Had it not been for the extensive wounds the hunting party would have reached their homestead two days earlier. On the penultimate night, exhaustion had gripped Jamie and Andrew, and neither were able to continue with their journey without the team allowing them time to rest. Michael had attempted to of telepathically spoken to his remaining brothers and sisters, who had remained at the homestead trying to warn them of the impending doom.
Incredibly there was an electrical storm over the mountain range causing an interference that they had never experienced before. Unknown to them, it was created, manmade by the Undraus family, and their numerous military connections. Fortunately, they were unaware of Michael’s presence, or at that of his fragmented family.
Michael spoke quickly to Jamie then to his three brothers’; he had agreed to leave them to their own resources, and to arrive home as and when they could. He had wanted to hurry ahead trying to break through the interference enabling him to warn the family.
Never before had he moved so fast for so long, already he had realised that had such a creature become aware of his presence, that this would leave him at a great disadvantage.
In his greatly weekend and exhausted state, he knew that he would be unable to defend himself in any honourable way. None the less the single driving force of finding Mary Jane and his remaining family, drove him forward with such relentless speed, that he momentarily almost never saw the two bodies lying low in the hope that the approaching person would pass them by un-noticed.
It was not until he felt some form of recognition that he stopped, almost praying that he was wrong. In the recesses of his mind he could recognise the scent and form of the two people, he knew instantly they were from the ranch, and feared that a hit squad had finally caught up with them.
“Please whoever you are, if Father Robert and Mother Juliet sent you, I pray of you to put aside our differences for now and to fight an even greater enemy.”
Thomas on realising it was Michael shouted in joy, “Michael…Michael dear lord is that really you?” Momentarily Michael was confused yet approached his brother slowly.
“Michael, I know not of your battle, but I and young Billy here have a battle of our own.”
Finally, the three met and gave a cautious greeting, Thomas set about explaining how he had been kidnapped on his way home to see his new family, only to wake and find himself and young Billy bound hand and foot.
“We were later brought up to here some thirty miles north, the soldiers simply said they wanted to test their new equipment. Young Billy here was sent out some thirty miles southeast from here, I was later released when they had set up camp.”
Michael looked on almost in disbelief.
“It was not until they set up camp that I realised our mental connections had been blocked, they did this to me once before, but then they used a neck collar.”
Michael listened with interest, and after some six minutes he had been fully briefed on the events that had led to him been here now with young Billy and Thomas; all along he had made them talk while trying to continue returning home.
“Do you know exactly where their home camp is?”
“Yes, but I fear we cannot go near them as they have inserted some type of prohibitor into our skulls,” said Thomas.
The partial slowing of speed had enabled Michael to regain some of his strength.
“Listen if you can make your way towards their encampment then do so, I shall try and discover whatever it is that they are using to block our mental abilities and disable it. The moment that I succeed, warn Robert and Juliet then the rest of the family,” said Michael.
At that Michael set out in the direction that Thomas had given him, momentarily he had to put aside his desire to reach the homestead in advance of the bears. It took one hour and fifty-three minutes before he saw the first two soldiers, casually they lent alongside a huge military transporter, talking while another lay beneath a vehicle carrying out repairs.
It took Michael only seconds to dispatch the three men into silent graves where the wild animals could feast on their remains. Twenty minutes later, Michael could see two women walking from a tent below a radio mask that was towering some twenty-three feet into the air. As he approached, the pain from within his head felt like a hammer thumping from the inside trying to burst out.
Instantly he knew it was from that location that the military were using the jamming device. Quietly he surveyed the area looking for signs of additional staff, and to his amazement there were only three additional armed guards, none were ready for any sign of attack.
It took Michael only seconds to dispatch each guard; although they were armed, they had been some twenty metres or more apart. Placing three bullets into the equipment solved the dismantling problem, their remaining equipment was extensive and of considerable use to the homestead.
It had taken Michael a matter of seconds to warn the family, Thomas on enquiring into how many soldiers that Michael had encountered, promptly informed him that there were at least another nine, and possibly out on patrol. Taking the dead soldiers, Michael stripped the bodies hung them by their feet then sliced the bodies pulling out the intestines. He knew that if the bears were anywhere within a seven to ten-mile radius, that they would sense the smell of blood and come to investigate.
Michael had requested that Thomas repaired the military transporter, and then to take it to meet up with his fellow brothers, and to bring them to the homestead. As Michael left the area, he could sense that old Minstrel was close by, he had moved the suit-cased sized blocking mechanism into the side seat of a military Jeep, along with military camp provisions and some munitions.
After travelling only some three miles Michael slowed the Jeep to a halt, some seven hundred metres ahead was the military scouting party returning to the base.
In an adjoining field Michael’s animal like sense could feel the imminent danger that was rapidly approaching. Within seconds from behind the soldiers arose a bear onto his hind feet like nothing Michael had ever seen before. He stood some fifteen meters high and had a girth twice the size of his military jeep, and what amazed Michael even more was the stealth of the creature.
It was not until it was some six feet from the advancing soldiers that they even became aware of its presents, by then Michael knew, for them it was too late. Even with their automatic weapons he sensed at the very best it would only slow the creature down. Seeing the opportunity to escape he drove away in an Easterly direction as quickly as the Jeep could take him and informing his family of the bears presence and immediate location.
That evening the family celebrated the safe return of Michael and the others with cautious glee. The group had heavily mined the surrounding areas of the homestead and placed additional guards on duty. Thomas verbally brought the family up to date using speech by Michaels request so that the human family members could be included.
Robert had spoken to his family members informing them of the betrayal of the Undraus Corporation, agreeing to keep their knowledge as such quiet and to try and gain the advantage. For the first time now in some nine years Juliet broke her mental silence and spoke directly to Peter and Alex, and to her great surprise she learnt of the Undraus plan and of the infiltration of a cloned Thomas and of the Seth incident.
Peter finally gave her permission to speak to Robert; jointly they set about explaining why they had formulated the plan to allow the family to split. It took some minutes before Robert could see the greater picture, and he conceded that he would have never of left the security of the compound; had not it of been for Juliet convincing him of the necessity to leave and form a family of their own.
Peter later explained that his mother’s technicians had sub programmed them both to unconsciously have a desire to branch the family outwards into the greater community. He knew now and also understood that it was the only way that he could escape the confines of the Portland Foundation and of the military involvement.
He genuinely had not known of the basic details preferring to leave that to Juliet, having not wanted to give a warning to any of the other’s; Alex included, of what was transpiring.
Nor had Peter or Alex been aware that Robert and Juliet had infiltrated their genetic materials into some of the embryo test samples. Now they were collectively fighting a greater enemy and knew it would take all of their combined strength to establish a world colony, starting with the destruction of the Undraus Corporation.
The Undraus Seth had not become aware of its reduced processing speed, nor had those that were directly bio connected. As they also had been infected by the virus, and which was now embedded into the entire network and multiplying every time a single transaction or user processed any form of data.
Incredibly this data was now being processed and analysed by the Portland Institute, whose equipment now remained unaffected by the rampant virus.
It had taken the demon what seemed an eternity to eventually reach the furthest room from where it had been entombed by Peter, and now it had to wait; as there was no other means of it ever escaping.
It had been a further three months and five days, when the area of New Mexico was awoken by the violent thunderous noise of a force six earth tremor. Then within nine hours they experienced there first ever force nine earthquakes, rendering vast populated areas to rubble within minutes.
Due to the specialised construction of the Institute, it was largely unaffected other than minor structural damage, however the lower areas nearest the heart of the tremor, took foundation subsidence causing part of the east wing to start sinking into a slowly growing chasm.
It was from this area of the lower East Wing that professor Lambert had been taken by Susan Whitby. Although the professor had eventually been led into part of the inner most sanctums, the eastern area of his eventual imprisonment, had developed ruptures within the structural walls giving Alex and Peter cause for concern.
The demon sensing a small flow of clean air slowly made its way towards the airflow, eventually using its size to its advantage and exiting the damaged room, and into an area of undeveloped rubble frequented by vermin and other subterranean life forms.
Having survived so long without sustenance its life force was again becoming weak and leaving it in need of replenishing itself before it eventually died.
The one weakness that left the demon vulnerable was its need to physically come into contact with a life force before it could assimilate or occupy any of its victims.
It was another three days before an unsuspecting cockroach stumbled across the small fly struggling to keep itself alive. In that instant the demon had found itself a new host that was equipped by nature to be a born survivor.
“You do realise there is a remote possibility that the demon could have escaped,” said Alex.
Peter looked up from his power chair and showed concern in his eyes. Alex had come to read not only his thoughts but also his facial expressions and innermost feeling through his eyes.
“I agree; it would be wise to have the entire East Wing thermally swept,” said Peter.
Alex had long foreseen and planned for such an emergency, having cloned a selected breed of genetically enhanced creatures that would carry out a selected mission and terminate their lives in the process.
A small nuclear detonator was taken into the Eastern wings lowest subterranean levels and physically detonated by one of the selected clones, that was after six of his colleagues had swept the area and sealed off all the nuclear doors ensuring any life force within that area would certainly have its very existence extinguished in a flash of a Nano seconds.
Peter shuddered as he felt the shock waves vibrating through the vast series of complex internal dampers, in truth even though he had never had the opportunity to test, or to really know if the designer’s faith in her system would work. He knew without question, that if the thermal detonation had failed, that the nuclear explosion would have extinguished their lives far more mercifully than by the demon.
“It would seem your faith in Miss Winston’s deigns were well founded.”
“Yes, although there was one moment when I almost wet myself” replied Peter.
Alex smiled; even now after all his suffering he found the courage and strength of character to find humour in even the gravest of emergencies.
The Undraus Corporation had engineered the earth tremors, and unknown to Peter, or any other personnel within the Institute. Certain sections of the military under the Undraus control, had been researching alternative tactical methods of rendering a countries military and infra-structure into a state of been unable to sustain those that it had been designed to service.
Had it not been for the vast billions of American Dollars that had been invested into the design and construction of the complex Peter was using, and having the very best within their specialised fields, including specially developed construction materials which had itself been taken from top-secret extra-terrestrial crafts captured in the early years of the Roswell incident?
Peter knew the site would not have proved so strong, or at that, in having been able to withstand such a devastating earth tremor.
This material had taken decades to reproduce, and then further developed by military scientists to withstand heat greater than that on the surface of the sun, with absorbing qualities that could disperse the heat in seconds and withstand enormous pressures brought on even by a nuclear explosion.
Moulding the material had been comparatively easy; their greatest breakthrough came when one of Peter’s scientists discovered a means of liquefying the compound and enabling the user to spray it onto an external surface, forming a protective layer so thin that it was almost invisible to the human eye.
Peter smiled as he remembered some bombastic four-stared general demand that his claims could never possibly be true and that the institute was merely playing for further military finance.
Alex had invited not only the general to personally witness the test experiment, but also any chosen investigative scientists of his choice along with the sub Joint Chief of Staffs and the American President in person.
Such was his faith in the product that he instructed Alex to coat a single sheet of A4 size paper with P3412, the liquefied substance, and have it placed over an open container of Nitro Glycerine that had been placed into a secured observation room, and knowing that had the unstable Nitro Glycerine increased by even one degree in its temperature that it would have killed him.
Typical to Peters humour, he had invited the general in front of his President to personally accompany him into the sealed observation room to carry out the experiment. Of course, he explained, it was to personally ensure there had been no sleight of hand, as he had so humorously put it. After persistent refusals the President in person ordered the general to accompany Peter into the room.
“Hell, man where is your pride, have you no backbone. That man is placing his own life on the line just to prove to you personally that their invention actually does what they claim it to do?”
As Peter had entered the room and waited for the doors to seal themselves ensuring the room was completely capable of withstanding any explosions. Peter looked over to the general and informed him, using his computer link, that he would have to light the gas torch in person as he was there only as an inactive observer. As the general lit the torch and brought the flame towards the incredibly thin piece of paper, Peter spoke,
“Listen, your an asshole, as far as I’m concerned you’re a disgrace to your uniform, I haven’t had the opportunity of actually testing this yet, but then I’ve only days left to live any way…, so either way I don’t give a shit.”
Peter actually had an immense dislike towards the man, as he was the type of officer that would send human life into certain death to save face rather than find an alternative solution to a problem.
It took the general over eleven minutes to gain the courage that he needed to actually place the open flame directly onto the single sheet of paper. In that instant he held his breath and closed his eyes having feared that Peter had decided to end his own life and to take him along with him.
Needless to say, Peter knew without question, his faith in the product, however the general’s superiors were far from impressed by his lack of courage and the failing in his strength of character. That very day he was transferred to a sedentary mundane posting in a weather station in Siberia, and with loss of rank.
Unknown to Peter his miraculous P3412 had now been indirectly used against him. Only moments before the thermal nuclear explosion, in a small panel accessed from the interior of the east wing. A loan cockroach had made its way through several layers of moulded P3412 and cocooned itself safely inside, having sensed that Peter would try something drastic to ensure the demise of its life.