When we entered the hallway the first dozen feet became filled with light from small LED lights lining the floor. As we walked down the hall following Sir Terrance the light followed us so we could only see where we were. I imagine for the humans it was impossible to judge how long this hallway was. However, I could tell we were going Northwest and had so far traveled 123 feet.
After several minutes of quiet Frank asked Lutts, “What do you call your black foam, Sir Terrance?”
“I call it victory. Actually the real name is F-23. It is the 23rd generation of the concept. It is now very effective. In areas where I want a fast deployment a single F-23 pod can fill a ten meter by thirty meter room in four seconds. By seven seconds it has hardened. Any human or robot surrounded by F-23 will be immobilized and in the case of the human suffocated. In your case I adjusted the speed of deployment so that it drove you to where I wanted you and was not so fast as to entrap you in foam. I also have a solution I can spray on the foam that will cause it to melt away rapidly. It allows one to clear a foamed area very quickly. Once my business with religion is done I will reopen this laboratory.”
“I think I would rather be taken out by a bullet,” Frank said with bitterness.
“I agree an explosive bullet would be far quicker than suffocation. One attribute about F-23 I forgot to tell you about is that once hardened it dampens all electromagnetic waves. It keeps the robotic soldiers from communicating their status. That feature took us twelve versions to perfect. I used F-23 inside the hall sliding door to hide my little safe room that you were corralled into. It is a perfect stealthy means for hiding my assets which will soon destroy your church, Monsignor.”
The Monsignor kept his tongue silent as Christ did with Pilate. He felt no words could be adequate to the anger that God would throw at this murderous man on his judgment day.
“I think I know where Lutts moved his assets.” Frank said to the Monsignor.
“And where is that, Mr. Huntington?” asked Lutts.
“As to this laboratory, at the end of this hall,” Frank said without a bit of doubt.
“Once again, you impress me. Too bad Col. Mann was not as smart as you.”
After 1000 meters or 3,280 feet we reached a steel door which opened automatically for Sir Terrance. Waiting beyond the steel door was Dr. Larson and several robots.
“Hello Dr. Larson, please have our robots escort our guests to the holding suite. That includes my loving wife.”
No one talked until we got into the holding room. If this was a prison it was hard to believe. It was more like a deluxe suite at the Hilton. Frank made a bee line to the bar and made himself a drink. He asked the Princess if she wanted one by only holding up his glass. She nodded yes. The Monsignor held up two fingers so Frank poured him a double. Then they all found a seat and sat back. To be honest I thought they all looked shell shocked. Defeat is a hard event for humans to take.
The Princess was the first to speak. She asked the Monsignor, “Do you think the Israeli Government will publicly say anything about the raids?”
“No, I imagine they will be very quiet. I imagine they did not think Lutts had any real defensive capabilities. The Americans are probably scratching their heads as to what happened to Lutts’s laboratory. For all I know they may think it was an Industrial accident. After what happened here I guess Col. Mann would have pulled his people out of Maidstone and become invisible.”
“What if we got word to the Israelis where the laboratories are?” she asked in a hopeless tone.
“They would have to approach this in an entirely new way and that takes time to develop. Lutts says he has a chemical that melts that stuff and that is what the Israelis would need before they would risk another Special Ops unit,” the Monsignor answered.
Frank took another sip of his drink and said, “You are dead right on that, Monsignor. As far as a military option goes the only choice would be to bomb the hell out of his laboratories, but they would need to know exactly where they are. My guess is you would have to deep bomb several square miles to be sure you got it. That is not exactly a Special Ops plan, but an in-your-face military assault.”
“The Princess made a sour face and said, “I hope you guys realize my husband is probably listening to all this.”
“He probably is, but since he already anticipates everything five moves ahead I don’t think we have said anything he doesn’t already know or has prepared for.” Frank said as he got up to refill his glass.
For over a minute no one said anything. They all looked discouraged. I imagine they were trying to come up with a solution to their mutual problem of how to stop Lutts. I could not see how the Papacy could do anything. Getting the Israelis to jump into the fray was a masterstroke, but now the Israelis were probably more concerned about damage control within their military. Col. Mann’s reputation as a military genius was destroyed. Frank was only a journalist and in this case the power of his pen was rather inadequate. Public opinion was not going to stop those nano-vectors. Besides they must realize that they were now prisoners. I am sure they must have realized that if Lutts wanted to dispose of them all he had to do was bury them in some of his F-23. I can’t imagine how horrible it must have been for those robots to be frozen in that stuff until their batteries ran down.
Finally, the Princess said in a whisper, “It is up to us, then.”
Frank got up and went around the room with the bottle and refilled everyone’s glass. It was quiet again. The Princess laid back on her chair and within a minute was sleeping. Frank and the Monsignor seemed to be in a stupor and just sat looking at the Princess sleeping. I saw over by the wall was a charging station for robots and decided to top off my batteries. Neither Frank nor the Monsignor gave me any notice. They just kept staring at the Princess has she lay there with her eyes closed. Within ten minutes they nodded off as well.
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