Hello everyone, and it's about time too!
This thread will feature my new fic series, set several months down the road from where my previous one finished mid last year. So far, it's come to be known as 'Helix' but I want a more interesting title than that. If you want to suggest a title for this new series, feel free to do so! Who knows - yours might just get picked!
The series is, again, based around the PPGD setting my last series was, however it will branch out much further than the last lot of stories. The world is a much bigger place, after all. Updates will occur once every two days at first and may increase or decrease in regularity depending on my current circumstances.
Time to begin. This first story will be much shorter than my last couple and starts slow, but all introductions must. Enjoy, everyone! This first happening may seem peculiar but trust me, it's pivotal later on.
The explosion tore like a thunderclap through the skies above the peaceful supercity, rattling windows, stirring seabirds and turning heads and eyes toward the great metal and concrete span across the waters. At almost the very middle of the great bridge, the fading flash gave way to a rising darkness as fire and smoke began to reach skyward to mark the spot of the unearthly disturbance. The distant mountain ranges let the sound of the explosion echo only briefly, quietly, sending an aftershock of chills through all those from whom it commanded attention. The ripples on the water slowly reached the shore, rocking the yachts and private boats in their moors and splashing the boardwalks and bayside parkways with unnatural force for only a few seconds. And then, all was quiet. For just a few, brief moments, not a sound came from the city as the spire of smoke grew longer and the fire burned bright beneath it.
"MOOOOOOVE!" screamed one of the drivers of an escort car as he threw his door open, leaping out amongst the flames and wreckage, his car's tyres ruptured from the explosion of the armoured vehicle it had been escorting. His passenger clambered out, barely enough room between the car and the bridge's railing to swing his door open, scrambling away as the fires began to spread. Busted gas tanks began to leak as no less than three other immobilised squad cruisers that surrounded the charred hulk awaited the spreading flame. The two cars up ahead had been more fortunate.
They screeched to a halt the moment the explosion ripped across the bridge behind them, the lead driver bailing out and ushering the evacuated squad members to his location. One of them stumbled. His colleague spun around to assist. The convoy leader clenched his fists, "NO!" he screamed at them. They skidded to a halt just as, simultaneously, the immobilised vehicles blew themselves apart as their engines and fuel tanks erutped in a sequence deafening booms. The fallen man covered his head with his arms, but the burning fragments did not strike him. His squadmate ran to his aid as the numerous fireballs rose higher into the sky, blinding, blistering orange turning dark and ominous and trailing to the clouds as smoke. The whole city would see it, the leader knew. And they'd be clueless as to what had just happened.
So was he, "Aahhhh, fuck!" he spat, as the fallen squadmate limped to his position with his friend in tow. "Whatthehelljusthappened!" he roared at his men, each of them wearing the same pale-blue shirts as he with a small identification card clipped to their breast pockets. "Who saw it?" he jabbed a finger at the first man he laid eyes on. "Did you see it??"
"The... the thing just... exploded, sir..." panted one of the lucky drivers, breathlessly. "There... was no time to get the others out... and I think Richter was trapped in his cruiser when it went up..."
The boss did a headcount. No Richter. The man he was travelling with looked solemn and wouldn't meet his superior's eye.
"Was it a bomb?" the boss asked. There was nervousness in his voice.
One of the other escort drivers pierced him with a scrutinising glare. "A bomb... come on, boss, no way was that a bomb. The hauler seemed to fall to bits, THEN it exploded..."
"Couldn't have been..." murmured the boss, an aghast look on his face. "Is there any sign of-" he broke off as he heard something in the distance. A shrill wailing siren, growing closer, "Ahh, shit..." he grit his teeth, "You lot tell 'em nothing, ok? Dodgy engine leads to fire leads to kaboom, got it?" The men nodded. The boss spun around and leaned against his cruiser, its shiny black finish spared the wrath of the unnatural explosion of their armoured car. He straightened his shirt and stared down the bridge at the mass of flashing blue and red lights that were speeding their way up the closed-off bridge. "Poker faces, boys..."
"Now, uh... what was it that your vehicle was carrying?" Senior Sergeant Walker asked. His notepad and pen was at the ready.
The lead man, who gave his name as simply 'Beck', gave him an incredulous look. Then he smiled, and in a lighthearted tone he answered. "Apple cider."
Walker dropped his arms in frustration, glaring at the man. "Excuse me, sir, this is a SERIOUS investigation on behalf of the Megaville Police Department. I require your full co-operation on this matter."
"Hey hey... you see this?" Beck flashed the card on his pocket. "Read it, officer."
Walker perused it, squinting a little thanks to his slowly deteriorating eyesight, "'Governmental goods management and shipment bureau'... what's that meant to mean?"
"It means I work for someone far more important than you do, mister; someone whose paycheck has a LOT more zeroes on it than yours. I don't answer to you. You oughta answer to me, in fact. It doesn't MATTER what we were carrying, the fact is it's now GONE and our securicar and three of our shiny Caprices are smouldering wrecks. This was just an unfortunate set of circumstances that resulted in the loss of three of our fine personnel."
"You sure that's all who died?" asked the policeman, "If you were transporting, say... a wanted and highly influential felon... that would open up a motive for your convoy to be bombed."
"I TOLD you we were not bombed!" shouted Beck, "It was a maintenance issue with the hauler. It was scheduled to go through a fuel line replacement at the conclusion of this transport."
Walker seemed unconvinced, glancing over Beck's shoulder at the burnt husk of the security van as other cops surveyed the damage to both it and the three unmarked escort cars that exploded with it . "Damn big explosion for a fuel tank... it's a good thing we got this bridge reinforced after... last time."
"Our hauler was a specially modified type-C Rampage refitted with twin, extra-large fuel tanks. Designed to make it halfway across the country without a single stop for gas." Beck feigned disappointment, glad the charade was going well. "This was only its fifth run..."
"Why would it need maintenance after only five runs?"
Beck didn't let his expression falter, despite nearly slipping up, "Er... there was a problem with the modification. Prototyping and all that. Classified information, mind you..." he flashed his card again, for effect. "We don't need your help in this situation. This is our matter and we'll deal with it accordingly. These men lost their lives in duty to their country."
"By hauling cider?" Walker growled, irritated.
Beck smiled, "By working for us, they are doing their service to our fine nation... whatever that that duty may be."
Walker shook his head. He hated these upstart government types. He wasn't at all convinced. This could have been a bombing... or a terrorist act. But what way did he have of knowing? He was about to launch into another set of questions when one of his co-workers emerged from amongst the smouldering smoke and the sea of flashing red and blue, "Excuse me, Sergeant... someone is here to see you."
"Can it wait?" he asked.
"No, Sergeant... they say they have to get back to school soon."
Walker's expression became suddenly serious. "Oh..."
As he wandered off, Beck turned to his nearest aide. He was relieved the cop was occupied. They wouldn't make heads or tails of this, which was fine. It meant they could sweep this under the rug themselves. "Has anyone informed head office?"
The young man shook his head, "Don't believe so, sir."
Beck reached for his cellphone and began to walk away from where the wreckage and police were gathered. "Oh, this will be fun..." he hit a speed-dial number and held the tiny silver phone to his ear and waited for the voice on the other end. Moments later, he spoke. "Put me through to the chairman." A pause and then "Yeah.... tell him...." he glanced over his shoulder at the remnants of the car they were escorting. "We've got a Runaway..."
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