Chapter Four

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"Come in, Rachel...and Rachel's friend."

Copenhagen eyed Hector, clearly surprised to see him there but did not object.

Before he had a chance to change his mind, Rachel gripped Hector's forearm and steered him past Copenhagen into a room with an enormous oval table where ten other people were already seated, including Ruth, Debra and Michael.

Hector and Rachel took a seat side by side and waited for Copenhagen to close the door and reach the front of the room.

Water bottles and mints littered the center of the table and Rachel was tempted to take one if only to busy her mouth so she wouldn't have to speak if anyone asked her any questions.

"Welcome." Copenhagen said, spreading his massive hands as if preparing to embrace every single one of them. "You are here as representatives of your people and we believe you deserve to know what is going on outside these ship walls."

He nodded his head to the man to his left. The other man took a black device in his hand and clicked it, causing a screen to light up at the front of the room.

An aerial view of the ships appeared, resting on a strip of still, blue waters.

"For the sake of our newcomers, I'm going to brief you all on what has happened since we closed our borders."

Copenhagen spun towards the wall and traced his finger along the picture— the map moved as if it were a camera panning in command of his touch.

"When they closed up the borders, the CN put into place these massive shields along the perimeter of our surrounding oceans to prevent anyone from coming in or out," He paused. "After the Pacific shield was brought down and overrun, those waters became a minefield full of bombs, of shot down airplanes and of destroyed naval ships. To this day, the path through there is impenetrable. The skies and waters are both mined with explosives set to go off if anyone so much as breathes and as a result, the Atlantic ocean has been taking a beating ever since. You see, these shields, they were never meant to be long term and they're already starting to show signs of weakness."

His finger skimmed the map and an area of ocean sprung up with intermittent metal buoys bobbing on the water, their pointed tops emitting a pulsating, blue light. The waters beyond the wall shimmered with barely discernable shapes.

Copenhagen took his index finger and thumb and rotated the picture to show what was on the other side.

Ships, hundreds of them, crammed the ocean beyond, halting shortly before the pulsating wall of electricity.

Much like the fleet they were on, these ships too held numerous aircrafts, some of which were bombarding the invisible wall with gunfire and explosives.

The wall would undulate and shimmer, seemed to warp in on itself as it absorbed the impact of their bombs and then would swell back out like a sigh, unharmed and unaffected as ever.

Different flags flapped in the wind, from various different countries Rachel didn't recognize. A red circle over a white canvas, another flag sporting black, red and yellow stripes, a few more she couldn't discern from this angle.

"We can no longer ignore this." Copenhagen turned to face the table once more.

"It's only a matter of time before they penetrate the shield and then I don't know what will happen to us all. The way the wall is bending here, it's not supposed to do that." He gestured towards the way the shield caving in on itself in several places.

"How long do we have?" Debra asked, breaking the silence.

Rachel fidgeted with her fingers.

"A month or two at the most. Maybe less."

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