"What will we do?" Catro asked uncertainly.

"What can we do?" the Professor repeated, with a maniac glint in his eyes. "We go the surface, my boy."

"The surface?" Maleak said in surprise, looking at the Professor in concern. "Are you mad Professor?"

"Mad? No. Excited, yes," Professor Calleak said, a smile beginning to form on his lips.

"What about the creature they saw, and all the people that have gone missing?" Catro asked, starting to look worried

The Professor and Maleak looked thoughtful. Neither knew what to make of that.

"I heard rumours that the people on the surface have been working in genetics for many years—to improve themselves," Maretha said, "Could it be possible that they have furthered their experiments?"

No one spoke, they just considered the possibilities.

(break...break...break)

Aaron Stain drove back to the base, his mind racing with everything he had been told. He had to get a list of a list of all those who had left the base. If Sheriff Howard was correct, then he could tell who might be the spy, and he needed to talk to Dr. Mathews and Raz. He picked up the two way radio and got in contact with Raffle and ordered him to have the list ready when he got back and to have the front gates open and Dr. Mathews in his office. Raz was still praying—praying for the Tansaur Holy Day lasted from sunrise to sunset. He put on speed for the last few miles, and roared through the gates of the base. The troops in the yard scattered, and cookie roared a friendly curse at him for nearly running over him as he moved a new piece for his not so secret still, but Aaron didn't care. He got out of the jeep and strode into his office to find Dr. Mathews waiting for him. He ran through everything that the Sheriff had told him. She had a hard time believing it.

"Surly someone would have noticed," she said.

"Maybe. It would be a hard thing to miss, but with the war on, what ship's Captain would argue with extra personnel? All that would have to be done is to fit them out with the right uniform, some identification and you are set," Aaron stated, flipping through the names of those that had gotten off the base, and groaned.

"What is it?"

"Brendan. He is one of the people who have gotten off the base."

Aaron did some math in his head. The military train ran nightly between the base and the city where Brendan was, returning every morning with supplies.

"I can make it back," he said.

"Make it back?" Dr, Mathews asked, looking confused.

"I have to get Brendan. Atorna does not like been refused. I told you, all the soldiers who refused Atorna before have gone missing."

(break...break...break)

Brendan O'Shea was nervous. He and three others had gotten off the base for leave. He and two others now sat in a veterans bar in downtown Chicago with three army officers. The bar was crowded with soldiers- retired and otherwise, but they all treated the officers with respect. The fourth member of Brendan's group, Sergeant Hong, had gone off with the most senior officer- a Major- and had not come back. They were not Full Officers like Brendan, but they still outranked him. They had made an offer to Brendan and his friends, but only one of them took them up on that offer- to spy on his uncle. Why they were keeping them here, Brendan could only imagine. There was a sudden rustling as someone opened the door, and then a voice called out:

"Full Major. To attention."

Everyone acted without thinking. They jumped to their feet and stood to attention and hardly dared to breath. Brendan knew enough of the bar to know that a visit from someone over the rank of Full Lieutenant was a rarity. Then his Uncles voice rang out.

"At ease. I am looking for Lieutenant O'Shea, Lieutenant Cho, Sergeant Hong and Private Muller."

Brendan stepped into his uncle's line of sight, and gulped. His uncle was in full uniform, with sidearm.

"Over here, Sir," he said, trying to keep the nerves out of his voice.

"Where is Sergeant Hong?"

"I don't know sir."

"I will deal with him later. You three, come with me."

One of the officers stood up and cleared his throat.

"With respect," he said with difficulty. It was obvious that the English of Brendan and his uncles time was not his native tongue. He spoke it with the pronunciations of his own version of English- a lot of emphasis on the th and the ect. "We have orders from Field Marshall Atorna. These men are to stay here, Major..."

"Stein. Aaron Stein. I have my orders from the Field Marshall too. They instruct me to have my men ready for any eventuality. Since these men did not adhere to regulations and get my consent before leaving the base, I am here to bring them back and discipline them."

It was a lie, Brendan knew, they had his permission. But neither he, nor the officers across the table from him, were about to question the word of a Full Major with so many others looking on. There was a moments stand off before the others realised they could not do anything.

"The train is waiting at the station. I will meet you there," Major Stein said, and they left the room.

Authors note: Short, I know, sorry. Having trouble writing it at the moment...