Chapter 20 - The Aftermath, The Discoveries, and The Losses

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***** "Are we not even going to check?" Daniel asked quietly.

"No, we've exhausted more than half of our forces, they're gone," Joseph replied bitterly.

"Five of them, just bang! And they're gone. I can't comprehend any of this anymore," Andre sighed as he leaned on Alice. "I can't believe that we lost them in less than 48 hours!"

"Is he awake now?" Alex asked.

"Urgh, my chest hurt..." I groaned.

"Are you feeling better?" Alice asked.

"Well, I am still alive..." I muttered. "How did we get back here?"

"The underground railroad," Daniel replied. "We carried you down and had you and other heavily wounded people get back first."

"Thanks," I murmured. "How many did we lose?"

"Five," Joseph replied grimly.

"Five? I thought we only lost three?" I exclaimed.

"Don't forget Lindsey and Atlas..." Emilia muttered, looking away in grief.

"Wait... Did you say, Lindsey?" I stammered. "How?"

"Did you forget? She got abducted," Joseph growled in anger.

"How did they get in?" I wailed.

"Security was pretty loose at the start of summer vacation," Joseph mumbled in shame.

"Damn it!" I snarled. "How were they able to track our movements and set up these ambushes?"

"It seems to be the data-chips' fault. The things couldn't hit us on campus due to the boundary defense," Joseph explained.

"So, they tracked our chips?" I questioned.

"Correct."

"How is that possible? This doesn't make sense!"

"Everything isn't making any sense right now..."

"Yeah, but the problem is that the facilities were located outside of our school's border, so there wasn't a shield to protect us. This meant that they were able to acquire their targets and hit them so precisely," Joseph continued.

"Why did we push in the first place...?" Daniel muttered as he left the room.

"Dan!" Alex called as he tried to stop him.

"He's not emotionally stable, leave him for a bit," Andre sighed. "Plus, aren't you the same?"

"Under the Cole Protocol and due to the commander and second-in-command being unable to lead, I shall be assuming command. Andre, we're going," Alice said sternly as she left, with Andre follow suit.

"I don't mind..." I said in a monotone voice.

"Luca, how about..." Joseph trailed off.

"I think we should leave him alone," Emilia murmured in his ears. He nodded and motioned the others to leave.

"If you're feeling better, tell us!" Emilia squeaked as they left the room, followed by Alex. The door shut as I fell back into my bed.

"This is the infirmary, right?" I murmured as I closed my eyes. "I should really tell them about what I know..."

As Luca fell asleep, a person outside muttered through the Comms, "He definitely knows something, we should get a chance to interrogate and dispose of him quietly."

"Roger that, we'll arrange that."

***** "Where are you going?" the dorm head asked Daniel.

"Just going out for a walk," Daniel murmured.

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