FIRST OF ALL THANK YOU ALL SO MUCH FOR READING MY STORY! I had no idea that this little project of mine would even get a single favorite. I know it's been like a year or two since I posted this, but since I've got some followers now, I'll give you guys what you (hopefully) want! I'm going to try and continue this story a little more frequently now so stay tuned for more chapters to come out. Again thank you to all who have read and are reading!
Once again Laura had closed herself to the outside world. Ever since she was born, the world she was given had shown her no kindness. The little opportunities she had at a taste of joy and serenity were quickly taken away and squashed by the harsh reality of what her life was. Because of this, she showed the world the same treatment. She told herself that as long as she stayed in that shell she was so prone to being in, that nothing could hurt her. Physical pain was not of her concern. She had been shot, stabbed, beaten, and abused worse than most men will experience in a fraction of their lives. Pain was temporary. In Laura's case, pain was nothing more than the first stage of her instantaneous healing. The first stage of a very quick process that would have a gunshot wound perfectly healed in a matter of seconds. What she really feared was emotional pain, the sense of abandonment, the sense of not really belonging anywhere, and the thought that no one truly cared for her. She thought that if the world was truly as cruel as she already experienced it to be, if she didn't have someone who loved her and would look after her, was it a world worth living in at all? So above everything else that drove Laura to her destination, whether it was pain, anger, or desperation, what drove her most was fear.
Laura drove in a trance. She had been driving for about an hour now and was having no trouble navigating her way back onto the road that would lead her back into town. Although speed was of upmost importance, Laura thought it best to avoid the busy streets or highways and to stick to any back-roads she could find. Transigen might be sending more mercenaries, but also a local policeman wouldn't hesitate to pull over a massive truck driven by an 11 year-old girl.
The events of her father's death kept replaying endlessly in her mind. She remembered everything so vividly from the crazed look in X-24's eyes to Logan's final words to her as he slipped into death. Death. Logan had died and she and her friends had witnessed it. He had been ripped apart so savagely and impaled on a dirty tree branch. No man, mutant or human, could ever live through the circumstances that Logan was given. Yet, Laura knew. Laura took a leap of faith and unearthed her father's perceived lifeless body. Her grip on the steering wheel tightened as she remembered how she must have looked as she was tearing through rock and earth, trying to get to her father's body. She remembered screaming, crying, and bleeding. Reliving those emotions entranced her as she started to veer off into the oncoming lane of traffic.
The blare of a trucker's horn brought her back to the present as Laura spun the wheel ferociously, barely missing the oncoming vehicle. She skidded to a stop at the side of the road and sat there, eyes wild and breathing heavily. She punched the dashboard in frustration for letting herself be distracted by something so little.
Laura glanced over her shoulder into the back of the tank. Logan was laying there, still strapped down in the gurney looking as sorry as he did initially. The movie of Logan's death replayed once again in Laura's mind and with it, the faintest sense of doubt. It was small, but it was there tickling the back of her head while having a firm grasp on her heart. She started to sweat.
Laura unbuckled her seatbelt and jumped back to Logan's side with haste. She pressed two fingers to his neck while resting her head on his chest to make sure his pulse was still there and not just a figment of her imagination. Laura waited anxiously in silence until finally, she heard the weak beat of Logan's heart. She let out a breath of relief and allowed herself to feel a little joy. Logan was still alive.
Her eyes wandered down his body until finally stopping at the hole where his abdomen was supposed to be. Although she and her friends had done a good job at cleaning out his wound from possible infection, the doubt came back. Although Logan was alive, as Laura gazed upon the crater in his body she knew his chances were slim at best. With that in mind she moved for the front of the truck, but went to the passenger seat to grab her backpack. She kept glancing back to Logan's body as she rummaged through her belongings until she found one of the bottles that contained the green serum.
Laura looked at the liquid with a mixture of disdain and hope. The serum that turned some of her friends into killing machines might be the difference between saving her father's life and living and orphan for the rest of hers.
Slowly Laura extracted what she thought was an appropriate amount and made her way back to her father's side. She stroked his hair as she injected the needle straight into his neck, and flushed the plunger. Laura took a minute to pack her supplies into her backpack and once again made for the front of the truck, this time getting in the driver's seat.
"Just a little longer," Laura said aloud to both Logan and herself. She stepped on the gas and got back on the road. The closest town was just about 60 more miles away. Laura was just 60 miles away from a hospital and possibly, Logan's salvation.
The rest of the drive back into town was uneventful for Laura and Logan. She took all of the back-roads to avoid traffic and the occasional policeman, and made sure to drive at an appropriate speed limit as to not attract any unwanted attention.
Laura planned out exactly how she was going to get Logan the medical attention he needed. Her first priority was to find the nearest hospital. After that, the pieces would just fall into place. People automatically assumed that Laura was a mute. It was difficult for her to become comfortable enough to even share a single word with another human being. However she figured that, just like in Oklahoma City, seeing Logan gravely injured would entice some sort of emergency response. She'd wait and pray for as long as it would take for Logan to become healthy again and hopefully, the next move would be his decision.
The drive had taken roughly two and a half hours and Laura was expecting to see the buildings of the city any moment now. As soon as that time would come she'd drive around and look for any place that might offer medical attention. More and more buildings started to appear as they got closer and closer to civilization. Laura's spirits were lifted as she was proud that her map reading skills had held true once again.
It wasn't long before they reached the edge of the city. Step one of Laura's plan had been completed. She successfully navigated her way back into the city from the Canadian border. Now all that needed to be done was to find the closest hospital and leave it to the doctors to nurse Logan back to health. Things were starting to look up. With luck and with Logan's healing ability, Laura thought that he might be able to regain consciousness that same night. Those hopes were squashed almost as quick as they surfaced.
Laura had been driving for maybe 2 minutes in the city when she saw the first Alkili armored truck. At first she didn't think much of the vehicle but as she saw the insignia on the side, her heart dropped.
The enemy truck was driving in the opposing traffic lane and was going to pass them within seconds. Laura's heart raced as she tightened her grip around the steering wheel. She didn't know what to do as her mind raced through the possibilities of what might happen in the next few moments. She wasn't worried about herself. She's cut down and dismembered more men than most war veterans, but she wasn't so sure she could keep Logan safe and/or hidden. The truck was closing in and any second now, they would pass right by each other. Laura had made up her mind that she was going to floor the accelerator. She was going to have to lose the soldiers in a car chase, though she didn't like her chances given her little driving experience.
The truck was only about 10 yards away now. Laura started to sweat. The truck was closing distance fast and any second they would pass each other and she'd be discovered. She started to accelerate and was about to floor the pedal when….
The car passed right by her. There was no high speed chase, no U-turn being made, not even a change of speed at all. She watched the truck drive away in her rear view mirror until it made a turn and went out of sight.
Laura exhaled. She was in total relief and confusion. Why hadn't the truck stopped? Was she seen by the driver? Was Alkili giving up on the pursuit of the children? A million questions ran through her mind and no answers seemed obvious. Either way, she surmised that it wasn't safe to find a hospital where enemies might be lurking around. Since the truck hadn't noticed her, Laura was confident that she could navigate her way to the next city without exposing the fact that she and the unconscious body under her care were the very things that Alkili were searching for.
Laura stopped at a red light and gave the map a glance. The next city was roughly a half hour drive. Not too far, but time wasn't a luxury that she could afford wasting. She reminded herself just how slim her chances were. Again, the doubt crept its way back into Laura's heart. Was this all for nothing? Is Logan still going to end up dead no matter how hard she tried to save him? Laura's heart started beating faster as she thought of all the scenarios that still ended with Logan dying in her arms.
The light turned green. Laura locked back into focus as she pushed the doubt aside. In this moment, her mission was to find a hospital and that's what she needed to be concentrated on. She took a deep breath, steadied her heart rate, and pushed on the accelerator. She figured she would just get back onto the country road and avoid the city all together. It made no sense to spend any more time in a city that had an Alkili van lurking around. The road was straight ahead of her and the city was to her left. Laura continued on straight but took one last look into the city. What she saw made her heart drop.
For the duration that Laura had been inside the city, the major buildings and busy streets were blocking her view into the inner heart of the city. But now she had a clear view and what she saw almost gave her nausea.
The inner city was infested with armored, enemy Alkili vehicles. There were transporter vans like the one she was in, big trucks with heavy artillery on the roof, soldiers walking the sidewalks, and Laura wanted nothing more than to get out of there as quick as she could.
Without a second thought, she pressed harder on the gas pedal and increased her speed. Laura was out of control, driving recklessly, switching through lanes, barely missing hitting other cars to increase the distance between her and the Alkili bee hive.
She was angry that she believed it would be so easy. "Were they supposed to just give up," Laura asked herself. Her anger was rising quickly, almost as fast as she was driving the car. Logan had always had a temper. At any given moment he can go into a bloodthirsty rage and unleash his wrath upon anyone that dared step in front of him. Laura had inherited the same rage. It was a blessing and a curse in many ways. Logan and Laura, when filled with such rage, are almost unstoppable. However because of their short tempers, they find themselves in a number of conflicts that could easily be avoided.
Laura felt this rage boiling up inside of her as she sped along the highway. The weight of the situation was again weighing itself heavy on her little shoulders. The sense of failure was growing deep in her heart which in return added to the fire of her rage. She extended her claws, though she wasn't sure why. She needed to release her pent up frustration and the only way she knew how was through violence. Laura wound her fist back, ready to drive her claws straight through the steering wheel of the van. She screamed, as she began to thrust her fist and her claws forward. The steering wheel would never stand a chance.
"Don't be what they made you."
Laura's fist stopped. Instead of going through the wheel, it trembled right next to her face.
"Don't be what they made you," Laura heard again. The words of her father rang true in her heart. It cut through the rage and brought her back to her senses. Slowly, Laura's claws retracted back into her knuckles. Her heart rate slowed down as she took deep breaths in order to calm her nerves. Her foot eased off the gas slowly. It wasn't until then that she realized that she was flying down the highway at 130 miles per hour. She slowed the vehicle down until she matched the speed of the traffic around her.
The words of her father repeated true in her mind. Once more Laura almost let the anger get the better of her. She thought to herself, "What would I have done if I tore my vehicle to shreds? How would I get to where I need to be?" She cursed silently to herself at how out of hand she almost let that situation become. She reminded herself of why she was made. Or maybe engineered was the better word Laura thought to herself. Doctors and scientists created Laura to be a weapon, to be a soldier without a conscience. For all of her life, Laura was treated with disdain in order to nurture rage into her brain. She and Logan were similar in this aspect. Laura knew that she wanted to be the farthest thing from what she was created for by the scientists at Transigen, but hearing her father iterate those words to her drove the message straight to her heart.
"Calmate Laura," she spoke aloud to herself. She grabbed the map but didn't pull over to stop. She figured reading a map while driving would be far less dangerous than hanging around an Alkili beehive. She scanned and scanned and found a number of cities to travel to, some close and some far. "The farther the better" Laura said aloud. She lifted her finger and placed it on her next destination, a city about 100 miles from where they already were. Just as her little finger fell onto the map, a grave thought crept into her mind.
Even if somehow Laura was able to drive the distance to the next city and find a hospital, she wasn't so sure that they'd be welcomed with open arms. By now, Alkili has had to have found out about their fallen comrades. Their leading soldier and scientist had been killed, and Laura refused to believe that Alkili would just roll over and take it so lightly. No. Every step needed to be calculated, every thought reviewed over, and every plan to be precise. Laura pulled the van over to the side of the road once more.
There was only one place where Laura thought that Logan would have the best chance of survival. She thought that their faces must be known by now, at least by the cities in North Dakota. But even with the right amount of distance between them and Alkili, Laura only really trusted one person to operate on her father without contacting the authorities. It was the man she brought Logan to, the first time he was injured. Not only did he nurse him back to consciousness, but the way he spoke to both Logan and Laura led her to believe that he was interested in the mutants. Even more than that, she felt that he wanted to help the mutants. The biggest problem was that for her to reach that man, she would have to travel all the way back to Oklahoma City. And from what she remembered, it would be about a two day trip. Did Logan have that long to survive? Laura looked back to where her father still was laying.
She owed so much to this man that she's only known for a week. In that time he's saved her life, put her own life above his own, and gave her a purpose. Laura didn't know if she imagined it, but she thought she saw Logan's chest rise and fall ever so slightly. Was the green serum doing its job?
Laura looked back at the map, then again at Logan.
"Oklahoma City it is. Hang on daddy."