Enchanted Valley: The Sentinel - Part 2

Enchanted Valley:
The Sentinel

Sentinel.jpg
Written by Nuuan

And once again thanks to Jerri for her awesome editing!

October 5, 1951
Overlooking Homey Airport, Groom Lake, NV

“I think they know we’re here,” Cliff’s wife, Traci whispered from where they were watching the secret installation in the valley below them.

“I don’t think so Mom,” Their son Bobby looked over at his parents, “See all the soldiers are running toward that building, looks like something happened inside.”

“Bobby’s right,” Cliff whispered, “I say we move up our time table and go in under the confusion.”

“I agree,” all three heard Jack over their internal communication channel, “Sounds like someone threw some smelly stuff into a propeller blade, you can’t ask for a better time to sneak in.”

“Okay lets move,” Cliff began to stand, “Keep adaptive camo up, let's try to get in and out without being noticed.” The three proceeded slowly down the hillside so they wouldn’t disturb the loose rocks and cause any small rock slides that could give them away.

Almost down to the floor of the valley Traci whispered over their comms, “I’m picking up an emergency Fruell signal.”

“I see it too,” Cliff responded, “It’s coming from the hangar those men ran into.”

“It can’t be the ship, we destroyed its systems,” Bobby added.

Before they could contemplate what could be giving off the signal a shirtless man ran out of a side door of the hangar and took off running north behind the row of buildings in plain sight of the three that had descended down the mountain behind the buildings. “He’s got a survival pack!” Bobby voiced over their comms.

“He’s apparently activated one, why would he hang on to another?” Traci questioned.

“Human and doesn’t know what he has?” Bobby guessed.

“Doesn’t matter,” Cliff veered off in the direction the man had ran, picking up speed as he did while Traci and Bobby followed, “We have to turn that damn signal off.”

Unfortunately the three were not the only ones that saw the direction the man fled as three jeeps also followed in hot pursuit across the dried up lake bed, the passenger in both lead jeeps firing rifles at the running man. Seeing they had company Cliff spoke into their comms, “Bobby, stay with the man, Traci and I will see about slowing down the competition.” Cliff and Traci angled their path so they would intercept the group of jeeps while Bobby continued after the man.

“Bobby be careful,” Traci added, “we don’t know if he has any control or access to the offensive systems,”

“Yes Mom,” Bobby replied.

Cliff watched as Traci ran up beside the nearest jeep, “Careful we don’t want to hurt them, just slow them down.”

“I know,” Traci replied as she grabbed the side of the jeep with her right hand, “I’m going to flatten a rear tire, then hang on long enough so they don’t lose control while it slows down.” Leaning down a blade appeared above her left wrist that she used to puncture the sidewall of the tire retracting back into her arm before grabbing the jeep with both hands to keep it from fishtailing out of control as it began slowing.

As the tire started to come apart, pieces of it flying off the rim, the soldier sitting in the small backseat saw one larger piece of the rubber tire fly up and stop in midair as if it hit something. Peering closely at the piece of rubber hanging there in the air before it just as suddenly whipped away behind the slowing jeep the soldier thought the air looked strange there, it looked almost as something was there but whatever it was blended so well into the background that it was invisible. Reaching out where the piece of the tire had stopped he could feel something soft and rounded under some kind of invisible cloth. Gently squeezing the rounded invisible object, he suddenly felt an invisible hand slap his face causing him to jerk his hand back. Reaching out once again as the jeep came to a stop whatever was beside their jeep was now gone.

Cliff, having deciding on an alternate means of stopping the jeep he had caught up to, grabbed the rear bumper flipped around so his back was on the ground and using his hands crawled partway under the jeep as it dragged him along. Moments later the jeep lurched as if it had hit a large bump and a bent piece of steel pipe came flying out from under its side causing the jeep to immediately begin slowing down.

Releasing his grip on the rear axle, Cliff let go of the jeep letting it coast to a stop beyond him. Skidding to a stop himself he picked up a baseball sized rock while coming up on one knee, hurling the rock at the grill of the third jeep with enough power that it punctured the radiator and damaged the front of the engine causing it to cough and stop running in a cloud of steam.

Having disabled the jeeps the two raced off in the direction Bobby and the unknown man ran. “Really? You ripped out the drive shaft?” Traci shook her head as she ran up beside Cliff.

“I thought three jeeps all getting flat tires at the same time just might be a bit too much of a coincidence.” Cliff grinned over at his wife, “And a drive shaft coming out like that could easily kick up a rock or two. Giving plausible explanations.”

“I thought you liked those stories they came up with about gremlins getting into the machinery during the war to explain how things stopped working or began working better than they should have?”

“Those stories sucked,” Cliff huffed. “They blamed gremlins on everything that didn’t work and rarely on the stuff when it worked better than it should have.”

“Well one soldier is going to have a story to tell in the jeep that I stopped,” Traci chuckled, “He grabbed my breast and without thinking I slapped him.”

“You know I could have lived without hearing about some guy feeling up my mom,” Bobby laughed over the comm channel.

“You still tailing him Bobby?” Realizing she had said that over an open comm channel changed the subject.

“Yes ma’am.” Bobby replied, Go north northwest across the dry lake then straight north up through the center of the valley. Also he’s slowing down, I think the heat is getting to him.” Bobby relayed over the comms, “Figure he’s going to start looking for a rabbit hole soon if he isn’t already looking for some place to get out of the sun.”

“Stay on him but stay away, we are on our way,” Traci ordered.

October 5, 1951
Underground facility, Groom Lake, NV

Guiding the doctor by the arm, Sergeant brown got the two of them on the elevator and using the barrel of the carbine she had in her left hand to extend her reach and push the ‘up’ button on the freight elevator. It took several minutes for the elevator to reach the top, a slatted metal fence that surrounded the elevator shaft lowering into the floor as it came to a stop inside the large hangar.

Sergeant Brown, having always used the elevator or stairs located in the office building to access the lower levels, had heard rumors that they had a flying saucer but found that seeing it up close was another matter altogether. The silvery disk must have been at least fifty feet across and lay at an angle due to its rounded bottom. The lowest side of the edge of the saucer high enough where a man could have to stoop down to walk under it, while the opposite side edge sat a good fifteen to twenty feet above the floor. Under the saucer scaffolding had been installed to hold the saucer from see-sawing back and forth and allow access to a large jagged hole that could be seen in the underside of the saucer.

“Holy shit!” The girl gasped, “You actually got one! You shot down a foo fighter!”

Several soldiers turned to look at the newcomers, some tending to those that had tried to stop John after he emerged from the elevator shaft. Two picked up carbines where they had laid them on the floor to help with the wounded then approached Dr. Kuehn and sergeant Brown with their carbines at ready. “Doc what are you doing bringing this pom-pom girl in here and why is she wearing the Sarge’s shirt?”

“It’s a long story corporal, one that I am sure will end up classified,” Dr. Kuehn replied. “What you need to know is that she is our best hope of capturing that mad man that came through here.”

“Have you lost your marbles Doc?” The corporal’s eyes widened, “That guy took out half my squad as he ran past us! Ain’t no way I’m letting you send some girl anywhere near that maniac. And even if I would let you the hangar’s on lock down, we’re locked in.”

The corporal watched as the girl walked over to one of the heavy metal side doors. He saw her try the door handle while pushing her shoulder against the door before she stood back and kicked the door with her barefoot. The door flew open with such force that it tore the lower and middle of the three hinges that attached it to the door frame completely apart, leaving the door hanging at an odd angle from its top most hinges.

The girl turned to find most of the soldiers that witnessed what she had done, were staring slack jawed at her now. Looking over at the corporal Brown asked, “Corporal you got a radio around here somewhere?”

“Yes, yes miss, I mean ma’am,” the corporal stuttered.

“Get on it and let everyone know I’m a friendly so I don’t get shot okay?” Looking over toward the doctor, “I’ll bring him back or bring him down, one or the other.”

“I would prefer you bring him back, but I realize he may not give you that option,” Dr. Kuehn nodded.

October 5, 1951
Canyon north of Homey Airport, Groom Lake, NV

Several minutes after leaving the dry lake bed and entering the canyon Traci came to a stop, “There’s another signal now.”

Cliff stopping just ahead of his wife turned back toward her, “Yes, I see it too. It’s back at that airfield.”

~Bobby?~ Traci sent over their comms.

~Yeah Mom, I’m still watching him,~ figuring Traci was checking in with him. ~He found a shady place to crawl into and get out of the sun. I doubt he moves till the sun sets.~

~Bobby we have another signal coming from that base.~

~Want me to pull back and come help?~

~No, we don’t want to have to chase him down again. Keep an eye on him but don’t do anything unless he starts moving again, we have to get that beacon turned off. Your father and I will hold back and take care of this one. That way they do not get the chance to team up if they’re hostile.~

Cliff took a position standing in the mouth of the canyon while Traci concealed herself along the canyon wall ahead of Cliff, but where she would end up behind the new target when Cliff confronted it.

“I can see her.” Cliff spoke softly as he watched the young raven haired woman race barefooted across the dry lake bed at what would have been an incredible speed for a human.

~She?~ Bobby asked over their comms. ~So this guy has a commander with him?~

~I’m sure they are human that somehow activated the packs,~ Traci replied. ~She’s half naked, only wearing an oversized shirt.~

~Damn!~ Bobby swore, ~And I’m stuck out here where I can’t see that!~

~Robert Douglas Ward!~ Traci scolded over the comms, which led to chuckling heard over the comms from both Cliff and Jack.

As the smaller figure of the girl grew closer to the edge of the dry lake Cliff turned off his adaptive camo to make himself visible to the woman, although he did leave his exo-suit engaged but shifted the exterior color to white. Knowing that most thought of the color white as good might give him a better chance of talking to this person before he was forced to subdue her and turn off the beacon. Cliff even went as far as to have the exo-suit display an American flag on his left chest while willing his helmet to go away. Not 100 yards away he saw the woman veer toward him and bring the carbine she had in her hand in front of her to hold it with both hands.

As she got closer she began to slow, finally walking the last few yards to stop roughly twenty feet away from Cliff. Twisting the carbine around so the barrel pointed toward Cliff she spoke loud and with as much authority as her feminine voice could muster, “Who are you and what are you doing out here?”

“Believe it or not, I’m one of the good guys.” Cliff began, “I’ve been looking for that ship your bosses have down there since I shot it down back in forty seven.”

“You shot down that foo fighter?”

“So you’ve seen it?” Cliff asked.

“Not till today, when I started to chase down that jackass that went on a rampage because they wouldn’t let him out to go watch dancing girls,” Brown eyed Cliff nervously. “What kind of weapon can put that big of a hole through a foo fighter?”

“The weapon didn’t make the hole. It turned off the containment field of the ship’s power generator. The unconfined power of the generator made the hole.” Cliff explained, “But the problem we have now is that you and your friend put on the items that changed both of you. They are like a survival kit for the Fruell. Makes them look like the natives of the planet they happen to be on. Problem is they are for emergencies and send out a distress signal like the ones you and your friend are sending out right now.”

“This all sounds too much like Buck Rogers to me and if I wasn’t standing here looking like this now I would probably shoot you rather than listen to any more, but I’ve seen too much to say you’re lying.” Brown sighed, “Although Tucker isn’t my friend. He’s a convict those G men in charge brought in to put on one of those damn things to see what it would do.”

“Even more reason to catch up to him after we’ve turned off your distress beacon.”

“How do we do that?”

“I’ll take care of that,” Brown felt a sharp pain in the back of her neck that felt like someone holding a red hot poker to the back of her neck right as an invisible hand jerked the carbine out of her hands. “Try not to move, I know it’s painful but it must be done, you do not want to invite the Fruell to this planet.” A moment later Brown felt the needle pull out of her neck but the burning continued and felt like it was migrating up into the back of her head. Stumbling from the pain, she felt the invisible hands grab hold to steady her. “It will take a few minutes but the burning will stop.”

“What, what did you do to me?” Brown reached up to cover the back of her neck with her own hand.

“It will turn off the signal you are sending,” Traci who had allowed herself to become visible so it wouldn’t seem so awkward for the young girl, as she led her over to a large rock, helping her to sit on what little shade it offered, “The microscopic robots in your bloodstream from the device you put on are fighting the ones I injected into you. Once the ones I gave you reach the core they will take over the core forcing the system to stop fighting them and to turn off the beacon’s broadcast.”

“So these tiny machines, they are what made me look like this?” Brown saw the woman nod. Thinking to herself that if the changes she received did come from some kind of tiny alien machines maybe since this woman seemed to have some kind of control over these tiny machines, she could make them do other things. Looking up at the mysterious woman, “So you told your machines to tell the machines inside me to stop sending that radio signal?”

“It’s a bit more complicated than that but yes.”

“Can you tell them to put me back the way I was?”

“That’s a lot more complicated than what I know how to do,” seeing the young woman’s shoulders slump forward Traci continued to explain, “But we have some friends that may be able to help. That’s if you’re willing to come with us?”

“Considering that no one will believe I’m really me, I guess staying a soldier is out. You think your friends can help?”

“I promise you that if they can’t, then no one on earth can.”

“That’s not very reassuring.”

“Sorry,” Traci apologized, “I didn’t mean it to sound that way. It’s just that these friends, their technology is more advanced than anything you’ve seen before.”

“You forget I’ve seen your foo fighter.”

“Not ours, that’s a Fruell ship. Most of the technology the Fruell have come from other races they have enslaved over the centuries. Even the weapons they are so proud of are inferior to all the other races of the council. The Fruell just have a lot more of them and massive numbers of slaves to send out to fight for them.”

“You sound like you don’t like these Fruell?”

“My family, we were slaves of the Fruell.” Traci sighed, “We slaughtered other races for them. The microscopic robots in us were programed so that we had no choice but to obey.”

“How’d you get away?”

Knowing the best thing she could do was convince this young woman that Traci and her family were in fact on her side she told how they came to be on Earth, “Our ship’s system were damaged, the three of us were still in our pods and the ships damaged systems rewrote some of our programming, enough so that when we came out of the pods after the crash, the Fruell no longer controlled us.”

“You’d think someone would have seen your ship crash and tell someone.” Brown reasoned, “Even if it was covered up like they did in Roswell.”

“It was, but everyone thought it was a hoax spread by the local newspaper to try to keep their small town from becoming a ghost town.”

“I’m sure I would have read or heard about it if that were true?”

“It happened long before you were born,” Traci explained. “We crashed outside of Aurora, Texas in 1897.”

Brown gasped, “That was over fifty years ago! You can’t be that old?”

“We, and that includes you since you have the same machines in our body, do not age like humans.” Traci made sure the girl knew she was included in the group, “Another thing those tiny machines do, is keep your body repaired so that we do not appear to age. You will live a very long life if you do not remove the Fruell machines.”

“How long?”

“Honestly I don’t know, but I would expect you will live several hundred years, maybe more.”

“Holy cow!” Brown’s eyes widened, “Think of what this could do for people!”

“We have.” Traci sighed, “We are still yet trapped on this single planet. What do you think would happen if everyone lived for four or five hundred years or more? No one dying of old age or other natural causes? The overpopulation and food shortages that would come from that?”

“But what if we gave it to only select people?” Brown asked, “People that would use their extra time to help other, like doctors and scientists?”

Traci shook her head, “Who would choose who receives it and who doesn’t? What would people do that were not allowed to get it once they found out about it?”

“Damn, we can’t let anyone know about this can we? Hell I can’t go back either can I?” Brown began to realize the depth of the situation.

“We won’t stop you if that is what you wish to do.”

“If I did go back I’m betting I would end up a guinea pig stuck in some lab.” Realizing that he, no she had no no money or place to go, she couldn’t even go back to her parents as they would never believe she was their son, “Crap! What’ll I do? Where can I go now?”

“Our friends can help there too, don’t worry.”

Brown sighed heavily, “Okay say I’m convinced you’re the good guys, what the next step?”

“Once that burning has gone away, we go disable the signal on that volunteer convict.” Traci grinned, “Then we go back to the base and make sure there isn’t anything else left on the ship that can cause any more problems.”

Before more could be said Traci heard Bobby over the coms, ~Mom if you're done chatting, I have a problem here.~

~What’s wrong?~

~Signal and the guy disappeared.~

~On my way!~ Cliff responded, ~Traci follow with your new friend once you can.~

Traci pursed her lip at Brown, who was staring at the spot Cliff had just suddenly faded into nothing before her eyes, “How long has it been since you and that man put on the devices?”

“What?” Brown realized Traci was speaking to her, “Um, I put it on right after he escaped. He’s had it on for a few weeks.”

~He’s discovered his camouflage,~ Traci spoke over the comm, ~Use caution as we don’t know how much else he has discovered.~ Speaking aloud while leaving her comm open, “How’s the burning? Can you move yet?”

“Almost gone.”

“Good. Our friend has begun learning some the abilities he now has.” Traci held out her hand to help Brown get up, “We need to get him before he becomes more of a threat.”

The three had spread out, Cliff taking the left side, while Bobby took the far right of the valley, leaving Traci and her new friend coming up the middle of the valley. “Maybe I should have thought more about this, I feel like a worm dangling off a hook,” Brown stated, hoping Traci who had turned on her camouflage and disappeared was still beside her like she promised.

“Don’t talk so loud,” Brown heard Traci whisper in her ear, “If he realizes anyone is with you he won’t think he has the upper hand.”

“You’d think they would have made some way for you guys to see each other when you’re invisible?” Brown spoke softly so that only Traci would hear him.

“They did,” Traci whispered back, “Normally I could see Cliff and Bobby, but like your friend has done, we have turned that off so he can’t see us.”

Knowing it was pointless to tell her again that Tucker was not her friend, Brown continued walking down the wide valley keeping his eyes and ears peeled for anything that might alert her to Tucker’s presence. She never got any warning as not ten minutes later she felt a heavy blow to the side of her head.

Rising up on one elbow Brown shook her head to clear the cobwebs. Several yards in front of her she could see dust being kicked up and hear the sounds of a fight. Assuming Traci had found some way of engaging Tucker, it had to be the two fighting that she could hear but not see. Noticing her carbine laying several feet to her left, Brown scrambled over on her hands and knees to retrieve her weapon. Rising up to a kneeling position with the carbine against her shoulder, pointed in the direction of the fight Brown thought about how ineffective the weapon had been against Tucker, but having nothing else she continued to aim toward the sounds with hope that somehow the ineffective carbine could make a difference.

Brown heard a thud and saw some dust get kicked up as the sounds of the fight stopped. Having no idea who had triumphed Brown held her carbine ready, finger on the trigger. “You already know that gun won’t do you any good!” She heard Tucker laugh, “Throw it down and come with me. You have to have figured out by now they will lock us both up like lab rats for the rest of our lives if you take me back.” Tucker faded into view, “That’s right honey, you’re just like me now. You’ll be locked up in a cage right next to mine.”

“I’m nothing like you!” Brown took aim at Tucker’s head and pulled the trigger, the bullet deflecting harmlessly off his forehead.

“Did getting turned into a dame make you stupid like one to!” Tucker shouted, “We are fucking gods among these piss ants!” Throwing his head back in laughter.

Noticing that Tucker was missing a tooth since the last time she had seen him surprised her, skin so tough that bullets bounced off but Traci had somehow knocked one of his teeth out. Getting an idea Brown took careful aim at the exposed roof of his mouth and squeezed the trigger. As the loud report of the rifle echoed down the canyon, Tucker fell backwards landing with a thud on the hard bare canyon floor.

Brown watched closely for any movement from Tucker, finding none she stood and walked slowly over to his body, keeping the carbine trained on him as she did. Standing over him she looked into his lifeless eyes, “Not so bullet proof on the inside! Should’ve kept your mouth shut.”

Cliff was the first to arrive, spotting Tucker on the ground unmoving he looked over at his wife, who had dropped her camouflage and was once again visible in the mottled light brown not quite cat suit coveralls that Brown had seen her wearing before. “You alright?”

“Took some damage to my spine,” Traci answered. “Going to need a few hours before I’m one hundred percent again.”

~Bobby, need you to scout us out a place to lay low for a few hours,~ Cliff relayed over their comms.

Moments later Bobby appeared, pointing back in the direction he had come from, “Saw some small caves back up that way, one of those should work. Get us out of the sun and out of sight while they search. There’s a couple I think we can conceal the entrance easily enough.”

“Good, you lead, I’ll carry your mother.” Looking over at Brown, “You got a first name?”

“Pat.”

“Okay Pat, can you break off some of that rabbitbrush and follow us, wiping out our any footprints we leave?”

“Um, rabbitbrush?” Brown repeated looking around at the scrub brush around them.

“Scraggly bushes with the yellow flowers,” Cliff explained.

“What about Tucker’s body?” Brown asked while crouching beside one of the plants Cliff had pointed out.

“Soldier from the base will be looking for both of you,” Cliff stated. “Letting them find him will lessen their search.”

“But they will still be looking for me.”

“Yes,” Cliff raised an eyebrow, “Would be the best chance you have of going back if that’s what you want?”

Brown sighed then nodded, “Tucker may have been a criminal but he was right, they will want to study me. I’d never be able to live a normal life again.”

“True, if you go with us we can set you up with a new identity, some place no one knows about your past,” Traci smiled at her.

“Or she could stay with us,” Bobby quickly put in. “Um, I mean she is kind of one of us now and who better to help her learn how to control the abilities she has?”

Traci paused to examine her son’s sudden eagerness in keeping the girl around. How his eyes followed Brown while he was squeezing his left hand down at his side. Glancing over at Brown she could see the girl was clueless of Bobby’s attraction to her. Glancing back over to Bobby, “That decision would be up to Pat, but I do see how it could be beneficial for her.”

“I’m definitely going with you guys,” Brown stated after breaking the bush off near the ground. “What happens after, I don’t know. We’ll just have to take it as it comes.”

“Well then, if you’re sure about that,” Traci smiled warmly at Brown, “I have an idea that may let us complete the mission and get us out of here without causing any more casualties.”



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