Previously on Doc Passion Brunt and the Floating City, Brunt and his boss Doc Passion discovered Elysia, a massive city in space dedicated to helping mankind discover… everything. Elysia’s dark secret kept them from embracing all it had to offer: The city’s energy is provided by the imaginative power of its children, leaving most of them empty husks by the time they reach adulthood. Brunt and Doc attempted to stop Elysia by destroying the AI’s four data pods and central processing, allowing them freedom to release the imprisoned children. Unfortunately, after destroying the third data pod, Doc was poisoned. He forced Brunt to leave him behind as Brunt raced on to the final data pod. To read the entire thrilling tale from the beginning, click here.
Brunt gritted his teeth as he punched the gravity well inside the sled to the highest setting he could without risking an implosion. An implosion at this point would not help him. He had a flock of three sleds now – just enough for him to take out the last data pod and then the central processing unit. He closed his eyes and remembered those kids in the core. The ones with the tubes all over their faces. He didn’t let himself remember Doc. No, he had to remember the kids if he was going to get this done.
If he was going to do this, he was going to do it right. He was going to do it big. He was going to take down Elysia long enough to free those kids.
He shook his head. Time to focus.
His flock of gravity sleds burst from the connecting tunnel and high into the atmosphere above the valley of the pleasure-spike of science. The artificial sun burned at him.
No chances to mess this up. Straight down, make sure there weren’t any innocents around, set the next sled to implode, and then off to the processing core. Simple. And since he was planning to drop straight down, there should be nothing to stop him.
Brunt stuck his head over the edge of the sled, peering into the depths of the pleasure-spike of science. He swore.
A crowd packed the bottom terrace where the last data-pod resided. According to his calculations, he had about five minutes to destroy this pod before Elysia could arrange its systems in a way that would make invading the core impossible.
Five minutes to disperse a crowd. Should be easy. Right.
He looked up and smirked. Actually, he might be able to pull this off.
Two minutes later his sled hovered ten feet above the floor of the pleasure-spike. Brunt towered over the men and women, most of whom wore labcoats. They brandished various strange devices as they craned their necks to see him.
He felt like a messenger of the gods. He held out a hand and bellowed in his most regal tone, “Man and women of Elysia, take heed! The sun will darken and fall from the sky!”
One man raised a gloved hand and pointed it at Brunt. “I don’t think so. You’re the one who’s been attempting to compromise our home, aren’t you?” Tendrils of electricity arced around the glove. “We saw as each of the other data pods were eliminated. We won’t let you spread your chaos here. We’re not going to let you destroy Elysia. Step down and no one will hurt you.”
The crowd stood firm.
Brunt’s grim visage frowned at the threat. “I come with dire tidings. The sky is falling. Get out of the way if you do not wish to die a most terrible death.”
The man flinched. The electricity arced from his arm and struck Brunt in the chest. He landed flat on his back on the sled. With a grunt, he stood again.
The scientist’s nasal tone threatened, “That was a warning. Get down now.”
Brunt shook his head. “Listen, I’m trying to warn you. I don’t want any of you to get hurt. You still have time!”
“You want us to move so you can destroy the data pod. We’ve seen the effects as you destroyed the others. If you want to destroy it, you’ll have to destroy us, too.” The glove began building another charge.
A woman behind the gloved man smiled. “Thom, you talking too much.” She hurled a disk at Brunt.
He dodged as the silver disk spun past him. It arced around and began a tight orbit.
“That’s my own creation,” the woman boasted. “It’s locked onto your gravitational pull. It’ll spin faster and faster until it finds your center of gravity. At the center of you.” She chuckled.
“Mariadne, why do you always have to steal my thunder?” the gloved scientist complained.
“Hey, at least you got to try out one of your contraptions on someone who isn’t a blithering idiot!” countered a different man. He hoisted something that appeared to be a combination between a mobile alternate universe womb and a potato masher.
The disk spun closer and closer to Brunt.
He crouched, flicked a few of his jury-rigged switches, and the disk fell to the ground. “You know, sending a gravity-seeking device after someone riding a gravity sled is pretty stupid.”
“Yes!” The man with the parallel-universe-masher thing fired.
Brunt fell back to avoid the blast.
Another person cheered as a crackling noise filled the air. Brunt felt his hair press against his body in a strange anti-static-electricity effect.
The board repelled him like a magnet. He bounced in the air a moment and slid off the sled. He reached for it, straining his muscles, but his fingers found air as he fell to the ground. The hard surface pounded the air out of him with the impact. He fought to stand as those in lab coats struggled with each other.
“Oh! My turn!” a voice called as a machine whined to life.
“No! He’s all mine!” shouted another as gears began to grind.
Brunt smelled gasoline exhaust and oil and ozone and a thousand other scents.
And then the sun went out.
In the sudden darkness, the scientists made several hypotheses. Most of them arrived at the same conclusion with stunning rapidity: Brunt was telling the truth. The sky was falling. On them. They screamed and ran away as one.
Brunt smiled. He’d set the sled to put pressure against the tension cords on the sun. He figured he’d have a few minutes. He had to give the mob enough warning so they’d run when they saw the danger.
Except now he didn’t have his sled, and an artificial sun plummeted toward him. It wasn’t an ideal situation.
Brunt forced himself to stand. He leaped for his sled, but his fingers slid off. Whatever that last shot had done, it had done it right.
The crowd around him boiled away. Men and women scurried for cover in the spaces around the terrace. He didn’t have time to fight through them.
The sun passed the level of the first terrace, shearing off tension cords and reflectors. It screamed as it fell, the wind passing through its hydrogen burners.
One more attempt at the sled. Brunt jumped for all he was worth.
His fingers caught the edge of the sled. He hauled himself up. He hit a few switches.
All he could see in the dim light was the smoldering remains of an artificial sun growing larger and larger. He pushed the sled out, trying to arc underneath the monstrosity and escape before it crashed. Tension wires sliced through the air around him. One hit would cut the sled in two. Or sever his head from his body. Not exactly the best of ways to end an adventure.
The sled shot right, left. A thick cable whistled past his ear. Another cut into his arm in its passing.
The sun hit the bottom of the pleasure-spike. A deep, deep rumble filled the air. The air trembled. Glass shattered, filling the air with shards.
Brunt spun the sped, dancing around the glittering daggers that filled the air.
Back-up lighting flickered around the terraces, causing brief black-outs. Brunt couldn’t see what he needed to avoid.
The sled shook as a cable struck it. He felt glass dust embed in his skin.
One more mass of cables plunged toward him. He screamed as he flicked every switch he could. The sled slipped into a corkscrew. Brunt clung to the sides of his vessel, willing it to pass through. Glass dust bit into his hands.
Brunt slowed his progress. He gasped for breath.
Four data pods down. Now the central core. Only the central core left. Then he could free the children. Then it would all be worth it.
It would all be worth it.
He reclaimed the two sleds above and zoomed toward the pinnacle of Elysia. Toward central processing.
To face the AI itself.
Brunt and the Floating City continues here!!