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Terminus 2 Excerpt: The Crossing-Moonlit Skies by Robert Jeffrey II

International Crossing Governing Body/ Classified Audio File

Transcript of Crossing Entry 29876, Professor Jun Patton, Audio Diary

[Audio begins]

We’ve hit another world. Another lead, time spent scouring yet another place for any sign of this psycho and the abductee.

I think Dad might’ve been right. Maybe I bit off a bit more than I can possibly even swallow at this point. Maybe my place is just in the classroom, and research libraries, nose plastered into vid-logs of others’ cross dimensional journeys.

No, that’s that stupid self-doubt creeping in. The same self-doubt that crept in on the Zombie world, Utopia World, Neo-Fascist Pumpkin world.

The less said there the better.

It’s just…. we keep coming so close to getting this guy. FBI Agent Ms. Kayla “Tight Pants” Cooke says this is all a part of the investigation, the chase. She’s had investigations that have lasted months, years even.

“You have to be patient” is her constant refrain. And that’s when she talks. This woman has the whole “stoic warrior” down to a tee. I can’t even get a laugh out of her.

And hey, this is me we’re talking about! The life of the party. The “funny professor” that all the kids love.

But when you’ve seen some of the stuff we’ve come across, maybe laughing isn’t an option. For every world we’ve hit where strife and worry are an afterthought, there have been just as many worlds that will always leave me tossing and turning in bed for years to come.

We’ve done some good, helped some people.

[Pause in recording, audible sigh]

Couldn’t help everyone.

[Another pause in recording. Silence]

Dammit Dad.

[Audible movement, shuffling.]

We’ve done good so far with the surviving. We’re still breathing. But she knows, and I sure as hell know, that the further this guy gets with Crossing from world to world, our chances get slimmer to catching them.

So, as I get a first look at the double moons on this new Earth, I have to believe that we still have a chance.

A little girl’s life depends on me tackling this creeping self-doubt.

End of entry. Jun Patton out.

[Audio entry ends]

Earth 2418, 18:42:13

The duo ran towards the departing grav train, arms’ fire punctuating the air. Shots meant for them hit the gleaming alloy of the train’s shell above their heads. The open door of the supply car beckoned further ahead.

Jun dropped lower to the ground, ducking the shots, as Kayla turned and fired several rounds from her RH-80, one slug finding a snug home in another pursuer.

“Get on the train!” Kayla shifted into a more stable shooter’s stance. Jun reached for her sidearm. “No! You’re running! I’m shooting! Do it!”

Jun responded with a frustrated nod and sprinted towards the open supply car door.

Another set of rounds fired by the special agent, the brightened colors of her tracer fire becoming lost in the neon blue tint of the sleek looking train’s bottom carriage.

Their followers wildly discharged their own technologically modified weapons, shots scattering across the double moon drenched train yard. Even with the perpetual night of this world, both otherworldly bodies managed to bathe the landscape in an eerie cream colored glow.

It was one of the things Jun loved about this place, and that she hated leaving behind.

Unfortunately, if they stayed, they’d both wind up sacrificed to the Lunar Deities of Earth 2418. Flayed and begging for death, like the other cursed souls they’d left behind.

Long story. Not enough time to tell. Gunfire and what not.

As several rounds continued to strike the ground in front of her, one even coming shockingly close to her head, Kayla never lost her nerve. She kept faith that her experienced marksmanship trumped the inexperienced grandstand shooting of the cult foot soldiers.

She pulled the trigger, two more went down, cloaked bodies tumbling to the tracks.

Gotta make sure I get enough space between them, and Jun. Kayla felt the updraft of the departing cargo gravity train.

This world had introduced numerous wonders to the world's’ trotting duo, the grav train being one of many things that had kept Jun kept blabbering endlessly about “science” this and “technological advancements unheard of” that.

Jun. Where the hell is she?

“Up here!” Jun’s voice carried over the rising noise of the train.

Kayla looked up to see her young companion looking out the open door, as the grav train picked up speed.

“Now, you run! I shoot!” Jun yelled, holding her gun out.

Kayla understood, realizing she couldn’t continue to lay down cover fire and jump on a semi-speeding train. There was only so much she was capable of.

And besides, Jun apparently had a little bit of weapons training in her dossier.

Gunfire erupted above her head as Jun trained her sights on the pursuing cult members, not flinching with every shot she let loose.

The good thing about these trains was they were low to the ground. As she leaped onto the now accelerating vehicle, Kayla caught a glimpse of a round race near where she’d just been, whizzing off into the distance.

Kayla rolled to a crouch bringing her gun up in a fluid movement.

But as they sped into the Wastelands of Georgia (formerly known as Outside the Perimeter/ OTP), there was no need for more gunfire as their attackers receded into the distance.

Jun turned with a huge grin on her face, the smile accenting her mocha skin tone. With her small afro pulled back in a puff, her youth was even more on display relishing in the small bit of action they’d just been a part of.

“I think I probably got a couple of them!” She walked towards a palm sized panel. Slapping her hand down, a force field shimmered to life leaving an open view to the blighted landscape that whizzed by. Kayla ran her hand through her hair, feeling the adrenaline of the chase finally wearing off.

Mark would’ve suggested I leave the running and shooting to the younger agents. She smiled.

The familiar pang struck as the agent thought of him, the laugh he would’ve followed up with as he walked away. The abruptness of the oncoming flood of memories began to trickle through, interrupted by her companion’s voice.

“You ok?” Jun asked, looking at her with concern. “I mean, that’s like the first time you’ve smiled since we’ve first met. It’s weird.”

“You screwed up back there in a major way. We have an assignment,” Kayla said ignoring the professor’s concern.

Jun held the agent’s stare, not giving an inch in the argument that was soon to come. “We’re doing this? Now? After we barely escape with our lives from the Jonestown cult with laser guns?”

Kayla continued to stare out the shimmering forced field at the remains of I-285, where rusted out hulks of vehicles pockmarked the once mighty Spaghetti Junction. They’d had variations of the same discussion before, and it was wearing thin.

“We could’ve done something.”

“Instead of just running, like we keep doing.”

“I’ve said this before. We can’t save everyone,” Kayla calmly replied.

We hope you enjoyed this excerpt from Robert's story. Visit our website today and pre-order Terminus 2: Black Fantastic Tales from the ATL today. Release date: June 19, 2022

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