|Last Flight of the 'Amy Grace'
Author: ZeroGain PM
It seemed like a routine run when it started. The crew of the light freighter 'Amy Grace' discover that one of the passengers is shipping something much more valuable-and dangerous-than had claimed. They must struggle to stay alive and evade the agents of interstellar governments and corporations while fear and death haunt the ship's corridors.Rated: Fiction M - English - Sci-Fi/Adventure - Chapters: 2 - Words: 4,060 - Reviews: 4 - Favs: 1 - Follows: 2 - Updated: 06-03-12 - Published: 05-31-12 - id: 3027927
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
The Last Flight of the Amy Grace
1. End of the Line
She hit the grimy alley wall shoulder first, rebounding off the cheap paneling with a loud bang. It hurt, but not enough to drown out the fear. She cast a hurried glance over her shoulder, leaning against the wall.
He wasn't there.
She hated the relief that flooded through her.
She leaned there for a moment, breath sawing raggedly. The alley stank of stale urine and the desolation of abandoned dreams. She looked back the way she'd come, into the looming black of even deeper alleys. Her vision blurred and the black grew larger still, like it was reaching for her.
"Move your ass, Lil," she gasped quietly. "You're not going back in the box. Not tonight, not ever!"
A quick glance revealed no obvious escapes. There were doors here, but she couldn't pick up any potential sense about any of them. Maybe it was something he was doing, blocking her senses, perhaps. The drug off his dart had been moving in her system, and it was pervasive enough that she'd had little success in slowing it down.
Now was not the time to think about it. Now was the time to move.
She slid down the wall a little, letting her legs take more weight, then pushed off the wall and ran. It was slower and clumsier than she was used to, and she almost tripped on her way out of the alley.
The street beyond was nearly deserted. Few walked about at this hour, individual pedestrians with their shoulders hunched against the polluted rain. To her left a ground-car pulled slowly away, disappearing into the drizzling mist. To her right a trio of figures stood tightly packed, a brief cherry glow lit the face of one humanoid as it drew smoke from something in its hand.
Perhaps there was safety in numbers, or perhaps she was simply reaching for the weed at the edge of the cliff before falling. She made for the trio. The dark stone and metal facades of the surrounding tenement looming high, the street-level lighting casting lurid shades across the wet pavement.
They noticed, turned her way as she came. She identified two of them as humans, a man and a woman. She did not know about the other one, the one with the smoke. Taller than the others, but slender, possibly an adaptation for low gravity. Another freak. A kindred soul?
Their expressions hardened as they made her out. She wasn't really sure what she looked like now, but knew it probably wasn't good. Running around in dirty alleys, slipping and falling in the detritus of the slums had a tendency to mar one's appearance. That, and people who get smacked around by armored assailants rarely looked their best.
The slender figure took a step behind the others and flicked away its smoking brand. It-she?-looked fearful. No help there. The female human glared at Lil, her mouth set in a thin line. It hardened her plain features, turned her from another human to a cold wall.
Baselines… she was well and truly sick of them.
"Please," Lil begged, hating herself for it. She almost turned away but forced herself to continue despite the shame of asking something like this for help. "Help, help me, please."
The female frowned deeper, her eyes working up and down Lil's profile. She opened her mouth to snap something when Lil was only about two meters away, but stopped when the male gripped her arm, hard.
Lil noticed he wasn't looking at any of them, his wide eyes were locked on the direction she'd come from. The woman looked past Lil also, and the hardness melted into fear. She and the man took a step back. The slender smoker simply turned and hurried away down the street.
"Move along, citizens," grated a voice from that direction, modulated and amplified, entirely artificial. Heavy, swift strides, the clunk-thud or armored boots, echoed behind Lil.
Fear and frustration seized her. She snapped forward as the two humans turned to follow their companion. Lil, quick as a striking snake, snapped her arm around the woman's neck and spun to face her assailant, dragging the woman around to act as a shield. She gagged, tried to resist, and choked out another surprised cry when she couldn't budge Lil's arm.
The man yelped and broke into a run. The freak glanced back at the noise and increased its speed, drawing a lead on the man and disappearing down another dark alley.
The woman stank, Lil realized. She was grimy, like everything else at street level. Her stale body odor, rank and unwashed, wafted about them.
"Stop struggling or I'll break your neck!" Lil growled, the woman whined. She hoped the baseline wouldn't piss herself.
"Please," the woman choked out, trying to beg. A part of Lil rejoiced in that.
In front of them a man approached. It was the first long look Lil had got of him, and as she watched his figure resolved out of a flickering haze of fading camouflage. His proportions said male, probably pure human male. He wasn't massive like a gene-ripped Sduri shock trooper, but he was tall and looked strong. The man doubled in her vision momentarily and her mind sang for a moment with the liquid joy of the drugs. A euphoric take-down drug… As if she needed a reminder as to how sick her former captors were.
Her hostage sensed the weakness and tried to wriggle free, but Lil's own fear-adrenaline kicked in and she gripped harder. Through the haze she sent a wave of hate and frustration at her hostage. The woman gurgled in pain and moaned piteously. A vicious spike of pain slammed through Lil's skull in response, and Lil choked down a cry of pain.
A euphoric, yes, but it had a nasty kick if she tried to use any of her talents. Oh, how she'd love to face this asshole without his drugs racing through her!
The armored man stopped five meters away. His right hand hovered over a holstered pistol, his left held out a weapon, a black plastic-looking thing with several small metal protrusions: a stunner… probably. The pistol was frankly huge, designed to take down supremely tough people. Both hands were covered in strong gloves backed with a hard carapace that extended up the forearms.
He cocked his head, encased in a helmet. A mask obscured his face, and a shiny black visor hid his eyes. His stance said he was amused, and confident.
"Come on, Lilith. I've tracked you across three worlds. And you know, that was a good dodge on Mulnist, it really was. Seriously, girl, think about this hunt. Do you really think a hostage—and a strung out gutter rat at that—will stay my hand?" Even through the modulation she could hear his snicker.
"What've-" she started to respond, but stopped when her tongue refused to cooperate. She tried again. "What have I got to lose?" she asked. She still slurred the end of the sentence.
He shook his head. "I'm not giving you time to process the drug, Lillith. Surrender, please."
She didn't reply.
"Last chance," he drawled. To her addled senses he seemed… what? Satisfied? Damn him! She wanted to destroy this man, utterly destroy him. If she could rend his miserable excuse for a soul from his body and stomp on it, she would.
And she didn't even know his name…
"I'm not going back in the box!" She snarled. "I made it out, I'm going away! I'm leaving you and your twisted masters and-"
The man shifted suddenly, his body language telegraphing his intent an instant before he moved, but Lil misjudged it. With her senses and reaction speeds, in any normal situation she would have not feared this man, but the damned drugs screw up everything. He shifted the stunner down to aim at center mass instead of her head, and is right hand sped for the holstered pistol.
She ducked her head down, trying to shield herself behind the woman. Something cut loose with a snapping buzzing sound. Light flashed. Pain screamed down her arm, hot and cold and the side of her face and most of her shoulder and arm were covered suddenly in blood.
She swallowed, or tried to, but her gorge rose. She gagged. Her mouth had been open, and she had some of the hostage's blood in her mouth. She wanted to vomit in the worst way.
The hostage convulsed and became a dead weight, falling away. Lil tried to keep the body up, but her strength fled. Before she could get a good view of what her assailant had done he was on top of her, free hand wrapped around her neck. He moved too fast, and his grip was strong. Her throat seized up, his strength was incredible.
Lil snarled and struggled, by reflex reaching for her talents, then gasped at the white pain that flooded from her head, coupled with the blinding shock as her body slammed up against the wall behind her. Her head rebounded off the unyielding wall. Her vision blurred.
She fell into the blackness, screaming without making a sound.