Chapter 20: TAKING HOME BACK
The shuttle rapidly ascended. Brad and Staurt cradled their girlfriends. Quinn, with his .38, kept a close eye on Orox.
“Any idea what this is about?” Stuart asked.
“None,” Stacy replied, “Your guess is as good as mine.”
“How’s your leg now?” Kimberly asked.
“It’s fine,” Brad answered, “Nanites are doing their job. It doesn’t hurt anymore but, I still need to get medical attention soon.”
The shuttle quickly entered an NAFU ship and slowly landed. Its doors opened and everyone filed out.
A human approached and shook Brad and Stuart’s hand, “My name is Major David Peter Thomas,” he said, “You all did an amazing job surviving till now. Where’s Stacy?”
Stacy stepped forward and raised her hand, “Right here, sir,” she answered, “Major Tom, I’ve heard of you?”
David approached her, “I’m sure you have,” he replied, “Even if it wasn’t our colony being attacked, I pulled some major strings for a fleet this size when your brother asked.”
Stacy was suddenly turned by her shoulder face to her brother, “Peyton!” she cried with glee.
Both hugged as everyone else looked on.
“How are you?” Peyton asked.
“I’m fine,” Stacy answered, then pointed to Quinn and the humans, “Thanks to these guys. What about you? I haven’t seen you in forever. I heard you retired.”
Peyton stood beside David, “I am retired,” he said, “I work for the Ambassador here and asked him to lend a big hand.”
Stuart shook Peyton’s hand, “I’m Stuart,” he said, “You’re a legend, sir.”
Brad approached and shook Peyton’s hand as well, “Brad here,” he introduced himself, “I’m only a police officer and even I’ve heard of you.”
“Your exploits are required reading at the academy.” Quinn added.
Several NAFU soldiers approached Quinn and came to a stop right in front of him.
One spoke, “It looks like you have Orox,” he said, “We know of him. We’ve been looking for him.”
Orox grew wide-eyed with fear.
“He’s under arrest for war crimes.” Quinn said.
“Funny,” the NAFU soldier said, “He’s on our list of war criminals as well. Let us take him and cross him off.”
“No!” Orox pleaded, as he was taken by the soldier and pushed out into the open.
The NAFU soldiers all raised their weapons, took aim at Orox and released a hail of gunfire, sending him down in a blaze of glory.
Quinn looked on in disbelief unable to make a full sentence, “I…after I…wha…”
Brad looked at David who just shrugged.
“That’s their sense of justice,” David said, “Its quick. He was already found guilty. His punishment for this crime was death so, anyone on that list is as good as dead.”
“Kim, I’m going to go get this leg looked at,” Brad said, then looking at David, “Where’s medical?”
David took the lead, “Right this way.” he said.
Quinn and Kimberly followed the two men.
Stacy looked at Peyton and asked, “What now?”
“Now that you’re here safe and sound,” Peyton answered, “We can focus on taking back Omicron.”
UED ships took their positions in orbit and began sending wave after wave of Myrmidons.
Survivor’s looked up at the sky to see what looked like shooting stars filling the sky. They came out of hiding gleefully to greet the Myrmidons.
“Where’s the AFU?” a Myrmidon asked.
The survivors pointed in various directions.
The Myrmidon signaled others to go in a specific direction, “Looks like got some weed pulling to do,” he said, “You folks stay in hiding, a shuttle will come to pick you up.”
Around a mansion, the Myrmidons closed in. Their radars sensed the enemy inside.
AFU soldiers peeked out from an attic with four windows. There were only a half dozen of them lying in wait.
Myrmidons crashed in through the windows one right after another, making eight against six.
These AFU soldiers only thought to fight back. They fired wildly at the incomers.
The Myrmidons kindly returned fire to put the enemy down in a fierce but brief firefight.
The NAFU had deployed their warbringers, machines very much like the mechs Brad and Stuart had used but, these were all computerized, no pilots.
One warbringer landed on a beach, at the sensor station.
An AFU soldier looked out to see it take aim and begin its assault.
The warbringer destroyed the building and did not stop firing until enemy readings on its radar had disappeared.
Quinn stepped beside David, “Are all the AFU soldiers to be killed on sight?”
“I would imagine so.” David nodded.
“How many would that be.” Quinn asked.
David phased out a pad and studied it for a moment, “We estimate around a billion, a billion and a half.”
“That’s a lot of killing,” Quinn replied, “It could take a while to get them all and it would make for some serious cleanup.”
David faced Quinn, “What do you suggest?” he asked.
“They can’t all be on that list,” Quinn answered, “I’m no sympathizer but, even I suspect they’re probably fighting on for people who are. Offer them surrender, promise they’ll live and I bet many of them will take it.”
David gave Quinn’s idea some thought, “It is a short list. Let me go talk to the generals. Hopefully, we can shorten this war.”
Hours passed, UED/NAFU forces had taken a standoff position around the enemy. Starfighters begun to fire off canisters with filled hundreds of leaflets containing terms of surrender. Shuttles flew around broadcasting it on all channels and mobile stations had been setup to play it on loud speakers.
The idea worked great as nearly all AFU forces came out with their arms up. The few who didn’t surrender had only been convinced to keep going on by the war criminals. After two or three days, these same soldiers retaliated against their war criminal leaders and took the opportunity to go out in peace and with their lives.
Omicron was slowly starting to get back to normal, a few cruzers roamed the skies, some people began to walk the streets again.
Quinn and Kimberly drove in a cruzer.
“So, you love Brad?” Quinn asked.
“Of course,” Kimberly answered, “Just because he now has Lilly doesn’t repel me. She’s not a baby and he didn’t have one with another woman. I see it as practice for when we do start a family.”
Quinn looked out a window, “I just found it odd timing when you told him.” he said.
Kimberly turned the joystick, “Stressful situations will do that to us but, I meant it and that’s what’s important.”
The cruzer parked and they both stepped out at a small park near a lake with a view of the Ceris.
Brad pushed Lilly on a swing.
Quinn and Kimberly sat at a nearby picnic table.
“You got it from here?” Brad asked.
“Sure.” Lilly said.
Brad approached, “Hi, alien and girl.” he said, sitting next to Kimberly, facing Ceris.
“Lovely view,” Kimberly said, “Isn’t it?”
“One we get to keep,” Brad answered, “As long as we’re willing to fight for it. We’ll always have this.”
“Look who’s coming now,” Quinn said.
It was Stuart and Stacy. They walked up casually hand in hand.
Brad motioned for them to sit, “Please.” he said.
“How’s work?” Kimberly asked.
“It’s a lot of cleanup.” Stacy answered.
“Can you believe it,” Stuart started, “I was told everything we did is being labeled as top-secret. We can’t tell anyone what we did. No one will ever know.”
Brad looked at Stacy, thinking of Lilly, “I’m fine with that,” he said, “At least we’re still alive.”
“What about you” Stacy asked, “What have you guys been up to?”
“Guard duty!” Quinn replied, as if he was already tired of it.
“C’mon, Quinn,” Brad said, “It’s not that bad. We could be saving the world.”
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