Chapter 4 – Mallow’s Malodorous Machine
A few seconds later, Jinji sits up and shakes his head groggily. “Urgh… what just happened?”
Suddenly, a horrifying sight snaps Jinji back into focus.
Jinji finds himself facing an absolutely colossal toxic time-bomb! Combining electrical, mechanical and magical components – many sourced from Mallow’s dump himself, or created by Zain’s Dragonite magic, Mallow and Zain have created a huge industrial machine spanning many metres in all directions. The base of the machine consists of a number of large barrels, each filled with potent mixes of toxic gas, rotting junk, and Mallow’s sludge and gunk. Rusted and damaged pipes connect together the barrels, which then feed into various parts of the bomb, where they mix together into a foul concoction that becomes increasingly stinkier and more deadly by the second. Some of this sludge and stink leaks out of the machine through various cracks, damaged pipes and weak metal walls; and the entire machine is festooned with various toxic or biohazard warning markers, leaving Jinji in no doubt as to the toxic and dangerous nature of the machine. Front and centre of the machine is an old, gunked-up computer, upon which a number is slowly counting down, alerting Jinji to the machine’s true purpose as a massive, malodorous munition.
Jinji wastes no time taking action, cutting wires…
…and floating around the bomb looking for any and every section that will need to be dealt with in order to attempt to defuse the stinky explosive.
The sheer complexity of the machine, however, gives him concern. Not only is the bomb super-huge – taking him over a minute to float from one side to the other – but it also has a huge number of working parts and many obscured areas where wiring and pipework becomes difficult or even impossible to see. Every component seems to be connected to each other in multiple different ways in a manner designed to be deliberately confusing.
If that wasn’t bad enough, the rusty and corroded nature of many of the bomb’s components prove very fragile; and more than once, Jinji finds himself suddenly being sprayed with toxic sludge or being pelted with leaking gases and stench. “Where’s my gas mask?!”, he thinks to himself, as he holds his breath and desperately tries to stay alert and conscious as he continues to tackle the tricky time-bomb.
With time ticking away and still no sign of any progress, Jinji decides to tackle the very brain of the machine itself – the ancient computer terminal. Working with its dirty, gunked-up keyboard, Jinji starts attempting to hack into the computer’s system; and eventually succeeds in finding some sort of control panel.
Jinji’s success is short-lived, however, as the bomb presents him with a password entry screen. “GAH! I have to enter a ten-digit password?!?”, Jinji shouts in exasperation. “But there’s ten billion possible combinations! My chances of blindly guessing are virtually non-existent!”
Jinji gulps, and hopes for a miracle. He types password after password, each time being met with failure, all the while keeping his eye on the ever-decreasing timer and the steadily increasing warning gauges…
Unfortunately for Jinji, the bomb has one last nasty surprise. When Jinji first regained consciousness and became aware of the bomb, the countdown was over 900, giving the appearance to Jinji that he had over 15 minutes to attempt the defusal. Little did he know this was a lie! Roughly two minutes into entering codes, the timer hits 569 and the ancient computer terminal begins to flash. A loud beeping is Jinji’s only warning before, all of a sudden…
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