Edge of Apocalypse: pages 320-322 (Chapter Fifty-Four)
Further notes: I’ve reset the comment nesting level to 4; that’s a purely technical thing that has to do with the fact that this theme can’t accommodate deeper nesting. 🙂 Also I turned off that annoying “infinite scrolly entries” thing.
As promised, EoA on Sunday. Let’s roll.
As the topic suggests, Cal Jordan is in trouble! For those of you who suggested way back that Cal Jordan was Zimler’s target, give yourself a big ol’ high five!
In a different time zone, in a very different part of the world, Cal Jordan was in his dorm room at Liberty University, changing into his gym trunks and a T-shirt. He was glad, now that he’d thought about it, that he was going to play some basketball with his buddies to get his mind off things.
I bet Karen Hester liked him in that outfit 😛
However, this next paragraph?
And he was also glad he had heard from his dad. Who knows, maybe he and I will start connecting. Maybe things are going to be better between us.
Um, o-kay, Cal, don’t soft-soap it here. Your dad was bullying you! You can see why I regret that Cal Jordan is, step by step, becoming Stepfordized into a pale shell of his former self. Everyone, please, a moment of silence for PodPerson!Cal.
Right, moving on.
His dorm room’s lights go out and some maintenance guy comes in.
“Sorry to bother,” the maintenance man said. “We’re cutting the power to some of the rooms. These old fluorescent lights in the ceiling have to be replaced one by one. It’s your turn.”
“Lucky me,” Cal said, then added, “hope this doesn’t take long. I’m supposed to shoot buckets in a few minutes with some friends.”
The maintenance man gave a look that lacked full understanding at something in Cal’s answer, but he flashed a quick smile anyway. Then he rolled a large covered utility cart into the dorm room. A few students wandered past the open door, looking in with some curiosity, before the man closed the door behind him.
Yeah, that’s Atta Zimler, all right. As established, that’s his typical M.O.: sucker his victim by pretending to be someone doing something routine, which usually works even if you don’t quite know all the subtleties of the profession or the culture.
Just like Yergi Banica, who, to be fair, had good reason to be paranoid when he let his guard down, Cal’s going to find it’s lights-out in a very different way:
“Could you just help me for just a second?”
“I just need you to catch that big lighting fixture when I hand it down. Won’t take too long. If you look up there at the fixture in the ceiling, you’ll see where the bulb fits in at both ends. Just be careful not to dislodge the long light bulb when I hand it down to you. The bulb could break. It has some toxic contents inside.”
“Doesn’t sound too hard,” Cal said.
Then Cal took a step into the center of the room and craned his neck to look up at the light fixture.
“I think I see what you are talking about,” Cal said as he was studying it.
Right behind him, dressed in the grey maintenance jumpsuit, Atta Zimler was smiling.
He stepped up closer to Cal Jordan, and as he did, he had a satisfying thought.
This is almost too easy.
AGH CAL NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO 😦
What will happen next? Well, if Zimler’s at all smart, he won’t kill Cal, because that would prevent him from getting anything out of Josh. But Zimler’s such a loose cannon, who knows what will happen next? We’ll see in a few pages. Next up, VP Tulrude.