ever_lovin: (human: lock-n-load)
[personal profile] ever_lovin
"That's it, Franklin," Johnny calls out as he, Franklin and Ben fight to keep the Annihilation wave back. "You're doin' just fine." And then a few seconds later the first wave is gone and they can take a breather.

"Okay Artie, let's get a look at what we're dealing with. Bentley, give us a countdown." Val says from the controls for the portal within the Negative Zone. All together there are five of them; herself, Artie, Bentley, Alex and Mogg.

Bentley (the younger clone of the Wizard) pulls out an image enhancer and reports, "As expected, the initial invasion force was to secure, and dilate, the portal. The larger Annihilation Wave is in a defensive perimeter positioned some two hundred fifty thousand kilometers away. Assuming they've been alerted and aren't going to just bomb us - and the gate - to death from above...figure maximum velocity, landing disembarking...maybe four minutes. Is that going to be enough time?"

"Has to be," Val says studying the blowout schematic of the locking mechanism of the portal Artie has projected via his powers. "Man, this is a nightmare."

"Uh-huh," Alex agrees looking over her shoulder. "Triple redundancy, integrated software and hardware."

"Quantum encoding...there's no reprogramming the locking mechanism."

"The Reed is very, very clever," Mogg the moloid says.

"Super, Dad," Val replies, "just freaking super. Ideas?"

"Remote access?" Artie offers.

"The locking sequence has to be keyed after shield activation."

"We would need a big enough power source, a transmission superstructure, tech-specific architecture...and probably more time." Alex says.

"Which we don't have." Val counters.

"Wouldn't matter," Bentley says lowering the image enhancers. "You're not accounting for background radiation or data sinks. Your chance of success is around point-zero-zero-eight percent. Think harder."

"Any idea if we enhance the energy shielding on our side that we can hold them off longer?" suggests Mogg.

"Yeah, we could use the building's primary dynamo," Val muses.

"Maybe," Bentley replies. "If the shield was powered by the building's main generators. Wait...are we factoring in that Annihilus does or does not possess the Cosmic Rod?"

"Figure he does."

"Pffft...point-zero-zero-five percent. We would be much better off just nuking this place." Bentley goes back to looking through the image enhancers while the other four look at each other as if considering.

"We could do that," Alex says.

"Would it completely rupture the portal?" Val asks. "That could be doing their job for them."

"Not sure. But even if it didn't, the dead zone from the fallout should buy us enough time..."

"So, again," Val says interrupting him. "Stall? That's our best idea? And with what bomb?" She tempted to look at Bentley to see if he has one but she doubts he'd have a nuke...no, he doesn't have his backpack.

"You're also forgetting that even the enhanced shield wouldn't maintain full integrity in proximity to ground zero. We could die of radiation leaking through into the lab." Mogg counters.

"No other choice, cost of doing business..." Artie says.

"We have to stop them," Alex says with a shake of his head. "It's sure there's some fissile material in one of the labs."

"Chance of success: eight percent." Bentley comments. "I find the idea of building another bomb very exciting."

"So that's it then?" Alex says feeling a hint of Oppenheimer's chill.

"No," Val forces herself to say. Too many variables and not enough of a success rate. Yet there is one course that has a hundred percent chance of success. "Still too much risk, Alex. The odds aren''t good enough. Someone's going to have to stay behind."
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Benjamin J Grimm

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