Summer Crash (Zerralon 1.1) – Part 16: Fading Battle

This entry is part 16 of 28 in the series Summer Crash (Zerralon 1.1)

Summer comes to a crashing end…

Ten-year-old Kevin Taggert prefers to stay home with his video games, but his parents insist he join a summer sports program. Exactly on the day the Vordac raid Earth. With his little sister depending on him for protection, Kevin must find the strength and wisdom to keep them both safe.

Before they both end up dead, or even worse: as life-long slaves of the Vordac.

You can read the story serially on this website for free, or purchase and read it now in ebook.
Amazon | Barnes and Noble | DriveThruFiction | Google Play | Kobo | Omnilit | Smashwords | Xinxii

***

Summer Crash (Zerralon 1.1)

Part 16: Fading Battle

Chatter picked up slowly, but no one relaxed. Certainly not Kevin. Not after the crazy escape from the robots in the hovercar.

Christy recovered faster than he did. She insisted on sitting in her own chair and playing with her doll. Kevin stared at a wall for a while, breaking out of his tired stare when someone came by passing around bottles of water.

The water helped soothe his throat. With it, hard thinking set in. And worry.

Worry about his brothers, his mother, and especially his father. Out there in a fighter doing battle with the Vordac. Would they win? Would they rescue the people already taken? Or would the Vordac also take his father away?

He started to shake again, the battle outside suddenly overly vivid in his mind. He reached for his backpack and pulled his small computer out again.

“Can I play a game on it?” Christy asked.

“No, I need to use it,” Kevin said.

Christy frowned at him. “Because you want to play a game on it, too.”

With a flick of a thumb, the computer activated and the holographic screen deployed. “No, not quite.”

The computer locked into the wireless signal of the room, bringing up several options. Only one of them interested him at this point. Estimate on the opening of the doors.

There he found simple text updates on the attack outside, issued at regular intervals by the Civilian Defense Department. A notice of the first attack and a declaration of an emergency as the robots moved into the city. Defense forces deployment. Updates on location and scope of the attack. Lockdown of all shelters. The timestamp on that last one coincided to shortly after he and Christy made it into the shelter.

Then a message to stand by.

Kevin continued to check the page. Refreshing it, just in case his computer missed something.

“I’m getting hungry,” Christy suddenly said, setting Boo on her lap and looking up at Kevin.

He didn’t have much to offer. He found a nutrition bar in a backpack pocket. Who knew how old it was, but Christy ate it completely, and then asked for more. Who said boys ate the most?

He dug into his backpack again, hoping to find something lost at the bottom under all the sports equipment. He looked up at a sudden rise in conversation.

“Hey, the GP beat them back!” a man in the back shouted. A cheer went through the crowd.

Kevin dropped the backpack and picked up the computer. On the update page appeared a new line. “Vordac forces repelled from Earth. Estimated time of shelters opening: fifteen minutes.”

It took a little more than twenty minutes, but Kevin didn’t mind. The Vordac were gone. The skies of Earth were safe and clear.

Those in the shelter started crowding the front entrance. Kevin kept himself and Christy well back. No point in trying to be first out and risk getting trampled. Not after surviving what they just did.

Christy held his hand as they slowly made their way through the access tunnel. “What now?”

“Now we find a way to get home.” One that did not include a hovercar.

Power once again ran through the city. Lights, robots, and moving sidewalks worked as if nothing had happened.

The obvious solution to get home was to call a taxi. But with so many people in need of the same thing at the same time, every service Kevin tried estimated hours before they could respond. Instead, they walked several blocks and waited for a trolley car. They had to stand in line, but they eventually boarded one heading in the right direction.

With a lot of trolley changes, walking, and finally finding a taxi to take them the rest of the way, they arrived outside their house.

Their simple two-story white house with the blue trim. A green lawn and the hoverbikes leaned against the side of the garage. So ordinary. Not so long ago, Kevin didn’t think they’d ever see it again.

The door slammed open. Sean leaped off the front porch and raced across the yard. “Where have you been?”

“Trying not to become slaves!” Kevin yelled back.

Christy ran forward, tackling Sean at the edge of the lawn. Kevin followed more slowly, the backpack suddenly heavy in his hand. Greg raced out of the house, but Kevin managed to dodge him.

Sean lifted Christy into the air, making her squeal. “We’ve been worried sick! We all rushed home the moment the attack started.”

“We were right under the attack,” Kevin said.

Greg pushed him. “Yeah, right. Hey, were’s Nanny-Bot?”

Christy grabbed Sean around the neck, Boo poking him in the jaw. She said sadly, “Nanny-Bot didn’t make it.”

Greg stopped trying to wrestle with Kevin, his eyes going wide. “Didn’t make it?”

Sean held Christy against his side. “What?”

“Where’s Mom?” Kevin asked.

“On her way home,” Sean said, his eyebrows pushing together. “What happened? Why do you smell like smoke?”

“Another taxi,” Greg said, pointing down the street.

“The hovercar,” Christy said, still holding Sean so tight around the neck that she threatened to strangle him. “It wasn’t fun.”

“Where is the hovercar?” Sean demanded.

But, Kevin’s attention was on the taxi. It glided to a stop in front of their driveway. Their mother burst out of the back, yelling, “You’re all here? You’re okay?”

Kevin and the others were enveloped in a new hug, one that nearly pushed all the air out of Kevin’s lungs.

“We’re fine!” Greg protested.

“Oh, what a horrible day. Vordac here?” His mother sniffed, pulling back to look them all over one by one. She stopped at Christy and Kevin. “What happened to you two?”

“That’s what we’re trying to find out,” Sean said, setting Christy down on her own two feet.

Kevin swallowed past the lump in his throat, all the memories of the day coming back with violent force. Five of the family now safe.

Only one left. One he hoped also survived the attack.

TO BE CONTINUED…

***

Come back for more reading! Look for the next exciting installment each Tuesday.

Support the story by throwing a tip my way if it makes you happy. Buy my other books for more reading joy. Comments have been known to result in warm fuzzies. Spread the word, tell a friend, or add a link to the story for even more. So many ways to gather warm happy fuzzies!

Part of the Forward Motion Flash Friday Challenge.

Summer Crash (Zerralon 1.1) – Part 15: Time to Flee

This entry is part 15 of 28 in the series Summer Crash (Zerralon 1.1)

Summer comes to a crashing end…

Ten-year-old Kevin Taggert prefers to stay home with his video games, but his parents insist he join a summer sports program. Exactly on the day the Vordac raid Earth. With his little sister depending on him for protection, Kevin must find the strength and wisdom to keep them both safe.

Before they both end up dead, or even worse: as life-long slaves of the Vordac.

You can read the story serially on this website for free, or purchase and read it now in ebook.
Amazon | Barnes and Noble | DriveThruFiction | Google Play | Kobo | Omnilit | Smashwords | Xinxii

***

Summer Crash (Zerralon 1.1)

Part 15: Time to Flee

Kevin stepped back as the sound of hover-engines, pulling Christy behind him. Against the backdrop of buildings and blue sky above, a police-bot lowered itself to the ground. It not only moved around on heavy engines underneath, it literally was the whole machine. Lower part consisted of the mechanism of a heavy-duty hoverbike, and the upper torso, head, and arms of a humanoid.

Kevin didn’t relax. Not with the dull booms in the distance. They were just too close to the battle.

“Citizens, please move to the nearest shelter,” the police-bot said in an authoritative deep male voice.

“Do you know of one we can still get into?” Kevin asked, his raw throat cracking.

The next explosion drowned out the police-bot’s answer. Christy tugged Kevin backwards.

The police-bot moved to their side and gestured into the shadows under the nearest building. His calm words came through the waning noise. “Follow me. I will lead you to a shelter.”

The ground rumbled as they started to run. The police-bot matched their speed, hovering only a short distance ahead. It constantly encouraged them forward. Despite knowing the voice, inflections, and words specifically designed to have that affect on several species such as humans, it made Kevin feel better. They weren’t alone in this anymore.

Down into the moving sidewalks along, in, and through the buildings. Normally a police-bot would caution anyone who did anything but stand on the moving sidewalks. This one didn’t. It encouraged them to run even as the sidewalk moved them forward.

The moving sidewalk came to a sudden stop under their feet as a new shaking rattled the ground and air. So suddenly that Kevin and Christy tumbled off the sidewalk.

The police-bot stopped, whirled around, and came back to them. “Please continue to follow me, Citizens. We are nearing the shelter.”

Kevin helped Christy up. “What about the Morde out there?”

“The Galactic Patrol will deal with the Vordac and Morde threat,” the police-bot said, gesturing them forward. “This way, Citizens.”

“What about Dad?” Christy asked as they started running again, this time on the stopped sidewalk.

“Do not attempt to locate family at this time,” the police-bot said. “You will endanger yourself. The safest course of action for all of your family is to wait in the shelter until this crisis ends.”

Kevin didn’t bother correcting the police-bot about who their father was. Not right now. Not while they were still out in the open where anything could grab.

Down another ramp, and then the police-bot turned into a building. Only red emergency lights glowed along their path. The police-bot added its multiple lights across the base, giving them enough light to run to.

Also enough light to see the signs designating the direction of the local shelters. Shelters that were the depressing remnants of the Robot Wars, and now repurposed and still used thanks to the rising threat of the Vordac.

The police-bot glided to a stop next to a doorway framed in yellow and black slanted lines. A finger on one hand retracted, and out came a narrow tool with a blunt end. It touched a spot on a console and the tool spun.

With a thump, the door started to open outwards. A big thick door, but the walls it was nestled within turned out far thicker.

“Please move inside. I will then lock the shelter,” the police-bot said. “It will reopen once the Civilian Defense Department gives the all-clear.”

“Thank you for your help, sir,” Christy said, hugging her doll Boo close.

“Yes, thank you.” Kevin pushed her forward through the crack of the door the moment it was big enough. He quickly followed.

The other side had lights, but no people. Just a long passageway angling downwards.

With a second thump, the door started swinging closed behind them. Christy clung to his hand and hugged his side. “Now what?”

“The other door,” Kevin said. It was the only place to go.

He led her down the passage. As they reached the end, a computer voice said, “Human biologics detected. Weapons negative. Please enter the shelter.”

“Oh, right.” Kevin looked down at Christy as the second door started to open. “The passage is filled with scanners and sensors of all kinds. Just to make sure no Vordac or weapons can get into the shelter itself.”

Christy made a face. “It’s easier at school. You just run inside.”

Kevin nodded. How many times he’d also participated in the drills. The organized walks to the shelters each school had in their basements or at the center of the building.

What lay on the other side of the second thick door was what Kevin expected. A big room with seats and beds. People of several species scattered across all of them. Families, shoppers, a group that looked like they came out of an exercise class.

“Mom isn’t here,” Christy whispered to him as the door started closing behind them.

“No, she will be at a shelter at work.” Kevin found the nearest two chairs and collapsed into it. His backpack fell to the floor between his knees. All the strength left him, leaving him shaking both inside and out. He doubted he could hold anything steady in his hands now.

Christy climbed into the chair next to him, smoothing the hair and dress of her doll. “Do you think he’s okay?”

Kevin glanced over at her, finding new tears running down her face. He reached over, and managed to drag her into lap.

When did Christy get so big? He tucked her in close, letting her warmth seep into him and help ease the shaking. The shelter rumbled. Everyone inside looked up at the ceiling, the low buzz of conversation momentarily stopping.

“You just watch,” Kevin said, hoping to believe the words himself. “Dad is going to be just fine.”

Outside. Fighting a Morde and an entire Vordac mothership.

TO BE CONTINUED…

***

Come back for more reading! Look for the next exciting installment each Tuesday.

Support the story by throwing a tip my way if it makes you happy. Buy my other books for more reading joy. Comments have been known to result in warm fuzzies. Spread the word, tell a friend, or add a link to the story for even more. So many ways to gather warm happy fuzzies!

Part of the Forward Motion Flash Friday Challenge.

Summer Crash (Zerralon 1.1) – Part 14: Crash Landing

This entry is part 14 of 28 in the series Summer Crash (Zerralon 1.1)

Summer comes to a crashing end…

Ten-year-old Kevin Taggert prefers to stay home with his video games, but his parents insist he join a summer sports program. Exactly on the day the Vordac raid Earth. With his little sister depending on him for protection, Kevin must find the strength and wisdom to keep them both safe.

Before they both end up dead, or even worse: as life-long slaves of the Vordac.

You can read the story serially on this website for free, or purchase and read it now in ebook.
Amazon | Barnes and Noble | DriveThruFiction | Google Play | Kobo | Omnilit | Smashwords | Xinxii

***

Summer Crash (Zerralon 1.1)

Part 14: Crash Landing

The nose of the hovercar dropped again. Nothing Kevin did with the controls stopped it. He used the throttle and brakes, even managing to stop it from listing to the left. But, he couldn’t stop them from dropping out of the sky.

Strange sounds came from the vehicle. Whines, coughs, pops, and groans. None of which he’d ever heard before. All of which he knew down deep in his gut were not good.

As was the slow losing of all control.

Christy started pointing ahead, jabbing at the windscreen with her finger. He knew. He could see it approaching.

The smooth white surface of a building with neat rows of reflective windows. No opening for a parking garage at this level, either. Just a solid wall to crash into.

Kevin jerked the control to the right. The nose dropped again, but it turned. But, not fast.

Slow. Far too slow of a turn, even while the hovercar dropped faster.

A metallic scream ripped through the air as the side of the hovercar met the side of the building. New sparks flew in all directions. Christy cried out, squeezing her eyes closed. The seatbelt bit into his lap and shoulder as the entire vehicle jerked away from the building.

Still dropping, right into the walkways and bridges between the lower sections of the buildings. This time without any way to pull out of a dive. He pulled the controls all the way back.

It did nothing.

Christy didn’t scream. Just held onto her seatbelt as the hovercar angled out of the sky with Kevin struggling with the controls. How he wished all he had to do was hold on, too.

He tried the braking, then the throttle. The hovercar shuddered. A series of loud booming clicks sounded from underneath their seats. Smoke erupted from under the hovercar, some of it whirling inside through the shattered rear window.

A burst of white shot out, hitting the hovercar across the front windshield. It erupted into a nearly transparent bubble.

Only, this bubble wasn’t empty. It enveloped the entire hovercar. A round surface of iridescent blue and purple, imprisoning them inside.

“They got us!” Christy screamed.

The bottom of a small vehicle appeared over the bubble. Kevin gulped as the last of the power in the hovercar failed. No controls, no way to escape, and the bubble filling with the smoke still coming out from under the frame.

Captured.

He let go of the controls and leaned forward, catching his breath. He needed to see, even though it filled him with dread. See which of the Vordac robots or vehicles finally captured them.

This one was white with a stripe of light blue. Four small hovering disks framed the bottom of the rectangular shape. The bottom of the craft didn’t look anything like the Vordac robots. In fact, he’d seen that type of hovering mechanism before.

“No, it’s the police!” Kevin yelled, relief filling him from head to toe. Then coughed at the acrid smoke filling the cabin.

He was sure now. Somehow, a police-bot found them. Encased them in a bubble of its own, and was now using its own hover-engines to stop their deadly plummet.

Christy joined him in the coughing. Talking grew impossible. Breathing soon would, as well. Was the hovercar now on fire? A new worry gripped him. One involving breathable air and open flames. Which one would get to them first?

The shadow of a walkway passed over them. Then another. A wider bridge used by both people and freight robots appeared. The police-bot lowered them past all of them.

Soon, he wouldn’t be able to see the scenery outside. Not with this much smoke inside the bubble.

The hovercar bumped. The front tipped up. With another thump the back-end settled and the bubble popped. Smoke drifted upwards, leaving the hovercar behind. But not fast enough from the inside cabin.

Kevin’s nearly numb fingers worked at the seatbelt. “Christy, get out of the car!”

“Where’s Boo?” Christy’s seatbelt came loose and she slipped off the seat.

“We’ll come back for Boo! Get out before this thing burns.” Finally, his seatbelt came loose. Kevin swiveled the chair around.

Christy held up her doll. “Found it! And your backpack.”

She grabbed the side door of the hovercar and pushed at it. Kevin joined her, but found it not willing to open. Still coughing, he switched to the door on the other side.

With a loud crack, if flung upwards. Fresh air poured inside, giving welcome relief to his hurting lungs.

He jumped down to solid ground, so relieved to have them both alive. He didn’t count on tired and stressed muscles nearly giving out on him. He caught himself just before going to his knees. His calves ached and spasmed almost as much as his hands.

Christy followed him, with Boo and his backpack in tow. Two things not really important right now, but he took his backpack when she handed it up to him as they moved away from the hovercar.

Finally away from the smoke, Kevin allowed himself to breathe in as deeply as he wanted. Sweet fresh air. And they were still free. Not slaves, and he wanted to keep it that way.

The ground shook, the deep vibration passing from their feet and up their bones. His lungs felt it next as the rumble went through the air.

The sound of a deep explosion roiled past them. The smoke drifting up from the hovercar pushed to one side as the wave passed them.

Christy held tight to Kevin’s hand, squeezing until her skin showed white. “What was that?”

Kevin swallowed past the block in his throat. “The Morde. I think it’s getting closer.”

TO BE CONTINUED…

***

Come back for more reading! Look for the next exciting installment each Tuesday.

Support the story by throwing a tip my way if it makes you happy. Buy my other books for more reading joy. Comments have been known to result in warm fuzzies. Spread the word, tell a friend, or add a link to the story for even more. So many ways to gather warm happy fuzzies!

Part of the Forward Motion Flash Friday Challenge.

Summer Crash (Zerralon 1.1) – Part 13: Gamer Boy

This entry is part 13 of 28 in the series Summer Crash (Zerralon 1.1)

Summer comes to a crashing end…

Ten-year-old Kevin Taggert prefers to stay home with his video games, but his parents insist he join a summer sports program. Exactly on the day the Vordac raid Earth. With his little sister depending on him for protection, Kevin must find the strength and wisdom to keep them both safe.

Before they both end up dead, or even worse: as life-long slaves of the Vordac.

You can read the story serially on this website for free, or purchase and read it now in ebook.
Amazon | Barnes and Noble | DriveThruFiction | Google Play | Kobo | Omnilit | Smashwords | Xinxii

***

Summer Crash (Zerralon 1.1)

Part 13: Gamer Boy

Christy yelled something, but Kevin couldn’t hear her over the harsh sound of the wind rushing by.

His hands clenched the manual controls of the hovercar. Too abrupt. He needed to calm down. Be more careful with how he handled them.

A right turn past a round building brought them into one of the wide avenues of Central City. Plenty of space between the buildings. Also few places to dodge and hide from the Vordac robot still chasing after them.

He widened away from a building, then turned right into the narrow space between two high-rises. So close to the exterior that he got the impression of furniture through the windows.

Too close. One twitch of the control and they would crash right into one of them. He pulled back on the lever, slowing their forward speed in preparation for making the next turn.

Only to have to jerk the joystick the other way when he realized the turn would take them into a small swarm of Vordac robots. No way would they come out of that encounter in one piece.

The hovercar nose came up as it whipped around. A push of the lever took them forward down the street.

A street he didn’t dare stay on, even with the robots now behind him. Not with so many of them. With the back window broken out… ugh, he hated thinking of it.

The back of his neck tingled in anticipation of those snake-like arms reaching in from back there to pull them out. To take them to the Vordac mothership where who-knew how many others already were. To disappear in the vastness of the Vordac worlds, never to see Earth, home, or family again.

The hovercar slid sideways through the air in his effort to turn into another street. Christy let out a scream as the side of a building whooshed up to her side. Another fast turn, and he was into another street.

He now knew the basics of the controls. Right for speed, braking, and hovering. The left for turning and altitude. It reminded him of an old flying game he once played.

A game. He was good at video games.

With new determination, Kevin pushed the hovercar forward. Deep into the streets of Central City. When two of the robots caught up with him, he even dared to dive down into the mazed webbing of the walkways lower to the ground.

Smooth and controlled, he reminded himself. Keep it under his control, not in control of him. Pay attention to angles and speed of approaches. Keep the turns and changes in altitude preplanned. Don’t wait to react. Control.

He might not have weapons to turn and fire with like he would in a video game, but he could still make it hard for the Vordac.

“One on the right,” Christy shouted over the whistling wind. She took to pointing along with the yelling, identifying other dangers.

While he appreciated the help, the one thing he really needed was a way out of the city. Away from the Vordac activity. No matter how he turned the hovercar, it seemed like the city just went on and on. If he thought it was safe, he would aim the hovecar up and fly over the city. But, not with the Vordac mothership out there.

Another turn. One that took them too close to the side of a building, this time on his side. They were taking too many chances staying up here. Too bad they couldn’t disappear into a parking garage when no robots were in sight, but he didn’t dare try that maneuver. Not yet. Not while still fine-tuning his flying. There were no extra lives in this video game.

Christy started pointing out the window on her side. Out of the corner of his eye he saw fast-moving shapes. Only, these weren’t black.

Streamlined craft with a rounded bulbed central structure swept past the nose of the hovercraft on their flight down a street. As fast as they appeared, they dispersed into the city.

“Dad!” Christy yelled.

That word he heard and understood. He nodded. He’d seen it, too.

Galactic Patrol fighters, and on one of them he’d seen just enough of the insignia to know. His father’s squadron.

Out here with the Vordac along with them. Did they know about the Morde? Did they know the location of the mothership? Kevin wished he could warn them. Any excuse to hear his father’s voice again.

The hovercar bucked. It shook so hard that he had to let go of the joystick control so as not to send them careening into a building. Sparks flew along the side of the hovercar and out past the nose. A shrill shriek joined the sound of the rushing air, but this one not coming from Christy. The nose dropped towards the ground.

Kevin grabbed it again, pulling back. The nose tipped up, but not enough. The shriek started breaking up, as if the hovercar were coughing.

With the rearview mirror, a dark shape rising up from the lower streets caught at Kevin’s heart. A shape turning a long barrel to fire at a passing Galactic Patrol fighter.

The Morde. And it had just hit them dead-center with one of its weapons.

TO BE CONTINUED…

***

Come back for more reading! Look for the next exciting installment each Tuesday.

Support the story by throwing a tip my way if it makes you happy. Buy my other books for more reading joy. Comments have been known to result in warm fuzzies. Spread the word, tell a friend, or add a link to the story for even more. So many ways to gather warm happy fuzzies!

Part of the Forward Motion Flash Friday Challenge.