Tank jerked away when he heard someone clear their throat. My mother was standing behind him. She looked at me and I gave her a sheepish grin.

"Colonel Hale," Tank said, "I-." My mother waved her hand, cutting Tank off.

"I was thinking that Leah was going to be a bachelorette for the rest of her life," my mother said, grinning widely.

"Mom!" I protested, "I'm not that bad."

"Actually you are. I wonder to myself sometimes why I fell in love with a reckless, insane girl," Tank said and I slapped him in the shoulder.

"Leah, respect your superiors," my mother said, but I knew that she didn't mean it.

"Yes sir," I said to Tank, while I rolled my eyes.

"Now get inside before you get sick," my mother said to both of us. I nodded and got up. I threw Tank's jacket at him, mouthing the words "Thank you."

"Tank, I need to talk to you," I heard my mother say before I was out of earshot. I wondered what they had to talk about, curiosity was eating up my insides, but for once I decided to obey orders.


I woke up at dawn and got dressed, careful not to wake the other girls. I glanced at the empty bed where Serena use to occupy, before slipping into the bathroom. When I slipped out the door, my mother caught my arm and motioned me to follow her. I followed her to her bunk and slipped inside while she closed the door.

"You have a mission," my mother said.

"But I'm not ready," I protested.

"You are more than ready Leah, besides more experienced people will be there right besides you," my mother assured me.

"Why me?" I asked.

"My superiors saw when you disobeyed orders and went to save your siblings. They didn't like that you disobeyed orders but they felt that made you stand out for the last member of this crew," my mother explained.

"When?" I asked, reverting back to my old fearless self.

"Today, I was heading over to wake you up. The others are waiting for you at the gates and here," my mother said, tossing me a backpack, "You'll need this."

I left without another word and jogged to the gates. I saw three figures waiting for me.

"Leah?" one of them asked. I nodded.

"Let's move, we'll explain on the way," they said, taking off. I followed closely behind, my backpack bouncing fiercely on my back. I looked at the vast wasteland, hardly any vegetation around except for a few patches of grasses here and there, a rare shrub, and fragile trees. I never knew what happened to this place and I never gave it much thought until today. Why was it like this? What in the world happened to our military that made the government establish this stupid law?

"Leah, we're not going to dwell into introductions, that's Cindy, Chase, and I'm Lance. We're headed to the Capitol, where the government is and we're there to get updates and new information. This must never fall into the terrorists' hands, do you understand?" Lance said.

"Yes sir," I replied, giving him a salute.

"Alright now let's get moving, we're to make good time to the Capitol," Lance said. The group fell into silence and we ran.


When night fell, we had travelled farther than the time I was heading to the terrorists' headquarters. That night the four of us collapsed to the ground when Lance called time to rest. We had ran all day, only stopping to rest every three hours. It had been a while since I got to the point of exhaustion.

"Leah that pace wasn't too hard on you was it?" Lance asked.

"No sir," I said, "I can handle it."

"Good, tomorrow will be the same, so eat up and get some rest."

"Yes sir," I replied, letting out a yawn. I grabbed a can of spaghetti and gobbled it down in a matter of seconds and downed it with some water. I leaned on my backpack, gazing up at the stars.

It seemed to be the only beauty left in this world, I thought as a breeze blew some dirt into my face. I wiped the dirt off of my face as I turned to face the opposite direction of the wind. The ground was uncomfortable, all dirt, pebbles, and occasionally rocks. I shifted in my sleep, unable to fall asleep. In the end, I gave up and just sat up, staring at my surroundings. They use to call America "The Land of Oppotunities," but now America was "The Land of Nothing." How ironic.

"You should sleep," I heard Lance say behind me.

"I can't fall asleep," I replied.

"Just be able to run tomorrow."

"I will."

For the next few days, we ran, rested, then ran again. We didn't say much, we just nodded at each other acknowledging their presence. Sleeping wasn't any better than the first night, but on the third night I fell asleep due to exhaustion.

"How long?" I asked Lance on the fourth day.

"One or two more days," he replied. I was tired of just running and not doing anything.


On the sixth morning, we reached the gates of the city. Lance showed the papers to the guards and they waved us in. The city was bustling. Shoppers were stolling the stalls set up on both sides of the streets. I heard many voices yelling out prices for a particular item. We walked along the cobblestoned road, pushing our way through the frantic crowds. I lost sight of Lance for a moment before I spotted him again, near the wall, while the crowd brushed past him. Cindy and Chase were holding onto each other. I shoved my way through the crowd, knocking into a woman with groceries in her hands. I tried to apologize, but the woman turned and scowled at me. Instead of helping her pick up her groceries like I originally was, I stood up and slipped through the crowd.

By the time I made it to the end of the street, I was exhausted from the effort to get through the crowd. I saw Lance, Cindy, and Chase waiting for me on the other side of the street. When I was about to cross the street, someone rammed into me, causing me to fall to the ground. He frantically scrambled to get his things, before turning to run. I grabbed his arm and spun him to face me. My side was aching from the fall and I wasn't about to let him go that easily.

Lance, Cindy, and Chase crossed the street to stand besides me, looking at the guy who had bumped into me.

"Well, well, if it isn't one of the Senators' sons himself," Lance said.

"What do you want?" he snapped.

"Take us to the government building," Lance ordered. He glared at us before leading the way to our destination.


A/N: The reviews from last update inspired me to write quickly this time! Thanks to my fellow readers and reviewers. Until next time. Salutes*