El and Vee were lying naked on the jungle floor, away from the camp. They were sweating and panting from the heat as much as what they'd just finished doing. Their celebration for having finished the mission.
El looked at the sky. It was clear without any clouds. "I can hear the choppers approaching." He didn't move. "We should get dressed."
The bull nuzzled the lynx's neck and nipped lightly. "Or we can stay here, just the two of us. Leave the wars behind." He ran a hand through El's chest fur and down to his groin. "Enjoy ourselves."
El's chuckle caught, and he pulled the hand away. "Be serious, Vee. We can't go AWOL, hide here and have sex all the time. We're soldiers."
"I know." The bull sighed. "I just didn't expect to be doing this for so damned long. Our live expectancy was what? fifteen years? If we didn't die in combat? We've been at it for centuries."
El nodded at Vee's tired tone. The average lifespan of an Anthro soldier was actually eight years, he'd read. He'd encounter an old soldier once, a Grizzled black bear of twelve who'd had a missing eye, hand and half his fur. She'd been grim as she fought, throwing herself into battle like she wanted to die. She'd survived it, losing only a foot. Her expression had been as grim leaving the battlefront as it had been entering it.
El's long lifespan, as well as that of all the Specialists had surprised the Scientists at the Freak Lab. How many were there now? one, two hundred of them? He was sure that much more had come to be in total, but even with their powers, war was deadly.
When Eek had reached sixteen, he was the oldest, older than CM by a month, the scientists had run a barrage of tests on him trying to determine how he hadn't just died on reaching fifteen. Each of them went through the same tests on their sixteen birthdays.
The scientist hadn't said anything, but El had become good at eavesdropping by then. He learned that Anthros were designed to shut down at fifteen. He didn't know why, that was one question he hadn't been able to answer in all these years.
None of his brothers and sisters had died at fifteen. Those who didn't make it to that age had been taken by the war, and each one of them had taken a lot of enemies with them before they finally went down.
Of those El considered his family, the twenty-six who had been housed in the same barrack as him, only eighteen remained. Which, then El thought about it, was impressive considering how long they had all been fighting in one war or another.
The Freak Lab now had two dozen barracks for Specialists, but he didn't know how many of those were actually used. El had tried to get to know them, at first, but he just couldn't connect with any of them like he had with his family. They might be Specialists like him, were just other soldiers to him. He didn't know why.
"Have you heard from Zack?" He asked as they rejoined the others in the clearing. "He should have made contact by now. It's been three days." The helicopters were getting close. Tango and Bravo were all there, packs on their back.
"No, but I'm not worried. They are experienced."
El froze. Something had happened.
Vee looked at him. "What's wrong?"
There was a flash of light in the distance, just as the helicopters' motors sputtered and died.
El looked behind them. Light was blooming over the trees, far he could feel that, but coming. "Scatter!" he yelled pointing in the opposite direction, and he saw one of the helicopters drop out of the sky. "Run as fast as you can! Leave everything behind. Now!" He followed his own orders and ran. His soldiers obeyed. Those created for speed outdistanced the others.
One of the helicopters crashed and a ball of fire went up. The second crashed moments later, then the third and fourth. El barely sensed those fires. Whatever was coming overshadowed them, even at a distance.
"What's going on?"
El Felt the heat in the distance, a wall of it coming at them so very fast. It was different than any fire he'd ever felt, but he knew it was just as deadly, if not more so. And he realized something.
"We're not going to make it." The words were a whisper, fear stealing most of his voice away. He had to run faster.
"El, talk to me!"
"That flash of light. There's a wall of heat coming. It's father than we are."
Vee caught his arm and stopped. "Fire?"
"Vee we have to run!" El tried to pull him, but the bull was stronger. Soldiers were running past them, the downed helicopters, that light and his words had been enough to show them the wisdom of not being here.
"You said it's faster than we are." He looked behind them.
"Vee, we have to try!"
The bull looked at him. "How hot?"
El didn't immediately answer. Didn't Vee understand the danger they were in? "I don't know," he finally said. "Hot. It's different. I can't tell."
Vee's face was set, hard. "El, I'm going to keep you safe. No matter what, I'll keep you safe. I love you too much to let anything happen to you."
El pulled. "Then we have to run!" there was air being displaced. He hadn't noticed it because he'd been focused on the strange heat, but he could tell a shock wave would hit them first.
And he realized it was already too late. It had been too late the moment the explosion happened. They weren't going to survive. Maybe the runners would, but no one else could get far enough in time.
He wrapped his arms around his lover and held on. Wasn't it ironic that only minutes before they'd been talking about deserting?
17 October 2018 at 14:09:00 MDT
Tiranis is a world of humans and furries, of super science and super powers, of ordinary people and extraordinary ones.
Stories of the Past is a series of stories exploring the history of the city of Tiranis, as well as the world it exists in or sometimes people of importance in it.
This is excerpt is about 1000 word of a 9,000 word chapter.
You can read the full story, as well as other stories set in the world of Tiranis by joining my Patreon at the 1$ level: https://www.patreon.com/posts/22126231