A surprise for Faustina and rather than being pissed off she nearly gets pissed on. Time to beat a quick retreat to base… where her legates have been wondering where in bloody hell their General and Empress disappeared to… I’ll bet USD10 that Gibson spanks her.
Not exactly asleep, Faustina used the changes to her brain to shut down those parts not needed at the moment. A medic monitoring her vitals would have panicked, thinking her slipping into shock, so low was her blood pressure, pulse, and breathing. Only her hearing and what processed that remained fully active. Not that there was much to hear besides the lashing of the rain in the wind and bits of trash being blow about… with a final shriek, the wind stopped. She opened her eyes.
“Up, lads,” she whispered, standing. “We’ve got about a dozen minutes before we need to get back under cover.”
First to the broken entrance, she paused to peer out and listen carefully. If there was a human in the courthouse, there was no telling the size of the rest of the community here. Sensing nothing, Faustina walked back onto Church Street and moved quickly east, her rifle pointing vaguely ahead of her.
Knowing from studies what a hurricane was, Faustina was still impressed by the sky about them: angry roiling clouds illuminated by lightning and a half-moon directly overhead kept just a mile from away by some invisible wall. Quite a sight! They were about to turn left for the last bit to the hospital when she heard voices ahead. The houses around them were less old but there was no way to know if anyone lived or squatted in them. She tossed her head toward a small copse of trees and bushes about fifty feet back. A few gestures told her men to be invisible and not break cover. Faustina lay down under a bramble just as she picked up the voices again.
“…cain’t believe we’s order’d out in this! That eltee is full of shit!” one of them shouted to the corporal in the lead. From the corner of her left eye, Faustina took in the sight of them as they turned right onto Church. Ten of them; three three-man fire teams led by a junior NCO. All wore old US Army BDUs and had M-16 rifles except for the one who carried a BAR.
“He may be, Curtis,” said NCO called back, heedless of noise discipline, “but he’s also the colonel’s nephew, so shut it!”
“I gotta piss!” another man called, taking a few steps toward where Faustina lay. She could not believe this was about to happen…
“No time!” the corporal yelled back, pointing up at the sky as the wind began to stir again. “We gotta be downtown before this hits again! Time to run!”
With a series of curses and swearing, Faustina watched them move out of her field of vision to her right. She was still another two minutes before coming to her knee and waving her bodyguard close to her.
“We’re going to back to our base,” she said softly, “angling northeast as best we can manage once the storm comes back.”
A fat raindrop hit the top of her helmet to emphasize her point.
“Follow me, boys!” Faustina stood and began to trot west, then north onto the first street they came to.
It was nearly six in the morning, with normal rain from the sky rather than a stinging torrent, when the five were challenged by legionary pickets in the small forest to the east of where her legions had gone to ground. Once finding out who she was, their group was quickly hustled to the center of their transitory camp and the two legates there, Gibson and Owens.
They are obviously tired, neither having slept, she saw, but Owens is glowering and I think Gibson will take a swing at me if I get to close.
Faustina removed her helmet to her left hand and walked right up to her oldest legate, turning her right cheek to him.
“Do it. You want to.”
He took such a deep breath she thought the buttons on his jacket would burst off.
“Inside!” he shouted, jerking his thumb over his shoulder at the house behind him. “Now!”