168 Days Until Faith And the Uncertain End (part 1)
The safe house was a farm, long abandoned when the Catastrophe struck. There was no food. But it was a shelter outside of their bus and it felt good to stretch out. They called it a safe house, but there was no safety out in the Aralax lands. There simply had not been any sign of Aralax in miles surrounding the location, and that was all they could rely on for safety at this time. Evester laid on the ground of the farm house knowing that soon it would be covered in blankets.
“The night is going to freeze us. The space heater won’t be enough.” Uly warned Evester as he worked to covered windows. Most of the others were pulling their weight but Evester was not. He knew he should, but he could not bring himself to. Not when it was the first time he could lay on his back without feeling as if he had no space to do anything.
“How long are we going to be here?” Kori asked as she helped unload blankets into the room.
“This is our hide out until we find my father.” Evester sat up abruptly. He noticed how everyone looked at him startled by his movement.
“He is around here?” Heiphillia glared at him. She was chastising him for not helping without vocalizing it. “You are sure.”
“Nope.” Evester shrugged. “But if he is alive it is going to be around here. We are deep into Aaralax territory. Close to where their hive is thought to be.” If his father was alive, it would be near here. The more they road in their bus the more noise they’d make. This location was scouted and confirmed to be the best strategic point by him, his father, and Uly. the maps pointed here. And there were no signs of Aralax. It was defendable, for the most part. They had to stay here.
“If he’s alive.” Uly reminded him. “What does the time line say about trying to find him?”
“We have less than fifteen days to find him.” Evester thought over the numbers in his head. “If we want to have a chance to start building the ships in time, then we have to be at the base where the development was being completed at 150 days.” This place was also the only place they could stay at and make the deadline.
“That’s five days away from here, no?” Phil asked understanding why they could not go any deeper. This place gave them ten days to search. Any closer in and they were going to be running out of time to search, getting deeper into the lands, and further from the final objective. Evester did not like to admit it, but the plan had to go on without his father or not.
“That’s the idea.” Uly nodded.
“We may need to split up.” Heiphillia suggested. “One team to secure the facility and to begin, and another to try to find your father.” All eyes were on her. “In the event we don’t find him, we can’t be behind.”
“I agree.” Rayda answered.
Uly looked over the maps, his brow furrowing. The idea had come up before, but each time Uly had shot it down. It wasn’t a good idea. Splitting up their resources was only more difficult to survive. The winters were harsh. The world wanted them dead. Without all of their fighter and driver power, they were risking too much. Not to mention that the space facility was in Aralax territory. They were screwed if the Aralax had commandeered it, and they were split up.
However even Uly knew it was perhaps better to go the route of splitting up. And each time Heiphillia brought it up, he was closer to caving. “We should.” Uly’s words surprised no one, but conveyed how broken up he was about it. “The question becomes which teams.”
“We spilt up in four days.” Kim stepped in. “We need to rest first. Give us a few days of rest and then we can separate. The team going can take all the cars we stole.” The three cars they had and the bus. Only three people were needed to drive them, which meant less insulation. However, if they were going to have more people in them… Evester did not want to think of what they’d have to do.
“And how will we decide?” Shawn asked again.
“Teams will split.” Kim answered. “Its the best way. Pick which teams have the best skill sets for what we need of them.”
Uly continued to look at the maps. “For now we need to fortify this house so that we do not freeze for the next few nights, then we need to secure supply lines, water, and locate more food.”
“More food?” Kori asked.
“We don’t know what the situation will be like once we are working on the program.” Uly answered. He began to write on his tablet and on the map.
The rest of the room moved back to insulation, moving about and trying to get the single room fortified before they began planning out which teams that would go and which would stay. As they moved about, Evester laid back again thinking about it. He already knew the answer, for the answer for who would be best and were, was never a surprise.
Heiphillia, he and Zeydar would stay. Kim would stay for him and Shawn would stay for Hephillia. Kony would stay for Zeydar and Kori would stay for the fun of it. That meant Uly, Rayda, Crass, Karla, Lynx, Onyx, Trace, and Robee would go on ahead leaving Phil behind with Evester. The teams were decided and Uly already knew that. They all knew that.
They just had to justify it.
They just had to let it settle.
“Are you going to help?” Hephillia stood over him.
“You really don’t want me helping. I’d make a mess of it.”
“Zeydar is making a mess of it and he’s still helping.”
Evester’s eyes drifted to the back of Zeydar who moved to help with his magic. Yes, even Zeydar was helping. And somehow that guilt got Evester to his feet to help set up the room. So much for stretching out.