Alexa raced down the dark corridor, her breath coming in whispering rasps as she did. She had been running for a long time and with each additional step, her muscles protested with jolts of burning pain. Even her mechanical suit seemed to whirr a bit louder than usual.
The corridor bent sharply to the left, at the end of its length, marking the beginning of another corridor. Alexa spun to her left and came face to face with the muzzle of a plasma rifle. Her body stiffened as raw fear ravaged her entire being. The plasma shot hit her protective suit, pushing her back and slamming her into the wall.
Alexa collapsed into a sitting position and lay still. The guard slowly walked up to her and stretched his hand out toward her visor. His breath came out in shaky exhalations, laced with fear. His plasma gun was trained threateningly on her chest.
Just a little closer.
Her armor, which was designed to absorb repeated direct blasts, had protected her from what would have been a fatal shot. She was certain it would protect her once more, even if her execution failed her in that moment. Alexa let out a long-held breath, startling the guard. Her right foot shot out, slamming the plasma gun out of the guard’s right hand. She pivoted on her side and sprung forward horizontally, like a cat. The guard’s head snapped back from the force of her heel crashing into the side of his face.
A grunt of pain was followed by the loud crashing sound of the guard tumbling to the ground. Alexa landed in a crouch and quickly hopped over a swooping low tackle by the guard. She landed into a perfectly well-placed strike to the sternum. The guard rolled and stumbled to his feet, waving his hands maniacally in a desperate attempt to defend himself. Alexa ran forward and evaded a wild punch while performing a wall run. She leaped forward and wrapped her legs around the guard’s neck, pivoting downwards, so her legs yanked him off his feet and flung him backward. The guard slapped into the unforgiving metal wall and slid down slowly, and unconscious.
Alexa broke out into a run. Her visor displayed her path towards the councilor’s chambers.
A right turn and a straight shot down the hallway is all that separates me from him.
The man who had sold them out to the enemy in exchange for false peace. If she didn’t get to him now, nothing would stop him from selling them out as well. The chosen ones. As she ran, a hatch door in the right wall of the corridor, blew open. Alexa skidded to a halt and watched the big muscular man in the mechanical suit, drag out a similarly muscled man, by the hair.
They were followed by two others wearing similar mechanical suits.
“Dragorni. Reese. Wellon.”
Alexa looked at the battered man Dragorni dragged.
“I see you’ve been having an eventful reunion.” She observed.
Dragorni grunted as he looked at the bloodied muscle heap in disappointment.
“Sometimes a father has to beat some sense into his rebellious son. Eh Duran?”
Dragorni slammed his foot into Duran’s ribs, eliciting a pained groan from the wounded guard. Duran rolled on his back, hacking and coughing.
“Rebellious?” Duran asked in a low guttural voice still laced with anger. “I’m not the exiled one… father.”
“No. But you are the misguided one.” Dragorni kicked Duran again.
“Your eyes will be opened soon enough. Alexa. Shall we?”
Alexa nodded. Though they couldn’t see it, her eyes raged with determination. Yet, there was fear in her heart. Duran was one of the most feared guards in all of Eden. She was lucky to have his father and mentor on her side. However, there was still one very dangerous wild card left and they hadn’t run into him yet. They got to the door at the end of the hallway and stopped.
The door was an onyx black, with no handle. On the left side of the door where the handle should have been, was a red circular light.
Is he on the other side?
Dragorni walked forward and placed a hand on the door.
“This is going to take a lot of kinetic energy from my suit.”
He turned around.
“Alexa. Once I punch through…”
Alexa held up two glowing rectangular slabs.
“I’ve got your reserve batteries ready to plug in, Dragorni. Punch it.”
Dragorni nodded and smiled behind his mask.
He took a step back and cocked his hand back as he did. Two vents opened on the armor plating and let out a Jetstream that steadily grew as it shot out of the vents.
Dragorni said. His right arm trembled under the propulsive force exerted on it. Yet the large man did not yield to it. His muscles were locked in place, forced into battle against the force that roared on to drive them forward. Dragorni’s fingers curled into a fist and soon electrical sparks danced around his suit and crawled with menacing shrills, up his arm.
Dragorni stepped forward and let out a loud roar as he slammed his fist into the door. The metal bucked under the force of the blow and then slowly deformed as Dragorni’s arm forced its way through. The metal groaned under the pressure and soon, the concrete wall around the door began to crack. Dragorni yelled and stepped forward as he pushed his arm further into the door. The extra pressure was enough. The door was torn off the frames and fell into the room with a loud metal sounding thud.
Alexa was already behind Dragorni. She’d taken out the drained power cells and now quickly slid in the charged ones. Dragorni’s stiff suit came back to life and he pressed his back into the wall, evading a stream of plasma blasts sent their way.
“Two guards on the inside!” The exile called Wellon yelled.
“You and Reese, take them out.”
Wellon nodded. Both he and Reese moved forward while Dragorni and Alexa dropped behind.
“Distraction formation?” Wellon asked.
Reese nodded quietly.
It was more than a nod of affirmation. It was a signal, and Reese immediately executed. He expertly rolled into the councilor’s chambers, drawing the fire of the guards. Wellon stepped in. Two blasts were fired. They were quickly followed by the sounds of bodies dropping – two thuds – and then silence.
Alexa and Dragorni stepped inside the chambers to see the Councilor standing near a huge window that afforded him a view of the city. His wide eyes darted from one exile to the next, and he held his arms up defensively.
Alexa took slow and deliberate steps toward councilor Mason, drawing her sidearm as she did.
“W… who are you?” Councilor Mason asked.
His voice was devoid of the familiar authority and strength it usually exuded.
“Of course, you would forget those you discarded.” Alexa’s words came out like sharpened daggers.
She took off her visor, revealing her face to the councilor. Silver straight hair fell to the sides of her light skinned face and back. Her hazel eyes beheld the councilor with an expression that could only be called hate and her full red lips were twisted into a subtle smirk.
“Do you remember me now?” She asked as she pointed her sidearm at the councilor’s head.
The elderly man opened his mouth, but could not talk. His attempts dissolved into incoherent stutters and garbles.
“It appears you do. I have come for retribution councilor…”
“Please!” The councilor yelled as the crippling fear gave way to a primal survival instinct that quickly croaked words out. “Please! We can talk!”
“And retribution I shall have!” Alexa yelled.
The glass window exploded inwards and a rush of wind swept the chambers, momentarily disorienting the exiles inside. Alexa shielded her face from the splash of pulverized glass with her arms. When the spray had ended, they looked up to see the councilor being whisked away on a hoverlator. Alexa pointed her gun at the receding figure and took aim. Her finger wrapped around the trigger, but she couldn’t squeeze.
A figure on another hoverlator had blocked her view of the councilor. He had his gun aimed at Alexa, as his hoverlator brought him closer to the breach in the window. The figure hopped off the hoverlator and into the room. His aim never wavered. Alexa looked around and saw that Dragorni, Reese, and Wellon were looking at their drawn weapons in shock. They had all been destroyed.
“Drop it, Alexa. Your invasion’s over and your mission has ended in failure. Do not let it get any worse than it has to.” The man warned.
Alexa took in a rattled breath as she tried to steady her nerves.
“It’s been a long time, Kael.”