<- Chapter 11: Intruder Alert
The space station construction is going well. By opening a ring of portals around a center portal we're able to fold the space we need five dimensionally to move the materials into place in space. This project is significantly larger than the underwater laboratory was, but this time we're using machines to build instead of contracting people which is faster.
Lunie turns to me and says, "Remember Ray Sebright?"
It's been about two months since Ray hacked into my base.
"Faux News is interviewing him live."
"He's telling everyone what he told you about his family and stuff. Here, I'll play the rest of the broadcast for you as it comes in."
Lunie uses her voice to play the audio of the television program.
"So then what happened?" asks the interviewer.
"He locked me up in one of his labs. He kept asking me if I saw anything in his lab. It was as if he was hiding something there. Probably some sort of weapon. He used some sort of shocking device on me to try to get me to say what I saw. I didn't see what he's hiding in there, but I'm sure it's pretty bad. There were others there too. I think he was doing experiments on them. I saw that one of these experiments doesn't get hurt when shot with a bullet. He shot her right in the chest too. I was able to escape when they all went to eat."
Lunie switches back to her regular voice and asks, "He's clearly lying. Should I stop the broadcast?"
"I think that would complicate things further. Maybe no one will listen to him."
"Actually, I'm already seeing threads about it popping up on forums around the internet. People seem to think you've gone mad. Some think you want to take over the world, others think you want to destroy it."
"This is slander, but I don't see anything I could do to fix it."
"Uh-oh..." Lunie pauses.
"What? What happened?"
"What he said about a possible weapon seems to have struck interest with some governments. Some are planning to find and disarm whatever sort of weapon you might have, so you'd just need to let them walk around the base and see for themselves that you really don't have anything, but others want to take these imaginary weapons by force. They're ordering their troops to shoot you on sight."
"If the ones who just want to inspect come first, then they'd likely help defend from the others, I would think."
"Yeah, but they're more bureaucratic. It'll be a few days. The troops coming this minute are from dictatorships, which can give orders much faster."
"Well, since we know they're coming, we can activate our security before they even get here."
"I've already started that. Even still, I fear I know what the global response will be."
"Yeah... Me too."
"Maybe it won't be too bad. I equipped the first level robots with tranquillizer darts, so we'll still seem somewhat humane."
"February isn't safe. She's on the mainland buying groceries."
"She'll be fine. I think she's probably safer there than here, because here is where they're attacking. And I think I've got about a quarter of their forces down already."
"They're attacking already?!"
"Yeah, militaries are designed to move fast. They're not very effective; we've only lost three machines. I don't think we'll need to use the reserves."
Just then, my cell phone rings. It's Feb.
"Hey, Feb? Are you alright?"
"Yeah, of course. Can you come meet me?"
"The mall where we first went into business together. I'll be waiting on the fifth floor."
"Now's not the time to be romantic. The lab is under attack."
"Let Lunie handle it. She's got all those droids. It'll be fun."
"Alright... I'll see you soon."
As I hang up with Feb, Lunie says, "See? She's perfectly fine. Go have fun. I'll take care of the lab."
I use the nearest portal to dial into a portal at the Syda Science Showroom and walk from there. It's not far. After I get into the mall I realize that the place is deserted. The mall is open 24 hours a day, but no one's here at all and the lights are dimmed. As I begin to go upstairs it dawns on me that our clinic was on the first floor. I wonder why she wants to meet me on the fifth. I get there and February looks somewhat worried, but happy to see me.
As I walk up to her, before I'm able to speak, she says, "I'm so sorry."
"For what?" I ask.
"They said they wouldn't hurt you if I got you here unarmed. They said you'd be alright."
"They used you as bait... Who's they?"
"I forget the name of their organization. It's some local militant cultish group."
"We gotta get out of here."
"They have the building surrounded. They're probably already on their way up the stairs."
"Then we need to find another exit. Here!" I say as I move towards a nearby window.
"You can't go out the window! This is five floors up!"
"No, I can't. But we can. Your wings, remember?"
"Oh right!" She walks over to me, climbs onto my back and puts her legs around my waist. I open the window, then pause for a second.
"Hurry! They'll be here any second."
"I know, but I just wanna grab this first."
I walk over to a deserted dessert stand and take the container of cherry Italian ice. I return to the window and drop the ice outside. It crashes on the ground and makes a red mess. Then I leap out and February takes care of gliding us toward the Syda Science Showroom. I hope that the red mess the ice made makes them think we jumped to our deaths for at least long enough for us to return to the lab.
We reach the Syda Science Showroom, but the door is locked. I pull at the knob a bit, and it doesn't open. Then I hear Mark's voice from around the corner, "The equipment in the science museum is not for general recreational use, even by those who made the donation to begin with."
"Mark," I start, "There are people trying to kill us right now. This is important."
"I don't know who to believe anymore, Rick," he says as he walks around to where we can see him, "But the world seems to be against you right now. I'm sure there must be a reason for that, even if I haven't all the data to calculate that reason."
I just stare at him for a second in awe of the fact that he, in all his talk about helping everyone and doing good for the world, would choose to condemn me to death so quickly like that. As I look at him with disgust, I don't even respond. I take out my cell phone and call Lunie.
"Hey, Lunie? I need another way back, quickly. It turns out we ARE in danger here."
"Well, there's a subway portal two blocks west, but the controls for it are elsewhere. You'd have to play with the chip manually to change its route."
"Thanks!" I say as I hang up the phone. I immediately turn to Feb and say "This way!" as I begin heading west. The two of us run there and go through the portal to reach the next town over. There's no one around, so I start prying the side of the base of the portal open. Just as I get it open, after much struggling, I get a phone call from Lunie.
"Oh, I just realized that I actually have full access to the public portal systems. I can reroute it myself."
"Oh, thanks. Please do."
February and I walk back into our base to see it filled with sleeping soldiers. We head from there back to the central region of the base where Lunie is.
"I'm not sure what to do with them now," Lunie explains.
"Just disarm them and send them home," February suggests.
Lunie uses the security droids to take the weaponry to a holding cell to be dismantled and to carry the sleeping people out of the portals and leave them in their home countries. About an hour into this, the back of my head suddenly feels very cold as something is pressed against it.
"Lunie," I ask, "What's behind me?"
She turns around and looks at me, "A guy with a gun," she responds.
"Ah. That sucks. So is this it?"
"No," the guy says, "Your bounty alive is more than dead."
"How much is the bounty? Maybe I can offer you more to leave me alone."
"Maybe you can, but I've already been contracted. I don't break my contracts."
He starts pushing me out of the room and down the corridor. He brings me out one of the portals. He had put one of the sleeping soldiers halfway through the portal so Lunie couldn't close it or change the address without moving him first. After handing me over, he asks for his pay and is simply shot in the face without question. Even though it's his fault I'm here, now a prisoner, I feel somewhat bad for the guy.
Chapter 13: Died and Gone to the Heavens ->
Copyright 2006 Sean Breslin