Deities, but the air was thick. Rett rubbed her forehead, wishing the cool moisture there would seep through skin and skull to her brain. Scowling, she studied the readouts in her VARs again. Air temperature constant, no wind to speak of. She didn’t even hear the trill and whoop of nightwings any longer and wondered if something about the huge building kept them from coming close. The ground beneath them shivered. Not now. We don’t need another tremor or quake right now, of any intensity. Not on this mushy ground.
The tremor subsided. Nothing moved but the mist, swirling thickly around them. It didn’t take much to imagine it as a living thing, some alien predator, seeking to appease its chilling, wet hunger, clawing into their clothing in a mindless quest for warm living flesh. Still eyeing the target area with the VARs, she blinked hard a few times and curled her lip in annoyance as the throb of pain in her temple increased in intensity.
The time display in the lower right hand corner of the viewfinder started to flash. Five seconds…wait for it…three, two, one—
Rett signaled her people forward.
A shrill whistle shattered the eerie silence and froze her advance.
As she reached for the utility belt pocket containing the breather unit, her head turned sharply in the direction the whistle had come from—behind them. From F-, B-, and R-troop’s chemical and demolition teams. Despite her familiarity with the various vocal ranges of her unit, she wasn’t sure who had given the signal. But it was one she hadn’t heard for a long time, and never in an outdoor situation.
Airborne chemical! What sort of chemical? Where was it coming from, going? Didn’t matter. It was a problem. Shit. What went wrong? It can’t be anything we brought with us.
After adjusting her mask, she lifted the VARs and spoke a terse, soft voice command to enhance the environmental readings. Nothing was popping any alerts she could see. Coalition had never used chemicals before, not in the open. Only in enclosed areas.
But no wonder I’m starting to feel hung over! We’ve been sitting in more than weather-produced mist for deities know how long! Why didn’t this set off a hazard alarm before now?
She took a breath, pulled her mask aside, then put her fingers to her lips and signaled for all units to pull back. She only hoped there was time to get clear of this and into cleaner air. And to get clear before anyone came out of the complex ahead and decided three platoons of half-zoned Nyorfians would be perfect for some target practice.
Or something worse…
GRAVITY, Journey to Nyorfias Book 2, is available in ebook versions from Amazon and Barnes and Noble. Have you read it? Liked it? Hated it? Problems with the file? Let me know. via terzap (at symbol) gmail (dot) com.