Previosly, Christine attempted to explain the nature of her dreams and her mental abilities. Johnny understood somewhat having abilities of his own to some degree. Christine was clearly in a class by herself. Some understanding was achieved though. The focus of the inner circle shifted to the bunker. The group slipped out of the compound to explore the bunker and see what they had to work with. It was hoped that they would find usable communications equipment. Without the ability to strike back it was felt that they would not survive an attack from an enemy that had stealth bombers. They needed a weapon to take them out.
Some more hands and strong arms would come in handy. Ma's boys had plenty of those. Jonesy looked quite interested with the solar panels found during our last visit. We could check out his progress at the same time.
Christine spoke softly to me, "Those two soldiers are terrified of me, Johnny. This isn't going to remain a secret very long. Let me take the heat off. It might loosen their tongues a little. Enough vinegar, a little sugar, okay?"
They seemed to know more than they were revealing. In hushed tones I whispered, "Just don't get them too excited. This Glock hasn't been fired in over a week."
She sauntered over to Nick and Mark with a sweet smile. Ma and the boys remained my destination. The sound of doors creaking open echoed throughout the large expanse of the bunker. It sounded like progress.
Ma and Lester had improved their wardrobe considerably. They looked ready for battle. Ma looked delighted with my expression. Lester greeted me with a firm handshake. Ma gave me her best military salute.
She spoke with a touch more excitement in her voice than normal, "Jonesy's got them sun squares a workin'. Gots some hot cookin' and bathin' water. Gots a couple lights in the cave and Jonesy's been a fiddlin' with an old radio he found in that bunker. Sounds like noise to me. He sez there's signals and what not comin' through it. Can't make nary a thing out of it though. At least some ones a talkin' bout sumpin' though."
"That's awesome, Ma. He got all that out of those four panels? I bet there's a whole room full of those in there. We might be in business. A radio you say? Now, that is something I want to hear. Even some static would be like music. I don't suppose you got any coffee to pour that hot water over do you?"
Ma laughed and looked like a down-home commercial when she answered, "Folgers crystals. Yosemite's choice." She held the jar up by her face and smiled, "We gots about twenty cases of it, Johnny. I sez we hides it in the cave. Officers only."
We both laughed as she poured some of the best coffee I recall having in a long, long time. Ma read my mind and poured another cup as I went to get Christine.
"Christine!" All my concentration focused on that word. It tickled the back of my head. The voice I expected in my head came right into my left ear.
"You don't have to shout. I'm standing right here." Christine smiled and waited for me to open my clenched eyes.
"Coffee". Sometimes a long-winded speech isn't required. We moved quickly back to Ma's campfire.
Christine took a couple heavenly sips and then let out some news, "You two won't believe what we are finding in there. It's like a city. An underground city. The huge room we think of as the bunker is just a loading room I think. There's a room bigger than that full of…hell, Johnny, I don't even know what it is. There's solar equipment. But, then there's stuff that looks like it belongs in outer space. There's a control room that looks like Cape Canaveral. I think we might be able to fly to the moon if it doesn't work out here."
"What about communications equipment?" I was starting to get excited.
"Nikolai started doing some kind of dance. I don't think it was Russian though. It looked like something perhaps a cartoon character might do. He just kept saying, "Yes!" Over and over. He told me that this is what we need. He's worried about power. We should get together and talk. After the coffee, of course."
I nodded my head. The coffee scenario worked well in my view. We enjoyed one of the most normal times any of us had experienced in a long while. Three friends enjoying a nice cup of coffee among the beautiful redwoods of Yosemite. Thoughts of the future made a daring appearance in my mind. Could that truly be possible? Christine looked so beautiful and extraordinary sitting there chatting with Ma. This would be worth fighting for.
Nikolai did have some moves, that could not be denied. The Road Runner's speed and Popeye's grace came to mind as an apt description.
He practically ran to me and blurted out his assessment, "This is what we need, Johnny. If the satellites are still in orbit, we can transmit. We need power though. Lots of power."
"The panels work, Nikolai. Ma has light in the cave. Jonesy has hot water, light and an old radio spitting out static from four solar panels we found here. They work! There's your power."
"That's not all. Tell him, Linda." Nikolai was breathless.
Linda motioned for me to join her in an office off to the right. Christine came with us. Nikolai continued with his work. Linda looked almost in shock as she spoke, "It was our own plan turned against us, Johnny. It's right here in these files." I looked in her hand at a stack of files. They were stamped "TOP SECRET" in big red letters, like something out of a spy movie. She continued as she handed them to me, "This mind thing is something our government has been working on for decades."
I read the title on the cover sheet. It read, "Project Exodus." Moses parting the Red Sea popped into my head. I knew Linda had already looked at it, so I let her continue.
"I don't understand the technical aspects of it." Linda wiped the sweat from her forehead. It wasn't warm. She continued, "It is something to the effect of stimulating a center in the brain that is a sixth sense. People call it ESP, instinct or whatever. This report pinpoints it to a part of the brain that transmits electronic images or something. Look, I can't explain it. But, according to this report, they can transmit images and pictures to this part of the brain and the brain translates it into something real. It's so damn insane sounding. But, you two talked about it. And then what happened in the compound. It sounds just like this."
"So, they found a way to transmit signals to this part of the brain? But, it doesn't work on everyone. It hardly works on anyone…"
Linda interrupted, "No. It doesn't. But, that doesn't matter. It only takes a few that are convinced. They convince everyone else. The report calls it, "Believable hysteria". They planned to pit the Arab countries against each other. Then they were going to have the citizens flee their countries to be rescued at the shoreline. But, they were going to slaughter them and take over the oil. It was all about the damn oil. The damn money."
"Well, what happened?" I got all that she was saying, more or less. But, this was all being done to us. I started reading myself. It didn't take long to start getting the picture. The Iranians had recruited the top Russian scientists along with German, French and Rogue operatives from all over the world. Any one that would be enticed by a boatload of money, was on the Iranian payroll developing weaponry with unlimited research funds and no moral restrictions.
Christine was anxious. She finally spoke, "Dammit, Johnny, what the hell does it say?"
"The Iranians had the technological expertise of the best scientific minds of the world. They had the backing of the Chinese."
Christ. I had to pause and mull it over. The Iranians with all of those scientists developing any kind of weapon they could dream up with no restrictions. Chemical weapons beyond our imagination, no doubt. Four billion Chinese people ready to jump into the fray. I don't know exactly what happened. But, when I glance up at the sky now, it doesn't look all that surprising after reading all of this.
"This stuff is all dated at least a month before the catastrophe. So, we don't know what happened exactly. But, someone started it and it was on. Both sides let loose. It looks like the bad guys are still going. I don't know what happened to our guys. We have to get this equipment going. We know something. We need to know more."