Dr. Snip Ch. 07bydrsnip©
Upon receiving the text from Alison asking for his help, Steve had jumped to the Orphanage in Thailand. Steve materialised behind the orphanage in a little used area. Alison knew his secret as apparently did a lot of the children, but he didn't want to make it too obvious to adults. Stories by children could be dismissed as fantasies, but if too many of Alison's staff began to talk about him, then it might bring danger to the Orphanage. He strode into the building looking for Alison, and found her in the main assembly hall counting her children. They were standing in neat lines, and she was calling off their names from a register.
So as not to disturb her, he took a seat at the side of the hall and just observed. Eventually she finished the Roll call, and dismissed the children back to their classes. She motioned Steve to follow her into her private rooms. When he had closed the door, she dropped the papers and her pretence of calm, and flew into his arms sobbing. When she had calmed down enough to talk, she told him that a small group of the children were missing. As part of teaching them about life, the orphanage sent groups of children on walks. Some were in the nearby country, and some were in the town. It was to give them a broader viewpoint; she didn't want them to become institutionalised.
It was during one of these trips, that a group of ten children and their teacher disappeared. 'Don't worry darling, this is almost routine for me, I will have them back with you soon,' he promised hugging her tightly. He took the details of the last time the children were seen, and after a lingering kiss vanished in front of her eyes. A few hours after her lover disappeared, she heard the sound of excited children. She ran out to see what was going on, and found herself surrounded by confused children. They were the missing ten with their teacher. They were gabbling to her about being in a museum where a scary robot had pushed them out the back door and locked them out. It had taken them all this time to walk back to the Orphanage.
As usual Steve jumped back to the last time the children were seen. Using his new- found technique of phase shifting which made him nearly invisible, he followed behind the small group as it wandered around the town. The teacher led the kids into a large museum. Steve had to wait until another group of children exiting the museum cleared the steps, before he could follow. Although he was nearly invisible, trying to walk up steps against the flow of excited kids was not recommended. By the time Steve entered the museum, he just caught a glimpse of the group walking through a door into a room dedicated to Science. He walked to the door and peeked inside, the room was empty. He quietly walked into the room and looked about carefully. It was a small museum, and didn't have the funding to exhibit much in the way of modern scientific marvels.
Steve was therefore puzzled; by the exhibit standing in the corner of the room. It looked like a robot but something about it was familiar. He stood perfectly still, becoming virtually invisible as he studied the strange exhibit. Suddenly it moved; bringing its hand up to the blank visor that served it as a face. Steve's heart almost stopped in fear, as his mind registered the chilling fact that he was in the presence of a British Storm Trooper. If Steve had been standing still before, he now froze solid, not moving not even breathing. What the fuck is going on here, he thought these things are of the 26th Century they shouldn't be here.
The Storm Trooper checked its device again, and seemed as puzzled as a blank visor can be. 'Target has not arrived at given co-ordinates,' the machine-man said apparently to itself. 'The trap should have worked, he was recorded as following the children to the museum at that precise time and co-ordinate,' replied a disembodied voice. 'Stand down and RTB.' Steve stood very still as the Storm Trooper activated a device on its wrist and vanished.
It had been a trap for him, the children were just bait. Steve sat down on a nearby chair; his legs had gone weak with fear at the sight of the Storm Trooper. One of those things had handed Angel her arse on a plate, with little or no effort on its part. He realised that had he not been Phase shifted the Trooper's detection systems would have located him, and he would have stood no chance of fighting it. They had known he would be here at this time and place, but couldn't detect him while he was out of sync with this timeline. He switched off the phase shifting aspect, of his modified QT device.
After careful thought, he jumped back to the orphanage. He was just in time to see the missing children being shepherded into the building by a happy Alison. The children had been returned unharmed, when the plan to trap him had gone pear shaped. He decided to keep clear of Alison, until he figured out what the fuck was going on. He was about to jump back to his house, when he realised that it would probably be monitored. He needed to speak to his old friend Merlin, but somewhere where they wouldn't think of looking. Whatever he did from now on, he must not leave a trail that the future enemy could follow.
Taking a chance he jumped back to the Jurassic, he appeared on Angel's sunning ledge high above a blue lake. He instantly triggered his phase shifting device and effectively vanished from the radar, or whatever the 26th Century version of it was called. He hoped that if anyone were tracking him, it would appear that he had jumped away again. The only way to test this theory; was to sit here and wait a while. If he had been tracked, someone would be here soon. After ten minutes he decided that he was safe, and turned off the device. He sat on the ledge, dangling his feet over the fifty foot drop to the water below. He had to ask Merlin's advice, but knew that as soon as he contacted the AI his enemy would be able to locate him. He would just have to be quick and to the point.
'Old Friend, this is your Friend, who is trying to trap me and why?' Steve knew the World Brain would know who was calling it as he was the only friend it had. He jumped to the top of the Sphinx at Giza in the 20th Century. Steve instantly activated the phase shifter, and vanished from sight. 'I received your message old friend,' replied Merlin via his implant. 'I have modified this signal, to be out of phase by the same degree as you are. No one else can hear us now. You have a big problem, you are being hunted by a rogue Storm Trooper, we know it is rogue because all of the British Storm Troopers are accounted for.'
'I thought that there were only Ten Storm Troopers at any one time?' 'Yes Steve, but they are not immortal; they can still die and often do. They are sent into great danger on a regular basis, and although they had almost superhuman abilities they sometimes run out of luck. The most common cause of death of a Storm Trooper is a bomb. No matter how well trained they are, an unexpected bomb can kill them. It is believed that one was very badly injured but not killed. It has been repaired and reprogrammed to suit an enemy of Britain.'
'Reprogrammed? I thought these were humans that had been enhanced similar to Angel.' 'Nothing like Angel Steve, the only human flesh on a Storm Trooper is their brains. The rest is bio-mechanical synthetic material that is almost indestructible. Even their brains are modified by pychotropic drugs and intense conditioning. They become humaniod robots for the State and will follow orders given to them by a recognised authority. It is believed that one had been repaired and convinced that it is still working for Britain, but has in fact been turned and is now working for an enemy.'
'Is it after my QT Device again?' 'I cannot conceive of any other reason you would be targeted,'replied Merlin. 'Why can't we all get along? I have nothing against anyone except child abusers. Still if they want a fight I will certainly do my best to accommodate them. Is there any way I can jump while still phase shifted?' asked Steve changing the subject.
'I must admit I didn't think so, until I managed to contact you as we are now,' replied Merlin. Yes, you can stay out of phase and jump, but the more you use it the greater the risk of not being able to synchronise with your own timeline perfectly.' 'What's the worst-case scenario?' asked Steve warily. 'You would effectively become a Ghost,' warned Merlin.
'How can I possibly fight a British Storm Trooper?' Steve asked despairingly. 'Thanks to your constant curiosity and inventiveness, you may have solved that problem yourself,' replied Merlin. Do you remember why the Storm Trooper who stole your QT grabbed it and ran when Angel attacked?' Steve said he had assumed it had achieved its mission and just left. 'Partly that, but it was also wary of Angel's Mono-filament weapons. They could do great damage to anything, including a Storm Trooper,' said Merlin. 'I'll be sure to tell her that next time we meet,' said Steve. 'It will do her confidence a world of good, to know that even a Storm Trooper treated her with respect.
'As a side effect of your phase shifting discovery,' continued Merlin. 'I have calculated that the event horizon that surrounds your body when you phase shift, has similar properties to surface tension on a sub molecular level. It is evenly spread over the entire surface of your body, and it keeps anything from this timeline from destroying you. There is one part of you however, that has such a razor edge that the event horizon at that location is forced back on itself sharply. Consequently all the destructive power of the phase field that is spread over your body is concentrated there. I am referring of course to the cutting edges of Excalibur. This effect is on the sub-molecular level, and can also be seen as a coruscating line in this universe, as the air molecules are destroyed as they collide with it.'
Steve was listening to the AI, without following more than half the words. Merlin decided that a demonstration was worth a hundred words. 'Draw Excalibur Steve' Steve reached behind him and unsheathed the deadly blade. 'Fuck me backwards Merlin, what's happened to my sword?' All along Excalibur's invisible razor edge, ran a coruscating line of red fire. Steve had seen this effect before; first on Angel's retractable nails, and then on the Mono-filament sword that Agent Red had tried to kill him with on Mars. The colour changed depending on what molecules were being destroyed. However the devastating effects of impact with that sparkling line remained unchanged.
'Remember the story of King Arthur Steve?' asked Merlin 'stick your sword into that stone block.' The top of the pyramid was without its electrum casing in this time slot, and the raw blocks of stone were exposed. Steve stood up and touching Excalibur's point to the nearest stone block, gently pushed downwards. With a frightening hiss like an angry snake, the blade sank into the stone as if it were flesh. 'Wow that is truly scary, what if I miss the scabbard when I sheath it?' said Steve worriedly. 'Run your finger along the blade's edge Steve,' said Merlin. 'Are you out of your fucking mind!' screamed Steve 'that's a fucking monofilament or as good as, it will cut my fingers off.' Trust me Steve, run your fingers along the blade gently.
There were three things that scared Steve, losing the woman he loved, a Storm Trooper, and a Monofilament blade. If really pushed; he would also admit to being scared of spiders. Nevertheless he did trust his old friend Merlin. Merlin had saved his life countless times, and Steve had to put aside his fear. Pulling the sword out of the stone, he gingerly touched the red line. To his enormous relief nothing happened. The razor sharp edge, even with its terrifying enhancement couldn't hurt his finger. He pressed harder and still was unharmed.
Steve let his breath out in a giant whoosh, he hadn't realised he had been holding it so long. 'OK clever fucking clogs, how did you know it wouldn't hurt me,' he asked. 'The effect only happens when you are phase shifted; therefore your body is covered in the same event horizon that runs along the edge of your sword. You are the only object it cannot destroy. When you are not phase shifted neither is the sword, so in fact it is more dangerous to you in normal mode than it is in monofilament mode.
'So the bottom line is that the Storm trooper will be vulnerable when I am Phase shifted' said Steve. 'Precisely' said Merlin. 'Well thank the Lord for small mercies,' said Steve cheering up a bit. 'I've just thought, if a monofilament edge can't hurt me how about a bullet?' 'When phase shifted, you are effectively invulnerable to weapons,' answered Merlin.
'What's to stop the Government phase shifting their Storm Troopers?' asked Steve. He knew from experience that if something seemed too good to be true, it usually wasn't true. 'Since that trouble we had before when part of me tried to kill you I have placed you in a separate folder,' answered Merlin. 'Only this aspect of my personality has access to it. The ability to move more than one person, and now the ability to Phase shift are locked away inside it. There is a possibility that they may arrive at the same ideas themselves, but it will be without any help from us.'
'Fair enough old friend,' said Steve ' it might be best if I used the phase shifter sparingly. I don't want to turn into a Ghost, and if they see me using it they may put two and two together and start experimenting themselves.' 'Very wise Steve,' replied Merlin.
In the blinding glare of the desert sun, a group of men stood beside a rusty oil pipeline near Ad Dammam on the Persian Gulf. The Pipeline once carried Oil from Saudi Arabia's vast Al Ghawar oil field (the world's largest) and others to the port of Ras Tanura, where half a million barrels used to be refined daily. In the 20th Century these enormous oil reserves had catapulted Saudi Arabia from an agrarian-based subsistence economy, into a wealthy nation. This was before the Israeli nuclear strike; that shattered the oil-bearing strata, and ruined the Oil fields.
These were rich and powerful Arabs who had a justifiable hatred for Britain. Despite Britain's best efforts, no secret could be kept indefinitely. There had been too many people involved in the project to send a Portal back in time to before the Arabs even knew what Oil was, and basically steal it out from under them. This stolen Oil was the cornerstone of Britain's wealth in the 26th Century, and these men knew it had been stolen from them. The rest of the world was recovering from the curtailment of the Oil supply, but it was a slow process. Britain was decades ahead of the rest of the world due to the stolen Oil.
These men had declared a Jihad against Britain, and by using their wealth and power had managed to acquire a QT device of their own. It had been a Herculean task, and had cost them millions of Pounds and not a few lives. They had been planning this for years and realised that at the first sign of rebellion against Britain, they would be the target of British Storm Troopers.
After a painstaking series of suicide missions, one of their suicide bombers had eventually managed to severely damage a Storm Trooper. It was made to look as if the Storm Trooper had been vaporised in the explosion. Its damaged body had been taken to their laboratory hidden in the desert near Al Hufuf.
This was a walled city and trade centre situated in eastern Saudi Arabia, in the country's largest oasis. Originally called Al-Hasa, the city was the headquarters of the 10th-century Qarmathian terrorist movement, which seemed a good omen to this group of 26th Century terrorists.
Their technicians had managed to repair the material damage to the Storm Troopers body. However its brain had lost a lot of its innate intelligence; and it had barely enough cognitive capability to follow simple orders. These men knew about Steve from historical records, and were determined to acquire his QT device.
They weren't constrained by BTO laws; they just wanted him dead. He was just a primitive Briton after all; he would be no match for even a damaged Storm Trooper. The Storm Trooper had accepted that they were its master, and obeyed their orders to the letter.
The group called themselves "The Sword of Allah", and were determined to regain access to the oil for Saudi Arabia. In the process, they were going to use their Storm Trooper to kill as many of the British Government as they could. While the British, were shaken by the deaths of their most powerful and influential Aristocrats. The 'Sword of Allah" would strike at the very head of the Government.
They would kidnap the King of Britain himself, and hold him to ransom for their fair share of the oil. This plan would work, as a State based on Genetic Purity and Eugenics, the Royal Family was the genetic pinnacle of the British genome. One of the more enjoyable duties of the British King, was to impregnate as many British women as he could.
Such was the demand for his seed that when he wasn't actually having sex with a favoured woman, he was donating seed to the many IVF clinics. This ensured that the Royal seed was well distributed amongst the British bloodline. Only the Aristocracy was honoured by actual physical sex by the king, but any British woman could petition to be impregnated by his sperm.
The plan was to have the Storm Trooper materialise next to the King. It would then attach a pre-programmed QT to him, and both jump out to Saudi Arabia. Only a Storm Trooper could do this, as the King had his own Storm Trooper as a personal bodyguard. With double boost capability, it could stop any assassination or kidnap attempt by a human. The rogue Storm Trooper also had double boost, so it could use the element of surprise to achieve its mission.
However to do this they would need a second QT device; as everyone knew it took one device to transport one person. Which was where Steve became involved; his was still judged the easiest device to steal. It was obvious that the historical records were flawed, as Steve hadn't followed the children into the museum as planned. However that was all they had to work with, so they sent their Storm Trooper to the next window of opportunity.
By the 26th Century, it was known that Steve had been Dr. Snip the Vigilante. His exploits were well documented by the newspapers of the day, and the Storm Trooper was sent to a documented time slot where Dr. Snip had definitely been. Dr. Snip was only one man even with his powers; he just couldn't be everywhere and save everybody. Therefore he tended to concentrate on child related crimes, leaving the rest to the police.
Merlin's 26th century computer flagged all child related crimes, and for a change also flagged the rape murder of a young female on a university campus. The girl was eighteen years old and normally wouldn't be classed as a child. The reason this crime was brought to Snip's attention; was that the girl was one of the children he had saved when young. Her name was Mary, and he had rescued her from a pervert called Vince when she was just a child.
'Well I'll be fucked; the cheeky fucker dares to kill my little Mary? I'll cut him to pieces' snarled Snip as he read the police reports of the incident. Usually he approached his rescue missions with a degree of cool professionalism, but this case infuriated him. Once the case had caught his attention, he discovered that there had been three previous rapes in the area and the police still hadn't a clue who the culprit was. It was a good bet that the person who killed Mary was the same man. He recorded all the details on his implant so he wouldn't forget them, and jumped to the location of the attack.
It was nighttime, and the campus of the university was deserted. It was drizzling with rain, and a cold wind was causing the wet trees branches to sigh dolefully. Mary was walking quickly back to the student accommodation, she had been asked to cover for a friend working at the Universities Bar. The party had dragged on into the small hours, and she was anxious to get into the warm and go to bed. She was a tough young girl, and it took a lot to spook her. However tonight she felt creepy and jumped at every sound, from the rustling of the trees to the snapping of dead branches as the cold wind blew them along the wet footpath.