HOLOGRAM HELL: A Novelette: THREE

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Action and Adventure  |  House: Booksie Classic
Lorrie and David, two ex-military elites, are on their first industrial espionage assignment in a primeval forest. They are wearing Neptunic titanium outfits because some one gave them the information that there was a hidden lake with Great Whites in it, protecting the people who had stolen their client's secrets.

Submitted: August 13, 2016

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Submitted: August 13, 2016

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 HOLOGRAM HELL

 A Short Story

Nicholas Cochran

Chapter Three

 

 

His wife’s silence meant: I don’t know; pretty good, I guess.

He patted her on the shoulder.

“We’ll find a fallen tree or push over a dead one—even a live one if it’s just right. We need high roots and a wide crown so the trunk doesn’t touch the road.”

Lorrie nodded, they both turned and adjusted their night goggles to spy the perfect bridge.

It didn’t happen quickly but three minutes later they were placing the dead tree trunk over the narrow road.

Lorrie went first and was on and off in less than ten seconds. David quickly followed.

Then the backbreaking effort began: to lift and swing the end of the dead tree across the track without any part touching the surface.

Despite the absence of their titanium wear, they were soaked through with sweat; but on the other side of the rough pathway.

They rolled and levered the trunk well off the road and out of the sight of any patrol.

They decided to rest and hide behind the old tree trunk until the patrol, their pursuers, came by.

They began a short breather-break that included nutrition bars and water.

They believed the patrols would simply conclude that David and Lorrie were trapped inside the rough circular track—and that no one would dare cross the quarter mile-plus clearing.

The two spies were just beginning to get up when suddenly, patrol vehicles—four of them—rolled slowly past the closest point to David and Lorrie.

They didn’t even slow down.

All sixteen heads were gazing into the verdant forest gloom—on the opposite side from David and Lorrie.

Abruptly, the vehicles sped up, with yells of command to:

hurry! because they're around the other side of the clearing. They went left, not right, they’re going back the way they came in. So floor it.”

 

Lorrie and David waited only a minute before starting in the most direct GPS line they could manage. Soon they spied the high solid wall with the razor wire. The steps went up and over.

They quietly scrambled over the steps, drew them back and turned toward the direction of the barbed wire fence.

They silently swished through twenty yards; then thirty; then forty yards: no barbed wire fence, not even a standard back-yard chain link fence.

David vaguely remembered that a sat photo showed miles of forest on the opposite side of their entry point.

He told Lorrie, who was keeping it to herself until she could think of how to tell David; or at least have a plan.

However, there was no plan C.

The forest had thinned; the undergrowth had thinned; but they knew that they had neither the food nor the water to last long in a primeval forest, miles in length.

They quickly realized that their pursuers knew this and hadn’t even bothered to put up any type of fence beyond the high wall and razor wire.

David was determined to stay cheerful; after all, their entire adventure had taken only a couple of hours.

Lorrie was equally cheerful, but “we need a Plan, sweetie.”

David nodded but remained silent.

“Lets’ think this out,” Lorrie began, “we know where they are and they expect us to be somewhere in the middle, inside the ring road. They also think we’ll take the return route simply because we remember it as best we can considering the pitch black. So, I think they will stake out that route . . . how about the other possibilities?”

David waited a moment. “Well, darling, they have certainly called for reinforcements; maybe not armed ones, but at least some extra bodies to search for us and to block routes. I think we have to do something definitely counterintuitive; something that would catch them by surprise; something way off the scale of ‘expected’.” He fell silent. They both urged their creativity; flogged their bizarre gene; dug for something outrageous.

Lorrie, “I think I have it, darling; are you ready?”

“I am: shoot.”

“Correct.”

David was silent while he tried to read his wife’s mind. She cut short his thinking,

“We do the absolutely unexpected and get rid of our pursuers. Then we can either look around some more, uncover their control and command bunker--and even the mythical lake with the Great Whites; or we can saunter back along our incoming route and take a leisurely stroll to our Range Rover, laughing all the way. Let’s  go; let’s get that tree back over the road.”

She quickly rose and put on her night goggles. David followed suit. His wife was so totally convinced of her plan that he obeyed her command and went straight to their ‘bridge’ tree.

They wrestled it up and then let it fall. Nothing protruded to touch the road.

They crossed and with great effort levered the tree trunk up and over and left  it where it fell, as Lorrie immediately set out along their trail.

The law of rapid return applied, even here in the middle of a primeval forest: the rule that your return journey from any point always appears to be shorter. They moved very quickly and with a minimum of discernible sounds.

A fast glance at her GPS gave Lorrie the correct reading and she held up a hand.

Lorrie, whispering, “Here’s our titanium. Suit up.” They did, in record time.

Once attired in their light but hot protective gear, Lorrie turned to her now totally mystified husband.

Softly, “That hologram is controlled from some subterranean bunker—probably where they are experimenting with our clients’ patented equipment, but there has to be an above ground control. A malfunction in the bunker control could create all sorts of problems and dropping a few hundred 101st Airborne peeps in here could ruin all their set-up. They can’t allow that to happen. So there are controls up here—somewhere; and we have to find them.

“Why, sweetheart?” murmured David.

“We’ll turn it on and camp beside it and see who comes running."

“Ahhh: brilliant; yet another fantastic reason why I love you. Brilliant. Okay, lead on.”

“We came in along the beach side; lets go to the opposite end. What do you think?”

“Agree. Totally. From there they could see the entire area without any distortions that come from a side view. Yeah. Let’s go there.”

“Let’s get out our artillery first; they may have some guards around any above-ground control panel; for moments like this.”

“Great idea; but if there are only a few we can break necks or slit throats.”

“Oh, yummy. Let’s roll.”

Lorrie set off in the direction of the apex of the hologram. David scanned their path from side to side while he found a different gear in his legs required to keep up with his sure-footed wife.

Sweat began to trickle on their sternums and in the small of their backs. Their breathing was labored.

“How much farther do you think?” breathed out David.

Lorrie stopped, turned and whispered, “I think we’re there.”

She quickly glanced at her GPS, “Yeah; right in around here somewhere.”

They stopped and stood silent for over two minutes, straining to hear—and even to try and see—anything that could be the control panel of the hologram or any person that could be either guarding the panel; or looking for them.

Lorrie turned to David.

“I think I’ll check for beams and eyes.” She deftly withdrew her instruments and absorbed the negative readings. “Okay. And our titanium should take care of any foot sensors. Let’s go.”

Lorrie led with her first step; and froze.

Blinding lights burst all around them, lighting up the forest in a thirty-yard diameter circle.

They were in the middle of it.

 

End of Chapter Three


© Copyright 2017 Nicholas Cochran. All rights reserved.

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