Mega 4: Behemoth Island (4 page)

BOOK: Mega 4: Behemoth Island
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“Here they are,” Ingrid said. “Compression suits for everybody.”

There were some quiet complaints, but having all had their lives saved at some point by the functionality of the suits, no one objected too harshly. The team stripped down to their underwear, modesty not something that any of the military veterans subscribed to, donned their suits then went about double checking each other to make sure seals were in place.

As one they activated their suits and the mesh material cinched up instantly, fitting each person’s form like a second skin. The suits were designed to maintain a specific pressure when diving into and surfacing from deep water, helping the wearers avoid the normal health issues that came from descending or ascending too quickly. What they all found out during their many battles with human and not-so-human foes was that the suits also helped maintain pressure on and seal around wounds.

Not to mention they were nearly impervious and could harden like armor if the wearers found themselves in the jaws of an impossible creature. Which seemed to be the unfortunate fate of Team Grendel all too often. A roar from the island quickly reminded them of that fact.

“This better not be it,” Thorne snapped. “Better bullets and compression suits will not be enough.”

“The compression suits aren’t better,” Ingrid said. “They’re just— Oh, right, you only meant the bullets.” She smiled sheepishly and pulled out several black boxes from the bottom of the case Carlos had brought up. “These should help.”

“Containment nets,” Carlos said. “We have tested each of them and they were not affected by the EMP.”

He set one of the boxes on the deck and pressed on it with his foot three times. A bright blue grid of light erupted from the box, hovering in the air in front of Team Grendel. About ten feet by ten feet square, the grid was a crisscrossed pattern of electric lines that sparked and shimmered in the tropical sunlight.

“Yeah, that’ll stop an angry dachshund, but that’s about it,” Max said.

“You plan on us waving that blue hanky around and hope to distract the monster?” Shane laughed. “Did no one give you the specs on the thing? It’s fucking huge?”

“I feel like we’re in Spinal Tap,” Max said.

“Yeah, that is totally Stonehenge right there,” Shane agreed.

“I know they won’t stop the creature, or any creatures,” Carlos said, exasperated as usual by the brothers. “They were not designed to handle creatures so large. But they will keep you from being devoured at night when you sleep.”

“Oh. Cool,” Max said. “I’m a big fan of not getting eaten when I sleep.”

“Whoa. Sleep?” Shane asked. “How long are we going to be on the island? I thought this was a day op. Just a recon mission to see what we can see then back here in time for drinks and apps.”

“That reminds me,” Max said. “I have a two for one coupon I need to use before it expires.”

“Only counts on apps, not drinks,” Shane replied.

“Really? What kind of cheap-ass, chicken-shit outfit is this?” Max laughed.

“No, seriously,” Shane said before Thorne could light into them. “We’re staying overnight?”

“Best to be prepared,” Ballantine said. “The island has already proven that even the best laid plans are no match for its will.”

“You talk like this island is alive, Ballantine,” Kinsey said. “Anything else you need to tell us?”

“Nope,” Ballantine answered without the slightest hesitation.

“You are so lying,” Darren said.

“He’s always lying,” Darby responded. “Keep up, Operator.”

Ballantine clapped his hands together. “Well, Team Grendel, I hate to see you leave, but you can’t stay on this boat forever, now can you?”

Thorne sighed. “Grendel. Load up. We need to get through this bay and on that beach in ten minutes.”

Team Grendel hustled to the sides of the B3 and the waiting Zodiac rafts with their shielded and modified motors. A couple of deckhands waited for them, ready with the winches when the Team was all loaded up. Ballantine waved as they were dropped into the water then turned to Carlos and Ingrid.

“Where are the doctors?” he asked.

“Meeting in Gunnar’s lab,” Ingrid said. “Going over all the data you gave them on the facility.”

“Good,” Ballantine said. He looked over his shoulder as the Zodiacs sped across the bay, dodging the sudden appearance of fins and flippers that should not exist. “Hopefully the brains onboard can figure out how to reverse this. I don’t believe brawn is going to win this fight.”

“It never does,” Carlos snorted as he turned and left, mumbling complaints the whole way to the hatch.

“Care to join me?” Ballantine asked Ingrid once Carlos was gone.

“I have a ton of work,” Ingrid said.

“I am aware of that, but Moshi has it covered,” Ballantine said. “You should come. I think being around the doctors will be good for you. The operators are all aggression and loyalty. It’s going to take them longer to forgive you. The doctors will forgive you the second you contribute an intelligent idea to our dilemma.”

Ingrid squirmed, looking very uncomfortable.

“Come on,” Ballantine laughed, taking her gently by the elbow. “It’ll be fun.”

“I don’t think you understand what fun is,” Ingrid said, almost whispering.

Ballantine laughed again, but didn’t stop as he steered her towards the hatch.

 

***

 

Of Scandinavian descent, Dr. Gunnar Peterson had a strong build, but nothing like the military physiques of Team Grendel. Red/blonde hair mussed completely, and the scruff of a similarly colored beard on his face, Gunnar leaned heavily on the lab table that was covered in papers, maps, schematics, and other detritus from the constant hunt to figure out what went wrong on the island with the limited information they had been given.

He frowned deeply as Ballantine and Ingrid walked into the lab.

“I am guessing a progress report is too much to ask for,” Ballantine stated.

“You guess right,” Gunnar said, pulling up a stool and sitting on it. He waved his hand at the mess. “Without seeing the island and destroyed facility, it will be hard for us to piece together what exactly happened.”

The “us” were also seated around the lab table, their heads heavy, eyes looking weary and exhausted.

To Gunnar’s right was Dr. Lisa Morganton, late forties, with short, bobbed blonde hair and hazel eyes. She was not her usual calm and collected self. Her hair was as mussed as Gunnar’s and she had deep circles under her normally alert eyes. She barely gave Ballantine’s sudden appearance any acknowledgement, her focus strictly on the task at hand.

Next to her was Dr. Boris Kelnichov, whose face was etched and lined by deep crags and furrows, putting his age at over sixty despite the fact he wore youthful looking Bermuda shorts and a bright yellow t-shirt that looked like it hadn’t been washed in some time. His hair was a stand up mess of salt and pepper, sticking out at all angles in wild, unkempt tufts.

Ballantine frowned at everyone’s appearance except for Ronald’s.

“I see you took the time for personal hygiene, Ronald,” Ballantine said, addressing the wildest looking of the bunch.

Ronald was a gigantopithecus. It was that simple. He stood about ten feet tall with extremely long arms hanging at his sides. His legs were nearly as long as his arms, but were much more muscular. Ronald’s entire body was covered in thick, brown fur.

Basically, he was a Bigfoot.

But everyone had stopped referring to him as such when he dangled both of the Reynolds brothers over the side of the B3 one night and made them promise to stop calling him such a derogatory and simple name. He was not, as he insisted, a Discovery Channel special.

“Hi, Ronald,” Ingrid said as she stepped out from behind Ballantine.

“Oh, Ingrid, hello,” Ronald said, his voice deep and rumbling, but with a careful and precise diction. “It is good of you to join us. I am afraid even with Dr. Morganton’s expertise in biomechanics, we are all just simple biologists here. There seems to have been an exorbitant amount of unidentified technology utilized by the staff of this facility. Your technological abilities could prove helpful.”

“See,” Ballantine said as he grinned and pushed Ingrid forward. “Forgiveness is just around the corner.”

“Speak for yourself, Ballantine,” a voice said from the corner of the room.

“Hello, Michael,” Ballantine said, turning towards the voice. “I didn’t see you there.”

“That’s the point,” Mike said as he set aside a worn and tattered paperback. He was sitting on a stool, his metal legs propped up on a counter. His eyes moved from Ballantine to Ingrid. “If I can’t go on the op with the rest of the Team then I figured playing security detail for the brain trust here would be the best gig. That is until you sign off on my battle gams.”

“That is Commander Thorne’s call, I’m afraid,” Ballantine replied.

“It’s my call,” Dr. Morganton said. “As well as Carlos’s. Once we know for sure the tech in your legs is one hundred percent reliable, then you will be cleared for duty.”

“Great,” Mike said, picking the paperback up again. “Until then I get to babysit you all and make sure Ingrid doesn’t decide to go all double agent again.”

“Mike, stop,” Gunnar said. “Leave the girl alone. She fucked up. She knows she fucked up. And she’s in the same shitty situation as the rest of us. We need her help with these schematics, so knock off the macho harassment bullshit or you’re sleeping alone tonight.”

Mike shrugged then looked down at his book and did a horrible job of pretending to start reading again.

“Please, Ingrid, join us,” Ronald said, patting an open stool by him. Then he grimaced and picked up the stool, moving it to his other side. “This spot might be more inviting. I’m afraid Boris has not washed that t-shirt in some time and his aroma is quite pungent. And being of a species that is known for its glandular strength, that is saying a lot.”

He chuckled with enthusiasm and several of the items on the table shook and shuddered from the rumbling.

“Okay,” Ingrid said as she smiled at everyone then took her seat. “What am I looking at?”

“We don’t know,” Gunnar sighed. “That’s the problem. It is obviously some type of generator.”

“Oh, I wouldn’t say obviously,” Boris argued. “I have dealt with many generators on my island and none of them looked like this.”

“Maybe it was meant to generate energy,” Dr. Morganton said. “Maybe it was meant to generate something else.”

“We’ve already been through this,” Gunnar replied. “What else could it generate other than energy? Why even call it a generator at all then?”

“I didn’t,” Dr. Morganton snapped. “You did. You have been the one insisting it is a generator. None of us have agreed with that.”

“Well, we’re calling it a generator until we can call it something else,” Gunnar snapped.

“What about an incubator?” Ingrid asked as she picked up the schematics and turned them this way and that way. “Could it be an incubator?”

“That would be a massive incubator,” Boris said. “I had several in use on my island, as you can imagine considering the work I was doing with the extinct species there, but none were even close to this size.”

“I believe I will leave you to your work,” Ballantine said. “Ladies, gentlemen, a pleasure as always.”

Gunnar dismissed him with a wave and concentrated on what Ingrid had said.

“Okay, let’s say it is an incubator,” Gunnar conceded. “What does it incubate? Ballantine said that the facility here was working on miniature models of different biospheres and biomes. None of the animals, plants, or organisms created would need an apparatus this large.”

“Not unless they were incubating the entire biosphere,” Ingrid replied. “What if instead of making one component at a time, they were making it all at once? Feeding in the data to the system and letting the creatures and their environment grow and develop together?”

“My lord,” Ronald said. “The complexity of that undertaking would be immense. Yes, it would save hundreds upon hundreds of hours in labor and growth, but the risks would be enormous.”

“No shit,” Mike said. “You realize the island is all kinds of fucked, right? I’d say the risk didn’t pay off.”

“Alright, an incubator,” Gunnar said. He stared at the schematics for a few seconds then closed his eyes and shook his head. “Unfortunately, with our systems wiped out, we can’t even create a virtual model of this to prove that theory.”

“That’s not completely true,” Ingrid said.

“You have a supercomputer that can build this in a virtual environment so we can see what it does?” Gunnar asked.

“Not exactly,” Ingrid said. “But I know something that will be close. And it won’t be virtual. It’ll actually build this. Just on a teeny, tiny scale.”

“Great,” Mike laughed. “That way when it blows up, like it did on the island, the explosion will be teeny and tiny.”

“We do not know that this is what blew up,” Gunnar said. “And just keep reading your book, smart ass. Let the adults handle the big stuff.”

Mike shrugged.

“Human relationships are so complicated,” Ronald said. “Love and hate seem almost intertwined.”

BOOK: Mega 4: Behemoth Island
8.94Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
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