HOLOGRAM HELL: A Novelette: FIVE

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Action and Adventure  |  House: Booksie Classic
Ex-military Special Ops newlyweds are on their first industrial espionage case and have encountered a boreal forest, armed patrols, animals, and a hologram, Category 10.
Everything remains fluid, tense and uncertain as they look for the Command and Control Center, in a lake, protected by two Great Whites.

Submitted: September 06, 2016

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Submitted: September 06, 2016

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HOLOGRAM HELL

A Short Story

Nicholas Cochran

Chapter Five

 

 

Lorrie stopped.

“But we don’t need our helmets and gear now do we, darling? Do you think there are more coming . . . or would come if we turned on the hologram?”
David was silent while he sorted out the possible movements or tactics of a second wave to follow the fallen five.

“I think you’re right sweetie; I think these five are it.”

“I really do too, darling; the guy on the phone didn’t pause at all when I told him about the deer. I think they’ve had animals trip that wire so many times that they almost ignore it.”

“And this too, hon, the command center is definitely in contact with the guys waiting for us on the other side.

“Even if the waiting group believed that we had tricked them and were somewhere near the control panel—or even the lake and the underground control center—they would never admit that they had been tricked.

“And none of the grunts would say anything like that because their commanders are rough bastards to begin with and probably wouldn’t think twice about putting a few rounds into some bush-beater sent out to help the armed guys in their efforts to catch us. So . . . ”

“Aha; absolutely. Psychologically, we’ve won. The waiting bunch will just keep waiting. Okay, then what next?"

David stood and listened for a few moments. Then, beginning slowly, “Well, darling, we could have a look at the lake and see if the command center is accessible to a couple of stealthy stalkers like ourselves."

“Yes," Lorrie whispered, “who knows, maybe we can grab some proof that our clients have been robbed—and win ourselves a bonus for our work; what do you think?”

David attached all his titanium headgear and turned to his wife. “Lay on Mrs. Macduff, and damned be she that first cries, “Hold! Enough!””

Lorrie picked up the Walkie-Talkie and made sure that it was in the receive mode.

“Sure. But we have to report in after ten minutes.”

“I know; I have us on the clock.” and he tapped his watch.

There was no need to speak as they both began walking back along the rough track in the direction that had produced their five victims.

When they came to the spot where the flashlights had first appeared, the track took a sharp turn to the left, which put them on a course that led deeper into the black forest.

Soon the track was twisting and David and Lorrie stared through their Armasight Nyx7 night goggles for any paths leading off the track toward any marker or structure that might house the entrance—even a stairway---to the command and control center.

After almost a hundred yards of left and right turns, David stopped and put his hand back on Lorrie's shoulder while he leaned into her and whispered, “I don’t like this darling. We’ve come so far from the top of the hologram. I just can’t believe that they’d assume anyone—everyone—coming into their forest, and getting close to their C&C center would always hit that tripwire for the hologram. They’d be giving everyone who missed the wire—either by luck or design—a walk in the park down this track to their front door. What do you think?”

Lorrie stayed where David had stopped her and bent in closer to him.

“Could be, Sweets, but they do have two fences, a roving patrol, lots of bodies . . . would the expense outweigh the benefit?”

“Not to me hon; I really feel like we are either in a trap or about to enter one. Tell you what, let’s go off here to the right and do some good old bush stalking in a line roughly following the track.”

“Good idea,” pulling up her GPS from her belt, “okay, I have the reading. Let’s go.”

She immediately went right and directly into the undergrowth between the wide trunks of the thicker forest. They stalk-walked quickly until they were, by GPS, approximately fifty yards from the track.

They both understood that the track had been twisting both left and right. However, they had also noticed that despite the continuous serpentine nature of the track, they had been, in the overall, walking in roughly the same direction at all times.

“Let’s make a left here darling and go on a more or less straight line and hope that the track does too.”

Checking his watch, “It’s only been about six minutes since they asked for a report; but we should be ready. What are you going to say to them?”

“Give us another ten. There’s only one and we have him pinned down . . . how does that sound?”
“Perfect.” He squeezed her arm.

They began to move again, only this time they moved as quickly as they could, still following their rough GPS tracking plan. 

Suddenly the Walkie-Talkie burst forth: “Any luck out there?”

The two froze and then Lorrie delivered her line.

There was a long pause. “I’ll give you five; we need all hands to find two,” another long pause, “Durnan and his guys and some extra hands are waiting for two intruders on the west side,” another long pause, “are you sure that’s not a deer or something else; are you sayin’ we have three in here?”

Lorrie mustered her best static-laden voice, brought a rustling fern up to the mouthpiece.

“Goddamned if I know, but this one sure moves like a man.”

“Well, shit. Okay, I’ll call in five unless you have . . . wait a sec, Durnan’s on the other Walkie.”

Lorrie jammed her ear with her hand as hard as she could against the receiver portion of her Walkie, straining to pick up any of the dispatcher’s side of the conversation with Durnan. She could just make out a few words.

“Yeah, well we have one pinned down over here . . . no I don’t. They’ve been out there about twenty plus now . . . okay. Well, send a couple of jeeps and some guys to at least make sure we get this one over here,” shifting the conversation to Lorrie, “what’s your location; I’m sending a few guys to get this one. No sign yet of the other two.”

Lorrie remembered their GPS location where they had gunned down the five men and gave back the caller a reading about a hundred yards beyond that, hoping that any reinforcements would follow the same track that she and David did, and stop a hundred yards or so before the corpses. 

Lorrie also added, to David’s shock. “Who the hell are these assholes, anyway?”

The Walkie went silent again, and then, “Why the hell do you care? And how do you know if this is a guy and not an animal?”
Lorrie quickly solved her situation, “Wait, he’s moving. We’re after him. Later.” She switched off.

Damn.” Lorrie cursed with great emphasis, “I was hoping they could give us some idea of what or who they were expecting. Damn. I just hope he bought the pursuit bit.”

“Don’t worry hon; it—you were very convincing. Forget it. Let’s go.”

“Are these things—the Walkie-Talkies—individualized in this case, do you think? They usually aren’t.”

“No; anyone can use them; why?”

“If it gets dicey or he . . .”

“Carter, you there?” The sound from the Walkie made both of them jump.”

Lorrie whispered to David. “I got this guy’s wallet and ID; he’s Strankman; I think you have to try and be Carter. Breathe as if you’re out of breath; and chasing. I’ll tell him he’s got me, Strankman, okay?”

“Perfect.”

“Just a sec; here he is,” thinking quickly and adding, “he hit his damn thing on a tree; won’t work; here.” and Lorrie handed the Walkie to David.

David summoned his deepest breath and then began a combination of panting and gasping. “Jesus Christ; this bastard can really move; I thought we had him; in fact I think we at least winged him. And I fucked up my Walkie, so . .” gasping and trying to catch a righteous breath, “what’s up.”

“Durnan now thinks you have both of them; one is playing dead or something. Anyway, he’s just leaving five guys and a couple of grunts and coming over himself with his crew. "He’s convinced now that the sons of bitches are over your way, so heads up.

"And Carter, we’ll deduct the cost of your Walkie from your pay.” And he was gone.

David hugged Lorrie while they both let out very long and very silent breaths.

David whispered in Lorrie’s ear while he still held her.

“I don’t know how much longer we can do this hon, It won’t take those guys five minutes to get over to the bodies. I know they’ll pause and look around, but then they’ll call in and keep moving; probably with caution, but man; I think our use of this particular ploy has run its course. What about you?”

She, whispering into his ear, “I don’t know, sweets. I know those guys will be back here in a flash, but there are still a bunch waiting for us on our entrance trail,” pausing, “hmmm, maybe getting them all over here somehow, would let us get out the same way we came in. And, at least we know that we can get out of here somewhere on that side.”

They both fell silent while they each dug for answers, but they dug even deeper into their brains to tap their creative gene.

Lorrie spoke first. “We have enough ordnance to take them all out if we jumped them, but I think it’s too risky. And I’m not convinced that they’ve sent out all the guys from the C&C center. Maybe it’s time to simply head west and forget our bonus rush on their headquarters.”

“What? And never get to know the Great Whites in out Neptunics?” and he laughed a soft laugh in her ear. “If we can get all the guns out searching for us, we could just walk—or swim—into their main facility and blow it up—or at least trash it so badly that they’ll have to abandon the whole site.They will know that they’ve been scouted, found lying and thoroughly compromised.

"So. Want to?”

 

End of  Chapter Five


© Copyright 2017 Nicholas Cochran. All rights reserved.

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