Chapter 11, RunningMature

Chapter Eleven

Running

November 9th 2140, A wooded area next to a residential quadrant on the Roman I space station

5:00 A.M.

            Before they headed back to their chopper, the rookies decided to get a good look at what they were up against. They looked the creatures over thoroughly. They could tell they had massive muscle tissue, even greater than that of even the strongest of humans. The creatures also had sharp claws and short finely pointed teeth resting in a triple set of wide jaws that could envelop an entire human head. Two of the jaws opened to the sides of the creatures' head, and were much longer than the third jaw, which opened down. All three jaws appeared to be specifically designed to latch on to the head of any prey, pierce, and shred the skin, or jerk the head and snap the neck.

            Everything else on the animals were physically broader than a human's body build. Shoulders, chest, arms, legs, and hips were wide and intimidating, as well as the height of the monsters being at least two feet taller than the average human too. From what the rookies noticed however, the creatures preferred to remain in a lowered stance when hostile. Their skin was rough and scaly, but felt thin at the same time. It had a dark ash gray pigment as well. Their eyes were twice as large as a human's.

            The creatures' bone structure was sturdy and thick. They had double jointed legs, one joint bending forward, and the other bending reverse. This meant that they could squat like a human, but lunge like a lion. Lastly, the rookies noticed the only hair on the creatures were several single, very thick, long strands starting from their neck to halfway down their back, protruding at least two feet in length.

            "Man these things are ugly, and menacing at the same time," Brian remarked.

            "They're vicious, and I wouldn't underestimate them, regardless of this little victory," Viktor rebutted. They each turned and almost headed back to their chopper, when they heard the creature that Brian had flung off of his sniper barrel screech at a volume only they could hear.

            "Hey, one's still alive," Victoria pointed out.

            "I got it," Margaret said as she pulled out her pistol and walked its way.

            Just then the beast let out its terrible shriek that nearly deafened them. The sound boomed through the air and across the land, echoing back to them every now and then.

            "Hey, let's inspect this one while it's still alive, see what we can learn," Margaret said. Margaret, Viktor, and Victoria each walked over to the creature and began inspecting it. Brian almost did the same, but stopped and listened around them for a moment instead.

            The creature continued to shriek on and off. "Geez, you must've really hurt it Cloud," Margaret said to Brian.

            "Listen to it echo," Viktor commented. The creature was too weak to attack them, and lay there nearly motionless as they probed him. Brian continued to tune his ear to the sounds around him. He listened to the echo of the monster's shrieks, but frowned when he noticed something was off.

            "Let's try and find out..." Viktor was saying, but was interrupted by a sniper bullet destroying the creature's head. "Damn it, Cloud, what gives!?"

            "That's not an echo," Brian said pointing in to the air. The creature was killed by Brian's shot, but they still heard the ring of shrieks through the early morning air. Margaret, Viktor and Victoria slowly stood up and readied their weapons, aiming all around them, covering each other.

            Brian climbed the small cliff that had blocked their path earlier. He pulled his head above the ledge and peeked over the top. He couldn't see any alien figures in the woods in front of him, but he did see the bright green glow of what he figured were hundreds upon hundreds of their blades, illuminating the tree trunks across the entire rest of the forest. An uncountable amount of screeches and shrieks from all around them continued to tear through the air.

            "Guys," Brian started to say, gripped with fear. "We need to move."

            "How many?" Viktor wanted to know the number of hostiles.

            "Too many," Brian answered. "GO NOW!!!" Brian dropped down the cliff wall. They all bolted back the way they came as fast as possible. The air was constantly rife with the shrieks, screams and growls of the monsters behind them. They were too gripped with fear and the will to survive that nothing could slow them down.

            They powered through the brush, bashing tree limbs that were in their way clean off of tree trunks. They could hear the creatures getting closer. Their roars were only one hundred yards away, and the rookies only sped up. At last, they left the tree line and ran out in to the open clearing in the middle of the woods. They ran for just a few seconds after exiting the trees before Brian decided to look back. His eyes widened at the sight he saw. Hundreds, maybe even over a thousand of the creatures were behind them and gaining, only eighty yards away now.

            "GO GO GO!!!" Brian shouted.

            "Get across that tree log!" Viktor pointed to the large log that crossed over the river. They ran, harder and faster as they could tell the creatures behind them were still gaining. Sixty yards away, forty yards.

            At last, the rookies leaped on to the log and rushed across to the other side. As they crossed, Viktor, Brian and Victoria readied their grenades and pulled the pins. They all turned around to find many of the creatures attempting to jump across the river, but couldn't make it and got swept away by the current. Several others boarded the log and tore at its bark as they lurched their way toward them.

            Viktor, Brian and Victoria threw their grenades at the center of the log. The grenades got halfway through the air as the creatures were halfway across the log. The rookies began to fire at the ones they knew were going to make it to their side. They didn't get very far off of the log before they were peppered with enough bullet fire to bring them down.

            Each of the grenades hit the center of the log and almost fell to the river below, but blew up just in time instead. The blast made the bark splinter, tear and snap to pieces, breaking the log in half and sending any of the creatures nearby in to the air and ultimately in to the river's current. Only a handful of the beasts managed to clamber their way on to the rookies' side of the river before the log fell and was swept away by its current.

            The rookies made sure the creatures on their side didn't last long as well. They breathed a sigh of relief. Hundreds upon hundreds of the creatures were stuck on the other side. They shrieked and roared at the rookies, very displeased. Brian killed three of them with his sniper rifle before Viktor stopped him.

            "Stop, save your ammo. We might need it for the rest of our trip back," Viktor stated. The rookies glared at the army of creatures behind them.

            "We'd better hurry, it probably won't be long before they find a way across," Margaret remarked. They turned back and ran toward the residential quadrant. They passed through the quadrant once again, all the way back to their chopper.

            Viktor ignited the engine and lifted off, flying back up spin toward the training base. The sun was only a minute away from peeking out from behind Earth. As they flew, sunlight quickly touched the edge of the ring behind them, illuminating the station from one side to the other at a rate of two percent per second. At last, the sun shone over their chopper and brightened the station around them.

            "Searchlights off," Victoria stated. They all turned off the chopper's searchlights.

            "Won't be long now, we're almost ba..." Viktor was saying, but stopped when he spotted two bright flashes of green light burst from the small portion of darkness that was still in front of them. The lights were rapidly speeding toward them, and would impact on their chopper in only four seconds. A warning alarm beeped rapidly inside the cockpit.

            "What the hell?" Viktor said. "Brace for evasive maneuvers!" Viktor banked the chopper left. The glowing green lights nimbly missed the chopper on their right.

            "What was that!?" Brian wondered. Just afterward, two aerial vehicles zoomed right over their heads.

            "I'm turning us around," Viktor proclaimed. He nosed the chopper around 180 degrees. Out in the open air behind them were two unidentified aircraft. They had the general shape of a phoenix, and used a combination of jet propulsion systems and light metal wings and flaps to fly. This combination of flying technology allowed the aircraft to move in whichever direction it pleased fast and nimbly.

            The rookies witnessed this, as the aircraft in front of them flapped their wings once and used small propulsion jets on the underside of the fuselage to move straight up and then zoom forward with a main jet engine on the back.

            "You mean those monsters have fighter jets too!?" Victoria shouted, annoyed.

            "Appears so, and they seem more advanced than anything we got," Viktor remarked.

            "Watch out for those green lights," Margaret warned Viktor. "They're probably missiles or torpedoes or something."

            "Probably," Viktor agreed. The hostile fighters rose high above them, then nosed down to dive bomb them.

            "Steam, get us out of here!" Brian urged Viktor to get them back to the training base as fast as possible. "We don't have any ordinance to take care of these things."

            "On it," Viktor said as he nosed the chopper up, sending them backward toward the base. Two guns in the middle of the fighter's wings flashed on and off a bright neon green. The nose of their chopper just barely transitioned backward in time to avoid what was small, sharp and pointy needlelike bullets fired from the fighters.

            "Turning us around, hang on," Viktor informed the other three. He nosed the chopper around and sped away toward the base. The phoenix shaped fighters dropped down to their altitude and chased behind them, firing their needle bullets in to the back of their chopper. The rookies heard the dinging and clanging of metal behind them.

            "We're hit!" Margaret proclaimed. "But it doesn't seem to be doing much."

            "Let's hope it stays that way," Victoria said.

            "Only two miles out, hang in there everyone!" Viktor said. By this time, the entire station was illuminated by the sun. The cockpit warning alarm began beeping again. A radar screen showed two dots rapidly closing on their chopper. Brian leaned out of the side of the chopper and spotted the two glowing green lights closing on their tail.

            "More of those green torpedoes!" Brian informed Viktor.

            "On it, just hang on," Viktor acknowledged. He nosed the chopper down and angled right, dodging the torpedoes again.

            "Nice flying!" Victoria praised him. The hostile fighters zoomed around to both sides of the chopper and matched their speed, flying sideways and aiming right at them.

            "Uh oh," Margaret muttered.

            "Close up!!!" Brian ordered. They quickly grabbed the side doors of the chopper and slid them shut. As soon as the doors latched shut, the chopper was hit with numerous needle bullets. The bullets penetrated the doors of the chopper, but were slowed down enough by the doors and barely stayed lodged in the metal.

            Brian, Victoria and Margaret hit the deck in fear, regardless. The clanging of metal finally ceased, and there were at least twenty needle bullets wedged in each door of the chopper. Brian reached up and touched the end of one of the bullets.

            "Yup, that would definitely hurt," Brian remarked.

            "Training base, this is Steam of Vapor Team!" Viktor tried to hail the training base. "We're under attack by unidentified creatures flying unidentified aircraft, we need assistance! ASAP!"

            The warning alarm sounded in the cockpit one last time, and Viktor spotted two dots on the radar closing on both sides of the chopper. The torpedoes were too close, and there was no escape this time.

            "I repeat! Training base, Vapor Team, Nakahara, anybody! We are under attack! One mile out! Send help now! This is Steam of Vap..." Viktor was interrupted by the impact of the torpedoes on both sides of the chopper.

            Both of the sliding doors were demolished and blown away. The chopper rocked and the engine smoked. They started spinning out of control. Vapor Team desperately grabbed on to anything they could to stay inside the chopper. They spun around and around.

            "Brace for impact!!!" Viktor shouted to the other three. The chopper rocked and rattled, power was lost and it began to freefall. It finally impacted on the ground below. Crashing, clanging, and the sound of bending and breaking metal roared all around them. A splash of water was heard last, and what was left of the chopper finally came to a stop.

            Margaret was knocked out. Brian moaned and lay motionless in pain. Neither of them had any injuries other than pain from the impact however. Brian looked around the cab. Victoria was nowhere to be seen. The chopper was halfway on its side. Only one side of the chopper faced up toward the sky, the other side was submerged in water. Half of the cab was flooded, and Margaret's head was submerged.

            Brian mustered his strength and pulled her out of the water. He held her in his arms so she wouldn't fall back in to the water and drown, just in case her armor was breached somehow. He looked in to the cockpit, but didn't see Viktor. Suddenly, a silhouette appeared at the side opening of the chopper against the blue sky. Brian turned and looked at the figure, but was relieved to see it was Viktor.

            "Geez, you freaked me out," Brian groaned. "Here, take her." Brian lifted Margaret up to Viktor. Viktor took her and jumped off the side of the chopper. He laid her down on the dirt. Brian pulled himself out of the chopper as well. They saw they had crash landed on the island with the mountain in the center, at the edge closest to the main facility in the cliff wall.

            "Come on, Dust, wake up," Viktor lightly shook Margaret. "Don't just lie there, don't die on me!" Viktor pulled her helmet off of her head and cradled her head in his arms. He stroked her hair across the side of her head. "Wake up Dust, come on."

            Margaret finally regained consciousness and moaned softly. "I'm fine," she managed to mutter.

            "Geez, don't scare me like that," Viktor said as he let her pull herself up. She grabbed her helmet from Viktor and put it back on.

            "Where's Haze, where's my sister?" Margaret asked with a panicked voice.

            "I don't know," Viktor answered. He looked around them, then noticed Victoria's black armor just off shore, submerged in the water. "There!" Viktor pointed at Victoria in the water. He rushed to her and pulled her to land. Viktor yanked her helmet off and water poured out. Her helmet had a tiny breach near her ear.

            "I'll try to revive her," Margaret said. She pulled off her chest armor and started to perform CPR. They heard the screaming engines of the hostile fighters again, and they saw them both fly overhead and stop. The fighters hovered on both sides of them.

            "Oh come on!" Viktor shouted, annoyed at the creatures' persistence.

            "Come on Haze, we need to go!" Margaret shouted at her as she continued trying to revive her.

            "Guys, we gotta go!" Brian yelled.

            "Dust, we need to find cover," Viktor tried to pull Margaret off of Victoria.

            "NO!" Margaret denied. The needle guns on the creature's fighter wings began to glow green again, about to fire at them. Viktor desperately tried to pull Margaret away, but she only used her body to cover Victoria.

            Margaret closed her eyes and readied herself to be struck down by the fighters. However, suddenly one of the fighters was blasted by a reddish laser beam that came from the main facility. The laser beam drilled right through the fighter and blew it to pieces.

            The second fighter cancelled its assault and turned to retreat instead. It flapped a few times and rose higher in to the air, then activated its rear jet engine and sped away from where they came from.

            Margaret, Viktor and Brian breathed in relief. They picked themselves up and spotted four soldiers in special armor with jetpacks flying toward them from the main facility. It was of course, the rest of Vapor Team that had stayed behind. They all regrouped on the edge of the island where the chopper had crashed.

            "Looks like you guys got way more than what you bargained for," Connor remarked. "We should have been there to help."

            "You guys okay?" John asked.

            "Yeah, we're fine," Margaret answered. "Help me revive Haze!"

            "What's wrong with her!?" Dale inquired, caring for the girl he had trained.

            "She's just out cold, still alive though," Margaret answered.

            "Hell, I can wake her up," Dale knelt down and pressed her abdomen over and over again, causing water to pour out of her mouth. "Wakey wakey whelp!" Victoria coughed twice.

            "If you don't stop pummeling my gut, I swear I'm going to chop your balls off," Victoria squeezed out.

            "Atta girl," Dale praised.

The End

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