A New Dimension: Chapter Seven

        “Hey Duane.”
        “Yeah, Sarge?  What is it?”
        “Take a look at that there patch of desert.”
        “Whad’ya mean, Sarge?”
        “I mean stop yer gawkin’ at me and turn your ruddy head to that there patch of sand I’m a pointin’ to.”
        “Oh, right Sarge . . . Say, that there patch of desert don’t seem to be like the others.  Is there a storm goin’ on tonight?”
        “Take a look around, Duane, there ain’t no storm and there ain’t no clouds.”
        “Kinda pretty though, don’t you think?”
        “What I think, Duane, is that we’re responsible for monitoring this here remote military base, and that somethin’ very noteworthy is happenin’ over yonder.”
        “Ooh.  Wow.”
        “Is that all you have to say, Duane?”
        “I don’t know, Sarge, it’s just what come out.”
        “Nevermind, Duane.  The important thing is that we are highly trained soldiers, and there is an unknown phenomenon occurrin’ right in our backyard, and it’s crystal clear to me that we’re just the men to figure out what’s going on over there.”
        “It’s kinda bright, Sarge.  You sure we should go over there?”
        “No, Duane, I don’t think we should go over there.  I think should go over there.  I think you should get on the horn with whatever brass you can get ahold of at this ungodly hour and get some specialists in here.  No, Duane, our job will be to document whatever is going on.  You’ll notice that I’m filming the anomaly with my phone.”
        “Shoot, Sarge, that’s some smart thinkin’.”
        “Of course, Duane, it’s smart thinking.  I do smart thinking all of the time.  Now go ring up the brass, and get them down here.  I’m going to continue to document the anomaly while you do that.  Do you understand, Duane?”
        “Yes, Sarge, I’m thinkin’ I get you 10/4, loud and clear.”
        “Good Duane.  Now, I’m going to narrate this video with environmental context and . . . hmm . . . OK . . . Now, let’s see, it’s oh one twenty two hours on September third,  two thousand nineteen of the current era.  It’s about, hmm . . . fifty three degrees fahrenheit.  Humidity is almost not present.  I’m approaching the anomaly from the south by south east.  It’s approximately one hundred yards in front of me.  It appears to be a pulsing white and blue explosion of some kind, but one that just keeps going.  No, arrgh, that doesn’t make sense.  Cut that.  OK, now, I’m approaching the anomaly, but it’s growing in intensity.  The core of it is too bright to look directly at . . . I mean to look at directly.  Dang!  OK cut that too.  The pulsing is now starting to intensify, but kind of ebb at the same time.  I’m approaching the anomaly again.  It’s now fifty yards . . . forty five yards . . . forty yards.  I . . . I can see something at the epicenter of the blast area or whatever it is.  I’m getting closer now . . .”
        “Hey, Sarge – that there looks a bit like a chicken!”
        “DUANE!   Duane, you scared me.  You shouldn’t sneak up on someone who’s doing an official documentation of an unknown pulsing light anomaly.”
        “Shoot, Sarge, I didn’t mean to scare you . . . but I did get you good, didn’t I?”
        “I don’t know what you mean.”
        “Oh come on, I got you, Sarge.  I got you good.  Admit it.  I got you didn’t I?”
        “Well . . . you may have gotten me a little bit, Duane.  But don’t do it again.  Do you understand?  That’s an order!”
        “Well, shoot Sarge, you don’t have to get all ordery about it, you can just ask nicely.”
        “Well, OK, I’m glad that’s settled.  Now I’ve lost my train of thought with the video.  Ah, yes, ahem . . . We’re now approaching the epicenter of the anomaly.  The pulsing light is all but gone.  Closer . . . closer . . . closer . . . closer . . . “
        “Sarge – if someone were watching this here video yer makin’, don’t you think they’d be able to see on the screen that we was getting closer, without you havin’ to say it?”
        “Duane.  Are you making this video, or am I . . . ?  . . . That’s right, am.”
        “Yes, Sarge.  But I’m telling you that there’s a chicken.”
        “How could a chicken be at the center of the anomaly?”
        “Maybe flew there.  They can fly, you know.  I’m always tellin’ my cousin Jeddediah that they can fly.  They can’t, you know fly a whole bunch, but they can fly some.”
        “That’s the most absurd thing I’ve ever heard.  That chicken didn’t fly into the anomaly.”
        “So how’d it get there?”
        “Duane, that’s the million dollar question.  The million dollar question.  Say did you get any brass on the horn?”
        “On the horn?”
        “Yes did you raise HQ?”
        “Uh . . . raise? . . . “
        “Did you talk to someone who might know what the hey-ho is going on out here tonight.  My guess is that this was a secret military experiment, that the chicken was used as a guinea pig for the trial.  By the limp appearance of the chicken, I’d say, they threw the chicken into the experiment to see how a living being would react to the anomaly.  A guinea pig, I tell you.”
        “You know, Sarge, I have a guinea pig at home.  Her name is Mrs. Noodles.”
        “Duane. . . that is the dumbest thing I think I’ve ever heard.  
        “Mrs. Noodles isn’t dumb, Sarge, she’s super cute and real smart, why just last night -”
        “Right, sorry Sarge, but what do ducks have to do with anything?  This here’s a chicken.”
        “Duane.  I’m sorry I raised my voice, but you must understand, this is a historic event.  That anomaly was supernatural in origin if I’m a foot tall, and this chicken we’re standing over is at the heart of the whole thing.”
        “Gee, Sarge, this little chicken?”
        “Yes, Duane, this little chicken.  The question now is, is it alive?”
        “Well, shoot, I kin tell ya that.”
        “You can?”
        “Sure, if you poke it in the eye, it’ll respond somehow if’n it’s alive, even if it’s knocked out.”
        “That is the single worst idea I’ve ever heard!  We can’t move this chicken even one iota.  We must leave it intact for when the brass get here.”  
        “But you’re still making that video aren’t you?”
        “Yes, Duane, I’m recording every last detail for the military scientists and doctors who will be analyzing the data.”
        “Wow, Sarge.  That’s incredible.”
        “Yes, Duane, it is.  It really is.”
        “Do you think someone will come soon?”
        “Well, given the time elapsed between when you called the brass and the average airspeed of military helicopters, I would say, we can expect an arrival any minute.”
        “They could be here any minute?  Shoot, that’s neat.”
        “Yes Duane, that’s neat.  I wonder . . .”
        “What do you wonder, Sarge?”
        “Hm? Oh.  Nothing.  I was just wondering if the anomaly was picked up on any military instruments.”

“You mean like the doohickey’s in our remote base?”
“JIMINY CRICKETS!  Duane!  You’re a genius.  We’ll leave the chicken here.  We must

get back to base and check the logs.  No, wait, you stay here with the chicken.  I’ll go back and check the logs.  Stay right here.  Don’t touch the chicken.”
        “Ok, Sarge.  10/4.”
        “Excellent.  I am now proceeding . . .”
        “Yes, Duane – what is it?”
        “Who’re you talking to?”
        “Duane, I told you before that I’m narrating the evidential video.”
        “Oh.  Right.  Sorry Sarge.”
        “It’s Ok Duane, just stick to your current duty.  That’s an order.”
        “Roger that, sir.”
        “I am now heading back into the base to check the instrument logs.  I’m opening the door to the military installation.  Now I’m walking into the instrument room.  The first log I will be checking will be the radar monitoring log.  Hmm.   No sign of the anomaly on radar.  That’s amazing.  Ok, the next log I will check is the seismograph.  Hmm.  Nothing there either.  Ok.  The anemometer – nothing.  The barometer – nothing.  Hygrometer – nothing.  Well, my goodness.  It’s like the anomaly didn’t even happen.  The only evidence that there even was an anomaly is an unresponsive chicken.  I am now returning to the anomaly site to confer with my colleague.
        “Duane!  Duane – is there any change in the chicken’s status?”
        “Ahh, I can’t tell you that.”
        “What?!  Why can’t you tell me about the chicken?”
        “I was given orders not to.”
        “Orders?  What orders?”
        “Well, I can’t tell you that either.”
        “What?!  I’m your commanding officer, I command you to tell me what the hey-ho is going on!”
        “Sorry, can’t do that.”
        “But the chicken, Duane!  Where’s the chicken.”
        “I can’t tell.”
        “But Duane . . . oh confound it!  The chicken’s gone!  Whoever gave you the order to be silent must have taken the chicken.”
        “I can neither confirm nor deny that, sir.”
        “Right, good man.  If you’ve been ordered by top brass to keep a vow of silence, a vow of silence you must keep.  It will be a horrible burden, but you must do it, for the sake of country and home!”
        “Right, Sarge, it’s my duty.”
        “Yes, son, it’s your American Duty.  Loose lips sink ships!”
        “Um, I don’t think if I told you about the helicopter that landed here, and the men in full body protective suits who got out and came over here, that any ships would sink, Sarge.”
        “Silence!  I order you to follow your orders!  Not another word, do you hear?!”
        “Yes, Sarge, I will zip my lips.”
        “Now, Duane, we must return to our stations, and forget this ever happened.  Top brass has been alerted, and we’ve done our duty.  We may never find out what happened to that chicken Duane.  We must live with the fact that we may never know . . .”
        “Well, the one feller said they were taking her to a military hospital in Bethesda, Maryland to be studied.”
        “DUANE!  I order you to keep silent!”
        “Oh, right Sarge.  Sorry, Sarge.”
        “Now – we must carry on as if nothing has happened, Duane.  It is our God given, American duty to zip our lips and forget -”
        “Did you know chickens don’t have lips?”
        “Of course I know that Duane.”
        “That feller out there, he said the same thing – makes it hard to resuscitate them, he said.”
        “Duane.  You are violat – wait, they resuscitated the chicken?”
        “Yup, they did, they – hey!  I’m supposed to keep quiet!  You tricked me, Sarge!”
        “Nonsense, my boy.  You’re right.  Keep quiet.   No more talk about the chicken, who’s alive, that was at the center of an enormous blinking anomaly, and who’s been taken to a military hospital in Bethesda, Maryland for observation and testing.”
        “Right, Sarge.  And no more about the men talking about how they didn’t know where the anomaly came from or what it did.”
        “Right!  No more about that.  Back to work, Duane.  Back to work.”
        “Roger that, a big Texas 10/4 on that.”
        “We’ll just never get to know what happened to the chicken.”
        “Right, sir.  Good night sir.”
        “Good night, Duane.  Good night.  You were an excellent soldier tonight during this anomaly crisis.”
        ‘Uh, crisis?  Sarge?”
        “Ha ha!   Very good, Duane, keep following those orders, Duane.  Until your last breath.”
        “Uh, right, Sarge.”
        “Good night, Duane!  America sleeps just a little sounder out there tonight because you and I are watching and ready.”
        “Good night, Sarge.”
        “Good night, Duane.”

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