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Portal Snakes cradle Chapter 4

At night, three combat vehicles left the Firestarters' hangar, their dusty trails dispersed by cold steppe winds in an instant. The swift racecar of Dawn's Children, the heavy armoured car of the Steppenwolfs and the imposing vehicle of Firestarters rushed forward, imperceptibly united by a common goal — and a single channel of communication.

— Now, will you tell what we have to do? — Tachyon asked thoughtfully, settling in his chair and releasing the wheel. — I understand, Sig, that you were supposed to bring us all together, but what's the problem with telling us what happened? I feel stupid when I don't know something and I can't figure it out myself.

— You'll always feel that way, — Surtr laughed deeply, skilfully grasping the falling earpiece. I know you think you've known everything for a long time, but you don't. You're missing a lot because of your reluctance to look further, you are afraid…

— Stop arguing. Aren't you glad we finally saw each other? — Sigurd sighed wearily, slowing down. The team had to hurry, but not draw unwanted attention.

— We are happy, but I would like it in other, less… vague circumstances. Our fiery brother loves this, but I…

— Seriously, Sig. Explain the grim news you brought to our homes.

After hearing a casual but insistent demand in his friend's voice, the Steppenwolf cleared his throat and spoke again:

— Not here. Let's get some air, and I'll tell you.

The journey to the right place took several noisy hours. Tachyon and Surtr continued their long-standing debate about the advantages of technology and intuition. They returned to it year after year, and for some reason, it made Sigurd's world whole. He barely even intervened. For the Steppenwolf, it was enough to listen to the quarrel of old friends to feel better, at least for a while to forget the heaviness of the lead clouds thickening over the Wasteland. Secretly, he wanted the road not to end, but soon the first pale pink rays outlined the structures on the horizon.

— We'll stop for a few minutes. And turn off the comms. All comms, Tachyon, not like that time.

They were silent for a while. Sigurd, as is tradition, interrupted the silence first.

— About two weeks ago, our Assault Force noticed something disturbing in the Valley. Something that we have to work together to contain. Stahl, Odegon, Riley — all of them are already aware and ordered to begin preparations. The reason we're here is that we're survivors.

Sigurd took off his helmet, happily exposing his face to the cool air.

— Our task is to warn everyone, convince them to join us and resist what is coming. Help me.

With a pause, Tachyon and Surtr slowly looked at each other.

A few minutes later, together with the first rays of the waking sun, three combat vehicles appeared on the survivor territory.