The Fall of Terra #44: Separation


Edginton had emptied quickly.

Langton had managed to secure transport, though he refused to tell Ophelia how he had done it with the blind panic all around them.  She wasn’t sure she wanted to know, and didn’t comment on the small fresh blood spatter on the hover-car’s bonnet.

They piled in, and sped to the nearest spaceport.

Edginton wasn’t that far from the Lisbon Spaceport, the news reporting that individual Army units had taken to commandeering freighters, transports, and luxury yachts from the rich and famous.  It had apparently started in Manhattan, but more and more were doing it.

As they came down and around, a horde of shambling, shuffling people waited before the gates, the Army controlling them peaceably.

“How are we going to get in?” wailed Jameson.

“I’m not sure,” admitted Langton.

“All the spaceports are like this, aren’t they?” asked Ophelia.

Langton dipped his head in a slow nod.

The car shuddered as a private yacht took off, massive and bloated.  It blindly swatted several of the hover-cars out of the air, one tumbling into the side of a skyscraper.  They could only watch with horror and dread, the car taking out an entire floor, and the tall tower came crashing down on the spaceport gates.

The building crushed the gates, the Army personnel, and a huge swathe of the crowd underneath.  It deflated, squashing flat without its structural integrity fields and decent internal structure.

The world shook as a horrendous impact overwhelmed everything.

It wasn’t the building.

A blinding flash of light came from the horizon, and the sky cracked.

Warning lights flashed across the car’s dashboard.

The port thruster was failing, and one of the hover-disks was fritzing from an electrical disturbance in the sky.  The car was starting to fall from the sky.  Langton grunted from the effort of fighting with the controls.

The vehicle started to spin, the remaining thruster pushing it round in a tight circle.

Ophelia and the boys screamed and shouted as the ground came up to meet them.

 

*           *           *

 

Langton groaned.

His head banged a painful beat in his temples, and he was stiff and aching.

All he remembered were the screams of his family and the numbing impact.  He slowly moved his head, not wanting to make sudden shifts in case he had broken something and made it worse.  A headache seeped through into his forehead and the base of his skull.

“Ophelia?” he called.

He heard a groan.

She was alive; there was blood dribbling down from a cut on her forehead, but she was alive.

Panic, however, thrust its ugly head into the pit of his stomach.  Edward and Jameson weren’t in the back of the car.  Breathing heavily, hyperventilating even, he unstrapped himself, and searched the vehicle.

Ophelia’s grogginess dissipated as quickly as his own when she realised the boys were gone.

“Where are they?” she cried.

“I don’t know,” he snapped.  “I only just gained consciousness myself.”

“But why aren’t they here?” she shouted.

Somebody heard them, and he could hear the surprise in their voice.

“Excuse me?”

Langton clambered out of the twisted wreckage, thankful to whoever had designed the sturdy craft.  The person in question was covered in dust, dishevelled and exhausted.

“Have you seen our sons?”

The man nodded, pointing towards the gates.  There were people everywhere, having left Langton and Ophelia for dead.

“They were pulled from the car and taken towards the spaceport.  I think they thought you were dead, and decided to try and save the children.”

Langton immediately searched the crowd.

He couldn’t see them.

Where were they?

Why weren’t he and his wife rescued as well?

Dark thoughts passed through his mind, his previous profession making him completely paranoid.

“EDWARD!” he bellowed.  “JAMESON!”

The crowd just shuffled slowly away.

He saw the gates.

“Dad!” he heard in the distance.  Did that sound like Edward?

Ophelia was out of the car, unsteady on her feet, but alert and awake.

She grabbed his hand.

“Dad!” the child’s voice sounded again.

“That’s definitely Edward,” he said to her.

He gripped her hand tightly, and plunged into the crowd.

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