Tepic listened intently to the two men, learning everything he could about Philip Johnson when another jailor arrived and the discussion ceased. The ten minutes had been short, but informative and Tepic was hoping they’d get a chance to talk more soon.
It was hours later when the metal man returned, his feet resounding with every step. Theodore followed after, carrying the large black cat in a dirty urchin coat. He was cradling the feline tenderly as the metal man opened the cell across from Tepic. The fox waved to his friend hopefully, but Beryl wasn’t moving or reacting. There was some metal antenna attached to their back and the cats two colored eyes were open but unblinking.
“Whatcha do ter ‘im!!” Tepic shouted as he gripped the bars of his cell. The metal man didn’t answer as he started to walk away, and Tepic looked around and grabbed the prison cup and threw it at the back of the metal mans head. He didn’t even break a step as he departed.
Tepic turned back to his friend and Theodore who had laid Beryl down carefully on his side. Tepic could now see a familiar, but modified, device that had been designed by Doctor Obolensky.
“He called it an Arcana Nullifier.” Theodore said slowly, and then moved for the exit to follow the metal man, leaving them alone with the guard, Lenny.
His ears could hear the roar of the engines pick up as they began to move while Tepic examined his friend across the room. Tepic had seen Beryl survive worse than this, but with that thing on him he wasn’t able to move for some reason. He wouldn’t be able to stop the metal man if he did try to do him in…and with the guard there now he couldn’t confer with the others.
He’d have to make an escape plan on his own.
Tepic didn’t have much to go on unfortunately. He was down to the metal buttons on his trousers, two feet of rope belt, and his woolen jumper. He had a blanket, a bunk built into the the side of the cell, and the cup he had thrown outside.
Tepic considered his options for a few hours, and then waited until the guard changed back to Theodore. That was when he asked the giant for a cup of water.
Theodore brought it back and saw the youngster was standing eagerly right next to the door, tensed to move. He waved him back, it would not do to let the lad escape, even though there was nowhere he could actually go. The boy stepped to the back of the cell, looking dejected, and Theodore opened the the door, leaning over to place the cup full of water just inside.
As soon as his attention concentrated on the cup, Tepic made his move, leaping forward and using the man’s outstretched arm as a step up, launching himself over the man’s back! It was a brave attempt, but the others could see it was doomed, Theodore just being too big to vault in one go, even by an agile urchin, and the lad was slammed against the door jamb as the man stood, turning.
Tepic slumped down, and was scooped back into the cell by the giant’s massive hand. Theodore tsked and shook his head to himself as he closed and relocked the door, the bolt crashing into it’s housing with a loud bang, then returned to the guard post in the next room.
The boy picked himself up from the floor, screaming and banging on the cell bars, calling to be let out. Theodore looked back in, shook his head and went back to whatever task he was doing in the outer room, leaving the lad to wear himself out. As soon as he had vanished, Tepic studied the lock intently for a few seconds, still rattling the door, then pulled back his arm and gave it a firm bash to one side. There was a clunk, and the bolt snapped back into the lock! The door was open! The boy continued to bang and shake the door, gradually turning his shouts into sobs, shaking the door less and less, as if he had given up on his attempts. He then looked at the other captives, and winked, grinning from ear to ear. Opening the door a fraction he took the metal trouser button he had slipped into the bolt hole during his escape attempt back out and pocketed it, then settled down to wait.
Guard duty is boring, no matter who you are or where you are, and knowing your charges are safely behind locked bars tends to induce a sense of security, even for the experienced guard. It was not too long before the captives could hear the gentle rumble of Theodore dozing at his post. Tepic carefully opened his door just enough to squeeze through, and tiptoed towards the sleeping giant. There was no way he could overcome such a formidable foe, it would have to be a quick key lift and swift release of the others!
It was with a little regret that he released the key from Theodore’s belt, and slipped back to the cells, the big man, even though working for the despicable Man in Blue, was a decent enough sort, and Tepic did not really want him to get in trouble. He whispered to the two men in the cells not to hurt their guard if possible, but capture him and put him in one of the cells.
He wasn’t sure if the Romanchurian was going to agree, but the scot nodded softly, quietly. He then put the key in the first lock, turned it, the noise of the bolt drawing back loud in the metal room, then turned to the second cell, releasing the occupant as quickly as possible! Theodore could be heard rousing from his nap, and the two men flew from their captivity and entered battle!