The dim light of the fading Moon : Dark Side
Lying on his side, hands shackled behind his back, Cavalier breathed slowly the ever present pain racking his body. The guards had not been too kind, and with his powers prohibited, he had felt every blow land, something he had forgotten about after so many years. Broken jaw throbbing, nose also, cracked or broken ribs on his right side making it difficult to breathe, anger and a sense of despair accompanied every breath. He spat some blood, along with a loose molar, on the floor.
Slowly, he rolled himself to a sitting position, grinding his teeth doing so. Letting out a curse from the pain, he leaned his back against the concrete wall of the cell, a sigh of relief escaping his mouth. That trashing he took, would serve him in the future, to remind him that the best laid out plans came with a certain amount of pain. He wondered if the others were in a worse shape than he was, passing out had been a blessing, but what had happened after, was a blur. If only he could free himself of the inhibitors, if only he…
“Patience, James, If I’m right, we’ll get our turn soon. Wepp will not get away with this.” Moon Psyche’s mindvoice spoke to him, and Cavalier felt the pain in it. Moon was in a bad shape himself.
“And if you’re wrong, this will go down in history as being the most idiotic attempt at surrendering ever known to man.” Cavalier was angry at Moon, not so much because they were caught, more because Moon was relying on a trump card to save the day. “It’s a good thing to hope, Moon, but not at the expense of others. If your gamble doesn’t work, have you thought of what might happen to Sun Heat?”
“If it comes down to that, James, if truly I am wrong, I will kill her myself before I let Wepp and his cronies do anything to her. This, I swear.” The resolve in the thought was adamant, decisive and strong. “Be sure of this James, we can’t allow Crey Industries, under any circumstances, to experiment on babies, whether they be mine, yours or anyone else’s, it isn’t right. It can’t be permitted to go on, and if this means that we’ll have to kill every last one of them to stop it, so be it, is that understood?”
Cavalier’s mental nod agreed to the fact, there were things in this world that should not, could not be allowed. Lines in the sand were drawn, and each chose a side in the war, point of views stating that each were righteous in their plight against the other. But the children, the future of the world, had to remain outside the equations, had to be allowed, encouraged to grow up believing the world was a good place to grow up in. Hope, it has to account for something.
“Are you sure that the alien watching over Voyager, saved him?” The famous scrapper then asked, while trying not to cough to hard out, the blood that had come to his lips. Pierced lung from a broken rib, it had to be.
“I can’t say for sure, but I felt her presence, heard her through him. I think she’s with him in a sense, to make sure that he survives. I felt a greater purpose than mere surveillance, she is overseeing the outcome of something big, of which he has to play an important part. The one thing I can guarantee, she will not let him die, not if she can help it. Only problem is, I’m not sure what she can or cannot do, in the matter. She influences his thoughts, and come to think of it, I believe she is preventing the Crey Serum from working in his bloodstream. Bane is not insane anymore, but mark my words, the moment she leaves him, he will revert back into a paranoid state, and we’ll have to stop him.”
“I just hope you’re right, Moon. Right now, a borderline psychopath is the only hope we have to rescue everyone. I truly hope you are right….”
The cell door unlocked, two guards entered equipped with what appeared to be a sophisticated type of cattle prods. Using the tips, they pushed Bear Cat to the back wall of the cell. “No funny business, you freak.”
“All right, all right, point those things somewhere else guys, I’m all about peace, love and hot showers.” Replied Bear Cat as he leaned against the wall.
A team of scientists entered the room, with a rolling stray in tow, on which a variety of medical probes, syringes and bandages were laid out. Quietly, they stopped between the guards, eyeing the huge tank from head to toe. Nodding to each other, the lead one made a hand gesture to the guards, and soon after Bear Cat found himself rocked by an electric current that left him stiff, but aware on the floor. The scientists wasted no time, and got down to business. They took a blood sample, injected him twice with an unknown substance, they also put in place a biosensor emitter. Using a small blade, they made a small incision in chest, just below the sternum. Once that was done, one of them brought out a type of medical gun, and they shot him with it. He felt an alien object burrow itself deep in his ribcage, lodging itself between the lungs, close to his heart. Had he been able to move, this would not have been permitted, he was annoyed.
Firing up a monitor on the tray, the constant beep of his heartbeat could be heard. Crey Industries was indeed going to collect “valuable” data from the fight, like how long it took him to die. They stitched him back up, then and there.
“Move it guys, it’s about to wear off.” Spoke one the guards, nervously standing by the door. The scientists nodded to each other, their work was done. Silently, they removed themselves from the room, followed by the two guards. The door closed, and Bear Cat remained on the floor, unable to move. Time went by, after about a minute, the huge tanker regained control of his body. A deep growl, soon after accompanied by a long series of curses and swears, could be heard through the reinforced metal door, all the way into the next corridor.
Quietly sitting on the bunk bed, Metal Core was attempting to meditate, on what he believed to be, the last days of his life. Of course, his time in the Shard had prepared him for death, but he had always pictured it in a fight, caught in a battle against odds he could not possibly overcome. That was the death he dreamed of, to stand defiantly in the face of danger, and not budge. Instead, he would die a lab rat, face down on a cement floor. Perspective, he reminded himself, allowed or prevented oneself from truly seeing what was going on. He would be of ice, would be of fire, in the coming hours, but he would not be indifferent.
His thoughts wandered on Jade Rade, wondering what, and also if, a day could’ve come when he and she, would talk. She was his spark, in a sense, the flicker of electricity that made his mind, body and soul, whole. Perspective, he thought again, made it possible for him to fight incredible odds, and yet be unable to tell the lady he cherished above all, how he truly felt for her. What is so frightening about love, that remaining quiet about it, makes one feel like it is heroic to do so? Words, simple words, carrying meaning beyond time and space, moving souls to a crescendo of sensations and beliefs. Exalting the people who had the courage to speak them aloud, to feel what poets write about, a thousand fold.
“If we make it out of here alive, she will know.” He solemnly swore to himself. Metal Core continued to let his mind drift on the subject, sitting still, eyes closed, on the countless times he had stood alone with her, unable to muster up the words he longed to tell her. Perspective, he vowed, would never again prevent him from being true to himself.
“Are these numbers correct, did you double check?” Wepp asked the technician standing in front of him, in his office.
“Yes sir.” Replied the latter briskly. “According to these readings, if she survives the dialysis, the woman should be the most powerful mutation ever created.”
Wepp put the papers out on his desk, and went to stand in front of the bay window looking down on the laboratory. Some of the greatest discoveries made by man, had been by mistakes. Gravity, radioactivity, and countless others. And now this…
“Upgrade the containment chamber, double the guards in the lab.” Wepp brought a finger to his lips, rubbing his bottom lip with it. There was an opportunity here, if they could harness her blood, much like they did with Turbo Starr, mould it into a viable serum, Crey Industries would become unparalleled on the biotechnology frontier, they would be able to transform every armies in the world, into super armies. Never again would a race like the Ritki, be able to invade blatantly their planet, never again. “Remove Mr. Starr from the extraction tube also, place him back in his cell. Until we’re done with her, he will have to wait.” He watched her, now quietly floating in the water, her body had stopped fighting the invasive procedure, she was becoming… Something else.
“As you wish, sir.” The technician left the room, while Doctor Wepp picked up the phone. It was time to report his progress to the powers that be. He knew the Countess would welcome this news with enthusiasm, hoped also, that she would make the rewards that came with it, substantial, as always.
While patiently waiting on hold, the security sergeant for the installation, entered his office, and came to stand stiffly in front of his desk. Wepp placed a hand on the phone’s speaker and said: “What is it?”
“Two things, sir. One, the guards that executed the controller have not made it back yet from the sewers, I sent out a detachment some time ago, and we haven’t heard from them since. Second, we have a perimeter breach.”
Wepp hung up the phone there and then, stood up and looked directly into the sergeant’s eyes.
“Perimeter breach? Have the Freaks decided we were no longer a threat to them?” He inquired, remembering last year’s incident with their “neighbours”.
“No sir, this is something new.” Replied the officer, suddenly uncomfortable with the idea of displeasing this most powerful man.
“Talk sergeant, I have no patience for riddles this late in the day.”
“Circle of Thorns, sir, they’re all over the perimeter.” Wepp’s head snapped around, looking at Ghost Starr’s inert shape in the tube next to Icy Heart.
“They’re coming for him.” Wepp spoke softly. What a fool he had been. This magical being could be tracked by magic users, and he had no way to prevent it. “Arm your men, I want everyone ready for a battle.”
A few minutes later, the laboratory became filled with activity. Scientists and technicians were helping each other to remove Turbo Starr from the containment tube, unplugging the intravenous system, removing the breathing apparel. They then laid him down on a stretcher, and promptly, two guards rolled him away towards the jailing area. The personnel also made busy reinforcing the containment unit of Icy Heart, boosting the input signal on the force field emitters and renewing the pressure into the tube itself. The same was done for Ghost Starr. After which, as an added precaution, they installed wiring and hooked up an emergency switch onto the tank itself. If the time came that they would need to use it, forty thousand volts of electricity would be sent into the liquid solution, killing the mutation instantly.
Armed guards and Crey Power Tanks positioned themselves all around the room, others were seen running all throughout the base, taking position in sensitive areas and making ready for the oncoming assault. Tension was palpable in the facility, eyes darting left and right, pulses quickening. The Crey personnel were highly trained and more than ready to thwart attempts to infiltrate their bases, nevertheless, these were men and women, nothing more. Granted, most of them could now enjoy the added abilities the Crey boosting serum provided, heightening their reflexes and quickening their general sense of response, all thanks to Turbo Starr’s unwilling participation in the matter.
Officers were screaming orders left and right, the soldiers were hustling into positions. This lasted for a few more minutes, followed by a hushed silence. Everyone was ready, quietly aiming their weapons towards the doors, towards the corridors, towards the facility entrance. The eerie silence just before a battle, when thoughts raced in everyone’s head, each thinking this was the end. Fear, from which certain people would find courage, others would find strength, and of course, where others would find themselves unable to move or act. The old adage from the military, was that out of twenty soldiers on a given line of battle, barely sixteen would put up a fight, mainly remaining face down in the dirt, firing blindly in the distance. From that sixteen, if the officer was lucky, a maximum of four would have the right mindset to actually go out there and do the killing, their psychological profile would later show that these four were borderline psychopaths to begin with. Most, though, would simply stay hidden and let it happen, hoping the psychopaths would get the job done. Such was the state of soldiering during World War II, the statistics did improve during the Viet-Nam War, but not by much. They did get considerably worse throughout the Gulf War, technology took the forefront, soldiers were less exposed to battles per say, and became less prepared for it, even after a tour of six months. Followed the Ritki War, which proved one and for all, that for all the technology humanity had at his disposal, what won the day in the end, were the ground troopers armed with bayonets, that charged the ships with the heroes. War was a bloody mess.
Wepp looked on the preparations from his office, thinking that there was never a sure outcome to a battle, only the knowledge that victory or defeat always depended on the fighters themselves, and their willingness to do battle. Strategy, yes, it did come into account, but not before the combatants. The most brilliants plans can be brought about into life, but without the troops to carry them out, victory is but a goal to be achieved. Nodding to himself, he stepped back from the window and was about to review once more, the data read outs from the Icy Heart Mutation, when the phone rang.
“Doctor, we are ready for Mr. Bunny.”
“Very well, have him escorted to the gymnasium. Tell the sergeant of the guards that Mr. Bunny is allowed to choose one weapon from our stocks, only one. No firearms.” Wepp was about to hang up, then thought again : “I want everything recorded, feed me the signal directly to my office.”
“As you wish Doctor.”
Pacing to and fro in her cell, she had given up trying to struggle free from the power shackles, Sun Heat felt a creeping fear. She kicked the reinforced metal door, again, knowing it would not do it any damage. Nevertheless, it was action.
“Damn you!” She yelled to the empty space surrounding her. She was at the boiling point, that state of mind when fear, anger and despair mingled together, to create blind rage. She launched herself from the back of the cell, and tackled the door with her shoulder. The result of which was that she landed squarely on her behind, on the floor, face flustered. She let out a long scream, her legs kicking emptiness before, much like a child would. A tiger in a cage, was what she was, a tiger wanting to break free, rip some throats and drink blood, that is.
Very much afraid, she started crying. She cried for her friends, for her baby. The world felt as if it was falling apart around her, and she was unable to stop it. What would happen to her child, if Crey Industries got their filthy hands on it? What will they do to her? What about the others? They dismissively killed Voyager, without regards or second thought, they could do the same to all of them. All of them, but not her… That old buffoon of a controller had said she would live, if Moon came along and died in her stead, why did he not foresee his own death? And while she was at it, why did these two idiots, Cavalier and Moon Psyche, decided that it was a good move to get beat up within an inch of their lives? She screamed again.
“You know, crawling through these vents is unpleasant enough, there is no need for you to add your wailing screams in them.” Spoke a small voice from the ceiling.
Blinking away her tears, Sun Heat looked up. She couldn’t make out who, or what, had spoken to her through the vent grill, but two bright pink eyes were looking at her.
“Who are you?” She then asked
“If you have cheese, I will tell you. I am very hungry.” Replied the small voice.
“Cheese?” Sun Heat chuckled at the incongruity of the question. Of all things that could happen at the moment, someone was asking her for cheese. “I don’t have any cheese, I am sorry.”
“Well, there’s no point in screaming your lungs out, lady. They will feed you when it’s time, they always do.” With that, Sun Heat heard whatever it was up there, scurry away.
“I could eat some cheese just about now myself.” Sun Heat muttered to herself, while her belly growled.
Lab Experiment got to the next vent, looked down to find another woman. Locating the human one proved difficult. Mind you, she had taken a few wrong turns, in her venture through the shafts system. But luckily enough, one of those wrong turns had landed her in the kitchens. Unluckily enough, the chef had caught her trying to borrow some of that delicious cheesecake he had just prepared. Did it ever look scrumchious, she thought again. Maybe if she tried once more, quietly this time, and also if, that was a big if, her stomach would not scream its hunger at the most inappropriate time, she could succeed.
She scurried on to the next vent, looking down to find the huge one. He had been nice to her, although he had no cheese then, she remembered him fondly. The door to his cell opened, and two guards entered to help him up. They said something about a “big fight”, and escorted him out of the room. She sighed. Of course, the one that could potentially feed her, gets taken away. It’s always like that. She moved on.
The next vent she looked down into, showed an empty cell. She was about to move on when the door below opened. On the stretcher, they brought in the “nice one”. It had been a long time since she had seen him out of the “big tube”. But this one, she recalled, was very charismatic. He had made her laugh a lot, that time when he showed her how to pinch her nose, so she could talk like a duck.
“Hello Turbo.” She whispered softly at the sleeping man the men in white left in the room. “Nice to see you again.” Into the darkness of the shaft she went on, until the other vent. There he was. She looked at him, head cocked to the side. What was so special about him, that the Doctor wanted her to “have a talk with him”, she wondered. He looked harmless enough, sitting on his bunk, one leg dangling away. She decided to observe him for a few moments, to decide what they would talk about, when she would introduce herself. He reached inside his coat pocket, then another, then searched inside the coat, and took something out. Lab Experiment’s eyes widened when she saw what he was holding in his hand.
Frank Winter sat in the confine of his cell, thoughts drifting on the predicament he and his friends were in. He was powerless in the sense that without his power suit, he was nothing more than a man, but Doctor Wepp had forgotten the greatest power he carried along with him, everywhere he went. His mind. He was a technological genius. And said mind, had already figured out how to deactivate the power shackles, if only he could get to his friends, he could get that out of the way. Reaching inside his coat pockets, he finally located what he was looking for, in the inside left pocket of his jacket, and took it out.
“Chocolate!” He heard a small voice scream from the ceiling.
TO PART 18 >
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