GOA Chronicles: The Escape

May 25th, 2049

As everyone inches closer to the green swirling portal, Donald notices something beginning to come out of it: the face of a very large wolf with razor-sharp teeth extending over its lips and scales along the back of its head. That’s all he needs to see before yelling at all those coming to check out the portal, “Everyone, get back now!”

Everyone runs back to their houses, Donald and Roland running side by side. Roland asks, “What is that thing?”

“I don’t know,” Donald replies, looking back and seeing that the beast has just paused at the side of the portal as something bigger and even more monstrous makes its way through. “All I know is it’ll probably be safer at home, and I’m going to see if Julia and the kids are okay.”

Roland agrees as he reaches his house, runs through the door, and slams it shut.

Donald reaches his house moments later and looks back. He can still see the green glowing portal in the distance.

Donald yells out, “Julia, Chloe, Lexie!” Moments later, the backyard door opens up and all three run through. Julia, trying to catch her breath, says, “Creatures, monsters, coming out of nowhere at the park.”

Just then, their youngest daughter, Lexie, screams, looking out the window. “It’s out there!” Pointing out the window, they see some kind of larval monstrosity.

Julia yells, “It must have followed us from the park.” Donald tells Julia he’s going for his gun in their room. When he returns, everyone is watching from the dining room as it begins to crawl through the kitchen window. Donald pulls out an Armatix IP4 Handgun, one of the most advanced guns that has come out in the past couple of years. It has custom handprint recognition, auto-aim, and targeting with eye tracking. Donald pulls the trigger and nothing happens. “The gun isn’t working!” As the creature is about halfway through the window, there is a sound outside. “Thwap… thwap, thwap” and a crash as the window breaks next to the creature from a steel arrow. The larva monster turns around, looking back out the window, as an arrow hits it straight through the head, making it slump out of the window and to the ground.

Donald cautiously approaches the window and looks out and down below, seeing the larva monster with four arrows protruding from it. Then, looking up, he sees Roland on his roof with a bow and arrow. Roland waves, “I got your back, Donny.” Then climbs off his roof and crosses the yard to his fallen enemy.

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Donald and Roland look at each other and the creature between them. “You’re really good with that bow of yours,” Donald says with a smile. “Well, I do go hunting once in a while with it, and as you may have noticed, I don’t hit all the time either, but it was good enough to get the job done.” As Roland begins to pull out his arrows, yellow ooze flows from the holes with a terrible stench following. When Roland pulls out his last arrow, a small shiny crystal shard comes along with it. “Oh, look what I have here. It seems to be a nice little trophy from my first heroic save.” Roland shows it off to Donald, flipping it over in his hand before putting it into his pocket. “I think this’ll be my new lucky charm.”

Just then, an old military jeep drives up into Donald’s driveway. This jeep has definitely seen better days as it coughs out black fumes from the exhaust. The exterior is slightly rusted along the edges of the frame as it most likely hasn’t been used in many years.

A sharp-looking soldier with a blonde buzz cut and a smooth face gets out of the vehicle. “Sir, your presence is requested,” he says sharply. Donald looks at the man’s shoulder and smirks, “Private, I see. So why are you here to get me, and why should I go? I have my family to attend to and keep safe.” The private snaps to attention and begins to recite a monologue he must’ve gone over in his head at least a hundred times on the way here, “Sir! The country needs you as we are under attack by unknown forces. You may bring your family with you as I’m sure they are your first priority. That’s what Admiral Silenski told me to tell you.”

“Well, if the admiral needs me that badly and he knows I’m retired, things must be quite desperate,” Donald replies. “Honey, kids, grab the minimum you need for a week and do it fast.” Roland looks at Donald with wide eyes. “Oh, Roland, since you were so kind and helped save my family, and you have none, you’re more than welcome to come with us. The jeep does have room for one more.” Roland was gone, ready to pack up his things before Donald was able to finish his last sentence.

“Private, give me a sitrep while everyone is getting their things,” Donald says as he motions the astute private along with him. As he grabs a suitcase in his closet, he asks, “So how many portals are there out there?” The private looks a bit anxious and says, “Well, I assume you saw your companion leave and create a portal. Imagine all the MACs on the military bases doing the same.”

MAC (Military Automated Companion): An AI companion used by the military around the world to help keep peace and stability in times of crisis. The MACs have replaced human soldiers in most war scenarios in the past decade around the world. The MAC is very similar in design to the DAC but with armor plating throughout the body.

The private continued talking as everyone raced around the house gathering anything they might need for at least a week. “Even with the MACs turned off and on standby at Fort Chaff, they still turned on, walked out in the middle of everything, and made a portal. Communication is almost non-existent. What I can tell you is that every base is compromised, the majority of our weapons don’t work, our transportation is out of commission. Basically, we’ve been set back at least 50 years in all fronts of tech.”

As the private finished talking, everyone was ready and packed in the old jeep. Donald, referring back to the private’s story, asks, “Why is this jeep able to run?” The private nods, “I was wondering if you were going to ask. It’s because it runs on petrol and has no connection to anything AI-related. No tech, no automated driving, just old-fashioned fill it up and go. We’re lucky we kept a few of these around since everything has gone electric.” Donald grunts, “Hmm.”

The private looks back at everyone in the jeep, with Donald and Roland up front and Julia and the kids in the back. “Everyone, get comfy. It’s a bit of a drive to where we’re going.”

“And where is that, may I ask?” Donald says, looking a bit grumpy thinking of all that has transpired today.

“Well, it’s an off-the-grid military base. I just know the location. Any other details, you’ll have to ask the admiral when we get there.”  The drive to the military base went through the night. Everyone in the back seat tried to sleep but found it difficult due to all that had transpired earlier that day. The private drove the jeep through residential side streets, hoping to avoid any portals or wandering creatures. They came across several instances where large humanoid creatures were constructing a structure of some sort. The creatures didn’t seem to pay any attention to the passing jeep, concentrating on their construction. Finally, once out of the city and into the countryside, things got quiet. Donald looked back at the city and could see different colors rising to the sky from various portals throughout the area. From that point on, he knew that nothing would ever be the same again.