Knome: The Forbidden Zone

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

Chapter 41 (v.1) - Chapter Forty

Submitted: October 29, 2018

Reads: 72

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Submitted: October 29, 2018

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Fort Thaingor


After being driven back deep down the main corridor, the base soldiers had regrouped and had been joined by a number of shock troops.  They reengaged the Knomens in a quick fierce battle that decimated the Knomen line. The few remaining Knomens began to retreat toward the docking bay entrance, but they never made it as they were cut down by the overwhelming force pursuing them.

As the Myan soldiers secured the area, a woman covered in blood emerged out of one of the doors and toward their position.  Korah ran as fast as she could, leaping over bodies in the corridor, dodging Myan soldiers who ordered her to halt.  She was determined to escape through the docking bay’s entrance, to reach the Kata Minn, to reach her mother.  However, Korah ran hard into one of the heavily armored shock troops and fell to the ground screaming.  Two soldiers approached her and lifted her to her feet as she doubled over in obvious pain.

As they held her and tried without success to engage with her, Bothan had emerged out of the same doorway and strode toward the group.  With a hand gesture Bothan had given direction to a couple of shock troops who responded by leaving the corridor and entering the doorway from which Korah and Bothan had emerged.

Bothan strode toward Korah, possessed with an icy murderous rage. The soldiers turned her around to face him.  Korah had gripped her wounded arm with her hand in her desperate effort to stop the bleeding, but the blood continued to seep through her fingers and onto the floor below. As Bothan approached her, she looked up into the face of a monster.  Korah was struck with fear, a paralyzing fear she had never experienced in her life.  Her body nearly went limp and, had it not been for the soldiers who held her she would have dropped to the floor.  Bothan’s face strained with rage as he looked down at her.  Korah was horrified as she observed the rage in every muscle in his face.  One large vein at the center of his forehead seem to throb, pulsing with the heat of his wrath.  She cowered under his gaze and stepped back forcefully into the soldier behind her, pushing him as she tried to back away.  Bothan did not say a word as he wrapped his massively large hands around her small neck. He lifted Korah off her feet and brought her face close to his.  She felt the heat of his breath as she flailed under his grip.  Korah could not scream as her vocal cords were bruised within Bothan’s grip.  He slowly closed his hand, watching her convulse as she struggled for air.  The color drained from her pale face as her eyes filled with tears. She tried begging for her life through her spasms, gagging, snorting.  Korah began kicking Bothan, not out of any defensive strategy but reflexively as her body fought for air, as she struggled for life.  Her mind drained of every single thought except to breathe. Bothan continued to squeeze as he felt bone give way under his grip. He felt Korah’s efforts weakening, and he continued to tighten his grip until her petite frail body hung lifelessly in his hand.  Bothan opened his grip as Korah’s body dropped to the ground with a thud.  Even the shock troops who looked on were horrified, but they did their best to refrain from reacting.  Bothan looked down upon Korah’s body as the rage within him began to dissipate.  He kicked her body causing it to flip over. Korah was dead.

----

The pool of blood under his feet paralyzed him as he stared down at it.  Yuri’s eyes widened as his mind flooded with the realization that he was standing in his daughter’s blood.  He stepped back horrified by the impression made by his shoe in the blood. His stomach began to clinch so tightly that he gasped, trying to catch his breath.  He nearly fell forward from his lightheadedness, but he regained his balance out of fear of falling into his daughter’s blood.  He also realized that he had been weeping when he saw a tear splatter upon the pool of blood.

“It didn’t have to go this way.”

Yuri heard the words but he did not comprehend their meaning.  However, he knew the source of those words, the source of which caused him to step into the blood of his daughter.  Rage began to flood within him, a rage with purpose and intent. Yuri reflexively reached for a weapon that was not there.

“It doesn’t have to go this way,” Simon warned as he observed Yuri’s hand.

“It already has,” Yuri seethed as he waved his hand over the bodies strewn all over the floor.

He looked down again at his daughter’s blood and he feared for her, not knowing what was happening to her at this very moment. Yuri began to step toward Simon, leaving a blood print as he walked.  Two imperial shock troops who had entered the reception hall after Bothan had left, reacted and drew their weapons. Seeing them at the edge of his vision, Yuri halted. Simon raised his hand dismissively, and his troops quickly responded, lowering their weapons and returning to their positions.

“I truly regret what happened to your daughter,” Simon lamented sincerely.

“I regret this whole arrangement!”

“This was not our doing, you must admit that,” Simon stated.

“Well what did you expect," Yuri barked. "That we would allow you to come here and dictate to us on matters under our jurisdiction.  Our right of jurisdiction cannot be taken from us without impairing our sovereignty. We fought a war to gain our independence.  Nothing in out treaty agreement relinquished our sovereignty.”

Simon paused for some time after Yuri’s emotional outburst.  He walked over to his fallen shock troops observing the gruesomeness of their injuries.  Yuri watched Simon as he looked over the bodies. Yuri regretted the carnage, and he would have prevented Korah’s attack had he known of it. Still, what choice were they leaving them.

“Lord Yuri, it is not the will, nor the desire of the Myan Empire to make you a vassal.  We have mutual interests.”

Yuri chuckled in bemused disgust.

“But mutual interest cannot be established by unilateral declarations,” Yuri argued.

"Well said," Simon replied, "I agree, but may I ask. Of what interest to the Knomen Republic is young Wilhelm."

Yuri thought for a moment, but no answer was forthcoming.  He thought about Anya and the manifestations of love between her and Wilhelm.  He had never seen his daughter in that way, so in love, and it moved him.  He also had sensed Wilhelm’s love for his daughter and that pleased him deeply.  He could not count the number of men, even dignitaries who had asked to wed his daughter.  And yet Wilhelm was the only man he felt inclined to give his blessing. Yuri cleared his throat to answer Simon’s query.

"It may be that we wish to maintain good relations with a regional neighbor," Yuri replied reluctantly.

Simon laughed momentarily under his breath.

"So says the man who is willing to bring down the economy of said neighbor.

Yuri did not respond.  He had recognized the contradiction in his answer before he even uttered it.  Hours earlier he would not have cared what happened to the young man. But there was a definite change once he witnessed the raw emotions of his daughter for the man.

"So, I ask again, of what interest to the Knomen Republic is young Wilhelm.  Did I not give you my word that I would return him to his father."

Again, Yuri did not respond.

“I know what you fear,” Simon offered as he moved closer to Yuri. “Fear, is the fuel that moves everything.”

Yuri faced Simon skeptically.

"I know you fear to leave your people destitute and in poverty, among others, and it is that fear, that has moved you to seek our alliance.”

“And what fear moves the Myan Empire,” Yuri asked.

“Subjugation.  Yes, my benefactors are consumed with fear and thus, they seek to secure their realm from all who may challenge her, and so to that end, they have sought out your alliance.”

“What can my impoverished nation do for the Myan Empire.”

“A great deal,” Simon replied reflectively. “Whatever the motive, do we not have mutual interests. Can we not turn the page on all of this and begin again?"

Yuri remained silent as he considered Simon’s words.  He looked down, noticing the blood print from his shoe.

"What will happen to my daughter," Yuri asked.

"Bothan will bring her back. What happens then, I leave to you."

"He will not harm her?"

"No, I give you my word."

------

Jason, Kore, Wilhelm and Anya entered the Satcha while the contingent of Knomen soldiers remained outside guarding the ship and responding to the occasional sniper attacks against their position.

“Can any of you fly,” Anya asked as they stepped onboard.

Without answering, Jason walked past everyone and went over to the pilot’s chair and sat down, looking over the levers and controls.  Kore followed him, settling into the copilot’s seat.  Wilhelm and Anya followed them into the cockpit and took the other two seats. Jason nervously tried to familiarize himself with the controls and instruments while multiple laser bolts struck the ship, rocking it and causing the lights to flicker.

“We need to get out of here, now,” Kore protested.

“I’m trying, I’m trying,” Jason replied as he engaged the engines and began to activate other systems within the ship. The engines came to life.  As more systems came on line, Jason pulled the landing gear as the ship hovered above the surface.

From the ship’s view port, they could see Myan troops flooding through the bay’s entrance, as the soldiers began to train their weapons on the Satcha. 

“Look, if we don’t leave now, we may never leave this place,” Kore yelled.

More laser bolts slammed against the Satcha’s hull causing warning lights to flash within the cockpit.

“I can’t leave until all the systems are online,” Jason complained. He was just as anxious to leave as the others. “Is this ship equipped with a weapons system,” Jason asked.

“No,” Anya replied.

“What about shields,” Jason asked.

“Yes, she has shields,” Anya replied.

“Kore, look for the switch to engage the shields,” Jason barked.

Kore rose frantically and began to look all over the controls in front of him for the switch.

As Wilhelm and Anya continue to watch through the view port as Myan troops enter the bay.  Wilhelm was struck by one of the soldiers who seemed to be carrying a person in his arms.  Then he saw Simon’s General enter the bay.

“Look,” Wilhelm yelled.

Everyone did and Anya was horrified. She unharnessed her safety belt and stood up to get a closer look.  She covered her mouth with a hand.  Wilhelm noticed Anya’s reaction.

“What is it,” he asked.

Anya could not speak.  She screamed.  “Korah.”

Anya’s screamed startled everyone in the cockpit and they looked in response at the soldier who was carrying the lifeless body of Korah.

“Korah,” Anya continued to yell hysterically as she attempted to leave the cockpit.  However, Wilhelm blocked her way.

“No,’ Wilhelm begged, “We can’t help her, Anya, we can’t help her.  We need to leave.”

“No, she’s my sister,”

“Anya, she wanted us to escape, she made it happen,” Wilhelm replied trying to reason with her, “There’s nothing you can do for her now. We can’t let her sacrifice be in vain, please.”

Anya relented and held onto Wilhelm as she sobbed.

Kore found the switch and activated the ship’s shield as the continued barrage of laser bolts were muffled, now dispersing along the ship’s shield. Jason engaged the throttle and the ship began to rise.

-------

Bothan watched as a ship began to lift off.  The Myan attack on the escaping ship was fierce, however, now that the ship’s shield was operating, the effort was not going to yield the desired result before they got away.

“Korah,” came a scream from behind Bothan, but he did not turn around.

Yuri and Simon had left the reception hall followed by several shock troops.  In the corridor Yuri stepped over several of his soldier’s bodies and then noticed a pool of blood on the ground near the entrance of the bay.  He ran over to the spot and looked around for his daughter.  In front of him, just inside the bay’s entrance he noticed a soldier carrying a body.  He saw the head of a female draping over the soldier’s arm and he recognized his daughter. He yelled her name and ran to her.  Yuri was horrified by what he saw.  Her face was as lifeless as a statue, her beautiful eyes seemed to be pleading with him and her badly bruised neck was difficult to look at as it hung in an unnatural way.  Simon had caught up to Yuri and the soldier carrying Korah.  Simon too was horrified.  He hoped that the woman was not dead, but there was nothing he saw in her that could convince him otherwise. He looked to his friend whose back was toward them.  Bothan was watching a ship elevating up toward the docking bay doors.

Yuri could not speak through his extreme grief. His whole body felt weak and he nearly fell to his knees. He stretched out his hands to touch her, then he withdrew them back, out of an unknown fear, repeating that motion over and over. He looked at his daughter and then looked toward Simon, as his face began overflowing with tears. Simon turned away unable to face the grieving father.

“You, said,” Yuri tried to speak, but his words failed to penetrate the lump in his throat and the pain in his heart.  He took his daughter from the arms of the soldier and lowered her body to the ground. He leaned over her crying uncontrollably, holding her limp body. 

Simon walked over to Bothan and grabbed his arm.  Bothan turned.

“What did you do,” Simon demanded.

Bothan said nothing as he glanced from time to time at the Satcha as it continued to rise.

“Bothan,” Simon yelled.

“She’s dead, Bothan replied.  “We can’t let them escape,” Bothan added as he continued to watch the Satcha.

Simon took a breath, stepped away from his friend and watched Yuri mourning over his daughter. Simon again approached Bothan.

“We will take care of it,” Simon said dismissively.

They watched as the bay doors, high above, began to close.

“They won’t escape,” Simon said.

Bothan turned around to face the sad spectacle behind him.

Simon, wanted to get Bothan away from the scene, away from Yuri.

“That intruder has not been eliminated, I want you to see to it personally,” Simon ordered.

Bothan turned away and stepped over Korah’s body as two shock troops accompanied him out of the docking bay and down the corridor.

-------

Teric was sore and exhausted when he finally reached the lift compartment.  He climbed on top of it and lifted the ceiling’s access door.  He then dropped down inside the lift.  He noticed from the panel that he was near the top floor of the base.  He couldn’t activate the door to open, so he drew his sword and slipped the tip between the two closed doors and shoved his sword between them activating the safety mechanism and the doors slowly began to open.  The hallway outside the lift was quiet and after quickly sticking his head out, he verified that it was also empty.  Teric stepped out and began to walk towards the maintenance core on that floor.  He ran with his sword in hand and soon reached the maintenance core hallway. As he circled the core he suddenly had to stop in his tracks. Facing him with weapons drawn were about a dozen shock troops.

Upon seeing Teric, the troops shifted into an attack formation aiming their weapons, targeting Teric but not firing.  Teric quickly took a defensive stance with his sword held up in front of him. As they stood there for some time not moving, not even flinching, all of a sudden half of the troops began retreating around the core out of Teric’s sight.  Teric stood still as he calculated his options. He took a quick look behind, sensing the strategy that the troops might be taking. And then he heard the sound of boots approaching behind him.  As he suspected it was the retreating troops.  There were now six shock troops in front of him and six behind him.  Teric slowly turned and carefully began to step back so that his back was against the interior wall giving him the option of seeing both groups that now were at his right and left.

The troops on both sides of Teric began to take small steps, almost imperceptible steps toward Teric.  But Teric did not move.  Again, he heard the familiar steps of troops approaching.  This time, across the hall in a connecting hallway, Teric saw another dozen troops approaching.  He was now facing three sets of troops.  With his back against the core wall there were troops to his right, left and in front of him.  They were still slowly closing in on him, but they were not firing their weapons.  Their strategy worried Teric a little as he began to calculate his current situation.  They were not firing upon him, effectively taking out his primary defense.  They were also slowly closing in on him.  The throbbing of his rib took him out of his concentration as he shifted slightly trying to get some relief.  And then he had a thought.  Teric held his sword in his left hand and with his right he drew his blaster from its holster.  He placed his blaster in his left hand while still holding the sword. Awkwardly holding his blaster and sword in one hand, he pulled an attachment from his thigh belt.  With his right hand he connected the barrel attachment to his blaster.  He then took the blaster with his right hand and held his sword and blaster far apart one in each hand.  The approaching troop continued to advance toward Teric without hesitation. 

Teric aimed his blaster at the group of troops approaching from the right and he pulled the trigger.  A thin sharp laser bolt exited the barrel and pierced through the armor of one of the approaching troops.  The soldier fell to the ground causing all the troops to halt.  As Teric looked back and forth between the group of troops, he noticed the arrival of a pair of soldiers that stood behind the dozen troops in front of him.  Teric recognized the pair of Kausack warriors.  They stood like spectators with their arms crossed.  Teric again pulled the trigger as another soldier on his right dropped to the ground.

Now three soldiers from each group pulled away from their comrades and began charging toward Teric.  Teric took aim at the trio approaching directly in front of him.  He set his blade in front and pulled hard on the trigger of his blaster.  A barrage of white thin laser bolts spitted out from his barrel and curved back, bending and clashing into Teric’s blade with clang. As his blade began to hum, Teric quickly holstered his blaster and with two hands he whirled to his left as he advanced, spinning as an arc of plasma leapt from his sword.  That one arc of white-hot plasma met six of the approaching troops sparking and charging through them causing mass fibrillation as they fell smoke emitting from there armor. Without a pause Teric again swung his blade, sending another arch toward the men approaching from the right, and they too fell along with several of their comrades behind them.  As they fell, Teric again assumed his defensive stance, legs apart, drawing his blaster once again.

Fifteen soldiers were now fallen.  Two soldiers stood on his left and three on his right while seven took positions in front of him.  The two Kausacks remained with no change in their position or manner.  Out of fear one of the seven began firing his weapon prompting the others into doing the same.  Teric dropped his blaster to hold on to his sword with both hands as the blade became heavy with plasma.  The troops began to charge Teric. But he remained in his defensive stance watching as they charged him.  Then with a fierce swing of the flat edge of his blade he sent a thick band of plasma that seem to meet the approaching troops like a wall knocking off their feet as the plasma ignited, burning them. Teric charged the remaining soldiers lunging and slicing off arms and legs cauterizing the wounds.  As one soldier continued to charge Teric, his strike killed the soldier, but with the dead soldier’s momentum, the body crashed into Teric, knocking him over another fallen soldier to the ground.  He nearly dropped his sword as the last remaining soldier drew a dagger and quickly jumped on Teric’s back.  The weight of the man knocked Teric back down to the ground as he attempted to rise.  The soldier jammed the dagger into Teric’s side near his cracked rib causing Teric to groan.  He tried to rise again as the soldier made another stab trying to penetrate the unknown armor Teric wore.  Teric managed to flip the man and he rose to his feet.  The soldier then cowered under Teric’s advance and began to retreat.  Teric swung his blade sending an arc of plasma in pursuit of the retreating soldier.  The soldier fell to the ground with a scream.  Teric quickly turned around remembering that the two Kausack warriors were still present.  The Kausacks remained as they were.  Teric slowly approached his blaster and with his eyes on the Kausacks he stopped to pick up his blaster, glancing down momentarily to grab it.  As he held it, he heard a loud crack and the blaster in his hands shattered, embedding shards of metal through his glove and into his fingers.  He looked up quickly to see one of the Kausacks aiming a long projectile rifle in his direction.  Teric without a thought immediately took up a defensive stance grabbing his sword with both hands sending a sharp pain in his hand and up through his left arm.

The Kausack dropped the rifle to the ground and along with his companion they began to approach Teric, each of them drawing a long sword from the scabbard on their back.  Teric held his sword with his right hand while he observed his left as blood and a white liquid oozed from cuts in his glove.  He grabbed the hilt of his sword with both hands ignoring the pain as he faced down the approaching Kausacks.

 


© Copyright 2019 James Washington. All rights reserved.

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