Knome: The Forbidden Zone

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Science Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic

Chapter 40 (v.1) - Chapter Thirty-Nine

Submitted: October 19, 2018

Reads: 37

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Submitted: October 19, 2018

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Fort Thaingor

It was eerily quiet, except for the stifling deafness that increased in waves upon waves of pressure within his head.  He grabbed his head as if to prevent it from exploding.  He didn’t know where he was, or what had happened, he couldn’t even think as his mind focused on the persistent ringing that short circuited all his synapses.  His mind needed a reboot.  He opened his eyes just enough to be sicken to his stomach as violent vibrations of light flooded his optic nerve, disorienting all his senses.  Jasen tried to push himself up, but his whole body was sore.  Muffled noises began to penetrate his deafness and he attempted to lift himself again. He coughed, inhaling dust and smoke that hung in the air, causing his throat to tighten, inducing him to cough again.  He laid back down on the cold floor and opened his eyes, this time his vision was greeted by a spectacle of darting streaks of light that overwhelmed his blurred vision.  Soon the sound became synched with the flashes of light.  The smoke and heat were intense as Jasen’s synapses began firing again and he became aware of a firefight taking place around him, and…

“Kore,” he whispered, while grasping all around.  He managed to spin around and felt the unconscious body of his friend.

-------

“Please,” Anya begged as she clutched on to the Duke’s garment, “I’ll do whatever you want, go wherever you want, just please release him.”

Although the Duke was pleased by Anya’s supplications, he turned away from her, ignoring her pleas. It wasn’t easy for him, for he was deeply moved by her tears. They made her turquoise eyes sparkle like a jewel. The streams of tears that trickled down her beautiful face struck a vulnerability in him that he did not want to explore. Besides, he knew that he did not have to choose, for both options were in his reach.

Yuri watched the entire miserable display in a state of trauma. He was numbed by the utter folly of his decisions. The results of which was crushing his precious daughter and she had been right all along.  How had he been so deceived, he wondered. He could barely watch as Anya pleaded for Wilhelm’s return. Her cries were like the strike of the Sakat, and her tears were like the slow poison of the Ikonep, mixing with his soul, necrotizing it.

He felt faint, and then, suddenly, an explosion shook the whole room and Yuri was thrown to the floor by the explosive wave of energy that was preceded by a forceful burst of light and sound. Subsequent blasts continued to toss his body backward as most of the bodies in the reception hall hit the ground. Concussion grenades had been tossed in the direction of the Myan shock troops on the opposite end of the hall.  Yuri, Anya and the Duke, were out of the kill zone, but from their location the impact was still enough to force them to the ground stunned.  While only a few of the Shock troops stumbled to the ground, most remained on their feet as their armor absorbed the waves of explosive power. Still, it had a debilitating and disorienting effect on them, for a moment, and in that moment the hall was flooded with Knomen troops heavily armed with Myan weapons. Shoulder cannons opened fire on the disoriented troops as Korah, armed with a blaster entered the hall behind them.  The shock troops dropped like rag dolls to the ground. While a few had managed to return fire, hitting a few Knomen soldiers, they were quickly overwhelmed and overpowered by the shoulder cannons. The hall became filled with smoke and the smell of burning flesh.

Yuri was pulled up by his tunic to his feet, as a blurred face with a muffled voice that seemed to be yelling at him. Anya too was helped to her feet, she was as disoriented as her father.  Bothan’s slight disorientation had dissipated as he searched his immediate area for the Duke.  And then he saw him.  The Duke was being held by two Knomen soldiers while Korah, held a blaster pressed tightly into his neck.  She was glaring at the Duke and the threat he faced was clearly discernible on her face. The Duke remained still.  Dozens more Knomen troops battled in the main corridor outside the reception hall as the battle ceased within.

The Duke groaned in pain from the heat of the blaster’s barrel that was being pressed into his neck. Four Knomen soldiers approached Bothan, their weapons at the ready as one of their number carried binders.  While the others forced Bothan’s hands behind his back, the binders were secured, shackling the General's arms together.

“Where’s Wilhelm,” Korah shouted.

“They’ve taken him,” Anya said in a rush, “They’ve taken him to the Duke’s ship.”

Korah nodded to one of her personal guards who took half a dozen men with him in pursuit of Wilhelm.

“Go with them,” Korah replied to Anya.  “Give her a weapon,” Korah directed.  One of the soldiers handed her his blaster as he pulled another from the holster on his hip.

Anya began to follow the troops but then stopped, she returned to Korah, giving her an awkward hug that to Korah, felt more meaningful than any she had ever received from her sister before. And then Anya kissed her sister gently on the cheek.

“Thank you.”

“You better go,” Korah replied, not knowing how to respond to her sister’s genuine act of affection. Anya turned, meeting her father's eyes, she smiled and then left the room.

“Papa, you go to, go be with mother,” Korah said.

“No,” Yuri replied sternly, “this is my doing, my place is here, you should go.”

"No, Papa, we need you. You must go. Please leave," Korah pleaded.

“You both don’t seem to understand what you are doing,” Simon managed to warn them through his pain.

Korah jammed the hot tipped blaster deeper into Simon’s neck causing him to cough and howl in pain.

“What you don’t seem to understand is that you are not in charge here,” Korah spitted out pressing the blaster into the Duke’s neck with each word.

The Duke closed his eyes absorbing the pain with each press of the blaster and then he reopened them, looking directly at Korah, then he smiled.

“I must say. I underestimated you,” Simon uttered sincerely.

Bothan remained still, but his anger was boiling.  He began to quietly work on extricating himself from the binders, while the focus was on his friend.

--------

The blast had thrown them into an entryway across the corridor shielding them from the firefight taking place between the Myan and Knomen troops.  Jason managed to revive Kore and held him as he gradually became aware of their predicament. The Knomen troops managed to push the limited number of Myan soldiers deeper into the corridor allowing half a dozen soldiers and a woman carrying a blaster to run towards the docking bay.  Jason recognized the woman. 

“That’s the woman that Wilhelm was trying to contact, remember, we saw her on the Tug.”

Kore looked in vain as his vision was still blurred. 

“What is her name,” Jason asked.

“Anna.  No, Anya,” Kore replied just remembering it.

Jason took off his helmet and began to strip off pieces of the Myan armor.

“Anya,” he yelled as loud as he could, her name echoing through the corridor.

Jason’s call drew several Knomen soldiers his way.  Their weapons were aimed and charged as they approached.

Anya stopped, having heard her name she doubled back accompanied by Korah’s guard.  She approached the soldiers who held Jason and Kore under their guns.

“Anya,’ Jason called again.

“Wait,” Anya called to the soldiers as she approached.  “Who are you.”

“We came here with Wilhelm,” Jason replied.

“You know Wilhelm,” Anya asked. “Helped them,” she called to the soldiers to help the men to their feet.

“We’re trying to save him, but we must hurry.”  Anya was off and running not looking back.  Jason and Kore began to follow as several soldiers followed them, their guns still trained on them. 

As Anya and the others reached the docking bay, the battle for Wilhelm had just ended.  Several Knomen troops emerged from the thick cloud of smoke with Wilhelm in hand.  Seeing him, Anya ran into his arms. Jason and Kore began to approach but were halted when the soldiers who had saved Wilhelm turned their blasters on them. 

“No,” Anya called out.  She took Wilhelm’s hand and walked him over to the pair.  “Do you know these two men?”

Before Anya completed her question, Wilhelm excitedly stepped up and embraced Jason.

“I don’t believe it,” Wilhelm said as he also embraced Kore.

Anya smiled as she stood next to Wilhelm.

“How do you know them,” Anya asked.

“They came here on a mission from Akadia, I stowed away on their ship, that’s how I got here,” Wilhelm confessed.

“Wait, where’s Teric,” he asked.

“He’s here, he’s causing a diversion so that we could get away,” Kore replied.

Alert lights began flashing throughout the docking bay as the bay's massive doors high above began to open.

“My lady, we’ve got to get you out of here,” Korah’s guard advised.

“My ship,” Anya added as she looked around searching for the Satcha.

“There,” she shouted pointing toward the Satcha.

--------

The shackles dropped to the ground with a clang of metal and chain.  In a blinding flash, before the shackles hit the ground, Bothan’s hand had glanced across his hip dislodging a small thin piece of sharp metal.  He extended his arm and flicked his wrist sending the metal shard in the air towards Korah.  The shard lodged deep in and through her wrist causing her to release and drop the blaster as she screamed in pain.  Korah fell to the ground in pain as blood streaked from her wrist.  Bothan's attack was so fast that only after Korah's scream did her troops launch into action. But they were fatally slow.  While the shard was still in the air, Bothan had drew a concealed dagger and plunged it into the chest of one of the soldiers next to him as Korah screamed. As the soldier fell back, Bothan had grabbed the blaster from the soldier’s hand and he quickly took aim at one of the soldiers carrying the shoulder cannon and fired, hitting him where he aimed. The soldier dropped the cannon grabbing for his face.  Bothan fired two more shots in quick succession again striking where he aimed. The other two soldiers who carried the other two shoulder cannons fell. The Duke dropped to the ground out of the grip of the startled soldiers who held him and who were attempting to draw their weapons.  Simon picked up the blaster dropped by Korah and shot one of the soldiers before he had time to aim his weapon. As the other soldier took aim towards Bothan, Simon kick the soldier's wrist sending the blaster in the air while he shot him. 

Bothan was shot by one of the soldiers who had tried to back away out of the line of fire. Momentarily stunned by the shot as the blast dispersed over his armor, Bothan once again flicked a metal shard this time toward the retreating soldier, who took the shard in his face.  Bothan had got off several more blasts dropping one soldier after another.

Yuri froze as he watched the frenzy with which the Duke’s guard massacred the remaining Knomen troops in the hall.

Korah was bleeding profusely from her arm, as she screamed and writhed with pain on the ground.

“Get up, get out of here,” Yuri warned his daughter as he approached her. 

Korah tried to obey as she rose to her feet, and attempted to run, but she slipped on her own blood and fell to the ground striking her injured arm on the floor screaming in pain. Yuri began to approach her to help her to her feet but he was stopped by the Duke who pointed his blaster at him.  As Bothan shot the remaining Knomen soldiers, Korah again rose to her feet and ran out of the reception hall. 

Yuri was stunned over the carnage; the reception hall was littered with dead bodies and not just soldiers.  None of his officials who had remained in the hall were alive, even his prime minister was dead.  The stench was unbearable.

"As I said, you don't understand what you’re dealing with,” the Duke said as he glanced toward his friend and protector.  Yuri followed Simon's eyes toward Bothan.

"Get the girl," the Duke directed.

-------

A squad of base soldiers stepped out of the lift and on to the understructure level platform with weapons drawn.  The band of sharpshooters slowly advanced along the platform, stepping over the body of one of the maintenance workers. As they moved forward as one unit, their guns were trained in every direction seeking out the intruder that they had been tasked to eliminate. With the intruder seeking refuge or harm in such a volatile area, precision and discipline were required.

Teric halted what he was doing upon hearing the light clang of boots upon the metal meshed platform.  He was atop a huge fuel tank and he quietly began to descend down the small ladder on the side hidden from the walkway.  He waited as the sound increased with the approaching soldiers. He looked down into the void of nothing below him.  He held on tighter but found it difficult to do so with one detonator in his hand and the bag of detonators around his neck weighing him down.  The clang of boots was decreasing as the soldiers continued to move forward away from Teric’s position.  Teric paused for a moment and then began to climbed back atop of the fuel tank.  He found the inspection window on the tank and placed the detonator on the glass, flicking a switch that, with a sudden vibration attached itself to the glass.  Teric took a quick glance at his time piece and then he turned a small knob on top of the detonator. Then he pressed a button inside the knob and a tiny white light flashed once in the center of the button.  Satisfied, Teric looked down the walkway as far as he could in both directions and then he began to quietly climb down the front ladder.  Stepping on to the walkway he went to his knees again looking down the walkway in both directions.

He stepped forward carefully and as silent as he was able, until he reached the next fuel tank.  He scurried up the front ladder atop the tank and proceeded to place the detonator, performing the steps that he did on the first tank. As he started to move he heard a crack, like the snapping of a large tree branch and then he felt a sudden wave of heat that zipped past his ear, singeing a lock of his hair.  He immediately lowered himself on the hidden side of the tank and drew his sword.

A lone sharpshooter had quietly doubled back away from his unit when he sensed a sudden movement on top of one of the tanks.  He stopped and aimed his rifle in the vicinity of the movement.  Then through the scope of his rifle he saw it again, a shadow against the darkness and he quickly pulled his trigger. The sound of someone scrambling atop the tank confirmed his suspicion.  He whistled between his teeth as the sound of it reverberated through the cavern. Abandoning their stealth approach, the other soldiers began to run, responding to his call, boots banging against the platform echoing throughout the cavern.

“You got something,” one of the soldiers called out, his voice reverberating.

“Yeah, he’s on the other side of that tank,”

As the other soldiers arrived they each began taking aim at positions around the tank.

“Alright,” the squad leader spoke up, “Someone’s going to have to go after him.”

Teric could hear the conversation of the soldiers and he immediately began to assess his situation.  He put his sword back into its scabbard realizing that it would not be useful to him. The soldiers appeared to be armed with projectile weapons rather than plasma.  He considered using the detonators, but feared their use might set off a chain reaction that could engulf himself.  He felt a slight movement of the tank and sensed that someone had just stepped on to the tank’s front ladder. One of the sharpshooters had stepped on to the tank and began to climb with his rifle attached to his back. As soon as he neared the top of the tank he saw an object arching over his head and descending toward his comrades on the platform.  He suddenly realized what it was and he put his head down and yelled.

“Incoming!”

The soldiers on the platform looked up in time to see the device descending towards them.  There was an immediate scramble as half of the squad took off in one direction and half took off in the other direction.  The object hit the platform with a clang and tumbled over several times finally resting near the edge of the platform. As the attention of all the soldiers had been arrested by the suspected explosive device, Teric had climbed on top of the tank with his blaster drawn, he took one shot at the lone soldier on the tank with him.  The blaster bolt caused the soldier to flail backwards and he hit the platform hard.  Teric quickly climbed back down the hidden side of the tank as multiple cracks from the soldier's rifles began to breakout, a few of them hitting and ricocheting off of the tank.

“Cease fire,” the squad leader called out fearful of setting off a catastrophe.

The soldiers began to hesitantly return, anxious to assist their fallen comrade.  As they returned, the squad leader walked over to the object and picked it up. He identified it as a detonator but noticed that it wasn’t armed.  The fallen soldier was still breathing, so two of the men began to lift him up.

The squad leader’s attention was diverted by a sudden vibration in his hand, he quickly raised his hand to again examine the detonator and then he noticed something covering the center of the detonator’s activation button.  With his finger he moved the thin film of adhesive paper revealing the small white light that indicated that the device had been armed.

“oh…” 

A huge explosion rocked the area as the platform shook violently and detached from its supports, and with the squeal and snap of ripping metal the platform began to break apart sending a section of it down the endless void below. Most of the soldiers, descending with the falling platform were dead. One lone soldier had managed to grab onto a beam that dangled as the platform gave way.  He hung onto the beam, himself badly bruised as the beam began to pull apart from the tangled portion of the platform that remain.  

Teric was holding on tight to the rungs of the tank as it wavered back and forth from the waves of explosion.  He had taken a huge risk but felt he had no other course.  He was thankful that it had worked as he climbed on top of the tank, as its unnatural movements began to decrease.  As he stood atop the tank he had a momentary bout of doubt.  The detonator did not cause the tanks to explode but it caused a huge amount of damage to the platform.  The platform near the tank that he occupied was gone, and there was no way for him to reach the section of the platform that remained near the lift, which he needed to make his escape.  He saw one lone soldier holding onto a hanging beam, trying to climb it, but he was losing more progress than he was making.  Teric looked around trying to assess his situation calculating his limited options.

Suddenly the tank quaked almost throwing Teric over.  He regained his balance and looked up to see one of the huge coupling mechanisms cracking.  Teric immediately stepped back and took a running jump, attempting to leap onto the first tank he had setup the detonator.  His jump was too short to reach the tank so he reached out grabbing on to the tank’s resting beam.  He had hit the beam hard feeling a deep pain in his chest.  As he began to climb up the beam the pain in his chest was excruciating.  He paused momentarily and watched the soldier make several attempts to climb up the beam only to slide back down.  A portion of the platform was accessible to the tank but he first had to reach the top of the tank which should have been easy however, the pain in his rib was making the task very difficult.

Another quake from the tank he had escaped from, moved him to make another attempt.  He climbed up the beam pushing through the pain.  But as he reached a level equal to the top of the tank, there was still quite a gap between the beam and the tank, so he climbed up high above the tank so that when he pushed away from the beam his momentum might help him to fall on top of the tank. His plan worked as he landed on top of the tank protecting his rib as best he could.  Standing to his feet he walked to the opposite end of the tank and he realized that he was going to have to make another jump off of the tank down to the platform. Taking a breath and a couple of steps back he ran and leapt hitting the platform hard but staying on his feet.  The unstable platform vibrated violently as Teric fought to keep his balance.  As he started to race toward the lift doors he heard a loud scream as the lone soldier was shook from the beam he held and fell to the void below. Teric reached the lift shaft and rested for a moment.  He then poured out the remaining detonators from his bag.  He began attaching the remaining devices to the walls of the shaft.  Checking his time piece, he set and activated the remaining devices.  He then began to climb up the empty shaft ignoring his pain.

 


© Copyright 2019 James Washington. All rights reserved.

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