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Infernis – Chapter Thirty-Seven

February 25, 2013

Chapter Thirty-Seven

Sometimes I am able to see all the fingers on my hand.
–Sergei Filin

The object buzzed forward. The extra load it bore only made the slight turns it made slower, more deliberate. Normally, it seemed to be a part of the air. Now, laden with extra mass it seemed more as if it were on an invisible string held by an unseen hand above, nudging it this way and that.

In a way, it was. The pilot was not watching through the binoculars set nearby on a tripod but rather through the small camera attached to the remote-controlled plane with an occasional glance upward to see a larger portion of the sky.

“Here it comes.”

The man standing next to him, who had been watching silently now took up a position in front of the binoculars. He adjusted them twenty-three degrees to the right and focused. There was the tiny plane, only visible due to the glint of the sun.

Also there was its destination. A larger, brighter glare came off of this intruder. The thing had made daily passes for some weeks now. The men and women of the WIMI Coalition had expected…what? An invasion? But none had come.

Just the surveillance drone. At least Marvin hoped it was a surveillance drone. They had been used for other purposes as well.

“Getting close…”

Herb, who had been among other things a motored model plane enthusiast before the economic meltdown, had found a possible niche among the folk dwelling along the Wisconsin-Michigan border. He had offered… something. Understanding maybe. A chance to fight back however ultimately pointless it might prove.

Now he was about to find out the answer to that latter part.

“Aaaand…now!”

Herb hit the button labeled “Auxiliary” on the remote control. At first it didn’t look as though anything happened at all.

Then Marv saw the smoke. It was a few seconds before he heard the popping sound. It was sharp and somehow sounded metallic, like a claw hammer puncturing an automobile hood.

Then he initially thought there had been no effect whatsoever. They weren’t close enough, hadn’t used enough explosive, or shrapnel maybe.

But there it was. The shining drone suddenly dropped enough that Marv lost track of it. It went down somewhere a few miles away, or so it appeared. He’d send out a crew to find it, see if there was anything to salvage, anything to learn from it. Maybe just having the thing in camp would…

“You know they’ll likely jam next time.”

Herb referred to the remote’s radio. They knew it was a risk, but then Herb only had four of the planes to use anyway.

“Yeah. But at least we know. And they know. Pryin’ eyes, not appreciated.”

Herb began packing up. He nervously scanned the horizon for a second drone but saw none.

“Best five hundred I ever spent.”

“How much was theirs?”

“Oh, depending, I think half a million. That must hurt.”

“Yeah, but they can just print more,” Marv spat some tobacco juice. “Or borrow it.”

Herb started unscrewing the binoculars from the tripod. There was a pause in the conversation, so he filled it.

“How’s our guest?”

“When he’s not crying uncontrollably or laughing manically, you mean? Talking about… mind control. Says we’re all hypnotized, or some such.

“He has some news, though. When you can catch him calm enough he talks like a normal person. He stuck around New York a little too long, I s’pose. Said the word on the street was the President is no longer in charge.”

Herb looked at Marv surprised.

“Then who…?”

“Hell if I know. Somebody’s sending these things out, right? Gotta be somebody giving orders. UN, maybe. I dunno.

“Let’s head back. Need to spread the good news. We gave ’em the middle finger today. First try, without a hitch. Good work, Herb! You earned your keep.”

Herb closed up the suitcase with the last of his equipment. He realized he left a wire out and rather than bother to re-open his case, he just wrapped it around his wrist. Survival was like that. Art sometimes became function, sometimes the opposite.

“I don’t know. Like I said, they are liable to be real pissed, Marv.”

They still had enough of most supplies to last the rest of the month, but the next one was looking sketchy. They would have to start scavenging in cities. Likely have to rob for some of it. The leadership was to meet later that night to discuss where to go and what the plan was to be.

“People need hope, Herb. They need that more than almost anything.”

He grabbed his walkie and gave the general location of where he thought the drone went down. Hopefully there would be something to bring back. Solid proof for the eyes that it wasn’t over, they weren’t so far outmatched that surrender was the only option, that they were still men and that mattered.

Fifty miles away and fifteen minutes after requested the order was given. There would be some drastic changes for the next drone flight.

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From → Infernis, Novels

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