They say that waking up from being knocked out is one of the most miserable experiences in life. While Talia knew what it was like to be knocked out, having had it happen more times than she could count, this time proved to be the worst on her long life. Every inch of her body burned and the pain was almost unbearable for several minutes before it started to subside.
Whenever someone, whether it was Dannae or an unauthorized person, accessed her mind, an alarm rang and it manifested itself as if it were coming from an ear bud. The sound of it ringing was second thing she noticed after the pain and Talia focused her attention on it, driving the discomfort to the back of her mind.
“Dannae,” she croaked, “are you there?”
Surprisingly, her sister didn’t answer, which confused Talia and lead to a moment of panic. To be alone, and injured, without her sisters around upset her far more than being unconscious did because it wasn’t like Dannae not to be there when needed. Even when a cloning happened, unless Dannae was one of them, the warrior-healer moved heaven and hell to be the first one Talia would see when awake.
Whenever the pain became almost more than she could bear, Talia found gently rubbing the spot helped to reduce the tension and allow her to push the discomfort out of her mind. Unfortunately, when her whole body was on fire it was hard to know where to start.
Might as well start with my head, she thought. At least I can think if I do that.
She went to raise a hand and it wouldn’t move.
“What the hell?”
The light nearly overwhelmed her when Talia opened her eyes and it took the processor a couple seconds to adjust her visual sensitivity before the brightness dimmed to a more normal level. A concrete ceiling and the fluorescent light fixtures were the first thing that caused red flags to go up in her mind. Medical bay aboard the Valiant, like everything else aboard the cruiser, had steel bulkheads and ceilings, which meant she wasn’t aboard the craft then.
Oh shit, she thought, those bastards knocked me out.
It rather quickly became clear why Talia couldn’t move her hand and the warrior could do nothing but sigh. Some brilliant person decided to handcuff her-not stasis cuff but old fashioned metal ones-to a gurney in the center of an empty room. The sad thing was, and it almost made her laugh, that they couldn’t hold her if she decided to sit up.
Which, to be honest, was going to be that moment, because lying down wasn’t doing a damn thing to help the throbbing in her head. In fact, it was making it worse to be honest and it was entirely the humans fault. Why the hell they’d stunned her when she’d’ve spoken to them if they’d just asked? But then, mankind always had a tendency to shoot first and ask questions later so it didn’t surprise her.
The door opened and a man wearing a white coat and two guards entered the room. Another mistake humans made, and it drove her crazy to no end, was the belief that their weapons were so good that they were completely safe. That could be the farthest from the truth because the two assault rifles the guards carried were completely impotent against her body.
It was that moment that Talia noticed another alarm flashing in her head’s up display and that one made her grit her teeth. Someone removed a large portion of skin from her left and hand, which was something inexcusable on the human’s part. To do so was akin to rape and an event that tempted the warrior to kill the three humans without a second thought.
“Ah,” the man in the coat said. “You’re awake.”
“No thanks to you clowns. Every time I think I’ve seen the depth of stupidity from you humans something comes along to set the new standard.”
“You’re a feisty one, aren’t you?”
“Let’s see here, being stunned, having half my arm cut open and someone rummaging around my head will just make a girl want to laugh, sing and dance.”
“You’re a unique specimen.”
“Oh, yeah, I’ve heard that one before.”
“We’re going to move you to another room,” the man said. “Bear in mind we have you under guard with electrical weapons that’ll fry all your systems.”
Talia glanced at the guards again and noticed the construction of the weapons. Cables ran from where the magazine normally would be down to large batteries attached to the men’s belts. It took the processor a couple seconds to scan the men and then sent the results to her HUD.
Damn, she thought, he’s right.
“Fine,” she said, her tone still defiant, before sighing. “Let’s go then.”
The man unlocked the cuffs and then stepped aside to let her stand up. Sometimes Talia couldn’t decide whether the humans were endlessly curious about things or just terminally stupid. Anyone with half a brain wouldn’t have brought someone like herself to a base location; the risks were far more than acceptable. Yet, there they were, all cooped up together.
I swear I’d like to know what we were thinking when we seeded them with our DNA, she thought.
Much to her surprise, the facility proved larger than she’d expected. The passages seemed to go for miles and there were many side corridors to lead off to Cheikra only knew where. Air conditioning vents hung down from the ceiling every twenty feet, which kept the corridor cold enough to make her shiver.
Despite the facility’s apparent size, it still had an air of being cramped and confining. Maybe it came from the guards that were following the warrior, or even what the humans did to her body, but the place reeked of being cold and forbidding. It reminded her in many ways of the Maxus Four base and how the Cabal carved out the interior of a mountain to create the slave holding facility.
We’re underground, she thought with a sigh.
While it made sense to hide the facility from both prying eyes on the ground and in the air or space, it created new problems for her. One of the ways that her sisters and the Valiant’s crew could track her was by the signal her processor transmitted. Unfortunately, it wasn’t a high powered broadcast to keep it from being detected by enemies, meaning it wouldn’t penetrate the rock, which left her on her own.
Methos, no doubt, would be going nuts because she wouldn’t be able to track Talia, but it would be ok. While the warrior knew how much her sister loved her, there wasn’t a need to drag the others into this mess and further pollute the time line. It was bad enough that she was known by the military, but allowing them to discover the ship and her sisters would completely destroy the timeline and create another instead.