Chapter 44 - Bend, OR
The Admiral assembled a SWOT team of Marines led by a Colonel he trusted totally, and had worked with many times. Their job was to investigate the other 16 sites the NASA scientists had identified. There was only one within the United States, and this would be the first one. The site was in a remote part of Oregon, about 15 miles south of the town of Bend.
The SWOT team set off for the site which was well hidden from the nearest highway, and in a remote area. They spent two days and nights, working around the clock under spotlights, digging a hole 30 feet deep and as wide, on the exact co-ordinates they had been given. The ground was dug with their heavy equipment, and all the dirt and rocks were finely sieved and analyzed. There were no Geiger counter readings of any significance. The Marines were not in the ‘need-to-know’, and were just ordered to dig. They didn’t know what they were looking for. The soldiers thought their superiors had really lost their minds this time, asking them to dig a hole, run the dirt through a sieve and the fill the hole back in again. The bored and bewildered Marines, found nothing, filled in the hole and left.
While they were on their way to the second site in Argentina, the NASA scientists saw another blip in the data from the site in Bend, Oregon. The SWOT team was ordered to turn their transport planes around and head back. They dug up the same earth again, and still found nothing even with the Admiral on site supervising the operation. The Marines doing the digging were in complete disbelief, but the big-shot officers had arrived so they did what good soldiers did, followed orders. They filled in the hole again, and headed to Argentina. The data blip resumed once more from the site in Oregon, while the team was digging in Argentina. They found nothing in Argentina.
But now the smart people at Fort Meade began to see a pattern. While they were digging no blip, when they stopped digging the blip returned. However bored and bewildered soldiers with mobile internet connections find things to do. The headline in Weekly World News was:
US Marines find alien space ship
A crack unit of US Marines has been drafted in to recover the remains of an alien space ship that crash landed in Bend, Oregon. The US military returned twice to the remote site. A US military spokesman denied the marines were looking for aliens, and were on a routine training exercise …
The sensors had a stealth mode to avoid detection that was invoked automatically by activity around them. During his journey to the planet, the Silver man noted that this mode had been invoked twice in a short period of time. In stealth mode the sensors shrank in size to resemble an irregular shaped small bit of gravel indistinguishable from the soil around them. The sensors could remain that way indefinitely, but at random intervals would poll their surroundings to see if it was safe to resume normal operations. In their stealth mode form, the sensors were virtually undetectable.
The moment Henry fell to the ground fatally wounded, Eustace’s instinct was to protect the King. Men-at-arms were expendable, it was their duty to protect the Sovereign at all costs.
He didn’t know what the weapon was that had killed the finest bowman in England so easily, but he also knew that his sword was ineffective against it. They ran towards the horses. He used his body as a human shield, positioning himself, between that fearsome weapon and the King. Keith had no choice but to follow. Even in their haste, Eustace still held onto his belt.
The crowds parted as the fled at breakneck speed.
Eustace was a fearsome site brandishing his sword. It made it impossible for the Police to fire rounds for fear of hitting innocent bystanders. Besides their priority, was their dead and wounded colleagues.
They reached the horses. Without warning, Eustace hit Keith another glancing blow on the temple which knocked him out cold. Eustace, was a strong man and picked up Keith’s inert body laying it like a sack of potatoes across a horse. The King and Eustace rode off, Eustace pulling both the horse carrying Keith and a spare horse behind him. Also the King pulled a single spare horse. Horses were valuable, you didn’t leave them behind even in a life and death situation.
They quickly found cover in the woods, where nobody could creep up on them unnoticed. Eustace knew how to hide in a wood, he had hidden the King many times.
Eustace also knew that priority was to give the Kings’ wounds time to heal, and to find food and water. He would probably kill the tall stranger when he woke, but he thought it a good idea to question him first.
He made the thicket in the woods, as comfortable for the King as he could. They would rest here until nightfall.