Menace á Trois: A flight at a time was what saved Mexico’s life. Rather than worrying about turning an ankle in slick dress shoes that were devoid of any practical tread, he went for it and leaped from the top of the stairs all the way down to the bottom which placed him on the highest, accessible level of the building where Boyd’s apartment could be reached.
The momentary yet pointed eye contact that Mexico shared with his attendants was silent thanks enough because they were not nearly as safe into the clear to be breathing celebratory sighs of relief. The building still happened to be rocking, the ceiling started to collapse, and the doorway had just begun to buckle in a zipper effect (which traced after their rapidly fleeing footsteps) under that enormous strain. Buildings had since been redesigned such that entire chunks could be stricken from the architecture and the main structure would still remain standing, but this was only a fleeting consolation for them – hightailing it away from one of the areas which was about to be erased from the skyscraper.
But ‘about to be’ did not amount to ‘coming to pass’. It was a peculiar intertwining of fates which brought General Canoy’s latest XRTP underneath the rooftop brawl. Pushed back into retreating by the thick and forceful growth of the Deew, the Galaxy Bloc military had been forced to reposition their forces in order to try and battle the biological weapon back. There was no telling how many people were still trapped within the Power Authority, but the assumption was that they were dead – either crushed or consumed.
This was the military assumption and the proper course of action, but although the General was speeding down the streets – miles away, her thoughts were trapped back at the Power Authority. Her heart was back there, however love was synonymous with hope, and that promise drove the XRTP forward upon the rail of responsibility which attempted to address the needs of the other three-quarters of Dio Qze that might perhaps be salvageable. Janette would be fine – she knew this to be the case.
Emergency broadcasts had blast across everything from view-screens to smartphones, alerting the planet’s inhabitants to the seriousness of the situation and providing direction – that direction being to head to the opposite side of Dio Qze and wait. And some of the unincorporated planets practiced these Armageddon drills like some singular buildings practiced disaster drills. Differing from the normal fire drill when everybody could make it outside, this mirrored a situation where leaving the confines was not always advisable – like with tornadoes, and it was best to hunker down within a fortified area: Basements, closets, underground parking garages, etc. In this situation, the invisible ship(s) outside of orbit represented the inclement weather, and the other side of the world became the refuge upon which the people would be forced to stick things out.
Dashing through the vacant streets with a trail of XRTP’s in tow and a flurry of FRHT’s overhead, General Canoy led a trouncing procession. The wraparound window gave her a one hundred and eighty degree view of the periphery, and she needed every bit of that – and maybe a little more. The Deew’s expanse to tangle up its grip of the surrounding city blocks was not occurring as rapidly as it had around the nearby vicinity of the Power Authority but the fact that the overgrowth was still keeping up with the hauling Nakamura vehicles meant that the pace was still quick – just spread out across an even greater stretch of distance. And this was not even the scary part.
Whiplash was being given a whole new meaning when the potential whip in the form of a vine that carried a substantially larger girth than the General’s XRTP was lashing out at the vehicle with little effort and big destruction. Working the half-circle steering wheel with a fighter pilot’s steely resolve of needing to ‘gun it’ in order to fit through the tightening spaces of closing opportunities, she pressed the throttle to the floor for a final push in sliding the tank up underneath the brutal foliage which held the malicious intent to either crush her, tear up the road around her, or miss and slam into the building on the side of her for an even more calamitous second attempt at those two prior aims.
But the XRTP’s could get down with that because of their gyroscopic centers of gravity which meant that if General Canoy could withstand the initial crushing attempt by speeding through there, then the strange, dual heptagonal tread which sat overreaching atop even the canopy on either side of the vehicle could deal with the changing terrain of buckling roads. The steering was intuitive and decidedly pointed in its aims to remain upright, so with one side of the tread plunging into a sinkhole, the computer only allowed her to provide countersteering in the manner which would cause the mecha to perform a sideways tumble once its tread gripped any piece of pavement – stable or otherwise.
The feat was simple if not for the complex programming that Nakamura Industries had put into the systems as the entire procession (with various driving aptitudes) was able to slip the biological weapon’s initial pounce, roll across the zigzagging cracks that could have swallowed them up hole, and dash down a perpendicular side street – no more worse for the wear or tear. They were taken a little bit off course and would have to make that up through their continued evasion at almost reckless speeds as the horizontal detour ran smack into the heart of more unseasonable plant growth but continued progress was the underlying goal and the building which had collapsed behind their previous position had helped to point out this altered direction.
From graciously being provided this new bit of perspective, the General was able to catch some flickers of light out the corner of her eye which caused her to slow the procession to a crawl before turning that procession into a climb. Thanks again to the gyroscopic centers of gravity, a powerful upward thrust from a fully reversed turret firing toward the ground like a rocket booster, and a dose of rumbling torque; the XRTP’s swarmed the sides of a random highrise apartment hotel and scaled its walls on path to the remaining portion of the roof which had not yet been blown apart by the invisible ship’s barrage.
“Only one faction uses invisibility,” General Canoy said of the Carriveaua. For many others, stealth technology was seen as a sign of weakness, but that wound up spawning a universal debate about whether the slyness of unseen cunning or the boldness to claim responsibility for offensive acts demonstrated greater power. It was really a discussion between two crass ideals where many of the larger factions had been known to use each undesirable tact, however (as she eluded to prior), only one faction used invisibility, “as a calling card.”
Bold. This was all that could be said. Most synthetic planets utilized shielding which held in a suitable atmosphere for their inhabitants plus allowed for such amenities as chronological lighting plus weather pattern randomizers. These planets often did not reside in solar systems with centralized suns or maybe did but happened to be too close (or too far) and surface conditions might have been too harsh otherwise. Being a self-contained world was great, but not having the illusion of a sunrise and sunset bothered many. Interestingly, the atmosphere did allow for natural climates to flourish, however the ability which was afforded to the pointed regulation of a planet’s temperatures caused a more granular management of tough conditions including everything from toning down pummeling hail storms to providing help for neglected drought areas. It was an example of controlled global warming and cooling, utilizing an energy shield as one of the prime meteorological agents in place of the uncontrollable effect that a sun would normally provide at a distance. Evening forecasts aside, the only way for the Carriveaua to sneak a ship inside that shielding system was for the aerospace traffic controllers to open up an aperture location in the upper atmosphere to allow it – which would have been done for any vessel that had been granted clearance. Their enemy had arrived on the heels of the returning, terrified Dio Qze inhabitants (who were being fired upon at the time) and was now among them.
Once becoming airborne after launching past the rooftop edge, the General kept her hands on the steering wheel while saying into her Ear-To-Mouth Com, “Let’s return the favor,” and then ordering, “so everybody target their laser blaster array to draw a continuous bead,” prior to bringing the turret back around forward to add her contribution to the collective effort.
“Da-n them,” Captain Aadil Koppale said from his vantage point in space aboard one of the Carriveaua premiere vessels. It was unclear as to whether or not he was referring to the efforts of the Galaxy Bloc military or the incompetence of the crew from the much smaller Raring Cruiser which had been sent in but taken down.
For one thing, there was too much exposure involved with the failure. For another, things just got that much more difficult in trying to retrieve Burdlit.
An enemy but only needed a subtle glimpse – a shimmer in the fabrication to be able to zone in on an invisible target. Once that occurred, the ship became as vulnerable as an unattended ice cream stick was to ants – and just as sweet. The Carriveaua were excellent with stealth technologies, and that compensated for their deficiencies in defensive technologies like shielding, so firing shots (after that interestingly vicious shuttle crew) tipped what little of a hand the vessel possessed. Those amazing tanks and the flashy gliders combined to bring Captain Koppale’s scouts down immediately to an explosion in the well between buildings, following their crash to the street below.
Or maybe, his discontent lay further-reaching than even this isolated incident. Either way, more good Carriveaua were lost, and he was having the toughest time placing the fault for the outcome at the feet of the unincorporated planets…or the Space Force.