Authors: Robert Doherty
Tags: #Space ships, #Area 51 (Nev.), #High Tech, #Unidentified flying objects, #Political, #General, #Science Fiction, #Plague, #Adventure, #Extraterrestrial beings, #Fiction, #Espionage
percent of the time as it had been for generations of those before him.
Take no action—for now. Just watch.
A long black streak, over a hundred meters long amid a row of smashed and splintered trees, marked the crash site of the Blackhawk helicopter that Peter Nabinger had been on. It was on a hillside, in a remote area in the west of China, the terrain rough and difficult to reach by foot. It was thirty miles east of Qian-Ling, the mountain tomb that Nabinger had investigated, not too far from the ancient capital city of Xian.
The largest intact piece of the chopper was the armored cockpit and the area right behind it. All were dead, the two pilots still strapped in their seats, the control panel buckled against their chests. In the rear, Peter Nabinger's body lay on its back, both legs badly broken, his left side covered in blood.
His sightless eyes looked up at the shattered rotor blades.
Clutched in his right hand was a leather notebook with his high rune translations and the drawings and photographs he had collected during his years of tracking down the source of the ancient language. In it also was the secret of the lower level of Qian-Ling, the ancient tomb of the Emperor Gao-zong and his empress. Given that a guardian computer had been found above that lower level, along with a large area containing numerous Airlia artifacts that no one had had a chance to investigate, that secret was critical.
Writing down what he remembered from his contact with the guardian and his interpretation of the high rune characters on the wall leading to the lowest level had been the last thing Nabinger had done. He had been desperately trying to radio out that secret when the foo fighters had caused the Blackhawk to crash. And now the secret lay here on the hillside with him, gripped by his dead fingers.
It was a terrible ending for a man who in the past month had made some most startling discoveries in the field of archaeology. He had penetrated the secret of the Great Pyramid, built as a space beacon during the war between the Airlia factions, and then the corresponding message built into the very shape of the Great Wall of China, beckoning to the sky for help. The entire previously accepted history of mankind had been thrown on its ear due to those discoveries and the world was still reeling, many not willing to accept these new facts.
The wind blew, ruffling the edges of the pages sticking out of the notebook.
In the distance, the sound of helicopter blades approaching became audible.
Deep underneath Rano Kau, Kelly Reynolds had become one with the guardian. Her body, pressed up against the side of the twenty-foot-high golden pyramid that housed the alien computer, wasn't important to the machine. The golden glow that surrounded her body kept it in a stasis field where it hung in suspended animation. But a thick golden tendril that tapped into her mind was fastened directly to her head.
Kelly Reynolds had been drawn into the Area 51 mystery because of the investigation of her fellow reporter, Johnny Simmons. His death at the hands of the Majestic-12 committee that ran Area 51 and its sister
bio-research facility at Dulce, New Mexico, had galvanized her. She had not believed that the Airlia were evil or bad, but that mankind's best hope lay in communicating with the aliens—and the best way to do that had been the guardian computer. But since coming down here just before Turcotte destroyed the Airlia fleet, she had not moved.
Easter Island was the most isolated spot on the face of the planet, part of Chile but over two thousand miles from that country on the west side of South America. That remoteness had obviously been the reason the Airlia had chosen it to hide the guardian computer.
The island was shaped roughly like a triangle, with a volcano at each corner.
Landmass totaled only sixty-two square miles, but despite the small size it had once boasted a bustling civilization—one advanced enough to have built the Moai, giant stone monoliths for which the island was known. How the statues, some almost sixty feet high and weighing over ninety tons, had been moved from where they were carved to their positions dotting the coast had been a mystery, one that the presence of the Airlia computer might shed light on. There was no doubt now that the Moai were representative of the Airlia—the red stone caps like the red hair of the aliens, the long earlobes similar to what had been seen on the holograph of the Airlia under Qian-Ling. So another mystery of the ancient world had been partially solved.
The destruction of that early Easter Island civilization had always been accounted to the breakdown of the island's ecosystem. By the time the island was discovered by Europeans, on Easter Day in 1722—thus the English name—it was virtually unpopulated and stripped of almost all trees.
It was under Rano Kau that the guardian had been
secreted over five thousand years earlier. And on that strangely shaped computer a small panel, only four inches high by three wide, now opened. A microrobot, less than two inches in height, tottered on six mechanical legs, looking like a metal cockroach. It skittered across the floor to the base of the communications console. The pointy tips of the front two legs turned horizontal. They jabbed forward into the wooden leg of the table. The microrobot began climbing up the leg. It reached the top and headed for the machinery.
One of those devices was a computer with a direct sat-link into the Department of Defense Interlink system. The microrobot used its arms to pull a panel off the side of the computer. A thin wire came out of the top of the Airlia creation and poked into the innards of the computer. The screen on the computer flickered, then came to life.
High on the rim of Rano Kau's crater, a satellite dish aligned with the nearest FLTSATCOM satellite and made a connection. Built into the side of the crater itself, with technology that the UNAOC scientists had only been able to guess at, a communications array, an Airlia one, also came alive. It reached out into space, toward Mars. Making contact, it received a message from the Red Planet. A plan and the order to implement it.
The guardian reached out around the planet to other guardians.
Turcotte took thirty minutes to cautiously move down the last fifty meters. It had taken him an hour to walk around the mountain and climb over the top, but the last part was most critical. He quietly wove his way through the pine trees clinging to the mountainside un-
til he saw what he was searching for—a small, level spot where a prow of rock thrust out from the steep hillside.
The watcher was long gone, but to Turcotte's trained eye there was no mistaking the imprint of a tripod and other signs in the ground. The grass and pine needles had been disturbed ever so slightly. Turcotte scanned the area for other clues. In his time in the Special Forces he'd spent time on hillsides just like this, doing nothing but watching and recording what he saw, so he knew what to look for.
Whoever had been there the previous night was good. That bothered Turcotte.
There were a large number of alphabet-soup organizations—CIA, DIA, NSA, ISA, to name a few—from his own government that might want to keep an eye on him and Duncan. Then there were all the foreign agencies. But what truly disturbed Turcotte was that not only didn't he have a clue who had been there, but the person might have been from an organization Turcotte didn't know about. An unknown enemy was much more dangerous than a known.
Finally he spotted something. Against the bark of a pine tree there was the smallest of imprints, just under half an inch in diameter. As if someone had pressed the tip of a weapon against the tree. Turcotte looked at it closely. The imprint was circular. In view of the care the watcher had taken, this mark seemed strange. Turcotte pondered it for a few moments, but there was nothing more he could make of it.
He looked across the gorge at Lisa's house. He had left her sleeping comfortably, the thick blanket covering her naked body. The sun was coming up over the high plains to the east. Turcotte took the direct route back to her house.
The stone face of Kon-Tiki Viracocha frowned down on the traveler. Hewn out of a solid block of andesite and weighing many tons, the Gateway of the Sun was the entrance to the center pyramid of the city of Tiahuanaco. The sun god Viracocha's presence at the top of the archway told the traveler this was a most sacred site high in the Bolivian highlands.
"This way." The guide was anxious. The site was off-limits by decree of the government, and soldiers patrolled the area frequently.
The Russian who followed the guide through the gate was a huge man, almost seven feet tall and wide as a bear. Even his bulk, though, was dwarfed by the ruins he walked through. They approached the Pyramid of the Sun, a massive earth-and-stone mound over three hundred feet high. At the very top of the pyramid, a stone altar had been placed millennia before. On its flat surface thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of people—prisoners, criminals, volunteers, the unlucky chosen ones—had had their still-beating hearts ripped out of their chests, the bodies thrown down the steeply stepped side.
The Russian was known by only one name—Yakov. Whether it was his first or last name didn't matter. Nor did it matter whether it was his given name. He had been operating in the gray covert world for all of his adult life, and that was all he knew.
Yakov cared little for the outside of the pyramid. His research had led him here and he knew what he wanted to see. The guide was clambering over a pile of broken rocks at the base of the pyramid, searching.
"Here!" The man pointed down.
Yakov joined him and looked. There was a black hole between two large rocks.
It would be a tight fit. The guide held his hand out and Yakov tossed him a wad of
local currency held together with a rubber band. The guide was gone.
Yakov paused before pushing himself into the dark hole. He took several deep breaths, his lungs laboring in the thin 13,000-foot atmosphere. He looked around, taking in the sight of Tiahuanaco as it caught the first light of morning. One of the two great ancient cities of the New World, Tiahuanaco was much less well known than the other, Teotihuacan, outside Mexico City. That could easily be explained by Tiahuanaco's remote location high in the Andes Mountains. Just getting there required an arduous journey from La Paz, the capital of Bolivia. But there was also a very negative policy enforced by the Bolivian government toward visitors desiring to see the ruins. Getting a travel permit to come to Tiahuanaco was almost impossible. Yakov had bypassed that requirement by ignoring it. He was well-versed in the techniques of entering countries illegally and moving about in the black world.
Both New World cities, because of their greatness, their pyramids, their sudden appearance at the time of the waning of the Egyptian Empire, had raised speculation that they were founded by remnants of that civilization. Now, with the awareness that there really had been an Atlantis, destroyed by the Airlia, the speculation had shifted that perhaps these Central and South American cities—along with the Egyptian, the Chinese, all the Old World civilizations—had been founded by those fleeing that disaster; this, the diffusionest theory of the rise of civilization, claimed that the various civilizations around the world had arisen at the same time because they were founded by people from an earlier, single civilization.
Yakov thought the diffusionest theory was likely, and he also felt there was much more to history than the books recorded. He was a member of Section IV, a 21
branch of the Minister of Interior, sister to the KGB. More a bastard stepchild.
Section IV had been formed by the Soviet Union to investigate UFOs and the paranormal. As the years had gone by, after various discoveries, the Soviets had little doubt that Earth had been visited by aliens at some time in the past, although the exact extent of alien involvement in human affairs had been unknown up until the cover being blown off of America's Area 51 just several weeks before and the information received from the guardian computer.
Yakov, while taking the new revelations in stride, was still on the path of something he had been tracking down for years. Today he hoped to find another piece in the puzzle. He turned toward the dark hole and lowered himself into the bowels of the Pyramid of the Sun. Turning a powerful flashlight on, he made his way through the stone hallways, hunching over to keep his head from hitting the roof.
At Area 51, Major Quinn was inside one of the surface buildings that had been turned into a makeshift morgue. In the middle of the Nevada desert, this location was also well off the beaten track. Part of Nellis Air Force Base, the location had gotten its designation from that post's map, being designated with that number training area. Quinn knew the entire history of the place, having been assigned as operations officer to the Cube, the command-and-control center for Area 51, five years before.
The location had been chosen because it was where the mothership had been found during World War II. The facility had grown over the years, especially when most of the bouncers—seven of the nine atmospheric craft of the Airlia—had been brought there after being recovered from their hiding place in Antarctica.
flights of those craft had led to the rumors of UFOs for decades.
Two doctors from UNAOC—the United Nations Alien Oversight Committee—wearing their white lab coats, masks, and goggles, were preparing to do an autopsy on one of the two bodies of the STAAR representatives who had been killed trying to stop the mothership from taking off.
Zandra had been her code name, Quinn remembered as one of the doctors pulled back the sheet covering the first's body.
"Could have used some sun," the first doctor remarked. His name tag read
The body was milky white, the skin smooth. The other doctor set up a microphone on a boom in front of Billings. He clicked on a recorder. "All set."
Billings picked up a scalpel but simply stood over the body for a few seconds as he spoke. "Subject is female; age approximately forty, but it is difficult to determine. Height . . ." He waited as the other doctor stretched out a tape measure. "Seventy inches. Weight"—Billings looked at the scale reading on the side of the portable cart—"one hundred and fifty pounds."