Chapter 7: FIRST CONTACT
Brad and Quinn stood on the roof of the police station looking up. Carter came up from behind, “Planetary Defense can’t get ahold of the repair team,” he said, “They want to send a police squad over to see what happened. I volunteered you guys to put Quinn’s mind at ease. You two and four others leave in ten minutes. They did contact UED authorities and convinced them to send a small expeditionary force to look into the matter.”
Brad looked at Quinn, “Hey, it’s something,” he smiled, “May be this whole thing is nothing to worry about and will blow over soon.”
Quinn kept his gaze fixed on the sky, “To hear Orox tell it. You’d think it was much more than that.”
“Either way,” Carter said, “We’ve sent out a planet wide warning about a possible terrorist attack. That’s the best we can do.”
Brad pat Quinn on the shoulder, “C’mon,” Brad said, “I’ll get everyone together so we can head on over. It’ll be fine, you’ll see.”
Quinn looked back down, “Where’s Orox?” he asked.
“Transferred to a holding facility,” Carter said, “He’s not our problem anymore.”
On a country road, Brad and Quinn sat in the middle passenger seats of a police squad cruzer as it sped its way over a few hills to the sensor station. The others sat silently, too silent and awkward for Brad.
“So,” Brad began, “Who exactly are you guys? I mean, I know your policemen but, what is your specialty?”
“My name is Deekon,” he answered from the back seat, “This black beauty next to me is Lora. Woman up front driving is Reeves and the other man is Yun. We’re just a group reassigned from security duty at Sora’s Park.”
“Park security?!” Quinn grunted.
Brad placed a reassuring hand on his friend’s shoulder, “Relax,” he said, “They’re still police officers.”
“Still,” Quinn said, “It just goes to show how serious Planetary Defense is taking this.”
Brad sighed weakly and smiled, “I think you’re making a mountain out of a mole hill.” he replied.
“We just gotta check out the station,” Reeves said, “Once they say it’s all good, we can leave.”
Yun looked back, “In and out,” he said, “Can’t ask for an easier job.”
“Right,” Lora said, “At least it’s something different from our regular assignment. I don’t know about you guys but, I’m excited.”
The cruzer parked alongside several others.
“Station isn’t far,” Reeves said, “We’ll walk from here.”
Everyone stepped out and began the very short trek around another hill to find the station. The path was wide enough for a cruzer, like the repair truck, which they found abandoned in front of the station. Several of its utility boxes were open. Smoke from the station emanated from one of the station’s window.
Reeves and Yun inspected the repair truck.
Brad noticed the lack of people around, “How many people are supposed to be working here again?” he asked.
“Fifty,” Quinn answered, “Plus the repair team, fifty-five.”
“Is it just me,” Brad said, “Or does this entire place seem abandoned.”
Everyone then looked at one another and phased on their suits.
Quinn was the only one without a suit. He morphed into a bird and took off briefly, flying around, before returning and morphing back.
“Anything?” Brad asked.
Quinn shook his head, “Nothing and no one.” he said.
“Let’s go checkout the cafeteria,” Brad said, “Map shows it to be an open type near the beach around back.”
“Deekon,” Reeves called, “Go with them. Lora, Yun and I will check the offices. Stay in radio contact.”
“Got it,” Deekon replied, joining up with Brad and Quinn as they moved along the building, so far there was no need to phase out any weapons here. They reached another adjoining section with a pathway running through it and as they neared the edge, all them could start hearing the ocean.
The path turned into bridge that ran along a cliff and gave a beautiful view of the beach just below.
“No wonder.” Deekon said.
“What?” Quinn asked.
Deekon looked out to the sea and said, “I can see why this place is constantly on the list of top ten places to work.”
The three came up to the cafeteria in no time. They split up to search around for anyone.
“No one,” Brad said, “This place even has a bar.”
Quinn looked over to see what his friend was talking about, “I don’t see a bartender.” he said.
Brad looked up and noticed the ceiling had a burn mark. Deekon approached him, “It looks like everyone disappeared.” he said.
Brad’s visor analyzed the weapon blast. Any information was displayed on his visor.
Quinn, looking at Brad, noticed the burn mark also. To him it resembled a regular burn mark, possibly burnt food. It was a cafeteria after all.
Deekon kept his eyes on the surrounding area.
“What is it?” Quinn asked.
“Burn mark.” Brad answered, “It came from a powerful energy discharge. Likely weapons grade. It matches a type-2 plasma rifle.”
“Type-2,” Quinn said, “That’s used by AFU soldiers.”
The AFU (Allied Fleet of the Universe) believed a prophecy about a race of beings that would destroy all civilizations, and believed humans were that race.
Brad looked at Quinn, “Let’s not get ahead of ourselves,” he said, “Anyone could have gotten one illegally and made that.”
“Reeves to Brad,” she called over the radio.
“Brad here.” he replied.
“Better get to our location,” Reeves said, “We found something.”
Brad used the map on his visor to locate Reeves, who was kneeling next to a dead body lying face down.
“I thought you should see this,” Reeves said, “When we found him, he was like this. Life signs are negative.”
Brad inspected the body with his visor, “I’m not picking up any blood,” he said, “Turn him over.”
Reeves did so, a burn wound on the man’s chest then became the obvious cause of death.
Everyone who could, then phased out their pistols.
Brad’s visor told him the wound was caused by the same weapon that burned the ceiling. “Looks like we got a hostile situation,” he said, “Can anyone get a signal out?”
“This building is insulated,” Lora answered, “Nothing in or out unless it’s through one of these monitors.”
“It’s the AFU.” Quinn said.
“Will you knock it off?” Brad asked, “We still don’t know that. Let’s see if we can find any survivors.”
“I suggest we stick together,” Deekon said.
“Fine,” Brad replied, “I got point. Reeves, pick up the rear.”
“There’s a nerve center here,” Lora said, “Maybe we should start our search there.”
“Good idea,” Brad said, “We can use its cameras to look faster.”
They moved throughout the building quickly until they were standing just outside of the room.
Brad began messing with its number pad.
“Problem?” Yun asked coming up behind Brad.
“It’s locked,” Brad said, “It needs a passcode but, I’m trying to override it. Just one minute.”
Everyone began piling up around the door, ready to storm the next room.
“Radar shows the room is clear.” Reeves said.
Yun lined himself up to go next, ‘Good,’ he thought.
“Ready?” Brad asked, ready himself to push the button to open the door.
Yun nodded he was ready and Brad pushed the button. The door slid open revealing a group of AFU soldiers waiting for the first person they saw. Unfortunately, that person was Yun, he didn’t take one step before the AFU soldiers open fired with everything they had. Because he was so close and there was so many energy blasts, Yun suit couldn’t hold up to the onslaught and he was blasted back.
It was a wonder Brad was able to push the button again to close the door.
“Yun!” Lora yelled.
Reeves and Lora quickly ran over and tended to Yun’s body.
Brad, Quinn and Deekon retreated a few dozen feet back behind some desks. They all phased out bigger, more powerful guns; Brad a rifle, Reeves a shotgun and Deekon and Lora an SMG.
“He’s dead,” Brad yelled, “Let’s go!”
“We can’t just leave him!” Lora said.
The door then exploded open. Reeves and Lora weren’t really affected by it since they had on suits. Both began firing through the smoke at the doorway.
“Looks like we got company behind us.” Deekon said.
Both Brad and Deekon spotted AFU soldiers starting to come out of hiding and fired on any that began to reveal themselves.
The AFU soldiers wore armor, though not nearly as advanced as the humans’. They had no HUD and no shields but made up for it in sheer numbers. It didn’t take much to penetrate their armor, that was the only thing the humans had to count on.
Quinn didn’t carry a gun, his shapeshifting abilities, and being a police officer made him believe they would be a hindrance and unnecessary to his job. He morphed into a pool of fast-moving liquid and got under an in-cover soldier in no time, and quickly morph back into human form to disarm the soldier and then render him unconscious. He morphed again to do the same thing to another AFU soldier.
Brad saw his friend was making an opening to the nearest exit, “Come on! This our chance to get outta here!”. He phased out two smoke grenades and threw them in both directions to cover everybody. With their visors, the smoke wasn’t a problem for humans to see through. Quinn, being an Odian, was able to make a quick line to the exit.
Brad quickly scanned the next room for any hostels, with none, he and the others ran for the nearest door.
Quinn was the only one ahead of Brad, at half his normal size his legs were in liquid form so he slid across the floor.
The walls to the room containing the AFU soldiers exploded to help disperse the smoke. They came running through in hot pursuit of the humans.
The last door to the outside was blocked by AFU soldiers. Brad and everyone else took cover behind a counter to avoid any incoming fire. It was only a few moments of shooting being exchanged before several blasts hit Lora from behind, killing her.
“What the…” Reeves said, moving to cover the doorway they had just come from. She phased out a smoke grenade and dropped it by the doorway to cover herself and the team.
Brad phased out another smoke grenade and tossed it at the soldiers blocking the way out.
Smoke once again filled the room. Quinn did his thing again to take out another soldier. Brad and Deekon took out the remaining soldiers with relative ease
“C’mon,” Brad yelled, “Let’s get out!”
Again, Quinn was ahead of everyone else. He morphed into a bird and went straight to the cruzer and entered in one of the passenger seats. There was nothing he could really do, he never drove before, he never had to with his shapeshifting abilities.
Brad, Reeves and Deekon ran, ignoring any fire from the emerging AFU soldiers. The shields absorbed any lucky hits that landed. They entered the cruzer quickly, with Reeves at the wheel again.
One soldier saw the cruzer taking off and threw a grenade at it.
The cruzer was damaged by the explosion but, it wasn’t enough to stop it from going. Only its back had caught small fires.
“They must have been using a jammer,” Brad said, “My radar didn’t pick up anything.”
“Mine didn’t either!” Reeves said.
“They must have been,” Deekon added, “No one saw anything.”
“Without that station,” Quinn said, “Nobody will have any warning when they invade.”