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Westarcher

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  1. Westarcher

    Chapter 13

    “Mac, Tom, Larry, I need you to come up the stairs please,” I cried out desperately, not sure what to do. I didn’t want to move him in case he had hurt his back. I heard footsteps on stairs and the three ran up. I stared at his body, he’s going to die and there’s nothing I can do about it. I watched dazedly as Mac put her emotions aside and began to check over the boy. “Tom, I need you to go down to Level three, in the supply closet there is a board, go get it now,” “Is he going to be alright?” Larry asked as Tom ran off. “I don’t know,” she looked up at him then focused on me, “Alex, snap out of it,” But I couldn’t help stare at Nathan, I felt utterly useless. Pain and warmth erupted across my cheek, waking me up and I looked up to find Larry standing above me. “Get your shit together and be a man, god knows you’re a fairy, but your our leader now and you can’t shut down,” he gave me a backhanded compliment as I shook my head and focused my mind. “Can you see what his injuries are? Is he alive?” I ask Mac rapidly. “It looks like he’s been hit on the head and that type of injuries bleed a lot,” she answered. There did seem to be a lot of blood, but Nate did not seem to be dead. Tom arrived a few minutes later with a stretcher with a head brace. Between the three of us, we were able to gently get Nate onto the board and strapped to the headrest, to prevent any more injuries to his spine. “Who’s looking after the kids?” “Kelly and Sarah,” was the response. Tom and Larry slowly took Nate down the stairs as Mac and I followed, both of us covered in blood, “What happened?” “I come up the stairs and found him lying there, he looked like he had been coming down the stairs,” I told her. Mac directed them to the surgical room, where Nate was laid in the centre of the table. “Daisy, what equipment has the medical bay got?” Mac asked aloud. “The Medical bay has a full digital diagnostic set, including MRI scanner, X-ray and surgical equipment,” Daisy responded. “I need a full scan of Nate, he’s got a cranial injury,” Mac seemed to go into doctor mode. “Please make sure the patient is on the table correctly,” replied the smooth feminine voice. “Where can I wash up?” I asked Mac. “Go through the double doors to the scrub room,” she said distractedly so I motioned Tom and Larry away, before heading into the scrub room. The pair went out to the waiting room. I saw a long metal sink, so pulled off my bloodied Christmas jumper and washed my hands, scrubbing all the blood off. Once I was relatively clean and dry, I went outside to the other boys. “Someone attacked Nate on purpose,” I told them. “But why?” Tom asked. “He’s the head of security, other than the sabotage we had a few weeks ago, have you noticed anything different?” “No,” Larry answered and Tom backed him up, “Did he know who the saboteur was?” “I don’t think so or he would have said something,” I told them, “What was he doing not in the Gamesroom?” “I don’t know, he never came down with us. Maybe he was on the way down when he was attacked,” Tom suggested. “Did you notice anyone else missing?” The pair shared a look with each other, “What?” “We weren’t exactly paying attention,” the pair admitted, “But when you called, Noah had not long walked in and you were out there,” “I can vouch for Noah, he was with me the whole time,” I assured them. “Well then, I’m not sure who it could be,” Larry admitted shrugging his shoulders. “We can rule out Talia unless she has an accomplice,” Mac said, wiping her hands on a paper cloth. Blood was still visible on the thin grey top she was wearing. “Why don’t you think it was Talia?” I asked curiously. “Whoever struck him, had to do it with considerable force, which lowers the number significantly unless there is someone on the base we don’t know about,” she gave me a meaningful look and I knew exactly what she meant. Had the swimming pool entrance been breached? “How is he?” “Well he has had a big blow to the head, there was more blood than the injury suggested, but the scans don’t show anything significant damage,” she paused. “So why isn’t he awake?” “His injuries are still bad, I suspect he has a concussion, but I don’t think it will be long before he wakes up. The body has shut down in order to heal,” Mac explained and I sighed a little. “Daisy, I want every level on lockdown,” I said aloud and immediately heard a buzz from the door, so turned to look at the other occupants, “Larry, help Mac move Nate into the Ward and then I want you to go up the stairs to the VIP lounge and find anything that might have been used,” “Will I be able to leave?” he nodded at the door that I had just secured. “Daisy; Tom, Larry and Mac are to be given access to leave,” “Affirmative,” “What about me?” Tom asked. “You’re going to come with me, but we have to go up to the arcade first,” I told him and immediately left with Tom following close by. First, we went up to the arcade and to the Gamesroom, where the film was still playing. All the younger ones were riveted to the large screen and so were some of the teens. Kelly noticed our entrance, but just merely nodded at us. Noah looked up and acknowledged us, but frowned when I beckoned him over. “What’s going on?” He asked us as we stepped out of the room. “Nate’s been attacked,” I told him bluntly. “What? What do you want me to do?” “Can you make sure no one leaves, the rest of the complex is on lockdown, but they can still get out of the Arcade,” I told him. “Yes, boss,” he grinned sardonically. I smacked him upside his head and motioned for Tom to follow me. We passed through the stairwell and made our way to the Biodome. “Where are we going?” “Checking something out,” I said as we found ourselves in front of the Biodome doors, which were not opening. Then I noticed a card reader by the side of the door, “I’ve never noticed that before,” “Neither have I, usually the doors just open,” Tom agreed as I pointed out the reader. I slid my card through and the doors opened, allowing us entry. “Only two others know about what I’m going to show you, but I need your opinion on securing the doors,” I told him as I stripped off my shirt. Once we reached the beach, I pulled out a bag already down here with some towels, and then stripped down to my underwear. Tom was staring at me astonished, “There is an escape route out of here and I need to check it’s secure,” “That makes some sense,” Slowly the dark-skinned boy undressed revealing broad shoulders and a washboard stomach. I gave a low whistle and he grinned. “Mac is gonna like them,” I told him and I didn’t think it was possible for black guys to blush, but he definitely blushed. Five minutes later I stood in front of the door with Tom beside me, filling out his boxers nicely, I might add. It didn’t look like it had been tampered with and was still locked. “This leads out to a pathway down the mountain,” I explained, “Does it look like it’s been opened?” “One moment,” He went about examining the door for several minutes and then stood up, “I don’t think it’s been opened recently, least not in the last few days,” “Is there any way of securing it even further,” “I can try, I would probably need help with some electronics but I could try fitting a card reader like the ones we have upstairs,” “Do you think Tobi might be able to help you with that?” “I reckon so, we might even get some engineers when the new group arrive,” I suggested as we started on our way back down to the pool. We made our way quickly underneath the waterfall and emerged from the water. I started drying myself off and threw a towel at Tom. “Why haven’t you told anyone else?” he looked at me curiously. “Because most of them want to get out of here and get to their families, but it’s not safe for them,” I explained and he nodded his head. We quickly got changed and started downstairs, “Everyone is going to have to start pairing up for the foreseeable future,” “I don’t want to be attacked,” Tom admitted as I slid my key through the lock to allow us entrance to the medical area. “You’re back,” Larry exclaimed. “Sorry, we had to go off the radio for the time being,” I told him, “Did you find anything?” “I did,” I stepped over to the seats and with a hankie or tissue picked up Tobi’s baseball bat, which had blood up one end. I stared at it, uncomprehending. Surely it couldn’t be Tobi? Mac emerged from the ward wiping her hands down and joining us. “What’s going on?” She looked between our shocked face. I just pointed to the baseball bat and her face dropped, “I don’t believe Tobi would do anything like this,” “Neither do I, but you said it yourself, only a handful of people could have done this,” I told her, “Let’s see, we’ve got the four of us in this room, Kelly, Noah, Simon, Sarah, Izzy, Amanda, Tobi and Matty,” “No offence, but Matty is tiny and though he can run his arms are like noodles,” Tom commented and I nodded in agreement. “Talia looks like the wind could knock her down, “ “Ratty, I mean, Amanda though slim is quite strong,” Larry spoke up and we all looked at him so he admitted, “She comes down to the gym with me,” “I thought you got on well with Amanda?” I asked curiously. “She hangs onto me, always following me around,” Larry returned and Tom sniggered and got a glare in return. “I’m sorry, but she has a huge crush on him,” Tom laughed outright. Larry grumbled about something, but none of us heard what he said. “Isabel is fit and sporty, while Sarah, unfortunately, is quite unfit,” “But she does have access to the lab,” Mac pointed out. “Then she needs an accomplice to hit Nate,” I responded. “Simon’s arms are built for cooking, not for playing baseball or swinging a bat,” Larry added. “So if none of us four did, which I’m pretty sure we didn’t,” I looked around at them all and everyone was nodding, “It comes down to Kelly, Noah, Izzy, Amanda or Tobi, possibly working with Talia,” “I still don’t believe Tobi would do anything like that,” Mac argued. “Well for the next week or two, I’m putting the place on lockdown. Everyone pairs up and if anyone wants to go somewhere they ask one of us if it’s somewhere sensitive then myself or Mac are to be spoken to,” “No problem,” the other three agreed. “Mac, can you stay with Nate for the time being and one of us will relieve you in a few hours?” “That’s absolutely fine, I would hope he’ll be awake before anyone has to be relieved,” she answered. “Good, in that case, the three of us are going to go to the Gamesroom and speak to the rest of them, tell them the place is on lockdown,” “Are you going to tell them Nate was attacked?” Tom asked. “No, because I think that’ll scare them. For the moment we’ll make something up,” “I agree,” Tom, Larry and I left Mac alone with Nate and went up the fourth floor. As we entered, Tom and Larry flanking me, the movie was just about ending so I stepped over to the media device and switched it off, getting a lot of moans from the younger ones. “Right, it’s getting near lunch time so time to return to the living area,” I told them, But before we do that, I’d like to make a few announcements. “I’ll be running a drill for the next couple of weeks, so no one will be able to go anywhere without a partner and we’ll be locked down. That means, only the VIP area will accessible, if you wish to go somewhere else, speak to myself, Larry, Tom or Mac,” I explained looking around at the faces, “ Noah looked at me questioningly, while Kelly and Sarah gave me shocked looks. “Can we still go swimming?” Luca asked. “Sure, but we’ll have to schedule it,” “What about going on the computers or watching a film down here?” Kelly asked. “You’ll have to speak to one of us, I want to test the efficiency of a lockdown,” I explained to her and then had them all moving back up to the VIP dorms, where lunch was served. A little over an hour later I was in the mechanics bay on the ‘Archery field’, we had set up. Staring down at the target’s we had printed off, and then sellotaped to a makeshift board, I aimed for the golden centre. I looked through the compound bow’s sight, taking a deep breath and pulled back on the string with my three middle fingers. I took another breath and counted to five, centring on the target, and then released. The arrow looked like it was firing straight and true, before lodging itself in the red, very close to the blue, giving me a score of 7. “How long have you been doing Archery?” a voice behind me made me jump, scaring the pants off me. I turned around to find Noah with a huge grin on his face. “Long enough,” I grumbled, “I’ve got other things on my mind,” “Obviously, I had heard you were the under-12’s regional champion,” he commented and I stared at him. I didn’t think that was too widely known around school, sure I had been in the local paper and it was a small school, but still. “I was, but I don’t play competitively anymore,” I returned, placing the bow back on the table, “So how did you get down here?” “Tom bought me down, he wanted to look at some things,” he waved in the direction of the mechanical control room. I looked up and saw a shadow through the glass. “So what brings you down to my little slice of heaven anyhow?” I asked him curiously. “What happened with Nate?” I looked at him, unsure what to tell him, and then he commented as though he was reading my mind, “I couldn’t have attacked him, I was with you,” “Alright,” I sighed, something about Noah was niggling at the back of my mind, “He was attacked with Tobi’s bat,” “Really? So who do you suspect?” “There are a few people, but I have no idea why they are attacking people letting alone sabotaging us,” I replied frustrated. “Could it be an Alien collaborator?” He had thought this through and I was on similar lines to him. “But how would they know we were coming down here,” “That’s all I’ve come up with,” he shrugged his shoulders and I was about to answer when the radio crackled into life. “Alex, Nathan has woken up,” Mac announced. “I’m on my way up,” I touched Noah’s shoulder and led him to to the control and called for Tom. “Hello,” he came down the stairs looking between me and Noah. “Nate has woken up, can you keep Noah with you and secure the Engineer bay when you’re done, I have my archery equipment still out,” “Sure, no problems,” Tom answered, “Wish Nate well for me,” I ran back up the stairs and let myself into Level three, where I was greeted by Mac in the waiting area. “How is he?” “A bit groggy and has a major headache, but all things considering he’s doing well,” she returned. “Is he going to be all right?” “I put him through the scanner again before I called you up and the swelling has gone down, now I’m not a doctor so I can’t say, but it looks like he will make a full recovery,” She explained as we entered the ward and found Nate lying there staring up at the ceiling. He was wearing a hospital gown. “How are you feeling?” “Breezy,” he returned with a laugh and I realised he meant the open-backed gowns. “Well, you have to be comfortable,” “I…erm…didn’t change myself,” he blushed and his face went bright red. I looked over at Mac and she was looking away, trying to look innocent. “Was it a nice view?” I asked cheekily and got a glare from Mac; while Nate flushed even brighter red if that was possible. “I’m going to throw you out of my medical centre,” Mac snapped, but she had a small grin on her face. “So any idea what happened?” I looked at Nate. “I don’t remember anything, the last thing I remember is going down the stairs to watch the movie,” came the hesitant answer. “Nothing at all? Did you know you were attacked?” I asked him surprised. “It’s not uncommon for someone with a head injury to have memory loss,” Mac supplied. “She told me I had been attacked with her brothers’ bat; you don’t think Tobi had anything to do with this?” He looked at me concerned. “Honestly, I don’t know. It was his bat and he has the strength to do something like this, but why would he attack you?” I asked out loud, not looking at Mac, whom I was sure was glaring at me. “He’s such a sweet lad, he can’t be our saboteur. What would be his motives,” Nate looked at me and I agreed. My boy was intelligent, but why would he try to sabotage us and attack Nate? “Look get better and we’ll talk again soon, we’ll find out who did this to you,” I told him and nodded at Mac as I left the medical wing. ~ We celebrated New Year, January and February seemed to melt away as though someone was speeding up time. I was still none the wiser who had attacked Nate and last week we had had another act of sabotage. One of the crops had been poisoned with chemicals, supposedly for the pool. Whoever it was had put the chemicals in the plant feeding system and it had killed them off. We could no longer use that field now. It was the end of February now and I was sat in the Command centre waiting for my weekly conversation with Maria Strange. “Good Afternoon, Alex, how’s everything going?” her voice crackled to life, as I leaned back against the chair. “Just peachy,” I replied sarcastically. “You sound stressed, Kid,” “Sorry, I have a headache,” I told her, “We had another saboteur attack last week after our last talk,” “Another attack?” for some reason I got the impression she did not sound terribly surprised. I stowed that thought away for another time. “One of our crops was destroyed by chemicals,” “Haven’t you got them locked away by the pool?” she asked. My spidey sensors tingled; I did not think I had told Maria about the pool and waterfall. That seemed to be insider knowledge. I suppose she could have got hold of the floor plans, but I doubt that. “Not locked away, but stored in the Biodome,” I answered carefully. “Have you got any ideas of the saboteur?” She asked, but I knew I better tread carefully. Something was not adding up here. I thought about other conversations, where they seemed to know little things. I had chalked it up to my telling them beforehand and forgetting. “No, I’ve got a few ideas, but nothing concrete,” I returned, before changing the subject, “What’s happening out there?” “We’ve rescued more people, but Kelvedon can only support so many people and we have to screen for potential collaborators,” Maria returned. “Collaborators?” “We’ve been getting reports of intern camps, the Aliens have been setting up, our own people have been working with the Aliens to keep prisoners,” “Slimy weasels,” “We’re in agreement, Kid, these camps seemed to be mainly made up of children and young teens,” Maria added. “Where are all the adults?” I asked curiously. There was a pause as though Maria was thinking about how to answer, but I could still her breathing, “Are you still there?” “Sorry, we’ve got a scientist that wants to speak to you. Especially when you open your doors,” she answered. “All right, give me five minutes to get my researcher down here,” I replied. “No problems,” I clicked off the headset and pulled out the radio, “Mac, could you and Sarah come down to the Ops room,” I got quick replies and sat back to think, something about the whole conversation seemed off. Maria knew more about the base than she was letting on and it was information that could have only come from inside the mountain. Someone was talking to the military, which was all I needed after the saboteur. “Hi Alex, what can we do for you?” Mac entered the room. I looked them both over, Sarah; the dark haired chubby girl had lost weight and looked better. Her bright blue eyes were shimmering with intelligence and she seemed eager to help, so I laughed. “Fed up with the younger kids?” I joked. “I love the kids, but I need a break or I’m going to be tearing my hair out,” “Is Kelly not looking after them?” “She’s been tired a lot lately and had to go take several breaks from them,” Sarah told us and I filed that little nugget of information away. “Well, I’m glad you get a little break,” I told her, “I’ve just been talking to Maria and she has got a scientist to come to speak to us, I figured you might want in on the conversation,” “About what?” Mac asked curiously, taking a seat. Sarah grabbed a computer chair and drew it closer. “I’m guessing the zombies or whatever the hell they are,” I answered just as I heard crackling. “Alex, you there?” “Sure, and I’ve got my team with me,” “Well this is Dr William Cauldwell, our lead scientist,” She introduced. “Hello, Mr Walker, I’ve heard a lot about you, including the fact you have fought a Tracer,” “A What?” I asked him. “It’s what we are calling those things, I’m hesitant to call them Zombies,” he was typically British and sounded quite posh. “But they attack you and are mindless,” I responded remembering my own attack. “Not so much mindless, but their thoughts are single-minded: Prey!” “Is it a virus or bacteria?” Sarah asked. “It’s a Parasite, of Alien origin; we believe it was introduced when the meteorite storm hit the Northern Hemisphere,” “What’s the Incubation Period like?” I shared a look with Mac; this twelve-year-old seemed older than her years and switched on. “How old are you?” I could almost hear the scientist’s jaw drop. “Twelve, Sir, but I read anything to do with Microbiology and Virology,” she replied almost shyly. “If I had a hundred like you, we’d cure every virus under the sun,” the scientist chuckled, “Now, the Incubation period can vary from person to person from a couple of hours to several hours. One of the first known cases was the attack on young Mr Walker; he came into contact with a meteor in the early hours of 1st November and took ill within three hours, after that we lose the timeline until he attacks Mr Walker at 20.00 hours,” “Was the patient admitted to the hospital?” Sarah asked. “No, we have a police report that states the man found the meteor while out walking his dog, while at work he complained to his secretary he was unwell and left for home. Then we have no contact until later that night,” The Doc reported. “Anything else you can tell us?” “Yes, for some reason the parasite does not affect children,” I sat up and took notice at that. “We have yet to determine why, but we have not had a case under sixteen as of yet,” “What happens to a child infected?” I asked curiously. “We don’t know,” the doc admitted. “Hopefully we don’t find out,” Mac added optimistically. “Noe, hopefully not,” the doc agreed, “Now I’m going to send you our research, I think it might be beneficial to you, young lady,” “Thanks, Dr Cauldwell,” “Thank you all for listening patiently,” he left and Maria signed off soon after. I went onto the computer and logged into the secure server and accessed the only outside port. But for some reason, it would not allow me to work. “Damn, bloody computer,” “What’s the matter?” Mac asked laughing at me. “I’m trying to get access, but it’s not letting me,” I swore at the computer getting ready to hit it. “Why don’t you ask Tobi? That’s usually his domain,” “Oh, he’s been busy with other stuff,” I replied and got a glare from Mac. She knew I had been avoiding him since January, despite him trying to talk to me. For that matter, I’ve been avoiding Mac too. “Well, then your best action would be to talk to Kelly,” Sarah replied confidently. I stared at her with a look of shock. “What do you mean? I didn’t think Kelly knew anything about computers,” “Her dad is an IT specialist for the government, she’s a whiz when it comes to computers,” Sarah chatted easily, not realising how significant this might be. I avoided Mac’s look, but I knew she must be as shocked as me. “That’s good, well I’m finished here and I’ve got some work to do in my office,” I told them, trying to move them out. After a few seconds of quiet protest Mac followed Sarah out the Operations Room, I closed the doors behind me and made my round to my office, where I have been spending more hours recently, planning for when the doors opened. I closed the office door and immediately went over to the safe. I unlocked the doors and pulled out the paper files I had on everyone, sitting on the sofa I spread them over the coffee table. “TV on,” I spoke and the large wall-mounted screen came on. I picked up Kelly’s file, pouring over it. Absolutely nothing, “Daisy, access Kelly Parker’s file,” “Accessing, what are the parameters of the search?” the smooth female voice replied. “What are the jobs of Kelly’s mother and father?” I asked pacing the floor. “Jason Parker is the headmaster of the local High School and Vanessa Parker née Steward is one of the Science teachers,” “Has the file been corrupted or changed?” was my next question. “It has not been modified since being downloaded to my data banks on the 31st October 2030,” “Shit,” I swore loudly, wondering how Sarah could have got it wrong. Kelly had told us her Dad was the Headmaster and I remember meeting him when he arrived at the school nearly two years ago, “Pull up the footage from the stairwell at the time of the accident,” “The stairwell is a dead zone,” a voice said and scared the life out of me. I looked up to see Noah leaning against the door. He was wearing his usual biker jacket and biker boots. He had his arms folded and was watching me carefully. “Don’t scare me like that,” I scolded him and he shrugged. “The door was unlocked and I thought you might want to talk to someone, you’ve been locked in here every chance you can and I just saw Mac coming up the stairs looking angry,” he explained. “Take a seat,” I gestured at the sofa, “But lock the door behind you,” “No problems,” he closed and locked the door then settled onto one of the sofa’s looking at me. “I really need some privacy,” “The commanding officer's room is equipped with a Privacy Screen, it shields any noise from being heard or stops listening devices from sending out signals,” Daisy reported. “Why didn’t you tell me about this before?” I asked curiously. “You never asked,” she returned almost sassily. Noah grinned at me. “Please switch on the Privacy Screen,” I commanded and heard a slight buzz, so turned back to Noah, “What did you mean, about a dead zone?” “There are no cameras in the stairwell, I thought you might have realised that by now,” “I’ve been going over footage from the Labs and the latest act of sabotage, but I’m not getting anything on the cameras. For all intents and purposes, the saboteur is a ghost,” I told him, needing to trust someone. “Is that why you’ve been avoiding Mac and Tobi? Do you not trust them?” “They’ve been my friends for so long, I thought I could trust them but that was still Tobi’s bat used and he has the technical abilities to wiped camera footage,” “So you think the camera footage has been altered?” “I knew it had for the first attack, but I had not properly looked into the video of Nate’s attack,” I replied sheepishly. “Why?” “Honestly, I’ve been wallowing in my in self-doubt and worry, so I’ve been avoiding looking at anything to do with Nate’s attack,” I replied and got an understanding look. “We’ve been down here nearly four months; you’ve been doing a great job up until last month when you would disappear for hours on end,” Noah told me, “You’re either in the control room or in here,” “You’ve been watching me,” I accused and a light seemed to go off in my head as a few things begun to make sense, “The brass at Kelvedon have been worried about me lately, you’ve been reporting to Kelvedon Hatch,” “I never wanted the job, especially after I got to know you, Alex, you’re a really special guy,” I felt my cheeks begin to flame, “But I was placed on the program, so the military would someone to report to them,” “You look like a kid; you are not a twenty-four-year-old midget?” I asked him. He laughed at that and I gave him a smile. “No, I am really fifteen, but my dad is in the military, so they felt I was a safe bet,” “How have you managed to talk them?” I asked with wonder. He held up a key-card not dissimilar to mine. “This is a skeleton key, I’ve had access to the command centre when no one was about and deleted the logs from the system,” he explained and I felt a flare of anger, but then I understood why. “From now on we work together, Mac is still my second in command, but I need you to help me out,” I told him and he nodded. “I wanted to be closer to you anyhow,” he slyly told me. I wasn’t sure whether it was an innuendo, but a blush covered his cheeks and I knew he liked me, Noah is pretty damn cute. I walked over to him and pulled him up, he was slightly shorter than me but his boots maybe him almost level. I brushed a lock of auburn hair from his face and leaned in when a knock sounded on the door. Noah opened his eyes and I could see a spark of annoyance the beautiful green eyes. I shrugged but knew I had to answer. “Daisy, end Privacy screen,” I told her and unlocked the door, yanking it up and almost barked, “What?” “Erm, I have something to show you,” Nate replied, almost timidly, shying back from me. “I’m sorry, we were deep in conversation,” the boy tried to peer over my shoulder and obviously saw Noah, because blushed and gave me a sly grin. I indicated for him to come in and he shut the door behind himself, “Privacy screen on please,” “What was that?” Nate asked as the buzzing indicated the room was shielded. “It’s a shield, of sorts, stops bugs from transmitting and people hearing conversations,” Noah explained, “My guess would be, when the door is closed it creates a circuit allowing the room to be shielded,” “Wow,” Nathan looked amazed. I turn the time to look at him; he seemed to have recovered well from his attack at Christmas. From what I’ve heard he visits Mac every few weeks to see how he is getting on and that there are no side effects. “How are you feeling?” I asked him curiously. “Good, thanks,” he replied then drew bought out a Remote Device, about the size of one of the old iPad Mini’s, made up of a glass-like substance with a handle of rubber. His fingers danced across it as he swiped the images onto my screen. “Now I’ve been going over the footage from all three events for the last week,” “But all three have been tampered with,” I interrupted him. “I’ve not got the skill level of Tobi,” Nate’s blue eyes met mine, challenging me, “but yes, I found traces the video footage had been affected and there was no way of retrieving the original,” “Despite the stairwell has no video cameras,” Noah added. “You’d be correct, but we could look at the video from the VIP section or the Arcade, but as I said they’ve been corrupted,” “Even after the protection Daisy put in, that means we’re back to square one,” I moaned. “Not, actually, what the saboteur did not count on were the cameras in the Biodome,” I stared at him like he had lost his mind. “I thought there were no camera’s in the Biodome,” Noah echoed my thoughts. “It took me a while to find them and hours of footage, but there are three cameras placed in the Biodome to protect against intruders,” “What do you mean?” I asked as he gave me another look. “I know about the Biodome exit, there is a camera looking directly at it and it also has sensors on it. So I know you’ve set it off twice,” I really blushed then, because he must have seen some footage of me and Tobi. He nodded his head but didn’t say anything. “Why has no alarm been raised?” I looked at Noah when he asked that, wondering myself. “The sensors were incorrectly set, I’ve now set it up properly to alarm on your wrist pad,” he answered, so I nodded my thanks, feeling the pressure of the pad. Usually, I forget it’s there completely most days, “But that’s beside the point, there are two other cameras, one facing the path on the waterfall and the other is watching the chemical room,” He pressed play and we saw two different screens side by side, I gasped as my suspicions were confirmed. Kelly Parker entered the Lagoon and looked around, checking to see if anyone was there, then got the chemicals from the Chemical room and proceeded to destroy one of the crops. Something must have spooked her because she stopped after one. “Frackin’ hell,” Noah swore. “I had my suspicions; Sarah told me Kelly’s Dad was a computer Whiz for the Government, so she must have his skills,” “But her Dad was the Headmaster of the school,” Nate protested. “I wondered how Sarah could have got it wrong,” I replied, thinking about everything and all the attacks, “Daisy, can you remote access external servers without compromising the Mountain?” “My encryption is a Quantum Algorithm, any attempts to backtrace to the Mountain would destroy the original attacker's server,” she sounded smug. “Can you do a search for Robert Parker?” I asked. She replied in the affirmative and went off on a search, “So what do we do about Kelly?” “Lock her up and throw away the key,” Nate suggested viciously, rubbing the back of his head unconsciously. “We can put her in one of the holding cells, but we would have to be careful about confronting her, she obviously cannot communicate with the outside world or we would have the aliens on us like ticks on a dog,” I replied carefully. “I suggest we leave her free and unaware that we are on to her,” Noah looked between the two of us. “We’d have to be very careful, if we did that,” I suggested wearily. “She should be locked up,” Nate grumbled, but I knew he didn’t mean it. “Ok then, we watch her carefully and if any other types of sabotage, we lock her up,” I replied, “Daisy, I want you to watch Kelly Parker at all times, if she uses a computer I wanted to be alerted and I want her use recorded discreetly,” “Affirmative, I have completed my search,” “What have you found out?” I looked at the other two. “Robert Parker does not exist before 2027; all records of him seem to start there. His records would pass a background check, but underneath Robert Parker does not exist,” “Government Agent?” I wondered aloud. “All his biometrics have been erased however I was able to discover a profile, but I cannot access it as it’s behind several walls of encryption,” “What the hell did he do?” I wondered, “Thank you, Daisy,” “Are you going to tell Mac?” Nate asked. “As of right now, only the three of us know about Kelly, until she does something or the doors open, no one else shall be informed,” I told them firmly.
  2. Westarcher

    Chapter 12

    Thank you both so much for the comments, poor Nathan. Hopefully, he'll make it, but do we know who the saboteur is yet. Be prepared in the next chapter as it reveals a lot and answers, hopefully, several questions.
  3. Westarcher

    Chapter 11

    Sorry for the late reply, I'm glad you enjoyed the chapter. Everything is hotting up, quite literally.
  4. Westarcher

    Chapter 12

    “What do you call this?” I entered my apartment to find Matty, Ben, Luca and Georgie were all in sleeping bags, while Tobi was settled on the sofa. “We’re having a sleepover,” Matty explained. “Did I give you permission to have one?” I asked sternly. I was tired and irritable after listening to those survivors. “No, but you weren’t around to ask,” Matty whined like a five-year-old, “Besides Tobi was keeping an eye on us,” “Hmm,” I bit off my comment about Tobi not being old enough, “Fine, but not too much noise and no mess,” “Yes, Dad,” Matty grunted as I noticed a bowl of popcorn and some bottles of pop. Where the hell did they get them from? I shook my head and left them to it. I returned to my room and got myself ready for bed. I almost fell into the double bed and revelled in the soft mattress, we were definitely comfortable here. I lie on my bed staring up at the ceiling, my thoughts turning to the events of this evening and listening to the survivors. I was just beginning to doze off when the phone rang startling me. I reached blindly for the bedside table and picked it up. “Hello,” I responded groggily. “Sorry if I woke you, but it’s Kelly,” I came awake in an instant. “What’s wrong? Is everyone OK?” “Tommy had a nightmare and he keeps calling out for his daddy,” she explained. “All right, I’ll be over in five minutes,” I put the phone down and pulled on a pair of shorts and a tee shirt. I was just passing the living area when the door opened; Matty emerged wearing just shorts and his hair a mess. “What’s going on?” he yawned. “One of the little ones are having a nightmare,” “Can’t Kelly sort them out?” “Nope, now go back to sleep,” “Have you seen Tobi?” he asked. “I think I heard the toilet flush,” I responded as a sleepy looking Tobi emerged. I said goodbye to the pair and made my way across to the other apartment. The door was already open a tad. I pushed through and already I could hear sobbing. “I want my daddy,” I had thought they were too young to understand what was going on, thinking this was all some sort of adventure, but I think I might have been wrong. “Daddy can’t be with you right now, Sweetie,” I heard Kelly say and followed her voice into the first bedroom. It was cramped where we had put two single beds in there. The light was on and little Kelly was watching her brother while older Kelly was trying to soothe him. “Alex,” Tommy cried and launched himself into my arms. I looked at older Kelly over his shoulder as he sobbed his little heart out into my shoulder. Stroking his head, I murmured words of reassurance. I traced patterns on his back to calm him down, it has worked in the past and it seemed to be working now. Kelly got up and moved to the other side so I could settle onto the bed with little Tommy still in my arms. “What’s the matter, little buddy?” I asked him, rocking him back and forward a little bit. “I had a bad dream,” he sobbed, but he was beginning to slow down now. “What did I tell you about bad dreams?” “They aren’t real, just imaginary like Grey, my imaginary friend,” “Exactly buddy, you’ve got it in one,” “But I wish my daddy was here,” “I know little man, but he’s had to go away for a little and you’ve had to come down here to be safe,” “Will we ever see mommy and daddy again?” he asked looking up at me. “Of course we will honey,” I reassured him. “Thanks, Dad, I love you,” he said sleepily. I think I felt my heart twinge a little; I would love to be the father of a little boy or girl like Tommy. As he dropped off to sleep I slowly put him down on his bed and covered him up with his covers. I kissed little Kelly good night and switched the light off as I went out. Only the glow of a small nightlight remained as I pulled the door up. I followed Kelly into the front room. “He should be all right now; he rarely has more than one nightmare a night,” “Thanks, Alex, you’re such a lifesaver,” “No problem, as I’ve said before, I used to babysit the little monsters so I know what their nighttime habits are,” “Well you’re such a wonderful father figure,” she gushed and I began to see warning signs so stepped back towards the door. “Thanks, right I’m going to head to bed,” “You can always stay here the night,” she suggested. “I think I’d like to return to my bed,” I told her and ran out of there like my tail was on fire. I know it’s the cowardly thing to do but I couldn’t help myself, she scared me. ~ “Merry Christmas, everyone,” I called out as some of the others began to emerge from their apartments wearing pyjamas and dressing gowns. They all came yawning but got excited as they saw the presents underneath the Christmas tree. Mac and I had gone down and retrieved all the presents last night while everyone was in bed. “Woah, has Santa been?” little Tommy cried out as he spied the presents. “I told you he would find you wherever you are,” “There’s a present for everyone here; Big Tom, Larry, Nathan, you, and everyone,” he gushed excitedly going from one side of the huge tree to the other. “Well you are going to have to wait just a while longer, we’re going to have breakfast first before we open presents,” I told him and heard a few of the young children groan. I caught my brothers’ eye and he frowned at me so I laughed. I herded them all into the canteen and got them settled down; Luca and Simon had been up for an hour or so already making a rather nice cooked breakfast. “So what do you think Santa has bought you?” I grinned at Tobi. “Hopefully something I can fire at you, you goon,” “Your brother is so mean,” I pretended to pout, “at least my brother is a little sweetie,” “Since when have you ever called me sweet? You must be after something,” Matty replied with a mouthful of bacon. Mac laughed at me while she delicately ate her own breakfast. I looked over to Kelly catching her eye and saw her blushing, the younger kids were almost rocking from side to side eager to get to the presents. “If you do not settle down and eat nicely, I’ll make you wait until this evening to have the presents,” I told them loudly and they immediately settled down. Kelly gave me a nod of thanks and then looked down at her plate. “What’s that all about?” Mac turned back to look at me. “What’s what all about?” I asked her innocently. “Kelly is blushing and doesn’t seem to want to make eye contact, did something happen last night?” she asked with a smirk. “No, last week when I put Tommy to bed she come onto me and has been a bit embarrassed ever since,” “She came on to you?” Tobi all but growled and then winced. I could hazard a guess that Mac had just kicked him under the table. “Don’t get jealous now, honey,” I said jokingly and fluttered my eyelashes at him. “Lexi has a girlfriend,” Matty chanted, behaving like the little kid he is. “What about you? Don’t think I haven’t seen you trying to cosy up to little Izzy,” “She’s too old for me,” he spluttered and his voice went up a few octaves. “Well you seem to be hanging around her a lot,” I pointed out trying to embarrass him further. Tobi was outright laughing at the poor boy and Mac was trying to suppress her laughter. “That’s because we’re friends,” “Let’s see shall we, hey Izzy can I borrow you for a moment?” Matty flushed bright red and Mac’s eyes widened at my ultimate humiliation. “Yeah, what can I do for you?” she asked coming over, looking from Matty to Mac and then me. “I was wondering….” I paused for a moment as though thinking, “If you would be willing to inventorise the weapons in the two armouries,” “I wouldn’t have to touch them, would I?” she screwed her nose up in disgust. “Not a fan of weapons?” “No, pen and paper are my forte, I love lists,” “Well, you won’t have to touch them just help catalogue what we have and how many,” “That’s cool,” she replied and moved back over to her seat. “You are so evil!” Mac laughed at my brother’s face, which was now bright red. “I know, but someone has to keep him on his toes,” I replied, joining in the laughter. We finished our breakfast in comfortable silence, and then I took the plates cleaning them up. When I returned there was no one left in the canteen, instead I followed the laughter and chatter out to the tree. “Can we open our presents now, please?” Tommy stood in front of me with his eyes wide and looking like a puppy dog. I laughed out loud at him and gestured forward. “Yes,” I put on fake exasperation, but Tommy embraced me around the middle and ran over to the tree. It seems he would be our first official present sorter. Everyone found a seat, be it on an actual seat, an arm of a seat or just the floor. Tommy went around checking the names and then would put the box in front of the person named. I was right; there were three boxes, generally a larger one and two smaller one. After five minutes everyone had been sorted and Tommy had settled into place, the opening of the presents begun. Wrapping paper was going here, there and everywhere as the younger kids ripped into the presents. Looking over at Mac I saw her delicately taking the paper off and folding it up neatly. I decided on the big present first and followed Mac’s example, gently removing the paper without damaging it too much. I peeled away the silvery wrapping to reveal a box; it was a Gamestation HS, a handheld gaming device. They were not due to come out until next year. I put it aside and looked at the other two, one was a book on conspiracy theories and the other was several games for the HS. “Oh wow!” I looked up as Tommy exclaimed, he had a large box on the floor with what appeared to be some kind of dinosaur. It looked big and remote controlled. I looked around at the others and Larry seemed to have a file of books that he was looking on with disgust. “Something not to your liking?” “Well I don’t generally read a lot,” he looked at me, then sneered “These are more for the fairies like you and Tobi,” “You can get a lot of knowledge from books,” I sniggered, he was better but he still had his bouts of bullying. “Well someone got my gifts wrong,” He pouted and turned away from me, so I looked over to Tobi, whose face had just lit up. He had just unwrapped a long thin box. Turns out it was a baseball bat. I watched with delight as he proceeded to unwrap the rest of his gifts, which included a baseball mitt and a book about baseball. It seems everyone had got a book of some sort. “Since when have you liked baseball?” I frowned; sure I would have known if my best friend liked the American sport. “Where have you been the last six months?” Mac looked at me incredulously, “He’s been obsessed with the sport for about three months, stays up to watch it on TV,” “I support the Arizona Diamondbacks, they won the league three years in a row,” he enthused. Where have I been for the past three months? “He was going to try for the little league next year.” I looked up at Mac to see she had what appeared to be old circuit boards in her hand. “What’s little league?” I asked confused, I knew about baseball but not a lot. “In the US they have a kids version of the baseball league for 4-16 year-olds, in the UK we have Coach, minor, major and senior leagues,” Tobi explained, “They usually have games between April and June, so I was going to hopefully play in the Majors next year, the under thirteens,” “So have you been practising a lot?” I asked him curiously. “I get fed up of him talking about it, if it’s not the incessant chatter about computers it’s about baseball,” Mac moaned, looking like she was going to pull her hair out. “So geeky and sporty, that’s a bit of a combination,” I joked with a massive grin on my face. “I’m not a geek, you are; Mr I-Believe-In-Aliens,” he shot back. “You’re going there?” I asked challenging him. He stood up and looked at me, his eyes lit up with mischief. He stepped over and slowly made his way so he was in front of me, challenging me. The others all looked up from their presents to see what was happening. “You. Are. A. Geek.” He punctuated each word with a poke to my chest. I gave him a casual grin and suddenly, he didn’t look so sure of himself. He went to step back, but I was too quick for him and grabbed him. “I think this one needs to be taught a lesson,” I told the others and immediately set to tickling him until he had tears running down his face, begging for mercy, “Are you sorry?” “Please let me go, I’ll be your servant forever,” He begged so I moved away as the others giggled at him. “Because I am your benevolent Master, I will let you go,” I told him and stood up looking at everyone. All the kids were now playing with their toys so I told Tobi, “I reckon everyone is just about done, so maybe we can go down to the arcade and watch a film,” “Can we watch a Disney classic?” He asked excitedly. “You are such a child sometimes,” I told him as I laughed. “Right then Matty and I have a bit of a Christmas tradition, after we’ve opened our presents we watch a film so we’re going to watch a Disney classic,” I gave Tobi a look as I got a cheer from some of the younger ones, “But first let’s get cleared up and then we can go down the Entertainment room,” Nothing but moans when they heard that, but Mac cajoled and bullied them into clearing up. With everyone helping it took less than half an hour. Many of them grabbed their toys and presents to take with them. I made sure I had a radio clipped to my belt and followed the larger group down when I felt a hand on my arm. I looked at Noah and slowed down a bit. I stopped in the doorway and then I noticed Noah was looking up. I followed his gaze and found myself under some mistletoe. We looked at each other and I knew I would have to take the initiative. I stepped forward and touched his arms, then closed my eyes as I lowered my face and our mouths met. First, it was tentative, but then his arms encircled mine and he pulled me closer. After a few moments, he stepped back. “Erm, that’s not what I wanted, but, that was erm nice,” He was breathing heavy. “I enjoyed it too,” I admitted, noticing his stud in his ear was sparkling with the stair lights. “I didn’t know you were gay,” He said as we started going down the stairs. “Not many people do, so what’s up?” “I had an idea for when we go out,” he said. “Really? What’s that then?” I asked, thinking his dad’s background might help us a little. “I think those that are going out need to be trained on silent weapons, not guns,” I looked at him like he was crazy. “We’ll have no proper defence!” “We will, but think of this way. None of us has had real training on guns, we’re not Americans. I know you’ve had a little experience with handguns, but you know our laws regarding weapons,” “I know, I still don’t like the fact we have to have a bright orange muzzle on my airsoft gun and the laws have been in force for nearly two decades,” I moaned. “Once they started cracking down on guns, it was going to be hard,” Noah soothed, “So to have any experience on handguns is amazing.” “So what are you suggesting?” I asked curiously. “Well I told you in the meeting, I think if there are bows and knives, maybe spears if we can find them they’ll work best,” he suggested, “We don’t want to give ourselves away with guns now,” “Do you think it’s worth you and I have a rifle?” I asked curiously, wanting to know his opinion. “You’re in charge here, so that’s your decision but maybe it’s worth some of us having firepower,” Noah thought about it, “Most Brit’s won’t have heard guns and it can be a scary deterrent,” “Bows it is,” I grinned at him, “We’re gonna go medieval,” “Have we got any bows?” he asked. “I think there were one or two bows in the armoury, let’s go take a look,” I suggested and pulled my radio out, “Mac, are you there?” “Where are you?” She asked, with a tone of puzzlement in her voice. “I’m just taking Noah down to the armoury, get the film set up and we will back soon,” I told her. “No problem, see you in a bit,” I quickly took him down the steps until we reached the first floor, both of us discussing ideas about going outside when we entered the first floor. He followed me through the storeroom and I opened the Armoury door for him. “Wow, we could arm a small army with this,” He remarked looking around the large room. “Funny you should say that I’ve heard that from others,” I laughed as he took a look at guns he would never have seen in real life, “Do you think it’s better for us to use quieter weapons?” “As I said earlier, we’re not yanks, we don’t get trained on guns from a young age and it’s certainly harder than it looks,” “I have not mentioned it to the others, but there are things out there,” I told tentatively. “What do you mean things?” he turned to look at me. “Well, I’m not sure if you were told but I was attacked by this guy who was psychotic while on the camp trip, apparently people are turning into Zombies, the government think it’s a virus released by the Aliens,” “Zombies don’t exist,” he scoffed. “But then we did not believe aliens existed, but here we are stuck underneath a mountain waiting out an attack of epic proportions,” I returned. “I think silent weapons are still the way to go,” he concluded and walked over to the five bows we have on the wall, “Even better as they won’t draw in these ‘zombies’,” “I see what you mean, so now I need to put together a recon team,” I spoke pacing up and down, “You and I will go out on one team to search for food, but we need to gather some horses so Larry needs to go out,” “You need to keep Mac and Nate here at least, to secure the base,” “I agree, what about taking Tom out?” I asked his opinion. “Well he’s the only decent engineer here so it might be worth keeping him behind, what about sending Amanda out with Larry?” He gave me a sidelong look as I locked the doors to the armoury and started making our way back upstairs. “While Larry has got better, Amanda seems to be causing problems still,” I told him, not letting him know I suspect her of being our saboteur. “Well she’s probably the best option, I heard she was a pretty good runner and is good at orienteering,” he replied lightly, I looked at him with interest. I wonder where he had heard that I’ve read it in her file but he had not been at the school long enough to know them yet. “Sounds like a plan anyhow, we’ll start looking at training people after the New Year,” I suggested as we got to the Arcade, “I’ve just got to go grab some things from my apartment, but I’ll catch up with everyone shortly,” “Cool,” Noah pushed through the door to the Arcade and I continued upstairs lost in my own thoughts. I had just turned the corner onto a flat bit when I found someone lying face down on the stairs. Blood seemed to be pooled around near the head, shocked I ran over and tried to feel the pulse like I saw in the old movies. There was a shallow rhythm, but my hands now were slippery from blood and his red hair was matted and dark with blood. I scrambled backwards from Nathan and fumbled for my radio.
  5. Westarcher

    Chapter 11

    Chapter thirteen explains everything hopefully, but yes Alex is not exactly utilising the technology to hand. You'll also see Alex becomes better friends with Noah for sure.
  6. Westarcher

    Chapter 11

    Ah you shall see what happens, a few more chapter's and they will be out in the world.
  7. Westarcher

    Chapter 11

    Thanks, I'm really glad people are still enjoying it. It will all be explained when the saboteur is revealed.
  8. Westarcher

    Chapter 11

    Glad you enjoyed the chapter, I wasn't sure if it was as pacey as the rest. They will find out who the saboteur is soon, and their reasons behind it.
  9. Westarcher

    Chapter 11

    Days seemed to blend in here unless we looked at a calendar we didn’t know whether it was Tuesday or a Sunday, but I marked the days since entering the mountain and today was day thirty-nine. I had declared today a lazy day and the younger ones were all playing games or watching a movie in the front room as the rest of us were enjoying hot drinks looking over the mountainside, which had a cloud of mist around it. I moved over to Noah, who was once again sitting on the sidelines and watching the conversation. “Hey, I’ve got a job to do and I need help,” “I’m with you,” he nodded his head and followed me, I saw Mac see me leave but she merely nodded and I’m glad Tobi was watching a movie with the others. We got into the stairwell and started our way down to the lower levels. As we walked down the stairs, I discreetly checked him out. Noah was wearing his usual attire, a pair of dark jeans and a black leather biker jackets. He also wore a pair of heavy biker boys. I had noticed on an occasion he wore a spiked dog collar. “How are you doing?” I asked, looking sideways at him. “I’m really not sure,” he answered honestly, “I barely knew anyone before we came down here and I still feel a bit of an outsider,” “You’re part of the team and you’ll be one of the original team when the new people start,” I told him, “When we get more people I want you lead a recon team,” “Wow, yeah that’ll be awesome,” his eyes lit up and his whole face came alive. “You should smile more often, you really are handsome,” I commented and he blushed, but held the smile. “So what’s your relationship with Mac?” he asked curiously. “What do you mean?” “Are you dating or what?” I laughed out loud and startled the boy. “God no, she’s like a sister to me, that would be like incest,” I screwed my items up pretending to vomit and heard my first genuine laugh from Noah. “Why not?” he seemed mighty curious, but this is the most I think I had ever heard him speak. “She’s pretty, but she’s not my type at all,” I suggested, skirting around the truth. “Oh I see,” he replied, understanding flashing across his face, “I did think she liked that big fellow,” “Which one?” now it was my turn to be startled as I stared at him. He flushed even brighter. “The big black one, I’ve noticed in the last week or two the pair seemed to be hanging around each other a lot,” “Interesting,” I contemplated what he told me. It’s not surprising she would want a male friend, but I learnt more about Noah. He seemed to get important information and blend into the background when no one realised he was there. He also seemed quite observant. We reached the lower levels and I grabbed up the clipboard while Noah looked around the storeroom. “So what are we doing down here?” he asked. “We’re going to give everyone a good Christmas, but first I want to give you something,” I told him and pulled out a wrapped present from my shorts, “Happy birthday,” “I don’t know what to say; I didn’t think anyone knew,” he knew the present from my hands and turned it over and over “Well congratulations on turning fifteen,” he slowly and carefully began unwrapping the fit until he pulled out a penknife, “I know it’s not a lot but I can’t go out gift shopping,” “No, it’s fantastic,” he replied and his usual stoic persona dropped when he rushed over and enfolded me in his arms. I was a bit shocked at first then hugged him back. Then he stepped back and gave me an embarrassed smile. “Let’s find these decorations,” I told brusquely but gave him a smile. We both looked over the list and spent the next five minutes trying to decipher the location on what Mac had told me. I grabbed a ladder and moved it into the place before scaling it. I started shifting the first box off the shelf but nearly fell off myself with the weight. Noah had to come halfway up the stairs so we could haul the box down between us and we repeated the process until we had all the boxes onto the floor. “Now how are we going to get these all upstairs?” Noah asked looking at the boxes. “I’m pretty sure there is a loader around here,” “I’ll go search for it,” and then Noah went off in search of something to haul all the decorations up the stairs. I made my way into the armoury and pulled out two of the waterproof bags. I put some knives in each one, a first aid kit and some MRE’s (Meal’s ready to eat) I found in a cupboard. I locked up the armoury and loaded the two bags with clothes then put them in an obscure corner until could use them. I was contemplating the decorations when I began to feel a presence like something or someone was watching me. I’m sure it wasn’t Noah as I could hear him muttering in the other room through the open door. I did a slow walk around so as to not let the person know I was on to them. As I pretended to exam the Christmas baubles I could see the reflection of the doorway, there was definitely someone just on the edge. Due to the distortion, I could not tell who was there but there was someone watching me regardless. “I found it,” Noah shouted and the mysterious person retreated. I quickly moved to the door but whoever was there had already gone. The radio crackled into life. “Alex, this is Kelly. Mac said you had left and was down on level one, I’ve just come to see if you need some help,” “Sure, you can help Noah and me,” I told her as Noah hauled the loader through the door. It looked like it was semi-automated so that the long bed could be used to haul extremely heavy items across the base. Kelly entered the room less than a few minutes behind him. I looked at her, trying to calculate if she was the one who had been down here a few minutes ago but dismissed it quickly. Between Kelly, Noah and I we had the loader ready with three boxes of decorations and two large boxes marked tree. “Do you think it’s going to fit in the elevator?” Kelly asked. “I should think so, we may have to take the trees off and put them in the corner,” I noticed the little emerald studs Kelly had in her ear matched the nose stud, “So are you enjoying looking after the kids?” “Yeah, they are really fun to be around,” she gushed and moved closer to me, brushing up against my side, “But I do like the evenings when I can be a normal teen again,” “As normal as we can get,” I replied noticing Noah had taken a few steps back as he followed us to the elevator. I watched his reflection in the doors and saw his eyes were narrowed and he was glaring at Kelly. Luckily she did not seem to notice. The door dinged open and we pushed the loader inside, as I thought the trees needed to be placed on the wall for the doors to close. “Mac, can you gather everyone up in the common area,” I radioed my second and slotted my VIP access into the elevator. I pressed the top floor and the car began moving up rapidly. “Sure thing,” she answered and then after a quick ride up the doors opened and we offloaded. Noah pulled the loader and once again Kelly brushed against me and her hand wrapped around mine as we rounded the corner. I saw Tobi’s reaction instantly, his face dropped and his fists clenched. Mac looked at me with a confused expression as she took in the pair of holding hands. I managed to extricate myself from her grip, just! “So what’s going on?” Larry was the first one to ask. “Well we have a week until Christmas, so I thought we should make this place feel a little more homely,” I told them and got a cheer from the younger ones. Tobi now had his arms crossed over his chest in an angry and defensive posture. I knew he liked me, but there was nothing I could really do about that. Noah manoeuvred the loader into position and we offloaded the boxes. “Tom, Larry, can you help with this?” the three of us moved the two large tree boxes and began unboxing them as the rest began to open the other Christmas decorations. I left Mac in charge of that side as Larry, Tom and I began to build up the tree, which it turns out was quite large. When we had finally got it together it stood about fifteen feet tall and reached nearly halfway to the ceiling. Another cheer drew my attention away from the tree and to the kitchen, where Simon and Luca had emerged with some trays. Simon had a couple of trays of steaming drinks, while Luca had a couple of trays of chocolate covered gingerbread men. “What are these?” Kelly asked. “Alex told us what he was doing yesterday so we made up these gingerbread men in the main kitchen downstairs,” “I hope you didn’t make a mess,” I told him jokingly. “No, your majesty, we cleaned up,” he came over and offered me a mug. I could smell the chocolatey goodness rising with the steam and looked at the cream piled on top. I sniffed and caught the smell of something else. I looked at the boy quizzically but he just shook his head and grinned at me so blowing it for a few minutes I took a sip and instantly the sweetness erupted on my tongue as I realised the second ingredient was mint and it worked so well. “This is like a piece of heaven,” I murmured and heard that echoed around the room. “Will Santa be able to find us?” I heard Ali, the seven-year-old friends of the twins ask innocently. She was sat with the twins, Kelly and Tommy, and George Knight sorting through the baubles and the tinsel not to mention other little decorations. “Sure sweetie, Santa can usually find everyone,” Sarah reassured the girl, helping them choose the right colours. I watched them for a bit longer when I felt a tap on my shoulder. Turning around I found Mac, also with a gingerbread man and mug in hand, watching me carefully. “I’ve got a tearful boy in his bedroom refusing to come out,” I looked around and noticed Tobi was no longer around. “Sometimes I forget he’s only twelve,” I sighed. “I think we all do, to be honest, sometimes I’m sure he’s more machine than human,” she agreed. I squeezed her shoulder and made my way into their apartment and to his bedroom. The door was firmly closed so I knocked. “Go away, Mac don’t want to talk right now,” “Come on Tobi, open the door,” “No, you're worse than Mac,” he shouted back. “Come on buddy, sitting in your room and sulking,” I pleaded with him, I’m pretty sure the doors did not have locks, but I’m not one to barge in. “No, go snog your girlfriend,” he snapped back. “Tobias Stephen Adam Callaghan, you open this door this instant or so help me god, I’ll whoop your behind when I get in there,” I put on my best adult voice and realised I sounded like his father, the same thing has come out of his mouth many times when dealing with Tobi. There were a few minutes of silence and reluctantly I heard the door creak open, Tobi looked up at me with tear stained face. He was fiddling with his gold medallion around his neck, a clear sign he knew he was in the wrong. I pushed through and he stepped back taking a seat on the bed. “Are you ready to talk?” I asked taking in the room around me. It had a single bed, desk, drawer and cupboard similar to how my brothers’ room was laid out. He had a couple of posts up on the wall, the gold medal cyclist Chris Russell the cyclist from the 2028 summer Olympics in Los Angeles. He also had a poster of scientist Bev Summerton, the woman who had cured the cold. On his desk, neatly aligned were three books and his pens also were neatly lined up. I’m sure my brother was rubbing off on him. Tobi refused to look up at me. “What’s going on?” I asked him sitting down next to him, I heard him mumble something, and “You’re going to have to speak up if you want me to hear you,” “You were holding hands with Kelly, she was all over you,” I could hear the jealousy in his voice. “Is that what this is all about?” I couldn’t help myself and laughed out loud. He looked up at me with a glare and a growl, and then I found myself on my back with him leaning over me. “You think this is funny? I just felt this flash of hatred when I looked at her and thought you might go off with her,” he all but shouted. “Welcome to the big leagues, kid,” I quoted with a chuckle, “You’re jealous, remember you will still be my friend,” “Really?” he seemed to deflate instantly. I shifted my weight and easily flipped Tobi was on his back as I immediately began to tickle him. “As my best friend, you don’t have to worry about me leaving you behind if I like someone else I will always come talk to you first,” I promised. “But, you do like someone?” he asked gulping in mouthfuls of air. “I’ll admit, one of the guys is really fit and I would not mind a chance with him,” I confessed. “Who?” His eyes lit up, maybe he was getting over the fact I wouldn’t date him. “We had better get back or we will be missed,” I told him, ignoring his question, and hauled myself off the bed and offered my hand to him. I pulled him up, but let him spin away the last moment making him go spinning into the doorway. He glared at me for a few minutes before his face broke out into a massive grin. “I better pop into the bathroom,” he told me so I followed him into the bathroom, where he washed his face. “Are we all good now then?” “Yeah, I’m sorry for acting like a jealous twit,” he replied, a bit shamefaced. “Welcome to puberty, it’s just going to get worse from here but I’ll always have your back unless you turn into a pizza-faced monster,” I taunted him and he laughed at me then charged. I dodged out of his way and ran out of the apartment into the common area where the younger kids were all enjoying making up the tree. All the older teens were standing watching but I noticed even Nate helping by giving out baubles and tinsel. They were decorating in silver and green. “Whose idea was the colours?” I asked leaning back against a chair. “That was mine; they are the colours of Slytherin!” Luca replied from his position on the floor. “Slithering?” I looked at Mac, very confused now. “Don’t you know anything, you idiot,” my brother took a pop at me. “Obviously not,” I answered snippily. “Slytherin was one of the houses in Harry Potter,” Mac explained. “Never read them,” “Really?” Larry gave me a surprised looked. “A book about a boy-wizard does not appeal to me,” I returned. “I thought it would be right up your alley, your geeky enough to love that sort of thing,” “Actually I prefer Sci-Fi or science fiction books grounded in reality, my favourite books are Ender’s game, what about you farm boy?” “I’m not that big a reader, I’m usually out on the fields or helping da with the animals when I get home from school,” he responded. “Well I love Harry Potter,” Tobi spoke up. “Yeah, but you’re a geek to a massive degree, you out-geek my geekiness.” I gently teased him. “Do you want me to beat you up as I did in the apartment,” he growled cutely and held his fist arm making us all laugh. Kelly opened her mouth; I think to say ‘Awww’ but got an evil look from the boy. “Please, I‘m bigger and stronger than you,” I told him and saw a glint in his eyes, but he decided not to push the envelope at that time. We spent until lunch decorating and then a few more hours until dinner. Tea had finished half an hour ago as I made my way down the storage area. I quickly grabbed up the two bags that I had left there earlier and was soon entering the Biodome. At night, lights came on to illuminate the Biodome; there were a couple of spotlights either side of the lagoon and a few around the fields of food. I also noticed them in the water, making it shimmer but it did appear magical. I loved the smells of the different plants they had put in here and Ben seemed to be maintaining them well. I found a bush hiding the bags, before stripping down to my swimming shorts and diving in. The water was pleasantly warm as I began to do a few lengths, just to get a bit of exercise in. “You need to keep up with the exercises, or you’ll be getting fat,” Tobi shouted walking down the beach area. Noah and Mac were with him. I was treading water and trying to give Tobi the evils. “I noticed you tucking away a few chocolate bars last night,” Mac added as the rest of our little crew joined us. I was distracted as some music began to play, some kind of pop princess. “You stole my radio!” Sarah screamed. Amanda was stood by a radio, which had an MP3 connected to it. How she got the MP3 into the mountain I don’t know, but we weren’t supposed to have the electrical equipment. “Did you disable the location on that?” Tobi asked quietly as I emerged from the water. The wild-haired girl shrugged but did not seem to be too bothered. “What do you mean?” I asked the boy. “Most MP3 nowadays has GPS tracking and are automatically connected to the internet,” Tobi explained, “I don’t know how much the Faraday cage will stop those signals but we could be found,” “Hand the MP3 over,” I told her, everyone was watching but no one was interfering. Even Tom and Larry just stood and watched the exchange. She pulled out the MP3 and gave it to me. “I just thought we needed a bit of music down here,” she answered with a whine in her voice. “By stealing my radio,” Sarah once again accused. “Hush,” I snapped handing over the MP3 device to Tobi to look at as I looked between the girls, “Sarah, how do you play music?” “I have an MP3 device too,” she answered. “Can we take a look?” “Sure,” she answered and rummaged through the small bag that she had with. “Kelly, can you take the kids into the water please,” I suggested and some of the others got the hint. Nearly all the ones under thirteen got changed and went down to the water. I indicated for Nate to follow them as well. Only Amanda, Sarah, Tobi, Mac and I stood in a huddle. I did notice Noah on the edge watching, but the other two older boys had left us to it, which showed how much they had come on since we come in the mountain. “Here,” she handed it over and I gave it to Tobi, who had Talia by his side, watching over his shoulder. “Ok, so the GPS and external connection were enabled. I’ve now disabled everything and set a password so that no one can connect to anything external with me entering that password,” “Good, can you do the same to Sarah’s?” I asked and he nodded, going to work straight away. “What are we going to do about Amanda stealing my radio?” Sarah seemed to be watching me carefully. Out the corner of my eye, I noticed Kelly watching as she swam around with Ali. “Sarah, at the moment there is little I can do. I can’t ground her and I can’t chuck her out,” I answered patiently. “She could stay in the detention centre,” she suggested brightly. “I’m sorry, I cannot put an eleven-year-old in a cell,” She let out a huff of air and stormed off into the water. I waved away Mac and the others then looked at Amanda, who was trying to be as nonchalant as possible. “I borrowed the radio and would have put it back,” she spoke before I could say anything; she had an edge to her voice that seemed to grate on my nerves. I would have to watch her carefully; she was already on the suspect list and could have given our location away. “You cannot just be borrowing things and not telling the owners, next time ask please,” “Yes Dad,” she responded sarcastically as I handed the MP3 back. She stalked off and the music once again began to play. I turned to watch everyone enjoying the water once again; Matty, Luca and Ben were playing their own little game of Tag while little Georgie was playing with Tommy building a sandcastle. Where did they find the bucket that looked suspiciously like a castle? I headed back into the water and dived under, aiming for Tobi who was chatting to Mac and Nate. I come up under his legs and pulled him under then emerged myself. “There’s a giant squid,” he screamed at the top of his lungs spluttering and splashing the water around. Mac and Nate were in hysterics and I heard laughter from elsewhere too. “Calm down will you, it’s just me,” I told him as he grabbed a hold of me to steady himself, “That’ll teach you to call me fat,” “You bastard, you are absolutely evil,” he clung to me like a wet monkey. “Watch your language, Sparkplug,” Mac admonished as he finally released me and began treading water. “He scared me,” he whined like a two-year-old to his sister. “Grow up, you are twelve now not a little child,” she answered sternly and then cracked up laughing. Then we began an epic game of tag, everyone got involved, even the smallest kids. The older ones would hoist them onto their backs and we’d swim away from whoever was ‘it’. Most of the time I had little Tommy on my back but occasionally little Kelly would beg to go on my back, what one twin wanted, the other twin wanted too. I was thoroughly enjoying myself when my alarm went off remind me of the time so I sighed and called out. “Right then everyone, time for showers and bedtime,” I got lots of groans and calls for a further five minutes, “No, it’s now time for bed,” “Yes, Sir,” Larry replied sarcastically but smiled as he said it. The others all grabbed their towels and started drying off before making their way out of the Biodome. Everyone was chattering excitedly as I found Mac and touched her arm, holding her back. She looked at me quizzically but nodded and took a seat, slightly out of view as the others left. “So what was so important that you had to keep me back? Advice on love?” she joked and brushed the sand off her. “Advice from you?” I laughed, “Not when you are crushing on Tom,” “What-I-no,” she spluttered, denying it. “Really, from all accounts I’ve heard you seem to be crushing bad,” I teased, then eased off, “Does he know you like him?” “I’m not sure, I’ve hung out a few times in the mechanics bay and we seemed to get on really well,” she admitted. “That’s great, you should try and see if he likes you the same,” I advised her then grinned, “However, I did not keep you back to discuss your love life,” “My love life is not exactly the most important thing right now,” “Look, Noah and I discovered a secret entrance out of here,” I revealed to her, lowering my voice in case any of the others had lingered. “Wow, that’s erm incredible,” She stared at me as though trying to figure something out, “Why haven’t we left yet if we’ve been able to get out?” “Because it’s a lot safer in here, I’ve told you about the infection and we still have the aliens to deal with, I’d rather keep everyone safe in the mountain than risking everyone’s life out there,” “All right, so why are you telling me now?” “Because eventually if something happens, I want you to know there is an escape route,” I told her and rummaged around, grabbing the bags. I pulled them out and put a towel in each. I threw one at Mac, who caught it deftly and just stared at me with a questioning look. However, she didn’t argue as I stepped back into the water, the bag over my shoulder. Though it watertight, it was also buoyant so I had to keep it snug to me to stop making me rise to the surface. I dived in and quickly swam the length of the lagoon, angling deeper underneath the waterfall and came up gasping for air. Minutes later Mac surfaced, carrying the bag close to her body like me. “Wow,” she looked around as she trod water. I did not give her too much time to think as I swam to the ladder and climbed to the top. I began towelling myself off when Mac’s head came over the top and she stared at the door, “Is it secure?” “You mean, can anyone else get in?” “Yeah, I’m worried especially after Amanda today that someone might be able to get in,” she admitted, then a thought seemed to occur to her and she looked at me, “You don’t think the saboteur got in this way do you?” “No, the door was locked and secured when Noah and I came up here,” I explained and pulled on a plain white t-shirt. Mac had also towelled off and was getting changed, “In the next week or two, I’m going to bring some permanent clothes and equipment up here in case something happens,” “It’s a good idea,” she agreed as I pulled a normal backpack out of the waterproof one. I had loaded it with some MRE’s, a torch and some other stuff. I placed it close to the door as Mac laced up a pair of boots. “Where does it lead?” She asked. “Well, I’m about to show you that,” I grabbed the bar on the door and pulled it back, making the wheel turn and the thick door unlocked and came open. I got the torch out of my pocket and flicked it on, illuminating the tunnel. She indicated for me to go first so I took the first steps into the tunnel, once again following it up rapidly. Once we reached the top, Mac starred out onto the moonlit night. The lake below shimmered and dance with the moon and a cold breeze bit into our faces. Unlike last time I started to follow the train down a bit. Mac followed close behind, but we made no sound and I shielded the light so we could see where we were walking. I did not want to go too far, but we found the trail led down and met up with a popular walking trail before the walkways around the mountain were banned. “We had better get back,” I told her quietly, just as I heard a noise. I switched the light off and we quickly found a ditch to hide in. Above us an aircraft of alien origin appeared, if it wasn’t for the bright full moon we would not see it as the ship was illuminated. It moved quietly and slowly, but not appear to be searching for anyone or anything. The ship just looked like it was lazily making its way across the sky. We gave it another five minutes before we rapidly made it back up the trail and into the mountain. “Wow, that was really lucky,” I locked the door back in place as I spoke then we both broke out into uncontrollable laughter. “That was very close; do you think they were searching for someone?” Mac asked, now looking worried. “No, I think they were just passing overhead,” I returned, taking off my boots. Both of us changed quickly, with a lot on our minds. “We better head back before they notice we are missing,” Mac suggested looking at her watch. I quickly descended the ladder and made it down to the water. Mac followed me down and was soon wrapping towels around us. I led the way back up to the Fifth level to have a shower. After the shower and getting changed, I headed back down to Level two and the Control room. I picked up a headset and batteries and put it on, before taking a seat at the UK computer. It was already booted up so I set it to scan frequencies. “Is there anyone out there?” a voice said, “My husband was taken two nights ago and I have three children, I am in Newcastle,” “This is Staff Sergeant Dennison, I am holed up in a supermarket with six other people, one of them is pregnant,” the frequency changed after the first woman, I hated that I could not respond or aid them in any way at the moment. “I have just come out of a town, there is a boy who has become a warlord,” someone, an older woman, warned, “Do not go near Davis town,” “Are you listening to the dislodged again?” Maria Strange’s voice came over the intercom. In the nearly two weeks we had started speaking to Kelvedon I had become good friends with Maria, who had been assigned to us. “How did you guess?” I asked surprised. “The same thing I’ve been doing every night, I listen to survivors, but there is little we can do especially so far north,” “I just wish I could help them,” I sighed. “I know, don’t we all but you’ll soon be out of there and then we can rescue some people,” “Thank you, Ma’am,” “You make me sound so old,” she chuckled, “I’m only twenty-six,” “I’m sorry, M-Maria,” “Don’t worry about it Kid, now stop getting yourself depressed and get to bed,”
  10. Westarcher

    Chapter 10

    I'd be keen to find out why you didn't want contact with the larger base. Also, there will always be collaborators, some people who are weasels.
  11. Westarcher

    Chapter 10

    The Event was the attack on earth by the aliens, that's what it has been named. I'm afraid the saboteur is going to be a mystery for a few more chapters and they will be doing some more damage!
  12. Westarcher

    Chapter 10

    Thanks for the comments, we will get to see more people come into the story. Including a possible love rivalry, but romance is more a sub plot.
  13. Westarcher

    Chapter 10

    I woke up stiff the next morning, my back hurting from the night on the couch. I got up and checked up on Tobi, who was still snoring peacefully. I dressed and trying to wake Tobi left the apartment, taking my morning things with me. After a quick face wash and teeth, I grabbed a cup of tea and slid into the control room moments later. Grabbing one of the headsets, I slid a battery into place and took a seat on the computer designated UK mainland. In the last three weeks, we had got connected to the Satellites via Cheyenne Mountain. On the TV bank, a large map of the world showed little red dots. These, we believed, were where the aliens were. I began monitoring different frequencies for anyone, looking for Kelvedon Hatch. “So how do we catch a saboteur?” I mused out loud as a voice cut through my thoughts and bought me back to the present. “This is Kelvedon Hatch, is there anyone out there?” “I’m reading you loud and clear, this is Fort Walker, I mean Site T,” I stumbled. “Fantastic, we’ve been trying to contact you for the last four days, my name is Corporal Strange,” she responded, “Can you give me your verification?” “Sure, it’s Tango Slash Alpha Romeo Charlie Five Niner dash Four Eight,” I confirmed, “I’m Alex Walker, the commander here,” “Great, verification accepted. I know my superiors are keen to speak to you, so hold the line a few minutes,” she explained and I waited for about five minutes for someone to come on. “Am I speaking to Alex Walker?” a gruff voice came across the line, “Yes, Sir,” I instantly knew an officer when he spoke. “I am General Sir Richard Forsyth,” he introduced himself and my jaw dropped, I expected a captain or a major but not a general, “I am the Base Commander at Kelvedon; the government’s main bunker. We thought we had lost you, we’ve been trying to get in contact since The Event,” “I apologise, sir, we only come to the control room for a few hours a day, and there are not many of us,” “I knew your father,” the general said abruptly. I slumped into my chair. Trying not to think of the implications as the general continued, “This line is secure and I’m currently sitting in the Watch Commanders office, so anything said will remain between us,” “How did you know my father?” I asked curiously. “I worked in intelligence with him, your father was a great man,” General Forsyth spoke with admiration, “He was also the one that came up with the idea of Operation Growth, do you remember taking part of the Junior Ambassador Program?” “I filled in a form and went to the Camp a few months ago,” I answered cautiously, I didn’t want him to know about my suspicions. “Your father and his partner Colonel Jack Philips reasoned that in the event of an emergency, such as a nuclear or natural disaster, etc. our children would be the ones to take up the mantle. Operation Growth was to pick up a couple of hundred children that would be the future of the next generation, the Junior ambassador Program was to be the training ground for the future children,” He explained, my brain was going a thousand miles a minute. It explained a lot, but not why we had so young children in the group. “Colonel Jack Philips, did he have two children?” I asked. “Your dad told me you were quick, yes he had a set of twins, a boy and girl,” Forsyth laughed. It clicked into place; Colonel Philips had got his two young children in on the first wave. “I’m nothing special,” I countered. “We wanted ordinary children, but those that had a set of skills, not those that were intelligent or too simple,” Forsyth returned, “Your father fought tooth and nail to have his own children put on the list and now you have become the de-facto leader,” “No one else would lead,” I shrugged in answer. “Operation Growth was not supposed to happen so soon, however, Site T is not merely a decommissioned base, it was built specifically with children and later adults in mind,” Forsyth revealed, which did completely stun me. “This base was specifically made for us?” I asked dumbfounded. “Yes, Sir,” Forsyth returned, “Obviously we hoped there would never be any disasters and your training would be used to make you the leaders of the next generation, but then aliens attacked and we had to move swiftly,” “So that’s why no VIP’s were coming to the base,” I mused to myself, “We have four young people fewer than 9, which have not got any skills,” “Well, the initial number was sixteen, the start of Operation growth,” “Excuse me?” I asked confused. “You might have guessed there were more than twenty people at the Junior Ambassador Program Camp,” Forsythe suggested, “Because when the lockdown ends you are going to have to search for more people on a list we have that are part of the Program,” “That’s impossible,” “If we are to survive this, you must all work together and build a new society,” “Are you not going to lead?” I asked, suddenly unsure of myself. “We are fighting the aliens at every turn, but the military has suffered some devastating defeats, we have no control over the air and we’re barely controlling the ground. I don’t know how long we here at the base would hold on for if we get attacked,” Forsyth's bottom lined it, “However; we do have some of your recruits here. A week before your lockdown down ends I will send them and a convoy up to the Mountain,” “OK,” I returned, not sure what to say. “I will send that promised list over today,” General Forsyth vowed, then added, “But I want to keep in contact every other day,” “I’m sure we can arrange that,” I returned, “So what is the situation like with the aliens?” “London has been completely wiped off the map, as has most of the government,” He reported, “We contacted a group claiming to have a new government and Prime Minister, but we are hearing about other survivor camps and reports of intern camps,” “Intern camps?” “The aliens seem to be holding our people, mainly women and children, prisoner. But we have had word our own people are acting as guards and wardens,” I gasped loudly. “Coerced?” I asked the general thinking of our own saboteur. “Not as far as I can tell,” Forsyth replied, then hesitated a moment, “Before the attack we were getting reports of vicious attacks by humans, it seems some sort of virus was released, our scientist believe by the aliens, that have turned some people into zombies. One of those reports concerns you,” “We had contact with a man, who was deranged,” I replied slowly, “He was infected with this so-called virus?” “We had managed to cover it up, but they are dangerous,” He returned, “We have also got intelligence that gangs and warlords are emerging from the darkness, taking over towns and attacking people,” “This is becoming some sort of movie, I must be asleep,” I laughed. “I’m sorry son, just be careful when you eventually leave the base and arm up,” the general advised. “I had better sign out; you have left me a lot to think about,” “We will talk soon,” he replied and we signed off. I took the headset off and stared at the screens, surprised by what I had heard and unsure of how to deal with it. I looked at my watch and realised it was time for breakfast, so put everything away and slowly walked back up to the sixth floor. My mind was going a million miles a minute and I was looking at everything in a different light. When I unlocked the door and stepped through, I could hear chatter and laughter. I pushed through to the canteen and took my seat automatically, Simon putting a plate in front of me. On autopilot, I ate barely listening to the conversation around me. “Alex, Lexi, wake up,” Matty nudged me until I stared at him. “What?” I demanded sharply glaring at him. “We’ve been trying to talk to you for the past 10 minutes, no need to bite my head off,” Matty huffed. “I’m sorry,” my voice softened and looked at Mac, who had a strange grin on her face, “Just have a lot on my mind right now, what were you saying?” “Tobi was in your bed this morning,” Matty repeated taking me by surprise. “Yeah, he fell asleep on the couch so I moved him onto my bed so he’d be more comfortable, I ended up sleeping on the couch,” I returned casually toying with my food. “You could have put him in my bed,” Matty insisted. “I didn’t really think of that,” I answered and took a quick look at Tobi, who had a small grin on his face. I left the remainder of my food and sat back stretching my legs out. “All right, can we go swimming after breakfast?” Matty asked, the matter forgotten about, but the gleam in Mac’s eye told me she had not forgotten. “As long as you take someone with you,” I responded. “I’ll take Ben and Luca with me,” he agreed. “No, I meant an older teen. Maybe Kelly or Sarah,” “Fine, what are you doing?” “I’ve got a meeting with Mac and the usual crowd,” I told him, “But we’ll probably be down after. However I want you to give it a half-hour before you swim,” “You still believe in that old wives tale?” Matty interjected sounding like dad. “Whether it’s true or not, I’ve told you to wait half an hour so that’s what you’ll be doing,” I snapped and looked over to where Kelly and Sarah were sat, “Can you take Matty swimming?” “Sure, I’ve got nothing planned for this morning,” Kelly shrugged. “Make sure, he waits a half hour before him and his friends swim,” I ordered. “I’m old enough to go alone,” Matty snapped and pushed away from the table in a huff leaving Mac, Tobi and I to stare at him. I shook my head and got up, heading over to Noah. “We’re having a meeting this morning, I’d like for you to come along,” I suggested and got a look from Nate. Ten minutes later Simon and Luca had cleared away all the plates and everyone else had decided to head down into the Lagoon. The senior team were due to meet me in the conference room as I tidied up my apartment a little bit. When I reached the conference room; Larry, Tom, Mac, Nate and Noah were already sat at the table. “Sorry I’m late,” I apologised. “Why is Noah here? What’s going on?” Larry asked first as I slumped down into one of the chairs and looked them all over. “I made contact with Kelvedon hatch, this morning,” I revealed to them, “That’s the government emergency bunker, it must have been retrofitted about the same time this one was designed,” “Oh my god,” Mac stared at me, with a shocked look similar to the rest. “They revealed a lot of information, I was quite surprised to learn,” I explained, “I spoke to a General Forsythe and some of the theories I had been considering were confirmed,” “What theories were those?” Noah looked at me with interest, like he himself had been considering things. “We’ve explored every inch of the Mountain and know no one else is with us, but things are not quite adding up,” “Like what?” Larry asked. “For example, I have dossiers for each of the twenty children and youths in the Mountain, how would they know to do that unless it was pre-planned?” I asked them, “Also once the survey of items was done, there seemed to be an awful lot of children’s clothes,” “So what does it mean?” Nate asked this time. “It seems the Junior Ambassador Program was the brainchild of my father and was a joint government-military to make sure there would be a future of mankind in the case of disaster be it natural or man-made,” I revealed and found myself staring into the shocked faces of everyone except Noah, he seemed intrigued as though his own theories were correct, “This bunker was not merely decommissioned, it was designed and built specifically with that operation in mind,” “This was set up from the start?” Tom was the first to speak after several moments of shock. “Well, from what I understand the government were not planning on sending us down here so soon. I think we were expected to have at least a year’s training before we were introduced to the Mountain,” “So we were the first twenty down here?” Mac asked cautiously. “Yes, I believe we were the ‘vanguard’ so to speak,” I explained, “You remember the people from the camp, there were more than fifty there. I have been informed that there is about 100 or so,” “100?” Larry repeated. “Yes, we’ve been tasked with finding them and getting them safely into the Mountain,” I clarified our orders, “When our doors eventually open, there should already be a convoy from Kelvedon Hatch with our first batch. We are centrally located, so it might be easier to locate them,” “We’re going to be taking more people in?” Larry asked his face had a look of disgust on it, I understood why he was not happy, and he had only just got used to us and was trying to be pleasant. “As I said, at least a hundred when we eventually find them,” I responded, “We’ve got several dorms on the fifth floor so we should have the bed space, but we’ll need to get the showers working up here,” “We’ll have to get more provisions,” Mac suggested. “When the lockdown is complete, we’ll start sending parties out to bring food in,” I agreed, “Mac, I want you to be my second in command and take over should something happen to me,” “I’m the next oldest, I should be second,” Larry protested. “I don’t want to offend you Larry, but we’ve only just started getting on. I have known Mac forever and I trust her with my life,” I explained, trying not to upset the apple cart, “Besides I have another job for you when we eventually start bringing in animals, I’d like for you to be the head of the Veterinary Department,” “I can definitely do that,” Larry seemed to perk up and grinned back happily, a world away from the surly teenager he had been just over a month ago. “Nate you’ll take the head of security,” the boy nodded at me, but he had been acting in that capacity for a while, “Tom, I’d like for you to be head of engineering,” “I can do that, but I don’t know everything,” he replied humbly, which gave me a new found respect for the boy I knew as Larry’s lackey. “There is a stack of books in the library and I think there is an internal database. Some of the new folk might be mechanically inclined but I would like you to head up the department,” I told him and got a genuine smile, “Mac, you’re medically trained, correct?” “A little bit,” she answered, sounding unsure. “We all know you’re not a doctor, but you’ve had more training than the rest of us,” I returned, “Would you take charge of the Medical bay?” “I can do that,” she nodded a bit more firmly. “Simon will be in charge of catering with Lucas as his aide, while Tobi shall be in charge of communications with the help of Talia. I want Matty to be in charge of stores with Izzy helping him out,” I explained my plan to the rest of them, “Larry, do you think Ben would be happy if I put him charge of the agriculture?” “He’s young but he’s been working on the farm since a toddler and knows what he’s doing,” Larry admitted. “Kelly will be the teacher and babysitter if we have any younger ones come in. Sarah and Amanda will head up the research department, but can aide Mac for the moment,” I continued. “So what will you be doing?” Larry asked. “Besides running the whole thing, I will be in charge of the recon teams and sending out scouts, mapping the area,” I explained my role, “But for the moment I want to start training people on weapons, while I have little experience I believe Noah has a lot more experience than I,” “Really?” Larry looked over at the boy, who had sat quietly through our discussion. All eyes had turned onto him. “What makes you think that?” Noah asked a glint in his eye. I’m sure there was more to him than meets the eye, he sat at the edge of the crowd and did not get involved unless he had to or someone was being bullied. “I’ve seen your file, your father is not merely military but he’s Special Forces,” I replied, looking him in the eye. “No one is supposed to know, his job is top secret,” Noah answered. “Well I want you on the recon team, your skills more than make up for it,” “I can agree to that,” he nodded his assent. “Where are we going to train people on weapons?” Nate asked eagerly. “We’ll set up a shooting range in the Mech bay,” I answered looking at Tom. “It’s big enough, so we should be able to get a shooting range in there,” he agreed. “Might I make a suggestion,” Noah put forward, “If we have silent weapons like Crossbows and bows, we train on them too,” “Why?” Mac asked curiously “Well, you don’t want to alert others to our presence,” he explained and it made sense. “We’ll see what we can do,” I replied, I decided to leave the ‘zombies’ until nearer the time the doors opened, “Let’s get everything ready on the departments so when we get the doors open and receive visitors we’ll be ready for them,” “We have five months, so I think we’ll be ready,” “We’ll have the head of the ‘departments’ meet once a month, then once a week a month before we open up so everyone is ready,” I suggested. “Sounds good,” Tom suggested. “Ok then, go and have fun,” I grinned at them, knowing they all wanted to go swimming. The rest of them trudged out and I stretched my back realising we had been talking for nearly an hour. I heard the others talking as I made my way back into my apartment, I rarely locked my door as I wanted to feel that everyone was welcome. I changed into some swimming shorts and t-shirt, before locking up my handgun in the safe in the bedside cabinet. I was just taking off the wrist computer when it beeped. “You have a message,” I heard Daisy’s smooth mechanical voice. “What do you mean message?” I asked. “There was a scheduled e-mail that was timed for today,” I stood there in shock for a few moments before switching on the computer and checking the internal email system. It had a letter, but also a large attachment. I realised the sender was my father and with a shaking hand clicked on it. Dear Son, You are probably wondering why you were chosen to enter the mountain and why you are the natural leader. You should receive this e-mail three weeks before you're first Christmas, whether you have been in the mountain a week or several months. I fought to get you into the program, you are a natural born leader and you will be the one to lead all the others in the new world, whatever disaster has fallen upon us. I hope I will see you again one day but know that I loved you very much. Now down to the important information, contained in the e-mail is the dossier for every child or youth that was a part of the Junior Ambassador program, after the initial twenty. You shall have a variety of talents that will help aid you in building a better future for yourselves. Your loving father. P.S. I know there will not be much under the Mountain and if you are still on lockdown then you won’t have much for Christmas. The team and I set up special presents for the first twenty for your first Christmas; they should be in the armoury marked as Christmas Special. I sat back, tears dripping from my eyes as I thought about my father, obviously, he thought better of me that I had ever known. I downloaded the attachments and decided I had better check out the Christmas presents. I pulled on some joggers over my shorts and grabbed a bag, stuffing a towel and robe inside. Heading outside the apartment I met up with Mac, who was wearing a bathing suit and some shorts over the top. “Have you got a minute before you head down?” I asked her. “Sure, what’s going on?” she asked curiously. “It’s less than three weeks until Christmas and I want to give them some sense of normalcy, I’ve discovered whoever was in charge gave us Christmas presents for our first Christmas,” “Very thoughtful of them” Mac replied a tad sarcastically. Her eyes had narrowed and I knew she was annoyed with something. “What’s the matter?” “I’d rather be with my parents,” she burst out, “rather than having my first sodding Christmas locked under a mountain,” “I think we all would, as much as I disliked my parents for interfering with my life I miss them so much, I don’t even know if they are dead,” I released some of the thoughts that had been swirling around my head the last week. “I didn’t know, you seemed so ease with being a ‘leader’,” Mac stared at me shocked. I barked out laughter. “I’m so worried right now, what if someone gets really hurt under here? Who is the saboteur? Am I really doing that well? God, I could go on for hours with worries, I’m up late at night thinking and then in my office early hours of the morning,” I replied my shoulders slumping as the fatigue finally hit. “I’ve been so selfish, you’ve been trying to look after us and no one is looking after you,” “It’s not like that, and you’re not selfish. Don’t worry about me, I’ll be fine,” I tried to reassure her, I didn’t want her to be upset over my worries. “Actually, you can’t shoulder all the burdens. We all need to work together to keep us alive,” she answered with a maturity I had not seen before. “Did that come from your psychology degree?” I joked and she stared at me for a second before laughing. “Yeah, right next to the mechanical one I own,” she grinned back, “Seriously though we need to work together,” “I feel better talking with you now, we’ll just have to chat more often,” I suggested, feeling a bit of pressure being lifted from my shoulders. “Even if I have to schedule regular chats,” She said sternly then broke down laughing again. “Come on then, let’s take a look at those presents.” I recommended then as I moved off she followed me so I stopped to look at her, “You’re not going down like that, are you? “What do you mean?” she asked confused. I looked at her wearing shorts and a bikini bathing suit, her midriff completely bear. “It’s like you are walking around in just a bra,” “Oh,” she eyes lit up as she finally cottoned on, then she looked at me slyly, “Maybe I want to stand around half naked for all the boys,” “Really? You haven’t got a lot of choices, Larry, Tom, Noah?” I raised an eyebrow. “That sounds like the start of a bad joke,” we grinned at each other, “OK; I’ll go put on a t-shirt,” “Wouldn’t want the precious princess to get cold,” I offered as she headed towards the apartment. I got the middle finger in return as she slipped through her door. A couple of minutes later she returned wearing a t-shirt with an obscene message on it. She gave me a sweet look so I just rolled my eyes at her and led her down the stairs. We stopped in the locker room to put our washing gear away and then left with just our towels. We chatted on the way down to the first floor about nothing consequential just aimlessly talking about people we knew at school. It was a little cooler down on the first level, so Mac gave me a thankful nod as we made our way into the storeroom with the armoury. “I was so glad to get out of here when List King and Queen were down here,” Mac commented. “Were they really that bad?” I asked looking at the shelves; everything had been put back neatly and sorted into their corresponding places. “Yes,” she replied exasperated, “No offence, but your brother is more anal than a guy with OCD,” “Ha, I know what you mean. The DVD’s at home are alphabetically arranged. All the books had to be arranged in order too,” I told her laughing and picked up a clipboard hanging next to the door. There were several sheets of paper and the items were arranged alphabetically, with how much quantity of each item and where each item was. For example: Gloves 20 pairs 2, 4, 3, B “What do the numbers stand for?” I asked. “The location! Room 2, Bank 4, Shelf 3, area b,” She explained and took me to the fourth bank along, then counted up the bank to the third shelf up and moved along to the second position where a box marked gloves stood. “That’s interesting,” I murmured astounded at the system they had created. I went through the manifest and found ‘Christmas Tree’ on 2, 5, 5, F. I turned around to the largest shelf on the wall of the armoury. Looked up at the topmost shelves or the fifth shelf and worked my way across to find the box marked with Christmas tree and next to it a box marked with Christmas decorations. It was pretty tall, so I looked up and down trying to work out how I was going to get up there when Mac arrived with some sturdy steps on a pair of wheels. “This will help,” she smirked at me. “Do you reckon we should let the kids decorate?” I asked her as I positioned the stairs and began passing down boxes. “I’m sure they would love that, don’t tell Sparkplug I told you, but he still believes in Santa Claus,” Mac gave a little laugh. “At Twelve, Tobi still believes?” I asked, not sure I had heard right. “Yeah, he might act like a grown up but sometimes he’s still a little kid,” “Sometimes you just have to be,” I replied as I passed the last box down and made my way back down the ladder. Mac had placed the boxes at the doors to the storeroom ready to go back upstairs. “How are we going to get all this stuff upstairs?” Mac questioned, looking at the three boxes. “There must be a loader or something to take boxes, especially food boxes up to the VIP canteen or even the normal canteen,” I answered after thinking about it, “Now shall we take a look at the presents?” “Sure,” Mac followed me around to the Armoury, where I unlocked the doors and entered. She gasped and I watched her taking in the weapons around the room, “Who has access to this room?” “Myself and Nate,” I returned. “Good, are you carrying a weapon?” she asked patiently, but had a glint in her eye. “Yes, since we discovered there was a saboteur,” I answered truthfully, “Why?” “Because I don’t want any of the younger kids getting a hold of any of these weapons,” she snapped and I could see her reasoning. I shrugged and took one side of the armoury. I found some clothes here; tactical vests and bags. Intrigued I took a closer look at the bags and saw they looked a bit oily. I was hit by the realisation these were waterproof bags. Anything inside, be it clothes or equipment was kept dry when the soldier was being inserted via the water. “I found them,” I heard Mac call and rushed to her side where she had found a couple of large boxed, which had been sealed but had the promised ‘Christmas Special’ on its side. We dragged them out into the storeroom and I locked the armoury behind us. We both stared down at the boxes before Mac took out a multitool from her pocket and unsealed the boxes, one at a time. I looked at the first one and pulled out a box wrapped in green paper. It had a label that read ‘To Ben, from Santa’ on it. Each of the presents was labelled up to be received by one of the twenty occupants of the mountain. There was a long thin box for Tobi and a smaller one too. I noticed everyone had one large present and two smaller presents, varying in sizes. “Are we going to leave them down here?” I wondered aloud. “I think that’s the best thing to do,” Mac answered surprising me. “Sorry I was talking to myself,” she just laughed at me and the claw marks on the ceiling. Within minutes we were packed up and locked away again so the others couldn’t get a hold of them, “Let’s go swimming with the others,” An hour later I was lazily swimming around the lagoon on my own, everyone else had gone leaving me to the peace and quiet of the waterfall. It must be nearing lunch, I thought, just as my stomach rumbled and made itself known. I laughed and decided to get out. Drying myself off I put the towel around my waist and made my way through the chilled corridors to the locker room. The room was steamy with the use of showers. Several of the showers were still running and when I entered I was surprised to find Larry, Tom and Noah still in there. “When did you start using the main showers?” I asked curiously. “Well we’re all in this together, right?” Larry shrugged. “We are,” I replied and began to wash, my back turned to the others. “What’s going to happen to us?” I knew the question would come inevitably and it was from Tom. “I don’t know, is the simple answer, we try our hardest to survive and grow up to bring humanity back,” “Are we going to attack the aliens?” Larry asked a bit bloodthirsty. “Do you think we have the capacity to attack them?” I returned his question. “Maybe, one day,” he replied sullenly. “I think we need to stay under the radar,” Noah told him and I agreed, “We find our supplies and the people we’re supposed to be helping, but hide from the aliens,”
  14. Westarcher

    Chapter 9

    Thanks for the comments, the saboteur will act again, be assured of that. They'll be acting on a more personal scale too.
  15. Westarcher

    Chapter 9

    Thanks for the comment, can't give away reasons just yet but they have their reasons. I wonder who the saboteur is?
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