The GipSpit 1 of 3, Adult or Young Adult, 3,100


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Thread: The GipSpit 1 of 3, Adult or Young Adult, 3,100

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    Exclamation The GipSpit 1 of 3, Adult or Young Adult, 3,100

    These days, most important scientific advancements are made in expensive professional laboratories. People tend to forget that many of the earlier ones were made and developed in home garages or basements.

    George Washington Carver, for instance, took a peanut down into his basement, banged it with a hammer into a mash and discovered peanut butter. Sir Peter MacDonald had a bright idea as he rode the London subway home from work and invented the Mass Produced Hamburger. Tommy Edwards of Ipswitch Maine, having a mouse problem in his basement, went out to his garage and invented the Tommy-gun. It wasn't his fault people preferred the one by John Thompson, or that his insurance company refused to pay damages. It did get rid of the pests. People forget those brave, intelligent individuals.

    David Googler was thinking along those same lines as he put the finishing touches on his own machine. He called it "The Great Googler Instant Permanent and Secure Packaging Device."

    The first GGIPSPD, or GipSpit for short, looked like nothing. Nothing at all. It was transparent.

    David's girlfriend and backer, Thelma Thompson, suggested he would sell more of them if people could see the thing.

    "And if they could get inside to get the contents out, that would be another good point." Thelma was trying to use a hammer to open what was, in fact, a transparent sphere about a foot wide.

    Since David had neglected to put anything inside except a battery-operated control box taking up most of the space, they were stumped as to how to shut it off.

    "Still needs some work," David admitted. To make matters a little worse, when the forcefield was generated the bottom half of the sphere had cut a big chunk out of his work bench. That section was also bouncing around inside the thing with every blow of Thelma's hammer.

    "I don't know what we can sell it for." Thelma finally gave up and threw the device into the brick wall of his basement. That did it, as the battery popped out of its receptacle and the orb ceased to exist. The control box, battery, and piece of table clattered about on a concrete floor. "Ha," she cried happily.

    "I thought it was a good idea." David looked, crestfallen, at his damaged control box. "It seems almost invulnerable. Even my shotgun didn't damage the thing. It absorbs hot and cold, perfect for home safes and strong-boxes."

    "But no good if the owner can't get to her valuables without throwing it against a wall," Thelma reminded him, "And ... well then, the battery will run down in an hour, then what?"

    The couple went on to other fiasco's, not even bothering to patent the device. David developed a way to quick-freeze meat. The problem was that it only worked on small rodents. About the same time, "Birdseye" came out with one that worked with anything. Who would buy frozen mouse or squirrel meat when they could get frozen chicken dinners at the supermarket?

    Then came the Atomic Oven, where nuclear energy cooked your food. Of course, when it was found to also cook the family with radiation, it wained in popularity.

    That all happened in the Thirties and early to mid-Forties. David eventually died in obscurity and pain from the effects of his Atomic Oven, while Thelma married a famous jazz trumpet player--forgetting about both inventor and inventions. It was a classic case of wrong timing. The idea was good, the timing lousy.

    ***

    Troy Googler's parents were in the midst of a divorce. It was an amiable one, with no animosity--both of them agreeing it was necessary. Wanting fifteen-year-old Troy out of the way while they were in the process, they sent him to live--for at least the summer--with his grandparents. Of course, Troy couldn't understand all that was going on but accepted the inevitable.

    He didn't care for the change in environment, though. All his friends were in the city and at his age he was developing an interest in girls.

    "But, Ma," he protested, carrying his suitcase out to the car, "there ain't nothing to do there. It's miles to any town at all, and nothing but cows to talk to. They don't even have a movie theater in Hicksville or whatever."

    "You have a DVD player and there's a video rental store around there somewhere," she answered, carrying a cardboard box of video games and other toys. "I'm certain you can find something to do. You can help your grandfather with the animals. You know you like horses, and he has them."

    "Sure, he has those big asshole farm horses, nothing like the cowboys ride."

    "And don't use that language. You know what I mean."

    Protesting did no good so he sulked all the way to the farm, sitting in the backseat among boxes and bags of possessions, feet up on the window and refusing to talk.

    ***

    "Here's your room, Troy honey." Grandma Googler opened the door on a second-story bedroom. "Plenty of room and even two windows. Careful though, don't plug too many things into either of the outlets. The wiring is old and might catch on fire."

    Fine, Troy thought, dropping his suitcase on the bed, now I can't even plug in my stuff; blow some damned fuse.

    "Thank you, Grandma," was his response, dropping on the bed to feel sorry for himself. All summer in this shit hole, he thought.

    Later, once he had dumped his bags and boxes into a corner of the room, he went downstairs and outside, figuring he might as well check the damned prison out.

    Despite his attempts to remain angry, the boy couldn't help but be interested in the animals. He didn't see any riding horses, but there were other creatures such as pigs, cows, sheep, and goats. The chickens were amusing. If he ran at them, they would jump as high as his head, fluttering back to ground yards away.

    There were all sorts of buildings, including an ancient wooden barn that looked like it might fall on him and a dozen smaller buildings filled with strange-looking vehicles, some ten times his height. He wondered if his grandfather would let him drive any of them.

    By the time the boy went back to the house, his attitude had changed somewhat. He wasn't as angry and could see he wouldn't be as bored as he had thought--at least not for a little while.

    "Are there any other kids my age around here?" he asked at supper in the large country kitchen.

    "There's the Smith kids next door, but they're smaller," his grandfather told him, false-teeth slurping loudly on a chunk of ham, "and the Peteroski kids a mile or so down the South Road. Kinda old for you though, and they can be mean at times."

    "You leave those Peteroski's alone now, you hear?" his grandma advised him. "They're always in trouble with the law."

    "Tell him about Annie Burkett, Ma," grandpa snorted, bits of ham escaping between his teeth to spray the table. "Wait. You won't have to. The lad's getting old enough to notice her himself." He guffawed loudly.

    "Now don't you talk like that, Pa," she chided. "Annie's a real nice girl." She turned to Troy. "You'll see her tomorrow. She's coming over to help me with my canning. Those tomatoes are piling up and rotting out back. I told Annie I'd pay her to help. I'm getting too old to do that heavy lifting myself."

    ***

    That night, tired of the same old video games, the boy lay on his bed. He was debating whether to go downstairs to watch television--or not. They didn't have cable or satellite, only three broadcast channels that weren’t very interesting to a young boy.

    While debating with himself, he looked up over his bed and noticed a panel that looked like a sort of door. A square situated right over his bed. It almost blended with the ceiling, only noticeable in that the edges didn't fit exact, leaving an outline.

    Curious and a little excited, Troy sat a small table from the hallway onto the bed. A few books and magazines topping it helped him perch, swaying precariously, head almost bumping the ceiling. He had to hold his hands against the ceiling and shove to steady himself.

    It was easy to push the panel up a few inches and off to the side. It wasn't latched, only lying across a square hole. Standing straight and trying not to wobble too much, he stood on tip-toes, eyes peering over the edge of the opening. He couldn't see very well or far from that angle, but it did look intriguing.

    The boy could see the tops of boxes and shelving filled with dimly-outlined objects. No kid on the face of the earth could stop at that point.

    A methodical lad, he let go of the edge to fall in a mixture of table, debris, and boy. Luckily, it was mostly onto the bed, not making much noise. He remembered seeing a stepladder stored on a rack in one of the sheds.

    Troy hurried downstairs, noticing both grandparents sitting, backs toward him, in the living room.

    He scurried out the back door, as quietly as possible. Getting the ladder, which was aluminum and light, he snuck it back up to his room.

    Moving the bed and litter aside, he found it much easier to get up to the attic.

    It was dark up there and, although he felt around, he couldn't find any light switch. He did notice a small window at each end of the space and knew he would be able to see better in the daytime. Troy was too impatient after all that effort to wait, though, and grabbed the first box he could see that was light enough to carry.

    Aiming carefully, he dropped it at an angle onto the bed and went back for another. In that manner, he dropped several more, figuring that was enough for one night. Besides, he was running out of empty space on the quilt. The ladder slid easily into concealment under the bed.

    The first box was a big disappointment, full of old clothing. The next was a treasure. It contained comic books from the forties and fifties. The third was half-full of photographs of people in funny clothing, horses and buggies and old cars; only mildly interesting. And the fourth contained dusty mechanisms he couldn't identify and notebooks, also only mildly interesting.

    Troy spent the next couple of hours reading comics and went to bed.

    ***

    "Troy honey, this is Annie. The girl I told you about," his grandmother told him the next day, "She's a bright little girl. Even won third place in the State Science Fair last month. Built her own computer thing from scratch for it."

    "Not that fancy, Mrs. Googler, and not from scratch. I only connected busted toy parts to an ancient 8080 Mitsubishi computer chip." Annie finished capping a jar of cooked tomatoes and turned to Troy, explaining, "I made a little toy dog wag its tail and bark for the judges. Then had it run around the table without falling off. Built in spatial sensors, dollar apiece from Radio Shack, was all. You can buy them at any electronics store," she told him.

    Troy was impressed, not so much by her project as with the girl herself. She was a keeper, he thought, with fully developed breasts and long legs, short-cropped red hair and a freckled face. He thought she looked as pretty as those girls in his smuggled PlayTime Magazines.

    "Uh, congrats ... Annie," he stammered, tongue-tied and struggling to get out a complete sentence. He was saved the effort as Annie turned back to her canning, seemingly ignoring him. Troy was also interested in science and had entered the same contest. His entry, a small volcano that stunk up the classroom, had only gotten him a "D" in physics class, though.

    Later that afternoon, he was surprised, to say the least, while lying on his bed. It being hot outside, Troy was wearing only his undershorts while reading old comics. He heard a tapping on the open door and saw Annie standing there, actually looking at him.

    "Hi. Can I come in?" she asked. Troy jumped up, spilling comic books in every direction as he jumped for his trousers. He couldn't believe it. She was actually wanting to talk to him and he wasn't even dressed. What could he say to such an angel? How could he explain?

    "Uh, uh, sure. I guess. Come on in."

    "Hey. Relax. I have brothers." She laughed, a beautiful tinkly sound. "All finished downstairs. I thought I'd come up and say hello. There aren't very many boys my, our, age around here. Only those Peteroski's, and I don't want anything to do with them. Their old man makes illegal whiskey and they're drunk half the time, raising hell," she told him, actually sitting on his bed as he crawled on the floor, picking up comics while sneaking glances at her bare legs.

    I ... I don't drink," he told her, getting back up with a fistful of magazines.

    "Where did you ever get these?" Annie asked, leafing through a Donald Duck, "I love funny books, especially the old ones that are actually funny. The new ones are nothing but superheros. They're all the same, with nothing but fighting. I'm a lover, not a fighter." She smiled.

    Uh ... uh ... uh, Troy thought, not being able to think in complete words at that point.

    "I found them in the attic," he finally told her. "Must have been up there a long time." He pointed at the other boxes, stacked in a corner. "That stuff, too."

    The two spent some time reading the books, Troy sneaking glances at her as he read--at least until he caught her looking back.

    "What's in the other boxes?" Annie asked, sitting up. "Anything interesting?"

    "Old clothes in one, pictures of ancient people in another, and a bunch of junk in the last. I didn't look too close yet."

    "Well, why not? Can I look?"

    "Sure. Look away."

    Annie went over and, sitting cross-legged on the floor, opened the boxes. The old clothes only received momentary attention, the photos not much more.

    "We have thousands of these at home," she told him. "Nobody ever seems to throw them away, even though we don't know who they are anymore," she explained, opening the flaps on the last box.

    Annie examined one of the mechanisms. Nimble fingers poked and prodded it, peering closely. Then she picked up a notebook and started reading. Troy, seeing his companion preoccupied, continued reading comics.

    "You know what this is, Troy? It's a primitive forcefield generator. One of your ancestors says it worked but he had trouble with the controls or something. And the power supply, a simple flashlight battery, didn't last long." She sounded excited. "I'll bet we could make it work better. That was a long time ago. Batteries didn’t last very long back then."

    Sounds good to me, Troy thought. Anything that will keep that angel around.

    ***

    Weeks went by. With her abilities and his help, they redesigned the mechanism. Annie still had a handful of computer chips and other electronic parts and equipment at her home, left over from her project. Not being as adept with his hands, or brain, Troy was better at diagramming.

    They improved the power supply, tearing apart some of his gaming equipment for parts, and found they could use less wattage, thus amperage, and better batteries. When finished, the device would run for weeks rather than minutes on a spare lawnmower battery he found in a shed.

    Annie built in a number of improvements, including a coded signal from an old television remote to turn it on or off. A built-in toy gyroscope kept it stable in one location. The size of the field could be adjusted using the volume buttons on the remote. They even put in a way, using multiple amplifying circuits, to damp out sections of the forcefield. That way, they could reach their hands inside to put items in or take them out.

    It did seem, like his ancestor had said, invulnerable. Troy couldn't see any way to test it with a shotgun, figuring his grandparents wouldn't go along with it, but a hammer made no dent. The comic books sat on a table, forgotten, as the two worked.

    Not being of a scientific bent, he felt glorified by simply being around the girl. His dreams were better at night.

    "Now what do we do with it?" Troy asked. "Maybe we could sell it to a big company?"

    "I don't like those big businesses. They take advantage of people. The same with the government. If the government got hold of this, they'd use it for war, killing people or something icky like that. I don't want that to ever happen. We lose more civil rights every day, and need some protection." Annie paused, then asked, shyly, "I've been doing some thinking. It's up to you, but I'd rather just give this technology to the people, let everyone build one for free."

    "I'd rather be richer than King Midas." Troy shook his head. "Sorry, Annie, but money is important. Least to me it is."

    They sat in silence, both lost in thought.

    "I suppose you're right," Annie admitted. "It was fun building it together, and to dream about benefiting mankind, but we have to grow up sometime."

    Fall harvesting being over, the two pooled their resources to build a much-larger mechanism, one run by a car battery. Using a toy wagon with large wheels, they trundled it out to a back section of her own family's fields. Crops were in and the open area covered with brush and the remains of cornstalks. Field-mice and crows scattering in the brush, they laboriously pushed and pulled the wagon across to the middle of the expanse then into a wooded area.

    "Ready for the big test?" Annie asked, crossing her fingers. "Hit the switch," she ordered.

    End of section one of three. The next will be posted in a couple of days in this same thread. Please comment, especially on logic errors. I'm not a trained scientist.
    Charlie

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    The GipSpit 2 of 3, Adult or Young Adult, 2,000

    The first Section is at the bottom of this thread. No synopsis needed.
    ----------
    Troy pressed a button to turn the forcefield on. They could see and hear leaves and branches falling hundreds of yards away. The tops of faraway trees fell in a circle from where they were standing. Even though they couldn’t see much, the noises indicated something had happened.

    "Hurray," Annie cried, "let's check it out."

    The two teenagers walked, ran, and scurried around the perimeter in the dark. The forcefield generated was roughly three city blocks in diameter. In every direction, they ended up by pushing against an unseen barrier. The thing worked, sealing them inside a possibly invulnerable and invisible barrier.

    Taking up a hand-held nullifier made from a television remote, they tested it by walking back and forth through the forcefield itself, finally leaving and closing the hole behind themselves. The nullifier had been designed using modern 256 bit coding technology. A supercomputer would take months or years to decode it.

    "Now we need a way to give it a good test, Troy. To see if it's really invulnerable or not. Do you have any ideas?"

    "No, do you?"

    "Not a one." She paused, then suggested, "Maybe I can steal some of my Pa's dynamite. I don't know how to use it, though."

    "Me neither. Maybe something that will get the government to test it for us? They have all kinds of bombs and stuff." Troy was remembering something from a horror comic, one where aliens had invaded the earth. "Maybe we could call the army? Tell them we saw an alien spaceship land here? We could tell them we went to check it out, and found this thing here? And we can't get into the woods. You think that would work?"

    "I don't know. Pretty far-fetched to me."

    "It worked in the comic book. We'd have to make sure we don't leave anything in here that would identify us. We don't want them charging us with the cost of the ammunition or anything--if they do get in," he explained his idea.

    She was also excited. It might work. He was antsy and worked up by watching her excitement.

    "We can call anonymously, from downtown," she said, still thinking. "Maybe late tonight, when everyone's gone to bed. Nobody will see us using the telephone next to the feed store."

    They turned the device off and went back to the battery and device itself to wipe off any fingerprints, then carefully stomped around, slipping and sliding to blur their footprints. Getting back outside the cornfield, they turned the device on again.

    Careful to walk on higher grassy ground, they left and went home, planning to meet again about ten o'clock that night.

    "What if someone finds it earlier?" Annie asked, as they walked along a country road before splitting to go to their two homes.

    "So, the fun starts earlier," he told her. "No problem."

    Later, Troy remembered having found a Halloween costume of a vampire, complete with cloak and fangs, in the attic. For the fun of it, he carried it to the force field and set it up inside as though a vampire were hiding in the bushes. That should confuse them for a while, he thought as he hurried back home, a smile on his face.

    ***

    After midnight, the two met at the road junction and walked quietly to the nearest town. It was a long trek but Troy enjoyed the close almost intimate contact with Annie. So far he hadn't worked up the nerve to even touch her hand. But still, a long walk in the moonlight with her gave him pleasant thoughts.

    There was a pay-phone next to the feed store. Making certain nobody was watching, Annie made a call to the county sheriff's office, then Troy did the same to the local FBI office, forty miles away. Both organizations said they would check the matter out.

    "Yessir, a spaceship. You better come quick. Yes, I'm sure. Please hurry. It's going to start a fire and burn the woods down if you don't." Annie sobbed, let out a panicked scream, and hung up. They hid in bushes near the road junction leading to the field, and waited.

    About a half-hour later, a police car cruised by. After flashing a floodlight across the fields, it slowly turned into the farm lane. After that, nothing seemed to happen for ages.

    Thinking ahead, Troy had brought a raincoat in case it would rain. He spread it on the ground and they lay close, side by side on the narrow plastic. He could feel the heat of her body as she pressed against him for warmth. Lost in erotic thought, he was jolted when several more police cars, including one without markings, went by and hurriedly made the turn.

    The last one stopped and let out a policeman, who opened the trunk to get out a couple of broken-down wooden barriers. As the car continued on, the lone officer was busily setting yellow sawhorses up and putting them across the road.

    The two kids giggled and watched. They heard gunshots in the distance. After that, it was quiet for a long while.

    Once started, changes came in a hurry. An army convoy of seven trucks roared up, making noise as they unloaded troops to guard the intersection. The large gray trucks drove off in all directions, including up the road toward the field. One could be seen letting armed soldiers off in the distance.

    "Bet they're surrounding the cornfield." Annie giggled as Troy's hand crept over to her leg.

    "Probably." His divided attention coalesced back onto the road as she moved the leg away from him. Damn, he thought.

    The sounds of helicopters, along with flashing red and green lights in the sky, came to their ears as more troops arrived. One of the choppers carried an artillery piece, swinging below it as the thing flew out of sight.

    A little later, there were several loud reports.

    "That was dynamite," Annie told him after one blast. "We use it to blow stumps out of the ground."

    "You think we should sneak over and turn it off?" Troy asked.

    "I'm not taking a chance. Those guys have guns. We'd never have a chance of getting in there unseen," Annie replied. "I gotta get home, and you should too. They probably woke up everyone within miles of this place already. Your grandparents will be wondering where you went to."

    And just when he had worked his hand close to her leg again, he thought. She backed off the raincoat and disappeared into the darkness, leaving him lying alone. With nothing else to do, he gathered up the raincoat and went back to the farm. Both grandparents were hard of hearing and were still asleep when he got back.

    ***

    "Outer space vampires?" The President laughed. "You gotta be kidding, general."

    "I saw it myself, sir. A real vampire hiding in the bushes, and we can't get in to kill or capture it. We've used everything short of a nuclear device and can't break in." General Edwards was serious. "Who knows what they've got in there? Maybe a secret underground base? On American soil."

    "No! Before you even ask--no nuclear bombs." The President banged his fist on the desk. "None. You understand me?"

    "Maybe just a small nuke artillery shell, a clean one, sir? We have to find out?"

    "None at all. I don't want to go down in history books as the first President to use an atomic weapon since WWII--and on my own people, yet."

    "What else can we do, sir? We're in a bind."

    "You can contain the creature, or creatures, and try to talk to them. Get them to surrender."

    "You can't talk to vampires? They'd be out for blood."

    "Then feed them a Democrat or something."

    ***

    Initially, the general kept his forces well back, hidden behind trees, hastily erected wooden barriers, and massive tanks. As more troops and weapons arrived, a tent city was built nearby. He expected an attack from the aliens at any moment. They could barely see one of the creatures, trying to hide in bushes near some kind of mechanical or electronic setup. The general shuddered at the thought of alien weapon technology.

    General Edwards had no way of knowing for certain, but thought they might have a huge underground base beneath the field. He could imagine a hidden spacecraft, along with torture chambers filled with kidnapped maidens, vampires slowly sucking them dry. The bastards!

    Colonel Thompson came running into the command tent.

    "We have those high-definition satellite photos back, general," he called out, shoving a packet into his leader's outstretched hand.

    "About damned time," the general answered in a gruff voice, dropping a cigar ash onto the front of his blouse--prior such debris partially obscuring a cluster of ribbons. "Lemme see those."

    They had been at the site for two weeks and that damn vampire creature hadn't moved a centimeter in that time. The army had tried everything possible. They had tunneled under the ground, only to find it was a globe, the convex bottom also being impenetrable.

    Finding that air went in and out of the forcefield, they had tried gases, which were rejected, the colored ones could be seen sliding away from the surface. Of course he couldn't use any poison--well, maybe a little pesticide? The President didn't need to know everything.

    Scientists from all over the globe accumulated in their own camp behind his, running every test imaginable. Their diagnosis was--a forcefield. Hot crap! He already knew that. General Edwards had read his share of Superman and Sergeant Rock comic books as a kid. He knew all about tractor and grappling beams, and all that bull.

    What made it even more enigmatic was that a stream of water flowed across one corner, having no trouble passing at all, except for leaves and debris accumulating at the entrance of the forcefield. The water itself flowed through unimpeded. Occasionally a bunny rabbit or mouse would come up to the watchers and scientists, the creatures already feeling safe. The general himself had once come eyeball to eyeball with a rabbit.

    After a couple more days, tourists began filtering inside the military perimeter, sneaking in wherever they could. That included dreaded reporters. Also, even though he tried hard, some of his men and officers were bored and could be bribed for opinions and interviews. The secret operation hit the newspapers and television news programs, complete with blurry photographs of the silent vampire.

    Even Colonel Thompson made a few thousand dollars by secretly selling copies of some of the satellite photos. It was a national--no, worldwide--sensation. Alien vampires, space invasions and forcefields. The public ate it up, even as the crowds of civilians became epidemic. Photos and articles about Area 51 resurfaced to confuse the issue. Was that little-known base a secret spaceport?

    General Edwards had to give. He couldn't shoot the civilians and, whatever he tried, they continued to sneak through his lines. Even though he threatened them, tourists and reporters ignored the warnings. They knew the soldiers wouldn't really shoot.

    Although the general continued to guard the alien invasion-point and to keep order, he gave up when it came to keeping civilians away.

    After all, he figured, they could hardly hurt anything and it was their ass if the attack commenced. In truth, the general felt kind of silly about the whole thing. After all, the only invader they could see appeared to be dead.

    End of Section Two of Three. The third and last will be posted in a couple of days in this same thread.
    Charlie

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    The GipSpit 3 of 3, Adult or Young Adult, 2,200
    The first two Sections are at the bottom of this thread. No synopsis needed.
    ----------
    "How long will that battery hold out?" Troy asked his co-conspirator. "We better find a way to get the controls back before they find a way in. Or the government might have it and be able to duplicate the thing."

    "I was over there the other day and a lot of people were walking around. Maybe we can sneak in at night and grab the controls?"

    "That battery is pretty bulky and heavy. Someone's sure to see us leaving with it."

    "Don't worry about the battery. It's from a junk Chevy that's been behind the barn for months. Let them find it," Annie told him. "All we need is the control box. I'm just wondering how to do it so they don't see us. You can bet the army has cameras going and people watching the place all night."

    "I have an idea on that, Annie. We dress as vampires while we're inside. That should shake them up good and they won't be able to identify us later."

    By that time they had built another box, that one slightly improved. It had a wider range. They would have built more but didn't have the parts or money to buy them. As it was, his games were stripped of usable electronics. It would take money to buy more and their cash was long gone. After building two of them, the kids could almost do it from memory by then.

    It took a while to make two more vampire costumes. Cheap ones were only on sale around the time of Halloween and not otherwise stocked by local stores. Finally ready, they packed false faces and gloves with stick-like fingers into a plastic bag from Walmart and, about two in the morning, walked over to the globe.

    ***

    The soldiers on guard were relaxed and talking to a few tourists who were awake that late, even accepting money to pose with their rifles in front of the forcefield. By then, the thing was dirty from stirred up dust and dirt and easy to see.

    Across the open area around the field, now tramped down by many thousands of feet and nearby bushes stripped as souvenirs or stomped by visitors, they found an out of the way section and used their nullifier to make a small hole in the globe.

    The two of them stepped quickly into the woods on the inside. Looking back, Troy couldn't see anyone watching, hoping they had made it thus far unseen.

    They stopped to put their costumes on.

    "Hurry up, Troy. Don't worry about that broken plastic finger, they won't notice."

    One of his stick-like fingers had broken on the way over. It looked funny flapping loose. Troy figured he'd be able to hold it upright with his real fingers, though.

    "We have to grab it and get out before the guards notice the forcefield is gone," he agreed.

    They kept to the trees as much as possible, running from shadow to shadow until they arrived at the control box. Annie grabbed it quickly and jerked it away from the battery. Then the two ran back to the trees. They were almost at the edge of the road before hearing someone yell in the distance.

    "It's gone. The forcefield's gone. Get out’a here before the vampires attack."

    Someone else, probably seeing the kids, screamed, "Eeeeeek. Here they come."

    The general, already livid at looking at a very recent photo of a new vampire giving him "the finger" ordered an attack.

    Pandemonium ensued as soldiers hurried over, some forgetting their guns in the excitement. Civilians ran around in panic, trying to get out of the way as huge army tanks suddenly started their engines and inched forward.

    The two teenagers, finally out of the woods and on the road, stripped their costumes off, ready to run home, only to feel hands on their shoulders.

    "What was that all about?" someone whispered loudly into Annie's ear.

    They looked up into the face of a man, a very large man--at least from their viewpoint. He was scowling down at them. "I saw you in there. You pointed a cellphone or something and went right in. Don't even try to deny it." He glared at them. "I think we should go find the sheriff."

    ***

    The man turned out to be a reporter from a Los Angeles survivalist magazine, writing under the name of Thomas Tripper. He was there to cover the site for his magazine and had no intention of notifying the authorities.

    He trusted no government agency. His group advocated less government intervention in people's lives--no more than necessary. Not that he wanted to overthrow anything, only believing in personal freedom. The three ended up sitting in his jeep in a muddy dirt parking lot. They sat quietly, watching panicked tourists spin mud from their tires and banging into each other as they attempted to leave.

    Opening three beers from an insulated basket, Tripper questioned the kids, treating them like adults--which had a positive influence on their answers. Tom Tripper was a funny and jovial salesman type, which was how he’d gotten his job. That, along with an ability to get the most out of an informal interview.

    "Here. You do drink beer, don't you?" he asked while handing open cans to them. "You want a cig? Don't believe all that crap about smoking."

    "No thanks, sir." Annie shoved the pack away, keeping the beer. It wasn't her first. Her father had given her one on the last two New Years.

    Troy took both, keeping his mouth shut. He had never had either before but didn't want to tell the man that, wanting to seem like an adult. After all, their fate was in his hands. To his surprise, Troy found he could take the smoke in without coughing. At least if he didn't inhale and took it slow. The beer tasted strange to him but it was cold and a liquid, both good points after all the excitement.

    "What are you going to do, take us to the sheriff?" Troy asked in a weak voice, smoke coming out of his mouth.

    "It might surprise you, but I don't like cops." Tom laughed, taking a big swig of beer. "Not if you tell me what's going on, anyway. And what's that thing you brought out of there?"

    Sighing, and knowing he would find out eventually, Annie began talking, admitting it was their ruse that had the country up in arms. That it was simply a test that had gotten out of hand. One with no evil intentions.

    "I didn't even know Troy put that costume in there," she told the reporter, and asked, "Are you going to tell everyone? You're a reporter."

    "I don't think so," Tom told her, slowly. "I think we have another option. We can all get rich--all three of us--if you make me your agent." He paused, trying to formulate a plan in his mind. The opportunity was so sudden. "I agree with you, young lady, that it should belong to the world, not just one government. On the other hand--like our friend Troy--I would like to have a lot of money. We can do both."

    Tom outlined his still developing ideas, and for some reason they tended to believe him. He would get them the materials needed and they would make about a half-dozen of the things. Tom would, through his contacts, sell them for millions of dollars apiece, splitting the profit three ways.

    Once they had the cash in hand, they would release the full instructions to the world over the Internet. there was no way the government could stop it then. Thousands of people around the world would build them. It couldn’t be stopped.

    "By the time you get the new boxes done, I should have buyers for them. We don't want to become greedy. For one thing, once government spies find out it'll be illegal to own one. So we have to be quick about the whole thing.

    "You give me this one and explain how it works, along with a list of what you need. Be explicit, even with brand names, since I don't know anything about electronics. I should have the supplies for you by tomorrow night. I hope we can be done completely in a week or so. We can't give the government time or they'll stop us and confiscate everything."

    "Can you keep our names out of it?" Annie asked.

    "If you want. I guess I can take all the blame. After all, I can always get inside a globe and tell them to kiss my ass." Tom laughed. "Besides, they don't like me much anyway. I've blown the whistle on the government far too often and I'm used to them being angry at me.

    “I can put your money in secret Swiss or Bahamian accounts, not the first time for me. Besides, the Swiss don't give a damn about your age. All they want is money and interest from investing it."

    ***

    True to his word, a large package was dropped off the next afternoon by a delivery service. Troy's grandparents didn't know what to make of it but were giving the kids a pretty free rein. After all, they were full-grown.

    Both of the oldsters had been considered adults at that age and tended to have older values. As long as Troy did his chores, the older Googler didn't care what he did otherwise.

    As for Grandma, she did keep an eye on them when they were alone--also old fashioned values. Every once in a while she would check to make certain his door was open and the bed empty of naked teenagers. It was enough for her.

    Troy's thoughts were often filled with visions of the latter, but didn't want to ruin their friendship or the business deal, so he kept his zipper closed.

    Annie also had thoughts on the subject, but was too shy to initiate anything--especially with Grandma hovering like a moth around the doorway.

    So they spent the next week building devices, other thoughts put on the back burner but simmering away quietly.

    *

    While all that was going on, Tom contacted potential buyers. Three were old adversaries in large corporations--the type with security problems, such as oil companies. Sabotage was a persistent issue with them. After a demonstration and having read the newspapers, they snapped the things up. Everyone in the country remembered the vampire invasion scare and how even the government couldn't crack the thing.

    Others were the opposite, organizations that believed like him that the government was too intrusive. Some of them, like the NRA, were quite wealthy and could cough up the needed cash. In a sense, he shafted his own friends and needed at least one place, complete with his own globe, to hide when it was over.

    A shady Russian happily bought the last one, visions of grandeur dancing through his devious mind. Unknown to him, it would be in vain, as the plans were due to be released to the public. Tom was out to get the most money he could, cash on delivery, and in the shortest time. He knew the government would soon be onto him and make them illegal.

    ***

    The three friends lay side by side on a beach. They had a deal with the government of that tropical island and were safe there for life. Of course the island was protected with a globe. After the Internet release, a great many such places were.

    The world had been chaotic for a long time after the final release through the Internet. Once the first free globes were built and used, repressive governments began to fall like dominoes. The face of the globe had changed in only a few months.

    Wars were almost a thing of the past. With everything from large businesses to homeowners safe in their own private worlds where bombs and artillery couldn't harm them, what was the sense in even building bombs? Not being able to invade and not needed for security, armies were virtually useless.

    Governments like the US couldn't raise money from taxes unless the taxee agreed to come out to pay the money. It was globe within globe within ever larger globes. Some covered thousands of square miles, with many more--smaller ones--inside them. Some were protecting cities while others, inside those, protected individuals and businesses. Repressive governments hadn't a chance of existing when they had no way to force their citizens to tolerate them.

    Certainly, a politician could hide in his own orb to escape retribution, but could hardly rule from inside it. A GipSpit was, like Sam Colt’s invention, a great equalizer.

    The End. The first two sections are under this one in this same thread.
    Charlie

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