------------- The Launch -------------
The area surrounding the Launch facility was roped off, no one was to go near the Rocket until tomorrow morning when the entire city was most likely to turn out to whiteness the launch.
The Wizards had opened up the University to the Public and sold space for stalls to various entrepreneurs.
Vetinari Had called for a Public Holiday and no one was going to miss such a once in a life time spectacle.
Stalls had been erected all around the site.... on sale were commemorative item such as model Rockets cast in Clay, "I was there." Tee Shirts in sizes to fit no one and food outlets of various types. It was going to be the Cities Big day!
Fred Colon had organised the Security and had Men stand watch over the Rocket all day long,He had watched as Leonard of Quirm Had laid out a Line of Powder that led from the official Launch Rostrum that Lady Vime's was to ignite with a Small Dragon in The Morning.
He had the ropes put up to outline the exclusion Zone, almost Fifty feet from the Rocket.
And He had sampled some of the foods on offer at the stalls to make sure they were up to the normal standards for the City, Greasy over cooked and of dubious origins. Just the way He liked it.
And now it was Night.....
Nobby had been put on guard duty at the Launch tower.
It was another chilly Nightshift but Nobby did not mind as it was better than patrolling the Streets and a lot safer... Nobby stopped for a Fag.
He withdrew the Dog end from behind His ear and sparked a match, puffing the eternal cigarette into life and waved the match out.
Nobby had seen a thing or Two over the Years, Dragons, wars, Mad assassins and the Female side of His personality.
But He had never seen such a large rocket in His life.
He strode into the Tower and looked up. The Rocket seamed to reach into infinity when you were at its base looking up, but He knew that far above Him was the Telescope sat atop the Rocket.
He could just make out wispy clouds scuttling across the Sky through the gap between the Rocket and the side of the top of the Tower.
Earlier in the Day He had watched the Men at work as last minute changes had been made to the thing.
All very technical stuff, all very incomprehensible to Nobby who was out of His depth with things like Soap and Water.....
"Trainee Nobbs.... where are you?" Came a shout form out side, it was Fred.
"Bloody Hell." Said Nobby as He dropped the smoldering Fag end and stamped on it to put it out. This unfortunately had the effect of causing the red embers to scatter all around, a few landed in the powder train and ignited it in a number of places..................
Fred Colon could not sleep, He knew His position of head of Security was hanging by a thread after all the debacles of the previous few Weeks. He was going to keep watch on the Rocket in person........
He had got up and dressed quietly, saddled the Horse they had issued to Him and made His way into the City.
He had stabled the Horse at the Watch House and signed in. And here He was at the Tower and what did He find? Nobby had bunked off leaving it unguarded....... Fred was mad as Hell.
A figure came racing out of the hole where the Rocket had been inserted into the Tower........
"Holt, Whom go's there!" Shouted Fred as raised His Watch issue Crossbow.
"Fred, Fred... bloody run..... the Rocket is going up!"
It was Nobby. "Don't be silly Nobby, Lady Vime's isn't here to launch it ye........."
clouds of White smoke started to issue from the hole.........
............Lord Vetinari was at the window that overlooked the Tower from the Palace, He had a small glass of Port in one hand and a Dibbler's Extra Meaty Pork Substance Pie in the other. He was deep in thought.
"Drumknott there have been many set backs in this project, yet I feel it will be worth all the efforts. Yet I fear we may yet see unforeseen calamities before it is completed."
"Do you Sir, and why is this if I may be so sold as to inquire?"
"Because My long serving friend I can see large quantities of what appears to be White smoke gushing out of the base of the Tower." Replied Vetinari in a dry tone.
Drumknott walked over and looked out the window.
"I believe you may, in fact, be correct in that assumption Sir."
"Yes." Said Vetinari as He took a sip of the Port. He had quite gone off the Pie, as the Pie had, it appeared gone off.
"Please rouse the Wizards, it looks like the launch window has been brought forward." ............
..................Fred ran, passing Nobby at the Hundred foot mark...... the smoke had decreased in volume but it had been replaced with a Red flame that roasted all the stalls in front of the opening in the base of the Tower.
Smoke poured from both Watchmen's clothing, their Hair was pushed back like a cartoon man who had had a stick of Dynamite go off in His face.And their faces were as Black as Black can be, soot covered them from head to foot.
They made it past the corner of the University building and stopped to regain their breath.
"Blood Hell Nobby you have done us both in now, Vetinari will string us both up for this!"
"Not if I lie to Him Fred."
"I give up!" Said Fred raising both hands to the Heavens in prayer.
There was a massive rumbling from the Tower and the flames increased Ten fold.
The Rocket was on it's way.....
Vetinari watched the spectacle, sipping on the port.
It was impressive He had to admit.
The flames and smoke had grew enormously and then the Rocket started up the Tower, He had seen the Nose poke out of the Tower top and had watched as it lifted, slowly at first, in to the Sky.
It had cleared the Tower with increasing speed and ferocity and Vetinari had watched it disappear into the void like a pencil with flames on it's rear..... a trail of smoke was all that was left to show the trajectory it had taken.
He hoped it was the right one..............
.................The Wizards were roused, complaining and grumbling they made their way to Mission Control.
The Broken Omniscope was powered up, a gerbil sacrificed in the name of exploration.
The people of the City wandered around the City Streets looking up and trying to spot the Bubble Telescope in it's ring path. Not even the keenest eyes were up to that but it did not stop some from claiming to see it.
Vetinari declared the Holiday would stand so every one who had missed the launch, which was most of the City some of the exceptions being quite a few of the seamstresses guild, the Thieves Guild and of course the Night Watch.
And the next Day the Wizards were confronted by irate peddlers who's stands had been incinerated by the premature Blast Off.... they wanted their money back and compensation. This was a issue until Ridcully weary with fatigue from being up all Night and not having a drink waved his hand in a mysterious way and muttered the words.... "Look into my eyes, not around My eyes... you had not stalls here... Three Two One, your back in the room."
The Control room made contact with the Telescope, it was at it's correct place and speed thanks to Leonard's calculations.
On the Big screen, a projection of light through one of the shards of the broken Omniscope, was laid out the Universe in all it's glory. In the first few Hours the scope spotted a cloud of gas that looked uncannily like a Thud piece, The Trolls Head Nebula it was named.
Distant Stars came into view and small, almost invisible round objects could be detected.. it was speculated by the Wizards that these could be Egg waiting to hatch, new Disc in the waiting..... and eventually after Leonard had worked out the Trajectory the Elephant had arrived from the Telescope was aimed and something so scary it froze the blood was seen......... or not.
"I fail to understand." Said Vetinari to Ridcully The Flight Controller.
"There is nothing there..." Said Ridcully.
"And that is bad?"
"My Lord, if we turn the Telescope in any other direction we spot stars or gasses.. but from that direction there is absolutely nothing. Stibbons thinks that the Black path may be a hole in the Universe where anything that ventures to close is crushed into a point so small it is even smaller than a full stop. A Black hole He calls it."
"Is it any threat to us?" Inquired Vetinari.
"Thankfully No, My Lord. It is going at almost a right angle to our direction of travel."
"Well very good, keep up the work." Vetinari told them.
Sam Vime's joined Vetinari in the viewing gallery, both Men watch the screen.
"Funny how things have worked out again," Said Vime's.
"How is that Sir Samuel?"
"Well everything, the Imp running off, Nobby setting Fire to the Church and the Rocket and saving all the lives that would have been lost if it had Launched on time and so on..."
"Nobbs set Fire to the Rocket did He? He told me that He had spotted a Phoenix trying to set up a nest in the thing.....well that is fate for you. Maybe Mr. Nobbs has someone up there looking over Him... some sort of evil Devil creature I would presume." responded Vetinari.
Vime's sucked on one of His very large and smelly Cigars and smiled.
He pointed at the screen.
On the screen was a Cloud of dust that looked like a Watchman with a bright Star in the place where a certain Mr. Nobbs would have had a Fag tucked behind an ear......
Fred and Nobby were back on the beat, as they strolled along in thought Nobby said to Fred.
"I am so sorry they fired you from the Head of Security Fred, I am so sorry."
They walked on ion silence, then Fed spoke.
"Forget it Nobby, in truth I think it was invertible that I would loss the Job. I was well out of My depth, remember what happened when I was put in charge of the Watch all them Years ago..."
"No I will see my time out on the Beat, I know My limits and to be Honest jobs that give you a position of power also give you headaches........"
"How long do you think We have then Fred?"
"No idea Nobby, no one knows how long We will be here so we might as well make the most off the time We have. Fancy a Pint?"
The pair walked off into the dark........... and a clocked figure stepped from the Shadows and examined Two Hour Glasses.
"YOU HAVE TIME ENOUGH, LESS THAN SOME BUT A LOT MORE THAN OTHERS."
The figure walked through a wall to claim the soul of a unlicensed Thieve who had fallen foul of one of Bloody Stupid Johnson's patent Rat traps.
The one that has a Metal spring that crushes the skull of a Rat that go's for the cheese But this one was the size of a single bed.
And it had been baited with Money.
Last edited by mspanners
on Wed Feb 25, 2009 7:45 am, edited 2 times in total.