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Area 51: Rebirth (Book 8)

Area 51

 

Part Eight: Rebirth

 

 

Vincent Pet

 

 

The characters in this book are fictitious.

Any similarity to real persons is coincidental and not intended by the author.

2011 – 2016^©^ by Vincent Pet

All Rights Reserved.

No parts of this book may be reproduced without express written permission of the publisher.

 

ISBN 9780994997500

 

 

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Part Eight: Rebirth

Andrew Bonk’s worried gaze fell on his watch. Five minutes. Then he had to leave… or die.

His glance fell once more on the quite ordinary door leading inside to the hanger. It was brilliant in its design. He knew, however, that what seemed like a simple door was a highly sophisticated bomb that once detonated would kill anyone within fifty yards of it. The blast was configured to explode in such a way that it would not even damage the paint on the building.

Sarah Walsh had five minutes left to walk through it. He glanced back at the chopper and saw that the pilot was staring intensely in his direction. Andrew clamped his teeth, and turning around, took a couple of steps toward the door – as if defying whoever was pointing the camera on him from inside.

A thin veil of reason held him in place. The urge to run and knock on that door, or better, rip it apart and charge inside to find his love was overpowering him. He hadn’t seen her in three months. He was used to her prolonged absences, but this time it was different. The last time that he accompanied her to Area 51, Sarah hinted that she feared for her life.

When she had uttered that fear, he replied that he was just about to turn the chopper around and fly off to an abandoned island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean where he threatened her that they would live the rest of their days happily ever after feeding on coconuts and bananas. She laughed at his affectionate quip.

“Stop being silly, Andrew! There is no such island left. There is no Pacific Ocean left and there are certainly no coconuts or bananas growing in the wild.”

Just that… he wasn’t kidding. “We’ll build ourselves a gigantic greenhouse. Power it with a hot spring.”

She passed her hand tenderly down his cheek. “I appreciate your thought. If there was such a place I would, I really would, Andrew.”

His attention turned back to the door. An overwhelming feeling of relief rushed through his anxious body as the door finally opened, but it was instantly replaced by cautious apprehension. A man in a dark, blue suit, accompanied by an armed guard, came out of the hanger.

Andrew’s perplexity increased as the two men approached him. The man in the suit carried a heavy paper folder under his arm.

“You are waiting for Doctor Sarah Walsh?”

What kind of odd question was that? Of course he was! They knew that too, else the chopper would never have been permitted to touch ground – at least not in one piece.

Andrew nodded. “You want to see my credentials?”

“No need to,” replied the man as he shifted the paper crammed file in front of him.

“Doctor Walsh’s leave has been cancelled.”

Andrew tried keeping his composure together as his heart plummeted.

“Is there something wrong?” he asked a little harshly and instantly regretted it as the two men’s posture stiffened. The guard moved his wrist an inch or two back over the holster at his side.

“Should there be something wrong?” tallied back the man in the dark blue suit. His tone was an invitation to danger. Andrew possessed a bad temper – that had always been one of his weaknesses – but he desisted even if he did not entirely back down.

“I don’t know,” Andrew retorted. “You two guys are not following protocol. My orders are clear. If the person I am escorting does not come out of that door in the fifteen minute window that I am allowed to remain, I leave or face the consequences. The protocol clearly states that I can only escort the person I am responsible for and must refuse to take onboard any other person that comes through that door – including the President of the United States of America.”

Andrew glanced at his watch. “And I have five minutes left to move out of the sensor field.”

The man in the suit extended the hefty file towards Andrew.

“Your passenger will be this file that Sarah Walsh was working on.”

Andrew tentatively took it in his arms. He was confused, yet even as his mind tried to piece together what was happening, a cold shiver gripped his heart as the words that the man uttered froze in his mind – that Sarah Walsh was working on.

Andrew stared back at them, wearing a stark expression on his face as he tried not to think too much about Sarah’s whereabouts.

“What do you want me to do with this?”

“I’m just the messenger, Mr. Bonk. Doctor Walsh told me that you are well aware who you need to bring it to. Is that correct?”

Andrew, I’m thinking about smuggling some sensitive information to bring to my dad next time you come to pick me up. If you don’t feel like being involved, I’ll understand, love. Pretend you’re sick and have someone else come and fetch me.

An eerie numbness took form in Andrew’s guts. His sixth sense told him that he was in danger. The man in the suit looked at his watch.

“Or was Doctor Walsh lying?” he asked in a light, flippant voice intended to put him off his guard and lure him in.

Andrew slowly, almost mechanically extended his arms forward. He shook his head.

“You must be mistaken,” he replied, hoping he would sound credible. “I’m sorry to disappoint you, but I’ve never spoken to Dr. Walsh and don’t know what to do with this file. I’m just an Area 51 bodyguard assigned to protect level five scientists. I know nothing of what goes on in here.”

The man in the suit smiled thinly and looked down at the file in Andrew’s hands.

“Are you certain that she never mentioned a name? It is of extreme importance that you remember. National security is at play. You have an impeccable file and are due for a promotion and I’m sure this will speed things up. How would you like to work inside Area 51 instead of outside it? That would be nice, wouldn’t it?”

Andrew noticed out of the corner of his eyes that the guard was touching his gun. Andrew had a concealed weapon inside his jacket, but knew it was of little use at that moment. He could never draw it out in time. To die like this, not knowing why, at Area 51 – it angered him. What would his father think? He was so proud of having a son working for the FBI and assigned to Area 51. It would break his heart, like his was now breaking for Sarah. He would certainly be portrayed as a traitor – killed in the middle of a sensitive operation. His ailing father would die of heartbreak.

Andrew’s jaw stiffened, his ire mounting in his eyes. The man in front of him was trying to bribe him.

“I’m very sure, sir. I know nothing about this file.”

He shoved the papers rather rudely at him.

In one swift motion, the man’s arm flew up and punched the file out of Andrew’s hand. The papers inside were dispersed all over and settled around their feet. Andrew was surprised to see that most of the pages, if not nearly all, were blank.

Andrew looked up at the man and then at the smirking guard’s face.

The two men turned back towards the hanger.

“You only have one and a half minutes to get outside the perimeter,” shouted the man in blue as Andrew stared incomprehensibly the blank sheets at his feet. “I suggest that you run – but don’t trip!”

Andrew wasted another few precious seconds as he tried to figure things out. He suddenly found his legs and ran for his life towards the chopper. As he did, he saw in the distance, behind the chopper, the towering, big glacier sheet squeezed up against the glass-alloyed dome which isolated Area 51 from the deep frozen world outside. The pilot was shaking his head as he managed to clear the fifty yard perimeter in the nick of time.

Andrew jumped on the chopper. The pilot lifted off and made his way towards the force field. Andrew didn’t fully grasp what happened, but he knew enough to know that it had been a test. They wanted to make sure that he knew nothing. He had just escaped death, but there was no relief. His mind was steeped in sorrow. What happened to Sarah? Where was she?

He still hadn’t reached home when he heard the news that Brad Walsh was dead.

***

It was bitter cold – no, that cliché was not even appropriate enough to describe the steady, cutting wind that smacked into William’s thermal suit. He knew that it was impossible for him to feel the elements surrounding him. He would be dead and frozen stiff in less than ten seconds if he did.

As he stepped forward on the flat, white surface, he couldn’t help but think that a few years back, there was an ocean under him – the Pacific Ocean. It still was there, he corrected himself… just that it was a frozen mantle of hard ice extending at least two miles deep under his feet.

William crouched and entered the makeshift igloo in front of him. It blended in perfectly with the white scenery and would be hard to locate even from low orbit. The man behind followed him in. They took off their helmets and gloves and greeted the two occupants waiting for them inside.

A wild bearded, heavy set man stepped up to William and vigorously shook his hand. “Glad you made it, William.”

He turned to the man standing beside him. “Let me introduce to you Dr. Henle.”

“A pleasure to meet you, Mr. Secretary of State.”

William took his outstretched hand and firmly clasped it. He could sense the nervousness in the man’s handshake, but didn’t blame him at all for it. His heart, too, was likewise pounding.

“Just call me William. I’m retired.”

The scientist nodded while the bearded man bellied a hearty laugh.

“Heck of a way to spend your retirement, William. Didn’t you once tell me that you planned on playing golf for the rest of your life in the Sunshine State?”

“Still do, Henderson. I still do,” William replied in a gruff tone. He turned back to the scientist. “Sarah Walsh is dead?”

The scientist dolefully confirmed. “Yes, she’s dead.”

William didn’t say a word, but his grim expression spoke more than words. He turned back to Henderson.

“So who’s going to be the courier?”

“His name is Andrew Bonk. He’s an FBI field agent, entry level. He is currently assigned to accompany and protect level five scientists in and out of Area 51. He has two more months of active duty before reassignment, but I got his supervisor to flunk him.” Henderson smiled. “That leaves him another five months of mundane duty which coincides exactly with Dr. Henle’s next leave of absence.”

William frowned slightly. “An entry level agent? He’s a boy! No experience.”

Henderson was smiling from cheek to cheek. “Yep. No experience, but he has two things going for him.”

“Being?”

“One, his record can be easily modified since he has no special friends to protect him in the Bureau. I’d even say, that the memory his dad left at the Bureau makes it even easier for us. He wasn’t well liked.”

“I see. I hope that whatever lie you placed in his file is not too incriminating. You know how I feel about ruining people’s reputations and careers – especially someone so young.”

Henderson snorted. “I only added the truth, William.”

He saw the puzzlement in William’s eyes.

“The truth leads me to the second point,” continued Henderson. “Andrew Bonk is, or was in love, with Miss Walsh. They had a relationship going. That’s exactly what I made his supervisor write in his file.”

William raised his eyebrow. “I’m surprised he wasn’t incarcerated.”

“Would have been if Sarah was alive, but you know, with the untimely death of her father, bringing the relationship to the forefront might create unwanted attention even in a military court and generate media leaks if ever the young Mr. Bonk was associated with the young Dr. Walsh. No need to drag the storyline needlessly further. The government and the aliens want Dr. Walsh’s name to disappear as quickly as possible from everyone’s mouth. The less social media talks about the Walsh family, the less material people have to conjure up wild conspiracy theories.”

Henderson chuckled at his own humor. William did not approve and Henderson quickly checked himself and continued on.

“Sarah’s death will only be announced in a two months’ time. They’ll make it look as if she died at work. There will be another media buzz, but no one will link the two deaths as a suspicious event. It will be considered a tragic coincidence. They’ll probably even make it sound as if a distraction led to a grieving Sarah’s death.”

William’s sorrow was genuine as he thought of the Walsh’s misfortunes: first the President, then Dr. Walsh and now their prodigy daughter, Sarah. It was a shame and a terrible loss for the country.

He turned his thoughts back to the FBI boyfriend.

“Why the boy? You think that the boy will be more motivated to help us because of his relationship with Sarah?”

“Err… not exactly, William.”

William took a deep, slow breath of that thin air.

“You know, Henderson… you’re just as irritating as when you used to debrief us at the White House. Come to the point, will you?”

“The boy doesn’t know.”

“The boy doesn’t know?”

Henderson was beaming, clearly excited at his own cleverness. “Why worry him? Why stress him to the point where he might do something which will put us in jeopardy? No, he’ll only know about his part at the moment Dr. Henle boards the chopper.”

William stared hard and long at Henderson who was acting a little too smug for his taste.

“What if the boy refuses?”

Henderson’s face dropped and a depreciative frown appeared across his face.

“Now, you’re disappointing me, William. He’s in love! Once he finds that Sarah is dead, he’ll do anything in her memory.”

William knew Henderson was right, but still, to depend on a very young man for the most important mission in humanity’s history and whose only experience in the Bureau was accompanying scientists, was, in his opinion, taking a considerable risk.

“Furthermore, you know how I feel about this…” Henderson said. “If we’re still here talking it’s because they don’t know.”

William twisted his lips in a half-bitter smile. “Or that they know and are simply waiting for the right moment to strike.”

There was a few seconds of silence before the scientist cleared his throat. They all looked in his direction.

“There is another possibility… that we succeeded.”

No one uttered a further word, but as they glanced at one another, their conviction to push ahead with their plan grew only stronger.

They saluted each other, knowing that it would probably be for the last time. The igloo was quickly destroyed. William entered his hovercraft while Henderson entered the other one. Soon they would be heading in different directions. It was another innovation that came out of Area 51. The engine ran on liquid nitrogen and generated no heat. The only heat the start-up battery required to run the engine was the heat produced by one human body – being the pilot. It made the sleek craft invisible by all known technology, hopefully including any alien spyware wizardry.

William’s heart was beating faster and he willed himself to keep his emotions at bay. This meeting had been a crucial test. That he was still alive meant one more battle had been won. As far as he was concerned, there were only two possibilities left. Either the aliens knew about the attempt, but didn’t interfere because man wouldn’t be successful… or the aliens couldn’t interfere, because there were no aliens in the future to come back and intervene. It was this last thought which kept William awake long after the wounded sun had set.

***

Andrew Bonk nearly didn’t make it. He came close to sending his resignation letter to Head Quarters. The thought of his ailing father made him hesitate. He couldn’t do that to his dad. Not on his death bed. It was doubtful that his dad would still be alive in a year and to disappoint him at this point made no sense. His dad held the FBI in such high esteem. Why break his vision, even if it was an illusion? Andrew could wait. The day that he’d put an end to his career at the FBI was not very far away.

He was not a quitter, but he was not one to tread incessantly along a lifeless, desert path either. Little made sense to him anymore – Sarah’s death, his reprimand at the Bureau, his pointless days – Andrew needed a new start. He had to get away and start over again somewhere… somewhere where his thoughts wouldn’t torment him, where the face of Sarah wouldn’t haunt his living hours. As for his sleeping hours, well, he knew that he had no willful control over his dreams. He knew, even if most of his life lay ahead of him, that he would never stop dreaming of Sarah.

What the rudderless future reserved for him, he had little idea at that moment. There was a heavy migration towards Mars and he was seriously starting to think about playing the lottery. If he didn’t win a green card – or as it was called, a red card to Mars – even a place on one of those space cities would do. However, with a sullied FBI file, he knew that his chances were slim in the best of cases. Technically, he had a criminal record.

He sighed. Perhaps, he was just deceiving himself so he could hang on to a thread of sanity. A few months back he lived with so much optimism. Life was wonderful in its hardship. His thoughts were like precious stones locked in his heart – thoughts about living with Sarah and starting a family, thoughts about rising in the ranks of the FBI, thoughts about the day the Earth would thaw and he would once again hear the magnificent breaking waves embrace a sandy beach.

His mind had glimpses of a far past that he was not sure if he even remembered correctly. He remembered the shoreline of a beach that his father always used to bring him to when he was a toddler – of smelling the salty breeze of an endless ocean with the hot rays of the sun burning on his shoulders. Had that beach really exist? Anyway, nothing was real anymore. Maybe, it had never been real to begin with. Maybe, this life was all a mirage.

For one crazy second, as Andrew approached the hanger and came within the force field range, he thought about simply staying put and letting the fifteen minutes tick down. After all, if none of this was real, his death wouldn’t be real either. Instead, the hanger’s door promptly opened and the man he was about to escort came hobbling right through. The scientist had a very visible bad limp. No wonder he hadn’t wasted any precious seconds coming out, thought Andrew. At the pace he was going, they would need the better part of fifteen minutes to reach the chopper!

“Dr. Henle, I presume?” queried Andrew as he walked up to his side to offer assistance. The scientist flashed his badge which Andrew’s sharp and trained eye scanned. Satisfied, Andrew took his position next to the man, but the scientist shrugged him off and Andrew stepped aside.

“Have it your way Dr. Henle, but I’m warning you that if you trip, I’ll lug you on my shoulders all the way to the chopper if I need to. Like it or not.”

“You are Andrew Bonk?” the man hissed between his teeth, in obvious pain.

“Yes, sir.”

“Listen to me well, then. I self-inflicted this sprain to make this look as realistic as possible so don’t play smartass with me because certain people have gone through a lot of trouble to honor Sarah’s memories. Have you understood what I just said?”

Andrew was momentarily stunned.

“Just keep on walking and on second thought, yes, hold my arm so I don’t have to talk as loud.”

Andrew did as requested and Dr. Henle slowed down his pace even further.

“Dr. Henle… I’m a bit confused at this moment.”

Andrew’s mind flashed back to the day when Sarah never showed up. The man in the blue suit. Was this another test to try and get information from him?

“I’ll be quick. Keep a neutral face as I talk. Whoever is watching will probably think that we’re discussing my sprain. As I talk, I’ll point to it. Look at it every now and then.”

Andrew took the cue and looked down at the scientist’s leg.

“OK, I will.”

“Good. Sarah Walsh was executed at Area 51 because she was trying to bring home to her dad a part of her work. This is what our group was told by Area 51 management. I was her colleague and we were working on some of the same projects. I don’t know why the information that she wanted to smuggle to her dad was so important – so important that she was killed for it. Yet, there is someone that knows why and I’m bringing him the information. Do you understand so far?”

“Yes,” Andrew cautiously replied. His throat was tight with emotion as he struggled with the possibility that the man was telling the truth – that Sarah was indeed assassinated. His mind became fully alert even as grief overcame him once more. He couldn’t help but reason that he was being set up again. Another trap? Once again, a man who supposedly worked closely with Sarah didn’t know what she intended to do. Everything sounded very odd.

Yet, the last time he saw Sarah, she did reveal that she was thinking of sneaking out sensitive information to her dad, didn’t she? The man at his side confirmed what she told him. Then again, her adversaries might already have known this from the start and were now trying to discover what else he knew.

“I’ll briefly explain what I have and what I’m about to do. It is important that I tell you this before we reach the chopper, because I cannot take the chance of the pilot eavesdropping on us.”

Andrew waited for Dr. Henle to continue. They were only half way through the danger zone. At that moment, Andrew wondered if they would even reach the perimeter in time. Then his mind focused on the words that the scientist had just spoken. What did Dr. Henle imply? What was he planning on doing? He was about to find out.

“The information that I’m smuggling is coded with a new technology that we are experimenting at Area 51. It is in my blood. I have modified a virus RNA and injected myself with the modified virus. The virus creates an inactive serum protein that is released in the bloodstream and is active for only three days before it is destroyed by the immune system. Once the blood is drawn, the protein is isolated and decoded through the amino acids which make up the protein. There are twenty amino acids and basically each consonant is represented by an amino acid except for the letter Z. The first ten alphabetically ordered amino acids represent the first ten numbers, from 0 to 9 respectively. What differentiates a number from a letter is that a number is represented by three sequential amino acids. There are no common words in the English language that consists of three consecutive identical consonants. I have coded Sarah’s work into this virus. Once we land, I will draw blood from my arm and inject you with the virus too.”

Andrew’s face remained stiff. His head was spinning. He could only think of one question.

“Why?”

“Because, I suspect that the same people that killed Sarah are about to discover that I am somehow involved. Sarah died for this. Sarah thought she had something big here. She told me that she had stumbled on something that she didn’t fully understand and needed her father’s help to decipher her notes. Looking back in hindsight, I believe that her father didn’t die from natural cause. They knew what Sarah intended to do. They knew that Brad Walsh might have been involved so they – whoever they are – killed him. Can I trust you?”

Andrew gazed into the intense eyes of the stranger at his side. If this was to be his last moment alive, at least he would die believing in Sarah – even if this was a deception. The thought that he might suffer her same fate strangely made him feel calm. If he died, he would die honoring her quest.

“Yes,” replied Andrew, bracing himself for a gunshot in his back.

“Good. Then once we’re done, go directly to your home and do not leave your place. Someone will contact you within forty-eight hours. His name will be Henderson. He’ll tell you if he needs a blood sample from you or not. If you are needed, that means I’m dead and was not successful in delivering the aliquot. If after two days, Henderson doesn’t call, he’s dead too. Run. Seek Jessica Walsh. You’ll have 24 hours to reach her. You’ll probably not make it. If you don’t succeed in reaching her, but are still alive after three days, forget this story and never repeat it to anyone. Do you understand?”

Andrew nodded. They had reached the chopper. He assisted Dr. Henle first. He was about to put one foot inside the vehicle when a tremendous blast seared the air. The door of the hanger had detonated and the sound wave nearly knocked him off balance.

For a long moment, Andrew was confused. He saw armed men with raised weapons storming out of the gaping door. His mind cleared and suddenly refocused when he noticed a man in a blue suit running behind the small army. He was pointing in his direction and shouting something which was indiscernible over the raucous. Andrew had seen him before. He was the man who greeted him on the day he expected to bring Sarah home.

Andrew’s attention quickly shifted away from the inrushing soldiers as he felt a deep, sharp prick on his arm. The needle penetrated through his suit and shirt. Andrew saw the plunger descend about an inch as Dr. Henle infected him with his blood before he hastily withdrew the syringe from his flesh and discarded it on the chopper’s floor. Andrew climbed inside the chopper and yelled at the pilot to lift off.

“Quick! Get us up!”

“Are you crazy?” the pilot shrieked back at Andrew as his bewildered gaze shifted between the needle on the floor and their faces. “We’ll never get out of here alive if I take off! Protocol is clear. We wait and see!”

“You got a gun?” shouted Dr. Henle at Andrew. In the confusion, Andrew had all but forgotten about the gun inside his jacket.

“Give it to me!” cried Dr. Henle. “I used to be a big game hunter. I have a good shot!”

Andrew opened his vest, but before he could even reason out as plan of action, Dr. Henle grabbed Andrew’s weapon and shoved him out the half open hatch of the chopper. Andrew heard the first shot as he toppled out and then the second shot as he fell to the ground and rolled over, splitting his forehead as he hit the cement.

A moment later, Andrew felt a rifle pointing in his back. He looked sideways, through the door of the chopper. Dr. Henle’s body was half hanging out. Dead. The pilot was slumped back. Dead. Dr. Henle had killed the pilot and then committed suicide.

The man in the blue suit was swearing. Andrew gasped as a hard kick rocked him in the ribs. He thought he heard bones snapping. He tasted blood in his mouth.

“You idiot!”

Andrew knew the man in the blue suit was standing on top of him and bellowing down, but the voice that reached him was becoming very faint.

“You are supposed to protect your gun at all times! What sort of field agent are you? Idiot!”

Andrew felt another hard kick and blanked out.

***

Barker frowned as he held up the needle between his fingers.

“Where does it come from?”

The man in the blue suit didn’t hesitate.

“Floor 51.”

Barker frowned again. “Floor 51? Did you have it analysed?”

“Yes,” the man in the blue suit replied. “It’s Dr. Henle’s blood. All blood chemistry is normal – except for one protein. It’s foreign to the human body.”

Barker narrowed his eyes. “Alien?”

A scientist was seated across Barker’s desk.

“We cannot say. We need more time to study this protein.”

Barker didn’t like the responses he was given. He slapped his free hand angrily on the desk. The scientist jumped.

“Well, move! I need answers! We cannot say is not an option at Area 51!”

The scientist pressed his lips together as he took back the needle and rushed out of Barker’s office.

Barker looked at the man in blue before turning his regard on his computer screen.

“Do we have anyone on Floor 51?”

The man in blue shook his head. “No one.”

Barker’s frigid eyes remained fixed on his monitor. There were certain floors which had long term, top secret projects that were directly managed by the Pentagon. Floor 51 was one of these. He scanned the brief file that he had access to. As Area 51 base commander, he knew that the floor was involved in discovering new espionage techniques. It was headed by the biochemistry unit which he found interesting. The new protein discovered in Dr. Henle’s blood would certainly originate from there, especially since Dr. Henle had access to that floor.

“We know that he had dramatically increased the time he spent on that floor in the last couple of months,” The man in blue added. “Undoubtedly, he was planning something all along.”

Barker nodded. “What I want to know is how he got his hands on her notes.”

“Sarah Walsh’s file?” The man in blue heaved his shoulders. “Dr. Henle worked on various projects. He’s a sort of jack of all trades. From what I gathered he’s very discrete, but appreciated by those who work closely with him. Sarah Walsh worked with him in the past on the invisibility cloak. They became good colleagues. She must have felt that her life was in danger and passed him a copy of her notes.”

Barker was thinking as the man in blue talked. They had found a copy of Sarah’s notes in Henle’s quarters. Strangely enough, there was no trace of her notes with Dr. Henle. True, it would have surprised him otherwise. Since Sarah’s execution, level five scientists were stripped naked and put into a holding room. Their possessions were meticulously verified every time they came or left the base. Perhaps, Dr. Henle had not felt comfortable bringing the information out? Perhaps, he had sensed a certain danger – maybe someone tipped him off.

Barker questioned himself. Perhaps, in this case, it would have been preferable if he had waited longer instead of impulsively storming the chopper. He could have had Henle followed and discovered which organization was involved, what their scope was. Then again, Dr. Henle might have talked and given away valuable information. A dead man can’t talk. Perhaps, that is why he committed suicide instead of giving himself up. He knew things and was frightened that he would be made to talk. Anyway, he would have died the same. Treason.

Barker turned his eyes back on the man in blue. His thoughts might have been murky at that moment, but one thing stood very clear.

“Sarah’s notes should never have been in Dr. Henle’s possession,” Barker concluded, staring at the man in blue with furious, cold eyes. “You have failed.”

“You are right,” the man smoothly replied back. “I’m not making excuses.”

“And that young agent…” Barker snapped back, not caring if the man admitted his mistakes or not. “What’s his name? Does he know anything?”

“That idiot is in a coma. It’s irreversible. He’s going to die and has been transferred out to be with his dad. It’s the only family he has.”

Barker’s nostrils were flaring.

“That idiot, as you call him, might have had important information. You didn’t need to kick him in the head.”

“I guess I lost it there a little…” confessed the man in blue.

Barker looked squarely into his eyes.

“You’re fired. Get your stuff out of Area 51. One word that you ever stepped into this place and I will send a hit squad to take you out. Got that?”

The man smirked as he rose to his feet.

“Your choice, your loss.”

Barker glanced back at his terminal as the man in the blue suit left his office.

Floor 51. He needed access.

***

“Will! This is the best surprise I’ve had in months!”

The two men affectionately hugged each other.

“You don’t look too good, John. Don’t mind me saying so, but you look much older than when I last saw you.”

“Your fault, Will! You didn’t have to leave me. Coming back? You know I need you.”

William shook his head as he sat down in front of John’s desk while the President regained his seat.

“Not a chance, Mr. President.”

John glanced at his watch. “Do you mind if we continue our chat later? Let’s say for dinner tonight? The gang will be there. I’m certain that they’d like to see you again. I’m also running on a tight schedule…”

William again shook his head. “I’ll be quick, John. Then I’m leaving and you won’t be seeing me anytime soon.”

“Oh? Working on something?”

William smiled. “You can say that.”

John narrowed his eyes. “I know that look, old friend. What are you up to? You’ve finally decided to take a trip to Mars?”

William laughed. “No, John. You know how I feel. I’m an Earth boy. Like to have my two feet planted solidly on the ground. Don’t want to know what’s up there. Not interested one bit.”

“In that case…”

William suddenly became composed. “I have a big favor to ask of you, John.”

John leaned back in his chair and chuckled.

“I know you well enough, Will. You rarely ask for favors, but when you do, they’re really big ones.”

“Exactly.”

“So, how much will this favor cost me this time?”

William was dead serious as he talked. “Not one shred of guilt or doubt. I’m going to give you more or less thirty years of your life back, John. How about that?”

The President laughed. “I might even sell my soul for that! If it brings Atlanta back…”

William quickly interrupted the President and minimized.

“The only way to do that is to travel in time… and well, you know… that’s over.”

The President nodded as he became serious and focused. “Tell me what I can do for you, William.”

“I want you to prevent Barker from accessing Floor 51 at Area 51. I don’t want him to know what’s going on in there.”

The President blinked, surprised. “I was about to approve his request, Will. It’s right here on my desk. I have no reason not to approve it, and since he cited that national interest is at play, I also have a legal obligation to comply unless I have a valid justification. I have none.”

“I know,” William replied, “but I want you to drag your feet on it. Red tape. Delay it.”

The President sighed noticeably. “For how long?”

“A couple of months, maybe more. I cannot say.”

The President’s baffled face gazed back at his former Secretary of State.

“What do you mean you cannot say? Can I ask what this is about?”

William slowly rose up from his chair.

“How many times have you trusted me, John? Blindly, I mean. And how many times have I let you down?”

The President fixed his friend’s face. There was a long pause as the two men stared deeply at one another.

“William… you do know what you’re doing, right?”

“Why do you think I retired, John? I had something in mind…”

The President hesitated for a few seconds, choosing his words carefully.

“And… how is this something going?”

“I need time, Mr. President. I need time.”

The President eyes suddenly turned hard, but a faint sparkle shown deep inside his pupils. It was a glimmer of hope.

“I’ll do my best, Will. God bless you.”

***

The nurse turned to face Jessica. Jessica knew that this was the critical part of the operation. A failure to proceed past the nursing station would most probably mean the end of the mission. Henderson had been able to provide her with ID that had cleared the check point stations, but now Jessica had no choice but to talk to a real human being and try to deceive her.

Henderson had decided on a tactic that Jessica found ridiculously simple, but that Henderson had assured her was the best option for success. He had studied the profile of the head nurse who would be at the station at that moment to conceive his approach.

“If we make believe that you are security or an FBI agent, she will go through the full security check because she knows that these organizations operate through an audit trail and their superiors could always later verify the whereabouts of their personnel. But a family member? All she needs to do is ask for ID and note it down in her log, if at that. Admitting that the logs are verified for all entries, it could be weeks before a paper pusher auditing the files in an office half way across the country is even aware that there might be something fishy.”

The nurse flashed Jessica a poignant smile.

“I had no idea that Mr. Andrew Bonk was your step-daughter’s boyfriend. I read all the gossip and…”

She suddenly stopped as if suddenly becoming aware that her words were inappropriate at that moment.

A faint smile crossed Jessica’s lips. “That’s alright. Not many knew.”

There was some truth to that statement. She hadn’t known either until Dr. Henle revealed that Sarah had been in love with Andrew.

“He came a few times to my home,” Jessica lied. “This is just a terrible moment for the whole family. He’s like a son to me. I know he’s in a coma, but maybe if he hears my voice and I talk to him about Sarah… it might do him good.”

The nurse nodded sympathetically. “I understand.”

She looked down at her pad. “However, I would need his father’s permission…”

She looked up at Jessica again and bit her lip. She took a big breath and sighed as if suddenly confronted by a big dilemma.

“The poor man. He’s in a state of shock… not only is his son in a coma, but… I’ve heard rumors, overheard some agents talking that Andrew did something not quite right.”

Jessica nodded her head. Somehow, she needed to acquire the woman’s confidence and make her believe that she was not a stranger but actually very close to Andrew.

“Yes, the agents have told me a few things and I hope that what they said isn’t true. Of course, I cannot reveal anything right now. There’s an investigation going on… I hope you understand…”

“Oh, totally!” the nurse sympathised. “I don’t know how his father is managing… he seems such a proud man. I’ve never seen anyone suffer so much.”

Jessica nodded. “Yes… it’s hard on him. It’s hard on all of us.”

The nurse sighed again. “Look, I’ll give you the brutal truth. Andrew’s not expected to live past this week. So, I guess it’s OK if I make an exception. I’ll let you through, because you might never get the chance to see him again. Once he dies, his body is going back to the government. For research, I heard.”

“Oh… that’s awful.”

Jessica pretended to act stunned. Despite the fact that she knew Andrew’s fate through Henderson, she still felt terribly shaken inside that the young man was going to die.

“Don’t tell anyone I told you this!” the nurse whispered back. She turned to her monitor. “Here, let me give you access. Your name is Jessica Walsh, correct?”

“Yes, but since my husband died, I’m going with my maiden name. Jessica Meriden.”

Jessica lied again. She had given the nurse a fictitious name. They were going to make traceability as difficult as possible.

“I’ll put you down as a relative of the family?”

“Yes, thank you.”

“You can enter now. Not more than a minute or two!”

Jessica assured her that she would be quick. The nurse handed her the pass. Jessica left the nursing station and walked to Andrew’s room. She entered and neared the bed. A tender smile broke across her lips as she stared down at the young man that had dreamt of a life with Sarah.

She remembered the positioning of the camera through the nurse’s monitor and approached the bed so that her back was to the camera. She wiped the two tears which formed on her cheeks with the back of her hand and taking courage, took the slim, miniature needle she carried under her sleeve and injected it in Andrew’s arm as she lay hunched over him as if she was caressing him. Then she drew the needle out.

“Thank you, Andrew,” Jessica whispered as she leaned down and tenderly kissed his forehead.

Then she brushed his lips. “This is from Sarah.”

Jessica quickly recomposed herself and made her way to the clinic’s roof. She climbed inside her hover car and quickly injected the virus into her own arm. They had made it in the nick of time. The three days were nearly up.

Henderson was waiting for her at home. He had set up a minilab and quickly proceeded to isolate the virus. Within the hour, he had the amino acid sequences that spelled out all the words comprising Sarah’s notes. By the end of the day, Sarah’s research was in William’s hands. Armed with humanity’s last hope, he proceeded to get in contact with a few trusted scientists who had worked with Brad.

***

William calmly watched the news as he scratched his cat behind the ears. His grandkids were yelling on the other side of the door while President Holloway was giving his resignation speech. Only one other President had ever resigned while in office. While Nixon was not totally unexpected if unprecedented, the announcement of Holloway’s departure from Office left most people speechless.

Yet, it was understandable, considering the circumstances. The responsibility was tremendous, the margin of error minimal, and the stress of dealing with the aliens and the desolate world was excruciating at best. Some were starting to wonder if it wouldn’t be best to limit the Presidency to one term in office and William wouldn’t be surprised if it soon came to that.

He wouldn’t even be astounded if soon the world would be left with only a handful of super governments with vast, undefined borders. The majority of the countries, especially those around the equator, had been ill prepared to face the first few weeks of the permanent winter. The few souls that survived were left with no government representation.

The United States was already politically and socially responsible for most of Latin America. Mexico had barely survived as a country, but it was much smaller than it once was. It did not have the resources to offer much assistance to its neighboring countries. The survivors of Canada, on the other hand, simply decided to join the United States which made the managing of resources much easier. Most that survived and lived up north had been dispersed through the existing American cities where the population had been most decimated.

William looked closely at his friend. The President was in total command of his body language. Even if he was stepping down, he was giving a vigorous, fiery speech of hope and determination. He hadn’t seen John in such good spirits since a very long time. William smiled and applauded his friend.

Perfect. The President was keeping his promise. The mayhem created as he stepped down would certainly delay the government’s inner processes for a few weeks if not a few months. The Vice President would need to reshuffle the staff and before everything was in place again, more time would be bought. Time that John knew William needed.

“Have to hand it to you – that’s tremendous thinking, John. Cheers, old friend. See you in the past.”

***

It was incredibly simple – a high powered antimatter neutrino stream to create a phase chain reaction to restart the sun. The only difficult maneuver was to get in close proximity to the sun to activate the process. Technically, they could generate a beam from Earth and aim it at the sun, but it would take too long to reach target and by the time it did, the aliens would discover the ruse and intervene.

The aliens. Bob Ross stopped by William’s home a few days before boarding the experimental colony ship Hope. William was very confident.

“It’s the last battle – the battle that will win us the war and regain our old Earth back.”

William leaned back on his lawn chair as he talked, strategically placed in front of the giant wall of his study. He was looking straight at the hologram ahead of him which gave the illusion of being atop of a high cliff overlooking a wide, low hilly plain.

He sighed. “I can finally have the retirement I’ve always wanted. Sunshine State.”

Bobby shook his head, grinning. “Now, I’m a great pilot and I’m flattered by your unshakeable confidence in me, but let me sweat it out a little, will you?”

William glanced at him with a serious deadpan face.

“I told you. No sweat. We’ve won.”

Bobby was still somewhat skeptical. “How can you be so certain?”

William shifted his eyes back to the wall in front of him and scanned the blue skies.

“There!” he said pointing at a corner of the holograph. “There it is.”

Bobby saw it too – a bald eagle soaring in the sky, coming nearer… or so it seemed.

William sighed. “I hope we make better use of our second chance…”

Bobby didn’t reply.

William turned back to Bobby. “It’s simple if you think about it. The aliens should have stopped us a few months back, but they didn’t. Why? Because with Sarah’s death, the aliens thought that the threat was over – that’s why. They underestimated our species ability to gamble, to go against the odds, to persevere in the face of hopelessness. That’s why they need us for their long term survival. They are unable to fight against the odds. They are unable to bet on the loser. We will conquer the galaxy for them because we will not give up when the odds are against us no matter how strong the other species is. We will never accept defeat until we are defeated and even then we will try to come back. Always.”

Bobby was beginning to understand.

“You mean, they work with probabilities? They don’t consider chance?”

William nodded. “Exactly. Chance, destiny, hope, fortune, divine intervention – call it what you want. It’s basically all the same when the odds are against you but you fervently believe that you can win. For argument sakes, let’s say that Sarah’s death made it ninety five percent certain that the timeline they desired would stay the same. They eliminated Brad to bring the odds even more in their favor. Yet, there will always be a probability that thousands of other individuals might come up with the star rebirth concept, but if this probability is less than one hundredth of a percent, they won’t consider it because it’s statistically impossible. It would be like dropping a ball from a cliff and seeing it roll up instead of down. Will you spend eighty years of your lifetime going up and down the hill to try to prove that the ball won’t fall down but up?”

“Not likely,” replied Bobby, tongue in cheek.

“Exactly! See what your response was? You said not likely, but you leave yourself open to the possibility, even if you realize that it is ridiculous to think that a ball will rise instead of dropping to the ground. These aliens can’t do that. They can’t think that far.”

Bobby wasn’t too certain. “I see your point, but…”

William interjected.

“Let me put it another way. It’s like emptying a bucket of sand. You want the bucket empty so you dump the sand on the ground. You look at the bucket and it is empty. You’ve succeeded, even if you know that there are always specks of dust and crystal stuck along the sides. You need a big magnifying glass to see them. Well, this species doesn’t possess that big magnifying glass, because they don’t think that the specks of dust can make a difference. To them, the bucket is empty. The only way that they’ll be able to discover us is if we let them. If we make an error and introduce enough grains of sand back into the bucket, they will spot it, determine who did it, and eliminate us.”

William continued. “The human species, however, is a neurotic, curious species. Yes, the bucket is empty, but we think we can get it even more empty. Even if we don’t see the speck of dust, we will wash the bucket with soap and hot water and even sterilize the bucket for fear that there might still be a speck of dust in it. We won’t sleep at night until we are convinced it is empty. And even after doing all of this, we might still have an irrational fear that we missed a spot. You see what I mean? That’s why the aliens need us. We need to sterilize other species for them – species that are too small for them to spot; species that they cannot quite figure out if they can or can’t harm them in the future.”

Bobby proceeded slowly. “So as long as I don’t do anything stupid during these days…”

“They won’t be able to see us coming…” concluded William. “Until it’s too late. But, they’ll never realize that they are late, will they? We fix the sun. No CME in three hundred years. No Segmoids. No Area 51. No aliens. Tic-tac-toe. Checkmate.”

“Not even as I fire the beam?” Bobby wondered.

William smiled and scratched his chin. “That’s probably where you’ll have to sweat it out a little, I’m afraid. They’ll have less than a second to go back and change the timeline. They won’t have the time to do it.”

Bobby found that funny and chuckled.

“Imagine that – a space traveling species which runs out of time!”

They remained silent, lost in their thoughts for nearly five minutes as they admired the images in front of their eyes.

“It’s beautiful,” muttered Bobby, choking up.

“It will be beautiful again,” responded William.

Bobby glanced at William. There was one more thing weighing on his mind.

“What will happen to us, to our world?”

“By us, you mean us here? This timeline? This world?”

“Yes… I will never know if I succeeded, will I?”

William contemplated Bobby’s question. What will happen if they were, as he very well thought, successful in a few days?

“I have no idea, Bob,” William answered. “I have no idea where the timeline mends and I’m too tired to try to figure it out.”

Another minute of silence followed. William finally turned to Bobby.

“Does it really matter, though?”

Bobby thought about it for a few seconds longer.

“I guess you’re right. I’d like, however, a chance to redo what I’ve done wrong. I’d like to propose to the girl I missed out in my life. I just wish I could write myself a note for my other self!”

William chuckled.

“I too have a wish. I wish I don’t go into politics and become a professional golf player. I won’t have to wait until I’m retired to live in Florida.”

***

The unit was a compact cylinder and blended in perfectly with the main engine.

Bobby came on board and shook hands with his co-pilot.

“I’m told that you’re one of the best,” Bobby said as they started procedures to disengage from the orbiting station’s docking port. “I know your father, Chen, personally. Great human being. A living legend.”

The young man appreciated the comment. “He’s a great dad. You’re a legend too. I’ve read so much about your adventures and it’s a real honor to fly with you on this maiden voyage, Captain Ross.”

“Ok,” Bobby replied, slowly easing the prototype starship around. “Now that we gassed each other reciprocally, let’s not try to make fools of ourselves and dent this little baby, OK?”

“OK, sir. Setting in flight pattern one,” the young, serious man replied.

“Later.”

The young astronaut gawked as he stared with his open mouth at Bobby.

Bobby grinned. “How do you think I became a legend – by following text book flight patterns? We’ll make the engineers happy later. I designed most of those flight patterns, anyway. Quite bored of them.”

“Well… sir… where to, then?” the Chinese taikonaut confusingly asked.

Bobby pointed to the sun.

“That way. We’ll swing around the sun, see how much stress and heat this baby can take and then fling it back towards Pluto.”

The young man wasn’t too convinced. “Is that wise, sir? Shouldn’t we check to see the ship’s maneuverability first? We are testing a prototype heat shield.”

“So let’s not waste our time, then! Let’s find out if it works. If you’ve really read those books about me, you know I like to risk. Some call it defying the odds. I like to call it risk management. If we survive, it will also help you build up some confidence, young man. Never be apprehensive about your own capabilities. You can do anything if you just set your mind on it. That includes defeating aliens.”

The co-pilot was at a loss of words as he tried to understand what Bobby had just told him. Bobby, instead, glanced down at the solid ball of white ice below his eyes. Earth. A few moments of silence passed by. His voice choked.

“You should have seen how beautiful it was. Swirls of blue and clouds, green and…”

“I’ve seen the holograms, sir.”

“Not the same thing, young man. Not the same thing.”

Bobby took a deep breath and suddenly became serious.

“Lock in course.”

“Course locked in, sir.”

“Fire auxiliary engines.”

The ship lurched ahead towards the sun. Bobby stared ahead with open eyes. I’m coming Brad, he thought with a longing bittersweet taste in his mouth. I promise that this time, I won’t mess up & leave you alone. I’m so anxious to see you again. I missed you, buddy…

“Sir, we’re moving too fast. I suggest cutting off ten percent power.”

“Negative, young man. Stay on course.”

There was a ten second pause.

Hope, this is orbiting station Delta Three. Is everything fine on board? You’re not following protocol, Bobby.”

“I know that, darling,” Bobby replied with a serene, sugary tone of voice.

“Our data shows that you are moving in much too fast towards the sun. We suggest you recalculate and change orbit. Bobby, what’s going on?”

“No need to worry,” assured Bobby as the young man at his side stared at him with worried eyes. “I intend to move a little bit closer to the sun and then fire the main engine. When that beauty kicks in, we’ll be moving so fast that you won’t be able to see us anymore. We’ll disappear in a wink of an eye!”

Another fifteen seconds passed by.

“Ready to activate main engine, kid?”

“Yes, sir!” the young man replied a little too eagerly.

Bobby pronounced his last words.

“Activating main engine sequence. God speed ahead.”

Bobby noticed the young man’s eyes widen in fright as he suddenly jerked his head behind and opened his mouth to scream.

Bobby kept his palm on the ignition sensor. He knew that sooner or later an alien would appear on board. Every second that the ship approached the sun was a grain of sand in the bucket. The aliens finally realized what humanity was attempting to do – but it was too late.

There was no more time left.

Victory.

End of Part 8

Area 51 is a 9 Part Series

Part One: Mission To Mars

Part Two: Revelation

Part Three: Contact

Part Four: Conflict

Part Five: Apocalypse

Part Six: Pendulum

Part Seven: Alliance

Part Eight: Rebirth

Part Nine: Mission To Mars II


Area 51: Rebirth (Book 8)

When Sandra Walsh doesn't show up at the appointed time, the fervently in love, young FBI agent Andrew Bonk begins to suspect that something sinister has occurred at Area 51. Confident that the timeline is assured, the aliens do not consider humanity a threat to their ambitions. William returns to the White House and asks the President for one final favor - even if William cannot reveal his plans to his long time friend, John understands that there is still a glimmer of hope. Bobby misses Brad and embarks on a journey to make things right again.

  • ISBN: 9781370496716
  • Author: Vincent Pet
  • Published: 2016-10-15 05:35:09
  • Words: 9686
Area 51: Rebirth (Book 8) Area 51: Rebirth (Book 8)