It’s been about a month of training and learning since the meeting I had with Valerie. I’ve been going to combat training with Dillan everyday except Saturday, as that is the day to relax if not on duty. I’ve been learning to use the energy guns as well as the close combat weaponry. Although understanding the weapons to protect against attack the main focus of the military group is the rescue missions. I have had rigorous training on how to use their boat on the water and below. Dillan helped me perfect my aim while shooting the attachments towards pods. We were also update all of the rescue boats with new technology. Since my pod was more intact than others they have recovered, they were able to get a lot of materials to improve their radar and tracking equipment. I was told that most failed students freak out and attempt to break out of the pod, causing a lot of damage and hurting their chances of rescue. If the signal from the pod disappears we have no way to find them.
In the evenings I focus on my emotions and mental state. When first beginning training I was having waves of conflicting emotions brought on from the trauma of my pod incident. With control and understanding of my emotions I can better prepare for actual missions. While not perfect I have improved them enough to be approved to attend missions
Today I am on call for any pod rescues with Dillan and a few others assigned to different boats. I arrive at the monitor room next to the boat docking station and walk in to see Dillan already sitting at his station there allowing the previous person’s shift to end early.
“Ari! You’re finally here,” he exclaims as I walk through the door.
I throw him a smile, but ignore him as I turn to the man sitting next to him. “James, I can take over now. You can leave early,” I say to the man.
“Boy am I always happy when you have the shift after mine. See you around Arilyn,” he replies gathering his stuff quickly.
Once he leaves I sit down and take out the stuff I need for my shift while talking to Dillan. “Good morning, Dillan. How are you doing since the last time I saw you at last night’s security shift?”
“I’m doing beautifully, but don’t you know a lot can happen in that time? So don’t go brushing off my greetings.”
“You’re right, I deeply apologize,” I mockingly reply.
As we continue to small talk while watching the monitors, the rest of the morning rescue team files in allowing the evening shift to go home. Jess and Tucker both with experience beyond even Dillan sit at their monitors silently concentrating. Meanwhile, Logan and Ben with two years experience do their usual goofing off before putting on their work faces. As the morning drags on my mind begins to wander. I have yet to be sent out on an actual rescue mission and am still a little worried about how it will go. It would be better for rescues to become unnecessary but I’m aware that won’t just happen overnight. I will just have to wait and see.
Suddenly Dillan becomes extremely serious during our conversation and I realize he has a high pitched ping on his radar. The high pitched pings indicates a pod located in the area you are watching. Low pitched pings are normal transfer units of official members between cities and do not suffer from the possible fate of some pods. He now has to track the rate of the pings. If the pings slow down at all we have to burst into action, as it indicates the pod is preparing to stop and sink. He stands up and presses the rescue mission button, to call the Teams on backup. While we leave with our boats, they will arrive and take over our job. Dillan and I stand up with the Teams on duty and hurriedly rush over to our boats. I jump into the front with the capture device controls while Dillan jumps into the back with the maneuvering controls.
“Okay people it’s the real thing today. Let’s come back successful,” yells Tucker before jumping into his own place.
“Ari, are you ready,” Dillan questions just before starting the engine.
I reply while checking the fine tuning of the capture device, “As ready as can be in this moment. Now let’s go save that student.”
Dillan lays a heavy hand on the engine and we bolt forward out of the docking station. We close the bubble seal and begin to submerge. I can see Jess leading the rescue to my right. And just behind them I see Logan at the controls headed towards the pod as well. In a few moments we begin to approach the site. I begin to pick up the faint glow of red already deep in the water.
“Dillan, I see the pod,” I yell back to him.
He quickly responds back, “We were lucky this pod wasn’t too far away, the signal just disappeared.” He presses a communication button and states, “This is Dillan and Arilyn we’ve have sight on the pod, does everyone else?”
“This is Logan and Ben. We can also confirm sight of the pod.”
“Jess and Tucker responding. We also see it. Dillan circle round to get the far side. Logan go to the right, we will head left.”
“Understood, on our way.”
“We will get there as soon as possible,” Dillan replies. As he stops the communication he pushes the engine even further. We speed towards the pod in a large arc in order to circle around. As we swing around I begin aiming the capture device.
“I’m aimed and within target distance. I’m ready to shoot whenever ready,” I state aloud.
“Ok shoot after another ten yards, I will then immediately start heading back up to the surface,” he replies promptly.
I watch the monitor for the decreasing distance and shoot after a change in ten yards. It connects and the boat starts immediately shifting up. I see the other two capture devices hit the target and help pull it upward. As we approach the surface I start pulling the attachment to the ship, drawing the attachments taught and further towards the surface. While doing this I grab my glass cutter and prepare to power it on. As soon as we hit the surface and the pod is floating on top of the surface. The bubble seal is opened and I hop out. I get to the pod and turn on the glass cutter. A small energy beam juts from the tip. I place it on the glass and begin to cut my section open. Tucker and Ben have joined me are as sections meet up the glass is pulled up allowing oxygen to flow back into the pod.
I look inside the pod and see a girl just a little younger than me looking up with tears streaming down her face. I reach out my hand saying, “Grab my hand everything is ok now!” As she gingerly reaches up, I firmly grasp it and pull her out. “Tucker get this girl to Ben’s Boat. She is awake but still needs immediate medical attention from Logan and Ben.”
As I’m about to head back to my boat, I hear the girl sobbing, “Tha-thank you! I thought I-I was going to die!”
I turn around and plaster as comforting of a smile as I can on my face, “Don’t thank us, we are only doing what’s right.”
After forcing out the sentence I head back to back to my boat. My heart begins racing as I have memories of my time in my pod flash in front of my eyes. I feel my muscles clench and stomach ache from the fear washing over me once again. I was fine until I saw the girl sobbing on the floor on that pod. I could trick myself to see the whole mission as a training run and pretend it wasn’t the same as what I went through. But that trick can only go so far. I was abruptly sent back to relive that terrifying deadly event with no escape. As I stand frozen on the edge of our boat Dillan comes out and place a hand on my back.
“Are you okay, Ari?”
I look up at him with tears in my eyes and a small smile and reply, “Yeah, I’m fine I knew it was going to take time and I managed to keep it from the student, so it was an overall success.”
“You did good and each step you take will continue to take you farther from that pod and that moment.”
We climb back into the boat, but this time keep the bubble seal down and ride on the surface with the wind helping to blow away the memories of the pod. The life I chose isn’t easy, but it was my first decision and I plan to follow it all the way through without someone butting to end it early.