(Patreon) Bachelor Chapter 89

Index

LXXXIX

Richard didn’t have spare time to think about how these people- presumably from the Brotherhood of All Knowledge- found them, but he did it anyway. Fortunately, that thought was brief, because they hadn’t really put any effort to conceal where they were going. While he had kind of expected something like this would happen, he had still hoped it wouldn’t. Now they were here, and the most important thing to do was to not get shot.

Richard took a moment to try to focus on everything that was going on. His body wasn’t calm enough to do so, with his heart racing, and the sounds of gunfire surrounding him. Even so, there was always the other part of him, and it didn’t seem to panic for anything- or at least not the kinds of things he would expect. Susan didn’t seem to be particularly better off than himself. She was crouched down low behind a tree- though the enemies didn’t seem to be on just one side, so she wouldn’t necessarily be completely behind it from all angles. Hiroshi and Anna were out of sight, having wandered off earlier. Jessica was still around, and from her flickering line of sight Richard found a few enemies. They were armored and camouflaged, but Richard felt they didn’t seem to be humans, by the size and general silhouette. Jot seemed to have found another enemy, and was engaged in melee combat with him. The most surprising part to Richard was that it was an engagement, and not a slaughter. Jot was wielding a sword- a machete, but larger than everyone else’s. Though Richard had rarely seen him train with weapons, he was clearly quite proficient, yet the enemy was managing to avoid his strikes. Then, a shot struck him in the back.

Projectile weaponry was favorable in an ambush situation since it was more difficult to determine where the shot came from. However, because Richard had been watching Jot when he got hit, he had a decent idea of where the shot came from. It still took a few moments before he located the enemy, and that was because he was looking in exactly the right direction when there was another muzzle flash. Richard immediately shot at him, wishing he had something heavier than a pistol. However, as he shot, the soldier ducked behind a tree. He hadn’t been paying attention to Richard, so it had just been lucky timing.

Richard thought his shot had probably been noticed, so he moved to a new piece of cover… with the new knowledge he had about the enemies positions. As he moved, several shots hit where he had just been. They could have followed his movements to his new location, but he thought he was out of sight, so he should be fine momentarily.

Richard took a moment to glance at Jot. He was still standing… still fighting, but Richard definitely saw a red patch in the small of his back. If anything, Jot was more aggressive now, swinging like a madman… except Richard saw he was pushing his opponent in a particular direction. Then, they stepped behind a tree as Jot made a wide swing. His sword would inevitably impact the tree, or he would have to stop the swing- either way, it would create an opening. Jot’s overlarge machete did indeed impact the tree… At least, that was the impression Richard got from the shower of bark and wood, but not so much from the movement of Jot’s arm. That never slowed, and as the swing crossed his body Richard saw the machete still in his hand. It was as if Jot had cut through a small sheet of plywood, and not a good section of the trunk of a gargantuan jungle tree. Then Richard saw the top half of a body fall out from behind the tree… and he had to focus on himself again.

The enemies… were still basically in the same position. He couldn’t sense where they were with his special senses, at least not as the area in general, but when he focused on a certain spot he could reach further. Jessica was keeping a few of them pinned down under consistent fire. Susan was firing at one of her own, and kept missing. That wasn’t right. Susan wasn’t so inaccurate… and the enemy wasn’t particularly fast. Still, he was dodging, or rather moving behind cover at the right times. Richard again focused on the one that had shot Jot in the back before. Good, he was trying to shoot Jot. Well, that wasn’t good, but it was good that he was distracted at least. Richard took the chance to fire again… and once again, they stepped behind cover as if they had been watching Richard and not Jot.

Did they have eyes on the back of their heads? Or the sides? No, their helmets indicated otherwise. How could the avoid it? The closest one… certainly wasn’t human, or any other species Richard was familiar with. He couldn’t really see them, but their DNA said so. Sadly, he had no time to look into that more, as he had to move. There was a sharp pain in his side… it wasn’t a hit, but a graze. If he hadn’t started wearing protective clothing all the time, it would likely have been worse. As it was, it was merely a reminder that he could die if he was careless. He doubted he could recover from a few dozen bullet holes… or one or two big ones in the right places.

So then, because Richard didn’t know what was going on, he made some assumptions. Somehow, they could avoid all attack, whether they were looking or not. The exception was the one bisected by Jot- but he had avoided it. By any reasonable standard, he had dodged to a safe location. It was just that reasonable standards didn’t apply to Xevaronians in close combat- and Jot in particular. So, they could avoid things until they no longer thought they were in danger. There had to be some limit to their movements, of course, but Richard didn’t know what it was. However, he did get a couple ideas.

Index