This story follows on from Exit Strategy. It is the fourth story in the On the Run series.
Something wasn’t right.
He could feel it: a strange tingling in his spine that acted as a warning.
Only, he didn’t know what was wrong.
His body tensed in anticipation, but no attack came. He blinked, his eyes seeing almost as well in the near darkness as most people would with full illumination, thanks to his enhanced vision.
But there was nothing out of the ordinary to be seen.
The woman beside him stretched and yawned; apparently unaware of what was about to happen. She resettled herself next to his body, wrapping her arms around his muscular chest. The feeling was fading, now.
“Having another bad dream?” she asked sleepily, nuzzling her cheek against his bare back. “Just relax… you’re safe, here.”
“Am I really?” he asked, uncertain of his own emotions. His premonition of danger was still weighing heavily on his mind. These things weren’t always right, but in the past few months he had been experiencing feelings like this, and the warnings had become reality often enough that he had learned to pay attention.
It didn’t pay to ignore what his mind was trying to tell him.
“Something’s not right.”
Somehow, voicing his concern out loud made it seem more real, and the strange tingling returned, stronger than before.
“What is it?” she asked, suddenly wide awake. It said a lot to him that she took these feelings as seriously as he did, especially when all she had to go on was his word.
But that was why she was so special. She believed in him… she trusted him… at a time when there was nothing else more important.
Hell, there had been a time, not that long ago, when he had barely believed in himself. But with Sianna’s help, he had been able to overcome that.
He leaned over, kissing her lightly, relaying his gratitude to her in that one loving gesture.
“I don’t know, exactly.” he said, pulling away. “I just get the feeling that I need to be prepared.”
“Is this it?” she asked, her voice betraying her concern. “Are the Spectrans attacking?”
“No… yes…” He corrected himself, suddenly sensing that she had hit upon the true source of his concern. “Yes… I think that might be it…”
He got out from under the covers, pulling on his clothes with lightning speed, even as Sianna crawled over to the edge of the bed, staring at him with a worried expression on her face.
Just as he finished buckling his belt, the communicator on his left wrist began to beep. A familiar voice came from the austere gold plate on its surface.
“G-2, come in.”
“Ears on, Chief.”
He didn’t have to ask if something was wrong. Besides his premonition, he knew that the Chief would only contact him at this hour of the night if it were something serious.
“We believe the Spectrans are preparing another attack. Come to my office, immediately! There isn’t much time.”
“On my way. G-2, over and out.”
Sianna was standing now, her hand on his shoulder as she stood on tiptoe to brush her lips across his cheek.
“Be safe.” she told him. “I love you, Tiny.”
“I love you too, Sianna.” he replied, before rushing from the room.
When he arrived at Chief Anderson’s office, he was surprised to see that no one else was there.
“Where is everybody?” he asked.
“You’re the first one here.” Anderson replied, just as a tall, blonde woman walked in through the door. “And Andie is the only other person coming, so now we can begin.” The Chief nodded to the blonde woman and turned to a control panel on his desk, pushing a button. He indicated the large monitor on the wall in front of them.
“These are images taken by the Deimos Surveillance Outpost twenty minutes ago.” the Chief informed them.
“What is that thing?” Andie asked, her eyes narrowing as she peered at a telltale speck in the center of the display. “A… bee?”
“That would be our guess.” Anderson answered dryly. “But more importantly, it appears to be a Spectran mecha. The first new one we’ve seen in a year.”
“A mecha?” A knot of fear began to form in Tiny’s stomach. He had been right. This wasn’t good. A mecha could only mean one thing.
“Where is it headed?” Andie asked intently. “Do we have a projected flight path?”
“Mars.” Anderson informed them.
“Mars?” Tiny exclaimed. “The Spectrans are attacking Mars? Why?”
“Our guess is that they’re after the vast tritonium deposits we recently discovered on that planet.” the Chief replied. “Not to mention that as the closest planet to Earth, it has some strategic value as well.”
“Are we launching the Phoenix, Sir?” Andie asked, her expression unreadable. Tiny couldn’t tell whether she was excited or nervous… or both. Andie tended to keep her emotions to herself. She was strong, and capable, and was able to make strategic decisions without being clouded by emotional sentiment, as Tiny sometimes was.
She was an excellent G-1, and Tiny knew it. But he had an advantage she didn’t: he had been on missions like this before.
The Spectrans had been quiet for the last year, satisfied with their takeover of Earth and busy consolidating their hold there. They had defeated the G-Force Team, and had felt complacent, knowing that the Federation had no effective offensive force to use against them. Unfortunately, they had been right.
That year had given the Federation time to regroup… time to create a new G-Force Team.
But not enough time.
Right now, the team consisted of only Andie and Tiny. Various other applicants were under serious consideration, but no one else had yet been officially accepted.
It was a closely guarded secret that Tiny had actually been a member of the original G-Force Team. It was widely believed that all of the G-Force operatives had died during the Spectran Invasion of Earth, and the subsequent destruction of the Phoenix. But that wasn’t quite true.
Tiny was the only survivor.
He would never forget that day, as long as he lived. Each moment, each second, had been seared into his memory by the intense grief and pain that had enveloped him during that last, abandoned mission.
No, he could never forget…