Alpha, p.24
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       Alpha, p.24

           Daniel Schmidt
 

  Chapter 24

  Captain Otto kept his hand out until I slowly moved closer and shook it. His hand was massive, just like the rest of him. After our handshake, I stepped back. He was a head taller than me, and my eyes were immediately drawn to his purple eye.

  “Nasty cut you got there,” I said with as much force as I could muster.

  Otto cracked a small smile just for an instant, and then his face went back to business. “Yes, your men have fought bravely. I have much respect for all of you… That is why I don’t want to kill you,” he said, his voice deep and powerful.

  My eyes wandered past him to the line of Alphas behind him. I didn’t doubt they would kill all of us.

  He continued, “Paul, my offer still stands. Give us the Alvar and the rest of you go free. I assure you that my men will not harm you or your men if you comply.”

  My eyes came back to Captain Otto and I suspected he could see the fear in my face. I didn’t want to die, and I didn’t want my men to die.

  “Why do you hunt the Alvar? Why do you want them dead?”

  Captain Otto readjusted his helmet and said, “Paul, what does one group of people do to those around them when they think themselves superior?”

  I didn’t answer.

  “Exploit, persecute, and shun is what superior people do. And not far from all of those is genocide. Paul, we both know the Alvar are superior to us, and it won’t be long before they realize that, and our entire race is at their mercy.”

  “Us?” I asked while pointing to his purple eye. “You’re not the same as me.”

  “A necessary addition. It’s the only way we stand a chance against the Alvar. I was a soldier, just like you, a man with a family, a man with purpose and hope. Now I’m a monster, but a monster fighting for what is right. The Alvar are not here to help us. They are here to replace us.”

  I didn’t know what to say.

  “The Alvar will first rule over us, and then when they grow tired of our vices and weaknesses, they will get rid of us. It is the way of the world, and it has been foretold in the prophecies.”

  “What prophecies are you talking about?” I asked.

  “Alvar, Eine, Fen, Rok – the great war and finally Gim, or the new order. An order with the Alvar on top of us, and slowly replacing us.”

  “Where did you hear this?” I asked.

  “The Prophet foretold it,” Captain Otto said with confidence.

  “Why should I believe you?”

  Captain Otto took his helmet out from under his arm and placed it back onto his head.

  “Paul, I’m not here to debate. I’m here with an offer, the only one available to you. Give up the Alvar and you all go free. Continue to fight and you all will be killed. I don’t want to do that. I would actually be honored if you joined my ranks. In fact, all of you should be fighting for me.” Captain Otto waited for me to answer, and when I didn’t he motioned towards the line of Alphas. “Paul, I will unleash them upon you if you do not give up the Alvar.”

  “Who do you work for?” I asked.

  Captain Otto cracked a smile for a moment. “Many people.”

  “Our government?”

  “I work for people, not governments,” Otto said.

  “What will happen to the Alvar?” I asked.

  “They will be destroyed,” he simply said.

  “Why?”

  “To save our people.”

  “You’re not even giving them a chance.”

  Otto clenched his jaw. “Paul, will you surrender?”

  I shook my head. “I can’t do that. Do what you must.”

  Captain Otto sighed heavily. “Paul, I am begging you, I don’t want to kill you or your men. You are like brothers to me.”

  “Brothers?! Brothers don’t kill each other.”

  “I hate doing it, but it is my job to destroy the Alvar and your men are in the way,” Otto bellowed.

  I sighed heavily. Not knowing what else to say or do, I asked, “Can I talk it over with my men?”

  Captain Otto nodded and said, “Please. My men will not fire on you and I will wait here for your answer.”

  I walked back up to the crag of rocks. All the men looked at me. I shouted for them to come around me and assured them the Legion would not fire. For some reason, I trusted Captain Otto and he kept his word. As the men slowly rose to surround me, no one fired on us.

  “The Alpha I spoke with is the one who killed David. His name is Captain Otto, the commander of the Legion and he is asking us to surrender.”

  The men’s faces became distorted, several cursed, and I heard Walter say, “Never. We are not surrendering. We all believe the Alvar are here for the benefit of mankind. We would never be able to live with ourselves knowing we gave up on them.”

  There were several agreements and curses.

  I looked over the men and then spoke. “There is a squad of Alphas down there, waiting to be unleashed against us.”

  This little bit of information sent fear rippling through everyone. No one spoke, no one moved, until Carlos cleared his throat. “We are not going to surrender. We all believe and have faith in the prophecies. We are the Eine, the protectors of the Alvar. It does not matter if the Legion has a hundred Alphas. We’ll keeping fighting. That’s what we do, that’s who we are.”

  There were a couple murmurs of agreement. My eyes wandered to Denise. She sat behind the men, facing away from us. She looked off down the hill and I saw not a hint of emotion on her face. I was surprised she did not speak and plead with the men to surrender, but I realized she probably knew it would be a waste of breath. These men were not going to surrender; they were going to die fighting.

  Christine sat against a tree to my right with Dr. Thomas. Tears ran down her face but her face was stoic. She did not look at me and did not look at the men. I knew she would be as resolute as the men; she too would die fighting along with everyone else. I let my eyes pass over the men several more times and then spoke.

  “We took all the C4 from the rally point – how much do we have?” I said.

  “My team’s got ten bricks,” Walter said.

  “My team’s got six bricks,” Carlos said.

  “When I go back to speak to the Captain I want those rigged up knee height on the sides of these trees.”

  I pointed left and then right at the trees behind me. “I suspect the Alphas will assault straight up at us and I want to greet them with a nice big bang. Pack them with anything you can find, bullets, metal, rocks, whatever. Make sure they are hidden and then readjust the line stealthily back about twenty five meters.”

  I told them the rest of my plan that had formed in my head and the men nodded. I stood and the men went to work.

  I turned and slowly walked back down to Captain Otto. I knew I had to stall, I had to give my men time to rig the C4. So I asked him about reassurances. I brought up what transportation would be available, what would happen to Denise, why did they want her dead, and anything else I could think of.

  After ten minutes or so, I asked if I could talk it over with my men again and Captain Otto allowed me to leave. I walked back up the hill and found my men pulled back a good distance from our original perimeter. I saw numerous C4 charges packed on the sides of trees, bullets, rocks, and metal pressed into them. We were out of sight of Captain Otto and I pulled the men in again. I didn’t mention anything about my conversation with Captain Otto – they would not have wanted to hear it.

  I went around to every single man and thanked him. I thanked each of them for fighting so hard, so selflessly, and with such courage. It was the least I could do for these men. They hugged me and thanked me. I felt tears welling up, but I fought them back. Other men let them flow freely.

  Luke’s men stood off to the side. They looked scared out of their minds and didn’t say a word. I turned and went down the hill and back to Captain Otto. I told him we would not surrender and his head dropped slig
htly along with his eyes. I could tell he was disappointed. He extended his hand, “Paul, it has been an honor.”

  I reached out and took his hand. Otto gripped my hand tight and I realized he was not going to let me go. I tried to pull away but I was no match for his strength. With his other hand he pulled a syringe from his vest. It was filled with a dark purple liquid. In a flash he drove the syringe into my chest.

 
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