Project contact, chapter 7

Howard made a final call to Svoboda. He told him not to leave the building, not even through the back doors even if that seemed like a safe route. He reassured him and told him that everything would be all right. He warned him and admitted that they would soon hear shoots, but he lied to him about everything else: about their odds, about the bleakness of their situation, and everything else. And the old man believed Howard, probably because he was desperate to believe him.

The moaning coming from the enfolding shutters grew into a shrill rattle. With a sudden yank, the security shutters were ripped off from their foundations by the truck, which peeled away a good distance, followed by a rain of plaster and chunks of stone. The double doors stood there upright, comically detached from their surrounding torn-off wall.

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Project Contact, chapter 6

Howard knew there was no time to lose. The assailants outside weren’t going to let them a few moments to mourn, breath, or pull themselves together, but he found himself unable to muster the energy to rally the people around him, or even himself, out of their glum stupor. He tried to latch on a plan, a course of action to spur everybody, but his thoughts were constantly interrupted and diverted by the faces and names of the men and women down below.

Some of the scientists were starting to stir, or were trying to call those in the lab, to no avail; others were curled against the walls, looking nowhere in particular. Svoboda was talking to someone on the phone, in Dutch, and two junior scientists were sitting down a desolate and silent Wickerman. The cops, although still shocked by their friend’s treason, looked level-headed enough, so Howard focused on them.

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Project Contact, chapter 5

Temporarily halting the assailant’s first attack brought a double-edged respite to the men and women inside the compound, one Howard knew could be their doom if they just hunkered down there. The quick reaction and bravery of that local cop had given them a few extra minutes, and he wasn’t going to squander them. He shouted to remind everybody of his previous order and herded the frightened workers and the beleaguered policemen toward the main elevator.

Howard knew they were outnumbered and most likely outgunned too. On his side, he had Oliver, the desk guard, who carried a gun he probably had never used before, and a few cops (those carried rifles, so at least he had that.) Monica, the underground lab guard, was down below and he needed her there to make sure the scientists were all right —and, for more personal reasons, out of harm’s way. On the enemy side, they were facing against a military-grade truck and a convoy of men armed with semiautomatic weapons. He was sure he had seen three pick-up trucks, but there could have been more. He assumed that, at the very least, they would have to stand against a dozen men, perhaps even twenty.

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Project Contact, chapter 4

Constantin Howard began to holler orders as he flipped through the menus and sub-menus of his tablet. He was activating his audio broadcasting privileges, but nobody else had seen the visual feed of the incoming attackers, so the people around looked at him as if he were a hobo who had suddenly started yelling about the end of the world.

“There’s a terrorist convoy coming this way!” He shouted. “Everybody to the lab elevator now!”

He didn’t know what they were. Terrorist or something else, but the word worked and their previous passive confusion gave way to a hurried but well-drilled flight towards the bowels of the building. Both  Wickerman and Svoboda signaled to him but he waved them off, telling them to go with everybody else. He switched on the compound-wide broadcast system and began talking in the most relaxed tone of voice he managed to muster. As he talked, he ran to the policemen posted outside, who were even more oblivious of the approaching threat.

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November 1st story: “It was worth it.”

As I said in the previous post, this is the write-a-story-a-day month, so let’s begin with something unique (and longer than I had expected.) It’s not what I usually write, but I liked it anyway.


 

Like those astronomical objects that are first discovered by the effects they have around them, David’s first glimpse of her was indirect, of the fluttering of people orbiting around her and the deviations she caused in passersby’s trajectories as they got close to her gravitational pull.

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