And here we are… the finale of my ‘What’s Your Name?’ writing exercises. I took my sweet time to get here, but I made it.
Today’s name has been randomly picked from the first Z page in my naming book.
Zadok: a masculine first name meaning righteous. (Hebrew).
I hadn’t pre-selected this name, so I had no idea how to work a new character into the narrative at this late stage. In true KJ fashion, I broke the rules a little. Zadok is not a person…
To catch up on previous installments of this narrative, click the following links:
Xena did a blinding job. She was careful not to make her trail look too obvious and slyly gave her address when purchasing a boat in Portsmouth. The details must have been uploaded into an accounts system. Val reckons that as soon as the seller hit enter, the T.D.E.D got a hit on her location…’our’ location. He was careful to hack only business CCTV, databases and the such; nothing the government would notice.
We went with the theory that Ulric and the T.D.E.D are closing in on Xena, and now, we’re cramped into the back of the truck on our way to headquarters. Sabine and Quentin are back at the farmhouse. If this goes badly, at least they will have some chance of escape.
My mind keeps wandering back to Xena. Brave, sweet Xena. I can’t think about what might happen to her without bile rising into my throat. I did love her, I was just scared of the man I had become. I should have told her that. I should have told her a lot of things.
“We walk from here,” says Lex, turning off the engine. “No lights, no talking, and remember the plan. Plan B is still viable, but it’s an abortion plan only. We have one shot at this.”
Val smudges black face paint across my face with a sweaty palm, and I pull my black cap onto my head. “Don’t think too much,” he whispers. “We get in, we get the box, and we get out. It’s that simple and that hard.” He wants this to go well, of course he does, he needs to make amends for getting us stranded on Earth in the first place. The crash was an accident, but he was the pilot- the captain- and that eats him up.
Neema and Marko use a device they ‘acquired’ from their many run ins with the T.D.E.D, to disable the last sector of electric fencing, and Yas clips the wires with bolt cutters. It’s down to Val to loop the CCTV which he does in tens econds flat. I feel obsolete save from the gun in my hand. I’m the best shot here, and I’m willing to kill if need be.
I’m the first through the fencing, and keeping low to the ground, we skirt around the perimeter toward the building that looks like nothing more than a collection of pre-fab offices. Other than security lighting, there is little sign of anyone being inside. They must have night security, surely? We are prepared for at least a small team of guards.
Val signals for us to head to the back entrance. The door is small with no handle or any type of locking system. Everything must be controlled from within.
Lex takes the device from Neema and presses it against the door. “Perhaps it will disrupt the electrics,” she muses. Val makes a grab for it, but it is too late; an alarm sounds against the still night. “Shit! Shit! Shit! My bad.”
“Did you think there would be a padlock or something?” says a voice behind us. We all spin around, training our weapons on Rae Matthews. “I thought you cleverer than that. This may only be T.D.E.D adminstration offices, but it’s still government run.”
Pressing a button on his watch, the alarm is silenced, and then he pushes a finger to the headset tucked behind his ear. “All is well. I forgot to disable the alarm before opening my office window.”
“What are you doing?” I ask.
Matthews tilts his head. “What have you come for. The black box? I can help you get it.”
“And why would you do that?”
“Because I want to come with you. I want to see the universe, Tate. That’s where this all started for me. I want to travel with you.”
Val scoffs. “Why should we do a damn thing for you, after everything you have done to us?”
Matthews presses another button on his watch and the metal door swings open. Xena stumbles out and into my arms. The relief that floods through me is beyond compare.
“He helped me, Tate. He found me at the docks before Ulric could, and helped me stage everything.” I hold her, breathing in the scent of her hair, not wanting to let her go.
“Let me come with you,” Matthews insists.
Yas flexes her finger over her trigger. “We ain’t going anywhere without that box.”
Matthews digs in his jacket pocket and retrieves a black box no bigger than his palm. “The light has been blinking for thirty-three years. This box is Ulric’s most prized possession. He loves it, but at the same time he loathes it because he has never been able to understand it.”
As soon as the box touches my skin, small, seemless panels open like automatic doors. It must be our DNA that activates it. Val lunges forward, pressing the red button inside without hesitation.
“ScoutShip 12 to Zadok Command. ScoutShip 12 to Zadok Command? Do you read us? Please, anyone?” he calls into the box.
“Zadok Command is hearing you loud and clear, ScoutShip 12. We have been waiting a long time to hear your voice Captain Valentine.”
Content belongs to KJ.Chapman