OCTOBER 8TH, 12:49 AM (OCTOBER 7TH, 11:49 PM MOUNTAIN TIME)
Of course, Lang realized, it could only be one thing. “You mean, when the hull floated you above the floor and moved you along?”
“Yes, Dad. As soon as my hands, you know, still in the hull, hit the platform, I ended up somewhere else. Like that same portal jump through the wall.” Evan sighed, and became quiet.
“Where did you go?” many asked.
“Well, come on already,” Robert said, staring intently at Evan. “Don’t keep us in suspense.”
“Sorry. This is hard to relive. I’m not sure, at first, where I was. It was quite dark. The hull was even glowing orange a small amount. After blinking and looking carefully, it looked like I was heading down a long elevator shaft or tunnel. But finally my eyes adjusted better and I could see that I was actually staring down a very long, wide hallway, full of cages, and open rooms, on either side of the hallway. And like I told my dad…the hull was floating me about six inches off the floor, and keeping me going forward.”
Kyleigh moved her bent knees in closer to her body and leaned closer to Evan. “So you were in an upright position?”
Again, thankfully, she seemed less upset.
“Yes. I was standing, but floating and moving. It had to be from the hull. It was the only explanation.” He looked around at everyone. “Let me just say this right up front. I thought I was visiting The Island of Dr. Moreau meets Men in Black. And Dad, I believe I was experiencing Captain Indalo’s first scene.”
“Aren’t you rather young to be familiar with The Island of Dr. Moreau?” Robert asked.
“I check out a lot of things online.”
“Evan does research often,” Lang said, pride building again, “in his spare time.”
But Robert’s nicer demeanor – could the plan be working? Yet the answer felt all wrong.
“That’s good, Evan,” Nahas said. “But what was before your eyes, to make you believe this?”
“Well, it was hard to focus on things at first, because I was shaking pretty bad. My mind couldn’t understand how I went from assuming a pushup position on the ground to going down this hallway. But I was able to turn my head back a bit, and saw double doors behind me, with windows. Some dim light came from them. They looked like hospital doors, but I wasn’t in a hospital, no way. But my mind adjusted to my upright position better after that.”
“So you knew then you were heading down a hallway,” Lang stated. “What did you see?”
“Well, those rooms, on either side. Advanced, strange lights, as long as the length of the room, where the room’s ceiling met the hallway ceiling’s edge, gave off low, bluish light to each room. And gosh, there were tons of these rooms. I think the hallway was about two hundred to three hundred feet long, with each room about ten feet wide, so there had to be maybe twenty to thirty on each side, so around forty to sixty rooms?”
“Wow” Lang said.
Many of the others expressed similar surprise.
“Some had horizontal or vertical bars, keeping in these creatures. But some had what looked like blue laser beams for cage bars. The lasers were at each front corner of the rooms and would go off if the beings came near the edge. Seemed the more aggressive ones were in the laser light cages. But I didn’t feel too worried, since I kept feeling the hull would protect me.”
“Yeah, so what did you see?” Alan demanded. “Come on, already.”
“He’s getting to it,” Robert said. “Settle down.”
Alan smirked at Robert. “Yeah, yeah.”
Powder keg and his agitated tone again. But Lang didn’t say anything; it was relatively calm in here now and needed to keep that way.
“Beings and creatures I never saw before, in cage rooms that were rather large, depth-wise, with toilets and sinks and beds for human-like creatures, and then these low beds with blankets and large litter boxes for animal-like creatures. I saw two headed seals, and a lion head on a lizard body, like they sewed it on there, but it was alive and moving. Very eerie, and weird. The lion creature roared, and slowly came near the cage’s edge, scaring me. I started shaking more. In fact, I never stopped shaking the entire time I was there. But the hull kept moving me, and it was hard to keep up with looking both to the left and right side of me. So it’s hard to say for sure what I saw.”
“How fast were you moving?” Kyleigh asked.
“That’s a good question,” Evan answered, his eyes holding kindness for her. “I’m not sure, since don’t forget, I was smaller and faster. But it did seem like the hull wanted me to get through there quickly, since the hallway was so long.”
“Any DFRs?” Robert asked.
“Ha, yeah,” Evan said, laughing. “No not yet. You’ll find out soon enough.” He squeezed one hand in the other a moment. “I saw other beings, like a part-human, part-bat creature, with large bat wings on its back and black fur, fur even covering its face. It stared at me with…with power, and loneliness, is the best way I can describe it. I was starting to get the picture – these beings and creatures were sad, or didn’t deserve to be there.”
“How terrible,” Akina said. “It was against their will.”
So nice it was to hear Akina’s soft, calming voice again.
“Yes, that’s right. That’s exactly what it was. I mean, I saw other hybrid animals, animals that would never mate, like a cow and dog mix. I saw a seal that had no tail, only a shortened body. It was so sad, so helpless, unable to move at all. I felt like crying, but didn’t.”
Lang sighed and shook his head, his heart heavy. “You shouldn’t feel sad, Evan. You had nothing to do with this.”
“I know that, Dad.” He stared down a moment, quiet. “I wanted to help them, but couldn’t.” He looked at Lang, and eyed the others too. “But then I saw something that really got to me. Up ahead, as I’m still being moved, I see hands on the sides of a cage. I didn’t see one set of hands, I saw three. The closer I got, I realized something was really wrong. No three sets of hands would be that close to each other, one on top of the other.”
“Oh no!” Akina said. “Three sets of arms?”
“Yes! You’re right. I was so shocked. Made me sick.”
Though disturbed for Evan, Lang needed to hear more. “How is that possible?”
“Well, because this guy, he…he had a long rib cage and upper body. His face looked normal, and he was around thirty. He was staring at me. The hull still had me moving, but I asked him, as slowly as I could, what is this place? When he spoke, he acted like a young kid. ‘Don’t know,’ he said. As the hull kept moving me by, I heard him say they don’t like him here. And can I please help him. But I could not, of course.”
“That’s awful,” Kyleigh said. “Poor thing.”
“I thought you said you saw MIB stuff?” Alan asked. “Where were the aliens? These all sound like hybrid earth creatures.”
Ahh, starting it up again. Alan just couldn’t help himself, it seemed.
“I know, but I did. After seeing that guy, and how he wanted my help and I couldn’t help him, I really didn’t want to look anymore. But I couldn’t help seeing this one creature, behind a laser barrier. The creature itself…” Evan got quiet, and trembled briefly. “It was very, very odd. This creature was nothing more than a ball of light, and then lighted legs that came out of the head. No arms, not sure of a face, really. But it was walking around. I heard of these. My friends told me about them, but I never thought they existed.”
After a few people spoke words of surprise, the hull tent became abruptly quiet. And Evan could sense the unease.
“And there were other creatures, and I did see some…but, I really don’t want to talk about it.”
“It’s all right, Evan,” Lang said. “Just tell us what you can.”
“I agree,” Nahas said. “Tell us what can impact us here, all of us.”
“Yes, you’re right. Well, when I finally got near what I thought was the end of the long hallway of caged creatures, the hallway made a ninety degree turn left. This other hallway was shorter, about fifty feet long, and had cage rooms on each side. At the end of the hallway, I could see a lighted room, much brighter than the hallway. And then, without any warning, the hull just lets me step onto the ground.”
“Really,” Kyleigh said. “But why?”
“I wasn’t sure, at first.” Evan looked to his right, at Robert. “I think you’ve been right, about how you’re suspicious of our country.” Evan glanced at everyone else. “I saw these two, regular people, an older lady, like in her forties, and then this older man, maybe in his sixties. Both were in cage rooms, across the hallway from each other. The lady, she was looking at me strangely. I spoke slowly and told her not to be afraid of me, that I wouldn’t hurt her. And she said she understood, that they’ve all had things done to them, and she could even see they did something to me.”
“She said that, Evan?” Lang asked, his body suddenly trembling a bit too. But he did his best to hide it, especially from Kyleigh. “So, she saw this before, done to other people?”
“I think so.” Evan’s eyes conveyed seriousness. “That’s why I wanted to tell you all of this. Maybe the hull aliens had this done to them, and now they’re doing it to us, and showing us where it happened, so we can tell others.”
“I like your hypothesis, kid,” Robert said. “But for military blokes who supposedly already know how this occurred, they’re acting extremely clueless.”
How accurate were those words. “I can attest to that,” Lang said. “They’ve been stumbling in the dark since we’ve been here. True, it could be all show, but why? And why haven’t they caged us up already, like those other people? Maybe that lady was just confused, Evan.”
“Possibly. See, I wanted to ask her more questions, but she started begging me to let her out. The old man, in farmer’s clothing, like jean overalls, he wanted me to get him out too.”
“Any other people asking to get out?” Robert wanted to know.
“No. The other cages had weird seal-human mixtures, with faces, and other weird…I don’t really want to say. It was too disturbing. It smelled strange in there too, like dead animals and infections, with bleach or something.”
“Ugh, how nasty,” Kyleigh said.
Nahas developed a deep-thinking expression. “And interesting the hull even allowed you a sense of smell in there.”
“Yeah, the hull didn’t spare me any awful smells.” Evan eyed Robert. “But yes, these were the only normal people.”
“How did that lady expect you to let her out?” Nahas asked.
“She told me to go get this electronic key device, on the counter in that bright room I saw. So I went in there.”
“Electronic key?” Lang asked. “What did it look like?”
“She said it just looked like a small, black electronic car lock, with a red light. She said it was on a countertop. When I was in the room, I saw white countertops and cabinets on the right, and to the left, I saw a bunch of empty cages in the middle of a really large room, again mostly white. I think it was a huge laboratory room. But I could see another room off to the left of this room. And…what I saw in there…was pretty strange.”
“So tell us already,” Alan said, impatient as usual.
“Okay, okay, Alan. I am. I saw some low tables and beds, but two of them, next to each other, were made of material that looked very advanced, nothing I’ve ever seen before. They were made of transparent material, and had very thin light lines around the borders inside, like wire lights.”
“Similar to the walls in that advanced train room?” Alan asked.
“Well, yeah, I guess. And those beds had small short tubes or wires, in bunches, parallel to each other, in some spots. But trust me, very strange. Mostly…as I stared at it a moment…” He looked up at the hull tent ceiling, and then glanced around at everyone. “I swear, it looked like it was made of the same stuff as the hull.”
“Yeah,” Robert said, “I’m ascertaining where you’re heading with this. But what’s the connection with people from Ghana, Japan, and Australia?”
“I don’t know. I thought about that too. But, I never got a chance to get a closer look, to make sure what I saw.” Evan took in a deep breath and let it out. “Because I heard a loud bang noise, like someone hitting one of those cages. And then I think that woman yelled out, though her voice was so slow, and scary, I wasn’t sure at first. And I think I heard her crying too.”
“Oh, that’s terrible,” Akina said, briefly covering her mouth once she spoke.
“Then, as I was walking over to check on her, a DFR in a dark uniform came into the room. He slowly yelled ‘Halt right there!’ and told me to raise my hands over my head, and don’t move an inch.”
Hearing this crushed Lang; Evan was just going through far too much for his young age.
“But it got worse. I stood perfectly still and raised my hands. I started shaking more again, since I was so scared. Like earlier, I knew I could probably outrun the guy, but I didn’t know where to go.”
“And they had guns,” Alan said.
Evan nodded. “Exactly, Alan.”
“No, Evan,” Lang said. “You did right to listen to them.”
“I know. But what got worse - the hull started moving me again.”
“How nice of it,” Alan said, disgust in his eyes, looking all around at the hull, “when you were told not to move.”
“I know. It was insane. The hull lifted me off the ground, about the same time as many more DFRs rushed into the room, pointing M4s at me.” He inhaled deeply and let out a trembling breath. “And even worse, some of the scariest-looking creatures…I mean, robots, I’ve ever seen before, came into the room.”
Everyone’s interest heightened.
Alan fidgeted in impatience. “Well, mate, what do you mean? Describe them.”
“Humanoid robots, or androids. All black, except for a slit opening where their eyes should be. Red light came out of the slit. No mouth or nose. They had square shoulders, a big torso, strong-looking arms and legs. They were sectioned off, so their joints bent, but they moved very smoothly and quick, faster than the humans for their slower time, but you could still tell they were robots. Their right forearm was a gun, and their left hand was like clippers, with fingers, and those fingers moved fluidly.”
“You sure they weren’t humans under that black suit of armor?” Robert asked.
“I can’t say for sure, but I don’t think so. They didn’t talk. And you could tell there wasn’t a human brain in the head where the red light slit was, since the slit went deep inside the head, creating an empty space. And their motion, behavior…it was mechanical, not human-like. But very strong, very powerful. And I saw five of them. The hull kept moving me backwards, toward the end of the counter and a wall, and the DFRs kept telling me to stop, and I kept telling them I couldn’t. They told me if I kept moving, they were going to fire at me. I said no, please don’t shoot, help me, I’m not doing this.”
“Evan,” Nahas said. “They didn’t see that something was obviously very wrong with you, and try to help you?”
“I kept telling them to please help me, but I think they just had orders.” He sighed. “And, before I knew it, they fired at me.”
“Oh, Evan,” Lang said, stunned. “They actually shot at you, just like General Tauring said?”
“Yes, Dad. He wasn’t lying.” Evan glanced around at everyone, part of him making sure each person was listening, but part of him, regrettably, basking in the attention, so it seemed. “I saw light flashes from the DFR’s guns and the robot guns, and next I knew, I heard these loud thud-thud-thud noises behind me. I turned my head back, though the hull was still moving me, and I saw tons of holes in the wall. I right away looked down, to see my body. But…no blood, I felt no pain. The bullets went right through me somehow! But still the hull moved me and I still couldn’t stop. I kept telling them don’t shoot, I hated them shooting at me, but they wouldn’t listen. And then they shot at me again. Yet, nothing hurt me. It went through the hull and landed behind me.”
“Shocking,” Robert said. “I can’t believe they fired at a kid.”
“Exactly my feelings,” Nahas said.
Lang shook his head. “Unbelievable. My opinion has definitely become much more negative of these people.”
“And damn well it should,” Robert said. “But, go on, Evan.”
“It got even worse. When they saw the bullets were useless against me, that same lead DFR called out ‘laser stun, RS2!’ One of those powerful, fast robots pointed his gun arm at me and a purple laser stream shot right at me. But it only hit the hull’s surface, not touching me at all. I turned my head back. It burned a hole in the wall right behind me, like I wasn’t there.”
“Well, yeah, Evan,” Alan said. “How could we be here? The hull won’t let us be.”
Robert gave Alan an irritated glance. “Settle down.”
“I only speak the truth.”
“I know, Alan,” Evan said. “But I still couldn’t believe my eyes. I felt scared, but amazing too…like, indestructible. But the hull kept moving me, until it finally stopped farther down in that room. I told them, see, it wasn’t me moving!’”
“What did they do then?” Lang asked.
“Before I knew it, they were running right at me, in slow motion. But they got to me quick since they were so close. Next thing I knew, they grabbed me and slammed me to the floor. But, just like getting in position for the pushup, I didn’t hit the floor. I went right through, and then I ended up in the commons area.” He looked at Lang. “And then I eventually saw you, and you ran over to me.”
“I’m sorry, Evan. You went through so much. Breaks my heart.”
“It’s all right, Dad. I’m okay now.”
“I can’t believe these grown men shot at you, lasered you,” Kyleigh said. “You’re just a twelve year old boy. And we’re so much smaller now. How could you be a threat?”
“I thought about it,” Evan said, shrugging. “And like I said, they were probably just following orders. Plus, I probably scared them, or they thought I was an alien, or dangerous. I don’t know.”
Scared? Dangerous? Those intense words were a strong reminder. Lang looked at the clock in Robert’s room. “Oh my gosh! It’s nearly midnight! We’re all supposed to be in our rooms now!”
Everyone scrambled to get up. Alan even began pushing on the hull’s sides right away.
“We need to separate,” Evan said, now standing, “and then go back to our rooms!”
Robert took hold of Evan’s shoulder. “No, wait! I want to try something.”
“What? Why?” Evan asked.
“Alan, hold on,” Robert said. “Don’t try getting out yet.”
Alan relaxed his arms and stared at Robert. Everyone else looked at Robert too.
“This is important.” Robert eyed Evan. “I want you to try thinking about moving us, all of us in this hull tent, to your room. Can you do that?”
This felt a little too uncomfortable. Lang stepped closer to them. “Why do you want Evan to do that?”
“It’s all right, Dad.”
“Please,” Robert said, staring at Lang. “We don’t have much time. We may have to escape from this shit-hole sometime soon. I want to know if it’s possible.”
Robert did make a good, though crude point, Lang realized. “Well, all right.”
“Wait a moment,” Nahas said. “They usually come to Lang and Evan’s room first. They might be waiting for them already.”
“And so what? They need to see we’re not a bunch of imbeciles and we got this figured out,” Robert said. “If anything happens, I’ll take the blame.” He looked at Evan. “Go ahead, kid.”
Evan nodded, and closed his eyes. He concentrated for a moment.
Suddenly the room’s appearance changed. Evan could actually do this? Lang looked around, after adjusting his sight. The room had two beds. And it wasn’t Robert’s room, that was for certain; the beds were his and Evan’s beds. Yet that wasn’t all. Two DFRs stood in the room, right by the opened doorway. And Colonel Stevens stood directly behind them.
Not good. Looks like Robert was going to eat his words.
Flashing bright light, orange in hue, stung Lang’s eyes. He squeezed them shut. Moans and words of distress came from the other hull people and those outside the hull.
Slowly Lang opened his eyes.
His stomach knotted; they had all decreased in size again.