When we last left our intrepid heros...
STILL PRE-PROOFREAD...lots of errors that will eventually be fixed... just sharing the progress...
“Sempre Dolcissimo Cantabile”
(Always Sweetly Singing)
Author: D. Sanders
---- continued... Go read these posts first
PART ONE ** PART TWO
PART THREE ** PART FOUR
PART FIVE ** PART SIX
The fic that took over my LIFE.... O_o Damn plot bunnies!!!
Val sat by the bed all night, just keeping vigil and softly talking to Cris as he slept. Reassuring him that he still loved him and would never ever stop loving him.
It was a very long night for everyone.
Mandy poked her head in the door where Val still watching over Cris. “Val, can you come in here a moment.”
“I don’t want to leave him.”
“He’ll be asleep for hours yet. I sedated him heavily. I need you in here for a short meeting. I have finished my analysis.”
Val nodded and joined the others, no one had been to bed yet, and everyone looked exhausted as they burned the midnight oil and the room smelled of stewed coffee. Once Val joined the others in the main room Mandy sat back at the table over her portable med unit.
“The good news, if any. He was not raped.” The exhalation of every breath of relief in the room was palpable.
“However… It was obvious Enjoe wanted us all to think he was. There were no signed of sexual assault and the blood came from a different source. The bastard not only cut him, he carved up his back with what looked like broken glass.”
“CARVED?” Eran was still furious and his voice was raised louder than it should have been and Mandy held up her hand.
“Eran please, let me finish. Yes, carved. He could have cut through spinal cord and almost did some of the punctures are so deep. Please that is all Cris is ever to know, I beg you NONE of you tell him what was carved into his back. I’ve stitched him closed very carefully and I’ve put ever scar retardant I have and I’ve ordered more so he’ll never see.”
“Mandy? What was carved into his back?” Val’s voice was shaking.
“MINE” Mandy’s voice cracked with grief.
Val sank into a chair, his face buried into his hands as he wept silently. Beau was by his side stroking his back in comfort immediately.
“There’s more. Ah God Eran I was wrong, I did more research. You picked Enjoe up on Tiratine, they still used Phase one technology up until twenty years ago, they were the last to convert to Phase two. We have a big problem on our hands, Enjoe is showing all the signs of a corrupted synaptic amplifier.”
“Which means?” Eran asked as he paced the floor.
“The amplifier targets endorphins and testosterone. It boots adrenaline and stamina. It explains his deteriorating behavior. He’s…”
“He’s targeted. I know that much Mandy. I fought rough augments after the Tsion wars. I was a collector for about twenty years. Don’t give me the science; give me the facts; how far gone do you think he is? Level One?”
“No he’s not Level One yet, I don’t think he’s totally corrupted yet, he’d have just killed Cris if he was. According to the data and the input of symptoms. He’s Level Three, distortion of reality, erratic behavior, a detachment of emotional recognition, possessive, single minded drive.”
“I know Level Three Mandy. Level Two and we have a stalker bent on getting his target clean. He’s already showed signs of Stalking, as evidence to Cris’ encounters with him before. We just never noticed because his job was EASY. Not many places Cris could hide on the ship and he admitted to being the one during all those Port stops where we found Cris out of his senses and face down in gutters. He’s already Level two. He’s out there somewhere and he’s monitoring us.”
“Eran’s right. For a time after the War, as I was trying to work my way back here, I ran into a few augments and collectors. We need a perimeter security system installed immediately, until he’s caught none of us are safe.”
“You were a collector?” Eran was shocked; Beau wasn’t the type to be a killer.
“Of course not. I just happened to have been in a lock down situation. There was a Level One loose for six months. No one came or went except the collectors. It took seventeen Collectors to capture one Level One. This is no laughing matter.” Beau said and Eran nodded picking up his communicator.
“Up the Bounty to Ten Million and be warned. We have a Level Two Rouge Augment.” Eran communicated to the Federal outpost then made another transmission.
“This is Captain Eran Callum, Unit Alpha, Sector Alpha. I need the current commanding General.”
The young Collections officer on the Vid line tapped the controls and scanned Eran’s retina from the small vid Screen Eran was holding. “Captain Callum? Not THE Callum. He’s must be dead by now. How can you match his scan?”
“Because you idiot, I AM Captain Callum and I do not have time to discuss my longevity with you, I need a Collector Unit in Sector Omega IMMEDIATELY. I have a Level Two Rouge.”
“Patching you through to the General Captain.”
Eran was impressive when he tossed his authority around, it was easy to see why he had been legendary during the Tsion wars, he had always been a natural leader, seeing him being so deadly efficient sent shivers down Beau’s spine. He was amazing to watch when he took control and it was obvious he’d had an extremely long military career. He wore experience like a crown and people recognized it without hesitation.
“Captain Callum. I see you resurface again. The legends are true then, you have an amazing service record.”
“I do not need the ego stroke General. I need a unit here A.S.A.P. I have a Level Two containment needed Sector Omega. Last Seen Pirotaine Capitol City, twenty-three hundred hours. I have his target under my protection, but we’re under manned and short on security. I need an E.T.A.”
The General nodded, his Grandfather’s Grandfather was a Boy when the legendary Captain Eran Callum has collected a never heard of record of three hundred augment rouges in his thirty-year career as a collector before he had an honorary retirement. He Quit. Everyone studied him when they trained to become a collector; he had been one of the first and in command of the original Alpha Unit during the Collections Bureau’s infancy and founding. “I can have the Upsilon Unit en route and in your Sector E.T.A. nineteen hundred hours Pirotaine time.”
“Not good enough. I have Two officers untrained in rouge combat, one civilian, and one pregnant woman in the middle of nowhere here, my ship is off-line and cannot lift off, we’re in the middle of an overhaul we do not have enough man-power to protect the target. I need it now. Do better.”
“I can call Sigma Unit by 0-nine hundred.”
“Call them, I can hold for eight hours. Get them here.”
“Sending the orders now. Who’s the target?”
The general’s eyes widened and tapped at the controls on his desk. “They are on their way Captain. Upsilon Unit is still en route too for back up. Can you transmit the stats on the level two?”
“Mandy transmit the data you have.” Eran turned to Mandy who sent the data to Eran’s communicator.
”Godstruth! We’ve been looking for this unit for a decade! Lost him on Tiratine without a trace.”
Everyone in the room bit their lips. Enjoe had had them all fooled from the very beginning.
“That’s my fault General. He’d been a part of my Crew; I never knew he was augmented until today. He was a child when he came aboard my ship.”
“Killed his entire training unit on Drenadine, stowed away on a cruiser which he hijacked to Mirastor, murdered four prostitutes and five soldiers before we tracked him to Tiratine where we lost his trail. You’ve a level one on your hands Captain and a very smart one if he even had you fooled.”
“Obviously. Thank you for your help General.”
“An Honor Captain. The Gods be with you.” The transmission ended and Eran dropped the communicator and flew into action.
“Get Cris moved in here immediately, put him in the cave behind the door beside our bed, he’s got to be protected and that’s the most secure part of this structure. Farin, disable all weaponry on the “Infinity” and the shuttle. Blow them up if you have to we can’t have Enjoe using our ship against us. Val, I want you to weld all windows and doors shut except the main door, which we’ll barricade. Move it, be done in an hour!” Eran ordered going to help Beau and Mandy who were already moving Cris and his bed into the cave for his own safety.
Beau and Eran were dragging in mattresses from the other room for the rest to lie on rather than the floor and after the bare necessities were vacated from the side structures, Val welded the windows and doors shut of the “Homestead.”
Farin blasted the weapons control panels on both the “Infinity” and the shuttle. Those were easy enough to replace with new consoles; Enjoe however would be without heavy weapons capabilities. He was back inside in less than twenty minutes and helped Val finish welding to secure the room.
They tack welded the main doorframe shut, and then pressure bolted the door. No one was getting in and just as they finished, the generator died and the power and all lights went out.
“He’s here. Probably been watching us the whole time. Smart bastard. That was nice timing.” Eran said lighting up a cigarette, the flame illuminating his face and then pitch black again, just the flare of embers as he took a drag from his cigarette.
Beau was scared. Not for himself, but for the others and Eran was agonizingly calm about it. “Okay Mr. Cool. What do you want us to do now?”
“Nothing. Stay alert and awake. We only have to hold out four or five hours. I don’t think Enjoe knows I was a collector, I certainly never told him, he won’t know I’ve called for back-up. He thinks I don’t know what he is. That will be his mistake.”
“I hope you’re right.” Beau said and he felt Eran take his hand and squeeze.
“We’ll be fine. Val, go to Cris, keep him WARM it's cold back there. With no power he’ll freeze. He needs to be monitored and that’s your job.” Val was already groping his way back in the dark toward the back. “Weld that door shut behind you too. There’s food in our kitchen, you hole up in there and seal yourselves in. We’ll hold out here and be the first line of defense. Mandy, you go back with them too. I don’t want you here in your condition.”
“Good idea.” Farin said and Mandy saw the sense in it and followed Val into Beau and Eran’s section of the “Homestead” and watched Val fire up the gas welder as he sealed them in.
That left Beau, Eran and Farin in the Main room to guard the others. “Crap.” Eran sighed.
“I have one cigarette left and my others are in there with them.”
Beau rolled his eyes. “Cope.”