Project: AKRA pt 12

***

The short cycles of the planet had given way to day as they trudged forward with no resistance, back to walking on the razor grass sawing slowly in the sunlight.  They marched forward with four of them still fully ‘armed’ in the limb sense of the word but at this point met no enemies.

Everyone knew what was coming before they actually rolled onto the bare ground, based on the loud roaring starting to filter through the trees.  Though Leio and Ziko were both reduced in combat efficiency, their squad was still in fairly good fighting capacity.  They made it through the surprise of the night, and still had four people capable of shooting larger weapons.  However, this new challenge they were coming up to was going to prove trying.

“There is no way we are making it across that,” Ziko said.  He knelt down to let Leio off of his shoulders as she sat down on the ground so he could better look over the edge of the cliff.  They stood next to some rocks and a tree, using the light cover as they looked over the shear corner of the massive cliff to the rumbling water hardly visible through the mist below.  On both sides of them the deep gorge was cut through the rock with no easy way down, and the height did not get any less extreme anywhere close that they could hike to make the descent easier.

“The two of them could not hope to swim across that water,” Agrest said, keeping his head turned upwards most of the time for any drones that might come flying over the tree tops.

“I have faith they could, but the risk is too great.”  Raist looked up and down the escarpment they were located on.  “It’d be better if the two of you stayed here to cover our escape.”

From where they were, the tip of the peak was barely visible against the tall trees of the other side of the river.  Their goal was close, but in every way seemed farther with every step they took.

“From here you guys should be able to build a pretty good choke point in the rocks over there.  The three of us are going to do a sprint to the target, and come back.  There is a good chance we will need as much cover fire and a clear path as possible on our way back.”

Agrest pointed to the rocks.  “It’s a good plan, since I’d hate trying to descend and climb back up with things shooting at us.  If you two have this locked down, it should help our escape.”

Raist finished, “Ziko, I am going to need you well-rested because as soon as we get here, we are running back to the extraction zone. I do not want to be in the forest again for another night.  The three of us should be able to handle AKRA, and I know you are strong, but we cannot be slowed even if you are carrying Leio.”

The problem was they had to make it back out of anti-air range to call their shuttle down.  Even if it was capable of firing, with how defended their target was, calling it anywhere close was risking being trapped here.

The group worked for a bit, positioning rocks and checking sight patterns so that the two staying behind would have clear cover fire on the three advancing members, both on the descent, the swim, and the climb before they disappeared into the other side.  Natural rock walls covered their backs, and a few shots through the rocks gave them some gun holes to fight anything that did come from the forest.  The three advancing soldiers dropped all but one weapon here so they could move faster now that the mission had become one of a sprint.

“Goodbye, Raist,” Leio told him as they embraced.  Raist was having to hold her up.  “I hope I see you again.  I really do.”  Her foot was realigned, but the large section of meat missing from her calf was something he tried to not look at.

“I’ll be back soon.”  He gave her butt a light squeeze as he turned away from her.  They spiked their rappel systems into the rock and Agrest and Philira already jumped over the edge.  Raist was preparing to do the same when a strange thought came to him.

‘Look at her one more time; it might be your last.’  He turned to face her, and she did a small wave, smiling at him, the normalcy making him think he was over-thinking again.  He turned back towards the cliff and crouched and launched off.

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Project: AKRA PT 7

***

Ist…

Raist!  He shook his head slowly as his eyes focused on some light coming down from the trees above him.

He shook his head, thinking about that girl – spilled out on some planet in his past, serving her fatalistic destiny without complaint.  In time his bleeding wounds would heal, but there were some wounds that never healed, those that were too deep to see.

Anyone there!?  A desperate female voice came through on his ICS, but there was no identification marker or avatar associated with it.  What was going on?  ICS was nearly flawless, local range could reach substantial portions of the planet.

Yeah, I’m here.  I can’t get an ID on you.  I took a pretty hard fall and was out for a while there. – Raist

Philira speaking.  I ended up on the ground okay, but I worry about everyone else.  I’m glad at least one person is still alive. – Philira

Well, we need to meet.  Unfortunately, this foliage is way too dense to get a vantage point on. – Raist

Raist put his hand behind him and pushed himself to a sitting position, but just doing that hurt his hand.  He lifted his hand to find small cuts over it, and rapidly realized the ground he was on was composed of a grass-like plant that its sharp edges literally were serrated.  He grabbed a blade of the plant and realized it was structured so that it would stab inwards deeper and deeper, but had small anchors that prevented it from easily coming back out.

In the corner of his eye his system was pinging a warning, and he activated it.  His system told him that medical and suit synth capabilities have been reduced to 84% after healing him from the fall.

Normally that wasn’t too bad, but his system also warned that given the harsh condition of travel, expect high levels of loss while maintaining suit integrity as it increased thickness to stop the plants from getting at him.

He unrolled the suit off his hand to touch the plants without the armor protecting him, gently rolling his finger over it.  Just the soft touch left a thin line of blood on his fingertip before his internal nanites quickly sealed the cut and recycled the blood.

Philira, be careful of the terrain.  The area I found myself in is composed of extremely sharp objects.  We should be okay with our suits, but if those break down we are in for a lot of pain getting through here. – Raist

Shout a few times, if you would. – Philira

“Philira!  Hey!  Anyone out there?!  Phil—” He heard some crashing behind him, and shot up into a crouch, pulling out his Gauss-Limiter rifle.

There were many weapons that were used by individuals that were also used on ships, only in changed capacities.  Agrest’s Rail Rifle was based on the ship weapon of same name that was a long-range rail gun designed to pound out space stations, and with very good tracking and computers could blow smaller ships apart.  Raist’s Gauss-Limiter was similar to the ship’s in that it launched huge numbers of tiny projectiles at hyper velocities.

“It’s me,” her voice came through.  He didn’t even see her; the camo was still working completely.

He disengaged his own cloaking slightly, and she followed suit so they could see each other.  They ran up to each other and gave a quick hug, grateful to see someone after the crash.  Even though he was dating Leio, he had a soft spot in his heart for Philira.  He never pursued it meaningfully because of emotional scars he had over Laiun, the last Scout whom he seriously liked, that selflessly gave her life away for him.  They were vastly different in many ways, beyond that they were both completely sacrificial for the Leader.  He shook his head to get off the dark train of thought he was on.

“How lucky that the Scout was the one that crashed close to me,” he smiled warily.

“You were actually pretty far away, but this forest is strangely quiet right now.”

“You ran here?  Isn’t that risky with all these plants?”  Raist asked the young Scout.

“Just reinforce your boots, and the rest is just being careful where your body is.”  She held his eyes for only a moment longer before going back to scanning the forest, holding her Plaz-Shot down by her hips.

“Yeah, already on it.  Was I the only one you heard from, on ICS or sound?”

“Unfortunately, yes.  I couldn’t imagine we are particularly dispersed, but I should definitely be able to hear them, regardless of the ICS malfunction.”

Raist was completing a quick check to make sure none of his gear had fallen out on the crash.  “Has to either be something with the planet, which I doubt, or our enemy has an interference device.  That had to be what caused the crash.  If we get you up that tree, any chance it might help?” He was pointing to the biggest ‘tree’, if you could call a starburst-shaped trunk a tree.

“Completely.  It might take a bit to climb though.”

“Let’s do it. I’ll guard down here.”

The two of them made their way over to the spiked ridge.  He crouched down, ready to boost her up to one of the knife-branches, when she shook her head ‘no’.

He raised an eyebrow at her, but then she showed him her gloves which had taken on hooked appearances while slightly spreading out.

‘Scout trick,’ he thought.  She jumped at the ridge, slamming her hands into the strange object, punching her hooked claws through the tree as her spiked boots likewise punched their way through with slight ‘tings’ as she flew up the tree, crystal fragments falling down as she ascended.  She cloaked herself fully once more once she was actually climbing upwards.  If somehow the ‘tree’ had resisted the repulsion field in her climbing tools, the microscopic suction cups would have propelled her up anyway.

Project: AKRA pt 4

Continuing the story, they are about to get down to the planet

 

Ziko was by default the group mule based on his strength, but on raw speed no one could touch Philira.  For a moment her bright pink hair became visible, as did her youthful body as she disabled her camouflage to readjust some equipment.  Soldiers had specific natural hair colors based on their Class: Female Scouts were pink, female Supports were bright orange, male Supports were light blonde, Leaders had black and so on.  They could be manually overridden, but was rarely done.  Almost all combat was conducted in combat suits or stealth fields so this issue did not matter.  For most soldiers, their class was a mark of pride.

“Damn, I thought a saw an angel there for a moment,” Agrest said.

“Of death?”  Raist asked, slamming an energy clip into a pistol and watching the counter read ‘full’ before the text dissolved into the number ‘100’.

“Maybe, I don’t know. I was a little confused though…”

“Why?” Ziko asked.  Raist smiled, and tried to hide his laugh that Ziko fell right into a trap.

“Well, aren’t angels supposed to be hot?  I thought she’d be a bit bigger if you know what I mean.”

“Agrest…” Ziko started.

“Bigger?”  Philira asked.  “But I am not the shortest here.”

“Bigger like Leio over there.”  Agrest disabled his cloak to hold his two hands out in front of his chest.

Raist was snickering while he watched what shimmer was likely Ziko trying to catch Agrest while he was shouting, “Why the hell do you always fill her head with your perverted shit?!”

“Everyone has at least three-range cover in their weapon choices, right?”  Leio was updating a graphic overlay showing the positions of the squad, with colored ovals representing the effective range of their weapon choices.

Philira, being the lead, naturally had a powerful, short-range weapon; the graphic showed a dark red oval that covered a short distance in front and behind, covering from Ziko up to Raist in his middle position.  Conversely, at the back of the formation, Agrest’s personal Rail Rifle had by far the biggest range, but in an intense close range firefight could not keep up, and thus his main oval was less colored; nevertheless the vast coverage could still assist any of the team in a fight.

“Raist, you are a little weak on the close range,” Leio said, looking over the constantly updating data. “Not sure the pistol will cut it in these quarters.”

“Throw me the SSAW.”  A strange looking blue weapon was flung through the air and caught by something invisible.  “I’ve been meaning to try this out.”

“It’s slow on the recharge,” Philira commented easily.  “Here, let me show you something.”  A Vibro-Knife was picked up off the table, and Raist handed the SSAW over to the invisible tug.  She revealed herself and walked next to Raist, her hips touching his as she held the gun to show him.  “You can store a knife here in the lower duct.  Useful on the downtime,” she smiled at him and stepped away.  It was a slightly flirtatious or sensual move, but given her naivety in relationships, likely didn’t understand what she was doing.

He held the weapon in his shoulder, pretending to fire it then letting it drop while he drew the knife from where it was held.  “Damn, that is a pretty nice trick. That really is a good place to hide it.”

“Saved my life before.”  Raist wondered what creature or alien had a Vibro-Knife stabbed through its head to save Philira’s life.

“I’ll show you a trick later, how’s that sound?” Raist asked her slyly.

“What kind?” Philira asked, totally innocent.

“One that will leave you feeling real good.”

“Not Raist too…” Ziko moaned.

“Survive first, and I’ll show you.” He only did those jokes because he enjoyed how defensive Ziko would always become.

“I will,” she said firmly.  “No matter what.”

“Okay, looks good.”  Leio showed the planned formation to everyone, leaving comments open for anyone to input.  The unspoken rule they had acquired over the battles was that you made no recommendations about anyone’s main weapon, but you could request a change in either of their two sub-weapons, since it was often your ass that depended on it.

“Agrest,” Ziko began, “can you swap that inductor for something with a bit more range?  Maybe the Silvershot?”

“Aww, feeling lonely near the front, lil’ buddy?  I think Philira has enough firepower for both of you.  But even that still leaves my little angel up there out of range.”  Agrest gave Ziko a hard time, but swapped his weapon without protest.  Upon further review Ziko was indeed a bit bare on the covering fire.  Philira had him supported heavily, but only Raist had him within range of powerful rapid fire support.

He had finished, and at this point it was mostly small things others were finagling with.  “Orbital Sync in five…” Raist said.  Everyone stopped their banter, and shoved any supplies or extra energy cells in, packed up quickly, and went to the launch bay.

“Synch up?”  Leio asked.

Yes – Everyone responded on the Inter-Connect System, an implanted communication system that could reduce talking to a near-psychic level of communication.

Launch in three – Leio’s voice played in all of their minds while the air in the ship was pressed back into tanks, leaving the room they were in devoid of atmosphere, their suits protecting them against both the low pressure and the lack of air.

Two – The door opened up, the huge planet’s blue, green, and purple forests standing defiantly against the black of space.  At this distance the beauty defied the danger.

One – Each of them could feel their suits change as they prepared for entry.  The first change was the locking in with the launch system.

She didn’t have to say ‘zero’ or ‘go’ as the moment they were pulled out of the ship with by the launching system was obvious enough.  The catapult system was designed to ensure the even spacing of the entire team, as even the most trained jump could result in a vast dispersion pattern from orbit.  A pentagon shape of the five of them fell through space towards the planet.

Project: AKRA pt2

Part 2 of the story, make sure you check it out, its going to be big!

The five members of the squad were sitting on the bench in the sterilization room of their ship, naked while a battery of electromagnetic waves, chemicals, and machines poured over their toned bodies.  Since the nanites within their systems protected them from any likely xeno-disease of the planet, this was for the exact opposite reason: so their own bacteria would not wipe out the entire planet’s ecosystem.  That kind of xenocide tended to be bad for business.

“What the hell!?  We are taking another recovery mission without getting any of the details?” Ziko’s fist slammed into the bulkhead.

“Do you want to bitch your whole life?”  Raist pointedly asked him.

“Come on Raist, we need to start getting way more info before we get into these things!”

“Leave him alone Ziko, it’s not like you are smart enough to ever care about details anyway,” Leio’s voice stated calmly as she lay back against the wall of the room, arching her back with her hands locked behind her head.  Her perfect breasts and thinner, toned waist would distract even the hardiest of males, but it was only a matter of course: she was Aelisha Genetically Engineered that way.

“How nice,” he replied as he gave her a sideways glance. “Your girl is playing secretary for you as well.  What do I have to do to talk to the man in charge?  Kill her?” he joked.

“She could kick your ass.  If you can make it past her then you can talk to me,” Raist responded quickly, his brain coming up with a retort more out of habit than anything.

“Jeez, team effort here.”  He wore a huge smile, closing his eyes and flexing his huge arms he had behind his own head.  “Sorry for trying to show caution when our Leader is failing to do so.”

Leio giggled for a bit, opening her eyes and winking at Ziko while giving him a slight smile.

“So she is your battle-secretary?  Damn that sounds hot,” Agrest, the fourth member of their team, suggested.  Raist and Leio laughed at his typical joking demeanor, belying the fact he was the group’s Sniper capable of blowing any creature’s head off at amazing distances, or surviving alone for long periods of time  “What type of other ‘uniforms’ do you get her to wear when we aren’t rolling out?  Old school maid perhaps?”

“Why would her uniform be different?”  Philira, the second girl of the group, naively asked.  Through her hair was a bright pink when it wasn’t nano-camouflaged, her eyes left a cold sensation, amplified by her obvious young age compared to the older soldiers.  She was a girl AGEd to be the best soldier you could have on point, with extremely heightened visual and aural acuity, rapid peripheral vision processing, and, above all, reflexes to keep her alive in the extremely dangerous position of Scout.

Agrest frowned exaggeratedly, “Uh, never mind…”

“Yeah, stow that shit Agrest, what is your problem?” Ziko’s joking demeanor changed to one that was stern.  Though Agrest and Ziko were both the group’s source of laughs, Ziko had a sensitive spot in that he couldn’t stand jokes about Philira, or anything sexual that might ‘taint’ her mind.  Ziko considered himself the father figure, or more like the big brother, of the younger Philira, unsurprising given the general close proximity of the two with his role as Assault and hers as Scout.  It was probably a mistake for Ziko to ever have made an issue about it at all.  Even cool-headed Raist got in on the jokes just to make him mad.

The five of them were a close family, but there were still a lot of secrets between them such as where they came from, action they’d bene in before getting into super deep groups like this, and what horrors they had lived through; all somewhat natural given their line of work.  Very rarely would someone get rotated out to a new team, such as Raist’s few other friends.  Mostly people died in the team they start in or get maimed too bad to continue or they make it through a deadly grinder and live an all-expense retirement after a short but brutal tour.

Even so Ziko still felt a duty to protect the girl, even though she was just as good of a killer as him and her young eyes had that dark coldness to them.  This was despite her naivety of some aspects of the world, namely those that didn’t involve killing such as relationships, love, or sex.  None of them knew the past all of them came with, and a girl like Philira likely didn’t have much since Scouts tended to get grinded worse than most other Classes.  At this point of their lives they still trusted each other deeply, as it took tremendous service and sacrifice to the Solarian or Aelisha empires to get here.

“Anyway, Leio’s sexy maid costume and Philira’s overall hotness aside,” Agrest began, grinning boyishly, “anything else about this mission you haven’t brought up yet?” he ended seriously.

Big Scifi giveaway I am part of

Hey guys I am part of a big scifi giveaway this week.  I am giving away Project: AKRA if you have not picked it up yet.  Lots of new talent to check out.

http://sffbookbonanza.com/freebooks/

I am still hammering away at trying to be an author, so something like this could help big!

Enjoy if you check it out.

New story: Project: AKRA

Hey so I started slipdrift, but instead it is going to be Project: ARKA and this is due to some things with amazon and when the free period ends.  Anyway, all of them are part of the VayneLine Chronicles, here is project akra!

 

Project: AKRA

 

Ironically, the Emotion-Field concept as an aspect to reality proved so revolutionary that the first groups to find evidence of its existence fought and killed for its secrets, deeply contrary to the discovery’s eventual implications.  It was the first indication of higher dimensional aspects that influenced our reality, as well as our own ability to change them.

 

– Terran Intradex Ver. 4 Excerpt on ‘Emotion Field’

 

See Also: Star Priestess, Classed Soldier, Project: AKRA [Declassified]

 

“I have reason to believe you are the best…feel like putting that reputation to the test, soldier?”  The hooded figure had a light cloaking field over it that made it seemed almost like an illusion to the soldier it was speaking to.

A small smirk crossed the face of the soldier as he brushed two fingers through his short hair.  “Naturally.”

The hooded figure laughed, but its tone was masked by a voice-modder, rendering its tone completely neutral so it could not be identified in any form. “I know you have taken hard missions before, but I do not expect the survival rate to be particularly high on this.  There were only three groups that had both the clearance and the battle experience your group possesses.  I hate sending such a valued asset like your group on a mission like this, but it is one of particular import to the Star Priestesses.”

‘To the Star Priestesses’ meant for all intents ‘to the Aelisha’.

Though the black-haired man was arrogant, he was not stupid, and likewise answered carefully.  “Interesting; I assume this is your estimation of the danger.  If I may ask, is that an academic estimate, or a once-soldier’s estimate?”  A very small portion of Star Priestesses were soldiers, but a large percentage of Aelisha in secret operations like this were warriors.

“The latter,” the figure said in an easy tone that belied its long combat experience.  “A rather well-connected criminal syndicate has stolen a very valuable collection of data.  Its name is AKRA, an information processing and application unit.  It holds an understanding of the universe we are just barely starting to comprehend.”

“And it’s our job to recover the data,” the man offered.  It was probably an Aelisha he was dealing with most likely some high-rank diplomat or something similar.  For the briefest moment he mused about tackling the creature and ripping its cloak off to see whom it was.

“ ‘Naturally’,” the cloaked figure mimicked.

The black-haired soldier laughed at the imitation, but in his mind he could tell there was something deeply wrong with this mission his squad was going to undertake.  He always believed in his combat instincts, but this was different.  Something was calling to him beyond just his instincts, but he had no idea what it was saying.

Considering the credits his group was offered, some mysterious ‘clearances’ for advanced weaponry they recently had been given, and the entirely personal reason that he felt something calling on this job, he knew he would do it.  The soldier named Raist, told the figure they would take the job.  As soon as he had said so, the figure had turned and started walking out, shimmering like a ghost that was barely visible.  “Wait, one question though.  Why us?”

“You were asked for specifically.”

That was interesting.  He didn’t know too many people that knew him and were still alive.  “By whom?”

“You are not privy to that information.”

“Ha, I am used to that,” he said to the figure that had departed.

The figure was far enough away it was completely invisible, but before it had completely left the room, its voice said to Raist, “But know an old friend sends their… regards.”

Counting the friends he had that weren’t in his squad and were still alive took about four fingers.  He stood there for a moment, digesting the conversation that had just occurred.  He spun his pistol lazily out of habit, more concerned with his thoughts.  It crashed to the ground, and he crouched down quickly to grab it.  He saw something like a small string or thread against the background blackness of his pistol and grabbed it.  The single medium-length strand of hair was a bright pink.

‘That was a Solarian girl, maybe a Star Priestess or a Classed like me…I wonder who she was?  Something felt weird about her.’  All Star Priestesses and really anyone this deep in secrecy were a little weird though.  He shook his head, trying to stop thinking about things.  ‘Too many thoughts and feelings; just focus.’

 

Proud Infinity – end

Well here is the long awaited end of the story, please leave likes and comments!

 

My mind was still trying to comprehend everything when she started laughing, “I thought it was really funny about your white blood cell thought.  In a way, that kind of more accurately describes me.  I was ‘born’ to combat this problem, and now that it’s over, so is my purpose.  It may be hard for you to comprehend, but I am far more ‘white blood celled’ as you phrased it than you.”

“Why are you a girl though?  There are way too many aliens out there for me to believe that the universe’s form would be a Solarian.”

She laughed a long time at that.  “Hardly.  I was simply created in the form that the reactive element would find most pleasing.  As you are a heterosexual Solarian, this form seems sufficient, did it not?”

I started laughing.  “Wow, I remember you saying something like that a million times ago it seems.  No, you are perfect, but that’s what you were created to be, right?  Created in such a way I would find you impossibly intriguing, all to ensure I interacted with the element to stop the fracture.  So I don’t get it, I still am confused about two things.  You actually did stop those bullets in that battle right?  But how?”

“As you know, I am actually a physical element in true physical reality, but to make it so I appear to multiple people is hard.  But did I in any way change the reality of what those soldiers thought might be happening?  To them, they would never know where a spray of rounds ends up, so because you did not die, they simply would think they had missed, all at the cost of my energy of maintaining a physical body.”

I continued, “The other is you sometimes used the plural when we talked about this succeeding, and it was always like ‘it will happen, We won’t allow it to fail’ kind of thing.  It almost sounds like you have done this before?  Or is that some sort of ‘we are all connected thing’? ”

“No, to your first, yes to your second.  I am simply stating the connection We all have with everything.  I was created solely for this fracture.  I still have the knowledge of the universe though, for I am a major part of it.  I think I had told you before that the fracture would be created endlessly until it was fixed.  I had complete confidence it would come to completion.”

“So will you…can you stay with me?”

“Of course!  We will be together forever.  I will stay with you in this form while your physicality lasts, and I will personally escort and stay with your consciousness through the Line.  I think it is a way of the universe saying thanks!” she stated happily.

“Ha, so are you the prize for my service or what?”

“Is that what you think of me?  I would not think so.”

“No, you are right.  By the end of all of this, I was not doing any of it for myself, or for the universe, none of that.  By the end I was doing it for you.  Those million iterations, we became friends on a level beyond just you needing me to do something.  I hope it was not just some attraction created into you, because it feels very real.  We connected by consciousness or maybe it was our soul.  On the level where we are often alone, we…or I did anyway, felt like I was not alone.  Not in the place it counted.”

Her eyes were crying tears of happiness. “I do not know if I could have phrased it better about connection on that strange level.  I am proud of what you did Tre, infinitely so.”

“Ha!” I hugged her tight, weak as it was. “I think I definitely got the best universe incarnation, for sure.”

“Me too!” she laughed giddily.  “The reacting agent I mean!”

“Oh damn, my hair!”  In the reflection of a console, I noticed my hair was haggard-looking from being locked up so long, but the thing that had changed was now it was completely neon white.

“Yes, that is what happens to Solarians who have had contact with beings like myself.  I am composed of a high concentration of Axls, and such levels are deadly to you.  Well it would be if I let my essence out of control.  At the very least though, I constantly radiate them, and it causes you to be stronger and faster, but it leads to you dying earlier…and the white hair.”

“Damn, that’s pretty scary.  Being in love with you is killing me?”

“It is, in a way, but do not worry.”

“You will protect me, right?  You always have.”

“And I always will, Trego.”

“Forever?” I asked.

“For infinity.”

Proud Infinity pt 32

Trego is in jail wondering if everything was just a dream.

 

“You would forsake me so fast?”  It was her voice.  I wondered how long before I would start hallucinating about her.

“Fuck you, go away,” I said to the darkness.  Damn, I hated just being used.  I kind of wanted to shoot her if the circumstances were such that way again.

Her…the cause of everything.  Guess it was not too long.  It was in the shadows of despair within my mind and the actual darkness in this cell that I definitely started to hate her.  I felt used beyond redemption.  White blood celled.

The bag was pulled off of my head, and her bright blue eyes were almost touching mine.  She smiled was wide as she brought her face back.  “Hi Tre!  My, what have they done to you?”

“Unfortunately…” my voice came haggard.  I had not spoken in a long time, and being deprived of water left my throat dry.  “My race has… our less than… glorious… moments towards each other.  Are you… real?  Or just here to…to torment me before I die?”

I honestly expected her to disappear, or maybe appear as the guy who was probably going to torture me.  But she stepped forward, putting her hands on my arms, and something happened as I was falling towards her.  I landed in her chest as she held me gently.  My arms hung limply at my side and I definitely could not feel them.

“Proud…you are real…” I mumbled, feeling her actually hugging me and feeling overwhelmed by that fact as I whimpered softly.

“Of course.  Why would I not be?  I had promised I would protect you, did I not?”

“Did…you?  Can’t… remember.  I can’t move…hunger…pain.  My arms…”

“I know.  I know.”  She held me there, and something warm was flowing from her into me.  I felt a strange awareness come over me, an awareness I once possessed slowly come back to me.

“Healing,” I stated and she nodded.  I could at least walk, even if I felt weak and out of it.  “But how can we get out of here?  I thought you cannot influence reality that much?”

“I have gotten stronger.  I am still limited, but enough to get you out of here.  I had to wait until everyone in your near reality counted on you dying.  To that reality it makes no difference if you actually die, or are simply gone.  The jail guard was killed in an accident today, he was the only one who knew you weren’t actually dead yet.”

“Complicated rules.”

Her eyes widened a bit at the simple truth of my statement.  “Indeed.  It is time we go.”

“Uh, are we going to teleport or something?  I don’t think we can just walk out.”

She disappeared, and I certainly did not make the trip with her.  “Uh, Proud?”

The door to my cell opened, and she was the one that had done it.  “Come on.”

“And if we are caught?”

“I will protect you.  It will not happen though.  Stay close.” She offered her hand and I reached for it, but my hand did not move.  She bent down, grabbing it, and I noticed my emaciated arm that she had taken.  I had been in this delusional state in this dark cell for longer than I likely knew.

At the very end of the hallway, I tried tugging her back as I saw the shadow of a guard coming.  She shook her head and sure enough the form on the wall had turned around and started walking away without ever turning the corner.  We walked through some sort of facility, and it was uncanny that at every turn someone would be walking through the opposite door, or turned engaged in something.  We continued in the strange ballad of perfect timing until we came out to a ship pad.