Luna continued her reflection.
After the drop off they had moved quickly through the bush, towards the citadel. They covered their tracks as they went.
The outcrop they had selected gave them cover and an excellent view of the port. They had spent 45 minutes observing the routines of the Sentinels guarding the rig in pad 16b.
They had done various distance calculations, gathered weather data and synchronised their timepieces.
They had found the optimal position whereby Luna could hit a Sentinel, cause it to self-destruct and not cause too much damage. Hitting a Sentinel when it was too close to the rig could cause the fuel tanks to ignite. The resulting explosion could damage nearby buildings. That would definitely result in collateral damage.
“Mentor had been very specific about avoiding that!” Luna reflected.
The first window had opened at 8:30am, however, the Sentinels weren’t in the right positions.
They had predicted it wouldn’t be until the 9:22am window before the Sentinels would be in the correct position. They had waited patiently for the interference software to cause a momentary glitch in the Citadels defences. Mentor’s information suggested the glitch would cycle every 8 minutes. When it did, a single shot could penetrate the shield undetected.
At 9:22, the Sentinels were in the correct position, but a 2nd Sentinel blocked the shot. They had let that window pass.
“Three chances remained,” reflected Luna.
At a little before 9:30, the 2nd Sentinel had moved. The shot was possible.
Luna had checked that her breathing was still slow and steady.
She had checked her calculations again. They had calculated the shot would take 2.7 seconds to reach the target. Luna went over those calculations once more as she swept the ground behind her.
Luna recalled, she had then checked the sight once more and counted down the seconds.
At precisely 9:29:57 she had taken a half breath, then applied a slight amount of pressure to the trigger. The rifle fired. She had absorbed the recoil and continued to hold her breath.
Immediately, Marr had placed a cover over the rifle muzzle. Then they fell silent and held their breaths.
At exactly 7 seconds after Luna pulled the trigger, a slight pop reached their ears. Success they both thought. No massive explosion, just enough to detonate the Sentinel.
With the confirmation, they had lifted themselves up gently and backed away from the outcrop, covering their tracks as they went.
Luna finished her reflection by recalling the path they had taken away from the outcrop over the last 40 minutes. She felt confident and content.
It was at this moment that they heard the Sentinel quadcopters!
“Right on cue,” suggested Luna.
“Yep, let’s have a little rest and sit it out,” smiled Marr.
Pushing into the centre of a nearby bush, they settled in to wait.
Thirty minutes later, things hadn’t gone well for the Observer in the Citadel.
The mobile squad had been dispatched to the location of the muzzle flash. They found nothing. The location showed no evidence of any persons being at the location or in the vicinity.
The Observer had been over the logs and footage several times. The footage coming in from the wild was patchy and movement tracking systems glitchy. However, the Observer knew cross checks when the keepers returned in the evenings, always showed things were as expected. No one looked out of place.
The Observer trusted the system and it showed no trace of bad actors. The flash must have been something else.
The Observer’s superiors had taken over. They had listened to the report and then put the Observer into a locked room. The Observer would have no further involvement in narrative writing or work within the security team.
Sitting in the locked room, the Observer tried to focus on reading the press release.
The Observer would be reading it live to the media in a few moments. Staying focused was not an easy task given the rumours that the Observer had heard about those that get unprivileged.
The press release read: “Earlier this morning, I was monitoring Pad 16b. I thought I saw someone acting suspicious near the rig. I ordered the Squad of Sentinels to open fire causing a small amount of damage. I am terribly sorry for the damage that I have caused and accept full responsibility for the carelessness of my actions.”
(to be continued...)
[Uplift, Double Take, Chapter 4 - Cause and effect (Passage 3 of 5)]
All Rights Reserved. Copyright © 2021 BJ Allen
Chapter 1 - A routine descent
Chapter 2 - Perspective
Chapter 3 - Grounding
Chapter 4 - Cause and effect
Chapter 5 - The first meeting
Chapter 6 - Staying goodbye
Chapter 7- Instability
Chapter 8 - Orientation
(Stay tuned for further chapters)
"Let's go Mentor, we've only got an hour to get everything we need ready for the next 3 weeks. The supplies are in the clearance hold with the load, but we’ve got to get them secure. The passengers will be here shortly and they’ll need briefing. Let's start with your travel lockers. We'll bring them through the nose door and to make light work of it, we'll use the vertical conveyor in the forward ladder shaft," Annee shared as she got up from the table.
"Show the way, and I am not afraid of hard work," replied Mentor as he followed her to the airlock door that lead back to the passenger accommodation.
"Don't worry, I have plenty of hard work in mind to satisfy that need."
"By the look of you, I am pretty sure you can satisfy my needs, bring it on, Annee," Mentor replied in a provocative tone.
Annee laughed briefly saying, “you’d be so lucky, old timer”, and smiled cheekily back at him and the others as she disappeared through the door.
Mentor laughed loudly as he headed into the corridor....
"Right, let me welcome you all and I hope this is the start of something real,” Dukk said as he sat down.
“We have a big challenge ahead of us and on top of that we don't know each other. And, some of you are new to this game. So, let me start with a few non negotiables. Number one, no heroes. Your own safety comes first. As they say, attend to your own air supply first before helping others with theirs. Second, everyone has the obligation to challenge things that you don't understand or that don’t look right. If I, or anyone else, overlooks something or makes a poor decision out there, we all may die. So we all must be prepared to be challenged. And we must all challenge. And, finally, we leave no one behind, no matter the designation, privilege or whatever. Clear?"
Nods and smiles all round.
“Great. So, on this rig we operate in pairs, or buddies. You’ll cover the same areas of responsibility. You’ll be on watch together. You’ll eat at the same time. You’ll sleep at ...
The convergence of two key events gave rise to this space. The first being frustration over the madness of the world and the cliff we are all charging towards. The second being the realisation that time was getting on and I’d better get the stuff out of my head before it was too late. So, I created this community on Locals.com. My plan is to experiment with this format as an alternative to the traditional book publishing path. My plan is to publish stories as they evolve, probably a chapter at a time. The first piece of writing that will unfold here is a story that I am calling Uplift, Double Take. This piece explores life 200 odd years from now, based on the trajectory of the current madness.
Your financial support would be greatly appreciated, but not needed to read the book.
This is because, I am publishing the book one passage at a time via normal posts within my Locals community.
You simply need to join the community and you’ll get book passages delivered directly to you as ...