The green light gave the go-ahead, I punched the button and the carriage door slid open, releasing me onto the platform. Commuters hurried past on their way to work, holding newspapers, briefcases and the ever-present umbrella, even in such mild conditions. I had nothing to carry except the letter and, for once, I was travelling by train. Parking was always a nightmare here, and it was easier this way, especially for such a brief meeting as this. I did not intend hanging around afterwards. I would give him the envelope and my explanation and then… walk away. After that? I had no idea what I was going to do then. Continue reading →
I’m back. He’s back. Not sure which of us is the happier.
October 19th 2013
‘Time.’ Straker glanced around the Control room before swinging the microphone around and leaning forward to speak. ‘All sensors to maximum. All stations Red Alert.’ A satisfying silence. No unnecessary noise, no distracting replies, just a well-trained workforce in action. Foster looked up from the satellite image he was studying.
‘Here it comes.’
Penumbral lunar eclipse. Not uncommon, but with solar activity rendering the Antarctic satellite system temporarily out of contact, the whole continent was an open target for any UFO fortunate enough to get past the lunar defences. Straker stood there, arms folded and watching as satellite images displayed the lunar surface turning red, Ford concentrating on the sensors, head tilted to one side as if he was listening to some faint, far-away sound, Foster tapping his fingers soundlessly on his thigh. Alec, out of contact at the other end of the world would be listening as well.
Straehk reached the end of the path and turned to look back. This season’s crop promised to excel even his expectations, the fields full, the plants weighty with enough seed to keep the colony provided for next year and beyond. He had done his last walk-through just an hour before, trailing fingers though the heavy-headed ears of grain. Dark golden and ripe, they bobbed under his touch. It was only right that he should feel a sense of achievement in his work. Not pride, just satisfaction. A job well done. He would begin harvesting in the morning when the crew arrived, but his work here was completed and he could rest for a while.
Where had it gone wrong? How had Straker escaped from his captors? As Mason hunched there on the greasy oil-stained concrete floor, yet another question burned into his mind. Where was Straker now? If he was out there, alive, he should have emerged.
The dim light in the alleyway pooled down onto the huddled figure. Late at night, in this less salubrious area of London, there were few late-night revellers. Not even an insomniac dog-walker. But the man had been spotted nonetheless. It was dealt with in the usual efficient manner. Photographs, forensic evidence, SOCO’s. Processed, collated, labelled. Then the body removed to the central morgue for the next step. Formal identification and cause of death. Continue reading →