The Sequels to Syrrah's Game SGSequels

chapter 12

Wednesday, August 9th, 12:32 PM

Riverton, WY

 

“Is the turn coming up yet?” Evan glanced down at Freddy’s fingers grasping and enlarging the map on his phone’s screen.

“Over there!” Freddy abruptly lunged forward and pointed over the duct-taped crack, toward the left. “I think that’s the gravel road!”

“Where?” Evan focused ahead. “Oh. Wait. I see it!”

When near enough, Evan turned the Ram off the current gravel road onto this other, narrower gravel road. 

He drove along. He could already tell this was it. He couldn’t forget. It was impossible to forget. Several things shouted out. The road was on a gradual incline. Up ahead, the trees formed a barrier to the north, where he had landed all of the hull people. And to the left, the west, he could see those forest-covered hills, the tumbleweeds, and dry grass covered fields. His breathing was ramping up. And finally he saw it, that house. “I can’t believe this!”

“What?” Freddy asked. “Is this it?”

“Yes, yes! It is, it is. I can’t believe this, bro. Could it really all have been true?”

“Your dad or the other five should have organized a trip here years ago,” Freddy said, now video recording the view out the windows with his phone at the same time. “I get that they wanted to focus on the religious-message side of things, and not risk getting in trouble with authorities, but just look at you. This would have helped everyone to know it really happened!”

“But like I told you, Fred, Robert and Alan wanted to come here.”

“Maybe they did, but never discussed it with you?”

“Could be. I guess I’ll find out eventually.”  

“Yeah, true.”

“Robert and Alan?” Neraeh asked.

“The two most coolest, fun guys,” Freddy told her, “of all seven of them.”

Evan laughed. “Hey. I tried to act more cool, but my dad wouldn’t hear of that.”

Freddy laughed too. “Yeah, I guess.”

Slowing the Ram’s speed as they continued driving up the road, Evan began taking it all in. “I never saw it from this view.” The chain link fence surrounding the property. The gray-blue, one floor ranch house, surrounded by green lawns and a driveway leading right up to the gated entrance, a driveway composed of some type of fine gravel seen at other driveways around Riverton. And although he was rather far from that hill bordered by a gradual descending cliff, he could see much of the large garage to the north of the house. Yeah. Never saw it from this view, in more ways than one – both by position, and height. 

But tell Neraeh this now? No. Not a good idea. He only continued observing.

Along both sides of the gravel road, positioned before the property’s chain link fence boundary, were lines of other fencing consisting of worn-down wooden posts, with a few of the sections draped in rusty chicken wire. A rancher’s property nearby? Quite a few rocks and large boulders had been dug up or placed on the ground near the fence posts. And a few No Trespassing signs dotted the wooden fences every so often along their length. 

Freddy let out an exasperated sigh. “I guess the locals don’t like the mil-base all that much too.”

“Yeah. All those no trespassing signs.”

“Yup.”

Fortunately, no one was on this gravel road except for them. But Evan could see about three or more vehicles, since his view was partially blocked, parked between that ranch house and the large garage. Yet those vehicles were a good quarter mile away. Was as good a place as any. “I’m parking here.” He pointed to a less rocky, more grass-covered spot on the west side shoulder of the gravel road, not far from the fence. “I want to take a walk up to the hilltop on our left. And I want you two to wait here.”

“Uh, what?” Freddy asked. “Come on, Evan. I want to visit the area you brought the hull people. I’m not afraid. But are you sure you want to? No trespassing signs everywhere.”

“I’ve got to check this out, Fred, trespassing or not. I have to prove to myself that we had all truly been here. But I really wanted you and Neraeh to stay in the Ram. This is my risk, not yours.”

“Evan. It’s okay, really,” Neraeh said. “I want to come with you. I’ll take my chances with military guys with guns. I doubt they’ll shoot at us.”

“I’m sure they won’t want us near or on their property,” Evan told Neraeh. “But you’re probably right. I doubt they’ll try to shoot at us.” He opened his driver’s side door, stepped out, and walked around until he stood upon a rock in front of the door. He gazed up at the hill, his destination. “I don’t want to get inside their chain-linked fenced, just up on that elevated area that looks down on the compound. Since, like Freddy said, that is where I brought everyone.”

Freddy stepped out of the Ram and walked around the front end until standing to Evan’s left, on another large rock. Freddy clutched the side frame of the door’s open window and stared in the same direction Evan was doing. “You sure about this? And couldn’t we just take some back trails, so we approach the compound from the west or north, like through the woods over there?”

“Already checked before. There’s no other quick, safe way. We could meet up with people or things we don’t want to see. And yes, I’m sure about this. We’ve come this far. I can’t turn back now.”

Freddy scanned around the area. “Well. We drove up here slowly, and now parked here for a moment, and I still don’t see any military Humvees racing at us. I guess it’s all right, dude. Let’s just go up there and do this.”

“I agree too,” Neraeh said.

But before heading up there, Evan had them all step back in the Ram. He did a K turn, until having the Ram’s nose now facing back down the gravel road from where they came. If anything bad happened, the Ram’s 345 HP Hemi would get them out of here quick.

They climbed over a nearby, low-lying section of the wooden fence, void of much of that rusty chicken wire. Evan made sure to offer help to Neraeh, but she was actually quite nimble and able to climb over without any support. Once over the fence, they walked and ran until arriving on the hill covered in those grassy spots, dried weeds, and sandy areas. Nobody was around even within the nearest areas of that compound.

Walking along, Evan yet keeping a close eye on Neraeh, they were suddenly standing within the exact, same area where he had brought all the hull people. He could just tell it was the same location, even after all these years, judging by distances and general appearances of things.

He stood, glancing around, realizing that the only main difference was everything looked much smaller now, besides the fact some of the plants had grown larger.

Freddy stared curiously at Evan. “So, is this the spot?”

Evan didn’t answer. He turned and focused his eyes on those two signs on the fence. He slowly walked toward them. 

“Dude.” Freddy was following him. “Is this the spot?”

Evan still didn’t answer. He walked up to the sign, the one reading U.S. Department of Agriculture – Research Facility. He touched the sign, because he couldn’t really touch it before. Felt cold, and smooth, one of those metal signs tied on to the chain links with a couple of wires. He smiled. “Yes. This is the spot.” He turned back to see both Freddy and Neraeh staring at the sign. “What liars, huh?”

“Not really,” Freddy said. “They were researching you.”

Neraeh pointed at the other sign, with No Trespassing Allowed. “And I see they didn’t want anyone to know that too.”

“Yes, so true, Neraeh.” Evan looked out over the area behind the ranch house and the larger garage. No people anywhere. The garage doors where shut. He took a few photos with his phone, as did Freddy and Neraeh. “Strange. Awfully quiet, compared to what I recall.” But he could now see that those vehicles he saw earlier were two pickup trucks and a car, along with a tractor and two other farming vehicles nearby.

“And I can’t believe you brought everyone up here,” she said, “with only your mind.”

Evan shrugged a bit. “Well, ultimately, it was my connection with Limati.”

“Limati?” Her pretty eyes glimmered with confusion and curiosity.

“It’s complicated, but it was Limati who--”

“What was that?” Neraeh’s voice was startled, her eyes yet locked with his.

“Where? I didn’t hear anything.”

She turned and faced west, behind them. Evan focused along her sightline toward the woods, about three hundred yards away. A flash of light spiked out from behind some trees, and then a human-looking figure moved, along with familiar mechanical movement sounds.

“Get down.” Evan took hold of Neraeh’s forearm and tugged her to the ground. She knelt with him readily.

Freddy did the same.

Evan looked at each of them. “Not sure what it was, but I think robot, android or cyborg. We need to run back to the Ram but try to keep your heads low.”

“Damn, dude,” Freddy said. “That’s not even their property over there. Isn’t that some rancher’s?”

“I don’t know, but we need to leave, fast.” Evan took hold of Neraeh’s hand. “You ready?” She nodded. “Okay, let’s go.” He rose, but kept stooped over, Neraeh and Freddy doing similar, and he led the way running while they continued to keep their heads and bodies lower.

No shots were fired, thankfully. No loud booms. Nothing whizzed past them. Nothing struck them at all.

Evan led them to the Ram, quickly helping Neraeh to navigate over the rocks and get into her usual front seat. Freddy scampered into the back seat.

Once behind the wheel, Evan sped off, gravel shooting, but then slowed the Ram down, trying not to look too suspicious. He could see from his rear-view mirror Freddy was facing out the back window, taking photos or videos again with his phone.

“Anything, anyone following us?” he asked Freddy.

“No, man. Not so far.”

Evan glanced at Neraeh. “You okay? Sorry this all happened.”

She was still breathing hard. “I’m fine. What was…that? Why did you…think robots?”

Freddy leaned forward. “Because they probably resembled these robots Evan saw one time. Right, dude?”

“Maybe. But, yeah. In the underground base. Saw them one time. Black, tall, humanoid-looking, with just this horizontal slit where the eyes should be. Red light for eyes, or some type of sensor. One arm was a gun.”

“Seriously? A gun? Sounds like something,” Neraeh said, “from a video game. Is that what…shot at you before?”

“That, and military guards.” Evan dropped his stare to the gas gauge a moment. Not good news. “Damn, guys. We need to get gas.”

“I’m on it.” Freddy rested his phone on the middle compartment. “Looking for the nearest.”

“Thanks, Fred.” Evan glanced into each rear-facing mirror, but again, like Freddy had observed, no one was following them. Nor were any of those humanoid robots making a beeline for the Ram’s tailgate.  

He drove the Ram to the gravel road’s end and searched in the rear-view mirrors once more. Still nothing. He turned right.

Freddy found the nearest convenience store, named Maverik, and they headed in that direction.

Although it seemed more than previously that Neraeh was grasping and believing the truth about what happened with the hull people, she still wasn’t showing that much interest, honestly. She asked a few more questions about the robots and base military guys, but she didn’t continue, didn’t ask about Limati, instead discussing more about her eagerness to see Dana Zypher tomorrow.

Evan inhaled a deep breath and quietly let it out. She was probably still frightened. She would eventually know the full story, though. It was only a matter of time.