Chapter 2 Part 2

“I really hate that guy.” Ari grumbled once he and Jett were alone. Jett blinked and paused, looking up at Ari. “Adrien or the Commander..?” Ari somewhat scoffed and shrugged off his jacket, tossing it on the bench. “Both.” The Runner sighed and folded the discarded jacket before removing his own. The air inside of the armory was chilly and somewhat stale tasting. Jett slightly shivered as he removed his clothes, the warmth disappearing as well. His slim fingers reached outstretched the undermost layer of his armor, finding refuge on the cold, silken material. Ari had done the same, pulling on the bodysuit like layer.  

“You really shouldn't say something like that about the Commander…” Jett quietly said in delayed response. Ari blinked and looked over towards the younger teen. “But didn't you see the way he was looking at us during the instruction..? He was judging me for getting in fights and comparing us to that prick, Lancing.” “The Flyers have always gotten better treatment than us… Thats nothing new, Ari…” The metallic zip resonated through the room as Ari fastened the collar. “Because they're like royalty, yeah.” 

Jett slightly nodded and reached to pull on the flexible, outer shell of his armor. Ari on the other hand grumbled as he pulled on another thin layer on over the under layer, then proceeded to walk over to Jett. He paused from securing the layer and stood up straight. “Need some help?” Ari nodded and faced away from Jett as he tightened and fastened the armor. Ari’s was much bulkier than Jett’s to accommodate the more dangerous position he would be in out on the battlefield. The panels on the insides of his arms and legs were of a leather-like material reinforced with thin yet durable lining. The rest was thick metallic plating infused with breathable fibers to move well with the Gunner and lessen restrictions as much as possible. A few small gaps could be seen between the panels, as they mimicked the human muscle formation, causing Ari to look like an armored titan of sorts.

Jett’s was similar to Ari’s in a way that the Runner’s armor was very lightweight yet thick enough to protect them if they were attacked inside of their cycle’s cockpit. Ari leaned over and tightened a strap on the back of Jett's neck. "Thanks..." He nodded and went back to tying his boots. Ari did the same before gathering his clothes and unceremoniously shoving them into the designated locker. "Would it kill you to be neat for once?" Jett asked and slid his stack of clothes on the top shelf of the locker. "You never know... It might kill me." Ari replied with a straight expression. "Drama queen." Jett retorted and pulled Ari's clothes out to fold them properly. “Takes one to know one.” Ari commented as he began to walk out. 

The door opened before he got there though. Adrien stepped inside, already in his flight suit. The atmosphere in the room grew colder as his eyes locked with Ari’s. Jett shut their locker and looked over, seeing the icy glare Ari was receiving and knew the one he was throwing back. Ari stepped closer to the Flyer, his breastplate brushing up against the rough material of Adrien’s suit. “I thought you two got lost.” He said in a pseudo-concerned tone. “Oh really? Well it was so nice of you to come check on us.” Venom dripped from Ari’s lips. Jett walked up to the two. Ari was about half a head shorter than Adrien, but he easily had fifty to sixty pounds on the skinny Flyer. 

Adrien looked down at Jett, his eyes like ice. Jett slightly flinched at the initial eye contact. “Something isn't quite right about this guy…” He thought. Ari shifted his weight closer to Jett. Adrien slightly scoffed. “This is your Runner? He seems pretty skittish to me, and tiny too.” Ari’s eyes grew cold. “You don't know anything about him. Lay off my partner.” He pushed past the taller man and strode out, Jett right behind him. “Ari…” He murmured and looked up at his Gunner.

Ari’s could feel his heart pounding. “That guy has some nerve.” he growled. Jett nodded. “He gives me a bad feeling…” he murmured in reply. The way Adrien had looked at him, it made his blood boil. It was a look of pride. He looked down on them, not just because of his stature, but condescendingly. All Flyers seemed to be that way. They acted so high and mighty, like they were better than the Runners and Gunners. They acted like they knew something that no one else did. They walked around with those stupid, smug smiles. Ari clenched his fist. He would love to knock it off Adrien’s face. 

“Stay by my side whenever he's around.” Ari said in a low voice to Jett. He nodded and increased his stride, so that he was beside Ari. “We need to try to just focus on the mission…” Ari nodded. “I’ll try…but if he starts making some wise comment, we’re going solo.” Jett sighed. “And get us in trouble..?” Ari glanced down at him, a look of irritation on his face. “Don’t you know me better than that.” “I know that you're reckless sometimes and have a very bad temper at times… But we both know that its impossible to disconnect us from the Flyer unless there is some kind of issue there.” Jett quietly replied. "Yeah, I know." Ari grumbled and walked into the loading bay.

They picked up their helmets and slid them on. "Intercom activated." Jett mumbled into the built in microphone. Ari nodded. "Received." The two proceeded forward into the partially dark cargo bay of the carrier craft. Running lights along the edges of the grated floor led them back into the darkness. Two seats were set into the opposite walls of the cargo area. Ari sat on the left, while Jett took the seat on the right. Once seated, the area around them lightened as the door closed and sealed, signaling their rapidly upcoming departure.

Jett fidgeted in his seat, the anticipation killing him. Ari leaned back and got in a somewhat comfortable position to endure the transportation. "Relax, Jett..." He murmured softly enough to catch the blonde's attention. "Okay, I'll try, Ari..." The floor trembled as the craft began to start up and prepare for takeoff. Restraints were set in place, keeping the duo secured as they began to rise up into the air.

There were no words exchanged as time slipped on, the exact destination unknown. All they knew was that there was a rebel threat in Georgia. It should take them approximately twenty minutes to reach the drop point. The time slowly ticked by. Jett tapped his fool against the steel grate, causing a metallic echo amongst the engine’s roar. Ari’s breathing could be heard through his earpiece. It was deep and steady, soothingly so. Jett's eyes grew somewhat heavy, his breath slowing to the rhythm of Ari's. 

Ari had fallen into a light slumber, the rumbling invading his subconsciousness. Everything was dark except for tongues of flames dancing in this distance. His head whipped around looking for someone or something. A figure stood in front of him with their back facing him. He saw his hand reach out for the figure on its own accord. He wasn't in control, strangely enough, just a spectator in his own body. The fire was getting closer, but neither of them moved. His own mouth opened, his voice sounding younger. "We have to go..!" The man in front turned, his profile finally visible. Terror gripped Ari as he saw him. He was tall and clean shaven, a single tear running down the chiseled bone. Black hair was messily smoothed down but disturbed by ashes falling from the ceiling. "Go... You have to continue on without me from now on. You're ready." Heat choked his lungs, pressuring his chest. 
"I can't leave you here..!" Tears were welling up in his eyes. The man looked over his head and gave a short nod. Arms encircled Ari and began dragging him away. "No..! Father...!!" A large crack made him look up, the second story of the building collapsing and starting to fall. "I love you my boy" the man cried out before a flaming timber collapsed in front of him, blocking him from view. The crash threw Ari and the other person back, sending him careening into a doorframe. The impact shook his whole body with a resonating crack.Ari’s eyes snapped open, readjusting to the dimness of the carrier. Breath came in shallow pants, unevenly taken in rapid succession. This disturbance confused Jett, pulling him from the light rest he had slipped into. Fuzzy lights floated across his vision as he blinked. “Ari…?” Ari’s sharp intake of breath caught his attention. The Gunner froze and looked up. Jett opened his mouth to speak again but was interrupted by the jarring stop of the carrier. 

The End

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