Triassic Invasion – Chapter 5, Period 8 (Period-a-Day)

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Period 8

Desmond tore a branch off a tree in front of him and crunched it under his feet. Harry, and stepped over the broken branch like it was a land mine. Jamie swiped his face and knocked a spider’s web down. “How close are we nevermind,” Desmond said. He stopped and looked beyond the bushes in front of him and to the bathroom they found the raptor in last night. Two military police officers walked along the tree line. Desmond grabbed Jamie’s sweater and pulled him down to the ground. Harry followed. Mud, and leaves coated their clothing. They held their breath. They could feel their pulse along their fingers and in their neck. Jamie took a breath. His steam raised above the bushes. They flinched and covered their mouths. The three felt like they had been kneeling for hours but was in fact only ten minutes. The military police officers marched past them, and to the open training field.

Jamie took out his phone, turned it sideways, and turned his camera to recording mode and raised it above the bushes. He osculated his arm back and forth three times, then pulled his arm back to his chest and ended the recording. He played it back with Harry. Desmond peeking over his shoulder at the security of the military setup. Two MPs were stationed by the concession stand where the raptor was knocked out. The baseball field was covered with soldiers along the outside of the field, with a tarp draped over the front blocking the view field and dugouts. There were more military police around the perimeter of the school. The only opening into the school was a propped open door covered by two MP’s cradling M16 rifles. 

“Not going to be easy,” Desmond whispered. “Maybe we should try another time.”

“Yeah, we can’t, like, go in like that.” 

Jamie pulled up an app on his phone. “I’m just on the edge. If we move a few feet closer, I’ll be able to remotely get into the security system.”

“Can’t you just wait till we’re back in school or something?” Harry asked. 

Jamie looked at the two, then thought of the rest of his day. They would just leave and hang out once all this was over. He would just be sitting at home on his computer playing video games about sneaking passed the military or being a superhero. The only light and interaction with people would be watching vlogs on YouTube or voice chatting with his teammates in whatever video game he was playing. They would never hang out again. A pit opened in his stomach. 

“We should at least try while we’re here,” Jamie said. 

“Okay,” Desmond said. He flexed his finger. Jamie handed his phone back over. Desmond replayed the video. “Only one of us is going to be able to get in, or close. So, we’re going to need a plan or something.”

Kyane rolled backward away from the tank’s barrel and machine gunfire. The dirt puffed up with each missed round. She stopped for a second, only for a stray round to hit her left shoulder then deflected into the tree line. She yelped in pain, then rubbed the impact wound. “You could be a little faster on the reinforcement, Die.”

“Sorry, Kyane,” D13 said. “My system is slowing down from the damage we incurred from the missile strike.”

“Right. Sorry,” Kyane said. 

The tank’s machine guns revved up again. “It is preparing to fire on us again,” D13 said. 

Kyane got to her feet and strafed to the right. The tank’s machine-gun fire nipped at her heels. Kyane moved out of the tank’s line of sight and froze when she saw two more tanks turn their attention to her and fire off shells. She ducked to the side. The shells grazed past her previous location and exploded in the bushes. The tanks then revved up and began bombarding her with more machine gunfire. She raised her arms in a defensive motion. The bullets ricocheted off her suit. After a few seconds of the full-on barrage started to give her tinges of pain through her muscles and into her bones. 

“I can’t stay here much longer, Die.”  

A sledgehammer of pain whacked against her knee and she dropped to it. A grouping of bullets slammed against her mask. She felt like the inside of a bell. 

D13 scanned the area. The tanks were highlighted red and a text box came up saying “Unmanned.” Beyond the tanks was a blue highlighted box. “I have good news, and good news.”

“Hit me with it, Die.” A bullet smacked into the previous wound on her shoulder. Her arm flew back, and to her side. 

“The tanks are drones, or AI-controlled. Therefore, you can attack and destroy them without worrying about human life. Second, beyond these tanks is a bunker we can hide out in.”

“Sure, that’s the easy part,” Kyane said. The tanks’ fire ceased. The first tank turned to face her and began to rev up its machine guns. “We better go now. Can we still use the engines, at least for a second?” 

D13 brought up a meter with a small bar that blinked red. “We can get one boost out of them, but after that we will have to make it, or we will be sitting ducks.” D13 brought up a simulation of all three tanks firing on her, and a red X crossing her out. 

“Again, the easy part,” Kyane said sans sarcasm. 

Kyane rose. The armor’s joint cranked and cracked. She spun her left arm. Pain radiated off every fiber of her being. The engines began to roar. She turned toward the bunker beyond the farthest tank. She started jogging toward it. The first tank began firing at her heels again. She picked up speed as the engines kicked in. The machine-gun fire got further away. She was racing. Inches away from the tank she jumped over it. The first tank fired a grouping of rounds into the tank and punctured the hull. Midway above the tank a loud beep rattled Kayne’s skull, followed by a prompt saying she was out of energy. The engines sputtered then stopped mid-free fall. She landed, rolled, then ran the rest of the way into the bunker. The first tank fired off a shell through the tank Kyane vaulted over and into the bunker. The tank exploded. The force flung Kyane into the wall. Her HUD flickered. She sat up and rested her back against the bunker’s wall. 

Kyane began to hyperventilate. “Open the facemask.”

“Kyane,” D13 said. “I don’t think that is-”

“Open the facemask!” Kyane commanded. D13 brought up a profile image of the mask with a highlighted button along the cheekbone. Kyane tapped that area. The mask raised up and over her head to expose just her face to her forehead. She sucked in the mountain air and smoke with vigor. Outside she heard the tanks rolling up, closing in on her. 

Jerry and Kyane’s parents watched the tanks drive up to the metal bunker. The flaming wreckage of the third tank sat between the two tanks and their target. Hinotomi had her face buried in her hands. Damon just watched. Jerry tapped the armrests of his seat. “Your daughter really is doing quite well.”

“Sure,” Damon said. He tried to hide his fear and anger. 

Jerry jumped out of his seat. “This will probably be ending shortly. We better get over there with our last weapon.”

Damon got up. 

Hinotomi shook her head back and forth. 

Damon turned to Jerry. “We’ll be out in a second.” Jerry walked out nonchalantly; one hand stuffed into his suit pants pocket. Damon turned back to his wife. He pulled his chair up to her and sat down. He pulled her close. “It will be okay. Our daughter is tough.”

“Tougher than we know,” Hinotomi said. “It is just so hard to watch her get hurt this much. No parent should ever have to watch this violence on their child. 

Damon wrapped his arms around her. “You’re absolutely right,” he said. “I can’t argue with you.”

“But you’re going to argue with me,” Hinotomi said. 

“I’m going to argue with you,” Damon said. He pointed to the screens behind them. “She is doing something great here. Something basically no one has been able to do before. She is special. Not just to us, but maybe the world, and for this one moment we must let her do that. If, once this testing nonsense is over and she wants to stop, she can stop, but until that moment we have to let our daughter be the great person she is showing she can be.”

“I don’t like it,” Hinotomi said. “I don’t care how special she is. She is my heart, and she is hurting.”

Damon nodded. “You’re right.”
    “She’s just a kid,” she said. 

“You said she needed to do an extracurricular,” he joked.

She chuckled. “True. True. But I didn’t think she would pick being a military weapon as her after school activity.”

Damon stood up and extended his hand out. Hinotomi took it and stood up. “She hasn’t picked it yet.” They walked to the door and out of the room. 

“I think she will,” she said. “And that is what will hurt me more than anything else because I know she is loving it.”

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