Alpha, p.13
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       Alpha, p.13

           Daniel Schmidt
 

  Chapter 13

  The target house was three and half miles away, and like all the other target houses it was also not far from the forest.  Sergeant Barnes ordered us to leave him and our KIAs behind. Christine gave us her word that Sergeant Barnes could survive a couple of hours alone. I didn’t tell Luke we had another mission. I didn’t really have time or free space now that I was in charge of the squad. It took us about an hour and a half to travel the distance.  We stopped close to the edge of the wood line.  Sunrise was fast approaching and I didn’t want to be caught out in the daylight.  This meant I had to rush, but at the same time I didn’t want to walk into another ambush.  I moved Carlos and his team off to my left and Walter’s team to my right.  I made sure they could see the target house and could cover my retreat if I found another ambush waiting inside.

  David and I were the only ones who went forward towards the house.  We were able to get a stone’s throw away from the back door before the trees ended and cover became scarce.  I saw a smear of light on the eastern horizon and knew sunrise was coming.  I quickly moved right and left of the house, scanning the street, the houses, and the forest for any signs of an ambush, but I saw none.  I recalled that at the last ambush we encountered no civilians; I guessed they had been evacuated prior. My spirits lifted a little when I saw a man exit the house next door to go walk his dog. 

  I motioned to David and we quickly moved to the back door, pistols raised.  The door was locked but a stiff shoulder broke it open.  I cringed at the sound of breaking wood.  David and I stepped inside and listened.  After a couple of seconds and hearing nothing we moved further into the house.  We found no one downstairs and started up to the second level. We came to a landing and three closed doors.  I pointed to the one closest to us and David moved to open it.  He waited a couple seconds and then swung open the door.

  It was even darker than the rest of the house because the shades were drawn.  I activated my light and found a woman seated on the edge of a bed with her feet squarely on the floor.  She sat upright and did not show any hint of surprise or fear.  She squinted because of our lights but did not move her hands, which rested on her thighs.  She wore military style black boots, tight-fitting tan cargo pants, and a dark brown jacket that went down to mid-thigh.  She had long, dark brown hair partially tied up the back, but the majority of it fell onto her shoulders. She looked thin but athletic and young, probably around twenty-five. I was surprised again when I saw her bright, purple eyes. 

  I hissed the password, “Boat.”

  She answered without hesitation, “Lamp.”

  I lowered my pistol. David aimed his to her left to keep her illuminated.  Her purple eyes moved slowly from David to me and then back to David.  I quickly holstered my pistol.

  “My name is Paul. We are not here to hurt you, we are here to help.”

  “I know,” she said, bringing her eyes to mine. “I’ve been expecting you.”

  Her comment drove fear into me – how did she know we were coming?  I feared we were in for another ambush.  I took the smart phone out of my pocket and moved toward her.

  “I have to check your eyes,” I said, holding up the device.

  “I understand,” she nodded, slightly turning towards me.

  I held the device up to her eye like Sergeant Barnes had explained to me.  I paused to stare into her eyes.  They were a deep, rich purple, and I had trouble looking away.  I hit a button and it took a snapshot of her eye.  I did the same to the other eye and after a few seconds the device flashed with the word “confirmed.” My fear subsided a little.

  “What’s your name?” I asked.

  “Denise.” 

  “Alright, Denise we need to get you out of here quickly.  Can you do everything I ask?”

  She nodded her head. “The doctor said I should bring a bag,” she said, pointing to a backpack on the floor. Doctor? I thought to myself.

  “It wouldn’t hurt,” I said.

  She nodded her head again and I motioned towards the door.  Denise threw on her backpack and David led out, gun raised again.  I followed behind.  I called the rest of the squad on the radio to tell them we were coming out.  They informed me that nothing had changed outside. We quickly ran down the stairs, and as we darted towards the back door I heard tires screeching on the street.

  Adrenaline exploded throughout my body – I knew it was the Legion. David threw open the back door and sprinted towards the trees.  I heard more tires screeching and I turned to look behind me.  A black SUV screeched to a halt on the street and the passenger’s door flew open.

  The Alpha stepped out, and the crest running across his helmet was unmistakable. In the dim light of the morning, I also saw his mask. It looked like the mask of a hockey goalie, except instead of bars near the top there was armor that completely hid his face.

  How did they know we were here?! I thought.

  I had taken the suppressor off my rifle to increase the bullet velocity and I raised it towards the Alpha.  I saw him pointing towards us as I took him in my sights. I squeezed off a long burst, shattering the quiet of the morning.  The Alpha made no indication that he was hit, and I turned and sprinted after Denise and David. 

  I yelled into my radio, “3 friendlies coming back, 3 friendlies coming back!” I prayed Carlos’s and Walter’s team wouldn’t shoot us as we crashed through the trees towards them. David led us between the two teams, and as soon as we were behind them, I screamed into my radio.

  “All friendlies are back, engage anything to your front!”

  I took David and Denise to Carlos’s team who knelt behind trees, rifles raised.  I placed Denise behind a tree, and then searched the trees in front of us for signs of Legion. But I saw nothing.

  Suddenly gunfire erupted from the direction of Walter’s team and my radio clicked, but all I could hear were gunshots.  I yelled at Carlos to hold his position and I sprinted to Walter’s team.  When I arrived, the entire team was firing at a group of men no more than fifty meters away.  I saw the Alpha, oblivious to the bullets snapping around him and yelling orders.

  It didn’t take long for bullets to come tearing through the trees towards us.  I slipped behind a tree and searched out the Alpha in my sights.  He calmly walked from tree to tree, telling his men where to shoot.  I leveled my sights on him and squeezed off several bursts.

  The Alpha kept walking, completely unfazed.  Fear built in me. Could this thing be killed? I emptied my entire magazine at the Alpha and still he kept going.  As the Alpha neared a tree, bullets ripped bark and limbs off. I realized all the men were shooting only at him. I reloaded and concentrated my fire on his men and quickly found they could be killed. I started running to each member of Walter’s team, directing them to fire on the Alpha’s men and not the Alpha himself.  We killed several Legion, and their fire died down considerably.

  Gunfire then erupted from the direction of Carlos’s team. I heard him yell something over the radio about being flanked from the east. I yelled at Walter to have his team “banana peel” to Carlos’s position.  Walter yelled commands to his team and the man furthest down the line got up and ran behind his teammates.  Everyone else fired onto the Legion, trying to keep their heads down.  The man ran to the opposite end of the line, and then the next man and the next did the same, and then the final two.  This leapfrogging moved Walter’s team towards Carlos’s team, all the while keeping fire on the Legion in front of us.

  The Alpha stopped walking and darted from tree to tree in front of us. His remaining men tried to follow but most were gunned down. I feared he would charge us, take us on hand-to-hand, but he remained with his men, directing them.

  It took us several rounds of leapfrogging to link up with Carlos’s men.  Once we did, I saw they were in a fierce gunfight.  The Legion had moved around our left, about a hundred meters away.  I put the squad into a protective semicircle and directed their fire against the Legion.  To my surprise, n
o one in the squad had been hit.

  Christine was with Denise and both were lying on their bellies behind a tree. Denise appeared unafraid and calmly looked around at the men.  I briefly checked in with Christine, and then went back to the line.  The Alpha had disappeared back towards the houses.

  Bullets snapped past our heads and tore off bark and branches all around us. David yelled for me.  I quickly ran to him and he pointed behind him.  I saw men moving through the woods several hundreds yards away.  The Legion were surrounding us, and we needed a way out.  I quickly scanned the woods and saw a small ravine a hundred yards or so away.

  I ran to Carlos and had his team pick up their rate of fire while Walter’s team maneuvered away.  I motioned for Denise and Christine to follow Walter’s team and me.  We moved towards the ravine and then turned and fired at the Legion while Carlos’s team moved.  Once Carlos joined us, we all fired off an entire magazine and then sprinted for the ravine.

  After a few seconds, bullets started snapping around us but the entire squad made it into the ravine without incident.  It afforded us protection as long as we crouched, and thus we ran bent over, bullets flying over our heads.  After several hundred yards, the bullets stopped.

  I had the squad change direction, out of the ravine, and we continued to run.  The Alpha’s yelling continued as the Legion gave chase.  We ran several hundred more yards before I circled the entire squad back onto our route.  I formed them into a line facing the direction we had come, and after a minute or so I heard men crashing through trees towards us.

  The Alpha came first, leading a long file of Legion.  I waited until he was 25 meters away and then gave the signal.  Everyone in the squad fired at once, all concentrating on the Alpha.  He continued for a few strides and I feared he couldn’t be stopped. Like some invincible demon from another world, he would come devour us… But he finally fell.  Once he did, our fire shifted towards the Legion behind him. 

  Our fire devastated the densely packed file of Legion and many fell to the ground dead, while the others scattered left and right towards cover.  We continued to fire, until to my horror, the Alpha slowly rose.  He made it up onto a knee and reached for something on his back. 

  All our rifles shifted back towards him as he pulled a long knife off his back.  He held the knife above his head and I realized it wasn’t a knife – it was actually a sword.  Everyone fired at the Alpha, some bullets clinking off his raised sword. I put his mask in my sights and pulled the trigger, emptying my entire magazine into him.

  The Alpha then let out a scream that pushed terror into my heart.  He rose to his feet and our fire rapidly picked up.  The Alpha staggered, and then fell, still clutching his sword. I yelled for Carlos’s team to run while Walter provided covering fire.  Carlos took his team to our rear and picked up fire, and I started to move with Walter’s team.  I glanced over my shoulder and I saw the Alpha once again rise to his feet.

  I hissed at everyone to run, to stop firing and just run.  If we could not kill the Alpha, then we needed to get away. We needed to hide before he closed on us with his sword.  Carlos led the squad and we ran as fast as our tired legs could carry us.  Everyone was soon breathing hard except Denise.  She calmly jogged behind me, showing no signs of fatigue or fear.

  We changed directions often, and when men started to stumble and fall from exhaustion we circled back on our trail and waited for our pursuers.  We waited for ten minutes but no one came.  I then moved the squad out again, this time at a slow trot back towards where we had left Sergeant Barnes.

 
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