It's in this silence; this total silence after a storm, where totally sane men and women lose their minds. They know that there's another storm coming, but they try to relish in the silence as long as they can, clinging to it. In this silence, they spend time pondering the men who didn't make it that far, their lost comrades. Their friends. This is what the lone group of soldiers was doing now. In the probably millisecond of silence in process, every warm body sitting in that bus had their heads lowered. Some were praying for the immortal souls of their lost brothers, others were crying for the lives of their love ones whose current status was unknown to them. Elena Santos in particular; she couldn't get the image of her 16 year old sister, her 27 year old Navy brother, and her sweet, kind-hearted mother from her mind, terrified of the possibility that they may have been taken.
"I'm sorry Hayley…" She whispered into her gloves, cringing and rocking forward slightly. The tears in her eyes were stinging the tiny cuts down her cheeks, and she rested her forehead against the cool glass. She looked out at the ravaged buildings passing her by, and her eyes widened as a particular specific building came into view. Santos sat up a bit straighter, and raised her gun as she saw movement in one of the windows. "My side, 12 o'clock! Santa Monica High School…" She uttered the last part as almost a whisper to herself, looking around, feeling sick to her stomach.
Teenagers strayed everywhere; burnt and decaying. She couldn't stand the thought that maybe one of them was her baby sister. The little girl she'd helped to raise, who she'd taught to ride a bike, and shoot a gun. The smart mouthed Sophomore who could fight like an Ox but still look as delicate as a daisy. Santos craned her neck to observe faces, just to be certain, although in some cases that was near impossible for the charred skin.
"They didn't get them out…" Santos heard Ariana murmur from her seat beside Tripp. He simply nodded and kept his eyes trained on the building, just like every other armed soldier in the bus.
Then, the silence was ended.
The firing was confusing, since instead of there being a line of attacking enemy artillery and the defensive attempts of all in the bus, there was a third line of fire coming from a makeshift structure on the baseball pitch, under a bleacher. Maybe two guns, one being wielded by a practiced hand and the other by an amateur, no doubt at all in anyone's mind. Tripp easily removed the head of a hostile force, Charge hitting square in one of the bastards' heart, and eventually, the only ones left were those in the bus. Everyone breathed a sigh of relief, aside from the few who had acknowledged the strange firing anomaly.
The two who chose to acknowledge it happened to be Santos and Staff Sargent Nantz. Nantz jumped from the bus, closely followed by the Air force officer, and they both advanced on the bleachers with weapons raised. However, when they heard the loud sob and the gentle cooing of another, they knew that there was no need to be suspicious. They entered the structure, hearing the cocking of a gun, and Nantz shouted out in his usual gruff voice "US Marines…" and Santos heard the sound that made her heart stop.
"We need some help!" I strong yet oddly vulnerable voice shouted. She and Nantz dropped their weapons and Santos embraced the girl, not even needing to check who it was before she wrapped her in her arms.
"Lena!" The girl cried, hugging her tightly before letting go and moving back to the boy and girl she had been sitting between. Santos smiled with relief, before dropping to her knees to look at the two kids she'd seen in their house Oh So Often in such a different situation. The boy on the ground had a hole burning into his abdomen and was groaning in agony, while the girl was shaking and holding an automatic rifle as though it was a king cobra.