28. Barrier.

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"You've noticed!" Gabriel responded just as he jumped out of the way of a snapping set of deadly pincers before diving beneath the safety of a nearby upturned market cart.

"They are not actively seeking us out. It's like they are scouring for something. Look at the numbers on the roof tops alone with their antennas roving all over the place!"

Gabriel looked up and sure enough the largest population of the horde was resting upwards. There were so many of them that they temporarily masked the stars and for a moment he found himself worrying about their pilots and the air teams.

"Sir..." he started to speak but the Captain cut him off.

"I know Gabriel, the laser blasters won't cut it. We need something more powerful...more powerful than...I've got it!" The Captain suddenly exclaimed leaving the young man to fill in the answers for himself.

"Sir?" He asked sounding confused.

"I'll explain it to you later. For now, power down your suit as I send back the aerial teams!"

It didn't make sense to the young soldier, but as he had come to learn, being a soldier meant learning to follow orders, no questions asked despite not knowing the actual reasoning behind them or the main purpose they were meant achieve. It should have been hard, but as he had learnt to trust his commanding officer, he found it easy despite not knowing his Captain's real intentions. All he knew was that the reason had to be a good one otherwise, Killion would never tell him to shut down his weapons and his life support system right in the middle of a raging war.

As Gabriel complied and began to shut down his suit, the droning of the helicopters above them began to fade and so did the accompanying lights that he knew to be the laser blasters from the aerial support team. For a moment it got all quiet as all battle activity seemed to cease. The locust being more interested in their surveillance activities than their war with the soldiers who had now made a strategic retreat.

Two minutes went by like that. Then five, then ten and then, the sound of a boom that could not be mistaken for any other. A screeching metallic noise filled the air as the horde at the roof tops began to disperse. They tried to jump into the air, but soon they began to drop even as the second boom sounded and the area become much quieter with every clink and clank that hit the pavement below the buildings. Then there was an absolute silence as all the buzzing ceased and the locusts became immobile. Their once blue eyes had turned dull, a dark grey that reminiscent was of a dark starless night. As Gabriel watched on mersmerized at the view that was before him, his ears prickled as his ear piece flickered to life and the voice of his Captain filtered through into his suit again.

"They are getting away. They are getting away! Power up! They are getting away!"

"Wha...what?" An astounded Gabriel mumbled out. Despite his confoundment, he quickly powered up his suit and even as he did so, his eyes, enhanced by the optometrics on his suit visor were able to narrow down on the group of escaping locusts that were fast approaching the Central District.

"Havillah!" It finally clicked in his mind. With his suit now fully powered up, he easily threw off the cart that until then had been concealing him and joined the Captain in his mad dash for the Central District.

"The EMP canon will take some time to charge again and we cannot let them escape." Killion told him as he fell in step beside the young Captain.

"But how could they escape?"

"I do not know. It has to be an A.I. That or the armors of their fallen comrades worked to protect them in some kind of way."

"An A.I? Is that even possible?" Gabriel was skeptic.

"They must have seen the trouble coming and reacted in time just like we did when we powered down our suits." The Captain tried to reasoned as Gabriel just nodded, grateful that only a small portion of the horde had been able to escape the EMP canons. Wether it happened due to luck or some sort of inate intelligence within these electric creatures, he did not know. However, he sure hoped that it was the former and definately, not the latter.

"There Gabriel! They are entering the Central District!" A panting Killion called out to the young officer and despite being clothed in that powered suited, the man struggled much to catch up with the flying beasts.

As the two soldiers were now coming to see, it was rather hard to keep up with this new type terror, much harder than it had been with the dragons. Sure, these insects were giants, but they were much smaller when compared to the dragons and unlike their fire breathing counterparts, their large numbers were more of a problem and meant that they could easily meander through the maze of buildings with much more ease than their pursuers who were on the pavements down below.

"Oof!" Officer Connors heaved out as he came face to face with yet another brick wall. "Why does this keep happening to me?" He mumbled angrily to himself.

"That's a no brainer considering what you are." A female voice answered him back.

"What I am?" The officer retorted as he grew offended. "Captain I..." The man began to complain to his superior, but his words failed him as he came around the final corner and his jaw dropped at the sight that was happening before him.

"Connors? Gabriel?" The Captain called out. He summons went unanswered and he sped up even as he went round the same corner only to come to the same sudden stop as his befuddled soldier earlier had. "Oh my..." his voice trailed off as his own jaw slacked down in shock.

"What? What is it?" A curious Calla called out through the central communication system but no one answered her. " Guys? Guys! Where are you now? What is happening?" The girl panicked as she increased her pace and lengthened her strides to move towards the two red dots that had stopped still on the screen of her visor. "Guys!" She yelled out again as she took a different path through the Central District and emerged at the edge of the inner ring.

"What is this..." she trailed off too, mersmerized by the wall of dazzling blue light that was rising up from the edge of the inner rim to create a dome that confined the inner circle and the temple within.

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