Day 031 Week 05 IN

I slept for most of the ride, figuring I wouldn't get much later. Plus it distracted me from worrying about getting a bullet in my head when we arrived. I could have peace one last time or briefly, before having it forever.

Besides sleeping, I entertained myself by using that technique, seeing or feeling trees and blurred objects as we passed by. If I concentrated on one of them, I could establish where it was and it's surroundings, which was pretty cool. I also kept myself mentally prepared for my battle that would begin once we arrived. I wasn't nervous or panicking. I kept taking deep breaths and thinking about my goal, making it consume my mind so I wouldn't back down the second I got off.

The bus stopped after a few minutes of rocky road and buildings outside. I could recognize by the layout that we were back.

We were untied one by one. As they worked their way to me, my heart started racing. I concentrated harder on breathing evenly and staying determined. The time had come. This war was going to start.

I was last and walked off the bus with Ajim following. I immediately analyzed my surroundings as soon as we were off and it pulled away. We were in the middle of the dirt field. The sun was starting to set, so most of it was shadowed from the trees. Across from where I stood about seven yards away were fourteen men in black, all stone-faced. My squad was standing to my right in their ranks watching me. Skeller and Melanie weren't there, leaving for the moment Ajim in charge.

He appeared in front of me about two yards away, with a satisfied and creepy grin. "Welcome back, Captain."

My voice was even as my heart beat fast. I was calm on the outside, waiting for any signal to pull out my gun in a split second. "I thought I wasn't getting a goodbye."

He smirked, "So you do remember the consequences for failing your mission."

As he said this, I felt Skeller and Melanie about to appear four yards away on my left. I didn't hesitate. I took out my gun and shot in the area where he was going to appear. When he was fully constituted, he had a bullet hole through his forehead. He fell backwards with a blank stare as Melanie next to him stared between me and him in shock.

Everyone looked to me as I briefly recognized what I had done. I had shot Skeller in the head. He was dead. I had killed him in a split second. That was it? It was over?

I stared at him for two seconds before looking to Ajim as I covered my amazement at my feat. There was no sense in hiding my plan now, but I did anyway. It hadn't sunk in yet. I answered Ajim's question, "Yeah I do. But what's the consequence for killing your leader with a shot to the head?"

He glanced his leader and me. Everyone else was doing the same thing. I don't think they could believe it. I tried not letting my ego go through the roof. They had said I was capable, and now I was definitely a threat.

He said, trying to hide the shock on his face and in his voice, "You can't kill us with a single shot, Caine. We told you that before."

I shrugged, the words starting to sink in, "Yeah, but look at him. He's dead. I got him."

Ajim stared at his leader for a few more seconds before saying, "Well look again."

I turned my eyes and saw Skeller getting to his feet as the bullet fell out of his head, as if it was pushed out of his skull. The wound closed up perfectly. It was disgusting and horrifying. What the hell is he? Skeller looked me in the eyes and I concentrated hard on blocking my mind, since he didn't hesitate to start attacking my wall. He said with that smile I knew too well, "I'm not dead, Captain. But you're going to be."

He shifted to his left as he fired a bullet at me. I threw myself to the ground on my left to dodge it. I was farther isolated from my squad, and Skeller had his army behind him as more appeared. He was angry and continued to attack my wall pretty hard. I kept my fear and panic inside: keeping calm, focused, and confident.

He said, his voice showing a small percent of his anger, "So, Captain, now that you've failed your mission: are you willing to accept your consequences?"

I shook my head, my gun pointed at him still. "No. What a dumb question to ask, Skeller."

He shifted again, closer, about three yards away, point-blank target. I mused shooting him as he stared me down with those white eyes. "Then let me ask you this, Captain, are you the only one in this rebellion? Or do you have others behind you? Because if you do-"

"Ask them not me," I said, not daring to take my eyes off of him.

"Don't you-?"

"Ask them, not me," I repeated slower.

He stared me down briefly before disappearing and reappearing closer to my squad. He asked, "Well? Anyone believe in what your captain's doing? Anyone willing to die following him?"

My squad glanced at each other and me. I glared down Skeller, holding my gun with my right with my finger on the trigger as the other arm supported and steadied it. I was still wondering if I should take another shot, and if I could kill him. I didn't know how though. He didn't die from one shot… but what about more? How many shots could I fire? How many might it take?

Skeller yelled at them, "What? No one believes that your Captain can escape? No one thinks he'll win? That he can succeed?" They still looked at each other and me. I wasn't giving signals or looks for people to join me. This was their decision: my side now or theirs till who knows.

He looked back to me to state the obvious that no one was interested: better for me anyway. It would be less responsibility, mouths to feed, people to protect and organize. It would also be like before this. I would have my solitary world again: having no one desperate for my direction, opinion, or approval. I wouldn't mind. But someone stepped out of the ranks with their bag: Shawn. He walked over, picked up my bag, and dropped beside me. I mumbled with a small smirk, glad he had decided to join me compared to others, "Nice to see you, Shawn."

He unzipped his bag and pulled out his guns and bullets. As he loaded it, he mumbled, "Likewise, Captain."

I smirked. Skeller seemed taken back that someone had decided to join me. And another, as Audrey stepped forward and walked over. I mumbled, "Welcome, Audrey."

She did the same thing as Shawn as he stood ready on my right, guns pointed at the men on the field. She mumbled, "Yeah." I smirked. She was confident in her choice.

Meanwhile, Skeller was yelling at my squad, "Anyone else? Any others want to join him?"

There was a pause before Andre stepped forward with his bag and walked over, followed by Pasha. Andre I was fine with: Pasha I wasn't. She was the weakest, but I guess that's why she joined anyway. She'd die without me being here to save her.

I mumbled to them both, as Audrey stood on my left ready like Shawn, "Welcome aboard."

Andre smirked, even though he was nervous, "Thanks, Captain." Pasha didn't say anything as they both prepared to defend themselves in my war they had decided to join.

Skeller asked, once more, "Is that all? Is that all who supports your captain?" The rest of them stared at us with shock and fear. None of them were coming. The sides were set. Skeller appeared in front of us about two yards away, "Fine, so the four of you are with your captain? You believe standing with him is a wise decision? You believe he's strong enough to survive tonight? That he didn't make a lousy decision to dare stand against us? That you will live to see tomorrow by following him?"

His confidence reminded me of my father's in me countless times. However, my motivation or confidence wasn't questioned or weakened. I was more determined to prove him wrong and answer his question loud and clear. "Yes."

Andre stood beside Audrey with his guns, as Pasha stood on the end next to Shawn. The four of them didn't speak or look to each other. I saw Audrey and Andre looking around afraid. Shawn spoke for them with a somewhat shaky voice, "Yes."

Skeller grinned and looked right at me. "So this is your new squad, Captain Caine. And since they believe in what you did was the right choice, they will share the same consequences as you." He waited for a response, but I just glared at him, noticing other men appearing around the field and in the grass. We were being surrounded. I needed to think strategy.

Skeller went on with some speech. I didn't listen as I quietly gave orders, "We're being surrounded." Andre and Pasha turned a little to look, so I said, "Don't look. But we are." Everyone was tense, I could tell. I started counting how many people were here: it was more than twenty. I mumbled next, "All right, here's the plan. Shawn, keep an eye on Pasha. Andre, you do the same for Audrey. Audrey and Shawn, you'll have to watch more to your left and right, for my sake, since I only have one hand." Skeller went on as more people appeared. Was all the men in the camp going to show? I mumbled next, "We have to shoot it out here and stick together. It's the only option we got. When I tell you to run: you run towards the fence with your stuff. If I tell you anything else, don't ask questions, just do it. That's the only way this will work. Understood?" They nodded a little as Skeller seemed done with his monologue. "All right, just stay calm, everyone and get ready."

Skeller finished, "… And we'll kill these five delinquents with your defiant spirits so everyone knows in this country, that there is no defeating us." He glared at me with that smile, that's forever imprinted into my mind. "Fire."

The war has just begun.

I didn't hesitate; neither did my new squad beside me. Bullets started flying. I aimed quickly and made sure I got each one I targeted. I was aware of my limited supply. When I could tell the men in the grass were moving closer, I told the others with me to make a circle. A few minutes was constant shooting with occasionally dodging one way or another, or ducking. No one engaged us in hand-to-hand combat, which made it easier for me anyway. I kept my senses as far as they could go so I could determine who were close enough to be threats to my and my squad's safety since there were so many.

I took maybe ten more shots before deciding that shooting them all would be impossible, not with my accomplices wasting bullets and panicking. Pasha, since she seemed trigger-happy. Andre and Audrey were nervous and more jumpy. Shawn was less nervous and focused but knew he was concentrating on being quick and accurate maybe too much. I wasn't acting like that or perfectly tranquil, I couldn't be. But I was keeping my senses and was better at hitting my targets.

I finally decided to make the call, "Shawn."

"Yeah, captain?"

"Head towards the grass. Pasha, follow him."

"But-" she was about to protest.

"Go!" I yelled. Shawn took off. I adjusted our circle to cover our moving comrades and take out targets. After a few more shots, I said, "Andre, you follow. Catch up with Shawn." He nodded, grabbed his bag, and took off. Audrey and I stood back to back, shooting as the men advanced almost like chess pieces: one at a time. This would have been better target practice. After a few more shots into the grass and out onto the field, I told her, "Audrey, grab your bag. Then cover me while I get mine."

When I could tell she was standing again, her bag over her shoulder, I took mine and threw it over mine. I took two more shots before, realizing briefly Skeller was gone from the battle. I decided it was time to run. I took one more shot and yelled, "Let's go."

Ajim who had disappeared somewhere during the beginning of the battle, appeared in front of our way into the grass as we started running that way. "You're not going anywhere, Captain."

It was too late to stop running at that point, so I went with it. I faked to my left and hit him hard and fast on the right side of his face. I yelled at Audrey, as I watched his head turn from the impact of my hit in slow motion, "Run, Audrey. I'll catch up. Find Shawn."

I could tell she hesitated, but I didn't stress her to move. Ajim and I were in battle. He didn't hesitate as he moved with the hit to his right. He disappeared and reappeared on my left side. I ducked and dropped to a crouch at his first swing of his right arm. I stuck my leg out and turned in attempt to take him down. He half fell over me, as my leg made contact and disrupted his balance. He interrupted his fall by shifting or appearing on the other side right in the line of my continuing swing of my leg. As he fell, I took out my gun and shot him in the chest as he reappeared. A bullet hole appeared. I took another shot at his head and then watched his snarl of frustration fade. He collapsed, bleeding from both mortal injuries. I felt his presence fade into nothing, as if he was dead. I took one more shot at his chest just in case, before fading back into my surroundings: the chaos and flying bullets. No time to pause and analyze. Time to run.

I took off sprinting into the grass. I caught up with Audrey who had paused not far in. I yelled at her, "Go. Just go. Don't look back, just go."

A few times someone came out and tried taking Audrey or me down as we ran through the shrubbery. I didn't hesitate to throw them off or hit them with my gun, or to do the same to those that attacked her. My senses seemed to be on higher alert than usual, almost if I was powered by some sort of extra energy. We managed to catch up with Shawn, Andre, and Pasha, which I was surprised by after having fought Ajim and all. But Pasha was having an emotional breakdown: yelling and freaking out.

I didn't stop as they watched us approach. I ran past them, grabbed Pasha by the arm, and pulled her along as I yelled to the others, "Don't stop: run."

Pasha was crying, but she followed. We were attacked like ten times from different directions as they came from around the bushes or appeared out of thin air to stall or prevent our escape. Each time we just kept running and helped each other take the opponent out. I would also warn my comrades as someone was coming up, so they weren't as caught off guard. Pasha was made a target a lot, but since she was running by me they didn't have a chance to get her. I was surprised by how they weren't using guns to shoot us down. They were just trying to keep us here. I guess so Skeller could have the honor, or I wasn't enough of a threat yet to want dead, no matter what bullet I put into Skeller's or Ajim's head in a split second.

We made it to the fence. I looked at it briefly before making the call, turning back to my comrades as more men came from the bushes around us. I shot three and knocked out another, yelling, "Andre!"

"Yes, Captain?" He said as he fought one off. For being scared to death, he could still take down a few.

"Climb over the fence."

There was a moment's hesitation before I shot another guy in the face. I looked to Andre in the break of action. "Its kind of high, Captain."

I smirked as I turned and whacked one in the face with my gun, before my comrades knew he was there. I looked back to Andre, as the guy lay limp on the ground. "Do it, Andre. There's no way I'm running to the entrance to get out."

Andre looked to the fence, taking my orders. I watched him before one came behind Audrey. She tried pulling him off and I helped her, by slugging him in the face. He didn't fall over, but I fought him till he did. By then Andre was half up. I said to Pasha, "You're next."

She sobbed, "But, Caine-"

"You'll be safer on that side. So when Andre's over-"

Another attacker, who had targeted me from behind, interrupted me. I dodged his first attack and fought him, ending it with a bullet to his chest. He fell slumped over, bleeding. I knew that stopped them for a few minutes. I wondered if Ajim was dead now or if Skeller would die from the same wound. I finished as Andre was at the top. "You'll go next."

The four of us watched Andre as he dropped on the other side. He landed in a bush with a "whomp" and a "ow." I asked, chuckling, "You, all right, Andre?"

He stood after fighting and rustling in the bush a minute, "Yeah." He smiled a little.

I looked to Pasha, "Go ahead. Audrey or Shawn, if you want to go too, you can. I can hold them off."

Shawn looked to Audrey and told her, "Go ahead."

Audrey glanced at me before starting her climb with Pasha.

For the next few minutes, Shawn and I were under some pretty heavy opponents. None of them were Ajim or Skeller, who were still gone from the field and my range. I didn't know where he was, but I had an idea that he'd show soon enough. He'd probably appear when Shawn climbed and I waited to protect him.

Audrey made it over first and then Pasha, who complained about her landing. I said to Shawn and the others "Go ahead. Once Shawn's over, run. Don't bother waiting for me. Just go. I'll catch up."

Shawn nodded before jumping and grabbing onto the fence. I fought more oncoming men, which reminded me of the day before I was tortured. It was a constant stream. I just fought and dodged, not losing strength, endurance, or motivation. I was fully concentrated on my mission and I was running on adrenaline. It seemed the more I fought the better or stronger I felt, rather than worn out.

As Shawn landed on the other side, I didn't look over my shoulder to see if they took off running or not. I could tell that the man that had disappeared was now coming.

I took one hit to the face, ignoring my opponent to face him. Skeller was faster this time. I didn't get a chance to fire a bullet at him. He grabbed me by my shoulders and for the first time I experienced moving just as fast as he usually did.

It was like flying or sliding through space. My feet never left the ground but there was no friction caused by the terrain. It was exhilarating and terrifying because it was so fast and efficient, and I couldn't fight off Skeller's grip. I could fight off his hatred bearing down on my barrier in my head like a thousand-pound weight. It made the trip less pleasant, but I at least knew what it felt like now. I might be able to figure out how to do it myself if I survive this next battle for my life.

I was transported in a split second farther away from the fence and into a bush with thorns. He stood over me with his fist raised. He hit me square in the jaw. I grimaced as my head spun and my hand remembered it had a weapon. He picked me by my collar as I fired a shot at his ribcage. He dodged somehow, but it had grazed him pretty deeply, so he was bleeding.

He threw me to the dirt; face down, knocking the gun out of my hand and five feet away. He got on top of me, pinning my left arm behind my back with his hand and my right arm to the ground with his knee. He hissed, as he put a gun to the back of my head, "Now, Captain, this is where this ends."

He meant it. I knew it. I didn't hesitate. It was now or never. I said as I twisted to my right, using all my strength to throw off his balance and knee like that kid had done in the final game of Seeker to me, and get out of his grip, "In your dreams."

He lost his balance and fell to the side as I managed to roll over. I kicked him hard in the face as he fell. I stood and went towards my gun. He stopped himself before falling completely. He got to his feet quickly and lunged at my legs to get me away from my gun. I was down but I turned over to kick him again, just as my fingers brushed the gun. He completely dodged it, moving as fast as normal and like the red-eyed-me in my head. He fell backwards and then shifted to his feet on the other side of me.

He stood over me and pulled out his gun, aiming it directly at my forehead without looking. My eyes widened. I rolled on my stomach out of the way and stumbled to my feet to grab my gun. He fired a shot at the ground between my hand and the gun, so I couldn't grab it. I dodged that bullet and then grabbed my gun before he could fire another shot. I held my gun and pointed it at his hand. He shifted to the left. As he did, I made a swinging downward motion where his hand would be.

I skiffed it as he took a swing at my head with his arm, holding the gun. I ducked below his swing, seeing it in slow motion. I took a shot at his wrist above me. I got it, more centered than any of the other shots at him so far. Either he was tiring or I was getting better or lucky.

He dropped his gun and I kicked it out of the way, along with his leg. He shifted to dodge, but as he did, I turned and fired my gun where he would be. I had shot him again in the forehead. His white eyes stared at me for a moment with focus and then without, as he collapsed unconscious to the ground for the second time. His presence faded into nothing like a dying blame, like Ajim's had.

I was panting but didn't hesitate to finish off my round on his head – just in case - and take his gun and extra ammunition. I didn't count the holes or the times I fired. I just took off knowing I had a minute or more to escape from here with no more threats.

I sprinted to the fence and grabbed my bag since it had been knocked off of me before. I stole some more ammo and weapons from the fallen, stashing them in my bag. I jumped up and grabbed a hold of the fence with my hand. I managed to claw my way up using my one hand and feet. I was only grazed with one bullet as I fell to the other side where my comrades were waiting, amazed.

I didn't stop moving though, no matter how out of breath I was or amazed that we were out. We had to keep moving. I don't know how desperate they were to have us dead or back, but we had to move until we got enough distance.

I said to them as I took off sprinting, "I told you to go. Why didn't you?"

Audrey said as they followed me into the dark woods, "We were worried."

I shook my head, "I was fine. Now no more talking. Just keep up, all right?" I glanced behind me as they nodded. We kept moving without another sound, as I watched and listened for any signs to put on speed or turn and fight.

But we were out and my war had started with lots of bullets inside a white-eyed freak and four people deciding to join. It was our war and just beginning.

I took out my compass shortly after following the fence to find the entrance. Once we did, I found south on my compass and headed in that direction, away from the dirt road that led into the camp.

We sprinted in silence mostly. Sometimes Pasha would whimper or sigh in complaint, or squeal when she heard an owl, bird, or other animal. She really was a high-maintenance girl. Other times one of us might say, "ow" as we got hit by a branch or accidentally tripped a little as we ran. The moon by now was out and mostly full, so we didn't have to use a flashlight.

We ran probably for twenty minutes before I slowed down, remembering they still had the tracers on their guns and bags. I came to a stop and crouched down, opening my bag. I said to them, a little out of breath, "Give me your guns and bag now."

"Why?" Pasha asked objecting tiredly.

I took out my screwdriver as Shawn smirked, "GPS thing?"

I nodded. The three who understood didn't hesitate. They crouched down and started emptying their bags. Pasha stood still and asked, "What are you doing?"

I sighed, because I was tired and didn't want to explain. "Just give me your guns and empty your bag, Pasha. I'll show you."

She did reluctantly, as I managed to pry off Shawn's. I told him as I handed him the technology, "Crush them, throw them: just get rid of them." He nodded and threw them far into the woods in different directions behind us. I did Andre's next, then Audrey's, and then Pasha's. Once theirs was out and I had assisted in throwing them with my pitcher's arm, they repacked, closed their bags, and we took off again; despite how many times Pasha tried complaining or sighed.

I wanted the most distance from their camp and from the tracers. I was tired as heck too: fighting Ajim and Skeller, enduring a six hour bus trip, and sitting through a three hour meeting that said things I didn't want to hear. It had been a long day, but I knew I wouldn't sleep well if we didn't get far enough away.

We ran maybe for two hours, breaking once or twice. When we came across an abandoned, run-down building in the middle of the forest, I slowed down and stopped getting a good look at it before making a decision.

It was five stories high, which was enough to see over the woods. It didn't look occupied and I couldn't tell if there was anyone inside. It seemed like a good place to sleep for the night, if it was empty. I sighed, adjusting the bag on my shoulder before asking, "Everyone think we're far enough away?"

Three nodded: too tired to speak. Pasha said, annoyed, "I think we could have stopped like an hour ago, Caine."

The four of us looked at her, but didn't say anything. She asked, "What?"

I started walking towards the building, "Let's see if this place is open then." They followed.

I walked through the small hole in the boarded up door and looked around, as my comrades waited outside. It was dark, but some light shone through the gaps in the boarded windows. I went in my bag, grabbed my flashlight, and turned it on. I stepped aside then, scanning the room, and said quietly to them outside, "Looks clear. Come on."

Audrey came in first, followed by Pasha. Andre had a harder time squeezing through but managed. Shawn came in last. I said as I illuminated the walls with my flashlight, "Stick close. There's got to be stairs here somewhere."

I started walking as they followed. We went into a room or two in the back before finding stairs. I tested it first, not really caring about breaking my neck at this point of exhaustion and invincibility against Skeller and Ajim. The stairs held so I went up slowly.

We went onto the second floor and the next three the same way. The building was fairly intact and only once or twice did it groan under us. We were a little surprised –except Pasha who almost started screaming - by some bats we disturbed on the top floor, since the windows weren't boarded.

The top floor only had one room and with the open windows; it was easy to see. I turned off the flashlight and walked into the room. I claimed my spot on the floor, right in the middle: dropping my bag next to me, laying flat on my back with my arms out, ignoring my injury where the bullet had got me. The other four went to different parts of the room and sat or lay down, exhausted: probably just as glad to be resting.

For a moment, we only heard the nightlife outside and the slight breeze among the trees. I closed my eyes and finally let what we had done sink in. We had escaped. We were rebels, traitors, and enemies. We were no longer under their command. I could do what I want. I could look for the answers to my many questions. I didn't have to worry about dying every day like back there. I had my sanity and destiny to control. I was free, yet bound to staying fast and strong enough to defeat them one day. I had that to worry about and to end this war between them and my country permanently. This was my new freedom, and I liked it better than the past three days in the hotel.

Audrey said, a few moments later, "Caine, are you bleeding?"

I opened my eyes and turned to her on my left as she sat by the wall. I said simply and tired, "Yeah."

She smirked, "Want me to help you with that?"

I shook my head, sitting up and grimacing a little as it stung, "No. I'll take care of it."

Andre chuckled, "Like how you took care of Skeller?" I glanced at him with a smirk. He smiled, "You were amazing, Captain."

I chuckled, as I searched for my first aid kit, "Thanks." I took it out and added, "I barely remember all of it."

Shawn said, "Wouldn't doubt it. You were moving pretty fast."

I nodded, "Yeah." I chuckled, "Felt like a dream."

Andre said, "But it's not, Captain. That's how amazing you are."

I looked at him, laughing. "Thanks." I looked back to the kit, found a bandage suitable and fought to put it on, not caring to figure how to peel off the cover without it sticking to my bad hand. Audrey came over, smirking still and helped me put it on. She smiled a little more when she had to lift my shirt. She went back to her seat by the wall afterwards, as I lay down again.

Another moment we were silent before Andre asked, "Well what's next, Captain, now that we're out of there?"

I smirked a little, "Well… first off I think we should vote to determine if I should continue being captain, since I don't have to be now."

Shawn said, "I don't think we really need to, Captain." I looked to him. "I mean, I'm only assuming, but I don't think any of us believe you shouldn't be captain. You're the one that led us out of there and wounded Skeller-"

"And Ajim," Audrey added.

Shawn chuckled impressed and continued, "To render them unconscious. I don't think I could do that or anyone else." I smirked a little. "You're the most suited, Caine, in strength and leadership, in my opinion."

Andre said, simply, "Ditto that, Captain Caine."

I looked to the girls. Audrey nodded, as did Pasha. So I was still captain.

"All right then. So in case I end up dead by being stupid or something else," I chuckled, "Let me tell you that, Shawn, I'd trust you to be my successor, because you and I think alike and you're the next strongest among those here."

He nodded in thanks with a smile, "Thank you, Captain."

I looked to Andre, "Andre, you'd be second, since you seem to keep calm enough to keep moving. Plus, I think if you had to strategize, you'd have the common sense to keep yourself and anyone else safe."

He said thanks as I looked to Audrey. "Audrey, you'd be third. You'd be able to plan something, but may not have the strength to carry it out alone." She nodded.

I looked to Pasha next and told her bluntly, "Pasha, if everyone else couldn't, my advice to you would be surrender: don't run, don't fight, surrender. You'll be better off."

She got a little upset by that, "What? So I wouldn't be a good leader?"

I smirked a little, "No you wouldn't, Pasha. You're the weakest and if you didn't know that, now you know."

Pasha was about to object, but I wasn't going to argue fact when a few of the others were hiding smirks. "Anyway, I guess I should tell you the way I want to run this squad now that we're separate from them and what else I'm planning now that we are." I lifted my head up. "But before that, I want to know why you decided to join me."

I turned to Andre as he started talking after a brief pause, "Well, Captain, the reason why I joined you was because ever since the first day, when you lost your hand, I always tried looking out for you. I mean: I just wanted to help you because of what they did. And when you decided to take a stand tonight, I figured with Audrey and Shawn being great fighters and better than me in brains, skill, and stuff: that I could at least make up for your other hand, even though after what you did to Skeller, made it seem like you may not need it." He chuckled. "Plus I figured the four of us stuck together during the past couple of days, why not for longer?" He smiled.

I smirked as I started realizing how these four were under my responsibility. It wasn't like before when I was someone to blame for Ajim and Skeller. Now I was really in charge. I had to protect them and make sure they were safe since they trusted and believed in me. This wasn't like being alone at war where I had myself to worry about; I had them too.

Audrey went next, acting a little shy and nervous. It didn't matter if she told me how she really felt; it was obvious how she did. She said, glancing between the floor and me, "I decided to join you, Caine, since we've been together from the start, except for those three days you were tortured." She glanced at me. "And on those three days I didn't like not having you around, so I figured I'd come along with you when you did this." She took another glance at me. "And I don't think anyone else would have tried and gotten away with it, since you're practically a machine out there." I chuckled as she continued with a smirk. "You're too good of a fighter and I'd rather be on your side than against you." She smiled a little before I looked to Shawn, who was next as they went around the room.

Shawn said, "Simply, Caine, the reason why I joined was because I didn't want to stay there. I knew if you succeeded tonight, I'd regret not taking the chance, and probably never try to escape without someone with your strength on my side. Also I'd probably end up captain, which I didn't want. But, I knew we got along well, so I figured you wouldn't mind." He shrugged with a smile as I chuckled.

I looked to Pasha who smiled. She was the one I really wanted to hear an answer from. She smiled a little before starting, "Well, Caine, it's kind of like what Audrey said, like, I didn't like not having you around when you got 'tortured'." She chuckled as if it was a joke. "But it's not like what Audrey said because I didn't like having you around because there was no one to look at." Get out, now. "So that's why I decided to join." She smiled.

I looked at Shawn and smirked a little, not really believing that was her reason. But now I knew that the girls, who had joined my cause, liked me. I shook my head after I sighed, saying before Pasha could question, "That can't be your reason, Pasha. And if it is, I'm going to tell you to get up and go back."

"What? Why?" she objected.

I looked at her, "Because that's not a good enough reason for you to come or for me to let you stay." I looked back to Shawn, "If anything it tells me you should go back."

"But-but," she stuttered before sighing dramatically and adding, "Okay fine. It's also because you're an awesome fighter." I looked at her, hoping to hear the reason I had come up with before. She glanced downwards before adding, her voice getting quiet towards the end, "And without you I probably would have died."

I smiled and said, "That's a good enough reason."

"So I can stay?" She smiled.

I nodded. "Of course," despite the other fact wasn't something I'd like to know. She grinned as I moved onwards to tell them my plans.

"All right, now I know your motivation and how much trust you have in me. Now onto how I want to run this squad of ours." I sat up so I could get a better look at them. I turned around so I could face everyone and then continued, "As captain, I'm perfectly willing to make the calls, plans, and strategy, along with keeping you all safe no matter what it means for my well-being. As far as I see it, I'm responsible for that since you put so much faith in me."

I looked to each of them as I spoke, getting nods as I went. "But I also don't want to be doing everything in this squad, carrying the weight of the four of you. I don't want to have to delegate someone to do something all the time and make you feel like you have no chance to think, give your opinion, or volunteer to do something. I know I'm not always right and I don't know everything. I'm capable of making mistakes and I can't do everything either." I chuckled, "So what I guess I'm saying is that, if you have an idea tell me. If you want to do something or think your way may be better than mine, let me know or step up and do it. Don't make me have to give you permission or tell you if you want to do something. Step up and I'll let you try, if I think its good enough. Just don't try to waste my time with dumb suggestions."

I chuckled, "Think a little before you ask, all right?" They nodded with smirks, even though three of them didn't have to worry about that. "But that's basically it. I want it to be a group effort rather than just me. I'll back you up and do what I can, but you also have to do your part and carry your weight. All right?" They nodded.

I nodded, "All right, now onto my plan, and then we'll call it a night. I'm pretty beat." I chuckled. They nodded. I took a breath. "So, as three of you know, I've been planning this for the past three days and was freaking out about what was tonight." I chuckled. "But my next idea was to get out of this forest, get any more supplies we might need, before looking for a division of the Cambrian army that would be willing to take us since we're trained and we know who they want to kill next. I figure with those assets, we could get in."

Pasha said, as the others thought about it a moment, "So we're going to find the army and have them take us home?"

The three of us looked to each other before looking to her. I asked, "Did I mention going home?"

She shook her head, "No, but I figured since we're free now we would." I just looked at her. "Right?"

I shook my head as I shrugged, "Well you could go do that if you want, but I wouldn't."

"Why not?"

I shrugged, "Well if I were them, home would be the first place I'd look. Kidnapped teenagers who hadn't been home in a month or more: it would be the most logical choice to set up a trap to take them back. And I wouldn't dare endanger my family that way by going back there." I shook my head. "Plus, I'm now capable of fighting and I've wanted to in the first place, so I'm willing to take the opportunity."

Andre asked, kind of in disbelief, "You wanted to join the army, Caine?"

I nodded. Shawn said on my right, "I did too, but I had to wait until my birthday yet. I'm only seventeen."

I nodded. "Same. I had to wait until December."

Shawn said, "I have to wait until March."

Audrey said, "Me too."

We looked to Andre and then Pasha. Andre had until June; Pasha had until August. I was the oldest. Pasha said then, "Well I guess then, Caine, you'll just have to join the army and we'll go home."

I shook my head as Shawn said, "I think they would take us, Pasha. We're already trained and once they see Caine's skill and ours' we should be fine." I held my remark on that.

Pasha looked to Andre and Audrey. "Do you want to join the army too?"

Andre shrugged, "I never really did, but since I can, why not?"

Audrey said, "Yeah and I agree with Caine. Going home doesn't seem too smart."

Andre added, "Yeah, I agreed."

Pasha sighed heavily and folded her arms, not saying what she meant, but I could tell; she didn't agree. I didn't tell her how I felt about it: I've planned this for days and it's the best alternative we got to going home, since we'd have endless supplies of what we need. I let it drop and said, "All right, let's get some rest. Tomorrow morning, we'll head out."

Everyone nodded so we settled down. I took out my pillow as everyone else tried finding an alternative before lying down. For a couple of minutes I laid there thinking about today in disbelief still even as I replayed my moments of glory. But I managed to drift off to sleep.

I hope this was a good ending for Part I of Captain Caine! Part II will be coming soon. Review & let me know! ^-^ - Kayla