Worlds Collide

Just when I thought my NaNo was finished… I am having fun with this section, though.

**

“This is Alexander Pemberton, on the Lady Sarah,” he said, as he keyed the button to answer the call.

Immediately, a familiar voice came over the comm.  “Hello, Al,” the caller said.  Alexander smiled as a face appeared on the screen in front of him.  Cyrus Greyson gave him a wry smile.  “Just calling to bring you up to speed on some new developments back home.”

“Go ahead,” Alexander said, as he made ready to record the information, so that he could pass it on to the others later.

Cyrus nodded.  “Director Haruko was arrested – turns out he was the mole that your cousin kept going on and on about,” he said, nodding.  When Alexander looked at him in surprise, he gave a weak laugh.  “Yeah.  I don’t think anyone saw that coming, but that left Keenan with a hole to fill.”

“There’s a new deputy director in charge of Special Intelligence?” Alexander said.  When Cyrus nodded, he felt a trickle of dread.  “Do I want to know who that might be?”

“Michael Graves, Junior,” Cyrus said, smirking.  He shrugged and then shook his head.  “He’s the head of an Organization family centered in Ameria.  Keenan said that it’s all kind of foolish that we have this animosity towards all the families.  After all, they were fighting the Berklians, too.”

“So, his solution is to get rid of an Organization mole and… replace them with an Organization Boss?” Alexander said, his voice soft.  He shook his head.  “What’s his game, Cyrus?”

“Graves runs his family on the straight and narrow,” Cyrus said, nodding.  “If he’s going to ease everyone into an era of peace, this is a good start.”

“Right,” Alexander said, although he was a bit doubtful.  After all, he’d been undercover to stop members of the Blair family.  Part of the reason he’d joined the crew of the Lady Sarah in the first place was because he and Robin had a price on their heads.

The Bear!

This scene was insane fun to write!

**

Alexander ducked into a room with Raven close behind him.  Then, he slammed the door shut.  He had just enough time to get out of the way before Raven shoved a table up against the door.  “Oh, my God,” he breathed, as a crash reverberated outside the door.  He looked at Raven and shook his head.  “It just doesn’t quit!”

Raven gave a nervous laugh and then screamed when the door shook with the force of the thing outside attacking.  “Go away,” she screamed.

Giving a weak chuckle, Alexander said, “Go away?  Is that all you’ve got?”  The beast outside let out a vicious roar and he looked around for some kind of weapon.  “Never mind,” he added, as she began piling more furnishings against the door.

“Al?  Raven?” a voice said.  It took Alexander a moment to realize that the call was coming from his wrist-comm.

Tensing, he hit the button.  As before, it chirped twice and then fell silent.  “Are you kidding me?” he rasped.  He tugged the wrist-comm free and slapped it on the table.  Then, he hit the button again.  “Kit,” he cried when the wrist-comm made the single chirp that indicated it had opened a comm-line between them.

“Al?” Kit said, sounding surprised.  “Where are you and Raven?  What’s your status?  Why haven’t you answered?”

“The stupid wrist-comm clearly wanted a bear to eat us,” Alexander said, when the door shook under another attack from the beast outside.  He glanced around and then heaved a sigh.  “We’ve locked ourselves in a room – the record’s room, by the looks of it.  There’s a vicious bear outside – in the corridor, that is.”

“Are either of you hurt?” Calleigh asked.  She sounded a bit out of breath.  Obviously, they were running to get to the town hall.

“We’re fine,” Raven said, shaking her head.  She gave a weak laugh when the door cracked under the constant onslaught from the bear.  An enormous paw reached through the crack and flailed around for a moment as the bear tried to reach them.  As the paw withdrew, Raven said, “Go away!”

“We’ll be there in a few,” Kit said, his tone strained.

Alexander heaved a sigh of relief.  “Our weapons don’t seem to work on it,” he warned them.  “I don’t know what the bears on Anchorage have been eating, but they shake off our lightning guns like they’re nothing more than a bee sting.”

“Hurry,” Raven said, as the bear reached in and grabbed the door, trying to break the opening wider.  She grabbed a ruler off the wall where it was hanging and struck the beast in the paw.  It roared and pulled away.  When its face appeared in the opening, Raven poked it in the eye.  That time, it pulled away with a cry of pain.

“He’s huge,” Matthew cried from outside the room.  This was followed by the sound of several shots from their lightning guns.

Alexander rolled his eyes.  “Yeah, those don’t work so well,” he called.  He looked at Raven and shook his head.  “I’m fairly sure that I mentioned that.”

“You did,” she grimaced. Shouting through the opened, she said, “Don’t die on us, guys!  Once it finishes with you, it’ll come after us again.”

“Actually, this might be our chance to escape,” Alexander said, shrugging.  “When there’s a bear chasing you, you don’t have to outrun the bear, after all.”

“Right, just the people with you,” she finished smirking.

What Happened Here?

So… my group has arrived at the colony of Anchorage and what they find is pretty unexpected.

**

They were in the middle of a field, but it was clear this wasn’t just any field.  Stones dotted the field, spreading out in all directions.

“This… looks like a graveyard,” Julian said, his voice soft.  He looked at Calleigh, who frowned.  “Have you ever seen so many headstones?”

“No,” she said, her voice soft.  She turned to Alexander and said, “I want you to compare the names on the stones to the last census from the colony.  See if… there’s anyone who isn’t accounted for.”

“Yes, ma’am,” Alexander said.  He glanced at Robin, who nodded.  Then, he heaved a sigh of relief and drew out his datapad.  He walked away, heading towards the far corner of the field.  Chewing at his lip, Robin fell into step behind him.

“What do you suppose happened here?” Robin asked as Alexander began checking the names on the stones against the ones in the last census of the colony.  As far as he was concerned, it was like something out of a nightmare.  His mind was conjuring all manner of scenarios, each worse and less likely than the previous one.

Alexander shook his head.  “Whatever it was,” he said, his voice faint, “it was bad.”  He waved at one stone and said, “This family – parents and five children – all died on the same day.  I can’t imagine… some sort of disaster, perhaps?”

He looked around at the field of stones and then looked back at Robin.  “It wasn’t something immediate, though,” he added.  “After all, someone buried all of these people.  Didn’t they?”

“The same person?” Robin asked, his voice soft.  It wasn’t reassuring when Alexander simply shrugged.  After all, there was no way either of them could know the answer to that question.

The Only Thing to Fear

Here’s a nice little vignette with the prompt of: write about a fear your character is ashamed of.

**

“You could go up and get a birds-eye view, so to speak,” Kit suggested.

Calleigh looked sharply at Kit.  “It’s dark,” she said, her voice strained.  She flushed when Kit regarded her with a curious expression.  In a soft voice, one she could barely hear herself, she said, “I don’t fly at night, Kit.  I could damage my wings.”

“It’s not that dark, Calleigh,” he said.  His tone was gentle and reasonable.  He was also absolutely correct.  It wasn’t so dark that she risked flying into anything.  She couldn’t think of any other excuse for not doing exactly what Kit had suggested.

“I could do a spell,” Alexander offered, looking from one to the other.  He smiled at Kit.  “Commander Skyler would see further with a bit more light.  Wouldn’t she, Captain?”

“Yes,” Calleigh said, nodding.  She gave Alexander a weak smile.  “Thank you,” she said, her voice soft.

“Do the spell, Al,” Kit said, nodding once.

Alexander wove the lighting spell and the area where they were – where Calleigh would need to fly – brightened noticeably.  A moment later, Calleigh flew up and got their bearings.  After she’d landed and the spell began to fade, they set off once again.

Alexander let Kit a bit ahead of them and then smiled faintly at Calleigh.  “I’m afraid of the dark too,” he murmured.  Then, he shrugged.  “It’s less frightening when you aren’t alone.”

A faint smile touched Calleigh’s lips.  Taking his hand, she said, “Your secret’s safe with me, Al.”  She knew that he’d keep her secret as well.

From My Nightmare

Another fear-related prompt: write about a character meeting someone who reminds them of someone from a reoccurring nightmare.  I had a little fun with this, since the “someone” is so not nightmare worthy…

**

Julian was used to having dreams and then having them come to pass.  That was one of the things that went along with having precognition.  Sometimes, he dreamed about meeting someone long before he ever came face to face with them.  That had been the case with Captain Locksley and with Robin Nolan, as well as many others in the crew.

However, there was something unsettling about meeting someone who haunted your worst nightmares.  That was entirely different, because those dreams had never come true.  The same person was in all of them, but he played a different role each time.  Sometimes, he was the one that Julian was running from.  Others, he was the teacher that scolded him for not having his homework ready.  He’d been a crazed killer or a mean co-worker.  Julian had never expected to meet the man face to face.  Now that he was, he didn’t quite know how to react.

“What’s wrong?” he asked, blinking at Julian with wide eyes.  He seemed so sweet an innocent.

Flushing, Julian looked away.  “Wrong?” he said, shaking his head.  “Nothing’s wrong.”  He cleared his throat and then shook his head again.  “I’m sorry,” he said.  “Was there something you needed help with, sir?”

“Not a sir, just an ensign.  You can call me all,” he said, grinning.  Tilting his head, he added, “Anyway… the lights won’t come on in my cabin.”

“I’ll get to that as soon as I can,” Julian promised him.  He heaved a sigh when Al nodded and hurried out of the room.

The Monster under my Bed

Another fear-related prompt using my characters for next month’s NaNo.  This time, the prompt was, “Write about the monster under the character’s bed.”

**

Alexander woke up just in time to see something – like a shadow – slip under his bed.  He blinked, trying to decide if he’d imagined the thing he’d seen or not.  He blinked again when he heard something moving under the bed.

Rolling over, he nudged Robin.  When his partner moaned softly, Alexander whimpered.  That brought Robin completely awake.  “What’s wrong, Al?” he said, touching the other man on the cheek.

“There’s something under the bed,” Alexander breathed.

Robin frowned.  “Sarah,” he said, his voice soft, “illuminate the cabin, please?”  In an instant, the lights in the room turned on.  Robin slipped off the bed and beckoned to Alexander.  He nodded encouragement when Alexander hesitated.

After taking a deep breath, Alexander hopped off the bed and ducked behind Robin.  He frowned when he heard the sound of something moving under the bed again.  He shot his partner a look and Robin nodded.  Waving Alexander towards the next room, Robin crouched on the floor.

He could see a pair of huge eyes peering at him from the dark corner at the head of the bed, by the wall.  He frowned and then left the room, sealing the door behind him.  Alexander was sitting on the couch in the main room, scowling at him.  “No idea what it is,” Robin admitted.  He shrugged and then touched the internal communicator.  “Security, there’s something with huge glowing eyes under our bed,” he said.

Ken’s response was anything but comforting.  “We’ve had a few reports of that,” he said.  “We’ll have someone down right away.  Stay… out of there for now.”

“Right,” Robin said.  As the comm went dead, he looked at Alexander.  “So… breakfast?”

“Down in the commissary, yes,” Alexander said, hurrying for the door.  Whatever it was under the bed, he didn’t want to be there when the security officer arrived to take care of it.

Protective Streak

Chris stepped forward as the captain’s hands clenched into fists. “Captain,” he said. “I’m Christopher Rathmoor. Alex is my partner.”

Kit bit his lip and nodded. “You’re here to protect him,” he said. When Chris nodded, Kit looked at Alex. “I’ll thank you to stay out of my head, Alex.”

“I’ll do my best,” Alex said. He blinked and tilted his head. “You – you didn’t want me here because of that,” he added. “I can’t read your thoughts, Captain Locksley. I can only read your emotions and make educated guesses based on those.”

“Fair enough,” Kit said, nodding. “Fair enough.”

What You’re Feeling

Alex frowned as he came into the room. He looked at the captain. Kit Locksley was a complicated man. He could sense a deep, abiding sadness in the background of his emotions. The captain was mourning a great loss. He could sense curiosity and a bit of frustration, as well as stubborn pride.

“So,” he said, looking at Alex. His gaze moved over the young man and he arched an eyebrow. “You’re a sensitive? You’ll be handling negotiations with any locals we meet?”

Alex nodded. “You didn’t want me here,” he said. “They made you accept me into the crew.”

Space chanson

Alex leaned his chin on his hands and stared out through the port hole. He could sense Chris stepping up behind him. He could feel waves of concern coming off his handler as if they were a physical thing. He closed his eyes and sighed softly. “I’m fine,” he said, his voice soft.

“You’ve been quiet lately, Alex,” Chris said. He set his hands on Alex’s shoulders and rubbed them gently. “Do you miss home?”

Shaking his head, Alex said, “This is my duty: to go where the Mediator Corps sends me. I… don’t remember having a home, not like what you mean when you say the word.” He glanced over his shoulder at Chris. “Does that make sense to you?”

“Yeah,” Chris said. His brows furrowed. “You’ve never had a place where you felt comfortable – where you could just relax. Why, though?”

“I started training to be a sensitive when I was ten,” Alex said. He shrugged and dropped his gaze. “Before that, I lived in an orphanage. I don’t remember my parents.”

“So,” Chris said, “if you aren’t homesick, why are you so quiet?”

“This is my first time being in space,” Alex said. He smiled and looked out at the stars. “They have a sort of… music – a resonance. I was just… listening to it, I suppose.”

Nodding, Chris said, “It must seem a great deal quieter here: fewer souls for you to read the emotions of, after all.”

Nodding, Alex smiled. “I like it, actually,” he said, looking up at him. “I can feel the resonance from space and… I can feel your emotions more keenly. It’s nice.” He closed his eyes and let the waves of embarrassment mixed with amusement wash over him. He chuckled softly, then he turned back to the window, to watch the stars drift by.

Every time you go away you take a piece of meat with you

Ryan frowned. Schuyler didn’t look like the type to eat so much. “Who’s all that for?” he said, shaking his head and pointing at the plate of food.

Schuyler looked around, seeming a bit uncomfortable. “What makes you ask that?” he asked, adopting the aire of an offended noble.

Resisting the urge to roll his eyes, Ryan said, “You’ve been up to the buffet four times and you don’t look like you can pack the food away like that.”

“It’s also quite a bit of meat,” Alexander pointed out, nodding. His eyes seemed to twinkle with mischief as he asked, “Got a wooden leg?”

“It’s… for Carlisle,” he said, nodding at the bird that was perched on the back of his chair. It’s dark eyes flashed like glass beads at the mention of its name. “He’s rather hungry.”

“He doesn’t look like he can put that much meat away either,” Ryan said. Was there more to Carlisle than met the eye? He might have asked. However, Schuyler chose that moment to hurry away, back to his own table.

“What a weird guy,” Ryan murmured.

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