Interlude: Moving In

The janitorial staff had just barely finished cleaning the flamethrower scorch marks and crazed wall-graffiti out of Response Centre 743 when it came time for its new inhabitants to move in. Thus, the room still stank of fresh paint and lemon-scented cleaner as Department of Floaters Recruits KF and MFPC (or “Kay” and “Emm” for short) began their traditional bickering over who got what space.

“I need that corner to store the still for my hot sauce!” Emm said firmly, folding his arms.

“And I need that corner to store my scythe.” Kay plonked her weapon down in the corner in question. The blade glinted menacingly in the light.

“Why did you keep that thing? The reapers depowered it when you left.”

“Sentimental value! And besides, it can still chop heads off. Like yours, if you don’t put your hot sauce junk somewhere else.”

“Where else is there? We don’t exactly have a lot of space.” That was true. RC #743 had never been the largest of accommodations, except for one brief interlude under a previous occupant where it had somehow managed to contain an entire three-ring circus. “Put it on the umbrella stand or something.”

“We don’t have an umbrella stand!”

“Well, then, we’ll get an umbrella stand and you can put your scythe in it.”

“So where will we put the umbrella stand?”

“I don’t know. In that corn…” Emm paused. “Oh.”

There was a moment of silence.

“Well… can we knock out a wall or something?” Emm suggested.

As one, they turned to look at a suitably-sized patch of Generic Surface.

“Is there… anything on the other side of that wall?” Kay wondered aloud.

“Could be. Or may just be more wall.” Emm tapped on the wall, which stubbornly refused to give any indication of what may have been on the other side, or if there in fact was another side.

“Maybe it’s one of those things where if you think there’s something on the other side, there is,” Kay suggested. She’d taken the time to read up a bit on Headquarters beforehand.

“Sooo… how are we going to knock out the wall to find out?”

“My scythe could do it.”

“Yeah, if it hadn’t been depowered. I could burn a hole in it with some hot sauce.”

“You sure that’s safe?” Kay had seen what Emm’s famous (and dubious) hot sauce could do to metal. She didn’t like to think what it might do to Generic Surface.

“Nope.” Emm grabbed a bottle of the stuff from his bag, along with two welding masks. “Stand back.” He pulled the mask on and hurled the bottle at the wall, where it smashed.

Sizzle.

After the smoke cleared, Emm surveyed his handiwork, namely a large hole melted in the wall. Apparently, there had been a small, windowless, doorless room on the other side.

“Who builds a room with no exits?” Kay raised an eyebrow.

“Apparently someone who wants me to put my still in there.” Emm was already unpacking a collection of esoteric mechanical items and cobbling them together in the newfound space. “You can have that corner for your umbrella stand.”

“You’re too kind. If that thing blows up, heads will roll.”

“Duly noted. You can set up your stuff on the bottom bunk while I work.”

“What?” Kay looked incensed. “No way am I getting the bottom bunk. I’m the oldest, I get the top bunk.”

“And I’m the awesomest. I get the top bunk.”

“That’s not a word!”

And so it began again.

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