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"Safety! Safety! Safety!" The memory of the mayor's bellow still rang loudly in Stibb Stubbin's ears as he exited the bungalow. How on earth was he supposed to judge if those Tinkerfest gizmos and gadgets were safe enough to be allowed into The Baubleshire again this year?

Inspiration struck as the smell of freshly-baked jumjum pie wafted past his nose.

"... and so the Mayor has decided to address the concerns of the Baubbleshire residents and ask for an impartial safety inspection of your planned events. After deliberation over an afternoon snack, I believe the noted halfling craftswoman, Niami DenMother, is the proper choice for a safety inspector. If any non-gnome can determine if your, um, gizmos, are safe or not, it would be her." Stubbin snapped his suspenders, and beamed at the harried-looking gnome who was supervising the Tinkerfest setup in the Steamfont Mountains.

"Safety inspection? What rubbish. No other village has put any requirements on our event. Besides, we're perfectly saf- ..."

The rest of Greebo Gizmofidget's tirade was lost as a loud crash, followed by some creative cursing was heard coming from the direction of the battleclock ring.

"Um, well." Quickly, Greebo shifted arguments. "But why her? I admit that she has many qualifications, for a non-gnome, but, but -- the way she talks! We can barely understand her sometimes!"

Catching sight of another disaster waiting to happen, Greebo raised his voice. "Zelda, fix the torque on that flimfladdle and get someone to reduce the swibblebits. Tibbins, add a fwinger to the whizsprocket before it implodes!"

Being a wise man, Stibb remained silent on the topic of hard-to-understand speech, and simply clapped Greebo on the back. "I'm sure you'll manage just fine. I'll send her along as soon as she's free, shall I? Good, good." With that, he hurried away from the harried gnome before he could get another word in edgewise.

Now all he had to do was convince Mum that she was the person for the job, and then he, Stibb Stubbins, could sit back and watch his work being done for him.

That was the plan, anyway, until Mum decided that if she was going to do his job for him, he should be put to work on some of her waiting chores. "Jus' be a guid lad an' peel that pile o' potatoes frae me while I'm gone, will ye? An' pull th' bread oot o' th' oven when th' hourglass runs oot frae me. I do nae want it tae burn while I'm doing yuir safety inspection, now. An mind ye, no eating that pie I have out cooling, ye hear? That's tae be a gift!"

Muttering about lazy halfling men and impossible-to-understand gnomes, the tiny flame-haired halfling stomped her way from the Steamfont druid rings towards Gnomeland Security. "Complain aboot th' way I talk, will they? That be th' pot calling th' kettle black! Now, let's jus' see how "safe" they really are this time. It be a guid thing that ogress last year liked the reverse mohawk caused by those fireworks, else there'd hae been a lot o' injuries last year."

Niami stopped dead at the base of the wall leading up to Gnomeland Security, as a fast-talking gnomish lady intercepted her. "Mum! Just the person I was looking for! I have a problem, and you're the perfect person to make sure that the solution is 100% ship-shape and safe! Just take this gadget, point it at one of those quickly-replicating clockworks running around, and make it go kaboom! We have to trim down the numbers before we have a population explosion!"

"Och, lass, explosion an' safe almost ne'er go together when gnomes are involved. Let me see that thingy, an' judge frae meself how safe it is." Mum pointed it at one of the many clockworks roaming about and pushed the button. Even bracing for the explosion, she let out a startled squeak at how quickly the unit self-destructed.

When nothing else exploded or caught fire, however, she decided she had to try it on another clockwork. Then another. And another. Then she tried pointing it at a stray spider. Nothing. Then a rampaging kobold. Nothing.

So far, so good on not harming anything flesh and blood, but she needed to experiment a bit more. Scampering off, she tried firing it off at a run, firing it off when she was standing right next to the clockwork, etc., etc.

Three hours, and four dozen potatoes peeled later, Stibb Stubbin arrived back at Gnomeland Security, sucking on a cut finger from a peeling accident, while brushing cookie crumbs off his shirt. (After all, Mum had said to leave the pie alone, but she hadn't said anything about the cookies!) Niami should have checked in by now with her safety report, and he wanted to be sure that everything was all right.

He was surprised to find a cluster of gnomes staring off towards the horizon, apparently counting explosions that could be heard off in the distance.

"Three hundred and thirty-seven. Three hundred and thirty-eight ..."

"Ahem. Where's Mum? Did she finish her safety inspection yet?"

"Three hundred and thirty-nine. Follow the explosions. You'll find her! I think she's going for a new record! Three hundred and ..."

After triple-checking to make sure the tell-tale cookie crumbs were gone, Stibbs waddled off in the designated direction, scratching his head as not only the booms got louder, but a voice could be heard shouting "BOOM!", followed bursts of wild laughter.

He turned a corner around a rock wall, only to almost collide with a running Niami.

"BOOM! Wheeeee!" Several wisps of red hair had escaped her braid and were flying every which-way, and her face was almost as red as her hair from all the running and the laughter, making her look a tad demented.

This was one of the pillars of the crafting community? The "reliable" safety inspector? Stibbs swallowed hard, envisioning the Mayor's reaction if he didn't come back with a completed safety review, just as Mum skidded to a stop, panting.

"Och, laddybuck. What a grand idea! An' it be perfectly safe! See?" With that, she pointed the device at Stibbs and pressed the button with a >click<. When Stibbs flinched, Mum simply giggled.

"Nae worries at all. But it be grand fun!"

Before Stibbs could ask about the rest of the Tinkerfest festivities, she was off and running again.

Reliable, dependable, responsible Mum had a date with her second childhood.

"BOOM! Wheeeeee!!!!"

While we don't have a pic of the fast-moving Mum blowing up all the clockworks, Kaisha managed to get in on the action a bit, too!

For more information on the 2010 Tinkerfest festivities, which begin on Friday, July 23, please check out our Tinkerfest Preview.

Created: 2010-07-21 12:25:50          
Last Modified By: Niami Denmother          
Last Modified on: 2010-07-21 09:06:31          

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