Author: Stephen Duffin
Bracken poked my eyes as I crouched low in the undergrowth. An armed guard walked past, fiddling with his rifle.
Intruders were shot dead.
I’d zapped past barbed wire fences using a rusty teleportation-belt strapped to my waist. Three loose wires stuck out the front beside a cracked gauge with a bent needle. Does this thing work properly?…
Mission controller, Ecowarrior, bought it from a used hovercar dealer in Peckham.
It got me from London to Scotland, but would it get me home again?…
Freezing winds ripped across my face. I shivered, pulling my coat tight. Leafy ferns kept me well hidden.
A sniper stood guard on a ridge, speaking into his communication pad. Two Alsatians bristled at his side, growling and snarling.
Deep under my feet lay a hidden military bunker built into an abandoned coal mine.
I glanced up. More snipers scanned the perimeter with binoculars.
Please don’t see me…
I knelt down, my boots squelching into the mud. I could smell damp earth. Snow started falling, white flakes brushing my fingertips.
I tried to concentrate on my job.
Daily coaching in remote viewing had activated my psychic abilities, fusing my clairvoyant skills to a tiny bioelectronic data storage device implanted in my hippocampus. It had limited value. I couldn’t see the future, but could capture data with my mind if I was within ninety yards of the target.
I had a tricky task: to steal Lon-Nuc1, a top-secret file holding government plans to build a giant nuclear reactor under London.
Had they seen me?
I worked fast.
Psychic neurons activated my clairvoyance, scanning inside the compound.
Visions flooded my mind’s eye: boffins in white coats blinked at test tubes. Technicians squinted at computer terminals.
My mind probed the server’s operating system, locking onto a memory bank.
I searched for data.
Budget forecasts and timesheets flashed into view.
I trembled, starting to panic.
What if things went wrong? What if I couldn’t find the file? What if my bioelectronic implant exploded? What would it do? Frazzle my brain?…
Bioelectronic malfunction meant paranoid delusions, psychosis, and death…
My tele-belt vibrated a warning: thirty seconds before it zapped me back to London.
Please don’t fail…
Alsatians started howling.
My mind raced through database archives, sweat breaking out on my forehead.
Twenty seconds to go.
I skimmed through payslips, faster and faster.
My tele-belt vibrated hard, destroying my concentration. I had only fifteen seconds before it zapped me home. Please don’t backfire…
I heard a shot. Snipers shouted to other guards.
Oh no, they’ve seen me…
My stomach lurched. I retched.
I wriggled behind tree trunks. Brambles scratched my face and hands.
A second shot glanced my shoulder.
Alsatians came charging past gorse, barking and yelping, eyes blazing. Guards raced towards me.
My clairvoyant faculties suddenly accessed a restricted database, locking onto the binary code for Lon-Nuc1.
Supersonic psychic broadband downloaded it into my brain, energy surges blasting my skull, rattling my teeth.
Snipers shot again. A bullet grazed my coat.
I froze, petrified.
Seconds later, I teleported across Britain, G forces pounding my temples into mincemeat. Well, it sure felt like that…
Zooming back to my flat, I crash-landed on the floor, bruising my back, banging my ankles, bumping my head.
I lay on the carpet doubled up in agony, gasping for breath.
Ecowarrior plugged my brain into his computer, uploading the data.
He glared at the monitor. “You idiot,” he yelled. “We needed Lon-Nuc2. You’ll have to go back again…”
The next trip’s going to be… Interesting.
Loved how you ramped up the tension here and then that injection of humor as a payoff. Nice work, Stephen.