44 Unpleasant surprise 2
The vehicle that would take them to their destination was an armored troop transport truck more than 10 meters long. Fuel consumption was going to be excessive for so few passengers, but who knows if fuel will even be useful in the future.
Amandla automatically climbed in through the rear doors because, knowing this kind of model, she was aware that when she entered from here, she would see two rows of rigid seats facing each other.
She sat in the middle of the right row and Lazar took a seat in the same row two meters to her right.
Sullyvan, for his part, went knocking 3 times with the palm of his hand on the wall separating them from the driver to let him know that they were ready to leave before sitting on the seat in front of Lazar in the opposite row.
Everybody buckled up, then the truck started suddenly.
The driver picked up speed quickly, and although it was difficult to assess how fast the truck was because of the absence of windows, the violent jolts that disturbed the journey of Lazar and the others as the truck passed over what must surely have been a speed bump showed them that the driver didn't care much about their comfort.
These jolts were annoying but manageable for Sullyvan and Lazar but not for Amandla who was much lighter than them. She had been forced to cling to the seats next to her so as not to shake like a jackhammer in operation.
As soon as the jolts subsided, Amandla didn't fail to blame Sullyvan for this incident. "You chose your driver well!" She reproached while staring at him with a contemptuous look.
"Ah ah..." Sullyvan was laughing nervously, "I guess he's in even more of a hurry than we are to get there, ah ah..." He replied in an apologetic tone.
"Yeah... In a hurry to get there because he shits himself at the idea of driving at night in a territory normally controlled by monsters." Lazar must have put his finger on it because Sullyvan stopped laughing and his face falled when he heard his comment.
'The sooner they accept that the best army in the world had just been outflanked by a bunch of nudist monsters, the better.' In Lazar's eyes, there was nothing intimidating about the U.S army anymore... and Sullyvan had to accept that as well.
'From what I have seen so far, the policy that is carried out by the United States is the same as for a classic war... If the extent of what have been planned is limited to sending the army to solve all the problems, I'm sure that the people who gave the orders will find the results surprising.'
"What's the TD Garden?" Lazar turned to Amandla and realized that she had leaned over to him to ask him this while being careful not to let Sullyvan hear her.
'She should have asked me that when we were alone.' Lazar was seeing clearly that Sullyvan was pretending not to try to listen to them.
Lazar also approached Amandla and whispered in her ear, "In short, this is the arena of the Boston Celtics, a basketball team that plays in NBA."
"Ok." She replied calmly as she got back up on her seat.
It was a bit too cautious to want to know this to hide her cultural shortcomings. Lazar understood that it was in their best interests that no one find out that Amandla wasn't Bostonian, let alone American but she wouldn't be the only Bostonian who doesn't know what the TD Garden is.
On top of that, if Sullyvan had heard what she had asked, what she wanted to avoid by asking this question will happen, the questions he would be asking himself would be very problematic.
He would first wonder why Amandla doesn't want him to know that she doesn't know what the TD Garden is, and then, the assumptions he might make from that would be dangerous to her anonymity.
"How much further is it?" Amandla asked in a childish voice as she leaned back towards Lazar once again.
"*Sigh*. What's the next step? When do we get there?"
"I was trying to take your mind off whatever you was thinking about since it doesn't seem to do you any good. Apparently it didn't work out, not surprisingly, I'm not known for being a person who can cheer people up." Amandla replied in a more serious tone.
"I can't get rid of the feeling that someone somewhere is trying to fuck me, don't expect me to smile with that in mind." Lazar said with palpable frustration in his voice.
He had deliberately spoken louder at the end of his discussion with Amandla so that Sullyvan could hear him...
"You feel targeted Major?" He asked casually while looking at Sullyvan directly in the eyes.
"No." When Lazar saw that Sullyvan was struggling to keep eye contact with him while responding, his suspicions seemed a little less paranoid to him.
'I hope for the Major's sake that he measures all the consequences that could rain down on him according to the extent of his lie.' Lazar thought while observing the movements of Sullyvan's Adam's apple as he nervously swallowed down his saliva.
Lazar put on the hood of his sweatshirt, placed his elbows on his knees and lowered his head almost facing the floor of the truck, this made Amandla and Sullyvan understand that he no longer wish to talk for the rest of the journey.
"We didn't introduce ourselves properly..." Being very curious about the kind of relationship she had with Lazar, Sullyvan tried to strike up a conversation with Amandla after a few minutes of silence.
Unfortunately for his already damaged self-esteem, she cut him off in his stride.
"Chut." She murmured, putting her finger in front of her mouth to tell him condescendingly to shut up.
She had felt the recent animosity that Lazar had for Sullyvan and although she didn't know exactly why he was targeted by Lazar's provocations, she felt that she should distance herself from Sullyvan because Lazar should have good reasons to act like that.
For almost 10 minutes, only the roar of the truck's engine and the screeching of its tires at each change of direction could be heard in the back of truck.
Amandla, Sullyvan and Lazar had been completely silent. Not a cough, not even a sound of friction between their shoes and the floor of the truck could be heard from one of them.
Then, the truck started to decelerate...
And finally stopped.
Lazar raised his head thinking they must have arrived.
20 seconds later.
Amandla and Lazar began to look at each other with a questioning gaze as Sullyvan showed no reaction even though they had stopped and the driver still hadn't communicated with them.
When Sullyvan heard three muffled noises coming from the other side of the wall separating them from the driver, he detached himself and eagerly walked to the back doors.
"We have arrived." He sayd cheerfully, in a hurry to leave the toxic atmosphere he was in.
Lazar and Amandla also unfastened their belts and followed behind Sullyvan.
As soon as he opened the back doors, 3 beams of light coming from flashlights blinded him.
"Shit!" Sullyvan screamed while putting his hands in front of his face to protect his eyes.
Despite his complaint, the people holding the flashlights still took a few more seconds to examine his face before lowering them.
"Excuse us, Major Dawson, we just wanted to verify your identity." Informed a strong female voice.
A voice, indeed, since only those who carried the flashlights could clearly see the people in front of them.
Though... correction made, this statement was only true for Sullyvan and Amandla.
On his side, Lazar's irises turned white, then his pupils dilated until they covered the totality of his eyes.
This physical change was unnoticed by Lazar but not its effects.
He was seeing 3 slightly blurred silhouettes in black and white as well as the structure even more difficult to distinguish from what seemed to be the TD Garden at 200 meters in front of him.
Focusing on the silhouettes in front of him, Lazar gathered some information.
First, he verified if they were with the right people and the fact that the silouhettes seemed to be indeed wearing military uniforms conforted him with this idea.
He then distinguished a woman about 1,70 meter tall with a ponytail and what appeared to be a classic sword in her right hand, 'It was her who spoke to Sullyvan.'
He was sure about it since the 2 people accompanying her were men. One on her left with a club in both of his hands, one on her right with a spear in his right hand, both of them about 1,85 meter tall.
The more passive postures of these men compared to the woman as well as the fact the she was the one who talked to Sullyvan allowed Lazar to understand that they were under her orders.
Sullyvan got out of the truck and stood next to the other soldiers.
Lazar came forward, and when the soldiers pointed their flashlights at his face, he took off his hood without question.
They didn't seem to find anything abnormal with him and his eyes came back to normal with the omnipresent light on his face, so they lowered their flashlights after a while like with Sullyvan.
"So, it's you. The guy who's taking himself for our savior?" Asked the woman with pure hostility in her voice.
For Lazar, these were the kind of questions that were best answered not with a 'yes' or a 'no' but with a neutral argument such as 'you will be able to determine who I am when you will see me in action, not before', but he preferred to save his energy for more important things than talking to a person who seems to have an already strong opinion about him.
'This night will be long...' He got out of the truck with glibness and stood a few meters away from Sullyvan and the soldiers.
When Amandla also tried to go down, all the flashlights were pointed at her, which wasn't weird at all taking into account what happened before. But then, it quickly went to mayhem.
"She wasn't planned!" Aggressively shouted one of the men in the trio of soldiers.
"I'm with Mister Walker." Amandla said to calm everyone down.
"In that case, she can come with us." The woman said with an almost friendly tone while lowering her flashlight as well as those of her comrades from Amandla's face, "I will help you." She added to Amandla as she approached her.
"Do they think I'm stupid?" Lazar thought while making 'Hate' appear discreetly.
As she was about to put her leg on the ground, Amandla felt that a blade was approaching very closely and dangerously to the said leg.
She looked up at the woman who pretended to want to help her and was blinded by her flashlight in the next instant.
"It feels good, huh? Whore!" The woman shouted as she swinged her sword up and down with the intent to kill Amandla.
Contrary to what the woman thought, Amandla wasn't as much at her mercy as she thought.
Even when blinded, she managed to roll on the ground to her right to avoid the sword blow coming to her left.
"You'll see who's the whore!" Amandla shouted, enraged by what had just happened.
'I'm going to put a fucking arrow in your ass! Let's see if you will like to die that way!' Despite her hateful feelings, Amandla kept her cold and logical way of operating in combat.
She continued to put distance between herself and the woman because her vision was still a long way from returning to normal and she made her bow appear as well as arrows.
As the woman was about to go after Amandla...
The sound of two masses falling to the ground caught her attention.
She temporarly lost interest in Amandla and was going to turn around to see what was going on behind her, but the blade she felt against her throat dissuaded her from doing so.
"Put away your toothpick, it's not like she was going to let you try to use it more than once anyway." Lazar commanded with a calm but sinister voice.