The Sequels to Syrrah's Game SGSequels




CHAPTER 31

 

OCTOBER 8TH, 1446 HOURS (1346 HOURS MOUNTAIN TIME)

 

Colonel Stevens sighed. General Tauring just had to be at the far eastern end of the base, about a good third of a mile from the hull people’s rooms. “It’s going to be a long walk down there.”

“I don’t care, Ward.” Tom kept his steps in stride with Colonel Stevens. “I can’t stand by and see these people suffering like this. He needs…he just needs to do something about it.”

“But as small as they’ve become, you truly have to ask yourself if they’re really alive anymore, or are even human. I know my physical exams prove otherwise, but my gut feeling tells me it can’t be possible.”

“Their expressions of suffering are enough proof for me. No, I can’t believe any of this, but my heart tells me…my faith in God tells me, that I must keep helping them.”

Just coming out of an adjacent hallway about ten feet ahead, Colonel Jennings appeared. She immediately fixed her eyes on Colonel Stevens. “Sir. Where are you two heading?”

“To see the general, even though we only finished the meeting about fifteen minutes ago. What about you?”

She smiled her beautiful, alluring smile, darn her. “That’s funny. I’m going to see him now too. He just contacted me.”

 “Please join us,” Tom said. “I have a few questions for you.”

And so she did. Colonel Stevens kept to the left, Tom in the middle, and Colonel Jennings walked to the right of Tom.

“So why are you seeing the general?” she asked.

Tom didn’t hesitate. “Look. As we went over in the meeting. Since midnight, a decrease event happening on the hour every four hours.” He looked down at the notes on his tablet. “But 10.2 hours total hull time from midnight to 0400 hours, and 11.5 hours total hull time from 0400 hours to 0800 hours, and then for the twelfth decrease event, 12.9 hours total hull time from 0800 hours to 1200 hours. That’s approximately 34.6 hours, not including the time accumulated in the hull since the thirteenth decrease event at noon. That’s ten hours over a day’s time, and they’ve mostly been confined to their rooms with those two armed guards in each room! Of course, except for a few physical exams, our installation of steps for them to get on their beds, and a few communication attempts, they’ve been isolated. But they want to get together and be with each other! For heaven’s sake, they wonder if they’re dying and…and they can’t even get in touch with their relatives, on social media, through phone calls, or otherwise. Is that any way to treat these unfortunate people?”

“But, Dr. Maplen,” she said, “you have to understand. Because they can get together in one hull unit, which is why the Bravo Alert was declared, and because of Captain Indalo’s fourth, and next, hull inspired premonition, the--”

“No, that’s not true,” Tom interrupted her. “Captain Indalo stated he didn’t think this was related to the image. Wasn’t distinct. He saw the hull people becoming so small they could just vanish, whatever that means. I don’t think he saw them in one group together.”

Colonel Jennings sighed. “I hope you’re right.” She continued to walk with them.

“I hope so too,” Tom said. “And another thing. I’m not so concerned with you testing the hull vehicles with the Penning antimatter trap, the Wakefield particle accelerator, or…or the ESEM, even though nothing has happened with any of them, either from the hull interacting or communicating by damaging these devices. But I am highly concerned about the alien P-Z9 suppression tunnel. And damn your general for breaking his promise with me.”

“You don’t need to be concerned, Dr. Maplen. Anything to do with the hull is via its interaction with our brains and nervous system, nothing more.”

“Except when the hull does interact with your devices. For instance, say you’re in the middle of subjecting a hull vehicle to a nuclear explosion from within the suppression tunnel, just at the same moment the hull attempts to damage the electronic controls for the suppression tunnel. Yes, I know, you postulate that the hull interacts through curled up dimensions, but with the extremely high energy particles, and possible infinitesimal black holes forming, I suggest it is possible the hull receives damage, and then therefore so do the hull people.”

She became quiet for some seconds. “I see your point. This does concern me. Are you going to discuss this with the general too?”

“Yes. Absolutely. I am not so concerned with that Sirian-anun para-dimensional transporter, since I doubt anything, even one of your robots here, could get into the hull dimension, even if we could reduce ZPE levels, and--”

“But don’t forget what I said. I’m not even sure I can operate that device without the Sirian EBEs, who have left. Same as with the XAVT mind blocker. Not sure I can run that too. My second attempt with the Zeta mind blocker failed.”

Colonel Stevens remembered something. “But once your team installed the new robotic arm for the transcranial magnetic stimulation with MRI, you did get some results.”

“Yes,” she said. “The hull was not affected by it, since though Major Fredericks could only see white light in place of all other objects in the room, she could still see the hull vehicles.” Her pretty eyes glanced at Colonel Stevens. “It’s like you said. Brain plasticity. Somehow the hull caused other areas of her brain to take over.”

“Yes, I know.”

“Astounding,” Tom said. “Amazes me, yet frightens me all the same.”

“Dr. Maplen,” Colonel Jennings said. “May I ask you. Do you still believe that God is behind all of this?”

Tom inhaled and let out rough sigh. “Well. It’s been approximately six days total for the hull people. And still no hunger, no thirst, and no halitosis caused by a lack of both. They haven’t needed to urinate or defecate whatsoever. No need to sleep. And no beard growth, hair growth, or nail growth. Good pulses. No fevers. They’re healthy and pain-free. Somehow the hull is maintaining their sodium and potassium levels, and other biochemical balances. And interestingly, no body odor, even after all this time without showers. And of course their time advances forward. So, if not God, then who could accomplish this? Yes, I know, they could be advanced alien-produced cyborg receptacles, merely holding their personalities. But, honestly? I don’t think any of us have an adequate answer.”

“I know exactly what you mean,” she said slowly. “But I still believe this has to be the work of very advanced EBEs.”

“Yet you cannot say for certain.”

“No, I cannot, but it seems most logical.”

“I find it hard to contemplate Lang’s actual height is now only two feet nine inches tall,” Colonel Stevens said. “And when the hull allowed it, we registered a weight of 246.7 pounds.”

“No kidding,” Tom said. “And Evan. Two feet four inches. And weighing 138.86 pounds. I think I know where you’re going with this. If God is behind this, why would he cause such a frightening experience?”

Colonel Stevens only nodded at Tom.

“And the speed of light, and the time,” Colonel Jennings said. “Wow. Since the last decrease event, approximately 5.05 x 10^8 meters per second for the hull’s light speed, and one second of our time is equivalent to approximately 3.68 seconds their time.” She let out a short laugh. “Only about a third of our second passes by for one of their seconds. And after thirteen decrease events, the hull’s still maintaining its three-quarter inch thickness, though the air space is diminishing.” She became quiet again for a moment. “I believe you’re right, Dr. Maplen. There probably are three separate dimensions involved, for such control on both the hull and our world’s dimensions.”

“I’m glad you agree. I don’t see how it can be any other way.”

“And you have to admit,” she said, “it’s rather spooky that you couldn’t find any trace of unknown elements or biological markers on any of the devices expelled from the hull.”

“Yes, how very true.”

“But I hope you find a mathematical pattern.”

Tom sighed again. “You’re not the only one. I should, soon, hopefully.”

“And at least the general is allowing Evan to keep his email account here,” she said. “With none of the hull people’s cell phones working, Evan’s PSP is key to keeping in touch. If they advance so much forward in time that we cannot understand them, even with our accelerated speech deciphering programs, his PSP could be the only way.”

“Agreed.”

They were nearing the robotics unit testing area. Many DFRs were out and about in the hallway, not far from room 1115, where General Tauring was overseeing some as yet unknown project.

Maybe from their earlier discussion, a troubling concern suddenly crossed Colonel Steven’s mind. “Colonel Jennings. Do you agree with General Tauring, that since Akina prayed to die, to join her deceased husband, then most likely Lang, Nahas, and Kyleigh prayed the same?”

“Well, I think so. They still haven’t told you?”

“No. It must be a very sensitive issue for each of them.”

Tom scrolled through the notes on his tablet. “Lang’s wife Deidra died three months ago. Nahas’ twin brother, Manu, died of malaria, three months ago too. Maybe coincidentally? Akina’s husband, Rokurou, died in a car crash three weeks ago. And Kyleigh’s ten year old son Brayden died of osteosarcoma, primary bone cancer, one year ago. Another curious connection between the Christians. But I doubt the general’s other theory, that they’re all weak people.”

“Same with me,” Colonel Stevens said. “I doubt even a Marine RECON, or NFL quarterback, could endure shrinking in size so considerably without some extreme psychological turmoil.”

“But it’s heartbreaking to hear the women are actually suffering more from the decrease events than the men,” Colonel Jennings said. “You would think it would be the opposite, though Evan seems the least affected.”

Colonel Stevens eyed her in an intense manner. “Because of his disturbing, growing closeness with the hull.”

“Makes me wonder, if that’s why the hull had Alan nearly clobber General Tauring,” she said. “The general struck Evan.”

“Retaliation,” Tom said. “Makes sense.”

“But I do stand fully with the general on one point,” Colonel Stevens said. “Communication is all we have. We must continue to communicate with the hull, especially since Tom’s quite certain adding ZPE to the hull’s dimension to reverse the process, even if we can do so, might be phenomenally dangerous to all concerned. Too complicated. Only the hull can do it.”

Tom looked at Colonel Jennings. “I know Ward’s team hasn’t made any recent communication breakthroughs, except for how I joined all the hull people together. And then of course we have Alan and Evan’s escapades. How about you?”

She shook her head. “Nothing.”

They were nearing room 1115. “All we can do is keep up the communication attempts,” Colonel Stevens said. “And note the decrease events, time changes, dimension changes, and mass changes, as we have all along.”

Once the DFRs discussed the necessary permissions, they entered the large room and walked over to General Tauring.

“Colonel Jennings,” the general said. “Glad you arrived promptly.” He walked over to her. Tautly he grasped his hands together in front of his body, his stance with legs spread. He stared down at her. “I’ve decided to test the hull’s telepathic range. I plan on boarding the specially designed RC-135 Rivet Joint at Riverton Regional, flying at thirty-six thousand feet, and viewing Akina’s subway upon the tractor parking lot.”

“Sir, using this Rivet’s powerful telescope?” Colonel Jennings asked.

“Yes, precisely, Colonel, providing the hull permits it, though my gut tells me it will. Quite the prideful boast, it would be. But regardless, I placed a block on satellite imaging in our area, though it’s probably not necessary. So, I want your team to bring the subway to the surface, by 1415 hours. Use the freight elevator. We’ll fly over around fifteen hundred hours, but I want it on the surface, ready to go. And bring it up covertly, keeping it on the tractor parking lot, hidden away from that damn gravel road and its nosey drivers. Of course, this is hoping the hull disguises the subway’s current weight. What’s the last weight you got?”

“According to Dr. Maplen’s theory, it’s extremely heavy now, sir, given its current dimensions. Within the twelfth decrease event, at 1130 hours, our calculations yielded 93400 pounds at only thirty-eight feet length, six feet height, and five feet width. But fortunately, the hull has been disguising its weight from us, as you mentioned. The subway is weightless now, to move.”

General Tauring shook his head. “Unbelievable. Over forty-six tons. All right then. Hopefully the hull won’t allow the weight to register while transporting that hunk of metal.” He glanced at Colonel Stevens, then Tom, before settling his intense gray eyes back on Colonel Stevens. “I know Colonel Jennings didn’t need several escorts to walk her down here. Make it snappy, Colonel. I have things to do.”

“Yes, sir. My apologies. Dr. Maplen has several concerns about the hull people.”

The general stared at Tom. “Well, don’t get all tongue-tied. Let me hear them.”

“General. Please,” Tom said without hesitation. “With all due respect, the DFRs should be removed from their rooms and the hull people need to get together with each other more often, because--”

“Not happening, Dr. Maplen, especially with the current Bravo Alert. We discussed this earlier. Next question.”

Tom sighed. “General. Then can you please stop the nuclear explosions within the suppression tunnel? Yes, I know everything we sense of the hull is instigated by the hull, and this is simply a communication attempt, but what if the hull is attempting to destroy the suppression tunnel at exactly the same moment that a nuclear explosion occurs?”

General Tauring laughed heartily. “Please, Dr. Maplen. One. The hull would see it coming a mile away. And two. You saw how Alan and Robert survived easily from their childish, high-wire antics on the testing platform. The hull is not going to let them get harmed. So calm yourself the hell down.”

Harshly defeated, Tom only shook his head and walked away a short distance.

Damn the general.

But Kyleigh and her tearful request. “But sir, if I may.”

“Yes, Stevens. What is it?”

“Kyleigh Behrend. She’s been crying, is very upset.”

“I know, Colonel. We discussed this earlier. And?”

“She’s been pleading with me if she could visit Lang. Just Lang, no one else. Could she, sir, please?”

The general grimaced a moment, and then his face eased. “Only if you keep Evan away from them. And only for a short time. Is that clear?”

“Yes, sir. Absolutely.”