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Chapter 7: Finding the Island
1960, Los Angeles.
A taxi navigated made a wide turn and stopped in front of a church. Dr. Chang stepped out of the taxi, looked around and asked the driver, “Is this it?”
“Si, señor. La iglesia.” The driver replied, “Lo siento, tengo que ir.” He drove away.
“How about the fare ...” Dr. Chang’s words were interrupted by a lovely young lady, who showed her hand and said, “I am so glad to finally meet you, Dr. Chang. We are all waiting for you.”
Pierre Chang shook her hand, gazed at her for a while, then remembered who she was, “Are you the daughter of Dr. Maxwell? It is an honor to meet you. You father is a great man.”
The lady smiled and said, “Thank you! The name is Amy. I am still a student here, but you, Dr. Chang, you are the principle of University of Michigan. It IS our honor to have you here. ” Then she extended her hand toward the door, “Please, this way.”
Dr. Chang glimpsed at the building, confused. No matter how you looked at it, it was a church, but why they pulled all the strings to get me here? He protested, “Sorry, but I am in no mood of praying.”
Amy glanced around, making sure nobody was nearby, and then she approached Dr. Chang closely, and whispered in his ear, “We found a way to find the island!”
Dr. Chang was momentarily in shock. His eyes were as big as light bulbs. “I thought that was just a myth.” He said.
Her smiling eyes said the otherwise.
Dr. Chang rushed into the church.
1961, Richard Alpert stormed out of the house, cursing some Latin.
Jacob appeared and asked why.
“That child is a danger to you, Sir. He picked the King Tut’s knife.” Richard said, “I don’t understand why you still want him.”
“He’s special.”Jacob said.
“Special how?” Richard asked, “I couldn’t feel anything from him, he’s plain as water. Besides, he has a strong violent tendency deep inside. He will become a killer, not a leader.”
“I am sure of it. He is very special.” Jacob said.
“In what way? Please, tell me, Sir. I am dying to know.”
“Because I already knew he will be the one who’s going to kill me. So 5 years ago, I drove a car, ran over his pregnant mother, and yet he still survive.” Jacob said, “Now I understand. He’s not my killer. He is more like a bait.”
“A bait for what?”
“I don’t know it yet.” Jacob said it with an undetectable smile.
1968. Somewhere in the middle of the Pacific, 200 feet under water.
Olivia Goodspeed was waked up by a swarm of sound and flashes from the alarms. Still half-sleeping, she bumped her head on a steel ballast door. It hurt a lot. As she staggering toward the radio room, she almost fell in the big pool in the center. This DAMNED place! She cursed, at the same time wondering why she signed up at the first place. She would rather be in a shopping mall.
Amy and Paul were already there. The handsome Paul smiled at her and asked, “What took you so long?”
She replied him with a bitter smile. She always felt tired in this underwater facility, but Amy and Paul seemed like they both had limitless energy. For the past 5 years living in this hell’s deep, they both slept only 5 hours a day, and they talked to each other endlessly like the parrots back in her home. She didn’t know how they managed to find so many topics to talk about. She just felt sleepy all the time. Obviously it was a bad thing. She gained at least ten pounds already.
Olivia asked, “What happened?” It seemed that uttering these two words already consumed all her energy.
“Sh...” Paul stopped her with an index finger, then he switched off all the alarms. An eerie silence filled the small steel room. Olivia wanted to ask but she knew it would be useless. Both of Amy and Paul focused all their attention on the instruments, which showed only weird numbers and graphs.
5 minutes passed, it was like a decade long to Olivia.
Suddenly Amy cheered and almost screamed, “Paul, we did it. We hit the jackpot!”
Paul was as high as her, “Really. Oh my god! What are the odds?”
They both jumped up and hugged each other. Paul kissed Amy in her mouth. Amy seemed surprised but was happy nonetheless.
Olivia hated to see that. For the last 5 years, they treated her like a ghost, and now this. Am I really invisible?
“Can somebody please tell me what happens?” she asked aloud, interrupting their little celebration.
Paul dragged her to one of the bubble-shape windows and pointed outside, “Look there!”
She looked hard, but saw nothing special. The Light was dark 200 feet down here. She couldn’t see far. Some fishes were swimming around. A turtle was staring back at her.
“You mean that’s the jackpot?” she pointed at the turtle.
“Are you kidding me?” Paul felt a little bit insulted, “Look up.”
“I am just a translator, Lieutenant.” She said, “Or ex-Lieutenant, whatever. I am not a scientist like Amy, so you really need to tell me what I am supposed to look for.”
“OK, I am sorry.” Paul said, “You are right. My apologies. You should look up and check the water, and the lights that pass through it. You will see an edge.”
This time Olivia gazed really hard toward the surface. In one moment she saw it too.
The water had different level of lights. Though all of them have the same look, half of the water seemed a little bit darker. There was an enormous edge that was moving above them. Wherever the edge covered, the light would darken just a little bit. It seemed like an incredibly large plastic cover floating above, but she just couldn’t see the plastic.
“What is that?” Olivia asked.
“That, my dear, it’s what we have been searching in the last 5 years.” Amy smiled.
“Could you explain that in English or any languages that I know?” Olivia asked.
Just before Amy started, Paul interrupted her, “Sorry, Olivia. It’s classified. So Amy can’t explain anything to you.”
“Great! It’s just perfect! Even a private funded operation has ‘classified information’. Are you kidding me?” Olivia grunted.
“Please go back to your quarter and wait.” Paul said, “We will have a lot to do in the coming days.”
“Now you want to kick me out!!” Olivia almost erupted.
“I am terribly sorry, but yes, I have to do that. It’s my duty.” Paul replied.
“Duty my ass, you just want to make out with Amy. I knew it.” Olivia murmured. Amy was embarrassed. Paul just politely showed Olivia the direction of the door, forcing her out.
After patiently waited for Olivia to leave, Paul shut the ballast door closed, turned a few nodes and put the microphone to his mouth, “Base 23, Base 23. This is Looking Glass 42. This is Looking Glass 42.”
A clicking voice answered, “Looking Glass 42, this is the base. What’s going on?”
“We found the object, repeat, we found the object.”
“Are you sure? Looking Glass 42. Can you confirm that with the scientist?”
Amy took the microphone and said, “Base 23, this is Amy Maxwell. I’m the scientist with Looking Glass 42.”
“Oh, the famous Maxwell!” the voice in the radio were surprised, “I read all your books about the Electro-Magnetic theories in high school.”
“Thanks, but that’s my grand grandfather’s. Anyway, I am now looking at the object in this very moment. Radar shows nothing, but it was right above us, I am sure.”
“Oh, that’s really great!” the voice said with excitement, “Please don’t lose it this time.”
“We won’t.” Paul said, “The EM readings were all over the top. There is no way we will lose it this time.”
“Good! Keep up the good work.” The voice said, “One more thing, please do not engage. I repeat, do not engage. Keep your distance. By the way, tell the translator to prepare for any contact from them.”
“Roger that.” Paul said, “She is ready. Now please record the coordination.”
“4-8-15-16-23-42, I repeat, 4-8-15-16-23-42.”
“Roger that. 4-8-15...”
Suddenly they felt a drastic movement of the whole hanger. It felt like a big underwater tidal wave just crashed upon the hanger and almost turned it upside down. Both of them flew up to the ceiling and dropped down to the ground. Amy was alright because she fell on top of Paul. Paul, being the unlucky one, had broken a few rib bones.
Amy struggled and climbed up with bruises all over her face. She checked the equipment and screamed, “No!!!”
Paul still couldn’t stand up, he asked from the ground, “Wot harppon?” It caused him a lot of pain just to say these 2 words.
“The island is ... is ... is gone!” Amy almost cried.
“Not again!” Paul sighed.
1970. Early spring. Los Angeles. The taxi driver was happy to deliver another passenger to the church. It seemed to be a very profitable route.
Jacob stepped into the church and walked directly to the large basement. Seeing the big clock swing moving around, he almost laughed, “Is this the way you have been using to find us?”
Amy replied, “Yes.”
Jacob said, “How?”
“It harnesses the unique pocket of energy to find the other pockets of energy on the earth.” Amy said it with pride, “I designed it.”
“Then you will never find it.” Jacob said with a smile, “Sorry to disappoint you, but your theory is completely wrong.”
“I am sorry to hear that, but ...” Amy paused a little, “but who the hell are you?”
“I represent the island.”
“Really? I seriously doubt that.” Amy said, “The last guy who came here claimed the same thing, but when I requested him a little bit more, he just left without saying goodbye.”
“That’s why I am here. Richard told me that you were a bitch.”
“Thanks!” Amy didn’t mind, “I must have been too hard on him.” Deep down she felt an excitement building up. In her intuition she felt that the man was the one who could really bring them to the island! She tried hard not to show any signs. The success is within grasp this time. Don’t lose it!
“Now let’s back to the business.” Jacob looked at the huge metal swing again, “You have to stop looking for us.”
“No, can’t do.”Amy shook her head, “Our organization has been searching it for ten years already. No one will give up now.”
“But you will never find it.” Jacob said, “Not with this big toy.” He pointed at the big swing.
“It works.” Amy was not discouraged, “I was there and I saw the island myself.”
“If you put more of your underwater stations in the ocean, you will see it more often too. It’s just a matter of odds and numbers.” Jacob said, “But you will never be able to get on the island.”
“Last time we were able to track your island for over a month.” Amy said.
“Right, then tell me what happened.” Jacob said it with a big smile.
“It disappeared again.” Amy finally showed a little discouraged.
“Exactly.” Jacob smirked, “You cannot get on the island unless the island wants you to be there. Or ...”
“Or what?” Amy was interested.
“Or I invite you there.” Jacob said with a smile.
“Are you making a pass on me?” Amy frowned, “You are not my type, you know. And I already had a fiancé.”
“No. I am not.” Jacob said, “You are the last woman I will ... uh, invite there.”
“Then what are you doing here? You are not going all the way here just to chat with me, right?”
“For a scientist, you are very smart.”
“All scientists are smart. They are just smart in a different way.”
“OK, Enough of chit-chat.” Jacob didn’t want to extend the conversation too long, “We are really concerned about your radio broadcasting.”
Bingo! Amy’s eyes opened wide. She knew at that moment her hunch was right after all, “We know you don’t like the numbers. That’s exactly why we are broadcasting it globally.”
“You need to stop doing that immediately. Or you will suffer serious consequences.”
“End of the world.”
“Believe me. It’s true. For a reason I don’t know yet. Broadcasting those numbers will get us all killed.” Jacob said it very seriously.
“Sorry, it’s not good enough.” Amy bluffed, “If the world ends, then let it end. We will all die one day anyway.”
“How can you say things like this?” Jacob said, “Aren’t you scientists all responsible for the well being of human race? If you keep doing that, a monster will be released. He will kill everyone on earth, except the ones in the island. I will be fine, but you guys will be all dead.”
“Again, do you think I will believe that fairytale?” Amy said with a scorn, “Even if it were true, if you had the power to control that monster, you don’t need to come here and bargain with me. There is a reason that you cannot release it. So what you said is completely bullshit.”
“OK, if you don’t believe me, turn around.” Jacob said with a smile. It was time to use the last resort.
“If you think you can kill me in the back, you are definitely wrong ...” Amy turned around and froze. She saw her dead father.
“Amy, please, listen to me. It’s extremely important.” Her dead father said to her in a very sincere manner, “This man is telling the truth.”
“Dad?!” Amy was lost in a mist of emotions. She didn’t know what to do or what to think.
“Yes, dear. I missed you so much. Your mom said hello too.” Her father said, “But now you need to focus for me, dear. Stop the broadcasting. I don’t want to see you die.”
“Dad!!” Amy tears were out. She jumped into his arms and hugged him tight. She murmured to him, “I missed you so much... I am sorry I was not around... I am... I am too busy...”
“That’s fine, dear. You will see me again in the future, so don’t worry about that. Remember, I and your mother are all counting on you. Stop the broadcast. OK? Dear?”
“Yes ... I will ... daddy ... anything you say.” Amy was still crying.
“Good, that’s my girl.” Her father padded her in the back gently, like he always did.
5 minutes later, Amy wiped off her tears and swore.
“You bastard! How dare you use my father like that!” she was fuming against Jacob, “I will personally make you pay.”
“Interesting! It usually works very well.” Jacob said, “Like I said, you are too smart for a scientist.”
“It’s you who’s stupid.” Amy said it with a wielding fist, “Scientists think based on facts. My father is dead. That’s a fact, an undeniable fact.” Her tears were out again.
“OK, my apologies. It seems today I finally meet a formidable adversary. Congrats!” Jacob smiled.
“Then let’s back to the business.” Amy calmed down and said it with a stone cold attitude, “We want to get on the island to do some research.”
“No way. It will expose the location of the island. Those governments will wage wars to own this island, and the island doesn’t belong to any one or any country.”
“Then we won’t get governments involve. We are entirely funded by corporations which ran by scientists. They will all keep the secret. In fact, those governments still don’t know why we are broadcasting the numbers globally.”
“That’s a relief.” Jacob said, “You surely are much smarter than I had thought.”
“Thank you! I got that a lot.” Amy said, “Paik Enterprise in South Korea will provide us with all the equipment, and Hanso Foundation will provide all the money. All personnel will be scientists and workers only. No government and no military.”
“That sounds good too.”
“We are not going to take the island. All we want is to research the unique properties of the island. If we know the answer to some ‘magic’ of the island, it will greatly help our mankind, don’t you think?”
“To be honest with you, sometimes I want to know the answers myself.” Jacob agreed, then he said, “But you need to stop the broadcasting immediately. Not later, but now.”
Amy made a call. After the call she told Jacob, “It’s stopped now. You can check with your men.”
Jacob said, “No need to. I already knew.”
“So do we have a deal now?”
“Tell you what.” Jacob stopped smiling and said with a strange expression, “You are the first human who can make a deal with me in the last 1000 years. I hope you can keep your end of the bargain. Otherwise, you will be really sorry.”
“Don’t worry about that.” Amy tried her best to hide her excitement, “We got the best man for the job.”
“I wonder who.”
“Dr. DeGroot and Pierre Chang, the former principles of University of Michigan.”
“I hope they can really do the job. It will be very tough. Anyway, it’s your problem.” Jacob left. The basement was once again quiet. Only the big clock swing was moving around and making swooping sound.
Amy stayed still in the basement alone, but her whole body was trembling with uncontrollable excitement. After 5 minutes, she jumped up and yelled at the top of her lung, “YYYYYEEEEEEEEEEAAAAAAAAHHHHHH........”
It was really a long day for her.