“Stand down Ramirez,” I hear a voice, but what intrigues me more is that as soon as that’s said the manic grim that was plastered so far on the tall man’s face fades and is replaced by a stern emotionless face, the next second he was standing back with the squad, hands behind his back just like all the soldiers around him. A woman who was maybe a few inches taller than me, with olive-brown skin and icy white pixie cut hair wearing a white tank top, trousers and a coat entered the room. The moment she enters, everyone including the tall man at once move their legs together and raised their hands in a salute, looking at something done with such coordination for the very first time I get goosebumps all over me and I unknowingly let out a short yelp.
Hearing that the woman looks at me, and as we make eye contact a weird sense of dread washed over me. Unlike the times I felt this before, it didn’t feel oppressive, it was like the others wanted to dominate me and hence I felt that dread but this feeling I got felt like she felt nothing towards me, like my existence mattered to nothing and it made me feel I matter to nothing. She gave me a smirk and turned her attention to the tall man and that was when the feeling left and as soon as it did my legs give out from under me and I sit down on the floor still holding 5’s hand.
Breathing heavily, I close my eyes to stabilize my heart that was racing like I just ran a marathon. “Look what you’ve done to that sweet little girl, they may be the general’s kids, but they are still kids right?” I hear the lady say.
As my breathing stabilizes and my heart is not racing anymore, with my eyes still closed I do something absurd, “Who told you we were her kids?”
Feeling a gust of wind on my face I could feel those eyes peering down at me even with my eyes still closed. “What did you say?”
Not wanting to back down and feeling sure that I will lose let alone my will to speak but even my will to live, I tighten my grip on 5’s hand and continue speaking with my eyes closed, “We have been kidnapped almost 8 years ago. We have been living in those pods in programs they set for us these past few years. I came out a few years ago and 5 here has been brought out a few months ago. I don’t know what their agenda is but we are nothing but their prisoners here. Please save us.” I was literally shaking as I finish saying that in the anticipation of what she might think.
After pausing for a few seconds, I feel the weight removed from my shoulders and hear the woman’s voice from far away, “Ramirez, get those children to protection services and get that lab geek to interrogation, sweep the area for any possible leads on the general. I am done here.”
As soon as I felt the woman leaving the room I hear almost everyone let out a groan and the tall man was sweating a bit which I was sure the others were too but couldn’t see under all that gear they were wearing. Heaving a big sigh, the tall man approached me and this time giving a genuine smile, reaches his hand out to me. I look at it and up at him and when I see a giant of a man look and smile as nice as that, I just get up and hug him and start crying.
Alana’s Point of View:
Not even a single trace…
All those resources, all the effort, all those sacrifices and still not a single hint of progress.
Every time those worthless politicians say it is because the general is too good, my anger flares, though they don’t say it straight forward, it is pretty clear who they mean is not good enough.
I’m a Tier 3 asset to the Army, I could very well be at the front lines raking in major kills, exploring new parallels or even tracking new challenge zones, but no I was given the mission the army has been failing to complete for the past 15 years because I was too competent for anything else? Bloody politicians, they sure know how to make someone feel pain.
But I will show them I can do what they would never imagine and shove it right up their alleys.
Being deployed on the task 5 years ago, it took me all my connections and resources I never imagined let alone the army to have but use up for this task. I don’t know what the general is hiding but I sure hope it is a magnum opus. We finally got a whiff of her aura in Antarctica of all the places and have been sweeping it for the past 6 months.
“Colonel, we have been scanning the entire area we found the traces of aura in and I think we may have something, requesting you to take a look.” I hear a soldier from the comms station. We have been stuck in the cold south for a month now. Though I could not have been at a better place with all this cold, my team has not had the best of times. This continent not being civilian filled did not have many counters to Monster bursts and have been filled with various localized beast camps that keep attacking.
When I walk over to Ramirez and his team and when I take a look at the monitor I stop dead in my tracks, I don’t even say a word, just lift the guy sitting at the computer half-assing the scanning and throwing him aside take the seat and start focusing on the aura pulses and extrapolate that with other pulses we picked over the past week. What I see was not what all could see, the general was very cleverly leaving fake pulses all over the place pushing us exactly away from one spot. When I ask about the site, Ramirez looks at me with a frightened face and says that’s where the Tacaks have made a nest. Hearing that even my heart skips a beat. Of the worst beasts we have faced so far, Tacaks are one of them, they are mostly feared for their cunning nature and a very sturdy body. With the body of a horse and the torso of a woman with a horn at their forehead, they were the nearest resemblances of our earthly fictions of centaurs. Unless you have heavy firepower it is hard to take one of them let alone a few and with how we left them out here, their nest should contain at least one tier 3.
Though I know it's guaranteed death to do it, I make the decision and with me to face if not the Tacaks, my squad of 30 extremely well-trained specialists and my Major Ramirez start moving. As we near closer to the camp I recognized not one but 3 tier 3 signatures and they were at the center of the camp. When I asked the comms team to do an underground scan we were shocked to find an entire underground bunker. I was so elated at finally finding the first-ever clue to the generals whereabout ever in the history of the army, I pull out something that draws gasps of shock and horror from my squad.
I really did not care what I lost when I felt that I could for the first time be able to meet the general or get even a small clue in
I was holding a core detonator and an Indigo colored beast core, obviously there would be gasps. I set up the detonation device with the core and holding the core like a baseball, I close my eyes and start sensing everything around me, the 31 people around me and their equipment, other normal animals under the soil, and then the first Tacak a distance away and then the next and so on till I find the Tier 3’s all near the center of the camp. As my senses complete my analyses I focus up and angle the device to a certain trajectory and when I felt it comfortably high enough, I strengthen my arm and activating all my targeting skills I throw the device. A few seconds later when I confirm its presence at the core of the nest, I detonate the device.
As the explosion rocks the entire island and demolishes almost a quarter of it, I signal my men to move out. Though we had an indigo core, they were still Tier 3 beast so we had to move in and finish them. As we find a door on the wall with the surrounding walls crumbling the squad makes its way there while I finish up rounding up the nest and neutralizing any possible threat.
When I proceed on to the place, I discover her sidekick, this was something akin to a gift from the heavens. Looking at her I confirm to myself that the general wasn’t found and sigh in relief since if we did, all the fun I’ve been having would be lost. This is exactly how it should be. But then I notice Ramirez talking with two… children? Wait her secret project is to have kids?
But much to my surprise it looked like she did, the kids, they looked so much like her and also Paul? But how, my mind went insane for a second and I accidentally threw some aura on one of the girls but she took it, an unevolved withstood my aura? My amusement had new fodder to feed on each second. I’m loving this. Even my stuck squad gets all jittery when my aura is released but the child looked me in the eye and is still conscious, is she even human?
As I was talking to Ramirez, I was even more shocked at what she says next. With that face who would even believe what she said, brave as she may be stupid she definitely was. I move right in front of her and focus my aura right on her and she was not only awake but even talking, making me jittery and ecstatic, I need this kid now, I really want her. But much to my surprise despite my invasive aura projected right on her, she repeated the same thing. A small specialty of my aura was that people subjected to it were forced to speak the truth, albeit a version of it is possible too but there hasn’t been a time I was fooled in my life except for that one time. Remembering that memory fouls my mood and with the progress, we have made so far I just accept my fate and order the squad to wrap things up. I'll have to keep an eye on these children, especially that feisty one. I haven’t had a meal such good in so long.