Episode 9: The Search
When Theovelt's head hit the fluffy pillow, as light and spongy as a giant marshmallow, he instantly fell into a deep, restful sleep. Being stuck in the cell with no idea how he was going to get out and an impending apocalypse rushing towards them, he had resigned himself to the fact that he would never sleep in a proper bed again. He was quite glad he was wrong. At least for the time being.
Val took full advantage of her batteries being charged to 100% and ran a full diagnostic test to try and figure out what damages she suffered in the crash and possibly why she crashed in the first place. She was disappointed to only uncover that all systems were normal and functioning properly with the exception of a few corrupted memory files. Some of the files came back with an instruction that she could connect to her ship to repair them. These she assumed would contain details of the crash. However, the diagnostic program gave no solution to fix a few unknown files. Val sat the rest of the night frustrated, trying to remember what she now had no record of knowing.
In the morning Theo woke, refreshed, to the smell of an exotic breakfast Rheumik had prepared for him. At the sound of stirring throughout the house, Val joined the rest of the party. She was frustrated and a little grumpy, but eager to discover how they would end up saving all of the life on the planet today. She was also interested in getting back to her ship to repair what files she could and recover at least some part of her missing memory.
"Well, good morning all," said Rheumik. "I hope you are both ready for a potentially intense day. We will be diligently searching for a way to fulfill the prophecy. Do we have any indication of how much time we have left to search?"
"We were told we had less than two full days, almost a day ago. So, I'd guess we have less than a day," answered Theo.
"Then we must get moving quickly. I suggest we begin by searching the coastline of the city. The tsunami will certainly come from the ocean to the west of town."
Theo and Val both nodded in agreement before Val asked, "We're somewhat fugitives aren't we? How exactly are we going to make it to the coast without being seen?"
"Easy!" Flubbert chimed in, "Us Globinians hate the ocean. It is very dangerous. No one ever goes there, so no one will find us!"
Rheumik replied, "Yes, Flubbert is correct. Once we are there no one will come snooping around the beaches. Getting you there will be a slight problem though. Luckily we are not far, and the morning is new. Not many blobs will be out in the streets just yet. If we hurry I think keeping to the shadows of these tall buildings will be enough to conceal you."
"Let's get going then!" said Theo.
Everyone quickly packed up and headed off for the beaches. The journey to the shore was surprisingly uneventful. Globinians really like, and need, their beauty sleep. So there was only one elderly Glob whom they had to avoid by patiently waiting in an alleyway for her to pass by with her pet Glonckly.
On the beach Theo gazed in wonder at the purple ocean as its waves crashed on the orange crystal sand. The early morning sunlight caused the shoreline to sparkle as the sand was stirred up with the water.
Val quickly went to work looking up and down the coastline trying to find the scene depicted in the the prophecy. She used her photographic memory of the stone slab and her mathematical computing ability to compare the lighting at different times of day in different locations, trying to pinpoint exactly where and when the scene would take place.
Theo rushed in the opposite direction looking all around for anything that could help them. He looked for any landmarks depicted in the prophecy but didn't quite remember what he was looking for. He looked out into the horizon for any sign of the impending wave, but could see nothing. He looked back at the city for anything that would help them and had no plan for any of the random junk he saw.
The oracle and his grandson stuck together and slowly slid up and down the shoreline making careful observations and paying great attention to not touch the purple liquid. As they occasionally looked back at where they had been sliding, they noticed that their ooze trails were getting further and further away from the water line. Either they were keeping a greater distance from the water than they thought or the water was receding.
After a few hours of searching for a solution, their paths brought them all back together.
"I've got nothing," offered Theo.
"My calculations have yielded limited results," added Val.
"We have no solution, though I can confirm you are telling the truth of an imminent tsunami," Rheumik said. "The shoreline has been receding all day. I fear a wave of that size will wash through and flood the whole city, killing us all with its poison water if we do not find a solution soon."
With his head down, Theovelt walked back to the edge of the metallic wonder of the city. His feet had grown very tired of walking on the uneven sand of the beach. The rest of the group followed silently behind. Though he was looking down, Theo managed to still nearly trip over a small hump that separated the metallic walkway and the sand. He was stumped and couldn't find any solution. He agreed to help these people, but all he would do is fail them.
Seeing him stumble, and having the processing power to be constantly aware of her surroundings, Val stepped over the hump with ease. Rheumik and Flubbert simply slid over it, taking no notice other than observing Theo trip.
Flubbert paused for a moment before saying to Theo, "It'd be nice if that bump was a little taller. Then the water would trip over it just like you did and maybe not hurt so many people."
Theo and Val chuckled a little in a dismissive manner before noticing the oracle deep in thought. "You know," he said, "I seem to recall seeing an old model of this city as a child. If I remember correctly, that model was surrounded by a giant wall right about where this bump is."
"What are you saying?" asked Theo, "Are you saying there should be a wall here?"
"Yes, or at least that there once was something here separating the beaches from the city. Or," Rheumik trailed off in thought before continuing, "there may still be a wall here."
"How could there still be a wall?" Val asked doubtfully.
"This city still contains many mysteries we have yet to uncover. We have done and discovered much in the ways of this city. However, there is still some technology we have yet to discover how to use, what it's used for, and some we have yet to discover even exists. I believe the wall around the city I saw on the model as a child may be one of those technologies."
"So, you're saying this bump is a retractable wall, and if we can find how to raise it we may be able to use it to protect the city from the tsunami!?" Theo was excited to finally have a solution to work towards. "How do we raise the wall? Is there some sort of control panel near by?"
Val's tone changed, "This may be the solution we've been looking for! Theo, I believe you're correct. There should be some way to control the wall somewhere nearby. Let's all look for it together!"
The group tried to keep up with Val as she followed the bump, looking for any trace of wiring to lead her to a control panel.
Back in the center of the city, a search for the missing zoo exhibits had been mounting all day. Exhausting all possible ideas of where the escapees might have gone, the residents decided to look in the only place that was left to look, the only place they didn't want to look. The search mob joined together and moved to search the beaches for their missing entertainment.
"Umm, not to add any pressure, but I think that mob of Globinians up ahead is looking for us," warned Theovelt.
"I think this is it!" shouted Val, ignoring Theo, as she came to a large metal box that sat just back from the bump.
Val was standing and staring at a blank slate of metal. Theo watched as the crowd spotted them and picked up their pace towards their location. Rheumik and his grandson stared off into the ocean.
"Alright," said Val, "now how does this work?"
"You may want to work a little more quickly, my dear," Rheumik said calmly. "The tsunami is nearly here," he added, pointing at the massive wall of water whose shadow was quickly covering the beach.