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NULL SPACE - Part 16

Null began to realize their disadvantage. She needed more time to weave the net so that they could escape but time was something they had little of. The general was also trying to pass time until Zolurious was able to arrive. The three of them would need to act the moment that Null was ready or else it would be too late.

Her net was almost done when she was able to catch a glint in the sky. It was too late to wait any longer, they needed to act now. She screamed, “RUN!” as she turned and began fleeing from the soldiers. As she did she brought the invisible net up and attached across the path that the soldiers would have to follow them through.

They could hear Solvar scream back, “Shoot them but make sure not to kill the guy” As they fled Null could only hope that the net she had made would be enough to stop the bullets and the people following them. She found that the first wasn’t complete when several bullets steamed passed them. It seemed that some of the bullets were making their way through the net and they needed to get out of the line of fire.

Jeran grabbed her hand and broke to the right, kicking in a glass door and entering the building. It was hard to escape in a glass city where it was possible to see through everything but the glass walls were thick enough that they protected, at least for now, against bullet fire.

Null directed Jeran through the buildings and streets out of the city. She was telling him and Silvia, “Zolurious is coming, we have to get out of the city and into the mountains before he gets here of else I won’t be able to stop him.” She knew that there were caves beneath the mountains from back when they were mined, those would be able to hide them from Zolurious and the close quarters would favor Null’s nano-machines. She could only hope that the entrances to the caves that she knew were still there.

It was tough work avoiding Solvar while keeping up a good pace. Silvia was soon breathing hard, because of her sickness she was incredibly out of shape and soon Jeran was forced to pick her up and carry her so that they would be able to keep running.

Null could still see the glint over her shoulder. Now she was certain that it was Zolurious that was approaching. He was moving fast, to fast for any normal unprotected human. The only consolation was that he couldn’t go as fast in the planet’s atmosphere as he could in space. Hopefully that would give them the time that they needed to get away from him.

Along the route Null had to deal with five of the Solvar’s soldiers just to make sure they were going the most optimal route. However she had to fight both of them alone. Jeran was carrying Silvia and wasn’t able to assist her. She was faster and stronger then the soldiers but that didn’t help much against gunfire. Had she not been able to protect herself from the majority of the bullets using her nano-machines she would have died.

As they continued their run toward the mountains Jeran asked, “You’re hurt. Will you be alright to continue running?”

“I will have to be won’t I. You can’t carry another person and who knows what might happen to us if we are caught. Don’t worry, my nano-machines will heal the wounds shortly, I should be better in a couple of hours at the most.” However the usually tireless Null was beginning to get winded. Her nano-machines pulled their energy from her body and her use of them was making her tired quicker then she usually got.

After what seemed like ages of running past eerie glass buildings they finally made it out into the mountains however it must have been much shorter because Zolurious hadn’t quite caught up with them. Null knew it would be any minute now although she was in too much of a hurry to risking looking back to see how much longer they had. It wouldn’t make a difference. However it seemed that luck was with them and they managed to arrive at a mine entrance before they were caught by Zolurious.

Null had to pry off the wood from the door into the mine but after that they were able to enter without problems. However they still needed to run. Null lead them through passageway after passageway and took fork after fork until she finally stopped. “This should be far enough, I don’t think that they will be able to find us here. At least not for a while.”

Jeran set Silvia down and sat down to begin catching his breath. He was a trained soldier but it was still difficult to carry someone for that long, “Are you sure the ANGEL won’t be able to get to us here? Couldn’t he track where we went by our residual heat signatures or by the evidence that we left as we ran?”

Null shook her head, “No, as we ran I used by nano-machines to conceal our path. He shouldn’t have any methods of tracking us other then an entire search of these tunnels. Although…” She pause for a second contemplating, “If given enough time then I am sure he will think of some clever method of tracking us.”

As Null spoke she realized that Silvia was clutching tight to Jeran’s arm. Null knelt down next to her and asked her, “Are you alright? You didn’t get hurt during all of that did you?”

Silvia shook her head and in a scared voice she said, “Those men were shooting at us. They were trying to kill us… kill me. I… I…” There were tears on her face, “I don’t know what to do. I have felt helpless in the face of death before but doing it again makes it feel worse. I was just as helpless this time as I was when I was sick. Dad and you helped save me again and I couldn’t do anything.” Silvia continued to cry and Jeran wrapped one of his arms around her.

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Zelurious stood outside the cave next to General Solvar. Solvar seemed nervous as he spoke, “Are you sure there is no problem that they managed to escape?”

Zelurious didn’t turn as he responding, “Yes, it is fine. They are in these caves but they don’t have anywhere to escape to. Now I want you to personally take come of your troops and have them leave the planet with your ship, and Jeran’s ship. Have them stay in orbit until I make contact with them. Once you have done that return here and I will tell you what we are doing next.”

“Take there ship?” Solvar nodded in agreement. That sounding like a good idea. The last times Jeran had escaped it had always been on his ship. If they highjacked it and took it off the planet then Jeran wouldn’t be able to escape with it. Plus having Solvar’s ships leave too make sure Jeran couldn’t highjack one of those. With the ships gone the three escapees wouldn’t be able to leave. After all it must be hundreds of miles until the next city. They wouldn’t be able to walk their way out of this either. Eventually they would need to leave their hiding hole for food and then they would be captured.

Solvar headed off to follow Zelurious’ advice while Zelurious continued to stare into the darkness of the cave. He was having trouble tracking them. Various of the signals that he used to track people stopped cold at the cave entrance. The criminal must have done something to prevent him from tracking them. It showed her skill that she was able to mask the trail so well. No matter, Zelurious would eventually capture them. In the long term they had no place to escape to and could only hide in the caves. In the short term Zelurious was trying to figure out a better way of searching for them, cutting off their escape was all well and good but didn’t mean anything if they weren’t captured.

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The three of them had finished catching their breath. The dark cave was lit only by a small light from Jeran’s mini-terminal. After several minutes of resting Null eventually stood up. She turned and began walking back the way that the had come. Jeran asked her, “Where are you going? Do you have a plan to escape?”

Null looked over her shoulder at them and Jeran just realized that Null’s hair had returned back to her normal rainbow hue. “I need to go prepare. It is doubtful that we will be able to run away. With an ANGEL out there we are unlikely to be able to get back to our ship and by foot there are no good escape routes. That means that we need to fight them and to do that I need to prepare some things.”

Jeran began to stand up before Null stopped him. She said, “No, you stay here with Silvia. I need to do this alone, your light would only cause us to draw attention of them. I’ll see you in a while.” As she spoke Jeran could swear that her eyes were glowing slightly in the dark. Then she turned her head and walked off into the darkness. When she was gone Jeran hoped that he would see her again soon and that nothing would happen.

Silvia asked, “What are we going to do now?” It was dark because they were only lit by the light coming from Jeran’s mini-terminal. However Jeran felt certain that Silvia was a little scared, Jeran would probably be scared too.

“We will just have to stay here and wait for her. I am almost completely lost so I don’t know anywhere we could go and Null told us to stay here. It would probably be a good time to get some rest because we don’t know the next time we will be able to rest.” Said Jeran.

“But, isn’t there anything that we can do to help Null? I don’t want to sit around doing nothing. I’m sick of doing nothing but wait for horrible things to happen. I wish that there was something I could do, Null has those useful nano-machines and you at least have a gun but there doesn’t seem like anything that I can do.” Said Silvia, she was disheartened. If she could do nothing it wasn’t any different then being stuck in a hospital bed.

“Well,…” Jeran began to say. It wasn’t like he didn’t understand what she was feeling but he didn’t know if he wanted her to stop being his child. He wanted to protect her and care for her and he felt like they would drift apart if he taught her how to do that herself. He shook his head, he couldn’t hold on to her forever. She needed to grow up and she was old enough now to take care of herself. He pulled out his spare gun and handed it too her, “Here, take this. You can use it to protect yourself if things get out of hand, but there are a few things that I should tell you about gun. There are four important rules that you should always remember. Always treat firearms as if they are loaded. Never point a gun at anything that you aren’t willing to destroy. Keep your finger off the trigger until the target is in your sights. Always be sure of your target and what is beyond it.”

Jeran began to instruct his daughter how to use a gun starting with gun safety. It was unlikely to help against the professional soldiers that were following them but her having the gun would help protect her. He just hoped that this wasn’t a bad idea.