Monday, September 15, 2014

In Plain Sight -Chapter 18

Having chased the cruiser out of Sol System, Rick looked over the progress of the bio-dome on the far side of Mars. The engineering crew of the Sentinel was working furiously to have the outpost set up and ready for the coming incursion against the neighboring blue planet. So far, the Udug ships entering the area seemed to be carefully feeling out the new arrivals in the backwater solar system.
The astronauts on the ISS had a camera continually focused on them, but their link back to Earth seemed to fail just as they were ready to download the images. From the screams of frustration coming over the lines, NASA, ESA, and any other tech lab that may have had a hand in the design of the space station, were pulling their collective hair out trying to find out why extremely few of the close-ups of the alien crafts were getting Earth-side. No one bothered to ask Rick and his own techs about it.
He wasn’t in denial about their ‘secret’ roaming through Sol System; Earth governments had spotted the ships almost as soon as they entered the solar system two years earlier, and a few private parties had also spotted them. The continued silence from the ships was irritating the governments who were demanding identification, but it wasn’t time to show up and knock on the door. At Rick’s request, though, knowing that Earthers will get what they want sooner or later, Thane allowed a few pictures to ‘escape’.
Thane wasn’t happy with Earth’s treatment of either the people or the planet, and wasn’t going to risk his crew without seeing some improvement. After scanning through Earth’s broadcasts, he placed the planet under Protectorate status, with Quarantine as a sub-status.
Once Rick’s science department decoded the odd message that came from a private hacker planet-side, he discussed its meaning with Thane, and received permission to launch the idea. It wasn’t too much longer that a new website appeared with a live-cam feed, and files of information on, surprisingly, the Grays.
The people inhabiting Earth’s here-I-am-come-get-me station (ISS) were getting great footage which they could only describe to their minders below. Their verbal reports, though, only succeeded in frustrating their governments even more. The governments quickly shut up the moment the cameras on the ISS were released.
Rick decided he needed an assistant. Once the information began to be processed, all the lines would be tied up. He decided there was only one person on the ship that could tell someone where to stick it and make it sound like an invitation. He called Claire, the manager of Deck 7. She demanded to know drugs what he had been ingesting.
Standing in his office, ignoring the reports he had waiting on his desk, Rick pulled at the collar of his sheriff’s uniform, hating the damned thing; it made him choke. He never thought he’d miss his saga, the Thayan kilt that he usually wore. Give him his saga and a loose-weave shirt any ol’ day. And boots that fit. He was wearing the uniform, though, because he never knew when he’d be called on the cell phone in his pocket and need to head land-side to play sheriff. The role was getting more and more difficult, though; he just didn’t have time to play sheriff anymore. He considered turning in his resignation.
The door opened and Evan came in. “She’s doing it again,” Evan told him. “And she found someone else with an off-talent Talent: Michael, that singer Aaron is married to.”
Rick frowned. “Who’s Aaron? What singer? What’s he do with it?”
Evan made quick mental leaps over the Rick-speak. “Aaron and Michael are bond-mates; Aaron worked with Karrin Cooper, he has earth-sense. He’s the one who’s been fixing up Ninah’s new house. You shook hands with him two weeks ago, Rick. His mate, Michael, is a singer. He manipulates sound waves,” Evan told him. “Both French, by the way. So far, Michael has made some truly beautiful music. I was just down at a concert he put on in Phoenix. Aaron called Ninah for a badly written matrix program that Michael spoke for a movie scene, and brought enough air waves together to make an indoor hurricane. Ninah fixed it after telling him to intone a counteracting wave, which, I believe, she made up on the spot. He created a trap matrix using only his voice and unconscious instinct.”
Rick thought about it.  “What was he doing speaking a matrix at a concert?”
Evan sighed and sat on the corner of Rick’s desk. “No, Rick, he was in rehearsal for a movie the other day, and apparently things started flying across the set. Aaron called Ninah to come down and take a look. After the concert, Michael and his manager were called to the studio after a security guard and found the entire set smashing itself to pieces. The matrix had grown, instead of simply dissipating. So Michael called Aaron to bring Ninah right away. I slipped a voice tag into their cars. You can listen to the recording, if you’d like. But on the way she made up a trap matrix, another one on the spot, mind you, and had Michael speak it on the set to hold the conjured energy in place until she got there to deal with it.”
Rick’s eyes were far away as he considered the information. “Hmm.. interrogation possibilities,” he said, thinking out loud. Evan had to agree, although he was thinking more along the lines of therapeutic applications.
He gave a noisy growl and pulled the uniform over his head and off, tossing it onto the table, and gave his hairy chest an exuberant rub as he breathed deeply.
“How about if we just tell them the truth?” he asked. “We were looking for allies in this sector, and here they are. Are they capable of helping us?”
“Possibly,” Evan said with a shrug. “I think most of this is new to them, though. I have no idea how they’d react to real-world scenarios. More real than they are now experiencing, I mean.”
“We need to start working on bringing them in. There has to be more than these five –sorry, seven, now – who can do the work.”
Evan sighed and settled his jaw in his palm. “Bring them in. These Earthers have great potential, but they are new at it and still don’t know what they’re doing.”
“Isn’t that what you’re for?” Rick countered. He poured himself a glass of juice and gulped it. “With that damned Udug filter taken down, we knew odd things were bound to happen. Okay, so their metas are jumping instead of crawling; all the more reason to get them trained, and quickly. There has to be more M1’s and 2’s on the planet than those few. Start stripping the woodwork and see what you can roust out of their nests.”