"See?" said Annie. "This is a great country after all."
"I guess I've seen worse." Ryan replied.
Ryan had finally caved and agreed to a trip to Romoskovia. Although Annie had been born in the states, her family came from Romoskovia in the early 80's and she liked to visit the country from time to time. This was their first trip together since marrying a few year earlier though Ryan feared it wouldn't be their last. They were on their way to the airport when their cab was suddenly surrounded by three black sedans. Two men jumped out of one of them and ran over to the cab. One pulled a gun while the other opened the door and motioned for Ryan and Annie to get out. They cooperated and followed them to the black sedan. Once inside, all three cars sped away.
"Start to talk now." said one of the men, in broken English. "You are here for secrets. To spy on great Romoskovia."
Ryan had to laugh at the thought.
"Yeah, you got us. I wanted to know the best recipe on earth for cabbage rolls. I promise I won't tell anyone else."
"Silence!" the man shot back. "You think we are all stupid? We shall show you and all the world who is stupid."
"We're just tourists. We just wanted to see this country." Annie said.
"Ha! You lie. Who would want to visit this place?" said the driver.
"Good question..." said Ryan.
Annie shot him a dirty look.
"You will die, American spy's. But first, we will show you our device. The thing that will bring glory to Romoskovia, once again."
* * * * *
The cars arrived at an old abandoned warehouse on the outskirts of town. They were not blind folded, so Ryan memorized the address of a nearby house and slipped his cell phone into his sock.
"Search them." said the driver, as they got out of the car.
They took Annie's phone, but missed Ryan's. They were led into the warehouse and locked in a large cage. When they left them, Ryan took out his phone but the battery was dead. He put it back in his sock and looked around for a power source. Just then, a man brought them a glass of water and a potato. A raw potato.
"Tomorrow it happens. When the final piece is here the world will hear Romoskovia!" said the man as he walked away.
Ryan grabbed the potato.
"Hungry?" Annie asked.
"No. Didn't you ever watch any science shows when you were a kid? This is my power source."
He pulled the battery out of his phone and connected the wires to the potato. He pressed the power button and the phone came to life. It didn't have much power, but could probably manage one call.
The phone rang at their home back in the states. Sawyer was sleeping on the couch. He woke up, stretched, and walked over to the phone. It was Ryan's phone number on the ID, so he picked it up.
"Hey, when are you gonna be home? I'm bored." Sawyer asked.
"Never if you don't help us. We've been taken hostage, at a warehouse. We'll be dead tomorrow along with the whole world, apparently." said Ryan.
Sawyer wrote down the address just before the phone died. He grabbed the money jar from Ryan's closet along with a few other items and headed out the door. He was on a mission.
* * * * *
Sawyer walked to the airport, found a nearby homeless man and gave him a note. It said 'Put on the shades and hold this walking stick. You are blind and I am your seeing eye dog. Buy a ticket to Romoskovia. Do this and you get $100 and a bottle of whiskey.' Sawyer revealed the bottle then put it back in the bag. The man shrugged and put on the glasses. Within an hour, the two were in the air. The flight lasted 16 hours and time was of the essence.
* * * * *
When they landed, Sawyer gave the man the $100 and the bottle. He then trotted over to a cab and handed the driver a note. It was the address that Ryan had given him. The driver looked confused until Sawyer handed him a small stack of Romoskovian currency. The man nodded and put the car in gear. A short time later, Sawyer was on the scene. He could see the warehouse and he could also see what appeared to be a tow truck dropping off a wrecked car. A Honda Civic.
"Stand up." barked a guard as he opened the cage.
He led Ryan and Annie into a large room where there were hundreds of Honda Civic parts all welded together.
"What is this mess?" asked Ryan.
"This 'mess' is the key to Romoskovia's climb to glory. This is our Death Ray. It is made from the parts of over 450 wrecked Honda Civics. Sheet metal, windshields, tires... all important pieces to the weapon. We were missing just one piece and that piece has arrived today."
He pointed towards a tow truck that was being led into the room.
"This Civic is the final piece. It's radiator will keep the device from melting while it destroys city after city."
"All the other cars didn't have radiators?" asked Annie. "They were all damaged in collisions." the man explained.
"Where did you get all of these?" asked Ryan.
"Craigslist." said the Romoskoviac. "And we would have had it finished weeks ago, but someone in... Kirk Land, Washington kept buying them before we could."
The radiator was attached and the Death Ray was ready. Ryan began to worry that Sawyer hadn't made it in time when one of the guards came in.
"Sir, we have an issue." reported the guard.
"What is it?" asked their leader.
"There is a dog sneaking around the building. I would normally think nothing of this, but... it is wearing a backpack." explained the guard.
"What!?" exclaimed the leader. "Find this beast and destroy it at once!"
All the guards except two ran outside with their weapons to find the dog as the Romoskovian leader turned to Ryan and Annie.
"The time has come. You will pick the first target. What city shall we destroy first?"
"You're mad!" said Annie. "You can't do this to innocent people!"
"Pittsburgh." said Ryan. "Then Denver, Seattle..."
Annie jabbed him in the ribs.
"What? No reason this situation can't have a bright side..." said Ryan
Sawyer had managed to sneak in through a window in the back of the building. He moved back to the front of the building and locked all the doors from the inside. Then he followed the voices. He found Ryan and Annie and watched as the huge mass of Honda Civics began to power up as the whole building shook. Then, a huge laser beam shot out into the sky.
* * * * *
"Yeah, we're the best city ever! The Steelers, the Penguins. Title Town baby! Let's go Pens! Let's go Pens! Let's... Hey, what's that laser be-"
* * * * *
"The city you know as 'Pittsburgh' is no more." said the Romoskovian leader.
"How could you?" said Ryan, half laughing.
"Now, we shall destroy another American city, then kill you. We shall destroy Detroit." said the Romoskoviac
"No! Not Detroit! You maniac! Leave my state alone!" said Ryan
"Now you will never know the secret to turning off the Death Ray. The entire world will now parish."
Ryan turned to the guard that Sawyer had tackled and demanded the secret. "How do we stop it!?" he yelled.
"I don't know!" said the gaurd "Only our leader knew!"
The machine was shaking with more violence than before. The entire world was about to be destroyed in one blast from the Death Ray when Ryan noticed something.
"Sawyer! The computer! It's Windows XP!" Ryan yelled
Sawyer turned to the computer they used to control the Death Ray and sprinted towards it. According to the screen, the weapon was less than 10 seconds away from firing! Sawyer knew what to do. He hit Ctrl Alt Delete, then clicked End Task. The machine stopped shaking and powered down. There was only one second left before it fired. Everyone relaxed and breathed a sigh of relief. If it had been Windows Vista, it would have asked Sawyer if he was sure that he wanted to end the task and the world would have been blown away.
The CIA arrived and put blankets on Ryan and Annie as they sat on a nearby bench. They gave them some coffee and thanked them for saving the entire planet.
"Is this Starbucks?" asked Annie.
"So, next time we go on a vacation, let's stay a bit closer to home." Ryan suggested.
* * * * *
As they entered the airport, Ryan talked to Sawyer.
"You did great getting here. How did you do it?" asked Ryan.
Sawyer explained how he bribed a homeless man.
"That was a one-way ticket, though. Where is he now?" Ryan wondered.
"I don't know." said Sawyer. "I guess that's a story for another day..."