Check out the TB2K CHATROOM, open 24/7               Configuring Your Preferences for OPTIMAL Viewing
  To access our Email server, CLICK HERE

  If you are unfamiliar with the Guidelines for Posting on TB2K please read them.      ** LINKS PAGE **



*** Help Support TB2K ***
via mail, at TB2K Fund, P.O. Box 24, Coupland, TX, 78615
or


SHIFT by D Doyle Reynolds (aka Giskard)
+ Reply to Thread
Page 3 of 4 FirstFirst 1 2 3 4 LastLast
Results 81 to 120 of 153
  1. CHAPTER FIFTY-ONE

    When Sandy came to, she found herself on a cot with Cassie standing next to her, looking a fright. Several lanterns had been lit to replace the light formerly provided by the generator. She was vibrating up and down anxiously and chewing on her lip. “I’m so sorry, Miss Sandy. Please don’t be mad at me. I was scared it was going to eat everybody and I didn’t know what else to do, because there were too many people to all move at the same time.”

    Sandy sat up and pulled little Cassie in for the fiercest hug she dare inflict on her precious little body. “Shhhh. Honey, it’s okay. You did good, I guess. I don’t know what you did, but you did good. I just didn’t want to see anything happen to you is all.”

    Sandy looked up and saw that Valerie and the two siblings Kyle and Chelsea were standing vigil as well. Chelsea seemed to have recovered nicely and was still charged on her experience with Cassie. Pip was curled up on the foot of the cot. “You gave me a little scare. That was freaky though.”

    “Which part? The monster or CJ popping in and out?” Valerie dead-panned.

    She looked at Cassie, “What did you do, by the way?”

    Chelsea chimed in, “It was cool! I got to go on a scary ride standing up!”

    “I pushed the monster through the wall, like Miss Valerie said she was afraid could happen to me. Except I didn’t go in. I just went to where the lines all stop and made the monster move, right through the wall.”

    The implications freaked Sandy. “Right through what wall to where?”

    “The big circle around town. I got to where it is and pushed him to the other side. Or mostly to the other side. He kinda got stuck partway.”

    Sandy looked up at Valerie. “Well. I sure hope that if our normal world is on the other side of that bubble that the monster met some military over there if he wiggled all the way through.”

    Valerie could just shrug. “I have no idea, and neither does CJ. She just says she doesn’t think so. She has a sense that maybe nothing is out there.”

    Cassie nodded. Sandy says, “I don’t know whether to be relieved or frightened by that implication.”

    “Exactly.”

    Cassie bounced up and down on her feet. “No, that monster thing I think is dead. He screamed like it hurt and then stopped moving. He maybe fainted like you, but now I think about it some more, I don't think so.”

    Sandy could see Officer Williams, Karen, Pastor Vargas and a couple others she hadn’t met yet, in intense conversation at the front end of the tent. Valerie informed her, “They’re still trying to arrive at a plan of action.”

    Sandy held a hand out and Valerie helped her to her feet.


    For the next several minutes Karen and the others debated the merits and the hazards of wading into the battle up at Grant Park. Moreover, they argued the wisdom and folly of the attempt. Sandy tried to get them to make a page with a line down the center listing pros and cons. Vargas and Williams dismissed it as a “chick idea” and continued arguing.

    Sandy tossed the notepad into the seat between Cassie and her, so Cassie picked it up and proceeded to doodle. Pip rested his chin on her other leg and watched. Officer Williams, to his credit, tried his best to be judicial and neutral. Besides, he wasn’t in a hurry to rush into danger and maybe become slaughtered by monsters if there was the remotest possibility of an alternative plan. He did point out that this was precisely what had been happening earlier on the street, despite their best efforts, before the good guys showed up, not to mention how things went with their party crasher just a few minutes prior.

    Vargas pointed out that the angels showed up providentially and not accidentally. Just as God’s providence would work to their credit again so long as they do the right thing and go fight those demons, side by side with the angels, giving Cassie an opportunity to use her gift and ride the light back.

    Much as Karen dug the Marine Preacher’s brass, she wasn’t so confident that fate was, in actuality, a benevolent Supreme Being. Besides, isn't it true that good people often died in bible stories? Including the savior himself? That everything would come up roses required a leap of faith for which she felt she was ill-equipped, but should they decide it was the right move, she would be right along side them.

    Valerie didn’t relish the idea of a member of Ol’ Wailin’s family having a bicuspid with her name on it. If it came down to a choice between waiting it out and getting herself eaten in this tent, or going up that hill and being eaten on her own terms, ridiculous as it sounded, she would rather die fighting.

    Sandy’s biggest concern was the implications of going up that hill to do battle. Namely, taking little Cassie up there among those demons. Her hesitation wasn't so much the idea of possibly surviving and having to look the Johnsons in the eyes and say, Whew! Yeah I made it, but gee, sorry I took your daughter up to Grant Park to become a monster munchie.

    Her profound sense of protectiveness was ingrained deep in her being as a thing she could only classify as a motherly instinct. This was a superficial thin veneer that overlay a complex core of love that encompassed and entangled every fiber. Cassie, her CJ, was the vital part of Sandy and everything for which she cared to live. To lose her would be death.

    Before she realized what was happening, the thing was settled. Sandy tried to replay the minute she missed back through her mind while the others discussed the next steps. Sandy felt parched and light-headed so she excused herself and went for some water. Moreover, an overwhelming sense of helplessness washed over her. It seemed as though her life was a movie and all she could do was sit in the audience and watch.

    Officer Williams gave his whistle a short blast to get everyone’s attention. Drinks and snacks in hand, the Venturan survivors milled back to their seats. For all anyone knew, they were the only survivors. One could only guess how many might be hiding out in their homes and a variety of other shelters.

    With everyone seated, Sandy didn't want to make a spectacle of herself by walking up in front of everyone, so she stood at the back and sipped from her water bottle.
    When Officer Williams had the attention of one and all, he cleared his throat. “These are difficult times. I have decided to help the beings of light defeat the creatures of darkness.” There were murmurs of descent among the crowd. “Now, listen… I know, trust me when I tell you – never in my life did I think those words would come out of my mouth.” Now there were nervous chuckles.

    “Okay, look. This is strictly voluntary. I’m not putting anyone here on the spot and neither will anyone else.” Vargas and Karen got up to join Officer Williams. He shook their hands.

    “We will be leaving some arms here for those who wish to have them… in case they need them. Anyone wishing to join us will be provided arms, ammo, ponchos and lights, although I suspect once we get where the fighting is, we won’t need the flashlights.”

    Valerie got up and stood by Karen so Karen took her hand and gave it a firm squeeze of reassurance. “Does anyone here have, in particular, a military or law enforcement background or anything?”

    An older man stood up, “I’ll go.”

    “You former military sir?” asked Williams.

    “Naw, I’m from New York! Listen, I was there on 9-11, one of those gray people you saw on T.V. Moved west ‘cause I thought it was too crazy back home. Well, I figure crazy must be my destiny or somethin’,” he shrugged.

    More people stood. Then still more.

    The Prepper came forward. “One for all and all for one, I guess. Besides, I got a good size truck that can hold a few.”

    Vargas assumed the duty of dispensing weapons and making certain the right weapon was in the hand of the right person. He had to be sure they knew enough about how to use it.

    Karen dispensed ponchos and lights. Valerie took a clip-board and surveyed who she could. Anyone with any kind of military or police experience at all, she sent to Officer Williams so he could interview and assign key duties and positions.

    Sandy’s fear and trepidation turned to sulking, or at the very least, sulking was added into that mix. She resigned herself to accept that this was going to happen, one way or the other. If getting Cassie through safely to return home was her destiny, then who was she, the babysitter, to question it? Surely then, God would protect Cassie to that end.

    Or, maybe this was what Sandy was intended for. Yeah, right. Super Sitter. She looked around for Cassie, who should be in her seat at the front, but didn’t see her. Sandy excused herself and pushed through people to get to her seat in the front, but Cassie wasn’t there. All she found was her note pad with Cassie’s doodles all over it.

    Valerie noticed her concern and came over. “What’s wrong?”

    “Did you see where CJ went?”

    Valerie looked around. “Now that you mention it, I thought she was with you.”

    Sandy panicked. “Ohmygod. Ohmy… Where did she go this time?”

    “Now don’t panic yet. She might be playing with the other kids. Or maybe she just went to the restroom.”

    Karen came over. “What is it?”

    Valerie said, “CJ’s… Cassie has wandered off. Have you seen her?”

    Karen immediately waved Vargas over. “Manny, the little girl, Cassie, has wandered off. At least, one way or another she may have left. We need to find her now. We should check all the levels of the garage.”

    “Right.” He assigned search parameters to his team leaders. They fanned out systematically. Sandy left to check the portable outhouses. Along the way, the rumple-suit man, Terry stopped her. “What’s going on?”

    “It's Cassie, the little girl I'm babysitting. Have you seen her?”
    "And none of the wicked shall understand, but those who are wise shall understand." -Dan 12:10

  2. #82
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    High Desert, Elko NV
    Posts
    23,609
    with cassie's abilities i doubt terry will be much of a threat. she could do to him what she did to wailin'.
    The only rights we have are the ones we're willing to fight for.

    http://i7.photobucket.com/albums/y29...diplomacy2.jpg

    http://www.n3kl.org/sun/images/status.gif

  3. Ol Wailin wasn't packin.
    "And none of the wicked shall understand, but those who are wise shall understand." -Dan 12:10

  4. #84
    Join Date
    May 2001
    Location
    West central Georgia
    Posts
    17,599
    What a story!! Intense! Thank you so much!
    Visit my Etsy shop at www.etsy.com/shop/TheCrochetFarm

    If we aren't showing love, His love, then what are we doing calling ourselves Christians?

    Psalm 73: 25 Whom have I in heaven but you?
    And earth has nothing I desire besides you.
    26 My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart
    and my portion forever.

  5. Thank you and glad you are enjoying it. I will get this finished on here, I promise!
    "And none of the wicked shall understand, but those who are wise shall understand." -Dan 12:10

  6. CHAPTER FIFTY-TWO

    Glory day, Terry dare not articulate. He had overheard everything about this brat’s special ability, but until he’d seen her use it himself, he didn’t believe it. No doubt the kid was some type of hybrid between an alien and a human with unexpected results. What if she could somehow succeed in ending things in a way that would allow the government to retrieve this alien killing weapon? That would blow his big chance.

    This was the opportunity he’d been looking for. He could stop her and win alien respect and gratitude. He would shut it down himself. They would inquire how they might repay him for saving the day. That’s when he would say, humbly, Ah shucks. It was nothing. But maybe I could have just some little token to remember you by, like, some device or chip or special crystal you guys use on your ship. Hm?

    Terry shook himself from his reverie. Terry, the man of action, had to take action now. He had an advantage, being a detective and all. Let’s see. Where would a little frightened girl run off and hide from big bad monsters? Or could she have slid off on some mutant joy ride?

    That’s when he saw Sandy across the shelter with Valerie. Valerie put a hand to her mouth. Karen, Vargas and Williams hurried over.

    “What is it?” asked Officer Williams.

    Terry figured the little twit must’ve scribbled a good bye note or something with her crayons.

    Sandy pushed the pad into Valerie’s hands and she held the pad out for the others to see. “That’s a cross on a hill,” Williams said. “’Meet you at the cross.’ What’s that mean?” asked Williams.

    Karen said to the cop, “That’s the cross at Grant Park! She’s going up there. Or she has already gone up there.”

    Sandy hurried around, gathered her pack, put on her poncho, checked her weapon, her flashlight…

    “I forgot all about the cross,” Williams said.

    “We always do,” replied Vargas shaking his head. “Let’s move!”

    While the newly formed Ventura Militia mobilized, Terry retraced his steps to his scooter. All he knew was he had to be the one to shut it down and win the alien's favor and he had to stop that mutant brat half-breed from interfering.
    "And none of the wicked shall understand, but those who are wise shall understand." -Dan 12:10

  7. FIFTY-THREE

    Cassie, Mark and Eddie’s dad had grown up in Santa Paula, so he knew his way around the hills. He told Eddie that when he was a kid, he would ride his bike on every trail he could find. The California Department of Forestry kindly scratched fire breaks on a regular basis along hilltops, which made for some very nice dirt bike riding. When he was a little older he got his own motorcycle. A significant trade up from mere peddling, in his opinion, if only because he could go further.

    Before long, Bob knew all the shortcuts to Ojai and Ventura, which private properties he could get by with trespassing on and which ones were likely to land him in deep trouble with the law and, by extension, his parents. Much of the landscape inland from Ventura was wide open spaces. He didn’t ride as much as he used to since he worked so many hours. Plus, he was older and the bumps in the trail were a little more jarring than when he was a pup. Not that he would admit to that.

    Eddie's custom was to help his old man keep the bike in shape. Eddie wanted to have a bike of his own in the worst way, but his mom wouldn’t have it. She had had her own biking incident at a very young age that involved laying a bike down, sliding under a chain link fence and lots of stitches. She wore a helmet and fortunately for her, it didn’t catch on the fence. She still had some scars on her side and under an arm to prove it. They looked cool.

    Being very sympathetic, Eddie's dad would put Eddie on the back and “take him for a ride” now and then. Once they arrived at a particularly sweet hill, his dad would let him take her around a bit. Eddie got to be pretty good. A little too good too soon to suit his dad though. He took a bad spill once and darn near busted his leg. Eddie had to admit he had been just a bit over-confident.

    To cover, father and son conspired. His leg thankfully merely scraped and bruised, Eddie braved through it at home for the rest of the weekend whenever his mother was around. He had lots of homework in his room and gritted his teeth while he walked without his limp. The next Monday, Eddie came home from school injured “playing football.”

    It was a white lie that kept the family together and the bike from the sledgehammer. This was the lie that garnered Eddie the most stringent of lectures about honesty, integrity and the subtle difference between a so-called white lie and an out-and-out, bald-faced lie. Whatever. A lie was a lie, as far as Eddie was concerned, but he got the point. Pretty much; don't lie unless it's to save an innocent person's life, health or sanity. Got it. Can we move on now? At least he got to endure the lecture sipping on an old fashioned malt, not shake. Something so awesome and sweet he never imagined existed.

    With news of the sinkhole right in Sandy’s neighborhood, the Johnson household mobilized and tried to reach her by phone, drive there, and walk in. They found the entire area cordoned off. Frustrated and helpless, they returned home and began the tedious process of making phone calls. They called the Police Department for some kind of a report, called their Congressman and called the Fire Department. They tried various County and Federal offices and found the lines jammed. They became constantly trapped in Voice Mail Hell. If you think your call is really all that important to us, press zero.

    Though frequently he thought of her as a pain in the rear, Eddie loved Cassie very much. The stories winging around the neighborhood and on the news drove the whole family insane. Most the time, neighbors were on the street or on their lawns yakking. Not his Mom though. She was completely freaked they hadn’t heard a thing about Cassie and Sandy all day. Zip. Nada.

    The police said they were being cautious and careful to facilitate the rescue. They were afraid of slides and the shifting earth. His Dad was totally ticked off because they wouldn’t let him go in and help dig through rubble or anything and look for them. Most of the neighborhood was starting to smell something fishy going on. Nobody at all came out, dead or alive. Lots of military guys were flying over, driving in, and that’s all. No boats were allowed close in and no airplanes even from Santa Paula or Oxnard were allowed to fly over. They should have been seeing more than just an ambulance or two coming out.

    Some famous actor Eddie didn’t know from his parent’s generation, or his grandparents, was all making a fuss. They made him land his helicopter in Fillmore and take the long way around to Ojai by cab. There were no cars to rent in Fillmore. All the special teams in town had taken them.

    Seeing his Dad come home with his eyes all red and his shoulders hunched made Eddie mad. He stomped outside to see what the neighbors were saying, but he heard nothing new. Endless, often weird, guesses and stories were all he heard. That was when he noticed the garage door open and he got his idea.

    Eddie snagged the key to the bike from its hiding place and pushed the bike with stealth down the road. Something approaching one block from the house, he climbed on and gave her a kick, when Mark ran up. Eddie marveled at how his brother always seemed to show up at the least opportune times. It must be some annoying kind of little brother radar.

    “Where you going on the bike without Dad? Does Mom know?”

    “No, and you better not tell her or I’ll push your face in.”

    “Whatever. She’s gonna find out.”

    “Look. You’ve got to keep this secret. At least for now. I’m going to find Cass.”

    “I want to go!”

    “You can’t. You’ll slow me down. Besides, I don’t even have a helmet for you.” Mark hanged his head and his mouth turned down. Big crocodile tears rolled down his cheeks.

    “I miss Cassie. I’m afraid she’s not okay. What if she’s not okay? What if she’s under the mud in that hole or out with the sharks in the ocean?”

    Eddie sighed heavily. He took his helmet off and told Mark, “Put this on.”

    “Really?”

    “Yeah, really, now get on! We’re wasting time!”
    "And none of the wicked shall understand, but those who are wise shall understand." -Dan 12:10

  8. CHAPTER FIFTY-FOUR

    Admiral Steppe flipped channels and read reports in the absence of anything he could directly put his hand to. By late afternoon, every news station in the Country was talking about the world’s largest sinkhole and the mobilization of FEMA to Ventura, California. More and more, reporters from all the national media cable stations and newspapers tryied to beg, sneak, hike and bribe their way into the disaster area, hoping to win that Pulitzer Prize-winning story.

    One enterprising private satellite company took an offered iniquitous sum of money to snap a couple of photos of the area, only to have to return the money. They found their satellite over that area had gone inexplicably dark. The surly explanation was, “Maybe you should try the NSA. Seems they have the corner on that market today.” Somehow, even that was news.

    The worse possible scenario that was playing out was the expected familial response. The Admiral could hardly blame them. Friends and family for miles around poured into Ventura to search for and otherwise offer aid in the rescue operation. This posed a problem as there were none to rescue, no debris to cull through, very few wounds to treat and a whole heck of a lot of explaining to do.

    Initially, the excuse was that, in the interest of public safety, FEMA was allowing no one in except the National Guard and other agencies such as the Red Cross. This wasn’t satisfactory for long because, as had been noted by everyone, no survivors were coming out of the area. Not hardly an ambulance, nor even one meat wagon. He supposed that to give life to their ruse they should at least drive some covered trucks in and out, but with budget cuts, they just couldn't spare the drivers. All hands were busy in the attempt to maintain the perimeter.

    Perhaps a dozen people were able to get out of the zone before they could be detained, at least as far as the news hounds were able to find. The reporters wasted no time at all sticking cameras in the survivor’s faces. What the survivors were able to convey, though, wasn’t so instructive. Witnesses shared stories such as, “The wall was just gone! I was eating breakfast and heard a big crunch and when I looked, there was nothing but a big hole!”

    The networks replayed similar testimony ad-nauseum, only change the faces and locale, until the hunger for more information and footage of any kind reached a national, harmonic crescendo.

    The ACLU must have set some kind of world land speed record, because the next thing Admiral Steppe knew, papers were placed in his hands by an Ensign that announced the Navy had been served. It turned out that every branch of Federal and State government, except maybe the Post Office, received similar papers demanding the victim’s families be permitted into the area. Naturally, this made the news as well.

    Admiral Steppe slammed the folder down on the corner of his desk in the improvised office of the trailer commandeered at the Fairgrounds. He had been pacing, stopping only long enough to look out the window toward the tent that secreted the neutrino cannon.

    He glanced at the rigid and rightly timid Ensign Bradley and went back to the window. “You’ll have to excuse me, son, but this isn’t the sort of thing for which I have been trained.”

    “Sir, I don’t think that any of us were. Sir.”

    Admiral Steppe regarded him a moment before he turned back to the window, “You are correct, Ensign. The Navy trains us to make decisions and take action. We can fight on our turf or foreign turf, the sea, or in the air, but how on God’s green earth are we supposed to fix this one?”

    He set a stern look on the Ensign, “Are you career Navy, Ensign?”

    “I think, well… maybe… I would very much like to, Sir. I have been considering it.”

    “Well, if you do and should you ever find yourself in a position to mind the store – don’t let the lab coats get too much power. The damned pointy-headed, slide-rule geeks will be the death of us all!”

    “Yes, Sir!”

    The door opened a crack and another timid Ensign peeked in, “Beg pardon, Sir.”

    “Yes, Ensign?”

    “Sir, the President on line two.”

    Admiral Steppe sighed heavily, “I see. Here goes. Thank you, young lady.” He stepped toward the phone and said, “You’re dismissed, Ensign Bradley.” Bradley saluted and followed the other Ensign out the door.
    "And none of the wicked shall understand, but those who are wise shall understand." -Dan 12:10

  9. CHAPTER FIFTY-FIVE

    Commander Hutchins once again entered the mobile home where Doctor Roger Nadir was monitoring his team’s progress with the neutrino cannon. He approached and could see Nadir standing over a Lab Tech, as far as he knew anyway. Heck, he could’ve been a Nobel Laureate for all Hutch could tell.

    “What did I tell you?” Nadir said, “Keep the amperage right there. Think of consequences. Always consequences. This isn’t the time to experiment. It is okay to play with phasing, if you wish, but not to use too much power.”

    “Doctor Nadir,” Hutchins interrupted.

    “Welcome again, Commander. As you can no doubt see, we are busy, busy here attempting to bring Dark Star home.”

    “Dark Cloud.”

    “Yes, whatever. Is there something I can do for you, Sir?”

    Hutchins put an arm around Nadir’s shoulder and gently coaxed him away from the others and said, “The Admiral just got off the phone with the President. The pressure for results is horrendous right now. How are we doing?”

    “Well, we can’t tell. We are monitoring and pointing the right way but we can’t tell.”

    Hutchins clenched his jaw and rubbed a hand over his face. “Is there anything else we can try? I mean, how much longer before we know?”

    “That, I am sorry to tell you, I can’t tell you.” Nadir lowered his voice, “I appreciate our predicament here, Commander. We are wanting to get these good folk home nice and tidy. They may be dead, they may be alive. We may be killing them. I don’t know.”

    “I’ve been wondering another thing, Doctor. Now, I’m no scientist, but if they have moved off someplace else where there is emptiness, and they are just floating there like a big bubble, there isn’t enough mass to keep them from floating around. Am I right? I mean, even the astronauts a couple miles up float around.”

    “I have thought about that. This might be true. If we can get them back, we will find out. On the other hand, we know so little about how this is working. You see, they are here, after a ghostly fashion. We can pick something up on our instruments. Call it a ‘tug.’ Like a fish on a line. That is how it is we are reading them. They are tugging on our gravity. It could be we are tugging on and so, adding to their gravity. Energy and mass are very queer and, like a black hole, if a portal is open just a bit, the energy may somehow co-mingle between the two realities. So long as we are close, as matter of fact, we may be sharing energies to some extent. It will be interesting to find out.”

    Hutchins thought about that. “You say so, Doc. This is new territory for me.”

    “And so it is for all of us. Tell me, what are the new constraints from the President?”

    “Astute of you to infer, Doctor. It’s like this. The press and families, hell, even the lawyers, are demanding access to the site to look for survivors.”

    “Because they are told it is a sinkhole. I see. Why not to tell them the truth if it is they will find out anyway after some time?”

    Commander Hutchins sighed heavily.

    “Ah,” Nadir responded. “Careers, lawsuits, funny money tracking, victims, bad press, hearings, jail.”

    Hutchins looked at Nadir quizzically, “Never in my entire life have I heard such a succinct summation of political life, Doctor Nadir. I congratulate you.”

    Nadir shrugged, “So what is the ugly alternative to happy retrieval?”

    “Because you deserve succinct, Doctor, I will give you succinct. We are to do everything in our power to rough-up the edges and make our claim look truthful – that this really is the site of the world’s largest sinkhole. We blow it all at once, blame the explosion on a natural gas pocket and proclaim it an utter loss.”

    “The victims then have been sucked into the sinkhole never to be retrieved because of the dangers to the many rescue workers?”

    “Something like that,” Hutchins grinned without humor.

    “I have to say the truth is far too strange to be believed by any who tell it otherwise.” Nadir fixed him with a somber look, “How much more time are you providing me, Commander Hutchins?”

    “The encampment pulls back by sixteen-hundred. The charges are to be set by eighteen-hundred, under cover of darkness, and blown by eighteen-thirty. The men for the job are already at various locales around the hole carrying the explosives in cases. Anyone seeing them will assume they are merely carrying scientific instruments.”

    Nadir looked at his watch. “Barely one hour. That is not a lot of time to work options.”

    “What options, Doctor?”

    “Very good and very sad point, Sir. We will shut it down by four P.M., Commander.”

    Hutchins nodded, looking at once tired and disgusted before commenting, “You know, sad thing is, this isn’t even for a good cause. These are not people who gave their lives for their country in a time of war. Most of them were just sleeping in their own beds. Our job is supposed to be to protect them.”

    Nadir slipped his hands in his lab coat pockets, “It is a terrible mistake, or it is not. Time to look to that “not” part and find out who and why. You might find they are war victims after all and we are not knowing it yet.”

    Hutchins raised his eyebrows and considered that a moment and nodded, but said nothing. Then he left Nadir to his one hour and four minutes remaining work. He decided to check on the rest of the team.

    Pravus Engineering, the company that came up with the design for and built Dark Cloud with United States Department of Energy funding, now had all of its Engineers on site at the camp situated at the Fairgrounds. They were set up inside San Nicolas Hall for no other reason than it seemed appropriate, as the tests for Dark Cloud were initially conducted off San Nicolas Island. Also, because the non-locals kept getting lost, it made a sensible memory hook.

    The Pravus Engineers had pushed several tables together and covered them with drawings and diagrams for the Dark Cloud device. Even though they had several notebook computers at their disposal with access to a massive database, some were most comfortable with the bird’s eye view of the drawings.

    The Engineers were tasked to the attempt of identifying the components that caused the “incident” while others had been tasked to pouring over the data that Dr. Nadir’s team generated. They were to look at numbers that correlated with their lab tests in addition to the data garnered from the field test. It was, frankly, an impossible task to see through successfully, given the time constraints, but experts also said as much about Apollo 13. Never discount American ingenuity.

    No one admitted to any knowledge whatsoever about any components installed post-design. DVR camera feeds from the electronics laboratories on the base were being reviewed by several personnel in an attempt to identify the likely culprits, but thus far were unsuccessful. If they could find them, they might be coerced into revealing the nature of these additions. Hutch was fully prepared to go Jack Bauer on them, if need be.

    The Army Corp of Engineers recorded measurements of the scoop and monitored, with highly sensitive laser sights, any changes to the site’s physical features. These were triggered to an alarm similar to what Vulcanologists would use in the field to monitor volcanic activity (and not the activity of Vulcans).

    Hutch would later marvel how that, because scientists can be geeks, even at this worst of times, someone thought it would be fun to use an audio clip from Star Trek as the alarm for the laser beacons. The audio chosen was the Emergency Alarm for a Romulan Bird of Prey spacecraft.

    Therefore, when an alarm eventually did trigger, it was ungodly loud, and the clever sound designers at Paramount Studios would’ve been proud to witness the results, had they been so privileged to witness them. It added to the charm that someone decided to wire the alarm to the Fairground Public Address system, thus broadcasting the alarm loudly enough to roll every soldier, officer, secretary, politician, medic, pilot, driver and regular citizen within five miles, outside to see what the racket was all about.

    The various decision-makers were, at first, as concerned and confounded as everyone else, but were beside themselves to learn, not only the meaning of the alarm, but that such an alarm was sounded with such indiscretion and so widely. Someone quickly yanked the cable and everyone who was anyone, and a few who were no one, poured into San Nicolas Hall.

    Hutch knew enough to recall that Einstein had asserted that, with the increase of mass, gravity and energy will increase. Einstein went to great lengths to demonstrate this with mathematical formulas that ultimately demonstrated effects on a broader scale, that mass also affects time. Physicists have continued to debate the full ramifications ever since.

    Dark Cloud was designed to be powered with something called scalar energy, but with controls. To put it in over-simplified terms, because this is the way it was explained to Hutch, this is like the bulb in your flashlight. It will put out a certain brightness or dimness depending upon the energy in the battery. If the battery is a car battery, that flashlight bulb will flare briefly and wink out, unless you put something in between to control the flow of energy to the bulb.

    When Dark Cloud slammed into the earth, two significant events had occurred. One, the control dislodged, allowing Dark Cloud to run unfettered, powered by the battery of the earth. This could have been much worse than it was. Two, the pulse that dropped the bubble over a little piece of home pulled it someplace else. This is good only because it made for a smaller battery for Dark Cloud to feed on because of less mass; it was only powered on a little chunk of Ventura and everything on it that contributed to that mass. In other words, there is a huge difference between lighting a bulb with a watch battery, and a car battery. In this analogy, Dark cloud is only running on the watch battery.

    Had the energy ramped up prior to the pulse that made the bubble that swallowed the house that Jack built, all the King’s horses and all the King’s men would never be able to return the entire planet Earth home again. As Marty Feldman humorously said in his role as Igor, “Could be worse… could be raining… ” right before it began to pour.

    Hutch wasn’t given to day-dreaming, but he knew that often the best means of solving a problem was to get into the moment. It was stream of consciousness. Like the Generals and Conquerors of old, know thine enemy. So, he allowed his mind to follow the implications, the potential of Nadir’s explanations. What if. So, what triggered the alarm?


    Beyond Hutch’s imaginings, in New Ventura it rained creatures that hadn’t been there previously. Even creatures one normally might not see that may exist in dimensions the physicists have agreed exist, posses mass in their own dimension, a dimension shared with New Ventura. Through the gateway, opened by Dark Cloud, poured in creatures bent on destruction. On the heels of these creatures, it rained creatures dead set on stopping the other creatures. Thus, mass continued to increased in New Ventura.

    On planet-scale mass, what are a few visitors or meteors among friends? That’s less than a drop in the bucket. However, in the relatively small confines of this tiny bubble, the mass and energy increase made for a brighter bulb called Dark Cloud. It was a drop in a thimble. Although the walls pushed out, there was no more Ventura in this place to fill in the gaps normally.

    Instead, debris arrived as it was nibbled off by the outer field of the bubble. The rest of Ventura was beginning to be devoured. Water came in normally, as did some air and other gasses, but matter, being gradually chewed away and swallowed into the bubble, arrived in bits and filled in the cracks, however loosely. It sifted from the Out There to the In There.

    Debris settled downward and outward toward the gravity mass that had its tenuous grasp on New Ventura. That Dark Cloud wasn’t feeding off that tether of gravity provided by the rest of planet Earth is something the scientists will debate and argue and wonder over for years. Theologians would likely argue that it was the Hand of God that held everything in place.

    On normal Earth, in Old Ventura, there was a gradual eating away. The panic among those in the know was on the rise. As matter exponentially increased within the bubble, so the bubble continued to expand the scoop. There was high probability the process wouldn’t stop until all the earth, and everyone on it, was inside the ever increasing bubble. Because a barrier was already in place, they would be chewed away, bit-by-bit with the expansion of that bubble. Or perhaps whatever and whoever was not nailed down would be merely pushed back gradually until eventually what remained would be pushed outward into space to float around the great nothing where once was Mother Earth.
    "And none of the wicked shall understand, but those who are wise shall understand." -Dan 12:10

  10. CHAPTER FIFTY-SIX

    It was a strange thing for Cassie, like the first day you do anything and are surprised and thrilled every time you do it. She looked around and found she and Pip had arrived on a little mound just below the big cross on the hill at Grant Park, and it was snowing! She didn’t like it though. It wasn’t at all like the snow she visited a long time ago. That snow fell all soft and float-y. She had fun trying to catch the big flakes on her tongue and the sledding was scary and fun. She had fun building a snow girl, but she couldn’t let it keep her scarf and gloves because she needed them. Besides, if they warmed the snow girl up, she would melt.

    This snow was way too windy. She remembered it being called a blizzard, but she didn’t remember that a blizzard was supposed to have thunder and lightening. It was still exciting to find that she could move this far, even if the snow wasn’t quite right. She had made it to the cross by thinking about it real hard a certain way. She didn’t even have to have her eyes fixed on it or know exactly how to get there. Once she was there she saw it and stopped moving. How cool is that!

    Pip jumped down from her arms and bounced this way and then that, trying to register his new surroundings. Then he turned back to Cassie and cocked his head with his tongue hanging out of his mouth in his comical way. She couldn’t help but laugh. Pip made her smile like no friend, even Miss Sandy, could. The little guy provided a special, warm kind of happy. He offered friendship freely, with no questions asked. He even nearly lost his life to fight monsters for her. She didn’t like to think of him losing his owner, but at the same time, she hoped no one was around to claim him. She prayed he was homeless.

    “Come on.” Cassie made her way around the block retaining wall that semi-circled the cross area. Though she was bundled, she was incredibly cold. The ground crunched underfoot. She had to be careful of too great an incline because her tennis shoes slipped. She placed a hand on the wall for support.

    She rounded the turn and she could hear voices. She tip-toed some more, ready to move if she had to, but she didn’t want to chance leaving Pip. She turned to see where he was, and then she heard singing. That was surprising, considering this day. She wondered if someone had a radio with batteries.

    Her head cleared the retaining wall's edge and she saw people. Lots of them all huddled close together, some standing, some kneeling. Some were singing and it looked to her like maybe some were sleeping, or praying. Yes, they were praying. The ones singing had lots of fog that came out of their mouths.

    Up beyond the park a ways, over the next hill, was all kinds of noise and growling and clanging. It sounded like angry men were destroying cars or something. There was the strange light that must be what those people who came into the shelter with the swords saw. Just like that nice Miss Karen and her friends. “That is where my angel is,” she whispered to Pip.

    She turned back to the crowd before the cross and could see the frost on some of them glittering. They looked pretty. A nice frosty lady came over to her and asked her if she knew Jesus.

    “Everybody knows Jesus, don’t they?”

    “Not everybody, I’m afraid. Where’d you come from? That’s an awfully long walk up that hill.”

    Cassie smiled, “Yes, it's a long walk.”

    “Are you cold? Would you like to come pray with us? We have a couple of camping heaters and hot cocoa.”

    “I’m sorta waiting for some friends. I have to get over there, um, to see something,” Cassie didn’t think details would be a good idea.

    “Honey, you don’t want to go up there. There are bad things up there.”

    “I bet there's good things too!”

    “You mean the angels? You know about them? Well, they’re very busy right now. You’d only be in the way and you might get hurt. That’s why we’re praying. We’re offering support.”

    Cassie shrugged, “Cool. If you can help that way, you have to. I want to help, too.”

    The nice frosty lady looked funny at Cassie and asked, “Where are your parents, honey?”

    “They’re outside, I think. Some police had a map they drew on and my house wasn’t in the circle.”

    “That’s good. So you’re alone?”

    “My friends should be behind me a little ways because they don’t move like I do.”

    “Sweetheart, it’s not good to run ahead of everyone. That’s a good way to get lost or hurt. There are bad people in the world. My name’s Donna. What’s your name?"

    “Cassie. This is Pip.”

    “Nice to meet you both. Come. Stay with us while we wait for your friends. A little hot chocolate will warm you up for the cold night ahead.”

    Cassie thought about that. It was probably the first thing the nice frosty lady, Donna, advised that really made sense. “Okay, maybe just for a little while.”

    Donna smiled and said, “Let me introduce you to some friends.” She put an arm around Cassie’s shoulder and encouraged her toward the hot stove.
    "And none of the wicked shall understand, but those who are wise shall understand." -Dan 12:10

  11. CHAPTER FIFTY-SEVEN

    By the time the newly formed Ventura Militia rolled out of the shelter, the blizzard was in full swing. The absence of sunlight to warm their habitat provided new media for Dark Cloud to paint the town with, but the result was a canvas going from color to white.

    Militia members in the parking garage made their way to the couple of trucks and cars that would still operate post EMP. All in all, only seven were running, each packed as full as possible with armed Militia. Plenty of others remained behind to keep an eye on the children.

    Though hurry they might, they were cautioned that steady and slow was the name of the game if they wanted to live to see another day. Besides, there might be others on the road, particularly a girl and her dog, if she for whatever reason had decided to walk. When asked, Sandy had to admit she had no idea what the range limits were on Cassie’s ability, or whether the energy required limited the number of times in a given period she could shift. After all, she had no idea how Cassie came to have such a strange ability, but she was suspecting she was learning the why.

    She was anxious beyond words. She rode shotgun, literally, in Val's case, while Karen and Vargas rode in the back. Their car was second in line behind Officer Williams who was taking point in camo dude’s well-appointed truck.

    In the back of the cab behind the seats was a cache of arms that Officer Williams had said he didn’t even want to guess at. No doubt had he just one day earlier pulled this man over for some reason, his reaction to the cache of weaponry would’ve been one heck of a lot different.

    In the very back of the same truck, several men braved the cold winds, unashamedly huddling together in the blizzard.

    Navigating Brakey Road off Poli Street proved treacherous on the ice and it would have to be slow-go whether they wanted to or not. Sandy couldn’t see the make-up of the vehicles behind her. She only saw headlights and vague outlines highlighted by headlights still further back. She was amazed anyone could see anything at all, the way the snow scattered the light.

    When she voiced her concerns, Vargas said, “That guy’s truck taking point, you’ll notice his headlights are off. He has some lights slung lower on the bumper that keeps the glare out of the windshield.”

    “Like fog lights.”

    “Like fog lights,” he confirmed.

    After a few minutes Sandy observed, “We should’ve found her by now, if she came this way.”

    “Unless she, whatever, moved,” Val pointed out.

    The radio Vargas was carrying squawked. “There are tracks up here.” It was Williams. “Someone is up here ahead of us. Looks like maybe a small motorcycle.”

    “Copy,” replied Vargas.
    "And none of the wicked shall understand, but those who are wise shall understand." -Dan 12:10

  12. CHAPTER FIFTY-EIGHT

    The moped bore Super Detective and Savior of the Alien Race, Terry Gerard. He tooled up the hill at a good clip. His face frosty and his nose frostbitten, his teeth chattered.

    Little brat must’ve used her mutant alien hybrid skills, Terry thought. For he never saw tracks and knew he should’ve seen her by now. He could just imagine her up there yanking a wire out and shutting the thing down. Or, as was discussed, she might move the way she can and shinny along over the rainbow and give the government information that will help them get the machine back from under the alien umbrella, so they can use it on them. This is what that group had discussed (the first part is anyway) and, assuming that there really was some beam from outside, he had no doubts any longer that the little mutant could ride it and get out.

    He would twist her little head off when he found her. Or shoot her. That’s it. Shoot her, and twist the head off that little mutt of hers. Then he wondered about that dog. Surely, if the girl was an alien hybrid experiment then that dog was probably like that dog in that Fresh Prince movie. The one where they wore the nice suits and shades. What's his name again? Snipes? No, that’s not it. Snipes was a hybrid though in another movie with vampires. Something else he hadn’t believed in until today.
    "And none of the wicked shall understand, but those who are wise shall understand." -Dan 12:10

  13. CHAPTER FIFTY-NINE

    Cassie was finished with making friends and praying, for the moment. If she ever hoped to get this done so she could be back at the cross in time to meet Sandy there, she would have to make it quick. That was just about when they all felt a temblor. It wasn’t a huge one. It was maybe about a 3.0 on the Richter scale and it was enough to startle Cassie into thinking another monster might be coming.

    When it stopped and didn’t repeat in a heavy footsteps sort of way, she blew her breath out in a visible sigh of relief. Even Pip was bouncing in all directions on his little paws, looking for the source. One too many monsters in one day.

    Cassie considered just moving up there where that Dark Cloud thing was, but she wasn’t sure how to aim her thoughts. She couldn’t picture it, didn’t know just where it was or anything. She had never seen it, and she wasn’t even sure it was an important thing to know in order to move to where it was. After all, she had made it all the way to the cross, but then she had been to the park many, many times. She had never been to where that laser light was going. Besides, she didn't want to show up right where someone was swinging a sword. If she was wrong it might be bad. She decided not to take a chance.

    If God let her live, she would practice later. That is, if God continued to let her have this ability once this was over. Shoot, this stuff might only work here. Or maybe her angel gave her the power when they met, and when this is over, so is her ability to move. Then again, she had been seeing all the other different rainbows Miss Sandy had said nobody else sees, for as long as she could remember.

    Cassie didn’t wish to cause undue stress for the nice frosty lady, Donna, or any of Cassie’s other new friends. They were nice people. Some of them were kids she might like to play with some time. She was sure they wouldn’t understand her purpose-what God wanted her to do. They would definitely think she escaped from the nut hut. The funny farm. The booby hatch. The loony bin. The crazy house. The buggy bonkers hotel. Cassie loved words and she missed reading.
    "And none of the wicked shall understand, but those who are wise shall understand." -Dan 12:10

  14. CHAPTER SIXTY

    Terry finally made it on the roadway to Grant Park up by the cross. He sure hoped the bad aliens that ate his partner were gone. Or at least full. When he got close enough, he could see the glow of the strange alien light reflecting on the cross. He killed the scooter’s motor. Snow eerily reflected the strange light as well, until it fell or swirled into the shadows of the hill. The girl had to be close. He didn’t wish anyone to know he was there yet, particularly all the alien forces up here fighting. That would suck to become a casualty of alien warfare on this eve of the greatest half of his life.

    Terry pushed the bike to the side and into the bushes next to the road and leaned it there against a low tree in case he needed to find it later. He walked carefully, for he was wearing his dress shoes and the icy road was treacherous. He turned around to look, just to make sure the bike wasn’t obvious.

    He got within yards of the parking lot up from the cross and, through the swirling snow, he could see people. Some looked like they had lanterns. Beyond that little encampment around the cross, they looked like they were holding some sort of Mass or something. He walked a little closer and darned if he didn’t see that little brat heading for the hills. He knew it was her because she had that little mutt with her and was wearing that backpack.

    She wasn’t coming up Brakey Road where Terry was. She was heading straight cross-country toward the light in that ravine where his partner Phil had become a casualty of the war of the aliens that the government was meddling in. It probably had to do with oil. It’s always about oil. Or maybe the aliens the government was helping was promising them an oil substitute. Some new technology the government would credit they developed on the space shuttle.
    "And none of the wicked shall understand, but those who are wise shall understand." -Dan 12:10

  15. CHAPTER SIXTY-ONE

    Cassie walked toward the light the of the angels. It was cold, slippery and windy. The hills kept getting steeper, up and down. Although things were cold and icy, the snowfall was recent so not too deep yet. She felt like the hot cocoa in her tummy was no longer warm.

    After crossing a couple roads, she considered going back to ask for help or maybe chance a move, but then she arrived at the top of a hill. The light was brighter now. She walked to just where she could see more of the light. There were angels in the sky, wings all out and sword fighting with demon looking things. There definitely were more monsters than angels fighting.

    Except for that, with all the swirling snow in the gully, she thought it was pretty. It reminded her of like living in a giant snow globe. She would’ve liked to stop right there and play, maybe build a snow man, but she had to keep going so she could help the angels beat those monsters and save all of her friends. She kept walking.
    She was tired, scared and lost, ready to go home, when she felt a hand on her shoulder. Cassie yelped and that made Pip jump and yelp. She snatched Pip up, stole a quick glance over her shoulder, ready to move.

    “Do not be afraid.”

    It was her angel! Overwhelmed with relief and hopefulness, she ran to him and hugged his leg. She and Pip were no longer lost. She could not contain her excitement.

    “Come. Follow me.” He led Cassie down into the ravine where the battle widened before her eyes. It was scarier than a movie because she was there. The fighting was in the entire sky and on the ground. This was the sort of stuff her mother always covered her eyes from so she wouldn’t see. She tried to just follow her angel and not look up, but sometimes she couldn’t help it.

    She followed her warrior angel into the fray, holding his hand tight. She stayed as close to him as possible. At one point, the fighting was so extreme and the number of monstrosities around her so distressing that just keeping her head down wasn’t enough. She squeezed shut her eyes. She just wished she could shut her ears.

    While some of the other angels attempted to encircle Cassie, her angel and Pip, the forces of darkness pressed in and forced her angel to back her toward the side of the hill on the left, within the steep gully. She ducked against the side of the hill, into the cold, and covered her head. The angels were outnumbered here many to one.

    “You must move now! You must remove Dark Cloud! This is what the Lord says.”

    She was afraid. Why didn’t God just do it Himself? Pip burrowed his little head, wedged it under her arm and prodded her cheek with his tongue. Eventually, she looked up. She looked up the gully and saw the big lump stuffed down partway into the hill, and she moved.

    When she arrived, that big Dark Cloud machine was there, humming, but the skinny side-ways light was up, still too high. It was too far up for her to reach unless she went further up the hill away from Dark Cloud. This wouldn’t do her any good at all. Not one bit.
    "And none of the wicked shall understand, but those who are wise shall understand." -Dan 12:10

  16. CHAPTER SIXTY-TWO

    Terry cursed a blue streak when he saw the little brat heading down across that first ravine. He knew he wouldn’t be able to follow her in his shoes. The scooter wouldn’t make it either. He pulled his pistol out and took aim to pop her right then and there, but she was so far. With the wind… He was good, but not that good.

    Wouldn't you know it, about then those trouble-makers from the camp showed up. The caravan was on the turn headed for the cross since that’s where they thought she would be. He quickly stowed the gun before the headlights had a chance to find him.

    He decided that, while they were frittering their time away here looking for the little brat mutant, he would grab his scooter and follow the road by the gully. He would probably even beat her there, with any luck. Beat her there. Funny! Then and there he decided that might just be what he would do, if he could get close enough. After that, he would strangle her dog and leave them both there with poor Phil’s remains. Then he would yank some wires himself and turn it off. He made his way back to the scooter to head them off. Terry was certain that if he could pull this off and the aliens won, it would be over for this self-appointed militia and no one would live to point a finger at him. That would be one additional favor he would ask of them. This would be good because all that fame and wealth would be useless from inside a prison.
    "And none of the wicked shall understand, but those who are wise shall understand." -Dan 12:10

  17. CHAPTER SIXTY-THREE

    Sandy unstrapped her seat belt as the Vehicles pulled up around the parking lot by the cross. They piled out, anxious to get moving and warm up. Everyone was tired, hungry and ready to see this thing resolved. They were prepared to die fighting rather than either freeze to death, suffocate, or be eaten alive.

    The prayer warriors and worshipers at the cross stood and watched the caravan's arrival in wonder. Something was finally about to happen. Most made their way along the path to the parking area. When they saw the men and women arrive with guns and gear, many of them cheered. Some of them ran forward and wanted to know what they could do to sign up.

    Officer Williams, Vargas, the other police officers and a fire chief pulled the militia together for an assault. Sandy herself had barely waited for the car to stop before she jumped out and jogged the short path toward the cross. She stopped several along the way and asked about Cassie. She was heartened to find that Cassie had made it there okay, but was disheartened to find no one could say where she was at the moment.

    Valerie and Karen caught up with Sandy partway up the path to the cross. Sandy told them quickly what she knew.

    Donna, Cassie’s “Frosty Lady,” approached Sandy. “You must be the ones Cassie said were right behind her.”

    “Yes! You know where she is?”

    “She was here. She was praying with us, made friends with a couple of the kids, but then she slipped away. I don’t even know how she did it. She’s a stealthy little thing. She shouldn't have gone far though, because she sounded like she was waiting for you all to get here.”

    Sandy said, “When she went away… how did she leave? I mean, did you see… how she left?” The lady looked puzzled, so Sandy put together she hadn’t actually witnessed Cassie shifting. “I’m sorry. I just… do you have any idea which way she might’ve gone?”

    “That’s what concerns me.” The lady nodded toward the light. “She was very curious about what was up there.”

    Sandy was in danger of hyperventilating so she bent and put her hands on her knees to control her breathing. Val and Karen both reached to steady her.

    “I Gave her hot cocoa and thought she's settled in. Thought I’d talked her out of it.”

    “We have to get to the car. She’s walking right into the middle of that battle. We have to get there first.” They ran.

    Sandy, Val and Karen joined the Ventura Militia, already checking weapons and getting last minute instructions. Williams and Vargas were going over a map on the tailgate of the prepper’s truck. Sandy updated them about Cassie.

    Williams yelled to everyone on his walkie, “Let’s move out! We will make our way along Summit to the southern lookout point at the south. From there, we walk in hot.”

    The recently formed Ventura Militia mobilized and drove Brakey Road, along Summit Drive to just where it reached its southern most point before going toward the ravine. Over their engine noise they could hear the clang of metal against metal, the screams of furious battle and the unremitting beat of a thousand wings.
    "And none of the wicked shall understand, but those who are wise shall understand." -Dan 12:10

  18. CHAPTER SIXTY-FOUR

    Eddie and Mark attempted various side roads and tried to get through between some apartment buildings, but everything was buttoned down tight. It looked like there was an endless chain of cops and camo that ringed the entire area.

    They could see that, out at sea, some boats were trying to get in, or at least close enough to check out the sinkhole. Eddie could also see that there were some speed boats and Coastguard to intercept anyone from getting too close. At least, that was his best guess. Mostly he saw dark blobs throwing up suds behind them as they headed for other dark blobs. They were all pretty far out.

    There also was a Police chopper and a couple of big, green Navy choppers patrolling the skies. Mark asked, “Why don’t they just let everybody in to help?”

    “Because they’re probably afraid more land will slide off and kill the rescuers, then everybody will start suing each other.”

    “That’s lame.”

    “Yeah. I don’t buy it, either. I think they’re hiding something. You know what this reminds me of?”

    “What?”

    “Do you remember that really old movie Dad made us sit and watch with him, that one with the guy that saw the UFO’s?” asked Eddie. “You remember. That one with the guy that kept seeing the big, flat-top mountain.”

    “Oh yeah. He made one out of mashed potatoes. What about it?”

    “Don’t you remember that part where those people tried to drive up to the mountain and there were dead cows and roadblocks? The army had gas masks on to make it look like there was some nerve gas accident that killed cows, but really they didn’t want people to go in and see the UFO?”

    “Oh, yeah!” Mark looked around at all the soldiers and their gear. “Do you think there’s a UFO in there?”

    “Could be. Maybe one crashed and first they gotta get all the alien bodies out or something.”

    “And Cassie’s in there?” Mark asked with awe in his voice.

    “Maybe she and Sandy saw it and they’re being interrogated. Maybe even brainwashed to forget everything they saw.”

    Mark thought about that, his eyes as big as, well, saucers. “What do we do?”

    “I think we backtrack from up behind.”

    “Hall Canyon Road?”

    “For starters. Then we can cut across to the fire road up by the radio tower.”

    “Mom will ground us for life!”

    “Only if we get caught. If we come back with Cassie, I don’t think she’ll care.”

    “Where will she sit?”

    Eddie had to think about that. “See? I told you, you should’ve stayed.”

    “Well… The seat’s big enough for all of us if you stand on the pedals the whole way,” Mark offered.

    Eddie rolled his eyes. “Great. Do we have a choice?” He started the bike and pointed it toward Seaward Avenue.
    "And none of the wicked shall understand, but those who are wise shall understand." -Dan 12:10

  19. CHAPTER SIXTY-FIVE

    Inside San Nicolas Hall, everyone was standing around, shifting and fidgeting. No one sat. Dr. Nadir took the offered microphone and gave it a tap to see if it was hot. When he heard the thump, thump, thump through the speakers, he cleared his throat. “Well, now. Ladies and gentlemen, we all heard the alarm. Probably they heard the alarm in Santa Barbara,” he scowled at a couple guys in lab coats who tried unsuccessfully to melt into the background.

    “What it means is that the lasers directed to the edges of the event are detecting erosion. This isn’t a couple of rocks falling from the side. As of this moment,” he consulted his PDA, “we have lost very nearly eight feet.” He fixed everyone with a serious stare. “If you are to be wondering, this isn’t good. Explode the sides if you will, but it is disintegrating away just the same. It will make us no difference.”

    Danella Jackson spoke up, “How long before we lose the entire town, Doctor?”

    “The current rate of decay is very, very rapid. We are good here for perhaps two hours. After that, Ventura slips into the event and is just memories in totality within a day. Perhaps sooner, if my guess is correct.”

    “What is this guess of yours, Doctor Nadir?”

    He sighed heavily, “I am going to make a hypothesis that since Dark Cloud is scalar, the mass pulled in will feed its energy further and exponentially step up its energy outreach even more so. Perhaps even in half that time the city may be gone.”

    The general buzz now exceeded raucous and became full-blown uproar. Some voices of dissent choked out incoherent protests, but no one was confident enough to raise his or her voice enough to put their thoughts to words.

    “So, what now, Doctor Nadir?” Then generally to the entire group, The President’s Spokesperson asked, “Do we have any suggestions to offer? Now would be a really good time.”

    An Army Colonel groused, more for the benefit of his compatriots seated nearby than as a direct reply, “We ought to just nuke the place and blast the event the rest of the way into the next dimension.”

    The comment wasn’t lost on Doctor Nadir. “That would do very well in taking people out from their misery, sir, but it wouldn’t stop the event from expanding. It would simply provide radioactive material to digest into the other place. There is hope, however.”

    “I’d like to hear it, Doctor.”

    “Perhaps the machine will begin to exceed the capacity of certain components and become over-heated.”

    Ms. Jackson gave him an honest-to-God double-take, “You mean it might burn out?”

    “Precisely.”

    “Can we calculate that? How soon before that thing over-heats and burns itself out?”

    “That is difficult to say, as we have no data. It would be something we might estimate if we knew how hot it was running right now. We could run a simulation.”

    “Get right on that, gentlemen. Where’s the Sheriff? Find the Sheriff, get the Guard and begin evacuations of Ventura immediately. Get me the President on the line right this minute. And Doctor? Is there any reason to keep firing that canon?”

    “Ms. Jackson, I would prefer we continue with every possible option. I would suggest a rain dance if I thought it might help.”

    “I see your point. Please continue, Doctor, but you might want to pull back a bit.”
    "And none of the wicked shall understand, but those who are wise shall understand." -Dan 12:10

  20. CHAPTER SIXTY-SIX

    At first, Vargas thought it was like shooting fish in a barrel. He even commented to Officer Williams, “Holy cow, Batman! As long as these things have been around you’d think they’d have a little technology by now. Not a gun or even - heck, I don’t know - a crossbow among ‘em.”

    “Well, this is your territory, bud. I just work here,” he chuckled.

    Vargas shook his head and they continued to vanquish demons from this realm into, he was still guessing, the Pit, to await the final Judgment. “Man, I just don’t know. Only thing I can add from reading my Bible,” he stopped to reload. “In Job, one of the Old Testament books, where it shows that Satan has to ask permission to do anything to God's people. Maybe how they went in to battle with God and His army in the first place is the only way God will allow them to fight at all. Again, I am guessing, my friend.”

    “What happens to an angel if one of us accidentally shoots him?”

    Vargas looked at him seriously with his eyebrows raised, “Try not to let that happen, bro.”

    Another thought occurred to Williams, “This can't be Hell. It's too cold. Could we be in Heaven somehow or...”

    “Safe to say not. I mean, this is some other dimension for sure. It seems like this is some kind of war zone between places. Are you really surprised that if there is a God who could create the entire universe that places like this, outside our experience, might exist?”

    “Well, no. Pretty much the entire universe is outside our experience. I only know my little patch of part of good o'l Earth, so what do I know. I just can't get my head around this. What else might be out there?” He points, “Watch what's coming on your right; two o'clock.”

    Vargas wiped the snow collecting on his face. “Got it. Hard to see anything in this mess. “Anyway, as I was saying; the Bible says that eye has not seen, ear has not heard, nor has it even entered into our minds what God has in store for those who love Him. That would be those who appreciate that He gave His only Son, who willingly allowed Himself to be a sacrifice to pay for our sins. God cannot allow even the smallest sin into Heaven, yet loves us enough to want an eternal relationship with us. So He ingeniously devised a way to come down and be the sacrifice Himself as a sort of gift to us.

    “But for a gift to be appreciated, it has to be received. If you love someone, when they come knocking and offering you a gift, you will accept it, unwrap it and treasure it. What's it say to someone who's come knockin' and you tell them 'no thanks' to their offering? Jesus lived the perfect life we should be living but can't. He paid the penalty for a debt we could not pay... enough for everyone. Then he rose from the dead, seen by hundreds of witnesses, just to let us know He'd won. Victorious over sin and death so we can be too.”

    “Enough for everyone? You mean everyone’s going to Heaven? I thought you said...”

    “What I said was, He obviously over-paid on a debt that will be accepted as a gift by some and not all. His blood is the over-payment for a gift many have rejected through the ages and continue to reject.”

    “That would mean they're still in debt.”

    “Bingo. Do you love anyone enough to pay their mortgage off for them, even if it means dying for them?”

    “Whew! And somehow all this is part of that?”

    “It's a long story, but yes.”

    The Militia advanced and made their way to where the Dark Cloud device should be, Williams said, “Uh oh.” Vargas stopped shooting just a moment to assess.

    “Yeah. Not too good.”

    The forward Principalities, powers of darkness, were advancing on the Militia. Toward them. Worse than that, most of them were airborne. The sheer number of creatures that flew through the air grew more intense with each moment.

    “They’re like locusts,” remarked Williams.

    “More like roaches. Bats with swords. Good things those angels bring their own light or we'd really be in trouble. In fact, if any of them get the idea to circle around us, I'm not sure I would see them. You?”

    “Where are they coming from?”

    Vargas gave him a somber look and said, “We’re going to need more ammo and maybe grenades. Grenades would be good.”
    "And none of the wicked shall understand, but those who are wise shall understand." -Dan 12:10

  21. #101
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    High Desert, Elko NV
    Posts
    23,609
    'grenades would ge good'...lol

    excellent, easy to understand explanation of the gift God gave to us. sorry i haven't been reading lately, busy busy and all that.
    The only rights we have are the ones we're willing to fight for.

    http://i7.photobucket.com/albums/y29...diplomacy2.jpg

    http://www.n3kl.org/sun/images/status.gif

  22. No worries. Been pretty dang busy myself. Gotta get the last of this up. Glad you're enjoying it. Spread the word!

    -Dave
    "And none of the wicked shall understand, but those who are wise shall understand." -Dan 12:10

  23. #103
    Join Date
    May 2001
    Location
    West central Georgia
    Posts
    17,599
    This really is an excellent story! What's strange/funny to me is my 13 yo son, as part of our homeschooling, is writing a story/novel that I just started reading yesterday. He has several similar aspects in his story - wooden swords that turn into real ones as they fight the dark demonic apparitions, etc. Told him he needs to come read your story, but maybe he needs to wait until he finishes writing his.
    Visit my Etsy shop at www.etsy.com/shop/TheCrochetFarm

    If we aren't showing love, His love, then what are we doing calling ourselves Christians?

    Psalm 73: 25 Whom have I in heaven but you?
    And earth has nothing I desire besides you.
    26 My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart
    and my portion forever.

  24. Awesome that he has a creative streak in him. What I attempted to get across with Karen was her state on unbelief. Unlike what we are conditioned to think, "I'll beleive it when I see it," God's way of working with us is usually, "You'll see it when you believe it." Call Karen's state Denial on a grand scale. Her mind is slow to wrap around what is happening so it fills in the gaps with the familiar and the acceptible.

    Plus, I just thought it would be a fun and a funny thing to put that character through. I am her creator and I can do whatever I want.
    "And none of the wicked shall understand, but those who are wise shall understand." -Dan 12:10

  25. #105
    Join Date
    May 2001
    Location
    West central Georgia
    Posts
    17,599
    I think Karen represents many, many people - and some of them still won't get it even when they do see it. It always astonishes me to read a story in the Bible about the disciples, after Jesus has already done many miracles, and then they say, "Lord, now we believe". The people of Israel saw miracle after miracle, but were always so quick to turn their backs on God. It's just amazing that we, as humans, never learn...

    Yes, our son is very creative and usually has several stories percolating in his brain. Sure wish I had the gift,
    Visit my Etsy shop at www.etsy.com/shop/TheCrochetFarm

    If we aren't showing love, His love, then what are we doing calling ourselves Christians?

    Psalm 73: 25 Whom have I in heaven but you?
    And earth has nothing I desire besides you.
    26 My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart
    and my portion forever.

  26. CHAPTER SIXTY-SEVEN

    Nadir looked at his watch. It said 3:52 pm. The now moot deadline approached. He stood up and looked out a window before pacing for the umpteenth time. Then he stopped. He hurried to a display on a computer screen that a tech was on. “Bring up that overlay of the event bubble again.”

    “Sure.”

    A couple of key strokes brought a three dimensional map of the area up. Nadir cocked his head as he considered it. “How did you determine again the center of the bubble?”

    The tech's response was guarded. “Well, I marked the three known solid sides of the scoop from the lasers and had the computer plot the center. We didn’t use a fourth side, of course, because that part of the scoop is under water.”

    “And did you account for the sonar soundings in the water like I asked you to?”

    The tech froze. Obviously, he had not.

    Nadir slapped him on the back of the head, “You are being dope! I am telling you we are living in three dimensions and not two! The canon is too low or two high! Plot that in and adjust the cannon, this instant!”

    The tech nervously and fumbled, so Nadir grabbed the back of his chair and rolled the tech and his chair across the room with a mighty shove and added the data himself while on his feet. The graphic shifted to a sideways view and confirmed that the cannon indeed was too high by several meters.

    Commander Hutchins came in and told him, “Doctor Nadir, Survey recommends we shut the cannon down awhile and pull back. It’s getting too close to the edge… or, maybe I should say, the edge is getting to close to it.”
    "And none of the wicked shall understand, but those who are wise shall understand." -Dan 12:10

  27. CHAPTER SIXTY-EIGHT

    Terry slipped and slid his way to the back side of where he remembered Dark Cloud should be. The wind was horrific. In his attempt to outflank the little alien brat mutant half-breed, he had scooted the scooter a little further on Summit over to Kalorama and road that up until it ended and became the access road to the twin water tanks at the top of the hill. That was where the wind was fiercest. He felt like he was walking against a Category Five tornado. Which he knew was absurd, but as tired as he was, it just sure felt that way.

    He knew it was all down hill now, however, so he hunched down, surfed and slid most of the way down the frozen weeds toward the bottom of the ravine. He took a bad spill once and was limping, but determined. The aches were so bad, he wished snow had been on the ground when Phil bought it. That way he would at least have a nice, bright red spot to mark the location. Even in death, Phil couldn’t get anything right.
    "And none of the wicked shall understand, but those who are wise shall understand." -Dan 12:10

  28. CHAPTER SIXTY-NINE

    No way was Sandy going to be hindered from getting to Cassie. Valerie and Karen vowed to stick with her. The three gals stayed as much to one side, away from the heart of the battle as possible and hoped to God they wouldn’t be nailed by friendly fire. Valerie had offered to let Sandy hang on to the shotgun, but, since she was more comfortable with the 9mm, she declined. She held it ready should a demon get through Valerie’s shotgun rounds. Karen had grown cozy with the sword and she stared wide-eyed at the battle while taking up the rear.

    They could see the Militia advance with an array of weapons, many of which sounded to Sandy like cannons. She’d forgotten how loud shotguns and some larger automated weapons could be. At the shooting range with Danny, she'd had to wear headgear to protect her ears. This was at least as loud as thunder as the lightening speared around them.

    Sandy was both appalled and awestruck at the battle. To watch the angels battle was magnificent. She was amazed to witness the angelic shield around CJ as she stood on that chunk of metal on her tip-toes, reaching into the sky. When the angels and demons flew at each other, Sandy's mind could only grapple with this new experience by painting it with images she'd already cataloged during her somewhat sheltered life. She felt as if she were watching eagles and bats flying at one another. Of course, eagles and bats do not usually wield swords. Too, she was struck with the imbalance – the gross overbalance of demons versus angels. Why did God not send more angels?

    While the violence no doubt seeded her memory with permanent visions of brutality, the lack of blood and gore softened those imprints. Sadly, she noted, there was blood enough among the fallen militia within the ravine to off-set the glorious spectacle in the sky. Tears blurred her vision as she watched valorous men, and some women, throwing self-caution to the wind so that others might live. None of these would likely be buried at Arlington Cemetery, but their hearts were no less courageous nor their souls no less honorable.

    So captivated was she by this awesome yet awful vision that she nearly allowed herself to become decapitated. She hadn’t brought her pistol to bear, so it was fortuitous Valerie was a good aim with the shotgun. Two rapid rounds dispatched the creatures that flew in as a pair. The thunderous rounds made her duck and wince.

    “Man! I’m sorry. I just got so caught up in this…” she indicated the fighting.

    Valerie said, “Just be ready if more than that come in at once. I’m not that good of a shot. That’s why the shotgun.” Sandy nodded her understanding. She once again squinted through the snowy haze for Cassie.

    “It’s a wonder we aren’t all taken out by the lightening!” Karen shouted over the din.

    Valerie pointed once they were better than half way through the war zone. “Look!” Angels were clearing the way for them. Not just the gals, but the militia as well. Cassie was hunkered down next to Pip by the Dark Cloud device. Her angel stood vigil between Cassie and the battle.

    Of course, Karen had to point out, “Yeah? Look! Why did she get down?” Up the way beyond the Dark Cloud device and Cassie, poured forth blackness. A darkness of beasts spilled forth like ants from an ant hill.

    “Oh God,” Sandy whispered. She meant it more as a prayer than an exclamation. She picked up her pace carefully on the icy ground. The point of entry for the creatures was unclear, but somehow they were entering their Ventura bubble at the Dark Cloud nexus. She was forced to wonder what remained on the outside they could not see. Her imagination summoned an appalling visual of a demonic horde queuing up in a line from Hell.
    "And none of the wicked shall understand, but those who are wise shall understand." -Dan 12:10

  29. CHAPTER SEVENTY

    Vargas and Williams decided to flank the action. They intended to provide coverage and an advantage for the rest of the Militia by following a fire road to the left, north-facing ridge. They made their way a bit downhill from Dark Cloud. They could make the machine out as a dark gray shadow through all the falling, whirling snow.

    Vargas put a hand on William’s chest to halt him, and he pointed. There Cassie was on top of the Dark Cloud device, with her arms up like she was trying to reach something invisible to them.

    “What’s she doing? She’ll be killed!” said Williams. He saw dark creatures circling, aiming themselves at her, and five or six angelic creatures doing their best to bat them away or take them out, but the creatures of darkness queued for a dive was ceaseless. Then they saw Terry headed her way with his pistol out.

    Vargas said, “Whew. Looks like he’ll get to her. And just in time,” he pointed for Williams’ benefit.

    Scrambling her way like a malignant, spidery gargoyle was a demonic being intent on getting to Cassie, or Terry, or maybe just the machine. When Williams looked back, Vargas saw his face grow dark with concern before Williams ran straight on without a word.

    “What?” Vargas shouted at Williams’ back, but then he saw it. Terry had drawn his gun, not on the demon, but on Cassie. Vargas tore off his pack and ran.
    "And none of the wicked shall understand, but those who are wise shall understand." -Dan 12:10

  30. CHAPTER SEVENTY-ONE

    Terry couldn’t believe his good fortune. He could see the alien coming and it looked to him like the Dark Cloud machine was, unfortunately, already doing its worse on the poor thing. Beyond looking aged and wise, the creature appeared...corrupted...rotting. At least it would get to witness Terry saving his sorry backside first-hand.

    He saw the soldiers of misfortune approach on the other side of the gorge and cursed. He had wanted to take on the mutant hybrid creature and her alien dog in hand-to-hand combat and wring the life out of the both of them right before the approving gaze of the aliens who would grant him his desires out of gratitude. These meddlers would try to stop him.

    Terry considered trying to take them out. He was, after all, a very good shot and had been since his cop days. On the other hand, the hybrid mutant brat was being such a cooperative, steady target, he changed his plans and decided to just take her out with a bullet and then dispatch her government conspirator friends. He pointed his gun at the little girl and drew a steady bead on her. It was tough in these winds to hold himself still. He had to steady his pistol with both hands, hold his breath and wait for a lull in the wind. All his former cop training came to bear on the girl-pretender-mutant-alien. Well, except the Protect and Serve part.

    Williams yelled, “Cassie! Get down!” She probably wouldn’t have on her own, but he startled her and she fell. She popped back up on her feet and looked around.

    Terry got a fresh bead on her… waited… waited… there... the lull… and he fired.
    "And none of the wicked shall understand, but those who are wise shall understand." -Dan 12:10

  31. CHAPTER SEVENTY-TWO

    On the east side of the ravine, Sandy, Valerie and Karen watched in horror as the gargoyle demon thing ran at Cassie. They were stunned – no – appalled and uncomprehending at the sight of Terry in his wet rumpled suit aiming his gun at Cassie.

    At first Sandy followed his aim beyond Cassie because she thought he must see something else behind her he was going to shoot. Then they saw the policeman Pete Williams, gun drawn at that rumple-suit guy. Though it looked like Williams screamed something, the wind ripped the sound away. Sandy’s breath caught when she saw Cassie fall and she ran; her friends close behind.

    Peripherally, Sandy could see an array of angels warding off demons for them. They made themselves a barrier – a hedge of protection against the relentless onslaught. Though eternally grateful, she couldn’t spare the mental, emotional or spiritual time and energy to stop and thank them. Her charge, her little girl, her friend, her life, was down. Then she experienced a flash of relief when CJ rebounded, but stopped cold when she heard the report from Rumple Suit’s gun.
    "And none of the wicked shall understand, but those who are wise shall understand." -Dan 12:10

  32. CHAPTER SEVENTY-THREE

    Vargas was a man of humble beginnings. Once a Marine, he became a man to walk the talk. He might boast to his fellow Marines and bust their chops, but he never boasted his accomplishments. As a Christian, how could he make a boast of skills that were God-given and not of his own design?

    The fact is – Pastor and former Marine Manual “Manny” Vargas could pump his twenty-eight inch legs quicker than most men with thirty-four inch legs. In a word, he was fast. Leaving the Marines didn’t prevent him from staying in shape either. Manny routinely ran these very hills to stay in shape, in his boots.

    So when he saw the same sequence of events his new friend Pete Williams saw, Vargas knew it was time to motor. There would be no use holding anything back in reserves, for if he failed now, he would fail utterly, and woe unto him if he did so.

    He took a wide angle around Williams as he prayed. He feared he would be too late. He reproved himself for not bringing a rifle. A rifle bullet would more likely cut through the wind and take the jerk out but good. He considered stopping and drawing his own pistol, but in this wind…

    He could miss while he wasted precious time. Then Cassie slipped. Thank God she was okay and Lord, how he wished she had stayed down, but it bought him time. He saw Terry aim again.

    Manny Vargas jumped.
    "And none of the wicked shall understand, but those who are wise shall understand." -Dan 12:10

  33. CHAPTER SEVENTY-FOUR

    Cassie’s angel had his hands full fending off an impracticable number of Lucifer’s minions. As ancient, wise and powerful as angels are, they aren’t all-knowing and not ever-present and they can’t read thoughts. When he turned briefly at the sound of a gunshot from Cassie’s direction, he called on The King for strength.

    Strength was granted. He vanquished his foe quickly and efficiently and propelled himself toward the Prince of the West – that mighty and troublesome fallen that maneuvered toward the child. He saw Vargas go down and muttered a prayer, “Thy will be done, my Lord.”

    The Prince of the West steeled himself against the onslaught from God's warrior, and they fought mightily.
    "And none of the wicked shall understand, but those who are wise shall understand." -Dan 12:10

  34. CHAPTER SEVENTY-FIVE

    Terry could not believe his eyes. That Karen chick reacted strongest. She pushed through and hurried to get to the Mexican guy. She'd even passed Sandy running as fast as she could to get to the girl. Val was on Sandy’s heels waving a shotgun around.

    He obviously had underestimated the importance of this mutant alien hybrid in child’s clothing. She would have to be important for this interloper to be willing to take a bullet for her as though she were the President.

    He had to decide quickly what to do next. The mutant girl's entire entourage was coming his way. The broad with the sword was coming, but she was too intent on getting to the shot Mexican. No danger there. She can’t very well shoot him with her sword.

    The others are just chicks intent on reaching the girl-brat-alien-mutant-hybrid. What the...? He felt/heard a zing, right by his ear! Holy molly! That cop almost plugged me! Terry'd had his pistol up toward the brat, so he adjusted a little and drew a bead on the cop, Williams, instead. The cop turned a little and Terry returned fire and he knew it was good. He could just feel it. He could instinctively tell when a bullet left his gun true.

    Confident of his targeting, even in these harshest of conditions, he took aim at that fake human alien mutant hybrid brat.
    "And none of the wicked shall understand, but those who are wise shall understand." -Dan 12:10

  35. CHAPTER SEVENTY-SIX

    Cassie looked up when she saw her new friend, Pastor Vargas, run by. She liked him a lot because he knew all kinds of cool things about God. At first she was confused when she saw him jump, and that strange man with the gun pointed at her. There was lots of shooting going on, but then this one shot was real loud and close. It was scary loud, so closed her eyes. When she opened her eyes, Pastor Vargas was on the ground shot by that man.

    Her friend, her very nice and awesome new friend just got shot by that mean old man! Oh, no... Cassie ran.
    "And none of the wicked shall understand, but those who are wise shall understand." -Dan 12:10

  36. CHAPTER SEVENTY-SEVEN

    Pete stopped to draw a bead on that weasel of a man, and the wind kept blowing his aim all over the place. Once he finally got a steady aim, Vargas was suddenly there. He took a bullet – Pete could tell.

    The wind halted for a brief moment, as if all creation gasped. Pete, though trained law enforcement professional, was shook to the core. His new friend and partner was down. He tried to shake the emotion and snap back to the job, but it wasn’t until he saw the jerk again take aim at little Cassie that his professional instinct kicked back in.

    Pete found himself muttering a brief prayer, “Dear God, help me stop him from killing that little girl.” He pulled the trigger. Officer Williams thought he had him, but he must’ve missed, because Terry redirected his own weapon back at Pete. At least I got his attention off Cassie. He hurried toward Terry to close the gap and improve his shot while taking a zig-zag approach to thwart his aim. Then he saw the muzzle flash and felt the bullet hammer his chest. His legs failed him and the world, for Pete, went black.
    "And none of the wicked shall understand, but those who are wise shall understand." -Dan 12:10

  37. CHAPTER SEVENTY-EIGHT

    Sandy had never before fired the Sig Saur at a person. When she saw the rumpled suit man shooting at her friends, fury welled through every fiber. This man was a traitor - the worst kind of monster. He walked among them, took refuge among them, then turned on his own. This malignancy of a man, she told herself, is no more human than the secret killer disease that took Danny. He was even more of a monster than the one that took the lady in the parking garage and God knows how many others, because he was a betrayer. A deceiver. Worse still, he was a murderer.

    She aimed carefully at his profile. She squinted till he looked a more like the silhouette targets Danny made her practice on. The monster of a man in the rumpled suit was firing again. This malignancy would kill and kill again. She dared not take her eyes away to see who his target was. She held her breath, and just like Danny taught her, then she squeezed. Terry’s last greedy, cancerous thoughts left his mind altogether and mingled with the cold ice.
    "And none of the wicked shall understand, but those who are wise shall understand." -Dan 12:10

  38. CHAPTER SEVENTY-NINE

    By the time any of them got to Vargas, Cassie was already there, crying. “I’m sorry. It’s all my fault. Please be okay. Please!”

    Pip sniffed him up and down, whining his concern.

    Vargas was awake. He had taken the slug in his upper chest. His breath gurgled. Karen propped his head off the icy ground and put his head on her lap. She tugged his shirt open to get at the wound.

    With an effort, Vargas put a hand on Cassie’s shoulder and managed, “Okay,” he nodded. “Do it, what God said.”

    Cassie was unsteady. She stood and looked. Angels and demons fought everywhere. Right over there, some ugly demon was fighting with her angel. Other demons were stalking him too. Her guardian angel. So she screamed.


    He turned at Cassie's scream. For all he knew, she was hurt. The distraction was enough to see him flung into the arms of several other demons who detained him as he struggled, long enough for the Emissary, the Prince of the West, to fling himself at her full tilt. He wasn’t ready for the flow of dark legions to cease and knew he must stop her. He ran and another angel flung himself at the gargoyle of a demon and they struggled over the angel’s sword.
    "And none of the wicked shall understand, but those who are wise shall understand." -Dan 12:10

  39. CHAPTER EIGHTY

    Cassie was a pill. No question. Everyone told her so. Though very young, she could also be obstinate and self-willed. This creature big jerk demon thingy hurt her angel and she was going to show him. Her new pastor friend was hurt and needed a Doctor too, but she didn’t know what she could do about that, for she had tried to reach that skinny laser light, but it was too high.

    When Cassie looked back again at the Dark Cloud thing, she saw the light was now touching it. It had somehow moved! The rainbows mingled. She ran back and scrambled onto the big metal machine and lay holding it as if in a caress. Pip stood between Cassie and the Emissary, barking himself into a lather even as the beast freed himself from the angel. Sandy stood, assessed and stepped toward Cassie, “No!”
    "And none of the wicked shall understand, but those who are wise shall understand." -Dan 12:10

  40. CHAPTER EIGHTY-ONE

    Doctor Nadir was about to shut the cannon down when a pre-set alarm on the system alerted him to yet another in a series of fluctuations. He looked at the monitor and read very different lines from before. So different that even the uninitiated Commander could see this one was huge. He and Commander Hutchins looked at each other, unsure what it meant.

    “What’s going on?” Hutch asked.

    “Another fluctuation, but different. Stronger. It was aimed incorrectly,” Nadir looked at the monitor, “off by meters. We re-calibrated.”

    He popped up rigid and looked at Commander Hutchins in near panic. “Duck and run or grab a towel. I am thinking the chicken is coming home…”

    But that was all he got out of his mouth before a combination of sonic boom, wind, ice, clouds, thunder and water assaulted everything as far as they eye could see.

    The displaced water rushed outward and created a ripple that would provide great surf in Hawaii for days. The homecoming of the Ventura survivors ironically created a greater body count than did the initial incident. The ensuing shock wave as the bubble burst back home hurled several Guardsmen, Navy and FEMA employees with enough force to batter them beyond repair.

    Many outlaying buildings were now cleared for the inevitable reconstruction. Nadir and Hutch extricated themselves from the rubble of the motor home and found that outside was a slushy mess. Others were moving about, digging through rubble. Clouds that had popped outward from inside Dark Cloud's sphere into the blue sky were beginning to, once again, coalesce.

    Vasquez hurried up to Hutch and asked if he was okay. Commander Hutchins, in reply, barked another string of orders that included, “Get the paramedics in there, and get a team in the helo and shut that thing off.”

    “We’ve re-acquired the signal, Sir. It’s already being shut down, remotely.”

    “Good. Then lift it out of there and back to base. Disconnect the power first. I don’t want another incident on the way to the base. Pull the cabinet together for another cover story and make sure no one goes anywhere until we have everyone and everything gone over by a Hazmat team.”

    “Aye, sir.”

    He turned to Nadir and asked, “Tell me, Doc. How are we supposed to explain this?”

    Nadir laughed and slapped him on the back. “Who cares? We did it!”
    "And none of the wicked shall understand, but those who are wise shall understand." -Dan 12:10

Tags for this Thread

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts


NOTICE: Timebomb2000 is an Internet forum for discussion of world events and personal disaster preparation. Membership is by request only. The opinions posted do not necessarily represent those of TB2K Incorporated (the owner of this website), the staff or site host. Responsibility for the content of all posts rests solely with the Member making them. Neither TB2K Inc, the Staff nor the site host shall be liable for any content.

All original member content posted on this forum becomes the property of TB2K Inc. for archival and display purposes on the Timebomb2000 website venue. Said content may be removed or edited at staff discretion. The original authors retain all rights to their material outside of the Timebomb2000.com website venue. Publication of any original material from Timebomb2000.com on other websites or venues without permission from TB2K Inc. or the original author is expressly forbidden.



"Timebomb2000", "TB2K" and "Watching the World Tick Away" are Service Mark℠ TB2K, Inc. All Rights Reserved.