Xorsis : Invasion\Lost
“You’re already awake?” Nia asked, peeking from the camp.
Mersoy and Aez seemed to be deep in conversation. It was morning already. She couldn’t sleep well at night, and only fell asleep when the sky was beginning to light up. Aez slept late too, but it seemed like he got up way too early.
Both Aez and Mersoy looked back at her. Mersoy was standing, Aez was sitting on a stone. She heard parts of their earlier conversation in her groggy state; it was unclear but she kind of got the message. Aez wasn’t crying anymore. Last night, she could hear him sobbing, though he tried to not show that to her.
She looked around in the camp. Sunlight had come in and lit up a portion of inside the camp narrowly. The place was messy, none of them felt like arranging anything yesterday. It wasn’t like it was necessary though, now that they found a source of information - they’d need to learn what they could and leave this place as soon as possible. It wouldn’t be long till they - whether Dottonexans or Tokreians - she didn’t know anymore - would come after them. After all they did the last day, it seemed like the little hope they had of returning to Dottonex was gone.
And then her chest felt heavy again.
Why is it that, she thought, the more I try to rectify my mistakes - to give Aez a chance to reach the starting point of his dream again - we become the more distant from our homeland. The chances are slipping away… no, they are already gone… we can’t go back anymore.
Everywhere we’ll be trailed… they killed Aaron for letting us go - what will they do with us if they ever spotted us there? No… no matter what - we can’t go back to Dottonex anymore.
That place where we grew up, the place which holds so many precious memories for us… it won’t be there anymore.
“Nia, care to come out?” Aez asked Nia, walking to the door of the camp, his shadow falling on the sunlight. “I’d like you to help me jot down the information today.”
Nia was a bit surprised. Aez was protective about his belongings and usually didn’t like it when others peeked into them.
“Uh, sure,” Nia said, “I’ll go in a minute.”
After refreshing herself, Nia joined the other two outside. Mersoy had kept the wristband on the ground. Aez was examining it very carefully. Nia sat down beside him on the grass, preparing the notebook and the pen. The pen felt a bit weird now, thinking that it was one of the first things the Tokreians had sent to Dottonexans a few years after the first war, through an envoy. Production of pens had started back then. And after that many years, the Tokreians only visited Dottonex last year. And then…
“First things first,” Aez said in a low voice, his eyes fixed on the wristband, “I don’t see any camera here. I don’t think they can see us. But Mersoy said voices could be transmitted. So, we better talk quietly.”
“It’s a bad idea to assume that they can’t see us just because there are no known methods,” Mersoy interrupted, “after all, you all didn’t even know transmission of voices was possible. Or something like this wristband was possible at all.” she paused a bit, then continued, “I’m fine here. But you two are nearby, and so, wear your hoods and cover your faces.”
Aez agreed with her, and did as she asked. So did Nia.
Then Aez pressed the only button he could see. The next moment, the wristband projected lights around it, and in a moment, the light rays rearranged and formed pictures in the space. They gasped in awe, and Aez looked at the various options that appeared with the pictures. There was a central word in the projection.
“Project Xorssis. What does that mean?” Aez asked, frowning.
“There’s even more writing,” he continued, “Project Xorssis. Subtask 3: Prepare the resources. 40% done. Last update in progress:...” he stopped, squinching his eyes, “Whatever that thing they did -or were working on - it didn’t progress since the last 100 years?”
“What?” Mersoy scowled, and sat beside Aez too, looking at the device.
“See here,” Aez pointed to the tiny date that appeared beside the writing, “last update on progress: 1865. Nia, you are noting that all, right?”
“Don’t worry about it.”
“Okay,” Aez focused on the device again. “Let’s see here. These pictures - they symbollise something. Oh!” his finger was above one of the pictures that contained a circle. A few short words appeared, Mersoy read them out. “Steps from Xenos: 2893912931. What?”
“Mersoy, repeat the numbers,” Nia said. As she did, Nia noted them down. Aez had a complicated look on his face, she noticed. Suddenly, he said out, “I have an idea.”
“Mersoy, you said that you saw such numbers back in the headquarters too, didn’t you?”
“Any idea if the number has decreased or increased?”
Mersoy sighed, “Bold of you to assume I actually could memorise such a big number in seconds. Not everyone’s a genius like you, kiddo.”
“Oh.” he seemed disappointed a bit, but then he continued, “Well. Xenos seems to be important to them. That’s where we should be heading. But I wish they had a better system. Only steps as distance measuring with no sense of direction - this is bad.”
He got up, walked around the forest with the wristband in his hand.
“Or, maybe it’s not that bad,” he said, his voice lightening up a bit, “No, no - it’s not bad at all - this is brilliant!”
“It senses your direction and your position at once,” Aez said, sitting beside them again, “The step count changed when I walked around.”
“That’s interesting,” Nia said, noting it down too.
“Yeah. I don’t think you needed to write that big number though,” Aez said, taking a look at the diary. “But anyway, there’s time here. Look at this symbol. It’s ‘phi’.”
“Phi?” Mersoy asked.
“We use it in physics,” Aez said. “But maybe it’s their logo or something?”
“And there’s a symbol like a person.” Aez pressed the option, and the light arrangements changed. New words appeared now. “Morgan Desol. It looks like the name of the man you stole it from, Mersoy.”“Morgan?” Nia said.
Nia thought a bit, and then said, “Yes… yes it does. I think I heard his name before? Tokreians were talking about him. I’m not sure what that was though,” she flipped through the pages, “Did I get to tell you that? I don’t remember much. You should have written it down.”
Aez waited for Nia to find it, but then suddenly, they all were startled by a sudden noise.
The lighting of the device had changed to red, and a non-human voice was speaking in Tokreian.
“Threat positions located. Reinforcements sent.”
It was only a fraction of a second, then they all jumped up.
“Cridelford,” that was the only thing Mersoy said.
In two minutes, the camp was emptied, the fire in front was extinguished, and the three set off towards Cridelford. As they sneaked through the bushes and walked as quietly as possible, they started to notice the black silhouettes in the forest.
“They’re already here,” Mersoy commented. “One second late, and we’d have been caught. Let’s go.”
As the silhouettes disappeared from their view, they departed from the hedge and started towards Cridelford.
“But where do we go after Cridelford?” Nia whispered to Aez, “we couldn’t take the wristband after all, they’d locate us if we keep that with us.”
“Oh, don’t you worry about that,” Aez said in a relaxed voice.
“What do you mean?”
“I’m not a dumbass always, you know,” Aez smirked, “the time I walked around, that was enough for me to notice. The system works with direction and steps from my guess. It doesn’t detect obstacles. Even when I walked to the big stone southwards, the counts changed, and decreased in the same way.”
“You got that right. The counts decrease southward. That’s enough. Southward - we have to go to the sea-shore again and cross the sea. There are places beyond the sea, too bad we never got to know anything about them.”
“And what if that was a fake location?”
“Then we have to repeat what we did,” Mersoy answered in his place, “Sneak into the headquarters. Get a proper one.”
“I don’t think the location would be wrong,” Aez said, “I have an idea that all their wristbands are connected together somehow. They work together. It’s only a gamble at this point, but,” he shrugged, “that’s all we have now.”
“That’s enough I think,” Mersoy nodded, “Maybe after we cross the sea, we’ll find more.”
Aez nodded, and gritted his teeth. “Whatever your reasons are,” he said quietly, “Tokrei. We're coming.”