Chapter 4 ~ Reaching Home
The next morning Billie looked worried.
"They're not here! What can be keeping them?
"I don't know but…" Gloria's sleepy voice was trailing off and Billie couldn't understand a word.
"What's that? Say that again please?" She requested.
"I said wake me up when they come!" Gloria repeated.
"No! Don't go back to sleep! What if the 'borgs find us? You must be awake to make a quick escape!" Billie started tugging on Gloria's sleeve to wake her up.
" Ok, don't have a cow now!" Gloria said exasperatedly.
Just when Gloria got up, a beeper went off.
"What was that? She asked in an alarmed voice.
"It's my communication device!" Let me see what it says!" Billie explained.
'Borgs found us… destroyed… aircraft hidden in forest… NW from … location. Help… injured… all dead… come fast…. The rest she couldn't make out. The static interference was too big.
"Damn it! Damn the 'borgs!" Billie yelled. " They destroyed the rescue team, and they installed a magnetic force-field to disrupt any distress calls to the base."
"Billie, we have to get out of here. This message could be traced, and the 'borgs could be hunting this part of the woods right now. Come on! We have got to find that aircraft."
"Very well, we're going! NW, NW!" Billie kept muttering.
Gloria followed her without questioning her judgement of the direction. She fully trusted Billie right now.
As they were hurrying through the woods, Gloria observed that the trees were not so thick anymore. Her guess was that they were approaching a flat area, not covered by any trees.
"Look for a forest in the direction we are going!" Billie ordered.
"Wait, I'm guessing that we are approaching a field of some kind and that we won't be able to get a very accurate view. Let me climb a tree and see and look from there."
"Can you do that?" Billie asked.
"Sure, just wait."
Gloria climbed up a tall tree, full of branches and other supports she could use as helpers to get to the top. When she got there, she looked around and after a few minutes, she yelled.
"I see this thick green forest up ahead, about 30 minutes of power-walking!"
"I got that! Now get down from that tree and lets get walking."
Just as soon as Gloria got down from the tree, they started walking towards the forest.
"Let's move! We're in open land now. I see the forest." Gloria told Billie." It's not good to be in open land at this hour of the day. We can be spotted easily."
"I'm impressed, I see you know a lot about camouflage." Billie observed.
"I read a lot of action books. " Gloria explained.
The walk was long and the minutes seemed to crawl by slower than snails. Billie and Gloria got tired, but the thought of actually being free replenished their strength, every time they were about to give up.
At about noon they got to the forest.
"The aircraft has to be here around somewhere! Start looking!" Billie told Gloria.
They looked and looked, but they couldn't find any evidence of anybody ever being in that forest. Day turned to night, and before anyone realized it, it was time to stop. They ate what little they saved from dinner and breakfast in the Containment Camp.
"Don't be discouraged! We'll start searching tomorrow. After all, it's another day." Gloria argued to a silent statement.
"Yeah, but I don't know…I mean we looked and looked. What if they left or the 'borgs destroyed them?" Billie despaired.
"Don't panic and don't get paranoid. We'll get out of here. Don't worry!" Gloria tried to sound cheerful.
" Don't "yeah whatever me" we will get out of here! You have to believe it!"
"If you say so, but we have no guarantees … " Billie said with a morbid voice.
Gloria left her alone. She didn't want he to get even more depressed.
In a way, Gloria felt that Billie's fears existed in her heart too. No! She had to be optimistic, she had to get back to civilization. She had a blood-written payment for the cyborgs. For her parents, for herself, for humanity. They had no right to do all this. NO RIGHT. Humans needed to be free, to develop. They didn't need to be machines! They needed their souls; they needed their spirit and their free will. Humans needed to make their own decisions. They had a right to a free will. "We will stop you." Gloria thought. Yes, she will stop the cyborgs. No matter the cost, she felt that the people should have someone that wants to help them. This opposition sounded good. Gloria felt that all the suffering people were her family. Who knows, maybe out there, a person was trying to help her parents just like she wanted to help the people of Vesan13. The probability that she was an orphan was big, so why not adopt a temporary family? The whole human race. That way she'll always have someone to stand by her. She'll stop the cyborgs given the means. She'll give them exactly what they deserve. Soon it will be payback time, and the cyborgs will be hunted down like dogs. It was her ultimate goal. The thing that kept her going from then on. The thing that kept her sane, in a crazy world. The goal and the hope that gave her new ideas where it seemed like a dead-end. It was the unwritten law that ruled her heart from then on. With her mind in order now, and ignoring the turmoil in the world, Gloria waited anxiously for the beginning of a new day.
When Gloria opened her eyes, it was almost dawn. It had been a dreamless night. A restful, but unsatisfying sleep. As she was waking up from the numbness that controlled her body –it wasn't comfortable to sleep on the ground- the first rays of sunshine appeared from behind the gray sleepy cliffs in the horizon. The sky slowly began changing color-from blue to a bloody red- signaling all life that the day has begun. It was wonderful to watch the sun raising quietly over the cliffs, and how the first signs of life stated to glow. The birds and the trees woke up at the gentle touch of the golden light, them too seeming fascinated by the rising of the sun.
As for Gloria, she sat there, quiet as a mouse, listening to the beautiful music of life. This music was brought on by the beginning of a new day, when the possibilities of spending it were limitless. Her face was glowing with joy, and just for a moment all the sadness, the worry and responsibility vanished from her eyes. She was letting the magical light of the morning fill her heart and replenish her hopes. For that moment, and that moment only she felt that everything was in her grasp. A victorious smile enlightened her face and she continued savoring the beauties of nature.
As she was 'dreaming' she didn't hear Billie wake up behind her.
"Hey, you're up early!" she said.
Gloria didn't hear a thing besides the music of nature that whispered to her.
"I said hey, why aren't you answering?" Billie asked.
"Um… what?" Gloria asked as awakened from a dream.
"I SAID HEY!" Billie repeated for the second time.
" Oh, hey," Gloria finally answered.
" At last! What took so long just to get an answer out of you?"
Gloria ignored her obscure question. She was still a bit dreamy, as if her connection with the sixth sense had not been severed yet. After a few moments of recollection, Gloria asked.
"Are you over your gloomy mood?"
"Yeah, I'm at peace now that I made a total fool of myself."
"Well. I'm glad you're ok now. I was worried that you couldn't take the stress, and you would have a nervous breakdown."
"No, it was just a phase, but how are you doing? You are taking it pretty well for a 16 year-old."
"I guess I am, but I think I never had the time to think this thoroughly. Now, let's find that aircraft!"
"Are you sure you want to start so early?" Billie asked.
"The sooner the better. "
The girls started looking around for signs of outside life. Unfortunately, no progress was made until lunchtime. Settling down to enjoy a small and quiet lunch, Gloria and Billie were drained of all powers.
"Eh, better start searching some more." Billie said after taking a small break.
"Good idea after all we only sat down," Gloria sarcastically agreed.
"You can stay and rest some more. I can look for the aircraft alone." Billie suggested.
"No, the sooner we get out of here the better." Gloria got up and started searching some more.
After a few more hours of hopeless searching, Gloria and Billie were almost beat, when Gloria heard Billie shriek with happiness.
"Gloria! Tracks! I found them!" Billie yelled from a distant bush.
"Good, let's follow them and finally get out of here!" Gloria exclaimed with excitement.
They followed the tracks until they discovered an open area in the forest. Billie who was leading stopped cold in her tracks.
"Billie, come on we have to…"
Gloria came from behind and as Billie, stopped cold in her tracks. The place was full of corpses. The sight was horrible. Body parts and blood was everywhere. There were at least 20 people there, but it looked like hundreds. Pain was encrypted on every face. Their cold eyes staring into oblivion as each of them met their horrible fate. Gloria's stomach turned to knots. Standing there was like a horrible ordeal. Although she never knew the persons, she felt pain, because they were humans that died trying to save them. She felt as though she was responsible for their death. Gloria looked over at Billie. Her face was tortured by an emotion that could not be described as pain, anger, or guilt. It was the strongest expression Gloria had ever seen, and it frightened her. It was a void channeling all the emotions Billie had ever felt – an endless turmoil of repressed things finally let loose. There was no way that any words could help mend what was happening to Billie, and instead, Gloria came closer to her and just squeezed her hand soothingly. Billie responded with a powerful grip.
"I knew each and every one of these people here," she said after a few minutes of recollection.
"This is why the cyborgs must be destroyed. They are a deadly plague, killing everything in their way. No matter how much it pains us, we must remember that unless we put an end to this, there'll be no one left in the world. Come now, and let's not forget what happened here." Gloria whispered hoarsely.
"Some one will pay! Some one will pay for all this!" Billie said in a dangerous voice. " I hate taking from the dead, but we need weapons, and they have them. Take one good weapon and as much ammunition as possible. We have got to be armed in case of a 'borg attack."
Following their trail, Gloria and Billie left the "space of the doomed," and progressed through a thick forest. As she was following Billie, Gloria was still trying to realize what had happened back there. It was the first time she actually saw a person mutilated so badly. It rather reminded her of Casey and Zack, the friends she lost in her first cyborg encounter. Gloria realized that all this was affecting her badly, and decided to put it out of her mind until she would have time to sort it out. She now looked around her and saw that the trail took them more into the forest. Gloria put her hand on her rifle expecting an ambush from the cyborgs.
By nighttime, the reached another open land within the forest. There, in the middle stood their gateway to freedom.
"All right! We'll get out of here now!" Gloria cheered.
"Hold on! First, I have to check if it's functional. Then you can be happy." Billie warned.
After a few minutes on tension, Gloria asked, " So doctor, is it going to live?"
"Yes! Gloria, we are going to be airborne soon. "
"Yeah! Let's go!"
"No, I think it's better to stay here until the morning. We don't know if patrols are up in the air, and the heliplane is not fully equipped for combat. Ever since we left the prison we do not know what the cyborgs have been up to." Billie told her.
"Well if there would be patrols they would probably find and destroy the aircraft, and since it's still intact I say we leave now, before we are discovered." Gloria argued.
"We still have to look at some maps in order to find out where we are and where we have to go. Even if the 'borgs don't have patrols, we should fly in daylight. It's safer."
"We can be followed more easily during daylight!" Gloria insisted.
"OK, I'll tell you what we'll do. We'll spend most of the night here and a few hours before dawn we will start flying towards the base. Are you happy now?" Billie asked sorely.
"Yes, it's a compromise solution that I agree to." Gloria said after a few seconds of consideration.
Entering the aircraft, Billie started searching all over the place. Gloria was looking at her wondering what she is doing.
"Where do these people keep their maps?" she asked in the end.
"I'll help you look for them. Gloria volunteered instantly."
After few minutes of detailed search, Gloria yelled. " I think I found one!"
"You did? Great! Let me look at it!" Billie said.
Gloria handed her the map and Billie examined it fervently. A little while later, she gave the map back, very disappointed.
"What's wrong?" Gloria asked.
"It's not the right map. It's doesn't have the signs pointing to where we are. I don't even think it's a map of the region. There is no encryption on it."
"What do you mean encryption?"
"Well, you see, the opposition engineers these maps that have special dots and signs that indicate to a member of the organization where they are or where they have to go. "
"Oh, I see like some kind of magic eye thing."
"What magic eye thing?" Billie asked
"This ancient thing people learned in the distant past. A computer would manufacture a picture, and if you would stare into it long enough another picture would appear."
"It's an interesting concept, but that's not it. The special dots to an inexperienced eye would seem mistakes in the map." Billie explained.
"Wow, that's neat, the opposition really seems prepared for this kind of thing!"
"After all, we are fighting for humanity!" Billie said yawning.
"You're pretty tired," Gloria observed " go to sleep."
"No, I've got to find that map. I don't know where to fly so I need the map."
"We could look for it in the morning." Gloria suggested.
"No, we won't have time in the morning. We have to get out of here before dawn! Now, stop wasting time and look for that map!" Billie instructed.
"OK, OK, I'll look for it, don't get so worked up over a map!" Gloria moaned.
"Listen, I didn't mean to sound like a grouch, but I'd hate going back to the containment camp just because I didn't find a stupid map on time, " Billie said coldly.
"I get your point. You know, you're not the only one that wants to go back to civilization!"
Gloria gave Billie a provocative look but she had her back turned and did not seem to be hearing. She was totally caught up in her search. Gloria went back to work with a silent sigh.
"Yes! I've found the map! And best of all I know where we're at! Come take a look!" Billie exclaimed.
Gloria was delighted. So delighted that she forgot her recent feelings of frustration and went over to see the new discovery.
"So… where are we?" she asked after a few minutes of staring at the map.
"Do you see this little white dot that looks like a mistake?" Billie said and pointed to small, small dot on the page.
"I see it, is that where we are?"
"Yup, precisely! Get some sleep now, there's still five more hours until we leave." Billie advised.
"Are you sure it's the right map?" Gloria asked as she was getting into bed.
"Yes, I'm sure. Go to sleep, and stop bugging me!"
"OK, but you better catch some shut eye too. I don't want you to fall asleep while piloting the heliplane."
"Don't worry about me!"
After Gloria dozed off, Billie took another look at the map, and checked the heliplane's circuits one more time. There was something very unsettling in the air, and it was preventing her from sleep. Billie made a silent prayer to god – if he existed- and tried to sleep. What worried her even more, was that the cyborgs did not follow them when they escaped. How come they did not? Did they know that she was the opposition? And what had happened to Gloria before they brought her in? What if she was a cyborg spy; they could have planted an emitter in her. After all, she was brought in sleeping. What if they planned an attack on their base and she was the rat that was going to lead them to their layer? She'll have to talk to Gloria in the morning, before they were going to leave. Billie closed her eyes, and sighed loudly. She was growing attached to Gloria. This girl saved her life, helped her survive through this jungle of nature. If she proved to be a spy, Billie would feel sorry to waste her life. She was after all the main reason she decided to escape. Billie admired Gloria. She had the power to persevere. Even in the worst situation, Gloria would still continue to pursue her goal. She would find a way that would take her there no matter how many stops and turns. Where there was no way, she would improvise one, but still stay on track. She would find unique solutions in a society that leaves very little space for ideas. That was the problem with the people born in the third millenium. They had everything fed to them on a silver platter. Life was too boring, and tasteless. Nevertheless, it did not deserve to be destroyed. Billie fell asleep before she could finish her train of thoughts. A single idea lingered by. REMEMBER, PROTECT, and DON'T REPEAT.
Yeah, sorry I forgot to write an author's note last chapter. Well, there were some of you that asked me to continue this, and here it is. I hope you'll like it, the plot will thicken soon ok? Don't worry, they'll get out of the woods. I would appreciate it if you would write a review telling me what you think about this. It's my first sci-fi story, and I hope you like it. By the way, I accept flames, so just tell me whatever you have on your mind ok?