Chapter NineteenKermadec Island
Viker looked at his creatures in disgust. He had started this shining with light, pure and with good intention. Even his action to save Marius was done out of pity, yet it became his weakness and downfall. The insidious nature of that which Marius had become twisted and turned inside Viker’s mind. Whispers showed him new games, tortures and debaucheries and Viker was unable to refuse these persistent urges.
Indulging himself served to occupy him for a while, but it was not enough. He needed more. Viker was torn between following his rebellious troops or continuing on his way. The truth be told, neither really appealed to him, although vengeance was always a palatable dish. In the end, it was his mutations who decided him. They now mirrored his own image, dark wings sprouting to complement their hideous deformations. He himself retained his ethereal good looks, although the darkness left reminders of its touch.
If I am a God, thought Viker, then these must be my Angels. Yes, he laughed, I like that...
*Viker’s Angels did no good deed, they excelled in the opposite. Forges were lit and weapons beaten into new shapes. Rifles and ammunition were collected and ferried to those craft chosen to carry them on their crusade. There were sacrifices, too many to count. Vats full of blood were carried to christen ships, arms and men. Body parts were used in other vile ceremonies, all in Viker’s name. His reputation had attracted the dregs of society, fringe religions and the insane. Now his Angels took their worship of their God to new heights, and Viker sucked in the proffered power greedily.
Finally they were ready, and ships lifted from Macauley. They were sluggish, reflecting the inexperience of their crews and the nature of their new Master. Emblazoned in red on the side of each craft were a pair of bloody wings. It was both a tribute and a message.
One by one, the ships jumped into Fold Space. Only Viker knew their real destination, and he grinned at the surprise he knew he would bring with his unannounced visit. A feeble part of his old self rebelled for one brief moment, before he cruelly snuffed it out. Dark piteous eyes gazed into the variegated hell that was Fold Space. He loved visiting old friends, and it had been so long since he had last seen them. Well, he would fix that right now.
Johns was torn between prayer and laughter. Their journey to earth had been nothing more than a partially-controlled dive, and he was surprised to be alive. His reinforced armour was a deciding factor, that and the braking jets. Location beacons had been deployed as a procedural event, but Johns held out little hope for aid. Alana was here, yet her predicament seemed no better than his own.“Form on me!” he shouted, watching the remnants of his people struggle to their feet. It was pitiful.
“We need to move,” he said calmly, “Alana needs our help…”
Laughter greeted his weak joke, and he sent two of his armoured companions ahead as scouts, watching as the rest formed a rough perimeter around the survivors. They were all armed, yet he was anxious at their vulnerability. Long ago he learnt to trust those instincts imparted by his contact with Colonel Walters. Something just did not feel right.
Movement in the distance drew his attention, his HUD zooming in on reflex. The bright spark of plasma fire in the sky gave him his new bearing. If she was anywhere, he thought, Alana would be amongst the thick of battle. She loved to fly. Add to that the possibility of killing something, and she would always be the first to the party.
“New contacts!”Alana heard Shin and rolled to avoid the swipe of a clawed hand. She unleashed a burst of fire and grunted in satisfaction as the demon’s wings disintegrated. The flashing icon on her HUD indicated direction and then the blue of friendly forces. She redirected her signal and boosted the power to her communications set.
“Johns, you old fart,” she screamed, “is that you?”“Present and correct,” laughed Johns, “we’re on our way to pull you out of yet another shit-fight…”
“Of course,” she agreed sarcastically, “just tell your boys and girls that the ones to shoot at have red skins, tails and wings. We´re the good guys.”
“I see others,” said Johns, his voice becoming clearer as he approached.“Enemy of my enemy, Johns,” she replied, “know what I mean?”
“Loud and clear, Alana,” said Johns, “we´ll be with you in five.”“All of you,” she asked, puzzled as the group of contacts began to spread out.
“Naw,” he said and she could hear his head shake in her mind, “just Recon….”Alana laughed as a compact group streaked towards her, reinforcements always helped.