The Harvest of Area 51 HTML version

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The desert air held a winter chill as the sun fell below a horizon of dust-refracted
orange. The night came alive with the impatience of a sensation poisoned city and the
luminescence of all disgusting manner of nocturnal life entered Fremont Street with the
tourists. When the flash flared from a digital camera, Dekker Barnes turned away to
avoid being filmed. He checked the pistol in his belt as he passed bright stores full of
cheap affectations being sold as mementos and waited for his signal over the static in his
ear, lost in the sea of pedestrians on the old strip. At the end of the block he saw his
contact, a man who was too small for the cigar he was puffing. The aging fellow kept his
receding hair unnaturally colored and stood with a look of paternal responsibility over the
citizens admiring the canopy of lights.
Dekker put his hands in his coat as he approached the diminutive loiter. “So what
kind of genetic mutation are you?”
“Call me Dominik,” the short man replied without taking his eyes off the oblivious
civilians. “I assume your handler told you to comply with the men I’ve assembled to
investigate the Pattern?”
“But not how many of you I’m complying with. How many teams are independently
investigating this now anyway?”
“At least eight, but few are efficient. They say you erase problems like ethanol
dissolves bacteria.”
Barnes noticed at least three other agents blending poorly with the crowd. “Are you
aware of what kind of animal we’re chasing?”
“Two families murdered. The target has eaten and he still keeps hunting. You tell
me what kind of animal does that.”
“The ego hides as many things, innocence is one of them. I understand that the
target used to be NSA?”
“He was exposed to something, don’t ask me what. You’re the best tracker out west,
they say, but the NSA doesn’t live with the same insanity as we do. They are left in dark
basements to untangle meaningless chatter, so when they followed a wire-tap reference to
its source in the abandoned industrial area near the copper mines in Arizona, an agent
named Felix Milton was the one who –”
Dekker nodded. “Returned from the mission and ate his family.”