Previous parts are here
The Right Technology - VII
"Where is that blasted girl?" muttered Giles, speed-dialling Vi for the third time. Still no reply. He rummaged in the Range-Rover's glove box and found a stake and a cross, slipped a squeeze bottle of holy water into his pocket, and hurried back across the car park towards the pub, just in time to see the ragged vampire come out with the blonde who'd been singing. Anxious to prevent a tragedy, he shouted "You! Leave the girl alone!"
"What?" said the girl. The vampire turned towards Giles, slipping into game face, and snarled as it leaped at Giles, who held up the crucifix and hit the vampire in the face, then staked it while it was screaming. Dust swirled down onto the damp asphalt.
"Are you all right?" asked Giles.
"That... that..." began the girl.
"No need for thanks," said Giles, "just doing my job."
"That was my minion, you... oh crap." The girl backed away from Giles.
"Your... oh balls!" The penny finally dropped, and he suddenly recognized her. "Harmony?"
"Giles?" Harmony said incredulously.
"Good lord, I haven't seen you since Spike found the Gem of Amara."
"I miss Blondie Bear," said Harmony, edging towards the door.
"I must say you're looking well," said Giles, holding the cross in her path and hoping that she'd give him an opening to stake her. "Working for Angel must have suited you." Harmony backed away again, Giles followed her.
"Well yeah, until he decided to wreck the place," said Harmony. "Then everything went to hell. Why didn't you watcher guys help him?"
"Sorry," said Giles, feeling in his pocket for the holy water, "he had us convinced he was evil."
"Nope," said Harmony. "And you let him down when he needed your help."
"I'm terribly sorry," said Giles, squirting the holy water at her. Harmony growled and dodged, slipped into game face, and leapt high into the air. Giles looked around and couldn't see her; listened, and heard something crash on the roof of the pub.
"You can't get in there," shouted Giles, "that's where the landlord lives. It's a private residence." A slate shattered on the tarmac a few feet away, another a little closer. "Bugger," Giles muttered, and ran for the Range-Rover, hoping that she'd still be there when he came back with Vi.
* * * * *
"What do we do now," said Xander, prodding the wire mesh cover of their prison with his pocket knife. To the shrunken trio the strands of wire looked an inch or so thick, impossible to cut with the small tools on his belt.
"Got any wire cutters?" asked Robin.
"Get real," said Xander, "I'd need hydraulic bolt cutters to get through this stuff at our scale."
Vi strained at the mesh, trying to force an opening, but the strands were too tightly packed.
"What are they up to out there," asked Vi, staring across the now-vast floor at Wallace and Gromit.
"It looks like the dog is miming a... a kangaroo, maybe," said Robin. "Something that hops, anyway. With a stake in its heart."
"Must be his true demonic form," said Vi
"Any chance of moving this whole thing?" asked Xander, pushing at the cover again.
"What for?" asked Vi.
"Just over there," said Xander, pointing across the concrete floor. "There's a splinter of wood, kinda wedge shaped. If we can push the rim of this thing over it and up there might just be room for someone to squeeze through underneath.
"Looks like ten feet or so," said Robin. "About four inches if we were full-sized
"It's gonna be hard work," said Xander, "but I think it's our best way out."
"Okay," said Vi, putting her shoulder to the mesh. "Start pushing on the count of three... one.. two.. three.."
* * * * *
"But I'm cured, lad," said Wallace. "There's no need for anyone to want to hurt me."
Gromit tried to mime "you know that, and I know that, but do they know that?" but soon decided to give it up as an impossible job. He tipped out the contents of Vi's bag again, ignoring the bleeping phone, waved the crossbow and stakes at Wallace, and again mimed a rabbit being staked. Something finally seemed to click in Wallace's mind.
"Oh 'eck, lad. What are we going to do?"
Gromit shrugged, then seemed to have an idea. He began to mime something else.
"You're praying? You want to take them upstairs?" guessed Wallace.
Gromit groaned, and tried again.
* * * * *
There was a loud thump as Giles drove out of the car park, and for a second the Range Rover lurched heavily to one side.
"Bloody pothole," said Giles, looking back in the mirror. The asphalt seemed smooth enough. He cursed as he realised he'd turned the wrong way from the pub, and was heading away from Wallace's house. There wasn't room to turn quickly in the narrow street, so he decided to drive around the block. Inevitably the first traffic light on the route was red; he thought about driving through it, but a few seconds wouldn't make much difference, and he didn't want to attract too much attention.
There was a bright street light to the right, and Giles looked away from it before his night vision was destroyed. To the left the Range Rover was silhouetted on a whitewashed fence. The Range Rover, and something hunched on top of it, a lumpy object on the roof rack. The lights changed, and Giles stamped down on the accelerator, built up some speed until he hit a wider section of the road, then slammed on the brakes. There was a shriek and the object - Harmony - hurtled forward and off the roof towards a shop window. She crashed through, broken glass showering around her, and disappeared from view. Giles swore, and reached under the seat for a heavy crossbow. He was still groping for it when she came out again, and he suddenly realised that the shop was a gunsmiths. The 12-bore shotgun she was carrying made recognition easier, of course. He slammed the gears into reverse and backed away. The windscreen on the passenger side shattered as she fired.
* * * * *
"Looks like another three feet," said Xander. "Maybe an inch in real distance. A couple more heaves should do it."
"Hold on," said Robin. "The dog-demon's looking this way." Wallace and Gromit were busy at the far end of the cellar, doing something to a bulky object, at least twenty foot tall, covered with a loose tarpaulin. They couldn't see it clearly from under the dome.
"Act innocent," said Vi. "Pretend we're just talking."
"Right," said Xander. "When we get to the wood you'd better get out first. I can see some big nails near the work-bench, if you can get to one of them you might be able to use it as a weapon."
"What about you?"
"We'll try to find cover," said Robin, "there isn't much we can do to help you when we're this size."
"Wait a minute," said Xander, "there's some wood shavings there too." He reached into one of the belt pouches and pulled out a box of matches. "Fire's always good for a diversion."
"We'll have to be careful," said Vi. "It'd be easy to get trapped."
"Okay... maybe not such a good plan."
"It's looking away again," said Robin.
"Another couple of heaves should do it," said Xander.
"Then let's get on with it," said Vi. "On the count of three..."
* * * * *
As Harmony fired another shot, taking out the window of a butcher's shop but missing the Range-Rover completely, Giles slammed it into second gear and accelerated toward her. She leaped aside before he could run her down. Giles glanced in the mirror, saw nothing, then cursed himself for a fool and risked a quick look over his shoulder. Harmony was running after the Range-Rover, and starting to gain on it. He took the next corner in a sliding drift and collision that took off the mirror of a parked van, and accelerated again toward the next turn. Harmony was still on his tail.
At the next corner he looked back. Harmony was still on his trail, though she seemed to have lost the shotgun and her shoes somewhere on the way. He'd gained a little ground. He accelerated again, took the corner into West Wallaby Street as fast as he could, and slammed on the brakes outside Wallace's house. He grabbed the crossbow and ran towards the house, hurdling a plastic gnome, and rang the doorbell.
* * * * *
"Whoever can that be at this time of night?" said Wallace.
Gromit shrugged and pulled on the handles of a metal cylinder that hung down from the ceiling in a corner of the cellar, a WW2-surplus U-boat periscope. On the surface a gnome rose a few inches on a steel tube. Gromit looked through the lenses and his ears rose in surprise.
"Someone we know, lad?" said Wallace, coming over to take a look. He saw Giles, recognized him, and said "Oh 'eck, lad. What are we going to tell him?"
* * * * *
"Anyone else think this thing is shrinking?" asked Xander
"Maybe," said Vi. "Or maybe we're starting to grow again." There was definitely less room under the wire dome, and Xander and Robin were having to stoop a little.
"Try pushing it again," said Robin, "if we've grown our strength should be growing too."
Vi gave the dome another push and it skidded towards the wedge-shaped piece of wood. "All of us," said Xander. "We need to get it onto the wedge without dropping off the other end."
"Can't we just wait to grow again?" asked Robin.
"If he notices us growing," said Xander, pointing at Wallace, "he'll zap us with the shrink ray again. We need to get clear before it's too obvious."
* * * * *
Giles couldn't hear anyone coming to the door, and got out his lock picks. If Xander and Vi weren't in the house he wanted to know what had happened to them, and he'd be safe from Harmony inside someone's home. As the penultimate tumbler clicked Harmony came into view, stalking down the path towards him. She looked incredibly annoyed. Behind Giles the door swung open and Wallace said "Ummm... you'd better come in."
"Thanks," said Harmony, running down the path towards them. Giles fired his crossbow; she caught the bolt without stopping and slammed into him, knocking him down as she crossed the threshold.
"Oo-er," said Wallace. "Can I help you, miss?"
Harmony grabbed his arm and said "Oh yeah, baby" as she slipped into game face.
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