Chapter 11: Damien
“It’s not going to work,”
“Just trust me,”
“No way, man. This is a stupid plan,”
“Yeah, I’m with Tyler. There’s no way we can do this,”
“I think we should go for it. Damien’s trying to get us out of here,”
“Enough. We need to make a decision. I’m going for it, whether you guys come or not,”
The group looks at each other, silently forming decisions in their heads. They all look at me, giving a confirming nod.
Since escaping, Tyler and I managed find some other survivors of the escape on our trek through the forest. That Sekrid woman let out a lot more prisoners than I thought she would. Most of them managed to find a weapon somewhere. Though it won’t be much help in the plan I’ve devised.
We managed to happen upon a smallish outpost. The important part is that there’s a Sekrid ship with space capabilities sitting just on the landing pad. The problem is that Sekrid have a habit of overmanning every single base they set up. They have sentries covering sentries, which is going to make stealth extremely difficult.
I stare through the brush, my eyes strafing from one side to the other, studying the patterns of the sentries. I turn back to the group of soldiers who are patiently waiting.
“Waiting for night is most like going to be our best option. Tyler, you still have those detonators?”
“Course I do,”
I point to a couple of large tanks on the opposite side of the post “Your job is to get those detonators on those tanks. Set them for enough time so that we’ll all be able to make it to the ship. Wonder twins,”
I point to the two women at the back of the group “We have to get rid of those tower sentries. Luckily there are only two, so that’ll be perfect,”
“Got it,” Lynn confirms for the both of them.
“Casey, you’re with me. We’ll take care of the lizards on the ground. You’re a pilot, right?”
“Yeah. Infantry drop ships,”
“Just what we need. Here’s how everything is going to work: Tyler, once you get those detonators set up, work your way back to us. If there’s too much heat, work your way around the other side and we’ll meet you there. Ladies, as soon as you hear those explosives go off, I want you to cut the spotlights on those towers. Add to the confusion as much as you can. By the time that’s done, Casey and I should either be in the ship or close to it. Tyler will accompany us inside and we’ll do a fly by each tower to grab you two. Sound fair?” I finish.
“What if something goes wrong?” Natalie asks.
“If something goes wrong, you’re going to hear one of two things. The sound of my rifle or me yelling. Or both. You hear that, make a B line towards the ship. You kill whoever you have to,”
I stare at the sky as I watch a collection of clouds begin to overshadow the large moon of the planet. A dark shadow casts itself over the entire area.
I turn back to the group “Let’s do it,”
We slink through the high brush of the field on the outer borders of the post. Tyler, Natalie, and Lynn break away from Casey and I to pursue their own missions.
As Casey and I approach the first line of sentries, we fall into a prone position. We crawl tediously through the high grass, ensuring that we don’t rustle the vegetation to noticeably. It’s still debated whether or not Sekrid actually have night vision.
I hear the heavy footfalls of my first victim as I crawl ever closer to him. I slowly unsheathe my knife as I come to halt, allowing him to close the gap between us. I bring my blade to the ready as his foot falls directly in front of my face. I lift myself enough so that can drive my knife into the back of his knee at an angle. I then press the blade downwards, cleaving his calf in two. The resulting effect is that the Sekrid soldier drops to one knee. I wrap an arm around the soldier and pull him down with me into a laying position to conceal the kill. I use my knife to penetrate the major artery on his throat, causing his body to go limp.
I carefully and quietly shift his body off of mine. I lie there for a moment, catching my breath before continuing my crawl on to the next casualty I’m going to create.
The problem with killing Sekrid in such a messy fashion is the fact that their blood is a lambent blue color. It practically creates a signal fire to show where you killed them. With every kill we make, it means we have even less time to reach our objective. But given the impossibility of absolute stealth in this situation, it’s a necessary risk.
“Hey!” I suddenly hear.
I lift myself off the ground slightly to find the source. My eyes widen at my discovery. I move into a crouching position to view the whole scene.
Casey sits on his backside, staring at one of the Sekrid sentries in fear. The Sekrid aims his rifle at him. I’m unable to react fast enough as the soldier pulls the trigger, shooting Casey in the chest. The sound is like a hand grenade in the silence of the night.
My eyes shift from the Sekrid, who’s staring at his handiwork, and Casey’s lifeless body. The sentry slowly moves his gaze until he’s staring me in the eyes.
The inevitability of the situation sets in, and I realize I’m left with only one choice. I take my knife and throw it with precision, striking the Sekrid in the bridge of his nose, killing him instantly. I lift my rifle, aiming at the next sentry, who’s now caught on to the incident.
I let loose two rounds that enter his chest and halt his momentum. He drops to the ground as his heart gives out.
“Tyler! Do it!” I call out, my voice echoing in the emptiness.
Tyler jumps out of the grass, only a few feet behind me.
He holds up the trigger he brought for this purpose “You got it boss,” He says as he clamps his hand down.
There’s a number of beeps, followed by a very loud explosion that lights up the entirety of the area. At the same time the large searchlights cut off, just as planned.
At least the girls are still alive.
“Come on! We gotta get to that ship!” I exclaim as the alarm begins to sound.
Tyler and I run in tandem towards our prize. I notice Tyler pick up a Sekrid rifle as he continues to run and quickens his pace in order to run next to me.
I hear the bullets zip passed the both of us as we reach the landing pad, taking cover behind a set of metal crates, just out of reach of the ship.
The amount of fire makes it impossible to return any ourselves. Tyler looks at me, sweating dripping down his brow.
“What the hell are we going to do here, Damien?” He asks me desperately.
I fire off a few blind shots in a vain attempt to suppress the enemy. I swallow hard, trying to catch my breath as I look around.
My eyes finally lock on to what exactly these crates are.
“Hold on,” I say as I grab one of them, unhooking the clips and opening the lids.
I look at Tyler after looking at the contents. He stares at me with a smile.
I lift the Sekrid rocket launcher from its resting place. I snap a few switches, engaging it, causing various lights to illuminate.
I look at Tyler “Fire in the hole,”
I quickly turn out, firing a rocket at the source of the gunfire. Another explosion sounds as I return to my cover, silence ensues as the dust settles.
“Time to go,” I say, wasting not a second.
Tyler and I rush to the ship. I step inside first, outstretching a hand to him. As he takes my hand, a volley of rounds come from the flames, ripping through Tyler’s back and shoulder. I drag him inside as he falls forward.
I quickly close the door as another volley ricochets off the ship. I hurry into the cockpit of the ship and study the various controls.
Alright Damien, you got this. Just gotta remember what you learned.
My escape and evade tactics come back into play as I recall how to start a commandeered Sekrid ship. My anxiety intensifies as I hear bullets collide with the windows of the ship.
The ship starts up as I finally input the correct sequence of buttons. Without hesitation, I pull the control wheel, lifting the ship off the deck.
As promised, I circle around to the first tower, opening the side door from the cockpit. I stare out the window towards Lynn as I close the gap between the ship and the tower.
I watch Lynn stand up as I reach a reasonable distance. As she takes a step into the ship, a line of bullets sweeps across her body, causing her to fall backwards back into the tower. “God damn it!” I scream as I hammer a fist into the wall of the cockpit.
I pull away from the first tower, bullets still bouncing off the hull of my ship. I hope against hope that none of them hit vital part that keeps me flying.
Determined to keep my word I move to the second tower and bring it close. Natalie starts to enter the craft. My heart stops as I see a rocket freighting its way towards me. I jerk the wheel hard right, avoiding it.
The missile flies by, colliding with a hill in the distance.
I search around for Natalie, unable to gain sight of her.
“Nat! You there?!” I call down into the passenger bay.
“Help!” Is the only word I hear.
I set the ship to hover in place and jump down from the cockpit. Natalie hangs on to the edge of the door, struggling to keep hold.
I rush to her aid, taking her by the arms and begin to pull. I grit my teeth as I pull upwards, her body suddenly becomes heavier and limp.
I look at Natalie’s face. She stares at me as the life leaves her eyes
. “Let…let me go,” She says as blood starts to pour from her mouth.
Tears start to well in mine as I release her, allowing her to drop to the ground below. I shake the sorrow from my mind as I hurry back to the cockpit.
I close the passenger bay doors and engage the thrusters with full power, sling-shotting the ship through the atmosphere.
All goes quiet as we break through and enter the cold dark of space. I ensure we’re a safe distance away from the planet to evade pursuit before placing the ship on autopilot.
I listen to my shaky breathing as I stare off into nothing. I can’t hold back the tears as they start to flow down my cheeks. I press the palms of my hands into my eyes hard, shaking as I attempt to stifle the urge to cry.
I sit back into my chair, my head snapping towards Tyler as I notice him enter the cockpit and sit in the chair opposite me.
He coughs a few times, causing more blood to drip down his chin.
“Girls didn’t make it, huh?” He asks, staring out into the void.
The urge hits me again “No, Tyler…the girls didn’t make it,”
He scoffs “Shame. They deserved freedom a lot more than you and I did. I planned on taking Nat to dinner after we got back,”
I give a somber smile “I’m sure she would’ve liked that,”
I notice Tyler’s eyes become glossy and begin to dart from left to right.
“I just…wanted to see it before…ya know,”
“I know, Tyler. I know,”
“I never thought that…nothing would…be…so…beau--,”
I watch Tyler’s chest fall, hearing his last breath pass through his body.
His eyes remain open, staring out into the last thing he wanted to see before passing.
Not space. Not the small specks of stars dotting the black.
It was freedom he wanted to see.
I place a hand on his shoulder, finally breaking down. The only thing left to comfort me is silence.