HOLOGRAM HELL: A Novelette: TEN: FINAL

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Romance  |  House: Booksie Classic
In this concluding chapter, Lorrie and David move toward the finale of their first industrial espionage gig, but the action and adventure never stop. Nor do the holograms.

Submitted: September 25, 2016

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Submitted: September 25, 2016

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HOLOGRAM HELL

A Novelette

Nicholas Cochran

Chapter Ten 

Final

 

David wiggled the lever up and down. 

Still nothing. 

Lorrie whispered. “I see some, Sweets; can I help?”

“Give me a sec, hon.”

He put on his goggles to look at the panel, saw five buttons, pushed them all, and removed his night visions.

All Hologram Hell erupted in alternating scenes of day and night.

By pressing all the buttons, David had sent erratic messages to the unbelievably realistic set of a huge gate with watchtowers looming at either end. Sun was replaced with moon that was replaced with sun; over and over in two second intervals creating the effect of a twirling mirrored ball hung over a forest dance floor.

The watchtowers revolved and during the two seconds of the night scene, strong floodlights scanned all areas of the forest in a fifty-yard radius.

The sound track was a constant: “You have twenty seconds to turn around and leave or we will be forced to shoot. This is private property.  You now have eighteen seconds to turn around and leave or we will be . . .

David and Lorrie held their fire while the towers turned, the countdown hit ten seconds, and the sun dazzled the viewer.

The moon wanted to be full but was perhaps a tad gibbous. Two seconds made it difficult to determine that fact.

Not only David and Lorrie were watching this 12-dimension hologram go wild, the newlyweds sighted up almost forty bodies in one form of camouflage or other. Several were immediately identified as the computer geeks because they wore large beige raincoats, black-rimmed glasses, and iWatches. Some were tapping their iPhones, attempting to reach the control panel of the holograms but David had ripped out all the wires he could unearth and cut the remainder.

Only the manual lever was working and the opposite commands were the last ones received that called for both the day and the night program at the same time.

Abruptly following the voice command declaring that the twenty seconds grace period had expired, there was a very short silence while day and night cast their respective glows upon the forty thieves.

Then it was show time.

Gun towers erupted out of the forest stage, spraying bullets in a measured pattern so as not to miss a chance to cut down anyone who was a foot—or thirty feet—off the ground. Every two to three seconds the guns fired into the forest carpet to kill anyone trying to slink under their higher firing heights.

Of course, the five square foot area around the control panel had been very carefully calibrated to spare the installers or the manual operators. No thought had been given to the idea that a couple of military geniuses would somehow discover the control panel and lever but also stay within the five-foot square secure zone.

In front and to both sides of the newlyweds, the forty thieves were being reduced in numbers in an appallingly short time.

After only seconds, there was no one left standing, crouching, or crawling in the killing forest.

However, the day-night repetitions continued at the precise intervals of two seconds while the tower guns continued to blaze away at a forest bereft of survivors. The guns ran out of ammo but the clicking of their empty promises persisted.

 “Well, Sweets,” Lorrie whispered, “now that was a show—is a show.”

The alternating day and night scenes continued in silent twisting virtual reality in a manner that David was positive could hypnotize you if you refused to look away every few moments.

“Thanks, hon, thought you’d like it. But I still feel like we’re being stalked. Know what I mean? That certain feeling. And if we are, it will be by those who know all about this hologram and particularly where the control panel is located.”

“Good thinking, Sweets, and if they are out there they wont be in front of us or to the side; they’ll be behind us.”

“Exactly. Let’s swing around all our ordnance to the rear and get out of the control panel square.

"If there are still some left and they figure it’s us, they’ll know we’re in that square and they’ll start lobbing stuff at us and firing off a few clips with their muzzle-suppressed arms.”

They immediately moved away from the panel area and into the thickening forest. Night goggles were on and ordnance was relocated and turned to the rear in seconds.

No capture of Singapore scenario here.

Neither of the couple would have been surprised if they looked at their watches, but a civilian would have shocked and ninety-nine percent of armed forces would have been startled that from the first action of the hologram, only ninety seconds had transpired.

The last pile of grenades had been hastily rolled into a sloppy pile when Lorrie and David looked through their goggles at the impenetrable growth before them.

Neither spoke or whispered. Each felt their most vulnerable now than at any time during their full hundred minutes on task. Perhaps it was the fact that they were so close to a safe exit and their Land Rover, where they could flop, eat and drink—and even pick up where they left off their honeymoon.

The past ninety seconds had flashed past their internal clocks. Now every second dragged its way across their path as they stared into the darkest recesses of the forest.

Then they saw them.

At first, there was only the faintest of rustles.

However, David and Lorrie were not only premier stalkers; they also had extraordinary hearing ability as well as twenty-ten vision. If anything were out there, they would hear it and see it before ninety-nine point five percent of humanity. Nevertheless, they always made plans for the worst. They hoped for the best but anticipated the worst. At this particular moment, they were feeling that one of those worsts was about to happen.

They were prepared.

The faint whisper of waved grasses and underbrush immediately told them that their instincts had been correct. Slowly their enemies rose quietly from their near-earth crouches and poked their heads just barely above their sheltering foliage.

David and Lorrie counted seven. David remembered Lorrie’s remark that the spooks were always in compliments of four. Therefore, there was either one more—or a hell of a lot more.

The couple edged closer to the ground behind their screens of brush and bramble and peered around their closest trunk. That’s when they saw the other nine heads approaching from their right.

Neither said a word. It was all being done 'by the book', and Lorrie and David had rewritten the book during their time with Special Ops and Delta Force. They held their fire until all sixteen heads were either showing or moving in a known direction.

David sighed softly. For the first time on this mission, he feared for his wife. However, this thought only reinforced his resolve.

His wife was feeling exactly the same emotions for her husband and they both knew what the book said to do next.

Nothing.

Do nothing.

Let your enemy advance past you and then shoot to kill. If one of the enemy comes too close to your position: Jump, grab and cut—or twist—the neck, and resume your position.

Now the enemy soldiers were no more than twenty feet from David and Lorrie. They were clearly moving toward the control panel.

David was thinking that their enemies had concluded that if the running wild light show was a result of David and Lorrie, then the newlyweds had already begun to count down—by the book—five minutes to make sure that no one was playing possum in front of them—or anywhere around them for that matter, before retreating along their path to safety and freedom. ‘By the book’ in this situation, the spooks were past David and Lorrie in seconds. So sure were they of their ‘book’, that none of the spooks ever looked more than three of four feet to either side of their path to the control panel; and this was only to be sure of their stealth and their footing. All sixteen were convinced that the objects of their hunt were ex-military and maybe had special forces training. None of the sixteen realized that they were up against the two from the Special Forces who conducted the training and revised procedures when necessary.

In a word, the spooks were ‘outdated.’

Lorrie and David rose as one. 

David brought up hand grenades; Lorrie a submachine gun from the captured jeep.

Then all the rest of hell caboomed in sympathy with the two-second day-night revolving mirrored ball, as David tossed grenades and Lorrie unleashed a continuous rake of fire that dropped eight of the sixteen while David’s four—now five—grenades took out six of the spooks on his side.

The two remaining spooks dropped to the ground but were being blinded by the day version of the day/night VR display, and confused by the direction from which David and Lorrie’s fire was coming.

They made the mistake of lifting only a couple of inches off the ground. David and Lorrie, protected by their respective trees, used their night goggles to detect the last movements of the two unscathed spooks as well as a few of the mortally wounded and between them, the newlyweds erased every vestige of danger from the sixteen and stopped firing.

This time, as well, they did not go by the book and waited not five, but ten minutes, before silently nodding to each other, gathering all the ordnance they could manage, and emerging onto the path leading away from their first assignment.

They left the uncontrolled day/night sequencing hologram as it was and the guns clicking emptily in impotence. The searchlights provided a lighted path for them to follow as they raced at top speed out of any lurking residue of harm’s way.

Before they had a chance to say a word, and already thirty yards along their exit path, a massive explosion rocked the ground. Lorrie and David grabbed at a tree or a fistful of undergrowth to maintain their balance.

Immediately following this earthshaking event, the sky burst into a spiraling and expanding glow of burnt orange and stygian black. Roiling clouds of destruction thrust up through the overhanging tops of the trees and assaulted the grim grey sky of midnight.

“Jesus,” exclaimed David, “I think that might have been the underground C&C and labs . . . well, maybe everything.”

“Looks that way, Sweets. Not so much the clouds; more the shaking of the ground than the fireworks in the sky; hard to say. Let’s just watch for a moment and then hoof it toute suite.”

“Gotcha, hon . . . gotcha.” He pulled his wife to him and delivered a long lingering, and extraordinarily passionate kiss.

The two separated—eventually, and they would have held hands as they walked toward the fifteen-foot razor-wired rugged steel fence but their hands were full of weaponry.

The fence was reached and the ladder was employed to deposit them yards form the barbed wire and freedom. They stopped to look back at the disappearing cloud bearing the remains of the thieves and their thievery.

Suddenly the real full moon escaped the stubborn cloudbank and silhouetted the lovers as they strolled toward the Rover, food, drink, and their honeymoon.

THE END


© Copyright 2017 Nicholas Cochran. All rights reserved.