“The Baneportal was on the third floor in the upper gallery near the Tree of Holy Non-light,” I said, “on the other side of the Baker’s Gallery with the ancient ovens and recipe books. I’m sure you’re well aware of all that. In the darkness I hardly saw any of it, but I had memorized the entire place. I threw a can of white smoke at the security lasers positioned around the Bakery and quickly climbed the Tree. Soon enough, as planned, a team of exhausted security guards came running past me.

“While in the Tree I loosened the screws around the box containing the light switches. Wasn’t too hard to figure out which switch did what, you know, just throw a few and it went dark. Predictably, the guards ran into things – one guy tripped and fell into one of his buddies from the sound of it. Unpredictably, another guard got trigger happy with his blaster pistol. Soon enough, the museum was lit up like the holidays with laser fire.

“I slipped down the Tree on the other side to avoid getting hit and slid on my belly to the Baneportal display. Thankfully, the commanding guard on duty wasn’t a newbie and yelled at his people to hold fire. Nice to have the background to hide my movements, but not entirely reassuring that I could spend a few days in the hospital before being shipped off to prison. I perched behind one of the columns around the Baneportal and unloaded my tools from my bag of holding. Wrench, glass cutter, standard screwdriver, needle-nose pliers, grabby-thingy. In the dark, the red security lasers conveniently informed me of where not to place my fat fingers. That is, until the overhead lights came back on. Fudge – they had backup systems, and they knew how to use them. Duh.

“I crouched low behind the column, daring a peek to watch security run around. A whole bunch of them, one of me. At least I was well hidden for the moment. Despite being trapped indefinitely, I thought I had gotten a lucky break. Until a rather familiar voice called out from the other side of the column. ‘Brin! No matter how much you think you’re going to get for the Baneportal, it’s not worth it. Come out now, and I’ll charge you for only attempted burglary.’

“I had a good laugh at that, too. Gerald had a point, but I wasn’t in the mood to entertain him. ‘Boss man,’ I said, ‘didn’t take you long. I’m almost pleased to hear your voice again.’

“He poked his head around the column. ‘Don’t be stupid. For your own sake.’

“Some people might actually take that kind of advice seriously. I take it more as a dare. I picked up my wrench, tossed it in the air once, catching it in my other hand. Probably about the right weight for what I had in mind. Either way I was about to find out. ‘Gerry, please. Did you ever write me up for being stupid?’

“His mouth opened, but before he could actually say anything I threw the wrench at the glass case around the Baneportal. Security alarms went off. Gerald clasped his hands to his ears and said something I barely heard. You don’t know what you’re doing? I didn’t catch it with all the bells, fog horns, and sirens going off all at once. I bolted to my prize and without a lot of forethought switch on the Baneportal. Well, as you’d know, it activates by thought. One moment Gerald drew out his pistol and took aim at me, the next I was on another planet.

“A planet, as you also know, frozen by the magic of the Baneportal.”

To be continued…

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