June 3, 2007

Iapetus Saves Miami

Chapter Eight

By Douglas E. Gogerty

The six attack helicopters were lying in a flaming heap, and Cyber-Iapetus was standing unharmed in a crater in front of the Capitol building. The governor was attempting to decide her next move when her phone rang. A slightly mechanical voice spoke.

"Governor governor governor... We have only given you a small sample of the capabilities of our mechanical device, and you yourself have discovered a few capabilities on your own. This device is quite capable of defending itself from your puny attacks. How much more convincing do you need? Our demands are now for $150 million."

"We do not negotiate with terrorists!" insisted the governor.

"There are no negotiations involved. We are making demands, and you would be smart to follow them or we will destroy Miami. No negotiations necessary. Just assemble the money and place it in a fire-safe container in front of the device. You have 24 hours."

"It'll take more than that to gather the money."

"You have had plenty of time to begin gathering this money. You should have not wasted that valuable time. Procrastination has gotten the better of you. Have a nice day."

"Wait..." begged the governor but the line was dead. "Did you guys get a trace on that?"

"Sorry governor, it was the same as last time -- a secure encrypted phone. No trace possible."

The governor sat there, quivering with fury, stammering as she tried to come up with a real crusher. All she got out was "Cyberninja!"

* * * * *

Dr. Maland spent the entire day by the inlet detector for Loch Ness. He chatted with the operators and learned about Loch Ness lore. He saw instances where large creatures had entered the loch, but nothing large enough to be Iapetus. He was getting concerned. Where could he be?

Dr. Maland began to wonder if Iapetus took a land route to the loch. Perhaps the enormous beast noticed the activity around the inlet and avoided that situation. After all, Iapetus was quite capable of crossing overland.

It became apparent to John that he should explore other possibilities. However, he wanted to be in continuous contact with the station at the inlet. Fortunately, the station broadcast reports on large creatures entering the loch for the 'Nessie Hunters'. Dr. Maland obtained the communication channel and tuned a radio into that station.

John traveled around the area asking if anyone had sited the monster recently. However, the reports were just the routine sightings. There were no great numbers of people seeing the same thing. It was clear that Iapetus was not here yet.

* * * * *

"General Chever bring all your weapons to bear," order the governor.

"Yes Ma'am," replied the general with a salute.

Tanks and armored vehicles poured out of the bases around the state. Helicopters and airplanes took flight. With the cooperation from the federal government, several naval vessels in the Gulf of Mexico were ready for engagement.

However, before engagement began, Cyber-Iapetus was on the move. The mechanical monster began walking down Apalachee Parkway. It crushed cars and trucks with no regard for vehicles in its path. Occasionally, it would swat its tail at a neighboring building doing minor damage. Clearly, the 24 hours had expired.

The ships launched missiles, the airplanes and helicopters flew to where the beast was walking, and the tanks and armored vehicles made their way along highway 27 to intercept.

Before the weapon could strike the mechanical monster, it turned abruptly and began tearing apart the Governors Square Mall. The missiles from the naval vessels smashed into the walls of the mall rather than striking their target. The various munitions tore apart mall stores.

The helicopters and airplanes coordinated their attacks. Wave after wave of missile and gunfire attacks were made against the mechanical beast. However, the spacious mall took the brunt of the attacks. The clothes stores were torn to shreds. The shoe shops were in tatters. The food places were spoiled. Nevertheless, the attacks continued.

The armored vehicles entered the mall parking lots from all directions. They added to the mayhem as they fired their weapons at the mall and the mechanical creature. The two-level mall was crumbling to the ground with the armaments continuously pounding the area.

As the mall burned and crumbled, Cyber-Iapetus turned its attention from mall destruction to the weapons that attacked. The gun doors in its shoulders opened, and the mini-guns began to fire. As a squadron of airplanes made their run, the guns ripped apart a couple of the planes. The planes crashed into some armored vehicles on the ground.

Cyber-Iapetus picked up some of the rubble, and began throwing it at the vehicles that surrounded it. The tanks that avoided the crashing aircraft were soon covered with the rubble from the mall.

A few missiles launched from the hands of the beast and struck some of the helicopters that crashed into the Little Lambs Preschool a short distance from the mall. Other businesses in the area of the mall were being damaged by the engagement between the military and Cyber-Iapetus. Another wave of naval missiles struck the area causing still more destruction, but the encounter continued.

"Enough!" ordered the governor. "General Chever end this! Disengage your attack."

"But governor..." started the general.

"No General. It is over. Disengage now. Your troops have done more damage than the mechanical monster. I will not stand for any more of this mayhem. We have assembled the money, and I am hoping by ending this conflict, they will contact us, and we can avoid more needless destruction."

"Governor, I am sorry for interrupting," the governor's aide said as he entered the governor's office. "However, there is more trouble. The highway patrol is asking for help from the National Guard. There are reports of some kind of storm or something coming from the south and wreaking havoc on traffic. There are snarls all the way to the Gulf."

"What more can happen today?" replied the governor. "Tell them, the National Guard is currently engaged and cannot assist with traffic problems. Have them do the best they can. Just what we need -- a damaging weather system to pile on this. General, you have your orders."

"Yes Ma'am. I'll have my soldiers stand down."

"I just hope it isn't too late to meet their demands. Otherwise, Miami is doomed!"

Posted by deg at June 3, 2007 7:01 PM

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