One more round of New Bits. It’s rapidly reaching the point that I’m going to have to actually plan something out for this, but otherwise, I think it’s going smashingly.
Go back and read the earlier installments if you need to play catch-up. Just search the site for “new bits.”
Here we go…
A step ahead of me, Jules pushed open a fire door, allowing the bright Las Vegas sun to pour inside, momentarily blinding me. I followed her outside, into the cracking, uneven parking lot surrounding the only slightly sketchy two-story motel building the Division kept active now.
“Where’s our ride?” I asked.
“Gotta grab a cab. It’s in storage.”
“Of course. How silly of me.”
Jules raised her arm to flag down a taxi that was just leaving the adjacent convenience store. We jumped inside, and I remembered why I had only visited Vegas once before I’d joined the Division.
“Christ, it stinks in here,” I muttered.
Jules put down her window after giving the driver our destination. “Grow the hell up.”
Fifteen minutes later, the ratty Prius pulled up to the gate of a self-storage unit near an elevated section of freeway. Jules’ waved her comm-unit over the payment device bolted to the back of the front seat, then jumped out the car.
She went to the keypad at the gate and punched in a code. The gate slowly rolled open, and we made our way through the complex until we reached a garage door labeled “12E.” After keying in another code on the pad to the right of the door, it slowly raised up, exposing something covered in a tarp, about the size of a small SUV.
I reached for a corner of the cover that hung near my knees as I walked in. “What do we get, boss?”
Jules lifted the corner of the tarp nearest her. “Pull it back,” she said, walking alongside the vehicle, lifting the cover off it. I mirrored her movements, exposing a nondescript, blue, four-door SUV.
I sneezed as the dust rose and floated in the air around us. I threw my corner of the tarp onto the floor behind the vehicle.
“Couldn’t we pay someone to keep these things clean when we’re not here?” I asked, waiting for the inevitable second sneeze I knew was on the way.
“Cute. Get in.”
While I had been busy sneezing, she’d nabbed the driver’s seat and was adjusting the seat and mirrors to her liking. I hopped in the other side, slamming the door and drawing a side glance that could strip paint off a battleship. I put on my seatbelt as she started the car.
“Where to, first?”
“Well, it’s August twenty-fourth, and ATHENA believes that the impetus for this event is due to arrive sometime in the next six hours. Time to do some recon.”
“Impetus. Right. Ready to talk this out?”
She maneuvered the SUV out of the garage and back toward the gate.
“Bring it up and let’s go over it.”
I pulled up the file ATHENA had compiled on my comm-unit and launched into it. Standard protocol was for agents to “pre-wash” a case, but most assignments didn’t really require it, but this one was too big to risk not doing the legwork.
“ATHENA calculates that a precipitating event will occur on August 26, 2017, in or around the Las Vegas area. This event will…” I paused to process what I was reading, “…result in a future change affecting an eventual ten-point-two billion people across the planet, with a ninety-nine percent Delta from established norms.”
“Timeframe on the Delta?”
I scrolled down. “Six point eight years.
We’d reached a main drag—Tropicana—and began creeping our way through the suddenly ubiquitous traffic.
“What the hell could push a ninety-nine percent Delta that quickly?”
“According to ATHENA’s file, this is not a medical thing. No epidemic. No birthrate decline—which wouldn’t fit the six-point-eight year timeframe, anyway.” I looked up at her as she cut off another vehicle to change lanes. “This has got to be military. What else can it be?”
“You’re guess is as good as mine. ATHENA can crunch all the numbers she wants, but she’s not boots on the ground. That’s our job.”
“Good point. So where do you think we should put these boots first?”