Tuesday, August 12, 2014

C.N. - chapter 79

When the lights went out, the henchmen on one side of us had rushed right past Dennis and I and collided with the henchmen blocking the other side of the walkway. The walkway was jammed with Mr. Dragon'd henchmen who were groping for Theo, Wolfgang and Heathcliff, who all seemed to have escaped. Dennis and I found ourselves standing just slightly removed from the jam-packed portion of the walkway. How we managed to end up there even though we didn't move an inch since being stopped by the henchmen, I think owed to the henchmen's poor spatial coordination.
Taking advantage of this, Dennis and I inched away in the opposite direction from the mass of henchmen all tangled together in the walkway. As we got further away, and our pitch black surroundings got surprisingly quiet save the churning of machinery, we began a whisper-discussion on the nature of the common henchmen that serve villains. Progress was exceedingly slow, because of the total darkness. Dennis and I resorted to holding each other's hand while tracing our other hands along the wall of the walkway, which had narrowed in this unknown part of the submarine, as we groped forward.
'You noticed,' whispered Dennis, 'back there at the ambush, how those henchmen forgot where we were the moment the lights got turned off? That oddly resembled what often happens in action movies, don't you think?'
'You're absolutely right,' I whispered back, 'do you think the behavior of henchmen in action movies is based on the actual behavior of henchmen in real life situations?'
'From what I've seen so far, the evidence does corroborate that theory.'
'Why do you think henchmen are generally so incompetent at their tasks, especially pertaining to the handling of hostages?' I asked.
'I suppose it's a matter of economy. You see, because villains are always trying to evade justice, and justice does whatever it can with all the intelligence at its disposal to attempt to apprehend the villains, I come to the assumption that villains have quite the limited selection of henchmen to choose from. The henchmen can't be exceedingly intelligent, because then they'll come to their senses and turn the villain over to justice. A henchman of average intellect might not betray the villain, but he will attempt to exploit the villain's weakness, say, by demanding unreasonable sums of payment. So, that leaves the least intelligent members of the henchmen profession to serve the villains, and you can't expect such unintelligent henchmen to be much good at anything.'
'No wonder the villain's plans are always foiled. Even the exceptionally intelligent villains only have the least intelligent henchmen at their disposal to do their bidding.'
'It's true, villains always lose because, well, in the end they have their own wits and that alone, while justice usually has an unlimited reserve of wits and intelligence. It's a fight of one against many.' Dennis sighed, 'That almost makes me feel sorry for villains.'
At that moment the emergency lights came on and the walkway was illuminated in deep crimson.
'Ah, we can see now,' Dennis exclaimed, 'sort of.'
The emergency lights were dim and spaced wide apart. Long stretches of the walkway were still in the dark and stretched on in both directions.'
'How big is this submarine? I feel like we've been walking for hours.' Dennis said, befuddled. I too was stupefied. The largest submarine ever built did not exceed a length of 200 meters. I felt the walkway had extended for half a kilometer already.
'It must be a typhoon-class submarine.' I speculated.
'More like hurricane-class.'
'Most submarines have two corridors running throughout the length of the ship, and three levels. I'd say we're on the bottom level, but I can't say where.'
'What's on the bottom level?'
'There's the engine, the fuel cells, it's where the torpedoes are stored, and a lot of piping.'
'I haven't seen any stairs to take us to the upper levels, have you?'
'I haven't.' I shrugged and looked around, hoping to find some indication of where we were. Behind us, the walkway curved away to the left, as did the walkway ahead of us. The curve was in fact quite obvious. Suddenly, I noticed that walkway floor has a slight incline in the direction we were facing. Wait a minute...
'We're in a spiral.' I whispered.
'We've been going up the submarine all along! You see, this walkway is like a spiral staircase, look at how it always curves to the left, and there's even a gradual incline. If we follow this path we'll end up at the top level.'
'Why you're absolutely right! Quick, we have to hurry before these emergency lights shut off too!'
We began to run.
'Say Dennis,' I said, 'Where are we going anyway?'
'We...' he trailed off and we stopped running. We looked at each other.
'Good question.' Dennis said, and stroked his chin. 'We can try to find my sister, but she ran in the opposite direction. We can also try to find the control room, that should be at the top level, right?'
'Right, the top level is the officer's deck.'
'How come we haven't encountered any henchmen, do you wonder?'
'I guess like you said, the henchmen are dim-witted and naturally they never are where they should be.'
'Makes me feel sorry for the villain, almost.' Dennis said, and looked about, 'Oh look! That hatch in the ceiling, it has the letters M.D. on it, do you suppose we've happened upon the submarine's doctor's chamber?'
'I think the letters stand for Main Deck actually, that's the top level.'
We looked at each other and smiled, 'We found the main deck!'

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