HOLOGRAM HELL: A Novelette: SIX

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Thrillers  |  House: Booksie Classic
Lorrie and David, both ex-special ops---and newlyweds---are in he middle of their violent, action-packed first industrial espionage mission. Just when it seems the action will let up and give them time to regroup, more dangers appear; like two Great Whites, and provides more call for their special training---and their icy nerves.

Submitted: September 12, 2016

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Submitted: September 12, 2016

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HOLOGRAM HELL

A Novelette

Nicholas Cochran

Chapter Six

 

Lorrie was silent for a moment, shifting various scenarios in her brain as she fought to find the perfect plan for both the demolition of the thieves and their own unscathed escape.

“Well, hon, the last place they’d look for us would be at their front door. I think we should give it a try; find their C&C and go from there. We have them thoroughly confused—even about the number of us. I have a plan.”

Lorrie released him and David hit the send on the Walkie.

Growling, rasping, whispered breath prefaced his remarks.

Christ, there must be at least ten of them; what the fuck, man, they’re everywhere. We need everybody. .Je-sus! They have automatic weapons; and Christ; a grenade . . .” More gasping, a scream and then David switched off.

He was probably glad that he couldn’t see Lorrie's face after this extraordinary display of play acting.

In the dark, she wore a look of stunned approval.

“Bravo! Sweets. That’ll empty the C&C. They’ll think they’re under full attack and will send out every able bodied; and the head honchos will take their escape route and book—I think.”

“Thanks hon,; yeah, that’s the plan but somehow I think Bobbie Burns comes into play here, so we should cool it on the Walkie and keep going.

"If the dispatcher or whatever calls again, I'll do some dying gasping and ask for a status, okay?”

“Sure. Let’s go.” 

They crushed and pushed their way through the undergrowth at full speed. After only a minute, the underbrush became thinner, the number of trees fewer, and their trunks narrower.

At the same moment, David and Lorrie understood that they were entering an area that had been cleared, pruned, and dressed for occupation. Even the scarce light from the dull inky sky clearly revealed signs of settlement.

Both stopped.

“If this isn’t it—around here somewhere, we’ve got to be close,” whispered Lorrie.

David patted her back twice. “Let’s check for beams again, hon.—if there’s another sensing device in the ground our titanium will nullify it. But watch out for trip wires—and holograms.” 

He chuckled softly as Lorrie removed her scanners.

“We’re clear. I don’t have any plan for trip wires; do you, Sweets?”

“Only to try not to lead with our feet.” 

David adjusted his night-vision goggles and mustered his best stare. 

They both moved at half speed straining to see any trees or other obvious brush that would be the anchor points for any trip wire.

Faint sounds of engines and shouts grew louder behind and to the left of their position.

Suddenly, twenty-five yards in front of them, a large piece of ground rose and fell over on its side. Cast in silhouette by a muted light, ten black-clad figures wearing night vision goggle rose from the open trap door. They all carried AK 47s and wore belts with side arms. Crisscrossing their shoulders were ammunition belts.They moved quickly and were swallowed by the night in seconds.

Lorrie and David waited stock still for only a minute.

“So much for the idea that they were all out here a while back.” David’s tone was grim but still lacked any fear, or even concern.

“I think these guys usually come in fours,” Lorrie whispered, “I figure there are at least two but probably six still inside. Well, now we know where the entrance is.”

Before they could take a step, the Walkie  murmured on  its lowest volume setting.

David held his hand over the device while he brought it up to his ear.

“I said, Strankman, goddamn it, where the hell are you?”

David let the hum of the open receiver continue.

“Carter? You there? Jesus Christanyone out there? We’ve sent ten spooks, so for Christ’s sake don’t shoot any of them; they cost about a half million each; yeah; you heard that right. Half a mill a shot, so don’t be trigger happy.” 

The receiver remained open as the dispatcher waited for anyone to reply.

“Jesus Christ, are all you guys gone? . . .well, I’ll keep you on standby.”

The receiver noise stopped.

“I thought there was going to be a dying gasp, Sweets.”

“Too risky, hon; the signal would be too powerful; like we were right on top of him; which we are.”

“Roger. Let’s go.”

There was no need to say where. 

The last spook had dropped the door but it was still slightly marked around the edges.

The two were looking down through the open door within seconds; nothing but solid blackness.

David fell to one knee and felt around for the rungs of a ladder. After a moment, he found it.

Lorrie bent over and peered into the shapeless ebony. There was no way to determine how far the darkness and the ladder went down.

They both knew that they had to work quickly. The spooks were all ex-special ops and would figure out their mistake and be back at the trap door almost immediately.

Something told David to stand and whisper to Lorrie.

“I have a feeling that we should get out our snorkels.”

Scuba gear had been two bulky and too heavy to tote along with all their other gear and that meant only face masks and snorkels.

Well before any plans had been finalized for their mission, the discussion of the two Great Whites had led to a number of scenarios which were boiled down to one; use a snorkel, wear a mask and titanium.

“Got it; and my mask. Ready”

“Me too.” David disappeared down the ladder.

Before Lorrie had descended four or five rungs into the formless gloom, the sound of gunfire erupted. Then grenades exploded. More gunfire. Shouts.

David felt the bottom rung and his other foot dangled into the pit. Then it suddenly found firm footing.

“Bottom here, hon. About five more rungs. Sounds like those guys up there are shooting at each other; or ghosts.”

She had closed the trap door but he could tell by the shimmer of the ladder that she was close.

The moment both her feet hit the solid bottom, it gave way, sending both of them tumbling a few feet into water.

They had no time to put on masks, but instantly inserted their snorkels.The water was not deep; only the minimum required to drown a non-swimmer and more than enough water for the Great Whites to feel at home.

David and Lorrie both hit the bottom of the lake at about the same moment.They instantly turned all around to see if there were any windows of the C&C center looking into the lake.

They saw none.

Obviously the commanders of this entire compound had reckoned that two Great Whites would be sufficient; that the exorbitant amount of money to create a view of the lake was unwarranted.

The lake was not very large.

Both Lorrie and David came up for air and saw that the lake was merely a round tank cut in half, covered, and filled with water—and the two sharks.

The space above the water was only about two feet.This was also a built-in security measure.

Assuming that an intruder could swim and that they somehow managed to disable the two Great Whites, there was only two feet of space in which to maneuver.

With their heads above the surface and while treading water, Lorrie, gasping, “we obviously missed the latch or a button to open the non-water-plunge gate; or a door or large pipe that leads to the Center.” Lorrie gulped more air.

“Right, hon, what about going back and seeing if we can get back up into the ladder shaft and find the button or latch to the C&C? I bet the water entrance is exactly opposite to where we landed. That way, any intruders –like us—will have to go all the way around in the water.

"The Great Whites are probably on their way now. Imagine having to go all the way around without being able to stand up to fight off sharks. Yeah, I’ll bet the farm that the entrance is on the other side. There must be a slide or pipe or something like that for the spooks to come and go. Okay, hon; what do you think?”

Lorrie was tiring. 

“Agreed. But how do we open the hatch that dumped us?"

“We’ll use our Glock 35s; they’ve only been wet a couple of minutes. We have our waterproof ammo and suppressors. Let’s go.”

They moved slowly with all their gear and titanium but the steel trap door that they had fallen through was no more than five feet from them.

Then they arrived—the Great Whites; both of them.

End of Chapter Six


© Copyright 2017 Nicholas Cochran. All rights reserved.

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