The Rocknauts (epilogue)
Generals had gathered around a small table in near darkness. Subdued glows from nearby wafted lazy shadows over every face. There were by this time very few of them left.
“We have thrown out every sensor sweep we have at these boys since they arrived.” General Port was uncharacteristically un-animated as he sat back in a squeaky folding-chair. “Have any of our ‘geeks’ discovered anything useful?”
“Dr. Starb is on the way down right now.” General Gray informed from Ports’ immediate left.
They were a full mile below the earth’s surface. Death Valley lay above and intermittent rumblings were not seismic events. Eyes were locked on the senior general and furrowed brows ran all around the table. A small alarm sounded and a door slid open at the far end of the room.
“Dr. Starb, welcome aboard. What can you tell us?” General Port spoke with a defused ‘bark’.
The frail little scientist walked up the end of the table and adjusted his glasses before speaking. “Ahem!” The dry air down here told him the ventilation system was failing. “The alien’s modes of transportation are very interesting.” Generals adjusted themselves in preparation for a long speech. “All analysis has uncovered very strange things indeed.”
“We need to know everything, and quickly Doctor. It may already be too late.” General Nickson spoke up from halfway down the table.
“Of course General,” Dr. Starb dropped a rather thick folder he had been carrying behind his back squarely onto the end of the table. Glasses of water, or whatever, rippled in the mute light. “These boys are ‘heavy’. The space time continuum is distorted ever so slightly in their immediate vicinity. I’ve ran the calculations myself with all known material specs and found a rather interesting curve along the periodic table. Still, I have no idea what they are made of. Scanners freely penetrate the materials and energy shields but all reflections returned are far less energetic than they should be.”
A few eyes narrowed in their sockets.
The Doctor went on, “A detailed analysis made from sensor and live video feeds during our initial attacks revealed that some of the electromagnetic and kinetic energies from our weapons were actually absorbed into the discs. With every impact or stand-off detonation a pressure wave of gravity force emanated from each. They got heavier for a fraction of a second with each energy absorption event.”
General Juarez spoke up. “You mean to tell us that they got stronger, or heavier, the more we attacked?”
Dr. Starb dipped his head slightly in acknowledgement. “Exactly general,” he began, “They didn’t absorb everything but what they did absorb seemed to strengthen them. There were also noticeable sound pressure level increases each time this happened.”
A particularly violent shockwave sped thru the darkened facility. Dust sifted down thru a small crack in the ceiling.
“What about their ‘instruments’ appearing and disappearing?” General Port asked.
“There has to date, been no instance in which any of their ‘tools’ were seen to be used as weapons. As for the way they deploy and store them, it’s either smoke and mirrors or,” he paused for effect, “flat plane technology.”
A round of ‘guffaws’ and ‘harrumphs’ went across the table in loose unison as another concussion shook the room.
Starb continued. “The energy bands now circling the earth are some form of very exotic plasma. It cycles randomly thru odd harmonic frequencies and there may be a correlation between frequencies and density. Nothing I’ve tried can lock onto the proprietary frequencies. The Cray in the basement here is even useless in that regard.”
Hard sighs made rounds at the table.
Starb went on. “It’s my guess that we got lucky when we thought we’d found an angle thru their shields. Up to that point most of our attacks were simply attritions. The nano-timing of the EMP and fusion blast may have hurt them but, I think it also just made them angry.”
There was a long pause.
“Gentlemen,” General Port addressed them all. “We have one option left.” He studied the raised brows all about him. “Doctor Starb here has a few pounds of antimatter stored on site. He informed me of this today and I ordered him to set up a containment breech.” Port motioned to Starb.
The doctor stepped outside and returned after a few seconds wheeling a cumbersome metal box that barley fit thru the door. He entered a code on a small outside panel and all four walls silently slid upwards. Inside was a crystal canister about a meter long. It held a snowstorm of what looked to be multicolored cotton-balls that danced to some unknown rhythm.
As all eyes zeroed in on the spectacle every other light was extinguished suddenly as another shockwave rippled thru. Several sets of lungs inhaled sharply yet no one said a word until Starb spoke up . “General Port,” He began. “With your permission?” His hand fell onto a simple valve on one end of the cylinder.
The general nodded slowly, and then put his head into his hands on the table top.
Not one man present noticed the electric taste in the air as the doctor pulled the valve open. Only afterwards did that unique flavor become apparent. It also was quickly obvious that they were all still very much alive. The antimatter in the containment vessel should have annihilated everything out to the ohrt-cloud.
Mouths were forming words but long before any synapses could initiate the actions another ominous glow superseded the anti-matter. With a low frequency crackle a thin loop of blue energy leapt from opposite corners of the door. It wrapped itself around the open bottle of anti-matter and dipped a portion of itself inside. As it did so the sound of a rock band plowing thru an epic tune seemed to rain down from the desert far above. The anti-matter began to fade from the jar. All eyes darted to and from about the room. Looks of frustration and panic, dismay and confusion, all cycled across faces. Everyone present became aware that their atoms were being deconstructed and the hiss of loosed quantum foam was the last thing they heard.
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