Remains of Something New
Authors Note: So anyway it seems I haven't posted in awhile... so I'm (gonna be that guy) and post an original story. This was inspired by the last chapter in a manuscript I wrote, (and submitted to an agent and at this point awaiting feedback) but anyway on with the show! I'd love some feedback.
Combat Information Center:
The Installation’s operators worked inside a domed building on top of the Installation. They gathered and processed information as it came in. Their faces took on a glow from their holographic interfaces, their eyes scanning the screen and their fingers darting in response to new data.
“Can we drop agents on top of them? It’s not like they’d have time to react.” Said an operator loud enough for the others around him to hear him.
“No, their sensors would pick us up before we even get half way there. Even if we go in cloaked.” Said another.
“Could we move a ground team into position?” Said a large fierce looking man standing on an elevated platform above the CIC. He was the Level 8 of Installation 343. He was in charge operations on the entire continent of Africa and answered only to the Director of Guardian.
“We would never get there on time by foot. They could already be gone.” Answered an operator.
The level 8 furrowed his brow and gnashed his teeth together. “Give me a holo of the compound.” He ordered.
The CIC grew dark, the glass panels above them dimming any light from the outside. A holographic display of an old building projected itself in front of the Level 8. It was fenced off, surrounded by scorched and crumbling buildings. Broken streets crisscrossed and circled all around the building; leaving many ways in and out of the area.
The Level 8 looked hard at the hologram. With a touch the image expanded revealing more of the area. He saw that two armed men were patrolling the building’s roof top, an armored truck was parked a block away down one of the damaged streets that possibly carried a whole group waiting for a signal. Another patrol was walking the grounds around the building.
“The enemy has picked interesting shields.” The Level 8 said under his breath. He could order a strike at any moment, were times not so sensitive he would have already. “A year of this, sneaking and hiding. All for what?”
“Sir we’re receiving orders now! Guardian status Level 10!” An operator announced. “The Director is on the ground!”
“What? When— when did he get there?” The agent gasped in a strangled voice. The Level 8 focused on the hologram in front of him. The truck a block away erupted into a ball of flame, the guards patrolling the roof crumbled to the ground as if being acted on by an unseen presence. Below the patrolmen scrambled in confusion, yelling into radios and shooting into the air at nothing.
The Level 8 examined what he was seeing, turning the image to see that the windows outside had been smashed and a faint but rapid flashing could be seen inside. Outside the patrol bolted for the building, hearing the action inside. Then a guard fell to the ground. Then another. Then the remaining guards fired their weapons into the area around them, not knowing what was happening. Then one by one they crumpled to the ground.
The level 8 clenched his hands together tight. He bit his lip and a guttural noise came from his throat. “Get me Director Spade!”
“He’s already messaged us,” The responding operator cleared her throat and continued. “He wants you to sweep the area. He—“
The Level 8 harshly interrupted the operator. “He wants us to clean up his mess!”
Director of Guardian:
“Never Simple.” Griffan Spade said as he was ushered out of the green room of the studio where he was to be interviewed. The studios floor director was giving out directions and repeating small assurances to Griffan as he followed behind.
“What was that, Mr. Spade?” The floor director stopped to ask.
“Oh, nothing.” Griffan said waiving her off and smiling.
The floor director seemed uncomfortable and said nothing more to Griffan as he was taken to the interviewer’s desk. The back drop of an American flag inspired the set around them. Sitting there were two older men. Griffan felt a twinge of amusement at the site. While Griffan appeared much younger than his interviewer, he was surely older than the both of them and even he thought the red, white and blue color scheme was old fashion. The lights grew brighter, making the colors in the room pop as Griffan entered and sat down at the desk across from the two men.
The man in between both Griffan and the other man faced the camera and spoke to his audience through their televisions. "I'd like to introduce a man who is at the center of some of today's most sensitive political issues. A man who’s organization has forever changed the world’s view of international security."
The man spoke carefully and held his pen tight in his hands, even taking a quick glimpse at Griffan as he spoke. “Griffan Spade the Director of Guardian.”
“Thanks for having me.” Griffan greeted, extending his hand to the interviewer. He didn’t take it and began his interview.
“Director Spade in the last few days rumors have spread that Guardian in invading countries unprovoked. More recently in Africa and the Middle East.” The interviewer started.
“I’m sure you would.” Griffan answered. The Director took a deep breath and exhaled, taking his time and making the men at the desk wait. “Well… we violate strips of land you call borders from time to time. I wouldn’t say invade.”
“Several intelligence agencies have released documents pin pointing several locations of suspected Guardian activity in volatile regions.” The other man at the desk said, giving Griffan a heated glare. “Are you admitting to these accusations?”
“If that were true I’d be impressed.” Griffan said confidently. Griffan shrugged his shoulders and cocked his head to the side. “Who can say? Even a broken clock is right at times.”
Both men looked taken aback by the comment and the man farthest away from Griffan continued. “Our troops overseas have also reported militants armed with Guardian grade weaponry in active warzones. Weapons your organizations have not shared and are quick to confiscate.”
Griffan shifted in his seat and looked at the man across the table. This was the burden of public appearances for Griffan; answering the same line of barbed questions over and over. The whole world saw what these weapons at work and now they want them while they fight for stacking global agendas. “Wouldn’t you want to keep a toddler away from a loaded gun?”
The man across the table was turning red and gripped the edge of the table tight. Griffan looked at the interviewer, who had cleared his throat and began to speak, “With escalating theaters in hostile regions, how do you explain this Director?”
Griffan leaned closer and held his elbows on the table. “A little more than a year ago I…” Griffan stopped midsentence and closed his eyes. The Director took a deep breath and opened them. “Guardian was betrayed. The world has suffered for our revealed existence. Guardian is doing the best it can to capture these traitors.”
“Things have obviously devolved into these dangerous technologies being put into dangerous hands.” Said the interviewer. “Which leads into my next question, Director?”
Griffan sat back in his seat and looked toward the back of the studio. Everyone had their eyes glued to the men at the desk. Some angry, some confused and even fearful. They didn’t trust him. They were afraid of him. They all hated him. Griffan looked to the floor away from everyone and dug the tip of his shoe into the ground.
“Director Spade?” Said the man next to him.
Griffan looked back at both men at the desk. “Sorry. Your question?”
The interviewer cleared his throat and continued, “The new Secretary General of the United Nations has repeatedly said in the last year that Guardian is unwilling to cooperate on matters of global security; such as apprehending the ones responsible for the attacks against America and Europe.”
“Your organization has also been unresponsive to the Farixen crisis.” Said the man sitting across from Griffan. “The powered insurrectionists have claimed the lives of thousands of international troops. Guardian has done nothing. Despite your claims to support international peace.”
A year ago while Guardian was responding to the attack against the United States, Farixen Island which was used has a holding center for humans with extraordinary abilities was invaded using technology stolen from Guardian. “We are still investigating avenues of contact with the country of Farixen. So far they have not attacked or threatened any country; as long as that holds true Guardian will not intervene.”
“Director you have claimed that your organization wishes to preserve peace and stability in the world.” The man across the table said, staring hard at Griffan. “Wouldn’t more cooperation with the U.N and the nations represented achieve that end? Wouldn’t allowing the development and use of certain advanced technologies ensure Guardian’s stated goal you’ve upheld since your arrival?”
“That’s fair,” Griffan replied. Griffan though knew exactly what the man meant. In the past year Guardian has helped in rebuilding the United States. Guardian has paid out reparations, rebuilt living areas, and supplied new medical technologies for victims of the attacks. Though for some that isn’t enough. “But I think the U.N and America have more than enough guns moving around to not need Guardian helping.”
The interview went on for a full hour. Leaving Griffan exhausted as he left the studio. He has spent a year trying to build international relations. Spending a year meeting with world leaders, explaining what Guardian is and trying to build trust. It was going poorly. The scenes of a Guardian Installation leveling cities and spontaneous acts of destruction all over the world still were fresh. “It was so much easier when we didn’t exist.” Griffan said as he stood in front of the street outside the studio.
Police were all around him, for his protection. A protest had started across the street and Griffan’s exit of the studio had riled them up. They chanted insults, threats and accusations at the Director. “That is why you have the top job Director.”
In front of the spot where Griffan was standing, in a space of several dozen feet was an object that began to appear in scales of color and a strange metallic craft came into view quickly. A large panel opened on the side facing Griffan slide open. On the other side was a woman with long curly red hair and blue eyes that held a kind of dim glow in them.
She greeted Griffan with a warm smile, “You’re the only one that can stand it all.” She said in a thick Irish accent.
Griffan got in the craft and the panel shut behind him, hissing as it did. “Aren’t you supposed to be in Europe right now, Madeline?” Griffan exhaled.
“Installation 212 is fine.” Madeline said. “I saw you on TV. These people really hate you. Though I think you may even have made it impossible for them to hate you more.”
“They’re just scared.” Griffan said taking a seat next to Madeline. “They were the masters of the world over a year ago.”
The craft lifted off without making the slightest hard motion. Inside the occupants felt nothing at all as the craft shot straight up and then rocketed toward their destination. “And then they found out that just wasn’t the case,” Madeline said to Griffan without hiding her sarcasm. “And they persist on pissing and moaning about it. Such are the problems of protecting the world I guess.”
“It could be worse.” Griffan said, looking at the cold metal floor beneath him. “We could tell them the truth about what happened a year ago.”
Madeline scoffed and crossed her arms across her chest. “Ah yes the truth. Our former Director, a telepath brainwashed all of Installation 501st into blowing up the East coast of the U.S. Our technology in nature is alien and that their former human allies kicked them off world. Then our new Director inspires so much distrust that a very small faction of agents would rather go rogue. That truth?”
“Never simple.” Griffan said looking at Madeline with a small grin in the corner of his mouth.
“People are getting annoyed with you Griffan. They are also asking some good questions.” Madeline said in a voice full of authority. “Not just the U.N. My favorite ones are the ones about your extended lifespan and just how the battle of 501st actually went. ”
“I do what I’ve always done. I have before.” Griffan answered, indifferent to Madeline’s concern. Griffan’s lifespan has been extended, preserving his youth and keeping him in the best physical condition. He was the reason for Guardian’s formation. He possessed technology Guardian did not have and kept it secret from the rest of the organization; a fact known to very few.
Madeline looked over to Griffan, looking at him as if she were trying to remember his face. She reached over and took Griffan’s left hand with hers. Griffan tensed up, her touch was cold. “I want to believe you.” Madeline said, sliding closer to Griffan.
Griffan and Madeline’s bodies were close; they could feel the each other’s breath on their faces. Griffan stared into Madeline’s blue eyes that seemed to be the brightest source of light in the small cabin of their Guardian craft. “We’ve both seen how bad things can get. We’ve always done what we needed to.”
“I know.” Madeline whispered, looking away from the Director and at the hard metal surfaces behind Griffan. “What if that isn’t enough this time?”
The world had changed since the Guardian became known to the world. Governments scrambled on how to respond. They had seen the devastation Guardian could cause. Guardian possessed technology that was beyond them. Without being told they supplied medical care to refugees, and even reparations. They also began restoring the battle scarred east coast of the United States without being asked or threatened. Why?
They didn’t want what other nations desired. Guardian seemingly had no need for resources, land, people or power. To the rest of the world Guardian seemed uninterested in typical politics between nations. They seemed to just want to help out of a since of responsibility, putting people first and often ignoring the charges of governments. That was plain to see. But Guardian also kept a lot secret. Like where did their power come from? Why won’t they share it with the rest of the world? Those even more suspicious of the organization wonder what they could be planning. Could Guardian really be some benign protector? Or were they more dangerous than they let on?
These people gathered in private, representing their countries. They hid their actual identities from each other and only met at locations unknown to them. After the battle involving Guardian’s flying Installation 501st Guardian agents inserted at high levels of their governments made themselves known and opened initial dialogue with the organization. Their leaders couldn’t trust its own agents for fear that they may also be Guardian moles; representatives were recycled after every meeting.
Five people sat at a long table in a dusty room. A heavy steel door was the only exit. A single dim fluorescent light hung over the table, creating shadows that spread around the room. At the head of the table sat a man wearing a simple black suit with the word `Hazard’ written on a card stuck to his jacket. Hazard’s black hair was cut short; his face was clean shaven and his blue eyes were hard and unfeeling. Hazard taped on a stack of thick folders in front of him and rose with it in hand.
Hazard’s feet clanked against the concrete floor, he stood straight as if to tower over his colleagues and watched each of them as he passed them a folder. After Hazard passed them all out he sat back at the head of the table. They waited for him to sit before the opened the folders. He watched as they read what was in them. They all concentrated hard on the documents and the images inside. More than a few times did the façade of calm break into looks of surprise or astonishment.
“You are reading written statements made by Guardian agents that have defected.” Hazard said. “The pictures included are all of unconfirmed Guardian or suspected Guardian operations in the last several decades. To be honest gentlemen these meetings are a waste of time.”
“A year ago the enemy hit us with power we couldn’t hope to match. They leveled cities, killed thousands and all the world could do was watch.” They all looked at the head of the table at Hazard. They remembered. Along with the random acts of terror that happened at the same time all over the world. They remember the fear they felt, the weakness. They waited for Hazard to explain. “The enemy is beyond us. Our governments are militarily out gunned and politically irrelevant. We face an enemy that look at us like insects. While all we can do is toss sticks and stones at them.”
“Your government maintains a blockade around Guardian Installation 501st.” One of the others said.
“It looks good to the rest of the world doesn’t it?” Hazard said in a low contained voice. “The truth is that Guardian allows it!”
They all paused before anyone said anything else. Hazard continued. They all thought the same thing. Opposing Guardian was hopeless. They each were a single nation against an unknowable organization and powerful organization. There were too many egos, too many agendas and not enough trust to pose any threat to Guardian
“Guardian’s defectors do give us a chance. For the sake of security I cannot disclose how many assets we have or any plans in motion. But you all know that they have spoken with all our officials.” Hazard explained, with the corners of his lips curling up to form a knowing grin. “I have been authorized to inform you that each person in this room is now a part of a special department of the United Nations.”
“The enemy has power over us because they want us to remain in awe. We will be the ones to see them as they are.” Hazard explained as he stood up straight and looked over the people in the room. Every person in the room feed on what Hazard was saying. They tried to process and except what awhile ago seemed impossible. “We work independent of any single nation or governmental body, besides the U.N. Our resources and supplies will be given to us by the U.N.”
“Security first. Is our objective.”