Assignment to White Planet 8069 chapter eighteen FLIGHT
Narrator: ::Standing in her room, Gabrielle suddenly clutches her stomach and hunches over.::
Gabrielle: ::whispers:: Father, why am I so afraid? What is it I sense? Please give me direction! Please fill me with your love and confidence and drive out this fear! ::she falls to her knees and clasps her hands:: Put a shield of protection around us. Hide us from those who would want to harm us. I pray for our enemies even now. If there is anyone who has a heart to listen, speak to him and soften his heart. Turn him to you! May he find his peace in you! ::Holding back tears and biting her lip, Gabi quickly types the message to her mother she had hoped she would never need to write.::
Jeremiah turns 4 on the 6th. I desperately wish for you to be there! I will try my best to be there too. Love you all so very much! I’m putting all my hope and trust in Daddy that we will be together there.
Narrator: Back on earth, Esther, Gabi’s mother hears the alert to notify her that she has mail. Picking up Alleah, she rushes over to the computer sensing that this is no ordinary email. Her heart drops as she recognizes the hidden scripture reference. She knows that passage by heart. She and Gabi had memorized it together the day before Gabi left on her assignment. She opens a drawer of the computer desk and pulls up a false bottom. Grabbing the contraband Bible that lay underneath, she turns to Jeremiah 4:6 with shaking fingers. “Raise the signal to go to Zion! Flee for safety without delay! For I am bringing disaster from the north, even terrible destruction.” A scrap of paper drifts to the floor.
Narrator: Meanwhile, at the UU center on Earth, Commander Randstat’s computer alerts her that communication has been sent from one of the operatives on White Planet. With the click of a few buttons she reads the encoded message.
Commander Randstat: “What in the…?” ::summons the coding expert::
De-Coder: “You paged me Commander?”
Commander Randstat: What do you make of this? I want it decoded immidiantely.
Narrator: Esther picks up the scrap of paper with the address of the safe house and holds it tightly. She has no time to lose. A sigh escapes her lips as she glances around her home of thirty-five years for most likely the last time.
Narrator: Back on White Planet...
Gabrielle: ::throws a few things into a bag and gently takes the picture of her daughter off the wall. She gives the picture a kiss and tucks it into her shirt pocket. Slinging her bag over her shoulder, she heads out the door and to the infirmary::
Narrator: ::In the infirmary, Damian is still in bed recovering. Meinta and the Governor are nearby::
Governor: Meinta, are you all right?
Meinta: ::takes a deep breath:: I don't know... I think so. There's just so much happening all of a sudden...
Guard: ::steps into the room:: Governor, I need to speak with you
Meinta: ::watches with concern::
Governor: Certainly. ::steps aside with the Guard:: What is it?
Guard: We've spotted some strange electromagnetic signals in the upper atmosphere. They're the kind we'd usually get accompanying our cargo freighters, but none of those are scheduled to arrive today and there aren't any other ships in the area. We would confirm the source of the flares, but we're not picking anything up on scanners or radio. I'm wondering if we should send out a probe.
Damian Raen: ::listens closely::
Governor: ::under his breath:: Not yet, Lord, please. ::to the guard:: Yes, hurry, find out everything you can.
Guard: Yes sir. ::leaves the room::
Damian Raen: ::looks at the Governor:: What kind of electromagnetic flares? You have to ask him that.
Governor: ::to Damian:: I don't know, son. We are trying to find that out.
Damian Raen: The only ships that give off electron pulses are cargo vessels and some of the old mining freights. You can bet it's not the UU; they’d be running cold if they wanted to bomb us, and they’d be using newer ships ::turns to Meinta:: That’s not the UU up there.
Meinta: ::softly:: Damian, do you think it's Redmine...?
Damian Raen: I can’t say I don’t.
Governor: ::nods thoughtfully and types in his plasmagin:: You could be right.
Damian Raen: Trust me. I've got to get out of here.
Governor: We’ll get you on the next transport out.
Damian Raen: No, I mean I've got to get up. I've got to help.
Kristof: On my way. ::begins another scan with his plasmagin, entering several codes and returns the device to his breast pocket. He pulls out his old POD and punches in another string of codes, then returns it to his cargo pocket:: This should be interesting...
Narrator: ::Kristof begins to walk quickly in the direction of the rendezvous to meet the Redmine raiders. He notices that all security stations along the way are vacant. As Kristof walks along his POD begins to vibrate, signaling silently that it has completed it's task. He turns down a long, dark passageway and begins to run toward the large hangar bay doors leading outside. The lights in the far security station go dark. He sees a figure moving inside. Estorn::
Estorn: All right, Wagner, time to prove your stuff. Redmine is two minutes out and now it's time for you to do your thing. Got the codes?
Kristof: ::pulls his POD from his cargo pocket and hands it to Estorn:: Yep, right here. Everything you need. Where's my weapon?
Estorn: ::holding the old device at arm's length:: What's this piece of junk? Here, you upload the codes to my plasmagin.
Kristof: ::cautiously:: They're not compatible. Anyway, just keep it. It'll work just fine. I certainly won't need that when I'm back on Earth.
Estorn: Go to the comm center and start the timers. We're going to black out all transmissions in and out.
Kristof: ::takes one last look to be sure the POD is safely tucked away in Estorn's pocket before heading toward the command center::
Narrator: ::AJ is sleeping fitfully. Suddenly she bolts upright in bed, looking around. She tightens her grip on her gun, and reaches for her plasmagin::
AJ: ::message to Governor:: Sir? When are we evacuating?
Governor: ::plases back:: Half the people have been evacuated.
AJ: How long was I asleep? I didn't intend to fall asleep. Where do you need me?
Governor: You needed sleep. Now... will you go to the command center and see what is going on?
AJ: Yes, sir. On my way ::packs all her gear and heads to the command center::
Narrator: ::Jason watches from the front of the survey drone as the first two of the personnel carriers move out in the early morning, just before the sun rises, each carrier filled with WP personnel moving into hiding in an effort to escape the UU attack that could happen any time now::
Jason Patterson: ::looking back at the dome that has been his home for years now:: They should have pulled out with the first group. That's it; I can't leave them there and lose another family to the hate and greed of the UU.
Narrator: ::Jason turns his drone around, heading back, waving the Carrier drivers on to the safe location of the caves. He heads the drone out as fast as it will go, hoping he is not too late::
Governor: Damian, we are evacuating the domes. You can't say here. Do you want to go back to Earth or hide with us? You have to decide once and for all and decide quickly.
Damian Raen: ::looking at Meinta:: I'm gonna stick with you.
Meinta: Are you sure, Damian? We don't know for sure where we are going.
Damian Raen: Naturally. ::grits his teeth and climbs out of the bed, taking AJ's gun with him:: Let's move.
Governor: Damian, listen to me for a minute. If you push too hard, then you are going to put us all in danger. Be aware of the limitations your injuries give you and act accordingly.
Damian Raen: Right, right. Hang on a second. ::dashes down the hall toward his quarters::
Gabrielle: ::bumps into Meinta as she comes out of the infirmary doors:: Hey, just in time! What's next?
Narrator: ::Karrina and Mikko run in to join Meinta::
Karrina: We got your plas - all of our people have moved out or are ready. What can we do?
Meinta: Redmine is coming! We've got to get out of here.
Gabrielle: ::bites lip and turns white, her knees start to buckle::
Karrina: Already! Do we even know where we're going?
Meinta: Most of the people are in the mouths of the caves. They are waiting for us there.
Gabrielle: Oh, God, give me strength. It's really here!
Governor: Jason is headed back with the last group of transport vehicles. We have about ten minutes before he'll be here. Be ready.
Gabrielle: ::takes a deep breath, closes eyes, clenches teeth and fists, and regains composure::
Meinta: My research! ::runs toward her office::
Mikko: Meinta, no. It's too dangerous!
Gabrielle: ::shouting:: We have to stay together!
Meinta: ::over her shoulder:: I'll be right back!
Damian Raen: ::enters his room and dashes to the duffel bag on the floor near his bed. He reaches in and pulls out his two submachine guns and stuffs them in his pockets. Then he grabs as much spare ammunition as he can carry and heads back out into the hall::
AJ: ::AJ enters the Command Center and looks around. She begins to assess the evacuation. She directs the tech team to focus only on the essentials:: Make sure you back up all the files ::packs away some plas's:: Here, we may need extras. ::hands boxes to people passing by, then sighs and looks around:: Have you gotten all the files backed up?
Tech: Yes, ma'am ::holds up data discs::
AJ: Ok, get them packed in fire-safe boxes and get moving.
Meinta: ::rushes back out of her room, stuffing disks and papers in a bag as she goes::
Damian Raen: ::reaches the Governor and the rest of the group again:: Back... where's that transport?
Jason Patterson: ::enters the infirmary hallway:: The transport is waiting outside the airlock. Let's go, everyone.
Gabrielle: ::getting antsy, shaking out tension in her arms:: Let's get rolling!
Meinta: Jason, will we all fit?!
Jason Patterson: Yes. Everyone get on board.
Karrina: C'mon everyone - there's no time to waste!
Jason Patterson: ::leads the way to the airlock and the waiting transport::
Meinta: Gabi! How are we getting Gabi home?
Governor: We'll send her out from the cave mouth.
Karrina: Is everyone accounted for?
Governor: ::to Karrina:: There is a counter checking to see who all has come. There are a few yet in there.
Damian Raen: ::looking over his shoulder:: Hey, where's the Rambo lady?
Kristof: ::Arriving at the comm center, Kristof finds the detonation timers and places a finger on the charging handle. He hesitates thoughtfully, then pulls the handles. The countdown begins:: That's that.
AJ: ::sees Kristof:: Hey! What are you doing? ::draws her weapon::
Kristof: ::spins around, surprised:: Wait!
AJ: ::moves toward Kristof, weapon aimed:: I said, what are you doing? Or would you prefer I shoot first and ask questions later?
Kristof: I'm, uh, sending out a distress signal. I think we're under attack. Do you know what's going on?
AJ: ::looks doubtful:: How did you get access to send a message? Well? Answer me. ::notices a flashing light out the window:: What’s that?
Kristof: ::looks desperately around and sees no options:: They're here.
AJ: Who's here? The UU?
Narrator: ::suddenly an explosion rocks the dome::
Meinta: ::grabs her dad's arm::
Damian Raen: They're here! They'll bomb the comm stations first, and that's right above us... we gotta go!
Governor: ::into plas and translated to the intercom throughout the dome:: Evacuate! Come to the docking ports immediately.
Karrina: Gabi, let's go. Don't worry - we'll find you a way to get home - if we survive this.
Governor: ::yelling:: Go, hurry!
Gabrielle: ::grabs onto Mikko and Karrina and starts to run with them::
Narrator: ::Karrina and Mikko reel from the shock of the rumbling ground::
Governor: ::pushes Meinta toward the transport:: Go!
Meinta: There are still people in there!
Narrator: ::another Redmine missile punches a massive crater in the ice just outside::
Gabrielle: ::screams at the sound and force of the explosion::
Karrina: Where's AJ? Is she coming?
Kristof: Redmine. They're here. They're going to kill everyone.
AJ: ::feels the explosions:: Move! You're coming with me ::directs him with her gun:: Move it! Unless you want to die here.
Kristof: ::red emergency strobes start flashing:: Okay. I need to tell you something.
AJ: ::feels another shockwave:: Talk quick.
Kristof: Redmine hired me... no, they forced me to give them the security codes to the whole compound ::falls to the ground::
AJ: ::nods, the grabs her plasmagin and send a message to the Governor:: I found the leak... Kristof. I have him in the Command Center. He claims to have been hired by Redmine.
Kristof: ::grabs the gun and struggles to free it from AJ::
AJ: ::keeps grasp on gun, drops the plasmagin and shoots Kristof in the foot::
AJ: Now, get moving. Time to evacuate ::begins herding him to the evacuation point::
Narrator: ::The timers on the bombs begin to chirp loudly. Kristof shoves AJ and runs out. There is a loud explosion, knocking them both to the floor. Kristof recovers first and runs down the hallway, escaping::
AJ: ::grabs her plasma gin and sends another message to the Governor:: Sir, there's been a… ::coughing:: …an explosion in the comm center. Kristof got away, but he has a gunshot wound in the foot. I'm headed to the evac location. ::moves out to join the others::
Narrator: ::safely in the transport, Gabi, Karrina and Mikko pray::
Meinta: ::outside the stransport door:: AJ isn't here yet!
Damian Raen: ::crouching beside her:: She'll get here...
AJ: ::runs as fast as she can. hears voices::
Governor: Go! I'll get AJ. ::warningly:: Meinta
Meinta: ::heads for the transport::
Damian Raen: ::follows Meinta, keeping one eye on the hallway and one on the sky::
Governor: ::into plas:: AJ, where are you?! Are you all right?
AJ: ::to Governor:: I’m on my way.
Governor: Thank God.
Narrator: ::More missiles begin thundering down around the dome, moving in a spiral pattern toward the comm tower::
AJ: ::rounds corner and almost runs into Meinta, who is heading for the transport::
AJ: Kristoff's a traitor.
Meinta: ::grabs AJ:: I know. Come on!
Narrator: ::they scramble into transport::
AJ: I didn't know if they got my messages.
Governor: ::climbs into the transport beside his daughter:: I got them.
Damian Raen: ::jumps into the transport and says to Jason:: Let's go!
Jason Patterson: Got it ::revs the engine and starts the transport moving across the ice::
AJ: ::heads to the rear of the craft::
Karrina: The videos showed that we lost two...everyone else is here.
Narrator: ::Kristof is limping heavily on his wounded foot, but is making steady progress, tracking the POD Estorn is still carrying in his pocket:: I'll get you... ::exits the building and sees a transport leaving::
Damian Raen: ::stands in the transport with his guns drawn, watching the sky as more missiles streak toward the control dome::
AJ: ::moves over to Damian:: How are you, kid? You look pale.
Damian Raen: ::laughs dryly:: Ha. Never.
Narrator: ::Suddenly AJ receives a plasmagin call from Commander Randstat::
Commander Randstat: ::to AJ's plas:: Captain! What is going on?
AJ: ::to the Commander, sarcastically:: Nothing much. What' going on there?
Commander Randstat: We have warships inbound for WP8096's airspace.
AJ: Oh? ::motions for the Governor to come listen, turning up the volume::
Commander Randstat: We’re reading multiple unfriendly vessels in your vicinity. Stand by for pick up. We are evacuating Group T19.
AJ: We're already evacuating. One team member is dead. You're a little late.
Commander Randstat: Evacuating with what? A WP ship? Who's dead? What’s going on?
Damian Raen: ::watching AJ's plas:: Tell her to get lost.
AJ: ::to the Commander:: You... breaking… up... take... fly... ep..
Commander Randstat: Stand by! We'll evacuate you! That's an order.
Damian Raen: ::to the Commander:: Ha ha! You wish!
Commander Randstat: Who is this?
Damian Raen: Guess who.
Commander Randstat: Mr. Raen?
Damian Raen: Yeah, it’s me again. And I bet you can guess who those unfriendly vessels are, too.
Commander Randstat: What?
Damian Raen: I haven’t forgotten what you and the UU did to us. What you did to Nicole. And Redmine hasn’t forgotten, either. I’m sure they’ll be downright ecstatic to take you on again, especially by surprise this time.
Commander Randstat: I have no idea what you’re talking about.
Damian Raen: Exactly my point. I hope you like deep freeze, Commander.
Commander Randstat: Captain MacPherson, I demand an explanation.
AJ: ::glances at Damian, then back to the plasmagin:: We're... having... tech… diff... ::drops the plasmagin and steps on it::
Damian Raen: ::raises an eyebrow::
AJ: ::smiles:: Captain MacPherson, out.
Damian Raen: ::grins at AJ:: I guess we’re planning to give her a run for her money
AJ: ::smiles:: You got it, kid. Jade would like that ::moves to the front of the craft and watches out the front ports::
Damian Raen: ::looks away, still smiling faintly:: I bet she would.
Narrator: ::Kristoff boards a small Tracker and chases after the transport. Several Redmine Trackers have just dropped in from orbit and are plowing through the snow after him. The wind is fierce and he is nearly blind in the whiteout::
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