Three days after the fight, I was sat in my office going over a bit of paperwork when there was a knock at my door.
“Come in,” I shouted, looking to see who entered. The door opened to reveal Noah was poking his head through the door. He entered almost timidly with a folder in his hand.
“You available?” He asked, reverting back to how he used to be when we first came into the Mountain.
“Actually, yes, come on in,” I told him, stretching my limbs. I made my way over to the comfortable sofas and offered him a seat, “So you lost the bet?”
“What?” He looked at me, startled.
“I’m not blind; you lot have been arguing about who is going to give me the bad news. I’ve been waiting to hear what happened,” I told him, point blanc, he seemed to deflate on his own.
“I, erm, yeah. So we lost the entirety of Delta team except for Artyom. Amanda was killed in the same explosion. We also lost Benji, as you know,” Noah hung his head.
“You know it wasn’t your fault, right?”
“But I feel like it’s my fault,” Noah returned.
“We didn’t know they would capture you; nothing you did was wrong. I would have rescued any of the teams; the outcome still would have been the same,” I reassured him, “Now what about Ravenscroft?”
“All of our children were rescued with Miss Ashley,” he replied, “But nearly twenty pf the Ravenscroft lot were killed before we arrived; Mac tells me three girls were also raped,”
“Fucking bastards, did we at least kill the ones who did it?” I growled. Noah looked at my use of swear words.
“Two were killed when they raised their weapons, while another was discovered in Davis Town,” He gave me a feral grin, which meant something had been done about the rapist.
“Are we renaming Davis Town? I don’t want to be reminded of him every time I visit,” I looked at him curiously.
“From what I understand, it was called Fordham some fifty years ago, but Rod Davis father pretty much owned the town, so it’s been called Davis Town for the last few decades,” Noah explained.
“It’s up to the people, but I’ll be calling it Fordham going forth,” I told him, “Now tell me what the situation is there?”
“Mac and a medical team went over there; mostly, the kids were lacking food. Their supplies were starting to dwindle; King Rod was hoarding it for his own people,” Noah looked over the folder, “Our engineers have shored up their defences and set up some new lookout posts. Brett has already started creating a group of people to do different jobs; he’s also taken the remaining lot from the school, housing them there.”
“That’s a good idea; it will make for a better base of operations,” I considered.
“Our little village has just started seeding some of the crops ready for the winter/spring harvests. Ben tells me they’ve got several different seeds to plant,” Noah reported.
“Have any of the Ravenscroft lot stayed?” I asked curiously.
“I think we’ve had a few people deciding to stay; Ashley moved into the village and is trying to set up a village school,”
“That’s really good,” I told him, then looked at him, “How are you feeling, though? I know you’re blaming yourself, but how else are you feeling?”
“Angry, really,” he was reluctant to talk, “Wishing I could have done more, but deep down, I know it’s not my fault,”
“When are the funerals?” I had not really thought about any of that.
“Larry’s organising everything with Mac. Seems to think it’s his duty after his little brother died,” Noah shifted around.
“What about Kelly? Has anything been done about her body?” I was reluctant to ask but felt I had to.
“They are planning on burying her just outside Dav-Fordham, I think, whereas the rest of them will be buried in a small cemetery in our little village,”
“That’s good, we’ll have to organise everyone to be there, but I’m sure Larry and Mac have got that well in hand,” I commented, “Is there anything you wanted to talk about?”
“Not really, we’ve just got to talk about the placement of the Orion. Is it going to stay outside of Walker Village, or is it going elsewhere?”
“Walker Village?” Noah looked sheepish.
“That’s what everyone is taken to call it,” he laughed when I did, “We’ve got a few requests from people in the Mountain wishing to move into the village.”
“We’ll go over who in a meeting, but I can’t see it being a problem. We’ll have to set up a security check somewhere so they can get in and out of the Mountain easily,” I stared at my screen, thinking.
“We’ll check with Nate; I’m sure his security teams are well aware of anywhere now we could put in an entrance or re-use an entrance,” Noah suggested.
“You’ve done your duty now; the rest can breathe easy,” I told him, “I’m upset by the death’s, but I think we’ll have more unless we can get rid of the Aliens. I hope Kelvedon Hatch manages to destroy the aliens. If not, we’re going to be here for the long haul,”
“I haven’t even thought about the future. I’ve been trying to think about day to day rather than a week from now,” he answered with a laugh.
“I know what you mean, but unfortunately, I do have to plan ahead; though I have administrators now, I still have to approve of a lot of things like supply runs, the food we need, engineering checks, the list goes on and on,”
“I really don’t envy you,” the boy grinned, “It’s no wonder you wanted to go out on the Recon runs,”
“I’ve got to stay in now, I’m not likely to be going out, plus we have to start looking at what everyone can do, whether we rotate through Fordham, as we’re going to have to rotate teams through Walker Village,” I told him with a smirk, “Also we need to re-look at the recon teams again now that we’ve lost a couple of people,”
“I’ll repeat it; I don’t envy you,” He stood stretching. I looked at him, examining him making the boy look at me curiously. His auburn hair was gleaming, and I could swear one of his eyes looked blue. I reached over, twining my hand with his. He looked at me a little surprised.
“How are you? Healthwise! You were injured, then you were kidnapped.”
“I’m fine; I feel better than I have in a long time, physically at least,” He replied, sighing as I edged a little closer.
“I know we’ve had a busy few months, but I still really like you,” I told him.
“I know you’ve been busy, but I kinda thought you’d gone off me,” He looked away. He looked vulnerable, which is the only word I can describe it. He looked younger than fifteen-years-old. He seemed to be returning to his shy self when we first met.
“It’s taking a lot of run everything, not to mention going out rescuing people,” I gave him a grin, “I’ve never had a boyfriend before.”
“Neither have I,” he touched my face, “We haven’t really spoken much about it since they woke up from quarantine,”
“I’m really sorry about that; I shouldn’t have ignored you these last two months,” I told him. He leaned in, kissing me. I melted into him, surprised that he had taken the initiative. After a few minutes of slowly kissing, he moved away, a look of bliss on his face.
“Wow,” he said, opening his eyes.
“You can say that again,” I told him, then suddenly had an idea, “Let’s go on a date!”
“What do you mean date? We can’t exactly go out to the nearest restaurant,” Noah looked cute when he was confused.
“Come around mine tonight, I’ll get rid of the boys, and we can have a proper dinner.”
“No hanky panky,” Noah replied with a grin as wide as channel tunnel.
“Of course not, sweetie,” his grin got even wider, “What?”
“You just called me, sweetie.”
“I did not.”
“Yes, you did,” he replied, giving me a quick peck on the lips, “Now my other duty was to get you out of your office. Mac told me you had to meet them at the Lagoon,”
“I dunno,” I looked at the paperwork on my desk.
“Fine,” I gave up arguing, locking the paperwork I had away. As we reached the door, I tugged on Noah’s hand, pulling him into my arms. Though he had grown a few inches, he was still shorter than me. His lips melded to my own; once again, I melted into the boy I was falling for.
“You can do that any time,” he told me goofily as I locked the door behind us, following him up the stairs. We both giggled as we acted like little children going up to the VIP suites. Others that we passed looked at us funny, but I could not care less as I seemed to be on a bit of a high. I was obviously upset at the losses we had had, but Noah was like a drug to me at this moment. On the fourth floor, we split up with him going towards the Lagoon. I had not noticed he was already wearing shorts and a light tee shirt. I gave him a grin running up to the VIP suites to get my swimming stuff.
Ten minutes later, I entered the Lagoon to shouts of joy; I rounded the corner of the beach to see several of the OpGrowth group, not to mention most of the original group. I saw my boyfriend already in the water playing with a few of the younger boys but saw Mac seated on the beach in just a bikini, so I made my way over to her with my stuff.
“Finally pulled yourself out of the office,” she commented as I settled in next to her.
“I was under orders for the Head of Medical, apparently,” I grinned at her.
“Too right, you’ve been in that office too long; it does not do well to dwell,”
“I was going over reports and seeing if anything could have been done differently,” I replied.
“You know it’s not your fault they died,” she psychoanalysed me as I had done with Noah earlier.
“I said the same things to Noah this morning,”
“Then you should listen to your own advice. Unfortunately, we are at war, and there will be casualties.”
“Since when did you become a therapist?”
“Since I became your best friend,” she laughed.
“Whatever!” I nudged her, laughing, “So tell me, what’s going on with you? We haven’t caught up in a while.”
“Whose fault is that!” she gave me one of her patented looks, “There’s no one really in the Med Bay, we get a few colds and sniffles, but we’ve had no real injuries recently,”
“What about boyfriends? Last time I spoke, you seemed to be getting on quite well with Big Tom? Is it big?” I wiggled my eyebrows, getting a laugh out of her.
“I like him, but we have not really had the time to talk; what with everything going on,” she answered, “No, I have not seen him naked, have you seen Noah naked?”
“Now, that’s just rude! I’ll have you know I’m an innocent virgin!” sniffed, sticking my nose in the air like I was posh, but I couldn’t hold it and laughed.
“You’re such a boob sometimes.”
“I’m hurt by that.”
“I’ll hurt you in a minute,” I chatted with her for a little longer before going for a swim; she got up herself and swam over to Tobi, talking to him. I made my way over to my little brother, who played with Ben and a few others.
“Matty, you got a minute.”
“Yeah, sure,” he returned, coming over to me.
“Can you do me a favour and disappear with Ben tonight?” I asked him.
“You got a hot date?” his eyes wiggled comically.
“If you must know, I do,” I glared at him.
“That’s no issue, Ben and I had been invited down to the Dorms anyway,”
“Good, thanks for this.”
“Just don’t go in my room with your beau,” he joked.
“Eww,” I shuddered theatrically. He gave me a devious look then splashed me with water. Oh, it was on! I spent the next hour or so chasing my little brother and his friends around the pool, occasionally glancing over to Noah, who had a small smile on his face every time I looked at him. I looked around at everyone who was enjoying themselves. There were a few people on the beach and many people in the water, but then I spotted my next target. I swam over to Simon, who was floating on his own.
“Hey Simon, how are you doing?” He started a little but nodded to me.
“I’m really good, quite busy but good,” he returned.
“That’s great. Can you do me a massive favour tonight?” I approached cautiously.
“Depends what it is; I’m not giving you chocolate.”
“Whose been after chocolate?”
“Several people, I’ve kept the store away from people who might eat it all,” he laughed, then looked at me, “But that’s not what you wanted, so what can I do for you?”
“Have you got any steak?”
“We’ve got a bit,” he returned wearily.
“Would you do me a massive favour and cook two steaks up with trimmings for a special dinner,” I requested.
“So it’s for a date?” Simon asked, his grin splitting his face virtually.
“Yes, Noah and I have a date tonight, if you must know,”
“Well done, it means I won the betting pool,” he muttered the last bit, but I still heard him. I ignored him, wading out of the pool, grabbing my towel to dry myself off. I waved Mac off, making my way back to my suite, where I cleaned up, ready for our date tonight.
I was just putting the finishing touches on the table when there was a knock on the door. Straightening up my jumper, I casually opened the door to find Noah at the door. I looked him up and down; he had grown a couple of inches, so we were almost the same height. His long red hair had been pulled back into a ponytail. With his fang earring, I almost thought he could be a younger version of Bill Weasley from Harry Potter. He wore his usual attire; Biker boots, black jeans and a leather biker jacket.
“Hey stud, where have you been all my life?” I joked, winking at him, trying to make myself look more feminine. Noah’s serious face dropped as he laughed out loud. He closed the door behind him as I pushed him up against the wall; I leaned down a little, finding his lips to capture them. He tasted so sweet, but I was still nervous, so I backed away, looking into his green eyes, “was that OK?”
“That was fine,” he told me quietly, licking his lips, “we’re still pretty new at this.”
“Dinner hasn’t arrived yet, let’s go sit in the living room,”
“The Lord is my Shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures; He leadeth me beside the still waters,” the fourteen-year-old spoke gravely, “He restoreth my soul; He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for Thou art with me; Thy rod and Thy staff, they comfort me.
“Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies; Thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.”
I looked around at the two dozen or so people standing in front of the graves. One of the boys from Fordham (Davis Town) had been an altar boy and had been to many funerals, so we had asked him to preside of this funeral. I looked over at the half-built church in our little valley; already, the hastily constructed graveyard had nearly thirty people, all kids, occupying it. My attention was drawn back to the funeral as the boy-priest spoke again.
“From ashes to ashes, from dust to dust. You’ll rise again; in this, I’ll trust. You’re in our hearts, ‘till the end. We will meet again, depart my friend. You may be gone, but I know you’re near. In my heart, I hold you, dear. My only hope, in peace, you’ll rest.
I still miss you, I bet you guessed. I’ll see you soon, it’s a must. Ashes to ashes, dust to dust.” The boy’s voice was melodic as he read out the poem by Kev Elmer, “We now lay you to rest.”
After that, everyone dispersed, forming little groups to chat. Some I barely recognised as children we had rescued, while some were from the OpGrowth group. I found a group with Mac, Tobi, Noah, Larry and Tom.
“It’s so sad; I barely knew these kids now they have been buried,” Mac spoke first, wiping her eyes.
“We’ve put the bastards down that did this,” Larry said fiercely. Tom, meanwhile, put his arm around Mac, holding her comfortingly. I raised my eyebrow at that but knew I would speak to her later on, possibly tease her.
“Is anyone going to talk about the elephant in the room?” she asked.
“Well, considering we’re not inside,” Larry tried to joke, but he fell short.
“You’re so funny,” Mac returned sarcastically, then turned to look at me, “Amanda and Benji were killed,”
“I’m upset as everyone, but we can’t constantly be thinking what if’s,” Noah spoke up, surprisingly wise.
“I know,” she replied sadly.
“We move forward in life, we have to, we try to make the world better for the children and the new children that will come one day,” I told her, looking at my best friend.
“When did you become so wise?” she asked, returning my look.
“That’s a government secret,” I said lightly.
“You’re a clone!” Larry suggested, finally getting the laugh he wanted.
“I want to head back to the Mountain; I’ve got some paperwork that needs filling in,” I told them.
“The life of a leader,” Noah nudged me slipping his hand into mine. It was comforting to me, so I smiled at him appreciatively.
“I never knew leader’s had to do so much paperwork; I thought we had underlings for that,” my weak joke raised equally weak laughs, but we were all still distracted from the funeral as we headed back to the Mountain. I observed the emerging village; some houses had been completed while others were yet being built. They were not ultra-modern houses but simple wooden structures. We had almost reverted back to a medieval society, as none of us really knew how to build homes, and we were all still young. About ten minutes later, we slipped through the door’s we had entered when we first arrived; I typed the code in, and the circular door opened. I followed the rest down, making sure the door closed behind me as we walked through the tunnels talking about this and that, nothing of real substance until we reached the large door. I looked at it, remembering the day it closed as the others began to pass through the security checkpoint.
Finally, I was the last one there, I didn’t recognise the girl on security, but she watched me with a hawk eye. I scanned my card and walked through the sensor, which immediately turned red.
“Sir, can you please just stand there,” the security guard told me.
“I’m sorry, I completely forgot I had my gun on me,” I told her, reaching under my jacket.
“Keep your hands up,” she said fiercely; I realised she had her hand on a gun. I stopped moving, knowing this girl was serious. The others stood watching for a few moments; Mac had a slight smile on her face, watching me sweat a little.
“Renata, you can stand down. That’s Commander Walker,” Mac finally called out. The girl, Renata, looked shocked before she immediately put her weapon away.
“I’m so sorry, Commander,” she stuttered.
“No worries, you were just being careful, and a good job you were doing,” I told her gently and passed through into the main section of the base. The other’s were all trying not to laugh, but I could hear them giggling at me, “you can laugh at me all you want, but go do some work!”
“I thought I heard your voice,” my little assistant greeted me as I passed into my receptionist’s office. Eleven-year-old Donny had become my receptionist and assistant, but he was barely taller than his desk, “Jing has told me to grab you as soon as you walk in; Kelvedon Hatch urgently need to speak to you,”
“Thank you, Donny,” I reversed my course heading back into the corridor, “Guys, something is up; Kelvedon Hatch has contacted us.”
“What’s going on?” Tobi asked. I trotted up to them and then passed the group, quickly moving towards the Operations Room. I passed through the doors with the others right on my heel. I nipped into the Watch Commander’s Office and grabbed a headset.
“OK, Jing, what’s going on?” I asked, stepping into the Ops Room. She had agreed to be Watch Commander while Tobi was at the funerals.
“About twenty-five minutes ago, we got an urgent communication from Kelvedon Hatch,” She replied, “But they wouldn’t talk until they could speak to you. Oli, get them on the line,”
“Yes, Ma’am,” came the reply; then the boy was on the headset trying to get a hold of Kelvedon. A few minutes later, he turned to us, “We have visual and sound,”
“Kelvedon Hatch, this is Commander Walker,” I looked at the screen as it turned from a map of the United Kingdom to a view of Kelvedon Hatch’s Operation’s Room. It looked like chaos; people moved around, putting things into boxes and generally packing up the Ops Room. General Forsythe and Dr Cauldwell were stood in the centre of the room.
“Commander Walker, Alex, thank god you got back to us,” Forsythe looked harassed.
“Sorry, Sir, we were at a funeral,” I tried to remain calm to not stress out the rest of my people.
“We’re bugging out of Kelvedon Hatch; it’s been compromised,” he let the first bomb drop, then, “Our Special forces group were unable to get on the mothership, they were captured, and we expect to be attacked within hours.”
“Is there anything we can do to help?”
“No, we’ll try contact you when we reach our Beta site,” Forsythe replied as the screen suddenly cut off.
“General Forsythe,” I said calmly, but all I got was a static hiss. I looked over to Oli.
“I’ve lost all communication with Kelvedon Hatch,”