Chapter 19: Lily

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595th sol- 20:25

The liftoff went smooth enough. I was worried for Rachel though, she had passed out as we started to gain altitude. "John," I called, "Rachel passed out!"

"Do what you can but we can't turn around now!" He responded. I knew he was right but it still wasn't an encouraging thought. Then I saw the bandage turning red. I realized what had happened! The fast change in pressure is what made her pass out! She would be fine if I could get the bleeding to stop. I quickly took of as many layers of bandages before coming to the last two, they were stuck together and I didn't want to pull them off the wound so I added more bandages and got back to my seat.

"Ok, Rachel should wake up once we leave the atmosphere and the pressure levels a little." I told John.

"Fantastic, does that mean I have no rear gunner until I get off this godforsaken planet?!" He asked, I could tell he was a little more than stressed.

"Yes and I'd hurry!" I told him, I could see Exos running for their ships as well as some of our Stormfliers.

"Radio the others and tell them to go straight up!" He told me. I nodded realizing only after I had done so that he couldn't see me.

"Seth, Seth do you copy?!" I radioed. There was static for a moment and I started to wonder if perhaps we were being blocked or maybe the Exos had damaged the ship's comms on the ground and we didn't notice or mayb-

"We're here Lily." Seth's response cut through my thought's like a hot knife through butter and I was relieved.

"John says we're going to fly straight up, the Exos are already scrambling their ships." I told him.

"I copy, we'll follow your lead." He responded.

I turned on John's comm and told him. "They're gonna follow us, do what ever you need to do but I'm seeing the first few ships taking off!" We were pretty high and I couldn't see individual Exo's anymore but the ships were still somewhat visible and they were moving...

Our ship climbed higher and higher and higher still. Then Rachel began to stir. "Wha-, what happened?" She asked.

"You feinted during takeoff but I'm glad you're awake now, we're gonna need you!" I told her and pointed to the incoming Stormfliers.

The ST's were superior ships to the Fliers in many ways but speed and mobility weren't one of them. I watched as they closed in on us quickly. I prayed that Matt was a good shot because he was our first line of defense being the rear gunner in the rear ship.

The sound of Seth's voice surprised me. "Matt counts two dozen Fliers incoming!"

"John, two dozen Fliers!" I relayed to him. He didn't respond.

"Lily!!!!!" Seth yelled, "Are we clear to fire??"

I responded without thinking, "Fire when they're in range!!" I told them.

I turned to see the Exos' Fliers incoming. Fast. Then I heard the worst news possible. "Lily! Our rear gun is dead!!!" It was Seth.

I was shocked, I didn't know what to say. "Repeat that again?" I asked a but tentatively.

"OUR REAR GUN IS DEAD!!!!!" Seth yelled again into his mic.

"John!!! Matt's gun is dead!!! What do we do???" I asked frantically because at that moment, the yellow blaster bolts from the Fliers started whizzing past our ship.

"What?!?! How did that happen?!?!" He yelled more than asked the question.

"I don't know but what do you want to do??" I asked him.

"Switch places, we'll be the rear ship!" He responded.

"Seth! We're gonna switch places, you guys lead us out, we'll cover your rear, got it?!" I knew he did even before he responded.

"Whenever you want!" He said frantically as more and more Fliers started to come into range. The volume of yellow bolts was growing to what was definitely more than comfortable.

"John, do it quick!!" I yelled. I obviously didn't need to explain more because at that moment, Tom flew by us and we were suddenly behind them.

"Rachel! Open fire!!!" John yelled. I turned to see our purple blaster bolts sailing back across space. Then an explosion! One of the Fliers blew up!! The debris shooting out in all directions. The pilot's wingman who was flying too close took damage to his ship. His engine started to smoke and he was dead in space.

"Nice shot Rachel!" I called.

"Thanks but don't get excited yet, there's still a lot more!" She replied.

She was right, they kept coming, closer and closer. Finally we were in the middle of them. It was a miracle we hadn't been hit yet! Some even started flying ahead of us chasing Tom's ship. I was used to John's erratic flying by now. Combined with Rachel's expert shooting, I suppose I really shouldn't have been surprised.

"Seth! Incoming Fliers headed your way!" I yelled into the mic.

"We see em, we're ready!" He responded. "We wanna try maneuver 27, ten seconds."

"John! Maneuver 27 in ten seconds!!" I told him.

"You think Tom can do it?" He asked.

"I do." I responded.

"Then let's do it!!" He replied.

I counted down in my head even though seconds had already passed. '7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1.....'

In a perfectly executed maneuver, Tom's ship spun 180 degrees and opened fire. At the same moment, John dove. I turned in time to see at least eight Fliers explode in fantastic colors. The fuel exploding turned green and the power cells for the blasters exploded in a beautiful yellow. That along with Tom's people bolts made a beautiful explosion.

"Faster Tom!" I yelled. He was trying to get back in front of us again because they didn't have their rear gun. "We need to make the jump." I said into both mics telling John and Seth.

"Heading home, what corrections do I need to make?!" John asked. I knew in the other ship, Seth would be making the same calculations.

"48 degrees port side, 74 degrees vertical." I said. The corrections were made and we were ready to jump.

"Let's go home everyone." John said and I watched the beautiful cylinder of lights encase us as we sped through space and left the EXO on Pluto.

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Hey guys! Sorry for the show updates but life is tough right now. Any of you also freshman high schoolers? If you are, you understand how tough it would normally be. Now think if you had my schedule, honors English 9, music, AP human geography, and honors geometry. Talk about sucky scheduling!!! Sorry if it sounds like I'm making excuses or complaining a lot though. On the positive side, my friends and I are still friends 😊, I'm on the football team (it's a no cut sport 😂), and I actually have homecoming plans with someone 😂!!! Any of you have homecoming coming up? What're your plans? Anyways, a little of topic, suggestions, comments, concerns? Leave a comment or send me a private message and I'll update when I can!! Until next time, smile, it's good for you!!

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