*BOOOM!*

Rockett wrapped his arms tighter around Dastre, swinging the both of them to facing the door frame they were in between the kitchen and the entry way. The windows in the kitchen came crashing out of their frames and dishes that had been organized to sit perfectly on shelves crashed to the floor. The entire house and floor shook as though a bomb had been dropped close by.

Turning his nose to the air and his ears to the winds Rockett tried to take in as much information as his Seven Gene allowed. His wife, doing the same. The blast had come from off planet and the shock of wherever it hit was now having world affects. The entire ground was still vibrating and the house was still rattling back into place, some items still finding their way off of shelves and onto the floor.

Finally everything settled and there was a moment of complete and utter silence before the entire neighborhood erupted into screams, and sirens in town rang loudly to life. Close by, Katarina could be heard crying and Dastre was immediately on her feet. Catching her hand, Rockett brought her close and into one more hug, kissing her tightly.

“Time to dust off Goldwing. Get to the TerraSkipper. She’s the fastest in launching off planet. If this is what I think it is, you need to be boarded and gone within the next two hours. Bring nothing, the Skipper has everything needed. Get Katarina, and go now.”

“What about Thomas?!” Dastre asked, concern clear in her purple eyes.

“He’s a Rockett. He’ll be find. He’ll make it to the Skipper, he knows what to do.” He knew it was a lot of faith to have in a 16 yr old in a crisis, but he had already started his academy training and was going to be much more equipped as a Seven Gene than a majority of other kids. If anything were to happen, it would likely just be him finding which part of a team he was going to be on depending on how he reacted to the current actual crisis.

Rocketts wife nodded somberly and then sobered quickly, inhaling deeply, and her Pilots face showed again. She was ready. It was time. Turning and racing outside, she found Katarina with only small abrasions on her knees from being knocked over from the blast and crying because of the fear from the shock. She was too young for anything other than her mental capabilities as a Seven Gene to have kicked in. It was completely understandable for the small girl to be having a complete come apart in lue of all that was going on around her. The entire sky was filling with clouds and looked like a heavy storm was brewing. Except that normal storms didn’t have ominous rust hued clouds associated with them.

“Where’s Dad!” Katarina screamed in her mothers arm trying to turn frantically to look for her other parent. “He’s going to fly Kat, can you keep an eye on the skies for me and let me know when you see Goldwing?” The young girl nodded in her mothers arms as she was carried to their vehicle. Dastre paused in front of their hover van before turning in the garage and facing the small cloud surfer. It would likely be slightly more hazardous if they were firing, but would get them to the launch base much quicker and right now time was even more precious than usual.

Strapping Katarina into a small shute vest, and fitting one on herself, Dastre started up the Cloud surfer, which was more or less a small platform with two small seats, a cover and engine and wings. Rockett and Thomas had built it with the help of Rocketts old team. It was an almost insanely fast bird, and much smaller than normal sky regulations allowed. Right now though, it was perfect and regulations could be damned.

“Alrighty Kat, you ready to fly? Remember, watch the sky for Goldwing.” Dastre said as she slowly maneuvered the Cloud Surfer out of the garage and then made all haste in getting the unit up and into the air and in the direction of the TerraSkipper.

***

Rockett was already headed down into the basement to the emergency tunnel lines that had been built and placed into every Seven Gene who served actively or on reserve. Their bullet lines would take them directly to the hanger where the area’s Mechs were stored. The intercom system sprang to life as soon as it started to move down the tracks towards the flight bay.

“Sir, it has been too long since you’ve been in to see me,” Alfred joked before taking a much more serious tone with the Pilot. “As you have likely already guessed, the Malstari have ported into our air space. The shaking and boom that was heard and felt by the entire planet was their ship slamming into our Sol system and by our planet as close as they did. I’ll give them that they make an entrance. It also denotes just how incredibly powerful their technologies are and how advanced to be able to make that type of jump as close as they did.”

“Yes Alfred I would agree. The alternative to that is they were simply lucky they didn’t destroy us. Either way it would give them the planet. I doubt they’re here for our collective libraries.” It would have been a lie to himself if Rockett didn’t admit that he was a little nervous about what was going to happen next. He checked the small screen in the capsule for the status of the rest of his team members. All lights showed as green. They were all on their way and not a moment too soon.

****

Thomas looked out over the edge of the bridge railing and down to the water below. He felt his stomach drop clear to his toes and his tonsils try to slide up behind his ears. “Oh fuck.” He muttered taking the half step back before loading his weight and launching into a backflip and off of the tall bridge. Mid air a blast rocked out from the sky and his acceleration towards the water quickened. He barely got his feet under him before smashing into the water. Disoriented a moment Thomas waved his arms wildly before opening his eyes and looking for the bright surface of the River. Coming up for air the teen gasped and flipped his head in each direction looking for his friends. Asher, who had also been on the top of the bridge was now in the water just a few lengths up river and treading water just as he was. “What the hell was that?!” Carbon hollered from shore where he was already changing into his gear.

The two boys swam to shore and quickly dressed, reaching into their pockets for their com screens. After a few attempts it was clear that the screens, which, while technologically advanced didn’t survive the sudden shock to their connections, leaving them as useless as a snow shovel in summer.

“Shit. Let’s go guys.” Tomas said looking to his two friends. All three of them were Seven Gene and had met at the Academy. Asher and Carbon were brothers and the son of one of the pilots that had flown with Rockett in the First Encounter and shared enough in common that they swiftly became inseparable.

“Home? Yah, that’s where I’m…”

“No. We’re going to the hangers.” The black curly haired lad said, his face looking remarkably like his fathers in that moment. The brothers knew that look, there’d be no talking him out of it.

“What do you think we’re going to fly?” Asher asked sarcastically as he started to follow Thomas down the path towards the Flight Bay.

“Yup. With that blast, and judging by the sirens, it’s the Malsari. They’ve knocked our systems out which means who knows how many of the pilots are actually going to be able to get into the bay. They’re going to need all the help they can get.”

“He’s got a point.” Carbon said jogging up beside his friend.

Sighing heavily Asher dashed up to meet them and the three took off as fast as their feet would carry them. It was a five mile run, and they were working under precious time…

 

 

 

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