Darkness had fallen by the time the van was pulling onto the base. Freddy could barely keep his eyes open.
"You know, outside of a cat nap in the back of that truck, I don't think any of us have had any real sleep in about thirty six hours!"
Daphne groaned, "You're telling me? I think my eyes have permanent wrinkles! eek!"
Scooby and Shaggy were asleep in the back. Velma had nodded off as well, but woke when Daphne nudged her.
"aaa.. Ohhhh... Are we back?" Velma looked out the window. "Look for building 'K', it has several suites. Ken told me we are welcome to rooms A10 and A11."
Freddy was amused. "Suites? I was expecting a military style barracks! Boy, these science people really get treated well!"
Daphne pointed out the window. "There it is! Building 'K'"
Freddy pulled up to the end of the building. "OK gang, tomorrow morning we visit Velma's uncle again and try to figure out how to get him to talk right. He can clue us in on who we can trust and who we should avoid."
With the van at a stop, Freddy opened the back door and each grabbed their suitcases.
As Velma entered the building she was pleasantly surprised that Fred had chose the right end at random. Rooms A10 and A11 were right in front of her.
"Daphne and I will take 10, you guys get 11. We'll all meet at the breakfast buffet at about 7:00 tomorrow morning."
Shaggy and Scooby's eyes lit up.
"Calm down", Velma added, "We want to get a good night's sleep first!"
Fred, Daphne, and Velma entered Uncle Henry's room while Shaggy and Scooby stayed on at the breakfast buffet. Velma pulled the meter from her pocket and after glancing at it held her finger to her lip indicating that everyone should stay quiet. She walked around the room, stopping at the window. On the ledge was a box of tissues. Peering in the box, she could see a small transmitter microphone laying on the stack of tissues. "Ahhhh..... Ahhhh.... Ahhhhhhh....."
"Velma! Great to see you again!", her uncle said in plain English.
Velma looked surprised. Her uncle slid his hand under his pillow and pulled out a handful of pills. "I guess I've been bad. I haven't been taking my medications since our last visit!"
Daphne held out her hand and Uncle Henry put the pills in it. She wrapped them in a tissue and put them in her purse. "How did you end up here? We aren't sure who we can trust around this place!"
Uncle Henry propped himself up in the bed. "It all started when Ken Barker paid me a visit. I had known him before and he's a straight shooter. Ken told me what had happened with the clock. I had been up for almost two days working on my own experiment and got really upset at the thought of terrorists playing with something that could be turned into such a devastating weapon. I guess I started babbling and may have even passed out. Ken drove me to the base hospital and then checked me in. The doctors and nurses here answer to a Sergeant Dempsey. Now she's one that worries me."
Velma rolled her eyes and muttered "oh brother!" under her breath.
Uncle Henry continued, "I think she's the one that may have ordered all the sudation. Anyhow, each day I would get visited by a stream of military and science people. As hard as I would try, I couldn't explain what I knew, my lips could not get the words out. Ken paid a daily visit, but was less interested in the information then he was in my health. I managed to tell him your name. I figured the only way out of this was to get you involved. I didn't know what was happening to me."
Velma thought through all of what her uncle had said. "We think that the terrorists may have friends on base, or worse yet, there may be no terrorists. What I mean is that it may actually be a project that is not authorized, but being worked on by a group of scientists here. Possibly, with the unofficial blessing of those higher up."
Uncle Henry frowned for a second, then shrugged his shoulders.
"A lot of projects start off that way around here. What you are saying makes sense. The questions I got asked fit into two categories. The first I would call 'What on earth is this thing?' The second category are questions that specifically deal with how would one stabilize a field charge. Those questions seemed a little too specific, if you know what I mean."
Velma nodded, "My best guess is their first attempt at storing a charge ended at nine gig with a small earthquake. The experiments were uncovered during a second attempt, stopping at about three gig. Which brings us back to our first question; Who around here can we trust?"
An orderly enter the room and replaced the box of tissues on the window ledge. After he left, Velma took another reading. Sure enough, something was again transmitting. She showed the face of the meter to her uncle, Fred, and Daphne. All nodded their heads in understanding.
Daphne walked over toward the box. "Gee Velma, we had better go so you don't give your uncle that nasty cold!"
Fred walked over to the box as well. "It's a shame your uncle couldn't give us any new information."
Henry was writing a note. When he finished, he handed it to Velma who put it in her pocket. "Well guys, we'd better see what Shaggy and Scooby are up to!"
Velma climbed into the back of the Mystery Machine, holding her meter. Daphne paused, looking past their building at a man in a green shirt running alongside his dog, being chased by a five foot green monster. Freddy glanced over as well.
"Oh, I see Shaggy and Scooby are out for their morning exercise!"
"No bugs, we're safe for now.", Velma said as she took a seat next to a computer. Daphne sat down at the one next to her and began searching a database, trying to identify the pills Henry had gave her. Velma took the note out of her pocket and put it on the scanner. After scanning it into the computer, she typed an encryption code in to lock the image file. Picking the note up, she gave it one last read before burning it in a small metal tray.
"It couldn't be the same V. Dempsey...", she growled under her breath.
"Fred's Right", Velma growled, knowing full well where this was leading....
Fred Continued. "We know who was ordering the drugs, that person would be our only know member of the gang trying to stop the project."
Velma looked at the nameplate on the door in front of her. She could not seem to get her hand to open the door. Finally Fred stepped in front of her and opened the door. The young Sergeant looked surprised at the intrusion!
Sergeant Dempsey stood up. "You can put the meter away Velma, there are no bugs in this room."
Fred broke into the conversation. "We know you have been trying to stop the project, that puts us on the same side."
Sgt Dempsey sat back down with an air of calmness.
"You kids are pretty darn smart. It's true. There are about six of us trying as hard as we can to stop this. For sixty years, we have all lived under the fear of what the discovery of the atomic bomb could do to us. The last thing we need is some new super weapon and another world wide arms race. The problem is that you can not un-ring a bell. The people working on 'Project DoomQuake' know they are on to something, it's only a matter of time before they figure out the energy storage problem. Once they do that, we all get to live with one more doomsday machine. There are about twenty of them working on it so we are outnumbered."
"What about everyone else", Velma asked.
"They all believe the cover story about the terrorists."
"How about Ken Barker?"
"He believes the cover story, but he could turn on us. After all, his company could make a fortune mass producing the weapon. That's an awful lot of temptation."
"What about General Bob Carter?"
"He's in it up to his eyeballs!"
Velma scratched her chin. "Well, you have eleven on your team now. None of us want to see this thing built. But, how do you un-ring a bell without changing the laws of physics?"
"That is a problem", Sgt Dempsey said, "By the way, we don't need the formalities, you can call me Verona."
Velma growled and turned away. Fred turned to the Sergeant, "You'll have to excuse her, she has a problem with the name Verona...."
"Oh, I'm sorry", Verona said, "By the way, that's a pretty loud sneeze you have there! Private Kendle is off having his hearing checked as we speak!"
Back in the Mystery Machine, Velma checks for any new bugs. Fred laughs at Velma. "So, you don't trust Verona?"
"You're right! I don't! ..... Besides, she may not be the only person on this base planting bugs..."
Fred noted that Velma had a valid point.
Velma felt herself on the verge of ranting and raving. After careful thought, she decided the best thing to do was vent!
"HOW CAN THERE POSSIBLY BE TWO VERONA DEMPSEYS !!"
It was so unusual to see Velma loose her cool that both Fred and Daphne started laughing. This only seemed to encourage her, so they waited for a few minutes while Velma continued her rant. Finally, she calmed down.
"Relax", Daphne said, "We know the other Verona is cooling her high heels in jail somewhere. There is no way that she suddenly became a sergeant in the military! Unless... unless this thing can somehow alter time..."
Velma shook her head.
"No, it can't do that... And I know it's not the same one. There was no air of competition, and the other Verona ALWAYS had that. I just can't believe the coincidence."
Velma turned to her computer and tried to refocus on the real mystery at hand......
"Here's the thing. This list my uncle gave me, it's dead wrong. Both Kendle and Dempsey are on it, and they turn out to be working on our side."
Fred moved over to Velma and looked at the list on the screen.
"From you uncle's point of view, the bad guys would have been the one's drugging him. He missed the wider picture."
Velma flipped off the computer.
"Well, I'm going to go have a chat with him. It seems we have to figure out how to rewrite the laws of physics!"
As Velma got out of the van, two very tired runners took her place.
"-pant- -pant- Aliens... -pant- ... chasing us... -pant- pant-"
Fred laughed, "Oh, that's just Private Kendle, he chases visitors around dressed as an alien!"
Daphne twisted her face. "Fred.... would that be the same Private Kendle who is off having his hearing checked?"
Velma checked Henry's room for bugs before beginning. "No bugs, looks like they have decided to trust me!"
Henry chuckled. "They haven't come back with any meds either! Something must be going on!"
"Well, I have a lot to tell you. It seems our playbill of good and bad people has had a change. The people who were drugging you were doing it to try and stop the project! They didn't want you to be able to talk."
"Yes... That Makes Sense!"
Henry sat up in bed, swung to the side of it and stood up. "See! I couldn't do this an hour ago!"
"Yep, the drug was Nuerotiftin, it messes up speech and coordination. I found out from Ver... ah.. Sergeant Dempsey. She is one of about six people who are trying to stop the project if at all possible. There's about twenty people involved in the project, including our four star general!"
Henry gave a low whistle. "They're not going to stop working on it, and they will figure it out sooner or later!"
"Is there some type of limit on zero point fields? Anything that we could use to make it seem like an impossible project?"
Henry scratched his head.
"They become less stable at about 10 gig, you have to be careful that nothing contaminates the field, but as long as your reflectors are good, and your base-metal is pure, they can zoom right past that."
"Then we need to rewrite the laws of physics! ...and Uncle Henry, you are just the man to do that!"
Shaggy pointed to the steamer trunk in the corner of the room. Fred leaned down and unlatched the latches, then lifted the cover.
Daphne looked worried.
"Fred, shouldn't we wait for Velma? This could be dangerous!"
Fred turned to Daphne.
"Not unless we are having a fashion show, its full of cloths!"
All three dug through the trunk. There was nothing in it except old uniforms. Shaggy looked at the outside of the trunk.
"Like wait! That's not the trunk that was here before! It was much newer looking! Very shiny!"
Fred slammed the lid down. "I bet I know of an old abandon smelting plant that's back in business and working overtime!"
The Mystery Machine shot through the desert at speeds it had never seen before.
Uncle Henry turned to Velma, "This guy's not too safe a driver!"
He glanced down at the gauge again. It was starting to get too hot. Between their equipment and the eight passengers, the poor thing was giving its all.
Ken looked worried. "You know if you are wrong, I could loose my job and my company's contract. "
The warehouse loomed into view. This time there were no military police outside. Daphne picked up binoculars and tried to get a closer look.
"It's hard to see with the bouncing, but I guess they didn't want many people around while they were doing something this far off the books!"
Fred slowed down as he approached the gate but kept the van at a speed that easily broke through it. "Showtime!", he said.
Velma and Henry went directly into the building as the other scouted around. At first glance, it appeared empty.
They approached the equipment.
"Well, well.. look what we have here!", Henry said as he pointed to what was suspended in the rings.
Velma walked up to it. It was like nothing she could have imagined! Suspended between a series of super reflective metal mirrors was a five hundred pound slab of 24 carrot gold! She reached into the reflector area before being stopped by a booming voice.
"That's far enough girl!"
Velma slowly turned around and saw all of her friends handcuffed and being held at gunpoint by a series of un-uniformed guards. One pointed at her and ordered her back with the others. Velma slowly walked over and joined them.
General Bob Carter walked to the front of them and several people in scientific lab coats sat down at the control panels.
"Today, you will be among the lucky few who will witness the dawn of a new age in weapon technology!"
As he spoke, the equipment behind him was coming back to life. The gold slab began to glow and a brilliant light reflected between the mirrors!
"9.95 gig and climbing", said the one tech.
"We've been very busy charging my masterpiece up!"
"You can't get past the 10 gig barrier!", Henry shouted out.
"Foolish Man!", the general boomed, "We figured out how to do that on the last run! We don't need your help any more!"
"9.98 gig and climbing..."
"If it wasn't for that stupid mistake with the earth quake, we could have continued this process weeks ago! Instead, certain people around here had to go investigating... Causing noise! Ken Barker, you can consider your contract canceled! Ha!"
The general was enjoying his day in the sun!
"9.99 gig and climbing..."
"In mere seconds, you will see MY project completed!",
"10 gig and.........."
Suddenly, a flash of light as bright as the sun lit up the warehouse! Velma, Henry, and the rest of the gang ducked to the floor as a shockwave blew through the building knocking the sheet metal siding off of the outside! The five hundred pound block of gold vaporized into a plum that shot through the roof! The sudden unloading of the transformers melted the copper rings and collapsed the scaffold! High voltage cables danced on the floor sending showers of sparks in all directions!
"NOOOOOOOOO!", the general shouted, as he saw his dreams explode into sparks! Technicians ran in every direction, most of them away from the building! "I will have you all court marshaled for this failure!", he screamed!
Henry couldn't help himself, "You fool, I could have told you this would happen! The ten gigawatt barrier is absolute!", Henry shouted!
"I will have you court marshaled Too!", the general shouted!
"I don't work for you!" Henry shouted back!
Ken had taken cover next to Velma. He turned to her and asked, "How much does five hundred pounds of gold cost?"
Velma did some quick mental calculations.. "Somewhere around three and a half million dollars..."
Ken laughed, "Seems to me, the only one who is going to get court marshaled is the one who can't explain why there is three and a half million dollars missing from his budget. Only one person in this room could have signed for something that big!"
It was a bright sunny morning. Scooby and Shaggy had just gotten through their after-buffet exercise routine. The van was packed up and Fred was loading the last of their cases.
"I can't believe we have to drive all the way back to Coolsville!"
Henry laughed, "You are all welcome to come over to my place."
Velma smiled. "It's a nice offer, and it's been real nice seeing you again, but we are a little homesick."
Verona was standing next to Ken. She spoke on behalf of the base.
"I'm sorry about this transportation thing. They have shut down all our financing and resources until the investigation into general Carter is complete."
Velma smiled. "That's ok, it's been a long while since we took a cross country trip!"
Velma was pleased that she finally was able to be pleasant to Verona and put aside her own unfounded anger.
Verona put her finger to her lip.
"Oh wow, well if you are heading back east, be sure to look up my cousin. We share the same name!"
Velma was glad to have been facing away at the exact time that line came out! She did however worry that Verona would see her ears turning red, or the steam coming from them!
"Oh... ha ha... we'll .. be sure and do that..", Daphne politely responded.
Ken reached out and shook Fred's hand.
"It's been a pleasure working with you guys! I'm glad things turned out the way they did. Nobody wants to touch that project or concept, and that's a good thing!"
The pleasure has been ours!", Fred responded as the gang climbed into the van, "I had always wanted to see Area 51 !"
The van pulled away with Velma stewing in the back.
"I knew there was a connection", she grumbled, "I wonder if she knows how much of a jerk her cousin is!"
As Fred drove into the desert, he smiled.
"Looks like the whole thing was a laugh anyway, what, with that ten gig limit, we had nothing to fear!"
Velma leaned forward.
"Ah.. Fred... There is no ten gig limit, we made that up..."
Fred slammed on the breaks. "What! You mean the thing would have worked ?????? What happened ?????"
Velma leaned back and smiled, folding her hands behind her head.
"You'd be surprised at what you can do with a well placed cufflink!"
THE END !