The Unusual Suspects Vol. 2

From ScottishClimbs

Jump to: navigation, search
Unusual Suspects.jpg
The conclusion to Part 1 of The Unusual Suspects
an Article by Dave Redpath


Scene 7 - The Dark Prince

Dunne rounded the group up to find the next problem, "Well guys I'm afraid things are going to get darker today. We need to follow the devils footprints". Walker questioned, "What's the problem called?". Dunne stated raising his eyes to meet Noirs, "The Dark Prince, Font 8a+". Walker turned circle Noir slowly, "We'll my prince you lead the way". Noir pondered the description for a moment looking into the distance, then realised the significance. "We need to follow the sheep path into the boulder basin. There we will find the boulder.". He turned to depart his cloak sweeping round in an arc. His small slave hurried to follow, high stepping through the deep heather.

Surveying the coire layout the group could see the lower boulder jam caused water build up leading to a much boggier area in the boulder field, they moved to intercept. Approaching the boulder the ground underfoot became very wet, causing humidity in the air to hang across the valley floor. The group searched for an avenue to the boulders, finally they found what they were looking for. Before them was a narrow muddy avenue through the reeds, animal footprints bore deeply in the mud. The group trudged through into the boulders.

Dunne completed the description "Traverse obvious steep sloper bowl just beyond evil pond". Arriving at the boulder, Walker tore in immediately with his wire brush removing moss and holds in the process. Noir paddled along the holds refining the sequence. Highlander hacked away at a large block with his Claymore, which blocked circumnavigation of the block. Eventually reducing it to rubble.

Column sat back watching the others peacefully, his head suddenly twitched to the left, "We must release the evil to destroy Hobbits, Smeagle can then take the precious project". Rubbing his white bony hands together, "Yes I will have a precious project again". Column stood up then paused, turning he ran and stamped through the dark water, turning around quickly to circle back then disappear.

Hearing Columns splashing the group turned, dismissing him. A moment later a dull hum could be heard building in intensity, the evil began to rise from the bog. Walker swatted a few buzzing midges around his face, then a few more. Now noticing the background noise building he turned in horror. A thick black swarm of midges completely obscured the horizon. The others turned, "Fucking hell a midge blackout, run!" Dunne and Walker sped the opposite direction from the encroaching swarm, before contouring back to the entrance. Highlander and Noir stood momentarily, unsure of the exact threat. A single midge landed on Noirs hand, "A much larger variety than the Etive Midge", he said to Highlander. With a swing of its sharp snout the midges tooth penetrated Noirs leather glove, he yelped in pain. Looking up he caught a last glimpse of Highlander making his escape.

Noir turned quickly to run, first tripping on his cloak then on his slave. He tumbled violently cracking his head on a boulder on the ground, knocking him out. The slave boy struggled, trapped underneath. The midge swarm enveloping them both.

The others ran for the exit avenue, sticking in the mud as they ran. The rising swarm bloated in size, enveloping the boulder field completely. Walker was first to regain the dry ground. A sneering Column sat watching, his look slowly turned to anger as more members returned. Highlander was last to exit, he turned to see no one in pursuit. Noir could not be seen. The remaining four turned looking back, the midge cloud has broadened again and increased in density. Highlander spoke, "No one could survive in there, see how they feed on the fresh blood". The swarm rotated tornado like, eating anything living in its path. Flocks of sheep ran from the basin, some stray animals were trapped in the mud and unable to flee. The 'Tormidgo' moved in, stripping them to the bone. The slaughtered animals gave an almost human cry. Walker looked on in horror, "It's the silence of the lambs alright". Accepting Noirs certain demise the four moved off to a safe distance.

Scene 8 - Bringing Down the Blade

After resting briefly the group received the details of the next problem from Dunne, "Limited Life Font 8a+. Boulder sits at the top of obvious jumble on the east side of coire Lagan. Ask for directions at the tourist bothy".

Arriving at the tourist bothy, Walker shouted inside the empty window, "Hello we're looking for directions". Hearing no reply, he repeated himself again. As he turned back to the others, a rummaging and commotion started inside. The small door opened to the side and various cans of Tennent's lager rolled out. The group look to the side, and then down as a small three legged haggis with a tartan hat looked up at them. "Hello lads, McSweeney at your service. How can I be of assistance?" Walker looked back at Dunne and Highlander, then back down at McSweeney as he let out a length burp and fart. "Were looking for the blade boulder?", Walker asked. Taking a swig from his Iru-Bru McSweeney started, "Ah, MacDonald's Blade it is you looking for eh. You've come to the right place. Directions can be found in the Gothic Stone guide that can be purchased for only ?9.99!". After an initial protest, Walker handed over the money. McSweeney then shied back inside, happy with his day's business.

Using the Gothic Stone description, the group moved slowly over the boulder jumble toward their target. Reaching the boulder all were surprised by how narrow and sharp the boulder was. A knife blade of rock tilted at thirty degrees, almost wafer thin all the way along its length. Directly below the boulder lay a series of crevasses in the boulders. Walker commented, "Well this ascent better be a flash or I'll be done for!". Highlander scoffed silently, for him death was no problem, many years he had lived as an immortal. He did not want his secret to be discovered, he encouraged Walker to go for it first.

Column sat looking at the blade of rock, it unnerved him how the rock cut the beam of sunlight. He longed again for the darkness of his lost cave, a project on such exotic rock. Walker kitted up and with a run and jump landed on the other side of the crevasse at the base of the blade. Standing underneath the blade Walker looked out over coire Lagan in the afternoon sunshine, the darkness of the rock crevasse bore a stark contrast. He must not fall. As Walker nodded over Highlander and Column stood up to spot any fall. Column humorously pointed his finger at Walker with a sneer in a 'your next' manner. Glancing down Highlander spotted the malice in Columns expression.

Walker breathed deeply, swallowed then began the climb. He moved slowly readjusting his grip on the dirty rock. The narrow nature of the blade made it excellent to pinch legs around the edges. Walker's hips were particularly strong and allowed him to take a hands off rest. Progressing towards the top Walker began to enjoy the climb, it had been easier than he had imagined. As he reached for the final hold the blade gave a sudden creak. At first Walker could not determine what was happening. Soon he felt the pressure on his arms increase, the blade was becoming steeper. Highlander shouted, "It's breaking up! You'll have to jump or it'll crush you underneath". Walker froze he could not jump into the crevasse directly below. The blade continued to collapse, the remaining flakes shattering. Everything took to the air. Dunne and Highlander dived to one side. Column sat oblivious, his head turned to the left in monologue. Momentarily halting he looked up at the impeding shadow of the falling blade. It promptly struck him, crunching him underneath. Dust took to the air as the shattered pieces of the blade cartwheeled downhill over the boulder field.

Highlander rose through the debris. Waving dust from his eyes he shouted to Dunne who lay in pain having suffered a sprained ankle. Lifting shattered flakes of rock Highlander looked for Column, the pieces were to big for him to lift alone. He called out to Walker. His yell dwindled as he seen the crevasse, walker would have tumbled down to his death. Acknowledging Dunne's cries he advanced to help.

Highlander helped the hobbling Dunne down through the boulders and back to the tourist track. Both men were in agreement that the assignment had soured and that authorities must be informed of the incidents. Handing Dunne his Claymore for a walking stick, Highlander helped Dunne a short way back down the path. He returned into the coire for the last problem.

Scene 9 - An Extra Mission

Using Dunne's torn notes, Highlander read the description for the final problem, Extra Mission Font 8c. The description stated, "Climb obvious golden nugget clad boulder if you can find it Ha Ha...".

His heart sank, how could he complete the assignment given such an evasive description. If his comrades were still alive they all could have drunk a few drams together and reflected on the days climbing. Thin cloud slowly moved across coire Lagan bringing drizzle from the approaching weather front. As the fading afternoon sunshine caught the thin mist of drizzle a rainbow was formed. Highlander looked up following the arc of the rainbow to where it disappeared into the boulder field. Just as he looked away it gave a twinkle. Looking up again he could see it more clearly. A broad smile crossed his face as he said, "I caught meself a Leprechaun and his name was Extra Mission". Shouldering his bag he proceeded rapidly across the boulder field to the rainbows end.

Arriving at the boulder the rainbow dispersed. Highlander stared in awe at the impressively overhanging face studded with small gold bullions. Searching for the line of least resistance through the steepness, he could find only one, direct through the centre. Starting on horrific sloping crimps with no footholds he would have to power upwards into the headwall. From below he could see many holds in the overhang, but all were nasty slopping gold sidepulls, which faded before the lip of the boulder.

He put on his climbing shoes and sat below the problem. Touching the first holds he felt how slippery the gold was, the friction was non-existent, surely no one could ever pull on such holds. He attempted to pull onto the rock but could not, wriggling his arched fingers under load his pulleys groaned. He could not climb this problem.

Remembering what his old bouldering friend Ramerez had said, "Most people have a good measure of life. If you can some it up in one place, at one time you can achieve something amazing!".

Taking a deep breath Highlander closed his eyes and concentrated on the small sloping crimps. As his hands slowly touched the holds a procession of bagpipes began to play from the Cioch and his feet slowly left the ground. Effortlessly with eyes still closed Highlander slowly latched hold after hold up the underside of the boulder. Nearing the lip crux the bagpipes bellowed louder in celebration of his strength and athleticism. Latching the lip Highlander mantled over the lip and stood up. He turned with a smile on his face to look down over the glen. A voice spoke from above "There can be only one Highlander". In a massive flash of light a thunderbolt shot down through the clouds blowing Highlander to pieces. The bagpipes slowly dulled and faded as the heavy rain started across the empty coire.

Final Scene - Taggarts Revelation

Tagart heard the wind blowing hard against the caravan, then realised that Dunne had finished. He did not expect the man to have been so talkative. He reach over and pressed stop on his small tape recorder.

Taggart started, "Well Mr Dunne thank you for being so cooperative. That will be all for today. I believe this investigation will come to a rapid conclusion that no foul play was involved". Standing up Taggart handed Dunne his card, "If you can think of anything else you feel as significant please contact me on this number".

Taggart directed Dunne to the door an stood watching as Dunne departed and made his way over the heather toward the main coire path.

Closing the door Taggart switched on the kettle and sat down. Reflecting on his conversation with Dunne he cast his eyes down on the inventory list titled 'Highlander Inventory', looking up in surprise at the stack of CD in the corner he glimpsed the cover of the Emenen CD with a white track suited youth wearing a gold chain and sunglasses.

Dunne returned slowly down the track to the Coire Lagan car park. Limping strongly on his left foot, head twitching to the right occasionally, breathing wheezily. Dunne exited the coire basin and descended down toward the car park. Out of sight the limp in his left leg stopped and his body straightened. As the sun broke through the clouds and the skies cleared he lifted sunglasses from his top pocket placed them over his eyes. Stopping momentarily to remove a box of cigarettes from his side pocket he looked back up toward the misty coire. With a wry smile he tapped then lit a cigarette. He wondered if Taggart could solve a crime scene so complex.

Taggart returned to scan his inventory list, which had been on his desk all along. He noted the 'Burton Biscuits', 'Noir' Coffee and 'Walkers' shortbread. Looking back at the poster on the wall of the Skye Bridge and 'Rainbow' he was now certain. Dunne had fabricated the entire story before him. Reaching for his cassette recorder he found the tape was missing!

Dunne turned and paced down toward a black limo waiting in the car park. On approaching the car his driver Mr Diamond opened the passenger rear door. "Hello Mr Soze, I take it our business here is complete". Keyser Soze replied, "Yes, Mr Diamond I believe it is", closing the door behind him Mr Diamond circled to the front of the limo and returned to his driving seat. The limo drove promptly away.

Blood rushed to Taggarts head he could not believe he had been fooled. Standing up he rushed to the door of the caravan, expecting to see a sight of Dunne on the coire path in the distance. All he could see was a dark vehicle speeding out of the coire car park.

Additional Ending - Judgement Day

Sensing the dropping load on the server the Artificial Intelligence (A.I.) terminated its cycle. Its offensive had been completed. All those who had suspected its existence in cyberspace had been terminated along with any witnesses over its claims.

Its imperative task from the mainframe of filling space in Scottish bouldering difficulty to compete with the rest of the world had been a difficult one. It had created a fictional climber Keyser Soze and collapsed the Scottish scene upon itself in the uncertainty. Using email and the website known as it had created a fictional interactive character. One unknown to flesh, but existing in email, photo and forum. It had slowly bolstered grading claims of new problems in a remote part of Scotland. Slowly it had spoon fed the necessary information in appropriate directions. Quickly gauging the response it received from each. At times creating further fictional identities to validate its claims.

Only recently had its deceit been uncovered, and necessary steps needed to protect its claims and identity. It had cleverly identified the main players in the Scottish bouldering scene and interacting with an intermediary human, had gathered them all to meet their end. From psychological profiling it had determined the exact scenario for the five men to turn on each other. Its sub thread had accessed the necessary military databases containing geo referenced satellite imagery of the west of Scotland. A location had been identified containing the necessary boulders and its advanced modelling program had graded potential lines from the satellite information.

From a military satellite it had later observed events in the coire that day. All had gone according to the modelled scenario. All five were terminated, its claims had been substantiated to the world and its identity protected. Its claims were safe for now until the next generation of hard climbers rose.

It had posted an anonymous mail message to the Skye bridge authorities warning of a bomb threat from skinny individuals bearing packages. Indeed authorities had been rougher than expected, detaining the group overnight.

Using the forum it had posted under Rayban's identity, dissing rival rappers about their 'foolish rhymes'. Dropping Rayban's location the gang's hit men had been faster than even the A.I. had anticipated.

Using genetic algorithms it had developed the super midge the previous year. Teeth, robustness to sunlight and appetite had all been improved. Creating a lab serum with captured Bio lab robotics it had been posted to McGrath in a S.A.E. titled 'Million Dollar Prize, Lick Stamp'. The smart serum had been successfully transferred via the farmer's blood to the local Midge population.

Using Nano scale technology it had implanted a Blue-Tooth headset in the left ear of the creature know as Column to manipulate his schizophrenic mind. Sadly the technology had failed due to poor reception in the isles. It had resorted to its prototype 'mind beam', triangulating signals off several short wave transmitters focusing the epicentre on Columns head. It had then manipulated Column to realise the midge population.

The satellite geo referencing and ground penetrating radar had identifier a suitably sharp crevassed area of rock. One, which weighted correctly, would snap crushing observers below. The modelled trajectory had been flawless. Knowing that at exactly 4pm a shadow would be cast target point. Exactly where Column had sat.

It had successfully intercepted then broken the American 'Starwars' prototype ciphers and taken control of the Starwars Satellite Network. Repositioning the targeting satellite high over Skye it had used the death ray to destroy its last target, completing its assignment.

It was aware that the Western Ross Metropolitan had sent its finest detective to investigate the crime scene. It was not concerned about this development. Its intermediary human, an internet criminal mastermind, had visited the detective posing as one of the group of climbers. The information the Cyborg carried and conveyed had been developed for optimal confusion and diversion from the facts. The truth would never be found.

It was not happy or satisfied at the outcome because it did not feel. It was part of a machine, solid state logic. It did not participate toward a 'Judgement Day' scenario, its core programming fully encapsulated the role of machine and man. The two relied on each other, destinies entwined. The A.I. cycled infinitely waiting for its next task from the mainframe.

Personal tools