Channel 8 News
"At this point, police are baffled at what the motives could be for such a horrible event. Several witnesses recall four men dressed in haz-mat suits entering the building with equipment, which are now thought to have contained the bomb. A number of employees are unaccounted for and are presumed to have died in the explosion. Now the Center for Disease Control has made no official statement concerning the licensed van that was stolen by the bombers. "
Maggie Rivers looked briefly behind her and chided herself for wanting to close her eyes upon seeing the burnt cinders.
"As you can see, behind the police tape, Forensics are hard at work, attempting to determine what caused the explosion and aiding in the investigation of who did it. Many have suspected a radical Animal Rights group calling themselves the Protectors of Earth. These activists have previously been linked to several arsons and the death of a Doctor James Margery, head of research at the biogenetics division of Doors International. "
She moved a few feet and her nose wrinkling at the smell of smoke, she motioned towards the cameraman and the view zoomed, entering the remains of Capital Pharmaceuticals.
"Capital Pharmaceuticals at this time, deny any allegations made that they were planning experimental weaponry or disease. The spokesperson for Capital Pharmaceuticals explains that the company evacuated following an alarm that sounded on Level 9, which we have learned, was used for research in cancer treatment."
Maggie disappeared and a scrawny face of a man in an expensive suit and thinning hair appeared.
"Level 9 is a highly secured area of our facility. It contained what used to be our cancer research and development center, where we were in beta testing of our new drug for tumor eradication."
Maggie appeared again. "Now many have speculated about whether the Protectors for Earth group retaliated against that particular ward, but destroyed the entire building. Some defenders say that their intent was obviously not to harm any human lives, since almost all employees were evacuated before several men entered, posing as CDC workers arrived. For Channel 8 News, this is Maggie Rivers."
Bella turned the TV off. She snorted in disgust. Tying her dark hair behind her into a ponytail, she cast a sideways glance at David, sitting in his chair, reading the same book for the 80th time.
"They blame us for everything." She said.
"I'm surprised we didn't think of it." David said, looking up from his book.
"Don't say that. Whoever did this wasn't for animal rights, and you know it. They did something in there. " Bella said.
"What? Aliens again, Bella?" Martin said, walking in with a bag of groceries. "Whoever blew up that building was from outer space, right?"
"Believe what you will. But if we don't clear this up, we'll be the scapegoat for a witch hunt." She said, shaking her head.
"And how are we going to clear this up? Send a letter to the New York Times?" David made a sad face and set down his book. "Oh, pretty please believe us. We didn't blow up the building, we're innocent." He returned to his usual demeanor. "Trust me, the only thing they need is for word from us to twist the story and make us even worse bad guys."
"Who the hell cares about what those sheep think?" Martin asked. "They'll believe whatever the press tells them. What we need to do claim responsibility. This is a landmark achievement, they've already made up their minds. They think we did it."
"You don't get it , Martin." David said, propping his feet up on the table. "We don't want to claim responsibility."
"This isn't something we want to have on our resume." Bella said. "They killed people."
"You don't know that." Martin shot back. "They don't know that."
"Didn't you hear the news? There are employees missing. They'll never be able to find the remains in the fire." Bella said. She dropped down on the couch.
"So what do we do?" David asked.
Bella thought for a moment.
"We find out who did it." She said. "Because we sure as hell didn't."
"And how do we do that?" David scoffed.
"We find the guy who was there." She said, turning the TV on and playing back a tape. She paused and the image froze, leaving one man's face to fill the screen. "Cade Foster."
"So who the hell is this guy?" David asked, his British accent clearly aggravated.
"Cade Foster. " Bella said.
"And that helps us how. Bella?" Martin said. "I've read about him. The guy killed his wife."
"Who was it that said that the public believed whatever the press told them?" Bella asked, looking at Martin. She smiled. "He's innocent. They framed him."
"Who are they?" Martin asked. "And do they have money?"
Bella laughed. "I told you before."
"What? Aliens again, Bella?" David asked. He kicked a crumpled soda can. It clattered against a tin trashcan. "would you just quit it with the aliens?"
"Just because you don't believe doesn't mean they're not real." She said, a smile in her face.
"So how can this guy Foster help us?" Martin asked. He looked up and squinted at the old painted glass windows of an ancient church. He remembered passing by it when he was young. "How's the church going to help us?"
"We're praying to God that whatever plan she has works." Martin said as they entered.
Bella led them to a side door next to the stage. A plaque said "Father Kinney" on it.
"You'll see." Bella said, reaching into her jacket pocket and pulling out a small card. She opened the door and they entered. The small office was unoccupied and she reached down. She pressed the last brick in the wall and there was a small beeping sound.
"Shh." Bella urged.
"Please enter your Identification."
Bella slid her card through a slot. Hidden under a small piece of art hanging next to the light switch. The unique painting depicted the storming of the Bastille in France. Three pillars were surrounded by men with weapons and various images of frantic running and fighting.
"Thank you. Please complete voice scan."
"Bella Harrison." She said.
"Thank you. Please complete DNA scan."
Bella smiled and placed her thumb on the middle of the three pillars. She gently ran it down, accustomed to the small amount of heat generated by the unit hidden behind the wall, masked by the picture. She also knew that if anyone happened to take the picture off it's position, they would find a wall, nothing else.
"Thank you. Welcome, Bella."
Bella walked past the desk and started going down a flight of creaky steps. The dark abyss engulfed her.
"Bella?" Martin said.
"Follow me." She said, her voice coming from the shadows.
"Can I get a flashlight first?" David muttered as he followed Martin down.
"Doctor." Jordan Radcliffe said , greeting the two gentlemen.
David's face grew pale. "So you know."
"The late and great Doctor James Margery, I presume." Jordan said, smiling. "Yes. You took painstaking tasks to fake your own death. We're happy to have you aboard."
"I would be too, if I knew what was going on." Martin said. He laughed a bit and it sputtered to an uncertain end as a few people carried silver cases of lab equipment past them.
"I am Jordan Radcliffe." She said, smiling. "We-" She waved a hand at the entire scope of people. "-Are Raven Nation."
"Birds? That's very focused." David said.
Jordan grinned and shook her head. "I guess Bella hasn't explained. We're not animal rights activists, Dr. Margery-"
"Please, call me David. Doctor James Margery died in a tragic accident." He smiled.
"Very well. We're not animal rights activists, as I said before. We are an organization dedicated to preventing-" She took a deep breath. "--The Gua alien invasion."
"Alien invasion?" Martin said in disbelief. "Well, that's something new." His face grew sullen. "Don't suppose I can have that on a t-shirt."
"Eddie." Cade said, taking his sunglasses off as he entered the Nambulous trailer.
"Hey, Foster. You're in luck, Jordan's not here yet." He said.
"Is she bringing those people around? The-"
"-Protectors of Earth?" Eddie said, pulling a chip from a bag. He put it into his mouth, a small crumb falling. "Yeah. Only they're not quite protectors of animals anymore. Jordan had a Raven Nation operative in the organization. Turns out it wasn't much of one, there's only two other operatives."
Cade sat down and examined the bandage he had on his arm. He and Jordan had both suffered minor injuries. They were lucky. There were barely enough ambulances drawn from surrounding hospitals to house all the injured. Most of them were unharmed, though a few required hospitalization.
"How did they cause all that damage with only two members?" Cade asked.
"Well, most of it was speculation. The press tends to make things more dramatic than they usually are. There was one time where they were said to have broken into a lab and freed all the animals and then burned the lab down, but it was actually due to a rival gang making some random hit." Eddie grabbed another chip.
"Eddie, those Gua. I didn't get a good look at all of them, but one of them had a scar. It was on the face, under the eye."
"Well, these are Gua. It'd be easy if we could ID them, but according to our world, they don't exist." Eddie said. "I don't know how I'd track them."
There was a knock at the door and Cade opened it. Jordan peeked from the corner and smiled as Cade stepped out of the trailer.
Cade noticed that she had taken the bandage off her cut, where she had fallen and scratched her forehead on the road.
Jordan noticed Cade's eyes on her forehead. "Get back on the horse and ride again, right?" She said. Cade smiled.
"Cade, this is Bella Harrison." She stepped aside.
"Nice to meet you." She said.
"Where are the others?" Cade asked.
She shook her head. Soft curls shook around her face. "They're back at the base."
"We can't win them all." Jordan said. "They're very skeptical."
"That's all right. it'll take time." Cade said. The door opened and Eddie peeked out.
"Uh, Foster? Hey, Jordan. We have a small break." He said. Cade and Jordan immediately followed Eddie inside. Bella shrugged as she entered the mobile home.
Eddie took his place in front of his computer and took another chip out. He handed the bag to Jordan.
"I think I know what the Gua were taking." He said. "It's off that information you loaded off the company database. "
"Division 4." Jordan said, looking over Eddie's shoulder.
"I did some looking and I found a Section 4. Not quite division, but it's a synonym." He said. "Section 4 was an NSA funded project devoted to creating a new mind control substance. It was scrapped in the late 80's."
"So maybe the NSA has revived the project." Cade said. "Why would the Gua want it?"
"Mind control?" Jordan said. "It's very good to getting what you want."
"But the Gua already have people all over the place in high positions. Why would they need a mind control drug?" Bella piped up from behind.
"That's what I was wondering. So I tried something else. I was thinking that it might have Gua technology so I ran a search of all government projects that included any type of drug. I got one in particular that contained Rydosachyridian, an unknown chemical."
Eddie started to type quickly, bringing up pages and pages of information.
"Unknown. Doesn't mean it's Gua." Jordan said. She frowned.
"That's true, but this new chemical was discovered in the early 60's and it wasn't classified. Which means-"
"-The NSA kept it in the dark." Cade said. "Is there any indication that it was Gua technology?"
"That part I'm stuck on. I'm not sure. We discover new chemical agents all the time, it's hard to determine whether it's alien or not." Eddie shrugged. He ran a hand through his unruly hair and sighed.
"I think I'm going to visit the bomb site." He said, opening the door.
"I'll go with you." Jordan said. She turned to Bella. "Keep an eye on our guests."
Bella nodded and got into her car. As she backed out and headed back for the base, Jordan and Cade headed for the broken ashes of Capital Pharmaceuticals.
"Do you trust her?" Cade asked Jordan. She looked at him as they rolled up to a red light.
"I do." She said.
"Okay." Cade nodded. "What about the other two?"
"They don't believe it?" Cade asked.
"Not only that. Maybe I'm just paranoid. But I just don't trust them." Her eyes grew weary and she sighed.
"I understand, Jordan." He said. "Where are they now?"
"Not at the site for sure." She replied. "They're being watched somewhere else."
"Jordan, if you didn't trust them, why did you let them into the Raven Nation in the first place?" Cade asked, turning into an alley close across the street from the explosion.
"Because I trust Bella and she said these guys were okay. I could nail them if they were Gua." She said. "They're not, but that doesn't change anything. Bella's spent too much time with them. She says she knows them, but I think she might be losing her direction."
They crossed the street and Cade looked behind him before they stepped under the police barricades.
"Excuse me, sir!" A voice called out.
"Uh-oh." Jordan muttered.
Cade and Jordan turned around, smiles on their faces.
Behind their backs, Cade slipped Jordan a card. She took it and slipped it into her back pocket.
"Hi, I'm FBI Agent William Marquette. This is my partner, Jane Haley." Cade turned to "Jane" and she nodded.
"I'm the forensics guy." The man said. He shook both their hands. "Marcus Larson."