Chapter - 1: The Degolins Awakens
Chapter - 1: The Degolins Awakens22 mins 252 22 mins 252
It was almost evening at Mt. St. Helens and the setting sun was giving a warm orange tinge to the infinite blue sky. A golden eagle returning to the nest observed a scary flying object making a deafening noise, previously never seen in the sky over there. The eagle found the flying object was much larger than him and scared, he changed his path immediately.
It was a chopper with Samuel and Ultrina in it! Samuel being the human and Ultrina – the humanoid.
"Easy dawg! Relax. Listen, one more minute down there and you will find yourself being roasted in the crater of this volcano. John, I repeat for the fifth time, come up immediately", yelled Samuel, a well-built Nigro in his 40s, in microphone of his headset and tried to look down from the window glass of the helicopter. But all he could see was a thin layer of puffy white clouds.
Ultrina, a humanoid seating on the pilot seat, looked at him while holding cyclic and throttle of the sky-blue and white-colored chopper Airbus H225 Super Puma.
"Don't stare at me like this, skull face", murmured Samuel with subtle disgust, "John should give this robot a human face or cover it with silicon mask at least! This iron skeleton look is sheety damn scary."
Ultrina looked back to the dashboard without any response.
Samuel felt like being ignored and insulted. He yelled at Ultrina, "Don't appreciate it Iron gal! You and your boss are ignoring me. You can't ignore me rascals. Don't forget this is my chopper. A twenty-eight MILLION DOLLAR chopper!"
Ultrina again looked at Samuel and looked back at the dashboard. Leaving only the mechanized sound of neck movement as the answer!
Samuel lost his patience by this gesture and shouted, "What the hell does this mean? We are hovering over a volcano about to erupt. John is hanging upside down over it and trying to fondle the crater. He is risking the lives of all of us, and both you guys just don't care about it!? To hell, if you don't care but you can't blow my money and my life like this."
Ultrina once again looked at Samuel and looked back at the dashboard but this time she pointed her finger at the warning indicator on whether display.
Samuel looked at the screen narrowing his eyes and his heart skipped a beat out of fear, "Oh gosh! It's a fu**ing hurricane warning! How the fuck they didn't predict earlier".
All he could do was to hold his head full of tiny curly hairs with both hands and shout in the headset, "John, to hell with your alien investigation. It's going to be tornado here along with volcanic eruption. Do you have an understanding? We're f**ked both ways if you realize! Come up immediately or I'll cut the rope. I am not going to blow my $28 million babies!"
But he still didn't receive a response from John's side. He knew that John is not replying deliberately. He also knew that John will not give up until he completes the mission. But at the same time, he knew that it's not safe for any of the four (the fourth one was Airbus super puma of course!) to stay back any longer.
He shouted again, "Johnny, take this seriously! I have 99 ideas to die in a brave act. But sacrificing myself and my 28 million dollar chopper to the volcano is certainly not one of them!"
300 meters beneath the hovering chopper, beyond the layer of swiftly moving thin, white clouds, upside-down hanging Johnny sensed the heat in Samuel's outburst. And felt it was more than the heat his face was feeling, being inches away from the slowly and consistently emerging lava.
Johnny, a former NASA scientist turned a freelancer spy, was hanging, near the middlemost part of the football stadium-sized crater with his legs fastened to the rope hooked in the chopper. His ears were numb for a while after Samuel's high pitch high decibel shout. His head was feeling heavy by hanging upside down for more than 30 minutes. The ash clouds were also making it difficult for him to see clearly.
"Just a few seconds more! I will definitely be able to send the Rovercube inside the throat of the volcano", he murmured to himself but forgot that Samuel can listen to him through the mic in his helmet.
"Forget it! There is nothing like an Alien Pathway. Once again we are letting ourselves be fooled. RETURN IMMEDIATELY. Or I will take throttle in my hands and fly away" shouted of Sam out of frustration.
Johnny was desperately trying to reach exactly over the throat of the volcano as he was swinging with the commencement of heavy blowing streams of winds. Even in this dire situation, he couldn't control his laughing on hearing Samuel's threat. "Sammy! My ace boon coon. You don't even know driving and you will fly a chopper!?"
Samuel was scared but Johnny's laughing at him made him furious.
"Yes I can't fly my baby but I can detach the rope with just a press of a button. I am going to count twenty down. Decide, if you yourself want to travel through the throat of the volcano along with the Rovercube!", Sam yelled while looking at his Rolex.
"Pls count at least fifty Sammy!," Johnny tried to control laughing while trying to balance during swings.
Samuel ignored and started, "Twenty… Nineteen…Eighteen.. "
Suddenly, a sharp gust of stormy winds came from nowhere and swung Johnny back much away from his target. He hardly saved himself from banging into the tall wall of the crater. He was gradually feeling like he was going to faint and was struggling hard to keep awake. Ash clouds, the heat of the lava, stormy winds, and his exhausted body capacity made him feel he would have to abort the mission.
"Ten… Nine…Eight..," Samuel was anxiously counting down.
Despaired Johnny accepted the defeat. The amount of lava coming out of the volcano had suddenly increased and it was taking the form of a fountain, gradually. Johnny was about to press the pullback button on his helmet when a powerful gust of wind blew him away again, but this time the swing was taking him near towards the throat - his target. This was unexpected! In a fraction of the moment, Johnny realized the opportunity and jolted his body so that he can he could pass over the throat during the swing.
"Five. ..Four..," Samuel moved his hands towards the detach button on the dashboard, with a heavy heart and tears in his eyes. Ultrina again turned her robotic head towards Samuel. Samuel felt as if eye-shaped cameras on her face were pouring out the pain. But he didn't pull his hand back and said, "Being a robot is bliss, you don't have to struggle with emotions. Ultrina, I have a family, unlike Johnny. I can't afford to lose myself. But I also can't afford to lose Johnny". Samuel lost his patience and cried, "Show me a way out, skull face! Use your intelligence, if you've got any!"
Ultrina was still staring at her without any response.
300 meters down, hanging Johnny's thrust turned out to be fruitful. He could pass exactly over the throat and he threw the Rovercube at the target with full force.
But alas! Again an unexpected jolt made him miss the shot! And he found himself going away from the crater. This jolt was caused by the movement of the chopper.
"Sammy, you son of a b***!," he shouted, "I was about to..," before he could finish, he heard Samuel's shout.
"F** you John. Ha. Ha.. ha..! To hell with your alien expedition. Bow to me and lick my feet, I just saved your lonely worthless life."
Frustration flooded on Johnny's face. He knew Samuel did what a true friend always does. But he was dismayed as he lost the opportunity that he earned by risking his life. He murmured, "Sam, you saved my life but you've put millions of lives in danger. I wish you could have understood the severity of the situation!"
Samuel, by the time, had put the headphones down and was joyous as the misshaping was averted.
Legs tied, upside-down hanging Johnny could feel a decrease in heat, as he could see the crater going away from him every second and disappearing beneath clouds as their chopper was moving skywards.
A few moments later, Johnny was removing his helmet and suit on the backseat when all three in the chopper could hear loud explosions, bubbles bursting, rumbling, hissing, sounds of an erupting volcano; roaring like a jet engine.
Samuel beamed with pride and joy and teased disappointed Johnny, "Baby, you repent being safe and alive with us? Don't worry; I can still throw you out if you want! Then you can try f**king your luck in the coming tornado. "
Johnny wished he could thrash his face right now. But he tried the old but sure shot trick rather than getting angry.
"My dear Cane Corso, you can throw me out, but tornado will strike in few moments," he pointed his finger at the warning indicator on the dashboard and continued, "I hope you can get through the tornado safely all alone on your own. WITHOUT ME!"
His trick worked. Laughing Samuel got tensed instantly.
"What do you mean all alone!? Ultrina is there. Don't forget WE saved you," Samuel tried to show that he is not afraid.
"Well Sammy, I hope you are not overlooking the fact that Ultrina is almost drained," said Johnny pointing at the power indicator on Ultrina's stomach.
It was only 2%.
Scared and miffed Samuel tried to laugh but it came out like a cat meowing for milk. "You know I was joking, right Johnny? I wouldn't have saved you if I wanted to throw you out!," he tried to stay calm but couldn't and begged to hold Johnny's hands, " NOW PLEASE TAKE CONTROLS IN YOUR HAND BEFORE THIS SKULL FACE FAINTS. PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE!"
Johnny couldn't help laughing.
It was almost midnight and Samuel was struggling to sleep on the thermal bed laid on the thick layer of ice in the tent installed by Ultrina. Johnny landed the chopper on a safe flat surface away from the crater and route of the tornado. He could have slept peacefully in the extreme cold but he was aware that his BFF was disappointed.
He knew that Johnny can't accept defeats. Deeply, he was feeling bad as Johnny couldn't complete the mission of utmost importance to him. And that low feeling swirling inside his mind was not letting him sleep completely. He gave up on the effort of sleeping and silently turned to the side to see whether Johnny is asleep or not. As he couldn't see much in profound darkness, he lit the torch with his hands on the torch glass so that sudden light may not awake Johnny.
But to his shock, the bed was empty!
Before he could think much, Ultrina emerged from the dark and took away the torch, turning it off.
Annoyed Samuel couldn't help be calling, "You moron m***er ...." Before he could finish vituperating, he heard the voice of Johnny - "Stop abusing her Sammy. I have asked her to maintain complete darkness. Come out if you don't want to sleep".
Furious Samuel slowly moved his legs on a thick velvety layer of ice to move out of the tent. He was still murmuring looking angrily at Ultrina, "You were just 2%. I gave you juice from my chopper's battery. Don't forget your skull face...."
He stepped outside the tent and couldn't finish his sentence. His jaws dropped to see that there was no darkness outside; instead, the sky was shining bright with colorful lights. The sky seemed decorated with shining diamond-like stars and beautiful colors in the horizons.
"This is Aurora," Johnny whispered while still staring at the sky. Angry Samuel held his face from the chin and turned it towards his face and yelled in a slow suppressed voice, "I know this is Aurora. We were in the same class and same school right?"
But he instantaneously lost the grip over his chin as he noticed his face. He has never seen his alter ego so nervous and tense. His heart melted to see this.
Without thinking much, he dragged Johnny and hugged him tightly. He was repenting about being harsh without knowing what Johnny is going through.
"What happened?" Samuel's words were filled with affection, "This stressed look doesn't suit my macho masculine brother. I am here. With you, as always and forever."
Johnny felt the warmth of Samuel's love in his suffocating tight hug. He too reciprocated with a lovely wholehearted hug. Their eyes were damp with feeling strong bonds nurtured over years.
All petty grudges swept away in that brotherly shower of sentiments.
The emotional state would have continued a little longer if Ultrina has not tapped on both their friend's shoulders.
Ultrina signaled them to go inside the tent. None of the two could understand what the reason was! Ultrina lifted the curtain of the tent and pointed finger to the small cube-shaped device with rounded corners. So far silent device was now omitting tiny beams of lights in pulsating motion.
"Oh damn!" shocked Johnny rushed into the tent and took the device it his hands. He turned it back and noticed three dots moving towards red circles.
Samuel and Ultrina reached inside the tent by the time, "What is this Johnny?" asked Samuel holding Johnny's shoulder.
"Sammy. This is more dangerous than a tornado."
"But WHAT IS IT?"Samuel was losing patience.
"This device is called DeTriLo. I and Lucy together designed it. It warns us whenever those Degolins are within a 10km radius," answered Johnny in one breath.
Samuel noticed his expressions even in low light while he took the name of Lucy. But didn't think it appropriate to speak about it.
"Degolins...You mean that mythological demonic tribe?" Samuel was not in the mood to believe this inane myth.
"Mythological? Are you kidding? Degolins are mystical not mythological. They look like humans but they aren't! How can you forget my last close encounter with them, "Johnny couldn't believe Sammy forgot the incident.
"Ah! My dear, I am not Ultrina who can remember everything and recall in real-time. I mean, it's almost a decade before when you told me about it."
Johnny took a deep breath and expressed his worry, "We must not let them see us at any cost. Ultrina can uproot the tent in no time and we will bury ourselves into ice wearing thermal life jackets. But ...."
Samuel never liked his style of creating suspense. He instantaneously asked, "But??"
"But what to do with the chopper. This mammoth can't be hidden". Johnny expressed his concern in a worried voice.
Samuel could see Johnny's breaths becoming shorter out of tension. He was frightened even more. Being afraid too easily was the innate nature of Samuel but he never exhibited it. He faked courage once again, "Degolins may be the demonic tribe. But don't forget we have ME – THE SAMMY! Samuel is near, Nooooo Fear!"
Johnny forgot the danger for a moment and laughed. "Ok, dear Sammy. I will love to see you fighting with Degolins. Go ahead. And yeah, just try not to forget that these Degolins have been in existence for thousands of years. They are believed to be ETERNAL...."
Samuel couldn't keep calm and intervened, "Little correction Johnny! I am going to fight with my super-duper brain. And make these demons bite the dust. Uh! Not dust, the snow to be precise. Here is the plan."
"And what's the plan?" Johnny asked in a playful vein.
"Ultrina will fight the Degolins and we will leave the place immediately in the chopper," said Sammy dancing his eyebrows, "How's the plan!?"
Ultrina turned her back and went away.
Samuel grabbed the chance, "See your tin machine, Johnny. She needs to be programmed for some etiquette. Don't' you think so?
Johnny sighed and tapped Sammy's head lightly, "They can move at enormous speed even without a vehicle. Take off will take at least 15 minutes and they will be here within 10 minutes."
"So now?"Scared Samuel was biting his teethes now.
Johnny replied with a subtle voice, "Hope they are not aware of the rovercube I tried to place in the crater of Mt. St. Helens. It is believed that Degolins are secret keepers of earth's connection to the other worlds. They don't like it if anyone dares to go close to these secrets."He sighed a bit and said, "Only God can help us now."
All of a sudden, there was glowing light inside the tent, dazzling their eyes.
It was Ultrina. Her eyes were beaming lights on the DeTriLo device. Johnny shouted, "Ultrina, I asked you to maintain complete darkness. Degolins can sense even a small amount of light from miles away. Turn it off!"
Ultrina didn't turn off instead, she turned static light beams into pulsating one.
Samuel always subtly thought of Ultrina as a menace in their friendship. He immediately yelled, "See your tin machine is not......". Before he could complete cursing Ultrina, he noticed something in DeTriLo and his tone changed, "Hey where are that circle and those moving dots? Is your device dead?"
Johnny now understood what Ultrina was trying to convey. He jumped with joy, "They are gone, DeTriLo turns off the display when Degolins changes their direction. This device can sense their energy field from 50 km far."
"So......! We are out of danger?"
"Yes, Sammy Yes," Johnny replied happily. Their sighting on Mt. St. Helens is a rare occasion as they live in ancient untraced caves of Mexico. But anyway, they may be just passing by. And they aren't coming to this site. WE ARE OUT OF DANGER NOW. "
Samuel took a breath of relief and said, "You should give this skull face a voice at least, if you can't give her a face. She could have told us this had she had the voice. You know, we are not much good in interpreting her sign language"
"Hmmm, "replied Johnny while still in deep thoughts.
"How about giving her voice of Lucy?" asked Samuel intentionally to his commitment-phobic chum.
The dart hit straight on the target. Johnny was immediately out of the trance-like state and tried to decipher why Sammy has poked the name he is trying to suppress in his memories. He could see Sammy smiling cunningly.
A few moments later both the pals were sleeping on the thermal bed, with a heater built-in blankets covering up to their courses up to necks. Being out of danger, both were now out of the tent too! Enjoying the pleasing beauty of the star-studded sky and vivid aurora.
Both were conversing petty things with their eyes stuck on the beauty of the night sky.
"Johnny, you are an epitome of friendship, I swear! I ruined your years of hard work and one in a million chance of installing rovercube in the crater. And yet you have not been bad with me," said Samuel in a sleepy voice.
"I know you saved my life, Sammy. I am grateful for that. But what's squeezing my heart is the fact that perhaps we might have lost the only opportunity to plant rovercube into the crater. After years of struggle, I could find that the greatest threat to mankind will enter our world through Mt. St. Helens's crater" Johnny answered while still being mesmerized with aurora and spine chilling cold.
"You mean those Aliens? Come on, it's just a myth." Samuel was not ready to believe.
"Crater of Mt. St. Helens is actually a portal that has a connection to the other world. The portal is protected by a robust unshakable layer of some unknown mater. Rovercube would have found if the layer is intact!" Johnny tried to explain, "Sammy it's not about ME or YOU. It's about the entire human race. The threat is real and closer than anyone could think. We are going to go back tomorrow to see if anything can be fixed."
Sammy was totally sleepy by the time. He blabbered in a somewhat indistinct voice, "I don't understand these big philosophies about saving the entire planet. Why can't we start by saving the ones who care for us more than themselves? Only if you could understand...." Sammy slept before finishing the sentence.
The uncompleted sentence evoked a myriad of emotions in Johnny's heart. He remembered how great he felt whenever Lucy looked at him with great unconditional love. He felt guilty for reading her message from notification but pretending as unread.
He took the mobile and read her message, "Johnny, I am in dire need of your help. Pls call me and come to me urgently."
Johnny felt ashamed remembering how she nursed him for as long as one month after lethal assault by KGB on him. And he was not even responding to her!
He looked at sleeping Samuel and got upset that how peacefully he was sleeping after disturbing the peace of mind of the other.
He threw away the blanket and shook sleeping Sammy fiercely. Sammy jerked with a scared shout, "Oye Oye Oye...F**k you Degolins. Go away. Johnny is going to kill you, bastards!"
Johnny burst into a laugh.
"What the hell Johnny. Is this a way to wake someone up? What..."Before Sammy can finish, Johnny pulled him by his hand and shouted, "Get back to the chopper right now Sammy. We are leaving for Washington DC. Ultrina, pack up the tent and get ready to fly."
Samuel was still amazed at what was happening but Ultrina immediately obeyed the order and start uprooting the tent.
Johnny was at Independence Avenue, Washinton DC after 18 hours waking towards Lucy's residence with a fresh orchid and rose bouquet in his hands. He never felt so good in his life. He was wondering why he didn't decide on proposing Lucy earlier. It was altogether a new feeling for him when the commitment was feeling pleasurable to him. Now he was standing at her doorstep.
Johnny knocked on the door with excitement. As soon as the door opened he screamed with joy, "Lucyyyyy, I am back. I've been....." He couldn't complete the sentence on seeing a young man at the door.
"Oops, maybe I am the wrong house. Sorry to bother you, friend," he apologized and thought, "I have to control my excitement".
He turned backed and stepped down when he sees Lucy stepping up.
"Hey, Lucy! Thanks for spotting me. I mistook this house to be yours," Johnny spoke in one breath and handed over the bouquet to her.
Charming Lucy took the flowers but her face was expressionless. She was still looking at Johnny without saying a word.
Johnny was not able to decipher such a cold response when Lucy stepped up and asked, "You are at the right house, Johnny. But maybe not at the right time! Please come inside."
Eminent scientist turned spy Johnny sensed the reality in a fraction of a second. His heartbroken into pieces on realizing that she is with someone else now. He couldn't move an inch.
Lucy pushed him gently inside and closed the door. And introduced both of them to each other, "Johnny, this is Maxx. Maxx this is Johnny."
None of them asked who the other was. Johnny now noticed that Maxx was more handsome than him and younger to him and Lucy both. He cursed his luck but didn't want to exhibit his consternation. He tried to show his cool by tossing his shoulders and said, "You wanted to meet me, Lucy, right? I saw your message."
Lucy's answer was as expressionless as her face, "Yes Johnny. I did. Thanks for responding to my 22 days old message!"
Johnny couldn't match his eyes with her and looked sideways while saying in a very low voice, "I was on a mission. I can't share the details. But I was on a very very crucial mission."
She didn't show interest in knowing, "I understand Johnny. Thanks for coming. I guess you still want to help!" She looked at him with edgy sight and then looked at Maxx. Maxx got the message and went away saying, "You both please sit and discuss WORK while I am finishing my task."
Johnny was in no mood to help but he couldn't say it.
Lucy sat on the sofa without asking him to sit and fired the problem right away, "Formula for specially treated graphene diamine rope has gone missing from the lab!"
Johnny almost jumped with the second shock in succession, "What! Don't tell me this Lucy. These ropes are the only resource available on the earth - softest and yet strongest enough to protect us from bullets, bombs or even tie the Boeing without letting it move an inch. How it can go missing?"
"Remember we placed it on most secure server doubly encrypted with AES-256 grade! Now it is nowhere. Luckily, I have some ropes and material that can make some more. But without formula, we can't reproduce when stock lasts. I need you to help as we together devised the formula."
"Yes, but it's not possible to do that complex formula again. Instead, I would better find where it can go missing?" Johnny replied.
Lucy agreed by tossing her shoulders. "I know you enjoy being spy more than being a scientist! Do whatever way you like it."
"Let's go to the cloud-9 lab then. I hope to find the culprit there only. The formula must be there in the lab. It CAN'T be taken outside anyway."Johnny proposed his plan of action. Lucy nodded affirmatively.
"Maxx we are going! Pls close the door," shouted Johnny to tease the new couple out of jealousy and frustration. He noticed that his bouquet was lying on the coffee table now. Unnoticed!
Lucy didn't think necessary to react and moved out to go to the lab.
Cloud – 9 labs were located 35 stories beneath the ground floor at NASA. Only a selected few knew about it is it one of the most secret labs on the planet. Johnny was swiftly moving his fingers on the keyboard while being focused on results on the supercomputer's screen. Lucy was anxiously looking at the seemingly endless process.
"Lucy you have to wait a bit longer. I am getting the clues that the Formula file is not stolen perhaps!" said Johnny without moving eyes from the screen.
"No problems. I am ready to wait!"Lucy answered
"So, you can wait for formula but not for Johnny. Loved to not that!" Johnny stung in a pungent tone, "Anyway congratulations on finding a 10 years younger bae!"
Lucy couldn't take it more and swiveled his chair towards her.
"Have you ever asked me to wait? Have you ever tried to let me know what you think of our future? It's been 5 years Johnny. And we have hardly stayed in touch for more than a few days in continuation. No woman can live forever like this."Lucy's voice was soaked with pain.
Johnny had no answer. He just said, "Maybe I deserve to be single! Anyways, I wish you all those things in Maxx you couldn't find in me."
Lucy didn't want to decide whether it's a compliment or a taunt. She just kept mum and concentrated on the screen.
Few moments went by without a single word. When Johnny realized something. He turned off the screen and closed his eyes with hands on his face.
Lucy asked, "Has superspy Johnny found something?"
Johnny nodded with closed eyes and said, "Formula is safe. It's B.U.L.W.A.RK."
Lucy understood that it's not safe to converse more under a super surveillance system as their every movement was being recorded. B.U.L.W.A.RK. – the AI developed secretly by Lucy and Johnny was devised in a way that would hide every critical information if it senses any kind of infiltration or danger.
Johnny tapped his fingers on his head with his eyes closed. It seemed natural for a person under tension but Lucy deciphered the code that B.U.L.W.A.RK. is triggered and the formula file has been hidden by their AI to protect the sensitive information getting into the wrong hands.
Johnny opened his eyes and looked at Lucy with a question in his eyes – "Who can be behind this?" Lucy's eyes were carrying the same question. It simply meant the biggest ever conspiracy that can ruin a million of lives and the NASA itself.
Suddenly, Johnny's mobile beeped. It was a notification sent by Ultrina. On reading the message, Johnny was literally on cloud-9. He showed the message to Lucy which read, "Rovercube initiated its journey inside the mouth of the crater. It's sending signals."
Lucy could now understand what sort of lethal mission he was working on. She felt happy to see the joy on Johnny's face. But the very next message from Ultrina took all the joy all of a sudden.
Johnny snatched the mobile and read the message which said – "Signals decoded. Invaders trying to break the layer. Might encounter SOON...!"
Chapter - 2: The crooked secrets of the crater....... will follow soon