Scenes from a Changing World 5

The leader of the squad on Riley street turned away from the barricade that had been hastily erected around the sphere of darkness that enveloped a fair portion of the city. The sound of engines approaching cut through the eerie quiet that had fallen over the city.

“Are we expecting backup?” asked one of the men under his command.

“We’re not. Everett, Holcomb, Whitney, with me. Everyone else, keep an eye on the orb.”

The designated soldiers formed up along the opposite side of the barricade, facing out into the city.

“Hopefully this is just a news van and we can turn them around without any trouble,” he started to say, but that hope was dashed the moment the vehicle entered his line of sight. An armored personnel carrier, wedge-shaped front, camouflage-patterned, and half again as wide as the traffic lanes. It drove straight down the center of the street without regard for traffic laws or safety.

The APC rumbled to a halt in front of the barricade and the back lowered down, forming a ramp down onto the street. The man in charge approaches the vehicle and rapped on the window. The driver, army, like he was, mouthed,

“I’m sorry,” through the glass, but didn’t roll down the window.

A pair of heavy boots hit the ground behind the truck. A moment later, a searing light filled his world.

Temple took a deep breath before he spoke, mentally preparing himself to speak the truth. 

“I am in command of this unit,” he said, the strange harmonics in his voice rumbling through the bones of his skull and chest. He could feel his mind shifting, and he knew that he was in command.

“Yes sir!” said his subordinate, with a hasty salute.

Temple approached the squad of soldiers manning the barricade. “I am in command of this unit,” he repeated, to a chorus of similar replies. “When this event ends, you will maintain a perimeter around the affected area and watch for a man matching this description,” he said. “Randolph Ermen. German, Five feet, six inches tall. Blue eyes, brown hair, balding. Wears a ragged tan or brown suit. If you encounter this any matching this description, you will kill him without hesitation.”

The acknowledgement was immediate and enthusiastic. It was only reasonable, of course. This man needed to die, plain and simple.

Temple nodded, satisfied, and turned to return to his vehicle. Since he’d lost access to the precog Brandon Lim, he had lost a measure of control, but it was no matter. His secondary objectives in this city were already complete, and his primary goal was closer than ever.

The driver started the armored vehicle and began to drive towards the next barricade.

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