Yarrow pulled out her spindle and spun enough thread to tether it. “Ready.”
Rose pulled out her weaver’s shuttle. “Ready.”
Thorn unsheathed a set of throwing knives and opened the door to a narrow security office. Six guards and two dogs lounged inside. The men were debating the significance of the door alarm. Startled, the guards jumped to their feet.
One actually shouted, “Freeze!” as he fumbled for his side-arm.
He fell as the spindle cracked his skull. Yarrow wound it back up the thread with a flick of her wrist, launched into the air and spun out of the way of Thorn’s attack.
Knives flew. One landed in the eye of a guard, knocking him backward as the second hit him in the chest. Two more blades sank into a third guard as he tried to radio for help. Thorn strode across the room to retrieve her weapons, sidestepping as a guard rushed her.
He missed Thorn and ran right into Rose. Her deep horse stance absorbed his attack. He bounced backward as her shuttle smashed into his head. He didn’t get back up. Rose whistled to the dogs. The Rottweilers trotted over obediently.
Rose ordered, “Sit.” The dogs complied. She rubbed their ears. “Good girls. Stay.”
The spindle spun around the remaining two guards, cocooning them in thread. Thorn tied it off and tossed it back to Yarrow. Rose knocked them out with the shuttle.
Thorn said, “We should tie up the dogs.”
“Nonsense. They’ll be fine,” said Rose, waving off her concerns. “See? They’re still sitting pretty for me.”
“So long as it’s your ass they bite should they decide to do their jobs,” Thorn growled.
“There’s the horseshoe. Looks like an antique.” Yarrow tried to take it but couldn’t quite reach it.
Thorn easily plucked it from the hook. She turned it over in her hands, studying it. “Nice piece. Looks like it might actually have been used on a horse at one point.”
Rose took it from her. “Oh, good weight to it. I could use this.”
Thorn picked the lock on the door. “Keep it.”
“Wait. We need a picture for the wall.” Yarrow pulled out her phone.
The three posed in front of the door, Rose holding the shoe while Thorn made a victory sign. Yarrow examined the result.
“You need to smile more, Thorn.”
“I was smiling.” Thorn opened the door.
Yarrow harrumphed. “You call that a smile? What do you think, Rose?”
“She’s smiling on the inside, dear.” Rose looked around the vault. “Oh, my. I think someone watched too many Indiana Jones movies.”
Evenly spaced sconces on the walls provided dim, diffuse lighting. A gray marble pedestal stood in the center of the room. On top of it was a square of cloth. White threads traced binary code on a black background bordered in red. A lead crystal dome protected it.
Rose walked around it. “Alarms?”
“What do you think?” asked Thorn. “Feather sensitive, too.”
“That rules out spiders and ants then,” said Yarrow.
Rose studied the glass closely. “What are these faint lines in it?”
“Fiber optics.” Thorn pointed to a circle the dome fit in on the base. “It’s relatively simple. Any change in weight or a break in the fiber optic line will set off an alarm. Difficult but not impossible to work around.”
Yarrow shrugged and started spinning. “Is that all? How much line do you need?”
“Six yards for the optic line. Then we’ll need… ten pounds, six point four ounces to replace the weight of the dome.”
Rose gathered the cable as Yarrow spun it out. Thorn cut it when it reached the required length. Yarrow made an adjustment to the spindle, switching to a heavier iron thread. Rose wove it into a ring to match the diameter of the dome. When it was done, she handed it to Thorn who finished the ends and hefted it speculatively.
“Good match. Time to get to work.”
Yarrow walked slowly round the pedestal, waving her hands over it as she quipped, “Double, double, toil and trouble…”
Thorn managed a slight crooked smile as she set to cutting the glass near the base to get at the cable. “On that day one grave-eyed Fate, pausing in her toil, shall say, …focus on the task at hand, if you will.”
“I don’t remember Saphho saying it quite like that,” Rose remarked. “Wasn’t she on about love all the time?”
“Fiber optic cable, if you please.”
Yarrow handed her one end. Thorn spliced it into the system then moved to the other end. Once the optical signal was traveling through the surrogate cabling, she turned her attention to the dome itself. As she slowly lifted it, Rose and Yarrow guided the ring in place.
Thorn set the dome on the ground and picked up the cloth then took out her scissors and cut it down the middle. It dissolved into smoke. She intoned, “Out of nothing they were fashioned, and to nothing must return.”
Rose gave a short, satisfied nod. “Now to weave a web to attract our next client.”
Yarrow is quoting from The Complete Works of Shakespeare, Project Gutenberg Etext, Copyright 1990-1993, World Library, Inc.
Rose is quoting from The Seventh Octave : The Early Writings of Saul Williams, Moore Black Press, New York, New York, 1998′
Thorn quotes from Sappho : One Hundred Lyrics by Bliss Carman, Project Gutenberg EBook, May 2004
Copyright 2014, Kimberley Long-Ewing, all rights reserved