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Hellfire

Chapter One

Gray light trickled onto the mountains of neatly stacks papers that made Roger Smith's desk a desk. If it weren't for those papers, the desk would just be a table for the professional negotiator's hourglasses.

Roger Smith himself was just pulling away from the desk. This case was hard. He had been hired by Dr. George Effron, a scientist who worked for Paradigm City. Dr. Effron was working on something called the Hellfire Cannon; laser cannon capable of firing either a continuous beam, or a sudden blast of devastating energy.

Another thing that was bogging the case down was the sudden arrival of the robot Little O about a week ago. Little O was a miniscule version of the Big O; the former being six feet and the latter being sixty. It just sort of appeared in the dining room one morning, and it refused to leave.

The house had not been quiet since it arrived, and now was no different. The violent banging coming from the adjoining room was caused by the small, but heavy, "minideus." Each time it put its foot down, Little O created a rather large four inch depression in Roger Smith's floor.

After about thirty-or-so of these bangs, Roger could take it no longer. "Will you please try to walk without destroying my house?!?"

Little O stopped and looked at Roger Smith. Then it daintily shifted all its weight onto its left foot, and moved its right foot slowly and carefully onto the ground. But it was far too slow, for the pressure on the left foot grew too much for the floor, and Little O fell through the floor, smashed a cabinet, woke up the android Dorothy, fell on a dog's tail, and went through several stories until it hit the basement. In the basement Little O finished the step, and created a two inch depression instead of the four inch kind.

Norman Burg, Roger's crusty one-eyed butler, rushed up to the desk. "Master Roger, a number of the neighbors have complained about a loud noise. Because I am old and deaf, I heard nothing, but having no social life and therefore nothing better to do, I decided to ask."

Roger got angry. "That noise was the robot menace being stupid again!" He calmed, then walked toward the elevator. "I have to get some work done on this Hellfire Cannon case. I can't work here with the Little O, so I'm leaving. I wish there was some other way to solve this problem, but I want you to destroy it by the time I get back. Destroy the little feller humanely. Can you do that Alfred?"

"You called me Alfred again, Master Roger." Norman fiddled with his moustache.

"Again? Shoot!" Roger pulled an issue of Batman Adventures out of his pocket, and threw it on the floor. "I've got to stop reading that." He stepped into the elevator. "If Major Commissioner Gordon calls, tell him I'm out."

"You mean Major Dan Dastun, sir."

Roger Smith's form disappeared into the floor. "I called him that again? Shoot!"

After Norman left to destroy Little O, a familiar figure peered over a piece of furniture. Yes, it was arch criminal Beck Gold and two of his overweight underpaid henchmen. Beck tipped quietly over to Roger's desk, and read some of his papers.

"What?!?" he shouted. "Roger Smith is working on the Hellfire Cannon case? Gosh darn it to heck! Now my life is ruined!" Beck clenched his fists. "I can't believe this. I hate him so much, it's not funny." At this both his henchmen laughed. Beck continued, screaming at the top of his lungs. "I hate him more than life itself. I have so much hate in my heart, it's unfathomable!"

Beck started breathing very heavily. Then he stopped, and thought a minute. Then he said, louder than before, "I know! I'll hide the stolen Hellfire Cannon here! It'll be my little secret! No one will ever know!"

Beck ran behind a conveniently placed chair, and after a little huffing and puffing, pulled huge laser cannon into the middle of the room, and bolted it to the head of a conveniently placed gleaming gold megadeus they had brought in earlier. As his henchmen jogged, or sloshed, out, Beck attached a note to the robot. Then he disappeared into the loudness of the night.

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