This is also a rough draft. Just letting folks see a little bit.
“Hey, Methos…” Talia sent as an alarm started to wail.
“Don’t tell me, Little Miss Perfect, you have the device and am running for your life from the guards.”
“Wow, sure you don’t have psychic abilities?”
“No! I just know you!”
“Well, now that you mention it…”
“I’m with the bike, waiting. From the sounds of the sirens coming our way, I’d say half the police force is inbound.”
“Hope you have a plan for this!”
“Every time you say that, something terrible happens!”
“Don’t ‘oi’ me! You know it’s true!”
Talia approached the end of the hall and the large window that overlooked There’s times when a person needs to do something crazy, an action so out of place that others would find it stunning, to accomplish their goal. This was one of those times, she thought as she leapt.
Glass exploded outwards, the force of her impact sending the shards fling forwards with her, as she burst through and out into the open space beyond. Time seemed to crawl, and then stop for a split second, before gravity won the battle with momentum. The cool wind whipped through Talia’s hair as she fell downwards.
The impact with the sidewalk, while not violent for her, still caused the warrior’s teeth to slam together so hard all the King’s horses and all the King’s men might not have been able to put them back together again. Talia ran her tongue over them and then sighed in relief when they were all there.
Which way to the bike, she thought. Oh, I’m on 12th street, so it’s to my south!
A siren, no multitudes like Methos said, grew closer by the second. If she didn’t make it to the bike, and fast, then there’d be no way to return the device without causing major problems to the time line.
She raced down the sidewalk, the parked cars a blur, as Talia raced towards Methos. While she could easily outrun the police cars, the warrior refused to. What was the point? Every time she’d had to use her body to its fullest potential, it left her shaken and depressed. No one, herself included, wanted to be something other than alive. Just knowing she had the body made Talia sad sometimes. Unlike Methos, Dannae and Crios, she’d never truly bleed if hurt, or be able to lie in the sun and tan.
At this point, she told herself, it didn’t matter. Getting back to the Valiant and returning to their own time did. And if that meant breaking some eggs timeline wise, then so bet it. Not like she couldn’t keep from doing that now anyway.
Methos stood beside the Ducati, her 5’4 frame barely visible behind the motorcycle as Talia raced up. One glace from her shorter sister told Talia all she needed to know. There’d be a major scolding, with a lecture buried in there somewhere, when they got back to the ship.
And it’s not like I don’t deserve it, Talia thought.
“Get on!” Talia snapped before she slammed her foot down on the kick starter.
The twin cylinder motor fired up, it’s silky smooth sound denoting its horsepower output. Talia revved it up three times, allowing the machinery to warm up and get a good flow of oil throughout before throwing it the gas. Rocks sprayed behind them as the rear wheel spun momentarily before grabbing traction, sending the bike forwards.
“Hang on!” She said.
“Talia! I’m going to get you!” Methos said.
Talia took a wide turn, taking care to avoid any large holes in the ground, and before heading west towards the Washington Monument. Dannae hid the ship in the rural areas near Loudon, forcing them to head back towards the museum. Ten, maybe more but Talia didn’t have time to count them all and control the bike, police cars raced along Madison Avenue, keeping pace with them.
“That’s bad,” Talia mumbled as she headed towards 14th street and the interstate beyond.
A swarm of DC police, capital police and FBI vehicles raced northbound on 14th street towards them.
Talia cursed under her breath. “And that’s worse.
Judging from the amount of vehicles in pursuit, Talia’s little cat burglary must’ve been the biggest thing to happen in DC in a long time. Why else, she wondered, would Federal Agents, local and capital police all team up to go after one person? Either that, or things were slow and everyone got bored. And given her experience with capital cities, she doubted that.
Without cracking the throttle, Talia swung the bike hard to the right, letting her foot slide across the yellow rocks in order to keep her balance and then shot across the grass.
The police cars rapidly closed the gap as Talia raced to reach the corner of the mall.
“Are you going to do what I think you are?” Methos yelled into Talia’s ear.
“We’ll be fine!”
“Fine? They’ll have us blocked!”
Methos, of course, had a point but Talia would let hell freeze over before admitting that. One thing twenty thousand years of life with her sisters taught Talia, it was that Methos loved to keep things hanging over your head; particularly if she’d warned you about it earlier. In Methos’ mind, that gave her carte blanche to rub her sisters’ face into it.
The rows of cars closed to within twenty feet of each other.
“Hang on!” Talia said.
“Wait! Are you nuts?”
Many times over the long years they spent fighting the Great War, Talia’s sisters claimed that she was crazy. Each time she’d vocally protest their accusation and the argument would run in circles for hours. In reality, though, she agreed with them. No one but a mad woman would’ve been able to create some of the battle plans that she drew up to stop the Dragus’ advance.
However, Talia thought as the wind raced through her hair, it didn’t matter in the end. Many times, despite the failure of her plans, she brought the four of them home safe and sound. No one, not even Methos, could argue that fact.
“I think we can make it!” Talia snapped as they approached the road.
“There you go thinking again! That’s dangerous!”
“Shut up,” Talia said as they jumped the curb and then reached 14th street.
Traffic was lighter then when they’d scouted the place during the afternoon. Most of the government workers had gone home for the day, leaving the residents, those who came to the town to eat and party, and the politicians being wined and dined by lobbyists all who remained.
Which still was a hell of a lot of cars.
Weaving in and out of traffic, and sometimes running between the cars in either lane, became the norm as they raced northwards. Behind them, the authorities refused to give up on their pursuit, which surprised Talia. They were willing to risk a potentially fatal accident over what, to them, was just a harmless golden egg?
And Methos calls me crazy, Talia thought.
Four, blue Ford Taurus’, their flashing lights gave a circuslike feel to the intersection, entertaining the now no longer moving pedestrians on the sidewalks. They’d lived in DC enough to know that such an action either meant a VIP was coming or something bad happened. And while the first was boring as hell, the second gave them a few moments of freedom from their mundane lives, so they watched with joy.
To Talia, though, it was a poor attempt at blocking their advance. If this had been back on Gahlza, the two of them would’ve already been stopped and in custody. Of course, she thought, the humans would be weak and sloppy at their criminal justice. If just fit with everything else she’d learned about the younger race.
Horns blared and cars skidded to a stop as Talia cut across the flow of traffic and then accelerated again. It didn’t take her long to realize this wasn’t going to work in the long term. All indications said that whoever called the shots decided to mobilize every law enforcement, local and federal, unit in the District in order to capture them. And Ducati, or no Ducati, the dragnet would eventually catch up the them.
She cut to the right, then took a jog left before accelerating again. Behind them, the police piled up for a moment before the turned into the entrance, half of them turned right, and then continued the chase.
“Do you know where we are!” Methos shouted to be heard over the wind.
“Well, genius, we’re on the Ellipse! They’ll pin us in now!”
“That’s all you can say? I should smack you!”
“I’d wreck the bike!”
“Got a point there, damn it.”
Multicolored lights off to the right caught Talia’s attention. Methos was right of course. The road they were on just looped around the park, leaving the two of them facing the onslaught of police.
Unless I change the rules,” Talia thought.
One thing about living in DC is that one gets used to having streets either closed off or barricades of some sort being placed at certain places to shut off vehicular traffic. While they, for the most part, gave residents a feeling of security, there were times that they became a royal pain. To the police chasing Talia, this was a day where the latter proved to be correct.
A small opening in a concrete jersey wall, just big enough for a person to walk through, lead towards a small concrete security hut and then to an open road behind it. Somewhere in that direction was the White House; the one place in the city she wanted to avoid because the Secret Service and other agencies would have the ability to log her time spent there and not have it disappear over the next eight hundred years.
And I’d prefer to not let the humans know I’m playing with their past, she thought.
“Don’t you do it!” Methos said as Talia slowed down.
“Got to. No choice.”
“Talia Genia DeZahna! I swear I’m going to kill you when we get back to the ship!”
“Where are we headed?” Talia said she made the left turn and started to accelerate towards a guard who’d stepped out of the shack.
Wisely, or foolishly to his superiors, he stepped aside and let the two women flash by.
“Where are we?” Talia said as the police stopped at the end of the road.
“Uh, I don’t think you want to know, sis.”
“What’s that supposed to mean?”
For the first time since the chase started, Talia took a moment to see where she’d driven to. One glance was all it took for her to see why they police had stopped chasing. Spotlights were trained on a white building that humans everywhere, even as flung out as their colonies were in the future, recognized.
The White House.
And to make matters worse, they were racing up the south lawn towards the President’s home. No doubt the Secret Service was on high alert and racing to find a way to intercept her and Methos before they could enter the building. Thankfully, Talia thought, the agents didn’t need to worry about that.
“Uhm,” Talia said, “I see what you mean.”
“You’d better get us out of this if you know what’s good for you!”
“I’m working on it!” Talia snapped as she swung the bike to the right and then shot up the sidewalk the marked the eastern edge of the White House complex.
“Cut across the north lawn!”
“What? Wait! You just said that was bad!”
This is from the extreme rough draft I’m working on concurrently with the fantasy novel. Fantasy needs a complete rewrite, this one does too but it’s in better shape off the bat. So, just be aware you will find issues since it’s not finished.
Pale blue light illuminated the dimly lit room, creating the optical illusion of someone looking at blue walls instead of the gunmetal grey. A small walkway allowed the visitor to walk around the room without going down to the lower level. It also gave anyone who wished to, the ability to glance at the soft lit tube on the lower level.
He grasped a handrail, not because he needed to, but due to force of habit. The sound of his boots hitting the metal stairs echoed in the quiet room, easily drowning out the soft hum of the machinery to his right.
The stasis tube proved to be the biggest advancement in medicine that mankind ever achieved. Patients who were near death, or even dead, could be kept in cold, zero gravity conditions, thus preserving the body until medicine could either heal them or find ways to replace the things that were diseased or damaged.
Claudio Reyes approached the tube and then stopped short of it. A part of him couldn’t believe how things turned out in the end. After everything he’d done; all the people he’d manipulated to get his hands on this very special girl and the results of his efforts floated in space before him.
It’d be so easy to walked over to the machinery and, with the push of a button, shut it down and she’d been gone forever. And the temptation to do just that tried hard to overwhelm his intellect, willpower and training. For that reason, he pushed it out of his head and looked down at what was left of the girl.
He rubbed his upper lip with his index finger and let his mind race on possibilities. Never could anyone call him an altruistic person; in fact, most people described him as self-seeking and manipulative. And they’d be right, of course, but he took it all in stride. The job of Intelligence Chief wasn’t for a shrinking violet or anyone faint of heart. Things that happened in the shadows were more violent and extreme than anyone ever knew, and he hoped it stayed that way.
The girl possessed the best instincts, and raw talent, he’d seen during his long career. Once he had her under his control, she’d’ve been the best field agent he ever had and now, due to some jackass who didn’t even think before acting, ruined it.
However, it didn’t have to end like this, but would he be willing to risk what remained of his black book budget on her with no guarantee of success. Trained soldiers, highly decorated men and women, hadn’t acclimated to what happened and ended up killing themselves; each one taking over 200 million credits in gear with them.
If they couldn’t handle it, he thought, could she? She’s not a trained soldier.
Perhaps, just maybe, that was the answer to the puzzle before him. Something about the mental makeup of soldiers didn’t allow them to adapt to the situation they found themselves in and it created a fatal psychosis. The girl, on the other hand, spent her entire life adapting to situations that would’ve caused most people to crack under the pressure.
It was a hunch, something he couldn’t substantiate, so he couldn’t really explain what he sensed until there was more time to think about it. Until then, he’d run with his instincts, which never steered him wrong before so he had no reason to think they’d start now.
What if they are wrong? He asked himself. I will have used almost 250 million credits. The Pentagon and Congress would be hard pressed to hide another amount like that. Failure could end this program.
Had fate left him any choice but to roll the dice and hope not to get snake eyes? Soldiers didn’t work out, so they were off the list. The idea of using civilians was something he and the medical staff had thrown out but that wouldn’t work either because the was no guarantee that they’d find someone with the skills, or potential, that the girl had.
He turned around then them thumbed on the intercom. “Reyes to Doctor Thomson. Please report to medical bay four. And make it fast.”
Lisa Thomson sighed. “I’m on my way.”
Lisa Thomson was one the private little coups he pulled off that no one knew about. A medical doctor by training, the younger woman had been experimenting on cybernetics and testing on animals and with people on a very small scale. There was just one problem: her avenue of research, trying to replace parts, or an entire human body if necessary, was illegal under current law. The punishment, if Thomson had been tried and convicted was 15 to 20 years on a penal colony.
Which explained the young woman’s willingness to cooperate with him and use her talents to help him advance a black book project. Like he did now, she didn’t have any choice at the time, really. It was work for him or be jailed and she was smarter than people thought.
The hatch slid open and Thomson entered the room. A tall, but painfully thin, woman, the doctor stood nearly eye level with him, which meant it took a lot to make her back down-not that he didn’t mind the challenge mind you. Her slightly rounded face and gentle cheekbones drew attention from her thin frame and to her blue eyes. He’d learned very early on that staring into them for long periods caused one to get lost in them and the Doctor loved taking advantage of those periods.
“Damn, what a mess,” Thomson said.
“I know. I want you to fix her.”
“Fix that? Are you out of your ever loving mind?” The Doctor said as she walked around the tube. “There’s no way conventional medicine could repair that damage. Besides, she’s dead!”
This is an EXTREME rough draft. I haven’t even spell checked or anything because I will completely rewrite and make stuff I decided to add to the story in Chapter 5 slots into place from the very beginning.
“Oh my dearest sister,” Leighton said. “Scream all you want. You’re all alone, the guards are under my control. No one will save you.”
The doors slammed outwards, striking the guards in the back, sending their weapons flying from their hands as they fell and hit the floor.
A woman clothed in tan, with large sprays and patches of blood on her garment, and with black hair, rushed through the opening. She spun to her right, and ran one guard through with her katana before spinning back to her left and killing the second guard as he tried to reach his weapon.
Oh thank God! Rochelle thought.
“Princess!” Simone Silva said.
Simone spun her sword repeatedly as she took in the scene before her. Leighton held his sword in a relaxed but ready position as she eyed the Princess. If he wanted to kill his sister now, he’d have to do it himself and he’d have to go through her first.
If only I’d been able to save the King, she thought bitterly.
Guilt washed over the warrior, threatening to break her concentration on the task at hand. She’d been entrusted with the safety of the monarch and his family and failed miserably. The King was dead; most of the troops were backing Leighton, and the coup wanted to kill Princess Rochelle too.
“Simone!” Princess Rochelle said as she jumped to her feet and ran over to stand behind Simone.
“Sorry I’m late, My Lady, but I had some nuisances to deal with.”
“Simone,” Leighton said as he walked through the blood flowing from the King’s dead body. “I’m surprised you’re here. I wanted you dead. Oh, well, I guess it’s hard to get decent soldiers.”
“You always were arrogant, Leighton,” Simone said, intentionally dropping any respect for him or his title. “And too stupid to realize you can’t always get what you want.”
“Am I now?” Leighton said. “Look at what I have accomplished. I have a kingdom and an army-”
“Fraud,” Simone interrupted as stepped back to keep distance between her and Leighton. Who know what else the sociopath might do next. “The rightful heir is the Princess.”
“Not anymore. The Kingdom is mine.”
Don’t remind me, she thought bitterly.
“You talk too much, Leighton,” Simone said as she reached back and grabbed the Princess’ arm. “That’s your problem.”
Leighton just looked at them.
Simone spun on the ball of her foot and then started to run towards the door. Princess Rochelle gasped at the pain caused by the warrior’s grasp and a part of Simone’s heart broke. Never in a thousand years did the young warrior think there’d be a coup and she and the Princess would be running for their lives.
“Come on, My Lady!” She snapped as the entered the main throne room and then started to run towards the door to the corridor outside.
“Where do you think you’re going, Simone?” Leighton called out. “You will never leave this castle alive. The troops are loyal to me and they will hunt you, they will find you and they will kill you.”
“Not bloody likely,” Simone muttered.
One of the worst things a person can do during a crisis is start to break down, even if somewhat delayed. It did nothing but muddy the waters further, making things harder for the ones trying to put things back together again.
Simone found herself in one of those muddied situations when they emerged into the corridor. The Princess started to sob and then came to a stop outside the throne room. Tears ran down her face and she bent over, placing her hands on her knees, as her body started to shake.
Her reaction was understandable to the warrior; in fact, a part of her wanted to cry over the failure to protect the King. However, neither of them had the time to waste on it. While she couldn’t hear them, Simone knew in her heart that the soldier would’ve found the one’s she killed and would know she still lived.
“Why?” the Princess said. “Why did Leighton kill father?”
We don’t have time for this, Simone thought.
“My Lady, we don’t have time for this! Even as I speak, the soldiers are closing in. We’re going to be lucky if we escape with our lives.”
“Promise me you won’t leave me, Simone,” the Princess said.
“I will give up my own life to protect you if I have to,” she said, “but we need to move!”
Once they got moving again, Rochelle started to move stronger and more confidently, allowing Simone to let go of her arm. Getting out of the castle would be a problem in and of itself, but what to do if they reached the village below? The soldiers would have vehicles and catch them before they could reach the safety of the mountains.
Leighton couldn’t have corrupted every soldier and turned them against her and the Princess. In fact, she estimated as many as fifteen percent still remained loyal to her. If that held true, then they’d be laying low, staying out of sight and hoping for her to give them orders.
If they haven’t killed my men, she thought, then I think I have an idea for getting the Princess out of town safe.
Ever had those times in life where you just think things are going too good to be true? That you’re accomplishing something so easy that there just had to be a catch somewhere? The bad thing is; when things are that easy, you can just about guarantee trouble lay around the nearest corner.
This thought filled Simone’s thoughts as they entered the fog filled courtyard. Around them lay the bodies of the soldiers she’d killed earlier. If Leighton’s supporters found them, they certainly didn’t lift a finger to move to corpses. Of course, the fact that she still lived probably influenced those actions too.
The familiar voice of her second in command Thaddeus Brindle sounded muffled due to the fog, but close enough Simone stopped running then looked around her. Coalescing out of the fog were ten soldier, with swords drawn. Brindle and Leighton followed a respectful distance behind.
“Simone,” the Princess’ voice shook. “What do we do?”
“You die, my dear sister,” Leighton said before turning his attention to Simone. “I said you wouldn’t get far, Simone.”
“I’m not done yet, Leighton,” Simone said.
“From where I’m standing, it looks quite the opposite.”
“Where your standing is full of shit to be honest.”
“Dear me, is that how you address your King, Simone?”
“You’re no more a King than I am a Princess.”
Leighton’s eyes grew wide and he made a theatrical display of thinking. “Last time I checked, I am the King. Disarm her.”
Two men walked towards Simone with weapons drawn.
“Give it up, my lady,” one said.
“Me? Give up? I don’t know the word!”
“Just kill them,” Leighton said. “This is getting boring.”
“Boring, eh?” Simone said. “Tell me how you really feel.”
Freshly harvested data from NASA’s Cassini mission reveals that the ringed planet’s moons may be younger than previously thought.
Astronomers have revealed that dense molecular gas disks a few hundred light years in scale located at the centers of galaxies supply gas to supermassive black holes situated within them. This finding provides important insights on the growth of supermassive black holes over cosmic time.