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Post apocalyptic Europe.
The year is 2133. The worlds fallen to turmoil, and a "savior" has emerged. But there's nothing saving about them. They've brought about a new order, in which people who follow them live "good lives". Sure there's advances in technology, mainly bio-engineering and cybernetics, and people are living longer... sort of. But it's all a facade. The people are slaves and don't even know it. They've been tricked, brainwashed almost, into believing that whatever their... god says, goes. Women are taken by the soldiers, or to be the many wives of the "almighty". Children disappear and are never seen again. These creatures, they roam the streets. Supposedly to keep the peace, though they can barely keep their appetites in check. Some people have taken up against these authorities, but they have to face something... its a new world out there.|
-You have three days to add. Please don't join if you can't add consistently.
-No cursing, sex, or graphic violence please.
-Please choose one of the characters that are posted up and tell me which one you want.
*This campfire will start in approximately one week. Vacation. :P
These are the characters with a small description, the person playing them, and links to actors I've chosen for what they look like.
Steven Cutter (Wiskers )
Steven is an excellent arms man and tracker. He's serious and quiet, a little bit mysterious, but is actually a very passionate person. He's in the resistance because he thinks its the right thing to do, although whether their tactics are right or not, he hasn't decided.
Cora Hanson (DarkStarr )
Cora is a beautiful scientist who, is in fact, the daughter of one of the men who made this whole "new world" possible. She despises her father for what he did, and has set about herself the task of righting his wrong. She is compassionate, but very independent, and doesn't like to be told that she can't do something.
Connor Pine (Nicky )
Connor is smart, but doesn't always put it to good use. He is an expert at stealth tactics, and a nasty set of debilitating darts. He's slick, and sort of a bad boy. He's the kind of guy that, if a good enough opportunity presented itself, he might go a different way.
Nikki Won (LdyPhoenix )
Nikki is a linguist and a doctor, who came to England from China when her family moved there. She patches everyone up when they get in scrapes. Nikki is shy, but very kind, and has a big heart. She isn't easy with who she trusts.
Alex Cooper (`lemur` )
Alex is a mechanic with a confusing sense of logic. He's also a bit childish and is sort of a nerd. He's reliable, but nothing seems to go right for him. He can shoot straight, but isn't normally allowed a gun because he accidently shot one of his teammates once.
The people that made up the resistance lived in a small town that most of the surviving world had forgotten. And its safety lay in its obscurity. It was small, dingy, and poor. But it was free... and some would call that rich.
Steven was standing by the tent that they used to distribute provisions. The land was too dry to grow most crops, and they had to rely on smuggling to get what they needed, or else they just went without it.
"We had a hard haul this time..." Luke, the old man in charge of this area took off his hat and wiped his forehead on his arm. "We barely got the flour and water, although we did manage to snag some blankets too."
"No soap though... but if we take the time to go downstream a little, past their detectors, I know where we can find some clean water that should do the trick."
Steven nodded, putting his hand on his chin. "Alright. Yeah, that'll have to do."
"Steven." Cora came up behind him and tapped him on the shoulder. "Alex has something to show us. Something about a... oh, I don't know. Just come on."
"Thanks Luke." Steven nodded and started following Cora. Within a few moments he was already by her side.
"Are they still sniffing around?" Steven asked quietly, and in her direction, so that no one they passed would hear.
She nodded and pushed back a few strands of golden hair. "They didn't pass our perimeter, but they got too close for comfort, at least for me."
They kicked up dust just walking through the streets, and it didn't much help the appearance of their clothing, not to mention allergies.
"Look who's the big hero. More like the big mouth." Cora said, shaking her head as they came closer to where Connor was, leaning against the table and keeping everyones attention.
"So there I was, completely surrounded. Those creatures on all sides of me." Connor waved his arms around theatrically. "I try to shoot, but I'm out of ammo. I reach for my dart container..." He paused, and one girl gasped. "-empty." He straightened. "So, I knew I had to do something, otherwise they would have killed Steven here, isn't that right? He'd been bitten in the leg." Connor said when he saw Steven and Cora nearing him.
All the girls who hadn't been blushing because of Connor blushed now.
Steven suppressed a smile. "Thats right."
"Anyway, with no ammo, and no darts, I figured the only thing left to do was..." He grabbed an orange and pretended to bite something invisible off the top of it.
"A grenade!?" Someone asked, awestruck.
Connor nodded. "So I put him behind a log, lured them out and blew them smithereens. Only after did I realize that I had about six, seven pieces of shrapnel in me."
"Whoa... I wanna be like you!" A little boy yelped excitedly.
"Well, it takes something special to do what we do." Connor said.
"Yeah, like the biggest ego in the world." Cora said as they walked away together.
"Aw, even you can't resist a hero." Connor winked at her.
"Yech." She shook her head and wrinkled her nose. "And why is it, Connor, that every time you tell that story the number of shrapnel in you doubles?"
Connor shrugged. "Just giving people what they want. 'Sides, I seriously just found one in me yesterday from, like, a year ago."
"Maybe you should check your brain for some."
"Ha Ha." Connor made a face at her.
"Will you two quiet down? There's ill people in there." Steven said as they reached the tent that Nikki was in.
Steven went in to find Nikki kneeling by a frail man, he stayed by the entrance.
"Now, take this for the abdominal pain." She said, handing his wife a bag of herbs. "But if it doesn't change in three days then we might have to do surgery."
The man grimaced, but then nodded. "Thank you."
She smiled at him. "My pleasure."
Nikki stood and the woman stood as well and they walked into a corner.
"This, is for you." She said, handing the woman a small bottle of vitamins. "These are for your baby." She said, eyeing the bulge on the woman's stomach. "It should give it a better chance."
The woman smiled and shook Nikki's hand gratefully.
Finally Nikki reached down and grabbed her bag, and headed towards the door.
"Nice job, Dr. Won." Steven smiled.
She smiled shyly and looked down.
"I've found these supplements have been useful in the area of fetus life spans... I figure we should give them the best shot we can... you know?"
"Uh... Alex has something to show us." Steven jabbed his thumb behind him.
"Okay. Lets see it." She walked passed him and out into the sunlight.
A few minutes later they reached the tent in which Alex kept all his crazy inventions.
At the moment he had huge glasses over his face which made his eyes look about ten times bigger.
"What's with the-" Steven motioned around his face.
"Huh? Oh!" Alex took them off and set them down on the desk. "These are for magnification, obviously."
"Is that what you wanted to show us?" Cora asked.
"No way! You guys are gunna love this..." Alex put a black, sort of chunky belt on and pressed a button.
Alex was just standing there confused.
"Was your idea to make yourself look dorkier than you did before?" Connor asked.
Steven nodded. "Go ahead, try again."
"Alright, maybe if I tweak the magnets a little bit..." Alex fiddled with the belt for a minute. "Okay. It should work this time." He took in a deep breath, then pushed the button. He vanished instantly.
"Whoa!" Connor "Thats actually... well, cool."
"Alex, you still there?" Steven asked.
"It works!" Alex's excited voice came from somewhere ahead of them. "I mean I knew it would, but wow!"
"He's still here." Cora said, smiling wryly.
* * * * *
The tent in which Alex did most of his tech-work was one of the smaller ones his side of what once was a thriving city and it was frustratingly small for Connor’s liking especially. The whole place, the whole “refugee camp” if that’s what you could call it, seemed to be predominantly made up of tents which were sprawled out comfortably into the cracked asphalt streets and squeezed in between crumbling old brick and concrete buildings beneath the sheltering shadows of iron skyscrapers bent over like melting sticks of candle wax. Many families lived in tents but the bigger families and lone stragglers taken up residence in some of the broken down buildings that surrounded them. It still amazed Connor, how any of these people had even managed to survive in the first place…how they’d managed to make it here, to this forgotten, God-forsaken city in the middle of nowhere. It amazed him how this place had once seemed like a fairy tale kingdom to him as a young child growing up in the slums. It had once been one of the flashy, big-time places that everyone dreamed of going to as a kid, filled with expensive towers and buildings that touched the sky like proud heroic giants, guarding their city with valor. Now he stood here, disillusioned and humbled, on the ugly, dirty floor of what looked like nothing more but a collection of very large piles of rubble. The broken city’s proud giants had all been reduced to enormous slouching drunkards still trying to just keep themselves together. The place wasn’t pretty. The tents felt cramped at times. The little nooks and crannies people slept in were cold at night. But this place was home. Their home. Their refuge. Their “last hope” Steven had called it. In fact, Last Hope had eventually become the unofficial title for the place.
When Alex had dragged the three of them into his tent, Connor hadn’t been expecting anything real special.
But he had been dead wrong.
Cora and Steven exchanged grins, while Connor just lifted his eyebrows, a small half-smile twitching to life at the corner of his mouth as stared incredulous at the blank nothing in front of them. He had the urge to go and move his hand around to see if Alex was even there anymore.
One thought was running through Connor’s head at the moment.
I gotta’ have me one of those.
He had to convince Alex to make another one of those invisibility do-hickies of his, but one in Connor’s size. He was already imagining all the things they could do with technology like this. This was exactly the kind of thing Connor was intensely fascinated with. Connor specialized in stealth tactics, after all, so this kind of technology should be right up his alley right? Alex would have to at least let him try that thing out…
He’s going to say “no”, he thought to himself doubtfully, …but it’s worth a shot…
“Well, I’ve got to hand it to you Alex, ol’ buddy, you’ve really done it this time. Good work! You put those Japanese people with their stupid invisibility cloak to shame!” he said with an enthusiasm that was a tad exaggerated. He slapped his hands together and took too quick steps toward the spot Alex had been standing at a moment ago. “Now how about letting me…”
“Oh no, no, no…”
There was a crash as some tools were pushed off the work table in the middle of the tent by an unseen force. A thud followed, the sound of a body dropping on the floor. Paper’s underfoot went flying, as if someone had slipped on them. Alex’s voice emitted a muted grunt from somewhere lower to the ground. The others tried to come forward and see what was wrong, but…well they couldn’t see anything.
“Kind of hard watching your step when you can’t even see yourself,” Alex explained with a nervous chuckle. He sounded like he was getting back on to his feet again.
“Here let me help you,” Connor was saying as if he really cared. ”Where the heck are you?”
“Oh no…don’t get near me! I don’t want you messing with this thing, Connor, you hear? I actually get it to work and you already want to mess with it.”
“Aw, come on! Stop being such a dweeb!” Connor teased, smirking. His eyes floated around, not sure what to focus on.
“Connor, Alex may be invisible, but that doesn’t mean he can’t hear you…” Steven was joking. Connor hadn’t even realized he’d been talking louder. He ignored the comment and took a few more steps in the direction he thought he’d heard Alex’s voice come from, stepping more carefully this time, with hands in front of him as though he were blind. Steven sounded alright, but Connor could feel Cora scowling behind him. The chick was tough, but Connor knew he could soften her up. They all softened up for him didn’t they? Even the toughest chicks…
“Connor…no…I’m not letting you try this thing out…not just yet,” Alex was warning hesitantly. Connor could imagine the egghead’s face, with that serious look he had that was supposed to mean business. “This is only the prototype, you know, and I don’t want anyone toying with it until I’ve worked out all the bugs and…”
It sounded like Alex was backing around the other side of his work table. Connor just followed blindly after him around the cramped work space. Alex didn’t usually like Connor in his lab, but he was at least allowed in as long as Alex could be present to supervise. No one could argue Alex’s apprehension. Surely, you could imagine how putting a reckless person like Connor in a place as small as this with delicate, highly advanced technology lying around was like letting a bull into a shop full of precious china. There was nothing in Connor’s reputation that even remotely resembled caution, self-control, or patience. Even Connor knew this. But he was relentless.
So it wasn’t a surprise to anyone that Alex wasn’t going to let Connor get his hands on this newest invention, and especially since he had actually gotten it working.
“Okay, boys, cut it out before one of you hurts himself,” Cora said in her best “mom-voice”. She strode over and tugged Connor by the arm.
Before Connor could come back with some clever and probably inappropriately flirtatious come-back a blaring sound came over the loud speakers. It was something between a police siren and a fog horn.
Someone was sounding the alarm.
Connor swore. His hands immediately moved to the holster of his dart gun as he turned to look at Steven, waiting for orders. Steven had come to be something of a captain, and it seemed like Alex, Connor, Cora, and Nicky had come to be part of his “team”. Steven, in fact, was even more than a captain. He was the closest thing the whole refugee group had to a leader, though he, humble as he was, had been rather reluctant from the start in taking the title. He didn’t think he was deserving of it, but it was obvious that everyone else thought otherwise. They all respected him. Even Connor.
In fact, Connor never thought he’d come to respect a man just as much as he did Steven. Come to think of it, he hadn’t imagined himself capable of having any ounce of real respect for anyone in general. There was once a time when Connor respected no one, especially not any form of authority. But after you’ve had your life saved on far more than one occasion by the same man and then get beat up by him once or twice because he won’t put up with your crap, you come to respect that man.
Steven pulled out a walkie-talking and began speaking into the microphone. After several tries, he received only static. After trying several other channels, he was eventually able to get a hold of Kevin, head of surveillance and security.
“Gopher-brother, this is Hawk-man. Do you read, Gopher-brother? I repeat: do you read? How are things looking out there? Over.” He was practically shouting to get over the sound of the alarm.
His voice flickered to life over the speaker with static clarity.
“This is Gopher-brother. We’re blind to what’s out there. The cameras seem to have been disconnected. All we see is static. Over.”
Steven’s brow knitted as he seemed to deliberate.
“Hawk-man, do you read?”
“Rodger. I’ll send a techie over to you right away. Over and out.”
Steven shut off the conversation device back in his belt.
“Alex, wherever you are, get to the control room and check on surveillance!”
Alex reappeared again. Connor jumped as he realized that he’d materialized right by his shoulder. If the circumstances had been different Connor probably would have punched him. He didn’t like people sneaking up on him.
“I’m on it,” he said, his voice dead serious. In the next moment, he had already slipped out the tent’s entrance.
“Cora, go find some place safe. Make sure everyone get’s to a hiding place of some sort if you find them walking around.”
Cora just nodded, eyes looking worriedly from Steven to Connor.
“Be careful,” she half whispered as she followed in the direction Alex had gone.
“You,” he was pointing to Connor, “Let’s go.”
As they exited the tent, Connors eyes scanned the perimeter. Everything looked fine. No fire. No monsters. No demon-soldiers surrounding the chain-link fence that made up on of the refugee camp’s main lines of defense. Everything was normal except that it was empty and the scream of the siren still blared menacingly over the loud speakers. Other than that, you’d have thought nothing was wrong.
But something was obviously wrong. Connor could already smell it.
* * * * *
|The sirens vibrated through Nikki’s ears as she quickly walked from Alex’s tent to her own a couple dozen tents down. Fear was in the eyes of all she passed, and her heart seemed to tumble at the sight, knowing she couldn't stop and reassure their fears.|
Sirens and attacks were nothing new to her. Since her family's immigration from China, she had learned to endure battlefields, sudden attacks, hiding in small, dark spaces for days on end. To a better life, her father had said as they went days on end without food or drink. All her parents hope laid in the belief she and her siblings would have a better life in England, and any hardship was worth the possibility for greatness. For a time Nikki had believed that too. But, as she gazed into the faces of the scared before her she could see the ravages of spirit this "better life" had cost. Nothing, she knew, was worth that price.
Entering her tent, Nikki pulled her bag up and over her head, setting it on a makeshift table. Opening the tattered blue flap, she mentally went over what things she was low on and what she needed in case there were wounds suffered for whatever was coming their way. Everything in her lined, stacked, and ordered into herbal medications and supplies. Working from memory, she went through her items will deft fingers, gathering the small amount of sterile gauze and bandages she'd collected over the years.
Like a soft wind on the back of her neck, a small, crackly voice speaking Mandarin whispered in her mind's ear, speaking of herbs and plants that heal. It was always a surprise to her how often she depended more on her grandfather's traditional herbology than her modern medical training. Medication in Last Hope and in many parts of the world was heavily restricted, making them extremely hard to come by. Nikki was forced to rely on what she could barter, smuggle, or plant herself behind her tent.
A blond head peered into her tent as she sealing the last of the small travel first-aid packs she issued to the team. Seeing the packs out, Cora walked in and took hers, securing at the small of her back.
Nikki felt a tiny kernel of relief lift from her shoulders. The only women of the hodgepodge crew they had created, she and Cora a formed a strong bond, working together in almost an effortless manner in any given situation. In truth, Nikki admired and envied her friend a great deal, as Cora always spoke her mind, seemingly one of the guys with her ease with being in control. Although she was happy with her quieter nature, there were times Nikki felt the weakest for her shy ways.
"Are the people in safe places," she asked quietly, pushing the wisps of dark hair that had escaped her braid off the side of her face.
Cora nodded though her expression was pensive. "I made a quick sweep, ushering those peeking to go back to their places.” She rubbed a hand over her tired eyes. “You can never be sure what people will do. Alex has already headed over to the control room, but we shouldn’t stay too far behind.”
Nikki secured the top of her bag and once more placed the bag over her head so the strap would lie securely across her chest. She steadied herself for the confrontation to come. Conflict was something she never felt comfortable with, but she knew she would always step into it if there were a chance to save someone from harm. Silently, she moved behind Cora as they made their way outside.
“How are you going to deliver the kits?”
The question startled Cora as the two stopped behind the remains of a fallen building. Between the sirens and the eerie silence that crept underneath, they were both taking as many precautions as possible. Nikki had let her mind flow into a single line of focus: watching for others who hadn’t yet taken cover. It was only when the question finally registered did she realize she had Steven and Connor’s first-aid kits clenched tightly in a bundle of her left arm.
Nikki looked to Cora with new found worry.
“They need these,” she replied to Cora’s unasked question. “They’re at the front of the line, and I might not be able to get to them if something happens…”
Nikki couldn’t finish the thought. The thought of losing Connor or Steven was like losing her family all over again. It couldn’t happen. She wouldn’t let it happen.
“You’ve got seven, Nikki.” Cora’s smile was forced but oddly reassuring. They embraced for a second. “Don’t make me leave Alex to his own devices to come and look for you.”
They parted company as quietly as possible. Nikki held the kits in a death grip as she skirted along the shadows of ruins. Finding either of the guys was going to be complicated for they were experts at hiding. She could only hope could get to them before whatever set off the siren erupted.
The sounds of strangled whimpering caught Nikki’s attention as she rounded what was once a small café. Tasha, a young woman she had treated for stomach pains and migraines, reached urgently towards the street as two men, who she knew to be the woman’s husband and father restrained her from stepping out of the darkness of their cover. Nikki followed her point of interest and felt her stomach rise to her throat. One of the few children of Last Hope, a small boy named Ravi, was searching through pebbles. He stood out in the open completely oblivious to threat.
Without thought, Nikki tightened the strap of her medical bag and secured the kits to the waistband of her pants. Bursting from cover, she ran for Ravi with as much speed as her legs would give her, scooping up the boy with both arms and holding him firmly to her chest. Something shot past the side of her face, swiping across her forehead, sending rubble from overhead to rain down on her and Ravi.
Seeing no other option, Nikki pushed off the tips of her feet and dove for cover in the building in front of her. Twisting in mid-air, she landed on her side, taking the brunt of the fall without harming the little boy struggling in her arms. Blood racing through her ears, she could only murmur words of comfort to the boy in his native tongue as she tried to stop her heart from erupting in her chest.
Suddenly, a large calloused hand clamped itself over her mouth. Nikki froze, her eyes widening as she looked down to see a hand also covering Ravi’s. But as she examined the pattern of scars on the backs of the hands silencing them she relaxed a bit. These were hands she knew very well.
The man attached said appendages whispered softly in her ear, “That was either very brave or very foolish.”
The hand over her mouth loosened enough for her to speak. “Both I imagine,” Nikki laughed, the sound tinged with hysteria. “It couldn’t be helped.”
The corners of his mouth curved for moment, one of the closest things she’d ever seen to him smiling. But just as quickly as it came, it went, bringing them both back to the situation at hand.
“We’ve got problems,” Steven whispered, eying the front. “Soldiers."
Nikki acknowledged his words with a small nod. Her heartbeat picked up again at the thought of soldiers invading their last beacon of safety. The sting from the rubble earlier seemed to pulse. She wiped the moisture flowing from it away from her eye, almost certain it was blood, but refused to acknowledge the crimson covering the tips of her fingers. She had to stay focused for all of their sakes. Silently, as Ravi huddled closer inside her embrace, Nikki waited for her captain to signal their next move.
|It was chaos in the control room. Alex was watching one of the computer monitors in complete disbelief, as the few other techies were. Countless windows of data were opening, and then closing, permanently. True, the computer was a very outdated model compared to the enemies’ technology, but nothing like this should be happening. |
The enemy had obviously created a virus that opened all of their information, names of people who lived in Last Hope, reports on missions, food ration tables, types of weapons and armour, and was sending it directly to the enemy, before terminating the information of this side of the computer.
Without a moment’s hesitation, Alex hacked into his own system, trying desperately to find the small encrypted code that would mean he could terminate the virus, and try to restore peace to what little system was left. At the rate the virus was overtaking, he would lose all data in less than five minutes.
Cora walked in, and immediately picked up the seriousness of the situation.
“What’s happening?” she yelled over the shouting techies, as she ran up next to Alex.
“Data’s being sent to the enemy, everything we have, then deleting on our side,” replied Alex, his eyes not moving from the black screen, fingers moving with a seemingly impossible speed over the keyboard, trying to reverse the damage.
“How long until it’s all gone?”
“Less than three minutes. We could pull the plug, but then we won’t be able to recover anything. Our whole system will be fried.”
“Well if we don’t pull the plug, everything’s going to be in the enemy hands. That’s not too good either, is it? Can’t you fix all of this later?”
“We don’t have the resources,” Alex shouted. He momentarily froze as gunfire was heard outside, then turned back to the screen, praying that no bullets would ricochet into the control room.
“Pull the plug!” screamed Cora. “They’re getting too much info!”
Alex didn’t have any second thoughts as he sprinted across the room to the mess of wires that was the control room. It was too late for him to save any data. It was better no one have anything then the enemy having everything. With any luck, the transmissions would fall short, and they wouldn’t gain any info. Viruses that could both close down information, download, and keep multiple hackers at bay were slow to get information back.
As he arrived at the wires, he ripped at them, sparks flying everywhere. He yelped as he felt the hot sparks land on his arms and face, but kept on pulling at wires. No wire could be left plugged, or the virus still had a chance to gain on the system.
When everything was unplugged, and Alex had checked that none of the sparks had set anything on fire, the rooms attention was turned to outside. Gunfire, not a good sign.
"Alex, what is going on?" Steven whispered into the communicator. Only static. He tried again to get the same response.
Nikki looked at him, worried.
"Their jamming our communications. Or worse." He said simply. He eyed Ravi for a moment. Tears left dirty streaks on the boys face. His large eyes full of fear. Nikki was holding him comfortingly.
He felt something wrench at his heart, but he pulled his eyes away. Some people might think him rough, but he only did what he did to protect everyone under his care. And if emotions got in the way of that, they needed to be stifled. At least for the moment.
Steven held a hand up to Nikki so that she wouldn't move, and he slowly poked part of his head out from behind cover.
About a dozen soldiers, advancing slowly towards the chain link fence. They had a few of the creatures with them, but they were currently under control.
"Where's Connor?" Nikki whispered.
"I'm not exactly sure. Somewhere in sector 2, I think. At least that was the plan till our 'coms stopped working."
"Oh, here." Nikki pulled out two medical packs and handed them to Steven. "I'm sorry, I should have made sure you two got them before, but they came so quickly and-" She was speaking very fast.
Steven put a hand on her shoulders and smiled. Something he didn't do as much as he'd like.
"Its alright. You did fine. I'll get this to Connor as soon as I see him."
Nikki nodded silently, repressing her natural human emotions to freak out.
He admired that in her, as with all of her friends. They were brave. And bravery is not the absence of fear, its what you decide to do despite it.
He'd met many brave people in his life, but they were most concentrated here, in Last Hope. And he would do anything to protect them.
"Take Ravi, and go back to the Control room. Something isn't right, and they'll need all the help they can get." He ordered slowly, calmly, trying to push his emotions onto her. "And if something happens, you know what to do."
She swallowed and nodded once more.
Both Nikki and Ravi jumped when they heard the sound of the fence being broken down.
"Hurry!" Steven shepherded them through the shadows and got them around the corner, then returned to his hiding place.
He leaned a bit over the side, and strained his eyes to try and find Connor.
He whistled a high note, and waited. Hopefully the soldiers were too busy tearing down their defenses to hear that.
A whistle was returned, and he looked over to see Connor, about where he'd expected him to be.
He was nearly invisible to the naked eye, however.
He made a few hand gestures, and Connor nodded in return.
Steven leaned up against the ruined wall and pulled back the top of his gun to reload.
Here we go...
|The soldiers had broken down the gate by the time Nikki neared the control room with Ravi huddled in her arms. The muscles in her forearms had begun to ache, but she ignored the pain as the little boy buried is face in the side of her neck. She needed to keep him safe and get to the others as soon as possible. This was the only thing she could do to help Steven and Connor. It was a risk worth taking.|
The last sprint behind a series of broken pillars revealed Cora and Alex huddled in the confines of a ravaged control room while the rest of the technicians took cover at the back, near an emergency exit for cases like this. Cora had her weapon at the ready while Alex kept watch close behind. As quietly as possible Nikki released Ravi to his feet, and signaled for him to remain quiet. The wrong move could put them in the crossfire position.
Alex spotted them first, electrical burns across his face and hands. She knew she would have to treat them soon if they wanted to prevent scarring or infection. He would fight against treatment, but Nikki knew she was the more stubborn out of the two. Cora, however, didn’t seem any worse for ware. She was formidable as always, no doubt watching for any movement from Connor or Steven.
This is what they warned the people of their camp about; what they prepared for all the time.
The day of reckoning was upon them.
Ravi kept a tight hold on the back of her shirt as she came alongside Alex. He crouched further so they could speak softly. “The system is completely fried. They tried hacking into my system with a fast-moving virus.” Gunfire erupt less than a click away. Every dropped closer to the ground. “I had to pull the plug to make sure they couldn’t get anything.”
Nikki opened her pack and pulled out an aloe vera ointment she used for burns. The moment Alex saw the small green jar he began shaking his head. “Nikki now isn’t the time-“
“Hush,” she replied, dabbing a small amount over the worse of the wounds above his brow. “It would be troublesome if our main technician went blind, wouldn’t it?”
Alex grumbled under his breath.
“How long will it take us to know how much of the information they retrieved before you crashed the system?”
He looked at her incredibly. “The system is fried. By the time I’m able to assemble the parts needed to get the system back on power and get the mainframe online, I might, and I mean might, be able to infiltrate their system long enough to find out what we know. But, Cora, we’re talking…”
“How long Alex?”
“If we’re lucky – weeks.”
Nikki felt Ravi begin to tremble. She finished attending to Alex, then picked the little boy up and cradled him close once more. Shadows moved closer and closer to the center of Last Hope. She forcibly pushed the fear she felt aside.
“Why are you worried about this now? I mean, we’re smack in the middle of a fire fight, and –“
“She’s not worried about the camp,” Nikki said quietly.
The look of incomprehension and frustration on his face was a classic Alex expression. “Then why?”
Cora turned from her post for a moment, her weapon still pointed at the worst of the gunfire. “We’re outnumbered Alex. Our comms are down. Mostly likely the camp will be taken over. I’m most concerned about capture at this point.”
Alex’s face turned dark. “They’ll use our information…”
The faint sound of a whistle caught Nikki’s attention. She looked down at Ravi, only to find him gazing back in the direction they had escaped from. The sound came again catching Cora’s notice this time as well. She held up a hand for silence. The signal came back a third time, a miracle over the exchange of fire.
“It’s Steven.” The frown on her face made Nikki’s stomach plummet. “The captain’s making a distress call.”
|(Just a quick thanks, JoJo, for making Josh Hartnett the face of Alex. I happen to be in love with him. xD)|
Alex's body burned all over. Even with the aloe vera, the burns still hurt. Still, there were others that needed more assistance. Especially with the dawning of a new realisation. They would have to get back to Steven and escape, or they would be captured, and everything they had worked for would be a waste.
He and Nikki peered out of the techie's tent, Alex's black eyes searching for enemies. They weren't hard to find. Multiple creatures had startedpacing around the fences, teeth tearing at the metal, itching to rip people limb from limb. There was gunfire in all directions, and Alex knew that there would be no way of getting back to Steven without being seen, and shot.
He looked around for anything they could use as a shield, then let out of cry of frustration. "I'm so stupid," he exclaimed. Nikki just stared at him. "I've still got my belt on. You guys stay here while I try and get back to Steven. I'll come back with him and we'll escape, there's no way we can save anything now."
"Alex, that's an awful idea! You'll be ripped to shreds! Even if you are invisible, the cross-fire is going mental. You're bound to get hit." As if to prove Nikki's point, a bullet tore through the wall, so close to Nikki's head that some wisps of hair fell down. "Get down!" she yelled.
"I've still got to try! I want to be the hero for once! Looking at all of you guys, I just feel so...so...helpless! You have the power to heal lives! The others are so good at being in battles it's hard to believe. And I can't even fire a gun without shooting my own team mates! I've got to at least try this." Alex's eyes burned with such an intensity that Nikki knew she wasn't going to get anywhere with arguing.
She merely nodded, then Alex was there no longer, and the last sign she saw of him was the slight ruffle of the side of the tent. Alex knew it was dangerous, but he was confident this time. I'm coming, Steven!
Steven hoped his whistling could be heard through all the gunfire. He, Connor, and a few of the men who had been trained to fight were desperately holding the line.
How did they find them here, when they'd been safe for so long?
No time to think about that. Pull the trigger.
Safety, Steven had come to realize, was always a temporary thing.
An unseen mortar blasted half the crumbled building Steven was crouching in to pieces, throwing him against the wall. His whole body felt as if it was vibrating, like a metal pole does when struck with a heavy object. Dust and pieces of falling concrete blinded him. All he could see of the outside world was a dim light, followed by flashes of gunfire that he couldn't well hear. Blood ran down his face, and came out of his mouth. Blood spread across the floor like a budding flower, most of it coming from Jacob, one his friends. His eyes were open and blank. He wasn't here anymore.
Steven coughed painfully, trying to get the blood and dust out of his lungs so he could breath. A low growling made him look up. A dark shadow against the dust. One of the creatures stalked slowly into what was left of the building, feline and yet unlike anything the world herself ever created. All black claws and spines and teeth with glowing golden eyes. Ignoring Jacob's body unlike most animals would, it walked in and approached Steven in an ever tightening circle. The hunt had begun and it would end with a kill. Either the mans or the beasts'.
Steven looked it straight in its unnatural eyes and saw only calculating deliberation. Slowly, only half taking his eyes away from its, he scanned the room desperately for his weapon. His pistol had been knocked from his hand when he'd been thrown like a rag doll across the room. Jacob's was nowhere to be seen. The circle tightened.
The eyes of a living thing can tell you everything you need to know about them. Words can be deceitful , eyes cannot. The attack was inevitable. The animal was tired of waiting and so was he. As the creature rounded towards him the final time, Steven slipped his kabar knife out of his boot.
With a guttural scream, he jumped at the incoming claws and teeth
|Alex sprinted as fast as he could through the chaotic streets, not really dodging bullets, but through some miracle avoiding them. Several of the creatures hissed as he ran past, seeming to detect that something was there, but the belt was apparently holding up well enough. |
He made good time between the control room and where he thought Steven would roughly be. He may be a nerd, but at least he didn't fit the physically-inept criteria. Well, not at running at least. Throwing and aim was a different story. Alex looked right up an alleyway, just in time to see Steven through a window, and the building toppled down upon his friend.
"NO!" He pushed his legs, burning from effort, even harder. He got to the building at the same time the creature did. Alex crept into the building, with the creature's head, and gnashing teeth, right next to his head. So close he could smell it's hot, nauseating breath as it puffed in waves upon him. The creature was too intent on what it could see to notice what it must be smelling, and had already started circling Steven, who was looking frantically for a weapon. Gagging, Alex started looking for something to attack with too.
He picked up a jagged pipe, which neither the creature or Steven noticed, and held it firm in his grip, trying to figure out where would best wound the creature before him. Before he could think, though, he noticed a gun lying out of sight from Steven, and thought that'd be even better. Excitedly, he leaped for it, but his foot caught on something, and he flew forwards, and landed heavily on the ground. The metal pole was torn from his hands when he landed, and flew, spear-like, embedding itself in the creature's neck. A shrill cry tore at Alex's ears as the creature struggled to regain it's feet, but Steven finished it off with his knife before that could happen.
"What the.." Steven started.
"Hell yeah! Steven! Did you see that? I was awesome!" Euphoric, Alex clicked the button on his belt and became visible once more. Steven just stared at him, then bluntly said, "You tripped, didn't you."
"'Course I did, you know me. But for once it pulled off! Maybe tripping should become like, a new martial arts form or something. You watch out for that one, I'll be a black-belt one day. You may call me, sensei." Steven just grinned at him. Their momentary happiness slid away when they were pulled back into reality, with bullets showering down upon them. Both crouched low.
"We have to abandon the village. It's useless now, even if it wasn't at war. It was safe because it wasn't discovered," said Steven.
"What? But, it's the only place we have. Where will we go?" Panic sounded in Alexs' voice.
"The only place we can. We'll have to go to the woods. Spread out, spread the word. Meet at the revdezvous point, and we'll journey from there in small teams." Before Alex could protest, Steven was gone, and within a few minutes he could already see people heading out of the wire gates, slowly, so they wouldn't be seen by the distracted soldiers.
But this wasn't a good thing. People hadn't lived in uncivilised places like the woods for hundreds of years. Living at one with nature didn't exist. They knew people used to forage and grow things, but that was all done in labs and within the controlled cities now. It was almost certainly a death sentence. Still, they had no choice. Alex knew Steven was right. They had to leave. Now.
Steven held the communicator up to his ear as he and a few others rested momentarily by a stream. Cora was already busy purifying the water. You could never be too careful these days...
He'd met up with Connor shortly after Alex had saved him through dumb luck. Cora and Nikki met up at the rendezvous point along with a few others. His four friends had made it out, but he could hardly feel the relief of it. So many others hadn't, and they'd been his responsibility. There were thirteen of them. Thirteen.
"Hello? Joseph, Karen-"
Steven swore when the communicator just squealed static into his already ringing ears. He tossed the communicator to Alex, who barely caught it.
"I can fix it-" Alex began.
"We don't have time. It's already getting dark." Steven looked around at the looming shadows of the giant trees.
They'd gotten far enough that they couldn't here any more gunfire, but it wasn't far enough for Steven.
"Can we wait any longer?" Cora asked as she passed the water tin to Nikki.
Nikki was sitting in the dirt, holding onto a crying Ravi.
"No." Connor replied, short.
"There could be more survivors, Connor-" Cora started hotly but Steven interrupted her.
"Cora they all knew to come to the rendezvous point. If they aren't here..."
"Then they aint coming." Connor finished.
"How do you know!?" Cora looked like she might cry.
Ravi started bawling harder and Nikki tried to comfort him.
"We don't have any supplies." Dan Hudson, a big man with a big gun, growled. "We shouldn't have left so soon."
"We can't stay here." Steven said.
"And why is it that we're in this position?" Dan continued. "Why weren't the alarms triggered earlier?"
"I didn't pick up anything on the radar-" Alex started.
"Are you sure you were watching?" Dan glared at Alex.
"Hey, your mouth is moving. You might want to check on that." Connor took a step closer to Hudson, who didn't back down.
"Everyone, listen up!" Steven cried.
The few, ragged survivors watched him intently with dazed, sad eyes.
"It's not safe here. We can't go back. We aren't going back." Steven tried to push his will into the others. "We need to get deeper into the woods, and we'll figure something out there. Now, we need to keep moving."
Slowly, one by one people started unfolding their legs and standing. Hudson laughed, in no way friendly, and slung his weapon back over his shoulder.
"Lead on." He said as he passed Steven.
Connor shook his head after Hudson. "Don't know why you didn't let me shoot him years ago."
They had been following what was once a trail, now overgrown, for about an hour and a half, and everyone started up on it again.
Steven watched as they began to stumble on once again. He wanted to vomit.
"I should look at that." Nikki said behind him, Ravi attached to her leg.
"Look at what."
"Your head is bleeding..."
"It's fine." Steven absentmindedly glanced at the blood that came off onto his hand from his ear.
"But I-" Nikki reached up a hand to touch his head but he caught it in his, startling her.
"We don't have time, Nikki." Steven released her hand.
"Alright." She said, her brown eyes shining somewhat.
Steven didn't stay to hear her say anything else. He made his way to the front of the group and started to do what he did best. Track.
Another hour had passed and everyone was exhausted, thirsty, sweaty, and scratched. Steven had done his best to hide their tracks, but he couldn't be sure. They were settling down for the night now.
"No fires." Steven barked when he saw someone take out a lighter.
"It's freaking cold!" Alex said.
"No fires." Steven said again. "Give some blankets to the young, old, and injured. Alex, go with Jason and get some low pine branches."
Steven looked up past the towering trees at the fast escaping daylight. "It looks like it might rain."
Everyone inwardly sighed but followed orders. Steven watched Alex wander off, he seemed aimless in a world without computers...
"Now what?" Connor had sidled up to him.
"I don't know." Steven said quietly, not wanting anyone to hear them.
He watched as Cora helped Nikki set up a makeshift hospital. They thought supplies were limited in Last Hope...
"I don't trust Hudson." Connor said into his ear.
Steven glanced at Dan Hudson, who was cleaning his rifle. A few of his friends hung around him, other men with big guns. None with Hudson's brains...
"I know." Steven murmured back.
"Are we going to do anything about it?"
Steven massaged his sore shoulder. "No."
Suddenly they heard a muffled cry from the direction Alex had gone.
Alarmed, Connor and Steven took off.
They found Alex just outside their little camp, hanging upside down from a tree. Steven's sharp eyes scanned their surroundings quickly.
"You idiot." Connor shook his head and advanced. "I always have to save your worthless-"
Steven saw the rope just as Connor's boot pressed down on it.
Steven grabbed Connor by the shoulder and pointed down.
"Crap." Connor moved to step back but Steven stopped him.
The loading of a weapon made them all look up. There was a broad bald man with a mustache, weapon aimed straight at them.
"I was just going to say that." He said.
More armed people appeared behind him.
"Crap." Connor said again.