Chapter 15: Seth

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594th sol- 01:48

Tom had blacked out pretty quick after we got out of the hangar. I had kept hiking for a while until I realized he needed a tourniquet. I had looked down noticed a trail of blood behind us. I knew that it would be easy to follow, even for normal foot soldiers and judging by the soldiers I saw in the hangar, that's all they had.

I gave him a tourniquet and used his blood to write the time, '01:48', on his forehead. I knew he now had a safe two hours with no chance of amputation. I could only hope that when I got back to camp Lily wouldn't be far behind. I couldn't do anything but keep moving and pray the Exos didn't catch up. It felt like I had been told to hike until my legs were ready to fall off and then hike some more.

There were a few times that I had to drop and wait, the Exos were everywhere! Luckily, they didn't seem to have anything super special they could track us with. Every time they came close, we waited 20 minutes before moving again. Every time we dropped, I worried more and more that we wouldn't get back in time. I was thinking about what else I could try to do when I heard a rustling sound in the bushes along with a mechanical 'tsss'.

I set Tom down who I had been carrying piggy-back style. I then grabbed the rifle from where it had been dangling around my waist and lay down as well.

I could hear the Exos getting closer. This was the third time we had had to do this. Each time before I had seen them coming before hearing them. This time, they were close enough I could hear them. The mechanical sounds their suits made was nerve-racking. We were hidden under a cluster of bushes. I had pushed Tom as far under as possible and was watching them.

They moved in such a mechanical way that it was hard to believe that anything organic was in them. One had a tablet in his hands. They kept on moving, walking with their slow mechanical gait. I knew my luck had to run out eventually but maybe right now it would hold. Then Tom started to moan. "Tom, Tom you have to be quiet!" I hissed at him as loud as I dared.

Then the hairs on the back of my neck stood up and in that moment, I heard the worst thing possible. They were coming back!! The noises were a lot slower, like they were really searching. Then, a foot came down right in front of me!! It was big and painted red and before I knew what I was doing I had jumped out of the bushes in surprise. The Exos however looked ready for a fight. It was a squad of three, each had a blaster. The one with the tablet seemed to be in command.

I jumped up and pulled the trigged. I shot at least ten rounds into the one right in front of me, point blank. His armor was shredded and he started to waver and fall backwards. I used the distraction to run to behind a tree. Right as I got there, two blue orbs shot past my arm. I didn't know what to do, I was alone, behind a tree, and low on ammo. I popped out after their latest volley of shots and shot a few rounds at the one with the tablet. He had switched it out for a very fancy looking handgun. One of my bullets hit him in the arm and the others made the bark on the tree behind him explode. The last thing I saw before jumping behind the tree again was him dropping to his knee and his companion moving to assist.

I looked at my ammo count and saw that I had about five rounds left. I glance back around the tree again and saw that the injured one was still down. His partner was tying a bandage around his arm. I saw where the first one I killed had gone down. He was about ten paces away from me and his gun...... it was right next to him!!

I jumped from behind the tree and squeezed off the last few shots in my gun. I didn't see where I hit but when I glance over, the previously uninjured Exo was crumpling to the ground holding his leg. I  rolled right to where I wanted and picked up the discarded gun. It seemed pretty simple, there were two lever-thingies and a trigger. I didn't have much more time to study it so I pointed at the first Exo and pulled the trigger. It shot a blood-red, golf ball sized orb and the Exo crumpled. I didn't like the color, something about it seemed sinister but I quickly turned and shot again at the last one. He dropped with a thud and just like that it was over.

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