HOLOGRAM HELL: A Novelette: ONE

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Action and Adventure  |  House: Booksie Classic
Recently married---Lorrie, formerly Special Ops and David, formerly Delta Force---are on their first industrial espionage adventure.
They find some of what they expected and a lot more of what they did not expect; in fact, could not have imagined. So much of what they see and feel is unreal. And very dangerous.

Submitted: July 30, 2016

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Submitted: July 30, 2016

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HOLOGRAM HELL

A Short Story

Nicholas Cochran
Chapter One
 
 

Despite the No Trespassing sign and the Beware of Bigfoot sign, Lorrie and David, newly-weds in their late twenties, saw the clearly posted ‘open and obvious’ warnings—and took them as a challenge.

Lorrie had been Special Ops; David had been Delta Force. 
Love and recent marriage had demanded their retirement. 
Lorrie was a natural blonde of five and a half feet with curious green eyes and a perfect complexion.
David was a muscled five-ten with dark hair and a confident gaze.
Lorrie spoke six languages and usually wore ASICS footwear.
David drove like a ‘transporter’ and was almost painfully optimistic.
 
They went private.
This was their first private industrial espionage assignment.
They were wearing suits of Neptunic titanium mesh: tunics, pants and foot covers. On their hands were titanium mesh gloves and they wore titanium helmets; even their faces were entirely concealed by a drape of the same metal. Their entire wardrobe was Neptunic; the makers of shark-proof underwater personal equipment. But there was no water in sight. Yet.
 
The suits were made for water and sharks. Unfortunately, any other use created unwanted warmth.Under their titanium, both had dressed entirely in black including gloves. They wore black ninja RIKIO FighterJika-Tabis on their feet.Their faces were blackened with paint and their featureless faces were mostly hidden under ultra-light beanies.
They carried backpacks that held infrared goggles and each had a large black canvas over-the-shoulder bag with armaments and supplies.
 
Darkness had dropped early over a moonless November sky. A muffled laugh eased from Lorrie when she momentarily snagged her ninja pants on an aggressive barb commanding the top strand of the warning wire.
 
Twenty yards farther into the stubborn undergrowth of the ink-black forest loomed a fifteen-foot high rugged metal fence topped with razor wire.There were no cautionary signs on this one.
 
Their push through the giant ferns, baby pines and towering cedars brought on some deep breathing and the debut of sweat.
David was slightly ahead of his bride and held out a gloved hand to both warn her and stop her.
 
He whispered, “okay, honey, unclip the ladder.” He turned to allow her to unfasten the folded black titanium steps from the clips on his back underneath his pack.
She pushed them forward and he grasped them with his right hand and brought them around to his front.
He quickly unfolded them and gripping one end firmly in his left hand, he threw the remainder over the razor wire and into the thick brush on the other side.
A softer whisper, “good time to use your camera detector as well as an eye-beam finder before we go over . . .  you okay?”
Muffled, but cheery, “never better, sweetheart,” and smiled an invisible smile.
She remained behind the bulk of David ’s body, reached in her belt pouch and took out her two instruments.
After a long few moments, she muffled, “all clear.”
David nodded and stepped lightly to the ladder and was quickly up, over the barrier, and into the bush.
Lorrie followed a second later and David caught her, spun her free, picked up the steps and expertly flicked the remainder of the ladder over the razor wire and into
Lorries waiting gloves.
Both simply nodded to one another, before Lorrie re-clipped the steps under David’s pack, gave him a silent pinch and push, sending him rapidly striking out into new territory.
 
None of this part had been planned because they had found nothing on satellite photos showing any objects at this latitude and longitude except a dense green wilderness.
Only two of two hundred photos of the area contained a different crown cover of the primeval forest.
David and Lorrie had decided, with their clients, that if the competition was undertaking experiments using stolen plans, that the only likely place was somewhere under those two vaguely dissimilar photos.
The initial conclusions were that the competition was conducting their experiments beneath the surface of a huge water tank holding a secure set of offices and equipment as well as man-eating sharks.
 
This astounding inference was the result of a sale of two Great Whites to a distant relative of the countless members of the extended family of the main researcher for the competition. Thus the titanium. Any assault on the offices would require the elimination of the sharks as well as any other natural underwater killers.
Kevlar and Lexan would stop bullets but not sharks.
 
After another twenty yards, the undergrowth quickly thinned to a point where they could see between trunks as well as around or over shorter ferns.
A raw road covered with reddish tree droppings ran perpendicular to their present path for thirty yards or so to either side before curving out of sight behind trunks and forest.
 
“So there really is something here.” exclaimed Lorrie quietly. The heat in their  suits was beginning to be annoying, despite the temperature in the low fifties.
They paused, removed water bottles and took long swallows, while each rapidly assessed their situation.
The road told them of a human presence.
 
They and their employers had suspected some type of occupation of the area, but that had been the full extent of it: suspicions.
Lorrie cracked a Power Bar; David, a Cliff.
“I think we’re in, honey; now we follow the road and we’ll hear anyone long before they see us. Let’s have pistols.”
They removed their Glocks along with four clips. “Good. We have a choice; any vibe?”
 
Lorrie shook her head, “left.”
 
This was entirely counter intuitive for David, but he had learned quickly during their courtship that his wife had a special something that allowed her to dowse everything from a great restaurant to a hidden delight in a blighted area.
He was still trying to become accustomed to such an unusual trait—or was it a gift; a talent? But wherever it came from,David had learned that this bizarre ability to find the right thing at the right  moment, was uncanny in its accuracy; some nights he would question her for hours  as they lay awake talking. Moreover, she would volunteer for hours, the innumerable occasions when she had somehow dowsed almost unimaginable things, places and experiences.
David had found some dowses extremely strange at times.
However, right now was not one of them.
David eased up beside Lorrie and they moved soundlessly along the soft road of small reddish leaves, pine needles and a fine dust of ochre.
They looked around the thick trunk of the cedar at the curve of the track, they eased behind the tree and crouched into the underbrush just off their path and slowly looked around to scout their next move.
More of the track snaked through the forest as far as their sight line allowed before their intended route was submerged in the stygian depths of the forest.
 
Without warning, the sounds of shots clattered through the surrounding area and chips of bark tore from their sheltering cedar and scattered into the undergrowth on both sides.
David frowned at Lorrie, “what the hell is this?”
“I guess our stealthy entrance wasn’t. I wonder how they picked us up; no cameras; no eye-beams. What’s the plan?” David was so proud of Lorriethat he wanted to just hug and kiss her for a few moments before answering, but instead, “it has to be something we stepped on; under the road. I think they have us pinned down.
"Let’s go to Plan B.”
“Okay, sweets.”
Laurie turned and quickly slipped through the shorter and thinner growth beside the shoulder of the road back to the spot where they had first found the road. 

“Let’s go.”David said in a normal voice and struck out away form the road on a course that was a continuation of their original path.

Plan B.
 
The undergrowth thickened but they were still able to slip along through the brush easily and with a minimum of sound. They were two of the highest trained bush night stalkers in the world.
 
Neither spoke as they made excellent time on a route that they knew nothing about, to an unknown ‘cooling spot’ in an area entirely unimaginable.
After ten minutes and nothing but thick brush and the low-hanging crowns of enormous trees, David stopped.
 
“Let’s listen for a few seconds for any hint of what might be around.” 
“Okay, dear.”
 
She took off her helmet, as well as her neck and face mesh. 
A mild breeze tickled her nose.
As he removed his titanium head-coverings, David smiled, for a reason unknown even to him.
Maybe it was the stunning sight of his bride dressed like Joan of Arc, wiggling her tickled nose. 
 
On the other hand, perhaps the breeze that he also felt was some kind of augury.
For any and maybe no reasons, he continued to smile while they listened. 
They looked at each other for clues about discovery, but neither sent any facial or eye signal that anything had changed in the surroundings.
Even the noise level from the time and place where they had left the road remained the same except for those few gunshots and ricochets.
 
Except the breeze.
 
End of Chapter One


© Copyright 2017 Nicholas Cochran. All rights reserved.

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