by Bill Kowaleski
Creative Destruction is a sequel to the novel Brighter Than the Stars, in which Earthlings meet technologically advanced space aliens. The Cygnians come only to do business, but their schemes to sell fusion-powered generators become contentious and competitive.
Many human and alien characters return from the previous novel, including Jim McDermott and his team, who try to reduce the risk of societal upheaval that the new technologies threaten. Meanwhile, many different groups are either plotting to steal the technical advances for their own purposes or trying to destroy it and drive the Cygnians off of Earth.
|Cast of Characters and Species||Table of Contents|
Chapter 30: Back to Gaborone
The morning sun, just creeping above the horizon, found Elka, Jerry, Keyshawn, and Andrew, still in his African businessman bodysuit, riding in their rented Hilux through the nearly empty streets of Gaborone toward Mr. Mudenda’s office. When they turned a corner just a block from the office, an alarming scene came into view. A slender man was walking down the street, Mr. Wu right behind him holding something against his back, while the three agents who spoke no English flanked them, front and both sides.
“Hey, they’ve got the Mudenda dude!” shouted Keyshawn.
“Looks like they’re abducting him,” said Gerry. He pulled the Hilux alongside the group and shouted out the window, “Mr. Mudenda, are they forcing you to go somewhere?”
“Stay away! We ready for you today!” warned Mr. Wu. The two agents flanking Mr. Mudenda pulled small guns from their pockets and pointed them at the vehicle.
“Andrew, what protections do you have in that bodysuit?” asked Gerry.
“I haven’t really tested them, but I am supposedly impervious to all Earth weapons up to and including large artillery shells.”
“Woah!” Keyshawn whistled. “Better than our stuff!”
“No,” Gerry said, “you forget what Jason told us, that the enhancements we’re wearing take the force of any weapon that approaches us and transfers it to another universe. He told me that even if a freight train were bearing down on me, it would just suddenly disappear.”
“So what should we do here? I am not so confident like the rest of you in these enhancements,” Elka fretted. “He’s holding a gun to Mr. Mudenda’s back.”
Gerry stuck his head out the window again. “Mr. Mudenda, do you need help?”
“Yes, they are abducting me. Please, call the police.”
“Be quiet, or you get bullet in back,” warned Mr. Wu.
Gerry shouted out of the truck window, “Stupid, Mr. Wu! If you kill him, how will you ever contact the Cygnian sales rep?”
He slowed the truck to match their walking pace and turned his head. “Andrew, just stay in the truck when we stop. Elka, which coordinated attack should we use?”
“Three,” she replied. “But we have to be really fast. He just might be crazy enough to pull the trigger.”
“No,” said Gerry, “I don’t think so, but we can’t allow the Chinese to contact the Cygnians. We’ve got to risk it, even if Mr. Mudenda gets hurt. I hate to say this, but he’s expendable.”
Gerry stopped the truck and he, Keyshawn, and Elka rushed out, each moving at the incredible speed of their enhancements toward their chosen victim. The abductors were tentative and indecisive, shocked and unprepared for an attack when they thought that they so clearly held the upper hand, and they were also fearful of hurting Steven Mudenda, the key to their contacting the Cygnians.
Gerry, the largest of the three, took on Mr. Wu, quickly knocking him to the ground and taking his revolver. Keyshawn whirled as he approached the agent to Mr. Mudenda’s left, kicking him in the groin, then knocking him to the ground. He shoved his forearm into the man’s face, released a soporific gas, and pulled away.
On the other side, Elka was doing the same with the same results. In fifteen seconds, the two agents lay motionless on the ground, Mr. Wu sat despondently behind them, and the remaining, unarmed agent stood looking at the scene, mouth open in amazement. Not a single shot had been fired.
“You are not Dr. Landis. You lied to me,” Mr. Wu complained. “You are some kind of special agent: Navy Seal or Special Forces.”
“It doesn’t really matter who we are, Mr. Wu,” Gerry said, gasping to catch his breath. “The bottom line is, we’re here to be in your way. We aren’t going to kill you, though I have to admit, it’s an attractive idea, and we could easily do it, but we aren’t going to let you work with Mr. Mudenda either.”
With that, Gerry stuck his forearm into Wu’s face. The gas worked quickly; Wu went limp and fell backward. Gerry caught him and lowered him gently to the grass. The remaining agent broke into a run.
“Let him go,” Gerry said. “All we need to do here is slow them down.” He turned his attention to Steven Mudenda. “Look, Mr. Mudenda, you’re in real danger. We can protect you for a few days, but you’re going to have to take security measures from now on.”
“First, let me thank you, and you are correct, I do need to protect myself better. But please, tell me, who are you people? Are you just another gang intent on abducting me, or are you really working to protect me?”
“Let’s go to our hotel, Mr. Mudenda, and fill you in,” offered Gerry.
“Oh, no, many people are waiting for me, I must go to my office, plus the Cygnian Salesman is scheduled to be here at...” he looked at his watch. “In only fifteen minutes!”
That sounded like an opportunity too good to pass up, but Gerry considered first what to do with the inert Chinese agents on the grassy parkway next to the road. “Andrew, could we send them somewhere in your portable altverse tunnel?”
“Yes, I think we could ship them to the GFG facility for a while, but I am concerned that they could convince the marketing people there to start shipping them generators. Do you really want to do that?”
“They’re just going to keep causing trouble here, I’m not sure what to do.”
Keyshawn sauntered over to the unconscious Chinese and looked down at them. “Why don’t we ship them over to Upper Zion? Warn Guard-Robert that they’re coming, and he can put them away until we decide what to do with them?”
“Wouldn’t they have to walk some distance in the tunnel?”
“Oh, no,” Andrew replied. “For intra-planet travel, the distance is a matter of millimeters, just roll them in and they’ll roll out the other end.”
That seemed the best solution. Using Gerry’s secure universal mobile, they contacted Guard-Robert who strongly agreed with the plan and quickly arranged the details. They then dragged the Chinese behind a nearby building, set the coordinates, activated the tunnel, and pushed the three agents through. Guard-Robert called a minute later to confirm that they had arrived and were awakening. Gerry, Elka, Keyshawn, and Mr. Mudenda then walked the short distance to Steven’s office.
When they approached the stairway, well-dressed young men crowded around. “Mr. Mudenda! Please see me first! I will pay a fifty percent premium for immediate delivery!”
“No!” shouted another lean, intense, high-strung, young man who looked much the same as the first speaker. “See me first and I will buy ten units with U.S. dollars cash!”
“Please, gentlemen, I really appreciate your interest,” Steven said with practiced diplomacy. “But first I must have an urgent meeting. Could you please organize yourselves in an orderly manner? If we have a riot here, all of you will end up in jail and none of us will do any business today. I should be with you in about an hour.”
As they walked up the stairs, the waiting businessmen leered openly at Elka; one even asked her for a date as she passed him on the stairs. They finally wrestled their way into the office, a room no bigger than a standard hotel room with much the same rectangular shape, occupied by a desk and high-backed chair, computer, telephone, and a small round conference table surrounded by four cheap office chairs. There was the smell of new construction in the air mingled with the odor of the cheap vinyl on the office chairs.
Gerry introduced everyone, leaving Andrew for last. “And this is Sociologist-Andrew, a Cygnian in human disguise. He works for Galactic Fusion Generators, just like the Salesman you deal with.”
Steven’s eyes lit up, and he smiled delightedly. “So very happy to make your acquaintance, sir! I very much like Cygnians; they are such excellent business people, if I may use the word ‘people’ in this context, and I have always found them to be easy to work with. But I need to check something, so please excuse me for a moment.”
Steven walked quickly to a door at the back of the small office. He opened it, revealing an almost identical, though completely empty space, not even carpeted.
“It is the adjacent office space. I rented it specifically for the Cygnian Salesman. He needs a safe, reliable area to use as his altverse entry point.”
Copyright © 2019 by Bill Kowaleski