Collection: Submissions/Ages of Youth/the Halleaux Guest Chronicle by Daniel
Chapter 4: The Sound of Silence
“That shirt is not standard issue” was the first thing out of Petra’s mouth.
“Good morning to you too, since when has anything about me been standard issue?” Ren responded cheerfully.
“Fair enough” She said, “you cut your hair, why?”
“It’s too impractical for training and any real field work, the only reason I kept it long to begin with was to keep the sun off my neck” He said.
“Now, about training, you may visit the training fields as soon as you and Mech are done with your work” She stated, “A guide will be provided to take you to the fields, as you have never been there before”
They walked side by side down the many hallways of the Haven Fighter’s base. Recruits and soldiers alike would stop and salute as they passed. Petra would respond with her usual “As you were” and they would continue on their way. Soon they reached the chow hall, and Petra began to load her tray with food. Ren did not eat with the others, he prepared his own food in the small kitchen in his rooms. He did, however, walk over to the drink dispensers and poor himself a large cup of hot tea, to which he added copious amounts of sugar and milk. He walked back to where Petra stood and together the went over to a table where Marius and another gentleman Ren had not met before sat alone. As they sat, Marius grinned at him and said
“Good to see you out and about, old man”
“Old man, ay?” said Ren as he drank his tea “I’m hardly a year older than you are”
“Aye, but your manner of speaking and the way you carry yourself make you seem that much older” Replied Marius, sounding as though he had the winning hand in a game of cards.
“It’s called maturity, it’s what happens when you grow up, or at least, that’s what's supposed to happen” Said Ren, good naturedly
“Oh, is that why they give me rubber bullets?” He asked
“No, we give you rubber bullets because your aim is so hopelessly awful that you are more of a danger to your own side than you are the enemy” Said the strange man, chuckling.
The man was dressed in a suit of subdued yellow and wore glasses with gears on them. His watch appeared to be of custom design as did all of his technology, which was marked by a trademark symbol of two interlocked gears.
“I take it you must be Mech” said Ren.
“Simply amazing, to arrive at such a finding your powers of deduction must be quite sharp” he said, “Oh, and yes I am Mech”
“My powers of deduction are nothing beyond that of an ordinary man, however between the vast amount of electronic technology and the English accent, I took a wild stab in the dark”
“Ah, I stand corrected” said Mech, “Although, I do not know who you are”
“Mech” said Petra, “This is Ren”
“This man does not match the description you gave me and is too full of life, you described him as a surly, cruel looking man with eyes filled with, I believed you described it as, the fire of insanity. He looks too normal” Mech stated
“Gee, thanks, I guess” Said Ren
Marius Laughed hysterically and pounded the table with his fist. The rest of the soldiers ignored him as though this was completely usual behavior, which, for Marius, it was. Ren finished his tea and stood up.
“Petra, I’ll be in my lab, kindly send someone to fetch me when I’m wanted in the computer room” Said Ren. He shook Mech’s hand and started off, walking down the labyrinth of hallways and finally reached a section of the base marked “Commanders only”. He opened the doors and proceeded to his right and turned left at the end of the hallway, stopping before a locked door. Making sure no one else was around, he unlocked the door and stepped inside quickly, shutting it behind him. He reached to his left and felt the switch for the lights, turning it it on, he gazed around his private laboratory.
The walls were barely visible underneath the vast amount of experimental weaponry that hung upon them. Pushed against the walls were three workbenches, one was littered with hand-machined parts for various self-invented weapons, the second one was covered in scraps of metal and various supplies for armor making, and the third was covered with chemical bottles and various handcrafted parts of missiles and rockets. At the other end of his lab was a makeshift testing range using targets that he had cut from sheet metal using a plasma torch. The targets were covered in blast marks and riddled with bullet holes. He picked up one of the weapons off the walls and examined it carefully. It looked like a giant pill with a pin and a button. He sat at his workbench and began to replicate the design, carefully assembling each piece and adjusting it until it was perfect. After twenty minutes he had three exact copies of the original.
He went to a corner of his lab and uncovered a pile of steel reinforced cinder blocks and began to carry them over, two by two, and assemble what looked like a cinder block box. Once he was satisfied, he took the first device, cranked the delay timer to thirty seconds, and placed two cinder blocks over the opening. After the opening was covered he hustled back to the workbench and put on a pair of protective earmuffs and hid behind a makeshift blast shield with a slot cut out of the top so he could see. When the delay timer was over there was an ear-splitting shriek that he could hear even with the ear protection. After about three seconds the cinder block box began to shake and two seconds later the blocks cracked and broke.
“Still not loud enough” he said to himself. He picked up the second device and popped the top off. He picked up a screwdriver and tightened a small piece in the top until it would not move any more. He grabbed more cinder blocks from the pile, built another box, placed the device, covered it, and got back behind the blast shield. This time when the delay timer was over, there was no shriek, there was no sound at all. Wondering why it was not working he stood up from behind the blast shield. As he began to slowly walk toward the box, there was a bright flash of light and he was momentarily blinded. When he could see clearly again, he looked at where the box was, and all that remained was a pile of rubble, a blast mark on the floor, and a small crater. “I do believe”, he said aloud, “that I have found the right frequency”.
“What the blazes is that thing” said a voice behind him. Petra stood behind him with her hands over her ears.
“Ah, I was wondering when you would show up, how long have you been here?” he asked her. “About ten minutes, how long have you been lying on the floor?” She responded, “need a hand?”
“No I’ll be fine” he said, just realizing he was on the floor for the first time. He sat up and got to his feet. He walked over to the table and pulled a notebook out of a drawer. He jotted down a few notes, and turned to face Petra.
“To answer your question, it is a weapon that I do not yet have a name for. It produces sound waves at a frequency so high and so powerful that it causes an explosion.” He explained, “What can I do for you?”
“Mech would like to see you in the computer room”she said.
“And you came to fetch me yourself, instead of sending someone to get me?” He asked
“I figured you requested a private laboratory because you didn’t want people seeing what you were doing inside it”
“True, very true. However I do think that as one of your right-hand men, Marius would be fit for the job, so I’m guessing that there is some ulterior motive.” Ren said slowly
“Oh my, nothing gets by you, does it? I came because I wanted to see exactly what you were doing down here, especially considering you spend more time here than anywhere else.”
She walked over to a small table in the corner of the room where an object sat covered by a large sheet of canvas. Ren spoke quickly as she mad to uncover it “Oh, please, I ask that you don’t touch anything, because almost everything in here can kill you”
“Is that so?” Said Petra, surprised by his outburst. The look in his eyes was unnerving, he almost looked scared.
“Um, yes it is, if you got killed what would the army do without you?” He asked, calming down and recovering his calm manner.
“I expect that ValJean would find another second in command” She stated cooly.
“ValJean?” Asked Ren in an inquisitorial manner.
“Yes, Jean ValJean, the leader of the Haven Fighters and my Superior” she said in a bored voice.
Ren chuckled to himself and walked over to a cabinet near the door and withdrew a small bag, slinging it over his shoulder as he said “Well then to the computer room”. He walked out the door, Petra following behind him. Once again he walked the corridors and hallways of the Haven Fighters basecamp, stopping outside a door labeled Computer Room. As the door slid to the side he stepped into the room and was immediately shocked by the darkness. The room was pitch black save for the light produced by the computer screens and a large table that sat in the center of the room. Mech’s suit jacket and top hat sat in a chair by the table and his voice drifted out from under a large computer.
“Try it now”
A young women about Petra’s age sat next to the computer and when Mech said, she would flip a switch and would reply “nothing” when the screen remained firmly black. Petra squatted down to where Mech’s bottom half protruded from inside the computer.
“WE’RE HERE” She yelled
Mech jumped and there was a large bang from inside the computer, which Ren presumed to be Mech’s head hitting something. He slid out from underneath the computer.
“You bloody -” he began angrily
Petra laughed “Now,now Mech, there is no need for that kind of language”
“There was also no need for you to yell like you did, but that didn’t seem to stop you” He retorted waspishly, “Although, I’m glad to see you here”
He stood and walked to the table and flicked on the lights. Ren blinked hard, momentarily blinded by the sudden light. When he recovered he walked to where the young woman sat at the computer. She was tall and blonde with fair skin. She was dressed in silver armor with dark blue accents and armed with an impressive collection of knives and daggers.
“Pardon me” Said Mech, “Allow me to introduce my assistant, Gabrielle, she’ll be the one forming the holo-map.”
“A blonde computer nerd, now I truly have seen it all” Ren laughed.
Before he could finish she jumped out of her seat and tackled Ren pinning him to the ground with her knee. She held him down and drew a particularly sharp and cruel-looking dagger, holding it to his throat she whispered “ Ifyou ever make a blonde joke in presence again, I will cut your tongue out of your mouth, roast it on a stick, and feed it to you”
Petra looked at Ren and said “I don’t think that’s a good Idea” Ren smiled and Petra stepped away from the two. Ren reached up with one hand and grabbed her wrist. With the other hand he grabbed a dagger from her belt slowly without her noticing. Suddenly he yanked her wrist and she lost her balance, falling on top of him. As she caught herself a whipped the dagger up to he throat and jammed the tip under her chin. Pulling her closer he whispered in her ear
“Good try, definitely points for effort. However I suggest that if you should ever again get the thirst to hold a dagger to someone’s throat, you make sure that person is not someone with military experience, or at least make sure they can’t reach your other knives.”
With that he pushed her off, sending her backward a few feet. The he stood and looked at her where she sat. He walked over and offered her the dagger in his hand. She took it silently and belted it.
“Not bad. Next time remember to use your other knee to immobilize my arm at the elbow joint.” He said. He looked around the room and found it absolutely silent, everyone staring at him.
“Well then”, he said, “Let’s get cracking”
Blurbs & Blogs
Chroniclers will post their stories, opinions, and silliness.