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~Chapter 5B- Miro~

They chase after us as we run towards the coast. Ilyana, Rico and I fire back at them to deter them from chasing us further, but more of those black clad soldiers seem to appear as we run. I stumble a little, but Rico circles back to me and keeps me moving forward.

I can smell the sea air, and our squad quickens its pace. We come out of the jungle onto a beach, and I can’t see our pursuers behind us. But it’ll only be a matter of time before they catch up.

An out of breath Rico turns to Ilyana, “Who was that!?”

“That didn’t look like the RLA.” Another squad member comments.

Ilyana stammers to respond, “I’m not sure. It might be Miro.”

“Miro?” I ask. The name sounds familiar.

“I’ll tell you if we get out of this.” Ilyana looks around at our surroundings for options. If we run east, it could take days to reach anyone given the length of the jungle. ‘Miro’ would probably catch us by then. If we go west, we have a shorter trip out of the jungle and into Uneva. But Miro appeared from behind us, meaning we might be cut off by them. But it looks like our best shot.

“We’re moving westbound.” Ilyana announces, “We need to move fast, but try not to waste too much energy.” She says as she pulls the standard issue bar of protein used as rations from her pouch.

As we start jogging I look out at the coast. Fate is smiling on us; Far out on the water was a boat for part of the coastguard. I was hoping for this.

“Look!” I point everyone’s attention to the boat.

Ilyana lets out a sigh of relief, “Light a flare.”

We wave and shout to gain its attention while Rico lights a flare, and the red steak of smoke rockets into the sky, and the boat takes a hard turn towards us.

I look back to the jungle; The black-clad soldiers haven’t caught up to us. But with how close they were, they should’ve by now.

As the boat nears the shore, Rico dives headfirst into the water to meet it. The boat reaches the shore and we’re pulled aboard and promptly head back to deeper water.

Only once we’ve left the shore do I realize how out of breath I am. I look back to land and see the black cloaked figure called Miro standing at the very edge of the jungle. Simply watching us. It turns its back and returns to the jungle.

Did Miro let us escape?

Everyone is still reeling. In all of our missions we’ve been the ones in control but today, we could’ve been killed easily. Ilyana explains everything to the coastguard personnel while the rest of us decompress.

“You lot are lucky that I passed by when I did,” A coastguard soldier responds, “We can pass you off to Uneva’s coast guard, and they’ll see about getting you home.”

I can tell Ilyana is shaken as well, but seeks to maintain the look of a stoic leader. She sits next to me on the boat, looking out at the coast. “Thanks Juaquin.”

“For what?”

“If you didn’t speak, I might’ve gotten us killed?” Ilyana says, sounding almost ashamed.

“It was the best idea I could come up with on the spot. I’m just glad we got out of there.” I say, trying not to make her feel worse. “You said that might be Miro. Who is that?”

“I don’t know much myself. Miro’s army is another group fighting against the Population Control. I’ve mainly heard about their leader, some black cloaked figure who can’t be harmed by bullets. I always thought they were trying to mystify him into a legend, but it looks like it was true.” Ilyana explains, “I’m sure the Colonel will know more.”

The sun sets, turning the sky and the water purple with dusk.

We’re passed from Sotra’s coastguard to Uneva’s coastguard. Its night when we finally return to Uneva Military Base. A crowd is awaiting our return in the base. Raul breaks through the crowd and throws his arms around me.

“I’m glad you’re okay.” Raul says, his voice cracking slightly. “I’ll never put you in danger like that again.”

Of all the squads on that mission, we discover that we’re the only ones that survived, the rest were ambushed and killed in the jungle. Their bodies were left strewn about the jungle and their equipment stolen. By the time reinforcements were sent into the jungle, Miro’s forces had inexplicably disappeared. For some reason our squad was spared.

“Miro’s Army has only been around for a few years now and have only been involved in a few small skirmishes. They’ve exclusively targeted the military and government officials. But they’ve been growing bolder lately. Until today no one had seen Miro.” Raul explains to us.

“What about the people in the Weaktown?” I ask.

“They’re probably with Miro. Where ever he’s hiding.” Raul figures.

“Do they work for the RLA?” Ilyana asks.

“We’re not sure, but it looks that way. They don’t appear to have as many followers. Albeit they’re much more resourceful than the RLA. ” Raul responds. “It makes no difference. They’re terrorists and they’ll be dealt with the same way.”

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