Alpha, p.15Daniel Schmidt
It took us two hours to get to rally point Black. The sun was starting to get high in the sky, but the temperature remained cold. The rally point was on the southwest corner of the Peaks, halfway up one of the steep ridges that led up the mountain and in the middle of a group of colorful aspen trees, their leaves constantly floating down through the air.
We uncovered several large metal cases full of supplies. There was winter clothing vacuum-sealed in plastic, Kevlar helmets and body armor, assault rifles, ammunition, C4 explosives, water, and packaged food. Each of us donned a Kevlar helmet and warmer clothing, and then we gorged ourselves because there was more food than we could carry. Everyone dropped their MP5s for assault rifles. Whatever ammo would not fit in magazines we stuffed into every empty pocket, next to packages of food. I made sure we took all the C4 explosives, thinking it might come in handy later on.
I found the booklet with a list of safe houses. The closest one was in a town called Page, a several hour drive north of where we were, right on the Arizona/Utah border. Without vehicles it would take us a week or more to walk there. I needed to contact Luke.
I told Walter and Carlos that I was going to recon up ahead for a few minutes and left without anyone else. As soon as I was on the other side of the ridge I called Luke.
“Where are you?” he said with a hint of tension in his voice.
“Southwest corner of the Peaks. We’ve been running from the Legion, but we’ve made it to some kind of rally point.”
Luke snorted. “It’s chaos here in town, especially where you guys were ambushed and where I’m guessing you had another gunfight this morning. There are bodies, burnt buildings, and bullet holes everywhere. The whole city thinks its being invaded or something. Media from all over the country are arriving. Everyone wants to know what is going on.”
“That’s good right? We should have all the backup in the world coming to help us?”
“Yes, there are armies of cops, SWAT teams, and special agents on their way here, but we haven’t been able to find these Legion guys.”
“Who could they be?” I asked.
“I have no idea. I’m realizing now how little we knew.”
“We picked up another one of those people and we did have another gunfight with the Legion this morning,” I said.
“Is she alive? What’s her story?” Luke asked.
“She’s alive but I don’t know anything about her. When they put me in charge they gave me this little smart phone device thing that tells us where to pick these people up at. We got her location, we went there and picked her up, and then made our way to the rally point. She’s been okay with the whole thing.”
“Who is she?”
“All I know is her name is Denise. I haven’t been able to talk to her.”
Luke let out a long breath. “Is there any way you can arrange a way to bring everyone in? I need to question everyone and figure out what is going on. I can’t have you guys leaving any more dead bodies and burnt houses around. We’re drawing way too much attention.”
“You want everyone?” I asked.
“Yes, we need to talk to everyone and start putting this puzzle together.”
I sighed. “We’re supposed to be going to a safe house but it’s hundreds of miles away and we don’t have any vehicles. Maybe we could meet up with your guys on the pretext that you’re going to transport us there. I could tell them your guys are some old friends or something.”
“We could make that work.” Luke said.
“Do you have somewhere discreet we could go to?”
“I have a place and it’s outside of the city,” Luke said.
“Where do you want to try to meet up?” I asked.
“Well, you don’t want to move back towards the city. It’s chaos here. I suggest you guys move northwest and link up with my men up that way.”
I pulled up a map. Highway 180 ran northwest out of town and kept going for quite some distance until it linked up with Highway 64. “Can your guys come in from Williams, go up the 64, and then south on the 180?” I asked.
I heard clicking and figured Luke was looking at an online map. “That might work, come in the back door.”
I gave him a location close to Highway 180 that was about five miles from where we were. “Can we meet up there?”
“That will work, I’ll get my guys moving right away,” Luke said.
“Luke, there is a spot we have to check out before we meet up with you. It is where we received a distress call from someone else in this organization. I’m sure it’s burnt down with bodies everywhere, but the Sergeant I replaced wanted us to check it out.”
“Okay, will it take you that far off course?”
“No, it’s on the way.”
“That’s fine but make sure you hustle. I don’t want a lot of delays.”
I took a deep breath. “Luke, what are you planning on doing with these guys?” I asked.
“Question them and figure out what the hell is going on,” he said dryly.
“I don’t think they are terrorists. They have done nothing but defend themselves.”
“Four of my agents are dead because of them,” Luke hissed.
“Are you sure it was them and not the Legion? The Legion are the bloodthirsty ones.”
“Look Paul, bring these people in and I’ll sort this mess out. It doesn’t matter what I do with them, your job is to get them to me.”
“It just doesn’t make sense. I can’t see these guys going after cops and those people you said were kidnapped most likely went willingly.”
Luke cursed. “Just bring your people to me and I’ll figure it out.” He ended the call.
I suddenly felt very uncomfortable handing the squad – the men I had been entrusted with – over to Luke. I felt even more uncomfortable giving him Christine and Denise, as both of them had definitely done nothing wrong. But I knew how investigations worked – something could always be found to put someone behind bars.
I walked back to the rally point. The men were still eating, some were reloading magazines, and others had dozed off as they lay behind trees. Denise approached me.
“Are you taking me to the Council?” she asked.
“What Council?” I asked.
“You are supposed to take me to the Council, that is what I was told.”
“You were told by whom?”
“The Doctor,” she replied, her tone hinting that I was supposed to know who this was.
I shrugged. “Look, I’ve been here less than a month and they didn’t tell me much. I don’t know who the Council or the Doctor is.”
Denise nodded her head and looked down at the ground for a second and then back at me.
“So you don’t know where the Council is?”
“Never even heard of them, much less been told where they are.”
“Then where are you taking me if you don’t mind me asking?” Denise asked.
“Well, we have a couple of options,” I said, trying to think of a way to tell her, and eventually everyone else, about Luke.
“And what are those options?”
“There is a safe house in Page but it’s over a hundred miles away. I’m trying to work something else out in the mean time.”
Denise nodded her head again. “Paul, I know you are under a lot of stress but you are supposed to take me to the Council.”
“I don’t know where they are,” I said.
“Haven’t you done this before?”
The question stung my pride. “We lost a lot of men before we found you. The Legion, the guys who are chasing us, killed most of our… friends. They came real close to taking us out too. I’ve only rescued one other Alvar and we took that one to an open field where a helicopter picked her up. Who took her or where they took her, I don’t know, but I don’t think those guys are around anymore. What we have to do now is just keep you alive.”
I put my hand on Denise’s shoulder. “My job is to keep you alive, we’ll figure out the rest when you’re safe.”
Alpha by Daniel Schmidt / Actions & Adventure / Thrillers & Crime have rating 4.8 out of 5 / Based on19 votes