Daniela sat down at the console she now knew like the back of her hand. If she wanted to, she could take the whole thing apart and know at sight where each part went and what it would do. She stroked the glass screen lovingly, it truly was her baby and it would do anything she wanted it to do with a stroke of her finger.
“Daniela?” Kelly said. “Are you ready?”
Daniela let her fingers float across it’s screen at record speed, setting it up to go. The pods rose out of the ground either side of her and stood erect and glowing, waiting for her orders.
“Pods are ready.” She said.
Connor and Duncan went to the two lead pods and took Walker position, standing inside them. Daniela threw a few more strokes across the screen. The pods locked onto Connor and Duncan, identifying them and their vitals and showing them on the screen in front of Daniela. Daniela engaged the pods to lock down, ensuring that nothing would be able to set them free without her saying so. She jumped out of her seat with her hand held device and went over to each pod, first at Connor’s and then at Duncan’s. She logged the pods onto the device and slid a screen open on each pod, taking out the gloves necessary. She placed them on both Connor and Duncan’s hands. Once they were in place they glowed at the fingertips, activating the sensors. She climbed onto the ledge in front of Connor and swiped her hand held across his eyes, logging his retina scans into the pad.
“Are you ready?” She asked Connor, looking him dead in the eyes.
“As I’ll ever be.” Connor said, his expression severe and straight.
Daniela let out a small smile, “Lock and load,” she said just so he could hear.
She clicked activate on her hand held and Connor’s head piece lowered onto his head, locking it in place also.
“Sensors added,” she said. “Say goodbye to reality.”
Connor nodded and she hit the last button. His eyes clouded over and she knew he was ready. She jumped down and headed to Duncan, pushing her previous anger to one side, she repeated the process. After logging his retina scan she checked his eyes as well.
“And you?” She said icily.
Duncan smiled a cocky grin. “Always.” He said.
“Pig.” She muttered and locked the head gear in place hitting the last button and watching his eyes cloud over as well.
“I’ll set the others up once these guys are established.” Daniela announced to Kelly.
“Already on it,” an overexcited man in his late twenties shouted as he and three others began to match her actions on the remaining 20 pods and the soldiers inside.
“Fine.” Daniela said, running back to the console.
She swiped the handheld over it’s scanner and saw both Connor and Duncan’s vitals light up, signalling ready.
“Let’s not leave them waiting in the middle of nowhere for too long shall we,” she said, excitement running through her despite the situation she was in. Regardless of what was going on, this was her element; seeing her machine being used the way she always dreamed it would be, with her at the helm.
She swiped the two main pods to one side and brought up her control panel to the brand new element that made Stylo 1 so unique. It was a brand new substance that she had created 6 years ago, a substance that she had labelled ‘Danel’ because she felt that too many devices and elements out there had technical names and she liked the idea of a record breaking new element being created and forever known as her name.
She briefly looked through the schematics of the element and came to a halt when she saw the components she had come to know inside out show at levels that were anything but normal.
“What have they done to you?” She said quietly to the computer.
She continued to scroll through the different equations and temperatures, all sky rocketing and breaching in every point, stretching to the very brink of what Danel could handle.
“Where the hell have you put it?” She asked to the room.
“Where do you think?” Kelly said, nodding her head to the direction of outside.
Daniela let out a low whistle and shook her head.
“Are you insane?” She said. “What were you thinking exposing it to out there without proper testing?”
“We have been testing it for years.” Kelly said. “We’ve been pocketing extracts from the exposure that has been breeching our atmosphere since the moment it starting coming. We put it to its most pure and undiluted state and tested Danel with it, we’ve ensured...”
“So you’ve taken one of the world’s most complex elements and let a bunch of stupid people play with it?” Daniela said.
“I’ll have you know that I’ve been studying this element for years, I know all about how it works and what goes in it to make it function.” The voice who spoke was from the over-excited man from before.
“I’m sorry, what did you just say?” Daniela snapped, throwing her most intense glare at him.
“I’m just saying that I am more than qualified to...”
“Did you build this element from scratch?” She asked.
“Did you test it and mould it into the creation it is today?”
“All I’m saying is...”
“All you’re saying is nothing.” Daniela interrupted. “Unless this element was tested by me then it wasn’t tested at all. Why on earth wasn’t I consulted and brought in on this?”
“It was felt that with the dangers of the information getting out before the correct time, the less people who knew about this exposure, the better.” Kelly said.
“And you thought that I didn’t qualify as one of those people to be told?”
“Jensen has been on our staff for years, he has one of the best minds I know and has proven himself as a trustworthy person when it comes to government secrets.” Kelly said levelly.
“Well as far as I can see his intellect doesn’t come close to being able to manage Danel.”
Jensen’s face appeared to turn a beetroot red. “I hardly think that that’s...”
“Can you make it work?” Kelly cut over him.
“Of course I can,” Daniela said, “Though we wouldn’t be in this position if you had called me in first.”
“How long do you need?” Kelly asked.
“It’s hard to say.” Daniela said, turning her attention back to the console. “Give me a minute.”
“Ma’am,” a voice called over from the other side of the room. Daniela looked to see another man, sitting at a console not too different from hers.
“What is it Craig?” Kelly asked.
“Predators sighted on the horizon.”
“Predators?” Daniela asked.
“How many?” Kelly asked, walking over to him.
“Hard to tell, four or five at least.”
Craig swiped his hand across his own touch screen and a section of the view on the window in front of them zoomed in to show large beasts the size of bears roaming around in amongst the fire. They were distorted by the amount of debris and flames around them.
“Can you get a better visual?” Kelly asked.
“No ma’am, not unless they get closer.”
“We need our men Walking.” Kelly ordered. “Daniela we don’t have any time left, you need to get Danel working.”
Daniela considered asking what the beasts were but decided that now was not the best time. Instead she turned back to her console and started working through the different stressors on Danel. She tweaked and fought against the different components pressed against her baby, setting about different controls based on the various tests she had put on Danel in the past.
“Ma’am they’re making their way to the bubble.”
“Daniela! We need the walkers now!”
“I know, I know!” Daniela shouted back. “Stressing me out isn’t helping!”
“Perhaps if we added coolers to the shields around...”
“If I needed your help Jensen I would ask for it!” Daniela shouted once more.
Daniela continued to let her fingers fly over the machine, adjusting the controls where needed. Danel was improving, but not enough.
“Ma’am, full visual on the screen now.”
Daniela glanced up to see the screen zoom in on three of the beasts. They looked like some form of tiger but closer to the size of a bear. Daniela dropped her eyes to her console once more, deciding that if she didn’t want to have a panic attack, she was better off not looking. Things still didn’t seem right, she had most of the components within level but still Danel beamed hot, it wasn’t coping with the sheer amount of heat outside. She had the coolers on full blast, drawing out the heat and stretching over the outskirts of Danel like a shield so as to block any more heat from getting in. There was still too much heat already absorbed though, she didn’t have the power to cool it down.
“Daniela, we really don’t have time to...”
“Everyone just needs to shut up for one minute!” Daniela screamed. Her voice had reached just the right level to receive the response she was looking for. Everyone fell silent for a few moments.
Then it hit her. She knew what to do.
“Katie.” Daniela said.
“I’m here.” Katie answered.
“Go find that ridiculously chirpy woman who brought me into this place and ask her for my phone.”
Katie was gone. Kelly and Jensen were both on either side of her, watching her every move as she continued to push as much of the heat out as her console would let her.
“What’s going on?” Kelly asked.
Katie was back in record time with Daniela’s mobile phone in her hand. She gave it to Daniela.
“There’s one thing that you need to know about this day and age.” Daniela said, sliding open a section of her screen to reveal a small port and slipping her phone inside. “There is an app for absolutely everything.”
She drew the information out of her phone and onto the main screen. Searching through its contents, she came across the programme she was looking for. It was a cooling structure built for storing heat, something that she had been working on in her spare time. She was known in her lab for overheating pretty much everything she tested at some point, she found that with this programme, she had saved 95% of her experiments without having to start from scratch all over again.
She applied the programme to Danel and opened it up. She manically added the extra power from her console needed to cope with the heat in Danel.
“If you have bothered to build this programme correctly, there should be an airing vent built into Danel.” Daniela said.
“Jensen?” Kelly asked.
Jensen nodded. “It goes straight into the ground at its base.”
Daniela looked for the control panel for the vent and found it in seconds. She attached the cooling programme to the mechanics in the opening of the vent and hit enter. Immediately the heat from Danel started dropping.
“Now we’re in business.” Daniela said, letting out a whoop.
She swiped away all the coolers to one side of her screen and brought back up the vitals for Connor and Duncan. She merged their vitals to Danel and let Stylo 1 do what it did best.
“Where did you put the Danel?” Daniela asked.
“Just ahead of you.” Kelly answered. “Craig, highlight the Walkers.”
The window ahead of them changed. Slowly all the other figures darkened and a large metallic looking structure in the shape of a rock no taller than four feet directly in front of the window shone out. Daniela hit the last button to activate Danel and watched as the rock changed form. It distorted and stretched until two figures made of the same metallic substance seemed to climb their way out of it. Daniela felt a shiver go down her back as it always did when she watched Danel work. The figures moulded more until they were in the shape of Connor and Duncan. They stood erect and still.
“Adding the mental link now.” Daniela said and slid the last section into place on her screen.
The figures came to life and looked around.
“Holy crap,” a voice spoke out through an unseen sound system, it was Duncan’s voice. “This place looks even more mental from out here.”
“How are the pods doing?” Daniela asked.
“Both are stable, no issues to report.”
Daniela glanced over to Connor and Duncan still standing dormant in their pods, their eyes glazed as before. She turned her attention back to outside.
One of the figures turned to the glass. “Hey Daniela,” Duncan’s voice came through again, the metal figure blew a kiss to the window but was directed about six feet away from where Daniela was sat.
“Try a little to your left, jerk.” Daniela murmured.
“I heard that.” Duncan said and the figure saluted, this time in Daniela’s direction.
“You were meant to.”
“Where are we headed?” Connor’s voice said.
“Five predators circling the ground twenty feet away,” Craig said.
“Back up?” Connor asked.
“Adding them now.” Kelly said and nodded to Daniela who complied.
The Danel moved once more and Connor and Duncan’s figures moved away to let the new figures take shape.
“Um Daniela,” Connor said, “Should we feel this hot?”
“We did our best with what we had.” Kelly said, cutting in before Daniela could let out some sarcastic remark. “Daniela’s got your vitals under control.”
“I can’t control all 22 of them!” Daniela said.
“Looks like you need my help after all,” Jensen said.
Suddenly he and four others came to either side of Daniela’s console and pulled at the sides of the screen. The screen started to stretch until it was a circle encompassing them.
“Woah.” Daniela said. “She’s never looked so hot.”
“Just a little idea from some of us stupid people working in the government,” Jensen said gruffly.
“Just keep an eye on the other twenty while I look after the leads.” Daniela answered back.
“Yes ma’am.” Jensen said in an overly sarcastic tone.
A loud roar cut over everything, shaking the ground outside and stunning everyone to silence. One of the beasts came into view, it caught sight of the forming metallic army and got up on its hind legs, reaching the height of at least 10 feet.
“Ummm, guys?” Duncan said. “A little height please?”
“On it.” Daniela said, working her fingers over the console, in response to her touch the metallic figures of Duncan and Connor grew to match the size of the beast. The other figures followed suit.
“Now, how about some weapons?” Connor said.