Posted by: Kathryn Hulick | March 3, 2008

Security Breach

Coconut Creek, Florida. February 27, 2008.

Florida Pink Flower

Is that the only way out?

Xander stared upwards through the delicate palm fronds and twisting vines towards the window.

Oh great, he thought.  The only thing between me and safety is a bunch of leaves and a giant pink flower that looks like a flamingo crossed with a porcupine.

He could hear the robots approaching.  Dozens of tiny wheels buzzed against the smooth metal walkway, and tinny voices blared out from spinning speakers.

“Warning!  There has been a security breach.  Warning!  Clear the area.”

I’m not a security breach, Xander thought.  I’m a security catastrophe.  Then he twisted a metal bolt off the nearest guardrail and tossed it back and forth between his intricately tatooed hands.  He hadn’t infiltrated the top secret government biodome for nothing.  Just next to nothing.

It’s worth it if it makes Ira smile, Xander thought, and threw the bolt, just as the first robot came skidding around the corner.

It was a perfect hit.

The pink flower exploded like a firework, sending gooey white pollen as sticky as Elmer’s glue flying all over the room.  The first robot wheeled right into a pool of the white stuff and stuck there, spinning uselessly in place.

When invading a biodome, Xander imagined himself teaching a gang of hopeful young spies, it is most important to first study botany. 

Actually, Ira was the one who’d told him about the Ooze Flower.  It was just in passing; she knew all sorts of useful stuff like that because she actually read books.  Not ebooks, books.  Like with paper and tiny black letters.  Xander himself wouldn’t be caught dead reading anything, electronic or not, but he wasn’t against learning a thing or two, especially if it involved explosions.

And that Ooze Flower made a fantastic explosion.  Something about the polymers and complex sugars, Ira had explained, but Xander didn’t care why.  Now was his chance, while the robots were confused.  He located another bolt and another flower and three more robots were left spinning their wheels.

“Take that,  sil’-boxes!”

No human would dare call a robot a “silicon box” to its face if he wanted to live, but these robots were stuck and Xander was angry.

Finally, he jumped up onto the railing and vaulted himself over the fish-filled stream running beneath the walkway.  It was a long shot, but he managed to grab a branch and swing himself to the soft, mossy earth without too much pain on impact.  The robots’ voices raised in intensity.

“Warning!  Access prohibited.  Warning!  Lethal force may be used.”

“Bring it on!”  Xander screamed, and started climbing along the metal bands supporting the glass wall.  Up above him, shimmering and serene, was the way out.  The way back home.   And now that he had what the council wanted, it really would be home again.



  1. Is it just me or do I detect a little Andrew in most of your young male leads?

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