Afflictions: Part Twenty Five

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It was approaching sundown. Jude, Jimmy, Tim, and Casey crouched down and advanced towards a large white tent that poked over the corn. They’d left the truck a few minutes back and given Casey a chance to get into her ‘Harvester’. It was a pretty impressive piece of equipment, even if it looked a little hacked together. It had guns mounted on it, and could allegedly lift a truck, though she declined to demonstrate. On top of that, it wasn’t overwhelmingly loud, so they were still able to move a bit stealthily.

They neared the edge of the clearing where some corn had been flattened to make room for the tent facility. There was a big white tent, branded with the letter V in a few places, with flaps preventing them from looking inside. Around the tent, patrolled a few men in exoskeletons that looked like more sleek versions of Casey’s. They had guns embedded in the arms, and looked like they could dole out a nasty punch close range.

Jimmy held up his fingers and counted down from three. When he reached zero, they sprang into action.

Jimmy tossed out a couple of acorns at an unsuspecting agent. Roots burst out of it, and wood began to snake its way up the man. He managed to snap one of his legs out, but the part he broke off merely began to root itself in the ground again, and the original snaked back to it. Within a few seconds he was completely encased in a tree, they just needed to avoid his gun.

Casey leapt out into the clearing, since her suit provided armor, while Tim put out some covering fire at the other agent on this side of the tent. He stood for a second, but his armor was pierced pretty quickly. Her suit shot out massive steel projectiles, bordering on artillery. Once he was down, Tim made a break for the tent.

Jude flew up over the tent, and was surprised to find three men in similar looking exoskeletons to greet him. This was unexpected, as nobody had told him that they could fly. He had time to process this information and zip out of the way before the space that he’d previously occupied was filled with bullets.

Jude’s heart was racing as he continued to weave out of the way. He’d taken bullets before and been unharmed, but he really wasn’t keen on field testing the limits of that. There was some shouting from below, but he really didn’t have the bandwidth to process what they were saying. He tried to see how they were flying, but they were focusing on him, so he couldn’t get a good look.

About that time, Jude noticed larger projectiles hurtling towards the agents. Two of them redirected their attention to the source, and left their backs exposed to Jude, while the other kept firing. On their backs, was something that looked something like a jetpack, but nothing seemed to be coming out, it was just a downward facing hole.

He sped up and flew between the one focusing fire on him and one of the men shooting towards the ground, so he had to stop shooting, and landed a quick blast on the device on his back. Immediately the man began to drop down from the sky and fell down into the tent. Jude had enough time to repeat this maneauver once more on the other man focusing on the ground, before they realized what was happening.

Once he redirected his attention to the one that had kept his focus on him, he found it difficult to directly maneuver around him. It seemed that he could turn quickly enough to keep up with him.

Jude began to blast in the general direction of the man, trying to keep his shots concentrated on his lower half, so he wouldn’t kill him. As he did this, he started to lose focus on evading. Eventually, he landed a blow somewhere on the man’s leg. As he did this, the man jerked, and Jude saw a his arm swing directly towards him.

He had about enough time to realize that this was bad and tense up before they hit him. After a few seconds he realized that he was unharmed. He figured he’d do a more thorough inventory once he was on the ground again, and returned his attention to the man who was shooting at him. He appeared to be quite surprised that Jude was unscathed, and resumed fire.

With newfound confidence, Jude flew directly towards the man, pushing the bullets out of the way. They didn’t even sting as he closed in on the man, and began to reach for his back. As Jude closed in, the man landed a kick to Jude’s jaw, which sent him flying a few feet. This caused the man to lose balance, and gave Jude an opening to blast the device off his back.

With the last one down, Jude followed him to the ground, where the man was immobilized by a tree, in a similar fashion to the earlier one. Jimmy motioned for Jude to follow him into the tent, and Jude obliged.

Inside, were the two guards that Jude had shot down, Tim, and a young woman sitting on a table talking to him. The guards were unconscious or dead, Jude wasn’t sure which, and their armor was ripped to shreds. He was slightly impressed by what must have been Tim’s handiwork, since he couldn’t see any way that Jimmy or Casey would manage that kind of damage.

“Is she okay?” He redirected his attention to the woman.

“She’s pretty shaken, but she seems physically okay.” Tim nodded. “Thanks for your help out there.”

“No worries.” Jude nodded. “Should we get her to the hospital?”

“The ambulance is on the way.” Casey answered. “We usually have one on standby pretty close when we go to bust up a tent. It should be here in about ten minutes.”

“So, Jude,” Jimmy took off his helmet, “How did you manage to get out of that unscathed? If my eyes weren’t mistaken, I’m pretty sure I watched you fly right into his bullets.”

“I’m fairly sturdy.” Jude nodded, and went to take off his own helmet. When he did this, he saw what Jimmy was talking about. His helmet was completely unscathed. He inspected the rest of the gear he was wearing, and found that it was in the same condition he’d gotten it in, maybe a little sweatier. “What the…”

“It’s one thing to be sturdy, but that is something else.” Jimmy nodded with an admiring grin. “That is something else…”

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Hello traveler! You’ve happened upon my serial, or maybe found it intentionally. If you like what you see, be sure to check out the reading guide and read the rest of the series! This may be season 3, but there’s pretty comprehensive recaps, so it’s not as if there’s an enormous backlog.

Greetings all! I am thoroughly exhausted. I hope you’re all doing well, and I good good fortune comes to you.

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