Later that afternoon, a convoy of trucks arrived at the bug warehouse. Luis had received a call from the secretary for the University President and informed him of their arrival. The Lieutenant in charge would show his ID and Luis would allow the soldiers to pass on to the basement elevator. The surveillance cameras outside showed transport trucks and one large cage-like apparatus that had bars but also what looked like silver mesh enclosing it.
After about an hour, the Lieutenant and Mildred Vasquez, Chief Operations Officer of the underground labs, approached the desk. “Mr. Gomes, please go to each staffer on this floor and inform them they are done for the day, including yourself. You will all still get paid. Once you’ve confirmed everyone is off of the floor call me at [this number.] Thank you.”
Luis had them cleared out in ten minutes, then left for the local sushi bar for an early dinner with a couple of saki drinks before heading home. One of the things Luis enjoyed doing was listening to the police scanner. He liked knowing what was happening in his neighborhood. At 9 pm, all hell broke loose on the scanner. There was a high alert going on ………… at the warehouse! All units, fire, police, hazmat, and medical personnel were being called in. A dozen ambulances were needed.
Luis couldn’t contain his fear or his excitement. Had one of the bugs gotten free? Was it connected to that young student who had run out of the place as if he’d seen a ghost? Luis hopped on his bicycle; it took him two minutes to get there. He stood next to a tree trunk, hidden in shadow, and watched the spectacle. The first thing he noticed was the cage apparatus. It was smoking on one side, where it looked like a missile had been shot out of it. The smell of burning iron and silver made Luis wrinkle his nose. The next thing were the bodies of soldiers lying in varying stages of dying and death. Blood was spattered on them and around them. He heard sirens approaching. He saw who looked like Ms. Vasquez standing near the entrance, waving her arms and directing the survivors to do medical triage on their downed comrades. Then, out of the corner of his eye, Luis saw something moving up in a tree ten yards away. As he tried to make out what it was, he saw two red eyes, glowing like charcoal, and a thought entered his mind to be quiet and go home. Luis, like an old-fashioned toy, climbed aboard his bike and did just that. He unlocked his door and walked in, oblivious to the tall figure behind him until the thought he needed to turn around, which he did. Invite me in popped into his mind, and Luis said, “Please, come in.”
Marty and his family had just finished dinner and the clearing up afterwards. Marty got the family up to speed on the meeting with Professor Aguilar earlier and emphasized not to talk about the happenings to anyone. Uncle Ricky, on a whim, turned on the local news station. Soon all four of them were transfixed by the disaster scene at the bug warehouse. “I need to call Professor Aguilar!” said Marty and quickly dialed. He got a puzzled look on his face and said, “it says that number is no longer in service. Really?!” It got the wheels turning for Marty as he realized he’d never actually seen what the Department Head looked like. He quickly went to the faculty website to see pictures and to get alternative numbers to reach the professor – and realized the man he met at Rocky’s was not Professor Aguilar.
“How could I have been so stupid! I just assumed the one man alone in the cafe was him. He has something to do with what happened at the warehouse. I’m sure of it!”
Marty called Aguilar’s office and his secretary informed him that the professor was on an indefinite leave of absence, but she could put him through to the interim Department Head. Marty was put through to voicemail that said the interim director would be unavailable until next week. He left a message and forgot about it, as he did not expect a call back and by next week it would probably be too late.
Uncle Ricky said, “By the looks of it, the military is involved, and military always overshadows university personnel. Is there a way you can get through to Jean or her Professor and see what they know? Seems like the military connections they have can parlay with ours?”
“Good idea, Tio/Uncle, I’ll try her right now.”
Marty dialed Jean. Ring…. Ring…. Ring…. Ring…. “Oh Marty! I’m so glad you got through!”
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