter what I’m doing, but the thought is… greatly appreciated. Come! Take a look at what I’ve been doing while you slept off your… er, while you slept.” He pulled her from the stool and took her over toward the work table.
“Um, just out of curiosity, did I make a total ass of myself after dinner?”
“You were… not yourself.”
Her shoulders fell. “I knew it. God, I’m so embarrassed. I hardly remember anything…”
“Relax, my dear. It was as much my fault as yours. I knew that wine and I should have stopped you after the first bottle…”
“BOTTLE?!” She winced at the loud noise of her own voice. As much as she wanted it to be gone, her hangover was still lingering. “I didn’t do anything… er, unbecoming a lady, did I?”
He laughed. “You’re clothes stayed on…” he answered teasingly.
She covered her face with her hands, a deep warmth spreading across her cheeks. Finally a she pulled them away, took a deep breath and said, “Okay, what did you have to show me?” She was looking down at the desk. It seemed that almost every contraption, spider, or other gizmo had ceased all action when he stepped away from the work space. “Weren’t they just… moving?”
“You mean my helpers? Oh yes… Say hello, boys!”
In unison, every one of the tiny mechanical constructs brought one of it’s limbs up in the universal gesture of ‘hello’, then just as quickly snapped it back down again.
Beth was so startled that she jumped and sent the coffee mug fumbling from her hands. Without being asked, one of the ‘helpers’ reached out with an extendable arm and snagged the mug from the air. A second later it was sitting on the table with a snap.
She was slack-jawed again. “Did they… did they just WAVE at me?!”
“Well, they’re very well behaved…”
“But… Alvin, are they alive?!”
At this, the man took a long breath. “I suppose that depends on how you look at it.”
“But how? I mean, aren’t they made of metal?”
“Mostly, sure. Along with a few other minor materials such as rubber, some plastic…”
He stopped her. “Beth, look at me. That’s right. Focus on what I’m about to tell you… You have been exposed to whole new realms of existence. It’s going to take a little while for you to fully come to grips with that. A week ago you had no idea that demons were even real, and that one was a gimme. Give it time, and have a little faith that eventually this will all seem old hat to you.”
She let the air out of her lungs in a rush, her heart rate slowing. “I… okay.” She looked at the army of tiny minions on the table. “Uh, do I… address them?”
“If you want.”
She raised one hand tentatively. “Hello… boys…”
The whole table erupted into a wild cacophony of tweets and whirrs and clicks. Those that could began jumping up and down, the rest waved their multiple arms around in celebratory greeting. Startled again, Beth couldn’t help but laugh for joy at the display.
“They’re very enthusiastic,” she commented with a smile.
“Indeed they are….” The Professor seemed to be contemplating something as the noise slowly settled back down. “They do not give their trust easily, Detective. Yet they… genuinely like you. Interesting. I see you found the package that came while you were sleeping. You look smashing, and if I might say so, refreshed.” He reached over and flicked a switch on the wall near the table and several other lights came on.
“Thank you,” she replied. She was about to say something about his own outfit when she noticed his face. She’d though it was just a shadow in the dim light, but now she could see that it was covered with a black soot. She suddenly found herself giggling.
“Are you laughing at me, Miss LaHeron?”
“I’m sorry,” she replied, straightening up and trying unsuccessfully to control another spat of laughter. “You… You have some… smudges on your face.”
“Ah. Yes, well I had a bit of an accident with the black powder.” He explained.
“It’s just that you look a little like a steampunk Santa just come down the chimney.” She was grinning at him. “I think I like it.”
Wiping his face with a rag, the man glared at her for a moment. Then he sighed. “I suppose I do resemble old St. Nick in a fashion. But I’m a lot trimmer!”
“That you are, sir. So…”
“Oh! I think you’re going to like this. Look here.” He picked up something from the table and handed it to her.
“Is… is this one of the bullets we ordered for my Nine?” She asked in awe. It was obviously a piece of ammunition, but the similarities stopped there. Tiny lines and symbols seemed to be etched all over it’s surface. In some places it appeared as though there were other metals literally embedded into the casing. Holding it in her hand was like staring into a tiny city. There was just so much detail.
“They came right after your items and I just couldn’t wait to try out our idea.”
She looked up at him. “You mean the demon-killer?”
He held up a finger.
“Sorry… demons are immortal, got it. So what do we call these then? It sends them… er, home, right? Do we name them Homers?”
“Sounds about right. I want you to test one.”
Her eyes got wide. “I… I…”
“No, not at an actual demon!” He added quickly and she relaxed. “I just want to be sure they fire as they should. I packed a lot of extras into this job, and with any Tinker there’s the possibility of failure.”
She reached behind her and pulled her pistol from the back holster, which was where she usually kept it day to day, and ran through her normal drill to eject the clip and clear the chamber. Then, she carefully compared the Professor’s bullet with that of a stock 9mm round. It certainly looked like a match.
“That’s by far the prettiest bullet I’ve ever seen,” she commented. “Tell me about these ‘extras’ you mentioned.”
“Ah, yes. Well, I think you will find these have a much higher muzzle velocity than your standard rounds, and they have some… um… correction to them.”
She emptied her clip and then snapped the Homer in by itself. “Correction? What, like it flies straighter or something?”
“Er, no. As in, self correcting trajectory.”
She looked up at him. “This thing can change course in mid flight?” She asked in awe.
“Basically, yes. Of course it only works for demons, but if my calculations are correct, then you should have about a sixteen degree correction range. If you point it in the general direction, it will hit it’s mark.”
“Holy shit. You weren’t kidding, Alvin. That really is a lot packed in there. Shall we give it a try?” She snapped the clip into the gun and grinned.
“Whoa whoa!” He said, stopping her. “Only with proper safety, Beth. I won’t risk you getting hurt. I have a makeshift range at the other side of the loft, and I want you wearing gloves and goggles at least.”
“Either it works or it will jam, Alvin. I don’t think…”
He held up a finger again.
“Beth, this is my area of expertise, remember? We’ll do it my way.”
“You’re the boss.”
By the time the Professor was satisfied with the safety precautions, Beth thought she looked like a SWAT officer in full garb, including the face screen. The ‘makeshift range’ turned out to be a rather nice space with a sand berm and targets.
“I thought you didn’t like guns, Alvin.” She commented when she saw the setup for the first time.
“I don’t. But I have, from time to time, had to test things that were ‘projectile’ in nature.” He withdrew a small scrap of cloth and stepped up to one of the targets, pinning it in place.
“What’s that?” She asked.
“Er, a sample of cloth from my cloak. The one I wore the night I brought you here…”
She was suddenly a little cold. “Is that thing…”
He came and stood next to her, placing a hand on her shoulder. “It’s safe, Beth, I promise. The cloth absorbed a little of the slime. It’s just enough to trigger the correcting mechanism in the round is all. Nothing more.”
“Well… okay then. Are we about ready?”
“Indeed. Remember, that the Homer may have a bit more kick than a regular round. Be sure to brace yourself as though you are firing a larger caliber weapon.” He was stepping back. “Also, I want you to aim a half meter or so to the right of the target. That way we can see if the bullet is correcting.
“Will do. Clear the range!” She called out and took a slightly braced firing stance. Then, after a few moments to aim, she pulled the trigger.
Beth remembered the shot, but there was a slight bit missing between the loud pop of the round and the Professor picking her up from the ruined remains of an old shelving unit that she had been thrown back into.
“BETH! Can you hear me?! Are you hurt?!”
She checked herself. “… a BIT more kick, Alvin?!” She commented as he helped her up. “I’m fine, I’m fine. I guess all this padding was a good idea after all.”
“I must have miscalculated on the effective change in muzzle velocity…”
She laughed. “You think?!”
“But I can fix that in the others… Yes, it’s an easy modification. Are you sure you’re unhurt?”
“Shoulder’s a bit sore, but don’t worry about it. What say we go have a look at our target?”
Together they walked down the range to where the target stand had been placed. Beth flipped off the protective mask and made a low whistle.
“Well, would you look at that…” There was a clean hole right through the center of the little square of fabric and the board it was pinned to.
“You did remember to put your aim off, right?” Asked the Professor.
“Oh yeah. I was way wide. Congratulations, Professor.”
The man beamed. “With the modification for velocity, I think I can remove some or even all of the recoil… Beth?”
She had walked back to the sand pit. “Holy mother of god… that impact crater looks like it came from a 50 caliber round, not my nine mill. And look!” She was pointing to the back wall, where a very visible cone of concrete was missing. “That bullet went through five feet of sand and still had enough force to take a chunk out of your wall?!”
“Hmm… it would seem so.”
“Alvin… Does the military know about Tinkers?”
He turned and looked at her in surprise.
“Uh, no, I don’t believe so.”
She put her finger in the small crater. “Good. Let’s keep it that way, shall we?”