DEFIANT

Reads: 339  | Likes: 0  | Shelves: 0  | Comments: 0

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Reddit
  • Pinterest
  • Invite

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

Chapter 2 (v.1) - 1

Submitted: July 04, 2015

Reads: 60

A A A | A A A

Submitted: July 04, 2015

A A A

A A A

Evangeline Rader

 

1

 

Mission 4-1-2

 

 

I guess the beginning’s a good place to start than any. But not the very beginning. I don’t like talking about my childhood. I rather leave it where it belongs, in my past. On Earth. I have my secrets like everyone else. And say you don’t, and I’ll tell you you’re lying. Simple as that.

Okay, now that’s out of the way...

My birth name is Evangeline Alegra Rader and my father, Erik Rader, as you all know, as it seems supposedly gave it to me. But I prefer Ree. I am nineteen years of age. I am—formerly I suppose now—a bounty hunter for the mob that you know as the Collectors. As they collect objects, artifacts, information, and even in some cases—people of extreme high value, the fit seemed only natural for me, as I was in the collecting business of my own prior to meeting them.

I would like to think that both my parents were rebellious in some type of way…And since you know my father, I’m taking a wild leap here…Maybe, he too was part of this somehow and their blood flows through me as well. And it’s proved most useful to me. I am a fighter. A loner, usually. I keep to myself. And I never leave a job unfinished. I will die fighting if that should be the case…

I came across the Collector’s interest when I was caught recovering an item of mine that had been stolen—the family’s most prized heirloom, my father’s necklace, which bears our family crest, the Culthra of Legend. It is made of pure Ultanium, the most valuable of metals, as I’m sure you know. A drop of it is worth more Gemms than you can imagine. So you can see why they would want it; and, I in turn would want to reclaim it.

It was strange, because I had never before once been surrounded. I’m elusive as a shadow. Usually. Instead of doing away with me on the spot, Gha Rul decided to keep me, as he spoke of my talents to be convenient for him. Only in exchange for me continuing to live, they would keep the necklace. As you see I’m not dead…I only agreed to it, because I had in my mind to take it back when the chance came—which has yet to be realized. But it will be done. Mark my words. I will take back what is rightfully mine.

Thus, I became a bounty hunter to be among their elite six. I became the seventh. I took on the code name Angel, deriving it from my first name of course. Everyone disliked me there for the longest time, except for one. A Roljirian named Beltholimel, but I called him Thol. He assisted me in learning the ropes there…What I needed to do in order to succeed, or to really gain favor with Gha Rul of course, which was imperative, and everyone there attempted to do that with little accomplishment. As his resolve is usually in tandem with his current mood, and his moods are rarely light, if ever. But somehow, in some way I did gain favor with him…I’m not sure if being the only female hunter had to do anything with it. I’m not sure. Maybe it did. Maybe it didn’t. What I do know now is that any of that courtesy is now gone with the turn of events: however, I don’t care the slightest. It only proved helpful with the sums of money I received for my missions completed.

For me, it was only means to an end. I’m good at it—stealth, evasion, fighting—surviving—so why not?

Anyway, I’ve been working for them for the last three years of my life. In that short amount of time, I became their best. Gha Rul would tell me that…Again whether he was attempting to poorly flirt or not…Which disgusts me, but the point is I’ve been with them long enough to know how they work. In a sense, I only joined their ranks to get back the heirloom I talked about…It means that much to me. Seems sort of ironic how that’s worked out. I’m now here in this underground rebel headquarters, with the boy I was missioned to kill, with nothing to show for it. And to add to the fact the likelihood of retrieving my necklace has diminished greatly because of it.

Why was I assigned to that? Killing him? And why did I keep him alive? Well, it’s difficult to give straight answers. Sometimes we make decisions that are purely instinctual. As if our decisions are somehow interlinked with our connecting fates, like some weaving tapestry…We’re all part of it. Sometimes our decisions aren’t completely our own. Maybe, mine wasn’t completely as individual as I would like to think it to have been. Sometimes we just feel things are right to do. And so that’s what I did. Sometimes we have to know when a life’s worth saving, I guess. I figured his was.

I think it’ll be easier, if I explain what just happened before…

 

 

 

“You’ve been given a very important mission, Ree,” Thol tells me standing in the shadows of the sitting room, as I stare out the window, thinking. He’s the only one I’ve told my true name too…He’s the only one that matters to me here. Anyway, I had him swear he wouldn’t tell another soul; he found it odd, but agreed. His voice is low, but I can still hear its profound weight, the concern all there. “I hope you know this.”

I nearly roll my eyes; he can be too fatherly at times—to the point where I want to punch him in the face. But I wouldn’t dare. I like him too much to do something as careless as that. I do purse my lips though. The vast view of the atrium of the Collector’s underground complex is dark, except for the glittering of multi-colored screen lights. Occasionally, there are long shadows of the passing by Larghan soldiers, but other than that there’s little else movement. My blood feels like it’s suddenly congealed into lead; my body feels heavier than it should. I’m tired.

“I know,” I nearly whisper, narrowing my eyes. “Rul stressed it enough, to say the least…My life you could say depends on it.”

The flashback of Gha Rul transferring me the files on Darien Dalimir, the last surviving heir of the Dalimir Empire, sears through me like a volt of lightning. The mission is simple, Angel, Gha Rul’s deep voice reverberates through me, terminate the boy, and recover the necklace. The necklace seemed to be of absolute importance; he never went into much detail beyond that, which made me likewise extremely curious. I knew of the Dalimir family by research—they had been involved in the Uprising, thirty-eight years ago. And I was gathering information about them, I found out oddly enough they had some relation to my own father, but unfortunately any further data on the matter, I couldn’t find. It was as if the database on it had been wiped clean somehow, almost purposefully erased. Which of course would make anyone wonder even more.

I snap out of it, look to Thol, at his tall, suited body, my eyes deliberating. The dim lighting shimmers across his nearly translucent orange and red-layered skin. His face is human-like for the most part, except for the Roljirians’ tribal like white markings and their eyes are the lightest blue imaginable: a blue so bright, the color glows. From his forehead protrudes three curving projections of hardened skin, which are usually lurid crimson in brighter light. He has his massive arms folded.

We share the same silent stare for a while; we don’t have to talk sometimes. Those times emotions are enough. “You’re going alone aren’t you?”

I nod. “Yes,” I say, returning to look through the window.

“You leave tomorrow, correct?”

“Yes,” I repeat. It’s quiet again, and I sigh. “I’ve always liked this window…It’s practically the only one in this entire forsaken place.”

Thol says nothing to that. “Be careful Ree…I don’t want to have to see you return boxed.”

I turn my head toward him to answer, but he’s already gone. Roljirian’s—especially in Thol’s case—have a knack for doing that. It becomes annoying. This time I roll my eyes. Typical.

I decide to return to my living quarters.

 

 

The Collectors take it upon themselves to house their bounty hunters and private military squad of Larghans. Our quarters, the elites’, however, are a little more lavish than the latter. They do this I figure to keep tabs on us: to know where we are at all times. We even have location devices implanted into us like rapid animals. In a sense, I suppose we are. The Collectors, themselves, are made up of nine individual thugs, each with their own unique penchant for violence, money, and glory.

And at the head of them all is of course the notorious Gha Rul. What’s funny about Rul is that no one has ever really seen him. Well, by seen him I mean…He wears a white mask, is fully robed in expensive materials, and usually presents himself to you in the form of a hologram, hooded. No one knows really what species he is. He could be human as much as anything else. I think that’s why he has so many followers…

There’s no bias in not knowing. And no one, in the general sense, knows where he resides either. It could be in a completely different galaxy altogether or it could be on the same planet, for security reasons. For if he should perish, the whole clandestine organization would collapse theoretically as the militant Larghans I’ve learned are telepathically linked to him. His wishes and desires become yours almost instantaneously. It’s one of his powerful abilities. He can enter your mind, and have you do anything he pleases, and have you smile about it too. The Larghans, however, are dreadfully weak-minded; therefore, it’s not a far stretch for him I’m sure.

Granted, he never had to do that to me thankfully. I’m smart enough to play by his game as long as I am here. I would never call this place home, although I do not know exactly where I would. I haven’t ever really had one to call my own in the first place.

But the Collector’s Complex, a dark brooding structure, or as we call it, the Void, is made of a series of levels connected by several elevators; there are twelve floors in all. Nearer to the bottom are the living areas, ten through twelve, as the elevator descends from the first floor, which is above ground. The Goons are assigned the lowest floor. The Void is located on the city planet Golthron, which is made of every race and species one could possibly think of out there. It’s a business planet, where multitudes of deals are made, and so it’s a gangster’s paradise. The planet is located in the Faulk Nebula of the Sector, near the Outer Rim. The temperature fluctuates between moderately cold to decently warm depending on the seasons and there’s only two seasons here: a mild winter and summer…Nothing hardly in between.

Inside the Void though, it’s usually cool. You’re enclosed by metallic walls, shiny fluorescent paneled ceilings, and polished black flooring. The lights though are dimmed as I approach the elevator bank, my shadow melding into the darkness. I press the blue illuminated button and make my way downward, leaving the third floor. The elevator dings when I reach the tenth underground floor and it looks almost the same as third, minus the gaping window of the sitting room, and in its place is a labyrinth of winding windowless steel-paneled halls. The artificial lighting is brighter, but no one’s here. I’m alone.

As I walk to my chamber, the fluorescent lights blink brighter overhead with each step, until I stop. I’m standing in front of the door leading to my fairly large quarters. The smooth gray door is labeled with the letter and numbers: J 20; there’s also a black screen fixture upon its side.

“Human scum,” I hear a disdainful murmur, and I see the yellow and ugly orange skinned short Martian bounty hunter named Ah’kmul ambling toward me. He’s absolutely revolting. I roll my eyes, and ignore him, muttering to myself as I press my palm against the black screen. The gray door slides open and I swiftly walk into the confines of my quarters. My living area is divided into four interconnected rooms: the living area, the one I’m in now, the kitchen, bathroom, and my bedroom. None of them have windows. It’s kind of depressing. It makes me feel trapped. I hate feeling trapped.

“Welcome back Angel,” SARI, the Super Artificial Radius Intelligence of the Void, talks through the hidden speakers. Her voice is oddly soothing.

“Hi SARI,” I answer, taking off my boots and resting them beside the now closed door. “How are you?”

“My processors are working splendidly today, thank you,” she says, which makes me snort. “My Protocol settings alert me that you are scheduled for Mission 4-1-2 and your deployment is tomorrow.”

“You know anything more about it?”

There’s a minute pause, and she continues: “My Database functions have been restricted on this particular mission, I am afraid. So no, I do not.”

Good, I think. The last thing I need is some Artificial Intelligence knowing my to-be-whereabouts. Albeit, I have grown fond of her in a weird way.

“Do you require any further service?”

“No, I don’t,” I say firmly. “Thanks SARI.”

“My pleasure, Angel,” SARI says. “Logging out.”

When I’m in my small curved bathroom, I undress and step into the shower. I press a button for warm water and it falls from above like rain onto my tired, aching body. Today’s training run, which involved a tough obstacle course strained my body more than I realized. The bathwater is infused with a tasteless, invisible healing solution and scented sweetly—like the smell of damp flowers after a rainfall on Earth. It transports me back there, almost, until I open my eyes and reality collides into me again…They can afford such luxury because of the valuable items they collect and sell via the Black Market. I swallow, feeling muscles relax, and the throbbing pain around my shoulders and down my spine begins to melt away as the water courses along my body. I switch the shower off and wrap myself up into a towel.

I take a look at myself in the modest rectangular mirror. My bob of wet black hair hangs limply around my pale oval face. I can see violet bags beneath my greenish blue eyes. I’ve been getting less and less sleep lately. The nightmares are beginning to resurface. I hate hearing my mother’s screaming in my dreams. I’m sure it’s her. It has to be. No other panged voice could make me feel as helpless and broken as hers. Maybe, it was when she was dying, tortured even. Things happen like that. I’ve met past friends in my childhood at the foster cares on Earth whose parents died being tortured for answers, as they were part of the A.R.C. The Aliant Rebel Confederation…who initiated the Uprising, but were ultimately defeated by the fascist R.E.D…Realm of the Elite Declaration. The point being, it has to be her…and these dreams have been reoccurring, and only becoming worse. I haven’t said anything about them to anyone, not even Thol.

Maybe, if my mother was here. But that’s silly. She’s the reason I’m having the terrifying dreams in the first place. And I will not give anyone the pleasure of knowing that Ree Rader can be so easily unnerved.

I dry my hair, and slip into something more comfortable: a set of gray, loose pajamas. It’s better than my than my usual black, tight armored suit and helmet. I drift into my bedroom, and ask SARI for turn on the radio scanner for any important news, but there’s nothing. I decide sleep is for the best, and nestle myself into the cool, silky sheets of my bed. The pillow is nice and smooth, and I feel my eyes becoming heavy. And then there’s enwrapping darkness, and I’m gone.

 

 

Evangeline, Evangeline darling. Can you hear me?

Who is speaking to me? I’m somewhere I do not recognize. It’s so dark here; I can barely make out anything. I think I’m in a forest of some kind. I’m closing my eyes, and I see it! There are strange glimpses of the woods—of this place echoing from my past. I open my eyes, feeling my heart race, pound into my consciousness. It’s cold here. Am I alone?

I can hear you. Who are you?

I’m your mother, Evangeline.

Where are you?

I’m here, with you.

I spin around and there she is, nearly my height. I can’t see her face though. It’s lost in the shadows of the towering trees here. The dampness of the soil, and frigidness of the air makes my teeth chatter.

I can’t see you.

I know, she says to me. It’ll only make things worse. I don’t want you to see what they’ve done to me.

Who!? What did they do?

It’s best if I don’t discuss it, okay? It’s for your protection.

What!? This is crazy! I’m so confused! I nearly shout.

I understand, Evangeline, but you have to be quiet. You don’t want them to hear.

Who? Who is here to hear us?

Them.

Who is them?

That’s not what I came here for Evangeline.

Then why did you? Why are you here?

I’m here to warn you. Be careful of the decisions you will be faced with soon. Don’t make the same mistakes I did. Learn when it’s best to save a life, rather than take it. Also, this is very vital…Remember the name Damilir. Protect them. They are key.

Key to what? Mother!

I have to go, Evangeline.

What!? No! You can’t leave! Don’t leave me! Mother!

But she’s already gone; I truly am alone again. My knees hit the dark ground, buckling and that’s when I hear her screaming. The awful blood curdling shrieking that sends waves of agony through me, and I’m crying. My body is shaking, and my eyes fly open.

I’m sitting upright, and I feel my hair is soaked with sweat, sticking to my cheeks. Tears sting my eyes. I hear almost hear my heart thudding into my brain; I feel my chest. It’s beating too quickly. I collapse my head into my hand as my breathing softens. I swing my body over, sitting on the edge of the bed. I’m staring blankly at the wall. SARI asks me if I’m all right; she tells me she had detected irregular patterns of brain activity going on inside my body. Figures. I tell her I am fine. She responds that the information contradicts my resolve, and I demand that there’s no assistance needed. She logs off.

The dream had felt so real. My mother had been there. I can almost make out her voice. There had been such a distinct maternal quality about it. I have so many more questions now. My past seems to be catching up with me whether I want it to or not. What the hell is going on? I release a heavy sigh, and force myself not to break down in sobs. But as I lie back down, there are I feel tiny streams of tears that somehow escape, and fall down my cheeks.

Focus, Ree. I have my mission tomorrow. Mission 4-1-2. I cannot screw this one up. Gah Rul is depending on me to get it right. But the uncertainty of if I ever will doesn’t seem to disappear as I finally fall into a silent slumber.


© Copyright 2020 WordSpeak. All rights reserved.

Chapters

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Reddit
  • Pinterest
  • Invite

Add Your Comments:

More Science Fiction Books