Burbridge entered the operations room. Robertson was deep in conversation with the Captain.
‘Prime Minister. May I speak with you?’
‘Excuse me Captain.’ Robertson stepped out on deck.
‘There’s been a breakthrough, something we may be able to use against the creatures. A unit that was left in Nottingham have been in contact. They’re occupying a nuclear shelter. Seems they’ve rescued nearly three thousand people from the surrounding area. They’ve discovered that the creatures don’t like high pitched sound, it drives them away. They’re trying out a high frequency transmitter in about...’ He looked at his watch. ‘...an hour. They’ll get back to us once they find the best frequency.’
‘Does Professor Stanton know about this?’
’He has our people working on it now. If it works it means we can herd the creatures away from the towns and cities and use his plan to destroy them a lot easier than on rooftops.
‘We need to coordinate this with France. They’ve suffered heavy losses Charles. They weren’t prepared for any of this.’
‘None of us were, but we may have a chance of beating it now.’
‘I have a meeting scheduled with the French ministry this afternoon.’
‘I’ve already spoken with their people. We’ve sent them all the information we have. They’ve begun building transmitters already.’
‘How is the netting program coming along.’
‘Stanton thinks it will probably be better to drive the creatures to an area that’s not built up, then lay the netting down over them. We’ve had no problems getting hold of stocks of wire netting, the American and British helicopters are being fitted with them now. They should be ready to go in a couple of hours.’
Professor Stanton called to them from the lower deck.
‘Excuse me Prime Minister. Could you join me on the lower flight deck. I’ve something to show you.’
As Robertson and Burbridge entered the flight deck they saw the Professor standing by a large cage containing six of the creatures. The creatures all turned and looked towards them as they approached. They both hesitated.
‘Is it safe?’
‘Yes, it’s quite safe.’
The creatures studied them with unblinking black pupil-less eyes. Their mouths opened to reveal razor sharp teeth, thick sticky strings of saliva dripped and hung from their teeth.
The professor handed them ear plugs and helmets with face visors. ‘They tend to spit quite a lot and their saliva is quite corrosive, hence the protection. As you can see they are quite a fearsome size. They are not actually birds, but mammals, and as such they don’t lay eggs but reproduce with live births. There are only two mammals that lay eggs; the spiny anteater or Echidna and the platypus. We can be grateful for that, as seeking out their nests would have been a mammoth task in itself. They grow from infancy to full adult size in a few weeks and they have very formidable weapons. Their teeth are identical to a sharks and capable of severing off large chunks of flesh and bone with ease. Their talons are similar to the eagle, only much longer, allowing them to grip deeper and can easily pierce the human body.’
‘They look like gargoyles,’ Robertson said. ‘How could anyone hope to withstand an attack from one of these, let alone thousands?’
’Stanton said. ‘It would only take a few of these creatures to strip a human body in seconds.’
A man in a white coat pushed a trolley full of equipment over to the cage. ‘It’s ready.’
‘You might want to stand back. This bit gets quite messy.’
They all moved back to a safe distance. Stanton picked up a remote control from the trolley. He pressed a button and the equipment lit up. A high pitched whine started up, sending the creatures into a frenzy. They went berserk. Flying around and smashing into the sides of the cage. The sound grew in pitch, then suddenly stopped, but the creatures continued to be tormented by it. They tore into each other, biting and ripping each other to shreds until only one badly injured creature remained relatively intact. It sat in the corner of the cage staring out at them. Its body trembled then it fell over on to the floor of the cage.
The Professor removed his helmet and ear plugs. He motioned for the Prime Minister and Secretary Burbridge to remove theirs. ‘The noise drives them crazy. The frequencies of a dog whistle does the trick.’
‘Is that why the noise stopped?’
‘Yes secretary. The frequency is beyond the human hearing range.’
‘How soon can it be deployed,’ Robertson asked.
‘The transmitter is quite simple really. We’ve taken over an electronics factory in Brighton that has large stocks of the components and the machinery to build them. We should have a couple of thousand units ready in two hours.’
The Prime Minister walked over to the cage. He looked in at the gory remains of the creatures and turned to Stanton and Burbridge, a look of disgust on his face. ‘As soon as they’re ready have them distributed to the units. This time not one creature remains alive.’
‘Yes, Prime Minister.’
‘Thank you Professor, this country owes you a debt of gratitude we could never hope to pay.’
‘You should thank the unit in Nottingham. If it wasn’t for them we might never have known any of this.’
‘Yes of course. I shall thank them personally once this is over. Is there anything else, only I have to meet with the French premier in a few minutes?’
‘No Prime Minister. I’ll go down to Brighton with my team and make sure everything is going to plan.’
‘Good man. Keep me up to speed.’
Robertson and Burbridge turned and walked away, both were smiling.