Sunday, July 17, 2011

The Shell [Episode 4]

She opened her briefcase aboard her jet. The plasma thrust of the jet was making the trip quicker and less bumpy. She traced out a rectangle on the wall and immediately it turned invisible, allowing her to gaze outside. It was getting dark, her headache had made her thought that Singapore was still in its dawn, whereas it was around evening time.

She took out a piece of cubic glass, slowly unfolded it into a large piece of flat rectangle. She switched it on and stared at the screen. She was trying to search for what had actually happened.

"Queries please," a female voice purred from the glass.

"Full report on Sahara desert within the last 72 hours," she commanded.

"Please wait," the voice replied.

Then, images of satellites, military files, space agency reports and scientists profiles was being sprung out to life and being assessed.

She fell back to her seat and breathed deeply, trying to think what had gone wrong. Time travel? Time slip? Or even more bizarre, had she travelled to another parallel universe? She closed her eyes, re-imagining the entire sequence of the event.

No, it wasn't a dream, It was too real to be a dream. The blotch, the vanishing, Dan and the shard. Everything had burnt into her mind. And yet, Dan was at the opposite side of the world, and the desert didn't show anything unusual, safe from the flickering shard which would be investigated further.

"23rd July, no scientist from the agency has ever been sent to Sahara. Aside from strong winds, Sahara experienced no anomalies," the voice replied.

"Check on Jane Soutaine profile please," she stammered.

"Currently investigating new properties of matter in Seattle, US."

"Current location?" she asked again.

The glass panel went silent for an awkward three seconds long, too slow in terms of machinery intelligence. "Unable to define. Possible impostor detected on flight across the Indian Ocean."

"That's me, you doofus," she cursed silently under her breath.

"I'm sorry?"

"Where is the real Jane Soutaine?"

"Seattle," the voice said. "Should one report this anomaly?"

"No. Not yet," she said. "Cross-check all scientists from the agency, including Dan Foxsen. Beep me if there are any impostor case or anything strange."

"None whatsoever, ma'am," the voice replied.

"Check on any unidentified object at Sahara desert of the same coordinates I have given you," she ordered. Her heart was beating fast.

"Nothing, ma'am," the voice replied after a two-second delay.

She was shivering. "Thank you," she said as she switched off the panel and let it folded back into its cubic form. She reached out her pocket and took out her compad and dialled Jane Soutaine's number. Her own number. It was silly, but she must be sure.

"Hello? Jane Soutaine here," a female voice replied.

She hung up.

She didn't know what to say. She was frightened. What had happened to her? She checked her briefcase once more. In there, she saw a cylinder she had never seen before. It was chromic and smooth, and somehow exhibited some chillness on it when she touched it.

Her compad rang. A message had come through. She opened the message. It was from an unknown sender. It wrote, "See me Island Spire when he called you."

Braved herself, she replied the message, "Who are you?"

After a while, a replied came, "Your Godfather."

She knew there would be no chance to know the sender, especially the sender was so mysterious. But who was the 'He' the sender referred to? Maybe Dan, or maybe her boss. All she can do was wait. Or perhaps treated it as a junk mail.


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