Planet Earth Protectors, The River's End

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“You two,” Ian said pointing split fingers at Teplan and Terah as they waited patiently behind Ian and Marney inside the front door of Marney’s house. “You guys are going to sit in the flatbed, okay? You know — in the back of the pickup truck.”

“You mean, like in the back, back? Like, not in the front of the truck with you guys?” Terah questioned.

Ian gave her a half-wink. ’It looks like a regular pick-up truck… But, you’ll find two seats under the cover; grab one and buckle up.”

“In there?” Terah asked pointing at the back of the pick-up truck through the little window in Marney’s front door.

“Yep. That’s right… Ready, everyone?” he asked, leading the way out of Marney’s house. Marney ushered Teplan and Terah out next, then speedily guided them towards the back of Ian’s pickup truck. Already waiting beside the open lid that led to the hidden seating under the cover of the bed of his truck, Ian rushed them up and in. “Let’s go guys, move, move, move,” he said cycling his forearm as if he were winding a giant imaginary jack-in-the-box.

First Terah, then Teplan, climbed under the opened cover to the bed of the pickup truck and slipped inside of what could only be described as a mixture of bucket seats from a racecar and the cockpit of a space shuttle. The state-of-the-art chairs that cupped their bodies were nestled around a dashboard that beamed with buttons, switches, screens, and input ports. The HD LCD screens, housed in protective casings in front of each seat, turned on. Ian’s voice came through the speakers in their headrests. “Pretty cool, eh guys? Just don’t touch anything until I tell you to.”

“Okay,” they replied in awe, and in unison, as they stared at the buttons.

While still enthralled with the Star Wars-like cockpit they were sitting in, they could not remain silent for long. “This is so cool, eh?” Teplan whispered. “Look at all this stuff! It’s like a spaceship!”

“I know! It’s amazing! I thought things like this only happened in movies!” Terah whispered back.

“Wait ’til you get to use it!” Ian whispered through the headrests. “We can hear you perfectly up here by the way!” Ian and Marney chuckled. “But, seriously…. press the button beside your armrests.”

Both quickly found and pressed a button beside their armrests and a keyboard popped out and opened up over their laps like a tray in a plane or train. “Type in your names — this will log you on to the system. This way, you will be able to use those computers back there.”

“This is the coolest thing ever!” Teplan said, making sure he typed his name correctly. “I’d so love this at home!”

“Once you log-on,” Ian continued, “you’ll be able to see outside the truck using the various hidden cameras. Anyway, on your screen should appear a map of where we are right now. We’ll be at the highway shortly. Sit back and relax. You should be home in no time.”

The headrest went silent and Teplan and Terah watched their screens, now showing the outside of the truck at all angles. Suddenly, in the distance on the road behind them, headlights appeared. They watched as the glaring lights quickly got closer and closer.

“I’m sure that’s not a welcome party!” Ian said though the headrests. “Hold on you two,” Ian pressed the gas and Teplan and Terah pressed against their seats. Both stared at their screens.

“Are you kidding me?” Terah exclaimed. “They can’t be the same guys, can they?”

“We’ve got company,” Ian finalized. “Hold on everybody!”

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