Chapter 32 Daisy Nook
A wood pigeon sat in a tree. He looked down from his high perch with a panoramic view of the land. He could see the hard surfaces that shimmered in the afternoon sun. He could see any movement above or below him. He could see and hear the two creatures below who walked upright on two legs. They made strange sounds like birds of two different species trying to compete. A third such creature was nearby hiding in the grass by the hedgerow. He detected no danger from this quarter and so parted his beak to cool himself and ruffled his feathers to let the air in.
Then, in the distance he detected movement. One of those hard noisy machines that sent out smelly fumes was approaching slowly. Now he raised himself aware he may have to take flight. His eyes focused on the machine which told him it was larger than most. Such was his sight he could detect a lone creature inside. It stopped not far away but of a distance he deemed safe.
Suddenly his attention shifted below him for one of the creatures had ran to a smaller metal machine and retrieved a device. He knew this device and it alarmed him. When these creatures pointed such a device at his relatives a loud bang followed and many a time a relative was no more. Accordingly he rose on his legs, he muscles taught ready for flight.
Cocking his head to one side as if questioning what he saw, a figure emerge from the large vehicle while the other figure strode purposely towards it. By their shapes he guessed both were females of the species, both in tight black plumage and both appeared only interested in each other. Was this a mating ritual he wondered, meeting in the open like this?
As the one creature approached the other she raised the device the pigeon feared, pointed it at the other female and then a loud bang rent the air. Almost immediately, before he could fling himself into the air from his tree he notice a blue shimmering light envelop the female from the large machine. A second bang, made him send all the power he could muster to his wings as his legs exploded away from the branch. He turned, as he rose, in a tight arc away from the scene below.
When a double blast from a 12 gauge has no effect upon your opponent it is probably a good idea to panic. Burn did just that, turning without hesitation she ran back towards her benefactor, whilst expertly breaching the shotgun, flinging out two spent cartridges and replacing them. She knew another blast at this woman would yield the same result and just hoped Clive would have an answer.
“Where in God’s name did you get that?” he shouted clearly angry.
“The bitch is here to kill you!” she screamed.
“No she is not” he said calmly and pointed behind Burn.
She turned to see the woman walking slowly towards them both arms raised above her head. In one hand, held by a single finger through the trigger guard was a gun, in the other a stick device of metal. Burn recognised both weapons were held in a gesture of peace, which left her mystified.
“Big John” she said absent mindedly, “he use to manage some really rough pubs.”
Burn immediately recognised the woman as the nurse in the photograph taken in the car park. Also, she noted her lack of confidence, her jittery movement as if uncertain of her grounds. This caused Burn to pause for she felt she may secure an advantage somewhere in the woman’s uncertainty.
“I am so, so sorry.” the woman grovelled, standing on the tarmac road in the bright sun.
“Forgive me, I never meant to shoot you.”
“Like hell you didn’t” shouted Burn her hackles fully raised like a lioness about to defend its cub.
“Please” the nurse went on, “the shot gun cannot damage me, but it is like being punched in the ribs. Please lower it.”
Burn did not move a muscle.
“Burn!” shouted Clive, being in pain he was hence economically with his words.
Slowly Burn lowered the gun encouraging the nurse to step towards , taking up a position were the tarmac met the grass.
“Before I die” said Clive in a slow paced tone, “I want to know why you smell the way you do?”
“A friend of your mothers injected me with some DNA material that became part of me, so I smell like a Kronian female.”
“No,” snapped back Clive rousing himself, “you smell different to a normal Kronian female, more powerful, more arresting but similar.”
“My colleague ” she turned and pointed down the road to the camper, “says it is probably old Kronian, as in ancient.”
“Colleague?” barked Burn sensing danger.
“Don’t worry ” assured the nurse, “She has no legs.”
There was a pause as if neither side trusted the other but then again neither side wanted a war.
“My name is Eva and I knew your mother.” ventured their uninvited guest.
Clive looked at her without making it easy.
“It was a friend of hers, S5 that injected the DNA into me.”
At this Clive stirred.
“You knew S5?” he said a little more animated.
“Briefly.” came the response.
“Where is my mother now?” asked Clive with real concern.
“She was ill when I met her and I helped her and S5 return to Kron9”
“What in hell is she talking about.” put in Burn but they both ignored her.
At this news the male appeared to physically relax as if a worry had been lifted from his shoulders.
“She is safe” he said at last as if to reassure himself.
Then without a pause he asked
“Did my mother make you promise something to her before she left?” The question had a real point to it, as if a barrister was asking a vital question that could turn a case in a court of law. So much so was its serious tone that Burn turned and looked at him.
“Why do you ask?” said Eva noticing that he had gripped the disrupter in his hand tighter and it was pointed at her. She knew instinctively that virtually everything rested on her answer. She also knew that if the disrupter was anything like the one used at the railway station, it could do real damage, harness or no harness.
“Y..e..s” she volunteered slowly.
“Well?” demanded Clive when no more came.
Eva decided that honesty was the best policy. She also noticed Akra was amazing quiet.
“In the event,” she paused looking closely at her antagonists, trying to gauge their response to her words, “In the event of you being or likely to be capture by the Greys.”
She paused again very uncertain of her position.
“Go on” the male prompted.
Eva went for broke,
“If the Greys were about to captured you I was..... to kill you.”
“What!” screamed Burn raising the shot gun, “No mother would request that.”
“Burn!” shouted the male in an attempt to stop the young woman doing something foolish,
“That is exactly what MY mother would have said.”
The tension began to recede like flood water going down a solitary drain, slow at first then visibly apparent. Burn, however was not totally convinced,
“So you shot him because you thought he was about to be captured?” she demanded.
“What the hell does ‘not exactly’ mean?, You shot him for fun?”
Burn was at her most aggressive best.
Eva knew she had won the confidence of the male, now she turned to the young woman,”
“My, ” she said looking first at Burn then directly at the male, “you have a real she warrior here,
a real cobra of a woman.”
Then before anyone could speak she addressed the air saying, “Akra switch off the harness.”
There was a pause then Eva repeated her request with force, “Switch off the god dam harness.”
After a second she turned to face the young woman, “There,” she announced “my harness is off, take your shot and lose the best piece you have remaining on the board.”
Burn raised the gun, held it pointing at Eva, then slowly lowered it.
After a moments silence Eva said, quietly
“It was an accident.”
“So” Clive broke into the silent stance between the two females, “Why were you so determined to find me?”
“I was to give you something.” ventured Eva stepping onto the grass, laying her weapons amongst the greenery and kneeling down on her haunches as if joining a Japanese tea party.
“Something, to aid your survival but it appears a little redundant now.” Eva wore an expression of resignation, as if she did not know the next step, her aim had been fulfilled, she had found the male.
“And pray what is this gift?” asked Clive a little more relaxed, perhaps in less pain.
Turning the young woman pointed down the road at her campervan,
“That.” she said bluntly.
Both Burn and Clive peered around her at the vehicle then after a moments silence began to laugh.
“An ambulance would have been better.” joked Clive.
“Some things you just do not need in life.” smiled Burn having never been inside a camper or even thought about them.
“Oh,” smirked Eva, “that is no camper van.”
“It looks like a camper, it smells like a camper and it drives like a campervan, so my guess,” smiled Burn in a certain way people do when they know they are right.
Eva cut in slightly annoyed, “It contains the most powerful artificial intelligence on the planet.” Then looking directly at Clive said, “Your mum was crap at doing the dishes but one hell of a scientist. ”
Her anger rising because they looked at her totally blank, she jabbed the air with her finger pointing down the road, “That... is Akra.” She shouted the words with such conviction that belief began to emerge from its hiding place.
“At this point in time, ” stated Clive in a low voice, “it is muscle we need not intelligence for very soon I will have to move myself to that field if I am to stand any chance of surviving this injury inflicted by you.”
“The passing point?” Eva stated rather than asked.
“Yes,” answered Clive, “If my mother is correct there should be help at the other side, if not the outcome will be the same as if I stayed here. Now we must get ready.”
Throughout this discourse Burn had stood, dominating the scene, so it was she reached Clive quickly as he struggled to his feet. Eva rose slowly to go to his assistance also but Burn barked,
“I can manage thank you!”
Clive stood face to face with Eva and speaking in a whisper of a voice,
“We can manage please go to your camper van.”
“There is nothing I can do to help?” she enquired somewhat forlornly,
“No” was the stark reply.
Collecting her weapons Eva watched as , supported by Burn the male she had been seeking all this time hobbled onto the tarmac road, not towards the large open gate that marked the entrance to his escape from this world, but to the rental van. He clearly had no use for the greatest artificially intelligence in the world.
Between them they stowed the small drone that had been flying high and integrated his computer into some kind of hardware. From her vantage point Eva could see the van was very much alive with electronic equipment. A noisy high pitch ‘beep’ broke the stillness of the country air, not unlike that emitted by smoke alarms with decaying batteries, only louder. .
Standing there in the shade Eva felt disappointment that her mission should end like this. She felt envious of the girl who was clearly devoted to him but could not explain why. Perhaps it was because he trusted her totally or because he needed help and she was his aid, his nurse. That was it she thought the nurse in her wanted to help. Alighting on this explanation she smiled and decided there was no more to be done.
A second beep broke the air.
“What is that Akra.”
“A count down” responded Akra “the interval between the beeps will get smaller as the correct time for the passing arrives. That is my guess.” Akra’s tone was downbeat and resigned reflecting her own feelings.
As she stepped out into the sunlight from the shadow of the tree making her way back to the camper van, Akra burst into life with some urgency.
“Two vehicles approaching at speed from the south.”
“So ” said Eva , “is it danger or just some people going home, it is a road after all.”
“There is a red motorbike coming up the rear.”
“How long before they get here?” shouted Eva now turning on her heels.
“One minute and 12 seconds, “approximately.”
Eva was now sprinting
“There is more bad news.” chipped in Akra.
“My calculations show the primitive apparatus he has for accessing the passing will fail after 10 seconds barely enough time for one to pass, especially when that someone is injured..”
“Shit” said Eva.
“Does he know this?”
“I doubt it.”
Eva ran past the open gate which contained Clive and Burn shouting,
She ran down the road a little then faced the heat haze which was the road. At first there was nothing there so turned to see if the two refugees had heeded her warning. They were stumbling, with the young woman trying to support the heavy male whilst clinging to her shotgun.
When Eva turned to look down the road again, thee were the dark shadow of metal travelling fast towards her.
“Shit” she muttered under her breath.
Akra broke in, “Calculations say the disrupter will stop the lead vehicle at approx 180 metres, fire on my command.”
“Yes” stabbed Eva more than a little nervous.
Eva noticed the vehicle was an old faded Range rover belching blue smoke.
“Are you sure it is them?” she asked urgently.
“Yes, they have chosen old vehicles so that I cannot hack the onboard computer to disable them.”
“They know about you.” exclaimed Eva now really worried.
“Apparently.” was the cool response.
“Get ready,” Akra then began a count down, “10...9..8"
Suddenly the lead vehicle swerved violently, crossing the grass verge at speed and crashed through the wire fencing , demolishing a wooden post.
Frozen to the spot the nurse looked on in horror as she saw the enemy outflanking her as the two old cars began to bump and screeched up the wheat field.
Luck, however was on her side. The Range rover in breaking through the fencing had entangled wire and parts of the wooden fence in its wheels. As the driver urged it on it ripped up the remaining fencing leaving a trail of wire behind it. The wire had become the tentacles of some demented creature trying to restrain it. Almost in slow motion, it dawned on Eva the car would not make the distance to Clive and Burn.
Burn meanwhile had seen the danger so leaving Clive to his own devices, had stepped forward to face the threat. Kneeling on one knee to lower her target profile she levelled the gun and waited, and waited. The second vehicle a Toyota pickup, the kind that are indestructible rounded the ailing Range Rover and headed straight for her. She waited some more as if at a traffic light then fired.
Two cartridges emptied and the pleasing sound of breaking glass and grinding dirt as the Toyota screeched to halt its windscreen no longer usable.
Reloading with great speed she rolled over 180 degrees to take up an identical kneeling position some 3ft from her original position and fired again. The procedure she repeated twice until return fire began to buzz around her like angry wasps.
Meanwhile Eva had recovered some composure, retraced her steps and was in the field halfway to help Burn . Then she noticed a figure, the same figure she had seen on the railway platform leave the now stationary Range Rover and move crouching but at speed up the edge of the field. Eva checked her progress and turned to face this new threat. However, while still a little distance away the figure raised her arm pointing to Eva and an invisible hand smack her whole body. It forced her to step back two paces and stunned her senses. The harness shimmered a dark blue and the stubble around her feet burst into flame. A blue smoke soon filled her nostrils.
Two amazing events then took place. Firstly the strange being rushed up and past Eva ignoring her.
Secondly a female in a light summer dress appeared from nowhere and holding her helped her towards Burn.
Realising it was Akra that was in danger Eva yelled out.
“Akra she is coming for you, fire on her.”
“Cannot do that , I need to keep the passing point open, this is all going to end badly.” was the response.
Eva then noticed the beep sound had become strident like blackbird defending its nest.
Pointing at the forlorn figure of Clive she screamed at the good Samaritan, ”
Now she moved a quickly as possible to take up a position just in front of Burn.
Burn rose only to give out a cry.
Looking around Eva could see Burn’s right arm was hanging limp and blooded.
“Shit ” she said and fired the revolver in a demented fashion.
Her harness began to ping shades of blue as bullets found their mark for she stood proud but foolishly to face her enemies. Smoke rose from her feet as again the stubble caught fire.
A light breeze intrigued by these goings on appeared to join in for it picked up the smouldering flames and fanned them into something akin to that found in a horror movie. Now chaos appeared to reign with the battle out of control. The bleeping sound was now almost continuous.
Amongst this chaos another battle was taking place completely unnoticed.
Fen35 was closing in on the camper van which they had decided posed a greater threat than any human. A strange weapon, shaped like a blunderbuss was strung over her shoulder. Keeping bent almost double she ran at speed at the camper. As she approach and removed the weapon the camper started it engine and began to reverse up the lane.
She could not risk the van escaping only to return so Fen decided to fire. A white light so bright anyone looking at it would have been dazzled enveloped the camper. No one was looking. There was a shudder in the vehicles movement then the engine revs began to rocket. Like an F1 driver leaving a pit stop, the camper shot forward . A pulse of energy took out a fence post as it veered off the tarmac , through the fence straight at Fen.
Not knowing the van had shielding Fen had miss calculated and now was running for dear life.
Seeing she could not outrun it she turned to face it, then with impeccable timing she leapt into the air. Unfortunately the top of the windscreen hit her, cartwheeling her over onto the roof. Here she grabbed frantically at some antenna and became an unwilling passenger.
Amassing behind the pick up truck someone started its engine and it began to advance slowly towards Eva’s position.
Eva glanced round to see Burn and the Samaritan either side of the male helping him towards the marker.
She saw him scoop up some dirt and stones and then cast them like a sowing seed, in front of him.
With the prayer, “please God” Eva squeezed the disrupter with all her strength. A blue sparkling light lit up the pickup which because it was a simple diesel engine with no computer continued to run. The outcome was not so good for the occupants or those behind it. They screamed as if holding onto a high voltage cable. One, a large man of some 20 stone took almost the full force.
He fell, his body twitching uncontrollably on the ground before calming itself into nothingness.
Now Eva felt the full force of a disrupter. Her body reeled backward as she fell to the ground trying to breathe. Her harness could not cope with the full impact for she felt an electric shock all over and the most horrible burning pain from head to foot. Looking backward she could see something worse. A blast of another disrupter tore clothes off Burns back, impaled itself into the male who screamed the most heart wrenching sound, like a wild animal trapped and shot.
Only the girl in the summer dress remained standing and she after a moments reflection did not give up. Somehow she raised the male, dragged him forward a foot at most and was gone.
Whether it was this image of the girl and Clive vanishing before her eyes or the screams of the nurse shouting the words, “Move Burn, Move.“, that roused her, she never could tell, but she crawled forward, throwing herself with one last gasp of energy at the red handle screwdriver.
Eva watched as Burn just.... disappeared.
“I am done for.” Eva spoke, as if sharing a secret, with the ground.
Somewhere in the distance she could hear a familiar voice, It was saying “I am coming.”