Undisclosed, p.33

Undisclosed, page 33

 

Undisclosed
 



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It was 8:20 p.m. by the time he found his way back into town. He grabbed a grilled chicken sandwich from a fast food drive-thru and then went shopping for supplies at a nearby 24-hour Walmart, purchasing a navy wool blanket, a battery-powered alarm clock, several bottles of water and trail mix, two 1000-lumen tactical flashlights, a black backpack, bolt cutters, and a 5-speed bicycle which he stowed in the trunk. Backing his car into a peripheral spot away from the lighted entrance, he set the alarm clock to wake him at 11:30 p.m. and laid down in the backseat beneath the blanket, placing the loaded 9mm on the floor by his side.

  36

  Subterranean Complex—Midwest USA

  JESSICA BARELY MANAGED A SCREAM before the elevator free-fall suddenly terminated in a cushioned one-G stop.

  The doors opened, revealing Joyce LaCombe. Logan’s mother wore a white lab coat and a terse smile. “We meet again. Please don’t be upset with Logan, I instructed him to send you down here.”

  “Where is here?”

  “A little slice of the future we call La-La Land.”

  “You didn’t answer my question.”

  “We occupy levels twelve through twenty-three which are accessible only from the bottom up.”

  “Level-23?” The blood rushed from Jessica’s face, her limbs trembling.

  “Now don’t freak out on me, Marulli. Come on out of there and I’ll show you—”

  “No. I’ve been down here. Take me back!”

  “You’ve never been down here, Jess. The colonel blasted your brain with a psychotronic device which separated your consciousness from your body. He implanted an alien abduction scenario into your subconscious that was designed to make you fear ETs.”

  “No … this was real. This Grey … it knew things about me that I’ve never told a soul.”

  “Let me guess … you’re pregnant.”

  Jessica’s eyebrows raised. “How—”

  “Please. You’re highly emotional and you threw-up in my apartment. I’m sure they ran blood tests on you after my husband stunned you with his taser.”

  “That was Captain LaCombe?”

  “Delta Force runs security down here. When they detected you inside the launch area he intervened. He felt bad about tasing you, but he couldn’t let you identify him.” Joyce stepped inside the elevator. “You don’t have to worry. Down here I’m Sheriff Glinda and the Wicked Colonel of the West isn’t welcome.”

  Placing her arm around Jessica’s shoulder, she led her off the elevator to a security station resembling a pedestrian version of a toll booth. An office enclosed in bullet-proof glass divided two walkways, the men’s entry on the right, the women’s on the left.

  A female guard wearing a black jumpsuit addressed them from inside the women’s area. “Swipe your identity cards and go on through one at a time.”

  Joyce nodded. “I’ll be right behind you.”

  Jessica removed the lanyard from around her neck and slid the card’s magnetic strip along the slot, causing the rotary bar lock before her to open. She walked through, waiting by a door designated “Women” by its stick figure.

  Dr. LaCombe passed through security and pushed open the door.

  Inside was a well-kept locker room. Bathrooms and showers were to one side, rows of lockers on the other. “Strip down and stow all your belongings in a locker. Then take the key and your I.D. badge and follow me into the showers.”

  Jessica selected a locker across from Joyce and removed everything but her I.D. lanyard. Placing the locker key’s elastic band around her left wrist, she grabbed a clean towel from a stack and entered the showers.

  Joyce cupped her hand beneath a soap dispenser, the motion detector activating the water pressure. “Lather up from head to toes. We have to pass through a bacteria detector; if you fail you’ll have to repeat it until you get it right.”

  Jessica did as she was told. Rinsing the anti-bacteria body wash from her hair, she squeezed out the excess water from her blonde strands and then passed through the bacteria detector without a glitch. Joyce led her into a another locker room equipped with hair dryers and scales. Racks of scrubs and shoes were organized by size.

  “Dry your hair, then swipe your card on one of the scales and weigh yourself. Once your birthday suit weight is logged in you can get dressed. Purple scrubs are for guests. You’ll find clean bras and underwear in those drawers.”

  “Joyce, do you have to shower every time you enter wherever it is you’re taking me?”

  “Yes. It’s for their protection, not ours.”

  Their protection? Jessica grabbed a gun-shaped dryer from a wall rack and quickly dried her hair, an uneasy feeling tightening in her gut.

  “Stop worrying. I would never endanger you or your baby. By the way, does Adam know?”

  “No. I haven’t spoken to him in almost three weeks.”

  “Well, I’m sure he could use the good news.”

  Cassopolis, Michigan

  Adam awoke five minutes before the battery-powered alarm clock went off. The car windows were steamy, his undershirt soaked in sweat. Unlocking the doors, he climbed out of the backseat and looked around.

  It was a cool autumn night, the air muggy with humidity. The Walmart lot was empty save for three cars parked close to the entrance. Peeling off his tee-shirt, he tossed it in back and pulled on his gray sweatshirt. Then he climbed in front and started the car, the digital clock above the radio reading 11:32 p.m.

  Adam drove through the center square of Cassopolis, only to follow the wrong road to a dead end. Retracing his route, he located the two lane highway that led to the closed gas station.

  He parked the car and shut off the engine. Removing one of the powerful flashlights from the plastic Walmart bag, he got out to check the two bay doors and the office. Finding everything locked, he returned to his car and popped open the trunk, locating a tire jack.

  Adam walked back to the gas station office. Making sure no one was around, he jammed the flat edge of the tire iron between the door and its frame and popped open the lock.

  Entering the dark office, his light revealed bare shelves and a layer of dust that indicated no one had been there for quite a while. Using the tire iron to brush aside cobwebs, he entered the service area, making his way carefully to the last bay where he slid back the bolts on either side of the roll-up door before opening it.

  Returning to the car, he organized his supplies. He consumed a bag of trail mix and a bottled water before placing the items Jared had acquired for him inside the backpack, along with the flashlight and bolt cutters. He checked the safety on the 9mm and climbed out of the car, tucking the gun into his waistband; the night vision glasses going around his neck. He removed the bicycle from the trunk and restarted the car, backing the Ford Taurus into the open bay. After rolling down the windows, he powered off the engine and left the keys inside the ashtray. He then sealed the garage door and exited through the office.

  Adam surveyed the area using the night vision binoculars. The countryside appeared green in the glasses—the stars, glowing specks in the sky. Satisfied there was no one in sight, he secured the backpack over his shoulders and climbed onto the bike, sliding his left shoe in the peddle strap before pushing off with his right foot, following the deserted country road to the northwest.

  He quickly realized his prosthetic was not going to cooperate and was forced to adapt a one-legged spin with his real leg. After a few minutes he found himself winded; after ten he stopped to gauge his bearings again with the night glasses.

  He could see the farmhouse half a mile up ahead, a soft glow of light coming from one of the first floor windows.

  That’s close enough …

  He climbed off the bike and removed the bolt cutters from the backpack. Examining the barbed-wire fence, he selected the nearest wood post and snipped each of the three horizontal lengths of wire. After replacing the tool, he dragged the bike through the opening, laying it flat along the tall grass.

  Using the night vision glasses, he head
ed for the farmhouse.

  * * *

  Orange flames danced around a log in the stone fireplace, the random crackling and popping in contrast to the rock-steady cadence of the ticking grandfather clock.

  Air Force counter-intelligence agent Kelly Kishel huddled beneath the down comforter on the dining room floor. From her vantage she had a clear shot at the front door of the farmhouse, as well as most of the first floor windows. The back door, accessible through the kitchen, was her one vulnerable point. To gain entry her target would first have to enter the screened-in porch, its rusted springs alerting her to his presence. Once inside he would still have to pass through the kitchen and into the dining room, again entering her kill zone.

  She had arrived at the property shortly after receiving confirmation that Adam Shariak had boarded United Flight 6324 out of Washington, D.C. The farm’s caretakers—both retired field agents—had vacated the black ops location the day before and would not return for seventy-two hours. To their credit, the couple had actually become novice dairy farmers. The sixteen cows they cared for certainly lent to their cover, though the supplemental income was far from necessary with what MAJI was paying them.

  The dark screen of Agent Kishel’s laptop suddenly illuminated, revealing an aerial view of the property. Sensors had picked up a break in the security fence along the northwest access road, heat sensors locking on to the intruder as he circled the farmhouse to the north.

  Kelly Kishel felt for the prescription bottle in her purse and popped her second 20mg Fluoxetine in the last two hours, chasing the megadose of serotonin with the remains of her coffee. She removed the Glock 27 from its holster and then released the safety, her eyes tracking her invited guest on her monitor as he made his way to the farmhouse.

  * * *

  Adam surveyed the two-story dwelling from behind the trunk of an oak tree. The driveway leading to the front door was gravel, the back door accessible only through a screened-in porch. He imagined the hinges and springs of the patio door would be rusted.

  He checked the time … 12:36 a.m. He had purposely arrived early—not that it really mattered. The counter-intelligence agent was expecting him; the question was how many reinforcements were inside with her and how many more were on the way.

  * * *

  Kelly’s eyes followed the blinking figure on screen, her medicated pulse rock-steady as her visitor crossed the gravel driveway.

  The counter-intelligence agent drew a bead on a chest-high dining room window panel that looked out to the front stoop. Atta boy … Coupla more feet and it’s nighty-night.

  For several minutes Shariak remained ten to fifteen feet outside the front door. Then he appeared to have second thoughts; circling around to the southeast side of the house.

  Sweat beads rolled down her neck as she heard the screen door’s rusted springs squeal open. No problem. From her vantage she could put a bullet in her quarry no matter which door he entered through.

  And then the window by the kitchen sink shattered, causing her to drop to her knees. Before she could discern what the hissing sound was, a second object punched through the dining room window and rolled beneath the table, the smoke trail quickly filling the room and burning her eyes.

  Tear gas!

  Barely able to see, she ducked beneath the blanket with the laptop, quickly determining Shariak was heading around to the back porch. Gun in hand, she ran stooped over to the front door and flung it open, desperate for fresh air.

  The light ignited from somewhere directly ahead, blinding her. Squinting and curling into a ball, she aimed her gun at the 1000-lumen tactical flashlight, firing twice before she felt the barrel of the 9mm pressing against the back of her neck, the voice coming from behind the gas mask muffled in her ear. “Hand me the weapon very slowly.”

  She swore under her breath, angry at herself for falling for the diversion.

  She held up the Glock—Shariak yanking it out of her hand. She heard him tuck it away before his hand slid up the back of her neck, his fingers entwining her blonde hair into a fist.

  “Walk toward the light … move!”

  Looking down, she moved ahead until she was at the source.

  “On your knees.”

  “Sounds kinky, Shariak. Is that how Jessica prefers it?”

  The CIA agent never registered the blow to the back of her skull, only the gravel as her face struck the driveway, her consciousness inhaled into the sparkling purple darkness.

  Subterranean Complex—Midwest USA

  Freshly showered and having weighed in and dressed in purple scrubs and tennis shoes, Jessica followed Joyce LaCombe out of the women’s locker room and down a long, white-tiled corridor. Every twenty feet they passed below a translucent black-tinted half-sphere mounted in the ceiling, the objects no doubt containing security cameras.

  “Joyce, why did you bring me here?”

  “After what Dr. Death did to you, we felt it was important you know the truth.”

  “Who’s we?”

  “We are the silenced majority that needs to be heard.”

  “Maybe you could start by telling me where we are.”

  “We’re in Dulce, New Mexico … or more accurately, we’re beneath a mountain not far from Dulce, New Mexico. Construction on this underground base dates back to 1948 when access tunnels were expanded from out of the natural cavern system that runs through these sacred Indian grounds. The complex was originally disguised as a lumber camp; its initial source of power came from the Navajo Dam. Dulce is part military base, part genetics lab; it’s also the largest underground hub in North America. From here you have access to all of the other subterranean bases, including Los Alamos National Laboratories. Crazy story—when Bechtel’s excavating machine was completing the tunnel from Dulce to Los Alamos, the vibrations in the bedrock caused a humming sound that drove the residents of Taos, New Mexico crazy. They called it the Taos Hum. Some New Agers actually thought it was Gaia speaking to them.”

  “How many subterranean bases are there?”

  “Enough to warrant changing Bechtel’s mascot to a mole. You know about the complex beneath Haystack Butte at Edwards; that’s where most of the pulse beam and stealth research is carried out. A fifty-mile shuttle links the ‘Butte’ with the Tehachapi facility in Southern California. Heading east you have two of the more infamous underground complexes in Groom Lake, Nevada and Dugway Proving Grounds in the desert outside Provo, Utah. I heard there’s a really deep complex located below Denver’s International Airport, though I’ve never been there. Then there’s Fort Huachuca near Tombstone, Arizona—which serves as Army Intelligence headquarters—and bases in Burley, Idaho and Oklahoma City.

  “The wildest underground facility I’ve ever visited is located about eighteen kilometers from a town called Alice Springs in Australia’s Northern Territory. The base is known as Pine Gap; to locals it simply appears to be a satellite ground station which is jointly operated by the Americans and Aussies. Anyway, they flew us in at night by helicopter. The ground station is surrounded by mountains, and suddenly, it looked like we were about to crash into one. I let out a scream … as we flew through the mountain, which was actually a hologram that concealed a massive base built deep inside the mountain. Among other things, it’s where they keep the largest triangular Alien Reproduction Vehicle ever made.”

  The T-shaped corridor dead-ended; branching off to their right and left in identical white-tiled hallways.

  “And what do they keep here in Dulce … besides my Zeus satellites and a bunch of empty corridors that lead nowhere?”

  “I’m going to show you.” Instead of turning right or left, Dr. LaCombe took Jessica by the elbow and walked her straight into the wall—

  —the two female scientists stepping through the hologram into an immense hangar which resembled the flight deck of an air craft carrier, only ten times larger.

  Instead of F-16s, the underground air strip held an armada of extraterrestrial vehicles.

  T
hey were floating in holding pens, each about half an acre in size. Most were saucer-shaped discs like the ARV Jessica had witnessed entering the Level-3 launch complex. There were also cigar-shaped and diamond-shaped UFOs, and several ten-by-twenty-foot oval craft.

  “These are all man-made?”

  “Correct. You can tell by the seams. The real deal is seamless and they function almost as life forms.”

  A herd of colorful drones whipped by, each semi-transparent object the size of a basketball. Jessica was about to inquire what these objects were when she caught sight of an imposing dark triangular vessel hovering twenty feet above the deck, its mass easily occupying a square mile of the hangar.

  “A mothership? Joyce, why did they build a mothership. For that matter, why build any of this if you’re just going to keep it hidden underground?”

  “All good questions that deserve answers. Come with me, I’m going to show you.”

  Crossing the immense deck, they headed for an alcove marked by six vertical plastic tubes, each five-foot-in-diameter device disappearing up through the ceiling.

  Joyce ducked inside one of the tubes. “There are elevators, but this is closer and more efficient.”

  “Looks like something out of Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. Remember, I’m pregnant.”

  “It’s safe up to the second trimester. Climb in and grip the rail by your sides and that will prompt the computer to ask you to state your destination.”

  “Good evening, Dr. LaCombe. Please state your destination.”

  “Genetics Complex.”

  Before Jessica could respond, Joyce shot straight up the vertical shaft and disappeared.

  Cassopolis, Michigan

  Repositioning the gas mask over his face, Adam carried the unconscious woman back inside the house and up the stairs to the second floor and the master bedroom. He laid the blonde on her back on the queen-size bed and opened the window before searching the closet.

 

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