Alpha, p.23
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       Alpha, p.23

           Daniel Schmidt

  Chapter 23

  As we approached Luke’s men, I realized I had not asked him when or how his men were going to take everyone into custody. I wondered if they were going to identify themselves as police when we got to them or take us somewhere where there were more of them. The squad wasn’t going to go quietly, and Luke’s men numbered only about eight. We had just fought off an Alpha – these guys wouldn’t last long if the squad fought back.

  My heart beat so fast I thought it was going to burst. My hands became so soaked in sweat I had trouble holding onto my rifle. Whatever they had planned I just hoped no one had to die. To my relief the guy in charge of Luke’s men didn’t do anything crazy, like try to arrest everyone. He just motioned for everyone to get into the SUVs.

  I went up to him quickly. “I’m Paul, the one Luke has been talking to.”

  “Right,” is all he said. I followed him to the lead SUV. He jumped in the front seat, and I jumped in the seat behind him. Carlos got in beside me and I knew I couldn’t ask too many questions. As soon as everyone was loaded up we accelerated onto the highway, heading northwest.

  “Where we headed?” I asked.

  The man looked back at me. “There’s a place about ten miles from here where we can hunker down for a while.”

  I nodded my head and looked over at Carlos. He had taken his pistol out of his holster and held it in his hands between his legs. I wondered if he sensed something, if he knew something was not right. We drove in silence for a few minutes before the driver slammed on his brakes. He ducked behind the dash and bullets impacted the windshield. I looked down the road and saw the distant outline of several trucks and men in Legion uniforms. They had thrown up a roadblock in front of us.

  My first thought was this was Luke’s plan to take everyone into custody, but it became clear very quickly that Luke’s men were not expecting this. The man in the front seat screamed at the driver to turn right and get off the road. The driver poked one eye above the steering wheel and gunned it. The SUV bounced violently as the front tires went over a ditch. As the back tires hit the ditch, the SUV stopped cold. More bullets tore through the front window, killing the driver. I knew this could not be Luke’s doing.

  Everyone bailed out of the far side of the SUV. Bullets snapped around us, impacting the SUVs behind us. Some of them attempted to get off the road but the ditch running along it was too deep and wide, and none of them made it.

  Everyone jumped from their vehicles into the ditch. Bullets broke through both side windows, showering us in glass. I directed the men to start firing in the direction of the roadblock. Vehicles started coming up the road behind us, discharging Legion men. They worked their way around us in an attempt to surround us.

  I knew if we stayed where we were, we were dead. There was a tall pine-covered hill just beyond the road, and I screamed at everyone to start running for it. I rose and sprinted across the road and then started up the hill. After making it about twenty meters up the hill, I directed a group of men to fire at the roadblock as the rest of the group ran. They fired and we ran. Once we made it fifteen meters, we started firing and the other group ran up the hill. Christine and Denise ran up and down the hill, carrying anyone who fell behind.

  Each group covered the other and we made it to the top. I wanted to escape down the other side and disappear into the woods again, but at the bottom of the reverse slope was a large open field and Legion men were already there. We moved along the hill in the other direction but the Legion from the original roadblock fired on us, forcing us to retreat back to a crag of rocks. I moved out alone to try to find a way out but was fired on no matter where I went. I heard more vehicles down on the road and I knew more and more Legion were arriving.

  More guns fired on us and there was nothing we could do but hug the ground. If anyone rose to shoot, all the Legion’s fire was directed against them. After two men were hit, I screamed at everyone to stay low and out of sight. Someone yelled that two armored trucks were coming up the road.

  I crawled through the rocks to ensure we had a full perimeter. Thankfully Luke’s men were with us; they were scared, but they could cover a sector of fire. Bullets continued to snap over our heads and impact the rocks around us. It was a strong position, with plenty of cover, but we couldn’t survive here forever. As I crawled to the center, I found Denise and Christine on their bellies patching up one of Luke’s men.

  I didn’t get to speak to them as Walter yelled for me. I crawled over to him. He looked through a small gap between two large rocks. He moved out of the way and allowed me to look. My heart nearly jumped out of my throat.

  Down near the highway I saw ten Alphas standing in a semicircle around two armored trucks. Their helmets were slightly different from the Alpha we had fought. Their crests ran front to back but were just as terrifying. We could not survive ten Alphas – nothing could. It seemed fear blinded me for a few seconds. I blinked and rubbed my eyes several times and my vision came back. I wish it had never returned.

  The Alpha we had fought, the one with the crest running from ear to ear and missing his mask, stood in the middle of the others, speaking to them. He spoke for a few moments and then turned towards us. My eye started to quiver as I waited for them to charge, to come and finish us off.

  I watched the line of Alphas, unable to look away. I waited for them to charge but to my surprise they didn’t. They just stood there looking up at our position. After a couple of minutes more gunfire erupted all around us. Four or five machine guns fired and a mass of bullets crashed into our crag of rocks. I had to hug the ground as bullets tore shards of rock off near me. Tree branches, cut by the Legion bullets, fell onto us. More guns opened up and the air reverberated as every gun the Legion had fired on us. The gunfire, impact, and snapping of bullets around us built to a steady roar.

  Everyone curled up behind whatever rock they were closest too. Several of the wounded men covered their ears and I saw they were screaming. Then, as quickly as it had started, the fire stopped. Dead silence told me the Alphas were about to assault. I waited for them to come bounding over the rocks but nothing happened. I looked up through the rocks again and saw the line of Alphas standing in the exact same spot.

  Then I heard someone yell, “Paul Trent!”

  It came from the direction of the Alphas.

  “Paul Trent, I’m here to talk,” the voice said again.

  I slowly pushed my head above the rocks to look down the hill. Halfway between the armored trucks and our crag of rocks stood the Alpha we had fought. His hands were raised about shoulder level to show nothing was in the palms. The Alpha yelled, “Paul Trent, come talk to me.”

  I lowered my head and found everyone looking at me. Gathering every ounce of courage I could, I stood. I stepped over the rocks and walked down the hill. The Alpha was still standing with his arms raised. As I got closer, he lowered his hands.

  The Alpha slowly brought his hands up to his helmet, unclipped it, and removed it from his head. The gash Walter had given him was oozing blood down his face and neck. He placed the helmet under his left arm, and then extended his right hand and said, “Paul Trent, I am Captain Otto.”

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