Dr. Snip Ch. 04bydrsnip©
Steve was sharpening his sword Excaliber; the sound of the fine whetstone gliding over it relaxed him. He could see the reflection of his eyes in the shining blade. They were no longer the innocent eyes, that he had before he had discovered the QT device.
He had seen too many horrible things since then, and committed horrible things in return. His eyes were now shadowed and dark, it had been bad enough when he had been a policeman. Policemen always looked at ordinary people with automatic suspicion.
No one was innocent, everyone had something to hide, the only true innocents were young children. He now knew that they would be lucky to keep their innocence, in this cruel and dark world.
He had decided in his own naivety, to protect the children of the world from the consequences of evil men's greed. What a fool he had been then, he saved a few, but there were thousands more being hurt.
He had attacked Organised Crime, and thrown a major spanner in its works. He now was studying the trade in young people from third world countries. He had asked his friend Merlin to examine the historical records of his century. The purpose was to find the most prolific exporters to the slave markets of the world.
Merlin had come up with the name of Kota Baharu, a town on the border between Thailand and Malaysia. It was about 300 k from Kuala Lumpur, and that city was very close to the port of Kelang.
It had been reported that young people were being shipped out of Thailand on a regular basis. Through Kota Baharu to Kuala Lumpur, and then sent by sea to the buyers from the port of Kelang.
It was a smooth professional operation and no body knew about it. Until a customs inspector had smelt something odd, as he walked past a container in the dock area of Chicago. They opened it up expecting to find a consignment of rotting meat. Instead they discovered one hundred dead bodies.
The container had apparently become lost in transit, and the food and water provided had run out weeks ago. This was what Dr. Snip liked, some very bad guys to punish, and innocent people to rescue.
No one but Dr. Snip, could track this particular container back across the oceans to its source. He looked down at his utility belt, to check that his QT was safe in its pocket. After having it stolen from his bedside cabinet he now wore it constantly, even in the shower.
'Fool me once, Shame on you, Fool me twice, Shame on me.' He muttered to himself.
'Talking to yourself Steve old friend,' asked the white bearded old man sitting opposite.
'Just a bit paranoid, I was lost without it. I hadn't realised how much it meant to me until it was stolen.'
'What is your plan?' asked Merlin.
'Follow container downtime, jump in, kill the bad guys, rescue the kids, jump out.'
'Sounds like a plan to me,' chuckled the old man.
'What's this? The World Brain, laughing? You'll be telling me jokes next,' said Steve with a smile.
'I'll have you know young man that I know every joke ever written.' Tell me old friend, do you have a sense of humour?' asked Steve. The incarnation of the World Brain thought for a moment.
'Yes.' Steve was amazed ' You the all knowing AI that runs your world of the Twenty sixth Century, has a sense of humour?'
'No, I was only joking,' replied the old man enigmatically.
Steve burst into laughter as he discerned the humour in Merlin's answer.
'I much prefer talking to you like this, it brings home the sad fact that I have no friends at all apart from you and Angel,' Steve admitted quietly.
'Where is my darling girl?' Steve asked. The image of Merlin closed its eyes for a second and then said "Atlantis."
The British Temporal Organisation had been asked to rescue some important scientific data, from the land mass that had been labelled Atlantis by modern day seekers of the truth. They couldn't spare any of their regular Time Agents but as Angel was freelance they asked her.
'Oh well no time like the present I suppose,' said Steve standing up. He slid his broadsword into the hidden sheath; that ran down the spine of his Kevlar greatcoat and saluted the old man.
'See you later Alligator,'
'In a while Crocodile,' answered Merlin.
Steve jumped to the dock, he had already programmed his QT with all the spatial and temporal data required. The container stood there empty, the small bodies had been removed the previous day. There were no marks on the outside, to indicate its source or destination.
There was in fact no way at all, that it could be traced back to its port of origin. At least no way known to man at this time in history. Steve stood looking at the innocent seeming steel box, reading himself for the efforts ahead.
He looked menacing in his persona of Dr. Snip, standing there silently studying the instrument of so much death.
'Excuse me, are you with the police?' asked a female voice close to his elbow. Steve was brought out of his reverie, and turned to look at the owner of the voice.
She was a small woman with bright intelligent eyes. He noticed with his policeman's eye for detail, that she was wearing surgical gloves.
'Forensic pathology I presume,' he said by way of greeting. The woman was visibly surprised at being identified so quickly, but rallied just as quickly.
'Yes, I'm Dr. Armstrong, and you are?'
'Dr. Snip,' he replied,
'Are you on our team? What branch do you specialise in may I ask?'
'Intervention and Recovery,' he replied. As she tried to work out her next question to this enigmatic man, she saw him walk into the container.
'Hey that is a crime scene you can't just walk in there,' she shouted. Dr. Amanda Armstrong was a very strong person; she had to be to do her job. There was no room in her universe for superstition or magic. However she suddenly had the feeling that she was alone.
With uncharacteristic trepidation she walked up to the container and looked inside. It was empty. 'Fuck this,' she whispered to herself and walked quickly back to her car.
As soon as Steve left her sight he whispered "Rewind". This began the QT's voice activated jump programme. It started to jump him back in time in one-day increments. Each jump only gave him a glimpse of the interior of the container, before he flicked out again.
He was grateful for this, as a glimpse of the pile of bodies was quite enough. It fuelled his righteous rage against the organisers of this tragedy. He had ensured that he was standing in a corner. So it would be less likely; that his flickering body would be observed by the inhabitants of the container.
To his eyes the steel box became alive, with the noise of people packed together like meat. The further back in time he moved, the more activity he glimpsed. Suddenly light blazed into the steel box, indicating that the door was open. "Stop" he ordered.
He had over jumped slightly, and was standing alone in the container watching a line of young people being marched towards it. The group of men herding the kids; were shocked to see a large white man emerge from the container. Steve's implant translated their words, as they informed their leader of the situation.
He was a small smartly dressed man, clean and debonair. He smiled at Steve, and whispered to a henchman standing by his side.
'Kill him.' The man was very pleased to be singled out for this task by Mr. Phanc. Affecting an air of friendliness he strolled up to the man in the black coat, sliding his knife out of its sheath in the back of his belt.
He had done this trick many times, he held out his right hand to shake in friendship. Then strike with the left hand whilst holding on tight with his right hand, so the victim couldn't avoid his blade. It worked perfectly; the foolish man shook his hand allowing him to strike like lightning.
'Ouch,' remarked Steve, as his heavy Kevlar coat stopped the blade penetrating. The small pain of the blades impact; caused him to squeeze hard on the man's hand. Mr. Phanc heard small bones cracking, as Steve's strong hand crushed the attackers fingers.
Worse was to come as he saw the big man take a step back, and pull something out of the back of his coat. Before his eyes could identify it as a sword, it had whistled down and decapitated the attacker. To Mr. Phanc's disgust, the head rolled towards him spraying blood over his immaculate shoes.
'KILL HIM' he screamed in fury. Four of the remaining men, pulled out their guns and ran at Steve who retreated back into the container. Mr. Phanc heard a fusillade of gunfire, echoing out of the cavernous depths of the steel box.
Amidst this cacophony of noise, could be heard a sound reminiscent of a butchers cleaver chopping into meat. Silence fell, then to the horror of the remaining thugs, four heads rolled out of the container and bounced merrily towards them.
The line stood silently watching the show, they were too tired and hungry to do more than watch. Steve had drawn the men into the container, as soon as he saw their guns. He couldn't risk any of the kids getting hurt by stray bullets.
Once inside they had started shooting at him, he muttered " Carousel " and Merlin's bullet dodging programme kicked in. Merlin monitored all the projectiles heading towards Steve. To the AI the bullets were moving at a snails pace, and it could easily jump him out of there way.
To help Steve predict where he was going, " Carousel " ensured he would always move to the right of the bullet. The first thug fired at point blank range, only to see his target vanish in front of his eyes. Before his brain had time to form a wondering thought, it had been detached from his body by the razor sharp edge of Excaliber.
It was a very similar story with the other gunmen. Except for the fact that they saw their number being whittled down literally in front of them, until there was only one left. He turned to run out of the death box, but felt a sting on the back of his neck.
His eyes continued to see the ground rush up to meet his head, and before the lack of blood to his brain sent everything black, he saw a bloody hand seem to pick him up by his hair. As one the remaining thugs ran, leaving Mr. Phanc to face the apparition that walked out of the container.
The big man in the black coat was covered in blood, the best sort of blood. Other people's blood, it dripped from his coats hem and puddled on the ground. In his hand he held a large sword, also dripping blood.
Mr. Phanc saw the man's mouth move, and a voice said
'Mr. Phanc I presume?' in fluent Thai. The problem was that the man's mouth wasn't synchronised with the words.
Mr. Phanc was a intelligent little man, he had worked his way up the pecking order of this organisation. He had done so by being more intelligent and ruthless, than the majority of thugs. Most were drawn to the slave business, by the promise of lots of money.
It had been some time since he had personally killed anyone. In fact it was almost a year ago, when he had to cut the throat of a young girl in front of a batch of slaves to cow them into submission.
But he hadn't forgotten how to kill, and drawing his own small automatic pistol he aimed and fired at the large man standing directly in front of him.
He must have blinked, he thought because the man was now standing on his right hand side totally unmarked. Only the pool of blood indicated where he had been standing as the trigger was pulled.
Mr. Phanc reached towards a young girl standing nearest to him, with some thought of using her as a hostage. As his hand approached the girl's shoulder he felt a sharp blow to his wrist, and watched in amazement as his hand fell to the ground.
The girl screamed as his blood spurted from his severed wrist, and splattered near her feet. Mr. Phanc dropped the gun to free his remaining hand, so as to grasp and squeeze tightly his mutilated wrist. He stood in shock as the man calmly tied a plastic restraint around his bleeding stump, and pulled it tight. He was then pushed unceremoniously, into the death box.
'I need the name of your boss,' asked a cold calm voice in perfect Thai.
'I won't tell you that, they will kill me,' said Phanc.
'Look around you.' Mr.Phanc looked around the container. Four headless bodies lay scattered where they had fallen.
All of them still had their guns in their stiffening fingers.
'I need the name of your boss.'
'If I tell you will you let me go?'
'The big man seemed to smile to himself before he answered
'Yes, you can walk out of this container unharmed.'
'His name is Mr. Ho from Cambodia, he is the money man for this operation,' blurted out a shaken Mr. Phanc. He was even more shaken when the strange man burst into laughter.
'You will not be laughing when Mr. Ho is after you,' he shouted.
'Depending on today's date Mr. Ho is dead.
I chopped off his hand, and he bled to death in his safe,' replied the Man of blood coldly.
'Tell me the name of his No. 2.' Mr. Phanc was dead, he knew this now with a cold certainty. There was no way this monster was going to let him live, despite his promises.
It was obvious that he was telling the truth about Mr. Ho. Mr. Phanc had always been able to detect lies. As he was certainly going to die, he intended to take his revenge on his killer.
Instead of telling him the name of Ho's lieutenant, he would tell him the name of Mr. Ho's chief competitor in the business of people smuggling.
'The name you want is Oscar Stalin, a businessman in New York. He will take over the business, if what you say is true,' whispered Mr. Phanc.
He gave Steve all the information he could think of, so he could locate Stalin. He considered it the same as giving a lamb; directions to a tiger.
Steve looked at this dapper little man, who thought nothing of sending young people into slavery. He communed silently with Merlin, and then pointed to the door of the container.
'You have five seconds to get out before I kill you,' he said in a conversational tone of voice. Mr. Phanc had been primed for this, and without a backwards glance ran as quickly as his short legs would carry him out of the death box.
The sky over this part of the Pacific Ocean was a beautiful blue; there wasn't a cloud to be seen. Had there been an observer, he might have seen a small figure falling towards the sparkling sea. The man was swearing and cursing someone, but unless the fictional observer could understand Thai, he would never know whom.
Steve returned the container to the exact spot it had left a mere ten seconds later. His QT could carry as much weight as Merlin could calculate, and the super computer could calculate a lot. Steve had jumped the entire container into the air above the Pacific, so that Mr. Phanc's body would cause no harm as it impacted the water.
It had now reappeared in front of the line of tired young people. Had they ever seen a TV, they would have been disappointed in the lack of Tardis type sounds. One second there was a heavy solid steel container, then it was gone, then it was back.
At the start of his crusade, Steve had come up against the logistical problem of what to do with children he rescued. If by a miracle he could send them all back to their parents, there was a very good chance that their parents would sell them again.
For those children that had been stolen, then they might well be stolen again. He had needed somewhere safe for them, to this end he had set up a string of orphanages in different countries run by good people.
They were funded ironically enough by Mr. Ho's money. It had been confiscated by Dr. Snip, and used to equip each orphanage with all the mod cons required, to raise and teach children. He used an agency to recruit the personnel. He planned the timing of his raids so as the orphanage opened, and the personnel were wondering where the orphans were, he could jump them in.
Seeing the extended line of kids standing patiently in the sun, gave him an idea how to transport them in one neat package. He had dumped the bodies of the thugs into the sea, so the container was empty apart from the food and water already loaded for the children.
Waste not, want not, he thought.
'OK kids there is food and drink in here, please come in and have some.' Said the strange man. The line shuffled into the container, and dispersed amongst the boxes of food and bottles of water.
'Help yourselves kids, there is plenty more food where you are going.' He said with a reassuring smile at the youngest children. When they were all safely in, he jumped the entire container full of children to the back yard of the orphanage. He didn't bother to shut the doors, it wasn't necessary and it might have frightened the kids.
Dr. Alison Fairweather was very pleased with the orphanage. She had been put in total charge of it, and couldn't wait to begin the process of helping her young charges get a good start in life.
She had never met the multi-millionaire benefactor of this project who preferred to be called "The Doctor". However she was grateful for the opportunity to help others, in this part of the world.
A medical problem; had ensured that she couldn't have children of her own. So she had thrown all her intelligence and boundless energy, into helping everyone else's.
The orphanage was located in Nonthabori, just north of Bangkok. Close enough to civilisation to ensure a good supply of equipment, as and when required.
She spoke four languages including Thai, and so did most of her staff. The orphanage was big, clean, well equipped, but for one small detail. There were no orphans.
There was a canteen big enough to feed hundreds of children. The cooks had been given orders from the Doctor, to prepare a welcoming meal for approx. one hundred children. The meal was ready and still no kids.
Looking anxiously out of the front door for some sign of buses or even lorries, she was suddenly conscious of the noise of children coming from the enclosed back yard. Running back through the building, she was amazed to see a line of children seating themselves at the tables in the canteen.
A big man, in a black greatcoat, was shepherding them in. She could just make out that he was speaking Thai, and reassuring the children that they were now safe. Alison walked over to him and offered her hand,
'Hello I'm Dr. Fairweather are these mine?' she asked, waving her arm to encompass the roomful of children.
'As promised, I know they will be well cared for here. If you need anything just call the number I gave you,' the man said shaking her hand gently.
'And you are?' she asked timidly looking up into the dark eyes of the man.
His brooding menace disappeared as he smiled at her,
' Just call me the Doctor,' he said.
'There are so many children' she said, hoping to prolong this conversation.
'Just a drop in the Ocean,' he replied grimly.
'Oh by the way do you have any use for a Container?' he asked. Alison couldn't think of a use for a forty foot steel container, especially sitting in the middle of her back yard.
'No problemo, I'll move it when I go,' the man said absently.
'How did you get it into our yard in the first place?' she asked relaxing in his presence.
'I'm a Magician,' he replied with a smile, ' do you want to see a trick?'
'I'm too old for tricks,' she said ruefully.
'Did you hear the story of the man who walked around the horses, and vanished?'
'Oh yes, that is a classic spooky story.'
'Well I walk around Containers, and not only do I vanish, but I take the Container with me.'
'I'd like to see that,' she said smiling at him for the first time. They walked out into the back yard; the Container sat there immovable without special lifting equipment.
'I'll say Goodbye for now, don't forget you have a friend if you need one,' said the Doctor.
'Please close your eyes when I shout, otherwise the Magic won't work.'