Revision 7: DNA, страница 1
REVISION 7: DNA
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, organizations, places, events, and incidents are either products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously.
Text copyright © 2012 by Terry Persun
Originally published by Booktrope
All rights reserved.
No part of this book may be reproduced, or stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without express written permission of the publisher.
Published by AmazonEncore, Seattle
Amazon, the Amazon logo, and AmazonEncore are trademarks of Amazon.com, Inc., or its affiliates.
Editor: Janna Balthaser
Cover Designer: Greg Simanson
This title was previously published by Booktrope; this version has been reproduced from Booktrope archive files.
For Catherine, Terry,
Mark, and Nicole
I’d like to thank Mark Mandell who listens to my crazy ideas and helps me separate the good ones from the really stupid ones; my wife, Catherine, who is always my first reader, and Janna Balthaser for her amazing editing skills. And, all my first readers… you know who you are.
BONUS NOVEL EXCERPT: BACKYARD ALIENS
ALSO BY TERRY PERSUN
THE MACHINE SAT EMPTY in the corner of the lab adjacent to a long row of workbenches laboring under the weight of electronics equipment. Operating panel lights blinked occasionally in random test sequences to no avail until, on this night, the machine became a receiver. Lights blinked faster, fan motors whirred into action, and the hull of the gutted OH-6A Army helicopter groaned with the magnetic surge from the coils that lay like curled hair along the roof of its cockpit.
The inside of the OH-6A sat empty. A moment later someone sat on the stool inside the hull. He did not fade into view. He appeared. He sat completely still as though unsure of where he was. He shook his head and perked up in a sudden motion. His face lifted toward the sky, a distorted smile of relief spreading across it.
From his hidden side the man raised a small-gauge target pistol and set it on his lap. He rubbed his face and shook his head again. He patted himself as though he wasn’t sure that he was all there, as if he could have left a piece of himself somewhere else. He turned toward the camera that stared at him from the far side of the room. Lifting the gun from his lap, he aimed and pulled the trigger. The gun made a puff and a ping sound, hardly audible as it shot out the camera lens. The man stepped down from the helicopter and reached inside to slide the stool out before chucking it aside. He glanced around the machine, checking the equipment off mentally, shaking his head from time to time. Another person appeared inside the hull. This one didn’t hesitate or act confused in the least. He touched his shirt collar as though making sure it was buttoned to the top, then stepped from the machine and stood at attention next to it. A third person came through and, with his head lowered, climbed from the hull of the helicopter to stand next to the confident looking one.
“Our plans have changed,” the first one said.
“What do you mean? Why change them now? We just arrived,” mister confident said.
The first person shook his head as though confused a bit. “It’s important. I need to go back home and take care of something.” Before anyone could comment further, he swung around and said, “I have to. You’ll just have to go along with it for now. It won’t change anything. Just push the plan back a few days.” He walked around the machine as far as he could without running into the web of wires. “We’re taking the whole thing except for the magnetic coils on top. We’ll need them later. Any other equipment that is wired to the machine and not mounted to it, put on the cockpit floor.”
The other two removed the coils and set them on the floor near the workbenches.
“It looks heavy,” the third one said.
“Stripped down it only weighs 198 pounds. We can carry it out through the back parking lot.”
“You’re sure the guards won’t notice?”
He looked annoyed by the question. “There are three guards on the campus, and they make their rounds…” He stopped and cocked his head. “I’ll fill you in later if you really need to know. Let’s just get out of here for now.”
Within a few minutes, the electronics equipment connected to the helicopter from the adjacent workbench had been placed inside. The machine was disconnected from the electrical box, and all the other equipment unplugged.
The three of them had no trouble carrying the helicopter hull through the double-wide lab doors and into the service elevator. One man on either side and one in front, they each gripped the machine with one hand, holding their tools and weapons in the other. As they moved, the first person who had come through the machine aimed with programmed precision to shoot out the cameras. He repeated the act as they traveled to the main floor, down the hall, and out the back in less than fifteen minutes.
They scurried across the back parking lot like a clumsy insect, and disappeared into the dark woods that surrounded the Wheatley Research Center.
Walking became a bit more difficult in the woods. The hull caught on low branches and they had to lift it above some of the underbrush. A series of toe paths crisscrossed through the woods, but they only traveled short distances on any one path. Eventually, they set the hull at the edge of a ridge and began to dismantle it.
“You know what to keep,” the first person through the machine said.
“Got it right here,” the third person said. “What do we do with the rest of it?”
“Take apart the machine and scatter the components.” He leaned over the embankment. A small trickle of water ran along the bottom. “Roll the hull into the ravine.”
The first one put a hand to his temple. “We’re a few days early. We can stay here for now.”
“Early? For what?”
“I told you. I have something to take care of.”
“And what happens when they find this gone?”
“That won’t happen today. It’s the weekend. I checked it out before we came through,” the first one said. “This lab will be empty for the next few days. The guards aren’t allowed in. They’ll report a few cameras out. They won’t even come inside.” He glanced over and watched as the third one through the machine rolled the hull over the embankment. “Leonardo, where is the dark energy balancer?”
“Over there.” Leonardo lifted his head long enough to point to a silver box with wires hanging from it lying next to a large pine tree. As he walked back he said, “Why don’t we go to the factory with the rest of them and wait there?”
MAVRA STOOD, her small frame in the doorway to Neil’s work area in the rear of the house. “Are you still going to the Center?”
“Yes,” Neil said. He slipped an IC into place and reached up to push a few buttons on his universal simulator. With his left eye looking directly at Mavra and his right eye scanning his outputs on the oscilloscope, Neil felt as though he was still engaged in the conversation. By her stance, hip cocked one way and head cocked the other, it was obvious that she didn’t feel the same way. He decided not to tell her how cute it made her look when she tried to be firm with him. Instead, he took the hint and swung around in his chair, both eyes looking at her now. “It’s my job. I have to go.”
“You don’t take anything I say into consideration, do you?”
She really didn’t want an answer and he knew that. But she had asked the question so he did have an obligation to answer it. “I take everything you say into consideration, it’s just that—”
“You make your own decisions. I know.” She winked at him, but continued to watch him closely and he knew why. He focused on her the best he could. She had interrupted him in the middle of a test and he wanted to look around to see how it was going, but he couldn’t, he shouldn’t, and he knew it. Nevertheless, he wondered how to get her satisfied so that he could go back to his experiment. “At this point, it’s not real,” he said, and instantly knew that he had breached a long-standing promise. The promise that he’d take her work as seriously as he took his own. “I didn’t mean that.” Even with both sides of his brain working at full tilt he made mistakes. He jumped from the stool. Automatically his right eye glanced at the scope. His left eye remained on Mavra and caught the nuance of her motion a moment before she stepped back.
“Go ahead,” she teased. “Your work is more important than mine. Just disregard my warnings.” Her cheeks wrinkled into a tight smile.
“Don’t be upset,” he said. “I’m sorry.” He pointed at the workbench loaded down with waterfalls of wires and islands of printed circuit boards. “It was a reaction. I just wanted to be sure that nothing was going to burn up.”
“I know you couldn’t help it. I know you.” She touched the front of his old Led Zeppelin t-shirt with her hand, contact, yet keeping him at arms’ length. “It’s not just a feeling, you know. Not this time. I have astrological proof. I did a Tarot layout that verified everything. This is a dangerous job.” She was a strong woman. That’s why he had fallen in love and married her. But her science wasn’t anything like his. He had learned to respect that she was psychic, but had trouble with letting her sense about things change his plans.
“It’s my job,” he said.
“I predicted the call.” She drew her finger down the front of his shirt.
Neil reached for her hand and held it for a moment. “That you did.”
“Someone’s going to get hurt. There are going to be deaths associated with this job. And your chart shows all the warning signs that it could be you.” She stepped closer. “I don’t want to lose you.”
“I’ll be okay, sweetheart.” He placed his hands on her hips and kissed her cheek. “Keep me informed of any details that come through. I’ll listen. I promise.”
“But you won’t refuse the job.”
“I can’t do that,” he said. “You’ve got to trust me, too. If things get threatening, I’ll let the professionals handle it. I’m sure if this is a dangerous situation, I’m not the only one being called in.”
“How can I help if I don’t know what you’ll be doing?”
“The same way you always do. Give me the symbols, the information that you get, and I’ll watch for similarities. I’ll watch for the signatures and adjust appropriately.”
He shook his head. “You know I can’t do that. My work is top secret. I don’t even know what this is about yet. How could I possibly let you in on it?” He thought for a moment. “Look, you tell me all the time that what you get is just a movement that the universe is headed in a certain direction. That if we learn to use psychic gifts as signals we can avoid problems. Let me find out what’s going on, so I know what to avoid, shall we?”
“You promise to be careful?”
Neil gave her a big grin. “You bet I do. I like coming home. Now let’s see what your cards have to say about the meeting. There can’t be anything dangerous about that, right?”
Mavra reached for his hand and pulled it from her hip. “Is your experiment okay on its own?”
Neil glanced back over his shoulder, a cursory glimpse at the scope. “It appears to be running smoothly. I can give it a few minutes.”
Her black hair bounced and then settled back to her shoulders as she swung around to lead him into the bedroom where she did most of her work.
The blinds had been pulled. A soft glow of afternoon sun provided backlighting to the room. Mavra’s desk sat in the center of the North wall, a strategic place according to feng shui. Two dark brown candles flickered on her desk, in front of a mirror attached to a wall bracket. She didn’t always use the mirror, so Neil rigged a collapsible arm to allow it to swing in and out of position.
She sat before the mirror and removed her Tarot cards from the burgundy colored silk sleeve she kept them in. The flames shifted in front of her, casting light and shadow across her pale features, giving her a mysterious appearance. She shuffled the deck and placed several cards on her desk one by one, slowly, analyzing each as she set it down.
Neil felt heat from the candles. He leaned over. He didn’t recognize anything unusual in the layout. No death cards, or hanged man, or anything that had the immediate appearance of upheaval, change, or transformation. He waited, knowing that Mavra was the expert and enjoyed what she did. And as scientific as he was, and how he lived his life, he believed in her regardless what she chose to study. His attraction to her had a lot to do with how brilliant she was, how quickly she gobbled up information and could simulate it into other beliefs, other situations. If he thought about it clearly, he knew how she operated, how she questioned the messages she received long before telling him. He had to admit that she was right much of the time. “What do they say?”
“Not much to worry about for now. Something bizarre, strange, but nothing that could cause harm that I can see.” She looked up at him. “You’re not necessarily going to like what’s going on?”
“You posed that as a question. So you’re not sure of the statement?”
“Maybe it’s that you won’t agree with something. You have your specific beliefs and they’re clear, at least to you. See here,” she pointed to a five of Wands. “There’s still some confusion around the subject. The way I see this card today is that it’s difficult to know if they’re fighting or playing. I believe that you’re the man on the left side of the card, here. You’re bringing something specific, you’ve got your gifts, but their ideas are still tangled. That’s what I’m getting.”
Placing his hand lightly on her shoulder, he bent down and kissed the nape of her neck. “It makes sense, the way you are looking at it. It won’t hurt to go and see what all the fuss is about. I’ll let you know how I feel when I get back. Maybe we can do another spread and see what might have changed.”
She laid her cheek on his hand. “Stick with me on this one, Neil. I know you’re going to go through with it no matter what. Just keep me informed as much as you can. I can help.”
“I know you can.”
Mavra gathered the cards and placed the deck back into its sleeve. “I’ll see what we have for dinner while you check on your experiment.”
Appreciative of her understanding, Neil went back into the lab. He wasn’t up to much really. He was trying out a new parallel processor in his system. The device required that he rewire a few data lines. If it worked, the system would operate at a
He sat down and glanced over the project, lifting bundles of wires and double-checking to be sure that all the cables were still connected, that single wires were still clipped to where he had put them. Everything appeared to be in place, but he didn’t like what he saw on the scope. Of the three traces he was wired to, only two were showing any signs of activity.
Neil switched from using the two sides of his brain together to using them separately, as though it was part of his regular operation. He slid his finger over the touch screen on his reading pad, then tapped once. The manual for the new processor opened and he read intently using his left brain. Using his right brain, Neil went through his wiring meticulously.
He referred to the left and right sides of his brain in relation to the side of the body they controlled, even though he knew that he was cross-wired. It just made it easier for others to follow, and it was simple enough to adjust to.
Mavra slipped into his lab an hour or so later and set a plate of potatoes and chicken thigh on the workbench near where he worked. “I’m going to read for a while before going to bed. Don’t stay up too late.”
Neil nodded to acknowledged her statement, but wasn’t about to make any promises. “Sorry about earlier,” he said.
She reached out and touched his cheek with her index finger. “I know.”
He wanted to finish his project before heading to the Wheatley Research Center in the morning and getting into an investigation that would demand his attention for the foreseeable future.
It was after midnight before he felt satisfied that the processor operated to its full potential. He shut the system down and closed the app on his reader.
In the kitchen, he poured himself a glass of wine and sat at the counter. One side of his brain continued to race, while the other had slowed to what he thought of as an even hum, a place of contentment and relaxation. Mavra thought of it as meditation, but Neil wasn’t so sure if that was the case. All he knew was that it felt relaxed and comfortable. He swirled the wine and watched the red transparent legs slide down the glass as he held it up to the dim light Mavra had left on over the stove. Red wine always helped to facilitate the relaxation process for the other side of his brain. He drank in sips, letting the liquid slide down his throat. By the time he finished, both sides of his brain were humming nicely.