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Approx. 1700 words

All Rights Reserved

Copyright 2015   SJ

Chaos in Delta Pavonus:

The Search


written by  SJ



    As soon as Lana’s shuttle arrived, she anxiously waited for it to be unloaded, then flew it out and began scanning everywhere she thought that prison would or could possibly be, Ramcke piloting the shuttle, which remained in stealth mode all the while. The task took up most of the day. When she returned to Dandelot, she ran all her scans through several types of software, analyzing the results, then going on, tirelessly working hard...but, in the end, finding nothing.
    It was getting dark outside when Bull and Gannon came in and saw her staring into space.
    “Are you okay there, Little Sister.” Bull eventually asked.
    “LuLu?” Gannon called her.
    Then she came out of it, noticing the two big Marines. She explained. “I was just trying to remember back when I was arrested and taken to that prison. You see, I thought I was taken to a prison in the middle of the jungle. But, I don’t remember a jungle...just darkness. And the front of the prison just had a door and two windows; it couldn’t have been anymore than twenty meters wide. And I don’t think the front windows had any bars on them.” She sat thinking hard, frowning, determined. “I have to try and separate fact from fiction, from what my mind told me to see, and what really was.”
    Bull and Gannon sat down on some chairs, facing her, their presence giving her more courage to remember.
    “Inside, I was put in a jail cell.” Lana spoke while deep in thought. “It was about two meters wide, six meters long. And there was one window--that one WAS barred.”
    “Did you see anything outside the window?” Gannon wanted to help.
    “There was a chain link fence about two meters away. Darkness after that. Or was there a wall?” She sighed. “I don’t know.”
    “What happened after that?” Bull asked.
    “Well, I was left in there for what seemed like an eternity.” She looked down, like it was painful to remember. “I was scared out of my mind.” She sighed again. “I cried so much I couldn’t even see very well.” Then she frowned, refusing to give in to fear. She was a Space Marine, now...not a crybaby. She gritted her teeth while speaking. “They dragged me out and down a hallway to a tee intersection.” Her eyes became wide. “I think I saw stairs going down on the left. But they took me right and hung me up by my arms using shackles. It hurt. They started demanding I tell them something, but I was too scared and in pain to understand. Someone hit me several times, then I passed out.” Then she remembered something, pointing at Gannon. “I always thought they took me to the hospital in the same van I was taken to the prison in. But, maybe it was a shuttle. The back doors to a van are much the same as those on the recreational shuttles.”
    Just then Franco dropped by, stepping inside. He wanted to thank Lana for the use of Sergeant Burns, who was doing a good job helping to train his militia.
    Before he could speak, Lana asked him. “Franco, why do you think that prison is located south of Cambridge and in between Lake Dunley and Marion?”
    He stood and thought...
    “Why do you think the prison is not inside the Matriarch’s fortress?” Lana added.
    Franco had an answer for both of her questions. “The people that have managed to actually see people get taken away have all reported them being taken away by a dark-colored van. In Dandelot and Huxley, the van goes toward Cambridge...then people say it goes south from there. I have simply extrapolated its location from what little information I have. And since they are using a ground vehicle, I assume it can’t be on the island.” He smiled, then asked. “Have you had any luck finding it with your shuttle?”
    Lana sighed. “No, I haven’t. Basically, I did a hard-structure scan of a thirty kilometer square area south of Cambridge and between Lake Huxley and Marion, using some software to rule out all the towns.”
    She brought up a map on her pad computer. After she did, she pointed at two places, saying she ruled those out. He agreed, saying one was a coal mine, the other one a paper factory.
    Then she asked, a long shot, pointing out the four small towns in the aforementioned area. “Do you know anyone from any of those towns? Maybe they’ve seen--”
    He shook his head. “I don’t know any people from those towns.” He looked at her. “So, you think it might be inside a town?”
    She shrugged and sighed. “I think I’m just getting desperate. The prison I remember being taken to was only one building with a chain link fence around it. That’s very small. I’m going to have to go back and re-scan the whole area, this time looking for a smaller place.”
    Franco put on a comforting smile. “Well, why don’t you get some sleep. In the morning, maybe you will find something you missed.” As he left, he added, “if it’s out there, I know you will find it.” He looked at the others. “Why don’t you all get some sleep. My men will serve as night guards today.”
    Lana’s team all had single, metal-frame, beds in various parts of the building, which was some kind of large office building. Lana's bed was in one of the small rooms. As Bull and Gannon found their beds, Ramcke and Burns eventually came in and found theirs; they were asleep in no time. However, Lana had an idea; she spent half the night on her computer, searching the internet.
    When Bull spotted her coming out of her room, he gave her a stern look. “Little Sister, I saw your light on when I got up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom. Did you stay up all night?”
    But, she was smiling. “No, I DIDN’T stay up ALL night. And, YES, thanks for asking, I think I found the prison.”
    “You found it?” That was Gannon.
    “Last night, I got on the internet and began looking for earlier records about this District...back before there was a resort on that island.” She placed her pad computer on a table as her team sat around and looked at it. “Actually, I only went back as far as the building of the resort, Lake Dunley. I found the original plans.” She pointed at a small town next to the lake. “Right here, this town, Wesson, had a pier built for the recreational boats. It’s less than a kilometer away from this pier, on the island. They were supposed to build an underground tunnel connecting the two piers. I don’t have any completion dates, but they DID get all the materials to build it with. There was also supposed to be another tunnel built from the pier on the island, to the resort,” she zoomed in and pointed it out, “here, where it would be today, right underneath the Matriarch’s fortress.”
    “Do you think it’s still there?” Burns asked, interested.
    Lana nodded. “I think it is.” She shrugged. “Whether it’s still operational, that I don’t know.”
    “What make’s you think the prison is in Wesson.” It was Ramcke’s turn to ask a question.
    She sighed. “Well, it’s just speculation. The underground tunnel would be a good way to transfer hypnotized soldiers to her fortress without using shuttles.” She sighed again. “Like I said. It’s just a hunch. The prison building I was taken to was very small, and when I was there, I saw stairs going down. She might’ve simply converted much of the original construction of the tunnel into her underground prison,” she looked at everyone confidently, “where there’s more room to imprison all the people she’s been abducting all this time...and keep the whole place out of sight.”
    “When do we leave?” Gannon smiled eagerly.
    “I’m thinking in about an hour.” She smiled. “I want to talk to Melinda and Franco, first. If the prison is there, when we go, we’ll be taking all our auto weapons and a bunch of grenades and explosives.”
    Still, at this point, no one was allowed to use their full Marine or Federal military armor or weapons. Lana’s team put on their light- and dark-brown camouflage fatigue pants, but wore their normal upper clothing, which included the same Cheyenne Ranger, blue-grey, undershirts, anyway, Lana with her tan blouse. Melinda’s team still used their civilian clothes. Both teams, however, wore the captured, old-style, kevlar, vests and helmets.
    Lana armed herself with her VSS sniper rifle, her two 9.1s, and couple handmade smoke grenades. Bull and Gannon were obviously not allowed to use any of their Space Marine heavy weapons. With Nikolai’s help, Lana was finally able to complete a handmade railgun; it was big and bulky, but was no problem for Bull to carry. And, using the heavy metal spikes they made for it, it could easily put a one-hundred-meter hole (four inches) through at least 150 millimeters (six inches) of cement. Gannon was given four of the handmade frag grenades, Bull two of them. Both of the big Marines were allocated the two Mp5 submachine guns (those with the full stocks and fitted with silencers). Ramcke brought a small, 5.56m, civilian, sniper rifle, one that had a silencer, with him on the shuttle, plus his pump shotgun. Burns was armed with a lasgun and and a stunner, plus a ten pound bag of hand made explosives. All the men were allowed to carry Marine combat knifes, except for Lana, who only carried a small utility knife instead of her short swords, choosing stealth over melee ability.
    Melinda decided to take her team with Lana as a back up. If they managed to make it all the way to the Matriarch’s fortress, and there, to meet with Alister Montague, the Federal Agent could talk with him personally. Melinda carried her 9.1 and a stunner. Koufax used the same Mp5 and silencer he was given at the start, and Nikolai took his VAL assault rifle. Her team would also have the responsibly of guarding Lana’s rear once they were inside the prison.



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