They have to save the Homosapiens, no other way...
Kirmena’s heart sped, but the motorcycle was faster.
The Homosapien was uncertain she had the time she needed. Anxiety scratched its presence into her throat, and her insides seared from panic and doubt, the odds tilting as darkness wrestled the light away. The race against the Homosupras would be a close one as they would soon crowd the streets, the darkness providing respite from the harsh sunlight sent through the atmosphere. Weakened by the shifting of Earth’s magnetic poles some three hundred years before, the damage done to the Sapiens’ technological infrastructure had allowed the experimental species, the Supras, to rise. With the desire to exterminate the Sapiens, it would only be minutes before the new evolution of humans emerged from their homes as they rushed toward the carnage as quadrupeds on their long, splayed fingers and their shortened, muscular legs. She wanted to dismiss these images, knew they would only hinder her, but they persisted, grabbing her spine and riding along.
The shadows were fusing together, an amorphous cloaking of the streets. She spied the power station, the odd architectural shapes characteristic of the civilizations of Supras, a sharp contrast against the backdrop of dying light and pink-bottomed clouds. Just behind her, Kirmena heard an explosion, the first of three grenades she and Devatu carried to set off at strategic intervals. The blast echoed against the buildings on either side of the street, the palm trees rumored to have been less poisonous centuries before flapping from the force.
Kirmena veered right, following the empty street away from the fireball as she felt the discharge of the second combustion behind her. She steered the bike left, and again she saw the enormity of the power building, the edifice dark and lifeless except for the horrifying Supras keeping watch from the roof. They had no hair on their elongated skulls, their pointy ears and graying skin giving them an other-worldly illusion. They were hopping, mouths open with sharp teeth displayed, and though they were silent, Kirmena wasn't naive; they were calling to each other with short-range telepathy.
She and Devatu had less than fifteen minutes before the Supras would begin migrating to the power station, congregating to celebrate the infusion into their civilizations of a new form of energy, one beyond the understanding of the Sapiens. The tightening in her chest confirmed there was no turning back. Her motorcycle jumped the curb onto the grass, the jolt slamming through her body and reverberating her thoughts.
She jerked the handlebars to the left, forcing the motorcycle into two tight circles, before coming to a stop staring down the face of the building. She monitored the roof, made sure the Supras were focused on the earlier explosions, and then she watched as Devatu sped his bike toward the entrance of the building. He squatted on the seat, and then he was in the air as he leaped from the machine, hitting the ground with a soft thump! and rolling on the grass. The bike wobbled, but it stayed upright long enough to crash into the doors, bending the metal and breaking the thin strip of glass running up the middle.
She looked up, the sound of the crash bringing the team of Supras around the roof to investigate. Kirmena pushed off from her bike and ran to the doors as she removed her sweaty helmet. She knew the Supras spotted her when she heard them vocalize their sirens to those beyond the range of telepathy. The crowd of Supras grew, and so did their symphony of alert. She glanced around, terror seizing her brain when she saw Supras running on all fours toward the two intruders. She caught up with Devatu, their hands working together to pull the remaining glass from the frame. Once cleared, there was just enough space for them to crawl through.
The corridor on the other side was dark, quiet. Kirmena turned back, peering through the hole where the glass had been. In the fading sunlight, she watched as Supras hammered the doors, but they could not squeeze their muscular bodies through the gap. They thrust their arms into the holes, and though their long fingers grappled with the handles and locks, the doors were jammed. Some called out, their complex dialect another mystery the Sapiens had yet to understand.
She turned back to the pitch black as Devatu clicked the flashlight, the sudden luminescence casting a painful glow through the cool, enclosed passage. They ran, the sound of their boots on the concrete louder than the snarling of the Supras behind them. Urgency propelled Kirmena as she overtook Devatu in the marathon, and she reached the doorway seconds before he did, the light shining from behind her. As they entered the cavern, she was surprised to see there were no Supras here, no guards. This was the situation the two Sapiens had hoped for, but as they ran into the room and up to the immense generators, they kept their defenses up.
When they reached the center of the room, standing before the machines, Kirmena removed her backpack and placed it with care on the floor. She took the flashlight from Devatu as he reached into the bag, pulling out the pieces of the bomb. They kneeled, their hands working in unison as they assembled the weapon. Their breaths were short but controlled as they snapped the bits together, and when they were done, they were perplexed when the bomb sat in three pieces. There was the mobile detonator, but it was unexpected the two pieces of the bomb itself should not click into one piece. Devatu pushed the ends together, but when he removed his hands, the unit separated as if forced apart by a magnet. After trying a couple of times, he stood and watched Kirmena attempt. Each time, she gave a sigh of exasperation, an irritation in the madness of her fingers when the halves separated.
“Stop,” Devatu instructed. When Kirmena insisted, he reached down and grabbed her wrist. She tried to pull away, wanted to keep shoving the thing into one piece, but he forced her attention away from the bomb, returned her gaze with solemn eyes.
“Is it broken?” Kimena asked, her voice rising to an incredulous tone. “Why would they send us with a defective bomb?”
“It’s not defective,” he said. “It’s the original design. Look inside here, there's a spring to keep the pieces apart.”
“Why?” she whispered, her brows furrowing. She wasn't looking for him to give her an answer; she knew it had been designed for two people to detonate the explosive: one to hold it and one to push the button. In the earlier times before the Supras had risen, this design made more sense, cutting the chances in half of an enemy learning the plans of the Sapiens.
She felt as if she had been punched in the heart and the stomach as a lifetime of memories deluged her mind and burned her heart with emotions she wasn't expecting. Her tongue was thick, and it threatened to betray the strength for which she was known.
“Look, we always knew something like this could happen,” he said. “And this is the way it should be. I'll hold the bomb while you detonate it once you've gotten far enough away. You'll go on to see the revolution carried out and won, and you'll have babies, more than just this one.” He pointed to her midsection.
“The leader in me says I should be the one to hold it together.”
“I’ll hold this together, you hold everything else together. Besides, you answer to a logic higher than professional duty now. And you know this is the right solution. We're saving the Sapiens.” He smiled. She didn't believe his attempt to comfort her. He was never good at lying to her.
“I can’t -”
“We don't have time for this,” he continued. She didn't have much to say, couldn't wrangle her brain into forming precise, coherent rebuttals. She couldn't remove her eyes from him, this instant she saw him from a different perspective. He had always been content with her leading their relationship just as she had been prone to control most aspects of her life, and she knew this. She could now see him as a leader, dominating, in charge as he pulled her up from the ground.
“This is stupid,” she pouted, an action unnatural to her.
“Maybe,” he responded as he shoved the mobile detonator into her left hand and forced her fingers around the steel casing. He picked her backpack up and slipped one of her arms through the loop. “Regardless, this is the moment we can choose to win or lose. We deserve to win, not the Supras.”
“Come back to me,” she plead as she rubbed her stomach.
“I promise,” he whispered. He kissed her, their lips meeting with a desperate familiarity. He pulled away. “Go. Press the button as soon as you're away from the building.”
She paused, searching his eyes for anything but this, but they reflected only love and resolve. She held this moment as long as she could, her heart as dangerous in her chest as the bomb in Devatu’s hands. He pushed the explosive together and nodded.
She turned and ran, imagining herself as a bolt of lightning. She could mourn later; right now, her objective was to carry her baby safely through the wall of Supras just beyond the doors. She shone the flashlight down the hall as she grappled within her backpack on her forearm, her hand searching. She freed the grenade and pulled the pin, catapulting the small bomb down the hallway. The clinking echoed through the corridor. She stopped running and held her breath.
The device erupted, sending fingers of flames closer than she had anticipated, but they retracted quickly, revealing a clear opening at the end of the tunnel. She heard groans as she burst through where the doors had been a few seconds before, and she felt a pleasure knowing there had been Supras casualties early in the plan.
She headed straight for her bike near the road. She mounted the machine while donning her helmet, looking toward the entrance one last time through blurry eyes. In her peripheral, she could see movement, Supras reacting. She held the detonator with white knuckles, cocked her thumb, and then-
There was motion against the dark mouth of the building, someone running upright and bipedal. She blinked, the tears running down her cheeks, her vision clearing. She squinted.
“Wait, wait!” Devatu screamed as he ran toward Kirmena. “Wait!” She froze, detonator in hand as she watched Devatu run faster than she had ever seen him, escaping the growing crowd of Supras behind him. “Do it!” he panted as he threw his leg over the seat behind her. She pressed the detonator into his grip, and then she turned and started the bike. As soon as she pushed off and they were mobile, she heard the blast behind her, the fireball lighting up the buildings in front of her. The heat was overwhelming as the force pushed them on faster. Pieces of the power station were falling all around them, debris splashed with blood of the Supras.
But they had all three survived to save the Sapiens for now.
When they were far enough away, she finally asked.
“Desperation and ingenuity,” he replied. “Also, the bomb case was cheap and malleable, so I just ripped and bent it. It wasn't difficult to attach it to itself.” She felt him shrug. Inside her helmet, she smiled.
The motorcycle sped, but Kirmena’s heart was faster.