Chapter Fifteen: A Dangerous Plan
The flying saucer was still on the roof of the arcade. Nick and James were sitting in the flying saucer, which was equipped with a sophisticated cloaking device that kept the saucer invisible to the naked eye, and undetectable by Dakadanian sensors. They were with the three people they had rescued from the arcade, Gary, Hilary, and Drew.
"What are we going to do with those cables we left behind?" James asked. "If the giants find it, they'll know we're here."
"We could probably collect the one that's hanging off the roof of the arcade," said Nick, "but the one inside the arcade is too hard to get, and I don't want to risk going back and trying to get it."
"So we're sitting ducks?" James asked. "We just sit here and wait until those kids get out of school and pile into the arcade?"
"By the time they arrive, we should have enough power to get to a better location where we can wait until the batteries are more fully charged."
"But where could we go?" James asked.
"I've got a weird idea that just might work," said Nick.
"Yeah?" said James. "Let's hear it."
"We could land on the roof of Caitlin and Audrey's dorm. They would never expect a move like that!"
"That's brilliant!" said Bobby. "Good thinking, Nick."
"I think it's a horrible idea," said James. "The people in charge of running Dakadania will be monitoring them like crazy! What makes you think your plan could possibly work?"
"Let's take it to a vote," said Nick. "I vote we land on Caitlin and Audrey's roof, just long enough to re-charge the main batteries. Who's with me?"
"I vote with Nick," said Bobby, raising his hand.
"Me too," said Gary.
Hilary raised her hand, "I vote with you guys."
Drew, the other woman they had rescued raised her hand and voted with the others.
"Looks like you're outnumbered, James." said Nick. "Besides, that new replicator drains even more power from our batteries, so we have even less power than before."
"So it's gonna take longer to re-charge?" James asked.
"A little bit longer," said Nick. "The navigation computer has a map that shows where we originated, which is Caitlin's dorm. According to the power supply gauge, it won't be too long before we can make a direct flight path back to her dorm, and from there we can wait until we're completely powered up to find a safer location."
"Where can we establish a home base," said Bobby, "after we take off from Caitlin's dorm?"
"I think we should establish several bases of operation," said Nick. "That way, in case one gets discovered by giants, we can always escape to another one. I know of some rural areas where there should be some good hiding places."
"What do you want us to do?" Hilary asked.
"You and the others we've rescued can help out any way you can," said Nick. "each one of you needs to learn how to pilot this ship, and work the controls."
Nick spent the next half hour explaining the control console to everyone on board, until they were as familiar with the system as he was. By the time he was finished, school was out and kids started entering the arcade below.
"We should have one of the rescued former hostages wish for a surveillance device so we can spy on the kids down in the arcade, to see if they're coming after us," said James.
"Good idea!" said Nick. "Any volunteers?"
The other woman they rescued stepped up. Her name was Drew. "I'll take a crack at it," said Drew. "I don't mind using up my first wish, if it's going to help people escape from the giants." Drew took the lamp from Bobby, and made her wish. "I wish for surveillance equipment that can spy on the inside of any structure the saucer lands on, without the Dakadanians being aware that they're being detected."
Right then, a new console appeared out of thin air, It was connected to the other equipment, and had a monitor that was tuned in to the room below them. All of them crowded around and looked, and they could see the arcade games in the room below. Giant kids could be seen entering the arcade, and some of them were playing games.
"Looks like it's going to be a busy day in the arcade," said Nick. "It's a good thing we got out of there when we did."
"What if a kid discovers the cables we left behind?" James asked.
"Hopefully they won't be able to figure out we're on the roof," said Nick. "Besides, even if they look for us up here, our vessel is cloaked, so they would have a hard time finding us." Nick looked at the control console. "I've got more bad news, though."
"What is it this time?" James asked.
"The new surveillance device is draining even more power from the main batteries, so it's going to take even longer before we can take off and fly to Caitlin's."
"We should've gotten that cable that we left attached to the roof," said Phillip, "while you were explaining how the control console works, we forgot all about it. Is it too risky to go out and try to get it now?"
"I'll go with Bobby to get it," said Nick. "But first we need to figure out a way to track any member of our group if they get captured."
"You mean like a subcutaneous transponder?" said James.
"Yeah," Nick replied.
"Wouldn't that make it easier for the giants to track us, too?" James asked.
"We could have Drew make a wish for a device that injects us with a transponder that the Dakadanians can't track," said Nick.
"I guess that sounds good," said James, but we're burning through wishes too quickly. Each person we rescue only has three wishes, and we're only getting two wishes from each person we rescue, because we're giving them the third wish."
"Then we'll just have to rescue more people," said Nick. "It would only be a wasted wish if it was something temporary, like wishing for our power supply to be at one hundred percent. As long as we use the wishes wisely, then they're not wasted."
Drew held onto the lamp. "Do you want me to wish for the transponder injector the Dakadanians can't track?"
"Yeah, you might as well," said Nick.
Drew rubbed the lamp and said, "I wish for a transponder injector that will give us each transponders that we can track with a device on the control console of the saucer, that the Dakadanians can't track." Instantly, a small device appeared attached to the control console, with a small monitor on it, and on the floor of the saucer, the injector Drew wished for materialized. Nick picked it up.
"We all need to inject ourselves," said Nick, as he injected himself. Nick passed the device around to the others. When they had all injected themselves, he looked on the new monitor that showed digital blips that represented where each of them were. Nick glanced at the power gauge. "We've almost got enough power to get to Caitlin's."
James walked over and glanced at the new monitor that tracked their new transponder signals. He happened to glance at the surveillance monitor, and saw that some of the kids in the arcade had found the cable and grapnel hook that they used to rescue Gary, Hilary, and Drew.
"They found the cable that was left behind in the arcade," said James. "It's only a matter of time before they look around and figure out we're on the roof. Maybe we should try to get that cable that's hanging off the roof, what do you think, Nick?"
"No, we've got just about enough power to get to Caitlin's," Nick responded.
"But how much longer?" James asked. "I don't want to end up in the belly of some sadistic schoolgirl, know what I mean?"
"I'm not exactly sure, but it shouldn't be more than a few more minutes," said Nick. "But if we do take off then, we'll be totally drained once we land on Caitlin's roof, so we'll have to be careful."
"That whole plan wreaks of incompetence," said James. "We should find a rural area and re-charge the batteries there, then if we want to go to Caitlin's, we can do that after we're at full power."
"But they're looking for us," said Nick. "We're going to have to take turns sleeping, and go on shifts to make sure we're not discovered. It doesn't matter where we land, we're still on the run. My theory is that their search for us won't be as extreme at Caitlin and Audrey's dorm, because that's the last place they would expect us to go. Sort of reverse psychology, if you will. We probably don't even have enough power to get to a truly rural, secluded area any way."
Just then, on the surveillance monitor, two girls and a boy exited the rear of the arcade and walked around the side, where the cable was hanging. The boy found the cable, and pulled on it. One of the girls was pointing toward the roof, and the boy went and got a ladder that had been sitting in the back yard of the place near some maintenance equipment. The boy propped the ladder up against the roof, and the boy held the ladder while one of the girls climbed up to the roof.
"We're going to have company!" said James. "A Dakadanian girl is climbing a ladder! If we don't take off fast, they'll find us for sure!"
Nick told everyone to strap themselves in, and worked the controls. The saucer lifted off just as the giantess got close to the saucer. Once they were in the air, Tony deftly maneuvered the saucer on a flight path that would take them on a straight path back to their point of origin, which was Caitlin and Audrey's dorm. It only took a few minutes to get there, and soon they landed safely on the roof of Caitlin and Audrey's dorm without incident.
"I still think this is a bad idea," said James.
"Will you stop saying that?" said Nick. "Once the saucer is at a hundred percent, we can fly further away to a rural area and make a base, but we only have a limited amount of daylight, so if we don't get re-charged by nightfall, we'll be stuck wherever we landed."
The others unstrapped themselves from their seats and looked at the monitors. Nick switched the surveillance equipment on, and they could see inside Caitlin's dorm. Both Caitlin and Audrey were there, as well as a couple of other girls. Nick looked through each room in the structure, and saw that there were multiple captives, some in each bedroom, and some in the main living room area where the giant girls were gathered.
"There are captives inside," said Nick. They all observed what was happening in the living room area of Caitlin and Audrey's dorm.
Caitlin was sitting at a table, and the captives she had captured when she was back on Earth were wandering around the table top. Audrey and two other giant girls were sitting there watching. Caitlin slammed her fist down on the table. "How would you like to surrender to the gullet of a goddess?" Caitlin asked them with a sinister smile.
"We have to rescue them!" said Nick, as he watched the action in Caitlin's dorm on the surveillance monitor.
"Why take the chance?" James asked. "When we're at full power we can try, but for now we should just wait until night fall and let the batteries re-charge."
"The whole point of doing all of this is to rescue people," said Nick. "Otherwise, we could've just used the lamp to wish to go somewhere else, where it's guaranteed to be safe."
"I'm not saying we shouldn't conduct a rescue," said James. "I'm just saying we should wait until night time."
"I agree with James," said Gary. "If one of you got captured, we don't have enough power to escape from this place. We should definitely wait until the main batteries are at full power."
"Okay, we'll wait for nightfall, if that's the consensus," said Nick. "But when the time comes to perform the rescue attempt, who's going with me?"
Bobby stepped forward. "I'll go with you, Nick. We make a good team, and it would be good for James to stay behind to watch the saucer."
"Okay, then it's settled," said Nick. "We'll use the replicator to make dinner, then we wait until it gets dark, and the two of us will break into Caitlin and Audrey's dorm.
Several hours passed, and twilight arrived and went, and darkness descended. They had all eaten, and they replicated the climbing gear that Nick and Bobby would need. They had the gas powered cartridges, the cables, and and the grapnel hooks. The power supply was at one hundred percent, and all non-essential equipment was turned off to conserve power, with the exception of the surveillance equipment.
"Well, here we go!" said Nick, with the climbing gear strapped over his shoulder. "James, text us if something pops up on the surveillance monitor." Bobby also had his equipment. James operated the control console and opened the gull-wing doors, and the two men stepped outside onto the roof. James quickly closed the door hatch by remote control on the control console.
Nick and Bobby looked around. There were various apparatus connected to the roof, much like a conventional roof on Earth. Nick had analyzed where in the dorm they wanted to go, and knew the closest structure on the roof to tie a grapnel hook to in order to climb down. Once it was secure, they climbed down one at a time, with Nick going first. Once he was standing on the window sill of Caitlin's bedroom, he waited for Bobby. They went one at a time so their weight wouldn't overload the cable. Once Bobby was on the window sill, they looked in and saw that no giants were in the room. Nick could see a shelf where normal-sized humans were trapped in some kind of a plastic container.
Nick used the master key to digitally hack into the control panel that controlled the window, and it slid open without any problems. Nick stepped inside, followed by Bobby.
Once they were inside, the window slid closed again.
"Uh-oh!" said Nick. "It closed on us!"
In the main living room area, Caitlin got up. "I thought I heard something from my bedroom!" Caitlin and the other three girls walked toward the bedroom and entered, and spotted Nick and Bobby. Caitlin quickly grabbed both of them. "I've got you!" said Caitlin, recognizing Nick. "Why did you come back, did you miss me?"
Back in the saucer, the others were frantic. "We've got to do something!" said Gary, grabbing the lamp. "If I take the lamp down there, I can use my last wish to rescue Tony and Bobby, then we can give the lamp to one of the other captives so they have three more wishes." Gary went to the replicator and had it replicate more climbing gear.
James tried to grab the lamp from Gary, who was activating the gull-wing doors. When the door opened, Gary stormed out with the lamp and climbing gear. James ran after him, and tackled Gary to the ground of the roof of Caitlin's dorm. The men began fighting, and the lamp was knocked out of Gary's grasp, and went dangerously close to the edge of the roof. James and Gary continued to fight it out, but Gary got up and in an effort to reach the lamp, accidentally kicked it and it flew off the edge of the roof.
"You idiot!" said James. Both men peered down from the roof of Caitlin's dorm. The lamp was far beneath them, on the ground on the side of the structure."If that lamp falls back into the hands of those thunder children, we're doomed!"
To Be Continued!