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Adventures of the Magnificent Seven, Shaken, Not Stirr ed - Part 4

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  • David Roth
    The Adventures of the Magnificent Seven Shaken, Not Stirred – Part 4 By David Roth © 29th September, 2006 “Well, none of that matters. Oddball, secure
    Message 1 of 1 , Sep 29, 2006

      The Adventures of the Magnificent Seven

      Shaken, Not Stirred – Part 4

      By David Roth

      © 29th September, 2006


       “Well, none of that matters.  Oddball, secure Mr. Blonde to the table.”


      Oddball took Blonde by the arm and forced him to lie back on a strange looking table.  He then secured his arms and legs in place with those plastic wire ties electricians use.  When he was finished, Yellowpinky turned a large ray-gun like device in his direction.


      “Since you seem to have such a fascination with my business here, and with laser devices, Mr. Blonde, I will personally demonstrate this one for you.  I use it to melt down the gold baubles into bars for easy transport.  Oddball, turn on the switch.


      “So, Yellowpinky, do you expect me to talk,” Blonde nervously asked.


      “Oh no, Mr. Blonde, I expect you to die.”  He set the device to automatic, pointed it to the center of the table just below Blonde’s knees, and left the room.




      Blonde just laid there on the table pondering his own imminent demise.  He’d had a good life, if a tad reckless, and the rewards had been more than adequate.  As is so often the case during times of great emotional travail, a barrage of memories began to flood his mind, mostly having to do with past missions, the people he’d met, and the nagging and recurring question of why he’d chosen the teddy bear boxers for this mission.  He’d definitely have to rethink that one should he manage somehow to get out of his present mess.


      The way he had it figured, should the whole thing continue unimpaired, Yellowpinky’s laser should begin to slice him neatly in half in about another thirty seconds.  It would run from its starting place at the base of the table to the top of his head.  “Oh well,”  he supposed, “I guess I should at least try to go out like a man and sit still for the thing so the two halves of me are roughly even.”  On the plus side, the laser should cut through his bonds, but that would probably happen much too late to do him any good.


      He still had some movement in his wrists and hands, but that was limited.  It certainly wasn’t enough for him to get out.  It was enough, however, to call for help.  His time was limited, however, what with the laser beam creeping closer and the clock slowly ticking down.


      That was when he remembered one of the features of his new wristwatch.  He shouted “Phonebooth! ‘G’!  Emergency!”


      He could hear the voice on the other end of the line even though his present position didn’t allow him to actually see the screen.


      “Ah, there you are Blonde!  I trust the mission is going well, although We have been…”


      “As much as I enjoy the pleasantries of the chit-chat and banter with you, ‘G’, I don’t really have time right now.  I’m tied to a table with a laser about to slice me neatly into rack of lamb.  I don’t suppose any of the remote control gimmicks you’ve built into my latest toy box can help?”


      “Right.  Yes, I see your problem.  Now, then.  Turn the face of the watch to the laser, there’s a good lad.  Let me see what I can see.”


      Blonde did as he was asked, at least as far as he could.


      “Alrighty then.  I think I have a solution.  There’s a little something I forgot to tell you about, but it should do the trick, and I can trigger it from here.  However, it may have an adverse effect on your future family life, if you take my meaning.  Radiation, and all.”


      “Just get on with it, ‘G’, I’ve only got about ten seconds and ten centimeters left before it starts cutting.”


      “Ah, yes.  Well then, try and point the watch face at the device, will you.  Oh, close your eyes – just in case.  I’m going to try and disrupt the laser with a small electromagnetic pulse wave.  That should effectively shut it down.  Assuming, of course, that you aren’t too worried about that other thing I mentioned.”


      “Now would be a good time, ‘G’,” he answered frantically.  “I mean, if you don’t do something, that other thing really won’t matter much now, will it?”


      A third, and highly unexpected voice joined in on the conversation.


      “Why don’t I just unplug the thing?  That would solve everyone’s problems without any adverse side effects.”


      Blonde turned both his head, and the face of the watch as far as he could.  There, moving toward the laser machine was Kitty Gottalot.  She reached down and pulled the plug from the wall socket, and the laser immediately shut down.”


      “Well done, my girl,” ‘G’s voice shouted from the watch.


      “What are you doing here, Kitty,” Blonde asked in astonishment.


      “I can answer that one, James.”  This voice came from a small device clipped to Kitty’s belt.  The voice belonged to Blonde’s American counterpart, Felix Matchstick.


      “Kitty works for us.  She infiltrated Yellowpinky’s inner circle when our First Lady had some of her gold trinkets go missing.  Of course, this blows her cover, I hope you realize that.  Oh, and James?  Nice boxers.”


      “That’s kind of you to put it into perspective, Felix.  Now, Kitty, would you be so kind as to untie me so I can stop Yellowpinky from completing his diabolical plot?”




      “Hey, you guys,” Kristof shouted, his voice full of excitement.  “I’ve done it, I mean we’ve done it.  We got him!”


      “Whatever are you talking about, ‘G’, I mean Kris?”  Josël was still buried in his role as the dashing, daring secret agent.  It had taken him a moment to realize that for all practical purposes, the fantasy was now over.


      “Sorry about that,” he continued, “I was just about to get out of the cellar and capture Yellowpinky and recover Her Majesty’s baubles, bangles, beads and trinkets.  I guess that’s all over now, huh?”


      “It could be -  if Kristof starts making sense, that is,” Grandfather interjected.  “So, son – what’s going on?”


      “Well, you remember all that stuff you brought over last night?  The deeper we got into the game the more I realized that I just might be able to use the stuff to catch whoever – or whatever – has been making off with the little shiny stuff we’ve left out in the back yard.”


      “And???” they all said at once.


      “It was an ‘it’,” he said, “not a who!  Come on, I’ll show you.”


      Kristof led them from the dining room, where they’d been involved in the spy game adventure, to the living room.  There he showed them how he’d rigged up the gadgets Sabas and Dak’s grandfather brought over to them the night before.  Everything was hooked up through a series of extended USB ports to Lisanne’s laptop computer.  The screen on the computer was blank until Kristof tapped the mouse pad.  When it came to life, they were staring at a mysterious green field of clutter that still didn’t make sense to any of them.


      “Now, you remember the stuff Grandpa came over with last night?  I took those things and added a few improvements of my own.  Here – let me explain.


      “First, the motion detector.  I set that up next to the tray out back on the table we used to play our game last night.  Then I went up and got some shiny game pieces from one of the games in Sabas’ room.  Sorry, Sabas, but I needed them to test my theory.  You’ll get them all back, I promise.


      “Then I made sure there was some kind of light out there.  Not much, but just enough to shine off of the game pieces.  I already had an idea what was going on, but I needed to gather evidence.”


      “Ladies and gentlemen, in our last episode, CSI Kristof was seen stringing together a whole bunch of improbable gadgets to help catch the elusive criminal.  Who was it, Kris,” Alyse asked, laughing as she did, “Yellowpinky?”


      This brought a roar of laughter from the rest of them.


      “Almost, Ali, almost,” he replied.  “Remember, the motion detector was just the start.  Then I linked the laser motion detectors together so they covered four points in the back yard.  This was a real puzzle – what if I set them too high, or too low?


      “Here I was lucky.  I remembered what I thought was a trail, so I set one of the sets of laser beams there.  That was the one that actually triggered the cameras.”


      “You said ‘cameras,’ plural.  I only brought one with me,” Grandpa reminded him.


      “Yes sir.  I know.  I used Lisanne’s and borrowed the one from Dak’s computer, and then, hnw here’s the tricky part, filtered all three through the night vision lenses you brought.  I ended up with three views.  One of the table, one that was a broad view of the yard, and finally, one of where I thought this was all headed.


      “What you’re looking at now is a live image of all the missing stuff.  It’s grainy and hard to distinguish because it’s inside a place where there isn’t much light.  As you know, there are two kinds of night vision.  One that captures images based on their heat signature, and one that works by magnifying the existing light.  These inexpensive toy ones are the latter kind.  Infrared is very expensive.


      “Now.  Watch the screen while I replay what the camera’s captured.”


      Kristof opened the media player and selected a file from the list in the folder he was using.  When he clicked‘play’, the image they were seeing changed from the grainy picture of the missing things to one of the table in the back yard with the last few game pieces he’d put out as bait.


      Over the course of about fifteen minutes, all the pieces disappeared one at a time.  Most of the time it was a mystery – almost magic.  A piece was there one moment, and gone the next.  Kris paused the replay before the last piece disappeared.


      “Okay – anyone want to take a guess as to why the stuff keeps disappearing almost as if by magic?”


      “You’re hitting pause and pinching them yourself,” Dak asked


      Lisanne answered the question before Kristof could.


      “No that’s not it,  watch the time display during playback.  The counter is moving smoothly.  Only the images seem to jump.  That’s because the way Kris has it hooked up, it’s only catching about eight or ten frames a second.  Human eyesight focuses at about twenty-four frames per second.  Whatever’s grabbing the stuff is just lucky enough to catch it between frames – or smart enough, which I doubt.”


      “Got it in one, Li!  That’s exactly what’s happening.  The camera slows down in bad light to let what light is there saturate a bit.  If it were daylight, we’d have caught it every time.  Now, back to the movie.”


      Kristof pressed ‘play’ again, and the video continued.  This time everyone saw what had been happening.


      First, there was a fuzzy, jerky image moving just on and off camera.  Finally, it got the courage to reach for the last piece, the shoe from the game.  It hesitated just long enough for all of them to see the criminal face to face, as it were.  A big, fluffy well fed squirrel with a taste for shiny things had been taking their game pieces.


      Kristof then switched back to the live shot, which took them all back to the tree where the squirrel had his nest, and just in time to see it poke it’s head into view and drop the little, shiny, metal shoe from its mouth to the top of the pile.


      “There you are, boys and girls.  Mystery solved.  Our klepto is a critter, and we have the evidence on tape!  All we have to do is go out to the nest, which, by the way is in a hole in that tree out back you used to like to climb so much when you were a kid, Josël.  I think it’s too dark now.  I suggest we wait until the morning and take a ladder – and maybe gloves.  Mr. Squirrel may not want to give up his cache of bangles.”




      The next morning they recovered all the missing objects, as well as some that they learned by going door to door in the neighborhood belonged to some of their friends and neighbors.


      “My friends,” Lisanne announced as they each raised a steaming mug of hot cocoa and clinked them together, “We’ve solved yet another mystery successfully.  Once again, the Magnificent Seven – plus one,” she added, winking at Sabas and Dak’s Grandfather, “rides again.”


      Lisanne held her hand out and the others quickly followed suit – including Grandpa.  They pumped them slightly three times, and then as one shouted “SEVEN!”




      “Hey,” Dak asked, “what about Yellowpinky?”


      “That, my young friend,” Grandpa answered, “is a tragedy indeed.  He…” The wise old man leaned over and whispered the answer into his grandson’s ear.  “But you can’t ever tell anyone.  Royal Secrets Act and all, my dear Matchstick.”


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