The final showdown looms in the twilight of NaNoWriMo. Russ takes some crazy risks to pull everything together. Stay tuned for the conclusion of A Matter of Time!
28th — Final Chapter Part One
29th — Final Chapter Part Two
30th — Epilogue.
Chapter Twenty-Six — Comeuppance (Part Two)
Russ kept his distance, engaging Phinneas was a risk. Considering he knew what Negator could do– chances were good he’d make the connection between Russell Belkin and Micron. Sure, he had a voice modulator and a high tech mask marring his features, but Negator’s convincing representation of Russ worked against him.
In a few words, Phinneas would know exactly who Micron really was.
Russ fished out a long rag from the closet and closed the gap in a blink of an eye. Time slowed, allowing Russ to realize his mistake. Damn it; I cover his eyes and he shouts– cover his mouth and he sees me. So, time to improvise.
He tossed aside the rag, disabled his voice modulator and face blurring, and took the first step. “Hey, Phinneas. I have a surprise for you.”
Phinneas spun around, gaping at him. “What? Why are–”
“Relax,” Russ raised a hand. “It’s me, Belken.”
Russ laughed. “Ha, close but no cigar. I found this in the storage room. I think they’re planning to make a T.V. show about these jokers.”
“Then why are you wearing it?”
“Isn’t it obvious? I thought we could use it for the interview. I make a convincing Micron, don’t you think?”
“When did you find time to get out of the studio and change?”
Russ lost his smile. “Phinneas, I haven’t set foot in the studio. The start time is in fifteen minutes, right?”
Phinneas went pale. “If you’re here, then who…”
“You’re freaking me out here, Phinn. You looks like you’ve seen a ghost.”
“I may have,” he said. “I think someone is pretending to be you.”
Russ struggled to contain his grin. He turned it into horrified surprise. “No way, I mean… it’s sort of ironic really. Someone beat me to my own idea.”
“Relax. I have powerful friends, now. We can set this right.”
“You!” Right on schedule, a very angry Fanny Filcher hurried down the hall.
“Whaaa?” Russ hid behind Phinneas. “What the hell is that?”
Fanny scowled. “Don’t be coy with me Micro-brat. You know very well what I am.”
Phinneas shook his head. “You’re mistaken. This is Russell Belken, in disguise. He got a hold of a uniform.”
“Of course he–” Fanny winced. “I mean… huh?”
Heh, and just like that those vaunted rules work in my favor.
“Someone is impersonating Belken in the studio. We need to put a stop to their antics.”
“W-well,” Fanny said, glancing around. “I already knew that. I mean, Belken is… well… he was…”
Russ straightened. “So, she’s on our side?”
Fanny looked delightfully puzzled. “Uh, we are?”
He nodded. “You guys are against the Macro Corp. right? An enemy of my enemy is a friend.”
“Uhm. O.K.” Fanny shrugged. “But you… uh… Micron flushed me down the toilet.”
Russ snorted in laughter. “Come again? I didn’t really catch that.”
“I’m not repeating it,” Fanny said. “You’re telling me, you ain’t Micron?”
“Nope. One hundred percent Russell Belken, I have an alibi too, there are cameras all over the studio.” I just need to have Kari forge the footage later.
“So you’re telling me, Negator did that to me? I’m gonna kill him.”
“Huh? Kill who?” Russ said.
“Don’t worry about it. You just worry about stabbing the Macro Corp. in the back over and over.” She scowled back in the direction of the studio and stormed off.
“Yikes, well, remind me to not get on her bad side.”
“By any chance did you see Miss Tattle? She’s missing.”
“Julie’s missing? That’s no good. We’ll need her if we expect this to work. I think she has a history with the Macro Corp.”
“She interviewed the real Micron and Macro Man. If she condones this we have the public in our pocket.” Russ snapped his fingers. “Wait, we can use this. Let’s say she’s been held hostage by the Macro Corp. Can’t we dress up someone like Julie, film some bogus footage? I mean I’m dressed the part, after all.”
Phinneas clapped a hand on his shoulder. “You’re the real thing all right. Your doppelganger didn’t have the guts to force the truth free. I’m glad the real thing has more common sense.”
Russ raised a protecting hand. “Don’t get me wrong, I don’t really like the idea, but it makes sense that the Macro Corp. would try to silence her. In this case, it’s not lying. It’s just jumping to a wild conclusion. That’s the American way.”
They shared a laugh.
“Alright, I’ll set things up in the studio. This might be the breaking news that can turn this around in our favor, Mr. Belken.
“Hey, it’s Micron while I’m in uniform remember?” He said winking. “I’ll see what I can do in the mean time.”
Phinneas nodded and left for the control room and Russ let out a sigh of relief. He typed up a message to Kari and updated Kirin about the incoming predicament. Worst case, they dressed up Kirin, best case they’d use Fanny.
Either way, Russ had just this idea to bring this problem to rest.
A thunderous quake shook the ground. At first he dismissed it as Slipstream clobbering Negator, but an incoming comm. signal told him otherwise.
The military has engaged the Macro Corp.