6 of 6 | Chapter 13

 

“They're back. They are undergoing CCI logging, only some were sent to take the remaining enemy pilots out to a very remote, unpleasant place,” he said.

Karen, Trenerry and Murinko looked at each other.

“How humane,” Murinko noted.

“There's nothing else I can do with them as, at the end of the day, they were just following orders. It's not the pilots that are the real enemy,” said Steersman quietly. “Their planes will be disposed of at the neutralization plant. We always need more raw materials.”

“What are we going to do now?” asked Karen.

“Well, we are going to do lot of things. First of all, as you said earlier, we have to pull ourselves together. Then we shall lay down some basic security rules for ASEC to enforce,” he said, looking at Murinko. “How is the planning going?”

“It'll be ready very soon,” he answered.

“What kind of planning?” asked Karen.

“All right, gentlemen, we'll talk later,” said Steersman avoiding Karen's question. She was the one person he was going to find it difficult to explain what was really going on to.

“What are you up to, Sean?” Karen asked with unerring sense, after the two men had left.

“I'm aware that we're responsible for what happened,” he answered.

“What are you talking about?”

“I'm talking about all that has happened in the past few days. We played a large role in creating this situation.”

“Sean, you cannot be serious,” said Karen, shakily.

“Think about it! We have unleashed a new technology onto the world,” he said starkly, in a tone that Karen didn't like.

“What are you planning with Murinko?” she frowned.

“A defensive army. One that will protect us and the rest of the world from similar disasters!” Steersman looked up into Karen's face. “I know what you're thinking,” he said resignedly.

“I seriously doubt it,” said Karen suddenly. “Do it!”

“What?”

“Do it! I know it's not being created for selfish reasons, so just tell me what I can do,” she said firmly.

Steersman smiled. “That's what I like about you, Karen. I'm glad you're back.”

*

By the second day after attack, almost every trace of it had disappeared. All through the afternoon anti-gravitational waste disposal vehicles floated through the city removing rubbish and obstacles. They worked quickly, though it took some time due to the sheer quantity of debris that had to be carted away. People had been busy in their gardens, tidying up their immediate environment. It was only the larger wreckage that people were unable to deal with by themselves.

Above the Hayes' house a transport vessel positioned itself, obscuring the sky. Its anti-gravity field caused minor shock waves to flow out over the bystanders waiting below.

“They've come for the wreck, I suppose,” said Gordon Hayes, who was talking on the street with others, when he noticed the vessel.

“I wonder if they mend the roof too,” said Mrs Hayes, standing worries next to her husband.

“Hmm, I doubt it.”

With the help of narrow anti-gravity beams, two robots floated down into the garden and started to pull aside the twisted fighter fuselage with portable G-radius devices. Meanwhile, more robots descended from hull of the ship and stopped in mid air, hovering like giant crustaceans.

They also began to shoot G-radii toward the wreckage, and with their combined power, the body of the fighter rose from rooftop. Once it was clear of its wedged position, a thicker anti-gravity radius from the bottom of the large aircraft seized it and lifted the plane up into its belly. Finally, each robot was pulled back into the vessel and the ship left the scene, leaving the members of the Hayes family and their neighbors—who had watched the operation—standing with their mouths hanging open.

“Sometimes I really can't decide whether I'm lucky to live in this city or not,” said Jeff in a frightened voice.

“Well, I hope it means you'll bloody complain less,” said his father, drily.

“Don't swear, Gordon!” his mother said.

Jeff just pulled a face, then quickly changed the subject to repairing the shattered roof.

 

***

 

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CHAPTER 1 | EXCOLOPOLIS
CHAPTER 2 | MACHINES
CHAPTER 3 | A NEW TECHNOLOGY
CHAPTER 4 | ATTACK
CHAPTER 5 | THE SOURCE
CHAPTER 6 | THE SCIENCE CENTER
CHAPTER 7 | UNIVERSITY CITY
CHAPTER 8 | GLIDECRAFT
CHAPTER 9 | SECTOR TWO
CHAPTER 10 | THEY KNOW WE ARE HERE
CHAPTER 11 | GRAVITOR
CHAPTER 12 | INSTALLATION
CHAPTER 14 | AFTERSHOCKS
CHAPTER 15 | INITIATION
CHAPTER 16 | PREPARATION
CHAPTER 17 | DEFENSE CORPS
CHAPTER 18 | TRUTH
CHAPTER 19 | BEYOND EARTH