As Nella continued to hear the hyena-like whooping of the drilling instrument, The fake Earl used to attempt to penetrate the armor around her skull, she could at the same time feel the nanobots in her armor’s fabric busy at work repairing each insidious incision with almost lightning speed.
Continuing to act as though she had succumbed to the paralytic her sister Triaca had forcibly administered to her moments ago, Nella’s thoughts drifted as she continued to control her breathing resonance measuring out her life force in yoga-like “pranayama.” She recalled the preparations (aka “the surprise“) that she and her fellow Tailors: Rooftop, Rigger, Siela, and The Earl had made two weeks ago to the day, for this very eventuality…
[Two weeks earlier at Nella’s sister’s home, The Grandamme II —”The Surprise” is planned…”
Crouched on the steeple at Sunrise atop her sister Triaca’s home The Grandamme II spying through her camera lens for the incoming threats that she knew would come soon—Nella paused. It gutted her heart that the relationship between her sister Triaca and she had come to this…
Nella climbed down from the steeple and vaulted her diminutive frame onto the garden’s lush grass. The aroma of freshly cut grass mingled with her freshly brewed espresso completing its slow drip into one of her sister’s Le Creuset stoneware mugs.
A stone’s throw away, putting away the robot lawnmower into the garden’s hidden storage area, and pointing to the lavish room across the garden on the ground floor, Rigger asked,
“What is that room, a drawing room of some kind?”
“No my friend, that is “The Cheese Room!” Nella replied.
“You mean to tell me that some people reserve an entire room for the sole purpose of enjoying cheese trays…blimey!”
“Yup, that’s the kind of thing my sister would do to impress London society with her charcuterie prowess. The room was built to mirror the exact dimensions of her master bedroom directly above it. She even built a secret staircase from her master bedroom down to “The Cheese Room” so that she could slip downstairs unannounced and surprise her guests, just for fun.”
“You have got to be kidding,” Rooftop suddenly chimed in, as she finally appeared from admiring the garden hedge, sipping an espresso in a Le Creuset mug.
“Did you just take my espresso!” quipped Nella, as it suddenly dawned on her that Rooftop had deliberately helped herself to Nella’s espresso from the machine.
Slurping loudly, Rooftop smiled, “Did it have your name on it?”
“What do you mean, my name…This is not Starbucks, give that to me…”
Laughing, Rooftop slurped down the entire espresso before Nella could sprint to grab the mug.
Rigger, chuckling at the two women’s usual antics every morning over the past five and a half months hunkered down at The Grandamme II waiting for Nella’s sister Triaca to strike said,
“Now, now children, play nice.”
“We have got to make a plan. We know Triaca certainly will be well armed and ready when she arrives— either to take back her home or worse to relieve you of your nanobot armor. Any ideas Nella?” asked Rooftop as she pressed the “Start” button on the Slayer Espresso machine and placed a fresh clean Le Creuset mug under its spout.
“All this talk of “The Cheese Room” gives me an idea for…a surprise for my dear sister and her hired henchmen and women. She has to be caught in the act of committing a major crime. If not, she will no doubt use her considerable influence and high-powered briefs (lawyers) to escape prosecution.”
Sitting down with her now freshly brewed expresso in hand, Rigger and Rooftop joined her on the garden’s lawn. Nella nodded a nonverbal “thank you” to Rooftop and continued,
“Okay, this is the plan in broad strokes. It was one your forefathers used back in the day, Rooftop to protect the legendary, King Solomon’s mines. I…”
Interrupting Nella, Rigger exclaimed, “…You don’t mean the doomsday surprise, bloody hell, Nella.”
“Yes, that one! And, I am entrusting all the fine details to you both; because as we suspect my sister will find some way to administer a paralytic to immobilize me, on that day when she storms this place.”
“What do you have in mind in terms of the scale of the surprise, Nella?” asked Rooftop.
“The largest we can fit into “The Cheese Room.” First, can you arrange for the Earl and your big sister Siela to be on standby on the day of the surprise with the Merlin chopper somewhere close by and out of sight? Please inform them that they will be performing the armed “extraction” part of the surprise. And since we do not know the exact day of my sister’s assault on this place, they will have to be on standby from today, until this is over. Can you arrange that Rigger?”
“No problem,” replied Rigger as he extracted his phone from his vintage Hawaiian shirt pocket and texted his sister Siela with the details just discussed.
“Rooftop, we will need supplies and a construction crew to set them in place. The supplies we will require are as follows: two bobcat machines, six airbags; the type used in heavy truck recovery systems to lift overturned tractor trailers, and 200 meters of high blast detonation cord (detcord) wired to two sticks of dynamite.
Tilting her head back to capture the last dregs of the espresso in her mug, Nella continued,
“One the day of the surprise: Rigger the airbag systems’ remote and detonating the explosives will be under your control. Rooftop, you will be on point coordinating with The Earl and your sister, Siela for “the extraction.” And my only job on the day of my sister’s “arrival” is to lure her and as many of her mercenary team as possible into the master bedroom.”
“All this equipment has to be purchased outright, none of it will survive the impact. I will arrange for The Earl to ready the funds for the purchase,” Rooftop explained, as she reached into her kevlar jacket’s inside pocket and retrieved her phone.
Then, Rooftop dialed The Earl’s number and briefed him.
One hour later…
Nella’s phone rang. It was The Earl.
“What are your plans for all this equipment, I just paid a bill for several hundred thousand pounds. Plus, I was forced to call in a huge favor with my former Green Beret buddies to obtain approval for the explosives you ordered. Are you planning on leveling The Grandamme II with all of you inside?”
“Something like that,” replied Nella resolutely.
“Your plan seems ill-advised, reckless, and outright dangerous, Nella.”
“…Trust me, Your Grace, this is the only way. My sister has to implicate herself in her crimes by being present during one of her felonies. For years she has worked in the shadows against us. We did not know that our enemy’s face was one of our own looking back at us in the mirror. This is the first chance we have to place her at the scene of a crime—a crime that she has planned. I do not see another way. Therefore, I am making the decision to proceed. Do you concur, Your Grace?”
“Yes of course, of course. I concur. And, I will arrange for the authorities to show up in full force to storm The Grandamme II and make the necessary arrests, after the dust settles, so to speak. God’s speed Nella.”
“Thank you, Your Grace. We will keep the backdoor open.” (And by backdoor Nella meant the catacomb exit she had used months ago from The Baccarat Bar to The Grandamme II‘s garden).
Hanging up the phone, Nella said to her fellow Tailors, Rigger and Rooftop seated next to her,
“My friends, this plan has got to work, God speed to us all. And on that day when my sister arrives to do the unthinkable, my signal to execute the surprise will be the word…“doomsday.”” ]
***To Be Continued in the Finale Next Week***