For several days, the gigantic Cyber-Iapetus stood motionless in front of the Florida State Capitol building. Like a giant statue of Iapetus himself, the impressive weapon system stood for everyone to see. The Florida National Guard cordoned off the area, and no one was allowed to get within 100 yards of it.
After being on display, a compartment upon the chest of the machine opened up. Out stepped a figure covered from head to toe in black. Only the eyes of the mysterious figure showed through eyeholes in a black, shiny, plastic mask. The only object the ninja-like figure carried was a briefcase.
The ninja pulled an envelope out of the briefcase and handed it to one of the soldiers guarding the perimeter. It was addressed to the governor. The soldier radioed his commander, who arrived and took the package from the guard. He regarded the black encased person, and delivered the envelope to the governor.
While the person in black stood by the open Cyber-Iapetus, the governor opened the envelope. Inside the envelope were details on the destructive capabilities of the mechanical weapon system standing in front of the capitol building. Further, there were demands for $100 million, or the weapon would destroy several Florida cities.
After seeing Iapetus off, the Iapetian people had several days of festivals. There was music, dancing, story telling, and much feasting. With each passing day, Dr. Maland struggled with something. He did not know what it was, but he was sure there was something.
Several days of revelry had passed, but the festivities continued. On one of the days, John was listening to the rhythmic drumming. He sat on a log and began swaying with the music. He struggled to keep conscious as the hypnotic sounds surrounded him. He remembered experiencing this feeling during his first encounter with Iapetus. The drums got louder and louder, and Dr. Maland continued to struggle with remaining awake.
Suddenly, he felt lightheaded and tumbled backwards off the log, smacking his head hard on the ground behind him. A sharp pain shot through him, and he smelled a faint aroma of ozone. In an instant, he is out cold.
After a brief consultation with several officials, the governor ordered the soldiers to open fire upon the weapon and its former occupant. Once the gunfire began, the door to Cyber-Iapetus closed trapping the black clad individual outside. The person was riddled with bullets and fell to the ground. A small fire broke out in the back of the individual's skull. It melted a part of the costume and revealed a now burnt out circuit board.
Even without its pilot, the Cyber-Iapetus walked over to the nearby Plaza Tower in Kleman Plaza. With a few swipes of its mighty hydraulic arms, bricks flew off the tower and windows shattered. The mechanical beast turned with a quick swipe of the tail and more bricks crumbled and more windows broke.
For several minutes, Cyber-Iapetus pounded on the building. It pushed and swiped. Eventually, the building crumbled to the ground. The giant machine stepped upon the rubble, raised its arms in the air, and gave a mighty roar.
Shortly after the roar, the governor's phone rang. Upon answering the phone, a slightly mechanical voice said, "Ms. Higher, the ninja-cyborg you shot, was merely our messenger. As you may be aware, you have not hindered our ability to do massive amounts of destruction to property in your fair city and state. Thus, our demands remain. Please, do not force us to do more damage or increase the amount of our demands."
The call ended at that point. "Trace that call!" demanded the governor.
Meanwhile, Cyber-Iapetus walked off the rubble and returned to its previous spot inside the cordoned off area.
"Sorry governor," replied the chief of security after several minutes of work. "The call was made on a secure untraceable cell phone. The call could have originated anywhere."
Dr. Maland woke up in a soft bed. He looked around, but did not know where he was. His head throbbed, and he reached up to feel his head. It was wrapped up in bandages.
Someone entered the room, and said, "You're awake, I'll get the doctor."
"Doctor?" John wondered. "What happened? Where am I?"
The doctor entered. "I am glad to see you're awake. What can you tell me?"
"Nothing," replied John helplessly.
"What is the last thing you remember? Do you know who you are?"
Dr. Maland wrinkled his brow and thought hard. "Nothing," was all he said.
"Relax," assured the doctor. "Let it come naturally. You hit your head. Do you know where you are?"
"The hospital..." John replied.
"That is a good sign," laughed the doctor. He held up a small circuit board and asked, "Do you know what this is?"
John looked at it a while and shook his head no.
"Does the name Iapetus mean anything to you?"
The word 'Iapetus' resonated through his entire body. It meant something to him, but what? He thought and thought. He was beginning to get dizzy and his eyes began to roll back into his head.
"Relax," the doctor said in a soothing tone. "There is someone who wants to see you. Is that alright?"
John let Iapetus go, and remained conscious. "Who is it?"
"A friend," replied the doctor.
"Sure, let them in," John responded still trying to remain conscious.
The doctor left and brought back the Iapetian storyteller. A flood of thoughts and memories rushed back into John's mind. It was too much for John and he blacked out.
Dr. Maland did not know how long he was out, but he awoke with the storyteller at his side. The Iapetian smiled at him and asked, "How are you doing?"
"Iapetus!" John blurted out.
"He's gone to his spawning ground."
"Has not arrived," asserted the storyteller.
"No," John responded trying to think, but all he got out was, "mighty weapon."
"Yes, he should be a great protector for us."
"No -- altered -- rockets -- guns..."
"What?" asked the storyteller.
"Florida -- in danger..."
"You're not making any sense my good friend."
John tried to speak in complete sentences, but it was too much of a struggle. Too much was coming at once, but he could only get out a few words. He tried again, but all he could get out was, "Iapetus -- save..."
"Relax," the Iapetian told John as he lightly touched his arm. "Now, tell me slowly."
John took a deep breath, and closed his eyes. He let the words come to him. He took a few more deep breaths and said, "AOENC Engineering altered the design of Cyber-Iapetus."
"Go on," the storyteller said in a soothing tone.
John kept his eyes closed and took a few more breaths. "They made him a terrible weapon by adding rockets and guns."
John struggled to stay relaxed, but he had to focus. He took a few shallow breaths and then a deep one. Finally he got out, "I fear that the state of Florida is in great danger, and only Iapetus can save them."
"It is too late," replied the storyteller. "Iapetus is gone!"Posted by deg at May 20, 2007 6:16 PM