Rhivera

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~Chapter Thirty One- Miro's Plea~

~Chapter Thirty-One~

~Raul~

I look down the barrel of the gun that has been pointed at me unwaveringly. The soldier holding it is wearing the white and blue of our flag... He’s either a traitor or a spy working for Miro. He has no right. Several others were in the room making sure I don’t act out. They were all young, the oldest of them couldn’t have been more than 25 years old. So much of our countries youth has been corrupted by Miro, even my daughter.

They’re working for Miro, but for some reason they’re not outright killing me. They’ll regret that soon. I wait patiently for the smallest opening to escape. They brought me to the meeting room of the administrative district to detaining. It was a smart choice, this area was empty, no one would think to look here.

A round table sits in the center of the room, and they had me sit at the end of the table farthest from the door. They left my hands unbound. Another mistake.

Meanwhile, the battle outside has been raging without me. My captors look nervous about what is going on outside, they don’t have any more information than I do on the state of things. I trust the true soldiers of Rhivera to hold the base against Miro.

“You’re all going to be killed you know. Our government doesn’t deal with traitors kindly.” I tell them. One of them flinches, but doesn’t reply to me. “You know it’s true.”

We hear several individuals enter the building, and the traitors focus their attention on the door to the meeting room. I’m tempted to try to tear the rifle from the one nearest to me, but I know it was risky. It isn’t time... yet.

The door parts and a black cloaked figure in an ebony helmet enters the room. Miro. He’s followed by several other Survival Suit Soldiers who rechristened the suits black. Miro stares at me.

“Excellent work. I’d like to have a moment with the General. Leave us.” Miro’s unnaturally deep voice commands. The traitors and Survival Suit soldiers follow his orders like obedient dogs and leave the room. They’re all idiots. Miro closes the door behind us and parts his cloak open, revealing the pistol at his hip.

“Hello General.” Miro says feigning politeness. “By now you must realize we’ve entered the base. Soon we’ll have taken it. I was hoping you’d surrender, so we can avoid any further bloodshed.”

I glare at him, “I’d rather die than do that.”

“Be reasonable General Rios. Thousands shouldn’t have to die tonight from your stubbornness.” Miro paces along the edge of the table towards me. “In fact, I was hoping that you would help me bring an end to the PCC.”

“What makes you think I’d want that?” I ask, annoyed at the idea.

Miro walks along the edge of the table closer to me, “Because you’ve protected people from Population Control yourself. You couldn’t save your best friend Eugenio, but you had to save his son. You must know that Population Control is wrong.”

Melissa must’ve told him. If Maria hadn’t threatened to take her own life if I didn’t protect Junior, I never would’ve. If I had just let Population Control take that kid, everything would’ve been simpler. Melissa might not have been coerced by Miro and Juaquin wouldn’t be having doubts about Population Control.

“Saving Junior... was a mistake. If not for people like you who don’t understand that we need Population Control, my best friend would still be alive.” I yell, “If not for you, my daughter would be safe at home!”

Miro stops and is silent. They think silently for a moment. A hand reaches up to the clasp on their helmet.

Just then, gunfire sounds from just outside the building. Miro’s flinches, legitimately startled by the closeness of it. Miro takes the pistol at his hip in hand and faces the door.

The gunfire continues to sound, drawing closer to the room we’re in. A thud comes at the door and its flung open, followed closely by a Survival Suit Soldier in white that can only be Nirivo. Juaquin.

“Juaquin!” I exclaim. Juaquin lifts his gun towards Miro, it’s the one I gave him. Juaquin merely points the gun at Miro, his finger not even hovering over the trigger. “What’re you doing Juaquin, kill him!”

Miro turns to me, “Did you forget this suit protects me General?”

Another Survival Suit Soldier comes up from behind Juaquin and grabs him. Juaquin knocks him away, turns the gun on them and fires. They are propelled back by the sheer power of the gun. Miro flinches at the sight, realizing the potency of the weapon. Juaquin turns the gun back on Miro, and Miro raises their own pistol at me.

“Put the gun down, I know you won’t hurt him.” Juaquin says surprisingly calmly.

“The General is coming with me.” Miro keeps his gun firmly aimed at me.

“No he won’t.” Juaquin retorts, “Call your forces off now.”

“I can’t do that.” Miro counters quickly.

“Come on man.” Juaquin says, as if speaking to a friend. “I’ve already called more troops to come here and you’re all alone now. It’s over.”

“My own forces are coming as well. It’s far from over.” Miro responds.

Juaquin keeps his gun trained on Miro, but he won’t fire. He just stands there, as if the choice isn’t obvious. Why won’t he kill him?

“Juaquin, just kill him!” I yell. “Stop wasting time!”

“Raul just shut up and let me think!” Juaquin snaps back at me with ferocity. He turns his attention back to Miro. “Arturo please.”

...Arturo? Arturo Montoya? Miro is the Montoya boy?

It makes some sense. Melissa spent so much time with him, he brainwashed her to join his movement. Its all him. I knew I never should’ve let them hang around that kid.

“I should’ve known you wouldn’t respond to a threat from me. “Juaquin lowers his gun and places it on the table. “I can’t kill you. You can leave, but Raul stays.”

My eyes are on the gun that Juaquin placed on the table, subtly I begin to step towards it. Miro lowers his pistol arm and withdraws it back into his cloak, “Alright. Raul stays.”

Juaquin lets out a sigh of relief.

Miro begins to walk out of the room, passing Juaquin by unimpeded. “Stay safe Juaquin. As safe as you can.” Miro says, before heading towards the door.

“You too.” Juaquin replies to Miro. To Arturo.

This may be my only opportunity. I climb over the table and dive towards the gun. I take it in hand and in a single move shoot and fire at Miro’s helmet.

A burst of smoke erupts from the gun and the helmet shatters at the point of impact of the bullet. Miro falls and recoils off of the wall and onto the floor with a weighty thud. I roll off of the round table from the momentum of my dive.

Juaquin head whips back and forth between me and Miro’s body.

“What did... What did you do?” Juaquin stutters in disbelief.

“What had to be done.” I stand to my feet. With Miro gone the war will end soon.

Juaquin stands motionless looking down at Miro’s body, his breathing getting heavy. Swiftly he pivots and delivers a powerful punch to my jaw, sending me reeling back against the wall. Panicked, Juaquins stoops down to the body and flips it over on it’s back.

I stand and watch him as he undoes the clasps of the helmet. I can see the bullet passed from the back of the helmet through the visor. Juaquin pulls the helmet off, and long brown hair begins to unfurl itself from the helmet. At the sight of it Juaquin’s hands begin to shake and I tremble. I want to look away but can’t as Juaquin pulls the rest of the helmet off.

I see the face of my daughter Melissa, with her eye gouged out from the bullet that had passed through her. Her other eye stares lifelessly at us.

My stomach begins to wretch. I fall to the ground, my whole body aching. Juaquin sits back silently, clutching the helmet in his arms. I can hear quietly sobbing from within his helmet, and soon I find myself doing the same. All the while, gunfire echoes in the distance from the battle outside.

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