Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Today's excerpt from The Interceptors Club and the Secret of the Black Manta

Chin pressed the barrel of the gun hard against Flatlander’s temple, purposely grinding it into his skull. Flatlander winced in pain.

“It’s a simple deal gentlemen. You will pilot Excalibur out of here or I will kill you both. You try anything funny and I kill you both. The aircraft crashes and I not only kill you both but I hunt down anyone you care about and kill them as well.”

Minister squirmed in his chair. The sight of seeing his friend with a pistol pointed at his brains sickened him. He had to remind himself they had Chin right where they wanted him.

“Pilot it to where?” Minister asked.

“To a remote landing strip in Mexico. I’ll provide you with the coordinates, but it must land intact or –“

“You’ll kill us both. I get it.” Flatlander said.

“You learn fast.” Chin said.

He slapped Flatlander hard across the face.

“That’s for being insolent.” Chin said. “Imagine what I will do to you if you screw this up."

Chin motioned to Hoang, his chief henchman.

“Take them and put them with the General. Lucsoon is fueling the aircraft now. I’ll call for them when it is ready for take off. ”

Hoang gestured for them to rise. He said something in Korean which Minister interpreted as “Come with me or I’ll shoot you.”

Standing up with hands cuffed behind their backs was difficult and Flatlander teetered, struggling to get his balance.

“You can take the cuffs off when you get them in their cell. They aren’t going anywhere.”

Hoang ordered them out of the room and into a hallway with curved concrete walls lined with obscene graffiti.

Some of the graffiti looked like someone had attempted to sandblast it off, apparently in an attempt to make the place look better for prospective tenants. Minister recalled seeing the realtor’s SOLD sign attached to the security fence when Chin had brought them in.

Hoang opened up a metal box attached to the concrete wall revealing a ten-digit keypad. He punched in a code: 7-2-5-5-7 and pressed ENTER. Minister committed the sequence to memory for future reference.

There was a slight grinding noise as an electronic mechanism released the bolts holding a very thick metal vault-like door closed.

Hoang motioned them to turn around. They both did.

Hang took out a handcuff key and released them from the painful shackles that gripped their wrists. He then shoved them in the room and closed the door behind them.

Inside they found General Hogle, lying in a ball on the floor. He stirred and turned toward them.

Minister noticed he had been badly beaten. He also looked malnourished and very sick.

He knelt down to Hogle.

“Are you okay?” Minister asked. “Can you sit up?”

Hogle pulled himself up with Minister’s help. He coughed and wheezed.

“Who are you guys?” Hogle managed to get out between coughs.

“We are here to help you. “ Flatlander said.

Hogle’s eyes had trouble focusing. He could tell they were wearing Air Force fatigues but not much more.

“You bring a strike team?” He said hoarsely.

“Sort of. They are on the way. It shouldn’t be long now, sir.” Flatlander said.

Hogle’s eyes began to focus. He looked up and caught sight of Minister and Flatlander’s nameplates on their uniforms. He then looked at their faces. He was puzzled.

“You guys aren’t Peck and Hollifeld!”

“Quiet. They’ll hear you!” Flatlander said.

“I doubt it. The walls are three-foot thick.“ Hogle said. “It’s designed to survive a nuclear attack so I’m pretty sure they are sound-proof.”

Flatlander looked around the room. He suddenly recognized where he was, but instead of being alarmed by his imprisonment, he was thrilled.

“This must be the old missileer’s room. Where they received the go-code and turned their keys.” Flatlander said looking around.

“Good thing they never got the chance.” Minister said.

Flatlander took a few seconds to take in the room. It was barren, no furniture except for two chairs bolted to the floor that looked like they should be in a submarine. The room had been freshly painted and someone had began wiring the place for electrical and communications lines. An old, large and peeling Strategic Air Command decal was adhered to the inside of the hatch.

“Wow! I never thought I’d be in an actual nuclear launch center, the ultimate relic of the Cold War!”

Hogle looked at them strange. Are they rescuers or tourists? He thought,

“Imagine this Minister, two airmen used to sit right here, charged with turning two keys, simultaneously.

Minster walked over and tugged on some wire coming out of a conduit protruding out of the wall.

“This is new, not original.”

“They’d get the go code, probably over a speaker mounted somewhere over -- there.” Flatlander said pointing to a spot on the wall. They’d then check it with the daily code and if it was real, whoosh! – They’d turn their keys and destroy the world. Talk about blind devotion to duty!”

Flatlander sat in one of the chairs. It was dirty and worn but he didn’t care, He grinned broadly like a kid on Christmas morning.

Hogle looked at Minister, twirling himself in the missileers chair as if he as a little kid in a barbershop.

“Who in the heck you guys? You aren’t regular military and you sure don’t act like any - specialists.

“We are Interceptors.” Flatlander replied.


“Interceptors. I’m a computer technician and he’s a writer for Popular Technology Magazine.”

Hogle sighed.

“They sent a writer and a geek to rescue me?”


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