Challenge #01053-B321: Subtle(n)...

We're going to be subtle with high explosives

My favourite kind of subtle! -- RecklessPrudence

There are certain things that worry Galactic Citizens about humans. The thing that worried them most was when they got very quiet. Despite the fact that a sleeping human is a safe human, a quiet human is usually involved in working something out.

Ax'and'l had learned that only slightly more dangerous was a human who was muttering to themselves. Only more dangerous was when they stopped muttering to cackle.

Which was why he dove for cover when Hwell muttered, "There's some! Now we're cooking..." and then cackled.

"Oh give over," said Hwell. "I'm not doing anything that's going to hurt us."

Ax'and'l peeked over the heavy furniture. "But it is going to involve property damage and huge clouds of debris."

"You want us out of this pickle, don't you? They've shut us in, so I have to blow us out." He busied himself over the pot he was using. "And I'm not exactly blowing us out. Just... burning."

"What are you making?"

"Thermite. I didn't have the stuff for other explosives. Had to be subtle."

Ax'and'l went back behind the furniture. "Let me know when you're going to ignite it..." There were more sturdy pieces of furniture, several rooms distant. Ax'and'l knew Hwell well, and if he was doing anything with something hazardous, he was going to overdo it. Possibly to the point where things would become life-endangering.

Ax'and'l made good his retreat when Hwell started singing the word 'yes' over and over again. He was halfway through rigging up another impromptu filter mask when the human dived in with him. "I forgot about the smoke. And the heat."

"What blew up?" sighed Ax'and'l.

"Um. Nothing? Only... there's a slight wallpaper fire and the linoleum is kind of melting in there."

"And the only thing stopping this entire complex from catching alight? Or us choking on the fumes?"

"....uuuuhhhmmm... Fireproof wadding in the cracks around the fireproof doors?" Hwell started to help make the mask. His hands were shaking and his arm hairs were singed off. His skin was singed red, especially near his fingertips.

The ground shook with a distant rumbling. "You said no explosions!"

"That wasn't an explosion. That was the floor falling into the next floor below. When it all burns out and cools down, we'll have access to a larger underground complex." He quickly donned his mask and got out his personal medkit. Applying alloe extract to his second-degree burns. "And we'll have to make a ladder..."

There was a second rumble.

"Please tell me that this Thermite of yours has a retardant?"

"Um. No. It doesn't. It's the unstoppable force. Sorry. It will, eventually, run out and stop burning. Then we have to wait for the stuff it melted to cool down and the... um... gasses to dissipate."

"You're as subtle as a freight barge on maximum thrust."

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