Web of Chaos
In the trailer of a truck, Wendy and Joe heard its door being unlatched. Sliding up the door made a loud thump.
Outside, a G.E member motioned for Joe to come closer. “The Marine’s ship is at our rendezvous site. We have no idea what happened but lots of video of Diesel fleeing Marines after taking out that Rephaim.”
“Diesel’s probably not going to be back,” said Joe. “Wendy. Get out.”
Jumping down, Wendy kept her eyes on Joe.
“Go,” said Joe.
“Go. I’m sure Diesel would have wanted you to. Missions over.”
The other G.E protested. “We can’t let her go.”
“She knows what we look like.”
“She’ll tell them everything she’s seen.”
“She’s going. Now, get in your vehicles and go home till things cool down,” said Joe.
Wendy glanced around then back at Joe.
“Where. If a building doesn’t fall on me, I’ll get mugged or starve.”
“Keep heading down this road. You’ll meet up with the Marines most likely,” said Joe throwing her a bottle of water.
Failing to catch it, Wendy watched it hit the ground and stooped over to pick it up. Turning, she walked away looking over her shoulder every so often fearing she would be shot in the back.
The G.E drove off leaving her alone. She trudged on, looking left and right around every corner. Her pace got faster as time ticked on until going any faster would have been running.
The quiet bothered her. She wished she had music to listen to or any sound. Walking past a dark alleyway, she heard the steady dripping of water. It made her feel more afraid. “Well, maybe not any sound,” she thought.
Over a mile into her journey she saw the America hovering far away. A crumbling building blocked part of the retreating sun, and she took a sip of water before jogging. She could not go very fast with hunks of concrete, shattered glass, pieces of plastic, and twisted metal in her way.
It gradually got darker, and once the sun made it below the horizon, it got much darker. Shaking, she struggled onward, climbing over obstacles or meandering around them. The more her progress slowed, the more worried she got. She didn’t want to spend the night alone out in an area destroyed by war.
Contemplating giving up for the night or to keep pushing onward rolled over and over in her mind. The Banshee exo-armor dropped down in front of her. Wendy stepped back and jerked her hands up, dropping her almost empty bottle of water. The Yellowjacket exo-armor landed behind her.
Trying her best not to move, Wendy stuttered. “Did you pick up the signal then?”
Cathan looked down at her. “Yeah. That was you?”
“Yeah. I did a lot of studying and figured since you’re military, you’d know.”
“Almost didn’t… Ok, Melissa will fly you up to the ship.”
Wendy’s eyes opened wide. “Wait. What?”
Following the moving GPS location his Aivot had indicated, Gill worried he would be too late and find his daughter’s dead body discarded somewhere. “But no; her abductor realizes she’s more valuable alive,” he thought. “That’s why she was taken. She’s going to be a bargaining chip, and I need to be ready for that.“
Maylis leaned over from the passenger seat and put her hand on Gill’s leg. “We’ll get her. It’s what you’re good at.”
“I was supposed to be protecting the kids. All of them. I put her in danger by doing my job.”
“Once we get her back we’ll figure out what we need to do to keep her safe.”
“How they had the resources to find you or why they’d kidnapped you.” Gill took a deep breath. “I don’t know how we were caught so off guard. What’s going on?”
“We have lots of enemies. Anlon has lots of enemies.”
“They thought we were G.E for some reason. Try not to kill anyone without getting more information.”
Gill looked down. “You’re right. No way they targeted you and Sydnie and just happened to get someone connected to me at the same time I’m searching for the G.E.”
“So the G.E tricked them?”
“No. Can’t be. Using aliens to further their goals isn’t their m.o. And sending aliens after humans is something they’d despise…”
Maylis leaned against her window away from Gill.
“Finding where you live is new. I didn’t detect any drones or anyone following me or see any evidence after investigating. I had fail-safes in place even if someone gained access to CCTV. It’s not just something anyone could do. They’d have to do it in real time. There are no images of me or the car saved in any database I’m aware of. I double checked the CCTV databases covering your area. Everything’s still in place.”
“I see,” said Maylis staring out the window.
Catching up to the location of the PAD he tracked, Gill took over his car’s controls. He pulled up behind Malphas’s car and checked to see if he could hack it, but no computer system registered at all. A flat EMP Starfish drone zipped out from under Gill’s car and snuck under Malphas’s. A bright light flashed from under Malphas’s car.
Gill hit his fist on the dashboard. “Shit. It’s not stopping.”
Malphas’s car sped up, and Gill zoomed after it around a corner. He swerved around in front of it, and Malphas’s car screeched to a stop. A few car lengths ahead, Gill slammed on the breaks caught off guard by the sudden stop of his target.
Malphas and his driver got out running. The Chrysomallus got out grasping onto Sydnie and shot a blast at the door of a building Malphas ran to. Malphas and his driver stopped and raised their hands a little.
Gill and Maylis ran over to the Chrysomallus who inched over to Malphas and aimed the gun at him.
Sydnie yelled. “Daddy!”
Aiming at the Chrysomallus holding Sydnie up high by his head, Gill set up a search through facial recognition databases for the three men. “Stay still sweetie. Bruse. Is that your name? Let her go.”
“I will. This was all a misunderstanding. You let me back up through this door with these two men, and I’ll put her down,” said Bruse.
Maylis stood clenching her first and crying. Struggling to not do anything, though she desperately wanted to.
Sydnie stared at her father with eyes wide and arms stretched out.
Sure he could have shot Bruse in the head no problem Gill worried it would give Sydnie something else to have nightmares about.
Bruse motioned for Malphas and his driver to go in the building. He moved into the doorway and crouched down. Once Sydnie’s feet touched the ground she struggled to get free of Bruse. Letting her go, he stepped back.
As the doors slid shut and Sydnie ran to him, Gill fired. Bruce jerked his head, and the shot hit one of his ram horns burning into it; the tip fell off. Gill fired another shot and blast doors slid shut over the main door. He crouched down fast, and Sydnie jumped into his arms. Maylis grabbed hold of Sydnie and Gill. Turning, Gill whisked Sydnie to his car. Maylis stumbled along with them, not wanting to let go of Sydnie’s shirt.
Parts of the building fell off, and it rumbled.
Maylis clutched Sydnie on her lap, and Gill drove away as fast as he could.
Malphas’s disguised spaceship launched up into the sky in a streak of indigo light, leaving an empty lot between buildings.
Eating in the America’s galley, Wendy noticed Alexander came to stand beside her.
“We got our orders to take you home. So as soon as the police have these G.E off our ship we’ll head out,” said Alexander.
“K, thanks,” said Wendy with her mouth full.
“I’ll make clear mention of you in my report to Anlon. He’s always looking for people with talent.”
Wendy looked up at Alexander. “K. Thanks. Maybe in a year or two.”
Alexander handed Wendy a PAD. “This is for you. There’s a contact on there for one of Anlon’s agents. You can contact him for emergencies or if you ever want to get off of Earth.”
“You really think the Paladin would be interested in me let alone assign me off-world just because I requested?”
“Yes, he would. We owe you, and he pays his debts. Your choices and abilities in recent days have made you more powerful than you realize.”
Wendy contemplated what Alexander meant and continued to eat as much as she could.
Not long after Melissa came to get her. “I’ll fly you down. Some of Anlon’s agents will keep an eye on your place for a while. You might get a call about moving to a new place if things look bad for you and your mom’s safety.”
“Thanks. I might sign up to work for Anlon just to get a suit like yours to fly,” said Wendy smiling.
After walking to the ship’s bay, Melissa held onto Wendy and jumped out of the America. The Yellowjacket’s engines slowed them at the last minute landing gently.
“Thank you,” said Wendy turning to face Melissa.
“Sure. Good luck,” said Melissa flying off.
Dashing inside the building, Wendy got to her apartment in a minute. On the other side of the door Twinkly-biscuit-miser yapped away. As soon as she got inside her mother saw her and ran over hugging her tight. Twinkly-biscuit-miser yapped and jumped up and down. He wagged his tail so hard he almost fell over a few times.
“Ok, Mom. I need to breathe,” said Wendy patting her mom’s back.
Her mom looked at her and tried to talk but could only cry.
“Ok, I’m ok.”
They stood there for a while hugging.
“Maybe we should sit down,” said Wendy softly.
They sat on the couch. Twinkly-biscuit-miser jumped on Wendy’s lap and licked her face.
Wendy’s mom fell asleep holding onto her tight. Wendy softly cried herself to sleep.
Sept 29, 2229
Days later, riding up the space elevator, Sydnie cried as Maylis held her. Gill slumped forward in his seat and tried to breathe normally. It felt weird to him making a point to breathe correctly rather than it being natural.
At the top, they got out and made their way through a crowd of people. Going through a gate their PADs and the gate beeped and flashed for each person through.
“I don’t want to leave daddy,” said Sydnie.
“I’ll come visit. You’ll be safe on the Chandra. It’s the safest place in the universe,” said Gill.
“I’m needed places where it’s not safe. You can play with me on your PAD or tablet when you get on the transport ship.”
Sydnie did not reply and laid her head on her mom’s shoulder.
Maylis carried Sydnie onboard the ship and Gill watched them go.
“Bye,” said Gill. He watched the large ship detach from the space station and zoom off into the blackness of space.
Waiting in line to get on the space elevator, Gill connected to cameras overlooking a Gateway far from the sun with pyramid violet crystals on a massive ring. He descended back to Earth and kept watching. Getting into his car, he saw the ship Maylis and Sydnie were on. The Gateway activated; violet energy swirled around in the center of the ring, and the bright outline of a triangle appeared within it. Another triangle formed to make a six-pointed star, then a third and a fourth created a 12 pointed star. The transport ship vanished through the portal.
Sydnie never contacted Gill, nor did Maylis.
Sept 30, 2229
Outside, Snorri lumbered along while looking down at the sidewalk. For days he had brooded over the fact someone else had stolen his glory. Each day the anger built up upon itself. What else could someone like him hope for he thought?
Strolling along, Wendy looked at her PAD and walked right into Snorri.
Snorri lifted his head at the same time as he released his anger with a swing of his fist. Wendy’s arm fractured, her ribs snapped, and she flew into the wall of an apartment complex. With a thump and a crack, her skull split open on the wall. Her other arm shattered and more ribs snapped. Crumbling to the ground, her blood flowed across the concrete.
Snorri ran, his mind not grasping onto anything beyond running.
Copyright Conrad Brubaker 2018