Thursday, July 2, 2015
May 26 – postdated (Part 3)
When the transport door opened, the It almost immediately came face to face with two Nobek security guards. I suppose it was ready for them, because it never hesitated for an instant in attacking them.
That was the Kalquorians’ Achilles’ heel: they had to react rather than carry the fight to their foe. I knew the transport’s security was on alert what with the alarms going off. No doubt they’d been told to look out for me. It didn’t change that the It was already fighting before they realized they were in trouble. The It had a plan, and they didn’t know what it was.
Plus there was that little matter of their instinct to protect rather than attack a woman ... not to mention the order to take me alive if possible. The invading organism had no such restrictions. That put the Kalquorians well behind the eight ball as far as trying to stop it.
I cringed in my little corner of my head as the It went low to take out the legs of one man with my reinforced arm, simultaneously kicking the knee of the other. There was a lot of cracking noises, sounds that sickened me. The guards’ howls rang in my head.
Had the It stood and fought, I think those two bruisers would have still triumphed. They each had a leg sticking out in strange angles, but they reached for me nevertheless. Nobeks are awesome creatures. They don’t stop.
Unfortunately, neither did the It. Other members of the bay’s security were rushing for us, coming fast. The It did its own quick move, snagging one of the fallen Nobek’s percussion blaster and darting away out of his reach. It opened fire at the coming defenses, forcing them to duck for cover.
As hard as I fought to keep separate from the It, the high emotion of the fight made it wide open to me. I suddenly knew its plan for escape ... and destruction of the transporter.
The It wanted to grab a shuttle and launch from the shuttle. It knew the transport would lock on to the shuttle via system controls that linked the two vessels together. Once the transport opened the computer links between the two vessels, the It could send a feedback loop to the Pussy ‘Porter ... one that would knock most systems offline, including life support. From there, the It hoped to also access weapons control to turn the transport against the accompanying destroyers.
I remembered how the It had not been able to access codes for life support and weapons before. Yet there was something about the link that would be established between the transport and the shuttle that the It believed would leave those vulnerable to this feedback loop ... something about getting access to priority code override commands. Whatever it was, the It was determined to exploit that weakness.
My body headed towards the shuttles, racing for the nearest one. Shouting guards were coming for me, held back only by my blaster fire. I was too close to the It’s goal for Security to stop me before I got on board one of the escape vessels. If I was to retake control of my body, now was the time.
The sound of Oses’ voice sealed the deal. All at once I rose, shoving the It back with all the anger and will I had. Feeling flooded me; my legs, arms and all were mine again. I whirled around to face Oses and the rest of the Nobeks charging towards me.
“It wants to take a shuttle and destroy the transport through a feedback loop,” I shouted.
The men surrounded me. A circle of percussion blasters pointed straight at me. Good; they were taking no chances. Oses pushed his way to the front to face me.
“Your passenger is operating off old information,” he told me. “We changed those protocols a long time ago when we fought the Bi’isils. There is no way to access the transport’s controls through a feedback signal now. You may as well surrender.”
I heard the It shriek in fury inside my head. The next instant, brutal pain walloped my chest.
I had known it was coming. The It had learned earlier that pain was a way of disabling me. It was horrendous, as awful as anything I’d ever felt. I kept telling myself it was only pain, that I wasn’t actually being damaged.
It’s one thing to know it on an intellectual level. It’s quite another to feel you’re being shredded from within, ripped to pieces without mercy.
I screamed. I looked down at my chest, expecting to see blood spraying everywhere. Of course that wasn’t the case. The It was setting off nerve endings, brutalizing me in a way that wouldn’t actually destroy. It still felt horrific.
Oses got in my face so I couldn’t see anything but him. “Hold it off just a few seconds, pet,” he told me. “Just a few seconds is all we need. Look at me, Shalia. Look at me and hold on.”
In Hell, a few seconds is a million eternities. I tried to shriek my lungs out as jagged blades seemed to tear and tear and tear me apart. I’m not sure how I obeyed Oses and maintained control for those infinite forevers. I can’t tell you how his determined stare sustained me or his insistent voice kept my grasp strong. All I know is I wanted to give in and he wouldn’t let me.
My arms jerked out to the sides. My feet left the ground. I drifted upward and Oses said, “We’ve got you. You can let go now.”
I did, knowing I would not come back another time. It was a relief to give up myself as lost. The It grabbed control again, and the pain stopped.
I was done.
I went back to my corner of my mind, observing my body under the control of another. I huddled there, defeated as I have never been defeated before. My only hope was that the Kalquorians would find some way to save my baby. That they would have to destroy me in order to defeat the It was no longer a question as far as I was concerned.
My body glared at Oses and then looked at my upraised arms. Hovercuffs circled the wrists, including the fully armored one. Those adjustable metal rings had also been placed on my ankles. I hung in the air, about a foot and a half off the floor.
The It snarled at our captors through my mouth. “The host’s mind is gone. This body belongs to me now. I will not be stopped. You cannot hold me forever.”
“We don’t have to.” Tep came through the guards, a device in his hands. I recognized the portable stasis box attached to straps. He wrapped this around my torso, just above the bump of my baby’s body. The next moment, I was like I’d been in Medical ... unable to move from the neck down.
“Even full stasis won’t stop me for long,” the It promised. “We adapt. We overcome. The stasis will fail. I will destroy the obstacle within the host and complete the transformation. You cannot stop that which is wrought in perfection.”
“Then you cannot win,” Tep answered grimly. “Your so-called perfection is a lie. Full stasis on.”
Darkness closed in and I was aware of no more.