Angel of Mars – Chapter 8 – Stepping into the Light
Indoor flying was difficult enough, there were still several Factu midair. His brightness had blinded the Creatures that were intent on devouring him. The Light of Righteousness consumed the interior of the Bay and John struck out with his fist. The Light, which had once consumed the Ax, now covered his body.
A splashing noise could be heard by the Villagers, a moment later, a corpse landed near their feet. Beasts that had haunted them in their nightmares for generations had died so easily.
It’s partially exposed brain still twitching, another Factu slammed into the wall.
The scenes were somewhat gruesome, the bodies of the Factu were seen twisted and mangled. Holes, slightly larger than John’s fist covered their bodies.
Chief Bates calmed the group down while they regained their sight. They were in the Forbidden area, unfamiliar sights were in every direction. Ilani let go of her father’s hand, silenced.
John could hear everyone’s heartbeats racing, only Ilani had contained her reaction. “Chief..”
“Of what??” Bates lowered his head and shook it, his voice seemed strained when he spoke, “There is no village, I cannot be Chief much longer.” He collapsed in pain.
“Bullshit.” John slapped him back to consciousness. “I’m not going through all of this just so you can give up, Get up.. Right now!” Raising his voice did little good other than to ring everyone else’ ears.
Chief Bates coughed, there was a red stain in his mouth.
John understood, patting the Chief down, he found a puncture wound in his back. ‘Come on God, don’t let me watch them die after so much effort..’ John prayed while he worked to stop the blood loss.
Watching her Father collapse, Ilani reposed herself. Everything until that moment had been prelude, in a welt of tears, she dropped to the floor, breaking down emotionally. She was about to lose everything and the potential were too much for such a young girl.
‘I’m your Angel, your light flows through me. Lord, help me.’ John knelt beside the Chief, his silence only reaffirmed Ilani’s suspicions and her crying became all that could be heard. Pressing his palms to the lower portion of Bates’ back, he held his breath.
”Lord please, I believe.” Giving up his concentration, allowing his mind to go blank, John saw a Golden Light from his fingers flowing slowly and surrounding Bates body. When the sensation faded from his hands, he opened his eyes.
Bates was asleep but alive, the wound on his body had vanished like a lie.
“How?” Ilani shoving John out of the way, she held her father and cried again, different tears, tears of joy.
The surviving villagers were having difficulty understanding, nothing in their minds registered how to process what had just transpired.
“Calm down.” Chief Bates opened his eyes and saw himself surrounded. The panicked worries of the Villagers, including his Daughter, had re-awoken him. Not much further away than the villagers, John stood over them all with his wings folded back and extended his hand.
John helped the Chief to his feet and gathered everyone’s attention, he had a commanding presence to him and not even the Chief himself would argue when he said, “Let’s go, no time to argue.” He led them further into the Machine Shop and into another room, a much large one.
“What’s in here?” The Chief asked but it was more of a rhetorical question, lights came on as they entered and several large metal structures stood like a Colossus in front of them.
“These are ships.” John didn’t have time to entertain their interests, danger was still a certainty.
Drawing closer to the ships, more lighting came online. The Children were clinging to the Elders, their hands white from squeezing. “I don’t understand, this is a ship? There’s no water.”
“Shh.” Ilani stopped their questions with a single shush, anxiety and confusion were widespread among the group.
Pulling from beneath his armor, John took out the Key Card and put it against a hatch, his voice was full of confidence as he spoke, “Just follow me.”
None of the Villagers were eager but with Ilani and the Chief following John’s lead, they reluctantly entered. After stepping through the hatch, lights came on.
John was relieved that everything seemed operational, it was a gamble already to have gotten them to leave the shelter of the Cave. If there were some sort of failure on his part to meet their expectations, he feared they would put themselves in danger by returning. “Drop your things here, put them in these.”
“Why?” One woman asked.
“Karen, shut up and do it.” Ilani chided Karen, took off her pack and the necklace her mother had given her as a child, then put them inside.
“…” Karen tried to come up with a reason to object but fell silent when the time came.
“When you’re done, follow me.” John shook his head and kept looking around. There were plenty of sealed compartments but he had a lot of things to learn and no time to figure it out. On his way to the cockpit, he saw a room with space suits. ‘At least this is somewhat consistent with how things use to be.’ Noting how orderly everything seemed, he was grateful that some things seemed preserved.
“If the spacesuits are in good shape, maybe everything else is too.” Toggle switches and stick, John could find neither. “Umm.” John sat in what seemed to be the Captain’s chair and tried tapping the armrest, nothing was happening.
He climbed further and into the small seat near a display console, power came up, along with a keyboard. A screen flashed on and again, John was faced with a command prompt telling him that Launch was ready. “Thank God.”
John’s cheerful attitude came to a grinding halt when he saw the message that appeared.
[ERROR 0-Authenticate for Launch]
The message disappeared and another one came across the screen.
[Awaiting Command Authorization]
‘Crap!’ John wanted to swear but even his mind wouldn’t allow the word to manifest. “I have to check on something, get into the suits then make sure everyone is strapped into these chairs.” Explaining to the Chief first, with Ilani as an example, John showed them how to buckle up.
“What do you mean?” Bates wanted answers but having been the Leader of his people, he understood that somethings you did not have time to explain.
John left without saying anything further. Too much was left uncertain but he had an idea of where to start.
There were no obstacles in his way as he darted through the hallways and up through the hole in the Freezer, he ran into nothing but noise could be heard in the floors above. By the time he got to the Command room once again, he could hear the beasts’ prowling much more easily.
The Command Room primary view screen was the same as before, the prompt was awaiting the key.
“Now I understand why the access card wasn’t already placed into the Computer System.” John slipped the key into the slot. The words on the screen which had long since burned into place, changed.
“Initiating Launch?” Reading it, realizing that it was happening, John heard the early sounds of spooling Engines.
[Launch Countdown, 1 Min until launch. Please clear Launch bay floor.]
There were a series of large doors that moved, the entire facility shook. Howls could be heard in the upper floors and a lot of movement translated through the structure, both from the ship readying itself and the Factu that began to swarm.
John threw himself into a panic, they villagers had no idea how to fly the ship or even what to expect. He raced toward them, doubling and tripling his efforts along the way to get on board.
Even at his fastest pace, John wasn’t sure he would be able to make it on time. The Computer System was counting down over the intercom, it filled every hallway and corridor with warnings.
“This isn’t happening! This isn’t Happening!” He rushed as fast as his body could carry him and even slid down the hole he had once made with record timing. Fifteen seconds had passed but John didn’t care. The tunnel doorway, now jammed with rocks and debris left by the Factu show now signs of slowing him down.
Turning the last corner into the last hallway, John heard the announcements of the Computer system more loudly than before and red lights began to flash. With fifteen seconds left, John finally saw the ship.
A buzzing noise sounded, green lights on the hatch turned red.
John watched helplessly as the hatch closed and ignition began, he tried to throw himself forward. A wave of force swept the floor but he stood firm, covering his face.
Compounding heat scattered on the Machine Shop floor. The Ship went through launch sequences and checks automatically. Having been engaged it’s locking mechanism, there was nothing that could be done.
The thrust from the ship threw John against bay and he slammed into the hull of another ship, it’s hatch nearby. There was no choice, he would have to enter or be incinerated with the full burn.
The Last Ten seconds began to play over the loudspeaker. John slammed his fist against the panel, forced it open and then sealed it shut just as the Villagers ship took off.
“This isn’t good.” John made his way to the cockpit. There was a console but it was missing pieces. “This one isn’t finished either?” John pressed a few buttons to see if he could find a communications link, it was obviously a bad idea. In the next second, a message appeared on the heads up display.
“No.. No… No..” The timer began to countdown again, he was rightfully panicked. He found a large spacesuit and shoveled himself into it as best he could. When it sealed, the engines began to fire. John had trouble maintaining his balance and fell, pinned to the floor. God had given him abilities far beyond his wildest expectations but gravity was still a function of the environment that he couldn’t disobey.
When the booster fired, his head slammed down inside of his helmet, gluing him in place. He couldn’t even move his hands until he exited the atmosphere and once again returned to weightlessness.
John was somewhat use to reorienting himself with the help of his wings but they had been tucked into the spacesuit.
The ship hadn’t been properly finished, some components seemed either missing or otherwise. John didn’t even know if there was oxygen on board until he saw the pressure seals release for the next compartment. “This automation is both useful and annoying!!” John yelled at the top of his lungs but there was no one on the ship to hear him.
Suspended at the front of the cabin, he saw the prompt on the HUD change again. The message was alarming.
“Hey hey hey..” John slapped on the console, which seemed like a good idea at the time.
“Haha, Suck on that NASA!” John celebrated but in doing so, he kicked the panel under the console. The power went off and on again, a system message replayed and then, as if to drive John into a raving madman, main power went offline completely.
“NO!” Frustration consumed his thoughts. Emergency lighting came on but it was not a consolation prize, John knew he was in real danger.