Chapter 2: Distrust, Curiosity and Bonding

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August 13th, 2026. 19:05 PST

                                                                                 Logan Preaker

Somewhere in the middle of the Stanislaus National Forest located in California, it's a dark, descending sunset. The troops on the ground are giving chase to any survivor they encounter on the ground. Zlocu spaceships are surrounding most of the forest, with their red and black coloring making them look like beings from hell itself, except the hell in question, it's from space. Their presence cast a shadow.

On the ground, Zlocan machine walkers are moving fast like a cheetah chasing its prey. The "prey" they are chasing is the young teacher. He looks tired and dirty, covered with dust and mud, yet he continues to run as fast as he could as the ax in his belt dangles around him. Dodging every bush and leaf in the path, no matter how big or small they are, he's determined to run away.

The walkers, even with their bulk, can keep up with the chase. They continue to advance towards the young teacher.

The young teacher turns backward, the walkers still on his back. He looks in both directions until he sees some bushes on his left. He sprints rapidly and turns left towards a bushy field.

"Ha! Turning left to everything is for suckers!" one of the pilots says as he continues to advance and turn to the direction of the escapee. But before he tries anything, he sees nothing. Not even the escapee running far away.

"Where did that pest go? Let me check outside," the pilot says.

"Why not simply use Galga to ram through the forest?" another one asks.

"The trees are too thick for me to enter with this, and I don't want to risk it."

"Understood. Also, set the gun to stun, you know the orders," the CO of the platoon says.

He exits from the walker and pulls out a gun from his holster, now ready to find the lost Human. As soon as he approached a tree where the Human is supposedly hidden, he steadily aims his gun at the place he spotted.

He turns around in every direction to find him, all with extra precaution.

 Soon he jumps and shoots where the Human should be hiding. The laser beam hits some bushes on the ground as they waver from the impact. But, the one they are looking for is not there.

Bewildered as such an unexpected occurrence, he soon tries to scout again. But before he can try anything, someone grabs him from below. It's the young teacher who camouflaged himself by crawling to the ground to hide from them.

Both men struggle to keep up with gaining the upper hand, with the knight trying to press the teacher's arm as hard as he can. The teacher then kicks the pilot to his face, which throws him away from him.

But as he tries to approach him, he grasps his consciousness as he unsheathes a knife from his pocket, swinging it around in an attempt to stab the teacher. The latter then dodges every move he can see from the Knight.

"Stay still already, low scum!" he says.

The young teacher picks up his ax and proceeds to chop off the head of the Zlocan pilot within a matter of seconds, gushing blood all over the place.

The pilots, who are hearing the commotion get near the forest to see what happened, all unaware of what just happened to their comrade. They see the teacher himself, with bits of dirt and blood around his body while giving the Zlocans a long stare at them. He's holding the head of the dead pilot who proceeds to toss it near the walker were the pilot was. 

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