Alpha, p.19
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       Alpha, p.19

           Daniel Schmidt

  Chapter 19

  The fact that the Legion commander knew my name didn’t bother me as much as I though it should. It seemed everyone knew my name somehow. We continued towards the link up point with Luke’s men, heading west and away from the mountain. Part way down the final hill the lead man stopped and everyone else followed suit. The trees farther down the hill were sparse, giving way to a vast expanse of brown grass and level ground. At the bottom of the hill, cresting over a slight wrinkle in the ground, I saw a group of men, and at their head I saw the unmistakable shape of the Alpha.

  They were quite a distance away, but I could tell the Alpha was running towards us, distancing himself from his men. I felt everyone’s eyes go to me. My throat went dry and a painful knot twisted in my stomach.

  “Get back up the hill, set up a defensive position in the rocks,” I said, pointing behind us. Everyone quickly turned and ran up the hill as fast as they could. I turned and started up after them. Out of habit, I counted the men in front of me to make sure everyone was accounted for and realized someone was missing. I stopped, looked back down the hill, and saw someone standing where we had first halted. I could tell it was David from his shape and the way he stood. He looked down the hill at the Alpha, which had distanced himself even further from his men.

  I shouted at him but got no response. I ran down to him and grabbed him by the arm but he pulled away and then turned to look at me.

  His eyes sent a shiver down my spine. He didn’t look scared.

  “David, we need to get out of here,” I hissed.

  “We can kill him,” David said.

  “What are you talking about?”

  “The Alpha’s armor can stop bullets and shrapnel, but like most ballistic armor it can be penetrated by a powerful thrust from a knife.” David dropped his rifle and pulled out his bayonet.

  I grabbed him up near the collar. “We’re not going to fight that thing with a knife, let’s go!”

  David pushed my hand away forcefully. “We can kill him!” he shouted at me.

  “How would you know that?” I hissed.

  “Because I know their secrets. We can kill the Alpha. A blade can penetrate his armor.”

  “Why the hell didn’t you tell us that before?!” I shouted.

  David’s face went white and he squeezed his eyes shut. After a second or so he opened them again.

  “Because I’m not on your side… I’m one of them,” he said, raising his hand slowly and pointing down the hill.

  The painful knot in my stomach wrenched, and I felt a burning in my checks.

  “What the hell did you say?” I said.

  David cursed. “I’m with the Legion. I’ve been telling them where we go, what we are planning. How else did you think they were able to track us? How did you think they kept showing up wherever we go? How did you think Captain Otto knew your name? It’s because I told them.”

  I cursed several times. “How could you?”

  “Because I thought I was doing the right thing. I thought the Legion were the good guys. I was told the squad was a terrorist organization.”

  I found it hard to breathe, words failed me, and David shook his head. He looked back down the hill. “But I can’t watch another one of our men die and I would never be able to live with myself because of the ones who have.”

  I felt weak and dizzy. David looked back at me. “I can’t do it anymore. Sergeant Barnes and our two team leaders are dead because I told the Legion where we were going. I am responsible for their deaths. I have blood on my hands and poison in my soul because of it.” David looked down at his bayonet and ran his hand along the blade. “I’ll show you the Alpha’s weakness.”

  David turned to face down the hill, and I lunged to grab him, but he tripped me up and sprinted down the hill. I rose to my feet and keyed my radio, calling for Walter and Carlos.

  I looked back up the hill and saw the squad had stopped because of my radio call. They were a hundred meters farther up the hill. I waved for them to come down but no one moved. I cursed and yelled at them to come back down and after a moment’s hesitation, they came sliding and skidding back down the hill to me.

  The Alpha was closing the distance between us, sprinting up the hill at us, sword in hand. His men were still at the bottom of the hill, struggling up the incline.

  I nearly told the men to charge down after David but a sudden realization hit me. If David was with the Legion, maybe he was trying to draw us down into a trap, delivering us into the hands of the Alpha on the false promise that a knife could defeat him when hundreds of bullets had done nothing.

  “What’s going on?” Walter bellowed.

  “He’s lost it, he’s gone crazy,” Carlos said loudly as his eyes followed David down the hill. I looked at the men who were strung out on either side of me. “Fix bayonets!” I yelled at them. I pulled my bayonet out and held it out in front of me. If David was somehow right, if he wasn’t leading us into a trap, we had to be ready. I jammed the bayonet onto the end of my rifle.

  The men hesitated for a moment but after I shouted at them again everyone pulled their bayonets out and fixed them to the ends of their rifles.

  “He’s committing suicide,” Carlos hissed at me. “We need to stay alive, not die like a bunch of stupid heroes.”

  I looked back down the hill. David and the Alpha were headed straight towards each other, David armed with his bayonet, the Alpha armed with his sword. I pointed at them and the squad’s eyes followed.

  David skidded to a halt as he met the Alpha. The Alpha swung his sword but David dodged it and lunged forward. David’s bayonet glanced off the armor of the Alpha. The Alpha swung his sword again but David was able to duck away. David struck several more times with his bayonet but didn’t penetrate the armor. The Alpha reached out and took hold of David’s shirt, trying to pull him close. David raised his bayonet with both hands above his head and drove it down into the Alpha’s shoulder, penetrating the armor and sending it all the way down to the handle.

  Several of the men cursed. The Alpha threw David to the ground and sheathed its sword. It reached up and tore the bayonet from its armor.

  David was right; a knife could penetrate the Alpha’s armor. “We can kill the Alpha,” I said, trying to convince myself fully of the fact. “A blade can penetrate his armor, all of you just saw that. We can kill him, we will kill him!”

  Everyone looked at me with wide eyes and no one spoke. I took my rifle in one hand, raised it above my head and roared, “Alllllll!” as loud as I could.

  No one shouted in response. I yelled again, “Allllll!”

  The squad followed with a weak “Vaar.”

  “Alllllll,” I screamed again.

  This time the squad answered with a thunderous “Varrrrrr!!!!”

  I took my rifle in both hands, cursed under my breath, and charged down the hill.

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