The Device
Chapter 14

Copyright© 2013 by JOHNNY SACHU

David was bugged by the sniper that had shot him, for no good reason that he knew of, the last time he'd been to Groom Lake, in the Nevada desert. Also known as Area 51.

He had just been standing there and had heard several small noises, like pebbles being dropped. Then turning, he found out someone had been firing at him with a rifle of some kind, a fifty freaking caliber rifle, if you could believe it. That didn't set well with him and so, dressed in his Rocketeer uniform and jet pack, he was going back to settle the score and get his revenge.

As he approached the dry lake bed, high overhead, David slowed his speed in that device controlled flight suit, designed after one of his favorite comic book characters, his suit using simple switches and two ball control items, one for each hand, to control speed and direction, searching for the hidden location of that mysterious sniper.

Those guys were good, he had to give them that, masters at camouflage. He could be standing right next to one, probably, and not see him in the sparse brush surrounding the lake area, down slope where the runways were. But with his helmet's sophisticated camera's and tiny face lenses set for heat signatures, it wasn't too difficult to find them, especially at night.

There were four snipers, widely spaced in and around the airfield itself, with more further away. One spot in particular was where he planned to concentrate his efforts. He'd take the current sniper out there, now in position, where they had shot at him, from that spot, and do his best to make that guys evening miserable, with one dozen jumbo size eggs he was carrying. He planned on screwing up the works of that guy. No, not hurt him, but he sure as heck had a plan of retribution set up.

The sniper was quietly sitting beneath a small canopy, David saw, thinly open on all sides. He, David, was now invisible, being in sped up time, with the addition of the stasis ring around his hand and peeking inside a hole dug in the dirt, made to look just like the flat surface, off of the dry lake bed and into the brown burned dirt.

The sniper was wearing night goggles, now positioned high up on his head, and his rifle was poised where it was handy, pointing up in to the sky next to him. He was reading a paperback book and as David watched him, with time sped up as it was, he noticed the soldier was doing a sweep of the area he was in, using his rifles scope, about every ten minutes. David noted the night vision on the scope, too, and figure he would only use those two in combination if he had to. The guy was diligent, as well, keeping a log and with a place for a radio dug into the side of the dirt rectangle, kind of like a shallow grave, the guy had everything he needed. There was food on the shelf, canteens, and extra full clips for his fifty caliber rifle.

David stopped time, freezing his target and the rest of the world, it almost seemed, even though it was only him moving through time at a greatly reduced speed. He stripped off the cover of the sniper's hide, which was designed to lift up and away, where he set eight of the eggs high enough up in the air, where they staid in stopped time. He knew they would easily break on impact, on colliding with the camo-guy. He took four of the eggs and pre-broke them over the lenses of the rifles scope and the night goggles he was wearing. He crushed the egg carton and stuffed it inside his jacket leaving no trace. His last preparation was to write a note in the guys log book, the one he was keeping up on, with the snipers own pencil. Everything was set.

David stepped away from the hide and was just about to take out his camera, when he thought of one other thing. He got a bunch of dirt and sand and tossed it up in the air, above the soldier and above the eggs. It stopped its movement soon enough but when he started time again, the guy would be covered with raw egg and dust. David liked the idea. It was a brilliant plan, in his mind. He thought of everything, too. Being very careful about not leaving fingerprints on anything like paper or eggshells.

He took out his little digital camera, his trusty ol' Canon SX150 IS, and set it to flash. He'd only get one chance at this, he knew, for he didn't want the guy to notice where or who he was.

David brought his hand up to his device, hanging from the chain around his neck, and practiced moving his hand from it to the camera. Then, he turned time back on.

The eggs dropped and the soldier cringed as the eggs splattered him just as the flash went off. David quickly stopped time, stuffed his camera back in his leather jacket, and took off.

He flew over to the two big tanks, turning time back on as he moved to his new location. They were up on the hill, on the far side of the runways, away from what he took to be administration buildings. He'd never been in them before. They had always looked too boring and unimportant when he'd destroyed the base in previous misguided visits, before he had reversed time and staid out of the secret base. He had flattened the whole area, he remembered all too well, but that was then, this was now.

He took out the camera again and checked out his picture. He laughed out loud, staring at it for some time. The soldier was covered with eggs and dirt. Cool... 'A dish best served cold'.

David waited. He expected to see someone rush out there, to the snipers position, in a vehicle. Before too long, he wasn't disappointed. He could only imagine what the explanation would be. The guy that shot at him probably wasn't the one in that little hide, now, as they more than likely rotated shifts, but they'd get the point, and it would freak those top security people out that they couldn't explain that some undiscovered joker was on their precious little base. Yuk, Yuk.

David watched the lit up areas. There didn't seem to be any big ruckus right now, concerning the sniper, but he knew he still had to be cautious. And he had wanted to take a look at some of those other hi-tech planes in development around there that night, too.

He set the device, and time, to go by at a slightly decelerated pace, moving through time as he was ... He had no interest in looking younger than he did. David had to use the device sparingly as it retro-aged him, when turned on, and David looked too young now as it was, he knew very well, for someone that was twenty-three. His baby face was a child's face, looking like he did when he was sixteen, or so, and in graduate school.

David flew over to the base of one hanger. He'd seen one of the planes he'd wanted to view in the past, there, and had seen it, briefly, but hadn't had a camera with him at the time. He was trying to stay unobserved and this was probably the best way.

He walked around the hanger and it seemed to be all locked up, so he pounded on one of the doors. This was a week day and David was certain people were working. The afternoon Janet flights had left for the day, but there were always people around, doing work as well as night flights and always testing this and that, mostly.

No one came to the hanger's personnel door so he walked around, banging on the other closed doors until one opened for him, a guard opened it, side arm at the ready, and looked around out side the hanger door, though he saw nothing. The guard was standing in the doorway, though, and that wouldn't work. David was invisible with his stasis ring turned on and moving through time like he was, but that wasn't enough. He had to piss this guy off.

After the soldier closed the door, he pounded on the door until the guard came out of the hanger to look around and it was then that David slipped in to the huge secret hanger. With felt on the bottoms of his boots, not only to not leave tracks out there in the dirt, by the sniper, but with it, the guard didn't hear him at all, so soft were his foot falls.

He had free reign of the places inside, but he had to hurry, a little paranoid, so he wouldn't get any younger, and trotted over to the secret manned vehicle to take some pictures.

The craft was fascinating and beautiful in its dark gray, almost black, finish, that David knew, or at least suspected, was probably radar absorbing paint like most military planes used these days.

With all kinds of other interesting things in its make up, David checked out the cockpit, and some wild looking electronics in the open bays where they were working on the plane's frame, chasing stress fractures, probably. It was apparent, along with the other six dark spy planes inside, that they were some spectacular kind of aircraft. David would have loved to worked on things like this, years ago, but having heard how the government requirements were so life altering and so restrictive, if you even had clearance to work on projects like this, he was certainly glad he'd never accepted the Air Force people's offers in college to go and work for them. Besides, there was no guarantee he would even be with some of these programs. And he was far beyond them, anyway, in aircraft design and performance with his space sled, back home. Using the technology of his device, he could be anywhere in the solar system within minutes, much less right here on earth. No. These guys were doing their best, in this place, but he wasn't missing out on anything here. He was simply curious about the technology and design of stuff, was all.

He put his camera away and turned up his stasis ring. He thought, for the hell of it, he'd walk through the hanger door, or better yet, fly through it. With the device and stasis on, he could walk or fly through solid rock and or twenty feet of chromium steel without any hard resistance, if and when, he so desired. It was a stupid prank, he knew, but he would do it anyway. Area five-one people pissed him off on so many levels.

On one of the work stations, David saw some kind of paint. At least he thought it was paint. He hurriedly grabbed a colored are-sol can and wrote out, THE FLASH, in red color, in the air next to the hanger door. The paint squirted from the can, but it wouldn't hit the hanger door until he turned time full on. This was going to be funny. The guards inside were going to pee in their collective pants when the noise of the fractured metal hit them, too.

David went to the far side of the nearly deserted hanger making sure no one was in the way, he flew across the concrete and below the sign of 'The Flash', punching through the hanger's huge metal door at a severe speed.

The force blew a hole as big as a Hum-Vee in the metal and as David stopped his flight, skidding to a stop out there on the taxi field, for the heck of it, looking back, he had to laugh. With the sign on the inside, it was all too funny to him.

David shot skyward, keeping an eye out, in his helmet's readouts, and with his eyes focused and anything moving, being careful not to run into any jet fighters or helicopters that were always airborne in The Box, the air space in and around Groom Lake.

He went straight up to a comfortable 115,000 feet, roughly into full black space, and arced back towards Los Vegas. He'd go in high, get lost in the mish-mash of all that controlled chaos, then light out over the land at a slower speed, then angle over and up around the Gulf of Mexico, and then over and across the eastern edge of the U.S. until he hit Canada, then descend over Baffin Island, and make his way back back home to the edge of Lake Superior. He always liked going back in a misdirected way, just in case someone could track him.

As David took off his suit, in the garage, cleaning it of squashed bugs and dust, he had to laugh. 'That's what you get for shooting at me, asshole', his note to the sniper had said. "That would teach 'em," he said to himself, but knew it wouldn't, down deep. Those guys played for keeps.

The next day, David woke up at eleven a.m. in his huge mansion in the woods where some of the property looked out over the old shipping port on the northern edge of the U.S and Canadian border. It wasn't his usual time to get up, but he felt like sleeping in. And he hadn't had to get up early with Angela off for the weekend so he could wander around the house in his underwear, or naked, if he wanted to.

He knew he wasn't thinking clearly so went in to the bathroom and took a nice hot shower. It felt good to be alone again. Sometimes, just going to town was enough to get on his nerves in a serious way. People were a major irritation to him, on the whole. Seeing people doing stupid things, making bad decisions, acting stupid. David often thought he needed more contact with other people, he was so judgmental but he was a real loner. A few waitresses and Angela, his teenage car cleaner, were about the only people he saw on any regular basis. With all his wealth and possessions, he had to be careful who he saw and spoke to. His device and its technology could destroy the world, he knew, if politicians and generals in the U.S got their hands on it. No, he's the only one that could ever know about it and was, and probably would be, considering David would never die. With the retro-aging the device had on him, he was almost positive he could live forever, barring some unknown factor or disaster that could happen to him. No. It was secret, the device and its offshoot technologies, and he would keep it that way. He had to.

Last nights fun was foolish, he knew, thinking to himself down in his huge living room, touching an edge of the original Mars Viking Lander he had in that room, now. He brought the one back simply because it looked cool in there. If he ever had guests, it could certainly be a conversation starter. The only ones that had seen it were his parents, when they visited last time, and Angela, who didn't seem to give it a second thought, when he told her it was a replica.

There was an exotic flowering plant growing in Martian sand, too, just for fun, off by the big floor to ceiling window. David went to the pot and gave the beautiful tropical plant, he'd dug up in the Amazon, a little water from a nearby watering can. Mars sand could grow plants as well as any other kind of sand, if you got water to it. That was always the requirement. It was the one plant he looked after, in the house, with the exceptions of lichens and other simple plants he'd transplanted out on Mars. Some of them had flourished, with the increased heat and cloud layer, as the volcano's were spilling forth huge amounts of warming gasses and lava in the air, now days. David didn't know how long he could keep his Mars project going, or even if it would be successful, in the end, trying to make it habitable for man, but it was worth a try, he thought. Ceres had nearly stabilized, orbiting the smaller world, and the ice water comets David had tugged in from out beyond Neptune were giving life a dicey chance. There were lakes and the beginnings of a small fresh water ocean, right now. Only time would tell if all his efforts would bring forth any kind of stabilization to the cold distant world.

Hungry, David went to the garage and picked out one of his thirty-three souped up cars. He chose the mildly tuned black '68 Dodge Charger. The 500 h.p. Version. His other two were way too exotic to drive comfortable on the street. It was his favorite of all the vehicles, of late. Gleaming and glossy black outside, pure white leather inside. His favorite did change from time to time, but this car was special to him. He didn't know why, but he did know he loved its looks.

The '68 Charger was the most distinctive automobile Chrysler Corporation ever designed and built. David owned three of them. The swoopy long lines, the wide stance, the beautiful yet simple grill that was unlike anything else ever done on any car, and their powerful motors of the day, were an achievement the company hadn't duplicated and weren't about to ever again.

Of course, David's vehicle was nothing but perfection on wheels. A stronger motor, handled like a race car, now, and was invulnerable to accidents with the extra stasis ring slipped onto the turn signal's arm. David always attached his spare stasis ring to thee car he drove that day. It made them invulnerable to any damage while he was away from them. Outside the stasis field of power, you could drop an atom bomb next to it and it wouldn't even notice a vibration even though it might be flung a mile or more away. Touching the car when he was wearing the stasis ring protected it, but when he walked away, the ring, swinging around on that tiny arm, preserved it from an angry careless world. He'd put too much of himself and work into these cars of his to not protect them as well as he protected himself.

The Filmont diner served rock lobster in a very special way, for him. He paid extra for it, of course. David had told the owner once, how he wished it prepared, and they had complied, buying especially large tails, even though they charged him accordingly with an obscene bill, but David felt it was worth it. What was the use of having money if you didn't flaunt it once in a while. And it wasn't exactly a strain on his budget. He was worth so many millions now he didn't care to even know how much money he had.

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