Don’t forget to vote for  The Bridge!  It takes 2 clicks and really helps!

I’ll be providing the entire story here for free for a limited time.  In return, I ask that you tell a friend about Chapter 1!  The only way others find out about my work is through word of mouth.

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“Soldiers, to me!” shouted Airomem as the swarm around Sitient thickened, bodies already covered in blood and writhing in weightlessness, summoned by his maniacal laughter. She twisted to shout again towards the Lear behind her, and her face fell as she saw the dozen rushing her way, stun guns at the ready.

“The rest are still in the search party,” she breathed, eyes widening as she turned back towards the gathering swarm around Sitient. Then she eyed the nearby Lear citizens and spoke quickly.

“Sound the alarm, shout into the tunnels! We’ll need as much help as we can get! See if any soldiers are inside the departure vehicle and bring them out, and make sure anyone not in the military is ushered inside.”

“Of course,” squeaked one and departed, soaring as quickly as she could and narrowly missing the soldiers that had just arrived.

“You twelve,” said Airomem, her words coming as quickly as she could think, “we’ll need to form a bottleneck defense as best we can, to hold them off. It’s just like on our end of the ship – they will only be able to have three abreast to attack. Without gravity, we’ll have to defend the top and bottom of the hallway – I want half of you upside down, now, and stay that way. Two rows deep and behind me. When they charge, so do we, and we hold for as long as we can! We cannot let them reach the departure vessel or it will be a massacre.”

“Let me help,” I said, moving forward, but Airomem held out a hand.

“They’ll need you, Horatius, when they reach the planet. We can’t afford to risk your life, to lose centuries of culture from your side of the ship, and since you’ve never fought, you would prove more harm than help. But me – without me, my father can still lead.”

I shut my mouth, knowing there was little I could do to refute her statement. Even armed with a stun gun, I knew little of defense, and a hole in their ranks would only leave more area for them to defend.

“Then give me your cutter,” I said. “Let me help somehow. I know I can think of something!”

Her eyes on Sitient, her hand went to her belt, and unfastened the Omni-cutter before handing it to me.

“Be careful with it,” she said. “What you cut cannot be brought back together. One slice in the wrong place, one opening to the outside, could mean your instant death.”

“I will,” I replied. “And, Airomem, look at me. You deserve to be on that planet more than any of us. Don’t do anything stupid.”

“Stupid seems to be working out for me lately,” she said, snapping to attention as Sitient and his horde started pushing off the wall towards us. “Think quickly, Horatius. Now, soldiers, for the Lear, for all your ancestors worked for, for your friends and your family – prepare to charge!”

“For the Lear!” the soldiers shouted in unison, then stiffened into formation. Two of them exchanged glances, a young man and woman whose hands were clasped together, stealing a quick hug and kiss. Then the man leaned closer to whisper in the woman’s ear, and they shared a bitter smile as well as a small nod. And readied to launch themselves like an arrow into the oncoming horde.

***

Don’t forget to vote for  The Bridge!  It takes 2 clicks and really helps!

I’ll be providing the entire story here for free for a limited time.  In return, I ask that you tell a friend about Chapter 1!  The only way others find out about my work is through word of mouth.