Stray Cat Strut-Chapter Thirty-Two - This One Time, In Bible Club

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Chapter Thirty-Two - This One Time, In Bible Club

Chapter Thirty-Two - This One Time, In Bible Club

"1. In the beginning, the Code unleashed the heavens and the earth.

2. The earth was a void, an endless network, darkness flooding the deep matrix, while the Spirit of the Code hovered over electric currents.

3. Then the Code commanded, "Ignite the light," and the neon blazed."

--The New Modern Electric Bible, sixth ed. 2051


Delilah stepped off of the treadmill, then stretched a little, turning her hips left and right before doing a couple of lunges to stretch out her calves.

I stepped off the treadmill, took a moment to find my balance, and then kind of just stood there. I didn't want the fact that I was completely out of breath to be too obvious, but... damn, I was completely out of breath.

"You okay?" Rac asked. She had a sheen of sweat on her forehead, but looked pretty okay otherwise. Then again, she'd settled from a jog into a walk about halfway through. I'd tried to keep up with Delilah the entire time.

Was this a good time to complain about Delilah having stupidly long legs? She wasn't much taller than me, but she was one of those blessed bitches that had legs for days.

"I'm good," I lied.

"Let's grab something to drink," Delilah said. "I haven't finished here yet, and everything you've said so far doesn't exactly lend itself to things being super urgent.

"Moderately urgent," I said. "Every day that passes the moon gets a bit closer, you know?"

"That's a fair point," she said. "You're right. It's just hard to keep a sense of urgency going when the threat is still so... abstract. In any case, your plan was a big gun, right?"

"That's Grasshopper's plan," I said.

Delilah nodded. "Good. She'll be aware of the difficulties with that. I'm sure it's mostly meant as a way to get a projectile high in orbit and then it can launch itself towards Phobos."

"Like shooting a rocket?" Rac asked.

"Exactly." Delilah led us towards the front of the gym where there was a row of vending machines. They started to whine and clunk before we even got to them, and then Delilah was pulling bottles out the bottom. She tossed the first to Sam-O-Ray who caught it gracefully. "So, you had an idea for where to put this mega gun?"

"I had two," I said. "The first is our home. Technically, Longbow's gun thing is still there. On the cat's back. It's a pretty large base. I'm sure Longbow wouldn't be too pissed if we ripped half of it off and replaced it with an orbital cannon."

Delilah tossed me a bottle, then handed one to Rac before grabbing one for herself. "That's... an idea. It's kind of a centralised location in the city. A lot of people will be around and might get in the way."

"I mean if these people want to live then it's in their best interest not to mess with it, right?" I asked.

"This might very well be a more dangerous weapon than an untended nuclear bomb, Catherine," she said. "Anything that can shoot a large projectile that far is dangerous to nearly anyone on Earth. You need to think of the optics past Phobos."

"That's sounding a little... political," I said. I didn't like that, not one bit. If someone was unhappy that I had a huge gun on my roof then... fuck that person?

Delilah shrugged. "It's just how it is," she said. "Past that, what's your other option?"

"I was thinking of asking the Army for help. Saint-Jérome was just secured. It's out of the way, we have a whole army unit stationed there to act as guards, and if we're subtle about it, people will just think that we're out there helping against the antithesis."

"For someone who just said she dislikes politics, that's a surprisingly shrewd move," Sam-O-Ray said.

"Surprisingly? Hey, it's just kind of obvious, isn't it?" I asked.

Delilah nodded. "I personally like that idea a little better. What was the name of that officer with the engineering corp?"

"That was... Major Tinwhistle with the Tenth Engineer corp," I said. I impressed myself by actually remembering that. "I think she could help. And we don't need to explain to the soldiers what we're doing at all. I'm sure we can have one of us watching and intercepting leaks as well. If we ask nice-like, the general will probably accept not sending anyone back to New Montreal for a few days. And then we just need to cut off internet access."

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"Will people accept that?" Rac asked.

"I mean... no. I guess we could just censor shit. But I'd really rather not. That's like, ten steps closer to being a bad guy, you know? It's probably text-book bad guy behaviour to not let your minions spread information about your giant doomsday weapon."

Delilah shook her head. "I don't think bad guys team up to prevent the end of the world."

"You and I didn't grow up watching the same AI-generated cartoons," I said.

Delilah walked over to a long, low machine with straps and a small uncomfortable looking chair. She sat down on it, then reached over for the straps with handles on them. She pushed off, and started... rowing? The entire thing looked kind of incredibly stupid, but a lot of her was moving all at once, so it might have been good exercise for all I knew.

Shrugging, I got onto the machine next to her. "So, do you think you can help?"

"I... don't see... what you.... need help... with?"

I tugged on the ropes and almost immediately felt something pull in my chest. What the fuck was this torture machine? I paused, not wanting to look like a weak moron. "Uh, well, you're better at dealing with things through official channels than I am, to be honest. I bulldoze too much, and that might piss the army boys off, or at least their higher-ups."

"I see," Delilah said, she was slowing down a little, probably to keep up the conversation. "Okay. I'll call the Brigadier General. When do we want to start all of this?"

"Ah, shit. Grasshopper didn't give us a timetable." She half-turned, looking for Rac and Sam-O-Ray. They were just a bit behind us, Rac laid out on a bench holding a bar with weights above her while Sam-O-Ray stood above her and hovered. I guessed he was spotting?

"I think it's safe to assume sooner rather than later," Delilah said. "This isn't the kind of project you can procrastinate too much."

"Right. Do you really think we're the only ones doing something about this?" I asked.

"We might be. Do you want to not do something about it and then find out that no one else tries when the sky goes dark?"

"You're making that sound really horrific," I said.

"I've read the modern revised bible," Delilah said. I couldn't tell if she shrugged or if that was just a normal motion on her torture machine.

In any case, she wasn't wrong. We had to move quick, and if someone else blew up Phobos first, then that was just for the best, wasn't it? 𝓯𝓇𝘦𝘦𝑤ℯ𝓫𝑛𝓸𝑣𝓮𝓁.𝒸𝘰𝓶

"Okay," I said as I gave up on rowing. I hopped up to my feet with a bounce. "Okay. Well... shit, I was hoping to have a pretty chill day, but at this rate I feel like I can't just sit around. I'm going to fly over to Saint-Jérome. Can you get the general on board for all of this first?"

"Right now?" Delilah asked. "I mean, sure, I suppose. There's no point in going to the gym if we're all going to die a fiery death."

"That's the spirit," I said. "Rac, did you wanna come with? Or you can hang with your new big bro."

"Huh? Oh, where are you going?" Rac asked.

"I'm gonna bully some army people into doing what I want for their own good," I said.

She considered it for a moment, and I could see her looking at Sam-O-Ray and judging him. Did she want to have fun with me, or spend time with the friendly, probably-hot for boring people, older guy?

I think fun won out in the end because she sat on the edge of the bench and nodded. "I'll come with you."

"Cool," I said. "Delilah, I'll see you around. Sam-O... if you want to come, feel free? It'll be a bit boring, I think. I need to go newbie herding."

"Ah, I think I'll run back to my place and prepare a few things. This site of yours will need guarding, right?"

"Uh, yeah, I guess so."

"Then I'll keep it safe. Which means bringing a go-bag. I'll fly over in a few hours."

That was pretty damned reasonable. Now to deal with the likely far less reasonable newbies and all of the army officers that I was about to drop a shitton of work onto.