The Device
Chapter 12

Copyright© 2013 by JOHNNY SACHU

The waves are so nice, David was thinking. So calming. Evans was standing on the California coast watching the surf roll up on the broad sandy shore. There was almost no one around that he noticed while landing in stopped time. He had resumed it, though, turning time back on, while watching the waves, and was enjoying the bliss of the latter part of earth's day, there, near the water's edge.

The growler waves were washing in and out around his lower legs, just licking at the water/space proof boots indifferently, while David stood sinking slowly into the sand at the action of the water under the weight of his body and the flight suit. People could see him, now, but there was no one near him, he didn't think so anyway. But he didn't care. Not so much at the moment.

He slowly removed his helmet while stepping backward up onto the dryer sand. The air felt wonderful and it had the stinky shoreline smell to it that anyone got used to soon enough, who loved the sea.

David closed his eyes and inhaled, let it out, then opened them, again. A wildly naked woman was standing in front of him just as an incoming wave ended its upward spread out over the shore's gray sand. She was knocked off balance slightly and stepped forward a couple of steps. Her body trembled in ways that got David's attention even though she was staring up at him all through it. But his eyes went to the most obvious exposed contours of her anatomy and eventually settled in on her face and eyes, surprisingly. He thought she was judging him, equating him, rightly with his darker side, and began to replace his black helmet but she stepped forward, protesting.

"Don't," she cried out, with some intensity and volume.

David froze with his helmet over his head, hesitating. What did she want?

"Don't go away, please," she asked.

He lowered his helmet and looked at her, again, her eyes, face, breasts, everything. She was lovely but probably trouble. Still, it was nice to have her there, like that, and David thought he would enjoy the view, a few moments longer.

"You're one of those guys that destroyed all the government buildings, aren't you?"

David Evans could not tell her the truth. He should leave but it wasn't that often a naked girl stood in front of you and wanted to carry on a conversation.

"No. That wasn't me," he said. His voice was somewhat horse and he cleared his throat.

"You look like them."

"But I'm not one of them," he told her calmly, his voice just loud enough to be heard over the incoming surf. "The people that did those things look a whole lot different than me. I don't hurt people or destroy things."

"Then why are you dressed like them?"

"I'm not. They dress like the Rocketeer, that old comic strip hero." His suit was different. It was black with silver stripes and neon blue piping here and there. This suit was the more advanced model to his earlier attempts, but she or no one else needed to know that or that he was indeed the Rocketeer(s). All of them. The ones that destroyed most of the U.S.'s military and government buildings, some time back. He could plead innocence about that, at this time, that he was different and somebody else. The name of the game was anonymity.

He didn't mind telling her a few things. She would say something, of course, after he left, talk to friends and some form of news media, but it was just her voice and one of many, and it would seem to be the voice of a nut case. She would be given about the same credence and credibility as a person that claimed they saw flying saucers. It was her reputation on the line, not his.

"But you appeared out of nowhere. I was looking at the ocean and you just popped into view, just like those, those..."

David noticed she was wearing six or seven rings on her fingers as well as jewelry in her hair. At least she wasn't tattooed. He hated those things on anybody.

I guess the beach wasn't as empty as I thought it was.

"Rocketeers," he reminded her of the supposed nemesis.

"What are you, then, an alien?" she asked. Her face was interesting, and serious about the question. There was a lot of intelligence behind those brown eyes but he could tell she hadn't applied that intelligence in any meaningful way. She WAS beautiful, though and he was feeling highly uncomfortable, now. Naked, trembling girls did that to him.

"I know but I'm just a kid that took their idea and made my own suit. I have no idea who those guys are. And there are no such things as aliens or flying saucers. That is something empty-minded people believe in," he told her, mindful that he might be insulting her. "I'm just a young guy interested in science," he said, "and know there are no such things." He looked it, too. Young, that is. Like a teenage kid. It was, of course, part of his cover of who he was and his actual age. Besides, he really had no choice in the matter.

One of the side effects, not completely understood by David, was the device's odd retro-aging of a person. Every time he turned it on, it had a reversal effect on him in a cellular form and thus, on his outward appearance. He looked about sixteen or seventeen, at the moment. Even at twenty three, he appeared very much younger.

David thought he would live forever if he could only avoid a deadly accident. It was a real possibility, he knew.

"Are you sure of that? There are a lot of people that have studied the phenomena of aliens for years."

"Yes. Very sure. I'm no alien. There are no such things. I have been to a lot of places no one has ever been and never seen any indication of aliens from other worlds visiting this planet. I hope you're not one of those gullible people who believe those lies. They were all inventions from people that wanted power and money. That's how they came about after world war two. A lot of disreputable people created all those fables, after a bunch of cheap science fiction movies were produced, based on the atomic bomb scares."

"But history," she went on as if trying to convince him, "has recorded images and writings of people visiting this planet. There is all kinds of evidence..."

" ... that proves nothing other than less sophisticated people were recording natural scientific events they didn't understand, or made things up to explain the unknown in their time, and as I said, to gain wealth and power over others with those lies and deception. Most of those events and recordings are plain made up fantasies and people have used them as a phony knowledge base. Human beings have great imaginations. Some invent things for money, some because they're looking for spiritual security. It's all man's falsehoods, ego, lust for money, and vanity, his insecurity that blossoms in times of concern. I'm young and I can see that. Can't you? Don't get pulled into it and believe it. It's all lies and flimflammery, if you know what that means."

"I know what it means. But then, how can you appear out of nowhere? And you can fly, too, can't you?" she accused.

David wasn't thinking of that anymore. He was salivating over this gorgeous, luscious, naked thing in front of him, that truthfully he'd love to hold and enjoy in a lustful way, even though she could be the poster child for kooky California clichéd people. But it wasn't going to happen and he knew he was very close to leaving. Why waste his time on her? She'd never be convinced by him.

"Yes. I can fly. It's just science. Just like airplanes are applied physics and science, so is my suit. That's all. There's no aliens behind this," he tapped his helmet. "No secret retro engineered space craft. It's just the scientific, or engineering mind, if you wish, applied to a particular problem. A human mind."

She looked disillusioned and disappointed and a little more than confused, but he could tell her wheels were tuning, thinking about the things he'd said. But she also looked alluring, to David. Too alluring. Crimony, how she did. He couldn't keep his eyes off her body, now, glancing up and down it whenever he wasn't too embarrassed to do so.

"I should go," he told her.

"Wait. No. Please, don't leave yet. Please."

Her pleading was almost frantic but genuine and he couldn't help notice her bodies movements again, and again, as she moved, pleading and moving frantically. Gosh, she's getting to me, he thought. She had something else she wanted to say or get from him, too, maybe, so he waited.

"Who are you? What are you doing here?"

"I'm nobody. I was just on my way back home. I needed to rest for a few minutes. I'm kinda tired." David had just come back from Mars. He WAS tired. He thought he'd reverse the conversation. "So who are you? What do you do?"

"I'm Jenny. Jenny Taylor. I work in a hospital."

"Oh."

"What can I call you?" Jenny asked.

It was back to him. He hesitated and said the first name that popped into his mind.

"Bob." He didn't want to tell her his real name.

"Can you call me, Bob?" she asked. "I'd like to talk more about this, if you could."

David didn't want to but she rattled off her phone number and unfortunately, he'd remember it. It had a catchy cadence to it.

"I'm very tired."

"I can tell," she said, and came right up to him, lifting her hand and touching his face in a kind of caress, she pushed back the superman curl off his forehead, as his mother called it.

He couldn't help but notice her body moving as she raised her hands to his head, seemingly oblivious to her nakedness. But with his stasis ring on and powered up, though set quite low, he couldn't feel her touch. He did feel the follicles of his hair being moved under his scalp though as she moved his hair. On low, she could do that. It was nice and he wanted to turn it off, the stasis ring, and take this woman in his arms and smother her with passionate affections. Things he could never actually do, but it was fun to day-dream. She was so sexy. Woo!

Her hair blew up into his face with the offshore breeze and he smelled its flowered fragrance. She must not have been in the water. It still had the sweet scent of shampoo to it.

"Will you call me when you get home?"

She was an insistent thing, he'd give her that.

"Yes. I'll call you."

"Promise," she smiled at him, and he couldn't help but smile back.

"Yes. I promise."

"Today?"

"Yes, today. I better get going now," David said and put his helmet on.

He sealed it and told her to stand back in the amplified Darth Vader voice. It was startling, he knew, and she obeyed. He watched her back up, enjoying fully how her body jiggled and swayed. He could watch her all day and never get enough of those views, but finally activated the propulsion engine and disappeared into the overcast atmosphere, his mind filled with the sound of her voice and her magnificent -- what could he call them that wouldn't get him into trouble -- structures?

David had no intentions of calling her. She was one of those needy woman. The clinging type.

From southern California, David thought he'd take a cruise into Groom Lake, or as it was better known, Area 51. He just liked bugging those guys.

Crossing over the Sierras at thirty-two thousand feet, David saw the secret base up ahead in the dying distance and way below. It was supposedly a secure area and was from everyone else in the world except the Russian's and himself. The Russian's had huge numbers of satellites circling the globe to spy on the place. David thought he'd deal with that sometime, just to help the government out. It wasn't a conflict, in David's mind. In his own way, David was loyal to the U.S.A., in spite of having partially or completely destroyed this place three times, not to mention the rest of U.S. interests, here and there. The government just made him angry, sometimes. Who didn't the U.S. feds upset every so often?

David crossed the Spotted Range Mountains, across the California/Nevada border and descended. Out of the darkening sky, David looked back to appreciate the sunset, rolling over on his back, then righting himself again, his belly facing the ground, once more. In that position, he looked things over. He wished he had some raw eggs, but then, thinking it through, that was the 'Evil Rocketeer's' calling card, wasn't it? He had never been to the area in his new space suit before. This black one that was nothing more than form following functionality.

He clicked the device hung around his neck, beneath his suit, and stopped time. If they had picked up the small anomaly of his flight inbound to the Nellis test rang, or Groom Lake, or whatever these jokers called the place, it would have just disappeared. They couldn't track him in stopped time, plus he was invisible as well as invulnerable inside its structure. David did not want to deal with an F-16 or a missile right now. The stasis field, he vaguely thought about, had come out of the same technology as the device, and with it turned on, that stasis ring, as it was, it was double insurance against any threat earthly or from outer space, like a super nova, which, of course was not possible in this region of the galaxy. Our sun is too small to nova and all the other large stars, in our vicinity, were too far away to hurt us, if such an event were to occur, as far as I know.

David set down quietly on the edge of one of the big runways, not too many hundreds of feet from one of the many hangers, some of which were recently rebuilt. He headed for the one with the huge bay doors slightly opened. He turned time back on as he strolled across the cement taxi/staging area and looked down at the new surface covering beneath his feet. They had done an amazing amount of rebuilding in the last sixteen months. This test facility/development place had very high priority in the military's eyes. So many other military facilities hadn't even began clean up operations after his destruction of those bases. No, this place was the pinnacle of high-ground technology and they would not neglect it. But David was curious to see what they were working on, lately, just from an engineering point of view. He had snuck around in the past and was quite impressed with the minds of these and many many other individuals who had made all these aircraft and weapon systems possible. There was no alien intelligence behind all this genius. Just hard, exacting, slow work.

That's one of the things that pissed David off about the government. Everyone in the world knew this place existed, including all the enemies we've made since the 2nd world war, so why did they continually deny its existence? There was nothing about its reality that was secret. You could see the place from a commercial airplane approaching Las Vegas airport, for crying out loud. All they had to say is, these programs and this area are classified, restricted, and it is for the good of the nation that we're keeping them secret. Not this crap of misleading people on about it not existing or any imaginary technology and letting these weak individuals waste their lives away believing in flying saucers and little men with big eyes. David hated that crap. They had utterly failed at absolute secrecy, so why carry it to the ridiculous levels they had? It served no purpose at this point.

He wasn't half way across the infield, walking slowly, when a HumVee pulled up in front of him, tires squealing and blocking his line of direction. Four over zealous security guys, or Marines jumped out of it and began yelling at him to stop and get down on the ground. He walked right into the HumVee and it slid aside with the ease of kicking a toy. It had a dent in the side of it, now, as if hit by a car and all he did was walk into it. The stasis field had kicked it. The men then began their firing and letting loose with their automatic weapons. David kept right on walking in spite of more and more vehicles heading his way and stopping in front of him. He couldn't even feel their bullets with the stasis ring on and the sound of the rifles were subdued by the stasis. There was also a lot of deformed metal building up all over the air terminal's ground. Half bullets. Half empty shell casings.

Several other vehicles were slid aside as he walked into them, the last one, he having lessened the stasis field to minimum, David picked up by it's bumper, a little pissed off, now, and tossed it half a mile out near the flight control tower. Everyone just stared at him, for a second or two, then one fool came right up in front of him and pointed his auto rifle directly in front of his face and fired off a full clip. The guy was darn lucky, he knew, that he didn't get hit by one of his own bullets bouncing off his face. Of course David stopped and swung his arm very quickly, relieving the grunt, or whatever he was, of his weapon. In stasis, David was incredibly fast and unbelievable strong.

David looked at the rifle, noting all the beautifully formed metal, "This is a beautiful piece of armament, isn't it Reilly," he told the man, noting the name tag designation on his desert fatigues. The big guy tried slugging David with a ham-like fist, putting all his shoulder and upper body weight behind the swing, but it merely broke the bones in his hand, and again, David felt nothing under the protection of the stasis field. Not even a vibration. Poor little Reilly collapsed in his arms with a scream of pain and David caught him in one arm. "Hear," he said, tossing the guy to his fellow soldiers with his one hand. They, however, merely moved aside, letting compatriot fall and sprawl out onto the gray concrete under the flood lights beneath the hanger door. They kept their own weapons aimed at him, but no one fired, now. They're well trained, he thought.

With all those rifles silent, even the new ones, seeing that they had no effect on him everyone repositioned themselves and supposedly contained him. David drew the rifle up to eye level and they all moved in closer, as if in warning, still keeping the nasty ends of theirs pointed at him.

"Like I was telling Reilly, there," he said, tilting the butt of his weapon at him, this is a beautiful piece of weaponry. Too bad he misused it."

David then began the fifteen to twenty-second task of crushing the rifle into a ball a little larger than a fist, with his gloved hands. Every so often bullets could be heard going off inside the compacted stuff, which caused the other soldiers to back off a number of feet, and it ended up as a smoking, almost perfect, orb which he tossed to Reilly, who had gotten to his feet by this time. He tried catching it but it was too hot following the newly bent metal which had heated up so much. 'Too hot to handle', as the saying goes. Good ol' grandpa, David thought, and all your sayings.

"Is there someone in charge, here?"

An officer came forward. He was a captain, or something, David wasn't sure or cared much, either.

"You might as well lower your weapons," he told them. "You can't hurt me or do you need another demonstration?" he said, noting the hanger doors beginning to close at his approach. "I could blow those doors off their hinges, if you'd like," he said. "Or, I could knock your men out with my gun," he told the officer, David pulling out his pistol and adjusting the power. "No. I won't kill them, but you're all gonna continue to let them point those pieces of junk at me they're going to have some incredible hangovers when they wake back up."

The man stared at him through his sights for a moment, a bit troubled, David noting the hanger bay doors having completely closed, by then, at his approach, apparently.

"I see you have a radio. You want to tell them to open the doors, again? I don't want to blow that thing into sand, if I don't have to. Or if you still want to keep your hanger in good shape, have them open the freaking doors. I know you understand what this little toy is capable of."

The officer had dropped the nose of his weapon and was still trying to figure this intruder out, even though he knew who and what he was, probably. He looked a little different, but that was all. This guy was obviously part of those Rocketeer guys that had destroyed so much of the government, as well as this place, and he did not like that. He wanted to comply, as he knew he couldn't keep this man from doing anything he wanted to do. But he had his orders.

"Two second's," David warned. And when the officer hadn't told his men to stand down, David shot them in three quick, separate, bursts, leveling the field of them. They were all out cold. The migraines would be coming.

David reset his pistol then looked at the officer. "You wanna make that call or do I blast this hanger into atoms?"

The officer took about a second to decide and told whomever was on the other end of the radio set to open the bay doors or this guy was going to flatten the entire hanger.

Good choice, David thought. He would have, too. He didn't give a damn about this joint. This was their little jewel, not his. He just wanted to look around.

The hanger housed one of their high performance dirigibles. It was massive, several stories high and hundreds of feet across. V-shaped, too. So much for alien spacecraft. Crazy UFO clowns.

He heard orders given over a speaker system to evacuate the hanger and everyone but a few more soldiers that had come forward, surrounding him, did just that.

David was curious about the function of the craft and went all around it, or began to. More vehicles rushed into the hanger, skidding to a stand still, and he knew the big boys had arrived. He ignored them, even when they got in front of him and tried talking to him. Most men and women of this upper station of responsibility hated being ignored, he knew from his college days. Professors thought they were something superior, too. The officer, who's men were sprawled out all over the field outside, pulled the bosses aside. He had a yelling match with the head honchos until they understood, he was only trying to protect them from being injured. David glanced their way long enough to see them nodding. They now understood.

David went up a long ramp that led into the interior of the V shaped dirigible undergoing some kind of maintenance or development work and began touring the interior on his own. He had turned his sound level way down so they wouldn't try startling him, as his kind, the Rocketeers were supposedly known to be deaf inside their suits, and David wanted to keep them believing that. Still, he heard a commotion behind him and felt the light aluminum flooring bouncing slightly. He glanced behind and could see some big shot was approaching. He figured it would be one of the very top guys concerning the base. Maybe even the top man, dressed in civvies.

David turned towards the approaching figure and turned up the volume with a glance inside his helmet. Every one of his sub systems was adjustable by visual movement from inside his helmet which was, of course, opaque to the outside observer.

The man was carrying a pen and small note pad. He wrote quickly, as he approached David.

'I'm General Teig, ' it said. 'Would you like me to explain anything as you look around?'

"That would be appreciated, sir, but the writing isn't necessary," and David slowly removed his helmet.

David held out his hand, "David Evans, sir. I'm sure you know my name."

The general didn't confirm but he did look surprised, talking to such a young, snot nosed, kid, David figured. He did actually shake hands with him, though.

"I'm not here to ruin anything, general. I just want to look around. I do a lot of tinkering myself. I've been quite amazed by all the things you guys have accomplished."

"Thank you ... may I call you David?"

"Sure."

"I was curious about what kind of a power source these things use? Could you share that with me?"

And so began a couple of hours of question and answers, whereupon David asked a lot of amazing question and volunteered explanations to much of the secret toys that seemingly impressed the general. At one point, he explained that... "I want to assure you I won't be sharing any of this with others, like foreign governments," he said. "I was merely curious. Thank you for the tour," he said, leaving the dirigible.

"My pleasure, David. Can I ask you some things? There's been a lot of questions people want to know about you. Officially, anyway."

"Go ahead. I don't mind talking."

"Are you a part of those Rocketeer guys?"

"No, I'm not part of them."

"They seem very close to you. Same height, weight, capabilities."

"Yes. They would, wouldn't they. They were cloned from my cells. At the time of their creation, they knew what I knew, back then. They're some pretty bad dudes, general. I would recommend you don't piss them off. You saw the results of that in the past, haven't you? I'm afraid they inherited a lot of my youthful attitudes. I'm sorry for all the destruction they've caused. I regret it very dearly, but it wasn't me nor did I participate."

David knew he was such a flagrant liar, these days. But he also knew he was getting very, very good at it, too. That skill had got him out of a number of difficult situations. But he felt justified in it all. He had to protect himself.

"So you had nothing to do with it?"

"No sir. Nothing."

"But what is your association with them?"

"They tell me they will destroy this country, every human soul if I don't help them when they want me to. They protect me and keep me safe from harm, like when people try to nuke me. You know about that, I'm guessing. That's why everything was destroyed, as far as it went, back then. I really hope you guys don't try anything like that, again. I don't know what they would do next time if they found out. And you should instruct your people to be more careful. If they knew about what your soldiers out there tried to pull off, tonight, I pity what would have happened to America alone, much less the world. They're so protective of me."

"Who are you? Their leader, their source of power?"

"No. I'm nobodies leader. I'm their Tech support, you might say. Anytime they need something, they usually come and ask me. It's usually concerning computers and games, but that's pretty much the extent of it."

"What do they want from you besides that?"

"My continuance, I suppose."

"Oh. I see. They want to keep you alive, huh?"

"Yes. That's why I would really regret it if you guys succeeded in killing me. I don't think anyone in America would survive. As I said, they're really touchy about that, as you probably know by now."

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