Memoir: The Call of Leonis - Part Three

The Call of Leonis (cont.)

by Sawyer Averies
22 June 2041 AE

Continued from The Call of Leonis: Part Two

The Hospital

By now we've stopped thinking about things in hours. We have been on Leonis for six days.

We were all growing restless in the confines of the MolGen facility, surrounded by death and the strange contraption in the adjoining room. I find myself creeping past the monstrosity of wires and circuits that made up 'Miranda' as if constantly wary it may blink back into life and speak more words to further punctuate our now constant nightmare. We had to make more progress in getting off this rock, and we feared the compromise in our little safe hold at MolGen due to our encounter of strange woman at the bakery.

The group split further, a necessary fracture to leave someone behind to ensure the integrity of the shelter against any potential intrusion and also so they could venture out and attempt to find an alternative way off the planet. That left our Raptor team behind and the rest of us pressed forward to make contact with the mysterious green arm-banded group. It was easy to run across one of their patrols, but harder to gain their trust that we were a military group and we meant them no harm. Reluctantly, they agreed and so we were introduced to Butcher, Lilly, Turner, Palomides and Wayne who were going to bring us to a man affectionately known as 'The Baron'.

They were just names like any others, but here were living breathing reminders that we were not alone in this post apocalyptic world. A pocket of people surviving tooth and nail in an inhospitable environment longer than we could imagine. It was hope, not only that we could survive down on the surface longer than we intended, but also perhaps that others on the other Colonies could be doing the same. This was hope for our families and our friends, that maybe they had found a way as well. The odds were certainly still against them, but the percentages had shifted. Even one percent was marginally better than the assumed zero.

It became quickly apparent, however, that this was not an average mix of people. Taking a slice from the pie of life, this group was heavily laden with what could affectionately be known as the rough neck crowd. They walked tough, the talked tough and it became readily obvious why they had survived. So maybe that percentage for the rest of humanity dropped another half point. When we reached their mouse hole it turned out to be Kythera General Hospital, which further explained their survival: access to anti-radiation medication.

At the perimeter, we were asked to relinquish our guns. It shouldn't have come at any great surprise, but it was still gut wrenching to give over one of our greatest assets to the unknown. It was a concession we agreed a little too readily to for my taste, despite my suggestion of a compromise, but I clearly wasn't leading this little expedition. Now weaponless, we were allowed to meet the Baron. My first impression of the man was that he was a withered fellow, but in that first brief encounter it became clear there was some steel in his frame. We quickly learn his name is actually Doctor Barron, not a fictional title given to him by his followers. The men and woman that surround us on the premises are actually those that fell on the wrong side of the law and were rehabilitated by the Doctor himself, now gathering around him in a strong showing of loyalty when all else structure has been forgotten in the wake of mass destruction. We were offered refuge, food and water, and conversation. In return we shared our knowledge of the world outside of this little pocket and Lieutenant Stavrian offered his medical aid to Doctor Barron for our remaining time there.

It turns out, that time was to be short. Deadly short.

After a long night of exchanging histories and theories, the next day those that were able to find sleep were awoken by gunfire. Confusion rang supreme, while we struggled to organize and re-arm ourselves. Vital things like gear was lost in the shuffle, and we all went up to investigate the source of the scuffle. What we were met with was a hail of bullets. The number of Centurions was daunting, and later the accounts ranged from five to twelve in the enemy head count so it's hard to say what we faced for certain. We were pinned down behind a half wall of concrete, returning fire when we were able and taking substantial hits in the process. Very few of us would get out of this encounter uninjured.

Even more unsettling than the onslaught from the mechanized harbingers of death, were those Centurions that split off from the main pack. Above the cacophony of bullets arose the call of concerns that we were going to be surrounded and cut off from escape. Retreat. But a new sound arose that froze blood in veins and caused hearts to skip an erratic beat. Something, somewhere, was chewing into the outside of the building and compromising the structure. Staying and fighting no longer became an option, we would die in the rubble if the building fell. We were directed to an access tunnel below the building by Doctor Barron, and we all hot-footed it down to the sub-basement to flee, dragging the wounded with us as best we could. Our timing was not as advantageous, and the once formidable structure started to fall around us like a house of cards. Plunged into darkness and the choking concrete dust, we struggled to stay together. Working as one, we literally clawed our way through the debris that was threatening to crush us, and Lieutenant Oberlin came precariously close to succumbing to lure of the afterlife. In the distance, we heard cries for help: chilling words that still stab consciences with guilt but the simple truth was we were beyond helping. The cries turned to screams and then abruptly stopped. We stumbled out free, but lost so many behind us. We were out, back on the streets like vagabonds but the cost was as weighty as the concrete that nearly crushed us.

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