Chapter 15

Chris rose up from his captain’s chair as he saw the blue glow on the horizon. They were just in time.

“Yeah!” he cheered, “The son of a bitch did it!”

Chelsea’s robo-eye dropped from the ceiling to get a better look at the portal. She turned to Chris and said, “The plan is to fly through the portal and meet with Zwain on the other side. Correct, Christopher?”

“That is the plan. Once we are there, we can then discuss how we’re going to handle the rest. This one jump, one that they’ll never be able to track, will give us all the time we need to prepare. Then nobody will have to suffer at our own hands.”

“I still have doubts, Christopher. I have run the simulation countless times and the percentage of success is quite low.”

“That is because you cannot factor in sheer luck. Zwain has something about him. He’s probably the luckiest waste-lander there is. I don’t even think he realizes…”

“Ripple detected!”

Chris sat back down in his seat in surprise. They had arrived. He was hoping that their jump was going to still be a few weeks out, but the good General must have made haste. Either way, he was here.

“Christopher, I have multiple jumps entering the atmosphere at ten point eight three six kilometers above the Earth.”

“Shit.”

“Now I’m receiving a hailing signal from the main ship. General Jim Freeman is requesting permission to speak with you.”

“Deny it and keep the cloak on. Hopefully that will buy us enough time. Silently propel over to the concert using partial thrusters. They might be far enough away to not be able to detect our emissions. Hopefully the portal will be gone before they get here as well.”

“Christopher, they are hacking through my firewalls. Quite easily I might add.”

“Damn! I had underpowered your computer protection to allow the personality implant to work properly. You better let them through, if they were to break through, you would be exposed to all sorts of computer viruses. Still try and scramble the signal so that they cannot triangulate our location”

A translucent video screen popped up on the windshield of Chris’s ship. Chelsea was successful in scrambling the signal causing the image on the screen to be distorted. Chris couldn’t quite tell if it was General Freeman until his voice rang through the entire speaker system.

“Christopher Leg. My son, it has been a long time. I see that you’ve put that computer of yours to work at hiding your location. How… resourceful.”

“Well when one’s mobility is limited, thinking smarter is more often the best course to take. Not that you’re familiar with thinking…smarter, Sir.”

“Haha, your impunity is quite hilarious. I always wondered why you became a pilot instead of a stand up comedian.”

“Oh, like the military is not a mandatory choice. Training begins at ten and even the loss of my leg was not enough for me to avoid that life.”

“No cost is too great for the survival of our people, Leg. You should know this. Our world continues to diminish and yet you decide to go against us? Your ship should’ve been destoyed at our last battle seven years ago.”

“So that’s how long it has been? Seven years and you’ve already used up all the resources you stole? Do you not see a bigger, more fundamental problem here?”

“Those resources are primitive and pale in comparison to our advanced technologies. We’re barely scraping by. Why would you wish doom upon us?”

“Twist it however you want, General, but I’m no longer willing to ruin entire societies for one that refuses to help itself.”

“Well, Christopher, we’ll just have to agree to disagree and disagreeing with me is grounds for death… So watch your back.”

The video screen popped back into one of corners of the windshield. Chris was angry, but still relieved that the General hadn’t noticed the portal yet. The margin for error was growing ever thinner.

“Chelsea, why is the portal still open? I was hoping to fly through to cut that bastard off during his transmission.”

“It would appear that Zwain has not gone through yet.”

Chris hobbled up to the windshield to get a better look at the concert grounds. “I told him not to take too long…” He trailed off as he looked down below. People were scattering in all directions. Teenagers were being trampled by adults as they fled from some sort of massive green-skinned monsters. The monsters were swinging larges clubs and stone axes, attempting to slaughter as much of the audience as possible.

“Chelsea, zoom in to ground level!”

The image grew in size until it seemed as though the ship was hovering mere inches above the ground. Chris was also able to see weird misshapen dogs fighting alongside the green monsters. A dog pounced onto a young man in a black t-shirt and ripped his throat out. Two girls with black hair, black makeup and black tattered concert shirts got caught by tree trunk sized club. Their limp bodies flew through the air and landed in crumpled heaps.

“Christopher, it would seem that things have gone bad. Do you want me to provide the audio of the outside to better make sense of the imagery you are seeing?”

Chris turned and looked at the eye. “Oh god no,” he said repulsed at the mere thought, “I can see how bad it is just fine. Can you track down Zwain? Is he still alive? The portal is still here and shows no signs of closing any time soon.”

Chris watched the carnage for a few more seconds before averting his eyes. He cursed himself for teaching Zwain how to properly play that tone. He was the reason all of these innocent people were being brutally beaten by these monster. The doorway opens two ways and these creatures saw and opportunity to wreak havoc. He could only wonder what else waited for them on that side.

“I have found Zwain, Christopher,” said Chelsea as the screen panned and zoomed in on Zwain, his guitar at his side. He was hunched over the body laying on the ground. The girl from his band was standing a couple of steps away, her makeup running down her face in rivers.

Chris let out an exasperated sigh. Zwain showed no sign of heading towards the portal. Chris didn’t want to be rude in his time of sorrow, but if Zwain didn’t get himself through that portal; this carnage will continue to happen for who knows how long.

“Turn off the cloak, Chelsea.”

“But that will give General Freeman our location. He will discover the portal.”

“Yeah but if we don’t get Zwain through it now, all will be lost. We must keep our wildcard. Turn off the cloak and lower the ship to three meters.”

Chelsea obliged and Chris moved himself to the center of the windshield hoping to give himself the best vantage point for Zwain to see him.

The girl saw the ship first. He eyes bugged out and her mouth unleashed a scream that Chris was unable to hear. Zwain quickly jerked his head up; his right hand fumbling for the guitar at his side. He rose to his feet and faced Chris.

Chris placed a hand on the windshield and stepped forward. Zwain walked forward, his guitar at his side. He tilted his head as if he were trying to place Chris in his memories. Zwain’s eyes popped wide when he recognized Chris, followed by a brief flash of anger on his brows. With over exaggerated mouth movements, Chris began repeating the phrase, “Go through the portal!” He kept rapidly pointing in the direction of the portal, hoping that this would help drive his point across.

Zwain looked at the portal, then back at Chris. Chris continuing to mouth the words. Zwain’s eyes widened as he suddenly remembered. He grabbed the arm of the girl with him and they started running for the portal. Chris started to cheer but spotted one of the big green guys running for them with a club in his hands.

“Chelsea, target that creature and blow him apart.”

The monster raised his club high above his head as he closed on on Zwain and the girl. Just as the club was about the come down on the both of them a quick blue flash shot across the ground and the monster disintegrated into a cloud of green and red. The blast caught the girl off guard and she tripped, losing her grip with Zwain. Zwain stopped to turn and help her but before he could one of the dogs lept on her back.

Chris could read Zwain’s lips as he yelled the word, “Fuck!” Zwain raised his guitar ready to strike the monster and save the girl. Chris saw no way to kill the thing without harming the both of them.

“Christopher?”

Christ paid no attention to Chelsea, he kept looking for an opening to help Zwain’s friend.

“Christopher!”

“What is it, Chelsea? Can’t you see I’m trying to help Zwain?”

“There is another matter at hand, Christopher.”

“What? What could it possibly be?”

“They are here, Christopher. The whole fleet is now at this location.”

The image on the windshield panned off of Zwain and up to the starry sky. One by one the ships emerged from their own cloaking devices, blocking out the majority of stars in the sky. The biggest one was up front an center, ready to lead the attack.

The General had arrived.

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