As promised here is the first chapter of my third book Sherdan’s Prophecy. Enjoy!
Sherdan sat down and picked up the report from the desk in front of him. He lounged, half reading and half focused on the surveillance cameras. There wasn’t really a need to be watching them. His security guards would be doing the same thing just down the hallway from him.
The report soon drew his attention entirely away from the little stack of monitor screens. His good friend, Dr John Hitchin, had given him the document he now scanned through. Most of it was a medical report on the latest batch of joiners to the program.
The last few pages were more interesting to Sherdan. They listed the biological and chemical effects noted and the different changes that could be made to the drug to reduce the complications and side effects it caused.
When Sherdan had finished reading all this he got up and went to the nearby bookcase. From the neatly organised shelves he pulled a leather bound journal. He flicked through the pages, glancing at the neat hand writing which filled the first ten or so pages.
The rest of the book had a long list of names. He scanned through them, moving his finger down the list as he did. When he found the person he was looking for he reached into the pocket of his suit jacket and pulled out a pen. With a sigh he crossed the name out.
He did this for two more names on the thousand strong list before going to the end and writing in seven more. By the last person he wrote the date and the number 5173 followed by +7-3
With his task done Sherdan placed the book back. It blended in with the rest of the shelves and appeared no more important than the hundreds and possibly thousands of other books, lining the entire wall of the room.
Sherdan did not return to his seat at the desk but sat down on the other side of the office in an armchair by the blaze he had created less than an hour before. The brandy glass he had poured and left beside his favourite chair provided a welcome distraction to his over worked brain. He downed the rest of the alcohol and gazed into the flames.
The crackle and fizzle of the fire soon soothed him and half an hour ticked by on the grandfather clock in the corner. He ran his hands through his thick black hair a few times as he thought over some more stressful things. He had a lot to plan.
The people in his program depended on him to make sure they had the new start in life they deserved. He intended to make the best life for all of them that he could; free from prejudice and judgement, free from unhelpful fear and stereotyping.
Sherdan was mulling over the next stage of his plan when a knock on the door disturbed him.
“Come in,” he called out in his deep English upper-class accent. He looked towards the door on the left wall. It opened and one of his security team walked in. He appeared the typical hired security guard. Black t-shirt and trousers, ear piece and upper body built like a tank. Sherdan knew there was a lot more to this man than first impressions gave.
“Sir, something set the compound alarm off less than twenty minutes ago but we are having difficulty finding out what.”
“Yes, Sir. We don’t think it’s an animal,” the guard replied, anticipating Sherdan’s next question.
“I had best go over there. I will take the lower route. Have the patrols doubled and keep me informed.”
“We already doubled the patrols Sir.” The guards lips did not move with this last message even though Sherdan heard him as if he had talked normally.
Sherdan got to his feet as he was left alone. He fetched his revolver from the desk drawer. While he did this he watched the monitors intently. The extra men on the compound cameras could already be seen but there was no sign of anyone trespassing. He frowned. The alarm system was high-tech enough that they shouldn’t get false alarms, but any intruder should have shown up on the cameras by now.
With his gun holstered under his jacket he left the room. He took a left turn down the hallway and continued walking down the corridor, past all the doors off it to what seemed to be a dead end.
When he couldn’t walk any further he stopped. The mirror which adorned the wall in front of him reflected only himself and the empty corridor.
He reached out and ran his finger over the left hand edge of the mirror frame. When he had found the right place a faint buzzing noise started. He stood still as a beam came out from the top of the mirror and scanned his face, focussing on his eyes. When it had finished the wall clicked and the humming stopped. A crack had appeared on the right hand side.
Sherdan pushed the wall and waited as it swung backwards. He stepped through the opening and shut the wall behind him. The mirror was clear from this side allowing him to check that no one had seen him.
Once he was satisfied he went down the flight of steps and into a plain concrete tunnel, lit overhead by many little lights. He walked for approximately half a mile in a straight line before turning a corner right and ascending an equally long flight of stairs. When he reached the top there was an identical pane of glass and handle to the door he had just entered by.
Checking for no observers on the other side, Sherdan pushed the centre of the circular handle and, after hearing the same dull clink, pulled the door towards him. He found himself in a very different room.
It was a much more military style room. There was a fairly standard metal framed bed in one corner as well as another container of brandy on a small glass table. There were no cosy furnishings and nothing as comfortable as the room he had been reclining in less than fifteen minutes earlier.
Sherdan didn’t linger but stepped through the nearest of the three doors in the room. He was greeted by the gaze of the seven other males allowed in his command room. The monitors that filled one wall were all focused on the compound he was now in. Every camera on the west side had been fed through to the screens before them.
No one talked but waited for Sherdan to command them. He looked at the nearest person, Jordan.
“Yes, Sir. We’ve still not found the cause of the alarm Sir,” the young man offered.
“Which one was set off first?”
“The furthest on the west, on Royal Fort Road… Three more alarms have gone off since, coming in this direction.”
“Where are the patrols?”
“They’ve all concentrated on that area of the compound but no luck yet Sir,” his commander offered before Jordan could.
“Thank you. Give me the microphone, let me talk to the men on the ground.” Sherdan moved towards the main desk in the room where all the important controls were. From this console he could communicate with every building that was part of the program as well as control every door and window in the compound.
He soon contacted the chief patrol guard and had all the extra patrol teams move to intercept all routes from the last alarmed zone to the room Sherdan himself was in. The intruder had made an almost direct path from the edge of the compound to the central hub as if they knew where they were going, this worried Sherdan.
“Do any of the non-essential member of the program know that the alarms have been set off?” Sherdan asked the room. Two people shrugged the rest looked at someone else.
“See to it that as few as possible find out,” Sherdan snapped.
Several of the men went scurrying to separate work stations and pressed buttons. Thankfully it was late evening in December and most of the residents would be in the warmth of their homes. Very few would be out to notice the extra patrols near the compound and many would be asleep already.
Sherdan’s impatience grew as the minutes ticked by and no one was found. By the time some unknown person had been eluding his staff for over an hour he was pacing the floor. Everyone stayed out of his way and did their best to coordinate the patrols to follow the zones having their alarm set off. As the time ticked by the intruder came closer and closer.
Jordan cried out as he spotted movement on one of the cameras. A young female, dressed from head to foot in black snuck along the passageway on display, making her way, painstakingly slowly.
“Where is that?” Sherdan demanded.
“Sector C, corridor 3,” the young man grabbed the nearby microphone, “Patrols, target has been sighted, all please converge on sector C, corridor 3. Target is a white female, approximately five and a half feet, small build, appears unarmed, potentially dangerous…”
“Do not harm if possible,” Sherdan interrupted. He didn’t see the looks of shock at this statement which passed over every face in the room. He’d never said that before.
“Understood,” came the voice over the radio.
Everyone stood and watched, tracking their quarry on the cameras and feeding the info to the patrols as necessary. It would not be long before she was hemmed in on all sides. Sherdan smiled.
Chapter two will be published in 12 days time on December 18th 2011