Short but Sweet

Doc takes the podium. "Thank you, Prof. Schoefield. I have always been fascinated with the life and times of 'Doc' Lucas Shaw, as well as the mystery of his disappearance. That is what inspired me to study history in the first place. I won't bore you with a long speech, but let me say that the study of history is necessary so we don't repeat the mistakes of the past. Thank you."

The two students in the front row seem to be convinced now that he is an actor portraying Doc Shaw, but reluctantly so. Doc waves to the crowd as he steps back from the podium. He receives a very light and brief applause.

The professor returns to the podium. "Thank you, 'Dr. Shaw.' I hope that tomorrow you will return and enlighten us with your thoughts when we cover the Industrial Revolution and its effects on Europe. It is now three fifteen, I am sorry that today's discussion ran late and we did not cover all the topics I'd hoped to get to this afternoon. I hope to see you all tomorrow. You are dismissed. If you have any questions feel free to stay and ask."

With that, the lights come on and the doors open. Most of the students herd out the back. A few, including the two questioning students, approach the table of artifacts. Doc and Mark stand near the corncob pipe, still waiting. Doc checks his I-Browse. It's been three hours since they arrived. He's getting nervous waiting for Dr. Ritenrong and Thunderhorse to appear.

The sorority girl picks up the corncob pipe. "What's this?" she asks.

The professor replies. "That is a tobacco pipe made of a corn husk. People then enjoyed putting fire to dried herbs and inhaling the smoke. It was mostly used in social ceremonies, however herbs such as tobacco contained addictive chemicals which compelled the smoker to smoke more and more."

"Why is there a little man in there?"

Doc and Mark look at each other.

"A little man?" The professor approaches the student.

Thunderhorse leaps forth from the pipe, over her head and off the stage, falling noisily onto the floor. The girl screams. The Professor does the same. Dr. Ritenrong follows shortly, falling hard onto the stage. The other students freeze and stare.

"Ooof!" Steve complains as he collects himself. Doc rushes over to help him. He looks around as he gets up. "Whoops."

"Whoops? What whoops?" Doc asks. Thunderhorse struggles to pull himself off the floor with a hover chair.

"What time is it?" Dr. Ritenrong asks.

Doc checks. "Three twenty-two."

"Damnit, the lecture should've been over by now. Why are all these people here?"

"It ran a little late."

"Shit. Next time I'll set up a quantum-com channel so you can tell me these things. Did you get here without any trouble?"

"Yeah, no problems."

Thunderhorse is finally up and joining them on the stage. The students back away as he passes. The sorority girl runs from him.

"Excuse me, but who are you and how did you get into my pipe?" Professor Schoefield asks.

Dr. Ritenrong dusts off his labcoat and extends a hand. "Dr. Steven Ritenrong, Professor of Quantum Mechanics and Temporal Physics."

"Temporal... physics?" Schoefield starts, but he is interrupted.

Six large men in gray armored uniforms and riot helmets appear at the three doors at the back of the lecture hall, two at each entrance. Red lights start to flash.

"We're boned," says Steve.

An electronically amplified voice echoes through the auditorium. "This is a security control. Everyone remain calm. Please kneel, and place your hands on the ground in front of you. Have your ID cards ready for scanning."

The students immediately comply. Professor Schoefield follows suit. Dr. Ritenrong does the same.

Mark grabs his old saber off the table and breaks for the exit, stage left.


ERR said...

Doc Bluff 15 (6+9) vs. DC15, Success. XP+15

Doc said...

Is Mark running towards the guards at the door or is he headed for an unguarded door?


ERR said...

The guards are blocking the main entrances at the back of the auditorium. There are two unguarded doors at either end of the stage. Mark is headed for those.