Alpha, p.18
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       Alpha, p.18

           Daniel Schmidt

  Chapter 18

  I walked down to the Legion man with Denise, who insisted she come with me. The rest of the squad remained by the trees, resting their feet. The man was awake, staring blankly at the fire that had died down considerably.

  He only moved his eyes up to me as I bent down in front of him.

  “What’s your name?”

  He cursed at me.

  “How many men did you come here with?”

  “Enough,” he said after a grunt.

  I asked him a few more questions about the Legion but he didn’t give me anything – he was a good soldier. I started to reach over at his broken leg but Denise stopped my hand with surprising quickness. She looked down at me and shook her head. She nudged me over so she could kneel in the man’s line of sight.

  “Why do you want me dead?” Denise asked.

  The Legion man looked at her for a few seconds and then spoke. “Because you’re going to make slaves out of all of us.” The man pointed at me. “These idiots think you’re here to save them. Nothing could be further from the truth.”

  “Why would I make you slaves?” Denise asked.

  The man’s face tensed up. “You’re smarter, stronger, and have a lust for power. You’ll naturally come out on top and when you do, the only use you will have for us will be as slaves. That’s why we want you dead, so our children don’t grow up in chains.”

  “I will make no man a slave,” Denise said sternly.

  The man sniffed. “Not yet. You haven’t been around us long enough to grow disgusted of all our weaknesses. Just wait, soon enough you’ll figure out your so-called superiority and you’ll want to put us in our places. The Alvar will bring Fen into this world, a chaos that will consume this planet and all that we have built. My people will be left ignorant, hopeless, and desperate for guidance. That is when the Alvar will rise to power and make slaves of the rest of us, when they hold all the knowledge, all the secrets of this world.”

  “Who told you this?” Denise asked.

  The man seemed not to hear her. “We have almost destroyed all of you, and once we finish the job, Fen will not come. Once you are dead, the world will be rid of the Alvar and will not have to suffer. Soon we will be safe.”

  “I am not here to make you a slave,” Denise said, leaning close to the man, “I don’t have a lust for power. I have a yearning for justice and fairness, for equality and prosperity, for peace and security.”

  The man shook his head just slightly. “That’s what they all say. Then when they have seized power, their true colors come out.”

  Before Denise could speak, I put my hand on her shoulder. “This is going nowhere, we need to leave,” I said. Denise nodded her head and we walked back towards the squad. But Denise stopped me after a few steps.

  “What are we going to do with him?” she said, pointing back at the man.

  “We can’t take him with us,” I said.

  “He’s going to die out here. He needs to get to a hospital.”

  “He’ll just slow us down. There is nothing we can do for him.”

  “We can’t do that. We have to help him. We can’t just leave him out here to die,” Denise said harshly.

  “That man is your enemy. If he had the strength he’d be trying to kill you right now.”

  “He may be my enemy but he is still a human being. I won’t allow you to just leave him. He had a radio on his gear, we can call for help.”

  “Call who? The Legion? And give them our position?”

  “Let him have the radio, he can call for help himself.”

  “He would tell his buddies where we went, how many people we have, who we have with us, what we are armed with. He’ll give them valuable information.”

  “Then we take the radio and after we are a safe distance away, we call for help.”

  I didn’t say anything and Denise’s purple eyes seemed to darken.

  “Paul, I will not go any further with you until you give me your word that you will get that man some help.”

  “Fine, after we get well away from here we will call the Legion to come and get him.”

  Denise went back down to the man and started rifling through his gear. She found a water bottle and offered it to the man but he refused. She set it down near him. She then snatched up his radio and we rejoined the squad.

  I briefed Carlos and Walter about where we were going to meet Luke’s men. I was vague about who they were, telling them it was just some people I knew. They asked no questions as they trusted me. After they relayed the information to their men, we stepped off.

  After we were a good distance away from the burnt buildings, I pressed the transmit button on his radio.

  “Any station, any station, this is Yankee 2,” I said, making up a radio call sign.

  There was no response and I said it again. After a brief pause, someone responded, “Hello, Paul Trent.” I felt weak and dizzy. Whoever was on the other line called me by name, without hesitation.

  “Identify yourself,” I said.

  There was a pause, then “This is Captain Otto, commander of the Legion forces.” The voice was deep and hollow.

  My hand started to shake a little. How did he know my name! I thought.

  “Paul Trent, hand over the Alvar and this will all be over,” Otto said.

  I wanted to deny who I was but he obviously knew somehow, just from my voice.

  I squeezed the radio in a vain attempt to stop my hand from shaking. I took a deep breath and spoke. “That is not an option, but you have a wounded man that needs assistance.”

  “Don’t be foolish Paul, with every passing hour we grow stronger and you weaker.”

  I didn’t respond and Captain Otto spoke again. “We have killed nearly all the Alvar, destroyed every asset you have, and we will soon surround you. Stop this foolish running and give the Alvar up and you and your men will not be harmed.”

  “I say again, you have a wounded man that needs help, location to follow.”

  “Paul, you and your men have fought bravely but there is no hope for you. You will be killed and the Alvar captured if you continue this. Lay down your arms and surrender.”

  “Negative,” I said.

  There was a long pause. “I don’t want to kill you Paul, you are a… soldier like me.”

  “Do you even care about your wounded man?” I asked over the radio, looking over at Denise who was kneeling next to me.

  “I will ask one last time, give up the Alvar and you all go free, unharmed.”

  “I can’t do that,” I said.

  There was another long pause and then the captain spoke. “Paul, in a few hours ten more of what you call Alphas will arrive. We will surround you and those Alphas will finish you off if you keep trying to run. Lay down your arms, give us the Alvar, and go back home.”

  My heart raced at the mention of ten Alphas. We were having monumental trouble with just one. Despite the fear I said, “We are not going to surrender, we are going to fight our way out of here and a lot more of your men are going to die unless you call them off. Now do you want to know the location of your wounded man or not?”

  “I want you and your men to surrender. My fight is not with you, it is with the Alvar.”

  I looked at Denise. Her face went taut but she nodded her head. I turned the radio off and then hurled it down the hill.

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