Telloc gently pulled the radio from her and tossed it aside. He wrapped his arms around her shoulders and pulled her close. "We'll get her, I promise. Look at me."
Alara lifted her gaze to meet his just as Telloc kissed her. Though rushed and tense, the gesture sent a wave of calm over her. She laid her head against his shoulder for a moment before pushing out of his arms. "Let's end this."
Telloc nodded and slipped his hand in hers, holding a scrambler in the other. "Together."
Marna rolled her eyes. "Lover birds, could you get off your high cloud for two seconds to follow the damn plan?"
In the mid twenty-second century, Earth suffered a plague as a result of trying to genetically create the perfect super-soldier. Desperate to survive, the remainder of humanity fled to underground caves. One such colony was near an Air Force base where they were constructing a rocket to leave the planet. A lottery system was set up and for years, people gathered with the hope of hearing their name called. One day a mechanic named Chloe, plagued by nightmares of another world under attack by aliens, is exploring the many tunnels when she finds a way to the outside. She finds the Air Force base and learns about the terrible creatures called the Balor. After nearly being killed by one, Chloe returns to the caves and demands the truth from her father. A few days later, Chloe mysteriously wins the lottery. Already suspicious of the mayor, she tries to escape when her brother Oliver captures her and brings her to a secret testing facility. The Mayor has decided all of the lottery winners are to be tested on and will continue to be tested on as humanity reaches for new worlds to conquer.
"I don't appreciate the tone." Telloc folded his arms and analyzed the scene. The torn sheets and shattered splinters of wood confirmed there was a struggle. Splashes of blood, from both Chloe and her attacker, littered the room. Telloc reached under the flipped cot and retrieved the small knife the attacker used. He smiled when he realized it had more of the attacker's blood on it than Chloe's. She was a survivor.
In the hologram beside Alara appeared one of the creatures she had dreamed about. It looked like it was in a room similar to the one she was in. It had the same bleak black walls and a single light hanging overhead. The table and chairs were toppled over and only barely visible at the edge of the hologram. The thing itself was curled into a ball on the ground, staring intently at the ground.
Telloc cleared his throat to say something but before he could, Chloe had already turned and started running down the beach. She ran as fast as her legs would carry her, controlling her breath as best she could. Only when her heart nearly exploded under the strain did Chloe stop. Hardly able to stay still, Chloe started kicking at the loose sand and punching the air with white-knuckled fists. Losing her balance, Chloe fell on her back and stared up at the clouds lazily drifting across the bright blue sky. Burying her face in her hands, Chloe screamed and cried until her throat felt like sandpaper.
“How the hell are we going to do that?”
“Leave that to us, kid.” Frank pulled out a gun and a small dagger, placing the blade securely in his belt.
Chloe's father pulled her up through the opening to the outside world before pulling out his gun, handing Chloe a small dagger and following Frank into the eerie shadows cast by the trees. Above them, the sky had faded to a swirl of pink and gray with the moon a large disk that loomed on the horizon. Dim beams of moonlight pierced the canopy and barely illuminated a path for the three to follow. Minutes passed with only their shallow breaths to break the eerie silence. Just when Chloe allowed herself to relax, Frank and her father dropped to the ground.
She reached into her pack and pulled out the strange flower. "Look at this." She held it delicately between her palms. "The mayor is either wrong or lying."
"Impossible." She tried to stand but found her legs pinned beneath several chunks of rubble. No matter how furiously she pulled and tugged, there was no budging her legs. A low growl broke the burning silence, followed by a sudden crash. Glancing over her shoulder, Chloe caught a glimpse of the creature as it emerged calmly from a wall of flames.
Chloe woke to waves slapping against her legs. Although a gentle breeze swept over her, the air was cold and stirred the nerves swelling in her stomach. Ignoring the goose bumps that prickled her arms, Chloe pushed herself to her feet and shook the clumps of sand from her many-layered skirts. The night sky was pitch black, save for two stars twinkling directly overhead and the moon, which cast an eerie glow over the white sand. Behind her, the beach yielded to soil. Beyond that emerged these massive things (trees, this memory called them). Huddling close together, the moonlight penetrated a few feet before being consumed by the darkness.