ϕ

No

They were gone, that was that.

As the remains of Jericho rose out of the water, there was an immense silence. No one spoke, believing that words would solidify the deaths of two trusted comrades. Captain Devin Ross had seen many of his comrades die in arms but he believed that with his powers, this would no longer happen. He had thought that with his healing hands, death would be completely removed from the equation. The worst part was that the two casualties were the two members that he had sworn to protect. This was Jones' first combat mission with Jericho, it was supposed to be a test of his skills in combat as well as the usefulness of his abilities in the field. He proved to be invaluable to the squad not only as a combatant but as the local pacifier.

Then Cole…

"Ross," Rawlings called out, still not sure which member he was occupying.

"I'm with Billie," Ross desperately needed to get his mind off the recent deaths, he was sure they were going to haunt him till the end of time, but right now Jericho needs a pillar of strength, and that's exactly what Ross would be.

The entire team then converged to Billie's location in the water swimming as best they could with their battered and bruised bodies. Ross decided it was time for action; first and foremost, they had to get home.

"Alright Jericho, someone call in evac, we need to get out of here before we all drown." There was almost a sigh of relief at Ross' orders. Ross giving orders was a small step back to normal that the team so desperately needed.

Rawlings was the first one to reach the right signal, "This is Jericho squad calling in for immediate evac, we're not sure of our exact position, but you should be able to locate us through Abbie's Flash Thought."

"Copy Jericho, we've got your location. Are you… in the ocean?"

"It's a long story, but we finally killed the firstborn. After so many years of this continuous cycle of death we can all breathe knowing that the greatest evil has been destroyed." Rawlings was desperately reaching for something-anything-positive about this whole venture, but the man on the other side brought the whole nightmare back

"How many casualties?" There was dead silence after that question. Everyone bowed their heads, Abbey diving under the water, most likely to hide her tears.

"Three," Rawlings said after a short pause, sounding defeated.

"Understood, we're sending a helicopter out to your location. Stay strong Jericho." With this last statement the com went dead and the team fell into silence once again, the only interruption being Delgado locating a patch of rock that the team could rest on. Once they reached the rock, Ross decided to speak up again.

"Their sacrifices will always be remembered-"

"What sacrifices!" Black snarled, jolting up and staring straight into Billie's eyes, "they were murdered before they even got to fire a round. And you know what, it was your fault! You were controlling me, you could've jumped into Cole when you saw Jones explode, but you didn't. You just sat back and made me watch as my two friends died!"

"Abbey-"

"No Ross, do you know what it's like to watch as your best friend, the only person in this world who understands you, explode into hundreds of pieces! It wasn't even something humane, I can still feel her blood all over me Ross! I can still feel it!" Black crumpled to her knees and started sobbing uncontrollably. Ross used Church to walk over to her and try and offer some comfort. She was hesitant, but Billie finally gave in to the idea of hugging the sobbing Black. She initially fought the embrace, but her exhaustion finally caught up with her as she gave in and sobbed into the ninja's shoulder. "She was just a girl Ross. She didn't have any psychic powers or anything. She was really smart, but still just a girl. It took me so long to convince her to let me paint her nails, and we…she told me she wanted to straighten her hair, and I promised I would help after we were done here. I wanted her to experience what it was like to be a young woman at least once in her life Ross."

"I know Abbey," Ross tried to comfort what he believes became his closest friend during this mission. He spent most of his time inside of Black and felt that he had to help her somehow. "She didn't deserve this. You're right it was my fault, I swore that I'd keep her safe, that I'd help her with her fears. God, she must have been so scared the entire time, but she still fought through. I was so proud of her."

"Guys," Delgado touched Church's shoulder, "I think our evac's here." Ross and Black looked to the sky and saw a small dot coming from the distance.

"Quick Frank, you think you can use the dragon to signal the chopper?"

"I can try," Delgado immediately revealed his right arm and summoned Ababinili. Once the chopper was close enough, the dragon flew up and guided the pilot to the team's location. The Blackhawk helicopter lowered a ladder and departed as soon as the last member was on.

Church laid her head on Delgado's lap in a vain attempt at rest. Ross, deciding that the couple needed some time to themselves moved into Black, who was seated next to Rawlings. She was also trying to sleep but she was still haunted by the memories of everything that transpired. She kept repeating the number, her favorite number.

"1.61803"

"39887, get some rest, that's an order."

"I'll try Ross, but it doesn't feel right." Black's decided to lay down across the bench to see if the position would grant her the sleep she so needed.

"Just clear your mind, we all need to rest before we can even think about anything else. Especially you, I haven't really let you sleep."

"She really liked you, ya know." Abbey hugged herself for warmth, "she told me that you were the only one that made her feel safe. She followed your every command because she trusted you with her life, but none of us could have known that it would end like that. I'm sorry for what I said down there."

"It's alright Abbey, just try and rest. It's a long ride back to the states and we have a lot of things to take care of over there."

Even though their minds were in turmoil, exhaustion from being on constant alert for days finally caught up to them, and they all fell into a fitful slumber.