“But enough about me,” Taipan said.
“Thank God,” Jacobs muttered. His legs were asleep from dangling over the side of the air vent, and his ears were going to sleep from listening to Taipan talk.
“Tell me about yourself. Why did you decide to become a scientist?”
“I didn’t,” Jacobs said. “I’m an engineer. And I decided to become an engineer because it’s a stable, respectable job and I had the marks for it.”
“That’s not very interesting.”
“So?” Jacobs said. “We’re not all interesting people. Not everyone can be a cave-man or a magic plumber or a… whatever you are.”
“Badass master criminal with a heart of gold.”
“It’d be better if you had an ass of gold right now,” Jacobs muttered. “Anyway, some of us are just regular folks doing their job…”
“In a world gone mad?” Taipan said. “Because if you put it like that, that would make you more interesting.”
Jacobs looked down at the dark pool of water that covered the floor of the room below. A carnivorous trilobite leaped out of the water with a loud snapping sound and dived back down.
“World gone mad?” he said. “Yeah, I guess so. Anyway, there’s no way out until those kids come back, and odds are they’ll electrocute themselves when they do.”
The door swung open. Jacobs and Taipan looked up in hope, but there was no-one there but an elderly tourist. “This the men’s room?” he said.
“Across the hall,” Jacobs said. “It’s clearly marked.”
“You boys all right?”
“Clearly not, but don’t worry about it. Just go pee.”
The old man smacked his teeth. “No, it’s okay. I’ll come help you down.”
“NO!” Jacobs and Taipan yelled as the old man stepped into the water.
The old man had barely taken two steps, when lines of ripples in the water converged on him. He seemed more confused than frightened as he toppled over into the inky waters. For a moment, there was nothing to be seen. Then a bloody hand broke the surface, before slowly receding into the deep.
“That’s kind of impressive, given that there’s only about ten centimetres of water,” Jacobs said.
“They’ve tasted human flesh now!” Taipan said. “See? That’s how you say interesting things. Human flesh, not geometry problems.”
Jacobs considered a moderately witty retort, but decided not to. Taipan was right. They had tasted human flesh, which probably wasn’t a good thing.
The door opened again, this time revealing a statuesque woman, a sword in one hand. “I seek the ancient evil! Hast seen it?”
“And that’s how you enter a room interestingly,” Taipan said. “I bet you would have said ‘hello’ or something lame like that.”
“Is that eyepatch real, or do you have two eyes?” Jacobs sneered.
Taipan reddened. “Yes I have two eyes,” he said. “But that doesn’t mean that the eyepatch isn’t real. Think about it.”
” Aren’t you head of security or something? ” Jacobs yelled to the Valkyrie. ” Any chance you could save us?”
The warrior woman sheathed her sword. “To do that, I would need to drain the water from the room.”
“Oooh, much better than stilts,” Taipan said. “I like this one!”
“For that, I will need to go to the pumping room,” she continued.
“No,” Jacobs said. “The pumping room has been all evilified by an evil…”
But it was too late. She had swept away with a majestic wave of her cloak.
“I would probably find her quite attractive,” Taipan mused, “if the entire lower half of my body wasn’t numb.”
“Are you sure the top half isn’t, too?” Jacobs said, but his heart wasn’t in it.