“I don’t see anything!” cries Matt from the open door of the helicopter.
“You’re not supposed to!” replies Scott, the copilot. “We’re looking for something that’s invisible!”
The three soldiers go suddenly quiet as they feel the helicopter chop its way across the empty sky. They exchange glances. The pilot laughs and turns his head away. The copilot turns around to look at Matt. Matt raises his hands in a helpless gesture. Scott returns to face front.
“The things we do in the military,” Scott says. The three of them are quiet.
Matt finally appears between the two pilot seats. “What are those coordinates again?”
Scott looks them up and relays them back to Matt, adding, “We’re almost on top of it.”
“Hold on,” says the pilot, Jameson. “I see a clearing. It’s dead on the nose.”
“A clearing?” asks Matt. “What is it supposed to be?”
“I already told you,” laughs Jameson. “It’s supposed to be invisible.”
“I heard there was a radiation leak of some sort. Why don’t we open up the instruments that that geek gave us?”
Scott turns around. “Yeah doc. Just get out your tricorder. And if you put on your space goggles, you’ll be able to see the invisible stadium.”
Matt laughs, but as the pilots turn around, he unclips the case and lifts the lid.
“We’re going to land right on the noggin,” says Jameson. “Then we can take a look around—”
“Have a picnic,” adds Scott.
“And go for a nature walk,” laughs Jameson.
The clearing is directly beneath them now, and Jameson begins to maneuver the descent. But they descend only a few meters before the helicopter is hit by violent turbulence. At least, that is what the three soldiers think at first. But after the first jolt, the helicopter is strangely still. Jameson turns to Scott with wide eyes.
“We’re…caught on something.”
Scott turns in his seat, but Matt is already looking out of the open door. “Why have we stopped?”
“Good bloody question!” screams Jameson. “Why don’t you ask the laws of physics!”
Scott launches from his seat and moves to the door. He looks up at the blur of the blades, and watches as they slowly fall from a blur to a cutting spin. He looks back to Jameson who is letting the engine slowly fade. They make eye contact, Jameson with the expression of a very small boy sitting on a very large horse.
All three of them are silent, listening to their racing minds and wondering why they don’t fall. Matt is the first to speak.
“You guys should look at this,” he says. He is staring at a monitor attached to a set of complicated instruments that look like the inner digestive track of a transformer-bot. Scott leans in close to see, but Matt is the first to make sense of it.
“These are the contours of the land…And this, this is the contour of what we’re sitting on.”
Scott stares. “It’s huge.”
“It’s a dome,” says Matt. “The radius is the same as the height.”
Scott looks down to the clearing and shivers. “That’s a lot of land. Are you saying there is no way to get in?”
Sam awakes early to the sound of a distant motor. She sits up quickly, climbing to her feet to avoid sitting on her sore muscles. The first thing she does is look in the direction of that ghostly wall. She is in awe. Its invisibility truly is flawless. Unless…
Sam approaches with outstretched arms. Sure enough, it is as solid as the night before. She feels somehow comforted at its presence, as if it is a rather shy yet loyal companion. It is quiet and unobtrusive, yet it never leaves her side.
Her ears prick as she hears the distant motor growing closer. She is suddenly anxious as she wonders if her family has finally lost their nerve. Have they sent a search and rescue party after only one night? Whoever they are, Sam is desperate to be seen.
But as soon as she spots the helicopter through the treetops, her intentions recoil. She actually ducks behind a tree trunk before she can think. It’s a military helicopter! And as it flies onwards, she wonders if it is coming or going. She takes a hissing breath and stares through the wall. Does this wall protect a top secret military base? She can hear the helicopter hovering somewhere in the distance now and she wonders if they are looking for her. If so, she can apologize profusely and hopefully be sent home.
She hears a change in the sound of the engine, and her heart jumps. They are landing! Next she will see a few foot soldiers running to retrieve her. And she certainly cannot run from them, especially since one of her main directions is blocked by an invisible barrier. She decides to turn herself in and head bravely in their direction.
Sam soon sees light through the trees, and she realizes that the forest is thinning. Her caution manages to restrain her excitement, and she soon drops her pack and continues at a stealthy creep.
Though she soon sees the edge of a clearing, she cannot see the helicopter or hear any voices. She drops her cover and walks out into the clearing, almost annoyed, as if the other kids had just given up and quit from a hide ‘n’ seek game that she was winning.
She only walks a few feet when a voice catches her off guard with a jolt. She spins wildly but there is no one there. And then she looks up.
A soldier screams down at her from his position, leaning out of a helicopter one hundred feet above her. Sam is shocked by their sudden appearance, but her shock doubles as she realizes the impossible.
The helicopter’s propeller is not spinning.