Atlantis Venture – Road Trip - Part 2

by Randy Gonzalez

Preface

Part 2 continues the short story series of the Atlantis Venture.


As the story unfolds, the intrepid mercenaries of private consultations, on behalf of the U.S. government, known as M.A.G.I. group, interrogate a terrorist suspect. In the safe aquatic compound, formerly known as the Ft. Jefferson National Monument, the operatives carry out their surreptitious inquiries. Now privately owned, the secret base played a key role to the ongoing subterfuge, for the primary players. Moreover, playful they were. Mercs, privateers and government agents, they were dangerous to say the least. Regardless, they were the last line of defense outside the federal government.

These included the eccentric Dr. Sterling Striffe, a long time senior officer in the clandestine services, formerly of U.S. Army Psyops command. Suave, dashing, rugged good looks and deadly I.Q. In the pseudoscience of psychiatry, the Agency shrink once classified him in the so-called sociopathic category. Likewise, with him, there was his paramour and antagonistic partner, the notorious Black Widow assassin, Myla Trench.

No less dangerous and equal to Striffe, Myla was the consummate femme fatale. Her cover name and identity of course, she was an extraordinarily accomplished professional. She too, in her Agency 201 file, had the designation as homicidal. For balance between the two, and rounding out their ménage à trois, a uniquely open relationship, was their ace pilot, Rusty Petals. A skilled aviator, she could fix and fly just about anything. As a team, they lived on the fringe and worked in the shadows. They were outcasts.

Where Sterling was gallant, debonair and treacherously fit, Myla was a raven-haired olive toned beauty of proud Spanish heritage. Lethal, strong and wickedly skilled, she excelled in the dark arts. As Striffe tended toward an average height, perhaps a little on the short side, Myla had the Amazonian qualities of a tall rugged warrior.

By contrast and in between, Rusty was a curvy ginger flash of red curls, blue-eyed deviousness and creamy dangerous efficiency. Grits, fried eggs and ham; she was the consummate down-home southern belle, but daring as hell. Together, their unity for adventure reached into the shadows of espionage and scaled the summits of intense uninhibited sexuality. Regardless, together, the three would pursue the case of the Atlantis Venture, for which, attention now turned to the suspicious drone attack. Now, they plied their tradecraft on their current prey, a captured counter-operative.

"I can break him in under five minutes," Myla provoked in a deep guttural tone. Among her hobbies, a seasoned dominatrix in her own right, she could break any man. "Go ahead, my love, give me the green light. I will beat this bitch into submission."

"As your apprentice, my honey suckle," Rusty drawled salaciously. "I want to watch. This one who tried to kill us needs a good breaking and especially by a woman. A suspected jihadist of sorts, this assassin discovered how difficult a task that was. Therefore, here we are, in our compound, interrogating an enemy minion who probably hates women."

"Too late for that at this moment, loves of my life, perhaps later." Sterling started. "After that first injection," he continued with a rake of one hand over his freshly shaved head. "He will experience a phase of delirium. The initial juice, code named Cobalt Blue, based on the latest concoction from Area-51," Striffe explained, as Myla arched an eyebrow, "Stimulates the dream state, or what we call the Necrospace. He'll babble."

"I'll bet it was con-cocked-ted in the labs of Dr. Jewels," Myla soured with the grit of her teeth. "Ah, yes, the ever modest seemingly brilliant, yet provocatively submissive, Dr. Perl Jewels. Wonder how long it took you and her to con-cock the potion."

"Now, now, my dear," Sterling offered with a hint of banter. "We appreciate our counterpart to the British Q-Branch. Jealousy becomes you, my love."

"Uh, loves of my life, seriously, a domestic squabble at this moment?" Rusty twanged in her southern style to Myla. "You take issue with that broad?"

"Yeah baby, you know how I feel about that bitch scientist of ours," Myla soured. "I hate those injections she gives us supposedly to balance our metabolisms."

"Dr. Perl Jewels is the most gifted chief scientist and quartermaster we have," Sterling reminded with a grin. "She is a singular genius of exceptional capabilities."

"Uh huh, and ploughing her backside in one of the labs was research, right?" Myla hinted a vicious green-eyed streak. "Or, banging her lights out in the armory."

"My dear, you exaggerate somewhat," Sterling added politely. "Stop the mind infusion, you're invading my thoughts," he gave her a smirk. "I'm blocking you."

"Me? Exaggerate?" Myla groaned. "I'll show you what exaggeration is like."

"I'm sure, my dear," Rusty countered, "they were doing research." She faked a yawn to poke fun at both of them. "In two shakes of lamb's tail, we need to get going." Rusty pouted an impatient glance. "We're burning daylight people, need to do something."

"Where does she get these colloquialisms?" Myla asked with a gentle hiss at Sterling "I've never seen a lamb shake its tail. And, that accent, grits on the griddle."

"The fine state of Georgia," Sterling offered with a chuckle. "You see, Rusty, this goes deeper than anything I may be suspected of doing with Dr. Jewels." Sterling winked and tossed a smile at Myla. "You don't like the doc and there are other things."

"Nope, I don't trust her," Myla insisted and tried to probe his thoughts.

"Stop, my love, you're trying to read my consciousness," Striffe asserted. "Although our neural implants communicate at a preconscious level, I can still redirect your obsession. Oh look, our visitor is starting to come around a bit, so to speak."

"Atlanticus to rise, Americus in demise," the terrorist suspect blurted and blathered in a tone that reflected the maladaptive cry of a misguided soul. This was not untypical of a certain age group no matter what part of the world you ventured. Whining, sniveling malcontents, they are unimaginative. "Plunder the infidels, kill the unbelievers, the holy one be praised. Too late, judgment comes. Help! I'm burning!"

"Well now, there's a tone we're not unfamiliar with," Sterling hinted with a strong flavor of sarcasm, but not to be taken as too obvious. "Good and evil struggle within the bottomless pit of one's unconscious nexus for social stupidity. He's imagining all kinds of things at this point." Sterling craned his head to loosen up his neck and rolled his shoulders to relax himself. "Ah, the serum is doing what it was designed to do."

"Like peeling an onion, going deeper into the memories, thoughts, and emotions," the dangerously beautiful amazon Myla Trench speculated. Her dark olive complexion and jet-black hair deepened her mysterious nature. "Sterling, we got time for this?"

"Physical torture takes time and renders inconclusive results," Striffe explained with a steady affectionate gaze at his Amazon queen. "Whereas, the Jewels elixir provides a more immediate response, with limited neural damage and less to clean up."

"Really, Sterling, the 'Jewels elixir'? Please, spare me the bullshit," Myla shot back, yet her stare skimmed the edges of eternal affection for him. "I'm waiting."

"Well, I'll be hornswoggled, like a young bull in a herd of heifers," Rusty said with a good-natured chuckle as she checked her watch. "The new con-cock-tion worked faster than the last time you used it, Sterling. It's a better version."

"Are you mixing metaphors?" Myla quizzed with a grin.

"We take it one step at a time," Sterling went on to explain. "Too much interaction by increasing stress levels with this new dosage, and we might cause an imbalance, provoke false memories, and so forth. Thus, this method takes time."

"I could beat out of him faster," Myla mildly objected. She huffed, paced, punched her black gloved palm with her other fist and glanced at her protégé. "Rusty?"

"Oh my, my dear, you want backing on this," the cute freckled faced southern belle, Rusty Petals said with coy deflection. "I could peel him in some interesting ways, and perhaps produce a quick painful death for this rodeo clown."

"The game is on our turf," Myla asserted. "We must act and peeling sounds good."

"My love," Rusty answered her with a sexy slant, "Peel me anytime."

"Hmmm, later, I will definitely do that," Myla licked her lips.

"Yes, you could my dear," Striffe replied and focused on the suspect. "I don't have a problem with that, however, I'm concerned about the reliability of the subsequent results." He sighed and then added, "On the other hand, we are in a bit of a hurry."

"Precisely," Myla whispered eerily. "Wake him up and I'll do the rest."

"Not yet, maybe later, my dear, you could apply your exceptional talents for inquiry upon this poor wretched soul." Striffe paused briefly and gave a Sterling smirk to his two partners. "And, later on, when all is done, I could watch you apply your skills to press the petal to the mettle of Ms. Petals. What a pleasant thought."

"I get to lasso you first, partner," Rusty drawled and winked at Sterling. "Hogtie you in a heartbeat, baby. Oh boy, whip you into shape and break you in, once again."

"You two always make my day brighter," Sterling said with a grin.

"Ah yes, I hear that. For this sidewinder right her, he's facing a trial for his fate, so he appears to be coming around to a confession," Rusty offered as to the extent of what she saw. "I'll be hornswoggled again, like a pig in a poke, and you don't want the poke. You know what I mean? This fool might actually tell us something."

"I have no earthly idea what you mean," Myla toyed with her. "I wasn't raised on a farm, didn't have a barn, nor sheep, or horses and the like." She paused in her jest. "You know with farm animals, horses in particular, you spend much time in the barn?"

"We have a saying, what happens in the barn," Rusty toyed with her. "Stays in the barn." She gave her tall friend a wide grin. "Anyway, people talk sooner or later."

"Animal farm aside," Sterling started to say. "We need to move quickly."

"Sorry," Rusty replied fondly. "You missed out, love. You haven't lived until you milk a cow, or help a stallion mount a mare. Or, take a roll in the hay loft."

"Hmm, I can relate a little to the last part." Myla glanced at Sterling. "Speaking of milking. Everything needs a good milking. Like our suspect for instance."

"As far as he's concerned, at least from this somewhat limited perspective of mine, he believes in a supernatural judgment. We make use of that." Sterling winked. "Some mood music please." He turned to a control panel affixed and mounted within the wall structure. "Ah yes, an appropriate theme for the Myla," he teased with a hint of affection. "Oh yes, this one is yours my dear, always reminds when you attacked my cabin." He manipulated the controls and she knew the selection. "Your favorite, my love."

"Oh my, Carmina Barana O Fortuna," Myla whispered with a smile and the musical score from a different era filled the chamber. "Nicely done, my dear."

"Three gallons of sweaty hot in a two gallon bucket," Rusty murmured as Myla responded by simply shaking her head. "Hush my mouth, darling."

"A wonderful pair you two make," Sterling quipped. "As with most ideological dogma, there's the illusion that hope springs eternal for such tortured or valiant souls. Good and evil must always fight to the end to time." He enjoyed the interplay between Myla and Rusty and their intense sexuality. "I'm honored by your presence."

"Oh stop, I don't know if I can hold back the emotion," Myla added sarcastically. "I'm enjoying the music and prospects torturing the fuck out of this terrorist."

For the next few moments, Striffe observed the subject carefully but remained mindful of the time limitations involved. This was a tedious process of interrogation. To guide the unconscious interview, he tossed out an open-ended question every now and then. He kept the captive on track, letting him sink deeper into the dark passages of the dream world. Carefully, they wanted to listen to tone, pitch, rate and words.

Intra-psychic intervention, or simply mental torture, perfected by chemical mixtures, avoided the immediate necessity of unnecessary physical strain. Striffe's assistant at their compound, an accomplished medical practitioner, monitored the suspect's vital signs. She remained silent for the most part and insisted on unwavering loyalty. To her credit, she studied under the notorious Dr. Perl Jewels, her lifelong mentor.

"All recordings and monitoring systems are fully functional," the doc said and gave Striffe a quick once over as if to approve of his physical presence. "The subject is within normal ranges given his current state. The chemical injection is working."

"Excellent," Striffe continued. "He gets an afterlife of eternal bliss in the presence of his god, or damnation in hell. Who knows what he'll confess to?"

"The blue elixir pretty much challenges sacred notions," Myla noted cynically. "You might say it's the near perfect antidote to the stupidity of thinking."

"If I may say so, it certainly gets beyond the mask of any deceptive intentions," the doc said to Myla, who returned an appreciative smile. The doc nodded in a submissive way to the Black Widow assassin. "We're the only ones who have such a potion."

"A kind of proverbial truth serum," Rusty added. "Why my goodness, back where I come from, we just call that being honest with yourself. And don't think you're better'n anybody else. Geezus, it ain't that complicated, just common sense."

"The problem with common sense," Striffe started to say, "is that if it's so common, then everyone should have some measure of it. We know that's not true."

"Which most don't, hence the stupidity factor," Myla continued.

"I'm glad I work in the lab," the doctor muttered amusingly under her breath. She blinked her eyes in respectful approval of Myla. "You know, in the shadows."

"Me too," Myla whispered behind Sterling's left ear. Her eye contact with the doc expressed the duality of her inner personality and much more. "Likewise."

"Alrighty, now that our guest is blabbering endlessly," Striffe began again and felt the tingle of the chill down his back, as Myla breathed on his neck. She was turning him on by her mere presence. Lightly, she ran a long slender finger with a sharpened fingernail up his spine. He could feel the pleasure building in his groin. "Let's see if we can make a logical interpretation of all this nonsense and find out what's going on."

"Okay, I'll play first," Myla jumped in. "The patch correlates to the reference in the dead man's dream to an elusive organization known as Glaucus Atlanticus." She sensed something and looked up and around. "Anyway, the clowns attacked us, because someone tipped them off we might be a threat to their plans. Good so far?"

"Please, my dearest, continue," Striffe acknowledged with a nod.

"Sounds darn good to me," Rusty said. "We have grits around here?"

"I think we're out of grits," Striffe answered her.

"Well that's just wrong. Okay, I'll toss in for seconds here," Rusty interjected with a chuckle. "Stir the hornets' nest so to speak. So, all this nonsense for what? Call us out; get us involved, expose our operations, while this nitwit goes on jihad. That's goofy."

"Not bad for starters," Striffe agreed. "Yes, it is a waste of resources, unless there's a deeper meaning. There usually is. And, we have our link to a possible mole in our network. Based on what the poor unevolved subject has alluded in his quest for atonement. More likely, just a nosy information source used for provocation purposes."

"He mentioned something about a ledger, a journal dedicated to exposing lies and cover-ups, conspiracies, and an infidel supporting the jihad," Myla toyed with the conversation. "Yes, it's a probe because someone is messing with us."

"The young fool here blathered something about the eagle and the lion," Striffe noted and pondered the meaning. "What's your collective wisdom?"

"Well, at this point, I'm not buying a pig in poke," Rusty said to Myla.

"That's why I love you, my dear," Myla said to her with an appreciative hint. "An eagle, a lion, and sea slug, whatever that Glaucus thing is, remains very interesting." She huffed purposely as if to claim a bit of sarcasm for the moment. "The strong has a song, and it is doing what is right, with all things of might. Two symbols of potent western alliance. They don't like us. Okay, the U.S. and the Brits against the jihadists, right?"

"Hmm," Rusty hummed quietly. "The sea slug is also poisonous and cleverly hides below the surface. This creature has very deadly venom, not unlike the black widow spider. I'd say the analogy is a dangerous and elusive enemy that can be anywhere."

"Fascinating," Striffe offered in his aloof manner. "A Trojan horse perhaps."

"Politicians are stupid that way, that's why we exist," Myla toyed. "I do like the black widow reference." She caressed Rusty's arm at the mention of her code name.

"And, what about the numbers he splooged a moment ago?" Rusty smirked. "Three, six and nine, so what's with that? Adds up to nine by the Striffe equation."

"Uh, work on that for a few seconds, my darling," Myla murmured.

"She's correct," Striffe added thoughtfully. "Nine could be a discreet reference to ancient lore. That is, the coming of the end and the darkness of eternity."

"Writings of the secret kind," Rusty muttered with her usual southern tone.

"Sure, no doubt at some level, but back to the journal as a possibility. What are the odds that relates to the Ledger Journal of London?" Myla proposed. "That's a mysterious connection indeed, even after the first injection, the clown is blabbering like a politician under indictment. Not unlike one of Sterling's girlfriends after a few drinks."

"Thank you my dear, for that," Striffe groaned and shook his head. "Very good, my dear, I think we're on the right track. After a few drinks there are many possibilities. We need to get all this data collected and transmitted to Groom Lake a.s.a.p." Striffe looked at the doctor. "Our subject needs to be packaged and shipped as well for further analysis."

"Copy that, sir, I'm on it," doctor confirmed confidently. "Standard ops, pack, sack and ship. We were never here and this never happened," she added.

"Thank you, appreciate your expertise," Sterling said softly. "Everything is to be sanitized as per the Legerdemain Protocols. Have our agents make sure this fruitcake makes it to the party and disappears for eternity when everything is done."

"Among other things," Myla murmured ever so discreetly.

"Now with no further interruptions, we'll consider our next move," Striffe accepted that and winked at Myla. "Since you mentioned it, I'm thinking of a special kind of meddlesome and annoying life form. An armchair computer keyboard activist."

"Oh yeah, I'm on this," Myla said with an eerie smirk. "I'm willing to bet that little deviant is involved in this. A hack here, and a hack there, and who knows."

"A techie clown," Sterling continued and watched as the doctor summoned an assistant. While those two cleaned up, Sterling continued, "Dweeb Tome. The rather obnoxiously arrogant owner and operator of the well-financed tabloid newspaper, the Ledger Journal. He has a penchant for conspiracy theories, as well as fake news."

"Wait, don't we own that mullet wrapper?" Rusty queried.

"Of course, Rusty, sleight of hand, it makes things grand," Sterling quipped.

"That worthless piece of yellow journalism," Myla snarled, "has global distribution and brings in a ton of funds for reinvestment in our more exotic adventures."

"Naturally, bullshit sells," Rusty admitted. "People believe anything."

"No matter how stupid, yes they do," Myla added as she paced the room.

"Morticia, my love," Sterling started as he chomped his cigar. "What's the London address of the Ledger?" He smiled and winked at the doctor. "Just a thought."

"Ah yes, to quote my sister, 'I'll be hornswoggled'", it's 3-6-9 Baker street," Morticia, Myla, etc., answered eerily. "Add those numbers across and you get 18, then 9."

"And, to follow up to my beloved sister," Rusty beamed with every freckle on her face sparkling like a dew kissed morning in the country. "Multiply those numbers and you get 162. Which, added across the spectrum is 9. We can play this game all day."

"Bottom line," Striffe started to say. "We use the tabloid to exploit disinformation just like we did at Roswell." He gave his classic smirk. "In particular, we use Dweeb to further our cause, unwittingly he complies and thinks he's saving the world."

"Naturally, since most reporters aren't that bright to begin with," Myla said with a yawn. "Meanwhile, 80% of the public are pretty naïve and gullible. It all works. They'll believe anything no matter what the evidence says, so better for us all the way around."

"Except for a few pesky FBI agents," Rusty chuckled.

"Yeah, that, those, them," Myla snarled with clenched fists. "You need to let me take care of that problem, Sterling? That S-file unit needs to be shut down."

"We don't hurt FBI agents, my love," he fired back at her but his voice was calm yet had an authentic resonance that reflected his affection for her. "We're on the same team, just a different perspective, and we help them solve their cases. It all works out."

"The female is troublesome," Myla countered. "We shall see, very well then."

"As such, assorted terrorist cells have operational substations in Cuba," Sterling explained. "Likewise, the Ledger maintains an office there. Boat trip anyone?"

"We're in, my dear," Myla answered swiftly with a nod from Rusty.

"We'll finish up here and fire up the jet boat," Striffe advised. "Striffe to comm, chief, get the stealth craft up and running, usual paperwork and so forth."

"Affirmative, Doc, we're on it," the chief reported back for comm center.

"We start with him, squeeze him, make him spurt out info," Myla encouraged as to the suspect in custody. "By the time I get through with him, he'll be bone dry of every oozing substance in his body." she said with hands on hips. "If you'd let me terminate this worm, deliver his in pieces to the benefactors, we'll send a message."

"Well, no one's perfect," Sterling sighed and glanced at the doctor. She had started her final examination of the subject. "Prognosis? Did he burn out?"

"Uh huh, looks like it." She looked up at Striffe. "He's gone vegetable on us."

"Geezus, that elixir still has a few glitches," Striffe offered with a huff. With a wave of his hands, he tossed a glance at Myla. "Well, it's an improvement."

"What the hell, I could've have bled better than that concoction," Myla snorted.

"All we need now is something else silly to happen," Rusty teased.

"Oh, I wish you hadn't said that," Myla toyed and slung her arm over Rusty's shoulder. "We need to get moving and with no more distractions."

"Three, six and nine," Rusty repeated and toyed with the idea. "Hmm, let me see, there was this fishing hole back in Peach County, and..." She picked up on Myla's sly grin and lustful gaze. Both shared a brief roll of their tongues across their lips. "Anyway, back there was this small group of three special rocks that formed a delta. Uh you know like a V-shape. We used to go down there, me and five others."

"And, what about it, my dear? A group thing, like a gangbang?" Myla tossed her a sexy gaze and threw in a spicy wink as an incentive. "I'm fascinated by how these little riddles pop up every now and then. As though we're served a special cream filled desert." Myla shifted focus quickly. "I like the six and nine part, please continue."

"Uh huh, I know you do, honey," Rusty added. "We often watched nine tiny islands out there on the big lake. Each stuck up during the dry season. It's like the water had humps, one hump after another. Learned a lot around that watering hole."

"Fascinating, but what could that imply?" Myla asked with a serious slant.

"The Azores," Rusty said and looked at Striffe and Myla. "Off the coast of Portugal, the fabled point of origin for the lost continent of Atlantis."

"Hmm, you certainly have a special way of expressing those ah ha moments, my dearest," Myla came back with a flavor of amusement on that point.

"I like that, keep working on the details," Striffe told them. "Makes sense, due to the fact there's a cluster of three main islands, and six regional divisions in the surrounding collective. Not to forget of course, nine islands in the configuration."

"Well, at least it's a working hypothesis," Myla said to Rusty. "And, there's old fortress there from ancient times and pretty much abandoned. A good hideout.

"Control to Dr. Striffe, over," the command center signaled over their network.

"Striffe here," Sterling said after taping his concealed earpiece.

"Inbound air craft," the central console advised. "They're targeting us."

"Of course," Striffe sighed with a casual slant and stroked his chin. A sardonic look followed. "Wonder what took them so long? We left enough bread crumbs."

"Well, hush my mouth," Rusty drawled with a grin. "Uh huh, my goodness, that FBI broad wants your ass, Sterling." She tossed a glance at Myla.

"She nearly cost him his life as I recall," Myla snarled. "Let me put her down."

"No, my dear, we don't hurt the nice FBI agents, we guide them," he told her.

"Two black helos, each marked with yellow letters, F-B-I, sir. They're five minutes out and headed in low and fast, sir," central control advised him.

"My, oh my, what timing they have." Striffe glanced at Rusty with a broad smile. To Myla, he said, "The need to interfere with us to relevant, my dears."

"Hey, don't look at me, I didn't do this," Rusty played along with them.

"Maybe they don't like your helo antics," Striffe teased her. "Wonder who they're profiling today? As if that ever solved anything of importance." Striffe signaled the command center, "Advise them of the standard protocol. Tell them we're private property and contact our lawyers, etc. The usual delaying tactics and keep them hovering."

"Confirmed, sir. They have been so advised," the command answered. "Uh, sir, they're being insistent. A Special Agent Shard wants a meeting with you."

"Of course she does, but has an ulterior motive I'm sure," Myla taunted Sterling. She stared ruggedly at Striffe. "Just bang the hell out the broad and get it over with."

"Myla, not now, my dear," Sterling admonished very lightly. He held up a finger to stop her, as if that might work. "Let's think, go deeper, and consider the Atlantis angle on this venture. Something strange in this strife that threatens life."

"Sir," the command center signaled Striffe. "They're circling the helo-pad." A pause gave an intermittent static buzz. "They are threatening a search warrant."

"We're on our way to the control room, put'em off as long as you can," Striffe urged politely. "Keep at it and make sure our law firm is fully informed."

"Geezus, she's got it real bad for you," Myla toyed with a grimace. She caught his glance as swiftly as a baseball catcher snatched a fast ball. "Ok, let me do her."

"Hotter than a young red heifer in heat," Rusty played him as well. "My goodness gracious she's just hanging around for the next sacrifice of her clover."

"Hmm, breeding, I like that, Rusty my love," Myla taunted.

"Sure enough," Rusty drawled. "Talk about breeding, wait'll we get to Cuba and connect with our old pal, Polla Enorme'. My goodness that man is right proper." She sighed with a huge smile. "Quite the cow poke, he can plow my field any time."

"You two, you're gonna get it later, just you wait," Striffe poked back at them and shook his head with a grin. He closed his eyes, rolled his shoulders, and took a deep breath. "We can have fun with Polla later. He's a good friend and valuable asset."

"He's got a great asset," Rusty chimed with a wink. "Biggest one I've ever seen, you know." She gave Myla a side glance. "I've raised horses and they're huge."

"Yep, my darling, he's quite endowed, and he's Cuban," Myla quipped and caught a smirk from Sterling. "Ah yes, the Spanish heritage, can't beat it. Well, there are exceptions, my love." She blew Sterling a kiss. "Okay, let's focus on things at hand."

"Uh huh, yeah, yeah," Rusty stuttered slightly and met Myla's green eyes. Together they smiled affectionately. "You know that old saying, hung like a horse?"

"Yes, my dear, all too well," Myla agreed with a hint of pleasure in her voice.

"I mean after all," Rusty added and remained fixated. "His name, loosely translated, means huge cock. Wow, that thing bottoms out, deep, hard and girthy."

"Of course, we've all been together in the spirit of team work," Sterling chuckled. "Okay, right now, we don't need these federal clowns promoting their circus. They oughta be somewhere making up another one of their silly criminal profiles and interfering with a local agency. So, here we go with another manifestation of the deception."

"She already has a profile," Myla continued to torture him. "And, you fit in nicely. Your little flirtations with that agent have come home to roost once again."

"Naughty, naughty boy." Rusty grinned. "You gotta think with one head at a time, my darling. You're a stallion in a pasture full of mares, you gotta control that thing."

"Nice, real nice, you two are no help," Striffe joked and smiled fondly at both.

"You know you're gonna have to take one for the team with her, right?" Myla added to the ongoing jest. "Couldn't be that awful, she's not bad looking, in a stiff uptight corporate kinda way. She's boringly vanilla, cheerleader type." She joined Rusty and Sterling as they headed for the command center. Neither one let up on him. "At any rate, if we triangulate the coordinates from the Azores to Puerto Rico," she intoned with a slightly heavier Spanish accent. "And, we extrapolate the mapping contingencies we did at Area-51."

"Ah, the things we do for our country," Sterling jested back at them.

"I want pictures of that," Myla snarled and led the way in.

"Oh yeah, I like this," Rusty said with fascination as they entered the control center. The whir of computers and monitors buzzed around them. "Please, tell us more."

"Attention on deck," the chief techy announced upon their entry.

"No, please, at ease people," Striffe told them. "Continue your ops." He strode with ease and confidence toward the master console. "Okay, what've we got?"

"I suspect, sir," the chief started to say. "They're running low on fuel."

"Nicely done, maybe we should keep them aloft for a while," Striffe answered.

"My dear, colonel, I mean brigadier," Myla murmured menacingly. "Geez these new rank postings are annoying. At any rate, if you keep annoying them, they are likely to come back with a larger force. Let's mess with them on the ground."

"Thank you my dear, makes better sense," Striffe agreed. "Let's see what Agent Shard has in her crystal ball." To the tech, he added, "Clear them to land on the east heli-pad. And, advise them to hold until further instructions."

"Roger that, sir," the techy quickly responded and signaled the helo. "Be advised, sir, that sandy pad area is being used today for water runoff. The pooling area is flooded this time of year. So, the ground is pretty mushy, but the helo can set down."

"Duly noted. In a perfect world, things would be perfect." Striffe nodded.

"Oh this'll be fun to watch," Rusty chuckled and glanced at one of the Monitors. "You're gonna really piss that woman off, madder than a wet hen."

"Well, while that plays out, and to continue, in the last simulation at our Argos Island camp," Myla picked up the discussion. "We replicated a multidimensional hologram that would configure the electromagnetic resonance at higher intensifications."

"Yeppers, we did that," Rusty added, while she and he crowded around Myla.

"Okay, we speculated several contingencies, based on the probability of several what if scenarios." Myla manipulated the console with maniacal speed. "The conjecture we postulated, right in the middle of the Bermuda Triangle, would open an electromagnetic vortex. Remember our force field experiments in that location? That's where we like to hide secret things. The sub-sea area that looks an ancient settlement, and..."

"Wait, hold on to that for the moment." Striffe assessed one of three-D computer models. The revolving hologram, with an array of brilliant colors, testified to the precision of information analysis in real time. "So, the Myla theory is, if A then B and finally C, a doomsday event via this cultic inference. Not only that, but..."

"Before I grab your lovely butt, it is a contrived natural disaster," Myla confirmed. "It's a riddle within a puzzle and represents an allusion to underwater warfare. All they have to do is disrupt the natural cycle of oceanic currents and you get a domino effect...."

"Drop a nuke down there," Rusty completed her sentence. She sucked in breath, Sterling noted the rise and fall of her well-endowed attributes. "Scuba gear? We going diving?"

"We're gonna get wet, my loves," Sterling sighed with a smile.

"I'm already wet," Myla toyed with both of them. A moment of silence caught the salacious drift of that comment. "We've run all this through ALBIE, correct?"

"Of course, our very own, AI," Striffe answered and chomped his cigar. The Advanced neuro-Linguistic Biological Intelligence Entity possessed part of his DNA. "She monitored everything from the lab interrogation. She'll figure it out in a timely sequence."

"To quote my beloved sister here," Myla started to say, as she glanced at Rusty. "It all goes catawampus in a heartbeat if we miss a step. The Atlantean cover project is the target. Yes?" She slanted a sexy gaze at him, then Rusty. "If so, the telemetric potential would be cataclysmic. A tsunami of an earth orgasm. We've considered this possibility."

"Correct, my dear." Striffe nodded graciously. "Working with Naval Intelligence, we constructed our pyramidal gravitational refractor for time-phase analysis."

"That'll magnify the effect," Rusty said with a spooky tone. "The terrorists are using our techno creativity against us. That's just pig slop if you ask me."

"Excuse me sir," the chief tech interrupted. "The helo is setting down."

"Well then, we got another problem with FBI right now, how timely on their part," Striffe answered. "I suspect she'll have to wade over to the steps, climb up and use the boardwalk to get to the entry point. Send security to meet her."

"Roger that, sir, dispatching a team of two." The techy complied, at which moment, two tough bad ass women dressed in black suits headed out. "Agents in route." They were the men in black, of course, there were women in black too. "Standby."

"Hmm, new guys?" Myla marveled. "I don't recall interviewing them."

"We cleared them after you were last here, ma'am," the techy advised.

"Excellent physical condition, I should do a follow-up exam." Myla leaned closer to the techy and whispered with an eerie tone. "Don't worry, I don't bite. Well, at least not at this moment." She sucked in a breath and sighed. "Nicely done. Fine physical specimens."

"Just don't injure the staff, my dear," Striffe jested at her. To the techy, while they watched the antics at the landing zone, he continued, "Patch me through to the Looking Glass. Area-51 needs an update, and I need to speak to the admiral."

"You think the FBI knows something about that?" Rusty asked with a slight wrinkle of her brow. Her comments moved on from the momentary interplay of Myla's antics. "I mean after all, they have used that Dweeb reporter character in the past. They're the primary national security agency and Shard's the lead agent."

"Yes, and that planted intel leak has been effective," Myla quipped.

"The Atlantis affair? I seriously doubt it," Striffe scoffed and noted the concern on Rusty's face. "That's way above their clearance levels. Agent Crystal Shard is solidly fixated in a single keyed direction that involves her conspiracy theories." He sucked in a breath. "Nice ass, but, she's typical status quo, not very imaginative."

"Uh huh, and that fixation would be you," Myla reminded in a tone that would not be described as gentle. In fact, there was not much gentle about Trench in most respects. "She would love getting her shards into you again, my dear, so to speak."

"Sir," the chief said to Striffe. "Lazarus at the Looking Glass, primary line, and speaker activated." He swiveled his bear-like bulk in his chair. "On secure channel."

"Back from the dead again, Admiral?" Striffe said into a shiny red microphone. "We've wandered into the Bermuda Triangle with a jihadi angle."

"Well done, we're analyzing related anomalies," the craggy aging voice said from the Nevada desert. Reserved, seriously brilliant and aged beyond wisdom, the chief of Area-51 spoke slowly and with a hint of granite toughness. "Coincidences don't happen, things are what they are, my friend. Random interactions are perceptible moments."

"Naturally, and we have more updates enroute, with video and projected assessments." Striffe paused for a second or two. "But here's the sales pitch," Striffe went on to say. "First, I need Agent Shard redirected immediately, she just arrived."

"Done." The Admiral's voice was crisp. "What else?"

"New crash proof aircraft for Major Petals?" Myla chimed in behind Striffe.

"I don't think our science has reached that level yet," the Admiral joked.

"Thanks, guys, appreciate the love," Rusty piped up at a nearby console.

"As to the FBI, for all we have done for them," the Admiral continued. "Very easy, that's done, poor lady, she must be very frustrated you, Striffe." A slight chuckle followed the comment. He puffed his pipe in vast bunker of Area-51. "I feel some sensitivity for her persistent plight. You have to admit she is quite dedicated to finding you."

"Yes, you could say that," Striffe said with a sly hint, but with a smile. "I may need to borrow her temporarily. Throw a cloak of national security so the feds don't get too rattled in the process." Myla gently stroked his neck. "Need full surveillance on this."

"Very well then, I can add to her continued anxiety." The venerable seer rotated smoothly in his custom-made black leather chair and signaled an aide. To her he said courteously, "Get me the White House on the red line, and the FBI director on the blue line." From within the cavernous underground dome of the Looking Glass, he continued calmly to talk with Striffe, "Next item of sanctification? If it's the Atlantean Mirror, then what else do you need? A seismic disruption we don't need. That's fragile."

"Uh huh, right now, I doubt we need an unscheduled ice age. Nor, do we need a hole through the planet that might take out Oceana? You can always depend on security leaks to mess up your day. I'll deal with the whistleblower in due time."

"Speaking of such efficiency how is my goddaughter?" The wise man asked.

"The black widow is as feisty as ever," Striffe answered with a raised eyebrow and affectionate tone. "Brutally as animated as ever. Nevertheless, I'll keep you posted; keep the watch on our world, Striffe out." Sterling disconnected the link and continued to observe Agent Shard's fragmenting progress. He gazed at monitor. "Water's about what, say six inches deep over the beach area? Winds picking up, waves slapping the retention walls, and not good weather conditions." He gauged the movements of the helo toward the landing area. "That chopper's not gonna land, she'll be on her own."

"She's put herself in a trap of her own design," the Black Widow commented.

"Seems like the pilot has other plans, he's pulling out, uh, pulling up," Rusty said and grinned bashfully. Her freckles sparkled in the overhead lighting. "I wouldn't land there. So, where's her search team? They're still on the chopper, what the heck?"

"They're not planning on getting wet," Striffe noted gleefully.

"I'm already wet with anticipation," Rusty added sucked in a breath.

"Uh huh, I bet you are my love. And, the pilot's pulling out, chopperus interruptus," Myla added wickedly. "You naughty lady." She patted Rusty on the back.

"You two, for goodness sakes, the lady's just doing her job," Striffe playfully countered. "Okay, I'll go out and interdict her, while's on the walkway deck."

"Interdict? How nice of you, darling," Myla retorted with a sly grin. "What the hell, you might as well just interdict her and get it over with. Interdict, how cute."

"My dear, we don't have time for either a ménage à trois." He glanced at Rusty. "Or, for that matter, a foursome. Someone's let the cat out of the bag."

"Hmmm, I wouldn't mind seeing her naked," Rusty admitted.

"Well, one of us already has." Myla looked at Striffe. "And, that cat has nine lives," Myla added sinfully. "Let's terminate a few. What do you say?"

"Master Chief," Striffe said to the senior techy, an affectionate nod to Myla. "The captured vessel, has the team finished the makeover for disposal?" The chief met Striffe's glance. "We want to use it as a temporary ferry service. We could be in Havana in less than two hours. It's a high speed craft, and we'll leave our chopper here."

"Affirmative on that, sir," the Chief told him. Computers and a vast array of electronic accoutrements whirred relentlessly around them. The command center looked like the bridge of an aircraft carrier. "I calculate an hour to Havana harbor. We could have things set up for your departure and reception at the other end in minutes."

"They love Myla down there." Striffe winked at her. She gave him an amused expression. "Her heritage precedes her, as does her reputation. Not only that, she's our Spanish ambassador of good will to some, but not fun for all. The contessa."

"The contessa can kick your ass, my darling. You're sensing something, I can feel it, see it," Myla interrupted before the tech could respond. "Cuba, huh? Not the somewhere else in the Caribbean, Canada, London?" She cocked her head to one side and let out a long sigh. "Yummy, my dear, I love Cuba, the music, the food, cigars and rum?"

"Cuban women," Striffe continued with a smirk. "Yes, I don't think this day is complete without another incident, it's close," Striffe explained. "In fact, often one does not know how close, until the closer it gets to provoke regrets. Road trip?"

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