Chapter 10: COUNTER STRIKE
The cruzer pulled into the police station to a small yet jubilant crowd of officers. The occupants exited the cruzer with people surrounding them and congratulating them.
Brad spotted Carter in a doorway trying to wave him down. He made his way past the crowd and joined the chief.
“Yes, sir?” Brad asked.
“Follow me to my office,” Carter said, “There’s something you should hear.”
In Carter’s office, both men sat. Brad was across the desk as Carter messed with the monitor and faced it toward Brad.
A transmission began to play, “… Brad, this is Kim at the CC. I am with several survivors in a basement. Please, find us and help us….”
“Kim, Kimberly,” Brad thought out loud, “She’s alive!” he smiled.
“Go back out,” Carter said, “Take the same guys out. Bring back whoever you can but, no unnecessary risks. We have our radars back but, the outside is still crawling with AFU.”
Brad was speaking when one of Carter’s windows blew in from shrapnel. Both men took cover on the floor and phased their suits on. Explosions and gunfire could be heard outside.
“This must be retaliation for what did at the sensor station!” Carter said.
“Sir, I recommend we get to the command center!” Brad suggested.
“No argument here!” Carter replied.
Both men crawled out of the room and ran down to the command center. Carter went over to his station, “We need to launch a counter attack,” he said, “Give you and your men a path to get out. Go now, we’ll handle this!”
Brad didn’t say anything. Without wasting anytime, he quickly headed back to the garage and radioed, “This is Brad,” he said, “All members on previous mission to sensor station report to garage at once on the double.”
By the time Brad reached the garage the a few were already standing by and the rest were starting to show up. Quinn arrived by hearing Brad’s orders from another.
“Into the cruzer,” Brad said, “We’re going out. We got another mission!”
Everyone got in hastily with Brad entering the driver’s seat. The cruzer powered up and took off, if it had wheels they would have screeched. Outside, it was a warzone, explosions and gunfire narrowly missed the cruzer. As Carter had indicated, a path for the cruzer had been cleared with officers along the way at certain points standing their ground as it blew past them at high speed.
After a while, the cruzer came as close to the CC as it could before being stopped by large pieces of rubble.
“This is it,” Brad said, “Radar is clear. Everyone out.”
They all casually exited with no real worry since their radar picked up nothing.
“Quinn,” Brad called, “We got point. Reeves, Deekon, get the rear. We don’t have far to go so let’s make it quick.”
“You didn’t say exactly what the mission is.” Quinn said as they jogged.
Brad switched his radio on, “We’re looking for the CC,” he said, “I know it went down a week ago but, we got a message about survivor’s in a basement. Our job is to find them and bring them back.”
Several AFU starfighters suddenly popped onto their radar.
“Everyone, down!” Brad ordered.
The starfighters came into view quickly and headed straight for the cruzer, which wasn’t protected from enemy radars like the policemen. While still at a considerable distance the starfighters fired some sort of energy bomb that swarmed the area of the cruzer and destroyed it. The explosions came close to the policemen but, they weren’t the target since they were still blank on the enemy radar. With the cruzer now destroyed, the starfighters ascended back up where they came from.
The policemen looked on at the devastation.
“Cruzers gone,” Brad said, “We’ll have to walk back.”
“We can do it,” Quinn replied, “What about the survivors?”
“We’ll have to risk it,” Brad answered, “C’mon, let’s find that basement.”
Deekon searched the area with Reeves nearby and asked, “How do you suppose they were able to get the cruzer?”
“Don’t know,” Reeves answered, “My guess is they were able to track it once it left the station. Once it stopped, they moved in for the kill.”
“What about at the sensor station?” Deekon asked.
Reeves grew frustrated, “Look,” she said, “I don’t know! Maybe they just weren’t looking and we got lucky.”
Quinn used his shapeshifting to squeeze between the rocks.
Brad and everyone else looked around the area, “Keep a careful eye open,” he said, “Scan for anything that could be an opening.”
Quinn slipped underneath a boulder and came back up a minute later, “Brad,” he called, “I think I’ve found something.”
Brad and the others gathered around the shapeshifter to look.
“It’s just a melted piece of metal,” Quinn said, “Could be something or nothing.”
Everyone scanned the area. Under the boulder was a piece of metal.
“Schematics show a door it this area,” Reeves said, “It’s only a few inches thick. A demolisher could have done this.”
“Let’s move this rock.” Brad said, grabbing the boulder.
Reeves, Deekon and the SWAT team joined in, grabbing it and moving it aside. It was an impressive feat but, nothing their suits couldn’t handle.
One member of the SWAT team phased out a lancer, a device like a blowtorch cutter, only this used a powerful laser. He began cutting a large opening in the metal.
“You guys come prepared,” Brad said, “Then again, you are SWAT.”
Kimberly and others looked on as a shower of sparks came raining down the stairway.
Brad, along with the others, waited until the door had been cut and was big enough to at least crawl through.
The policemen’s radar suddenly picked up the survivors.
“I got readings,” Brad said, “Scans confirm they’re over two hundred humans down there!”
“Two hundred?” Quinn said in disbelief.
“That’s one big basement!” Deekon said.
“That’s what they call it,” Brad said, “These schematics show it’s more like a vast bunker with all the bells and whistles.”
Quinn went through first and stuck his head back out, “Clear,” he said, “Stairs are right here.”
Brad went next. Composing himself on the stairs, he hurried down and phased off his suit.
“Brad!” Kimberly yelled as she ran from the crowd to hug him.
“You’re alive!” Brad exclaimed.
“Did you get my message?” Kimberly asked.
“Yeah,” Brad answered, “It was a few hours ago but, it came in crystal clear. Goodness, have you been down here all week?”
Kimberly nodded, “Yes,” she said, “The CC was deemed too important. This place was made for disasters. Not exactly one like this but, it worked in a pinch. There’s five levels here so everyone can still do their jobs.”
Brad looked at his scans of the place, it was set similarly to Carter’s command center, “It looks like this place has all the amenities.” he said.
“We’ve only got a little over a year’s worth of food supply.” Kimberly replied.
Quinn came down with Reeves, Deekon and two of the SWAT members.
“Hi, Quinn,” Kimberly said, “Good to see you.”
“Likewise.” Quinn replied nodding his head.
Brad moved close to all of the work stations, “Have you heard anything from the expedition fleet?” he asked.
“Just when they arrived,” Kimberly answered, “We got a confirmation they encountered the AFU fleet. Since then we’ve just been waiting.”
“We heard the AFU fleet is large,” Brad said, “Can this place send out an SOS to the UED? Our transmissions must be getting jammed. That’s why we haven’t heard anything back from them.”
“We sure can,” Kimberly replied, “This is the CC. We can cut through their jammers and get a message out.”
“Good,” Quinn said, “We should send one immediately just to be safe.”
Kimberly sat at one of the work stations, “Omicron under large AFU attack,” she said, as she typed, “Please send heavy reinforcements.” She then touched a button, “Sending.”
“Great,” Brad said, phasing his suit on then switching to his radio, “Brad to Carter.”
“Carter here.” he replied.
“Cruzer lost, survivors found. SOS sent. What are your orders?” Brad asked.
“Great job,” Carter said, “Bring the survivors.”
“Yes, sir,” Brad replied, “Brad, out.” He then turned to everyone in the room when hit him. How could he possibly take everyone with him?
“Well?” Quinn asked, “What did the chief say?”
Brad was wide-eyed, unsure of what to do, “Bring the survivors back.” he said.
“Brad,” Quinn said, “How? We even lost the cruzer and walking back to the station with this many people is suicide. They’re probably in danger now since we opened that door.”
“I know,” Brad answered, “Hold on let me call Carter back. Brad to Carter.”
“Carter here.” he replied.
“Sir, that’s a negative on bringing the survivors back,” Brad said, “There’s over two hundred of them and we don’t even have the cruzer.”
There was a pause on the radio for a moment.
“Even with the cruzer,” Carter responded, “They wouldn’t fit. You can’t walk that many people back. Unfortunately, the program you used at the sensor station only reset the parameters for our radars. If they don’t have a suit, I’m afraid they may still show on enemy radar. All I can say is keep those survivors safe and get back here yourself if possible.”
“Got it,” Brad answered, “Brad out.”
Quinn waited a moment before asking, “What did he say?”
Brad thought for a while, then asked, “Kim, do you have any security guards?”
“We only have three.” Kimberly answered.
“At least it’s something,” Brad said, then radioing, “Reeves, Deekon, you stay here with the SWAT team. Seal up that door once I leave. I have to report back to Carter.”
“I’m going with you,” Quinn said before Brad could say otherwise, “Besides, we’re not just partners. We’re friends.”
“I’m going with you too.” Kimberly added.
“Kim,” Brad began, “I’m sorry. You can’t go. It’s too dangerous for you.”
“I don’t care,” Kimberly said, “I’d rather take my chances with you out there than stay in here, doing nothing while I wait.”
“I can probably protect her.” Quinn said.
Brad became irritated, “Fine,” he said, “We leave immediately.”
Just then came a beeping and a green flashing on the monitor. Kimberly activated it.
“This is a priority one distress call.” came the message, “I’m Stacy Hanson at the Stotch Institute. We are under siege from enemy forces and require help.”
“Message repeats.” Kimberly said.
“Stacy?” Brad wondered out loud.
“Who’s Stacy?” Kimberly asked.
“Brad’s ex-girlfriend.” Quinn answered.
Brad took a step toward the exit, “We’d better hurry to the police station,” he said, “We’ll report this to Carter and then I’m sure we’ll go help. It’s in the same direction anyways.”
Brad, Quinn and Kimberly crawled out of the doorway.
“Good luck.” Reeves and Deekon said, as they placed the metal cover back on. Moments went by and then came the shower of sparks to seal it.
“Radar shows zero signatures,” Brad said, “Move out, we have people waiting.”