September 7, 2008

Iapetus Saves Albuquerque

Chapter Eight

By Douglas E. Gogerty

The Sletfernian Sand Monster continued its rampage through the streets of Santa Fe. It slowly made its way towards the center of town, but it would occasionally wander off in one direction or another to destroy a building or two. In this way, it left a serpentine shaped trail of destruction as it headed northeast.

In the military Humvee, Captain Cheever and Dr. Plate left the destruction behind and made their way to the makeshift military command post. There was soldiers running around. It appeared everyone was on high alert.

"Wait here!" commanded Captain Cheever as he exited the vehicle.

Captain Cheever marched directly to the command tent. The guard informed him that the general was waiting for him, so he entered right away. He removed his cap, and stood at attention before the general.

"The cybernetic weapon is on the move captain," explained the general.

"Are we switching to plan Charlie?" asked Captain Cheever.

"The evacuation of Albuquerque has begun. It is a logical conclusion that the two alien controlled monsters will rendezvous west of the city. We need you to fly over the area for some recon before they meet."

"General sir, I have a civilian with me. What should I do with him?"

"How did that happen?"

"He was in harms way. He is some sort of astronomer and was observing the monster at an unsafe distance."

"Very good Captain -- I will have my adjutant take care of him."

"Thank you sir."

"Captain Cheever you must know that we do not have much time. With the machine on the move, it'll be just a matter of hours before it arrives at the arranged spot. It is vital that we have a major presence there when the two meet."

"Excuse me General," interrupted the general's adjutant.

"What is it?" replied the general.

"The sand creature has ceased its destruction and has headed south," the adjutant replied.

"Thank you," he replied before turning back to Captain Cheever. "That changes things -- take your vehicle and just attempt to stay ahead of the creature. Make regular reports, and we'll just have to best guess the rendezvous location. Dismissed"

"Understood," replied Captain Cheever as he turned and exited the command post.

Captain Cheever ran to his Humvee and got into the driver's seat. He notice that the passenger seat was empty, so he sped off. He drove towards the city until he spotted the monster. He then turned south on highway 14.

He drove for a few minutes and turned his head to check on the monster. He spotted Dr. Plate hiding in the back. He felt the urge to stop middle of the road, but he resisted. Speed was of the utmost importance, and he would not have time to secure the civilian.

"Dr. Plate what the -- uh -- um -- what are you doing in here?"

"I thought you would leave me behind."

"That is exactly what should have happened -- for your own safety."

"No offense Captain Cheever, but I would not have been involved in that decision."

"It is too late to argue with you; however, please secure yourself. The roads we are probably going to take are going to be a bit rough."

"Captain Cheever do you read? Over," came a voice over the radio.

"Cheever here. Over."

"Captain, we have been unable to locate your civilian. Over."

"Roger that. He hid in my hummer. He is with me. Over."

"Roger that. How will you continue? Over."

"There is no time to drop him off. He will continue with me on my mission. Over."

"Roger that. I'll inform the general. Over."

"Roger that. The sand monster is heading due south. Perhaps to Stanley or Moriarty. Over."

"Roger that. Keep us informed. Over."

"Roger. Over and out."

"Over and out."

Dr. Plate crawled his way into the front seat and fastened himself in. The roads between Albuquerque and Santa Fe were closed by the military; thus, there was no traffic on this road. The military vehicle went as fast as it could go.

The two men attempted to keep their eyes out for the monster as they raced south. At times, the giant sand monster would simply disappear. They would continue driving, and the monster would suddenly reappear out of nowhere. It was almost as if it would dive into the sand, and jump out when it encountered a rock.

Both the military vehicle and the monster were moving quickly south. State Highway 14 would begin to head southwest towards Albuquerque, and the two men needed to keep heading south. Thus, they turned off at County Road 42.

The status of this road was uncertain. It had several residential roads leading to it, and it was possible that there may be some local traffic upon it. This would slow the men down.

More importantly, the current route of the monster crossed the road ahead of the two men. If they hit that spot at the same time as the monster, they would certainly be in big trouble. If they hit the spot after the monster, it may tear up the road making it difficult for even this all terrain vehicle from passing through.

As the monster headed south, the two men in the military vehicle headed west as fast as they could. They kept their eyes out for other vehicles on the road as they raced towards the anticipated crossing point. The monster would appear and disappear, but it seemed to get closer and closer.

The road turned south again right before the intersecting point and then returned west. The monster was getting closer and closer. Just as the two men passed the spot, the sand monster appeared and tore up the road. In fact, it lingered briefly at the spot as if to prevent any other vehicles from passing.

The sand monster traveled south for a brief time and then vanished. The men kept to the road which headed west-southwest. The monster was ahead of them now as it did not have to follow the roads. The two men had to continue on the county road until they hit another state highway heading south.

However, since the road was a few miles from the path of the monster, they could still keep an eye out for it without another encounter. Also, the monster would not demolish this road.

The monster spent less and less time visible as it continued south. The men raced as fast as they could and last spotted the beast just west of the New Mexican town of Moriarty before it disappeared into a sand pit.

Captain Cheever reported the last known position of the monster when he spotted a rental car driving around the sand pit. He stopped the car and confronted the two men. They alerted him to the approaching menace. Something big was about to happen at that spot.

Posted by deg at September 7, 2008 6:25 PM

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