Hardy marveled at the island flora and fauna that bordered the road. Perry Island had one paved road that started at the airfield and circled the island in a five-mile bicycle wheel with spokes that converged at an Administrative Hub. A pair of twin hills topped with radar dishes and radio antennas towered behind the Hub.
“The Navy went to some expense building this place.”
Simmons kept his eyes on the road. “Yes, Sir.”
The conversation continued in fits and spurts until the car stopped at the Hub. Hardy retrieved his briefcase in hand and stepped out, the skies gradually filling in with storm clouds. This is not a good omen, he thought as he tucked his sunglasses away in a suit pocket and went inside.
The Hub’s interior reminded him more of a five-star resort hotel lobby than the headquarters building for a naval installation. A four-pointed blue and white star graced the mirrored floor tiles as he walked through the tinted front doors and over to a long desk manned by a man and a woman, dressed immaculately in matching dark blue outfits. He saw no sign of military insignia but under their blazers, he could make out the distinctive bulges that pistol holsters tended to create. Someone went to a lot of trouble, he thought.
Before he could introduce himself, he was handed a small white plastic punch card and directed to an elevator at the end of a long hallway to his right. His footsteps on the brown carpeting shrank in volume as he neared his destination. A small slot flashed green and red on his approach. Inserting the card into the slot hissed open the elevator doors and he stepped inside.
Before he could press a button on the control panel, the car immediately went into free fall, plastering him against the ceiling for an eternity before coming to an abrupt stop and leaving him in a heap upon the floor. The control panel read that he had only traveled two floors down but he didn’t believe that for a second as he wrestled the wrinkles from his clothing and regained his composure. The doors opened onto an organized office and a white-haired man dressed in a dark suit.
“Welcome to Perry Island, Commander.”