Waking Gods Page 33

That’s it. I wish you all the best and I hope you will let me know how things turn out.

Your friend,

Ryan

 

 

PART THREE


FLESH AND BLOOD

 

 

FILE NO. 1554


INTERVIEW WITH VINCENT COUTURE, CONSULTANT, EARTH DEFENSE CORPS

Location: EDC Headquarters, New York, NY

—Where’s Kara?

—We will discuss her whereabouts in a moment. There is a lot we need to cover today, Mr. Couture. First, I would like you to tell me how you and Themis ended up in Canada.

—Well, it’s hard to move around when you can’t see anything. I thought I had turned Themis completely around, but I was about thirty degrees off. That’s how I ended up in Canada. All things considered, I think I did OK.

—The question was not meant as a reprimand, I was simply curious as to whether or not you chose that destination.

—I had no idea where I was, or where I was going. I kept moving forward until there was enough of Themis above water for me to see outside. I didn’t know where that island was either until I turned on my cell and Google-mapped it. From there, I stuck to shallow waters all the way to New York. That gave me some time to figure out how that thing really works.

—Dr. Franklin told me you had talked about the possibility that Themis could transport herself. She seemed to suggest the odds of discovering anything we could use were not in our favor. Should I take your ability to return to base in one piece as a sign that we have beaten those odds?

—Oh yeah. It’s even better than I thought. When I managed to get Themis moving again at the bottom of the ocean, I was convinced we were dealing with a multiple-coordinate system. That could have been a nightmare for us. Turns out it’s a lot more user-friendly than I thought. It’s…point-and-shoot, more or less. You orient Themis in the direction you want to go, then you punch in how many units you wanna move forward. What confused me is that you get to define those units beforehand. The shortest distance she can move is about fifty, sixty feet. That’s a very short step for Themis. So for short distances, you can use that as a unit, then enter how many times that you want to move forward. The console will take three digits tops, so the biggest number you can enter is 777. That’s in base-8. In base-10, that means 511.

—If I understand correctly, the farthest Themis can transport herself is 511 times 50 feet, which is roughly 25,000 feet.

—It’s 25,550. That’s about 7.8 kilometers. If you want to go farther than that in one jump, you can increase the unit size. You can use three digits for that too.

—So the maximum distance we can travel is…511 times 50 feet…

—Times 511. In the neighborhood of 4,000 kilometers. I wouldn’t recommend jumping that far unless you end up in the ocean again or in the middle of the desert. It’s easy to use when you see where you wanna go. We’ll need a map or something for longer jumps. I’m supposed to talk to the guys downstairs. It shouldn’t take them long to program something we can use.

—Can it be used safely?

—For us, yes. It really does all the work for you. It’ll put you on the ground at the distance you told it to go. It’s not so safe for anyone at the destination. People, cars, buildings, well, whatever can’t support the weight will be crushed. We’ll have to be careful, but it’ll be a hell of a lot faster than taking her apart and loading her on a boat. I can’t say I’ll miss spending a week at sea either. I know Kara’ll be happy. Where is she?

—We will discuss your wife shortly. Has General Govender made you aware of the current situation?

—He said that the aliens are back in London. That can’t be good.

—I wish that were all. Since then, several more robots have appeared in largely populated areas on four continents. The last one materialized in Rio de Janeiro nine minutes ago. There are now thirteen robots on Earth, all nearly the size and shape of the one you battled a year ago.

—He said the one in London hadn’t made a move yet.

—That is still true. None of them have. However, given our previous encounter, we cannot ignore the possibility of an attack. The density of the population in the areas where they have landed would make a simultaneous strike incredibly lethal.

—Just so you know, if they start vaporizing everyone, I’ll go. Kara will too, but you have to realize we can’t beat all of them.

—You may be our only hope.

—That’s not hope. I’m not selling us short, it’s just simple math. We might get lucky again one time, maybe twice, but not thirteen times in a row. I don’t think our odds are even close to fifty-fifty, but say they were. You can’t flip a coin and get heads that many times. We’ll go. We’ll go because it’s better than just sitting here watching, but we won’t win. You need a better plan.

—NATO is planning a nuclear strike in case you are defeated. However, even if that strategy proved to be successful against the alien robots, the fallout from thirteen large-scale nuclear explosions all over the world would be devastating and would be felt for decades. That cannot be our first option. I feel obligated to tell you that, if the aliens turn hostile, the order to send Themis will be given if she is operational.

—What do you mean operational? I brought her back in one piece.

—I suppose now would be a good time to discuss your wife. Themis is not damaged, but she is not operational because she is missing a pilot. Ms. Resnik has left the base unauthorized.

—Kara’s gone AWOL? Is she in trouble?

—Given the current state of affairs, military discipline is not the issue. What concerns me is not that her absence is against military rules but that she is absent. Without her, this organization, and perhaps the entire world, is absolutely powerless against what could be the prelude to a full-scale alien invasion.

—Where did she go?

—I believe she intends to visit the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico.

—Puer…Why?

—Read this.

—What is it?

—It is a letter—an electronic letter—from Ryan Mitchell to Ms. Resnik. That letter is what sent your wife on what I can only assume is a rescue mission, the purpose of which will become amply apparent as you continue reading. I should also remind you that the content of this letter, while shocking and inflammatory, only represents one side of a much more complex story. You should—

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