miércoles, 8 de febrero de 2012

SDIV Chapter 10 Pt 2

Alana caught a flicker of movement in her scanner and switched the feed to thermal imaging. For one moment she clearly saw a figure outlined against the rocky background, and then it drained away.

“Does anyone else see anything?”

It was not normal protocol, but her dealings with Walters and then Viker, had taught her that normal came in various shapes and sizes.


A man backed into view, dragging a body. As he straightened she gasped, she had seen backward-looking species, even mutated Tauran followers, but this was something out of an historical text. What she assumed was a corpse was covered in matted furs, which the now straightened newcomer disdainfully kicked.

She cautioned her people to wait and back-winged down, her jets cushioning her landing. In front of her was a smiling and well-dressed individual who held his open palms upwards, in what she assumed was a universal sign of peace. Her HUD continued to scan and she wondered whether the journey down here had caused some malfunction; there was no-one showing on her read-outs. Alana mentally slapped herself. Of course, she was still on thermal imaging... which meant his thing was not human.

“Hello, my name is Victor Espada,” said Mammon, taking one step forward, “sorry I didn’t greet you personally, but I found a minor distraction waiting for me.”

His eyes were cold, and they narrowed when Alana did not answer, nor shut off her jets.

“Is there something wrong?”

Now she knew there was something strange; a full scan showed only an outline. No heat radiated from the man, and her night imaging showed him in dull black, as tough he absorbed the surrounding light. Instinctively she slanted forward, her wings snapping out in fight reflex.

“What gave it away?” asked Mammon, studying the blood drying beneath his fingernails.

“You just did...” said Alana, powering forward, “whatever you are.”

Mammon chuckled and leapt aside. This would at least be more entertaining than the tribesman’s pathetic attempt at survival. He would...how had she done that? Black and viscous blood dripped from a slash across his stomach where Alana’s wing had ripped into his flesh. It was not possible. No human could have done this. Emerald eyes flashed from behind the visor of her suit and now it was Mammon’s turn to realise a bitter truth. He had underestimated who and what this woman was. There was an unexpected danger here and he needed to escape.


“Incoming!” screamed Alana’s wingman into his communicator.

She looked up, momentarily distracted and it was all Mammon needed. He wasted no time in sharing a parting riposte but sprang into the cover provided by the wiry underbrush. Alana glanced casually at his departing back and briefly considered flaming the local area into ash, but the energy weapon which slashed into the earth nearby changed her mind.

“Form on me,” she ordered, springing into the air with the aid of her jets, “it appears that there are more surprises waiting for us.”

A sleek shape flashed overhead; it was not human, the protruding beak gave testament to that. It revolved in mid-air, presenting the muzzle of a weapon back towards her and fired. The bolt from the energy weapon sizzled past, narrowly missing her.

“Screw this,” she growled, boosting the jets on her suit, and turning herself into a guided missile.


Mammon watched the aerial dogfight unfold and smiled at the irony of his situation. His plan had become turned around, and all because he decided to slide out of existence. It was a way of fooling his Brothers and giving himself respite from their constant internecine warfare. It seemed as though he had slept in.

The Ori had surpassed themselves, their universe-wide trawl-net had dredged up some new and exciting species. The Game would be just that bit more interesting. Mammon reached into his jacket pocket, extracting a strange device, whose twin prongs began to vibrate as he punched in a series of numbers. There were other zones where he was sure he would be more welcome, and he could prepare for his next meeting with the winged Amazon. Revenge would be the sweeter for a little time apart.

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