Waking Gods

Waking Gods

Page 23

Perhaps the receiver is broken.

—All three of them? Are you sure you can’t see her?

{According to this, she’s not here anymore.}

That makes no sense. She couldn’t have just vanished.

—Maybe someone tampered with the GPS receiver so we could not locate her.

—Not a chance.

—I am simply trying to lay down some possible explanations.

—That’s not one of them.

—Why is that?

—The receivers are inside the sphere. It takes about ten minutes just to get up there. You’d have to find them, disable them, all before Vincent can pick up a radio. Then what? Even with Vincent, you can’t pilot her out of here. That’s a two-hundred-foot-tall, seven-thousand-metric-ton piece of metal to move without making any noise, all in the time it takes me to make a bagel.

—Your logic is sound. Can you offer a more plausible explanation?

—Not right now I can’t.

—Could the aliens have somehow transported her?

—You mean like the alien robot just “beamed” itself in London? I don’t know. Rose?

{We don’t know if it “beamed” itself or if something else “beamed” it. Either way, I don’t think so.}

—It would seem premature to reject this explanation without any evidence to the contrary.

—She’s right. If they could just yank Themis away whenever they felt like it, they would have done it when we fought, wouldn’t they?

—It is possible they lacked the ability at the time but possess it now. Doing so might require a ship, or equipment that was not present in London.

—But it’d be here now? Without our detecting anything?

—It does sound a bit far-fetched, but we are talking about giant robots from outer space.

—It’s not an option anyway.

—I would not blindly discard the possibility.

—I would! If aliens just beamed Themis to their home world, or into space, or whatever, then there’s nothing we can do about it. Can we talk about scenarios where we get Themis and Vincent back? And in one piece?

—Certainly. If we ignore, for the moment, the possibility that Themis is no longer on Earth, there would seem to be only two options. Either the GPS is malfunctioning or has been tampered with, or she is somewhere the GPS signal cannot reach. Could she be inside a structure that blocks the signal?

—You mean like here?

—Yes. I know GPS receivers do not function properly inside some buildings.

{Themis is different, somehow. It takes a lot of interference to block a signal from her. We shouldn’t get a radio signal inside this much metal, but it works. GPS won’t work on my cellphone inside this building, but it works inside the sphere, and we always see Themis onscreen when she’s here.}

—Thank you, Dr. Franklin. But she could be in a more…opaque building. We cannot reject every improbable explanation as there clearly are no probable ones available.

—OK. So either Vincent is being zipped through space on his way to God knows where, or he’s here on Earth and we just can’t reach him. Can we start making a list of places that can hold a two-hundred-foot giant?

—We certainly can. But without sounding overly pessimistic, you have made a very solid argument that Themis could not simply have been moved in the traditional sense. If aliens did not “beam” her out of this hangar, it would appear someone, or something, did.

{Vincent and I had talked about the possibility that Themis might be able to transport herself, assuming that’s what the robot in London did. We haven’t tried anything yet, but it’s not impossible Vincent found something on his own.}

Where could he have gone?

{I have no idea.}

[I hate to interrupt, but the press is coming this afternoon. There’s a Q&A with the pilots and some high-school kids.]

I fear you will have to reschedule, General. Ms. Resnik is unfortunately coming down with a very nasty case of the same flu that kept her husband in bed this morning.

—Cough. What can I do while I recover?

—You can help the General make a list of potential domestic sites.

—Where are you going?

—Chantilly, Virginia. We should have satellite surveillance of any facility large enough to house a missile silo, or a small army. Who is that at the door?

—That’s Amy…something…She’s a civilian employee.

—Is she supposed to be here?

[She’s cleared. She works in Comms.]

Let her in…What can we do for you, Ms….Amy?

<I’m terribly sorry to bother you, but your cellphone won’t work with the room secured. I had a gentleman on the phone who said an…Interpol Infra-Terra Red Notice—wow, that’s a mouthful—popped up on facial recognition in Helsinki. I have no idea what that means, but he said you’d like to know. >

Thank you very much, Amy. You can go now.

—What is it?

—A very busy day, Ms. Resnik.



FILE NO. 1532


Location: Helsinki Airport

—I t…t…told you a hundred times already. My name is Mar…Marina Antoniou.

—And what are you doing in Helsinki?

—I don’t be…believe this. I’m not doing anything in…Helsinki! I have a c…connecting flight. What time is it?

—Almost 19:00.

—Gamoto! I’ve already missed my plane. I’ve been in this room for sss…six hours. Can I go now?

—Soon. You can take the next flight. Where are you flying to?

—There is no next flight. The next one is tomorrow. And you have my ticket in ff…in front of you. I know you’re asking the same questions over and…over again to see if I ch…change my story, but this must be the tenth time you’ve asked, and it’s written down right here: New York City, so is my name. It’s a plane ticket. I can…can’t go anywhere else with it. If you plan on qu…questioning me forever, you should at least find something I could p…poss…ibly get wrong.

—These are just routine questions. Airport security has been increased and your boarding pass was selected at random.

—Why don’t you tell me what’s…really going on? You don’t select people at random to spend a day being inter—

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