It’s currently on a second ‘hard copy’ edit that I just started. With any luck this will complete the third draft and it’ll be ready to start pitching to agents in the fall.
Talia pushed the emergency exit open with the barrel of her rifle before climbing up. A darkened shaft greeted her as she knelt down on the roof and waited for the processor to adjust her vision for the low light. Two large mag lev tracks ran from the top of the building to the basement along the left and right walls. Maintenance ladders ran the length of the front and rear walls.
The car started to accelerate and she sucked in a deep breath as a slight breeze lifted her sweat soaked hair off her shoulders. She‘d done plenty of crazy and downright stupid things during her long life, but riding the top of an elevator was a new one. And this time she was truly working without a net. There’d be no Methos or Crios to bail her out.
What are you doing here, Talia?? This is so not a good idea!
This was crazy! Dannae’s team was still under fire and here she rode off to face who knew what! Too late to turn back now! Methos was so going to lecture her when they got back to the ship.
The car glided to a stop and she watched the door slowly open. A deafening roar of assault rifles echoed up and down the shaft as she placed her hands over ears and waited for it to stop.
I hate being right!
Talia sucked in a deep breath before she swung downwards, using her knees to keep from falling. A quick glance show four soldiers, plus one with a gold leaf on each side of his uniform collar.
One of the marines looked at Talia and the woman’s eyes grew wide. Great, what terrible timing! She pulled the trigger and winced as orange flame shot from the suppresser and the roar rattled her teeth. The bullet struck the woman in the chest, spraying blood everywhere as she fell.
A man went to fire his rifle, and heard it click. He looked at Talia with a horrified expression. Talia showed no emotion as she put two rounds into his head, causing it to explode as if an overripe melon.
The third marine spun around, replacing her magazine on the fly, and then raised her rifle. Talia fired. The rounds punched two fist sized holes in her back before slamming her into the wall. She slid limply to the floor, leaving a streak of blood behind.
A bullet whizzing by her face, and Talia winced as a young man fired at her. Humph. Well, someone actually got a chance to shoot! She calmly turned her attention to him and put two rounds into his chest and he went down hard.
The officer turned to run and she whistled loudly, stopping him in his tracks. He turned to face her and then she placed the rifle’s barrel inches from his forehead.
The smoking barrel of the firearm rested inches from his head. This couldn’t be happening! It had to be a nightmare! Someone that young couldn’t have just killed four marines in ten seconds!
Pale blue eyes, reflecting an intelligence that far outclassed his, locked on him. They were the center piece of a slightly rounded face with high cheekbones and a small chin. Despite the situation, Sean felt a surge of sexual attraction, causing himself to grow.
Shoulder length silver hair hung down, its color muted by sweat, and her eyes darted left and right before she raised an eyebrow. Sean felt naked under her gaze and he wanted to shrink back and hide like a scolded child.
What was she thinking? Probably about pathetic he was, and she’d be right. There was no reason for her to think that he was anything other than bottom dwelling sludge. No warrior should ever betray his own government unless they betrayed him.
He looked away before sighing. “I guess you’re ready to shoot,”
“Who says so? Maybe I just want to shoot the shit,”
“Hell of a way to go about chatting,”
She shrugged and made a contemplative sound. “Hmm, never thought of it that way,”
“Anyone ever tell you it’s impolite to stare?”
“I’d like to know what makes someone like you throw away their honor.”
“You should know with your background, kid, that the lure of power is an intoxicating thing.”
Almir shook her head. “‘My background?’ Hmph. You call what you’re doing power Look at me; I’ve commanded millions of soldiers and sailors, and fleets so large you couldn’t comprehend, moron. There are beings in the galaxy that still tremble at the mention of my name.”
“Yeah right, Almir. You’ve truly lost your mind.”
“The name’s Talia De’Zahna. If you’re going to insult me, at least get it right.”
Sean just looked at her.
“What’s wrong, Creoth got your tongue?”
“Right…If your name is Talia than I’m the Pope.”
“Huh? Who is that?”
“You’ve really gone off the deep end, Almir,”
“De’Zahna, idiot, De’Zahna,” she corrected. “And I don’t have a clue who, or what, the pope is. I haven’t been to Earth before, at least not as myself, but Almir has…damn, enough of this, it’s giving me a headache!”
He shrugged. “Fine, either way you’ve gone nuts.”
A marine wandered into view and De’Zahna shot the woman before turning her attention back to him. “Sorry ’bout that but I didn’t want out pleasant conversation interrupted. Now where was I? Oh yeah, I’m twenty thousand years old by the way.”
“Fine,” he said, “You’re name is Talia De’Zahna. What do you want?”
De’Zahna narrowed her eyes. “You still haven’t answered my question. Why’d you sell out?”
“Power is a great thing,” he said.
“So like a stupid human,” De’Zahna shook her head. “I was fighting battles before your people ever became Homo sapiens. In fact, my people seeded your DNA to help you evolve quicker.”
Wait, it can’t be, can it?
De’Zahna chuckled softly. “An Alien? Gee, you finally got it right. It did take quite a bit of prodding though, so I don’t think you’d do well on any game show.”
“Enough about me, as you would say. Major, I want to know why you’d consider that tiny little amount of power worth much.”
“Didn’t you say that ‘beings trembled at your name?'” Sean asked. “Isn’t that the very definition of power?”
De’Zahna frowned slightly, and he wondered what the alien was thinking. Had he struck a chord?
“You fucking idiot,” she said softly. “It’s nothing compared to honor and commitment. Look at me! I’ve commanded billions in my life and I’m still bound to the Alliance because Almir swore allegiance to it.”
“I’m not you,”
“Gee, did it take a computer for you to figure that out?”
“If you’re waiting for an apology, it isn’t happening.”
“Actually, I just want to know how many soldiers are guarding the Admiral.”
“And why should I tell you that?”
“Because it could mean the difference between dying quickly or in agony,” De’Zahna narrowed her eyes. “You’re choice.”
He stared at her for several seconds and resisted the urge to turn away. There was coldness in her eyes, and it made his blood run cold. De’Zahna was a woman capable of great violence yet driven by honor, commitment and compassion. She was everything he wasn’t.
He looked at the floor. “Eight, with four inside his office,”
“I expected more,”
“Most are, or were, defending against your attacks,”
De’Zahna cocked her head slightly and then clicked her tongue. “Good luck what that one. You should tell your next in command to surrender before more lives are wasted.”
De’Zahna looked at him with an “I can’t believe what I just heard” expression. “Of course not! You bastards just don’t know when to quit. Is Josephson still in his office or in the underground bunker?”
Sean worked hard to keep the surprise from showing. Rickman must’ve told her everything!
“He’s in his office,” he said. “Tell me one thing,”
“Are the others like you?”
“The silver haired girls,”
“Oh, them,” De’Zahna smirked. “Those are my sisters.”
“‘Sposed to have been the salvation for our people, but it didn’t work.”
“How the hell could you four fight so many battles in the past and stay young?”
“We carry our memories and personality through our DNA.”
Sean heard marines pouring into the hall and from De’Zahna’s calm expression; he figured they were part of her team.
“At this point, Major, there’s only one way to make amends.”
She wants me to kill myself!
A hint of a smile tugged at the girl’s lips. “I see you just put the pieces together. Took you long enough. Now, you can do it yourself, or I will, but you’re not walking out of here.”
“I’ll never kill myself.”
De’Zahna shrugged. “You’re choice; I’m not going to force you. But I have one last question. Does Josephson know where the missing colonists are?”
Sean snorted. “You already know that he’s our field commander. So, why wouldn’t he?”
De’Zahna raised an eyebrow as if to say touché. “You’ve got a point. Now, step back.”
“Does there have to be a reason? I really don’t care to have your blood on my face or in my hair.”
He swallowed hard. Death was something soldiers faced, but to be murdered in cold blood? A part of him raged over it, and hoped to see the little bitch in hell. De’Zahna had kept her honor and glowed with integrity, even then, and he felt soiled compared to her.
I bet they don’t even give me a tombstone.
A blast of fire ended it all.