Tag Archives: survival

The Rebel’s Rise, Part 6

Harl grunted and crossed his arms.  “Fine, we’ll get started on this project.  Amaria, you’re in charge of it, and the girl.  Vallen, get back to training your troops.  We need that ammo from the depo.  Without it we are going to have to start cabalizing our gear to make weaponry.”

Amaria and I bowed keeping our heads down until Harl stomped off.  We exchanged a look.  Both of us were worried about Harl’s attitude.  To this day, I find it odd I had more in common with an alien than anyone else.

Vallen, do not trouble yourself.  Harl does not like her cavalier attitude.” Amaria fixed a very slight frown at Gulla who only grinned in return.  “Neither do I.  If she ever expects to lead she must behave as an adult, not a rebellious child.”

A sweet delight laugh burst out from Gulla.  “I’m just being myself, Amaria.”

I shook my head.  “I’ll go back to my soldiers.”

***

  A week passed without much change to our routine. Missions happened, people came back injured, and we retrieved supplies.  I walked by the lab occasionally to see Gulla and Amaria.

At the end of the week I attempted to choke down some dry rations. I was relieved when Harl called for a camp meeting.  I trotted over sipping out of my cup.  The first one to arrive as I gazed over the angular, broken landscape.  The remains of old wars.  The Nobles had stopped trying to rebuild the planet, too wrapped up in their own affairs.  In the end, I couldn’t be fully upset, since it kept us hidden.

I heard voices talking behind him as I turned.  Harl, Gulla, and Amaria stood at the center.  Harl motioned to Gulla.

She raised her voice loud enough to nearly echo over the area.  “We have created enough for the serum to enhance all the working soldiers.  However, as we tested we realize it does not activate immediately.  Therefore, we will do it in phases.  General Harl has picked out the first wave and you will report to the lab for your injection and calibration.  Not all the enhancements will take, and they may manifest differently.  Report any reaction to the medical officer or genetics, even if it is minor.”  She paused her dark eyes narrowed, and intense. The strength of her personality struck me, she took after my sister apparently.  “Headaches, rash, food tasting different, anything, understood?” The edge to her words was a command.

A chorus of ‘yes ma’am’ filled the air.

“Do as she says.  Obey.”  Harl slapped his hand onto his palm.  “Go out, the geneticist, will grab the first round.” He waved me over as the crowd dispersed.

I strolled over, taking another sip of water.  “What is it?”

Amaria stepped up beside Harl.  “General.”

Harl’s nostrils flared as Gulla strode up beside him.  “This doesn’t involve you.”

“Oh, I can’t listen?”  How such a sweet-looking thing could come off so demeaning surprised me.

Harl turned his back toward her before talking. “Tonight, I want to hit a military installation with a small team.  I want you and Amaria.  You need to bring two operatives from each of your teams.”

I considered this.  “Why are we going?” Gulla remained quiet and watchful.

“They have high grade explosives, and advanced weaponry.  And from a source I learned they won’t be as guarded because they were diverted to go escort a Noble to another Noble’s estate.”  I knew without asking he would not reveal his source.  Whoever the source was, he used them often and achieved good results.

Amaria’s appearance shifted a bit.  Her skin lightened and her hair darkened to black.  “This seems risky. Perhaps we should have less valuable people on the mission.  The cause could be irrevocably harmed if you and Vallen both died.”

“It’s too dangerous to risk the non-enhanced members.  You are, well, a Star Child, Vallen is a Noble, and I am a former head of a guard.”  Harl ground his jaw together loud enough to be heard. “This will give us a good arsenal.  I have hopes we will be able to duplicate some of it in our lab as well.  Though, it may not be possible.”

With grace, Amaria bowed low.  “It will be done.”  She popped up and headed out.

I nodded. “I’ll get it done.”

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The Rebel’s Rise, Part 5

If I were to be honest, I didn’t know we could trust her.  She was a slave, a slave to something I couldn’t even understand.  However, her master’s goals were our goals.  “She’s helped us from the very beginning.” I waited a beat.  “And, she didn’t have to tell us who, or what she is.  In fact, if I remember, her masters’ punished her for it.”

“I understand.  But, Amaria doesn’t make decisions on her own.  She’s at their beck and call, and if they changed their minds, she would have to obey.”

I knew there wasn’t any point to arguing.  Privately, I acknowledged the fact Amaria often disobeyed the Soul Merchants.  They punished her, brutally, but it didn’t seem to affect her decisions. “I trust her.”

He shook his head at me. “I already have enough problems with the Nobles.  I don’t need to add the Soul Merchants to the list of obstacles.”

“The Nobles are doing what they feel they have to.”  I used to be a Noble before my parent’s disowned me.  “I don’t think what they do is right, but I can see it from their point of view.”

Harl clapped me the back, hard.  “That’s why you are invaluable.  You know how they think, and you know their tactics.”

“We are still losing the war.  We need the technology.  If the girl brings it…”  A slight narrowing of my eyes as I expressed my seriousness. “We need to use it.”

He stepped back from me.  He crossed his bulky arms again.  “Don’t you worry if it has side effects? Or how dangerous it might be?”

“I don’t,” involuntarily, my head jerked away.  I motioned around us.  Shattered, remains of skyscrapers all around, littered with the remains of ships. Our base lacked proper lighting, we had stolen food, and the only place we had a computer was the lab. Which was a salvaged medical bay. “If we keep going as we are it will be over soon.”

“I hope she comes back with the tech then, Vallen.”  Harl’s brown eyes seemed darker, and more worn down.

****

A week passed and everyone started to think Gulla would not return. Amaria hadn’t either.  Unlike the rest of them I believed.  A foolish hope, perhaps, but I trusted my niece already.

While I was pacing back and forth behind my troops shots ringing out from the rifles as they did range practice,  I’d stopped to correct one of the new recruits.  “The butt of the gun has to be pressed hard against your shoulder to stabilize it.  You see how wild your shots are?”

A shout cut off the rest my words.  Harl’s voice seemed to boom in the open yard. “Vallen!” 

Terror pierced my heart. I was running toward him, gun in hand before I realized it.  My feet pounded the melted metal as I rolled behind a shattered ship hull behind him. My gun braced on the top of a shattered beam.

He looked over to me with a laugh.  “The girl’s returned.  Sorry to have frightened you, Vallen.”

My troops barrelled behind him.  I waved them off. “Go back to your posts.”  I took a deep breath and bellowed.  “No emergency, get back to drills.”

Gulla strolled up at ease, her sable eyes sparkling.  A battered metal box clasped in her hands. “Hello, Harlin.  Hello, Vallen.  Brought you a present.”

A shadow detached itself from the wall and stepped beside her as stood before Harl.  Amaria lips flicked upward.  “Gulla, try to be polite.”

“How does it work?” The gruffness of Harl’s voice failed to hide his excitement.

Gulla squatted down and lifted the lid off the box.  Four syringes rested on top of a metal box with several lights on top.  “You inject yourself, and then use the machine to calibrate the changes.  They were in the middle of making more usable as it stands you need a geneticist to set it up.”

“Is that all you have enough for four?” Harl glared down at her his eyes glowing with a rage. 

Gulla peered up at him, lifting a brow.  “That’s all I have made.  The machine can give you specs on making more.  You just have a lab to fabricate it.”

“We have a geneticist and a lab.” I broke the tense staring match before it escalated. Harl needed to stop talking to this girl as if she was some kind of moron.  She’d been fighting the same brutal fight for survival we had.

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Tradin’ Up

A tall pale man pulled a rickety cart filled with scrap metal. His hand pushed hair out of his gray eyes. A puckered red scar marred his face. Around them was blacken metal beams, crushed stone, and shattered glass shards. His feet crunched on the ground. Another man with an equally full car pulled up beside him. “Do you think it is enough for the Ga’more?”

Pale man gave a half nod. “It is the weight they asked for.”

Milin, they are aliens.” The man swung his arms to the desolation around them. “Aliens did this to us. Why help us?”

Tiyl.” Milin spoke in a soft tone. “Only one alien race bombed us, the Delirr. The other races don’t care about us either way. They are traders, nothing more.”

The cart behind Tiyl came to a stop. “And, why would this useless crap matter to anyone, then?”

Milin waved his fingers forward. “We can walk, and talk, Tiyl.” Both carts began to roll, again. “What we are trading for has little to no value to the Ga’more. It is old technology. No one uses environmental domes anymore.”

“How can they help us, Milin? Won’t they prolong the inevitable, our people are doomed.” Tiyl whole posture fell.

Milin whole body stiffened, his face hardened. “No. We are not doomed. I will not allow us to die. Einlari will survive, Tiyl. We will.” He stared at Tiyl. Tears ran down his cheeks.

“I’m sorry, Milin. It is so hard to hope.”

Milin nodded.

They travelled as the orange sun made steady progress across the sky. The carts jumped up, and down from debris. At a distance a shining silver cylinder landed. “Let’s hurry,” Milin broke into a long stride.

Tiyl took a quick look around him, and followed moving as fast.

In a few moments, Milin made it up to the ship. A wide ramp flanked by four tall, massive, creatures with lavender skin, cerulean dyes, and shaved heads. Heavy metal plates molded to their bulging muscles. Milin dropped to his knees, pieces of glass grinding into his pants.

When Tiyl caught up, he copied the gesture.

Time ticked by, as they both waited, and waited. Finally, another tall creature came out, wearing a flowing black dress. It had black hair stylized in a tall twirled spire. “Greetings Einlari.” The dulcet feminine voice had a touch of scorn.

Milin raised his head. “Greetings Ga’more.” He replied in a steady voice.

“Oh, oh, so rude, when you are begging me for favors.” Her lips tugged into a smile, which did not reach her eyes. “But, I forgive you, because I’m generous soul.”

A quick tilt of Milin’s head, he stood up. “Of course, Veronil, it has always been your best quality.”

She sashayed past him, running a square metal block over the carts. A quiet ding and the block turned blue. She twisted around to look at him. “It seems it is sufficient. And, what did you want to trade, again, I forget.”

Tension flooded Milin’s face. “You know exactly what I wanted, Veronil. Don’t be coy.”

She let out a brittle laugh. “Touchy.”

Her fingers snapped twice. “Bring the environmental dome units, as well the data pad with the technical data.” Two of the burly guards went up the ramp.

An elegant twist of her leg, and she faced Milin. “I was wondering if you would be interested in a further trade.”

“Of what?” His words were clipped.

Without warning Tiyl broke in. “Look you vin, stop jerking our chain.”

Both Milin and Veronil glared at him. He shrunk back, and stared at his feet.

“He is right, though. I do not want to be played with Veronil. I have dealt with you fairly. I have not tried to barter with you more than is polite, manipulate you, or lie to you. Tell me what you want.” His spine straightened, and his chest puffed out.

She pursed her lips. “Oh, fine. You young races are no fun. Your planet is dying. Your ozone is fading. I want to offer you technology to artificially stabilize your ozone. However, the cost is high.”

Milin stared ahead, as thoughts ran back and forth in his mind. He nodded twice to himself. “Alright, what is it?”

“Do you know long ago, Ga’more lost the ability to think intuitively, except for less than one percent of our population? And due to our reputation, we cannot get any races to volunteer for our research. We want Mentals, to research on.” Her gaze stared past both of the Einlari before her.

Milin nostrils flared. “You want to take the most powerful of our people for tests? And, I can’t imagine why people would hesitate to volunteer with a race so brutal, the Intergalactic Council had to be formed to stop its campaigning.”

“True.” Veronil looked Milin in the eye. “Do you think your people will survive, without it? And, I will not take them forever. Perhaps, five years, and we’ll pay a fee for any loss of life. We can negotiate, favorable terms.”

Milin looked at Tiyl. “Fine, I’ll go to negotiate the terms with Ga’more General-Leader.”

Veronil narrowed her eyes. “You lead the Einlari, Milin?”

“Yes, I the surviving First Chair, and I will not let you take the Queen of Amon, from my people.”

“Then, come aboard little Einlari.” She pointed up the ramp.

Milin still looking at Tiyl sighed. “Take the environmental domes with you. Tell them I had to go, it is important. We won’t survive without them. I’ll send more information when I can to Niveri, let the Queen know, I won’t let her down.”

“Sure.” Tiyl responded his eyes red. “I’ll miss you Milin.”

Milin nodded, for the last time, before walking up the ramp.

 

 

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