Title: Glowing Hope
Sequel to: Exit Speed
Universe: OFFICIAL Cave Series
Characters: Chloe/Lex, Lois, Annabel
Disclaimer: Don't own
Summary: When someone from Chloe's past asks for her help, she is conflicted, not only about the job but about her relationship with Lex. With time running out does she really want to waste the precious time they have together?
Warning: Spoilers for The New Daughter. Takes place right after the movie.
Written for My paranormal25
150 Prompt Table. Prompt Used #87
. Famous Paranormal Case.
The rest of the team other than Chloe and Lois wore night vision helmets, the blonde and brunette having no use for them, their eyes seeing things better in darkness than in daylight anyway.
Annabel, who was about the only person other than Mr. Vargas that Chloe kept in contact with after the bus incident in Texas (Mr. Vargas now worked for Lexcorp), had called to let them know that the special equipment Lex had ordered be sent to them for this mission was on the way and should arrive around half and hour after they did. The sixteen year old twelfth tier dark elf ranger had failed to tell Chloe during their time together in Texas that while she was heading towards one of her much beloved Live Action Role Playing Convention to participate in an archery contest amongst other things...that she'd actually run away from her sixth foster home to do so.
A part of the system, Annabel Drake had bounced from foster home to foster home since she was eleven, and had immersed herself in LARPing as a way to get away from her real life problems.
The LARPing had led her to be on that bus along with Chloe, in that situation with Chloe, and in the end, Chloe had become her next guardian-as her previous foster home was fed up with her, and there were only two years to go before Annabel turned eighteen. Thanks to her high salary job and low maintenance lifestyle Chloe could be considered kinda rich, and the agency had overlooked her age and the fact that she wasn't married, and had let her take over Annabel's foster care.
The girl with the multiple colored streaks in her hair had happily gone to live with Chloe, and had integrated herself impressively easily into their lives.
She could be a cute brat though, like when she called Chloe 'mom', Lex 'dad', and Lois 'Aunt Lo'...although the others weren't that much older than her themselves.
Between Annabel and Lois, Lex was near a nervous break down...although Chloe knew that if anyone placed a finger on either he'd have their balls.
The equipment finally arrived, let down in a parachute box from the jet above, and the SWAT team went to retrieve it.
Lois didn't pay the newly arrived weapons and equipment any mind, checking her toys and their holsters, making sure everything was firmly in place. Her pride and joy, the Predator Combo Spear, was in its miniature form, strapped to her arm, ready to be pulled out and used when the time came.
Lex too carried an assortment of guns, and a katana hanging from his lean hips, should he run out of bullets.
Chloe had already checked her guns and now clenched and flexed her fingerless leather gloves with the material removed from her palm area.
When she'd been taken to the Predator Space Craft she'd been infused with an alien metal that had bonded with her body...or, well, after breaking every bone in her body very painfully, the metal had replaced the bone. Her skeleton was now made of that unbreakable, unidentifiable metal, and her heart was completely shielded by a thick barrier of it as well. The process of combining with the alien metal had been the most painful thing she'd ever undergone, but it'd left her stronger than before...and with some extra little abilities.
Concentrating, Chloe grabbed at one of her palms and pulled out a golden light, which emerged painlessly from her palm and formed a golden, glowing long bow. And from her other palm a golden, glowing arrow emerged.
Putting arrow to bow, Chloe pulled back the golden string of light and let go, the arrow embedding itself deep into a new tree before vanishing away, the only evidence of it having hit was the wound of the arrowhead in the tree's bark.
Annabel, the true archer, had taught Chloe the basics, and the blonde had to admit that this was probably one of her favorite of the forms the weapons took.
"Ready whenever you are, Mister Luthor." Carter, the SWAT team leader, announced, going to Lex.
Carter turned to his men. "Alright men! It's party time!"
Chloe watched as the men slowly climbed down in through the opening at the burial mound, one by one, using the rope ladder they'd thrown down.
Her instincts screamed for her to go first, but this was Lex's team and he called the shots.
When the other men were all down (except for the four who'd be standing watch at the mouth of the mound), Lois bypassed the ladder and merely jumped down, and Lex climbed down behind her.
Chloe hesitated, hearing a twig snapping somewhere in the forest around them.
Eyes going feline, she snarled, sniffing the air, unable to scent anything but dirt.
Shaking her head, the blonde jumped down into the hole, landing on the balls of her feet between Lex and Lois, both surrounded by the SWAT men, their guns drawn.
There were four different tunnels leading out into the darkness.
Carter motioned to four of his men. "You guard these entrances. Shoot anything that tries to come out."
The rest of the team split up, Chloe and Lois joining Lex and six other of the SWAT team, heading down the one to the extreme right.
Lois had picked up a scent she found intriguing in that tunnel and they'd decided to follow it and see where it led.
The tunnel was completely dark, making it brightly lit for Chloe's feline vision, lighting up brighter than a sunny day.
The scents of creatures was intense, and she fought the urge to cover her nose.
She wondered how it was for Lois, whose ability to scent things was much greater than her own.
But the brunette up front didn't seem to mind, then again, she might be blocking out the other scents and concentrating on the one that intrigued her.
She'd confessed to being able to do that, and it fascinated Chloe.
"There's zero movement ahead of us." One of the men announced softly.
"No sign of life." A second agreed.
"I know." Lois murmured. "Something's not right."
Suddenly, the sound of gunfire echoed loudly from one of the other tunnels.
They stopped, looking back the way they'd come.
Another group of gunfire joined.
"Go!" The soldier behind them urged.
They hurried down the vein, guns ready, and finally emptied out onto the ledge around a gigantic chasm.
Lois gasped. "Oh my god."
Pushing passed the men, Chloe went to the front, her eyes widening at what she saw below.
It was a city.
Crude dwellings had been carved into the very stone, clearly not fashioned by human hand or intelligence, but something else.
"We're going to need more guns." Lois mumbled.
Lex reached their side and gaze down, using his helmet with night vision to survey what Lois and Chloe could see as plain as day. "Try to raise the others on the radio." He ordered one soldier before turning to another. "Place the bomb there at the entrance of the tunnel. If all else fails we'll blow this place to hell."
"Yes sir." The soldiers nodded, doing as told.
"So girls?" Lex turned to them. "See anything we can't?"
"I don't know about seeing, but I can definitely smell something you can't." Lois took a deep whiff. "It's some sort of natural gas, not methane, something else. It doesn't seem lethal since Chloe and I aren't feeling anything, but you and your boys better keep on your helmets just in case."
"You can smell methane?" Chloe asked, impressed.
Lois grinned brightly. "Yep, every 'odorless' gas and such has an oder but we're just not able to pick it up. Or, well, you guys aren't able to pick it up." She patted the tip of her nose, winking. "I am."
Sensing movement, they looked up to see the rest of the team, relatively untouched, arriving at the mouths of the other veins, placing bombs at the mouths as well.
"I don't see any movement down there." Lex gazed down at the underground city. "Maybe John James found a way to destroy the creatures?"
"No, the scents in there were fresh...made only hours ago." Lois shook her head. "And your boys had to be shooting at something."
"Then why didn't these things react to the sound of the gunfire?" Lex wanted to know.
"Maybe they're deaf?" Lois asked. "Maybe they're like the creatures Chloe encountered in the cave in Romania-they see like bats, sending out sound vibrations and such?"
"Maybe." Lex murmured.
"Or maybe this is a trap and they're luring us in." Chloe countered, eyes narrowed on the city below.
"No offense ma'am, but these are animals." One of the soldiers announced. "No way they're that smart."
Chloe turned to him, eyes flashing in the darkness. "I'm that smart."
The soldier looked uncomfortable behind his visor. "You're not an animal."
"That remains to be debated." She declared before going to the edge of the ledge they were on and looking down, two golden daggers appearing in her hands as she jumped down and sunk them into the cliff, halting her fall.
The blonde looked up in time to see Lex and Lois rush to the edge and looked down at her.
"Dammit Chloe!" Lex hissed. "Don't do that to me!"
Lois' nails grew long and she followed Chloe's example, limber and agile like a cat. "There's a clearing a little below where it's not as steep. Throw the rope once we get down and you guys can easily make it down."
Chloe was already going downwards, slower than Lois though, using the daggers to keep herself from falling, gaining footing whenever she could.
Lois reached below before her, and had finished tying it to a boulder by the time she found footing.
The men made their way down, leaving two above to cover the ledge.
The other teams did the same, and they met each other behind the boulders outside of the city of stones, regrouping to form one team.
"Everything's way too silent." Lois mumbled. "I can smell them but I don't see any movement at all."
"Trap." Chloe concluded.
Carter readied his weapon. "We're ready for them."
Chloe doubted it, but she gave him an A+ for confidence.
Lois reached for the double rifle strapped to her back and pulled it out, smirking. "It's rude to leave our hosts waiting."
As a tight unit they moved from the boulders and silently entered into the city. Nothing seemed to be inside of the crude dwellings they came across.
Nothing seemed to be anywhere.
It all seemed...dead.
Chloe and Lois shared looks, eyes narrowed.
The hairs rising on the back of their necks were the only proof that something was there with them.
The team continued forwards.
Suddenly a loud, shrill, clearly inhuman sound echoed through the city, seeming to originate from everywhere.
And that was when they attacked.
From seemingly everywhere.
All at once.
Like a mass of ants.
They were the height of most of the men in the team, some standing stall on two feet others charging on all four.
Chloe doubted the others could see as well as her, couldn't tell that while they were humanoid in shape, these creatures were still far from human.
Their bodies looked almost as if they'd been made out of mud that was still wet, shiny. She could make out eye sockets but not eyes themselves, instead endless blackness. And the mouth...the mouth was rounder and sported long and sharp fangs.
Chloe reached behind her and pulled out her Benelli SuperNova Tactical from the strap across her back and pumped it, letting off her first shot, nailing the creature that'd jumped at her in the forehead.
...An outlet for the bad mood that'd been growing since her mother had returned into her life-and had only gotten worse once she'd realized what had happened to her mother's new family.
If Moira's husband, son, and new daughter had perished at the hands of these creatures, the old daughter was going to make them regret it.