Chapter 2 - Home, Sweet HomeThis is a featured page


Allison and the group of soldiers slowly made their way back to base. She could see the sky becoming gradually brighter. It was morning. She was in the middle of the group, soldiers on all sides protecting her.

“Where’d you get that?” Allison shook her head and came back to reality.

“What?”

“The uniform. Where’d you get it?” The leader insistently asked again.

“He…he was dead. I was freezing. I didn’t-, I mean” Allison stammered.

“I figured Porter was dead.” The man sighed, with a sort of detached resignation.

Allison glanced at the front of the uniform. Beside one of the blackened holes, was the name “H. Porter”. Not knowing who he was made it easier for Allison to take his clothes and boots. It was just a nameless, faceless corpse. Now that she knew his name, Allison pictured a wife and maybe children, who would never see his smiling face again. A surge of guilt swept through her.

“It’s okay,” the leader said, sensing her discomfort. “That’s why he was a soldier.” The man managed a weak smile. “He wanted to save lives.”

“He saved mine.” was the only thing Allison could say.

The man nodded and continued to smile. “He sure did.”

“So you’ve been gone a while. I remember hearing your name on the MIA list after that HK raid. That was a week ago.”

A week? Allison thought. All she remembered was the interrogations and the captivity. They generally kept her in perpetual darkness and didn’t let her sleep. She couldn’t believe a week had gone by. It all seemed blurred together and surreal; like a dream, or a nightmare.

“Did anyone else make it back?”

The man sighed again. “No…but one is better than none.”

The group walked the remaining distance in silence. No one seemed to want to talk. Allison didn’t mind. She may not have looked it, but she was happy. Happy to be amongst humans again, happy to be free, and most of all, happy to be alive.

The sun rose over the hills as they approached a barricaded door. The leader walked up to it and struck it with the butt of his rifle. After a moment, a small door opened up; a plasma rifle’s barrel stuck out.

“Captain Kurt Calitri. Serial number 1144568. Open up, we’ve got one of your MIA.”

“What was your last scheduled mission, Captain Calitri?” a voiced questioned from behind the door.

“Standard patrol. Mission time 0300 to 0500.”

The door finally opened up. A man of dark completion peered out looking at Allison and the group. “Name of the MIA?”

“PFC, Allison Young. Declared missing a week ago.”

The man glanced down at a checklist. “Yeah, she checks out. Does she have her bracelet?”

Allison began to panic. She couldn’t remember if she had it. Between the escape, the changing of clothes and her near death experience, she couldn’t remember feeling the bracelet upon her wrist. She fumbled with the uniform, finally lifting her sleeves up. Thankfully, it was on her wrist.

The man saw the bracelet as well. “All right,” he said. His face became sullen. “Sir? Are you a few men short?”

Calitri nodded with a tired face. “Three of them. Ran into a T-800 before we found her.” he said motioning back to Allison. “They would’ve slowed us down too much. I’ll try and send a recovery team tonight.”

The man closed his eyes and shook his head. “Damn,” he muttered.

He then pushed the door open and stepped to the side. Calitri allowed Allison to go in first. Allison couldn’t believe it. She stopped past the door and breathed deeply. The air was heavy with concrete, smoke, gun powder, and plasma discharge. Not a particularly pleasant smell, but it was home.

Allison walked deeper into the bunker, until she found her favorite hallway, with her favorite bench. Allison had to force herself to sit down. Her body, still full of adrenaline, didn’t want to stop moving. Eventually, she managed to prop herself up against the wall and slide down into the bench. She exhaled and closed her eyes.

“Allison.” She opened her eyes to see Calitri. She tried to manage a smile.

“I know you’re tired, so I’m gonna let you stay here for a while. But soon, I want you to go see our medic. We need to make sure you don‘t have any life threatening injuries.”

“Okay…” she said, fighting to keep her eyes open.

Calitri started to walk away. “Captain?” Allison called after him.

“Yeah?”

“Thanks for saving my life.”

“Don’t mention it.”

Allison closed her eyes once more and for the first time in days, she fell asleep. She dreamed about Palmdale again. She was in the front garden of her house; sitting in the shade of a tree.

“Allison?” a voice called out to her.

“Mom?”

“Allison…”

“Mom, is that you?” Allison felt tears building in her eyes.

She woke up. A man was standing in front of her. He wore a lab coat, stained and dirty. A stethoscope was wrapped around his neck. He was obviously one of the doctors, or what passed for one these days.

“What?” she said, obviously annoyed about being woke up.

“The captain sent me. Before we let you go back to sleep, we need to make sure your okay.”

Allison was frustrated; she just wanted to rest. However, her aching shoulder and feet convinced her to listen to the doctor. She stood up.

“Fine.”

The man led her to the medical bay. It was far from clean, but it was the best they could do, given the circumstances. She sat upon the table in the center of the room. The doctor turned on a bright light. Allison briefly recoiled, the light reminding her of the interrogation room.

“It’s okay,” the doctor reassured her.

“So, do you have any injuries?” he said briefly looking her over. He stopped at her shoulder.

“Jesus. Were you hit?”

“Yeah, it went in and out.”

“A plasma rifle?”

Allison nodded.

“Would you mind pulling your collar down?” The doctor asked. Allison obliged.

“Missy, I have treated a lot of injuries like this and I must say…” the doctor pulled a mini-flashlight from his pocket and examined the wound more closely.

“…that you are tougher than most of the soldiers…that…that…” the man became silent.

Allison looked at him. He gazed at the wound and then turned to her face. There was sheer terror in his eyes. He began to back out of the room. His hands were shaking and he dropped his flashlight.

“What? What is it!?” Allison demanded.

Allison looked down at her wound. It seemed to look like an regular plasma burn. However, as she looked closer, her blood ran cold. Beneath the charred skin was a gleaming, chrome, hydraulic servo.


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