DEFIANT

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

Defiant tells the story of Ree Rader, an ex-assassin who is fleeing the dangerous clutches of the Collectors after saving the life of the boy she was missioned to kill, who holds a dark secret; little does she know that one selfless act will change her life forever.

Completed.

Chapter 1 (v.1) - DEFIANT

Submitted: July 03, 2015

Reads: 278

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Submitted: July 03, 2015

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Defiant

By Justin Clay

 

Part I

Nylron

 

Prologue

On the Run

 

Running. I’m used to it by now. But this type of running—fleeing for your life—well, it’s in a word: different. There’s just something about it that always feels like the first time. Maybe, it’s the heart-racing rush of absolute adrenaline pumping through your veins. Maybe, it’s the fact riveting your conscience with every thump of a step that your pathetic life hangs in the balance. Maybe, it’s the bizarre high you get from it all. Maybe—I’m crazy—No. Scratch that. I am crazy.

Honestly, you have to be—to end up in my position now, entangled with a bloody underground mob. And this is no ordinary underground mob, mind you. This mob, which fancifully call themselves the Collectors, they’re definitely the wrong sort to cross. Which, in all standing, is what I have just done.

Okay, okay. Cut the bull, Ree. I most certainly have done that. And wouldn’t you like to know. Of course you do. Well, let’s just say I work—worked—for them. So, I know better than any how they operate. I’m very well aware what they do to any poor soul that happens to not make nice. Which brings me back to the sticky situation I am in now—fleeing for my life.

Yeah, that. That tiny little detail.

Normally, I wouldn’t be too concerned with anyone catching up to me. I’m too good. Nobody can catch me. And I mean nobody. Not when I’m trekking by myself. A life pretty much lived nearly on the run has proven that much already. But, as circumstances have presented themselves so interestingly, it so happens that I am not—I’m not alone. The very person I should have killed for bounty…Well, I’m sort of helping him escape. See? Did I not say I am crazy? Didn’t I?

Anyway, I really didn’t have a choice. Okay…Maybe I did. We always have a choice they say, whoever they are. Regardless, I made my choice. Did I make the right one though? Well, it’s datable. I would like to think I did. Given the consequences now, would I go back and change it? I don’t know. Maybe. But after seeing him, I know I couldn’t. There was no possible way I could have—killed him, that is.

I’m already in too deep.

Hopefully, I will not regret it; I better not…Not for the boy’s sake at least…

 

 

For any of Nylron residents flying in their pods overhead, the glimpse of two shadowy figures sprinting down a long barely lit alleyway wouldn’t be too uncommon. Not here on Nylron. The gritty, dark urban underbelly of this side of the Sector. Sector, meaning the Sector Galaxy, which isn’t too far away from the Milky Way, relatively speaking. It’s about three parsecs in distance, but that’s irrelevant. The whole nasty planet of Nylron is pretty much like this, except for the Golden Isle, where the wealthy live, and the Wastelands, where the Wanderers roam. Anyhow, this is sure to happen every day: people, Drones—human clones—or the native Nyltar—disgusting blue reptilian-like creatures, which have an ugly greed streak running for their lives, being caught up in bad deals with the wrong sort like us…Well, whoever up there, if they happened to see us, which is unlikely, given the time of night and distance down below, wouldn’t think twice to look again. That has its advantages, of course, but in times like these, help wouldn’t be unwanted.

“Oh no! Great! There’s two right behind us!” The Kid—that’s what I’m calling him for now—shouts out, distraught. He’s looking back, his eyes widened, mouth falling agape. He’s almost faltering as he ambles ahead.

“Keep moving!” I bellow, and this seems to kick some reason back into his skull, if only a little. Thankfully. I feel sweat trickle down my furrowed brow. My breaths are becoming shallow; I can feel my chest heaving. My thighs are aching horribly. The heat of exhaustion is flaming my cheeks. This isn’t the time to give up. Not me. Not now. Not ever.

I hear their taunting, gurgling laughter. The Larghan groans. The brainless fingers of the Collectors. That’s all they are, nothing more. They’re not so much of a challenge, as an annoying hindrance. Normally, they would cause me no trouble…but that’s when they’re alone and this time they’re not alone either.

Suddenly, I feel a blast of a laser beam sizzle past centimeters from singeing—singeing—my hair. Well, technically it’s not my hair. It’s a wig. But an expensive wig, damn it.

I curse beneath my breath. Eyes narrowed, I turn back. Grasping a better grip onto my handgun, I take aim at the nearest Larghan, at his bobbling bulbous head. This goon’s scaly skin shimmers translucence blue-green in the dusky, damp light from a nearby factory building. I can barely make out his forked black tongue hissing back at me. I could vomit, but I don’t. Instead, I fire.

The bright blaze of the red laser from my gun gores itself straight through the center of his forehead. I crack a valiant smile, as from my periphery I see his body crash and splatter itself behind us.

“You’re not getting away that easily! You filthy traitor!” This Larghan’s Common Language is awfully broken. “Nobody betrays Gha Rul and lives!”

Watch me, I think notoriously.

I quickly make note of our surroundings, scanning as fast as possible. I smile again catching a glimpse of something that might just help. Nearly dilapidated is a hanging pipe before me, a good three feet in circumference—my guessing. It’ll have to do.

I hear from behind that armor-suited Larghan idiot yacking into his wrist communicator and I grimace. Not a good sign. I need to take him out as swiftly as possible.

I press the trigger of my gun, and there’s the bright light again and a jarring BANG! when the heated beam collides into the rustic metal pipe shambling onto the ground. We hurtle ahead just in time, avoiding its noisy crash. The panged yelp of the Larghan goon verifies he isn’t as lucky. I glance to the Kid to see if he’s okay—and he looks like he’s going to pass out, be sick, or both very soon. This isn’t good either.

Even in the poor light, it’s extremely noticeable in the hunkering way he’s carrying himself now; his breathing is haggard and his stare is weak. Poor kid. He’s probably not used to this type of labor. He probably hasn’t had to run like this a day in his primp proper life. I need to think fast.

“Quick, over here!” I say, and taking an immediate left, I lead him into a shadowy nook hidden nearly by a blockading, metallic box-like structure. The air here is stifling and overpowering with nauseating fumes. My stomach turns in disgust and my nostrils flare. “I—I think we’ve outrun them, for now at least…We should be good for a few minutes; so, now we rest.”

The Kid releases a sigh of complete relief and without hesitation slides down the side of the dark, brooding building, slinking his long lanky legs outward. He’s breathing terribly, clutching at his side, bent over, panting, and what I can see of his angled face vast in the greenish glow of a nearby orb, his face is flushed, glossy with drenched sweat. His tasseled hair is plastered against his forehead, and his pale blue eyes are despondent.

“You okay?” I whisper, almost worried. I shouldn’t be, but I think I am. This frightens me.

“Yeah,” he wheezes, exasperated. “I’ll—I’ll be fine.”

“Okay,” I mutter, unconvinced, and I take an anxious look around the corner of our narrow niche to assure myself there’s no other goons close by. I don’t see any, as of now. I remove my black gloves, and feel my face. I didn’t realize how balmy I was as well. That had been a hell of a run. The Kid’s gasping regulates into easier puffs of air, and I see him straighten his body upright. He’s looking at me now, bewildered.

The Kid swallows nervously. “Who are you?” he says, with the same perplexity seeping from his dark eyes.

“Who I am is irrelevant,” I answer curtly.

“You were…You were going to kill me, weren’t you? But then…You end up saving my life? I don’t get it…I guess, I’m just trying to take all of this in.” He drops his face into his hands; I can see the emotions riddling him senseless.

“I know,” I tell, not knowing what else to say. I mean, I agree the boy. I don’t get it either. It makes no sense why I did what I did. But here we are. And there’s no going back, I’m afraid.

I wish I could give him the information he wants; but…I can’t. Not now. Maybe later. Scratch that…I probably won’t It’s for his own good…And mine.

If he lives through this, it’ll be a miracle. I just have to keep alive. Unless, I resort to the alternative. Maybe, that’s what I’ll end up having to do regardless of how I feel. But I don’t want to think of that…not now. Not after all of this.

“I’m so confused!” he says, angered by my negligence. He has every right to be—especially given the circumstances. I would be too, in his stead. “Do you care to tell why those guys…Those weird looking—whatever they are…Why they were trying to kill us!? Why were going to kill me? Were you working for them? Is that what this is?”

The Kid’s smart; I’ll give him that much. He can easily connect the dots. His mind isn’t so idle as I previously thought. Note to self: remember not to underestimate your opponent even if he is the attractive boy you just saved from a certain death.  I make an intentional glare at the golden glint of the marked talisman hanging about his neck, beneath his jacketed tunic. He probably doesn’t even realize I’m looking at it. Even know that it’s there. I then return his inquisitive stare, with a foreboding glance of my own. “you’ll find out soon, I promise,” I tell him. Lies, just lies…I’m good at that, right?

His face remains inscrutable for a long moment, before he slowly nods reluctantly. “Okay,” he says, nodding slightly.

I’m glad he’s not pressing the natter. The last thing I want to do is sedate him with a stun ray. First of all, he’s too heavy for me to carry alone and he’s cute after all…But that’s something I wouldn’t ever tell him. I don’t believe in boosting people’s egos. They can do that themselves easily enough.

“Do you think you can stand now?” I ask him, and he inclines his head.

“Good,” I say, happy. “Let’s go.”

“You’re not going anywhere,” a new gravelly voice sneers, and my stomach drops. “Except for into two bags, sent back to Gha Rul—dead.”

The voice that makes me cringe is followed by an awful throaty laughter, which could only belong to one stinking low life. I look to the opening o the nook and I see none other than the slimy, no-good Gorgon, Rath, looming over us, his handgun aimed directly at me.

He’s another bounty hunter and he’s not by himself either. There’s another armor-suited Larghan with him; his gun is aimed the Kid, and I’m for the first time fearful. Not for my life, but for the Kid’s. I don’t dare show it though. We could both die, in this very instant. We’re caught off guard. They must have transported themselves here. Rath’s snake-like eyes glow lurid red in the darkness. I hate them.

We attempt to stand but, Rath, growls at us to not move or he’ll shoot. “I should have known you’d end up here, Rath,” I hissed, my mouth up-turned; he snarls back at me. I’ve always hated him, even when I technically worked under the Collectors. The only thing I ever thanked them for was the money—that was it. Nothing more.

“Funny how things work out, isn’t Angel?” he mocks, with something of a strained burble, which I suppose is a laugh. “You betraying the Collectors, after all they have done for you…After so many times of saving your pathetic human hide, just to turn on them? Typical of your kind. That’s why you can never trust humans…They’re consistently unpredictable—”

“Save your overzealous, self-righteous banter Rath,” I snap. “Nobody cares.”

“So ungratefully snippy, even before your death—Not the attitude I would have, if I knew death was as imminent as it will be for you both…You should be an all regards gracious I haven’t killed you by now…At least now we know where your true loyalties lie…With humans. Should have known…I knew it was a bad deal for Gha Rul to assign you a position…And what happened? Exactly what I knew would, all along. And now I’m here to finish the job you should have.”

“I would have preferred you had shot me immediately, if I knew I would have to listen to your meandering, lame speech.”

“Silence, you meaningless, wretched girl!” he shouts, the Goon is hissing along, flashing its nasty black tongue. I could, again, puke. “You die now!”

There’s a sudden blast of blistering, blinding blue light, and I pull in a gulp of air knowing it very well could be my last.


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