The Unity Chronicles


The Hunt

Unity Standard Time: 14:56, 8th of October U66. Northern forest of Chesholm (Polaris system).

Vinya trudged out into the ankle-deep snow, thicker here where the tall, spindly trees were more sparse. She gazed out all around her for sign of her absent son, but saw nothing.

He had been gone since dawn, and though that was just a few hours ago, the sun was already hunching coldly back towards the horizon and it would be night again soon. He had taken his trapping gear, of course, so he ought to be fine. Why had Dann had to scold the boy so, when he knew how sensitive he was? The two of them rarely saw eye to eye, and it always seemed to fall to Vinya to play peacemaker.

"Come back inside, Vin," Dann's voice came out to her from the open trapdoor beside her. "The boy just needs time to sulk, he'll cool off and be back before you know it."

She was about to reply when she heard an unfamiliar sound, and a moment later Dann shouted at her to get back inside. Seizing the door handle to swing it shut over her, she hurried down the steep steps into their house, but not before she caught a glimpse of a dark shape in the sky approaching rapidly from the south.

"What is it Dann?" she asked as she entered the main room, comfortably heated despite the freezing soil surrounding it on all sides. Her husband was stood by the screen on the wall, where they would normally watch hacked signals of the local news and entertainment nets. Currently, though, it was showing the view from several cameras hidden about the forest around them.

"Navy." He spat the word as a curse, and well it may prove, she thought. "I've set the alert. The others are preparing to resist."

"What about Vittaen?"

"He knows how to hide. He's got his scatterbox on him, and if it comes to that, he has his rifle."

Vinya prayed silently to the Creator that it would not come to that.

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