The Breach

18 Jan

Noah Curtis leaned back in his chair, his right index finger absently worrying his upper lip.  His mind was trying to puzzle through the odd events in his mind.

Six months earlier, he was walking out of a coffee shop when he ran into an old classmate of his.  Johnny MacArthur looked like he hadn’t aged a day since the CHRONOS project six years earlier.  Noah didn’t understand how it was Johnny always seemed to be on the shortlist for projects that didn’t officially exist. 

“Noah!”  Johnny boomed, as he pumped Noah’s outstretched right hand.  “What are you doing these days?”

“Just some research at the university.  Nothing glamorous, but it pays the bills.” Noah replied, sensing that his old friend was building to a proposition that he wouldn’t want to refuse.

Johnny’s grey eyes twinkled.  He leaned forward and half-whispered “It sounds incredibly boring.  How would you like the chance to get back into the game?  Cutting edge stuff, and the kind of work no one else is doing right now.”
“And all the secrecy to make sure no one ever knows about it.”
“Everything comes with a price…including dealing with the fact that it is compartmentalized.”

Noah paused, before he said “And I suppose you know what the whole picture is.”

“Of course.  And I think you can help if you know what we’re doing too.  But I can’t get you top-level clearance.  At least, not yet.  You’ll have to do some of your magic in the lab first.  When they know you get it, then they’ll see that you can see around the corners that they can’t.”

Reluctantly, Noah said yes, remembering how the CHRONOS project ended.  Johnny could see that Noah was dwelling on the past.  “Hey.  I was there, remember?  You did the right thing shutting CHRONOS down.  It was a dead-end, and a dangerous one.  General Watkins was insane, and everyone who has been cleared to read the full report knows it.  Meet me back here tomorrow morning, and I’ll take you to where we have LAZARUS set up.”

“That’s kind of quick. ”  Noah’s eyes narrowed.  “What are you here for?”

Johnny grinned “You.  You’ll be working for the usual suspects again, so you know that I know you have nothing going on at the moment, and can be off the grid for a few months.”

“Well, at least I’m not dealing with any cloak and dagger bullshit.  I HATE that stuff.”

Johnny grinned.  “Quit your complaining.  You know you live for it, and you know that I only get you for the really interesting stuff.”

****************************************************

The car drove away, and Noah turned to Johnny.  “So when do I get the summary?”

Johnny raised his hand slightly.  “Not now.  Wait until we’re on the plane.”  He motioned toward a small jet waiting on the runway. 

After boarding, Noah looked around.  And was surprised to see there were no windows.

He turned to Johnny, who had anticipated his question.  “Not my idea.  We’ve worked security conscious jobs before, but this one goes above and beyond.  You remember how some of the biggest projects in history have been broken up into small pieces, worked on by different teams in different places?”

“Yes.”

“This is like that.  This is what I can tell you right now.  It’s on an island.  A very isolated island.  Four labs, all at opposite ends.  You’ll be in Lab 2 at first.  The equipment isn’t cutting edge.  It’s bleeding edge, and you’ll be given free rein.  Head of your facility is a guy named Jones.  His skills aren’t what yours are, but he’s a competent generalist, and has a track record of keeping his mouth shut.  He already has read your file, and knows that you can help him solve his problem.  He also knows that you are in good with HIS boss, and that you’ll probably be one of his bosses very shortly too.”

“Good.  I was afraid that there would be some pressure with this assignment.”  Noah worked to flash a small smile.

“Nothing to worry about.  Lab 2 is just stuck at the moment, and its hanging the rest of the project up.  Since I happened to know a guy who is a genius in genetics, who also has a background in classified work, I volunteered you to be the point man on this.”  He handed Noah an electronic tablet.  “You’ll find all the notes on here.  It will be a very long flight, with a few refueling stops, so you’ll have some time.  The can is in the back.  The fridge has sandwiches and soda, and the liquor cabinet is stocked.”

Johnny said the last through closed eyes as he reclined his seat.  Noah felt like he had been dismissed.  Sensing that his friend wasn’t going to say more, he opened the file on the table and started reading.  By the time he reached the second page, he heard soft snoring from the seat opposite.  Noah sighed, and moved onto page 3, his interest peaking.

***************************************

As it turned out, the problem was an interesting one, and not dissimilar to insurmountable difficultly that had ended CHRONOS.  However, a more imaginative person had looked to a potential solution where he hadn’t, and the newer technology had allowed them to solve the problem, only to falter on a more basic one after that.  After a week, with only 5 hour breaks, Noah had solved it.  Johnny’s smile filled the video screen in the Communications Room as Noah stood next to Jones and calmly explained the solution. 

“Damn.  I knew we should have had you in on this sooner, Noah.  I really am sorry I didn’t call you right at the start.”

Noah was tired, and needed a shave, a shower, and eight hours sleep (but not necessarily in that order), but not so tired that he couldn’t twist his friend’s tail a bit.  “Not a problem for us geniuses.  Speaking of geniuses, didn’t you say something about assisting with the view?”

If Johnny was disturbed by the reminder, his face didn’t show it.  “Later old buddy.  First, I have the rest of the project to attend to.  I’ll call you in a little while, as soon as the clearance becomes official.”  The screen went dark.

*****************************************************

That was a week ago.  And Johnny hadn’t called back.  And he wasn’t going to.

A day after the conversation, Jones had come into the Noah’s workroom, his face ashen.  Noah thought to himself that Jones would be a lousy card player.   There’s been an…accident at Lab One.  I checked the security network, and all the fire alarms there had been triggered.  Other data on the network indicates that there was a fire.  A security team from Lab 4 went to investigate, and confirmed that it had burned down.  Before Lab 4 lost contact with the team.”

Noah took it all in, and wondered why Jones looked so worried.  “And?” he asked.

“And the next day, we lost contact with Lab 4.  It’s still there, but no one is answering.”

“Ok.”

“And yesterday, we lost contact with Lab 3.”

“So send a security team to check it out.”

” I can’t”.

“What do you mean “you can’t”?”

“When we lost contact with Lab 4, security enacted a special protocol to be used if such a thing happened.”

“Meaning?”

“We are locked down.  It isn’t like anyone went outside much anyway, so I don’t think any one has noticed yet, but no one leaves this complex.”  Noah considered that.  It was a tropical island, and although there were windows, the steamy jungle wasn’t exactly inviting.

“For how long?” Noah asked.

Jones shrugged his shoulders.  “I don’t know.  They don’t tell me anything.  For all I know, the project gets buried if something goes wrong, which could mean that we are on our own.”

*************************************************

Noah woke up with a start, sweat glistening on his face. 

His dream was about his friend, burns on his body, stalking him in the jungle.  Noah splashed water on his face, and tried to collect his thoughts.  Turning, he pressed the button to open the blind on his window, only to see Johnny, his face blackened, and his hair singed in places, looking in at him.  Noah cried out, and jumped back.  He heard Jones knocking at his door, and turned to open it.  He turned back to the window, and his friend was gone.  Jones told him that there would be a meeting in the cafeteria in a half hour.  Noah thanked him, and shut the door.  As he dressed, he stared at the window, waiting to see the familiar face appear again.  Before he left, he stepped up to the window and looked out.  On the ground, looking up sat a german sheppard.  Noah wondered why security would leave one of their dogs out in the heat, but as he looked more closely, he realized that the dog had been outside for a while.  Between the dirt, and the growth caught in the dogs hair, it showed signs of being outside for at least a day.  And then he noticed that the dog wasn’t panting.

Slowly he stepped away from the window, and headed to the meeting.

********************************************************

12 Responses to “The Breach”

  1. Blackiswhite, Imperial Consigliere January 18, 2012 at 5:27 pm #

    This poat? She sucks.

  2. Teresa in Fort Worth, TX January 18, 2012 at 5:40 pm #

    I’m so confused…..

  3. Dick (@DicksTrash) January 18, 2012 at 5:59 pm #

    Is he gonna get laid?

  4. Blackiswhite, Imperial Consigliere January 18, 2012 at 6:05 pm #

    I honestly don’t know what happens to him…but I don’t think that scoring is on the agenda.

  5. LC Aggie Sith January 18, 2012 at 6:48 pm #

    Yes, it counts, BisW. Thanks for the read. Will there be a follow-up? Part Deux?

  6. Blackiswhite, Imperial Consigliere January 18, 2012 at 8:02 pm #

    There is more to the story, but I don’t know how it ends.

    I always wake up before I get there.

  7. LC Aggie Sith January 18, 2012 at 8:11 pm #

    Then just swing it 😀

  8. clintbird January 19, 2012 at 1:04 am #

    NEWSFLASH! Long thought missing tape of Dick in his military days unearthed. See below:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PO8idMCW0Ro&feature=related

  9. Jay in Ames January 19, 2012 at 9:21 am #

    My Daughter is Moving Out!

    Last night, my daughter just walked into the living room and said, “Dad, cancel my allowance immediately, rent out my room, throw all my clothes out of the window, take my TV, stereo, iPhone, iPod, and my laptop. Please take all of my jewelry to the Salvation Army or Goodwill. Then sell my new car that you gave me. Take my front door key away from me and throw me out of the house. Then disown me and never talk to me again. And don’t forget to write me out of your will and leave my share to my brother.”

    Well, she didn’t put it quite like that. What she actually said was…

    “Dad, I have decided to work for Obama’s re-election campaign.”

  10. LC Aggie Sith January 19, 2012 at 11:09 am #

    HAHAHAHAHA!!!

    Good morning, y’all. Just now sitting down to drink my coffee. What. A. Morning…

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Stories in Review « Sithy Things - January 18, 2012

    […] Uncivil Peasants: The Breach […]

  2. The Sithy Challenge « Jay in Ames - January 19, 2012

    […] Harbor: A Recollection of December Third World Country: Well, It Ain’t Mrs. Murphy’s Chowder Uncivil Peasants (BlackIsWhite): The Breach Yabu: Merced Recibida, Libertad Vendida Advertisement LD_AddCustomAttr("AdOpt", "1"); […]

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: