Continuation by Toadie
a grunt she shoved John off her legs and was rewarded for her efforts with
a stabbing pain from her wounded leg. Speed was of the essence now, so she
levered herself to her feet and started towards the newly formed exit of
their rubble tomb. She hadn’t even taken the first step when she
hesitated and looked down at John,
who lay on his back blinking in a dazed fashion. He had offered to help
her even when he didn’t have to, it wasn’t like he was part of her
squad. Plus he was some
kind of defective.
But apart from being dazed,
he was whole in body and if she was to survive the Scarran
kill sweeps no doubt going on in the city,
she needed whatever aid she could get, even ludicrously inadequate aid
since that was all that was available.
a sigh swiftly followed with a grunt she knelt over John
and leaned over him looking into his eyes that were only now
starting to focus as he recovered from being stunned by the explosion.
a whisper she could barely hear
he said, “Well, that could have gone better.”
have got to be the strangest creature I have ever met.” Mirna said to
him as he opened his eyes and she found her brown eyes meeting his blue
irreverent grin slid into place on his face as if it were his customary
expression. “You ain’t the first to say that to me you know kid. You
won’t be the last either, that is unless you mean to keep me here
chatting with you all day instead of letting us get the hell out of
You’re the one who’s lying on the ground!” she spluttered
indignantly, stung at being call ‘Kid’ as much as his preposterous claim
that she was the one delaying them. How dare he!
admiring the view darling but I think it is time for us to get out of
Dodge before we end up on Boot Hill.”
was all she got out before she found herself being half dragged, half
carried towards the newly formed exit. His swift decisive movements
surprised her especially when compared with her previous assumption that
she was dealing with some kind of defective. He was as alert as any
commando she had seen at work, moving swiftly and quietly. He had a
conservation of movement to him, no effort wasted as he scanned their
and made decisions instinctively as to what was their safest
path out of here.
day was hot, almost oppressively so for her, yet it was dim. Dust clogged
the air around them, turning everything into a gray indistinct shadow of
itself. Yet this male who was practically dragging her did not pause or
once did he stop to ask her opinion and never once did she think to offer
it. Slowly she fell into her role, the role she had been trained to follow
since birth. To take orders unquestioningly and blindly. Who ever this
John was it was obvious to her now that as strange as he was he was a
senior officer used to command and expecting to be obeyed.
you know where we are?” His question was unexpected and she had to look
around herself to get her bearings. She had been alert
for any Scarrans but she had been following him, sure he knew
where they were going.
mean you don’t know where we are?” she asked incredulously and
slightly angrily, cursing herself for following so blindly.
course I know where we are,
but you were stationed here and know the area better than I and
know the locations of the medical facilities, so I’m asking you again,
do you know where we are?” she found herself blushing, an unaccustomed
feeling, at the obvious scathing patience in Johns voice.
umm...” she found herself at a loss for their location, so little looked
the same now, collapsed buildings made a mockery of the city as it once
was. The streets were empty however, everyone knew what happened and were
obviously hiding as best they could from the Scarrans and only the truly
desperate would be on the streets at a time like this, desperate as she
and her companion.
she formed an idea of where they were, somewhere in grid four by twenty
which meant that the medical facilities should be… “That way.”
pointed off to their left, turning her head to look in that direction,
finding she was staring at a Scarrans troop carrier as it cruised slowly
and silently in their direction. She was still standing pointing when she
felt Johns arms go around her waist and pull her into the deep shadows of
the building they were
standing next to.
their vantage the could see it coming, searchlights from its belly
flickering over the remnants of buildings like pale fingers reaching down
to grab the souls of the dead. Other more insidious sensors were also at
work, poking and prying, search for body heat, rhythmical sounds created
by breathing and the beating of a heart, anything that would betray the
presence of life in the path of the craft. And it was coming straight
towards them. Yet they dare not run, for yet more sensors would detect the
motion and bring the troop carrier directly to them and lose them any hope
of evasion, yet there was also no place to hide.
ship ship’s relentless journey towards them slowed and stopped, near
enough for them to hear the whisper of its engine as it hovered yet far
enough away to stay hidden. Someone wasn’t so lucky however, Shots
reached up from the ground, in the hazy mist looking like lightning in
reverse. From the sounds of it the heaviest weapons being used were pulse
woefully inadequate against the meanest Scarran
trooper never mind a heavily armored assault carrier.
craft simply hung there for several microts, immune and inviolate as the
shots rained up upon it. Then it happened. Even from her vantage point she
felt it, could see it even. A blast of intense heat came from the ship,
the heat haze dancing in the dust-choked
air causing a seemingly solid wall to appear before thinning
and diluting in the heavy hot air. Mirna felt it hard to catch her breath
even from this distance and knowing anyone caught directly underneath
would be stunned into insensibility almost instantly, but the duration
wasn’t enough to do permanent harm. Unfortunately for whoever it was
under the craft.
and the other stayed where they were long after the ship had landed,
keeping a sharp ear out for movement towards their position. It was an
unnecessary precaution and a mentally damaging one. Not long after the
ship landed the screams began, first the hoarse cries of males, sounds
empty of hope yet pleading for help all the same. A softer weeping could
also just be made out, almost as a counterpoint to the screams.
was only when the last male voice dwindled
into silence that the true horror struck home for Mirna. She
had heard the stories yet never truly believed them, until now. The new
screams were of the females, only these were different, uglier to her
ears. She clasped her hands over her ears and turned her back looking for
the first time in a long time at John. His face betrayed nothing, it was
set, hard, maybe even harsh but his eyes shone, perhaps with unshed tears,
she did not know, could not say. This male was everything she aspired
to be as a peacekeeper. Perhaps he was unconventional but she
understood what he was now. He was a commando, he had to be, everything
about him screamed it to her now that she listened. He knew combat, had
seen scenes like this and more.
she followed his example, she hunkered down beside him and waited it out,
trying her best to ignore the cries. It ended… eventually. The ship took
off once more but this time heading away from them.
She waited till it was out of sight then made a move to the site
of the screams only to be stopped by a hand on her arm.
he said. “There is no point and there is nothing there you want to
see.” His voice was not emotionless rather filled with them to the point
where they canceled each other out, expressing everything yet reveling
we might be able to help someone.”
is nothing left to help there, nothing you would recognize at least. Leave
it be. Trust me.”
what do we do?”
carry on. Get you medical attention then get the hell off this planet as
soon as we can and avoid any contact with the Scarrans. The medical
facility is this way isn’t it?” He
pointed away slightly from where she had originally pointed,
just enough so that they would miss… whatever he felt she should not
bear witness to. She felt both stung and grateful at once. She had no
desire to witness what the Scarrans had wrought yet she felt a dread
fascination to see just what stories she had heard were true.
made it to the medical facilities with no further incident. The place was
which Mirna found both right and yet odd. So many
people gathered in one
place, so close to the Scarrans and yet nothing was happening. She
wasn’t the only one frowning at this odd situation, she watched as John
scanned their surroundings repeated with a frown, eyes peering through
this soup of dust trying to see more than there was to see.
gave up with a sigh and turned back to her. “I don’t like this so we
are not staying. In just long enough to patch up your leg and out before
the big bad comes huffing and puffing, ok?”
screwed her eyes up as she glared at him. Whatever he was saying was
making no sense at all. It was worse than gibberish, it sounded like it
should mean something but… “Big bad?”
you know, the big bad wolf, ‘all the better to eat you with’”
never mind, I could explain it till I was as blue as a Delvian
and you still wouldn’t know what I was talking about.”
just shrugged. It was of no importance to her, although she was curious.
He spoke like no other being she had heard of or even imagined. Obviously
he had traveled far in his duties. If the situation wasn’t as dire as it
was, she would maybe have worked up the courage to ask him to recreate
with her just so she could get him to tell her some stories about his
missions, the unclassified ones obviously.
helped her through the crowded corridors until they found a medical bay
that was empty. The staff were busy, forcing panic to the back of their
minds as they worked diligently to patch up
the wounded. The soldiers got priority over the civilians as was right, as
they would be the ones doing the fighting and the dying. Although they did
not have exclusivity on dying when the Scarrans were involved.
sat her on a bed,
ignoring her protests that she could get on it without his help. Then he
knelt and examined her leg, uncovering the temporary bandage she had fashioned
to stem the worst of the bleeding and poked it ungently causing her to
hiss with pain and glare at him. He simply looked up at her and winked.
kid. Pain is just nature’s way to let you know your legs still there.
Now all we have to do is make sure that remains the case.” He reached
over and opened one of the many emergency medical boxes strewn around the
room. Sitting it beside him she watched in shock as he competently did
a med techs job and dealt
with her wound, cleaning it, stapling what needed stapling
competently if not expertly or without causing some pain and then finally
she levered herself to her feet, testing her leg. The worst of the pain
was gone and she had almost full use, but she felt stuff and slightly
he remained kneeling as he watched her walk slowly around the room
regaining her memory of what it was like to move with two functioning
she looked down at him and smiled. Confidence returning. She had a leader
and a pistol.
He stood brushing off the dust on his pants only to leave clear streaks.
“Time to get out of here.”
as if those words were prophesizing doom it happened, the screaming,
shouting and the sound of gunfire. With a curse she did not catch he
grabbed her and pulled her into the corridor that microts before had been
relatively empty, now crowded with panicking people, civilians and
peacekeeper some part of her mind noted with disgust.
second time she witnessed the Scarrans’ weapon to incapacitate her
people it wasn’t a wall of dust that marked its progress, rather a
shimmering haze and a wall of collapsing people. Then it hit her and she
collapsed. Conscious thought almost escaped her, all that she was left
a bizarre kaleidoscope of images, flashes of events seen from
odd angles. Gunfire too echoed in her mind,
Scarrans chasing her as she floated away from them.
did not know how long it was before she recovered herself but when she did
she was far from the medical facility, alone but for the jacket strewn
over her. It was nearly dark, probably earlier than she thought but
darkness was certainly drawing close,
aided by the seemingly ever-present dust in the air.
sat up with a start barely keeping the presence of mind not to cry out.
But she could not help jumping when a voice from the deep shadows called
out to her.
I see, Sleeping Beauty. I almost thought I was going to have to kiss you
there for a microt.”
princess of the obvious.”
did we escape? How could we escape?” panic edged her voice as she began
to contemplate a horrible possibility.
She was with a collaborator. That’s the only thing that made
sense. He would have been knocked as senseless as she when the Scarrans
attacked and yet they were here, safe. She scrabbled at her holster only
to find it empty.
wide eyes she watched as John
reached into his holster and came up with her pistol.
“Looking for this?” He
tossed it at her, it fell just short of her fingers yet she
made no move to pick it up.
kid… Mirna. I may have not been completely straight with you but I am
not your enemy. I am just trying to get us both out of a bad situation.”
are you?” she whispered.
told you, my name is John.” His voice was tight and he would not quite
meet her eyes so she asked again, stronger this time.
John Crichton.” He said barely above a whisper. Eyes on hers now,
waiting for recognition to spark in them.
eyes narrowed as an earlier memory surface. “The same John Crichton that
the Scarrans were hunting
unfortunately for this world.”
all this just to capture you?” Awe
flecked her voice. If the Scarrans were so willing to expend such resources on one male he
must be incredibly important.
well, when you’re the only human on this side of the big galactic pond
who has a head stuffed full of secrets that could win a war for whoever
possesses them, you’ll find that people are willing to spend big to get
my race. I am human.”
thought we covered that. You Sebacean
have never heard of ‘umans before.”
have in the uncharted territories or anywhere else for that matter.”
been contaminated.” With a jerk she pulled herself to her feet. Pistol
in her hands pointed squarely at John’s chest. “You have contaminated
me. If they find out I am finished. My career is over if they find out. I
a panic she ran, leaving him behind ignoring his shouts for her to return.
She just ran. Away. She had to get someplace where she could think, make
plans to hide her contamination.
was only when she stumbled and fell did she look around her and realized
where she was. All around her lay bodies,
all male. Burned, tortured and obviously dead. With a shiver she replayed
in her mind the sounds she heard almost being able to pick out which male
had made what sound.
curiosity pushed her on. Made her search for the other bodies she knew
were here, the females. it didn’t take long to find them, they were all
grouped together clothing torn, bodies abused in ways that made the
torture of the males merciful by comparison but the worst was yet to come.
It took her microts to realize they were still alive, breathing. She
stumbled forward to the first victim shaking her trying to get some
response but got none. On she went from one woman to the next, finding most of them alive but all
equally as responsive as the dead. Only breathing differentiated the
living from the dead.
were dead in the living death. Tortured beyond hope of salvation and left
to die in the most horrible way a Sebacean could imagine. She could not
understand how anyone could hate another being so much as to do this to
looked around, for help, advice, someone to tell her what she should do
but she was alone. She could only do what she would want, need done in
their place. She had to release them from their pain. With a deep breath
and a prayer to a god she did not believe in she drew her knife, it
trembled in her hand, yet she had to do this.
was kneeling, weeping when John appeared and knelt beside her, his eyes
taking in all her work, yet he said nothing. She looked up at him, tears
in her eyes, all illusion gone now.
they could. Peacekeepers have done as bad or worse to their own kind, why
should you expect Scarrans
to be any more softhearted?”
every living being lies a tiny seed of darkness, call it evil or call it
something else. We all have it. In some it is closer to the surface than
others. Some species don’t even bother hiding it, they
simply embrace it and follow its call The Scarrans aren’t evil they
simply are, they know no other way it is their nature to hate
all that is different from them. In many
ways Peacekeepers are the greater evil, they train you to hate
those different from you, twist your natures to bring out that seed of
darkness and to let it grow. It is a strong person who can survive all
that and still be themselves.”
think I am evil?”
I just think you knew no other way, now I think you do.”
what do i do now?” he voice trembled and was weak, barely above a
stand up, walk on and live. Life goes on; in the end the
best way to beat evil is to outlive it. Watch it perish as it chokes
itself to death.”
we go on?” her voice still trembled slightly but it was stronger than
before, her desire to believe powerful, her need even more so.
go on.” With that he put a hand under her elbow and helped her to her
feet. “Lets get out of here. I have friends who will be worried about