Summer comes to a crashing end…
Ten-year-old Kevin Taggert prefers to stay home with his video games, but his parents insist he join a summer sports program. Exactly on the day the Vordac raid Earth. With his little sister depending on him for protection, Kevin must find the strength and wisdom to keep them both safe.
Before they both end up dead, or even worse: as life-long slaves of the Vordac.
Summer Crash (Zerralon 1.1)
Part 15: Time to Flee
Kevin stepped back as the sound of hover-engines, pulling Christy behind him. Against the backdrop of buildings and blue sky above, a police-bot lowered itself to the ground. It not only moved around on heavy engines underneath, it literally was the whole machine. Lower part consisted of the mechanism of a heavy-duty hoverbike, and the upper torso, head, and arms of a humanoid.
Kevin didn’t relax. Not with the dull booms in the distance. They were just too close to the battle.
“Citizens, please move to the nearest shelter,” the police-bot said in an authoritative deep male voice.
“Do you know of one we can still get into?” Kevin asked, his raw throat cracking.
The next explosion drowned out the police-bot’s answer. Christy tugged Kevin backwards.
The police-bot moved to their side and gestured into the shadows under the nearest building. His calm words came through the waning noise. “Follow me. I will lead you to a shelter.”
The ground rumbled as they started to run. The police-bot matched their speed, hovering only a short distance ahead. It constantly encouraged them forward. Despite knowing the voice, inflections, and words specifically designed to have that affect on several species such as humans, it made Kevin feel better. They weren’t alone in this anymore.
Down into the moving sidewalks along, in, and through the buildings. Normally a police-bot would caution anyone who did anything but stand on the moving sidewalks. This one didn’t. It encouraged them to run even as the sidewalk moved them forward.
The moving sidewalk came to a sudden stop under their feet as a new shaking rattled the ground and air. So suddenly that Kevin and Christy tumbled off the sidewalk.
The police-bot stopped, whirled around, and came back to them. “Please continue to follow me, Citizens. We are nearing the shelter.”
Kevin helped Christy up. “What about the Morde out there?”
“The Galactic Patrol will deal with the Vordac and Morde threat,” the police-bot said, gesturing them forward. “This way, Citizens.”
“What about Dad?” Christy asked as they started running again, this time on the stopped sidewalk.
“Do not attempt to locate family at this time,” the police-bot said. “You will endanger yourself. The safest course of action for all of your family is to wait in the shelter until this crisis ends.”
Kevin didn’t bother correcting the police-bot about who their father was. Not right now. Not while they were still out in the open where anything could grab.
Down another ramp, and then the police-bot turned into a building. Only red emergency lights glowed along their path. The police-bot added its multiple lights across the base, giving them enough light to run to.
Also enough light to see the signs designating the direction of the local shelters. Shelters that were the depressing remnants of the Robot Wars, and now repurposed and still used thanks to the rising threat of the Vordac.
The police-bot glided to a stop next to a doorway framed in yellow and black slanted lines. A finger on one hand retracted, and out came a narrow tool with a blunt end. It touched a spot on a console and the tool spun.
With a thump, the door started to open outwards. A big thick door, but the walls it was nestled within turned out far thicker.
“Please move inside. I will then lock the shelter,” the police-bot said. “It will reopen once the Civilian Defense Department gives the all-clear.”
“Thank you for your help, sir,” Christy said, hugging her doll Boo close.
“Yes, thank you.” Kevin pushed her forward through the crack of the door the moment it was big enough. He quickly followed.
The other side had lights, but no people. Just a long passageway angling downwards.
With a second thump, the door started swinging closed behind them. Christy clung to his hand and hugged his side. “Now what?”
“The other door,” Kevin said. It was the only place to go.
He led her down the passage. As they reached the end, a computer voice said, “Human biologics detected. Weapons negative. Please enter the shelter.”
“Oh, right.” Kevin looked down at Christy as the second door started to open. “The passage is filled with scanners and sensors of all kinds. Just to make sure no Vordac or weapons can get into the shelter itself.”
Christy made a face. “It’s easier at school. You just run inside.”
Kevin nodded. How many times he’d also participated in the drills. The organized walks to the shelters each school had in their basements or at the center of the building.
What lay on the other side of the second thick door was what Kevin expected. A big room with seats and beds. People of several species scattered across all of them. Families, shoppers, a group that looked like they came out of an exercise class.
“Mom isn’t here,” Christy whispered to him as the door started closing behind them.
“No, she will be at a shelter at work.” Kevin found the nearest two chairs and collapsed into it. His backpack fell to the floor between his knees. All the strength left him, leaving him shaking both inside and out. He doubted he could hold anything steady in his hands now.
Christy climbed into the chair next to him, smoothing the hair and dress of her doll. “Do you think he’s okay?”
Kevin glanced over at her, finding new tears running down her face. He reached over, and managed to drag her into lap.
When did Christy get so big? He tucked her in close, letting her warmth seep into him and help ease the shaking. The shelter rumbled. Everyone inside looked up at the ceiling, the low buzz of conversation momentarily stopping.
“You just watch,” Kevin said, hoping to believe the words himself. “Dad is going to be just fine.”
Outside. Fighting a Morde and an entire Vordac mothership.
TO BE CONTINUED…
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Part of the Forward Motion Flash Friday Challenge.