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TTC: The Cygnus War, Part 43

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By Durkee341   |   
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Published: February 25, 2009
The Tessa Chronicles: The Cygnus War #43 (Saints and Sinners) By Earl S. Wynn


Izzy came and went sometime in the night, popped the doors, rummaged through a pile of clothing on the floor, and then left again, never once hesitating, never sparing Tessa a glance, a caress, a kiss. When she returned again, it felt like hours later, and instead of crawling into bed, instead of slipping beneath the stiff, regulation sheets and losing herself in Tessa’s arms, Izzy paced to the other end of the little room and collapsed backward into a corner. A moment later, she was lost instead in a book, eyes following lines of text lit by a pair of barely tolerated nightvision spectacles.

In the darkness, Tessa lay with her face to the wall, eyes open, unwilling to close and let her mind return to the quiet depths of a restful sleep. By the time the book had drifted down and Izzy had begun to snore, the sheets had turned hot and itchy, uncomfortable. For what felt like hours, Tessa fought the sensations, buried her face further into pillow and tried to recover the lost thread of sleep, but no matter how desperately she tried, the rest she sought refused to come. Eventually, as Izzy’s snores reached an echoing crescendo, she hurled the sheets off and slid to the bottom of the bed, burying her face in her hands. The sound of her sigh rushing frustrated through tense, sweaty fingers gave Izzy pause in her fitful sleep, but did nothing to wake her. Only the slow and steady build of her snores showed any impact from the bare outburst, and then only barely, as if Tessa’s raw opinion were nothing more than a tiny hiccup in an ocean of unimportant noise.

Within moments, Tessa was on her feet, but hesitation set in instantly. For the barest instant, she couldn’t move– torn between going to the lover who had distanced herself or distancing her own self further in response, she finally hurled herself toward the door, jamming the panel with the heel of her hand and stumbling bleary eyed and sweaty into the brilliant light beyond. As out of place as she was in the cool greys and sterile airbrushed steel of the hallway, she stumbled away from the door and into a tired trot, squeezing her eyes against the rising desperation, the vicious tide of hurt and cruel memory. Rounding a corner and pushing blindly into another corridor, her feet picked up a faster pace, and an instant later she was running, putting as much distance between her and her quarters as she could manage. Every breath was like a fight to put more physical space between her and the source of her pain, the woman who turned every overflowing ounce of love in her breast to a biting, frigid thorn of agony, and yet in every breath she felt the connection between them yanking at her heart like an unbreakable tether. Pressure built with each step, mounted and surged, driving her on, powering her rush as her thighs churned faster and hurled her down corridor after corridor with all the desperate grace of an arc shooting between contact points. Teeth ground together, bared between tight lips as the connection linking her to Izzy tightened, bound itself up like a knot somewhere in her chest, stiffening and singing like a wire growing taut, stretching to some vague, elastic breaking point.

And it was that breaking point that she found herself so desperately needing.

For the first time in her life, Tessa felt as if she were on the verge of being wholly separate from Izzy, the broken half of a soul no longer wanted suddenly ripping itself away from the very half that it needed to survive, the half that tortured her with a cruel indifference in every breath she drew, in every breath they drew.

None of it made any sense– beyond it all, beyond the sea of emotion and pain that boiled up within her like a lake of white iron and fire, beyond the loss of her wingman, her secrets, her lover’s affections, something else brewed with an unfamiliar fire. Faces flickered in her mind as she pushed herself further, harder, closer to the limits her body painfully reminded her she was rapidly approaching– Virek and Mac, Izzy and a woman she didn’t recognize. Images of a wake, of coffins and teary eyed faces, of her own stony eyed and emotionally immovable self standing rigidly among it all broke through and into her consciousness, shattering reality around her in little broken patches of jagged vision. Time slowed, breath reduced to an echo as she plunged headfirst out of reality and into the moment, the waking dream suddenly enfolding her, suddenly becoming too detailed, too real to dismiss or ignore.

But then, part of her wanted to be here, had to know, had to see...

Emotion washed over her like a cold tide of suffocating despair as she stepped into the shoes of what felt like some future self, fell face first into a taut ocean of pain far more frigid than anything she had ever felt before. Reservoirs of strength and willpower flexed at her arrival, barriers between the war within and the solitude outside that felt unfamiliar to her, somehow as desperate and broken as they were firm. Around her, pilots from the Von stood hardfaced and troubled, scattered in tight little knots of broken minds and wounded psyches. There were fewer somehow than she had expected to see, and even as she scanned the faces, there was no sign of Izzy.

What is up with you lately? Came the bitter thought. How can you skip out on a wake for our pilots? For Cordova?

Somewhere within her, the feeling that something was profoundly wrong rose and pushed at her insides. Less than ten paces away, Phoebe dropped to her knees and cried.

“Sweet girl” Someone said. Tessa felt herself turn, glance in his direction. Eyes the color of dark amber stared back as he added, gesturing vaguely. “You her LC?”

“Yeah.” Tessa managed, swallowing against a knot of tears that threatened to rise in her throat.

“You know about her boyfriend, back Earthside?”

Tessa blinked, stared silently.

“Look, I can understand if you have issues, but he deserves to know what’s happened out here.” He managed a rough, tired smile. “Poor bastard. I’d hate to be in his shoes, now or ever.”

“Your point,” She glanced at his rank insignia, fighting to ignore the clouding, the blurriness of oncoming tears. “Lieutenant.”

“When you send on the package, put this in it.” He handed a palm-sized bundle off to her, a weight of something wrapped lightly in a soft, red fabric. “I don’t know if he’s religious at all, but if you tell him you found it in her room, it’ll mean a lot to him, I’m sure.” He paused, swallowed. “Clear up any doubts he might have had.”

Slowly, carefully, she lifted away edges of the fabric, opening the little package to look at the little resin figure cradled gently within. Cold set in as she recognized the shape of a woman, recognized the image of her upraised and exposed palms, her striking eyes, the stigmata marks on her open hands and feet, the bleeding third eye framed by a triangle that stood out in the center of her forehead, a perfect match for the bound eye raised across her chest. Tessa exhaled quickly, covered the figure again immediately, whole body suddenly filled with fear and shaky fight.

St. Von Mitternacht, She almost dared to whisper. Patron Saint of the Genetically Modified.

And then, as quickly as it had begun, the vision ended, shattered abruptly by a stumbling scream, a crash, and the vicious crunch of broken bone.
© 2009 - 2020 Durkee341
Full title: The Tessa Chronicles: The Cygnus War #43 (Saints and Sinners)

Author Blurb: Woah! Wtf is going on, right? Haha. Here’s where it starts to get into the Borgesian type of stuff, pseudo-realism, but then, this is all part of what I had planned for Tessa’s character anyway, more or less. I’m sure this one will raise all sorts of strange questions along the lines of “But wait– I thought– but then– huh?” I honestly really like this one, and the ones that follow aren’t bad either. Back in the groove again, as you can see from the preview image, I’m sure, haha. BTW this story is not a spoiler, so if you caught what was going on at the end there, don’t worry about big endings being ruined. Remember, TTC takes place in the early 2300's, so history has had a few centuries of revision and modification to work through. It will all become clear... years from now. Haha.

Progress report: Doing better overall, had more time to work on various things. My History of English class is stuck on chapter four (Survey of Old English) which has helped a ton, since I’ve already read the chapter and it’s all in-class review from here. Having about six hours of my life back this week (with the possibility of a mostly empty weekend coming up) has allowed me to get a little more caught up and spend some time doing pointless things that I like to do, like creating new games or making Final Fantasy themed cards for this rocking game I love called Talisman.

#45 is done, and I’ve got a little work done on #46, but nothing but ideas beyond that. I’m resisting skipping right to the Wake because it’s going to be emotional, and we’ve been through so much emotion already that I’m trying to take a break of sorts (I guess.)

Oh, and by the way, I got a job. I got picked up by Fantasy Flight Games on Thursday to do editing and writing work on a contract basis for Games Workshop’s Dark Heresy line! Can I get a Hell Yeah? Haha. That means I’ll be making a contribution to the Warhammer 40K universe! Amazingly sweet!


Anyway, this is the forty-third installment of TTC: The Cygnus War. You can find the previous episode here: [link] The next episode will appear on Wednesday, March 4th, 2009 (PST)

1302 Words
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vikingjon's avatar
vikingjonProfessional General Artist
Hey, congrats on the job! Don't do gaming much, but I read a couple of Warhammer novels way back when. No clue which ones. One was about a kick ass vampire seductress possibly? :? Haha!
Yeah, the dream sequence was a little wierd, here, and I don't know all of Tessa's backstory yet, but I think I can guess what it was about. The idol was a nice touch. :)
Durkee341's avatar
Durkee341Professional Writer
Haha, I don't know any of them by name yet. :) I'm mostly a 40K guy anyway, but I'm just now getting into it, so who knows what new stuff will be coming out that will bear my stamp, haha.

Thanks, haha. The question is though-- was it really a dream sequence? :)
vikingjon's avatar
vikingjonProfessional General Artist
Looking forward. :)

re: Tessa: Oooh! Juicy! ;)