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Entry #6

Red Sands

Red Sands

My name is Ethan Morris and I have been with British Intelligence for eight years. Of course, that's not something you can say around to impress girls in a pub. The trick is to always mention that you "work for the government", and any curiosity about your professional activities will disappear in a blink of an eye. A few months ago I was called to join "Session 06", an obscure department of the Directorate of Intelligence run by an even more obscure figure, the burly ex-RAF pilot known only as "Alpha". Good people used to say that Alpha created Session 06 following some kind of transcendental inspiration. I don't know if that's true, but I also can't imagine it that big sitting in the cockpit of an AY-19 fighter. The man does not seem to be of this world.

Section 06 is located in an abandoned train station at the back of an amusement park. A perfect hiding place. It is said that there is a huge area in its basement where secret weapons are developed. My rank doesn't even allow me to go near this restricted area. But that didn't stop me from coming into contact with a new threat. It gives me chills to this day.

One morning I was called to Alpha's office. His bearing and deep voice are intimidating at first, but he is a focused and objective man. He gestured for me to sit down.

- Agent Ethan Morris, we have an unusual situation and we need your work here.

- Of course sir.

- There is a movement in higher echelons related to an invasion.

- Invasion, sir?

- Exactly.

- By a... foreign power?

- No, it's more complicated than it might seem at first. I would like you to visit an address in a distant village.

- I don't understand, sir.

Alpha pulled a memo out of a drawer and handed it to me.

- Here's the address. The only information available is that it's a hot spot. Go to the location and record any type of movement that you deem abnormal.

- Sir.

I took the memo and left the room.

It took me at least an hour to drive to my destination in Leysdown, a village with less than a thousand inhabitants, summer houses and restaurants offering seafood. After asking some residents for directions, I finally found the road to my destination, actually a bumpy route that soon turned into a dirt and sand trail that bordered the sea.

After much jostling, I finally arrived at the address on that memo, a seaside hotel on Shellness Beach. I parked and wondered what justification I could give for staying alone in a hotel out of season. I have an idea. I opened the car's glove compartment and grabbed my camera.

Upon entering, I greeted the attendant, a man with a long beard, dark skin and about 55 years old. Maybe more.

- Good afternoon. A room, please.

- Good afternoon. Your name?

- Maunsell. Guy Maunsell.

- Of course. Be at ease, Mr. Maunsell. My name is Hakthar. If you need anything, just call.

- Thank you very much.

He took the room key and looked at my camera.

- Professional photographer?

- Yes, assigned to a subject. I work for Geographic Review.

- The location is perfect for a rehearsal. If you need it, we have a boat available.

- Thank you. It's a good idea.

I went upstairs to my room and placed the camera and my gun on the nightstand. The man swallowed the photojournalist's story easily. Perhaps too easy.

After dinner, I went to look at the night from the hotel balcony drinking a beer. Hakthar approached. I pointed to the sea.

- What are those lights?

- It's the Fort Red Sands, a fortification built in the 1940s by the Army in the event of an invasion by sea. It was never used. In the 60's it became a meeting point for alternative communities that established pirate radios there. Today it is abandoned.

- Seems to be a good start for my work around here.

- Undoubtedly, Mr. Maunsell. I will prepare your boat in the early hours of the next day.

- Thank you, Mr. Hakthar.

The man withdrew. I finished my beer, watching the lights on the ocean and thinking about that strange man who owned an inn in the middle of nowhere.


The next day Hakthar steered the boat to the Fort on the high seas. The sight was impressive. About half a dozen towers raised over the water, in a state of near abandonment, looking like huge mechanical figures ready to attack. Seagulls darted in and out of the structures. I documented the details with my camera. We approached one of the towers and carefully climbed an iron staircase.

The tower had two floors and several rooms, with some tables and cabinets. Upstairs were closed boxes made of newer material. I looked at Hakthar.

- What's in those boxes?

- I have no idea, Mr Maunsell. And I don't even intend to open them. It may carry toxic and corrosive material.

- There is no external indication.

- Certainly left here before regulatory standards are passed.

- Presumably.

We went up to a kind of terrace of the tower, where the cannons of the fort were probably located. I continued with my photo session, changing the film. Hakthar patiently waited for me. When the second film was finished, I asked him to take me back.

At the hotel, I asked Hakthar to use the phone.

- Unfortunately, the lines are down at the moment, Mr Maunsell. We have a radio, but it's burnt out.

- What a shame. Well, it's still a way of ensuring total isolation, Mr Hakthar.

He smiled.

- Undoubtedly, Mr. Maunsell. It's part of the charm of the place.

After lunch, I returned to the beach. I used the camera's telephoto lens to observe the surroundings. Everything seemed irritatingly calm. I had certainly a classic case of "bad intelligence" in my hands: coordinate errors or an agent's overzealousness. There was no "hot spot" there. As for the man, he was probably just some smart hotelier cashing in on manufactured “mysteries” for unsuspecting tourists.

In the afternoon I decided to take a nap. I admit that it wasn't a very professional attitude, as I wasn't there for a walk, but the drowsy atmosphere of the place was an invitation to rest.

I woke up at night and went down to reception. There was nobody there. I went out onto the porch and looked towards Red Sands. A kind of wingless, circular-shaped helicopter hovered over the fort, casting a bluish light. Suddenly the light went out and the object disappeared. I ran into the bedroom and grabbed the camera and gun. The boat was still moored at the dock. I entered it and headed to the fort.

Upon reaching one of the towers, I went up the stairs. There were new boxes, several of them with a symbol that resembled the Greek letter Lambda. I set up the camera and started taking pictures. Suddenly I heard a voice. It was Hakthar.

- Too bad your camera is limited to 36 shots per film, Agent Morris. We have equipment that allows us to take millions of pictures. And with incredible resolution, believe me.

I looked back. Beside him was an automaton, a metallic robotic being carrying a rifle. The automaton carried two cylinders on its back and made strange sounds, pointing the gun at me. I asked Hakthar:

- Who are you and where did you come from?

- That's a question with a rather complex answer and one that would require some elaboration, Agent Morris. I don't think you have that much time. Please go up to the tower's terrace.

I did as he told me, at gunpoint held by the automaton.

- Section 06 will notice my absence and send a detachment here as soon as possible, Mr Hakthar.

- This beachhead is already ruled out, Agent Morris. Too bad, a very well chosen place. Now our priority is getting rid of his body at sea.

I went up to the terrace and looked around. I decided to act fast.

- It's too dark up here.

- Come on, hurry up!

I faked a stumble, which caused a flock of seagulls to take flight. The automaton got distracted for a fraction of a second, enough for me to pick up an iron bar from the ground and hit it hard. It reacted with a sudden movement and the rifle fell overboard. Suddenly he advanced on me with empty hands. I hit my back hard on the floor. Hakthar screamed.

- Throw him overboard! Now!

The automaton lifted me off the ground. It was enough for me to grab my gun and fire at its head, which exploded and sent out clouds of steam in all directions. I closed my eyes and screamed in pain.


As the headless automaton fell to the ground, I aimed the weapon at Hakthar. He touched his wrist.

- See you soon, Agent Morris.

He disappeared in a cloud. I stood there for a while, disconcerted by these bizarre events.


Upon returning to Section 06, I made a detailed report of what had happened. Alpha already had the developed photos in her hands. I asked him.

- Who was that man anyway, sir?

- We are still dealing with the situation at the highest levels of the government, Agent Morris. I'm not actually authorized to inform my agents about it. But I tell you: this is an unusual situation and requires some preparation. Report to the Signal Encryption Department immediately.

I got up immediately.

- Sir.

For several days I had nightmares about that scene, which recurred night after night. I didn't know that it was the beginning of a strange era with danger around every corner.


BLUE ANGEL is a retrofuturistic fiction series. Anzhelika Volkova, a British Intelligence officer, journeys through the infinite aspects of reality.

Word Count: 2885
Hours Spent: 4

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