Chapter 26

            Her body lies motionless on the stage; slowly I remove the blood from my eyes allowing a clear view.  Her body is slumped over, her once vibrant face almost completely lifeless.  There is nothing I can do but watch as her body slides to the ground of the stage.  Fiona’s hair is stained with blood it is not hers.  At her feet lies the body Cara, her last action in this world was jumping in front of the round meant for Fiona.  A look of shock rests upon Davidson’s face; he stands a moment, “Trooper another round, this isn’t over yet.” Davidson says.  Struggling against my confinements I attempted for force my way to the stage.  The guards lose me a moment and then are upon me once more, turning my attention back to Davidson I watch as he points the gun at Fiona a second time.

            Feeling the weight of my shackles drop I turn to look behind me, a woman know stands in place of the guards.  It takes a moment but I know that smile, it is Velvet.  Turning back to Fiona I try to make the stage, but I am too late.  Once again there the gunshot sounds throughout the district.  Davidson stands once again a look of surprise is on his face.  As Davidson falls to his knees I stop in my tracks.  Behind Davidson no more than a few hundred meters a man sits stationed in a window of one of the many buildings within the district; my focus adjusts to the man behind the scope.  Theodore immediately begins to pick off the random troopers that attempt to make their way to his position.

            All at once it hits me, this is no longer an execution, and it is a rescue.  From every direction there are explosions and in a matter of moments chaos has broken lose.  Once on the stage I secure Davidson’s weapon and in the confusion manage to shoot the guards in the area.  Velvet is not that far behind covering me as I undo Fiona’s bindings, “It’s about time you got here.” Fiona says.

            “Hey you know me.” Velvet says, “Have to make a grand entrance.”

            “We have to get out of here.” I say, “What is the plan?”

            “Well we didn’t exactly get that far.” Velvet says.  Looking around the district is in complete chaos, servants have begun to turn on the guards, and we have to get out now, before reinforcements arrive.

            “Ok, you two get Theodore and follow Fiona back to the bunker.” I say.  Davidson kneels before me, his hands over his neck. Blood seems to pour through his fingers if they were cracks in a dam, “You once asked me how it was to continue my father’s legacy.”  Raising the gun I place it against his forehead, “Do you remember what I said.” Davidson’s eyes shift to meet mine, they say veering I need to know, “Well, just in case you don’t, it was an honor.”  Davidson’s body falls from the stage hitting the ground with the thud.  After everything it is fitting to see Davidson down there, in the mud with the people he so hated, the people he thought he was better then.

            “Riley.” Cara says weakly.  Kneeling next to her I raise her allowing her to rest upon my legs, her head sitting against my chest, “Sorry I didn’t arrive sooner.”

            “It’s ok, I am proud of you.” I say, “You did a good job.”

            “Fiona is lucky, lucky to have you.” Cara says, “I would be lying if I said I didn’t wish I was her.”

            “Maybe in another life, a life without all this madness and pain you are.” I say.  Reaching up Cara uses the last of her energy resting her hand upon the side of my face, “I had to save her, and you need each other.”  Kneeling there I hold Cara as see slips form this world.  Even covered in dirt and blood she is still beautiful.  I will never forget this sacrifice; I will forever remember the way she was even in death.  As much as I want to stay and care to the body I cannot, fighting my way through the streets of district six is easier than I thought.  With all the servants in a full scale riot I go almost undetected. 

            Reinforcements have begun to arrive, the servants have gained control for now, but soon they will be over run.  Several times I am stopped and asked to lead them, to help them, fight.  They do not stand a chance, they have no weapons.  I want to help but there is nothing I can do, not right now.  After about thirty minutes I arrive back at the bunker, the place takes on a much somber tone now, before this place symbolized hope and a new start, now it only stands for death and despair, though Davidson is dead, perhaps they didn’t die for nothing.  The others are already back and waiting when I enter.  Fiona smiles once she sees I am safe, we want to head to each other but fight the urge, “Is everyone ok?” I ask.

            “We are all fine.” Fiona says.

            “Sorry Riley, we tried to save the others, but we couldn’t get in place in time.” Velvet says, “Security was too tight, we barely made it through in time to save the two of you.”

            “It is ok, you did the best you could, and everyone knew the risks when they signed up.” I say, “We can’t dwell on the past; we have to figure out our next move.    

            “Your right, we can’t stay here forever.” Fiona says, “Soon this place will be locked down tighter then a vacuum.”

            “Do the servants above stand a chance?” I ask.

            “No, not without weapons, Davidson was just assassinated; in a few hours this place is going to feel the wrath of god.” Velvet says.

            “So our only option is to get out, we need to warn as many people as we can.” I say.

            “We can’t, as much as I agree with you; we have to get out of here.” Fiona says, “If this rebellion has a chance we need you.”

            “This rebellion is dead.” I say, “We have to save the people we can, I don’t matter anymore.”

            “I wouldn’t say that.” Sebastian says, the metal of his prostatic leg and cane clinking as he enters the room.  His face and hands are wrapped in fresh bandages, his body burned and broken, but somehow, he managed to survive, “I mean after all you did strike a blow to the government, it will weaken them, but only for a while.”

            “Aren’t you supposed to be dead?” Fiona asks.

            “Well, I guess I am harder to kill then you thought.” Sebastian says, “Let’s say I was pulled from the fires of hell by some friends.”  Sebastian says motioning towards Velvet and Theodore “Had to leave some parts behind, but I made it.” Sebastian taps the prostatic leg with his cane.

            “We had been tracking you the entire time waiting for our move, Kazimir had you under a tight watch, once you got Fiona out we lost track of you.” Velvet says. “We were about ready to give up when we saw the refinery explode; we knew it had to be you.”  I have to hand it to Velvet it, she always manages to arrive just when needed.

            “Well it is good to see you made it out of this mess alive.” I say.

            “You too, but we can talk about our stories of survival and triumph later.” Sebastian says, “We have to get you out of here, there is still hope for the rebellion.”

            “What are you talking about?” Fiona asks.

            “There are others out there, on the other side of the mountains.” Sebastian says, “The Brotherhood has been trying to claim the lands for years, they have made progress, but there are those who have held out against them.”

            “If they are strong enough to hold, why can’t they push the Brotherhood out once and for all?” Fiona asks.

            “They are fractured; they need someone to unify them under one banner.” Sebastian says, “That is why we still need you Riley.”

            “Are you trying to tell me that there is no one else out there who can lead them?” I ask.

            “Who know, but we don’t have the time to find out.”  Sebastian says, “Truth is people follow you.  You have the attributes people look for in a leader, we still need you, and this is your destiny Riley.  My mind flashes back to the conversation I had with Cara, could it be that she was right.  That you cannot run from your fate, that sooner or later the world is going to catch up with you.  No, there is no fate, but the truth is too many people died for me already, I owe them.

            “Ok, when do we go?” I ask.

            “You leave tonight right before dawn.” Sebastian says, “The place will be locked down, but the guards will be in the middle of a shift change.”

            “You’re not coming with us.” Fiona says.

            “No, I am in no condition to leave; besides I am needed here.” Sebastian says, “Until then I would get as much rest as possible.” 

            The faces of the dead race through my mind, so many have giving their lives for the cause, these men and woman need to forever be remembered.  Removing the dirty blue armband I place it down into the table.  I think a moment of those who have died, of those whose names I remember, of those I should have gotten.  I ink each and every name I remember into the fabric before it is returned to my arm.  When this is over they will be remembered properly, for now this will serve as there memorial.

            “You forgot Anderson.” Fiona says.  Focused in my work I didn’t even notice her enter the room.  Removing the armband once more I enter the name into my memorial, “I think they would have liked it, this way even in death you can still carry them into battle.”

            “Yeah, I guess.” I say. 

            “Maybe you should try and get some sleep before we head out.” Fiona says, “We got a long journey ahead of us.”

            “Hey, do you really think there are others out there?” I ask.

            “Yeah, I know there is.” Fiona says.

            “How can you be sure?” I ask.

            “Sometimes you just have to have faith.” Fiona says.  She places her hands upon my shoulders, “Sometimes no matter how much your head gets messed up, you just have to have faith in a person, trust them.”

            “I guess you have a point there.” I say, “Ok, maybe we should get some sleep, like you said it is going to be a tough journey.” 

            My leg is stiff, I must have dozed off for several hours, and the cool night air has chilled the bunker.  Extending my leg it aches from the stretching, soon the dull throb as returned to nothing and I am able to walk about the room with ease.  Fiona sleeps silently on the couch; already she misses the warmth of my body as she moves to find me.  She awakens when she finds nothing, “You’re up already.” Fiona says.

            “Yeah, got up just a few moments ago, how did you sleep?” I ask.

            “Good and you?” Fiona asks   

            “Not bad, we should get the others up.” I say.  Fiona rises from the couch stretching as she does so.  Her shirt lifting slightly exposing her stomach, several scars spatter the area, the wounds she sustained back in Haven, for the most part they have healed, only the scars remain visible.

            “I will get Velvet it if you can handle the others.” Fiona says.

            “Shouldn’t be too much of a problem.” I say.  Before long everyone is up and ready.  Soon we will head into the wilds of the mountains, a world unknown to all of us.  It is there we will find the hope and strength we need to defeat the Brotherhood once and for all.

            “Ok is everyone ready.” Sebastian says, “You only have one shot at this, so we need to be sure that you have everything.”  Everyone checks their gear once more, “Ok, here is the plan, you will have to head to the parameter of the District, and from there you need to gain access to the sewage tunnels.

            “So what you are saying is we have to crawl through everyone’s crap to get free of the Brotherhood.” Velvet says, “Kind of symbolic if you think about it.”

            “Yes I guess you do, and when you mention it, I guess it is kind of symbolic.” Sebastian says, “But I don’t think you will come out clean on the other side.”

            “Well unless anyone else has anything we should go.” I say, “The sun will be coming up soon.”  Heading back into the district the signs of the riots throughout the day can be seen everywhere, the screens high above the district talk about the riots in six, five, and three.  The servants revolted in other districts as well.  Troopers now patrol the streets of all districts in Eden; those that revolted have the heaviest of patrols.  It looks like getting out of Eden is going to be a rough ride, but we will make it, after all sometimes you have to have a little faith. 

            Moving through the streets we managed to remain in the shadows for most of the trip.  However, the last few hundred yards are completely in the open, this has been designed this way to prevent anyone from escaping.  A bright green light shield emanates from the top of the wall; to the people of Eden this means life, when in truth it means control, control of a people who have no choice in their life, “We have to take it down.” I say. “The people have to know the truth.”

            “I’m with you.” Fiona says.

            “This is probably the only chance we have to get out undetected; any detours will probably make it impossible to get out.”

            “We’re going” Fiona says, “With or without you.”   

            “Hey, I never said I wasn’t going, I just wanted everyone one to know the situation.” Velvet says.

            “Hey we have tested our luck so far, why not test it a little further.” Theodore says.

            “Ok it is settled then, we are taking that shield out if it is the last things we do.” I say.

“If we take out a few of the emitters in district six it should bring the whole thing down.” Velvet says, “Ok this is going to get rough, is everyone ready.”

Sprinting into the open we cover each other as we move each running a few step and then laying down covering fire for the next.  We are lucky most of the guards are busy dealing with the riots leaving only a few behind on the wall.  In no time we manage to cross the open area before the wall taking cover next to the wall the sewage tunnel lays only a few feet away, this is it, once we head for the emitters there is no turning back, “If anyone is having second thoughts now is the time to take off.” I say, no one leaves.  Moving along the wall we don’t encounter much resistance until we reach a set of entrance stairs, the two troopers standing guard don’t even see us coming, Theodore picks them off before they can react.  The interior of the wall is much different than the conduction seen in Eden.  The walls are lined with metal walkways and rails.  Stairs leading up from various points, all head towards the top. 

“We don’t have much time, once the guards outside don’t respond they will send more to investigate.” Velvet says.

“Ok than, we should get a move on.” I say.  We move quickly as we head up the stairs, Fiona has informed me that most of the guards will be by the emitters.  But that isn’t the problem, once we blow the things this place will be swarmed getting down is when things are going to get real interesting.  As we near the top my heart starts to race, once again we are on the offensive, and only this time the blow we strike will change everything.  The people will know the truth, they will know of the lies the Brotherhood has told.

“Ok as soon as we head out the doors we can expect to be under Fire.” Fiona says, “We have to push forward until we can get cover."  As instructed as soon as we move through the door we open up, the first few rounds bare the element of surprise several of the guards hit the ground.  However, once surprise has left our favor we are quickly surrounded.  Taking cover we return fire to the best of our ability.

“If we can suppress them long enough Theodore can move to a position allow better shots.” Velvet says.

“How do you expect to do that?” I ask, “If you haven’t noticed we are surrounded here.”

“Only by about a dozen troopers or so, we can take them.” Velvet says, “If we concentrate all fire on one side we give Theodore the cover he needs to move.”  Nodding to Velvet I begin to fire as fast as I can into one side of the troopers, Fiona and Velvet follow suit.  Soon we have managed to suppress the troopers to our right, unfortunately the troopers to the left have taken advantage of this and are now pushing forward, and if this doesn’t work we are all dead.  As fast as his legs will carry him Theodore rushes out of site, immediately we turn our attention back to both sides.  The amount of fire has intensified now that our left side has managed to move in on us, “I hope this plan works.” I say, “Otherwise we are dead.”

“Don’t worry that old bastard hasn’t let us down yet.” Velvet says.  As if on cue Theodore begins to nail the troopers.  Just as the troopers did before we use the opportunity to move to our right.  Thanks to the cover fire of Theodore we push through them without any issues, leaving only the troopers who were on our left.  Theodore easily nails one as he attempts to move between cover.  This leaves only two, between Velvet and Theodore Fiona and I are able to move to a position off slightly to the side of the troopers giving us a divisive advantage.  After several minutes of exchanging fire with the troopers we finally manage to subdue them.  Though this fight is far from over, we have only a few minutes until reinforcements arrive.

With the battle over for now the vastness of the wall hits me, it has to be least a few hundred feet high and a good distance across.  The wall itself completely encircles Eden, much like the wall back in Haven, “Ok what do we have to do to take the emitters out?” I ask

“We don’t have any explosives, but if we cut the cooling cables they will overload.”  Fiona says.

“Ok, let’s get on it then.” I say.  The emitters themselves aren’t as large as one would have guessed.  They stand about as tall as a man and only about several feet wide.  Using her rifle Fiona bashes open the control panel on one.

“Here this is the tube that needs to be cut.” Fiona says, as she cuts the cable a sticky blue liquid sprays all over, “In a few minutes the processor will overload and catch fire.”

“What the heck is a processor?” I ask.

“Don’t worry about that right now.” Fiona says, “We can talk about it once we get out of here.”  Spreading out we all take an emitter, each one sits several hundred meters form the next, I don’t like the idea of spreading out so much but we don’t have a choice.  Once I have finished I turn to meet back up with the others, several of the emitters have already started to break down.  Watching as the Shield falls I can’t help but feel free, for the first time since everything I am finally free to breathe the air of the world.  From this day forth I will no longer turn to the rhythmic breathing of my mask to comfort me, but the warmth of the sun against my skin.

As the shield falls a stalker seems to rise out of now where.  Having not noticed me they turn to the others and begin to open fire.  Everyone takes cover as best they can, but they won’t last long.  The Stalker opens is docking ramp allowing troopers to disembark, all the while keeping up a steady fire.  In a moment of pure reaction I do the stupidest thing I have to date, without thinking I feel my legs move, they move towards the Stalker and before it has a chance to close its ramp I jump aboard.  Before any of the troopers realize I am behind them I squeeze off every round I have in the magazine, several go down those that manage to survive the barrage take cover behind any nearby cover they can find.  Satisfied with my attack I head deeper into the stalker, loading another magazine before it is needed.

Most of the people I find on the ship are ill prepared crew members; apparently they are not trained to handle a boarding party.  My mind is racing as I remember the details of my first stay aboard one of these things.  The sirens blare as I make my way through the corridors searching for the control station.  Moving so as not to be detected I manage to make my way to what I am guessing is the control room.  Two troopers stand guard outside the room, slowly I make my way towards them, remaining in the shadows, my body freezes as the toolbox spills its contents, I didn’t even see it below me.  Taking cover behind a nearby work station probably belongs to the same idiot who left his tool box lying around.  The troopers raise their rifles and start to head in my direction, they don’t fire.  They must not know I am there, ok I have to act.  Taking several deep breaths I dive into the open firing into the unsuspecting troopers.  They hit the ground without firing a single shot.  The command station doors slide open with a swoosh, “Hey what is going on out here.” A crew members shouts as he enters the doorway.  Observing the scene before him he goes to reach for his pistol, he hits the ground before it leaves the holster. 

Before any other crew members have a chance to react I rush the room, the command station is relatively small compared to the rest of the Stalker, there are two seats up front facing the windows below I can see the others as they try to take cover.  Two other seats face the sides, once has computerized maps on the wall, the other has several screens showing different views of the Stalkers exterior.  “No one move.” I say entering the room my rifle switching back and forth between the crew members, “Ok everyone that want to live, this is where you get off.”  My rifle stops on the person who seems to be piloting the Stalker, “Except for you, we need you to fly us out of here.”  Several rounds fly past my head as the remaining troopers make their way into the ship.  Diving behind the front console I begin to return fire.  The pilot tries to take cover but gets cut down in the cross fire.  The Stalker immediately jerks to the right and slams into the wall.  It seems to hang there a moment before sliding several feet and coming to rest atop the wall, the whole things seems to sway back and forth precariously. Using the momentary distraction I fire upon two of the three troopers.  The last remaining troopers and I exchange fire; we each have to exchange several magazines.  Finally I notice that the trooper has stopped firing, but I didn’t hit him, did I. “Are you out of ammo?” I ask.  The sound of his rifle hitting the ground and his boots rushing out of the room bounces off its thick metal walls. 

The pilot’s controls are blown apart, but useable, well from what I can tell they are useable.  Actually I take it back, jumping on this thing was not the dumbest thing I ever did trying to fly it is.  Waving my hands I gain the attention of the others, as they start to head towards the ship I begin to play with the controls.  The Stalkers lurches back and forth as the others enter the command station, “Do you have any idea what you are doing.” Fiona says, “Or are you going with your usual just making it up.”

“The making it up part sounds about right.” I say giving the control stick a hard yank to the left Hcompletely removing it from the console.  The Stalkers thrusters seem to come to life and the Stalker slowly breaks its way free from the wall.

“Houston we have a problem.” Theodore says as the Stalker topples over the side of the wall.

The End

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