It came as a surprise. I would like to offer a piece of wisdom and say all dramatic events do. But, nothing I know stands anywhere near the devastation of The Fall. I can close my eyes and see the horror of it every day.
The private train transport shot across the city as it always does. I lingered watching the conductor mess with the controls. Happiness flooded my every pore, because we were about to make some exclusive trade rights with Vorsheein for rare metals.
A casual glance to look through the window shattered everything. Huge, fiery balls were raining from the sky. “What is that?” For a moment I couldn’t process.
Then, all the knowledge, fear, horror, and rage slammed into me at once. “Get the General Bolin on the line, someone’s bombarding us.” One of our beautiful spires exploded into shards. I dropped to my knees. Burning bits of fire struck other buildings, and trains. The spire swayed once before crashing taking out walkways below. My eyes shut thankful I couldn’t hear the screams.
“Rillan, what can we do?”
I looked at my assistant. She had thick curly blonde hair, and friendly green eyes. She recently joined my staff. “Send an alert for everyone to move to the lowest levels of the city, and get underground. Also, tell people to go to low population areas, and places outside Amarran.” Almost our entire planet was covered by Amarran, our great city. An accomplish that now tasted like ash in my throat.
An ear splitting sound shredded my thoughts as the entire train shook. The track next to us was twisted, and torn. “We aren’t safe here. We need to speed up and get out of here. Also, launch small fighters at the ships bombarding. Distract them, if nothing else.” I pushed against the ground as the Council, my assistants, and military leaders scattered to do what needed to be done.
I leaned against a chair. I felt useless. Thousands, if not millions, of my people were dying and all I could do was bark orders. A’oi didn’t have a true military, only enough to deal with pirates, and planet side security. As the train sped up building broke into pieces, the air crackled with fire, and all the glory we made of our enslavement died around me.
I wished my mother, Rilas, was still alive. I always thought she would know what to do in a crisis. But, she had been dead a very long time. Besides, seeing all this would break her heart.
“Rillan, why are being attacked?” The girl, Pean, asked her voice shaking.
I whipped around to give a quick answer. When I realized I didn’t have one. “I should know, but I don’t.”
She dropped into the chair and began to sob into her hands. I didn’t blame her. I only didn’t, because I wanted to stay strong. “We never threatened anyway, we never attacked anyone.” She managed between the sobs.
A frown wrinkled my forehead as we reached a point outside of Amarran. “Stop the train. We need to get out. They’ll start targeting trains once they are done bombing the cities.” The few not doing anything started to get the emergency exit ready. Pean kept crying. It helped for some reason.
There wasn’t even warning of the attack. I couldn’t think of a single race who would benefit from attacking us. We weren’t powerful and we often stood as one of the few neutral parties in negotiations. A fiery rage, much like our burning city, shot through my body. I wanted to kill someone, anything responsible. I took a few deep breaths and forced myself to calm down.
“Rillan, the lines are ready.” The head of my personal security tapped me on the arm.
I managed to nod walking over to the hatch in the train. I grabbed the metal hooks and jumped. The air rushed by me as I descended to the ground. The burnt acrid smell was everywhere. I slowed, automatically, and settled on the moss. I let go of the hooks as they shot back up. My security force landed a few moments behind me. And, soon the train was empty of the twenty -five people who travelled with me everywhere.
“Is there an underground tunnel nearby? If so we need to get inside. Whatever military isn’t being occupied needs to gather up rations, food, any emergency supplies and meet us at.” I stopped. “Bring me up a map of the underground tunnels so I can figure out a good location for us to meet, and I need the overlay of the city.”
Pean wiping tears from her eyes pulled out a computer and showed me grid underneath the city overlay. My eyes searched over it. When I saw the best spot. I marked it on the map with a few key strokes. “There. It is near the central of the planet, also where all the tunnels intersect even from other continents, and it is mostly away from the city. Send those coordinates on a secure channel. Make sure the military swept from their location up to there. People fleeing will need assistance. Plus, we haven’t been in the tunnels much since the Jirth left. Who know’s what’s in them now.”
The messages went out. After all the business was concluded we started to march to our nearest tunnel entrance. Pean grabbed my arm. “Are we going to survive this?” Her eyes devoid of hope, and her eyes empty of tears.
“We survived the Jirth, we’ll survive this.”