15 September 2012

winryweiss: (Default)
Fill for this prompt
part ten part twelve
Warnings: Alternate Universe. Haddock/Tintin.

The Crab with the Mechanical Claws (part 11)

Cuthbert tilts his head and looks at astonished Archibald, smug smile on his lips. “Never underestimate a scientist, Captain.”
“Yes, sir.” Archibald blurts out.
Steelworks employees are encircling them. Professor leans on his lead pipe like on walking stick. He turns at closest man and says something in German. The worker retorts, but soon stutters under the intensity of Calculus’ stare. Other workers join the debate, yet they quickly succumb to professor’s authority. Captain notices expressions for “accident” “illegal” and “police”. But he couldn’t care less, since he spots inert Milou in debris.
“Oh no.” He mutters, taking the copper canine to his arms.
“Allow me.” Professor, keeping a tight rein on situation, takes Milou from his hands. “Ah, severe malfunction due to impact.” He examines automaton’s head-piece. “Hmm, main memory seems not to be damaged.” He smiles at Captain reassuringly. “Do not worry. I can repair your dog.”
“No no, he’s Tintin’s …” Chill crawls up Archibald’s spine. Tintin. He looks around, searching frantically for unmistakable ginger hair. Instead, he notices the trace of destruction. “Blue blistering barnacles.” Captain knows immediately where exactly Tintin is. “Take care of here, would yer?” He interjects in the loose direction of Cuthbert.
“Wait! Are you going to confront stampede AST bare handed?!” Professor’s voice falters.
“Yes?” Archibald answers, unsure of himself.
“Are you mad?”
“Captain,” Cuthbert grabs his shoulders and turns the ex-soldier to face him. “Lure the ‘Crab’ to river. The device is sensitive to water.”
“Now, that sounds like a plan.” I must totally lost my mind! “Handle it here for while.” Archibald starts running after Tintin. “Interpol should arrive soon!” He shouts back at the engineer.
Professor Calculus stands there, unmoving Milou in his arms, watching as Captain hurries away, his injured leg obviously forgotten. It is not just that boy, who is extraordinary, no. Even this man is especial. Cuthbert smiles. He should watch over those two.

This is nightmare come true.
One of those nightmares in which you are trying to desperately run away from something dangerous and unseen, something just behind you. And no matter how fast you run, you never escape.
Tintin perceives everything in decelerated pace, discerning every detail. Bark of trees, twigs on ground, protruding roots, cautionary tweeting of birds, fleeing squirrel (poor girl, she must be terrified), his own screaming voice, gruesome rumble accompanied with steam puffs behind and dazzling reflections from river surface ahead.
He is aiming directly to river.
Great Snakes in Thundering Typhoons!
He is going to die.
He is so going to die.
He never learned to swim properly.
But on the other hand, this might be his only chance.
Supposing that the monster behind is same specimen as his dog, it would not react well to soaking in water. It might slow it down. It might even stop it. Very improbable, but still possible.
Tintin begs every saint and god he knows for help and steers his uncontrollable bicycle towards river, luring the ‘Crab’ into what he hoped will turn out as inescapable trap. Swerving on the last moment, he listens with satisfaction how caterpillar tracks drive the monstrous machine from bank to deep water, heated copper sizzling angrily. Then his back tyre slips on mud and Tintin feels dread grip his heart when he falls backwards to the river, still clutching the handlebars tightly.

Archibald hastens through smithereens trees. He could feel his heart’s frenzied beating up to his throat and his legs weakening, threaten to give up under him, the gash from rapier burn more with every step. He is out of shape, that’s for sure, but he pushes his limits apart and keeps going, fear for that boy driving him forward. Captain tries to force the terrors of war out of his mind. Yet he seen so many men died due to steam weapons and he certainly does not want to see another. Not Tintin. Not Tintin!
He could see the line of uprooted trees ending on river bank and that devilish device sunken partially in deep water, artificial arms still moving abruptly, but the whole thing obviously stuck.
Where is that ginger?
Captain stumbles over tree root and nearly falls down to ground. He staggers for while, cursing coarsely, but regains his equilibrium within heartbeat. He trips and skids all the way down to bank, flinging his hands in the air for better balance.
“TINTIN!” He calls out again, voice rasp. He wheezes bending forward, shaking hands supporting him on his own knees, forcing air into his burning lungs.
Oh God, I’m in terrible shape. I should give up drinking. And smoking too. I’ll give it up, I’ll sacrifice everything, I’ll …I … Just don’t take that Angel of a boy from me! Please, don’t.
“Captain?” That desired voice comes from the river.
Archibald makes an effort to move but his legs give up and he topples down, panting heavily, hand clutching at his chest.
“CAPTAIN!” The ginger reporter tries to climb back to solid ground, slipping and sliding on mud. He falls, not for first time concluding from the state of his clothes. “Captain! Is it infarct? Stroke? Coronary? Captain!” Tintin crawls up the incredibly slippery bank only with his sheer willpower at amazing speed.
Archibald can’t help himself, he laughs loudly.
The ginger grabs him by his shoulders, face pale with anxiety. “Do you need doct…?”
Archibald crushes Tintin at himself, paying no attention to the muddy dirt. “Oh God, lad, don’t make me so afraid.”

“I bet my year salary, that this is Tintin’s work.” Thompson pinches the bridge of his nose.
“This is Tintin’s work.” Thomson put his hand on his coworker’s shoulder compassionately.
They look at each other with loud sigh.
“It might have been worse.”
Thompson questions his colleague with his eyes.
“The main building still stands.” Answers Thomson simply.
“Oh. Yes.” Thompson looks around ruins of workrooms and the swarming of people on courtyard. “Apparently, our boy had been mindful. But where is he?”
Detectives step out, each in other direction, unknowing of the fact, that their walking sticks had interlocked. Canes stubbornly refuse to let go of each other, so detectives collide back to back with surprised huffs.
Cuthbert swallows a laugh. He noticed those two black-clad men the very moment they stepped into bustle of steelworkers and local policemen. For some unknown reason, he has the feeling that they would be the Interpol agents. Calculus checks his pocket watch. Eight is drawing close. He pats Milou’s head-piece lovingly.
Do not worry, little one. I’ll not only repair you. I’ll make you even better than from assembly line.
“Professor Cuthbert Calculus?” He hears two voices speaking as one.
“This apparatus?” Professor turns to face detectives and lifts Milou slightly. “It is not mine. I am merely keeping an eye on it.”
“Is that …” “… Milou?”
“Snowy? No, I believe that his masters are calling him Milou.”
“What?” “Masters?” “This isn’t Tintin’s dog?”
“Whether his masters are from Innsbruck?”
Detectives look at each other, baffled. They have been warned, that professor is hard hearing, but they hadn’t expected it to be so bad.
“No, this automaton belongs to Tintin and Captain Haddock.” Calculus glances at them contemplative. “You certainly must have heard, at least, about that courageous boy.”
“Captain …” “… Haddock?” They ask mistrustfully. “Tintin must have took him along.” “But why?”
“Oh.” Cuthbert espies the ginger colored tuft of hair. “Here they are.”
Tintin and Archibald are walking side by side, dirty and visibly tired, the former soldier leaning on the reporter. Far too close for detectives liking.
No one would menace their boy.
“Tintin!” Detectives wave their canes in air, nearly knocking a passerby worker. Professor is clever enough to steps aside a little. The threesome goes to meet them halfway.
“Great Scotland Yard! Boy …” “… are you all right? We were …” “… sick worried about you! Couldn’t you …” “… wait till we arrived?”
But Tintin does not pay any attention to them. He rushes towards Cuthbert, eyes glued on immobile copper canine. “Milou. What …?”
“He protected us. But there is nothing to worry, my boy.” Calculus smiles at the ginger and pats him on cheek. “His memory is intact. Once I repair him, he will be better than ever.”
“Tintin?” Thompson and Thomson encircle the ginger. “Tintin, what happened?”
“What happened?!” Archibald roars. “He played a game of tag with stampede AST and ended up in river!”
“And the ‘Crab’?” Professor becomes serious.
“That antediluvian crustacean got jammed there!”
“Calm down, Captain.” Tintin sneaks from detectives and lays his hands on the bearded man’s arm. “Or you will really get a heart-attack.”
Captain growls and the ginger snickers at him, stroking his arm absentmindedly. Detectives share surprised yet askance glance. And Cuthbert only smiles knowingly into his moustache.

Author’s notes
Whew! This was pleasant ride. (Next part would be even more pleasant. ^^)
x Never underestimate a scientist. Really, never do such a stupid thing.
x Despite the fact, that Cuthbert is mild and kind all the time, I belive he has that sort of authority wich makes you shut up and listen obediently.
x The river flowing next to Malbork's Castle is called Nogat. I do not remember how deep it is exactly, but it is deep.
x (This) Tintin could swim. He is just not exactly great in it. To be hones, he is terrible. Which still does not stops him from throwing himself into ranging river to save certain Chinese boy. Luckily Milou have a chain.
x Thom(p)sons are little overprotective over Tintin. You should not resent them for mistrusting Captain. He is snatching "their boy" away, after all. ^^
x It might seem unfair to Milou, but believe me. Cuthbert will make him even more awesome.
x Snowy? No, I believe they call him Milou. I originally prepared another pun, but this won.
x And why does Cuthbert think, that they have the dog together. Well, they apparently appeared like couple to him.
x Antediluvian crustacean. I got painful laughing fit from thinking up this insult.
Only one part to go. At least for this steam-powered adventure.


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