Bump doesn’t have any real inns, most places to stay (not that anyone ever wants to) are rooms over the seedy bars. The Sump Rat was the closest attempt in Bump, at a roadhouse. It was an abandoned pumping station before Debbie McMourning won the small, shedlike structure and worthless land around it, in a poker game. After that, some of the storage rooms, once it was determined they contained nothing of value, were rented out to traveller’s (often finding themselves sleeping amongst the rotten crates that were never removed).
The main room, sitting at a card table, surrounded by pipes, Sump Debbie played solitaire. the hunchbacked old woman, slipping out a card from her sleeve when she was sure she wasn’t looking.
“I saw that! ye cheated!” “I tain’t done no such thin, mama McMourning ain’t never raised a cheater!” “well whatya call this then?!” she grabbed her right wrist in her left, and shook, the old woman watched angrily as cards poured out of her sleeve. “I ain’t never seen those before! get your groddy mitts off me!” Her argument against herself was interrupted when someone came in the creaky door. “‘Ello Debbie” Patchwork nodded to the haggard old woman. Debbie let go of her wrist and nodded as Patchwork dropped a bag of coins on the table “E’s in room 2, wait’ll i’m out ‘fore ye do anyfing! old woman likes of me, can’t be hangin aroun’ if there’s a beaten, does no good for my health!” Patchwork waved her away “fine, fine, go get yerself drunk.” As the old woman snatched the money and made out the door, Bowler stepped in, blocking her way “Key?”
“nao, nao key, what you think this is? a fancy ‘otel?” the woman shoved past him to spend the money as Bowler looked at Patchwork and shrugged.
“c’mon, let’s get on wit it.” The man in the patchwork coat ground his stogie on the table, and pulled out his cudgel as they walked to one of the doors, this one had a crudely painted ‘Too’ on it. Bowler blinked, “Is this it?” Patchwork pointed at the door”What’d you think?” “ya knows I can’t read.” Patchwork rubbed his hand down his face and sighed “C’mon, get ready.”
The two large men pressed themselves against the wall on either side of the door, Patchwork nodded to Bowler, who turned the knob.
The room was dark, after a moment, their eyes adjusted. it was small, and amazingly had a bed and table as opposed to the usual piles of broken gears and junk left from when it still operated as a pumphouse. The table was covered in schematics and maps, neiter men could really understand what they were looking at, but they were more concerned about something else
“ere, were is ‘e?” Bowler looked around, nervously aa Patchwork waved him off “Not ‘ere, but lookit this!” he pulled out a leather case, grunting with the effort, getting it onto the filthy bed and opened the lid. The two men looked at the assorted machine components, not understanding what any of them were, but understanding they could get a good price for them. “Look aroun’ see if ‘e’s got anyfing else, money, gold, somethin, toss it all in that case an’ we’ll see what Sully’ll take for the whole lot.” Bowler nodded as the two men searched the room. Patchwork climbed under the bed, the only real storage space in here, and heard a crackle, and a thud “That you? what you find? all’s under ‘ere’s dirt now.” Patchwork crawle out from under the bed, and saw Bowler laing face down on the floor “what you doin’ sleepin?” “He’s been temporarily paralyzed sir, an electric shock, now, what exactly are you two in here for?” Patchwork turned and saw a tall gaunt man, in a long black coat. with a gasmask , and a window in his chest, displaying a heart that looked like it came from something else. He was adjusting knobs on one of the two large metal gauntlets he was wearing, the smell of formalyhide and other chemicals wafter in the air.
“ah, er, well…” Patchwork suddenly rushed Grendel, raising his cudgel over his head. Grendel managed to dodge the swing, and brough his hand up, as blue arcs leaped from it. He lightly touched Patchwork on the back of the head. The larger man’s hair stood on end as the shock went through his body. As Patchwork slumped to the ground, Grendel detached he cables leading to the backpack containing the eel battery, and shrugged it off the bed “that was it’s highest setting, I’m going to have to find a better way to power them when we’re not in Babbage of near the Clokhaven plant.” He nodded to the door, as one of his pengi’s waddled in with a loud clanking. “make sure these two don’t go far, I’ll need test subjects for our work here, I need to talk to our landlady first.”
Debbie staggered into the door of the Sump Rat, and flopped onto her chair, cradeling the bottle of rotgut to her. “I wunner if they ‘ad enough sense to clean th’ room when they was done.” She took a swig of her rotgut and was about to get up, when she heard Grendel behind her “Miss McMourning, I had thought I asked not to be interrupted in my room.”
The old woman shreiked and swung around, holding the rotgut like a bat, ignoring the rancid liquid pouring out the empty bottle. “Don’ scare an old woman like that! what if’n me ‘eart gave out?!” “Ma’am, I am a skilled surgeon, if your heart gave out, I would have you up again in no time, now, I had two visitors tonight, after their complication, I’e been convinced that I can not possibly continue my research, if I am renting a room here. security is rather lax.”
The old woman looked at him .”you wanna leave then?”
“no, I am purchasing this pump house from you, it still has much of the eqipment, plus it’s fairly isolated location from the rest of the town, will suit my needs after some renovation.”
He plopped a large heavy bag in her hand as she just stared at him, confused. “This should be enough to cover the cost, now please. leave the perimiter or N0. 67A will have to escourt you out.”
The pengi clanked over from wherever he’d been lurking, and taking the old hag’s hand, lead her out the door as Grendel walked back to his room.
Bowler was lying on the bed, with enough tranquilizers in him to keep a rhino comatose,
Patchwork glared from where his head was connected t the aparatus the two were looking at earlier, his body lay on the floor.
“Thank you again for volunteering, I hadn’t tested the cranal-translatrophier yet.” the head groaned at him while the rubber tubes trailing from his neeck pumped serum through it , the device the head was connected to transferred through the bolts drilled into the skull, to a small typwriter “what is going on?” Grendel looked at the paper and nodded “good, good, I have agood feeling about this place.”