Lucifer’s Semi-Final Conclave --- Part 20
Our favorite four were sitting on barstools at the kitchen counter. Buffy had made a big pitcher of iced tea, and they were all in really good moods after returning from Homer’s place. They were enjoying each other with conversation. They collectively stopped abruptly, though, when there was a very unexpected beep of their driveway alarm. Ken and Buffy looked at each other in surprise. Yough had not said a single word..
Ken rushed to the door, had a peek outside, and then looked back at them, It’s Clive, he smiled, as he opened the door. Clive was on his 4-Runner, just turning into their spread from the sandy trace. He waved as he proceeded to park alongside the SUV and Ken’s work car, a 1981 diesel powered Nissan pickup. It clearly showed it‘s 470,000.miles. As Clive entered, the three had gathered mid room to greet him.
Clive spoke.. Yanno, he quipped… we need to review our communications procedures on this trace here. He looked at Ken and Buffy and queried… Where’s your cells? They looked at each other. Ken and Buffy reached for theirs. They were both powered off, they discovered, with red faces, as they looked back to Clive. He grinned. I know you two are not Ex service.. But that don’t matter, except when it does. I know there are times when you don’t want a ringing cell to interrupt you.. BUT, they all have vibrators don’t they? Their faces reddened as they powered them up in silent mode.
Clive said… well, that is the extent of your ass chewing, at least for today… got something to drink? Bree had already started pouring a tall glass of tea, and Clive walked over to accept it. He nodded at her in thanks, and turned to face Phil. They of course had not been formally introduced yet. They simply looked at each other for a full, silent 30 seconds. Almost simultaneously they extended their hands to shake. Both men had sensed the warrior spirit in each other. Thus began a mutual respect.
Ken had followed Clive. After Clive and Phil more or less introduced them selves to each other by their hand shake and mutual silent examination, Ken began, Clive, th--
Clive turned to Ken and held up his one hand… I have been talking to Homer for the past 30 minutes. I know them well.. He turned to face Bree… His eyes studied her face… not only in typical male appreciation of female pulchritude, but in respect, also. Glad to meet you, Danielle. Let’s all sit a spell, He said. Buffy walked around the counter to her kitchen stool, as Clive and the three sat on the front side.
Before I forget… Homer says to show up an hour and a half earlier than normal tomorrow, and make sure you bring your MD id with you… Now… let me save a lot of words between us…. Homer gave me an extensive sketch of you two, he looked at Bree and Phil… From 4 years ago in MD and ’the firm’, up through his details of meeting with Ken and Buffy with him a couple of hours ago.. The whole ball of snakes, he quipped. He looked at them intently, and simply said ’Welcome’… Any one who Homer believes in enough to risk a third term in lockup, is no doubt worthy of my respect and help. also.
He rose to leave, and he again looked to Phil and Bree… , yanno, the desert between the city and Pahrump is a strange place indeed. And specially in the mountains of Wheeler pass, around the buildings of the western “firm”. Be very er.. alert in there … He then looked at Ken and Buffy… Homer said to be sure to have them spend a good while with Marcy tomorrow, OK? They nodded. He left…
She is a full blooded Navajo. 37 years old. Her husband is also. Clint is a 37 yo Full blooded Navajo He is also a Gunny.. A lifer in the USMC.. A Gunnery sergeant. He is presently on duty in the mountains of Afganistan.
She attends the group meetings with their two daughters…Ages 18 and 14.. Their home is roughly 31 miles slightly north east of Searchlight, as the crow flies, and 15 miles south of Pahrump. But it’s well over twice as far to drive on the crude desert traces that wander through the mountains of CA and NV.
Her father is one of the few Shamen left among the Navajo people. Her grand father is one of the other Shamen left. He is 103 now. It will be interesting indeed to listen in on Bree and Marcy’s conversation especially when Danielle shows Marcy the necklace. Dontcha think?
The suits’ AIC and the other five suits who had been assigned to track down the “runners’ were in a black Suburban, and had just pulled into the parking lot for their meeting in the conference room of the Holiday Inn Express. Pahrump, NV. It was quite unusual for a a meeting discussing this level of classification to be held in a facility so insecure, so they had prepared well for it. Five suits, each carrying large OD suitcases proceeded to the conference room, as the AIC went to the desk, and asked for the manager. They passed “words.” The AIC then went to the conference room. One suit was standing outside the door while the other four were busy inside. All OK, Bob? Said the AIC… So far, quipped Bob… They are still setting up… Chuck and Jamey just went outside the hotel for the visual look about and the usual RF sweeps, and to set up the RF monitors. Great, he said, as he entered the room. Bob remained outside with his eyes open.
How goes it guys? Nearly done chief.. Another 10 minutes or so… The AIC looked at his watch… That’s about all you have, guys… it’s now 10:49. Our man said 11. Hustle.
In the parking lot, a tan Toyota pickup had just pulled up. George Henly exited and went into the coffee shop. He glanced at his watch as he ordered a cup. 10:51, he thought… Right on time…
The AIC was inspecting the setup inside. There were six noise cancelling headsets connected to a central box, and distributed around the conference table. The box provided power and interconnection to those intercom headsets. The AIC pressed its battery test button, and checked for a green LED’s approval at each headset connection. He then went to check on the five other strange boxes . One was adjacent to the entrance door, three were located near the center of the other walls. The fifth hung from a make shift support wire jury-rigged into the ceiling tile support framework, centered directly over the conference table. They were audio white noise generators. They made the headset use mandatory… The sound they emitted was quite irritating to unprotected ears, sounding like a cross between a waterfall and a jet engine. Not super loud, but nearly impossible to endure a few feet away. They were controlled from a remote box on the table. The remote cycled each box in turn, with a tenth second on time. The overall result resembled five freight trains approaching from five directions. A real concentration disruption.
Jamey stuck his head in with a thumbs up, followed a few seconds later by Chuck. The AIC glanced at the two inside, who also were shooting thumbs up. No one present, including the AIC knew who they were waiting for…or how they would recognize him .. but the AIC had something that did. A small battery powered device with a green led mounted on it. He glanced at his watch.
10:59. He went outside and stood beside Bob. Twenty seconds later, a man exited the coffee shop and walked toward them. George pressed his necklace transponder and the AIC’s box blinked green. The AIC held the door open as George entered.. Bob remained at his post outside. Bob inserted inconspicuous foam hearing protectors in his ear… the sort usually used in firearms practice, and leaned against the hallway wall.
. No one had uttered a single word yet. George took the chair at the head of the table, and motioned for them to sit. As they did, he slid a paper which they passed around… It simply said… I am #13.
After they had all read it, he donned his headset, and uttered… Shall we begin? All donned their headsets. Then the AIC looked around at all present while tapping his microphone. All gave thumbs up. The AIC hit the switch for the noise generators.. Their sudden startup produced a loud pop in all the headsets, as the noise cancelling feature adjusted itself. Shortly there was almost complete quiet for all, and George began…
Gentlemen, George said, we have MONSTEROUS problem.. We have, recently, and on the highest levels, become aware of an inadvertent, and complete exposure to Danielle Meacham of .. Uhh.. For now let us say ’things’ that can mean … uhh.. Not just an immediate loss of budget for Rocksense, both east and west, but much more, he sighed… much much more, easily extending past the pyramid of our organizations that … sponsors them. Unfortunately. I have been prohibited from describing to you either the way the leak occurred, nor certain details about what the leak actually is. He leaned back in his chair… and was silent a moment while he gathered the words…. I know well that it is difficult to recover something when you have no idea what it is. But, he continued… I will give you those details that I am authorized to reveal to you.
First, though, let me tell you that it is virtually certain that Danielle has also revealed the ‘things’ in toto to Phillip Warren. Further, these two are not just your average runners… Their abilities, both mental and physical can be extremely, ..uhh … challenging. You are all aware of their agency resumes, correct? All nodded. The really bad news is that we are convinced that their mental abilities have increased dramatically since the ’leak’. I would like at this point to emphasize that you must not kill them before we have debriefed them at RocksenseWest,. They must be found and taken alive… understand? All nodded.
Now for the details I promised: Do you remember that small fragment on the floorboard of their rental car that was so obviously intentionally left by them? All nodded.. Well guys, they were letting us know that they know. More even than the agency at this juncture.
I cannot give further details on that. Suffice it to say that #2 himself had fear in his voice as he spoke of it. They are obviously trolling us. Next detail: The ‘thing’ is physical. Although it would physically fit in the palm of your hand, there is no limit to its inherent power… he emphasized … Positively NO limit. .. The two will eventually, and possibly very soon find the ‘key’ to it’s secrets that our best scientists have searched for for 70 years.
For example, that fragment that you found was taken East to be analyzed. The fragment is not actually a piece of the ‘thing’. It had merely been it’s close proximity for a long while. One final test was made on the fragment before it was taken back west. The mere attempt at that test destroyed the electronics in our 4 million dollar machine in a flash of light, heat and fire. The fragment was totally unscathed. As to where you should search for the runners…
As for where to Look? Basically East. From here go 160 E and then up Wheeler Pass Road to Rocksense West area, then continue to US 95. It’s a big area. If you get off the road to walk around…watch where you step… there are critters
Phil and Ken had thrown a pair of posthole diggers in the back of his work truck and left an hour ago to go pick up a mailbox and post in Henderson while it was still early enough to mount it before dark. Bree and Buffy were out back at the picnic table, watching Yough enjoy his supper, sipping tea and jawing. Buffy said… Bree, I had sorta planned on meatloaf tonight, but I just changed my mind…This is a memorable day. You got your freedom back…It’s worth celebrating.. So, Help me wrestle the grill out of the shed… We are going to do some steaks. Moments later, the grill was started, and the charcoal mound they built in it was lit… Let’s go put the potatoes on to bake, and work on a salad, OK? Yum, Bree agreed. Bree started washing and foil wrapping the potatoes, as Buffy reached into the freezer to retrieve four vacuum sealed porterhouse steaks. She had just filled the right half of the sink with water, and was placing them in the water to thaw. As she was placing the last one, Bree said… these have no store label. Buffy smiled… we buy all our beef from the Wilks. They trade meat with a butcher who comes out to cut and package it when they kill one. The flavor is fantastic.. Wow, neat, Bree said… I cant wait… Buffy replied, well your wait will be worth it.. I promise. Buffy put the potatos in the oven, and said… We’re done for a while.
Finished for now, they sat at the counter with their tea. OW, Buffy exclaimed…OW.. Give me your hand, Bree, thats the strongest little critter… Buffy guided Bree’s hand to the spot on her belly where the baby was playing kickball. .. Bree smiled as her mind wandered… hmm.. Ahhh Buffy… Has the doctor said? Yep. According to her, and ultrasound. It’s a girl, on July fourth, more or less a day. Ahh a little sweet Buffy.. By the way, I’m a Crab… July fourth is my birthday, too… Have you selected her name? Well, a couple of months ago we finally agreed on Alexandria for her middle name… I wouldn’t put that on her for a first name. I never really liked it… too formal and all. Last night, though as we were lying in bed we decided on her first name… we both really like it, too… It’s Danielle…
Danielles mouth opened wide. She hugged Buffy with tears in her eyes. When she released Her, buffy grabbed both of Bree’s hands and said, come on. I’ll show you her room…, though she will spend her first couple years in a bassinet then a crib in our room on the other end of the house.
They went to the room directly across from theis in the short hallway. The room smelled freshly painted, and had two windows with frilly lace curtains. Danielle peered out the back one and Yough looked up at her. His bed was directly below the window. Bree smiled . The other wall was covered from floor to ceiling with a huge Rainbow decal featuring a rainbow and several unicorns traveling on it. The ceiling featured small faux stars randomly distributed, and as she walked about, the shadows caused them to glitter in the little sunlight that still remained. There was no furniture yet. We have been working in it along, said Buffy… We still have a long time before she needs furniture anyway. Bree was taking mental notes as she toured.
Ahh, Buffy, this is so cute… Said Danielle…Just then they heard the drive way alarm.. Well, Buffy said… time to build the salad and put on the steaks… the guys are home…
To be continued:
Part 19 is here: