Waiting was boring. Screw that, waiting is boring. I’ve been waiting for hours, tense as all hell. War is going on out there, and we are supposed to just sit? I groaned in frustration audibly.
“Christ, this is awful,” said Stacker, still watching the news broadcasts as helicopters filmed the fights and newscasters pointed at diagrams of how the war is going. The invasion was actually going nowhere, and Mexico was losing territory, fast. “I don’t think there was a kingmaker war this bad before.”
“The first few were the worst,” said Pivot, tinkering with a small thing made of metal, held together with a single metal wire. “Especially Asia.”
I heard about it in World Politics. From the upper half of Australia to the southern Mongolian border was the largest, most dangerous Kingmaker nation ever. When the Emperor of Asia was finally killed, many nations were irreparably altered. Japan got it the worst.
“Ugh,” said Unperson, figiting in her seat. “Not a good thing to think about.”
Alliance was knocked off a Tower in the middle of nowhere. A large wall constructed itself, leading to another tower that was being built nearby.
“Looks like the Texan capes are powerful,” said Maxwell. “What is that, it looks like that guy can make buildings out of nothing.”
Event Horizon sighed deeply. The camera cut to another helicopter over the coastline. A single Texan cape was holding back many others. Jesus, these guys were stronger than I thought.
“So why are we even dressed up anyway,” I finally asked, leaning back in my seat.
“The Seniors for the Oklahoma team are busy with the war effort,” explained Event Horizon. “Most capes are.”
“Doesn’t answer my question.”
“You think crime stops when the big guns go away? We are waiting for the first case of looting or whatever.”
“Shouldn’t we be patrolling at least?” asked Unperson, mirroring my thoughts.
“It’s not just that. We are also reserves. If too many capes die initially th-”
“They send us in as fodder, right?” Latency said bluntly.
“Shit. Yes,” sighed Event Horizon, getting up. “It’s fucking boring, but that’s the thing; we are too young and weak to be on the front lines. Fuck, we are too weak to even be in this damn building.”
She paced across the room. “God dammit, this is the worst.”
Pivot got up. “If it’s about,” she paused. “Well, she’s okay. Look.” She showed Event Horizon the thing she was tinkering with. It was a monitor, for a camera. I thought about getting up to see what she was on about.
“She’s nowhere near the fight, see?”
“Family?” asked Latency, getting up to see what they were crowding around.
“Yeah, I’m worried about her,” replied Event Horizon, weaving her hands through her hair. She quickly took a look at Pivot. “Where is she, anyway?”
“She’s in the city, setting up barricades.”
“Why?” asked Unperson.
“One of the Texan capes is coming towards us.”
Latency was shocked. “And we are still dicking around in here? How the fuck would you know?”
“Cameras and news,” she replied, pointing at the screen. A large bridge formed itself bit by bit as a single man ran across, carrying a metal spear in one hand.
The alerts turned on yet again. “Attention all capable Junior Group members,” the announcement began, “The front-lines now cover Oklahoma City. You must aid in the evacuation and protection of the citizens of Oklahoma City at all costs.”
“Time to go,” said Event Horizon.
We spread out throughout the town, directing civilians away from the fighting as it drew nearer. The sound of rumbling was faint, but audible from the suburbs I stood in.
“Everyone head up north to the southwest expressway, then keep going. There will be buses and other vehicles to help if you do not own a car,” I said, speaking into a megaphone. A child tugged on my trousers. “Who left the blonde haired boy with the green T-shirt and blue jeans?”
His mother ran across the street and picked him up in a single swoop, before apologizing and backing away slowly. I felt a buzz in my ear from the earpieces Pivot gave us.
“Yeah?” I asked, pressing it on.
“It’s me, E-H. How’s the progress?”
“Not bad, a few more families to go. This place is run down badly,” I said, making sure the megaphone is off.
“Don’t whine about that. Good luck, we’ll be done in an hour with the police helping us.”
“Ok, see ya.” I said, letting the earpiece go.
I walked to the next area, a few streets away. Run down buildings were guarded by unmown lawns. A bike cassi lay in the middle of the street. I couldn’t see many families, but so-
Ellen crossed the street in front of me. Why was she here? I walked up to her, reaching out instinctively.
She gave an aside glance, turning away and speeding up. I followed her, my pace matching hers. She quickly broke into a run and darted down an alley, myself following.
“Ellen, wait!” I yelled. She hopped over a garden fence, and another. I ran round the other side of the alley. There was a front door open in a nearby house, I charged into it hoping to cut Ellen off. I burst through the door and saw Ellen perched on the fence. She looked terrified.
“Don’t follow me!” she yelled. I didn’t listen, reaching out to pull her down. She jumped into the alley at the other side of the fence and broke into a run. I climbed the fence, falling over into the alley before picking myself up. I lost the earpiece, but it didn’t matter. I could see Ellen again.
I ran in her direction, looking around. The streets were all abandoned, the rumbling from the combat with Texas even louder than it was before. A front door swung. I ran into the house. The back door was locked.
A crashing sound upstairs. I charged into the hallway, tripping over a wire for a plugged in lamp.
“Fuck,” I muttered, picking myself up quickly and racing up the stairs. I entered the main bedroom and began pulling open the cupboards. She wasn’t there. Why was she hiding? I could help. I could help her easy. I wouldn’t let her go into the Cit-
The pitter patter of feet racing down the stairs. I looked out the window and saw her running onto the road.
“Ellen!” I screamed out the window. “I can help!”