Dark America, Part 35 – No Battle Plan Survives the Enemy

Continued from Chapter 34, here.

Less than half an hour later, Henry and Jaspers reported that we had everything assembled and awaiting my order.

Down the hill from us, the huge mushroom-like object that we’d tracked here from the Blue Diamond facility still hadn’t moved. We’d done our best to avoid announcing our presence, but it didn’t appear to even be monitoring for us. It just sat there, pulsing roughly once every two or three seconds, as we assembled the weaponry we’d brought.

I did have to admit that, although it had sounded like overkill when Jaspers listed it all out, I preferred having it all here. Along with the Stinger missiles, aimed down at the huge mushroom from all three trucks, we also had several rolling mines, ranging in strength from antipersonnel to antitank. Jaspers had the big Bushmaster set up on a tripod and loaded with several thousand rounds of ammunition, and Feng had disappeared off somewhere with her rifle, ready to drop the Hammer of God on any target that presented itself. Continue reading

Dark America, Part 34 – Start the Hunt

Continued from Chapter 33, here.

“You know what’s bloody awful?” Jaspers remarked as we carefully drove the lead truck along the ridge, just high enough so that we could check over it and see down the hill on the other side.

“Don’t say it,” I groaned.

He did it anyway. “No bloody air support. Are we really going to keep on rolling forward this slowly, stopping so we can creep up on each hill like we’re in one of those stupid combat exercises?”

I sighed, knowing that I was just making things worse by acknowledging him, but unable to put up with more of his complaining. “So what would you have us do?” I snapped, turning to glare at him. “Just floor it until we find him, and then deal with being caught off guard when we land in a potentially deadly combat situation?”

“Better than this, at least,” he grumbled, glaring out at the desert scrub ahead of us. “That’s all I have to say.” Continue reading

A Moment’s Glance…

Vivienne

And of course the rain hadn’t let up, Vivi groaned as she peeked out through the window of the taxi. If anything, it had become heavier, sheets of water dropping out of the sky. The whole world looked cloaked in blue, dripping like a whirling dervish got loose in a paint factory.

The taxi driver, perhaps sensing his client’s hesitance, turned to drape one hand back over the passenger seat. He frowned at her over his shoulder, his bushy black mustache twitching irritably on his face.

“Is the Metro Bank, yes?” he huffed. “Problem?” Continue reading

Dark America, Part 33 – Scorch Marks Mean You Didn’t Use Enough Explosive

Continued from Chapter 32, here.

“So,” I said in the most causal voice I could manage, my hands on my hips as I surveyed the heavily modified trucks in front of me. “This is what you felt that you needed from the base?”

If I didn’t know the man better, I’d consider this Jaspers to be a happy, carefree, bubbly example of a soldier. “We did have to leave a few things behind, unfortunately,” he allowed, “but we got a bloody good loadout here, that’s for sure.”

“Had to leave something behind,” I echoed. “What’s that, a couple nuclear ICBMs?” Continue reading

Dark America, Part 32 – Old Memories

Continued from Chapter 31, here.

Sara ran through the house, and I followed a few steps behind. I don’t know what I hoped to find. Maybe there would be some message, somehow left behind, ink splashed on the walls or dust on the floor to spell out words. But there wasn’t anything. It looked almost as if Alexis had stepped out for the day, going off to meet with her friends for book club or a brunch where she’d listen sympathetically to their issues.

If I closed my eyes, I could almost convince myself that she would be stepping back in through the front door, any minute now. Continue reading

Dark America, Part 31 – A Trip Down Memory Lane

Continued from Chapter 30, here.

“Are we there yet?”

It had been a few minutes, at least, since the last time she asked this question. I told myself that this was progress, tried to not grind my teeth together too badly.

“Just a few more miles,” I replied, making sure that my hands remained loose on the steering wheel of the truck. Don’t tighten them into a white-knuckled grip. Sara’s just anxious, probably like all twelve-year-olds get. Continue reading

Dark America, Part 30 – Saddle Up!

Continued from Chapter 29, here.

Slowing the truck as he rolled past a group of M3 Bradley Cavalry Fighting Vehicles, Jaspers had to lift the back of one hand and wipe his mouth. “Really, couldn’t we bloody convince Richards to let us bring a few of these?” he asked into the comm. “Look at the bloody gun on that thing!”

“Need a big gun, do you?” asked Sergei, snickering.

Jaspers didn’t even snap at the tease. “Just look at it,” he breathed. “Bushmaster 25mm chain gun, anti-tank missiles as backup if they’re needed. Psychic horror or not, nobody’s bloody standing up to that.” Continue reading

Dark America, Part 29 – The Scooby Doo Maneuver

Continued from Chapter 28, here.

There was one thing, at least, on which we all agreed.

If we were going hunting, we’d need some better weapons.

“Now, this is more like it!” Jaspers enthused, practically bouncing up and down on his seat as I guided the convoy of trucks towards Fort Hood. “Now we’re talking about getting some serious bloody firepower, and I’m going to feel a hell of a lot happier with a big gun at my side!”

“Hey, take it easy,” I told him, although I couldn’t help but smile at his obvious enthusiasm. “Remember, it’s just a civilian truck, so you can’t mount a machine gun on it or anything!” Continue reading

Dark America, Part 28 – The Council Has Voted

Continued from Chapter 27, here.

The next morning, as we finished the last bites of the surprisingly delicious breakfast that Corinne pulled together for us out of odds and ends of food that she procured from someplace, we put the matter to the vote.

There was brief discussion of voting in secret, but what good would that do? We all knew each other well enough to state our opinions plainly, clearly. None of us feared defending his or her position to the others. There was no real need for any secrecy.

“Go around and bloody spit it out?” Jaspers finally asked, glancing side to side. Continue reading

Regulate

Author’s note: Dark America will return with the next update! ┬áThis is a brief one-shot inspired by a late-night idea.

Walking past the tavern, I caught sight of a familiar shape inside. Frowning, I pushed open the door, blinking as I tried to adjust to the interior’s dimness.

“Wrynn?” I asked, moving over towards the grizzled man sitting heavily at the bar, scarred knuckles wrapped around his flagon. “What are you doing in here?”

He turned a single eye to fix me, and I felt my spine snap towards attention without any conscious input. Wrynn was the oldest man in the village, and the oldest Gifted that I’d ever met. Others were older, of course – ones like Glass Alice had their own legends built up – but Wrynn was the oldest that I’d actually met.

“What d’you think I’m doing in here?” the old man grunted at me, tightening his shoulders slightly. “Drinking. Trying to get some damn peace and quiet.” Continue reading