Author Topic: The Freedom War  (Read 520 times)

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Re: The Freedom War
« on: March 15, 2018, 11:58:14 am »
David sighed wearily, exasperation alight upon his breath. ”Sh*t, I ain’t no copper. You do your thing dude, Imma stay here up on the 50 Cal, where’s frackin safe…”.

Henry adjusted his belt, his shiny black service weapon flashing in the fading light. ”Come on Xander, let’s go help her. Light is wasting!”, he said cheerfully. Grabbing the handle of the armored van, he jumped out to the broken paved road below, a resounding thud audible enough to lightly vibrate the van. Xander followed suit, boots slipping ever so slightly atop the gravel that coated the dusty black road. Both continued ahead, ever weary of their surroundings, boots crunching over loose debris as they made their way towards the figure. Behind them, Xander could sense David moving about, possible anxious about the threat of immanent attack.

As they drew closer, the figure grew more defined, shadows repelled only by their sharpening eyes, highlighting her deep Asiatic features. Her dark, silky hair, stained by dust and decay, draped over her figure like a rotten mop-head atop a figure-glass pedestal. Her clothes spoke to her menial work, a frilly white apron atop a light pink frock, ripped, shredded, stained with blood but not her own, caked in grime and shoot. A chipped white nametag, clearly inked in neat black letters was pinned upon her lapel. “Hello! My names is Tsubaki”, they read, obscured only by a solitary line of dried blood that ran from her shoulder down her chest.  Her face and hands were soft, perhaps silky smooth if one were to spend the time to wash away the filth, but beneath the thick layer of dirt, her eyes shone brightly, glassy, but alive.

”Er… miss…?”, Henry began to speak, his voice warry but full of the light hearted compassion he exuded, far too trusting he was. ”My name is Henry, Henry Johnson, this here is Xander. We’re both officers of the law, in a sense I suppose. You,.. er, need any assistance?”

”Channel… 1… 3… unknown units spotted…. over… Arcaida… Kyoko… Saruleah Bay… New Daschan… São Paulo…”

”Er… what miss?”

”All flights are… are routed to return to airports. If return is impossible… evasive action and head to nearest available airport…”

”Miss,.. er.. can you tell me what happened here?”

The youthful, battered woman turned to the pair, her eyes widening, striking invisible holes into them. ”THEY COME! THEY COME! THEY COME!”, she shouts, before collapsing to the pavement below, as heavily as a felled tree slamming into the rocky crag below a cliff. She lay there, motionless.

Henry turned Xander, his face colored by a mix of confusion and sympathy, eyebrows raised but a hair, shoulders enthralled in the early stages of a shrug. ”Shoot man, what kind of stuff do you have to go through to make you like that? Shoot, I mean, I don’t mean to be rude, you jettisoned out of a starship in a warzone,.. but at least you’re not babbling… come on, I don’t want to stay out here any longer than we have to”

Gingerly, Henry picked up the now comatose woman, Tsubaki, bracing her against his chest as if she were an infant, and began to walk back towards the armored van. Opening the rear, he laid her down upon one of the rear benches.

”Your name’s Shawis, right? Make sure she’s alright, just call us back if there’s a problem,” Henry spoke to one of the passengers in the rear, who looked none too pleased with the added burden, and eyes her warily. Henry returned to the side of the van, stretched his arms towards the stars for a few moments, as if worshiping some unknown deity, before climbing once more into the driver side of the armored vehicle.

”I don’t want to be out here longer than we have to, and we’ve got maybe an hour of usable daylight left. Keep a lookout for any farmhouses that we can stay in at the fringe of the town.”

Outside the town, some half-hour away, the van slowed to a stop. Here, the path had devolved, no longer the smooth, but rugged paved terrain they had grown accustomed to along the road, no here, dirt was pervasive and king, deeply entrenched in the formally black tires of the van, coating anything exposed, from front grill to rear bumper. A short distance away, a rickety old farmhouse, peeling paint and rough wood, a behemoth whose glory days were long since passed. Farm tools lay scattered, some rusting, others sleeker, haphazardly stored around the farm, a clear lack of organization. However, with the exception of a handful of field mice that played a mesmerizing game of tag in and out of the stalks of rich, yellow wheat, not a single being stirred. An ample hovel for the night.

”We’ll have to shack up here, I don’t think we’ll find a better spot by tonight. And I really don’t fancy being stuck out in the van with everyone,” Henry spoke to Xander. Re-engaging the vehicle, Henry turned right, into the farm.

Parking inside an abandoned barn, long since vacated by its last inhabitants except for the rare spider, the survivors shuffled groggily towards the dilapidated, Xander leading at the front, with Henry bringing up the rear. ”Xander,” Henry shouted, ”You go first. Make sure the house is clear for everyone!”

Xander obliged, leaping up several steps up to the porch. A wooden rocking chair, perhaps once painted a vibrant green, lay propped up against the side. A few wooden crates filled with nothing but the sweetest air stacked to the other side. The wide porch was relatively clear, an oddity given the uncleanliness of the farm in its totality.

First opening the outer screen door, Xander knocked gingerly, a light tap, then a heavier rap against the hardy front door. Thick, sturdy wood rough against Xander’s hand, the door was in dire need of a good sanding. Nothing. Xander tried once more. Still nothing. Carefully, Xander turned the brass knob, and entered the home, watching keenly for the slightest movement.

Xander stepped inside, the arcane floor boards creaking under his weight. Sh*t, too dark. Xander fumbled in his pants, shoot he had put it there earlier,… there. From his pants, he pulled the ancient, chipped flashlight that he had stashed there from the van’s glove box. A quick shake, a flip of a switch, and a shaft of bright, yellow-tinged light shot forth, barely illuminating the dusty hallway ahead of Xander. Still too dark to firmly define the muddled shapes, but enough to seek out the light switch.

A few more steps, a single flick. Click. The old house was suddenly thrust into a sea of murky yellow lighting from dim overhead lights, somewhat illuminating the ancient home. Xander looked around, observing the house for any peculiarities that might be lurking.

Where he stood, Xander could see a good portion of the rooms of the first floor, should he turn his head. To his left, a living room, furnished with rough, plush, antique chairs and a sofa, surrounding a long, scratched, oak wood table and a red brick fireplace filled with long dead cold charcoal, protected by an iron grate, the wooden floor beneath plastered with dirty brown rugs, in need of a good thorough wash. To his right, a sketchy kitchen, appliances as old as the house, and as worn to, countertops decked in once egg-white linoleum, chipped from years of use, rough, wooden cupboards with unknown goods and mystery filling available space along the walls. In front of him, brown, wooden stairs, perhaps leading up to the second floor, ending in void, undefinable by Xander’s eyes. Everywhere, a light layer of dust and grime coated each surface, barely so as if someone had seasoned the entire house in fine dirt, shook loose from the ceiling rather recently.

Henry poked his head into the house tentatively. ”You alright? Don’t see anything out of the ordinary? Good.” Henry disappeared outside once more. ”It’s okay, everyone let’s get inside,” Henry’s parched, muffled voice could be heard even through the thick oak door. A brief second past, then the weary civilians stumbled in, a rag-tag assortment from all walks of life. For the first time, Xander could see them all clearly in the broken yellow-ish light, their grime encrusted clothes from suits to casual atire, some with dried, ****, crimson blood, others with dark, painful bruises as if their bodies had been tattooed by an inexperienced artist consumed by Lou Gehrig’s disease, just under a dozen, each individual more fatigued and more battered than the preceding.

Tsubaki came in second to last, a new, white cotton shawl draped over her like a obscuring hood-good, she was walking-, her eyes warily avoiding Xander as he watched her move into the home quietly.  Henry followed shortly after, closing the thick, wooden door behind him with a solid, resounding thud. He turned to the ragged survivors as they huddled in the atrium nervously.

”Alright everyone, this place looks sufficient for the night. Xander checked it out-right Xander?-and he didn’t find anything out of the ordinary. I don’t know how much food there is in the kitchen, but there’s probably clothes for everyone to change into upstairs. Try and group up in groups of 2-3, and pick a bedroom for the night. If there’s any water still running through the plumbing, try and take a shower and find any buckets to fill with water. We don’t know how long we will have to wait until another shower, or when the plumbing is going to go out.”

Henry turned abruptly to Xander as the others dispersed in a rather unorganized fashion, some heading upstairs to the promise of a sweltering, relaxing shower, others foraging like timid rodents for food in the various wooden cupboards of the antique kitchen. Henry was exhausted, his eyes deeply sunken, above thick, swollen bags. He wavered slightly, a light tremble barely visible through his limbs, a consequence of his inopportune escape and subsequent rush of life-giving adrenaline. He began to speak.

”Um… sorry, I don’t want to hedge our bets on there being a functional heater in this house, and with fall coming around, it’s going to get cold fast. We need to build up a fire as soon as possible, but there’s no wood to burn in here… I think there was some wood propped up outside the barn. Since you have the only flashlight,… you know… could you?”

Xander obliged, was only a short walk outside to the barn and he was probably the most fit member standing, even as pained and tired he felt, bones roaring, akin to the flames of the depths of the deepest pit. He trudged relatively silently forward, boots crunching on the thick dirt and gravel, guided by his single beam of yellow light bursting from his flashlight, the night obscuring everything ahead, and his rear solely illuminated by the dim fluorescent lights of the house behind him.

The red, wood barn rose like a ferocious, lunging bear out of a deep cave as Xander neared.  The wooden, front barn doors lay open a hair, so that Xander could scarcely see the van parked neatly inside, but that was not his prize tonight. Around the side, Henry had said. Xander walked right, feeling the rough barn ahead to guide him. There, a thick stack some ten logs high and thirty logs wide, illuminated by his emanating light. Should only need one or two for the night to keep everyone warm. Xander bent down, back creaking under the stress of the day, feeling the rough bark of the wood as he attempted to gain purchase upon-

”You there, hands up! Turn around slowly! No sudden f*ckin movements!,” a man’s thick, deep voice ringing through the quiet night.

Choice 2 (Strength Mild)
A: Oh, this is trouble. Try and bash whoever that is with your flashlight like a club.

B: Comply, nothing good can come from startling someone who sounds ready to hurt you.