Monday, September 8, 2008

Exploits of Ninja & Child - #5 - The Temple

The Temple of Forbidden Wisdom has no external security. The Keepers of the Temple rely exclusively on two factors of defense.

First: the entire temple is patrolled and monitored by an intelligent network of autonomous assault robots. Some fly around, while others reside in stationary but strategic locations throughout the entire fortress. And the Temple is a fortress.

Second: a large front door, towering a massive forty meters high, which, when opened, releases a mind altering echo of sliding granite and gears, instantly alerting the internal security drones, resulting in an extensive and painful interrogation of the entering party, usually leading to a shortened lifespan of all members.

Ninja and Child have been here before. They are not expected guests and would therefore be condemned to the same method of torturous dispatching allotted to any common trespasser. However, Ninja and Child, having been here before and, having successfully liberated a certain cloak from the Temple at one time, are aware of certain vulnerabilities in the system. Ninja, as White Hat as a ninja can be, had reported one security vulnerability back in the day when the Keepers treated him as a friend, back before he realized their wicked motivations for enslaving knowledge. Of course, as is the response of most vile corporations in modern time, the Temple refused to fix the flaw, leaving an obfuscated but easily exploited weakness in their system. But Ninja found more holes in their logic, more ways to enter unknown, and after being cast out of the Temple as a heretic, Ninja held onto these secrets for a later time.

That time is now.

It is no secret that, made of brick, the Temple walls are easy for a ninja to climb. The Keepers, do not fret on this fact because the Temple has no windows and it towers over the clouds further than an eagle can see, beyond the tower of Babylon, to the edge of the atmosphere. They say on the top, there is a landing pad for a space shuttle, which some elite Keepers use to travel to other worlds. Others profess that it must end in a sharp peak, piercing the edge of the sky like a blade from hell. Ninja and Child need not postulate. They need not go so high.

One vulnerability of the fortress is simply air vents. They exist throughout the temple walls, high and low, producing waste and refuse in gaseous form, mixing the Temple's foul breath with the air outside. These vents are unmonitored, unprotected, and easy to pull out. The tricky bit is putting them back in, but that is a lesser concern.

Once inside the Temple, Ninja crawls, with Child in wrapped embrace, through the ventilation ducts, relying on his mask to filter the nauseating air before it fills his lungs. The cloak does the same for Child. Both have remarkable filter capabilities. It's part of being a ninja.

The ventilation system traverses the entire fortress. Ninja stops over the main laboratory, on the 3rd floor below ground. Underground, the temple spreads far and wide, covering the base of the wheat fields that surround it for great, immeasurable distances. The laboratory is the size of a football stadium, with gadgets and technology laying in heaps and racks, waiting for the taking. Within an instant the ninja spots his prize. It's clear, though he didn't know before his journey.

In the center of the lab, three technicians hover over a herd of slaves, using them as guinea pigs to test their latest device. The function is clear. This is the dream machine, the sleep charger, a battery pack for evening respite and a transmitter for its release. Several of these machines are being tested by slaves, either sleeping or receiving rest. The device is stored on shelves in a portable, hand-held box, which opens up at the press of a button into a full reclining chair and helmet. The battery, stored within the chair, charges in real time, so the sleeper subjects are not going anywhere. The ones retrieving sleep only sit on the device for a few minutes, emerging with, what appears to be, a full night worth of repose. The technicians stand ominously, taking notes and shouting instructions to the hapless flock.

The first technician falls with a sharp shriek as a chunk of ventilation shaft crushes his sinister brow. The remaining two stare incredulously at their friend, certain it must be an accident. Surely the drones would catch a malicious intruder before such dangers could befall them. But as they stare up toward the ceiling and wonder as the Ninja descends upon them, one of the slaves leaps from the sleep giving chair and smashes one of the men with a helmet. Others quickly join in and maul the other man. Ninja and Child continues his journey downward to the ground.

Attack drones pour out of the walls, fly down and firing at the herd of slaves. One bot sees Ninja falling and flies over to make sure he is dead before he hits the ground. A crucial skill for a ninja is the ability to dodge projectiles while falling. This is a skill for which our ninja earned a golden merit badge in ninja camp. The drone fires precisely but fails to nail the target. Ninja lands on the drone and rips out its internals, heaving them toward the remaining bots as they change targets to him. There are two drones remaining, which is the perfect number for a dodge and duck attack. It's a favorite of the ninja because it involves inaction to create action. By allowing the drones to attack at once, from opposite trajectories, and dropping at the right time, the drones will smash into each other, just like the old cartoons where the unwitting bad guys fail to notice their impending doom.

Ninja hits the floor.

The drones descend in unison but their internal networking is based on locust formations and they fail to collide.

The slaves riot. Machines fall. Inventions erupt in flames and melt in molten puddles of ruin.

With the drones following in rapid, unpredictable pursuit, Ninja grabs a Sleep Retention Box and runs for a springboard on the ground. Before hitting the board, Ninja pulls the grappling hook from his belt and winds it up. The board is quite enough to carry the ninja all the way back up to the open ventilation shaft but the grappling hook sails toward a drone, catches it and pulls it into its mate with a thunderous crash, fissure and flash. The slaves cheer, following Ninja and Child, leaping on the springboard in attempts to catch the shaft. Some make it, others fall back down and try again. Soon Ninja and Child and their new friends are all outside in the fields of wheat, carrying little boxes of promise, sprinting into the new sleepless world.


Captain Dumbass said...

Good luck with the sleep box.

steenky bee said...

I second that emotion.