Chapter 7


*Eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee* The ringing… It's starting to even out. I get back to my feet.

Our evac ship… It's gone. The AI destroyed it. Nearly killed us all in the process. In fact, I think he got some of us…

He did. Oh god. Hector… He's not the only one.

"What… what did he do?" Clovis-1 asks. We're all wondering the same thing. All experiencing the same shock.

He helps Dr. Bray to her feet. She's pretty beaten up.

"Grandfather… you monster," is the only thing she can bring herself to say.

He's on our comms again. "A necessary evil, Granddaughter. Now, as I said before, the Vex will follow the signal off-world, and when they're all gone, we can close the portal and resume production. If you want to survive in the meantime, I would suggest coming back to Exoscience. To me."

I don't think any of us are eager to do that.

Especially not Dr. Bray. She's leaning on Clovis-1 for support. I've never seen her so defeated. "He won," she utters.

Don't say that.

"Not yet," Clovis-1 replies. He's got some fire in him still.

"There's nothing more we can do. The AI outplayed us."

"We can shut off that portal."

"And how do you think we're going to do that? Look at us. We're barely standing."

"When Clovis woke me, he told me I was special. Said he had a powerful weapon for me. Called me unstoppable. But that I need my training first."

She stares at him like he's crazy. Not yet convinced.

"This is our fault, Elsie. Regardless of what we look like now, we're Brays. Without us, these people would all still be alive. We owe it to them to fight to our last breath."

Guy's got a point.

Dr. Bray nods. Hell, I'm nodding. Everyone still alive is in.

Let's do this.