Episode 4 - The Secret of the New World

Episode 4 - The Secret of the New World

A Chapter by Luke Steed
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Told from the perspective of Jacen.

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10 minutes ago - Jacen


Everything was a ticking time bomb.

The glacier, the bomb itself, even myself. I was the ticking time bomb that nobody knew about. Nobody was aware of the horrible thing living in my basement; nobody was aware of the horrible things I knew, and nobody could know. I couldn’t let them know. Anybody knowing would cut the wrong wire, enter the wrong code, trigger the tripwire. Anybody knowing would destroy the world.

I never really had the guts to do what I was about to do, but now I did, and I’d have to do it fast. Really fast.

I ran for the street where my house lay buried. I turned the corner and heard a voice yell from a distance.

“Jacen!!!” I turned my head toward it. It was Luke.

“What are you doing?! Get to the edge of town, it’s safe there!” I barked hypocritically.

“I’ve gotta find Jed, have you seen him anywhere?!”

“I saw him about thirty minutes ago heading into your house, but that was thirty minutes ago! Who knows, he’s probably already at the edge of town!” I knew I didn’t have what he needed, but Luke looked desperate, and a premonition told me, too, that Jed was in trouble.

Luke headed off in another direction toward his house with a “Got it!” and my responsibility re-entered my mind. He was about to get himself killed.

I arrived at my house, huffing and puffing. As I glared at it, I realized something.

I’m probably not going to make it out of this one.

I couldn’t afford to let the thought sit. It would consume me while I tried to neutralize the monstrous responsibility living inside my basement/hangar. It sat in the back of my mind, permeating slowly, like fungus.

I entered my old, trashed home, bursting at the seams with stupid, pointless contraptions and crumpled up blueprints and notes. I ran through it all. It was like running on papery snow, so instead of kicking up loose powder, it was a trail of flying papers. The basement was around the living room, forcing me to jump clean over my trashed furniture. From there, the stairs fed into the hangar, where the monster lived.

Entering the abandoned den, I flipped on the lights. One by one, the overhead lights flickered on. And then there it was, not breathing, yet terrifying, sleeping in a titanic blanket at the back of my hangar. The responsibility. I hurried over to it, running past some of my covered inventions and contraptions, swiping tools off of the desk that sat by the stairway.

I yanked the tarp off of it, letting it float to the floor. And then the monster was revealed: the secret of the New World.

“Alright, let’s see if we can keep you from blowing us up old pal.” I said, shakily, inhaling the musty, brisk air.

The monster was chained to the curved ceiling of the hangar. It was colossal, being at least 10 meters long from end to end. The orange painted metallic hide reflected the blue light of the hangar and shined on my face. It loomed and provoked, yet not doing anything, still sitting idle. It was evil, yet it hadn’t done anything. Yet.

In the corner, an old penguin-sized hazmat suit hung on a hook. I grabbed it and put it on, then dragging a heaping old desk over to the monster to reach its side panel. I hopped on the desk with all my tools and went straight to work. The shaky glacier wasn’t helping any. As soon as I’d fit the power drill into the screw, the quaking would knock it off.

I cursed to myself. If I’d done this earlier, I would’ve had it done in half the time!

Finally, I opened up the door to the core of the monster, shaking and frustrated, throwing the thick chunk of metal to the ground. The monster’s guts were polystyrene foam and radioactivity. In the foam, there were handles to pull a block of it out to get to the core. I pulled that out too and threw it onto the floor. Then I saw core- pure destruction. I took out another power tool- the circular saw. I turned it on, and it buzzed to life, ready to cut. I climbed inside the cramped chamber and pinpointed where I needed to cut. I was going to have to be very careful. One slip-up and I could end up detonating it. A label displayed faintly in the monster’s chamber: TSAR BOMBA II. I had a feeling this was the best possible place I could cut.

The sphere’s outer mantle was laced with conventional explosives: the first thing I’d have to be very careful with. The core was also laced with explosives. Were these explosives to detonate, they’d combust the trigger, or the thing I was aiming on pulling out, so yeah. I’d have to be very careful. Everyone’s lives that I knew depended on it.

The saw buzzed and whirred as I lowered it to the skin of the sphere. Steel screeched on steel and sparks flew everywhere. I cut a careful square along the seal lines of the side panel and popped it off. And there they were: the explosives, organized in a square pattern around the sphere. I unplugged the ones in my way and yanked them out. The dirty part was revealed. The pit glowed a devilish red from the initiator of an element that I had no name for. All I needed to do now was rip the initiator and the reactant out of the beast’s heart, and my job would be done. There was one thing I was afraid of though- screwing it up. But as much as I didn’t want to screw it up, I also needed to get it out. Like, now. This thing had the capacity to destroy anything it wanted, and in this moment, it especially had the capacity to destroy me. So I reached inside the heart and cupped the pit in my flippers and yanked it out.

I fell flat on my back outside the monster with a THUD and I sprang up. I opened a cabinet in that old desk and threw the monster’s heart inside. I looked wildly around my hangar. No bright ideas so far. I got myself into this mess, and now I had to find a way out. I had a pang of hopelessness for what seemed like minutes, but actually turned out to be seconds. Quick relief came to respite my pain. An idea. My eyes immediately pinpointed a mound, covered by a tarp with many things resting on top of that tarp. This mound hadn’t been touched in ages; eons.

I hurried over to it and swiped the lingering garbage off the tarp, kicking up the dust. Being blinded by a cloud of dust didn’t get in my way. I ripped the tarp off of the mound, like one of those magicians would do to a cloth on a set table.

Then memories of the old days flooded in; the days when I would stay down in this hangar for hours on end, building away at this stupid looking machine. The machine was, more or less, a mix between a drone and and a biplane, but without the double wings. I painted it a bright lipstick red color, and I guessed it turned out pretty okay. At least I thought so at the time. Now, not so much, but this thing was about to save my life, no questions asked.

I ran over to a button situated on the wall and punched it. Old electricity surged audibly through the cords, and the ceiling of the hangar began to creak open. Tons of snow fell in, creating a small white mountain in the middle of the hangar floor. Light shone in from the pale blue sky above and filled the atmosphere with daytime. I hopped into my biplane-drone and started it up. Luckily this thing wasn’t powered by any kind of gasoline, so besides the fact that it sat dormant for so long, the power was fine. The blades sputtered to life and blew away the dust that built up for so many years.

And then I found my next problem. I barely knew how to fly this thing.

I found the lever that made the craft pull upwards, but that was as far as my knowledge went. There were three other levers too, one I assumed made it go side to side, one I assumed made it go forward or backward and another I assumed made the craft turn 360 degrees. I invented the thing, but I started to realize how naive I was back then, and I couldn’t really blame myself. I mean hey, leave it to me to forget how my own machine works in the worst possible time imaginable.

Now what I needed to do was get the thing out of my hangar. I lightly tapped the lever I assumed to make the drone go forward, and to my fortune I was right, but that light tap made the drone go way too fast foward. I looked up from the control board and found myself about to crash into the small mountain of snow. Reflexes kicked in. I slammed the lever that made it go up, perhaps a bit too hard. I shot straight up out of my hangar and into the sky and eased up on the lever and stopped.

My head turned toward the Arctican horizon, and it was there, in the distance, that I realized the true reality of what I was about to endure. A wave of grief and despair pervaded me. My home, the only place I belonged, was gone.

I nudged the lever I assumed made it turn left or right, and I was right again, to my luck. The drone-craft spun around way too quickly, but I was under the drug of adrenaline, so my timing was perfect rotating it toward the Arctican mainland. As soon as I faced the snowy horizon, there was only one lever left that could’ve made me go forward. I nudged it, and lurched forward in the air until I picked up a steady pace.

The wall grew, and the village sank, and as I continued forward scanning the wreckage, I saw two figures, green and yellow, hanging from the wall, slipping.

They were familiar.

I tilted the craft downward and sped toward them. It was Luke and Jed, and they were about to fall with the village, just barely seeming to cling to life. I descended more and more, trying to gain the right angle to pick them up. The craft began to go out of control. It slammed into the glacier.

BAM.

I jerked to the left and tried to reposition myself. I thought was going to be impossible. Pieces of the glacier were falling off from above, the trajectory was narrow, and my panic wasn’t getting any better.

I lurched further, just trying to get under these two to save them. Every little tap of the levers on the drone would make it move too fast, but this time I got lucky. Luke and Jed finally slipped and plopped on top of my oversized drone, Jed’s tentacles suctioned to the body of the drone, holding onto Luke. I got out of there as quick as I came. I veered away from the glacier wall and rose the drone to the top.

Then I saw what remained of Nossrunn huddled together on a barren glacier, in chaos.



© 2018 Luke Steed


Author's Note

Luke Steed
Still working on it! I have no idea why the last paragraph isn't double spaced, but it's going to have to be that way for now.

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Added on April 30, 2017
Last Updated on April 23, 2018
Tags: atomic bombs, penguins, snow, new world, ominous


Author

Luke Steed
Luke Steed

Fort Worth, TX



About
My main project right now is Copperoton: the Snatcher Saga, a long sci-fi adventure book. The first couple of chapters are still being worked on, with the first being the most heavily focused on. My o.. more..

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A Story by Luke Steed