Read Genesis (The Exodus Trilogy) Online

Authors: Andreas Christensen

Genesis (The Exodus Trilogy) (4 page)

BOOK: Genesis (The Exodus Trilogy)
4.5Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

Colonel Quellar looked like she had something on her mind, and Havelar motioned for her to speak.

“So what do we do now, sir. As you said, we need to end this war, and the sooner the better.” Havelar shot Henry a disapproving look, before answering the colonel.

“Yes, this needs to end. And it seems there’s no way around it; we need to attack the Stronghold itself. Now, I take it your new conscripts are still too raw to take north?”

“Yes, sir, most of them are. We have less than fifty experienced soldiers, but the recruits from last year should be fine. The latest batch needs a lot more training, though. As they are, they would be nothing but cannon fodder. I believe they would be of better use here, serving as security guards. If I take the army north, we still need to guard Fort Andrews, after all.”

“Yes, what about the safety of Fort Andrews?” Henry said. Havelar looked at the ruin again, a clear reminder that security still needed to be maintained while they took the war to the rebels.

“It’s a risk, but if we don’t act soon, they will,” he said.
And this way, we control the time and place
, he thought. Colonel Quellar’s handheld comm device buzzed, and she opened it, frowning.

“Sir, there seems to be some kind of disturbance out by the shuttle field. Something is interfering with the comms, so I can’t make everything out.” Havelar cursed. So much for taking the war to the rebels. Still, this was how they fought. Pinprick attacks on key installations, harassing troops where they least expected it, taking small bites at a time.
That’s how you eat an elephant
, he thought.

“Henry, go take care of it. We cannot afford to lose a single shuttle.” Henry nodded and trotted off without further argument.

Chapter 4
 

Tina hammer

 

“So there is movement down south, is that what you’re saying? Are they coming?” Tina said, annoyed at the interference. They were spread out pretty thin along the foothills, mainly patrols watching for large troop movements, sometimes crossing the Trickler for deep reconnaissance. Mostly, they reported quiet, nothing in particular, although occasionally an enemy recon patrol was spotted and had to be taken care of if they got too close. Sometimes there were skirmishes, but the war was on a slow burn, and the parties were mostly feeling each other out, watching for weaknesses and avoiding battle when possible.

With every defensive element spread out like this, communication was of utmost importance, and just yesterday everything seemed to be working smoothly. Then, when one of the patrols reported back, there were strange disturbances, and it was hard to make out what the patrol commander actually said. If this continued, they would have no choice but to revert to written data packets, which were designed to break through a scrambled network. It was cumbersome, though, so she hoped it was just a passing atmospheric disturbance.

“…conflicting… attack… comms… no tr… movement so far… waiting…” She tried to piece it together, but it seemed something was going on down in Andrews. Not the offensive they were all expecting whenever Havelar decided to push north, though.

“Do you want me to take my team out, ma’am?” Thomas asked. She had begun to rely quite a bit on the younger man, who had proven himself as capable in the field as in his former role as a spy and saboteur. When he blew up the chemical factory a month ago, he had rid them of a serious threat and given them their first real victory so far. Hopefully that wouldn’t be the last. Tina was determined to bring Havelar to justice for the murder of her old friend and commander Admiral Greg Hamilton, and all the others who perished from the chemical weapons attack on the Trickler.

“Yes, but not to deal with this. I’ll sort it out. It doesn’t seem like they are coming just yet.” She turned toward the younger man and continued, “What I want you to do is establish a forward base. We need a hideout as far south as possible, both as a fallback position for deep recon and as part of an early warning system.” Thomas seemed to consider for a moment, and then he grinned, a wolf’s grin.

“I know exactly the spot. We’ll be hidden right under their noses,” he said. Tina smiled back, nodding.

“I trust you to find a good spot and to get it done. You need anything?”

“Just ten strong men in addition to my team. And a shit load of equipment. I want to make sure we’ve got a spot where we can lie low for as long as needed, which means we need an airtight room and lots of supplies. It’ll take us a week or so, since we can only work at night. But I’ll get it done,” Thomas said, obviously planning every detail already while speaking.

People seldom impressed Tina, but this guy did. She knew he wasn’t telling her everything about himself, but she knew enough to know he was pretty remarkable. She had heard the stories of a man named Thatcher, who had been the mastermind of the conspiracy against President Andrews’ vision for the Exodus Project. She had learned that at least both Kenneth and Thomas were here only because of him. There were probably others, as well, although most wouldn’t have known of each other, just like Kenneth. She suspected a few of the scientists, both those here in the Stronghold and some down in Fort Andrews, such as that geologist, Jeremiah something, were just like Kenneth. It seemed Thomas was the only one who actually knew of his role in the great scheme of this Thatcher fellow, which told her he must be pretty special.

“…have to… find out more… outpost… east… field…” the voice on the comms continued. Tina dismissed Thomas and turned back to trying to interpret the cryptic messages from the patrol commander. She was suddenly relieved they had laid landlines from the Stronghold to the mountain passes. At least those couldn’t be affected either by atmospheric disturbances or bad reception.

george Havelar

 

George Havelar once again doubted his own decisions. He had done so lately, more than ever before, and sometimes he doubted his entire mission as governor here on this planet. This place that looked so much like a paradise, but now seemed to be descending into hell. He had a few strong supporters, both the old business associates and new ones, such as the army, IT, and a good number of the loyal colonists in Fort Andrews. The scientists were divided, with the majority probably already up north or living and working under guard. The loyal scientists were separated from the troublemakers, such as Jeremiah Lowell, who were more concerned with politics than science. Still, a small voice in the back of his head sometimes made him question the path he had chosen. Perhaps it would have been better to have an elected government, to break off from the old ways of Earth? He’d been, and still was, afraid that things weren’t moving quickly enough; that the all-eggs-in-one-basket situation here on Aurora could turn out even worse than back on Earth, if a similar threat were to appear. But while he’d been concerned with such potential disaster, a disaster just as real was unfolding before them. If the war didn’t end soon, if resources were spent on killing instead of building a future, if too many died, the population might never recover. That would mean the end…

His thoughts were interrupted by the buzzing of his handheld. It was Major Carroll.

“Talk to me, Henry,” he said. The voice on the other end sounded garbled, and there was some kind of static that made every other word unintelligible.

“… attack, sir… shuttle field… They destroyed… shuttles.” That made Havelar stop dead in his tracks. If the rebels had taken out both shuttles, it meant there were only two left: one on the Exodus itself and one held by the rebels, somewhere to the north.

“How many were there?” he asked. He wondered if anything he said was getting through, as the answer from Henry was unintelligible.

“…Gone… cover fire had to come… miles away… deadly accurate… more than half of us… amazing body armor… testing defenses… didn’t know… advanced? …kids?” Of course, it had to be the kids, Havelar thought. Supposedly, they were like some super weapon, changed somehow, but he didn’t know how. Their attacks were always ruthless, killing as many as possible, often letting a single survivor get away, to spread the tale of terror. And the rest of the rebels had seemed content to hunt the patrols up north.

It was strange though, he didn’t think they had the capability to carry out an attack such as this, and neither did Henry, from what he could tell. All encounters with the rebels had been guerilla-style attacks on military personnel and equipment. When they had destroyed the weapons factory, there had been few casualties and little collateral damage. Until now. Something about this attack wasn’t right.

The attack today out by the shuttle field was different, both from the rebels’ modus operandi of defensive warfare and from the kids’ killing sprees. Long-range, deadly accurate cover fire, and seemingly impenetrable body armor—an attack the security force at the shuttle field hadn’t managed to hold back. They had destroyed two shuttles, a target Havelar hadn’t expected the rebels to go after. And what was the strategic value to them?

“Warn the outlying posts, right now. I’ll send the colonel,” he replied to the major, although, based on the response, he had no idea if Henry heard him.

“No answer… Four Bravo down… we’ll hold the…” Havelar inhaled deeply. Then he dialed Colonel Quellar, to have her send a team down to the shuttle field. He needed people there, and a report from Henry that wasn’t all disrupted by messed up comms. The only sound on the handheld was static though. Havelar slowly put it back into his pocket, while considering his options. The colonel would be with the greater force, headed north, away from Fort Andrews, just when she was most needed here. It seemed the attack on the shuttle field had ended, but if the outlying posts were under attack also, it meant a great offensive was imminent. So much for taking the battle to the rebels. He realized the mistake of sending Quellar away, leaving Fort Andrews wide open, expecting Major Carroll to hold the town with green recruits. Damn, everything was happening too fast.

Maria SOLIS

 

Maria was limping along, her pain nearly forgotten as she studied the impressive murals on the walls. She had no doubt any more. Though their features were hidden by facemasks—and not the transparent type, like she was wearing—the figures were clearly humanoid. Theories swirled around in her head, too fast to make sense. Could it be that they observed us, and made the paintings to depict us? No, this is old, really old. Too old. Besides, there were some kind of crafts that didn’t look like the shuttles at all. And the way the humanoids and Jujjj’s race greeted each other… they were too familiar. Other humanoids then. Not from Earth. She couldn’t explain it, but the significance of this finding baffled her. Humanoid beings had been here once. And the two races seemed to get along well. It was as if the murals told a story, depicting an entire civilization. Cities, big marvels that sprawled across the landscape, some kind of shuttles, airships that resembled zeppelins. One of the images showed a large group of humanoids entering a spacecraft. They seemed to be waving their goodbyes as they entered. And the… She didn’t know what to call them… She looked at Jujjj and made a motion trying to include more than just him, or her. Then she pointed at herself.

“Human. Human.” She pointed at him and a few others standing nearby and waited for a reply. Her furry friend looked puzzled for a second, before he seemed to understand. He pointed at himself.

“Jujjj. Akhab.” Then he pointed at another.

“Guggish. Akhab.” And then he pointed at one after another.

“Akhab. Akhab. Akhab.” His finger went out to her again.

“Humaan. Maariaa. Humaan.” She nodded, giggling. Jujjj opened his mouth and let out a groan, and Maria thought it must be the Akhab equivalent of a laugh. She continued smiling as she turned back to the murals. The Akhab seemed to be friendly toward the humanoids, and the humanoids looked… happy, as they left.

“Who were they?” she murmured. “Where did they go? And why?”

She realized she was already thinking of the figures as human, but it wasn’t actually possible to be certain. Not a hundred percent. They certainly looked human, but that was mostly the shape and bearing. The faces were blurred, but a race resembling humans so closely had to be related in some way, right? Or could it be that they weren’t really that similar after all?

She would have to study this much more closely and learn the whole story. And for that she needed language. Jujjj had already impressed her with his learning skills, and if they could learn a little from each other, maybe they would be able to establish the basic vocabulary of each language and communicate well enough to share their stories.

Maria realized she already liked these little creatures. And she feared what they would have to go through if the wrong people approached them. She decided then and there to be very careful about whom she let know of the Akhab. She trusted Karin and Dean and Kim, but she decided that it would be better if the four of them kept the existence of the Akhab to themselves for the time being, except for Kenneth, of course, who she would contact upon returning to camp. Given time, humans might show themselves worthy of approaching them, but the history of the human race had enough casualties to make her wary. Too many species had died to satisfy human desires, and she thought maybe the Akhab were too friendly for their own good.

Still, the murals made her realize the Akhab weren’t some naive species that would be easy prey for the greedy and the powerful. They had experience dealing with alien races, and it seemed they had been friends with the humanoids. Could it be that these humanoids had left so that the Akhab could live in peace? Or maybe Aurora had turned out less friendly to them than the Akhab had? The answers eluded her, but whatever their story might be, Maria felt an urge to learn, to understand the Akhab and their relationship to the humanoids. And to understand just who these mysterious creatures were.

George Havelar

 

Havelar was running back toward the administration building, frantically gathering the members of his inner circle. Isabella Solis was one of the first to join him. In the distance, they could hear deep booms and a smattering of gunfire.

“What’s going on?” she asked. He had to stop and catch his breath before being able to give a coherent answer.

“The rebels…” he began. “They have attacked the shuttle field… And it seems they are taking out the outposts, as well. Major Carroll is regrouping north of the shuttle field right now, but the comms are scrambled. Only bits and pieces get through.” Isabella frowned.

“Are you sure? I didn’t know they were even capable of disrupting communications.” Havelar stared at her quizzically. A quad bike carrying two men and a young girl with a shaven head buzzed by.
Green recruits
, Havelar thought. The girl was manning a rocket launcher, while the two men were pointing their guns out to either side, jaws clenched, eyes wide. They were heading toward the reactors north of town.

BOOK: Genesis (The Exodus Trilogy)
4.5Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

Other books

A Stolen Life by Dugard, Jaycee
La selección by Kiera Cass
The Saint-Germain Chronicles by Chelsea Quinn Yarbro
If You Were Mine by Bella Andre
Rider by Merrigan, Peter J
Schroder: A Novel by Gaige, Amity