The Guardians / Chapter 24: A Base of Operations
Posted June 2nd, 2019 by Codename-X12
in a secret bunker finishing the Guardians
The Guardians are back in chapter twenty-four of The Guardians! If you’re new to the Guardians or just need a refresher on what’s going on, be sure to check out another post which has links to all the chapter in order. You can find that post here: https://www.kidpub.com/book-page-or-chapter/guardians-back-3035162865
You can find the previous chapter here:
Previously on The Guardians:
I began searching the waters below, eyes straining as they scanned the surface. Nothing. I was about to turn to Devon in confusion and annoyance. Then I took an involuntary step back as Devon began laughing at our confusion. Shane turned to him in anger, but Devon, smiling at him, raised one finger and placed it on his smart watch.
Suddenly the waters below us began bubbling and churning like a volcano was erupting just beneath the waves. I stared through the computer screen as something large and dark grey began to surface directly beneath us.
"I present to you," Devon said dramatically, “the Eclipse Seeker.” Shane and I stared in awe as we realized what the floating grey mass was. It was an enormous battleship!
A Base of Operations
POV: Brandyn Lorensen
The vessel's sleek, streamlined shape seemed more fitting of a high-tech submarine than a ship. Slanted grey sides and top instead of the usual flat ship decks added to the futuristic look of the battleship. The vessel looked about five times as long as it was wide and was stabilized by two sleek trimaran hulls on its sides. The dual hulls jutted out, one from each side of the vessel and opposite the other, like wings on a plane except smaller and slanted downward into the water.
I noticed two high-tech turrets were mounted close the the front of the craft and a couple more batteries were positioned on the ship's sides. One unmistakable feature was a large light grey command center jutting from the top of the craft like a tower on castle battlements. A strange drone-like object that I didn't recognize was sitting atop the command center.
Shane seized the controls once more and began gently descending the hovercraft toward the small runway along the top of the ship. Devon tapped another button and small lights on the side of the runway lit up to make Shane's job of guiding the aircraft down easier.
"It can fit one full-size jet for landings and take-offs," Devon told us proudly.
"What do you do with ships on the runway when the boat goes underwater?" I asked Devon as we felt the hovercraft touch down on the deck with a shudder.
"You'll see in a moment," he replied, touching another button on his watch. Suddenly the ground rattled and vibrated under us as the runway began lowering into the top of the ship. The hovercraft descended into the ship, carbon fiber walls rising up around the runway. Underneath the deck of the ship was a small hangar. It looked like only one jet would be able to fit inside. The two sides of the ceiling slid shut over us like garage doors, shutting us off from our view of the sky.
"This hangar is mainly for repairs and housing escape aircraft," Devon told us as he looked around at the interior of the small hangar. The walls and floor of the room were made of steel and concrete, and lengths of cables snaked here and there like twisting vines. Racks of high-tech consoles, racks of ammo and missiles for the planes, and a few fueling stations covered the walls. Bright, uncovered panel lights in the ceiling cast the entire hangar in a harsh white glare.
"Is there anyone else here?" Shane asked as we looked around at the utterly silent room. I noticed tiny security cameras nested in the corners of the hangar, watching our every move.
"This is my own private version of the design I created for the military. I don't use it often, so it doesn't have a permanent crew. Sometimes I bring in a few crewmembers, but most of the functions are automated," Devon explained. "We shouldn't have too much trouble controlling it. You want me to show you around?"
"Heck yes!" I exclaimed. Devon grinned proudly at our excitement. Leading the way, he headed for a pair of blast doors at one end of the hangar facing the way the hovercraft was pointed.
"I don't have your hand signatures in the system," he said as he pressed his hand against a glossy screened device next to the door. The door popped open with a hydraulic hiss, revealing a large elevator on the other side. We stepped into the elevator, which had small weapon rack on one wall and another elevator entrance opposite the one we had gotten into.
“What's on the other side of that door?” I asked.
“That leads to the laboratory and intelligence center,” Devon said. “There are two elevators, one on each side of the ship. They both go down a floor to the dormitories and up a floor to the infirmary. The bridge is up a floor from that. The ship is also equipped with extensive storage for weapons and supplies, a nuclear fission reactor to power it. It’s self-sustaining and we can grow our own plants and purify our own water right from the ship.”
“Neat,” Shane replied. “This will definitely be useful once we get our team going. You said there was a dormitory. How many rooms does it have?”
“It has twelve rooms and each can comfortably accommodate up to six passengers if necessary,” Devon told us. “Should I show you the lab first?"
"That would be great," I replied. Devon tapped a button in the side of the elevator and the other doorway slid open.
On the other side was a modern room that looked about a third the size of a football field in length and width. A flight of stairs at one end of the lab led up to a balcony that ran around the entire room. On the balcony was mounted a smaller room that protruded from the wall. It had a large glass window that overlooked the rest of the room from several yards above the floor like a sort of loft.
The rest of the room was brimming with high-tech blinking machines whose purpose with unknown to me, workstations with dormant computers, and a few holographic projectors. One projector sprayed a glowing orange holographic image of the world into the air in three-dimensional glory.
"Pretty nice place you got here," Shane grinned as we took a few steps across the sleek metallic floor.
"These bad boys are top-notch 3D printers," Devon said, gesturing to a rack of some of the largest machines against one wall. There were about a dozen of the massive printers. "They can crank out something the size of a guitar in about ten minutes. We also have DNA encoders, super-fast substance analyzers, and some other cool stuff."
"Sweet," Shane breathed. I on, the other hand, didn't really know or care what a DNA encoder was, but at least it sounded cool. We passed through the rows of workstations and up the staircase to the balcony that surrounded the room.
"The communication center is in there," Devon told us, pointing to the small windowed room that overlooked the rest of the room. Through the glass I could see hefty PCs on tables and a holographic globe in the center of the room. Holographic satellites floated around the semi-transparent shape, tiny readings protruding from each satellite.
"Where do you want to go next?" Devon asked as we walked into an elevator accessed by the balcony. "Up goes to the bridge and down goes to the dormitories and a few other, smaller rooms."
"Down," I said, placing my thumb on a button marked with a down arrow. The elevator jolted to life and a few seconds later the doors opened once more. Shane and I found ourselves looking intently at a short hallway, with pure white walls and smooth floor like the rest of the ship.
We strode quickly down the hallway, shoes squeaking slightly on the immaculate flooring, and in a few steps reached the end of the hall. The corridor opened up into a circular chamber with many metal doors leading off of it. I counted ten of the doors.
"Let's check one out," Devon invited us, walking up to one of the doors and scanning his palm on a tablet-sized sensor like the one in the hangar. The door popped open and we stepped into the bedroom. The only light was the beams shining in from the room outside it, until Devon waved his hand. Then lights immediately blinked to life and cast a pleasant glow on the room.
It looked like what I'd imagine of a hotel room. Of course I had never visited a hotel, but I had seen pictures of typical rooms. The layout was similar, except a flight of stairs along one wall of the room led to a loft that overlooked the room. Peering up through the railing of the loft, I could see a large, comfy bed, a nightstand with a laptop on it, and a minibar nearby. The rest of the room contained a couch, set of weights on a mat in one corner, a tiny kitchen, and a large flatscreen TV. I also noticed doors leading to a bathroom and small closet.
"Each room is different," Devon said. "I like to switch things up."
“It’s kind of dark in here,” Shane commented. The room had no windows; the space where hotel rooms have bright, clear glass dominated by the same section of wall.
“Well, yes, but there is another feature I would like to show you,” Devon told me. He tapped twice on his smartwatch and suddenly and walls and floor disappeared under our feet. Brandyn and I gasped as we looked through empty air. The blinding blue sea churned and thrashed like a massive living creature below us. We were standing on something solid, but it felt like we were hovering in midair. The wall at the far side of the room and the floor had somehow turned transparent like glass. The bed, rugs, TV, and other features of the dormitory looked like islands floating in the blue of the ocean.
“The exterior of the ship is made with a special alloy,” Devon exclaimed, grinning at our surprise. “When a certain voltage is applied to it, it becomes transparent. The alloy is also designed to resist head-on projectiles. The slanted sides help it deflect shots.”
“I had heard about this, but I never saw it firsthand,” Shane told him.
A few minutes later we stepped out of the elevator and into the command bridge. The first thing I noticed as I looked around was that the walls were almost completely made of thick bulletproof glass. The transparent surfaces gave a stunning view of the churning sea from the fifty-foot command tower. I could just catch a glimpse of buildings on the Delaware shoreline glistening like far-off jewels.
Powerful computers ringed the circular command center, lining the walls. The state-of-the-art machines were short enough to not obstruct the view through the spotless glass windows. Leather chairs were propped up next to the computers for easy access by operators.
But the thing that really set the bridge as being the hub of the entire battleship was a huge holoprojector centered in the middle of the room. Much larger than any of the other projectors, this one was beaming a gigantic 3D globe of the earth that could easily be seen from every corner of the bridge. The enormous red projection shimmered slightly as it rotated slowly, hovering in midair. I noticed a blinking dot on the surface marking where the ship currently was.
"This is incredible," Shane said as he strode up to the holoprojector. He raised his finger gingerly to the projection and cautiously swiped the glowing globe. It instantly began whizzing around at a breakneck speed and Shane flinched back like he inadvertently destroyed the earth's orbit and brought about doomsday.
When the globe had slowed and stopped spinning, he tapped again on an area near where the Eclipse Seeker was. The map zoomed in to show the harbor of Washington D.C. Semi-transparent three-dimensional buildings and skyscrapers rose of the flat surface of the map like a 3D jigsaw puzzle. Shane stared down at the intricate web of streets, tiny 3D cars rushing down them like ants in a mad rush to find a picnic. I saw again the massive Capital Wheel turning gently at the edge of the harbor.
"Is this real-time?" he asked in awe.
"Yes," Devon replied. "I have access to a few military satellites. They can't see everything of course, like the other side of the world, but I bet one is flying thousands of miles above us right now."
The thought kind of creeped me out.
"This is going to be a huge help," Shane said. "Just imagine, our own personal portable fortress with satellites!" He looked like it were a dream come true.
"What was that weird hovercraft drone thing I spotted on the roof?" I ventured to ask. It was probably on top of the command center and right above our heads right now.
"That is an eighteen-rotor hovercraft attached to the bridge with a tether cable," Devon explained, pointing upward toward the ceiling even though we couldn't see it. "It has powerful cameras, sensors, and magnifying equipment. From up in the air it roughly quadruples the range of the ship's sensors, allowing us to "see" much further. It's our little eye in the sky."
Shane looked like he was going to say "Cool!" again but he managed to keep it in. "So...are those electromagnetic railguns I saw on the roof?" he asked excitedly.
"Most definitely!" Devon replied. He caught my confused expression. "Those bad boys use magnets to launch projectiles up to a hundred miles!"
"So I guess we don't all have to share my hovercraft," Shane laughed.
By the time Devon had finished showing us the infirmary and an open deck on back of the ship we could use for training, the glorious purple sunset was blazing in the west. We retired to our separate dormitory rooms below deck.
I flopped down wearily on a queen-sized bed, arms and legs splayed out like I was making a snow angel. Even after a whole twenty-four hours since the infiltration, my whole body ached noticeably from the explosion that had nearly finished me off. My leg, which had been broken only a few weeks ago, throbbed worst of all, feeling like a lead weight at my side. And I was bone tired after the whole crazy day. The exhaustion felt like it had sunk deep within me like a boulder settling at the bottom of a lake.
My head sank into the pleasantly firm pillow. It didn't take long for my eyes to close.
Then, as soon as they had drifted closed, they popped open again.
End of chapter twenty-four. As always, any constructive criticism is greatly appreciated!
The Guardians will return on Wednesday, June 5, at around 4:00 PM (CDT time zone).
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