9. The End
When I regained my senses the floor was littered with dead bugs and Mortensen was examining Graisseux's special laser pistol.
It was powered by new ideas, and in Mortensen's hands it really worked! We found out later that when the mutant bugs fed on ideas, some of the ideational energy was transmitted back to the gun.
He shot out the lock and Thalia and I followed him out of the windowless office; before we could leave the warehouse Graisseux discovered us. The goons weren't with him and he looked scared.
"You fools, you can't last against my bugs." He waddled into his breeding laboratory and opened cage after cage of bugs. They zoomed toward Mortensen like moths toward flame.
Mortensen burned wave after wave of bugs out of the air with the laser pistol. Then a rustle began in the tiers of crates; the lid burst off one crate, then another and another, and a torrent of bugs erupted. The intensity of ideas had caused all the larvae in the brass prizes to grow and metamorphose into adult bugs.
Now it seemed even Mortensen must run out of ideas. But a powerful synergy built up: as each wave of bugs absorbed the gunblasts, they transmitted the energy back.
Finally the warehouse was silent. The last bug was dead.
Graisseux sobbed in a corner and cowered as Mortensen approached. "What are you going to do to me?" Graisseux squealed.
"Nothing,' said Mortensen. He took the framis loop out of the gun and crushed it under his foot, ending the strange pistol's power forever. He grinned. "You can't get out of awarding that cube of gold on TV, Graisseux. And maybe I'll meet you on stage."