Just Another Simple Patrol
"Be careful out there," Tom said to his oldest son, Hal, as he and Maggie got ready to go out on patrol.
"We'll be fine," Hal said as Maggie came up to them. "You ready?"
"Let's go," Maggie said and they headed for their motorcycles and soon they were roaring out of camp.
"He'll be fine Tom," Ann said coming up beside him.
"I hope so," Tom said putting an arm around her shoulders.
Hal and Maggie parked the bikes about three miles from camp and proceeded on foot.
"Everything's been too quiet lately," Maggie said as they walked.
"Yeah, I know," Hal agreed. "A little too quiet."
Back at camp, Ben was standing near the outskirts of camp, staring out at the forest when Matt came up beside him.
"You okay Ben?" Matt asked.
"Yeah," Ben said turning to face him. "It's just that there's been hardly any attacks lately and that's unusual."
"You think they're planning something?" Matt asked.
"I don't know," Ben said. "I just have a bad feeling something's about to happen."
Hal and Maggie had been walking for about twenty minutes when a ear-splitting noise penetrated the area and they quickly covered their ears.
"That can't be good," Maggie said as the noise ceased.
"Head for the bikes," Hal said as scrambling noises could be heard and he knew skitters were nearly. "Go! I'll be right behind you!"
They started running, heading back to where they had left the bikes. As Hal glanced back, he saw dozens of skitters right on their trail.
"Keep going!" he shouted at Maggie. "They're right behind us!"
He turned around and fired off some rounds which slowed them down some. He turned and continued following Maggie, who wasn't far ahead of him and she made it to the bikes first and started hers.
"Go!" Hal yelled. "I'm coming!"
She tore off ahead while he turned and fired at the advancing skitters once more.
"Hello Hal," a familiar voice said from behind him.
He whirled around and came face to face with Karen. Before he knew it, he was grabbed from behind by skitters.
"Bring him," Karen said. "The Master has big plans for him."
Weaver looked up when he heard a motorcycle and saw Maggie ride in.
"Where's Hal?" Tom asked as she got off the bike and glanced behind her.
"We got ambushed by skitters," she said as she finally caught her breath. "He said he would be right behind me."
"If he's not back in five minutes, get a team and go find him," Weaver said to Tom.
Tom nodded, worry etched on his face for his oldest son. He looked over as Ben hurried over, Matt right behind him.
"What's going on?" Ben asked. "Where's Hal?"
"Yeah," Matt said. "He went out on patrol with Maggie and she's back."
"Tom Mason!" a loud voice yelled from the treeline.
They turned in time to see Karen walk out of the trees.
"What do you want now, Karen?" Tom demanded as others came running.
"My master wants to issue a trade," Karen said. "We have something you want and you have something my master wants."
"Oh yeah," Tom said. "And what would that be?"
"Give us Ben and you can have Hal back," Karen said. "You have one hour. We'll be waiting in a small clearing north of here."