Ava was able to sigh with relief once they were outside, the fresh air filling her lungs. She slowed, partly to admire the trees and partly because the slippers she wore were not meant for the outdoors.
Jessica looked at her, "Why are you stopping?"
Galen stopped, too, eyeing the sky. "The other Wanderers should be here within minutes."
Skye crossed her arms, "It's cold out." she still wore a hospital robe.
Ava winced, "Sorry."
"Ehhh, I'll live."
"Don't worry," Galen resumed walking, "I packed some spare clothes for you girls."
Skye beamed at him, shuffling closer to the Wanderer.
Ava glanced over her shoulder, not seeing Nash. Why the hell was he still inside? Maybe someone needed his help. He could never walk away from a person in trouble.
It was one of the things she loved about him.
She quickly saw the Deviant and ran toward the ship. Finally, this nightmare would be over soon.
Climbing inside, Ava sat down in one of the new seats installed, closing her eyes. The meds were starting to wear off, the throbbing in her head returning.
"Wow, this is nice," Jessica walked in.
Galen hummed, "Thank you, but it's not my--"
A loud gunshot cut him off, Skye shrieking, "Oh my God!"
Ava sat up, seeing blood oozing from the right side of Galen's torso. It was a bright purple instead of red. Fascinating.
"Son of a bitch, that hurts," He climbed in, grabbing a container from one of the top shelves and tossing it on the floor. "Dammit!"
Jessica glanced at him, "Since when do you know human slang?"
He glowered slightly, "Since I've been living among humans!"
"Okay, don't bite my head off."
Skye immediately went into nurse mode, forcing him to sit on the floor as she opened the medkit. "How did this happen? Aren't your suits bullet-proof?"
"Against human bullets, yes." Galen grimaced, his hands covered with blood. "but these assholes have our bullets, which shouldn't be possible!"
She'd never seen him so upset or upset in general, but Galen couldn't stay as cool as a cucumber all the time.
"Oh God," Jessica backed away, "It's the elite!"
Ava looked at her, "The who?"
"They're the ones charged with taking down rebel Wanderers."
Scanning the ship, Ava snatched one of the spare vests, clipping it on. Then she took Galen's gun and hovered at the door. No one would get away with hurting any of her friends.
The elite marched toward the Deviant, wearing a completely different type of armor than the guards she'd seen earlier.
Ava raised the gun, found her first target, then pulled the trigger. They went down quickly, the others stopping and going into formation. Oh shit, that wasn't good.
Jessica stared at her, "Since when can you use a gun?"
"Since I've been on the base."
"Well, you go, girl."
Smiling at the compliment, she fired a few more rounds, taking down another two before closing the bay door. "What do we do now?"
Galen lifted his head, "Did Nash teach you how to use the ship's weapons?"
"Sadly, no." But it had been on the to-do list.
"Well, time to learn something new." He sat up, Skye glaring at him. "Go to my seat, and I'll guide you through."
Ava rushed to the co-pilot's seat, almost falling back because she was too small for it. "Okay, what now?"
Galen's instructions were pretty easy to follow, and she quickly got the front of the Deviant to face the elite, who had their weapons aimed right at her. "I'm in position now."
Grinning, Ava grabbed the blaster toggle and pressed the button on top.
The elites scrambled for cover, and while a few managed to escape the barrage of lasers, most of them died within seconds of her assault, their bodies peppering the forest floor.
"Jessica, keep pressure on his wound," Skye instructed. "I need to change into actual clothing."
Ava kept a lookout for any more guards or elite. And for Nash. After all, she didn't want to shoot him accidentally. Having one injured Wanderer was bad enough.
He better hurry his ass up, though. Ava didn't know how long they could be on their own before something terrible happened.
"So, where would your son be in this situation?"
The doctor rubbed his chin. "I'm not sure, probably in the weapons vault since he's still a teenager."
Nash scoured the corridors, "Do you know where it is?"
He nodded, "Follow me."
Nash found it odd that no one scoured the halls. Even with their presence, people should be busy with their assigned jobs. That was how he had been trained, at least.
But he was dealing with humans, and they were not always smart about such things.
"So why are you a rebel?"
Nash faced the doctor, "Because we had no right to take this planet from you, and I want to do my part in atoning for that."
"Well, this is a good start."
After going down several flights of stairs, they came upon a reinforced door. Nash figured it to be heavy-duty metal with multiple layers. Well, they did something right.
However, the doctor walked up to the keypad, typed in a few numbers, and the door unlocked. Why weren't there any biometric scanning devices? After all, Nash knew the doctor wasn't cleared to be in that area.
He pried the door open, "Well, aren't you gonna come in, Wanderer?"
Nash swiftly followed him inside, and his stomach churned.
A mixture of human and Wanderer weapons were propped throughout the vault. Humans should not have had those weapons! They could never handle them safely.
Nash switched his gaze when something moved in his peripheral vision. He bolted over, pointing his gun at a cowering guard who had his hands in the air.
"Whoa, whoa, whoa!" The doctor slid in between them, forcing his weapon down. "Don't shoot my son!"
Nash pulled back his gun as the guard removed his helmet. "Apologies."
The boy cocked his head, "You speak English?"
"I'm here to help you."
He looked to his father, who nodded. "He's one of the rebels."
Nash helped them to their feet, figuring out how to remove the Wanderer technology. Then he led them out of the weapons vault and back up the stairs.
"Is Jess safe?"
"Don't worry, Max. I'm sure she found a way."
Nash turned and scanned Max more closely. Yes, his sister had been the other female with Skye and Ava. "Yes, she is safe."
"Are you sure?"
"She was with my friend and fellow rebel," he smirked, "so yes, I'm sure."
Max sighed, "Thank God."
That expression and its variations puzzled Nash daily, his race believing in two gods, one male and the other female.
He redirected his attention ahead of him. They were still alone. Nash didn't like it, suppressing a growl. He didn't want to scare the humans, but it wasn't even close to being over.
This was just the calm before the storm.