Chapter 48

Heat Rising (Part 7)

It was only a matter of time now. Besides Alfran, Keth and herself the defenders could be counted on one hand – so spread out as to be rendered useless to one another.

“You need to go.”

Vynette turned around to see Keth standing right in front of her. There was a lull in the fighting, Alfran was keeping an eye out for the next wave. Vynette tried to walk away, back to her cannon but Keth grabbed her roughly was shoved her back against the wall, blocking her way.

“Go!” he shouted.

“I’m not leaving without you!” she shouted back, “We’re Stormers Keth! We don’t leave Stormers behind.”

Keth was angry, she’d never seen him this angry before. His amethyst eyes shone with a dark, cold hue that looked even more frightening with the fires from the walls dancing within them.

“Vynette, listen to me!” he demanded, “Someone needs to warn our chieftain. Those soldiers heading for the mountains won’t do it, and you and I both know they will probably be dead as soon as the first heatwave arrives.”

“Come with me.” Vynette pleaded, a single tear rolling down her cheek

“I can’t do that.” Keth gently reached up and wiped the tear away from her face. “We would both die with just Alfran covering us.”

“I heard that!” complained Alfran as he kept watch.

“And you know I can’t fly that relic of a thing you call a ship.”

“Hey!” Vynette punched Keth in the arm, “Don’t call Gertrude a relic, she’s sensitive.”

“Only Apex knows why you decided to mirror her off a Terran aircraft.”

“She’s tough, can pack a punch and I like the design.”

Alfran called out. Another wave of mechs were jumping over the wall.

“And she’s right over there. Now go!” yelled Keth as he raced back to his cannon.

Vynette watched her oldest friend run back in to the fray, to his certain death. She wanted to stay, to die with him but she knew what he spoke was the truth, if she didn’t get out her people wouldn’t know what had happened until it was too late.

She fled the Kill Zone, hating herself for doing so. She ran on automatic, she knew the way to the airfield, she could find it in her sleep. It was just a case of reaching there without being detected.

She heard coughing to her left and saw a young soldier underneath a broken crate. He was still a teenager, and had probably stayed behind unbeknown to the admiral. Honourable, but stupid.

“Can you move soldier?” she asked. He nodded and she reached out her hand.

Together the two of them fled the scene. Narrowly missing roaming mechs, before they made it to the airfield. Gertrude was there and waiting, safe. She directed the soldier where to go and started up the old bird.

“This is going to get hairy. Hold on!” she called out.

Gertrude burst out of the hanger to a barrage of fire. Vynette lifted the old girl above the Water Palace, using the steep walls as cover. She looked down one last time and only saw fire and destruction.

“Apex save you.” she whispered before altering her course east. Towards Helsia Deep.

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