“WHAT IN GOD’S NAME just happened?” Locknut bellowed. He was staring at the static of camera B4-12, where he should’ve seen the candy apple stand with two of his soldiers close by and the other three scouting the area. There’d been a bright flash and then nothing. His grip tightened on the back of the chair as Carnigan futzed with the joystick and knobs, trying to regain the image.
“Sir. It’s gone. There’s nothing there.”
“That wasn’t my question, you fool! What happened?”
Carnigan stared at the screen. “I don’t know…but…I might be able to get another angle…hold on…”
Locknut held on. Barely. Carnigan did his Sparkpage magic and cycled through the cameras along the walkway. Most showed nothing more than debris flying off into the air and a light from around a branch or a corner or—
“Wait, stop! Go back,” he instructed. Carnigan shuffled back to camera B4-9, a shot from the far right of the stand, and played back the past few minutes. There were the soldiers interrogating the owner and the other three sweeping the area, then a streak of light from the left and poof—no more apple stand. Wood and metal sheets and candy-making mixtures came raining down, the soldiers dodging it to no avail.
Something caught Locknut’s eye at the far left of the screen.
“Zoom in on that branch there,” Locknut pointed. “Now, replay it.” Carnigan did so.
They couldn’t see much from this close to the incident, but Locknut was more focused on the branch. Something, or several somethings, was moving in there. Not much, but enough. Suddenly, one of them towards the back moved forward, and a bright light came from it and flew out of the picture. The explosion lit up the branch, and moments later, five or six somethings fell out of the cover of the leaves.
But he had to know for sure.
“Replay and stop it when I tell you to.”
Carnigan rewound the footage and played it back.
Little diagonal lines ran slowly up the grainy image. There was a point of light in the darkness of cover attached to something pale.
“Can you zoom into that?”
“I can get it to…there.” It zoomed in just a bit more to the area.
Locknut squinted at the pixilated shot. It was a vague outline of an arm, then a bit of a shoulder, and a shaded face…
“That’s as far as I can get it. Would you like me to try a different camera, sir?”
Locknut grinned. “No, you won’t need to do that. We’ve got our girl.”
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