My brow furrowed. “Wait. Fool’s errand? Is this dangerous?” I uneasily remembered the massive stack of legal documents given to me by the Actinide lawyers, all of which required my initials.
This comment produced a couple of short, humorless laughs from the men working around me. The commander’s lips didn’t even twitch, however. “Ever handle a gun before?” he asked.
I briefly thought about mentioning that I had tried out for javelin in undergrad, but decided that it wouldn’t be of any use. “Never,” I replied honestly. As soon as the word was out of my mouth, a pistol was thrust into my hands.
“Easy,” the commander told me. “Point it at the enemy and pull the trigger. If it runs out, well, you’re probably dead by that point anyway.”
“Enemy?” I repeated, feeling totally lost. But before I could get a reply, a loud whistle sounded from somewhere in the recesses of the massive hangar, and the men around me seemed to double their movements.
The commander’s hand landed firmly on my shoulder. “The portal’s about to open,” he announced. “Time to move.”
With the commander forcibly leading me from behind, I approached the convoy. Only as I drew closer did I get a true sense for how large – and heavily armored – these vehicles were. Half a dozen massive delivery trucks made up the heart of the convoy, but a pair of heavily armed Humvees were at the front, closest to the portal, and a third brought up the rear. All three escort vehicles sported rotary turrets on top, soldiers running final checks on the oversized guns mounted in them. I also noticed that the tires on all of the vehicles were oversized, at least three feet in diameter, and seemed to be covered in some sort of gritty sand. I wanted to stop, to ask questions about these details, but the commander pushed me onward. It soon became clear that my destination was the second Humvee, just behind the front-runner.
“This seems a little heavily armed for just a transport, don’t you think?” I managed to shout above the noise as the commander pushed me up and into the back seat. “And by the way, I don’t think I caught your name!”
The man glared at me as he climbed up into the seat behind me, pulling the door shut, but I forced myself to keep eye contact. “Kurt,” he told me shortly. “And trust me, this isn’t enough weaponry.” I wanted to ask more, but a loud hissing cut me off. I glanced forward, past the burly and rough-shaven man filling every inch of the driver’s seat, and watched, around the front vehicle ahead of us, as the portal opened.