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Kai woke up at 4:00 am and walked over to his paintings. Picking up a large white cloth, he draped it over his latest painting, which wasn’t quite finished yet. The painting was of an old Native American woman with black hair and wise wrinkles, weaving a basket. I’ll finish this when I come back to Earth, he thought, picking up some paint brushes and some special paper, stuffing them into a bag.

On the second floor, Felix and Dieter grabbed three cups of cold water between them and walked towards the sleeping recruits. Felix squatted, tipping a cup of cold water into Terry’s ear, pouring out a small stream.

“Aaaah!” Terry woke up and jumped out of bed, his fists balled up like rocks, ready to face the intruder. He blinked and rubbed his eyes, seeing a blurry furry cat in front of him. He squinted, and picked up his glasses, realizing it was a false alarm. Sort of.

“What’s going on?!” Jesse and Isra gasped, as they also got cold water in their ears.

“Let’s go.” Felix turned tail and walked out of the room.

Terry and the others dressed with groggy eyes and met outside the bedroom. “It’s like 5:00 am. Couldn’t we have slept on the RV?” Jesse said, yawning.

“We need to go while it’s still dark. The Dogs of Destruction will likely follow us. This isn’t even that early. Would have been easier to see in the morning, and we needed to spend some time training you. It will be quite cramped on the RV,” Felix meowed. “Also, welcome to the life of an alien soldier. This isn’t even that early.”

Terry’s eyes widened as he remembered his parents. “We need to go save my parents now!”

Isra and Jesse remembered the urgency of the situation, and their faces set with determination.

After they got everything ready they meet in the basement, where Kai, Dieter, and Gunter were loading bags onto an RV larger than the one they had been in before.

“Supplies. Food. Water. Clothing. Emergency supplies. All good to go.” Felix meowed.

After they got in the vehicle, Kai pressed a button. “Aaaaall aboard.”

The ceiling parted as the floor of the garage slowly rose upwards, slowly exposing the vehicle to the fresh morning air. Dawn hadn’t broken yet but faint sparkles of yellow could be seen above the mountains.

“We’re leaving later than we should be,” Felix muttered, tapping his hind paws on the floor of the RV.

“We’re going to just off the coast of Florida, to the Bermuda Triangle,” Kai said, checking his holster.

“What’s in Florida?” Isra asked.

“Terry’s parents, and some slaves or captive,” Kai said.

“Slaves?”

“There’s electric mist surrounding an island called The Misty Island. We’ve never been able to get in and nobody who goes there ever returns. From what I’ve been able to gather, the island is surrounded by a fog that disables all electronics. That’s why planes have gone missing there. The Dogs of Destruction have a small base there, but it’s possible there are no Ro Hon left alive to lead them.”

The platform ground to a halt.

“Are the Dogs of Destruction going to follow us after we leave these gates?” Isra asked.

“Looks like they’ve been watching but haven’t come in because of the security,” Kai responded.

“Everyone buckle up,” Felix meowed.

Dieter pulled back his hair and checked the magazines of his pistol, and Gunter hummed a quick tune. Felix adjusted his baggy clothing, checking his pockets. Terry noticed Felix had sharp claws that could slice through skin like butter. He could definitely see why Felix’s large fingers would make it hard to grip human weaponry. Nearby, Abigail was cleaning a sniper rifle.

“Finally pulling that out?” Felix asked.

“Yeah,” Abigail nodded grimly, before turning to Terry. “My dad taught me on military bases before he died.”

“Can you hit a moving target?” Terry asked.

“Yes, I’ve been in my fair share of wars, but I don’t like to kill anyone if I can avoid it.”

As they talked Kai drove the RV to the back gates of his property. There were only two gates there and he flipped open a panel on the dashboard, pressing a button that opened both gates simultaneously. “No time to wait to open both at once. The back doors are less protected than the front doors.” He wished his deceased wife could have been here to see him about to go on a journey into space.

Spotless metal moved aside as the gates slid open. Then Kai stepped on the gas, driving through and onto the road before pressing another button, closing both gates.

After several minutes, as he made a right turn, he checked the mirror to see if anybody was following him. Not surprising. Two black SUVs had been trailing them almost immediately since they left the large house.

“There are two black SUVs that have been with us for quite some time” Kai said without glancing back.

Abigail stood up and looked through a window, using the sights of her sniper rifle to see who was following them. “They’re wearing black clothing. Not sure if it’s them yet.”

There were several cars behind the RV as they got to a red light, and the SUVs pulled up behind those cars. They didn’t make any moves yet. Terry clutched his seat tightly, entrusting his life to some humans and a large alien cat. The day couldn’t get any worse, he thought tiredly.

After they made a left turn ten minutes later, the SUVs were still following them, while other cars had long since gone their own ways.

Terry started to sweat, hands trembling, and he scratched idly at a scar on his right arm. It felt like he had worms in his stomach.

After another several minutes, Abigail said, “They’re still following us.”

As they approached the freeway, shots like firecrackers peppered the glass windows of the RV.

The windows held.

 

“Bulletproof,” Kai said.

“No wonder we got in an old beat up RV,” Isra said, smiling nervously and pulling at her sleeves.

“What was that?”

“Nothing. The RV is really cool.”

A man with blonde hair, in the passenger seat of the first car, fired wildly at the driver’s side window of one of the random cars on the freeway.

“We should be okay since they can’t hurt us, right?” Terry asked.

As soon as he spoke, the SUV with the blonde man pulled back, and the man pointed his gun at an old lady walking her dog on the sidewalk.

Pop. Pop. Pop.

The woman fell down, eyes wide, mouth frozen in a silent scream, with a gaping hole in her chest. Her dog lay beside her in a pile of its own blood. His legs thrashed once, twice, then ceased moving.

“Come on, man!” Kai slammed his right hand on the dashboard next to him, his knuckles turning white. “They’re killing innocent people!”

“We have to do something!” Abigail shouted. “Where can I shoot from?”

Kai pressed a button and a section of the ceiling popped open. She pulled herself over to some rungs and clambered up, bringing the sniper rifle to bear on the men following them.

She aimed down the sights, putting the driver, a man with black-rimmed glasses and a goatee, in her sights.

She pressed the trigger, and the bullet impacted the driver’s window. Nothing.

She aimed at the blonde man who just realized what she was doing. By that time he had shot a man among the people doing their morning walks, his wife crying next to his dead body. Screams filled the streets as people realized what was going on and innocent people were being gunned down.

Abigail fired, and a bullet flew. The blonde man’s left ear entered his skull, and his skull entered his brain. As bits of brain pushed up against his right eardrum, he dropped the gun, and his head lolled out of his car. Dead.

Abigail ducked as bullets flew at the RV from the other car.

She looked out the top of the RV again and saw the SUVs had started swerving.

The second SUV moved behind the RV and slightly to the left, angling slightly towards the RV. A man in the back left seat stuck his head out, and attempted to fire some shots at a car in front of the RV.

The car’s windows exploded inwards in a shatter of glass shards, and the startled passengers yelped as the car jerked and crashed into the car next to them.

The second car of innocent people crashed into a tree, and the tree exploded into chunks of wood chips, the front of the car dented beyond recognition. A child’s head smacked into the front seat as his body, unsecured by a seat belt, threw his body forward. His neck leaned at an odd angle.

The man in the second SUV was either a crack shot or just lucky, Abigail thought.

She quickly pulled her head back in as the RV had to swerve to avoid the collision, several shots flying near her head.

Taking a quick breath of air as she stood up again, Abigail quickly managed to put the shooter into view. He had gotten careless. She fired off another round.

Bits of flesh and sinew exited the hole in the man’s hand and he dropped the gun, screaming.

Revving up next to them, the first SUV tried to nudge the back right side of the RV, and Kai tapped on the brakes, causing the SUV to swerve to the right. It slammed into a wall and the car flipped several times, before screaming sparks and roaring flames ignited the car with a small explosion.

A secondary explosion followed as more fuel ignited and the men inside, unconscious, suffocated.

Serves them right for hurting innocent people, Abigail thought, tears in her eyes, sadness filling her heart at all the people who had just been killed for no reason other than destruction.

As the second SUV pulled up next to them and passed them, the driver roaring in madness, Abigail stepped down and Dieter took her place, standing up and out of the car. He fired off one, two, times, quick and precise shots. The two right tires of the SUV spun out of control.

The SUV spun forwards and away from the RV, and Dieter aimed carefully. Then squeezed four more bullets out.

The first bullet whizzed past the man in the back left seat, grazing his ear, striking the driver in the throat, killing him instantly, while the second hit the window in front of him harmlessly.

A third bullet hit the man in the back seat who hadn’t been injured in the hand, in the collarbone. Fragments of bone entered his ribcage and chest as he died, choking on his own blood, while a fourth hit the man next to him in the lungs, causing him to asphyxiate.

“Don’t hurt any more people,” Dieter said in German.

“Looks like that’s all of them,” Dieter told the others, climbing back down and pulling the hatch closed with an angry thud.

 

* * *

 

After a while, they got to a large green building, with a wooden pier jutting out into the ocean. Terry hopped onto the ground, dust flying into the air and into his nostrils, making him sneeze. He looked around, sore muscles creaking in protest. He turned his head sideways, glancing at the bottom of the pier. Moss-covered posts reached into the dark depths.

“Stretch while you can. We’re going across the water to the island,” Felix meowed. His eyes closed to slits while you arched his back, all paws on the ground. He limbered up, jumping several feet in the air.

“Where’s the ship?” Terry looked at Felix in wonder. Flexible. Can’t wait to jump that high.

“You’ll see.”

“Okay, everybody back on board,” Kai said after several minutes, placing a hand against the top of the open door of the RV. “It’s time to get moving.”

They clambered back on board, and with a jerk, the RV rolled towards the water. Terry looked at Kai with wide eyes, clutching his seat, palms turning red. “Hey, what are you doing? You’re driving us into the water.”

Kai smiled, saying nothing, and tapped some more buttons. When the vehicle was partially submerged in the water, the wheels rolled up. The engine sputtered like it had lips, and propellers stretched from the back of the RV-ship.

With a whir, the propellers came to life. The strange ship awoke with a jerk, and then grew silent. Then the RV flew across the water, waves splashing all around, and then the settled into the gentle rolling motion of the ocean.

After several hours, they approached a long line of pale fog. Kai pressed another hidden button. A multitude of panels opened up on top of the RV, the roof sliding apart, letting in the warm afternoon sunlight. It was even more like a boat than before.

“Okay, here’s where we start rowing.” He stood up and went to a storage locker, grabbing some long paddles on the side of the boat, doling them out to the crew.

Jesse groaned. “We can’t just go in with the engines blazing?”
“The mist disables all electronics. It covers the whole island actually.”

“Are you okay with killing, if it comes down to it?” Felix asked, as they started rowing. He glanced toward Terry, Isra, and Jesse.

Terry pressed his lips together. His heart missed a beat, and he glanced down, gripping the paddle tightly.

“It’s not going to be easy but…these people kill others. They’re murderers who want the Ro Hon to save them. Give them access to better technology, and they’re not afraid of breaking your laws to achieve their goals.”

“I know. But I’m not sure I can do it when the time comes. I don’t want to hurt anyone.”
“Even if they will kill you?”

Terry didn’t respond and continued rowing, glancing around at the oppressive fog that encircled them, threatening to choke him. He couldn’t bear to think about taking someone’s life. So he tried distracting himself by watching the rippling waves sloshing against the sides of the RV.

After they had been rowing for several more hours, they saw an island. It loomed up like a giant holding a club of spikes. There was only one building, and its smooth walls looked unimpressive. Terry shivered, wondering what was going on inside its walls. Were his parents okay?

With a groan, the ship rolled to a stop onto the beach, and Terry winced, the noise sounding too loud in the silent unnatural fog.

A man shouted in the distance, and Terry ducked.

“I don’t think they saw us,” Felix whispered.

“Then why did someone yell?”

“How would I know? Maybe it’s the prisoners or the Dogs? Let’s go.”

Dieter and Gunter jumped out, splashing into the shallow water, and Felix and Abigail threw down some supplies. Kai motioned to Isra and Jesse to jump into the water, and Terry helped throw down some bags. Then he followed suit, jumping into the frigid water.

Terry splashed through the shallows, clenching his teeth and trying to be quiet. Perhaps he could distract himself by tensing and relaxing his muscles.

Kai handed Terry, Isra, and Jesse a knife each. “Be careful with these. Don’t cut yourself or get into a protracted knife fight if needed. Let us do the shooting for now and stay out of sight.”

Terry took it, gulping deeply, and gripped the knife in his right hand, experimentally swishing it in front of him to get a feel for the weight.
Abigail pulled out a silencer, twisting it onto the barrel of sniper rifle, and the others also did the same for their weapons of choice.

Felix glanced apprehensively around him, noting the silence. “They might be expecting us. Stay alert, humans.”

“Think there might be a trap for us?” Gunter whispered.

“Maybe. Maybe not. There weren’t many Ro Hon left even before we killed the latest two. The kidnapping could be a last desperate move based on their last orders. Knowing the Ro Hon, they were never the type to give others, even their followers, much decision-making capabilities.”
Isra took a deep breath and let it out slowly. Ever since the school shooting in elementary school, after the nightmares lessened, she had decided to not let injustice go if she could do something about it. She steeled her nerves and double-checked her knife, and followed the others up the sandy beach.

Felix slipped up to a window like a ghost, yellow eyes glancing quickly inside. “Nothing.”

“We’re practically going in blind,” Gunter whispered. “Remember when we sent Takahashi in here? Have you seen him since?”

“No.” Kai glanced at an entrance near them. He tried the door. Locked.

Felix strode up to the door calmly, and crushed the hinges of the door. He caught it and silently placed it against the wall.

Isra let out a silent whistle and put her palm out towards Felix. He didn’t react, so she mouthed, “High five.” He stared at her and she put her hand back down, shaking her head and grinning nervously.

After they all shuffled into the dingy hallway, Felix placed the door back on its hinges, leaning the top of the door slightly against the entrance so nobody would notice them breaking and entering.

Felix took point, and Dieter and Gunter watched their rear. Abigail stood in front of the Germans, sniper rifle at the ready. Jesse Garcia glanced at Terry and Isra, glad they were with him. They nodded encouragement to him, faces lined with worry.

Felix sniffed the air. Nobody here recently. The Ro Hon were too reliant on their electric mist, thinking they were safe in their little fortress. They would regret kidnapping and murdering innocent people.

They checked all the rooms on the first floor, finding nothing until finally they got to the second floor. Two Mao could stand in the room, one on each other’s shoulders, so the room was about twelve feet high, Terry thought to himself.

Long before they came upon a security room where two men were talking to each other, Felix heard them before they heard him. It was good to have sensitive ears.

He stood near the open door, having handed his rifle to Dieter. Motioning the others away, he pointed towards some men in the courtyard. Prisoners weren’t visible but they were probably down below. Didn’t want the men seeing or hearing these two men in the room who were about to die.

“Too bad the bosses had to kill the Chinese couple. That seemed a bit extreme even for us,” one man said from inside the room.

“Don’t question them if you want to keep living. You know we’re only doing this so we can get some good technology from those Ro Hon. There’s lots of money to be made here.”

Felix sped into the room, slicing at the back of the head of the second man, who had just spoken. His knife slid into the man’s spine, severing it instantly.

Just as soon as the second man dropped dead, Felix, having heard the conversation, covered the first man’s mouth and snapped his neck, hoping the man died a merciful death. The first man didn’t have time to react. His human reaction speed was too slow. Remorse tickled at Felix as he hoped he was doing the right thing. He told himself he had to kill them quickly or else the other Dogs of Destruction would be alerted.

Felix walked out and nodded at the others. He held up two clawed cat fingers, and ticked them down. Two targets, dead. Felix held a paw out, and Dieter returned Felix’s weapon to him.

Abigail held her sniper rifle steady on some rails, glancing at the courtyard. She saw four more men wearing suits. Two of them were standing in the corner talking, and the other two were close to the Mao and human team, near a door It didn’t appear as though the Dogs of Destruction had noticed anything was amiss.

Abigail put four fingers up, and pointed two at herself. She pointed across the courtyard, and silently pulled her fingers like she was pulling a trigger, then pointed to herself again.

Felix pointed at Dieter and Gunter, then at the two Dogs near the door.

They took some stairs down to the courtyard, and Abigail waited at the top of the stairs.

Dieter and Gunter shot several silenced shots each into the two men and they fell like stones.

Two bullets left the chamber of Abigail’s gun, and the two men talking at the far side of the courtyard also fell. One man’s head caved in with the consistency of a watermelon, and the other man fell down, a hole in his heart spurting blood.

They quickly ran down into the courtyard, coming across more stairs leading into a dark basement of sorts.

“They must be down there,” Felix said.

Dieter and Gunter walked down the stairs, but before they had a chance to go down, a rain of fire came up from below. Gunter was struck in the sternum and he fell, eyes lifeless, as Dieter flung himself to the side.

Felix cursed himself for not paying more attention, and pulled out his silenced rifle. He fired several shots down into the stairwell. One Dog died, his blood coating the now-slippery stairs, while the other man screamed, having been shot in the right hand and leg.

Felix quickly ran down the stairs, while Dieter stared in shock at his dead brother. The Mao grabbed the DoD on the dark stairwell, and the man howled. His mouth was open like a vicious cavern, and his eyes opened wide as he saw who had shot him.

The DoD tried to punch Felix with his uninjured arm, and Felix broke the arm, dragging him down into the basement as the others followed.

“Where are my parents?” Terry asked the man, struggling to hold back his anger.

“They’re gone!” The man with the injured arms and foot was one of the men who had broken into Terry’s house a few days ago. He squealed in pain and delight at Terry’s torment. “That’s what you get for killing our leaders.” The man’s eyes glazed over as he lost consciousness.

“He doesn’t have long to live, but keep an eye on him,” Felix mroerf, placing the man against the wall.

Terry stared at the man in shock.

Jesse and Isra moved to comfort him, and Terry snapped. “He’s lying! They must still be alive!”
Dieter grabbed Terry from the back of his clothes, spinning him around. He looked the young man in the eyes. “Now’s not the time for grief. We still have people to save. There might still be more of the DoD around.”

Terry’s eyes welled up, flooding like tsunamis. He didn’t hear what Dieter said, heart and brain numb with cold. Ice flowed in his veins, and he stood, unmoving, staring at Dieter.

Abigail and Jesse nudged him to the side, nodding to the others to move on while they waited in the hallway.

Isra placed a hand on Dieter and Terry and mouthed “I’m sorry.” Then Felix, Dieter, Isra, and Kai proceeded.

Shortly down the long room, Felix and Kai came across some prisoners. Rows of cells lined opposite sides of the walls. Felix walked by dimly-lit cells, counting ten. Each cell was separated from the others by a strong block of concrete, and prisoners were looking out of small windows through their doors. Faces sagged and skin hung from bones, as the tired prisoners looked out at the saviors, hope once again in their eyes.

Felix noticed some of the cells were empty. Chains hung loose and silent, once having held people against their will.

They peered into the cells, and when they finally got to the last cell, a man called out.

“Kai, is that you? Felix?” A Japanese man looked out, squinting. His short unwashed black hair was matted and clung to him like tar. His pallid skin almost glowed in the darkness, and happiness filled his eyes. Weathered skin spoke of a lifetime of strength in the face of adversity, and he spoke English with a slight accent. “It’s me, Yoshito. Man, am I glad to see you!”

“You’re still alive! They didn’t torture you, did they?” Kai ran to the cell door and pulled, trying to open it. It wouldn’t budge. “Where are the keys?”

A man in a black suit opened a door at the end of the room, and quickly raised his hands up in the air.

As Felix and Kai pulled their guns up, the man gurgled, shot from behind. His friend didn’t believe in surrendering and didn’t want the man to talk to the Mao and the other humans.

Felix shot the offending man twice in the chest, dropping him immediately, and paused. He didn’t fire at the third man, hiding in the shadows, who also had his hands up and weapons undrawn. The man barely had time to register the death of his friends, but Felix didn’t have trouble seeing in the dark, and pushed Kai’s gun down. “The third man is surrendering.”

“Bring us the key,” Kai commanded.

The man scurried over, trembling hands held above his head, and Kai took the man’s gun from his holster, glaring suspiciously. The surrendering man had black hair sticking to his freckled head with sweat, green eyes avoiding his gaze.

“What’s your name?” Felix meowed.

“Uh, P-P-Pete. Pete Simpsons.”

Felix watched over the Dog while Kai opened the cell door. Yoshito Takahashi grabbed Kai in a bear hug. “Oh, you’re still skin and bones.” Kai chuckled, eyes warm with joy.

“What are we going to do with the other prisoners?” Kai held Yoshito’s shoulders at arms-length, noticing whip lashes criss-crossing Yoshito’s body, frowning at the damage done to the man’s small frame.

“Nothing I couldn’t handle,” Yoshito said, noting Kai’s worry.

Kai didn’t say a word, staring at the lashes, a jumble of thoughts going through his mind. Anger at the men who did this. He wished he could have come to save his friend earlier.

“The rest of these people in here are survivors of a recent airplane crash. The Dogs of Destruction decided to save some of them to have their fun on. They chose only the…strongest for their fun. Torture, the usual kind of stuff. Not everyone made it.”

They unlocked the cells, and four men stood in front of them, shivering in the cold. Their skin hung from them like wrinkled rags, and their eyes were ringed with dark circles. Felix counted two men with light skin, one man with brown skin, and another man with a darker shade of brown than the third man.

“It’s okay. I’m with them. I came to find out more information about this place and ended up getting captured,” Yoshito told the four men. He looked at Kai, “They want to join us in our plan to go into space and find a way to end this war, and why it’s been happening on Earth for thousands of years.”

“Alright,” Felix said. “We need all the help we can get.”

Felix grabbed their prisoner, urging him to move, and the man complied, eyes wide with fear. “You’re not going to k-kill me, are you?”

“I’m not thaaat cold-hearted,” Felix meowed, smiling slightly, eyes and sharp teeth glinting. The man didn’t think Felix looked cute.

Yoshito led them towards another door near the stairs, and Terry, Abigail, and Jesse joined up with them.

“The DoD died of blood loss,” Abigail said. Terry walked beside them silently, wordlessly, eyes looking like he had seen a ghost.

“Are my parents really dead? A Chinese couple? May and Thomas?”

“I’m sorry,” Yoshito responded carefully. “It was…quick, and they had me bury your parents.”

Terry nodded his thanks, and he cast his eyes downward again, shuffling like a zombie.

Yoshito opened the door, leading them down a bright corridor toward a room with a portable generator in it. The generator was attached to tubes that connected to the walls. Viscous fluid pumped through the tubes. “This is what’s been causing the electric mist.”

“Can we take it with us?” Isra asked.

“Curiosity killed the cat,” Jesse said.

Felix looked at Jesse with flat eyes and didn’t say a word.

“Sorry.” Jesse shifted his feet, conscious of the recent deaths.

“We can’t take it with us,” Abigail said.

“Why not?” Jesse asked.

“Well…it takes time to work.” Abigail looked behind and underneath the generator, checking for possible booby traps. “It disables all electronics so it would all ship systems. It’s probably not going to work in space, at the speeds we’ll be going. If we used it we’d be sitting ducks.”

“Can’t we just take it and use it where we need to?”
“Too dangerous. Planes and ships just stop working around them, and people would die. If we used it on another planet, enemies might still be able to target the cities it tries to protect with missiles, since its range is limited. Their targeting systems might turn off but…the missiles would still impact with full force, with gravity behind them.”

“The best way to deal with this is to destroy it,” Kai said. “But we can’t let anyone outside of this island find out about the aliens or the Dogs of Destruction yet.”

“I think we should. Eventually.” Yoshito rubbed his chin. “If we left a video explaining things after we left, the other governments wouldn’t believe us. But that’s preferable to trying to talk to them in person. They might want to capture Shudder. We may need to come back to Earth eventually and find other hidden technology from slightly after the crash.”

“By the way, we’re calling him Felix now. It’s much cooler than Shudder,” Kai said, grinning at Felix.

“Told you so,” Yoshito grinned.

Felix made a circle in the air with his tail, a Mao version of an eye-roll. “Yes, they might try to capture me. I’m vulnerable on my own, even if I could beat twenty men single-handedly. If we find my people they can help us make the point. Non-violently, of course.”

“Okay, then it’s settled,” Abigail said. “We destroy it. The fluid in there is highly reactive, so if we cut off the flow of the regulator, it should most likely explode.”

“There’s nobody else but us left so we should do that. I don’t smell any other humans. The traces of other humans that I can smell haven’t been around for weeks. Is this correct, Yoshito?”

Yoshito nodded. “I was counting how many of them there were. There don’t seem to be any others. They talked a little bit carelessly. It’s not like they thought you were going to find this place.”

It won’t explode right away?” Felix asked Abigail.

“Maybe we can set a timed detonation,” she said over her shoulder.

“Do you want to see your parents grave before leaving?” Felix looked at Terry, furry eyebrows raised.

Terry nodded, swallowing hard, a lump in his throat. “Y-yes.”

Yoshito took Terry back out into the room, and up the stairs into the courtyard, showing him where the bodies were buried. He left Terry to mourn and went back down to the group.

Terry stood there, looking at the unmarked graves. He sat down on the cold and dusty ground, night creeping in.
“I’m sorry I couldn’t save you. I’m…sorry.” Hot tears fell down onto parents’ graves, and sobs reached all the way into his soul as he cried. He remembered all the times his parents had played with him when he was young. His first teddy bear. The time his parents had taken him to the hospital when a lamp fell on his arm. The time when he was bullied at school and his parents comforted him.

After what felt like an eternity, Jesse climbed the stairs and walked over to him, comforting him. “Hey. Feeling better? I’m sorry this happened.”

“It’s okay,” Terry said, wiping his eyes, glad his friend was here to help him through these troubling times. “I know what I need to do.”

“Don’t be reckless.”

“I know. I’m going to get better. Stronger. Faster. I’ll do what it takes to get answers. Let’s find out why this war is going on, if it’s still going on. Let’s put a stop to it. We may be human, we may be slower than the aliens, but we will save humanity. I’m tired of all these deaths. And yeah, maybe I’ll have to kill, but at the end of it all, we’re going to retire.”
“I want it to be the war that ends all wars.”
“That’s what they said about the World Wars.”

“Yeah, but technology was advancing until it slowed like ten years ago. Maybe if societies advance, maybe if we can be like…ambassadors of Earth or something. Maybe…if we can just talk, we can bring peace.”

“Yes, I owe it to my parents.” Terry stood up, brushing off his pants, and walked back down the stairs to join the others. Yoshito and Dieter joined him, having just buried Gunter. The rest of the group had been waiting patiently downstairs while Abigail and Felix were inspecting the generator.

“Alright then. We have 30 minutes to get off this island,” Abigail said, smashing the glass tubes with the butt of her sniper rifle.

Felix and Yoshito led the others back to the RV-ship. Kai started the engine, and Dieter handed out food and clothing to the prisoners. They nodded their thanks, skin emaciated.

“Don’t eat too much all at once. We haven’t eaten much lately so we need to ease into it or we could kill ourselves. Just water and avocados for now. Nothing too sour, spicy, sweet, etc. More solid food can come in a few days,” Yoshito told the other rescued prisoners.

The RV floated for fifteen minutes, after which the island exploded behind them like a volcano, flames and sparks flying everywhere in the muted fog. “Bet people will be wondering about why they can now travel through the Bermuda Triangle” Terry whispered, looking in the distance at the setting sun, and then at the island.

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About the author

Sean Bai

Bio: I'm a Chinese-American man writing my first science fiction series. I majored in American Multicultural Studies in University. This helps me create fictional alien cultures. But mostly, I just have an imagination. I have 10-15 books and nearly a dozen alien species planned for Aliens Among the Stars.

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