This is part III of Search for Life! If you’re a new reader, welcome!! Please go back and read parts I and II, and enjoy the story!
I feel terrible for leaving you guys hanging like this… absolutely terrible… *hangs head in shame* Between preparing for finals, the death of my grandma, and writer’s block… also I got so disconnected from the story that I had to go back and reread it all… all I can really say is that I’m sorry… *begs forgiveness*
Anyway, I’ll spare you a long author’s note… and get right back to the story!
Welcome to Search for Life Part III!!
Artemis tried to distract himself from his own impending demise with trying to save Holly, at least. As the current situation stood, he was being held prisoner, but Holly was not. She was kept in the main part of the building, as opposed to the prison. He had already figured out how to get free, but there was no reason to do that yet.
If I can just get in contact with Butler…
Little did the young genius know, Opal was about to help him out.
When Butler’s phone rang, he jumped in a way most unbefitting a bodyguard. He fumbled with the phone, opening it much too quickly and nearly dropping it.
He was answered by a dark chuckle.
“Not quite, Butler.”
The color drained from the bodyguard’s face. He stopped his search of the cave and stood straight up.
“Opal,” he acknowledged coldly. He felt his core shiver, but hid it like a good bodyguard should. “How did you get this number?”
“Dear little Holly told me,” Opal said softly, menacingly.
Butler, not as smart as his charge and not working with all the information, decided it best not to jump to conclusions. He also figured that it wasn’t a good idea to terminate the conversation, as his instincts were screaming at him to do. If he had any chance of finding out where Artemis and Holly were… this might be it.
“… Why would she do that?”
“Now why would I tell you that?” Opal replied, a smile in her voice. “Best to keep you in the dark, my friend. Knowledge is power, after all.”
Butler felt fury sweep through him, and he wished that he could crush Opal. But he couldn’t. For now, all he could do was talk.
Not his strong suit, by any means.
“In fact,” Opal continued, “there are actually very few facts that you need to know. One of which being that Artemis is dying.”
Butler felt like he had been punched in the stomach, and the breath left his body. He seemed unable to draw another breath as he slumped to the ground. She’s lying, she’s lying, she’s lying… he repeated like a mantra in his own head.
“Holly is currently powerless, that’s another one,” Opal said haughtily. “The last fact that you need to know is what I want. You’re smart… perhaps. Take a guess… what do I want?”
Butler forced himself to take a deep breath. “If you’re lying, pixie…” he rumbled.
“Tut, tut, that’s not what I asked!” Opal chirped, enjoying herself. “Very well; I’ll tell you. What I want is money. What I want is power. And what I want, above all else, is revenge. So why did I call? Because you can help me get that revenge. I want you to do a little favor for me… and perhaps I’ll release one of them. I won’t tell you which one… but one will survive.”
Butler’s mind was whirling, and what little presence of mind he had had was long since gone, flung out the window.
And he answered her.
Artemis slid easily out of the bonds; he landed on his feet, only to have his legs buckle under him. Pausing for a moment and swallowing a mouthful of blood, he rose slowly.
We’re on a ship… Opal’s ship. She’s not stupid enough to install a self-destruct button… so we’ll have to make our own.
There was a small control panel on the wall of the cell, and he made his way to it. As soon as he reached it, he saw the problem:
This was no luxury cruiser. This was a LEP ship.
Wait… wait! That’s not a problem at all!
Prying off the panel, he found what he was looking for: Foaly’s proverbial signature, the mark that the centaur left on every piece of machinery he ever made. I know Foaly’s work inside and out…! Artemis thought excitedly. I’ve tapped it and infiltrated it more times than I care to count!
As well as knowledge, Opal’s choice of ship gave him one more important advantage. Reaching into his pocket, Artemis found the scraps of metal that used to be his phone. Finding the right chip, and thanking the universe that it was still intact, he detached a small wire from the panel on the wall.
Let this work…
A spark burned his fingers, but he held the wires steady. The chip in his hand flickered, and so did the circuit board on the wall. When everything stopped blinking, Artemis drew back.
Alright, Foaly… let’s hope this glitch is as bad as you think.
The centaur in question was, at the moment, cursing Artemis Fowl as he gazed at the empty shuttle bay. He stamped one hoof in annoyance.
“I want to find Holly, too!” he said aloud. “But this?”
An insistent beeping interrupted the centaur’s complaints, and he clopped over to the control panel. His eyes nearly popped out of his head when he spotted the alert light.
“You’re kidding me…” he whispered, forgetting, for a moment, everything else. “That ship was destroyed weeks ago…” In an instant, his fingers were flying over a pair of keyboards. Then, something dawned on him. “Artemis…!!”
His thoughts actually got no farther, because another beeping interrupted them. Tapping twice on the screen, he answered the phone call.
“Butler?” he asked, but didn’t give the bodyguard a chance to reply. “Yeah, I think I just got a message from Artemis.”
“Really…” Foaly’s ears pricked slightly at the odd tone in the bodyguard’s voice. “Well… so did I.”
No, he didn’t, the centaur thought, and we both know it. Who did contact you, Butler? “Is that right?” There’s a good chance that the call is monitored. We’ve both got to be very careful about this…
… … …
This is bad, Butler thought, gritting his teeth. If Foaly did get a message from Artemis, Opal’s got that information now!
“I need the real codes,” the pixie hissed in his other ear. “Tell him that you need them to get in at the South East gate, that there’s a malfunction and you need the override codes.”
Butler reiterated the instructions though the phone, and Foaly let out a surprised whinny.
“A malfunction?! I can’t imagine it!”
“Well… it’s not opening for my passkey. It looks sort of like…”
“Like the lock is melted,” supplied Opal.
“Like the lock was melted, maybe damaged by sparks.”
“’Damaged by sparks?’” Opal hissed. “Don’t add anything, mud man!”
“By sparks?” Foaly repeated. “Well, then, by all means… the code is…”
“No, no, no!” Opal snapped. “You will get the real codes out of him, now! These are fake!”
Butler suppressed a smile. “Thank you, Foaly, those worked quite well. See you soon.”
… … …
Foaly grinned. By sparks. Burned by sparks. That, along with Artemis’ signal, gave the centaur all he needed to know. The word ‘sparks’ could be reliably substituted for ‘magic,’ and ‘damaged’ could be taken to mean either ‘pressured’ or ‘injured.’ What Artemis’ message told him was that Artemis, and presumably Holly, were on a stolen LEP ship which he now had the location for.
“Trouble! I need you to assemble a team; make sure that there are some stealth specialists and plenty of medics. We’ve got to get this rescue underway!”
(A/N) I AM going to wrap up the story soon; keep a lookout for the next chapter, it’ll be up soon, I promise!!
Hope you guys enjoyed!!
By the way, I got a comment about my grammar on Part II, and I think I died a little inside (my friends call me a Grammar Nazi, so…) Would anybody be interested in Beta-ing? Just, like, proofreading my stuff before it gets posted? … Please?