Chapter 5 Daring Do
The screen was that seen on military films, of men in a dark green glow, lit by technological darkness. There was a difference however, and that difference was shown in black and white.
Some thirty minutes had passed since the high drama of the vehicle’s approach, the collapse of the old woman and the terrible responsibility of command. Eva had stood firmly behind Prim her eyes fixed on a large screen which had materialised out of the bed on which she had been resting only moments before.
This screen showed not only her own car, marooned and mothballed in snow, but a much larger machine making slow unsteady progress towards them. What would it do and how close would Prim let it come? Suddenly , when Prim had whispered “here we go.” the large four by four swung to the right, skidded and slid this way and that, then regained its footing. It had turned off the road and was slowly climbing the gentle un‐kept path to the farm, with the steady grim determination of a monstrous beetle. This was the same farm Eva had found to be deserted.
Prim just had time to say, “Stand down Akra” when she collapse. With only the light from the
screen, Eva had little idea what was happening.
“Quickly,” the female voice said, “she needs medication.”
A drawer close to Eva’s knee opened of its own accord taking Eva by surprise while a weak light
seemed to dance on a row of syringes.
“The blue one” Akra said, “quickly, you are a nurse ?”
Her duty done Eva was amazed how black the veins in the woman’s forearm were but she had little time to dwell on this for the soft voice returned with total confidence and authority,
“I will monitor her please leave her on the floor. Please look at the screen.”
Now the screen, like a fertilized female cell had split itself into two. On the right the green picture of night vision beloved by the military and wild life programmes.
On the left the same picture only in the black and white of an x‐ray. Eva danced her eyes between the two pictures. In the green picture two men were lifting bags out of the rear, while in the x‐ray skeletons were bending and lifting nothing. One of the skeletons had a dark unmistakeable shape of a revolver in his trouser belt, while another had a gun in a holster strap under his arm.
By their side a small skeleton had a knife on her thigh, while the tallest male had a large gun,
possibly a shotgun in his hand. With his free hand he bent as if lifting something off the floor.
“Look closely at the female.” Commanded the soft voice.
Then as if by a zoom camera the smallest skeleton filled the screen.
Eva could make out fine dotted lines in the shape of her body, for all the world resembling the
artistry of a spiders web. It divided her torso into segments as if in a colouring book.
“What are the dotted lines?” whispered Eva as if the four skeletons were within ear shot.
As if mimicking Eva the soft voice became nothing but a whisper, “Look between her legs, and look at the pattern.”
Eva quickly saw the lines converged around her tummy button, then a thicker line ran down to
where the groin would be. Suspended as if in mid air was tube of black.
“Is that black tube inside her?” Asked Eva in disbelief.
“It is, ” came the reply, “and it is a power pack for the harness which is not of human making yet the female is definitely human.
“How can that be?” Eva mumbled more to herself than to the mysterious voice which appeared to surround her.
“That question is why I had to interrupt your discussion with Prim.” Said the voice,“also there is
something in the trunk of that vehicle, large biological mass but the metal body is shielding it from my sensors. That in itself is unusual.”
“Can you speculate? ” asked Eva.
“A carcass of an animal, or other food, or a body? It could be anything.”
Eva felt uneasy, “can you find anymore weapons.”
“Negative.” Came the voice sharp and precise.
“I think you need to know what is in that vehicle ” said Eva.
“Agreed,” whispered the voice, “how can I help you?”
“Me! Help me” exclaimed Eva in alarm mode.
“Well, we could kill them all now?” suggest the voice “that would eliminate the danger but a bit unnecessary if there is half a pig in there. Also it would deplete our energy reserves, enough to jeopardize the ‘return’ tomorrow. Would you like to give the kill command?”
“Yes, I mean me No, and suppose the female won the harness in a game of strip poker?”
“Is that likely?” asked the voice in a serious tone as if considering this possibility for the first time.
Eva untied the belt of the dressing gown and looked at her body considering her options.
“Wet clothes, naked body.” she thought. “not a good combination in winter.”
“I can acquire some clothes, Prim must have something that will fit you.” Came the voice clearly observing all, then added the killer line,
“I have been monitoring the breakdown service you called. There is little chance of a rescue before dawn. Those beings at that farm are a threat to you and us. We have enemies, they will not treat you other than an enemy.”
“Just dandy” winced Eva.
Slamming her dressing gown shut, Eva who had been considering make a run for it rather than
helping, felt angry.
“Who the hell are you?” she demanded.
“I am Akra a quantum intelligence designed and built by Prim. I am her child, our mission is to seek her son. You she also calls ‘child’ and therefore you are equal if not superior to me and the only being here capable of helping Prim return to her world.”
“What happens to you then, are you going too.? Asked Eva not believing a word of this.
There was a long silence then in a very low voice,
“I will be terminated, probably.”
A burning sense of shame ran through Eva: her notion of running away died there and then.
Every now and then she slipped almost falling on her face each time. Each step in the soft feather like snow felt like a trip to the dentist. Reluctantly she had left the cosy warmth of the camper for this mad escapade. And that was another thing that suddenly puzzled her, how was that camper kept so warm, there being no obvious heat source? Like starving men think of nothing but food so this freezing woman thought only of warmth.
She shook her head to clear away such wasteful thoughts. “Get to the bloody car.” She told herself.
By the time she got within striking distance of the vehicle she felt hot, her lungs puffed out clouds of steam like an old locomotive, into the night sky. “I am sweating in this lot.” Speaking softly into the cold sky.
“It is minus 2 , you will soon cool down.” Came the soft voice in her ears. Eva wore no underwear but did have layers of clothes. Firstly pyjama bottoms, over which to below her knees, a white skirt. She had split the skirt, made holes in the side and used string to hold tight over her hips.
From the neck down she had found an old nightie of Prims which squashed her breasts flat, and on top of this two thick jumpers. The latter also mainly white was baggy and loose on the old woman, while on Eva it felt tight. On her head was a tight fitting swimmers cap complete with swimming goggles, only it was not a swimmers cap and they were not goggles. It was a whole communication centre on her head. She could see very clearly in night vision, hear Akra in a crystal clear voice as well as detect sounds from miles around. In fact she heard the voices in the farm house, a little garbled but the odd word got through. Because her outfit was mainly white she had all the attributes of a snow leopard, stealth, camouflage and claws. The claws were courtesy of a metal tube which emitted a red light of pin head size which Akra assured her it could kill an elephant at 30 paces in complete silence.
“Flat, Flat on your face,” screamed Akra in her headset.
Without thinking the young woman threw herself face first into the snow, only feet from the Range Rover. This towered above her to her left while on her right, some 25 paces away an old faded brown door creaked open. An anaemic yellow security light flickered into life, struggling to make an impression on the snow filled landscape.
Luckily Eva had fallen with her head turned towards the door so with one eye she saw the large man in a white shirt , sleeves neatly rolled above the elbow as if for work, wearing blue jeans, come out of the farm house carrying a refuse sack. He appeared to be bow legged but even so walked with great confidence which gave Eva the impression he was powerfully built. Heading towards her, he set her heart pounding with fear, her grip tightened on the metal pole Akra had said could kill an elephant.
Then he turned back on himself and even with the aid of her night vision Eva could not make out what he was doing. She heard a heavy thud and the man returned without the sack. He stood only yards from her looked around, looked at the sky as if to make sure it was still there and walked slowly indoors.
Remaining motionless Eva groaned in disbelief
“I am a nurse so why am I here face down in the snow watching a Neanderthal take out his
The voice in the headset sounded curious,
“Tell me, is the correct terminology rubbish or trash.”
Eva snapped back,
“Rubbish is definitely English, trash is American and quite frankly garbage is anyone’s.”
There was a long pause,
“Am I detecting humour there?” Akra sounded a little puzzled then quickly added, “You are clear to move.”
At one time the farmyard had been enclosed by a wall but little of the wall remained except two gate pillars which allowed symbolic access via the rough drive. The house itself was on a plateau facing over the valley and perhaps that is why the wall had been removed. Crouching by the Range Rover Eva looked out and down but although she could make out the lay of the land the camper was too well hidden by snow to be seen. This gave her some comfort.
She lifted the night goggles up onto the top of head using what little light was coming from the
building. A dark shape , some kind of building lay to her left forming one side of the farmyard.
Trying the door handle she reported back, “it is locked.”
There was a resounding click. Trying the handle again the door gave.
Looking inside she could see nothing except litter of various kinds, mainly confectionary. ‘someone has a sweet tooth.’ She thought ‘Their dentist will be very happy.’
“Nothing here” she reported back then slid down on her rear to sit in the snow waiting for courage to tackle the rear of the car.
“Time to look in the trunk” instructed her HQ
“Is it clear?” she asked very reluctant to move.
Then added stalling for time, “it is not a trunk, elephants have trunks, it is a boot.”
“Shall we have a debate on American English verses English English ?” Akra retorted in a flat tone which was almost academic.
Eva was annoyed at having to do this task. She told herself she had seen many a dead body so she had nothing to worry about. Still the idea of standing in the open looking into a vehicle that belonged to armed men, who resided only feet away and in a strange isolated place, gave her a feeling akin to her first day at school, namely apprehension bordering on terror. On the other hand if Akra was prepared to start a war with them with her in the middle, perhaps it was best to try appeasement by doing her bidding.
“Sod it,” she said while standing tall and rounding the car to face the boot.
The huge boot door clicked and began to open of its own accord.
Eva froze with surprise then muttered into the headpiece, “Don’t do that!”
Swinging the boot wide opened she peered inside.
Not believing her eyes she lifted the night goggles from her eyes and looked with her hands. An
interior light showed the unmistakable form of potatoes, a large sack which had “Grimshaw Farm Potatoes” plastered across the front. Along side this was the largest sack of carrots she had ever seen.
Her heart had been held steady by the tension, like bubbles in champagne held by pressure, then suddenly it started pounding from the release of that tension.
Half laughing she muttered into the headset, “Potatoes, lots of bloody potatoes, you forced me up here for potatoes. And” she added with a stall, “Carrots”
There was silence, then Akra flowed through the headpiece, “A negative is as valuable as a
positive. What is the lining of the compartment like?”
Eva turned her attention to the walls of the boot. “Some kind of metal mesh, strange feel to it.” She reported.
“Sounds like a force field screen,” mused the voice in her ear, “Why have that for potatoes.”
Slowly, to avoid all threat of a noise, Eva closed the boot lid, it clicking effortlessly in place.
“I am out of here ” she announced.
“That would be unwise” came the voice, “They are all gathered in the one room, which has a
window overlooking your position. On of the few windows not boarded up.”
Eva went to ground immediately, more from instinct than intelligence.
Then crawling on her stomach she inched her way round to the other side of the Range Rover giving herself some cover. Her feet , in her own still damp shoes were nothing but ice while she could feel the cold wetness of the pyjama bottoms rising up her legs. She began to shiver.
“Ankra, or whatever your name is if you look up the word hyperthermia in American then English what does it say. Because if it says, ‘Freezing ones tits off’ then I have it.”
There was a pause which Eva interpreted as she was being ignored.
“Interesting” came the response eventually, “the three males are undressing the female. ”
“Great, it’s a peek show or worse.” The nurse replied deciding it was time she moved.
“I am monitoring your life signs closely, if you had any threatening symptoms I would get you out of there. And, if my analysis is correct they are having trouble removing the harness.”
Eva felt a little gratified that the AI was monitoring her and perhaps she did have her welfare at
The headset came to life again.
“Well, it appears if my assumptions are correct, they do not have the control unit for the harness.” “So? ” asked Eva
“That means they will have to kill or maim the female to remove it and why have they not got the control unit?”
“What is the control unit” asked Eva not really interested.
“You have a television?” came the strange question, “with a remote control”
“Of course” answered Eva, now more interested.
“it is a remote that links into the brain circuitry so that he user can operate the harness by thought alone if need be.”
“Neat” said Eva but how does that help us.
“All knowledge” is useful if not valuable” came the reply. “I am going to try and release the harness from here, which if I succeed will save the female and the harness from any harm.”
“Go ahead,” said Eva sarcastically, “help your enemy and let your sister freeze to death.”
“Be quiet child” came the stern voice of Prim over the headset.
“Oh, you are awake?” asked Eva a little annoyed.
There was silence so Eva sat by the wheel arch of the Range Rover watching snow drift down . ‘This bloody snow is coming back for another go.’ she thought, ‘It will cover my tracks’ and then she remembered Akra had indeed said there would be more snow before morning. She scanned the sky for a moon all in to no avail and wondered if Kron9 had a moon. “Stupid bitch” she said to herself, “these people are bonkers there is no Kron9.”
“Eva” the headset whispered, ” I have succeeded thanks to Prim in unlocking the harness, they
appear to be drinking and dancing.”
“Lucky them, I can leave then?” asked the nurse eager to be off.
“No, I have a request.”
Not liking the sound of those words, Eva asked cautiously, “a request?”
“Yes, two males and the female have gone, with great haste upstairs to one of the rooms, can only assume to socialise.”
“That is one way to put it.” Jumped in Eva
“The third male has taken a bottle of something and his watching the transmission machine,
“That figures, he is look out.” said Eva.
“Well, the harness is unguarded...
“No , no , burst in Eva, quickly picking up on the drift of the conversation, “Definitely Not”
The little passage way was thankfully very dark while access via the farmhouse door had been
brutish. It being perhaps over a 100 years old, set in its ways and reluctant to admit a stranger.
Eva had to use all her strength to push it open millimetre by millimetre to stop any noise.
At the end of the corridor was a long narrow kitchen complete with stone sink and an ancient Arga.
One naked bulb shed more of a orange light than a white light it apparently having being in
residence ever since man’s first use of electricity.
Below this naked light sat in imperial residence a huge long farmhouse table that appeared to have been made from planks of wood with straight sturdy legs. Eva estimated it could easily sit eight people and still have room for the cook as well as a maid. However, she counted only four beat up chairs scattered wildly around this room without any purpose. Upon one of these chairs, at the far end of the room, were a woman’s garments; A dress of deep blue, as well as jeans, a jumper the colour red, underwear and on top a shimmering fishing net of silver strands.
Eva amazed that Akra had been right about the ‘harness’ for it certainly looked like some futuristic garment , something from another world.
“Well, I be” she said as she was about to step into the kitchen.
“Go back!” barked Akra “the male is moving.”
Quickly Eva backtracked to the darkness of the corridor, pressing herself tight against the wall
among various coats on hooks.
We call the single male a man.” Eva pointed out more as an outlet for her fear and anxiety.
“My mistress calls them all ‘male’, she cannot understand the male of your species.”
“Neither can I” muttered Eva.
The sound was clearly that of a fridge door opening followed by the expansion of gas , probably a beer can.
“He is leaving” came the hushed tone in her headset followed shortly after by “male gone.”
Without hesitation, for she had decided not a spend a moment longer in that house, Eva stepped out of hiding, cross the expanse of kitchen, noted the dirty dishes, used saucepans, and placed her hand on the garment. It had a metallic cold feel yet felt wet like a fish.
“What is this made of” she muttered without realising .
“Do you really want to know?” Came the reply.
“No, certainly not.” With that she turned and fled to the door.
Snowflakes began to surround her as she filled her lungs with cold Arctic air, her face alight with a grin of pure relief. Being outside in the cold felt ever so good.