Jude looked ahead, the rolling dust clouds like a thick dry fog allowing only a faint outline of the rubble desert and ruins that was once a thriving city all around them. The dusty near lifeless and barren landscape broken up by long forgotten and salvaged buildings. Dust and sand drying out any moisture left and furious early sunlight trying to melt the last ruins of humanity. Looking up at the sky, they only had one shot at sneaking in or else they would be trapped outside and would need to find another weak point in the defenses of the Ark 3.
They adjust their bag under their robes and pushed on, dirty and torn up heavy white robes billowing, covering their body and large backpack from the harsh sands as if a swarm of carnivorous wasp eager to pick off any survivor's stupid enough to travel outside. a long metal staff helped them move, tipped with a brass astrolabe like device, the rings linked to various dials under it. Each one had various settings that were random to an outside view. They had an hour of travel left and it would be a display of strong will and body to make it.
Seeing a rusted, ruined billboard displaying an idealized advert. "Ark Program, we built the city, you build the Community" With an image of an idealized nuclear family out of old-world war propaganda and various token families in the background and futuristic homes for everyone in a clean safe neighborhood.
Jude's gas mask hid any emotion but a soft shake of their head. Looking at it like it was something they either longed for or wanted to burn made a strong emotion clear. To the side a few chunks of rubble road, with ancient spires of rusted office buildings left collapsed in the distance. A sigh breaking the silence under their mask before they continue at a steady pace. Patting the sand off the rusted metal plate graffitied with the words. "They Left Us" almost faded away but they wanted it to stay visible, a reminder that the Ark was not going to save you.
As Jude Approached the Ark, they moved from the barely functioning paths or old roads to going through the wild rubble dunes and strange ruined nature of the apocalyptic desert, ahead of them a huge, overshadowing dome of black crystal-like solar panels with a 3-story tall metal rim along the ground rising from the sand. The Ark was impossible to view in one glance having it turn your eyes to see it all. It was like a small moon crashed into earth but in truth it was an advanced city, one of the few remaining places of advanced society. Before it, a set of towering square concrete spires on metal bases with heavy duty antennae and radar system jutting out like some sort of technological branches to an oppressive tree, searching for any abnormality. set off from the dome with the words "Arkangel 1.1" and "1.2" Carved into them any paint long sanded away. Hidden under shadows of the radar equipment were military turret barrels scanning the ground and sky, robotic sentries on high alert to protect the Ark. Any victims consumed by the desert's remaining predators or taken by the Ark. Few entered an Ark without an ID Chip. At least under normal circumstances. But as Jude glanced out watching the turret turn away from them, a moment of rare relaxing breath as they sat in the sand and started turning dials on their staff.
The astrolabe began to turn and realign, the glass lens on each ring twinkling in the burning sun as subtle motion of the dials affected each. As they set the final dial in place, setting it upright so the sun hit the lenses on the rings, seeing a symbol of a hollow sun pointed to in the light high in the sky. Laying back in the sand, taking out a small warn book of handmade paper and wood cover. Using charcoal for a pencil, they open to a diagram, the words matching the name of the archangel's and an arrow pointing to the base of archangel 1.1 saying. "Enter" next to it. Looking up to the sky, Jude saw the signs of the coming total solar eclipse. The last chance to mess with the archangels unnoticed. They would shut down in the darkness due to a flaw snuck into them by a man on the inside and the Ark would need a second to switch to battery power during the Eclipse.
They took out a pouch with a small blade and a dull point syringe with a wide mouth. Inside the needle sat a small blood-stained capsule, an ID Chip implant from someone no longer using it. Looking back to the Archangels, no sign of them spotting Jude. But there was almost a half a mile distance between Jude and the base of the archangel. The glitch would hold for at best a minute, if anything went wrong, they were doomed. They stripped their gloves, their skin as leathery at this point. The mask blocked any sign of trouble but the tense hovering of the blade between the thumb and pointer made the dislike of this clear. They finally push the blade down, making a small cut; the thumb twitching and skin tightening with the muscles from pain before dropping and kicking the knife in the dirt as if it was an animal stinging them, a deep red dripping in the dry sand from the hovering hand as they grab the syringe, pulling the cover of the needle off and steadying their aim, pushing it through fighting the urge to closes their hand with a muffled groan. Pushing down the plunger to inject the capsule. Tossing the syringe with the same hate as the blade they grab a tattered but mostly clean cloth and wrap their wound before covering it with the glove. Their hands feel off as they lightly curl their fingers to make sure they did not hit a muscle. Examining it quickly before the heat of the sun lessened overhead.
The sky darkened as the eclipse started in earnest. They sit back up watching the spires. They had one shot, gripping the staff tight. The distance too far to run during the glitch with the sand and Jude's gear. They quickly adjust the rings of the astrolabe all the dials on a small star, the rings aligned to a what looks like a ball of metal yarn completely enclosed. The sky was as dark as night but what caught Jude was not the beauty of space but the turrets moving erratically, locking onto nothing, overloading the sensor array on both angels as they shut off. The guns did not worry Jude as much as those sensors, with the Ark security blind they would not see this.
A firm tone as if the mask were not there, the air around Jude as they spoke the words coming out with an aura of unnatural presence. "Pherusa" The ribbons of the brass astrolabe glimmering with multicolored runes as they transport covering most of the distance in a split-second Jude caught themselves not used to being safe to use their abilities. But unable to enjoy the moment, rushing to the base of Archangel 1.1 and brushing their hand over the base of the tower. Searching for a scanner for the new chip for what felt like forever, a glancing touch with the implanted hand leading to a sharp harsh buzz as the emergency hatch opened to a steep staircase deep underground. Jude wasting no time entering as the turrets were started, and the archangel's sensors ignited with life.