Wednesday 27 February 2013
‘Hawkwind has been initiated, Mr. Blackwood,’ Dale Austin, personal assistant to the man behind the company, did his utmost to keep Terence Blackwood up-to-date with the current situation.
‘Darnell called again?’ Blackwood paced around his office, agitated and restless.
‘Yes. I would have put him through but he didn’t want to say anything other than the fact that Hawkwind was go, as he said.’
‘Did he said he’d call after it’s cleared?’
Austin shook his head and Blackwood found his way back to his chair and lowered himself carefully into it. To Austin, he appeared to have aged visibly since the previous day, the weight of the effect Facility Five’s demise would have on the corporation was clearly taking its toll on Blackwood.
‘Dale,’ Blackwood said, ‘I need you to contact Bert Fallon immediately. Instruct him to assemble upper management team number two and begin drafting media releases pertaining to the catastrophic event at Facility Five, and tell him . . . tell him he’ll need to be on the ball when Darnell’s military team leak their press release about an act of domestic terrorism on Blackwood’s part regarding Facility Five. Darnell’s team will throw all manner of absurdities at this corporation, and I need the best team on top of it.’
‘And shall I contact Verity Flynn, sir?’ Austin asked.
‘Good God, what in the name for?’
‘To coordinate with Fallon’s team,’ the personal assistant replied.
‘Son,’ said Blackwood, ‘Hawkwind will take care of that management team. The whole point of Hawkwind is to sanitise the site. By the time you’re able to get in touch with her, the whole town will have been sanitised!’
Austin’s expression caught Blackwood off-guard.
‘You don’t know what Hawkwind is, do you?’ he asked Austin.
‘No, sir, I can’t say that I’m aware of the details.’
‘Hawkwind is a military program that was designed to clean up after incidents such as Facility Five going critical. Darnell’s orders are to bomb and burn the site and anyone left there. If Verity and her team aren’t out already, they won’t be coming out. Telecommunications would have been well and truly scrambled by now, and I’d imagine the armed drones will be almost in place to drop whatever weaponry Darnell’s had them fitted out with.’
Austin stood horrified. The Blackwood Corporation was endorsing the military to eliminate a team of its own employees.
‘But, sir,’ Austin could only manage a whisper, ‘your niece is there. You’re going to let them kill Hilary?’
Terence Blackwood’s response was swift and cold.
‘Collateral damage, son. There are some things even I can’t stop. Hawkwind is one of them. I have copies of all data and files that were salvaged, so that’s something.’
‘But she’s your niece,’ Austin repeated.
* * * * *
Verity Flynn gave a last ditch attempt to extricate her team from the area. The drones would practically be in place about what was left of Facility Five and any other strategic point in the town required to wipe out any evidence that the Blackwood Corporation had operated and existed within the town limits. She knew it was futile to try to outrun what was about to occur, but self-preservation, the overwhelming desire to not die a horrible death pushed her forward.
‘We’ve got less than two or three minutes, I reckon, to get out of this town,’ she told Drew Best. ‘Are the others still behind us?’
Best contorted himself around the passenger’s seat to get a better view out of the back window.
‘Yeah, they’re keeping up. What are we going to do?’
For a moment, she contemplated lying to him to make things easier, and suddenly she knew how all the people she had eliminate had felt before she and her team had taken their lives in the name of the company.
‘I’m going to drive as fast as I possibly can. I’m going to give us a damn good chance to get out of this alive. If it doesn’t work, we’ll die here. Today. And the world will hear that we’re domestic terrorists, or that we were casualties of the Facility Five explosions. Whatever happens, if we die here today, no one will ever know the truth. We will be the bad guys in all of this.’
Drew Best sank into the passenger’s seat and silently prayed to God that Verity could get them out of this predicament.
* * * * *
‘Nick is dead in their house and all you’re worried about are some low flying planes? You’re the one who told Nick and I that we should have been focussed on the Luccianos,’ Dr. Felicity Evans bellowed at Eden Gross, whose journalist’s instincts told her something was amiss with the sudden appearance of five small planes.
‘They’re unmanned drones, Dr. Evans. They’re here for a reason and I’d hazard a good guess that the reason is Terence Blackwood. Believe me, this is not a good sign,’ Eden replied. ‘The dead body in their lounge room will pale in comparison to whatever is about to happen.’
Almost on cue, the two women watched an elongated cylindrical object drop from the nearest drone.
‘SHIT,’ cried Eden, ‘it’s a fucking bomb. Blackwood’s going to blow up what’s left of Facility Five.’
‘That’s not where Facility Five is,’ replied the doctor. ‘That’s more like where the hospital is.’
Eden swung around, examining the sky as she did.
‘SHIT,’ she repeated, ‘I count five of them. The asshole’s blowing up –’
Before Eden Gross, investigative journalist for The New York Times could complete her thought, explosions rang out all over town, hitting what was left of Facility Five and decimating the rest of town.
* * * * *
Drew Best didn’t get to finish his prayer to God asking for protection. The drone above Facility Five’s location released its cargo and the blast radius took out everything, including the upper management team’s two black SUVs. When the military clean up crews came in, there would be little to find in the vehicles – nothing recognisable as being human, and nothing that even DNA would be able to identify as being human.
* * * * *
‘Hawkwind complete, General Darnell. Drones are returning to base and we’ve got sanitation crews ready to go in.’
Darnell wasn’t sure of the name of the tech who provided him with the information, nor did he necessarily want to know. The job had been done, and the next stage was to minimise media attention.
‘Start disseminating our press releases,’ Darnell demanded. ‘Let’s get on top of this before Blackwood has a chance to rebut anything.’
* * * * *
Sheri Kent was exhausted. The adrenaline had worn off and had left her weary and in desperate need of a good sleep. She pulled her car in to the parking lot of the next motel that she came across. Renting a room with her new identity was surprisingly easy. Adele Fitzpatrick, originally from New Jersey, and single mother of two beautiful boys who had been tragically killed in a house fire, was not so difficult to portray. Given Adele’s traumatic past, it was evident that folks expected her to look exhausted and at the end of her rope, and sympathy seemed to be their overwhelming reaction to the details that she slipped here and there in to the conversation.
She secured a double room at the back of the motel, drove the car through the lot and parked it out the front of her room. It was away from the road and behind the main section of the motel, so it would be almost impossible to see her vehicle from the road. Stumbling in to the room, she decided that it was best to shower first and then collapse on the bed.
After a fifteen minute shower, after washing the stench of the horrible Facility Five affair from her body, and she thought, from her soul too, Sheri-now-Adele wearily wandered through the motel room and threw herself on the bed. It was nothing special, but the room was dry and warm, and the bed was comfortable. At first she sprawled across the bed, taking up as much room as she could, but then after a few minutes, paranoia set in and she began to wonder about Nick, and found it more comforting to curl up in the foetal position. It wasn’t long before she nodded off to sleep, thinking about her Nick and the new life they would have together in Canada.
* * * * *
The motel’s maids service every used room every day. At ten a.m. an aged brunette maid tentatively knocked on the door of Adele Fitzpatrick’s room, and as there was no answer, she let herself in with her copy of the master key that every maid was allocated. Her scream could be heard around the whole motel and brought the day manager running to her assistance.
‘What is it?’ he asked her. The maid pointed in to the room, towards the bed, and then ran from the room. The manager didn’t need to step further than the doorway to see what had frightened the maid. Sheri-now-Adele lay in a contorted shape on the bed in what looked like the throes of some sort of fit or seizure, surrounded in what possibly could have been the entire volume of her blood.
. . . To be continued . . .