Lex looked up as Mevin entered the room.
“You look sour. Don’t be mad at Seven. It was just an accident. Though, I probably shouldn’t let a kid wander around on second thought. Haha, sorry,” Lex rubbed his head.
“Just mad that we got noticed.”
“Half the time we get noticed anyway. You know open land like this doesn’t go well with a stealth cloak. Adding a turret beacon to the mix doesn’t change very much.”
“Fine. What have we got?”
“Wow, you really are sour today. Make up with Seven soon, okay?” Mevin shot him a glare.
“Hime, I’m not a middle schooler with a grudge. Shut up, will you? You’ve got worse things to worry about than my attitude.”
“Alright alright. Offa, you see anything yet?”
“Something moved on the radar a second ago.”
“What’s it look like?”
“So far, only a blip about fifty miles southwest. A bit too far to pick up anything more. Considering how these groups usually work though, that’ll be a big ship.”
“Decoy right? They won’t get close, but they’ll fire at us. That’s why I hate India. They have to easy an access to almost any kind of missile,” Mevin said as he sat down on the couch. He looked up at the terrain map on the holo-screen.
“Gotta love those marauders. Soon, we’ll hit the ant’s nest. It always amazes me how they swarm,” Lex said.
“Where will they ambush us?” Offa asked.
“If it were me, I’d set it up right about there.” Lex zoomed in on an area of the map where crags rose up. A narrow pass threaded it’s way through them, with high cliffs on either side.
“Pikeman’s Pass? Lex, were you planning on taking this route anyway? Everyone know’s you’re just asking for an ambush going through Pikeman’s Pass.” Mevin frowned.
Lex’s face grew serious. “A hunch. It’s a hunch. When I talked with Toulene, he almost seemed eager to give me information on Seven. He’s interested in him, I know it.”
“That’s not good. It’s a bad idea to catch the interests of that vampire,” Offa said with a shudder.
“He’s not a vampire,” Mevin rolled his eyes.
“You don’t know that. He’s been around forever. Even when I was a boy, he was infamous. You wanna explain how he’s been around for so long, kid?”
“Who says they’re the same person?”
“Sick, pale man in a wheel chair with a permanent smirk and eyes too blue to be natural. They give you the willies, like he wants to suck out something from you. How many men fit that description?”
“I don’t know. There could be a lot!”
Lex laughed. “That sounds just like him!”
“What does Toulene have to do with it anyway?” Mevin said with an annoyed look on his face.
“Ah, well, I think he was using me when he gave me the information.”
“It wouldn’t be a surprise,”Offa muttered.
“He knew I’d escape the People’s Army. He probably fixed it so it’d be easier.”
“It would make sense if he used you to make a deal with the Reds,” Offa said.
“I wouldn’t put it past him. Anyway, Toulene wanted us to get Seven out, and when we dropped him off someplace, he’d go and pick him up.”
“Hime, how long have you been thinking that?” Mevin asked
“Since… well, since right before
we raided Pandora. Maybe even earlier, now that I’m thinking about it.”
“Why didn’t you tell me about this!? Didn’t you think it was important?”
“It was a hunch! It wasn’t even solid enough to be called an idea until recently, more of just an unsettling feeling. I wasn’t sure, but I kept an eye on Toulene anyway. He started moving right when we crossed the Wall, and he wasn’t being discrete about it either.”
“That’s why you didn’t want to drop the kid? That’s why you were acting so weird when it came to him? Lex, just give him to Toulene! He’s bringing more trouble than he’s worth!”
“Mevin, shut up! You jecking roat!” Lex yelled. “I will not! Toulene tricked me with the price of that deal. It was much heavier than he normally deals with. Who knew if I would have stayed alive long enough for you to come. I will not give him the satisfaction of handing him what he wants! I will not have you questioning my decision.”
“Hime, we have birds headed our way,” Offa said.
Lex glared at Mevin. Without turning his head, he said to Offa, “How many?”
“Around two hundred plus individual fighters and maybe three bunker class just hanging on the walls. Looks like they sprung their trap earlier than I would have. They must be the impatient type. Still have that heavy weight squatting behind us. Hasn’t moved an inch.”
“Lex, why are we doing this?” Mevin finally said.
“I’m making a bet. Fastest way to Delhi is through that pass. We make it though, and be in and out of Delhi as fast as we can. Make no mistake, Mevin, I’m not leaving Seven behind. If it comes to it, I’ll protect him with my life.”
Mevin sighed. “I hate this about you. You’re so stubborn once you decide on something. I won’t argue with you anymore then, but don’t expect me to be happy about it. But, I won’t just leave him somewhere on the side of the road, either. You’ll owe me a favor for it, though.”
“So, what’s your plan? Toulene’s bound to know we’re headed to Delhi. I wouldn’t be surprised if these roats headed our way have connections with him.”
“Burst through the front and snipe them from behind. Won’t be too hard going through the canyon. Basilisk always likes that kind of easy target practice.”
“I meant once we’re in Delhi. I know these jecks don’t even count as a problem. They’re too stupid.”
“Oh, that. I’m going to cash in a favor,” Lex grinned.
“I hate Mubai,” Mevin rubbed his face.
“Hime, they’re getting juicier by the second,” Offa said. “Might wanna call it.”
“Alright, let’s hit it! Mevin, get everyone in position. I wanna see those roats swarm!”
End of Chapter 5