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The Tempest - Chapter 1

Chapter 1 


Two years previously…


The immense power required for the test cycle dimmed the lighting, momentarily. A transportation crisis loomed dangerously over present-day humanity. After years—no, decades—of research, today could culminate two generations of trial and error by the Cameron family. Success could finally be in their grasp. Tempest would be the savior.


Two soldiers waited patiently inside the tunnel, laser light emitting from the lightweight bands strapped to their forearms. Their stances unmoving, their facial expressions blank, silence appeared to be a dominant prerequisite for this event.


In the control room, the military’s top brass stood at the back of the room, mutely observing the state of affairs. Perhaps silence was something they drilled into recruits at the academy. Next to them, two suits annoyingly clicked their pens, thus proving that regulators lacked patience. Several technicians sat in front of consoles, monitoring every function of the equipment and the life-signs of their guinea pigs.


“Al, are we set?” Jim Fever asked his fellow director. His voice held quiet excitement, while his hands rubbed eagerly together in expectation.


Alana Cameron glanced around, stretching her slight body in her chair. Hours of console work, especially on a test day, took their toll on the body. “Yes, diagnostics show green. DNA formulation match confirmed. We are ready.” Her confident voice resounded in a deliberate show for the suits. As ready as we’ll ever be, she thought to herself. She had to ensure the people providing the funds for the research had no reason to have any doubts in the program.


Jim Fever twisted to face the brass and signaled they had a green light. One of the men, with an impressive array of medals and other imposing insignia adorning his uniform, stepped forward. From where Alana sat, she figured he was the highest-ranking officer present.


“Major Tranter will start the experiment…she enters before Lieutenant Lane.” The man didn’t change his impassive expression as he issued the order.


Jim turned to Alana who shook her head. “Sorry, General, that isn’t possible. The sequence has begun and was programmed for initial entry by Lieutenant Lane.”


Clicking his heels was the only sign of his annoyance at the comment. He moved back to stand in line with the other military personnel. “Carry on.”


“Excuse me, Director Fever, I’m new to this program. Exactly what are we going to achieve today that we haven’t previously?” one of the suits asked. The measured, derisive glance lasered in Jim’s direction was a precise hit on target at point-blank range.


Jim looked heavenward. “We have less than two minutes before the experiment begins,” he said to them. “Why can’t they ever send the same person from the bureau? I fail to understand that on any level,” he mumbled softly. “Allow me to introduce my co-director, Doctor Cameron. She will explain everything. Please, Al, if you would be so kind as to give the eminent gentlemen from the CIA the short version.”


Raising her eyes toward the man, Alana snorted softly. Jesus, this happens every damn time! “The project is simple, really…we are trying to harness a dimension outside the ones we are familiar with and propel a person, in a matter of microseconds, distances we can only dream about.”


“Where is this team going?” The agent noted something on his clipboard, returning an owl-like gaze back at her.


“Oh, not far. Only to the perimeter of the compound where we have personnel monitoring every inch and ready to report the microsecond they appear.”


The general in charge seemed about to ask a question but stopped when the agent next to him whispered something. His mouth immediately closed like a trap door.


“Twenty seconds, Doctor,” the technician at her side announced abruptly. Alana turned swiftly back to the task in hand. This was the most crucial time of the experiment and Alana concentrated on what she did best—her work.


Ten, nine, eight, seven, six, five, four, three, two…Lieutenant Lane, now.” Her softly spoken words traveled like an echo through a tunnel in the control room, much as the personnel were about to do. For a moment, the lieutenant gave the female soldier at his side a sneer, before Alana pressed the switch to begin the experiment…


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