B.A.T. M.Y.S.T.E.R.Y – Better Armed Thinking Must Yet Solve This Enigma Rooted Yonder

Disclaimer: All characters and settings are entirely original, with any similarities to any person or characters from other works coincidental.

This is page 5. Page 4 can be found here.


– Part 41 –

So she needed to undo what she had done earlier, and all she needed to do for that was to type in the code again, it would close the hidden door and open the one they needed so much to be open right now.

What a splendid conclusion this was, Herlock Sholmes would be proud.

And so she tried to walk over to the typetelewriter as elegantly as her condition allowed, which meant she carried herself with the grace of a wet dog slowly trying to make it to his home.

Any attempts at getting a shout of triumph out proved fruitless and so she just wordlessly punched in the same numbers from the code sheet again, almost collapsing once she had done so. An audible clack proved her right and the door opened on its own, almost hitting Huuva, who was still standing in front of it, into the face.

He turned around and with an unusual look of concern wordlessly offered Şakan a hand and she limped towards the exit with him, the papers gathered as evidence clasped under her arm. They stepped into a hall and saw some of the last rays of sun coming in on the left side. Approaching it, Şakan made out one more poster on the concrete door. "THE PAST ENDS HERE, AND THE FUTURE BEGINS"

There was no obvious handle to open it, but the still barely-conscious Başanon pointed and grunted in the direction of a small niche in the corner of the corridor. A metal handle was visible on the ground, similar to the one he had seen outside. Huuva set the Balak down for a moment and pulled at it. But it wouldn't move at all. Confused, he looked around, but saw nothing else that might be their door-opener. He tried pushing it down, but while that was possible, again nothing happened.

"Just ... try it again." Başanon said between some more coughs.

"Balak constructions can be a bit janky, huh?" Huuva muttered to himself.

He pulled at the handle again and this time the now familiar sound of rumbling was audible, and the door opened to reveal an almost dark jungle. Never had they been so relieved to finally breathe fresh air again, and be free of all the horrors inside, especially whatever made them feel as if they were trapped somewhere with excruciatingly painful heat. Now, the cold of the night setting in was more than welcome. If only there wasn't all this noise from plane engines in the air, and the coffee kettle sounds. The vibrations following them felt like small earthquakes.

– Part 42 –

Huuva, panting himself, brought them some distance away from the building, to a palm growing inside the compound and then began slowly peeling off the protective suits of the two Balaks, followed by the leather uniforms they were still wearing underneath. The two looked miserable, coughing and rasping, but they had made it out alive. After their contaminated clothing had been done away with, he simply left them lie on the ground below the palm. and then began to move to a nearby shed.

"Where... you going?" Şakan could barely get any words out, Huuva would have to guess what she asked if it wasn't clear enough.

– "Find a way to get away from here." he answered.

"But – your plane..."

– "It fulfilled its last duty."

Her eyes went wide for a moment, as Huuva disappeared wordlessly behind some bushes.

Şakan tried calling out to him one more time, but this time only garbled sounds came out, as if she had tripped over her tongue. Her head was still throbbing and spinning, so she decided to just keep laying on the ground and press her forehead against the wet grass. It helped a little, but she still longed for a bed and ice cubes. In the humid warm air she was at least not freezing, even though she and Başanon were only wearing their underwear now.

She wondered if she should give in and just fall asleep, but doing so in the open, in the middle of a jungle, felt like a bad idea, even if the concrete walls probably kept most animals away. But she then remembered, there was the open gate that they had used to enter. The encounter with the strange beast the previous night, the delenijauva, had been bad enough.

Thankfully, she managed to not dwell on such unsettling thoughts. Instead her mind conjured up images of what Huuva might be doing next. Would he somehow acquire a new plane in the middle of nowhere? Steal one of the military ones and then do acrobatics on it to pick them up? Followed by explosions to make getting away easier? He seemed like the most unpredictable man she had ever met, and she had met some eccentric pranksters at university before.

When she managed to look up from the ground she noticed that Huuva was fiddling at the shed's door. It was hard to make out what exactly he was doing, but he had drawn out his knife again, and seemed to be working his way through something like a thick cable or rope. If her head wasn't feeling like a thousand coffee mugs clinking and clattering with their contents swashing in every direction, she would be trying to make sense of this image in front of her now, but all she could formulate in her mind was "Huh. He's really some kind of Undeterrable." Pictures of shrewd craftsmen and bards in stories she had read as a child, who managed to reach goals far beyond their normal means with trickery, wit and attentiveness, entered her mind, and laid themselves on top of the world around her.

After a while, she was already back to lying flat on the grassy ground, a single "Haha" could be heard from Huuva's direction, followed by something in Jutean she didn't understand. Huuva was evidently done with the knife. A small thump, two doors creaking, and mischievous giggling told her all she needed now. He had clearly found what he was looking for. As for what, she didn't have the energy to care. A bicycle-cart? A plane? A completely new contraption developed here in this cursed secret base where science weds itself to the darkest depths of the human psyche? She would find out soon enough, surely. And Başanon would surely be all over himself with excitement. Everything would right itself again. It had to...

– Part 43 –

The next moment she found herself bothered by angry noise, this time much more nearby. Sputtering and chugging, it reminded her of the boat she had been on. But the river was so far away, that made no sense. Her annoyance at this logical impossibility made her headache worse. When she opened her eyes, and realized she must have fallen asleep for a moment there, she saw a fuming mechanical beast coming closer.

"By Thagha, what is happening?" she exclaimed, feeling like she awoke on a railway that had a train approaching. And she still felt too exhausted to move. A moment before it would have mowed her down it stopped, right in front of her nose, and a door swung open. Huuva emerged from the inside of the metal monstrosity, with his flight-goggles on. He grinned like she had never seen him do before.

As he opened his mind to spoke, another coffee kettle exploded, this one dangerously close, blowing up the hallway they had come out of, sending dust and debris flying and Şakan and Başanon coughing. He frowned.

"Can you walk?" he asked the two.

No answer, but that was also an answer. He dragged them both into the machine, one by one, seating them on some kind of bench put into the back. The entire vehicle was vibrating and the shaking ensured they wouldn't fall asleep again.

Huuva threw himself on a front seat, a metal construction haphazardly tied to the tubes making up the frame of the vehicle. A carpet was laid in front of it, and on the other side bordered a box with various levers and what resembled a ship's steering wheel, it even had the same wooden handles. He pulled some levers and pushed other ones down, and an engine roared up and with an unpleasant lurch forward the vehicle set itself into motion, its wheels covered in rubber squeaking as they accelerated, leaving a muddy patch in its wake.

A second later another whistling gift from above hit the same patch and Huuva let out a curse. He pushed down a lever further, and the metal beast became faster and faster, cutting through the grass and greenery surrounding the research site at speeds that not even the fastest runner, not even the fastest boat could surely reach.

– Part 44 –

Şakan wanted to cry out, tell Huuva to stop, but even if she had had the energy the noise of this monstrous machine would have drowned her out. She braced herself for the impact as best as she could, but that wasn't much. She struggled to find something to hold on to. And so when Huuva cut corners sharply or swerved to not crash into a tree, it pushed her and Başanon from side to side, and driving over large roots and stones kept sending them a few inches into the air whenever the machine briefly lost contact with the ground.

They had crossed the entire site almost in the blink of an eye, and were now nearing the broken gate, with absolutely no sign of slowing down. On the contrary, Huuva seemed to be accelerating further. The only thing she could do now was close her eyes, to not look as the infernal vehicle would crash into what might as well be the gates to Muhosh' evil realm.

A second later there was a terribly loud series of clangs and bangs but much to her astonishment, they hadn' crashed, or even stopped. She slowly opened her eyes, and looked outside. They were already outside the research site. And to her horror she saw scrap metal flying past them, evidently this machine was already falling apart and they would all live through their final moments now. Her short, but piercing scream made Başanon look to her and then out of the window when he saw her pointing out.

He squinted his eyes for a bit and then inhaled sharply. A grin formed on his tired face.

"Şakan, you know what that was? It was part of the gate. We came in like a wrecking ball!"

She slumped together on the bench, too tired and ill to even get upset at him or herself for jumping to conclusions like that. Huuva had once again proven to be the world's most unpredictable man. And an Undeterrable on top of that. He would strike fear in all the by-the-book university officials and their research assistants, who enjoyed nothing more than their daily routine of bureaucracy, meticulous research and coffee rites. She found himself imagining him in that university environment and very weakly smiling at the thought. But her pain and nausea soon made her wonder if she could ever return to it herself. But at least, at least she had solved the mystery? Well, not alone of course, but still. Their trip had not been in vain.

The End.