Agartha's Castaway - Book 6 HTML version

“We'll check it out.” A radio clicked, ending the transmission.
Thorn appeared at their side and whispered, “There're four of them, visors up, and they're
inside the ship.”
Mike unzipped his backpack and started rummaging through it, the sound carrying through
the silence. Casey shot him a doubtful look, wondering what he was up to. Knowing him, he was
probably getting a snack. He squeezed his arm through to the bottom and let out a groan.
Mike anxiously pulled out a baseball-sized smoke bomb. “Got the tear gas.” It wasn't
exactly tear gas, but the general had told him it'd knock anybody out.
She quickly dug through Mike's sack and grabbed a gas mask. “Don't forget this.”
“Thanks.” He pulled it down over his face, resembling a giant insect. “I can't breathe.” His
eyes bulged as he clawed at his mask, frantic to get it off.
“Shhhh,” said Casey.
Thorn adjusted the straps around Mike's mask. “Inhale through your mouth and exhale
through your nose.”
Mike nodded. “Better. Thanks.”
Casey was surprised she could hear him through the mask, and he didn't even sound like
Darth Vader with a bad case of asthma. She pulled her own gas mask over her head and fastened
the straps at the back. It felt snug and tight against her skin, and her breathing came low and
labored like inhaling through a straw. She sucked hard, but her lungs screamed at the sudden lack
of oxygen, and the right side of her head started to hammer. She took another breath and was
glad she was starting to get the hang of it.
She crawled after Mike toward the open ship door.
“Now!” Thorn whispered.
Mike tossed the canister. “Special delivery!” The red ball landed inside with a thud. It hissed
and spun, sending green smoke across the floor. The gas thickened as it ros e around the guards,
and they began to cough and choke, hitting the ground like heavy potato sacks.
“They're down!” yelled Casey. “Can we go?”
Thorn grabbed her elbow. “Give it a minute to make sure.”
Hands trembling, Casey whipped out her gun and pointed at the door. They had no idea
what kind of soldier might come running out. Even worse, she worried the gas might not work
on all of them, especially if one of them was quick to slap down their visor.
“They're going to be out cold,” whispered Mike.
“Don't they say that in every bad science fiction flick? Any B movie star could tell you
that,” she retorted. Taking chances was out of the question, because that was exactly what always
got action heroes killed. “This is just in case they're not.”
A chill ran up her spine as she moved a finger on the trigger and swung her backpack over
her shoulder. Swiftly, she started walking up the ramp and positioned herself by the entrance.
She felt like an elusive member of the SWAT team, ready to storm in and raid the place. In spite
of her racing pulse, she couldn't resist the temptation to stick out one leg Tomb Raider-style,
imagining herself just as hot. Of course, that didn't matter, since she and Mike broke up, but it
didn't hurt to look good either way. She bit her lip, still trying to sooth herself with internal
laughter to stifle the fear.
Peering inside, she stared down at the four limp bodies. Roswell, New Mexico flashed in her
head. Allegedly, scientists had found a crashed spaceship with five dead aliens. She wondered if
that was what it looked like when they boarded the craft and found the bodies. Their ribcages
moved up and down as though they were in deep slumber, but she knew bad guys always pretend