“Josem, grab Seven,” Lex said. Josem nodded and scooped Seven up. The group of mercenaries ran at a fast pace through the snow covered forest. Seven grunted as he bounce around on Josem’s shoulder.
“Basalt, how is Venny holding out? Can he make it?”
“It’ll be rough on him, but he should be fine.”
“Mevin, how far’s our bird?”
“We’ll hit it in a little over fifteen minutes at this speed.”
“Did you ever get around to installing that remote control feature? Those fighters aren’t going to stay in Pandora very long. If those roats haven’t left by now, they’re gonna be maggot bags.”
“The system’s all hooked up, just never got around to actually making the portable remote part.”
“Remind me to dock your pay later.”
“You wouldn’t!” Mevin gasped.
“Maybe. I can. Try,” Seven said. Slamming down on someone’s shoulder every time they took a step did nothing for coherent speech. Seven was having a hard time keeping himself from slipping off. He closed his eyes in an effort to concentrate. He felt around for electromagnetic waves.
Other than the twenty or so meta-links, and the massive glow a few miles off that must be Pandora, there was a fairly thick, dormant wave in the direction they were headed. That must be the Cakemen’s airship.
He tugged and woke it up. He felt the wave thrum to life. Looking closer at it, it was actually a collection of waves woven together. It was really beautiful to look at. Looking through the different colored waves, he found the engine, the remote control system, the navigation system, the piloting system, and the cloaking system.
He almost lost connection with the ship when he activated the cloaking system. It managed to hide all electromagnetic waves emanating off the ship. If he hadn’t been holding tightly to the piloting system, he would have lost control of the ship. Slowly, he lifted the bird into the air, and guided it towards the Cakemen. It was hard to do considering his rough ride.
“Got it. Coming. Now,” he said through gritted teeth.
“What?” Mevin said, but his words were drowned out by a low thrumming sound that appeared suddenly.
“Down!” Lex yelled, and everyone dove to the ground. Seven came up with a mouthful of snow. He spat it out and stood up. Josem pulled him back down.
“What are you doing? They’re gonna see you! They have movement trackers on those birds.”
“But it’s your bird, isn’t it? It’s alright.”
“What do you mean, it’s our bird? Our birds still…” he trailed off as Seven disabled the visual portion of the cloaking system. A huge aircraft hovered in the air above them, thrumming quietly at a low frequency.
“How?” Josem said.
“Seven, did you do this?” Mevin asked.
“I must say, Seven. You are quite the kid,” Lex said. “Alright, stop gawking. Let’s board this kanted gamin. Seven, bring her down.”
Seven landed the bird and dropped the hatch. He looked around curiously as he followed the Cakemen aboard.
“You’re Basalt?” He whispered to the man next to him.
“No, that’s my twin. I’m Basilisk. Basalt’s over there helping Gen carry Venny.”
“Oh. What’s the ship’s name?”
“Uh. Like the food?”
“Hime’s got a horrible sense of humor. And a major sweet tooth.”
“Hime!” A man yelled as ran from further in the ship. “The ship moved on it’s own! It was like a ghost!”
“I told you a million times, Barry. Mevin installed a remote control. He probably just moved it using that.” Another man followed him out.
“We’ll talk about this later. Some fighters flew over us earlier. We gotta get moving. Good to see you, Barry, Howll.” Lex said. He patted their shoulders as he walking past them.
“They are?” Seven asked.
“Here, let me just introduce everyone to you,” Basilisk said as the hatch of Biscotti closed up behind them.
“Offa! Where are you?” Lex yelled. “Start her up. We’re leaving this dump!”
“Offa, you haven’t met him yet, he’s Biscotti’s helmsman. He, Barry, Howll, and Juleka stayed behind. Barry’s our cook. He’s a bit neurotic, but he makes the best food. Don’t get on his bad side though. He holds a grudge like no other. You’ll get salt in your food for weeks. Howll and Juleka are our mechanics. Howll’s over equipment and Juleka’s over Biscotti. Try not to damage the ship.”
“Juleka’ll get jecking crazy on you. It’s her baby, and she is freakishly strong. Too valuable to take on missions though. Yra and Lois also stayed behind. They consist of our medical team. Who knows how many times we would have died without them. Hime doesn’t like anyone messing with them. They’re also a couple, so don’t try and get between them.”
“Let’s see. Lex, you know. He’s the captain. Mevin’s his second in command, and Rowan is his third. Mevin’s the technician, too. He comes up with the craziest roat inventions. The Cakemen wouldn’t function without him. Rowan’s probably the best hand-to-hand combat martial artist we have. Can take down a group of ten men in five seconds flat without any kind of weapon. Gen, on the other hand, I’ve never seen him wield a gun.”
“Nope, not once. He’s jecking trite with a sword though. Those two are our weirdest. Other than them, we’re divided into three different combat groups. Close-range, mid-range, and sniper. Each one has a captain that also serves as the tactician for the group. Oh, and the special operations group. They’re in charge of random things like information and infiltration.”
“Which one are you?”
“I’m a sniper.”
“Are you a captain?”
“Nope. Deheu is captain of the snipers.”
“Who’s all in which groups?”
“In the snipers, there’s me, Deheu, Klark, and Oliver. It’s sad, but he and David, who was the mid-range captain, died storming Pandora. We’ll have to pick a new captain for them.”
“I’m sorry. I didn’t mean-”
“Don’t apologize. Death is a frequent thing for us. They knew what they were getting into. Don’t worry about it, kid. Let’s continue, alright?”
“Alright… and the mid-range? Who’s in the mid-range?”
“That’s Venny, my brother Basalt, Tegan, and Caleb. As for the close-range, there’s good old captain Froi, Josem and Sven, ever together, Blick, and Heva. Our quirky people like Mevin and Rowan and Hime all get grouped into the special operations group. And well I already mentioned our stay-at-home group. That should be everyone. Welcome to the gang, kid.”
AN – Yay! You’ve officially met all of the Cakemen now! and the ship Biscotti! Sorry it was kind of an information dump. I’m really trying to avoid them. But, well, there’s a lot of names, twenty-four in fact. I hope it doesn’t bog you down to much. I don’t really think you’ll need to keep track of them.
Here, I’ll list them for you:
Special Operations: Lex (captain), Mevin, Rowan, Gen
Close-range combat group: Froi (captain), Josem, Sven, Blick, Heva
Mid-range combat group: David (captain/dead), Basalt, Venny, Tegan, Caleb
Snipers/long-range combat group: Deheu (captain), Basilisk, Klark, Oliver (dead)
Stay-at-home: Offa, Juleka, Yra, Lois, Howll, Barry,