No Place Like Home
Chapter 5: "What Colour Is Neutral?"
Chapter 5: No Place Like Home, “What Colour Is Neutral?”
Near Boulder's Green, 2 blocks east of Highway I55 crossing Rainbow Towers Way, a few weeks ago, about the middle of April, 2024, maybe an hour and a half after sunrise,
During this unusually hot spring day, with ever-present smog, lingering in the low laying areas of the valley for hours, surprisingly burns off in virtually no time at all today.
Nurse Jean notices an industrial estate surrounded by wired fencing. She is driving along a road next to the estate and decides to slow her vehicle to allow a clearer visual while absorbing minute details.
Satisfied with having gathered and committing as much information as possible to memory, Jean applies her foot to the accelerator resuming the posted highway speed.
Then she experiences a familiar feeling in the pit of her stomach too.
While she makes her way to her office at The Space Academy she ponders the following: the government introduced rigorous economic policies during the summer of 2021. These policies provide the Space Academy funding to pursue an aggressive appropriation of all unused land in the State.
Jeans thinks out loud to herself, “I have to spend part of my lunch break searching for more information about this mysterious building compound.”
Her investigation begins online using “Google Maps Plus.” She is surprised her search query offers satellite images of lush greenery on the location where she had driven by a lot obviously developed and occupied by buildings.
The special code access links available to staff with security clearances isn't allowing navigation to the next level. These details provide additional information about the usage of each building on each property.
Now Jean could feel the tinge in her stomach grow accompanied by a cool surge down her spine.
The exact same location; near Boulder's Green, 2 blocks east of Highway I55 crossing Rainbow Towers Way, Friday, this evening, June 7, 2024, 2036 hrs:
“Are you hold-in-g-g..?!!!”
The above retort is Master Corporal Luz Sprig's opening volley toward his “interviewee”, Staff Sergeant Simone Reeves.
Luz's chest is heaving again.
His lament expels like projectiles from his mouth, with forced exasperation, as he seems to be choking on the last word.
The sight of Luz inspires the left corner of Staff Sgt Simone Reeves lips to frame a toothy smile, then he offers Luz his reply,
“... everything but heroine, cocaine and your cock --”
Luz punctuates Simone's quip with eyes bulging out from their sockets. Simultaneously moving his right arm and hand with a tight grasp on the blackjack, forcefully pounding the side of the metal desk next to his leg as both of his heels rise momentarily off the floor.
The interior spaces between the walls are filled with “Superior Lock” bricked hemp padding. The only sound personnel will hear is the humming of the fan appliances which support the internal air-conditioning system of the building.
Luz has been working on his “routine” for the last twenty minutes.
Droplets of perspiration are multiplying in number on his forehead and Simone notices pools forming on the armpit areas of Luz's shirt.
Captain Lance Heron, Luz's supervisor, is seated next to Luz, motionless and silent like a statue on display in Madame Tuscon's Wax Museum. Then he seems to magically spring to life and raises his right hand while shaking his head and pursing his lips in a “duck's kiss” fashion. Luz interprets his superior's gestures and remains stationary.
Space Academy, Bio-metrics Division, Star Gates Way, Friday, June 7, 2010 hrs:
The office door swings open and Captain Reginald Hedgerow passes through with energetic aplomb as he approaches the only person, a solitary figure, in this large room of office space, whom is sitting at his desk absorbed in studious repose examining documents.
“Burning the midnight oils, Larry?” asks Reginald, the dimples of his cheeks bowing and creasing the freckles on his skin as he presents a broad smile.
“Your comedic improvisation is improving with every appearance, Reg ...”
Major Lewis Downy replies with his sarcastic quip, as he lifts his head and turns his studious gaze toward Reginald, “ … I thought I ordered a three day vacation for all Bio-metrics staff today..?”
Reg offers a smart and quick salute as he stands in rigid form while declaring with a mocking intonation, “All essential personnel must remain on call during Mars programming, Sir!”
“Uh huh.” Lewis offers with a quick salute, not bothering to stand to attention. “...and I notice you have the urgent detail file folder under your arm..?”
Lewis' words prompt Reg's grin to disappear from his face and he calmly declares, “We have a situation developing with Captain Trebor Noslen …” Lewis doesn't interrupt as Reg continues, “ … some of the micro-chips traveling through the biological network are triggering earlier than we anticipated … ”
The silence in the room could be carved with a butcher's knife.
Lewis calmly motions with his right hand toward the red file folder under Reg's arm. Then he inhales and asks, “ … is this an up-to-date report of his current symptoms..??”