The Amazing Adventures of Sara Corel
A novel by Toomey
Chapter Twenty-five: White Sands
Alex had grown up as an
Army brat on bases all over the world. One of his boyhood homes
had been at White Sands Missile Range back in the early sixties.
Therefore, he knew first hand what it was like to live as a
colonist on another planet.
With only a bicycle
for basic transportation, he had been stuck in the desert on the
little military base with one movie house (a quarter bought a
ticket to a double-feature with a serial episode and a newsreel,
a bag of popcorn and a soda), one PX (K-Mart stripped to its
bare essentials), one commisary (a very un-super supermarket
filled with olive drab cans labeled, 'Beans, white, small,
in tomato sauce, with pork'), one school (K through 9 with
a boot camp mentality), one church (your choice of generic
Protestant, Catholic or Jewish services conducted by the same
military chaplain), and one TV station (black-and-white when you
could manage to tune it in from El Paso, too far to the south).
The actual 'white sand' was at the National Monument between the
base and Alamogordo across the flat, treeless valley.
Housing was strictly
segregated according to rank, though not by any other measure.
An Army base, even back then, was one of the few truly racially
integrated communities on Earth. Most of Alex's friend's mothers
were war brides from Germany, Italy, Japan, Korea, the
Phillipines, England, China, France, Australia and damned near
everywhere else. Gossip was conducted in a colorful amalgam of
words and phrases from dozens of languages. It is likely that
the Tower of Babel was a gathering place for prehistoric army
Base social life
revolved around the service clubs, with an enlisted men's club
(no pool), an NCO club (with a pool) and an officer's club (pool
with water in it). Bingo was a staple pastime, inducing in its
avidly addicted devotees a zombie-like state that made the
passage of time nearly bearable.
The carefully planned
daily routine was delivered each morning via the mimeographed
POD (Plan Of the Day), announcing various events that some
people might have cared about, and the schedule of static tests.
It was good to know the times when all activity had to cease as
rocket engines were fired on one or another of the test stands
adjacent to the base, the ground-trembling roar drowning out
conversations and vibrating dishes out of the open cupboards of
Activities for kids
were on the sparse side, other than adult-managed stuff like
Little League, Boy Scouts and the (shudder) Teen Club,
consisting of a pool table in a Quonset hut. You could always go
hiking in the desert or up into the Organ Mountains, if you
didn't mind heat, cold, flash floods, high winds, snakes,
scorpions, tarantulas, Gila monsters, ants, coyotes, mountain
lions and an incredible variety of shadeless plants with
needles, stickers, spines, razor-sharp leaves, brambles and
spikes all over them. Or you could just fight a lot. Sadistic
bullies were considered to be athletes by Army lifers and were
accorded all the appropriate honors.
Alex spent most of
his spare time in the base library. It was heavy on Army
technical manuals and light on classics, but there was a lot of
science fiction. He usually checked out twenty or more books a
week, and when he eventually ran out of sci-fi, started in on
the tech manuals. An alarmed librarian notified his parents of
the strange behavior and recommended that they take him to the
base dispensary for a medical evaluation.
survived his childhood (which he considered to be normal at the
time), having not only read everything ever written by Asimov,
Heinlein, Clarke and Twain, but also learning everything there
was to know about field-stripping, maintaining, operating and
firing every piece of armored artillery the Army had. You never
knew when all that could come in handy some day.
White Sands was the
most sensible place in the country to conduct a little
demonstration of Sara's capabilities for the elite delegation
from DC. The base already had nearly everything that Alex
needed, they were used to providing shows for visiting brass,
all kinds of high-speed cameras and recording devices were
already in place, NASA had a presence there, nearby Holliman AFB
provided discreet and convenient airport facilities for special
VIP transportation, and a lot of noise and confusion was
business as usual out on the firing range. After all, only a
little way up the broad, desert valley known as the Jornada del
Muerte (Journey of Death) was the Trinity site, where the first
atomic bomb was tested. Who knows? Maybe the awful false morning
of its unnatural light had been a signal to Sara's makers that
her time on our planet was fast approaching.
Alex wondered if Sara
would leave as visible a scar on the desert as the bomb. And if
someday it would also become a tourist attraction.
NASA director Silvers
had seen to it that Alex was accorded the kind of treatment
usually reserved for the CEOs of major contractors. His wish-list was serviced immediately, bypassing the usual red tape.
Bureaucrats who normally would never have given him the time of
day called him 'sir'. Important people returned his phone calls.
Nobody argued with him. Everywhere he turned, he was treated
like a rock star. It was very, very cool, something he could
have easily grown to like if he had felt like he deserved
it. He had to work hard to keep his perspective properly
A famous former
astronaut accompanied Alex from Ellington Field to Holliman AFB
to take a high-profile role in the demonstration. Steve
Astin had had his space jock career cut short by a spectacular
accident he was lucky to have survived. As it was, he'd had to
be fitted with about six-million dollars worth of rather
advanced prosthetics and was nearly half machine which had
made of him something of a 'superman' in his own right. He and
Sara had a lot in common in that regard and had hit it off right
away, 'freak to freak,' as she called their
Astin was Silvers'
most trusted and able political liason with Washington.
Senators, industrialists, generals and scientists alike
succumbed to his charm and celebrity status. He was obviously
cultivating a future career in politics and would undoubtedly do
well. As an official spokesman for NASA, he had natural presence
on TV and was skilled at managing news conferences so as to put
the agency's occasional boo-boos in a way that seemed to be
Astin, who was on a
first-name basis with most of the guests, would be the one to
actually do all the talking while Alex handled things behind the
scenes, including Sara. Silvers' transparent ulterior motive was
to ensure that these influential people would come away from the
demonstration motivated to support increased funding levels for
a comprehensive (and never-ending) study of the technology
behind Sara's manufacture and possible practical applications in
support of scientific missions.
It was, of course,
instinctive empire-building, pragmatically opportunistic and
without shame. Silvers knew that Sara's presence could have
unforseen even disastrous effects on the space program,
but at the same time he understood that she might open doors
that would allow the agency to expand with renewed vigor. The
growth imperative is strong in bureaucratic entities (which, as
one example, some historians believe accounts for the building
of the great pyramids of Egypt).
dignitaries had their own agenda. So did Alex.
smoothly, but as the big day dawned with the threat of early
thunderstorms Sara was moody and unresponsive. She made sure
that Alex noticed.
"Did it occur to
you," she told him, "That this whole thing is really
silly and stupid?"
"Of course it
is," he replied. "That's my specialty."
"Well, it's not
mine. I don't mind putting on a show for people, 'cause I
understand that I'm a little outside of normal, but this is too
much. It's all like some kinda special effects movie for a bunch
of teenagers. These guys aren't really gonna be impressed with
all this, are they? I mean, they're grownups, aren't they?"
are," said Alex, "But I'm not, and neither are
"Come on, Alex.
I'm trying to be serious. Which isn't easy dressed up for
"Hey, it's either
your uniform or going naked. What d'ya wanna do?"
"Either way it's
embarrasing. I feel like an idiot, showing off while wearing
this thing. I'm not a kid anymore, you know. And it's not just
that. It's this whole performance. It's just
trailed off, seemingly frustrated by Alex's insensitivity to the
"It's like some
adolescent guy's wet dream," he answered. "Is that
what's bothering you? Posing muscularly and impossibly for a
bunch of gawkers to get all excited over? Performing gaudy and
shallow feats for their amusement?"
She just looked down
and distractedly kicked at a pebble in the sand.
said, taking a deep breath. "Sure, they've seen the reports
from NASA, but facts and figures don't have any impact. It's all
too esoteric, too unbelievable. These guys aren't dummies, but
they're not necessarily the brightest bulbs in the marquee,
either. They're gifted with the hard-to-define talent of
leadership, the ability to motivate other people to get things
done through inspiration and compromise. Scientific evaluations
don't mean all that much to them. They need to experience
something tangible, something they understand and can make other
tank," she mumbled.
he replied. "They know tanks. A tank is a powerful machine
and a powerful symbol. A tank means a lot more to them and
the people they'll have to deal with in turn than a boxcar
full of data."
"I still think
this is stupid," she muttered.
argument," he agreed. "But you have to remember this,
too. It may sound corny, but these people are genuinely
concerned about their country, the good old US of A. It's their
end-all and be-all. They're not a secret cabal that runs things
from the shadows or anything, but they are important
opinion leaders who happen to be very influential. In their way,
they represent the fundamental institutions that actually
determine the future and well-being of this nation and all its
people. They'll do whatever they believe is necessary to protect
because they're afraid that you might
constitute an unexpected potential threat to the security of the
state. You also represent the Cryptoalien civilization that sent
you, something that nobody understands,
including you which nevertheless is as much your
responsibility as the fate of the US is their responsibility. It
may happen that you'll eventually have to deal with them as
something equivalent to a representative of a competing set of
sovereign interests. If it comes to that and they understand
that they cannot physically threaten you, but that you
constitute a potential for unlimited damage to US assets,
then such an understanding will eliminate their taking the risk
of resorting to force as an option, including laws, regulations
or decrees that have an underlying basis in physical coercion
for their credibility. They'll have to go to Plan B.
Essentially, you'll be treated at least 'unofficially' as someone having the equivalent of ambassadorial status, the
facto representative of an extraterrestrial superpower."
he finished with emphasis, "the purpose of this
demonstration is to unambiguously inform their councils. Got
she said reluctantly. "You don't think that seeing all
this will maybe make them a little paranoid or something? That I
might be too dangerous and immature to trust?"
"Nah. They really
believe that God is on their side, so you or your
buddies oughtta be, too. These people didn't crack during
the Cold War, when an ideology and nation they believed was bent
on world domination was pointing nuclear missiles at us. The
bombs and stuff are still there, but they're capable of acting
as if there was no more threat and the former Evil Empire is
just a new market. They'll deal with you in whatever way they
think will do the most good for the national interest,
preferably by being your friend and ally. We just have to make
sure that they understand that they have to respect your
Sara was thoughtful
for a while. Alex peeked around the corner of the tunnel-like
blockhouse entrance and saw Astin warming up his audience in the
shady VIP section of the observation bleachers. There wasn't a
whole lot of time left before the thunderclouds piling up across
the broad, flat valley closed their weather window.
Finally, she said,
"I can't help thinking about the Dwarves. In my dream, or
whatever it was, I thought that showing them I was more than
they could possibly handle would make them deal with me
rationally. It didn't work. They refused to change their minds
about what they were doing and died protecting their
Alex took his time
answering her. "I think that that's what you have to keep
in mind when you're dealing with human nations. If the people
who run them ever come to the conclusion that your mission is
to subjugate our planet and impose alien values, there is the
strong possibility that at least some of us would put up a fight
regardless of the consequences, like the Japanese were prepared
to do in World War Two until," he emphasized,
"the atomic bombs informed their councils. Heroic
resistance to invasion is a common theme in our sci-fi
mythology. I guess that might account for your incarnation as
the most non-threatening 'alien' possible. And that's what I'm
counting on to counterbalance the violent nature of today's
extravaganza. That and your sunny disposition, which seems to
have stayed in bed today."
Sara was lost in
thought. Alex tried to imagine the immense resources available
to 'Susan' performing unimaginable calculations at incredible
speed on every aspect of their little conversation. However, it
seemed probable from Alex's experience with her that Sara didn't
rely on pure logic to sort things out and crawled through our
world at the same pace as the rest of us. For a being who ought
to have a five-figure IQ, Sara didn't seem to show much in the
way of insight into the human condition. But then, if her
consciousness was as powerful as her mechanism, she wouldn't
resemble anything even remotely human. For about the umpteenth
time, Alex wished he could have a little chat with her creators.
With Astin signalling
that he was way past ready, Sara finally said, "I guess
you're right. Don't worry, Alex. I'll do my part. We'll show
these characters a thing or three."
And cheer up. Jeez, you're acting like such a mope. You oughtta
be able to play this crowd like a violin. Just act your usual
self and don't forget to smile. You impress the powers-that-be
in the US and the other 'civilized' countries will follow their
lead. So let's wrap this dog-and-pony show up and go home, and
you won't have to fool with this kinda crap again. Deal?"
She sighed, "Deal."
"Just call me
Susan, Senator," said Sara as the imposingly authoritative
figure graciously kissed her hand.
"I am so
delighted to meet you, young lady," he intoned
mellifluously. "We have all heard so many wonderful things
the past few weeks that we just had to meet you. I do hope you
will forgive the inconvenience occasioned by our
"Think nothing of
it, sir," she replied almost but not quite deferentially. "Glad to be of service. I just hope I don't
Sara moved among them
gracefully, chatting familiarly and knowledgeably with each one,
showing a grasp of their individual interests that flattered
them yet challenging them just enough to win their respect. It
would appear that she basically charmed the pants off of them,
but she knew that their polite chatter was a way for them to
test her character and intentions, and whether or not she could
They were used to this
sort of thing. It was the way they waged war and they were good
at it. They were surprised and actually somewhat delighted to
discover that Sara was as invulnerable to their verbal snares
and wit as she was to more mundane projectiles. They
collectively came away from the close encounter with the feeling
that they could trust her, and that might have been the
most remarkable part of the day's demonstration.
dignitaries took their seats in the bleachers and Astin began
the show. Sara levitated to her position as a target about a
half-mile away, facing the audience in front of a high, thick
berm of piled-up earth.
About twenty yards in
front of the bleachers, slightly off to one side, was the tank.
It wasn't exactly the latest model, an M-60 appropriated
from the Army boneyard at Fort Bliss. It had been patched up and
a fresh paint job to cover the rust and wear. About the only
thing that worked was the enormous 105-mm cannon that poked its way out
of the turret into the desert air, pointing directly at Sara,
who waved her readiness.
There had been a
slight glitch during rehearsals when the technician who was to
have operated the gun refused to actually fire at Sara. He just
couldn't do it. Neither could Alex. Nobody wanted to pull the
trigger and shoot at the cute blonde target, no matter how
finely they appreciated her ability to withstand the blast. They
had to rig up a radio activated remote control so that Sara could do it herself.
The same squeamishness applied to all of their munitions
deliveries. Susan had no problem taking control, though.
From his position in
the blockhouse, Alex announced over the loudspeakers that the
first shot would be a high-explosive round.
He gave a melodramatic countdown while the onlookers hastily
adjusted their earplugs and safety glasses. When the big gun went
off at zero, the tremendous muzzle blast slammed a cloud of dust
into the air from the bare ground around the tank and hammered the chests of the onlookers like a
boxer's blow. They could clearly see the glowing tracer arc into
its intended target, hitting Sara directly in the 'S'. There was
a flash and huge ball of thick, black smoke that instantly
obscured her, followed in seconds by the heavy crunching sound
of the projectile's explosion against her chest.
The slow morning wind
gradually blew the cloud away, revealing a completely unaffected
Sara, waving cheerily to show she was just fine. TV monitors in
shade boxes provided instant slow-motion replay from several
angles. There was no doubt that the shell had found its mark and
was totally ineffective. She hadn't even flinched, adjusting her
position slightly at the last instant so that the impact would
be centered perfectly.
Alex announced that
the second shot would be a HEAT round High Explosive
the gigantic flash and fury of the gun pounded the watchers
mercilessly, involuntarily rocking them back on the narrow
was a small but brilliant flash as it hit her, the vicious jet
of fire designed to explosively melt through steel armor
splashing impotently against her slender form in a shower of
The third shot was a
sabot round, designed to kinetically punch a relatively thin
spike through the thickest armor, spraying the insides of an
armored fighting vehicle with a gout of white-hot depleted
uranium. The gun spoke thunderously, making the tank recoil
violently and shaking the visitors remorselessly. The sabot's
guiding shards could be seen flying off to either
side as the dense, narrow core went on to find its mark. The rebound
pinwheeled away in a cascade of spinning, molten sparks,
returning the enormous noise of two hard objects in terrible
collision, followed by the hideous whining spall of the
projectile's whirling ricochet as it flew high into the air.
Again, Sara waved to show she was unharmed. The monitors
confirmed a good hit.
The fourth shot was a
lead-filled solid round, no explosives, nothing fancy. The cannon roared
gut-wrenchingly as usual, but this time Sara caught the big
bullet with her bare hands, then flew back to the bleachers with
her trophy. It was hot enough to singe the wooden seat she set
it on, so she gently blew on it with her special thick, cold,
nearly-liquid nitrogen breath until it frosted over.
While they gingerly
touched it, Sara skipped over behind the blockhouse, returning
with a 4,000-pound TV-guided 'bunker buster' bomb under her arm,
painted bright orange. She pointed the lens on the front of the
bomb at the guests as she walked back to them and the picture
from it was displayed on one of the monitors. Once they had a
good look at it, she soared off into the deep blue desert sky
above them while keeping the camera in its nose aimed at the
At about ten thousand
feet, Sara rendezvoused with a chase plane whose own camera view
was relayed to another monitor. Astin pointed out a spot of
white-painted desert less than a mile away that would be
the target zone. The delegation glanced nervously at each other,
wondering if they should object to their uncomfortable proximity
to such a test.
Before anyone could say anything, Alex announced, "Bombs away," and
Sara raced from the free-falling cylinder to take up her
position at ground zero. The onlookers could see the
orange dash in the sky as it moved down from left to right.
Still another monitor displayed a view from behind Sara showing
the bomb's rapid approach.
craned their necks to watch the bomb's-eye view as Sara's image
swelled until it suddenly filled the screen, guided unerringly
by Susan's precise radio commands. Two screens turned to
static as an enormous fireball out on the desert floor wrenched
their attention away, a fountain of smoke shooting into the air
above the target as the ground camera behind Sara was destroyed.
They felt sudden heat
on their exposed skin and could see the shimmering shock wave
racing toward them, kicking up a curtain of sand and dust. Its
arrival slammed at them, whipping their clothes and stinging
their faces. Blinking away the afterimage and grit in their
eyes, they saw Sara serenely floating back to them from the
smoking crater, cape fluttering majestically behind her.
The visitors were in
much worse shape than she was. They were sweating now, hair
disheveled, clothing wrinkled and stained. Cordite fumes from
the cannon stung their dust-filled nostrils, they were
half-deafened in spite of their earplugs, their eyes were
inflamed underneath their ineffectual safety glasses, and their
throats were parched. One expensive toupee was missing.
As Sara touched
lightly down in front of them, an Honest John tactical artillery missile
suddenly took off uprange behind her. She told them, "I'm
gonna give it a little head start, then try to catch it."
The missile had
launched in silence leaving a roiling pillar of gray smoke
behind it. When the sound unexpectedly reached them a few
seconds later, it was worse than the previous bangs and booms, a
searing white noise of incredible intensity that only slowly
dwindled into a horrific screeching. Sara suddenly darted off
after it, catching it easily before it burned out and bringing
it back to lay at their feet, its nozzle still smoking, adding
to the array of chemical stenches they'd been subjected to so
Astin led the group
from their seats to watch the next event, which involved Sara
becoming a missile herself, streaking low across the flat,
desert floor from the other side of the valley, faster than
their eyes could follow, leaving a brilliant meteoric trail of
superheated air and a rooster tail of dust as she slammed into
the reinforced concrete of an abandoned static test stand built
into the side of a two-hundred-foot-high rocky hill at the base
of the Organ Mountains behind the bleachers.
The entire hill
disintegrated, the dome of its shattered remains heaving slowly into the air
and settling back down in a tremendous pall of dust and falling
debris. Aside from the considerable sound, attenuated by
distance and echoing ominously from the canyon-riven mountains,
the most striking effect was akin to an earthquake, as the
overstressed ground rippled shock waves in concentric circles
from the site of the catastrophe.
Alex and the
technicians with him scrambled in panic out of the blockhouse as
it seemed to shift precariously on its base. All of the
dignitaries fell down. Lots of windows were shattered at the
not-too-distant military base, along with dishes thrown out of
cupboards. People felt the tremors in Las Cruces, down in the
Rio Grande valley on the other side of the mountains.
Sara returned covered
with dust and radiating a considerable amount of heat, which
quickly faded. She managed to shake off the dust, probably aided
by ultrasonics or some kind of electrostatic charge, and soon
was none the worse for her experience. Her audience was nearly
done in by now, though. Alex and Astin helped them back to their
seats in the bleachers and passed out some refreshments.
guys," she told them reassuringly. "Just a couple more
things and then we can all go back to the base."
She went over to the
tank and stood beside the gun barrel. "First, I'm gonna
make you some souvenirs," she announced, and her lasers
flashed, cutting the thick tube into precise slices, like a
bunch of big, metal doughnuts. The actinic glare of vaporizing
metal was impossible to look at, casting sharply-defined moving
shadows in every direction, but it only took her a few
seconds. She cooled the heavy rings with her breath and passed
them out to everyone. The lands and grooves of the barrel's
rifling made them look like gears turned inside-out. In a nice
touch, she had laser-etched a copy of her emblem on each one
along with her autograph, 'Susan'.
"Alright, this is
the last dance, so bear with me just a few more minutes. I'm
gonna melt this thing with x-rays in midair."
The bottom of the
vehicle was relatively too thin-skinned for her purposes, so she casually flipped
the front of the tank into the air and caught it underneath at
the balance point, pressing it effortlessly over her head with
one hand. Then she flipped it into the air like a flapjack,
catching it upside down by the top of the thickly armored turret, bits and
pieces of stuff falling out of the open hatch to the accompaniment
of a great deal of clanging and banging from loose heavy objects
rattling around loudly inside. Like a shot putter, she crouched
low, then heaved the whole thing in a high arc toward the
still-smoking crater left by the bunker buster. Both of the
treads and several wheels couldn't take the sudden acceleration,
tearing away noisily and flying off on their own short
At the peak of the
tank's flight, Susan unleashed her beams. First, high-intensity
UV to explosively heat two parallel narrow paths through the
air, the shock waves creating a near vacuum between her and her
target. Microseconds later, x-rays followed, free to travel
inside the evacuated corridors without interference from
atmospheric absorption. The highly penetrating x-rays
explosively sublimated twin paths completely through the tank,
producing shock waves radiating secondary x-rays that more or
less evenly heated the rest of the target. This Susan-managed sequence was
repeated several times in less than a second to different parts
of the vehicle until enough energy
had been delivered to do the job.
happened almost simultaneously. The paint, wiring insulation,
rubber and lubricants ignited as the metal itself liquefied,
turning into a molten shower of small
droplets by the the explosively burning flammables. The droplets
themselves ignited as the incandescent iron burned in the
atmosphere, becoming thousands of bright flares.
Unexpectedly, the last
laser beam of the sequence broke completely through one of the thinner parts of the
tank and connected with the now closely looming thunderheads
moving across the valley, creating an electrically conductive
path of ionized air that drew a sudden massive discharge of
static electricity between the cloud and Sara's eyes, arcing
from her face to the ground at her feet.
The sizzling pop of
the lasers was followed almost instantaneously by the sharp crack and
prolonged ripping boom of unanticipated lightning that made everybody else jump, hair
standing on end from the closeness of the bolt as its energy
dispersed through the surrounding ground following a profusion
of buried cables. The TV monitors shattered, spraying the VIPs
with small chunks of crumbled safety glass. Every circuit in the
blockhouse ignited in a shower of sparks. Alex and the techs
found themselves running for their lives again as smoke quickly
filled the building.
Unnoticed, a few
surviving blobs of flaming molten steel splashed into the bomb
It got much worse.
A couple of trucks
parked next to the bleachers suddenly disgorged more than a
dozen black-clad men, heavily armed, most swaddled with
explosives and all with the determined look of fanaticism in
their eyes. They quickly grabbed the bewildered and
shell-shocked dignitaries, putting automatic pistols to their
Astin tried to
interfere, but one of the men slapped a device against his
bionic leg which began to spasm uncontrollably. He went down in
Their leader screamed
at Sara. "We are ready to die, spawn of Satan! Do not
interfere with our holy mission or these wretches will die with
Sara stood transfixed
as all this unfolded, looking as if she was completely surprised
by this turn of events. But as the group of
terrorists started to drag their hostages toward their waiting
trucks, Sara moved quickly to block their way.
"Put down your
weapons and release the hostages," she commanded, the
effect made somewhat less than authoritative by her little girl
voice. But she had the body language down pat, standing with
feet firmly planted far apart, fisted hands on her hips,
radiating determination and defiance.
The leader tightened
his grip on his detonator and bellowed, "Death to Amerika!
He never finished the
Susan sprang into
action in a blur no one could follow. Her speed left little
sonic shock waves behind her as she almost simultaneously
neutralized their detonators, temporarily blinded them, reduced
their weapons to junk, and then stunned them. Before they hit the
ground, every one of them had been tied up with wires torn from
their own explosive vests.
She tried to catch
each of the VIPs as they sagged to the ground in confusion and
exhaustion from the incredible barrage of events. Astin finally
gained control of his own electronics and helped the visitors to
their seats, assisted by Alex and the techs. Sara rounded up the
dazed gunmen and herded them in front of the bleachers.
Where they took a bow.
gentlemen," Astin congratulated them. Turning to the
visitors, he said, "Allow me to introduce Commander Cody
and his very theatrical Navy SEAL team. I'm sure you'll agree
that they made excellent terrorists. I think they deserve a nice
round of applause."
Astin, Sara, Alex and
the techs had to do all the clapping.
our demonstration," Astin announced. "The bus will
take us back to the base
we will have a question and answer session," he continued.
"We will have complete summaries and videos of all of
today's events made available to your offices."
"I hope you
enjoyed the show," beamed Sara.
For some reason,
Chapter Twenty-six: Scrutiny
© Patrick Hill, 2000