Low Hanging Sun

The bitter air filled the white beach of Athelstan, the sky was blue and cloudy. As deceptive as ever. The small converted fishing boat pulled up to shore after hours at sea. Duncan held his stomach as it churned away, he had often wondered why he had continued to live on an island miles away from the mainland when he was so susceptible to sea sickness. Then he remembered how dangerous the mainland could be.

The boat had been captained by another master of trespass, known affectionately as the Veteran. He wore a device that resembled a respirator mask, a thick collection of interweaving scarves and some winter gear. "Ever going to get used to it?" the Veteran asked in his gravely voice.

"I really should be by now," Duncan replied. He climbed off the boat and marched across the beach. "Any tip offs for today?" he asked, usually they wouldn't waste precious fuel coming to Athelstan on off season days. Which usually meant there had been some information that brought them here.

"Nothing today," the Veteran replied, Duncan was surprised - why risk the trip over nothing?

"Nothing at all?"

"Nothing-" suddenly the Veteran was interrupted, a single sniper round came colliding with the sand below their feet. "Careful Duncan!" he shouted, the trespasser had never raised his voice to such a level before. Quickly the two of them scurried to cover as a rain of bullets continued to fire upon them.

Duncan looked over the cover, a new watchtower had been established on the adjacent cliff, obscured by the intense light of the low hanging sun. The Department had upped their defenses of Athelstan's shores. "Bastards!" Duncan exclaimed. "They must have seen us come in, since when did they start with this bollocks?"

The Veteran shook his head, he didn't know anything about it. "Stay close behind, use the dunes as salvation my lad." Together the two of them crawled through the sand as round after round was shot in their direction. "He'll run out eventually," the Veteran said reassuringly. Then just like magic the firing stopped. The sniper was empty. "It'll take him a good bit to reload, quickly!" Duncan breathed heavily as he quickly escaped the sniper's line of sight.

In the clear they sat down momentarily and caught their breath. With each pant for air a misty cloud formed from their mouths. "What's made them care all of a sudden?" Duncan Beck asked.

"No clue, maybe they've found something they don't want anyone else getting their mitts on."

"A major discovery?" Beck wondered.

"It's not impossible," the Veteran croaked in response. "They've tightened the security before, about twenty years back. That was when they thought they found a vessel."

"A vessel?"

"A ship, not so different from ours but from those who came. But it was nothing more than some modern art piece that they had forgot to catalogue," the Veteran started to laugh. Nothing tickled him more than the errors of the Department. Duncan Beck laughed with him.

"Then maybe they've found another piece of modern art," Duncan smirked. He clawed his hands into the sand and got up. "We should be alright for now, let's keep moving Vet." He brought his hand down to the older trespasser and helped him to his feet. "Besides, if they have found something impressive then what's to stop us from getting it first."


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