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 17: Reunited
“The Vordac mothership came down in my park just after we arrived,” Kevin said, ignoring the exclamations of his brothers. Christy nodded with not so much as a glimmer of a smile. “We barely got away.”
The words only caused another hug from their mother, one Kevin wasn’t sure he would survive. She held on so tight and for so long, whispering above their heads how much she loved them and how much she worried.
“Ack! Can’t breathe,” Christy finally called out.
Only then did their mother let them go. Tears poured down her face. Kevin looked away. He still shook from what happened. He didn’t need to get more upset.
“Everyone inside. I want to hear everything,” his mother said. “Every single detail.”
She meant it. Over tea and milk, with some of Christy’s dolls joining in, they sat around the kitchen table talking over everything. How wonderful to be doing something so ordinary in their own little house. For a while, he didn’t think he would ever get the chance again.
Kevin got to hear how his brothers saw the Vordac mothership appearing and how they piled into their neighbor’s hovercar and headed away from the city as fast as possible. Once the raid ended, they came straight home.
Then came Kevin’s turn.
The room went silent as Kevin described what happened in between constant sips of hot tea to help his still-raw throat. The robots, the Morde, the chase, and the madcap flight in the hovercar.
“I’m sorry, Mom,” Kevin said as he neared the end. “I don’t think it’s going to fly again anytime soon.”
“A vehicle isn’t as important as you and Christy,” his mother said, looking like she was going to leap up and start hugging them again. “Go on. What happened then?”
Getting through the rest of the story wasn’t the end of it. His mother insisted on going over some of it again, asking detailed questions.
He answered them, with Christy chiming in on a regular basis, although he really didn’t want to remember it all. Not right now. It had just happened. His hands still hurt from gripping the controls so tight.
His brothers mostly stayed silent through it all. Greg watched him with wide eyes, sometimes shaking his head as if he couldn’t believe it. Sean just looked horrified.
The vidphone on his mother’s watch beeped. She looked down at it, and then rose. She pointed to Kevin’s tea. “Secure call. Drink up. I think you need it.”
If he were Grandma, he would ask for something stronger in his cup.
As his mother headed into her home office, Greg leaned over and whispered, “You really drove the hovercar?”
“And crashed it,” Christy said, nodding.
Kevin cast a glare in her direction. “I did not crash it. A Morde shot us down.”
Sean shook his head as he lifted his cup. “You could have been killed.”
“Or worse,” Kevin said. Now, why did he have to say that? No one in the house needed to be reminded.
Christy set Boo on top of the table and turned her to look at Kevin. “What’s worse than getting killed?”
Kevin snapped his mouth shut.
“Well, you know…” Greg started. Kevin kicked him under the table. Greg stopped, glaring back at him.
He glared right back. Christy was calmed down now. She didn’t need more things to give her nightmares, like life in slavery under the Vordac. She was sure to already get them. He figured he would get them, too.
His mother came back into the room and sat back down. “That was Galactic Patrol headquarters. They are checking on all officer families.”
Kevin jerked straight. “What about Dad? We saw his fighter.”
Familiar worry-lines crease his mother’s face. “They aren’t giving out any details, but they did tell me that he is part of the force in pursuit of the raiders.”
Christy pulled Boo close and started hugging her. “I hope he catches them.”
“I hope he comes back,” Greg muttered. He jerked, glaring at both Sean and Kevin as two feet from different directions hit him in the shins.
His mother sighed. A long sad sound. She glanced off to the side and out the window into the back yard. “We might need to keep you home for the summer.”
Greg and Sean both started protesting. Sean said over Greg, “Stop the sport program?”
“We don’t even know if there are people left to run them,” his mother said, shifting her attention back to them.
“Maybe for mine, but theirs should be okay,” Kevin said. Wait, he might not need to go play sports this summer? As much as he wanted that freedom, he didn’t want it this way.
“We can’t stay in the house all the time,” Greg said, finally getting in his own protest.
“They’ll have more protection around the city now that this has happened once,” Sean added. He leaned forward towards their mother. “We want to go.”
“Hiding away would be the same as letting the Vordac win by default.”
Everyone went silent at Kevin’s words, even Christy. He couldn’t quite believe he said them himself. Him. Who had been trying to get out of the sports programs ever since his parents first started talking about it.
Sean nodded sharply. “He’s right. And they aren’t going to win. We won’t let them.”
Greg and Christy nodded. The Taggert kids for once all in agreement.
TO BE CONTINUED…
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