Chapter 15: One-Nine-Four-Seven
Richter slowly cracked open the janitor’s closet door he’d broken into. When the chaos of gunfire had broken out, he didn’t know what was going on, but broke off the handle to a nearby janitor’s closet and hid inside. He had been waiting for the sounds of gunfire and shouting to die down before making his way back out into the high school and trying to blend in with the other soldiers. He had tried to make out what was going on, but from what little he’d heard from shouting, all he could piecemeal together was that there was someone else in the school. Probably another agent like himself. Some other country had no doubt heard about the UFO crash outside of Tipton. No doubt they were also aware of the bounty in store for whoever could get the chemical agent returned home and analyze it. No doubt there was a new war on the horizon. One very sick and nasty. One fought from afar by dropping pollutants into the air and just watching the aftermath. If the rumors were true, the chemical agent was very effective when used against the enemy.
The Americans were calling it Agent One-Nine-Four-Seven.
It was a reference to the Roswell, New Mexico, UFO crash and sighting which took place in the summer of 1947. An incident that was highly debated amongst many. But to the American government, at least from outside appearances, they were bound and determined to deny any such existence of a UFO in Roswell that year.
Richter had never put much stock in the idea of UFOs or extraterrestrials. But even he had to admit that everything that had happened over the past twenty-four hours was challenging his belief system. He had taken on the assignment assuming Agent One-Nine-Four-Seven was simply a chemical born in a laboratory by American scientists. He didn’t expect to find anything but a vial in a lab. He had assumed he could just swoop in, snatch the vial, and swoop out. Just like in the past with other missions. But this had proven much more complicated. The previous night had proven a complete train wreck.
Richter had stowed away in the American convoy involving both the U.S. Army and Homeland Security. What he found was not a vial of some chemical, but a bizarre alien pod. He didn’t know what to do with it, and before he had made up his mind, some rookie soldier had shot off several rounds of bullets. He hid behind the pod while bullets whizzed by him. He waited for the rookie to run out, but before he did, he shot the driver through the head. As his lifeless body lunged forward from the gunshot wound, he took the steering wheel on a sharp left. They went through the railing and rolled down the side of the lower-half of the mountain. The rookie was rolled all over the backside of the truck.
Richter had taken a few turns around the truck before he realized the pod was bolted in place to the bottom of the truck. It hadn’t moved an inch. He lunged and grabbed onto it with his right hand. Then, he rolled and wrapped the rest of his limbs around it. He held onto the pod his feet, his hands. Even his head.
And they rolled.
And then, there was a crash and more rolling with no ground. They were airborne. He knew the next thing they’d feel would be the ground. He watched the rookie’s body being tossed around like a ragdoll, and he admired it. It was the rookie against nature and nature had broken every bone in his body.
The landing was harsh and knocked his grip loose. He fell and sat motionless for a bit. His eyesight was blurry for a moment, but he quickly took stock of himself. He hadn’t broken anything noticeable like a leg, or arm. He seemed to have all his movement, but he was sore and in a lot of pain. He was going to have the worst whiplash of his life. He would need to see his masseuse when he returned home weekly for at least six months.
He knew then he wouldn’t be walking away with the pod that night. He needed a vehicle, and the truck was sideways in a creek. He stumbled out of the back of the truck, he could see helicopters circling around. They had searchlights following the path of the crash down. He knew they’d eventually light him up, if he didn’t move. He took off running through the creek and eventually threw himself down into the creek face down at the banks. The light was almost on him.
He had lain there, face down in the water, pretending to be amongst the dead. The light shone over him for a few seconds and then moved back to the truck. He crawled across the rocky bottom of the creek to the banks. He crawled into the thick grass and into the trees. He stood up and looked from behind a tree. He could see a sea of soldiers, like ants, rushing down the mountain side. They’d shoot him if they saw him.
He had torn off into the woods. He made his way to Tipton, knowing they’d eventually have to travel through it, as it was in the valley between the mountains. It was either that or they turned around and went back. But Agent Wilcox wouldn’t do that, because their destination was Arizona. If he made it to Arizona, and got it underground, Richter would lose his best chance at retrieving it. He had to take it in Tipton. He knew that.
So he waited.
He waited all day on the upside of the outside of Tipton. He watched all day, waiting to see that convoy come moving into town. Coming down the mountain.
And they did.
He stepped out of the janitor’s closet and closed it silently behind himself. A lot of the lighting which had been bright and obnoxious when he came in was now broken. Someone had been evening the playing field. He admired it. It also worked to his advantage. He moved quickly.
He approached the entrance to the gym; the lights were shining through the door. He figured it was a sure bet. Somewhere big, lots of room. And open, easy to protect. Put some snipers up in the top of the bleachers. His palms started to sweat. That was always an indication to him that he didn’t like the odds. They had the high ground. The only thing he had going for him was his borrowed uniform. That would only work from a distance, because up close no one would recognize him or the name on the uniform. He figured he had to work up a distraction. But maybe the distraction that was already in place had done just that. Perhaps he could sneak in under their nose, while they chased whoever came in before him, and push it right out. It might just be the easiest snatch he’d ever made.
He stepped up to the first set of doors. He stood next to them and leaned over to look in the window. The pod was there. From what he could see, the gym looked empty. He couldn’t even see any snipers at the top of the bleachers. Had they really abandoned the pod like amateurs?
He figured it was best to move to the second set of doors and check a different angle. He took one step and a fire alarm started to ring. He looked back through the window. No movement. No shadows. Nothing.
He looked down the hallway behind him and before him. The same. No movement. No shadows. Not even a sound. Where was everybody?
He decided to run with it. He pushed the doors open and moved in quickly. He held his rifle up and moved around to the edge of the bleachers. He quickly took stock of all the corners he’d set up shop in, and there was nobody. He shook his head.
Frustrated and confused, he just stepped out onto the court and stood there with his hands up. He danced a little jig. Nothing. Nobody was there. It was insulting. Who could be so much more important, that they abandoned their post with the pod and left it wide open for him?
Nobody. He was their greatest threat. They were complete amateurs.
He ran over to the pod, slung his rifle over his shoulder. They had put the pod on a cart of some kind from the school. He dropped to the hardwood floor, looked underneath and confirmed it had wheels. It was going to be so easy.
There was a loud crash and popping sound. He spun over onto his back with his gun trained in the direction the sound came from. Someone had taken out one of the lights in the ceiling, between the rafters. Someone was shooting the lights out.
He listened. But he couldn’t hear anything through the fire alarm. He checked the various angles someone might have been shooting the light from. He didn’t see anyone in the bleachers. No one on the floor beside the bleachers.
Crash. Pop. Pop, pop.
He spun around and watched as sparks fell from another light that had been taken out behind him. It was the opposite end of the court. They were messing with him and slowly taking out the lighting between them. He figured they could see him, in the middle of the court and on the floor like an amateur. But it was pointless. Getting up and running was only going to push their trigger. They knew they had the high ground. He just needed to spot them, just once. And then he could kill them for taking him for granted. For thinking they could kill The Judge.
Crack. Pop, pop. Pop.
They had the high ground, and they should have taken their shot when they had it. He’d given them an inch, they wouldn’t get a mile. They were cocky, and he was going to enjoy killing them. Watching them suffer and he would remind them why you don’t walk into his courtroom and try to take The Judge at his own game.
Crack. Pop, pop. Pop. Crack. Crack. Pop, pop, pop. Pop.
There were so many flashes and sparks flying that he was losing count of the lights. He started seeing blue spots and rubbed his eyes.
Crack. Pop. Crack. Pop. Pop, pop, pop. Crack. Crack. Pop, pop, pop, pop. Crack. Pop.
He closed his eyes. The flashes and sparks were only hurting his vision. He would have to wait until the sparks dissipated. All he could see was the blacks of his eyelids and blue spots. All he could hear was the fire alarm blaring nonstop.
He still had touch.
He set his left hand on the hardwood floor next to him and felt for anything. Any sign of vibration that might indicate someone was walking the floor towards him. He couldn’t feel anyone. No one was on the floor, not near him at least. They could be standing at the edge of the court, taking their aim on his body. He was poised with his back against the pod, sitting on the floor. He was so compromised. They had the high ground and were making an assault on his senses.
They would screw up. They had to. No one had ever outwitted him. No one had ever gotten the high ground on him. They would have to slip up eventually. And when they did, he’d destroy them. And then he’d kill them.
He moved his hand gently across the hard wood, still feeling for something. That slip up. That…
The pod suddenly began to shake back and forth violently on the cart. It was so violent it knocked him over onto his side. He jumped to his feet, his eyes still closed.
They were atop the pod.
He fired off several bullets where he figured the soldier was atop the pod. He heard the shrieking sounds of metal against metal. He opened his eyes, ready to see a defeated opponent. But instead…
The alien had left one light in place, right above her pod. It lit her and the pod up before him. The symbol on her abdomen was glowing white, except for four black marks which slowly regained their light. He had shot her four times, but his bullets simply ricochet off her abdomen.
He couldn’t believe what he was seeing before himself. This was why they had abandoned their post. The alien had come back for her pod. The alien wasn’t ready to let it go. Anyone who took ownership of the hive had to answer to the Queen. He looked up to her face.
Her brow was scowling. Anger. Pure, unadulterated rage.
Please subscribe to our newsletter to learn about new publications of stories and more.
About the Blog
Stories, excerpts, writing tips, guest bloggers, writing prompts, and more. A place to share and grow as a writer. Feel free to subscribe, submit something for the blog, or dive into the comments.