#fridayflash: malfunction

"Did it arrive?" Jeff set the tablet down on the floor and set it to holographic speakerphone. He watched Grace's head turn towards where the arrival pad must be.

She had her poker face on. That meant he was still trapped.

"Um, the arrival pad received something, yes," said Grace. "So that's better than half an hour ago."

"What do you mean, 'something'?"

"I don't know what you tried to send. Don't bite my head off."

Jeff swore and smacked his fist against the nearest wall. The wall was made of steel three centimetres thick, and it hurt like hell. "It was a sock. Grace, I need to teleport the hell out of here before I lose it."

"The departure pad is sending data now. Things are progressing. Worst comes to worst, they'll send in a rescue team for you. The arrival pad still works, after all. It's not like we can't get supplies to you."

"It will take the team weeks to get here."

"Better than nothing. What the hell did Askworth do to the departure pad, anyhow?"

"He shot it."

"Shot it?"

"With a revolver. You know, a gun. He was aiming at me and I hit the floor before he could pull the trigger."

"Where the hell did he find bullets? Those things haven't been made for decades."

"They're metal. They keep."

The hologram of Grace's head tilted to one side and frowned.

"Take a picture of the bullet damage for me."

Jeff turned off the hologram, picked up the tablet, and took a photo of the departure pad. The bullet had gone right through the shield glass, and swirl of random energy frequencies formed a warped spectrum over the floor, even when the departure pad wasn't active, like now. Jeff wouldn't have stepped into it if his life depended on it.

Grace gave a low whistle. "Yeah, that's going to be easier to just replace and then diagnose back at a shop."

"Can't you just send me the pieces of a new one, tell me how to assemble the thing? I've got time to kill."

"What, you were a mechanic before you were an Interpol agent?"

"Well, no."

"Look, your boss still wants the report about what happened and what the status is."

"At least that will give me something to do." Jeff sat on the floor and glanced over at Askworth's corpse. The blood on and around it had mostly dried, which was something. "Do they want the body, or could I try and send Askworth over to you?"

"Um, maybe put him in the freezer or something?"

"Thanks." Jeff cut the connection.

Askworth's lab had two freezers. One was for his experiments, and one was for food. Neither of them was near big enough to hold a human body.

Jeff tossed a lab coat over Askworth's face, and wondered how he was going to make it through the next few weeks with his sanity intact. He punched up the report writer on his tablet and started figuring out what to make official.