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Friday, 9 January 2009

The Rising - Chapter 83: Plans

Roxy cast her eyes across everyone standing before her and took a deep breath.

Tonight will be a glorious night for our kind. Our numbers will grow at a rate that has been unprecedented in more than fifty years. You will all play your part. At midnight you will leave here. We have two buses waiting at ground level. One will take most of you, led by Peter, to the airport; the others will head for the coast, led by Skinner.

The team heading to the airport will board flight BA159. You will have no problems getting through the check-in process. We have allies at every point along the path through to the plane, including the pilot. You will board the plane and take your seats at previously reserved strategic positions. Five minutes after take-off, gas will be released into the ventilation system that will put all the humans on board to sleep. You will then…’

How will we stay awake?’ a voice from the group piped up.

At take-off you will mark the time on your watches. After five minutes you will put on the gas masks that will be stowed under your seats. Peter will have everything he needs to review the finer details of the mission with you on the way to the airport. Please do not interrupt me again.

With the gas masks you will each find a supply of hypodermic needles. Between you, you will use them to inject everyone on board the plane with the blood of one of our brothers. You will have exactly five minutes to complete this section of the mission and return to your seats. Exactly ten minutes after take-off, the pilot will crash the plane into the sea. Skinner and the rest of you will be waiting on board a boat, ready to take the bodies back to land, where they will be stored until they complete their rebirth.’

Roxy looked at her watch and turned to Peter. ‘Finish your preparations. I expect everyone at ground level in one hour.’

Understood,’ he said.

I was in shock as Roxy left the hall. Skinner stayed behind and approached me.

Holy shit, Skinner,’ I exclaimed under my breath when I was sure we weren’t in ear shot of anyone else in the hall, ‘This is mass murder. What the fuck are we going to do?’

I don’t know, Tom. They’re keeping you and me apart. I’m not sure if that’s because they don’t trust me. I’m supposed to take two of these guys in here and pilot a fake coastguard boat to the crash site. I don’t have any choice. I can’t see a way out of it.’

Can we contact the airport first?’

I haven’t got access to a phone. But if we call the airport and they stop the flight, they’re bound to work out it was us that made the call. Even then, they probably won’t do anything. You heard what she said: they’ve got people on the inside.’

We turned futile thoughts over in our heads.

Look,’ Skinner said, ‘I’ve found the doctor’s wife. She’s being held here. I’m going to try and give her the chance to get out when we leave. I’ll see what I can do to let you get away as well, once we pick you up.’

You mean after the crash?’

If you survive it, of course.’

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