170 Days Until Panic And the Uncertain End
The bus went screeching, bodies flying forward, waking all those who had been asleep. At first, she thought it was a dream, her own body reacting suddenly outside of her control. However the jolt was too powerful, too much, and her face was seconds from slamming into the seat before her. Heia jumped up, to keep people from flying too far over, as the bus came to a halt. With a thud the bus stopped and the bus was a mess of groans and snappy comments. People moved about gathering weapons as Zeydar took to his feet, eyes narrowing ahead of them. Heia looked back to make sure no one was injured in the sudden stop.
Rather than injured they looked distraught and ready to fight, awake and ready to do whatever it took to survive.
“What’s wrong?” Evester ran towards Rayda who was driving. He jumped over bodies who had fallen into the aisle and climbed over the seats to get to her.
“You will want to see this.” She announced to them, standing and preparing her weapon herself.
Heai whipped her head back forward to where the bus lights still shined. Through the dark there were the feint traces of red before them. A pool of blood glimmering under their bus lights. The bus dropped into silence as others strained to hear. The only sound was the sound of static over the radio connection.
“Weapons at the ready!” Evester yelled as the sound of a thud hit the top of the bus. Heir lifted her phaser to the bus ceiling, holding her breath, unsure if it would do anything to save them. Zeydar was silent behind her, but she hoped he were doing something. Anything.
“Phil!” Kim called into the headset. “Where are you?”
“We are ahead, what’s wrong?” Lynx asked back, confirming that they were, in fact, alive. The team was a few hours ahead of them, if everything was working out properly.
“Who are dead?” Evester asked as he held his weapon to the windows. Heia glanced back to see the others acting in a similar manner. Kony holding his staff out where Zeydar pointed. Kony with Kim, protecting her as Kim checked others. Crass protecting Karla while watching the back window.
“Looks like a soldier camp.” Rayda answered. “I can see the remains of uniforms.”
“Which brand?” Shawn asked.
“X’s.” Mor soldiers needlessly lost, or were these soldiers they’d brought out here to save the stollen from the Unwanted Guests.
“How many are we thinking?” Uly asked anyone who would answer. Everyone had turned to the doors and windows holding their weapons at the ready. Not a yawn. Not a other voice. Not a out of place breath as they waited for an answer. The answer that would tell them their chances of survival.
“Six.” Zeydar answered. “I thought they traveled in pairs.”
“They do.” Evester answered. The sound of scratching sounded from above them as Raydar kept the lights of the bus on.
Zeydar huffed out loudly and then there was the sound of a crashing to the grounds around them. Like whatever was atop them had been thrown off. Heia looked back to him as he held his hands out. “I’ll protect the bus, go!”
“Teams go!” Evester yelled out, grabbing Heia by her arm and pulling her out of the bus’ emergency exit on the top. Heia and Evester watched from above as three teams of two left the bus through the main doors and into the night. Shawn and Kim. Kony and Kori. Robee and Trace. The teams disappeared into the darkness with only the bus lights to protect them.
“Careful.” Heia warned them over headset, not wanting to ruin their senses in the darkness. They needed to acclimate to the darkness and she did too.
“Guide them Heia.” Uly told her. “I’m working on getting more light.”
Evester laid down on his stomach, gun out, ready to protect anyone that he could see. The chitter of the Aralax rang through the air as Heia searched for the creatures. Zeydar explained what he felt through the intercom and Heia described what she saw. Kony’s magic shot through the air, as Holoblades lit up the darkness in light. Then Heia smelt the death, a stench that she had only remembered from the Catastrophe.
“Keep yourself together. We will get through this.” Evester told her. His hand on her shoulder, steadied her. She continued to relay what she saw, with steady words.
“Here.” Uly tossed up. Evester caught the flashes that Uly sent him. “Throw it out and close your eyes. It will give enough light. Take the opportunity to take them out. And then back to the bus immediately.”
Evester pulled one of the flashes and threw it up into the air and then ducked down. Heia covered her eyes as the pop rang, the ground of the bus was lit up fully, exposing the blood that had saturated the earth. The sound was followed by the sound of a screech and the smell of Aralax blood.
“Yes.” Zeydar whispered. Heia looked up into the fading light, to see Kim’s shadow racing from the body of an Aralax, as another attacked her. Shawn defended her. Trace and Robee took down their own Aralax, before turning on the second one. Another pop and a second shot of light into the air, that created a ripple of movements through the bodies. They moved through the changing light, avoiding looking up. A third light and Everster calling back for more as the battle raged on, with fighting. Heia relaying what she saw, and helping them avoid the others that were attacking.
“Okay.” Kori jumped up into the air from the body of one Aralax that was cut in half by something Hei had not seen. Kony aided her with his magic as he lifted her higher into the air and then used his magic to cut off the appendages of the Aralax that was aiming to kill him as Kori cut off the creature’s head.
Then everything went dark once more, save the light of the bus.
“A little help here!” Kim shouted. The screech of another Aralax sounded along with gun shots. And then everything went deadly silent.
“Clear.” Trace stated. “No injuries.”
“Clear.” Shawn answered. “Same. No injuries.”
“Just barely. You were waiting for it to attack me.” Kim joked back.
“Good to go. Clear over here to.” Kori cheered. As the six walked back to the light of the bus, Heia a tension release from her body.
“Next time we go out there.” Evester told her, even if she didn’t want to. She wanted the Aralax dead, but she did not want to face them, not when she feared she would hold Evester back more than help him. For she may have taken down an Aralax before, but she was not Kori, or Trace, or Kim. She saw that when they walked back from their battle.
Heia would not be them, and she didn’t have to be. Not when they had Evester and Zeydar. She was better helping others from behind. She was never meant to be on the front lines. She was not as fast. She was not as certain. She wasn’t like them, but that didn’t mean her skills did not have meaning.
“See if there are any survivors.” Heia declared understanding then why she was needed on the team. Understanding then, perhaps a hope, of why the Project had picked her.
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