Science Fiction Mystery

                                       Chaos at the Compound

    The morning light filters through the trees like a hundred search lights. Pamela admires the sun’s search is reminded of a poem, ‘Like searchlights from Heaven the sun shone through the clouds. I hope they found a bit of beauty, truth, and love.’ Pamela shares the poem with Bob, but he finds it hard to appreciate it as one of the search lights has found his eye, and he flips down the visor to block the bright light from his left eye. Bob still manages to say, “That’s nice,” and Pamela nods at Bob, approvingly. 

 Pamela and Bob are the first to arrive. Jesse, Samantha, Monroe and the others will be along soon to put into action their plan previously discussed. Jesse’s plan will see who comes out of the woodwork when word of a plea bargain with Neville is spread. Doctor Van Hildenburger and Nurse Harriet Drew will be called back to the medical section of the compound the next day after they were given time off. Then  everyone will see if there is any reaction to the news. The likelihood  Doctor Hildenburger and/or Nurse Harriet Drew are the informants is great, and one or both are dirty. The insinuation that Pamela’s dear friend and colleague, Doctor Randolph, has any connection to any criminal activity Pamela considers absurd and quite a leap. Pamela takes it in stride but can’t hide her displeasure. Bob, on the other hand, doesn’t have a strong opinion either way. He hasn’t met Doctor Randolph and keeps his opinion to himself. The reason for his reticence is Pamela sitting beside him in silence apparently deep in thought. In truth, Bob feels Samantha and Jesse made good points about the guilt of the doctor and nurse, but Bob remains objective and has a ‘wait and see’ attitude. Monroe on the other hand, wears a smile. He is weary of the investigation spinning its wheels but feels the end is now in sight. It was no secret he never bought Neville’s story, and the idea of this investigation reaching a conclusion and the bad guys meeting their fate before more innocents are hurt has put a spring in his step. Monroe and Officer Jones are adding to the Finding, and their numbers will increase tomorrow. Doctor Van Hildenburger and the nurse left two hours ago, after they were given well deserved days off. Little probability either one wouldn’t jump at the chance to escape the patient guard duty at the compound after their countless hours on duty. Stir crazy comes to mind. However, if one or both worked as an informant to Doctor Randolph, they probably were paid well. Still, both left with a smile on their face, seeing the light of the day.

     All settle in for their long stay. Officer Jones brought in two love seats, and a few chairs. To say the accommodations were far from luxurious is an understatement. 

     Outside the day is drizzly, and buds and plants seem to relish the weather. The Finding has doubled. Cougars are perched in trees with the new growth just enough to cover them as they lay silent and still. To prevent the infiltration by the enemy, they keep a watchful eye. The Finding have their own signals which are ever changing much like a coach’s signals to his players. The sky is dark, and deepening shades of blue seem to be pursuing the darkness clear to the horizon.  Clouds flow in chasing the birds ahead of them.  As they overtake the birds, their wings become silhouettes against the backdrop of the white clouds. Officer Jones enjoys the sight, but soon his pleasure turns to concern and he runs to grab his binoculars. His sudden movement draws the attention of the others who look at one each other, thinking maybe they know what is happening, but no one does. They see Officer Jones peering through his binoculars out  the window.  Suddenly he exclaims, “Look at that.”

     “What?... the birds?” Monroe asks.

     Jesse arrives first, and Officer Jones hands him the binoculars saying, “They aren’t birds.”

     Jesse looks, “Drones?”

     “I believe they are.”

     Monroe says, “What the hell. Get the Finding on the phone.”

     Officer Jones has the phone already in his hand calling, and as Monroe’s last word clears his lips, Jones says into the phone, “Put on your gas masks. We see drones.  You alright?... Check in with the others then get back with me.”

     “You see the cougar?” Monroe asks.

     “No. I know one is just inside the tree line, but he’s covered. I’ll go see.” Officer Jones hurriedly puts a mask on, hands Jesse a key, points and says, “Guns in the cabinet.” Officer Jones runs out the door.

     Monroe pulls his keys out, and along with Jesse runs to the cabinet. Opening it, they see two M16s and three boxes of ammunition. 

     Jesse says, “I’ve got some more in the car.”

     Bob says, “I’ll help you.”

     Monroe receives call, answers, “Cane, how many?...    All close to the compound?...  They started at the front of the compound, working back?  …….    Okay good.”

     The door opens, and Officer Jones comes in with a cougar over his shoulder. He carries the cougar to one of the love seats, and Pamela takes his pulse. Pamela looks concerned but not alarmed.  She next checks on Neville in another room to let him know dinner will be coming soon. Neville seems to be oblivious to what has occurred.  

     Monroe informs them, “About twenty to thirty of the Finding are out. Most got their masks on.”

     Pamela tells Monroe, “We need to bring in those affected by the drones.”

     “There may be thirty…”

     “I don’t care if there are one hundred.”

      Monroe pulls out phone, calls, “This is Cane, we need to get the unconscious Finding into the compound…   I know…   Just as many as you can and as fast as you can.”…       

     Officer Jones, Jesse, and Bob come in with rifles and ammunition then turn to go back out and bring in more. Officer Jones sees a few of the Finding carrying the unconscious and holds the door open He sees more coming from along the tree line. One by one they bring in deer mostly but also some cougars. As they come in, they lay them on the floor, and Pamela and Samantha take their pulse. Bob, Jesse, Monroe, and Officer Jones arrange them to make them as comfortable as they can. Soon deer and cougars lay side by side presenting quite an unusual sight. 

     Officer Jones makes sure everyone unaffected by the drones is armed. They each had a pistol except Pamela, and now they are all equipped with M-16s. They are armed to the teeth.      

     Jesse has a terrible thought. If the drones were sent to kill Neville, one or more of them could be equipped with explosives that could blow the entire compound up wiping out everyone. Monroe, Officer Jones and Pamela are especially thorns in the side of all involved with the experimentations. If they want to rescue Neville, they’ll have to sneak in.       

     More of the Finding are brought in, and the count is now twenty-seven. Some of the cougars were injured when they fell from the trees. A few definitely have broken legs, and Pamela as the only doctor present with Samantha’s aid begins setting them.

     Monroe calls for an update. All is secure in the front, but there is panic because the Finding’s communication lines in the back suddenly went dead not even a minute ago. Monroe continues calling, but there’s still no answer. He calls again… still no answers. Monroe now owns the panic.   

     Jesse jumps up, rushes to Neville’s room and cries out, “He’s gone.” 

     All rush into Neville’s room to join Jesse looking out the open window.

    Monroe tells all, “Let’s go. We can’t let him get to the bayou.” Monroe looks at Jesse and Bob, “It’s up to you two if he does.” 

    As he runs by Pamela and Samantha, Jesse gasps, “Have to catch Neville.”

    Samantha rises, breathes deeply, and Pamela sensing her longing to act tells her, “Go, you’re the fastest.”

     Samantha nods and runs out the door. By the time Samantha reaches the back of the compound, she sees a deer running full speed toward a dirt road that leads to the bayou. The forest’s thick underbrush lining either side of the dirt road highlights it as the quickest route to the bayou. Samantha catches glimpses of a few of the Finding. More undoubtedly have fallen, victims of the surprise attack, and lay unseen and unconscious in the underbrush. She quickly passes Bob and Jesse with ease and within minutes overtakes Officer Jones and Monroe.  Neville’s injuries make travel on anything but this dirt road next to impossible. Samantha feels it’s only a matter of time until she catches them. Of this, she is confident, but what she will do when she does? That is the problem. She wonders if she has become light headed from running when she sees two deer running side by side with a device sling in between carrying a draakar. Draakars are not known for speed, and Neville or Justin or whoever he is, is injured and being carried. So much for the thought that anyone wants him dead. He would be dead now if that were the case. Samantha doesn’t know how close they are to the bayou and slows down a bit, but then she remembers even an injured draakar could still only be caught by Jesse and Bob, if Neville gets to the bayou. She does not want a replay of a month ago when Jesse, Monroe and Officer Jones battled  Neville in the Belle Rive… Samantha says to herself, ‘This ends now.’ She speeds up. Within twenty feet like a bolt of lightning, she plows unseen into one of the deer. That deer, his partner in crime, as well as the draakar tumble tangled up in the carrier. Samantha takes a nasty spill also. All lay for a moment, bewildered, puzzled not knowing what happened. One deer rises, as does the draakar, and the other struggles to stand. Neville in his draakar form comes toward Samantha growling and making slashing gestures.  Unhurt, Samantha jumps up to her feet, running away ten feet then turning before Neville can take two steps. Samantha has succeeded in bringing their escape to a halt and feels like doing an end zone dance. Neville and one of the deer head off down the dirt road. The other deer is unable to walk and is left behind. Samantha runs up as close to Neville as she dares then drops back, harassing him and taunting,  trying to slow their progress.  Each time she ventured closer until Neville couldn’t help himself and tried to go for her. The other deer, on a mission, kept trying to get Neville to the bayou, but precious time was gained. Samantha succeeded in slowing them down until Officer Jones and Monroe arrived. Several snarls and swipes of their cougar paws sent the deer trying to protect Neville running into the underbrush where he disappeared. When two out of breath Draakar finally ran up, Neville did not even try to put up a fight. Everyone traveled back to the compound, not as fast as they’d left, but still quickly, taking along the injured deer in hopes he could furnish them valuable information. About 100 yards from the compound, Samantha speeds up ahead. When everyone reaches the compound, Samantha has changed and is helping Pamela with the injured. Monroe and Officer Jones return Neville to his room then come back out and change clothes. Bob and Jesse do the same.

    Pamela jumps up after Neville is out of sight, “Everyone all right?” Pamela notices abrasions on Samantha’s arm and doctors her cuts. 

    “I fell when I knocked the deer down. Surprised him. He didn’t know what hit him,” Samantha says with pride.

    Monroe, Jesse both ‘SSSSH’ her and point to Neville’s room.

    Excited, Samantha nods  but lowers her voice and continues, “I slowed them down. Wouldn’t let them get to the bayou. I ran up close, circled them, then jumped back away.  They couldn’t move quickly, and they couldn’t get away from me. I kept doing that until the others got there.”

     Even after twenty years together, Jesse has never seen Samantha this excited. Not even when she’s won an important case in court. Jesse bets she could outrun any deer in the Finding right now. Samantha is definitely having an adrenaline rush.        

    Monroe is busy on his phone with the Finding immediately reinforcing and securing the back of the compound while at the same time directing them to retrieve the unconscious Finding. 

    Pamela goes into Neville’s room taking Samantha along. Pamela lets Neville know in no uncertain terms that she, in Doctor Van Hildenburger’s absence, is the doctor in charge. Pamela checks out Neville who appears none the worse for wear, and he tells Pamela and Samantha, “Please let everyone know how much I appreciate them saving me. If they didn’t stop them, I was a dead man.”

    Pamela replies quickly, “It’s our job, but I’ll be sure to pass it along. After today’s ordeal, I want you to rest. In a couple of hours, we’ll bring you something to eat. Now rest.”

    Neville nods and says, “Thanks again.”

    Samantha can’t believe what’s she hears from Neville and fears she will scream  if she doesn’t leave immediately. She quickly hurries out with Pamela and just outside the door she simply states, “That son of a bitch.” Jesse hears her, as do the others, and they all raise their eyebrows and look at one another. Samantha sarcastically states, “Neville wants to thank all of you for saving his life.”

    Jesse asks, “Neville claims they were going to kill him?” 

    “That’s right,” Pamela answers.

    “Neville came at me, growling, slashing. He wanted to kill me because I was slowing him down and standing in the way of his escape.”

    “What if Neville is the leader?” Jesse asks. “Considerable effort was put into getting him out of here.  We saw the incredible resources they must have had to do what they did today.”

    Monroe contemplates, “I suppose it’s possible.”

    Bob adds, “They tried to kidnap Pamela. Monroe, I believe, whoever is behind all this would like to be rid of you too. We all agree on that. It would make their job easier with you both out of the way. I believe if they’d successfully helped Neville escape today, they might have returned later with explosives to take us all out. We need to get out of here.”

    “I think we should put the word out tonight or early tomorrow morning as we’d originally planned that after they failed in their rescue attempt, Neville confessed, agreed to tell all, and made a plea deal,” Jesse suggests.

    Bob wants to get Pamela to safety, “Yes, put word out now then we can leave.”

    Pamela looks at the twenty-seven members of the Finding and tells Monroe, “We have to take them with us.”

    Monroe agrees and turns to Officer Jones, “Let’s get a couple of buses and all leave together. Make ourselves look like the Finding… Leave all the cars. They won’t know we’re gone.”   

    Officer Jones says, “I’ll tell them to get here around dusk.” 

    Pamela says, “I want to visit Doctor Randolph tomorrow. I’ll call him tonight and make the arrangements. He may be able to give us some insight on Neville.”

    Monroe nor anyone else heard anything in Pamela’s statement that remotely sounded like a question. It was a declaration of what was going to happen. Everyone agrees.

    Pamela with a hint of sarcasm, says, “If Doctor Randolph knows anything about what transpired today, he will not be able to hide it from me.” 

    Everyone totally agrees. To do otherwise would be futile.

    The buses arrive at dusk, and the twenty-seven Finding are now stirring in various stages of consciousness with some appearing to suffer from what would appear to be a long night on Bourbon Street. Others are less affected.  Jesse, Monroe, and Bob help them all into the bus. In case they are under observation, Jesse goes on the bus in his own clothes then goes back into the compound and changes into Finding clothes to keep up the appearance that he hasn’t left. Samantha thinks it’s overkill, but has to admit, Jesse’s thorough. As the buses pull out, Jesse looks fondly at their five month old Acura and waves bye. He is very fond of that car. Officer Jones sits next to Neville, but he’s not the only one keeping an eye on him. Neville will not be able to scratch his nose without one of the Finding noticing.  

     Samantha knows there is still so much to do. Who sent the drones to help Neville escape? Who could be behind all this? Someone is still out there pulling the strings, but right now she’s just too tired.  Tomorrow she’ll be able to think more clearly. Tomorrow….  Samantha looks up at Jesse sitting beside her and smiles with satisfaction. Her eyes close as dusk slowly turns to night.

                                                                       The End

May 06, 2021 07:09

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