Mystery Cargo

“All is never what it seems.”

I wrote this poem in answer to the following prompts:

Word of the Day — Storage
Pensitivity’s three things challenge — Type – Beginning – Escort
Your Daily Word — Vapid

Mystery Cargo

Xavier turned his black armoured Range Rover into position beside an identical vehicle. The wooded country lane was the scene of something strange this morning. Ahead a cluster of men in white biohazard suits were at work.

“Escort Five – about time you got here.”

All escorts were only known by their car number to protect their identities in case of a security breach. Each Escort even had black tinted windows to hide them.

“Apologies, Escort one. HGV reversed in front of my grille and blocked me in for a while,” Xavier replied into his throat microphone.

The men lifted a shimmering silver disc into view and lowered it into an aluminium storage crate.

“Apologies accepted.  Escort duties beginning at 0400 hours.”

“Roger that, Escort one.” Xavier checked his watch. ‘Five minutes to wait.’ Peering through the windscreen, he watched the crate being sealed and strapped down tight.

“Nice of you to join us, Escort 5,” said a feminine voice over the comms.

“Sorry, Escort 4. Traffic issues. Still, I hate this vapid type of job so I’d rather be home,” Xavier replied.   

“Anything I should know?”

“Just be prepared. If anything goes wrong between here and the base were all in the shit, even if it has nothing to do with us.”

“Sounds ominous. Good luck.”

“You too. Escort five — out.” Xavier cut communication. He had no time for idle chitchat.

Ahead, the crate was loaded into a black 7 ½ ton truck.

Xavier noticed it took ten men on each side to lift it inside.

The doors were sealed and chained shut. The men wearing biohazard suits separated and vanished into the trees in pairs.

“All Escorts, prepare to leave. Do not break formation. Escorts two and three, you will block all left and right turns allowing the transport continue without issue.”

Each Escort called the number on the Roger.

Xavier keyed his mike. “Escort five – roger.” He started his engine and took a deep breath. “Here we go.”

The front escorts took the lead as the transport truck began to roll forward. The other Escorts and Xavier surrounded the transport at a safe distance. As one unit the convoy headed into the growing sunrise.

The journey would take two hours. Xavier enjoyed the quiet roads. Silent radios left him feeling almost relaxed as he kept his eyes out the possible danger.

“Hey, Escort 5. Looks like we home free on this one,” said Escort 4.

“Don’t curse us,” Xavier responded. His eyes fell upon 15-foot-high military-grade chicken wire fence. ‘Maybe, she was right. This is the base,” he thought.

The transport truck made a right turn. Its escorts cleared the checkpoint allowing it a clear path into the base.

Now, Xavier reclined a little in his driving seat. Nothing and nobody could attack but truck within a military base.

The convoy stuck with the transport until it turned into a great grey hanger.

Xavier engaged his break and watched the enormous doors close on the mission.

“Job well done, Escorts. Dismissed.” Came the order over the comms.

Xavier smiled as he drove away. If only all jobs were that easy.

Driving through the base, he took his car to the designated drop-off and parked. He left the keys in the ignition and set off on foot towards the barracks.

Within moments, his car was following him. Xavier felt the finger of icy fear ran down his back. Something had gone horribly wrong.

The Range Rover’s window rolled down into the door. It revealed a man dressed all in black right down to his shades, “Lieutenant Xavier Rodriguez, enter the vehicle and come with me,”

“Roger that, Sir.” Xavier climbed in at once. He knew disobeying orders from this sort of man could result in his disappearance. Many soldiers had gone that way over the years.

The man in black he engaged the gears and set off through the base without another word.

“What’s the sit-rep?” Xavier asked.

The man said nothing.

Xavier was the range Rover returning to the hanger. The doors opened permitting entry. The transport truck was parked at an angle between a pair of black Apache attack choppers.

“Get out.” Ordered the man.

Xavier obeyed. He noticed the transport trucks doors were open. The crate was on the floor behind. It was empty. Men in biohazard suits were examining it.

A tall black suited man with white hair and angry eyes looked up from the crate and approached. His epaulets showed him to be a high-ranking base commander “Lieutenant Xavier Rodriguez. You are Escort five, correct?”

Xavier straightened and saluted, “Sir, that’s correct, sir.”

The commander looked him up and down. “Tell me, did you see anything suspicious during the convoy?”

“Sir, all was very quiet, sir!”

“Very well.” The commander began to walk lines in front of him. “Tell me, why were you late to the convoy?”

“Sir, an HGV Lorry reversed across the road blocking my path, Sir.” Xavier remained rock solid.

“Very well. Did you see the object loaded into the crate and truck?”

“Sir, that’s correct, Sir.”

“Can you confirm the truck drove all the way here without stopping and did not unload its cargo?”

“Sir, the cargo remained onboard and never stopped until arriving here at its destination, Sir.”

“The cargo has vanished. While the lorry and crate remain firmly locked. The cargo has somehow been taken from within. Can you explain this?” The commander looked Xavier dead in the eyes.

“Sir, I witnessed no explanation. I cannot provide explanation, Sir.”

“Very well, dismissed.” The commander turned to walk away.

“Sir, permission to speak, Sir.”

“Permission granted,”

“Sir, Thank you, Sir. Consider the Omega Man.”

“I beg your pardon,” the commander knitted his eyebrows in confusion.

“Sir, The temperature was cold and the cargo was collected. It warmed as the sun rose. Would have been warmer in the crate. I suggest the cargo melted, Sir.”

“An interesting possibility.”

Xavier nodded. “Sir, permission to leave, Sir.”

“Permission granted.”

Xavier saluted and left the hanger. He made two right turns and headed back toward the barracks. He was in time to see a silvery object flash across the sky and disappeared toward the sun. “And maybe I was wrong.” He said with a grin.

The End

Thanks for reading my friends.

There’s more in the Poetry CornerPoetry Nook, and the Short Story Collection

Have a great day!

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