The Eggs of Destruction

by Primsong [Reviews - 37]

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  • All Ages
  • None
  • Action/Adventure, General

Author's Notes:
When in need, anything can be a weapon.

Chapter 7: Throwing a Curve
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Skrawwwwk! Graaaak!” There was a thud and the gull was abruptly smacked into the pavement. It lunged up viciously snapping only to be smacked again.

“Get…!”

The Brigadier was somewhat astonished to see a grimacing young woman wielding what appeared to be a trash-picking stick like a bat. She swung it again as he rapidly half-rolled, half-scuttled himself out of the way of both stick and bird.

“Away…!” she continued, going after the bird like a mad rug-beater.

The bird hissed; white down tumbled across the windy pavement. It flapped up in an arc then dropped straight at him again, evading the woman with the stick. He reflexively shielded his face and punched at it, feeling its claws scrape over his forearm. It went past and came around again with a teakettle hiss.

“In here!” she was calling, yanking open a nearby wood enclosure. He followed unquestioningly, running to duck beneath the low plywood roof. It was the shelter that hid the metal rubbish bin, which unfortunately took up most of the space both in size and aroma. They both coughed as they shoved themselves on either side of it, yanking the heavy door shut after them. There was a thud as the gull bounced off of the door violently enough that some feathers blew down past them.

Trying to ignore its screaming, the Brigadier turned to the woman squashed on the opposite side. “Good start. Any idea how to get rid of the blighter?”

“Yes,” she said decisively and half-hoisted herself up to rummage around inside the smelly metal tip, pulling open bags of garbage. She lifted her head to take a breath and submerged into the thick odor again, this time popping up with a triumphant gasp for air and something in her hand. “Perfect!”

“What is it?”

“Tuna fish. It’s an old tuna-fish sandwich.”

He fought the urge to curl his lips with revulsion. “And how exactly do you propose to use this find?”

“If we can throw it far enough, the bird will chase it. It’s worked before. How’s your throwing arm?”

He eyed the edge of the slope outside their shelter, judging the distance it would take to keep it from merely falling to the pavement. The gull screamed and bounced off the wood above them.

“Not good enough for that.” He considered what other resources they had. “That rubber strap there, can you unhook it?”

She looked up at the dangling long, black rubber strap that helped hold the doors on windy days. “I think so. Here,” she said, briefly mashing the sandwich into a ball and tossing it to him. He inwardly winced, but caught it. The young woman jumped up and down on her toes, finally managing to pop the hook off of the wood at the top, the black strap tumbling down over her shoulders. She held it up. “Now what?”

“Slingshot. Toss me that strap. And here.” He tossed the mashed sandwich back at her as the strap came flopping in his direction. “Find a paper bag or something to contain it a little more firmly.” Taking the strap in hand, he squeezed his way along the front of the tip.

A series of small thumps heralded the hopping pursuit of their tormentor along the roof again. Moving quickly, he reached up and hooked one end of the strap on the front corner. There was a hiss and the seagull’s head snapped madly at him through the small gap. He pulled his hand back; the hook held. Ducking back as far as he could he edged back again, the clacking, snapping beak disconcertingly inches from his face. With a determined effort he managed to stretch the strap to the opposite corner, clicking its hook through a metal loop on the tip with an echoing bwonnng.

“Got it,” the girl was saying. He looked up to find the sandwich ball now neatly transformed into a somewhat round brown-paper covered projectile.

“Well done. Hold that a moment, will you?” He hoisted himself up for the part of this plan that he hadn’t wanted to think too deeply about: that the only way to shoot it would be from the center. Huffing, he swung over the lip and crunched down into the rubbish, stomping the unidentifiable contents until he found reasonably sound footing. Leaning forward he firmly gripped the strap and began pulling it back. It was stiff, but reasonably flexible; leaning, he worked it as far back as he could then dug in his heels, trying to steady it.

“Now. Hold that sandwich right here. A little further over. Good. Hold it right there…”

He shifted his hold until he could fold the squashy ball somewhat in the apex of the fat rubber curve. She pulled her hands back out of the way and watched, apparently both impressed and amused.

“Come on…” he muttered, his arms trembling from the strain of holding it back as he adjusted his aim. Where was that blasted…

Yaaaark!

The gull dropped in front of the wooden partition clattering and scraping at it then flew up to the top again. It shoved its head into the slot along the front opening, viciously hissing at them upside-down.

Fwonk!

A brown glob shot past just as it jerked to the side; a glob that took its strong fishy scent with it in a long arc, bouncing and rolling briefly along the gravel and scrubby grass opposite the walk then rolling off with increasing speed down the slope towards the cliffs. The gull shot after it, vanishing over the edge of one of the clefts with a shriek of gullish greed.

“Good shot!”

“Thank you,” the Brigadier replied with a properly restrained smile of acknowledgment. Inside he was practically clicking his heels; he really hadn’t been sure if the makeshift thing would release its smelly payload out the slot or if it would merely explode inside their pillbox with them. He wished the Doctor had been there to see it.

They waited, but after a few moments there was still no sign of it returning. The Brigadier edged back out of the rank smelling shelter, scanning the sky. The only gulls visible continued wheeling on the updrafts without any apparent interest in the people below. The young woman followed him more slowly then turned and stuck out a hand.

“Sylvia Fleming, Countryside Ranger,” she pointedly introduced. “And as I was about to say before all that, you are aware this park is closed?"

“Countryside Rangers?”

“We manage the parks and reserves around here, which puts you rather in my jurisdiction.”

He looked away, then became occupied with brushing bits of gunk from his pant leg and rubbing at his sore knee. "Ah, I see. I thought it was rather quiet. Why is it closed?"

"Storm damage,” she said, not fooled by his naivety.

"I thought it might be the gulls." He glanced back up at her wryly.

She rolled her eyes at that and gave a short, humourless laugh. "I admit it’s strange, isn't it? And we've had several like that lately, or maybe it’s a problem with the same one over and over again. If that’s the case, I can't wait for nesting season to be over with for that one, I can tell you. Worse that it’s those Black-backs, they’re already pretty big and mean for gulls."

“Good to know it isn’t just me. And pleased to meet you, Miss Fleming,” he added with a belated courtesy. “Bri… Alistair Lethbridge-Stewart. And no, I’m not just holidaying, I’m involved in some scientific research. Speaking of which, what's on the other side of that ridge there?" he waved a hand towards the promontory. “The beach doesn’t wrap around in any way, does it?”

"Not at all. It’s sheer cliffs," she said. "Birds love them, but they’re only accessible by watercraft unless you’re a bird or fish."

"Hm."

"You’re an odd one, though I suppose that might be par for the course with you scientists.”

He was still watching the cliff edge from the corner of his eye. “How could you be so sure that bird would chase after it, or not come right back?”

She shook a bit of something sticky from one of her sleeves. “Like I said, I saw it work before. Not me, personally, I mean. Just a few days ago we had an older woman here eating her lunch at the park and one of those things went after her. Usually they just want food, being gulls, so when it turned mean she tried getting rid of it by throwing her lunch off the cliff.”

He considered this with interest. “And it worked.”

“Chased right after it. Of course I don’t know if it would’ve gone back to her looking for seconds or anything, she ran right back to her car and drove off at that point.”

“Understandable,” he nodded.

“Not that I’m condoning throwing things off the cliff!” she amended hastily, as if suddenly remembering her Ranger duties. “Not to mention the littering, it’s hazardous; there can be people down below. Speaking of which, I saw you arrive earlier and there were two of you; where's your father?"

His eyebrows quirked. "My father?"

"That older gentleman who was with you. I'm sorry, I shouldn't have jumped to conclusions…" she fumbled to a stop, seeing the growing disbelieving amusement in his face at the idea.

"The Doctor,” he said, carefully restoring neutrality, “my associate, is still somewhere down on the beach."

"You're doctors?"

"No… well, I suppose he might be."

It was her turn to quirk eyebrows at that. "Well, look. No matter what he does for a living, the park is still closed for a reason and most of it because of the beach." She frowned toward the beach path. "I was down there earlier, checking the damage."

"To what?"

"To the pier, to the bird's nests, to the cliffs, what did you think? Erosion is only to be expected from a storm, of course. There's a minor fall down towards the end, I do hope your friend has the good sense to stay away from it; there could be more to come down."

“I’m certain he wouldn’t get himself too near anything that looked dangerous,” the Brigadier assured her while completely doubting it himself.

---


The Doctor stepped forward into the dimly lit chamber and paused, holding up his hands in a gesture of peace. “No reason to be alarmed,” he said quickly. “I just want to speak with you a moment.”

Three Silurian heads whipped towards him in astonishment, quivering as they scented him, trying to see what he was. The one he’d been following reached for a small, rounded weapon that lay atop the blinking control panel, but even as he shifted to duck for shelter if necessary, both of the other Silurians reached out to grasp the potential assailant.

“Stop!” commanded the heavier set one, older and darker than his overly-eager compatriot.

“No, hold!” the taller one was hissing excitedly.

The third, obviously the smallest and youngest of the trio, lowered the weapon disc reluctantly. “It is an intruder!” he protested. “And it may not be alone!”

“I assure you, I’m no invader,” the Doctor said, trying to look as non-threatening as possible. “I merely followed you in to see what you were up to.”

“I saw no one,” the youth growled.

“Well, you’ll have to be more observant next time, won’t you? It’s just as well. I was looking for you.”

“How did you know of us?” asked the taller one.

“Why do you seek us?” the older one demanded at the same time.

“I’ve met your people before,” the Doctor replied equitably. “And I have news that I believe you should hear.”

They stared suspiciously at him, obviously unsure what to do with this unexpected appearance among them. “What proof do we have that you are not only the first of many?” the older one finally grated. “Or that you will report to the humans of our work here?”

“I assure you…,” he said, stepping forward.

“I shall kill him,” the younger one interrupted impatiently. “There will be no worry of his telling then.” His hand swung back to his belt, pulling up the energy weapon once again. He stepped closer to the Doctor, who still hadn’t moved beyond the entrance to the chamber.

“No, do not kill him,” the older one commanded the younger with a staying gesture.

“Thank you. Very kind,” the Doctor noted mildly, though his eyes were sharp.

“He is dangerous! ” the younger protested. “You are fools!”

The Doctor clucked his tongue at this. “Tsk. What are you so worried about? Look at me,” he said, raising his hands innocently as he came closer to his potential assailant. “I’m alone, and there are three of you. And I haven’t any weapons with me, unlike yourselves.”

The youth wasn’t mollified. He held the disc-shaped weapon up in an unsteady clawed hand. “He shows no fear. He knows of our weapons. He has planned an attack on us!” He abruptly stepped forward and shot.

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