(They are down to three people, assaulting the base soon, will they be able to save AKRA?)
Raist spread his arms out while he was falling through the sky, seeing the two of them further down through clearings in the clouds of mist close to the bottom of the river. He enjoyed the quick freedom of the descent when the small cord he was tied on began providing a counter to gravity as he rapidly slowed down, controlling the final length of his descent with a button on his suit.
Spinning around slowly, he lowered himself the final few body lengths to the small rock platform the other two were at.
Agrest took their three cords, pressing them into the wall and triggering their camouflage system, which caused them to fade into the rock color.
“What’s the likelihood of hostile creatures in this water?” Raist asked.
Philira shook her head rapidly. “No way, this water is too fast. Even if there are creatures, the water should hide our thermal signature with the outside of our suit being cold. I’ll wave when I have the system set up on the other side.”
She knelt down, spiked another rod into the ground and dove into the water without waiting for any command from Raist. Her body moved up and down in a rhythm as the wave started by her head swept through her whole body over and over as she flew across the rapids. Scouts…good at everything.
“I am glad she is such a good swimmer,” Raist said.
“Yeah, never got good at that style. Luckily I could pass all my tests doing the side-stroke.”
Raist was spiking his safety system, hooking it up to the line Philira was establishing when Agrest put his hand on his shoulder.
“Something doesn’t feel right.”
Raist didn’t like the pit in his stomach hearing Agrest say that, but evenly responded, “Why, what’s wrong?”
Agrest shook his head. “I don’t know, can’t explain it. But call it a Sniper’s intuition.” Raist was ready to dive into the water having seen Philira’s pink hair emerge from the other side and waved the two of them over when Agrest interrupted him.
“If I don’t make it out alive, can you deliver a letter I have in my room back on the ship?” Agrest asked coldly. His joking demeanor was totally gone, replaced by a dim realism. “It’s to that girl we saved last time on Azure 2. I was always scared to write her back. But at least let her know that I died, but was thinking about her, okay?”
Raist turned around, and pushed him hard. “Don’t you dare say that! What is everyone’s problem?! We have been through way worse shit than this. Border-Action 9, the assault on Klattu, being stranded on Kilo? Come on, Ziko’s arm? I lost both of mine on Kilo.” Raist lifted both of his arms as he went on. “These are bio-synths! We sustained a few injuries early and everyone is thinking this is the end?”
“Heh.” Agrest pushed Raist’s hand away as his lip rose in a slight grin. “You feel it too, then?”
Raist turned around, mad Agrest had basically gotten him to admit his unease, and dove into the water. He started swimming with all his might against the harsh current. Memories of the drownings he sustained during swim ‘training’ came back to him, but only focused his mind as he crashed through the waves and rocks. He felt a strong pull that was Philira’s line dragging him to the other shore. He felt his back legs sweep to the right, pulling away from him, and suddenly went spinning into the water as he got trapped in a whirlpool.
Underwater, he tried kicking off a huge rock he was trapped next to, but the whirlpool was too strong. He stopped struggling and went limp, conserving his oxygen. His nanites would keep him conscious for a much longer time than even the best breath-holders on Terra were capable of before nanites, but still knew anything could happen.
He protected his head with his arms as he hit the rock over and over with every spin of the water. Feeling the line on his suit finally tighten, it forcefully ripped him out of the whirlpool and back to the surface. He turned on his back, took a breath, and continued covering his head as Philira dragged him to the other side.
“Brings back bad memories of water survival school!” he shouted over the din, standing up and shaking the water off his face and hair as he backed away from the spraying mist the river was generating.
“Haha, yeah,” she agreed as she smiled. “Lot of memories is for sure.”
He suddenly remembered that as much as he went through, while he was in tactics and strategy classes, she was probably still out there swimming and running. He felt bad for even thinking about his hardship; he had no doubt the ‘expendable’ Scouts were trained far more cruelly than the Leaders. She had swum through those rapids that likely would have killed Raist had he not had assistance.
Agrest was dragged to the shore and Philira hid the line across the river. Now that this line and the descent line were established, on the return trip all they would need to do is hook up to it. The mechanism could pull them across the river, or up the cliff.