The Farstein siblings, Eloise and Robert, excelled at two things; blowing things up and cursing at each other. Two of Port Plain’s greatest thinkers and makers, very curious and daring in their work, they were also the two Sheriff Quincy O’Malley disliked working with the most. It was not their curt tones or brash language that were so off putting, but their constant condescension. Quincy was smart enough, but keeping up the Farsteins was easier said than done.
He approached their lab the same way he always did; fearfully. The spiked iron fence running the perimeter of the property was intimidating. The spires pulsing with arching electricity were terrifying. More bone chilling than anything though was the small herd of cattle that grazed the inner courtyard. They had been trained to stare at visitors. Of all the experiments that had gone on in the Farstein lab, this one troubled Quincy the most.
“Easy, every body, I just need to see the siblings,” he said to the onlooking cows. He pulled the string at the gate that rang a series of chimes in the estate and waited for an answer.
The cows chewed and stared. Quincy tried not to maintain eye contact.
An engine sputtered in the distance and a trail of dust rose to the sky. Someone had heard the chimes.
“Sheriff, welcome back. Things go well at the big city meeting?” Robert asked as he hopped off a wooden pallet with wheels and an engine haphazardly strapped to it.
“Not nearly as exciting as things around here. Deputy Varge told me about the gas. How’d you two let it get all the way to the goblin lodge? You know we cannot afford a slip up.” Quincy wasted no time in getting to the purpose of his visit.
“We did what we could, Sheriff. I, I didn’t even know the lodge was so close to our compound. They are supposed to tell us about development, just like we are supposed to tell them about accidents,” Robert tried to explain himself.
“Did you tell them about the accident?” Quincy asked.
“Well, eventually,” Robert said.
Quincy shook his head and tried not to throttle the mad scientist. The cows chewed slightly louder.
“We have these protocols for your own safety. You want one of the full might of a tunneler to eat your whole compound? What if they use you for aviary practice? The goblins are on edge enough as it is,” Quincy scolded.
Robert tried to find the words to defend himself, but came up short.
“New rules for you and your sister going forward. Before you do anything that could result in an explosion, you wire my office. If I hear an explosion without a phone call, you will have to start getting the ok from me to do anything at all with those little beakers and burners in that lab of yours. Am I clear?” Quincy said.
A box on Robert’s shoulder buzzed and his sister’s voice rose from the case. “Sheriff, that is bulls-” Robert turned off the box.
“What is that thing?” Quincy asked.
“Something we’ve been working on. The boxes send signals to each other that are translated nearly instantly. Two way real time communication,” Robert said with a wide smile.
The box sent a shock into his neck and he visibly winced. “There are some kinks to work out yet,” he said.
“Just so long as it does not explode. I’ll be back to check on you two soon,” Quincy said. He turned and walked around from the Farstein compound. The sound of Robert and Eloise bickering over their shoulder communication boxes grew faint.