HOLOGRAM HELL: A Novelette: EIGHT

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Action and Adventure  |  House: Booksie Classic
Ex-spec ops and newlyweds David and Lorrie are on their first industrial espionage assignment.
Some of what they expected occurs. However the unexpected takes many forms as they fight their way toward a successful completion of their task.

Submitted: September 18, 2016

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Submitted: September 18, 2016

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HOLOGRAM HELL

A Novelette

Nicholas Cochran

Chapter Eight

 

Lorrie spoke quickly. “We have to convince the retreating guys that the spooks are us; let them shoot each other.”

David was silent while he fully appreciated the idea and fired his synapses to come up with a plan. 

Lorrie continued. “I think we have to assume the guys in front are retreating. We have to go forward. Those bunkers look real, even though they are just sitting in the forest. I can’t really see much past that because it’s so dark; even with the goggles. Let’s go there to begin with. The spooks probably know about the hologram, but it could slow them down some. The switch has to be somewhere very close to one of those two bunkers. The spooks are already on the Walkies to the dispatcher trying to convince him that there are not twenty or more of us and that all the death and destruction has been created just by little old us.”

“I agree, hon; but I think we’ve created enough confusion that either the spooks or the retreaters will think the other are us; you think?”

“Correct. Let’s get to the bunkers, turn on the holo and see what’s behind there."

They sprinted across the flooring of the forest and each dove behind a bunker.

“Got it, Sweets,” Lorrie announced, “this should do it.”

Magically, the forest was returned to a full research and development facility.

David joined her.

“How about laying down some serious fire as soon as we even hear the spooks returning and then continuing behind us here and catching up with the retreaters. Then we’ll find a hiding place while the spooks advance and begin a firefight with the retreaters—who have at least a couple of spooks and everyone else who can manage to pull a trigger on some caliber gun. Should be a sight. Okay?”

“Can’t wait, darling. You are so inventive, I could kiss you, and would ,except for this hanging titanium.”

“Don’t knock the T, hon; it kept us alive back there. Were you hit too?”

“Several times; only a couple of the higher caliber loads knocked me back some, but no blood . . . I hear them. Do a grenade or two? I have four left.”

“Okay, just one; I have five left, but I think I’ll save them for a rainy day; when bullets are raining. Let’s hit it.”

He wheeled around the AK 47 he had speedily assembled and cranked out a series of rounds. Lorrie did the same.

Then they waited. Spooks began to peek through the hologram and stopped in mid-stride. They were confused. It appeared to Lorrie and David that the spooks were not entirely familiar with the hologram and the quality of virtual reality that it could create. They seemed to be waiting for the holo to go off; one even yelled something that sounded like “turn the damn thing off” but was not entirely clear because of the gunfire.

David could ‘feel’ Lorrie telling him to take out a few of the ten now as opposed to later, if needs be. They immediately fired and four spooks dropped.

Then Lorrie tossed her grenade.

The overlapping visuals of the hologram were such that the spooks had no idea what was coming their way until the grenade exploded, killing at least three more.

“Down to three or four, hon. Let’s go.”

They crouched below the bunker line and raced back across the forest floor until they reached a large metal door set into the mammoth trunk of a towering tree. They took up positions on either side of the door and then tried the handle. In their rush to escape, the retreaters had left it unlocked.

“I don’t like this, darling; too easy,” Lorrie called.

By leaning as far as she could to reach the handle, she was able to keep ninety percent of her body outside and pressed against the doorframe.

The opening prompted an amazing number of shots of various calibers.

Over the tumult of the torrent of lead, Lorrie, “Let’s just return a bit of fire; roll a grenade or two and then find a hiding spot behind some of the brush and tree trunks; somewhere in the undergrowth.”

“Outstanding, hon, this is as good a place as I can think of. Eventually they’ll damn near kill each other and then we can drop by and finish the job, grab what we can, and book.”

“What about the patrols?”

“They’ve either gone dark or are with either group. There has to be a more peaceful entrance to the C&C center. I bet that’s where the patrols have ended up. It’s damn hard to hear anything over the bullets and grenades. Where do you think they are, hon?”

Lorrie was looking straight back at the remaining spooks who were feeling about in a cautious manner to separate their minds and their vision from the hologram, to try and direct their fire at Lorrie and David.

“I think they’ve been called back to the entrance on the other side. But as long as we’re around, I’m sure they have left some guys in strategic locations to order reinforcements if they spot us on the move.”

The firing from both directions suddenly stopped.

“Oh, oh, “David whispered, “I think they finally got their communications sorted out and are beginning to believe that they are firing either at ghosts or at each other. This could make it tough for us to rekindle a firefight between them.”

Lorrie tugged at David’s arm, “Let’s hit the bush and keep an eye.”
David nodded and they quickly moved from their position on either side of the door in the tree trunk and stopped about twenty yards away.

“We can either find the C&C center or go. This is beginning to feel like a manhunt with us as the quarry. What about you?”
Lorrie hesitated while she thought through the alternative: to induce a firefight between the spooks and the defenders behind the tree-door.

“Let’s wait for a bit; a few minutes. I’m not convinced that the spooks realize that we haven’t entered the tree trunk door and that we . .”

Gunfire broke out in exactly the position that they had last rested. Lorrie had been correct.

Now the firefight escalated. The reports of both small and heavy arms echoed throughout the forest; the rebounding sound became almost unbearable.

In a monetary lull, David whispered.

“They’re at it all right, hon. Good call. Let’s head in a more or less straight path from the tree door and see what we can find on the other side; could be a road for the patrol vehicles; or even their fuel and repair yard.

“Great. Let’s . . " Her last word was overridden by the renewed firing plus the explosions of grenades.

They moved very quickly. The forest was still in the thinned, unoccupied condition, and afforded the two the opportunity to move almost at a running pace.

Abruptly the manicured nature of the forest returned to the boreal thickets, wild undergrowth, ferns, fallen trees, and the very narrow spaces afforded by the close proximity of the tree trunks.

“Damn it,” David whispered loudly, “this is even worse than where we came in.”

Lorrie was silent while they began to work up a righteous sweat under the weight of their titanium wear and the heft of their ordnance bags. They both stopped after another twenty yards or so and decided to listen. At first there was only the bizarre low hum of night in a forest. Nothing specific; perhaps nothing at all; perhaps the sound of growing and dying trees.

Cleaving the silence of the forest, came the backfire from a vehicle off to their left.

“I think that has to be the other entrance. Let’s go.” Lorrie moved away and David followed.

After only a few minutes of their best silent stalking pace, they stopped. With their night vision goggles they could see a number of jeeps and a few guards. Some of them were leaning against their vehicles and smoking. Oddly, the gunfire from the two forces was only a muffled repetition of a firecracker noise. 

“I think the spooks are in the tree tunnel; otherwise we and these guys,” nodding toward the relaxing patrol members, “would be involved.” David remarked.

Immediately following his observation the radios for the patrol guys came alive and screams of orders and excitement came clearly to the ears of the newlyweds. Men scrambled around their vehicles and extracted AK-47s as well as ammunition belts and clips and rushed to the couple’s left.

Lorrie spoke first. “I think their facility, as well as their C&C center has to be underground. Otherwise we should be able to hear the firefight more clearly. What to do?”

David jumped in, “There is our ride back to our trail and safety. Or we can follow those patrol guys and maybe drop a grenade or two into the fracas.” Lorrie was silent.

She realized that they had not only completed their assignment but also had marked all the important places on the GPS and data holder. They were not being paid to jump into the middle of a deadly mistake by the thieves. Moreover, all the extra data that they could provide about the entire set-up was more than enough to earn them a handsome bonus. Nevertheless, her military training, plus the amount of adrenaline, endorphins, and  just plain buzz that the last two hours had provided, was calling to her and David with the tempting promise of having the entire complex destroyed.

David was thinking as well. His thoughts were not unlike those of his bride. He sighed.

Lorrie spoke first while the muted gunfire continued.

“Discretion is the better part of valor here, darling—I think. From the sounds of it, our plan to have them kill each other and blow up some part if not all of their complex is going along beautifully. I say let's steal a jeep and go.”

David, with no hesitation, “Yeah. Let’s go.”

With great speed they pushed their way through the thickets and brambles, bracken and ferns, dead and live trees, and almost fell out onto the rough track where the patrol vehicles were parked.

Unfortunately, they had never had the opportunity to count the total number of vehicles employed by the complex. From the episode where they had used the fallen tree to tightrope their way across the sensors in the rough forest road, they had assumed that the four jeeps that had passed them comprised the entire fleet of patrol vehicles.

David jumped behind the wheel of the last vehicle in line and found the key in the ignition and a pistol on the seat beside him. Lorrie jumped over the door and into the passenger seat. She assembled her AK 47 and assumed the role of riding shot gun.

David gunned the motor and backed into a sliding half circle before slamming the jeep into first gear and tromping on the accelerator. The jeep jumped forward as David turned on the high beams and looked for the ring road.

It appeared within seconds and he yanked the wheel to the right and floored it. The smooth noise of the jeep’s motor was both soothing and alarming; alarming, because it eliminated any other sound from reaching their ears. They were completely unaware of the three other jeeps that were converging on them from both directions. All the men in the three jeeps were dressed in black and had night vision goggles.

As David drifted around a tight turn along the rough track his high beams outlined two jeeps in front of him.

They had stopped, extinguished their lights, and were waiting to kill this annoyingly proficient duo who had caused everyone so many problems.

End of Chapter Eight


© Copyright 2017 Nicholas Cochran. All rights reserved.

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