Electronic switches and internal gears begin to rumble, I turn my attention to a giant steel reinforced barricade door. As it slowly opens a shuttle car drives out with a gorgeous man at the wheel. As he approaches I realize he's Colonel Tarver. Looking ten times better than his service picture.
Maybe because it only showed his head. He’s a definite Rock look alike, that’s right, the famous wrestler and actor, he’s tall with caramel skin, handsome features and heavy muscular build. Very exotic and heroic looking, Gee, what a hunk! With that 6 foot 4 stature, he cuts a dashing figure dressed in black military fatigues, black beret, accented with a gold ascot, and shoulder braids.
With a deep and powerful commanding voice he says, “Lieutenant Vickers, I’m Colonel Tarver, I will be taking you through security clearance and project briefing.”
I’m just spellbound by his dark chocolate eyes. “So you have been expecting me?”
“Yes, we’ve been monitoring you from your chip.” He reaches out and takes my right hand, shivers run down my spine from his touch. What was that? I’ve never been instantly attracted to anyone like this before.
I smile and look up at him doe eyed, "You know, originally they said this only had my ID and vital health data on it. Now it’s a tracking device.”
He flashes his gorgeous smile, “You can’t believe everything you hear.”
With Nick it took a couple of minutes to start falling for him. But this is actual love at first sight! Ava, here you go again! Just face it, I’m a plain ass man crazy bitch. Have you already forgotten Nick? As we board Tarver's little electric cart. I just wanted to touch one of his big muscular arms bulging under his sleeves. I've never been into the big muscle look. I’ve always been more attracted to the lean athletic build like Nick, he looked like a Spartan.
As we speed towards the entrance to the base, I turn back to Maddox boarding the chopper, his eyes are locked to mine, he must feel my hatred piercing his miserable soul, if he has one. Yes, that’s right I’m going to kill you when I get the chance, this isn’t over yet asshole!
Did Maddox treat you right?"
Ah – yes, he did," gritting my teeth.
" I’m just asking, because I get complaints on him all the time."
“Can you do anything to him?”
“Maddox is the Chief of Security here, a private contractor. He's non military, and unfortunately I have no authority over him.”
“So you can’t do anything?”
“Not a damn thing, standard laws don’t apply here,” in a disgruntled tone.
High-tech security cameras track our path as we zip down a massive brightly lighted concrete tunnel. Abruptly it angles sharply downward as if going down the gullet of a whale, the giant support pillars flash by like ribs. When we get to the bottom and level out again I suddenly see targeting laser red dots pan across our bodies, someone obviously has a bead on us.
That’s when a giant thirty foot tall menacing robot outfitted with two mini guns strides pass us going in the opposite direction. I can hear its hydraulic systems moving an awesome metal framework. My head whips around to follow it; amazed that the robot is this sophisticated, it has such a fluid human like walk.
Colonel Tarver notices my immense interest in the robot, “That was a Hell Storm Model 286 sentry, the backbone of our security force, nothing gets past them alive, completely autonomous, AI driven, just the tip of a very large unseen technological iceberg. So I welcome you to Nexus 113."
“So Colonel, what exactly is this project?”
“Your father set it up, he was instrumental getting it green lighted. He had put in a special request for you to be assigned to it.”
"Yes, in fact you are very instrumental too.
“That will be presented in project briefing.”
“Did you know my father?”
“Yes I did, he was my commanding officer in Afghanistan. You know, I really respected and looked up to him. He was the one that convinced me to leave combat duty to fight this new secret war that we are faced with.
“He was that way to everyone who knew him. I miss him so much. So what is this project?”
“The Titan Project, I’m the project leader, so it’s my baby. It’s very instrumental in our battle with sinister forces.”
“You’ll learn more in briefing. So are you in?”
“My Dad wanted me to be here, and I’m sure this was part of his plan. I’m in Colonel.”
“Fantastic, I’m very pleased to have you on board.”
Wow, he really seems to be excited to have me involved in his project. I sure wouldn’t mind working with him. My God look at the size of his chest and arms. I never made love to anyone built like that. I wonder what his – Stop it! He’s your commanding officer, remember that!
“So – so you said you where tracking me all this time?” trying to get a hold of myself.
“Yes, we’ve been tracking you since you landed.”
“So why didn’t you just pick us up then.”
“Oh I wanted to, but I’m under special orders by your father, he wanted you to experience being on your own. That was quite a feat making as far as you did. We often find exploration teams dead out there.”
“I thought we were going to end up like that, at least several times.”
“Well luckily you’re okay. I understand you lost two team members out there.”
“Yes – yes I did.”
“Well I have some good news about one of them. They just picked him up around 30 minutes ago.”
“Can I see him?”
“You sure can.”
“Thank God he’s okay!”
“So you built a friendship with him?”
“Yes – going through a life and death experience the way we did you tend to become close.” I wonder why he asked that?
The tunnel comes to an abrupt end, and our cart pulls up to steel barricade door with a strange large logo of a pyramid with an eye in it, just below that “Security Check Point," is labeled. ”We step out of the vehicle and from observation windows above us, security techs target a data reading beam of light, first engulfing Colonel Tarver's face. A tattoo of a sequence of numbers suddenly appear on his forehead. I’m thinking it must be some kind of light beam in a specific spectrum that can detect an invisible tattoo.
A soft female voice flows out of nowhere, “Colonel Keith Thomas Tarver, Titan Project Leader, Security Clearance: Omega, Top Secret, Cosmic, Majestic, Titan, your security code is 4589070. Your eye, DNA and brain matrix scan are a match, code verified.”
I don't see any female operators in the control booth. I wonder where that voice came from?
Tarver identities the disembodied voice, “Your probably wondering where that voice is coming from, that’s Mother, the artificial intelligence that runs all facility functions, her voice is piped into every sound device on the base.”
“So a machine with a female human voice? The female version of Hal.”
“Hal, from the movie, 2001 a Space Odyssey, loved it,” he says.
“Well in the movie, you will remember it never turns out so well when a artificial intelligence is permitted to run everything.”
“A point well taken Lieutenant. Her creator Mr. Jackson is a very big admirer of the movie as well. So he is very well aware of those problems and has developed numerous safeguards.”
“Okay, sounds good, I can go with that,” nodding my head.
He directs me to a scanning booth, “Step over here Lieutenant. You're new to the base, so your data input is required.”
I figure what's the big deal, no problem, so I step into the futuristic looking scanning booth and immediately beams of a light blue light start to scan my body. Security operators monitor a 3-D holographic image of my body. Wow, that image looks pretty good, very lifelike, but suddenly my clothes fade away.
Oh my God, I can now see myself completely naked on the monitors, and rotating like a rotisserie chicken. The image is so realistic, it leaves nothing to the imagination- oh my, how do they know I shave my privates, what graphic accuracy. Oh no, this is going a little too far, I never felt so violated by just going through a security check. I glance over to Tarver to see if he is taking a peek. But he looks distant, seems preoccupied with other thoughts.
However the scan operators are ogling my nudity, creepy pigs. Just look at them, they look like horny bastards in the front row of a seedy strip bar. These perverts are getting their jollies at my expense. Then my skin is peeled away, leaving me looking more like a skinned chicken hanging in a butcher shop, well at least they lost interest.
They then zero in on my chip implant in my hand, they seem to be downloading data from it. Schematics of my chip appear on holographic images. My nerve and respiratory systems are also examined closely. They absolutely leave nothing unchecked, what seems to be my DNA rotating in one of the screens, and my digital brain scan in another. Then soon my muscles are gone, and I become just a skeleton ready to be hung up as a decoration in some Halloween party.
A beam is directed at my forehead. I hear that woman’s voice again, very soft and soothing as she confirms, “Security code 4589022 imprinted.” They must have printed one of those tattoos on my forehead with just a light beam! I didn’t feel a thing!
She continues my verification, “Lieutenant Ava Marie Vickers, United States Marines, intelligence. Assigned security clearance: Majestic, Titan, Eyes Only. DNA and brain scan a match, code verified, you have been confirmed deceased, you may pass security check.”
I leave the booth to rejoin Colonel Tarver.
“So I'm deceased?”
“Yes, you are. But we all are in the digital record. As far as the world is concerned we are dead. Once you become infused into a deep black project like this you have to leave the world as a living person.”