Epsilon universe snippet – in the alley

                I felt the heat of the explosion almost before I heard it, saw the light of it.  I spun, swearing, not knowing what to think or where to run to until I saw the fire’s brightness not too far from me, down the street a little ways.

                I’d last seen Wil headed in that direction.

                “Wil!”

                Nothing–but if he’d been anywhere in the vicinity of that explosion, no doubt his ears were still ringing and ringing loud.  I gulped in a breath and ran in that direction, away from where I could see the lights of landers in the distance.

                When the Imperium had come to Caldin, they’d come in force, just like we feared they would.

                What the hell just happened there?  The Imperium wasn’t supposed to have made it this far into the city by now.  Nothing should have been exploding.

                Moving at a dead run, I almost tripped over him.  He choked back a moan as my foot banged into his in the darkness.  Backlit by the flames from across the street–the Alliance post was burning–I could see the blood on him.

                It was all over and it looked bad.

                “Wil!”

                “Get out of here,” he rasped.  “I’m fine, get out of here.”

                “Liar.”  I crashed to my knees, pulling his head and shoulders into my lap.  He hissed in pain, choking back a scream.

                “Ren–”

                “Shut up,” I snapped.  “What the hell did you do?”

                “My job.”  He squeezed his eyes shut, his breathing labored and shallow.  I swore heartily.

                I thumbed a mayday on my comm, knowing Luc wasn’t far.  He’d be here fast, I knew it.

                He’d better be.  We need him now.

                “Ren,” Wil breathed.  “Ren, please.”

                “No,” I said through gritted teeth.  “I am not leaving you, dammit.”  I caught a glimpse of Luc in the light of the burning building beyond the alleyway.  “Luc!  Luc, get over here, I need your help.”

                He pivoted and swore when he saw Wil, just like I had.  I couldn’t stop the tears anymore.

                “Please,” I begged in a voice that was barely more than a whisper.  “Please, help him.”

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