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   Chapter 39 No.39

Prodigal Sun By Christina Engela Characters: 6021

Updated: 2018-07-18 19:01

"Thanks for the drive, mate!" The Prince said. The driver nodded in reply, waving acknowledgement to him just once, with a gloved hand. "What's your name?"

"Brandon, your Highness." Replied the driver, turning around in his seat to face the Prince. "Brandon Carver. And timing is everything!"

Meanwhile, in the Governor's situation room, a staffer sitting around the map table waved at the Governor to get his attention.

"Governor – another two S.O.D patrol vehicles have just gone off the grid!" He reported sternly.

"Gone off the grid?" The Governor repeated.

"Yes sir."

"What the hell does that mean, exactly?" Landry asked, looking a little puzzled.

"Their beacons just stopped, sir." The staffer, who looked rather young and inexperienced, tried to explain. "Like it was turned off – or destroyed."

"I still don't get it!" Landry fumed. "Where does this 'grid' come into it?"

"The map, Governor – it's a grid, like a map grid?"

Seeing the Governor's vacant expression, and rolling his eyes, one of the Governor's own bodyguards who happened to be seated at the appropriate spot at the table, pointed his finger at a missing red SOD car, and flicked it off the table. The virtual SOD car skittered across the virtual Atro City, and winked out of existence as it crossed the edge of the table.

"That's the 9th one!" Sam Barthoff, Mayor of Atro City beside the staffer, excitedly exclaimed. "Sheriff, what the heck is goin' on?"

"Calm yourself, Sam!" Governor Landry interjected, before turning to her as well, demanding. "What the hell is going on, Sheriff?"

Outside in the warm sunshine, still sitting in the back seat of the convertible, while Prince Justin was still trying to figure out what Brandon Carver had meant by 'timing is everything', he found himself

owards the Governor's Palace. Meanwhile, more sinister figures dressed in the same dark gray urban-camouflage uniform, and carrying sonic-pulse rifles at the ready, began to form a cordon that steadily crept around the circular sidewalk of Lupini Street, with the Square – and the crowd – at its center.

The column of what appeared to be soldiers – they were clearly heavily armed – marched relentlessly forward, staring stiffly ahead, every step in perfect time with the beat of the band, every second step harder and louder than the first. The sound of it echoed off the buildings surrounding Lupini Square and was quite deafening. The column halted with its head between the stairs and the desecrated convertible, then executed a very impressive right-turn so that every soldier stood facing the crowd. Peg tried to guess the number of figures in the formation from what she could see on the screen. There had to be several thousand of them at least! All of them seemed to be wearing dark green camouflage uniforms which approximated Deanna's natural color scheme, with matching helmets and backpacks. One thing was for sure – they weren't Starmarines – or any other variety of Imperial troops!

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