Saelieni Chapter 4 by Gregory Harvey

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The Collector told us, but it was also written in the first note, sir."

The tent, hastily erected on the yellowing grass and soft dirt of some farmer's paddock, housed the central hub of the operation, most of which consisted of radio equipment that refused to work in the dust for some strange reason.

In front of Will stat three men who had been specially selected to preside over the situation. They were from one of the many shady organizations that did well to remain hidden from the eyes of the media.

"And why was it that you did not apprehend him?"

"He disappeared, sir."

"Just into thin air?"

"Yes sir."

There was a silence.

The superior officer started again, "If it wasn't for the inexplicable deaths of five men today, and the destruction of an entire community beneath some kind of dust cloud, I would have a hard time believing you. You swear this is the truth?"

"Why would I lie, sir?"

"Thank you, Lieutenant. I am entrusting the civilians to your care. You can meet them outside the southern most tent. I think it is labeled D'. You are dismissed."

"Yes, sir," In only a handful of movements, Will turned, and left through the open tent flaps.

As he left, one of the three men turned to the one who had been questioning Will, "The prophecy would indicate that The Clans may begin their assaults on one another as early as tonight."

***

The three Generals, Rodgers, Roderick, and Hollston, continued their conversation after Will was out of ear shot.

"But the prophecy made no mention of this Collector," Hollston replied.

Rodgers, who had been questioning Will, answered, "It made no mention of a number of things; ourselves for one. The Collector must know something. He must be an integral part of what is occurring."

"Didn't one of the texts mention something called The Collection?" Roderick said.

"Yes, but the text was incomplete. All we know of The Collection is that it in some way relates to The Core, it might even be the same entity. More than likely they both refer to the junk that fell," Hollston replied, "Did Garson drop the samples off at the field lab?"

"Yes, before he arrived here. What do you think we could possibly gather from them?" Rodgers answered.

"Something. Anything," Hollston said, "For all we have at the moment is a prophecy we don't understand, three hundred dead civilians, five dead men, and the monsters that killed them."

"And The Collector," Rodgers added, "This situation is full of wildcards. But I believe he is king among them."

"Didn't Garson make it clear that it was not The Collector leaving the notes?" Roderick said.

"Yes," Hollston replied, "And that is just another of many..."

...unknowns...

"...variables here. The best we can do is simply... wait," Hollston finished.

***

There were roughly four hundred men in the crudely constructed compound. As the sun went down, floodlights switched on to illuminate the entire place. At first Will Garson thought they weren't a good idea, as any enemies would be able to spot it immediately.

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