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Dragonfly vs Monarch
The Dragonfly and Monarch are tiny drone aircrafts designed to resemble actual insects. They can flitter around military installations and terrorist camps without being noticed while they collect video data about these installations and the people in charge. On their first mission over an isolated stretch of desert, their remote pilots, one American and one Russian, are drawn into a strange struggle to survive. In their attempt to retrieve their disabled drones, the pilots discover a shocking secret about themselves.
Excerpt from Chapter Eight
July 29th CIA Headquarters, Langley, Virginia
Autumn and Pug laid their possessions, including their phones, on the conveyer belt at CIA Headquarters, then passed through the arched metal detectors.
The alarm went off, drawing the attention of three security guards.
One of them took Pug by the biceps. “Step over here, please.”
Pug winced. His wounds were almost healed, but there was still a bit of pain. He complied with the order as he glanced at his phone, then at Autumn.
She nodded and picked up his phone from the conveyer. After brushing her finger over the screen, she smiled.
Pug held up his arms as two of the guards ran handheld metal detector wands over his body.
One of them stopped at his belt buckle. “Remove the belt.”
Pug did as he was told.
The guard examined the belt and buckle. Apparently satisfied it contained nothing but metal and leather, he gave it back to Pug.
“Thank you, sir. Please go along there to the reception desk.”
At the reception desk, Autumn and Pug presented their drivers licenses and waited, while the screener checked information on his computer.
Without smiling or acknowledging them, the young man studied their faces, then looked back at his computer. After a moment, he returned their licenses and gave them ‘Visitor’ badges on long lanyards to put around their necks.
He pointed to his left. “Room 187.”
Autumn and Pug walked along the hall, away from the security checkpoint. He slipped his lanyard over his head, then threaded his belt through the loops of his blue jeans. “Friendly guy,” he whispered to Autumn.
“Uh-huh. Maybe we’ll get a warmer reception in 187.”
The door of Room 187 was marked ‘Office of Human Resources.’
“Really?” Pug buckled his belt. “They want us to apply for jobs?”
“Apparently.” Autumn glanced at the ceiling, then pushed open the door.
A skinny blonde stood as they entered. “This way, please.”
She led them into a small room, with a gray table and two chairs.
Before they had a chance to sit down, a thirtyish-looking man came in and closed the door.
“I’m Benjamin Webb.” He took one of the chairs. “How do you know Rigger Entime?” His complexion was dark chocolate, and his black hair hung in long dreads.
“He was our friend.” Autumn sat across from Webb.
“He said that if he was ever incapacitated, we should contact you.”
“Why would he tell you that?”
“The Dragonfly Project.”
“Never heard of it.”
Autumn stood. “Oh, then I guess we were mistaken.” She turned for the door. “We’ll take the Dragonfly to Major Dubois.”
“Major Richard Dubois, at the Pentagon.”
“But you never heard of the Dragonfly.” She sat in the chair.
“Tell me about it.”
“What is your position?” Pug asked. “Here at Langley.”
“I’m assistant librarian for statistical archives.”
“Um…yes,” Pug said. “I think we’re in the wrong office, Autumn.”
Webb ignored Pug. “How can I be sure you know anything about the Dragonfly?” he asked Autumn. “Or Rigger Entime?”
Autumn looked toward the ceiling, then back at her phone. She brushed the screen, then tilted the phone.
The Dragonfly fluttered down to settle on the table.
“Holy shit!” Benjamin Webb jumped up, knocking his chair over backwards.
“Mr. Webb,” Autumn said. “Meet Donovan.”
“Where d-did…how did you g-g-get it in here?”
“Let’s just say your security is a bit lax,” Pug said.
Autumn had set the ‘Follow me’ function on Donovan while the security men were checking Pug.
Donovan had hovered near the ceiling, following Autumn from about ten feet behind her.
Webb grabbed his phone from a hip pocket. With shaking fingers, he tapped on the screen. “Where are the controllers?”
“You mean those clunky joysticks?”
Two large men in gray suits came in and stood behind Pug.
“You used your phone to control him?” Webb asked.
Autumn glanced at the two goons, then nodded.
“Put your phone on the table. You, too,” he said to Pug.
She keyed a code into her phone, shutting down the Dragonfly, then switched off her phone and laid it on the table.
Pug turned off his phone and put it down.
“Take ‘em away,” Webb said.
“This way, people,” one of the big guys said.
“Away to where?” Autumn asked.
“You better put the cuffs on ‘em.” Webb took Autumn’s phone and pressed a button on the side.
“Good luck with that,” Pug said as he and Autumn were led out the door, with their hands cuffed behind their backs.
“And don’t touch the blowgun,” Autumn said over her shoulder, “it’s deadly.”