XII: Problem Child

“So how do we stop it, Martin?” Dave inquired.

Well, here’s the problem, Dave. We can’t actually stop it. Not without having first repelled all of the invasion forces from Cirrus, and somehow getting rid of all of the Muka that have already made it through. Even after that…” At this point, Martin paused, visibly concerned, and raced a hand through his long hair. He’d been letting it grow out recently, due to not having time to shave it, and the stress of the current project.

“Well, it’s pretty iffy Dave. We might not even be able to stop it at all. I think it might be almost too late.” He finished.

The anvil dropped like hot iron into Dave’s hands. “So it’s that bad?” He asked.

Yeah. Things aren’t really looking too great or uplifting right now, Dave. We just need more time, but time is something that’s just not on our side today…”

Dave was quick to answer this, “Hey, hey- Martin. Never give up hope. I mean never. Isn’t there anything we can do?” His mind raced desperately as he asked his friend.

Martin thought about it for a few minutes. “Well…” He began.

Well, what is it?” Dave asked, suddenly very still and completely focused on Martin’s hands, which were rubbing each other up and down nervously.

Martin glanced up. “Dave. How quickly do you think you could get to Buenos Aires?” He asked.

*****

Three hours later, having rented a nice black, sleek Prius- Dave and Martin sped down the highway towards HQ.

So, Martin- what exactly is Lorenzo going to show me?” Dave asked excitedly.

“Whoa. Whoa, Dave. Just wait and see… Now’s your chance to see what’s been under wraps for a while since you’ve been here in Buenos Aires…”

They continued on, stopping at an intersection. Dave glanced out of his window. Across the road he could see a group of men playing football, or soccer- whatever you wanted to call it.

‘Ah, so unsuspecting of any danger…’ He thought to himself. ‘So innocent in activity.’

Suddenly, Martin made a swift turn and pulled into the Minor Studios Buenos Aires headquarters. “Well, we’re here now Dave.” He unbuckled his seatbelt and opened his door. Dave got out, went around to the back door and opened it up to see a tiny bundle glaring up at him apprehensively.

Hey Martin!” He called after his friend, who was already purposefully heading to the door.

Yeah?” He called as he turned about to glance back at Dave, seeing what was holding him up.

I think your Muka’s taken a liking to the leathery flavor of his thumb.” Dave joked as he pointed, and- sure enough, the little baby scout was sucking his thumb with new appreciation for it’s non-opposable joints.

Very funny, Dave. Come on. Grab him and lets go in.” Martin said with a small hint of a smile around the corners of his mouth, as he turned around and made for the main entrance once more.

*****
“Ashley?” There was no response. “Ashley…” Again, there was only silence from the cubicle’s outside buzzer.Turning to Dave, Martin said, “Any idea where she might have headed off to? She hasn’t been in for the past four days, and the boys are getting kind of worried.”

So saying, he pointed over to a table where a few of their fellow developers, Lorenzo and Nico sat. They glanced up, waved, and went back to their work. Dave looked back to Martin.

There are only two reasons I can think of for why she isn’t here.” He said. “I can also tell you,” He continued, “That you’re not going to like either of them.” Dave stopped.

Martin let out a dejected sigh and said, “Okay, continue.”

Dave kept on going. “Okay, one: She’s obviously missed Cameron for awhile, so she might be looking for him-”

At this, Martin made to interject, but Dave held up a hand and said, “Wait- just hear me out. Let me finish.” And kept talking.

Two: She’s set out to do some exploring of her own on this project of ours, which is most likely the reason she’s gone.”

Dave took a breath, and Martin said, “We still need to know where she is though, just in case she runs into trouble or anything, and we don’t know that. How are we supposed to find her if she doesn’t show?”

Dave gave Martin one of his knowing smiles that so irritated him and said “Oh, I already know where she is, and she’ll be fine on her own…”

Astounded that Dave would keep such a thing from him, Martin asked “Well, where?!”

Mt. Cyanide.” Dave responded.

Revised Edition 7/2/13

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