Castle Roland


by Al Norris

In Progress

Chapter 2

Posted: 8 Jun 15


Copyright © 2015 by Al Norris and the Revolutions Universe Partnership.

All Rights Reserved

Tuesday, November 6th, 2012 0150 hrs CST

136th Airlift Wing, Carswell Field, Fort Worth, TX

Scireians LogoSabrina Ziegler, not quite an hour ago, had just transmitted her last five hundred scans back to her headquarters. Although it was late (or depending upon your point of view, early), she was out on the tarmac, taking a well deserved run. Running helped her to clarify her thinking.

Of the over two thousand scans she had taken, fifteen or so were troubling. There were genetic oddities that shouldn't be there. Not enough to trigger any major concerns, but the fact that the irregularities were only encountered in senior officers, that the anomalies were all centered in the same gene pairs, and that the peculiar gene pairing gave the individuals the same tendencies of strength, longevity and heightened awareness ruled out simple genetic drift.

It was refreshing to be out running. During normal working hours, she couldn't run as fast or long enough to really get a workout. That would have raised too many suspicions about who and more importantly, what she was. So she had taken to working out, in the very early morning hours of the day and at the far end of the field, so as not to be seen. Just long enough to keep her body toned.

As Sabrina completed her last lap, she was about to sprint the two miles back to her quarters, when she noticed a change in the air pressure. Looking to the north, she thought she could make out a large group of incoming aircraft. Stopping her run, she stood still and listened. Yes, there was the sound of dozens, if not hundreds, of aircraft. They were definitely headed towards Carswell Field, and they were also dropping in altitude.

Crap! She thought. This was a classic air attack pattern! She had to get to her quarters and gather her tech together. Even if the tech level here wasn't high enough to discover the secrets of her tech, she couldn't take the chance of leaving it to be discovered.

She ran that last mile, like the wind. The base was already sounding an alert and pilots were scrambling. Some people may have noticed her as she passed by them, but in the heat of the alert, they barely thought about it. She made it to her quarters, gathered her devices and ran out, heading to the complex that housed what she now knew was the man who opposed Ashwood. Yes, there was a stealth plane just off the tarmac. A small cargo jet that could possibly outrun what Ashwood had sent. But only if it had a chance to get off the ground.

The first strafing run began.

Missiles hit the fighter hangers, followed by 'smart bombs', causing major damage and disabling a large majority of the base's air capability. Already the fifty or sixty planes that had gotten free of the hangars were taking off to engage the enemy. Not going to be enough, by a long shot, Sabrina thought. Then she heard the sound of parachutes opening up. "Oh just damn," she whispered. Taking a quick look around and noticing that no one was looking at her, she pulled her neural dampener and began targeting as many troops in the air as she could. She hit fifty or so troops that were within the dampener's range, before she pocketed the device and sprinted towards the area she figured that Bryce was in.

As she got to the plane, some of the ground forces that had 'chuted in began firing at the defenders, who were firing back. During all of this, the missile attacks continued. Those TXANG in the air, were trying their best to take on the enemy fighters, but they were heavily outnumbered and were taking on major casualties. The base itself, was taking very heavy damage and most likely, would not be usable for some time.

Seeing the people running out of the building, towards the waiting jet, she couldn't help but notice that the enemy troops were trying to target the civilians, including the children. Sabrina's blood began to boil at this. She picked up a fallen airman's MP4 and began shooting any of the enemy she could target.

Hearing some screaming, Sabrina looked over at a woman who was now down on the tarmac. Racing over, she got to her side at the same time that an obvious security person did. Together, they grabbed the woman and made for the plane. Within seconds, they had the lady down and were attempting to stop the bleeding. She let one of the medicos treat the shoulder wound, while she applied pressure to the chest wound, while mentally assessing the damage.

Seconds later, the pilot told everyone to get strapped in. Sabrina knew she should leave the plane, now. Yet with a patient right under her hands, her medical duty was telling her to stay. She gave a sigh and reached into a pocket and triggered the homing beacon on the bio-scanner. The pilot wasted no time in getting aloft, and began a series of maneuvers designed to shake off their pursuers. While everyone else was occupied with just staying put, Sabrina brought out her scanner and performed a quick scan to tell her what the major damage was. She was able to get a reading and initiate a minor stabilizing procedure. At least, she thought, the child that was being carried might live, as she enriched the oxygen content of what little blood was crossing the placenta.

That was when the plane took a hit from their pursuers.

Tuesday, November 6th, 2012, 0300 PST

Somewhere in British Columbia

"Marko? Do you know what time it is? I hope this is important." Katja grumbled at being woke up.

"Yes, Katja. It's very important. I'm also calling Peter in. Can you meet me in my office?"

"Alright. Give me five minutes and I'll be there."

In less than a minute, Katja was at Marko's office. "Damn Katja! Do you sleep in your clothes?" Marko joked.

A scant minute later, Peter knocked on the doorway, came in, looked at Marko and Katja for a second and asked, "OK Marko. I can tell something has happened. I'm here, so it must involve one of your operatives. Care to share with us?"

"I'll start at what I know is the beginning. Around 2300, Sabrina sent us another five hundred bio-scans. Her notes tally with what we've found, so far. There are fifteen anomalies that indicate that the AoG has placed genetically enhanced humans in high positions at the national guard base she is at.

"At about 1:30 am, her time, our intelligence network detected a large air attack force that appeared to be en route to Carswell Field. That alone pretty much clinches that Bryce was on the base."

"Was?" This was from both of the councilors.

"I'm getting to that. Please bear with me, here. So the base is getting attacked and Sabrina is in the middle of it. We know this, because she activated the homing beacon." This drew sharp intakes of breath from both Katja and Peter. "Through that link, we know that she performed a minor procedure on a wounded but pregnant woman. From the biometrics, this woman appears to be Linda Bryce, Jack's wife.

"Here's where it gets interesting..."

"Wait a minute, Marko," Katja said, "What has already happened isn't interesting?" Peter shakes his head.

"Well, ordinarily, the answer would be, yes. But in this instance, no. It gets better!" Marko smiled at both of them. "You see, during all of this, Sabrina is on an aircraft, with Bryce and his entire family and all of his personal security. This aircraft is being pursued by Ashwood's forces.

"The aircraft takes at least two hits, from what we can determine, and they are forced down. Literally, out of thin air, which suggests a stealth capability beyond the technology of even our ′world′, two helicopters appeared. One helicopter landed. The other took station and began taking out the fighters that were pursuing Bryce.

"That alone was enough to indicate that something weird was happening. Helicopters should not be able to hold off an attacking force of supersonic jet fighters, let alone take them out of the fight.

"Here's where it gets just simply weird. By the standards of the Outside, the helicopter that sat down was crewed by children and some of the members of this force are children, even by our standards.

"These people apparently were there to rescue Jack Bryce. In doing this, they not only destroyed most of the enemy that was intent on assassinating Bryce, they actually had doctors of their own to treat the wounded from the downed aircraft. The rescuers, then took off and once again disappeared from our sensors.

"Only because the homing beacon was activated, were we able to follow them to their underground base. Also, because the beacon was activated, the bio-scanner was taking preliminary scans of all the beings within its range." Marko took some papers from his desk and handed them to Katja and Peter. "You can look at them later. I think you might be surprised at what you see. I'm now waiting for a detailed scan, as soon as Sabrina can finagle a way to get them."

Peter had briefly looked at the papers, nodded and said, "This is certainly interesting from a preliminary standpoint. I think it safe to say that both of us, hell, the entire bio-sciences staff is going to go ga-ga with what I'm seeing. I can see why you wanted to wake us up."

"But that is not the end, Peter." Marko suddenly got serious. "The underground base that they landed at, was unknown to us."

At this, even Katja's eyes got wide. "What do you mean, unknown to us. How is that even possible. We have mapped the entire surface world. We know every nook and cranny that exists!"

Marko got a very concerned look on his face. "That's just it, Katja. Until two days ago, this cavern did not exist!"

Tuesday, November 6th, 2012, 0330 PST

Somewhere in British Columbia

Katja got up out of the chair and pointed to the computer, "May I?" she asked Marko. He nodded as Katja sat down at the desk and brought the unit online.

Both Peter and Marko moved to stand behind Katja, as she deftly queried the system's geology section and compared it to the current cartography section. Frowning, she then initiated a full electromagnetic scan. A few minutes passed as the scan was being made. Slowly, the data came in and took shape. Without turning, she said, "These readings cannot be correct. The entire structure of that mountain is in a state of diminishing magnetic flux. There appears to have been a small electrical discharge along with a gravitic disturbance. But it is the magnetic flux that is the most interesting."

"Yes, I know. Now follow the flux-state back to it's moment of beginning." Marko instructed. "Notice the magnitude of the waveform? Also note the time. If this event had lasted longer than a couple of nanoseconds … Well, I can only guess at what catastrophic effects we would be witnessing. It's almost as if a rupture of some sort occurred."

"Could be," Peter remarked, as he stared at the data flowing in. "But a rupture in what?"

"If I had to guess, and mind you, it's only a guess at this time," Katja replied. "I would think it is a string rupture. Somehow two separate realities merged for a brief moment. If so, it would confirm the latest conjecture dealing with multiverse theory."

"Yes, that might explain it. Let us see if we can narrow the magnetic resonance markers, and compare the data with what we know as our universe."

"OK guys! I'm a humanist here. My skills in science are good, but I'm not the generalist you two are. What are you talking about?" Peter asked.

"In its simplest terms, Peter," Katja began, "Everything that we know as either matter or energy, is actually composed of strings. Strings have the four natural dimensions that we deal with, but strings also have seven other dimensions that are tightly curled into each string. Strings vibrate not only in the four dimensions we have discovered, but also in the other seven that are theory. How each string vibrates affects the shapes of the dimensions that are a part of the string. Those shapes are what determine how our universe operates, that is, the laws of physics; forces and particles.

"Within String Theory, all such strings that vibrate in a similar state, are part of a higher dimension called a brane. There can be many different branes. No brane will know of another brane, no matter how close they may actually be, because of the different values of vibrations the strings (and their tightly curled lower dimensions) use.

"The exception to this is gravitons. They can pass through branes, seemingly without affecting the branes or the strings that compose the branes. However, these weak gravitational forces can be detected.

"It has been postulated that if a massive enough amount of gravitons were to pass through one brane (carrying with them strings from that brane), into another brane, and if the two sets of strings match closely enough, the invading strings could become attached to the new brane. This means that the operating physics of the two branes are close, but not a perfect match... Say 99.9997%.

"Theory has it, that since there are only a few strings (relative to the amount of strings in this brane) from the other brane, and that they are a close match, they will adapt their vibrations to match the new brane. Or they will cease to exist in our brane. What we don't know is the amount of time it will take to match vibrations.

"We know that about a day ago, a tremendous electromagnetic anomaly occurred. If the resonances of that anomaly are a few decimal places shy of the natural resonance of our universe; if we also detect the presence of gravimetric action, then we have had a 'rupture' between the multiverses. That would explain the appearance of the 'new' caverns and the 'new' people that seem to have a technology well advanced from anything the Outside world has.

"It may even explain their genetics, but I prefer to wait for a full report, on that aspect of this situation."

"Thank you, Katja," Peter said, with a big grin on his face, "for explaining to me why I DID NOT take any of the traditional sciences!" At this, Marko couldn't hold it in and laughed out loud.

Katja also laughed before turning to Marko, "Marko? We are going to need Sabrina to do a full sequence of scans on those newcomers. Their genetics appear to be off the charts to what we would expect to find, even with the AoG's knowledge of biology. Hmmm. Can the bio-scanner do magnetic resonance scanning?"

"I don't know, Katja..." Marko sobered and replied, "I suppose we will have to have a talk with the Bio-Mech Dept. If it cannot, then we will have to find a way to get Sabrina a mechanized scanner. If this is what we think it is, those readings will be very important, and they are degrading as we speak. The A.I. seems to think that they will be too degraded within three weeks, to make an accurate scan."

"OK. Then we will need to get Jens in on this. If he is not brought in, there may well be a real stink about sending out proprietary equipment. Even the normals will be able to reverse engineer our mechanized scanners," Peter said with as much force as he could.

Katja nodded and looked at the time. "Since it is about time for Jens to get up, Marko, call him and ask him to meet us in the cafeteria as soon as he is able. We are going to have a breakfast meeting."

The craft had taken off and almost immediately began making maneuvers that indicated to Sabrina that they were being followed by other aircraft that were intent upon shooting them down. She actually was in awe of the pilot's skill, when they went transonic, while still making the obscene maneuvers. All of this and she could tell that they hadn't achieved much altitude, so the pilot was flying NOE at transonic speeds!

The woman was barely stable, but losing a lot of blood. If Sabrina had her way, she would at least repair the hole in the ascending aorta, but there was no way to do that without revealing her biotech. Yet if she didn't help, the woman would die. There was no doubt about that.

Sabrina had turned to check on the boy-child when she heard a loud clang, quickly followed by an explosion. The aircraft then steeply banked to the injured side, before slowly being brought back to some form of stable flight.She had heard the pilot yelling that they had been hit. Two other medics began strapping the woman down, so she helped another medic strapping in the child. Suddenly, the pilot was back on the speakers saying, "I can't keep it up, we're going down. Brace! Brace! Brace!"

Bryce's security people had gotten the kids secured in their crash positions, but they were so scared they were crying out for their daddies. The confusion was almost overwhelming. Never before had Sabrina given much thought on dying, especially while on an Outside mission. Most, heck all of her missions, were tame, compared to what she was in now! The pilot had just yelled something about being buzzed by an unidentified aircraft. Then there was another explosion, and the pilot came back on yelling "That's it, I can't keep her in the air, one minute to impact, brace yourselves."

For a brief moment, the engine revved up to full and the nose of the plane began to lift, then the engine cut out completely.

There was now no choice. She threw herself to cover as much of the boy as she could, as her companion medic did the same. The aircraft hit the ground. Hard. It was twisting and turning as it slammed into things she didn't want to think about. The children were screaming in terror. Holding onto floor latches as best as she could, she still managed to bang her head several times. Dizziness almost sent her into unconsciousness, but with great effort, she retained control and rode it out.

As suddenly as the crash began, it stopped. The only surprise was that the plane was intact. That it had not broken up, spewing people everywhere, was a tribute to the pilot.

As she got hold of herself and began checking the boy, another crewman came up to her. "Looks like you may have a concussion. You're in no condition to help." He says.

Sabrina bristled, "Look around you. You see anyone else qualified to help the lady and her kid? No? Then get out of our way and go help someone else!" The other banged up medic, helping to stabilize Linda, gave her a thumbs up and went back to work.

Sabrina then noticed several other adults were checking the other kids and those that weren't moving right away. One man, the VP candidate she thought, moved over to an emergency exit and blew the door allowing the ramp to inflate. After a few seconds, he commanded, "Out! Everyone out, out, out! NOW!"

Sabrina looked at the other medic, "I've got the boy. Go help another of the wounded." With that, she carefully hoisted the boy to her chest and made her way to the exit. She jumped out, landed with her back on the chute and slid down until a pair of arms grabbed her, stopping her, and pointed to where she should go.

Sabrina heard it before anyone else. A chopper was coming in at near top speed. That it came from a direction that was opposite to where they had come from, was curious enough. The speed at which it was coming in was unheard of in this world. At the same time, a jet aircraft had just come down and was making a strafing run at the downed aircraft.

Just as the jet appeared to make a targeting run, the chopper swerved and caused the jet to misfire away from the downed aircraft. The VP yelled, "Get the non-coms to safety and take up defensive positions, NOW!" The jet passed overhead and dropped into the canyon, just beyond the crippled craft. At the same time the chopper slowed incredibly fast and just as forward motion stopped, turned 180 degrees and presented its ramp, which was already being lowered, to the group of startled, but ready people. The VP yelled again, "Belay that, get them down behind the ramp and take defensive positions now, because we're about to have company."

From the lowered ramp came a rather short soldier that looked out at the assembled people and in a falsetto voice shouted, "Fuck Adam!" The soldier ran back into the chopper and in a heartbeat, was back outside. He dropped to a knee and aimed what appeared to be a shoulder fired rocket launcher. Not at the group of people but at the far side of the canyon. He appeared to concentrate a moment and then fired the rocket.

A couple of things had caught Sabrina's eyes and ears. This person was a boy-child that may be on the cusp of puberty, or close to it. He moved very, very fast. Much too fast for a normal human. His handling of the weapon showed a strength and dexterity that belied his otherwise youthful voice.

Sabrina watched as the rocket reached the canyon rim and the attacking jet rose over the rim... right into the path of the rocket. As the plane exploded the boy's voice reverberated throughout the canyon in a scream of victory, "Take that you fuck!" It was astonishing, but she could only think of the mental calculations that the boy had made. From watching that jet from inside the chopper to realizing what it was going to do, grabbing a rocket launcher and successfully calculating where and when it would appear. While Sabrina could count on one hand, people from her world who could do the same, seeing this performed by an Outsider was impossible.

There was a confrontation brewing between the President's group and the group from the chopper. She didn't care what else was happening, she had to get a reading on that boy, if nothing else. Being that she was being ignored, she sat the child she was carrying down as best she could and brought out her bio-scanner.

She was halfway through the scans when the confrontation was over and everyone began moving into the chopper. Putting the scanner away, she hefted the boy and started to join everyone else. Just then, a voice could be heard yelling "I need some help here, the baby's crashing" A woman doctor from the chopper could be heard saying, "Khan! Get her on the helicopter, now! We gotta do surgery right now!"

A minute or two later, everyone was aboard and strapped in. Power was applied to the rotors and they were off. Sabrina looked over and could see the doctor operating on the woman. She was joined by another smaller soldier. This soldier took off the helmet and Sabrina nearly gasped, as the now revealed child began to help the doctor.

Shaking her head at the concept of an apparent young adolescent helping an obviously experienced doctor, Sabrina turned around to find two other children attempting to stabilize what was her patient. She walked up to them and asked, "I'm an experienced trauma surgeon. Would you care for my help?"

"Oh that would be good!" The younger boy exclaimed. "This is more trauma than I am comfortable dealing with. Come on, Jory, let's help where we can be more effective." The other boy nodded, and they both moved to other patients. One of the two medic's from the President's detail, now freed up by the arrival of the two youngsters, came over to assist Sabrina.

Sabrina focused on the injuries at hand. The bullet had intersected the clavicle, fracturing it when it had passed through to the scapula, and shattering a portion of that bone also. The bullet had bounced off of the bone and changed direction. It had traveled laterally through the arm, nicking the brachial artery on its way out of the child's body. He needed pressure to stop the bleeding.

Just as Sabrina was going to order the medic to apply pressure to the axilla in order to stop the bleeding, she was gently moved aside by the very young oriental child, she had just seen over by woman doctor. "Weren't you helping the other doctor?" She asked.

"We now have that under control and I saw that you might need help. First, we must stop the bleeding, before we can do anything else." The boy said as if lecturing a student, then using a scalpel began cutting into the shoulder wound. Sabrina watched as the boy deftly cut his way into the tissue and using retractors, began separating the muscle bundles. It was very obvious that the boy knew what he was doing, but Sabrina had to wonder why he was using this invasive surgery, when simple pressure to the axilla would have stopped the bleeding.

Very quickly locating the perforation, the young boy used a debakey vascular clamp and had the bleeding under control. Before the boy had his hand off of the clamp, Sabrina began packing the area with gauze.

"Were you aware that simple pressure to the axilla would have done the same thing your surgery just did?" Sabrina gently questioned this young doctor. "By applying pressure to the axilla, this would have had two effects." Sabrina was now fully into teaching mode herself, "First, it would have cut the flow of arterial blood to the arm by over 90%; second, it would have allowed enough of a flow to keep the arm from becoming necrotic."

Looking over at the other medic, "Do we have an immobilizer handy?" Seeing the medic shake his head, she sighed. "All right, get me a sling and some ace bandages. We need to immobilize the shoulder to prevent the clavicle from further damaging the surrounding tissue."

Turning back to the young man, Sabrina introduced herself. "I am Sabrina Ziegler. I am a trauma surgeon. You are?"

"I am Chang." He replied. "It now seems I have made an error by interfering. I had thought you to be a mere medic." Watching Sabrina dress the wound in gauze, it was now very evident that she was an accomplished doctor. Sabrina placed the boy's arm in the offered sling, then carefully draped it across his chest. "It appears that I am not needed here." Chang said, as he started to back away.

"Oh no you don't, young man." Sabrina said. "You took over this patient and cut into him. It is now your responsibility to time the blood flow and release the clamp." Sabrina had finished tying off the sling and began wrapping the ace bandages to immobilize the entire arm, preventing further movement and injury to the shoulder.

Still in teaching mode, Sabrina lectured Chang. "While the method you used does the same thing my method would have done, which method does the least amount of trauma to the patient? My procedure would have been much quicker and would not have crushed the artery, by having to clamp and release the debakey. This will now necessitate a resection of the brachial artery and a repair of the perforation, whereas my procedure would allow for a simple repair of the perforation."

Chang's eyes became wide, then he looked over at the other woman doctor. "Mother?"

The other doctor looked up. "She is correct Chang. This is a case where the knowledge and training we normally use, may be deficient."

"Doctor Ziegler, my name is Janet Hayes. Chief Medical Officer of the UNIT. This is my son, Chang Casey, Chief of Combat Medical." Janet then remarked, "So, you are more than a medic, it seems." More a statement of fact than a question.

Sabrina looked over at Janet, "Yes. I'm an Air Force trauma surgeon. I don't think I was meant to be along on this 'escape,' but here we are."

Nodding her head, Janet went back to her own patient.

"I've done about all I can do, with the resources we have. Do you need any assistance?" Sabrina asked.

"No, I think that I have it as under control as we can get things, until we reach our base." Janet said looking back to her patient. Sabrina watched as the CPR was stopped and Janet began working to control the bleeding.

As Sabrina looked to where she might be needed next, she noticed the unusually tall soldier, as he turned his back to the medical team and began walking away from them, towards another wounded man. There was an obvious tail that was not only protruding from his armor just above his buttocks, but twitched like a cat's tail.

What The Hell! Thought Sabrina.

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