Elijah rolled after landing on the roof of the building closest to what he'd been standing on. He was thankful for their close proximity to each other. He coughed as dust from the collapsing buildings around went airborn. He should have been used to it by now from all his experience. And from the smoking. Must've been his age. He tapped his earpiece so that it went dead on Leyla's end, but he could still hear her.
He kept low when he got to his feet again, weapon in hand. He wasn't going to bother heading back to Leyla's hideout. It may have been locked down, but that wouldn't have kept him away. He chose not to for he didn't like underground bases. They made his skin itch.
Things got really messy once the planes and copters started showing up, sending missiles down onto the town. "s**t." He cursed as he took off running.
There was no way Leyla and her group would trapped. The lowest levels had exits that didn't rise to the surface for miles to just about every direction, and as the vibrations intensified, Leyla gave the orders for everyone to evacuate to the more resilient levels. "Everyone, understood? Now. Five minutes to get down there in a calm, organized manner. Take what you can carry- water, food, medical supplies, weapons. Go."
Elijah rested in an alleyway that had yet to become a pile of stones. He took a quick blood reading. Still normal. With all the radiation from the bombs, he was surprised he hadn't gotten infected with any other diseases. Cancer was a thing of the past, easily curable. But, like anything else, new diseases had risen up out of the ashes of their predecessors.
After taking a deep breath, he pushed from the wall and headed down the dark alley, going deeper into the part of town that still stood. Citizens, the ones still alive and who hadn't the smarts or technology to make their underground bases well hidden.
As he passed by various homeless people, a small girl skipped by. Her hand slipped into Eli's for a moment before she was gone again. His fingers closed over the slip of paper she'd given him.
Deep below ground, Leyla monitored what her people were bringing into the shelter, her lips pursed. Five to ten gallon barrels of water, about twenty of those. Food rations for at least three days, if they were stingy. Weapons- not nearly enough of those, if it came to that, and only enough ammunition for what they had. That bothered her. "Isaac." As usual, the man was quick to respond.
"Collect a team of five men, send them back up to the armory to get what they can. Make sure they're quick, strong, and clever- I don't want anyone dying up there. Understand?"
With that taken care of, she turned her attention to medical supplies. Her medical staff had been upset to move to the shelters, but nobody was in their care that couldn't be moved, so it wasn't such a big deal, and each of her doctors had brought down the basics- that ought to have been good enough.
A dust covered, aged hand thrusted a small slip of paper in front of Isaac's face. Elijah stared down at him, face covered by the hood. Normally he would just keep his normal face exposed, but he knew how irritated Isaac had been when he'd refused to ID himself on their first encounter. "Put this formula through your computer. It's about the virus." Eli told him, handing him the slip of paper before he joined with the rest of his men and Leyla.
None of his men seemed surprised to see him. He coughed a time or two, then pulled out one of his smoke sticks. He'd been needing one all morning, but had held off so he wouldn't give away his position.
Leyla studied Eli as he rejoined the group. "Welcome back," she said briefly, glancing up at him. "..You're a mess." And he had gotten in again. She had to get information from him on where he was managing to find a way. If he could get in, others could get in, and that was unacceptable. Standing, she glanced over Isaac's shoulder as the man began running the code on the paper.
"Here." Leyla had crossed the room and was setting a cup of water near Eli. "You sound terrible. Drink. What's going on out there?" What had brought this on? The government had never gone to such extremes in this area.
Eli drank in between drags on his smoke. He ignored the comment about him looking like a mess. He would've been more surprised if she'd said he looked like he'd just come out of the pages of a magazine. "The virus. Apparently word got around that this town's completely infected, and they're taking it out." A sort of quarantine, but no one would have the chance to survive unless they were in Leyla's hideout. Or if they lived in the Hindu temple. That place never got touched.
Most of his informants were girls and women, and he was certain that small child was gone by now, wiped off the earth by one swift missile. That's how it was.
Leyla frowned, drumming her fingers against her knee. "They know we're around here," she said finally. That was the only reason for this sort of thing, they knew there was no virus outbreak here- and if there was, that was no reason to bomb the whole place. "This is going to make things difficult." There wouldn't be a city for them to go out into, for starters- anybody moving in the rubble would be noticeable. There wouldn't be their cover of homeless street people, either, and the power probably wouldn't be functional.
"..Damn it." They were going to have to either relocate, or wire in electricity from a great distance away, and dig longer tunnels to other cities to get in and out. Relocating made the most sense. It wasn't Leyla's preferred option.
"You're in luck." Elijah took another drag on his smoke stick. He suppressed a few coughs before speaking again. "My men and I travelled a great distance to come here. I know of a safe house." He nodded, taking a seat on a lone bench. He knew of many safe places scattered all around, but there was only one close by at the moment.
Leyla didn't like it at all. She barely knew this man, government officials had bombed her city within hours of his arrival, and now he was claiming to know a safe house. "Damn it," she muttered again, considering it. "We don't have a choice," she said finally. "It will have to do until I can have something more suitable arranged. It's far?" The sooner she and her group could get back into an official base, one that was properly equipped, armed, and protected, the happier she would be.
It was still a stinging blow to have to abandon this place, after she had worked so doggedly on it.
"Far enough that we'll be protected from this, but close enough that the journey won't be too long." He sincerely hoped she had transportation, else all her men would be in big trouble. That wasn't Elijah's fault or concern, but he was sure that Leyla wouldn't trust him without the support of her own comrades. He could understand that.
Leyla nodded briefly, standing up and touching her earpiece, pressing a button that would activate the speakers. "Everyone to the lower level. Evacuation procedure 498. Departure in-" Pausing, she glanced at a clock on the wall. "Precisely thirty minutes." As her men moved into action, informing Elijah's men of general procedure as they went, Leyla touched her headpiece again, dialing in to Isaac's ear.
"Isaac, blow the top two levels while they're still at it up there. I don't want anyone getting in here after we leave. Yes, all the exits by remote after we leave, too, and a clean spray from top to bottom. You have everything from the computers on chips? Wipe the hard drives. No traces, understood?"
She wanted to be able to come back, if it was ever an option, but she didn't want any proof that they had been here. At the very least, she wanted no proof that could indicate any of them specifically. "There are transportation units below," she told Elijah simply, though he probably knew that. "Let's get going." Whether or not he was tired, she wasn't going to wait around for them to keep throwing bombs around.
"Good. My men will join yours and take those units. I've got my own ride." Elijah dropped the smoke stick and crushed it as he walked past Leyla. He was more than exhausted. There were no words to describe the soreness and exhaustion he felt. He was too old for this type of action, and he was fortunate that he'd stayed with it for so long to keep himself in shape. He grunted and pulled his hood over his face again, wrapping the loose ends around his mouth and nose to keep his identity hidden from the enemy outside in case he was spotted.
"I'll meet you there. Have one of my men give you the coordinates."
Leyla had little sympathy for him. If he had wanted to stay here, he could have. He'd chosen to go out there and nearly get killed, and now he was choosing to go on his own rather than catch a ride with the rest of them. "Sure," she nodded simply, grabbing her single bag before turning to move with the rest of her group, wrapping a scarf around her neck and covering her dark hair with it. Wherever this place was, she hoped the transfer went smoothly.
While Elijah left his men in Leyla's hands, he headed back outside and rounded a corner where he'd hidden his motorcycle. He hated flying, and he hated all those large, clunky tanks that most rebel groups used for transportation. Even if Leyla's transportation wasn't like that, he felt better being in control of his own machine. It took a few tries to get the thing going, but when he did, it went.
Everything behind him crumbled as he zipped past the ruins, dodging any flying debris. Once he was on the outskirts, he kicked up his bike to go even faster.