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Hordes of Doggerland Part 6

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Thunder rolled. The maelstrom was getting worse.
A posh American hotel, with wooden walls and faces carved onto the edges of polished banisters as well as huge chandeliers and a strong tang of foreign incense. That's what the lobby of the Bathory Courts reminded Susie of as she stepped out of the elevator with her combat knife well at the ready.
The hall was dimly lit like the rest of the city but unlike the rest of the city, it was in one piece. It was clean too. Dust had never been allowed to set on these floors. The carpet was still beneath their feet, which made a change from the usual splinters and glass shards. The Bathory Courts had been maintained. They were not a ruin. It was a bit of a shock after crawling through the remnants of Shades Alley.
Susie's nose twitched. She could taste the iron as it drifted in the air. It was blood. The rugs ran red with it. This was the pirate's cove, the dragon's cave, the queen's throne room. This was Nurse Bathory's lair. They had made it. And they were not alone. The chamber was filled with about five men and women clad in surgical garments. Susie recognised every one of them and they her. Her mind revisited the place where they had taken her baby away. They immediately stopped their conversations and regarded the intruders with an edgy silence, each of them unarmed.
The two women had fought their way through Shades Alley and had come through clean on the other side. There was a moment here where all of them shared troubled glances and started to gradually, one by one, back away. Susie held out the knife and froze them all back in place.
"Where is she?"
One of them pointed towards the nearest set of stairs. Susie watched Elle move ahead to secure the rest of the hallway.
"Bathory will die," Susie promised them. "But this isn't over for the rest of you. You wronged me in the most personal way and I will find you. There is nowhere in this city that you can hide from me. Once I have my daughter back and once my friends are safe, I'm going to come and get you."
One of the surgeons, a man who had argued with Bathory about Susie's survival during the operation, made a brave stance.
"But we were just ... following her orders!"
Seconds later and Susie had to force the blade out of his skull. It took a good few pulls. The others took the warning as red and fled the Bathory Courts.  
Elle watched meekly as they rushed away down the nearest stairwell.
"That was her last defence?" she remarked and then smiled at Susie. "I'm almost disappointed."
"Her soldiers must be down securing the city," speculated Susie as she wiped the knife clean and kicked the body just to make sure. "Celestial Heights sounded quite like a big takeover. They'll need an army to protect it."
Elle nodded. "You've come to know this place well."
Her sword glinted ever so slightly in the chandelier light. That was when Susie noticed for the first time a pattern engraved carefully into the blade, a series of lines which conjoined to form a triangle at the tip. The triangle's corners stretched out towards the edges, bladed. She wondered just briefly what on Earth it was supposed to symbolise.
Elle caught her staring, and sheathed it. "Don't worry," she said. "I'll let you have your kill."


**

Nurse Bathory observed the chaos unfold from her office.
Shades Alley swarmed with them, One-Shoe's hybrids. Victory was within her clasp. Once King was truly out of the picture then she and Valculga could focus on finding and dethroning the Countess. That's what all this was really about. The Countess had run things and run things poorly since getting Doggerland established. She'd made everything one big feral clutter. So now it was their turn. This was just the clean-up operation. Soon they'd start to round up whoever was left and begin anew. This underwater city would be their oyster.
She watched with ardent interest as the arena in the centre of the old causeway quaked with movement. Scraps of material outspread around the top pulled up by chains and then fixed in place by the old platforms, which served to cover the hub and suddenly catch at least a third of the swarm inside. From within came a clashing of swords and screams as the inmates began their hidden counter strike. The rest of the swarm circled back round mindlessly, gratuitous by this sudden retaliation. Like Valculga's mutants, One-Shoe's hybrids had been bred for one purpose only.
"They've actually sprung an ambush," Bathory commentated as she rubbed along her bottom jaw hungrily. Bathory's soldiers were out securing several fallen sectors of the city and stalking the survivors of Koch's militia. The feeling of their eyes all over her had become particularly overwhelming, especially since using the Courts as a sanctuary for the baby. She always kept her surgical mask down when she was alone. She could breathe better.
That was when the howl of Susie's daughter filled the room. Bathory sighed and looked over to the old cot. They had found the thing stashed away in the slums around the Blue Lagoon.
"Shut up you little ..." and then she thought about it. "I'm watching history here!"
The baby continued her wailing although somewhat subdued. A little satisfied, Bathory returned her attention to the screen where the scene had changed considerably. The arena walls ruptured as the rest of the swarm swooped down from the arches for a frontal assault, and was met by a tide of burning oil. It splashed along the streets and raged an inferno. Shades Alley was burning.
The images changed her. The murderers, the rapists, the thieves were now fighting back. Their leader must have been so proud. She watched the giant man's shadow overstep the corpses of the insects as the cracked streets around the arena singed...
The doors to her office swished apart. Nurse Bathory swung around in her seat.
The baby screamed behind her.
"Give her back to me," ordered Susie.
"You," Bathory ignored her, instead hypnotised by Elle as she guarded the open doorway. Neither seemed surprised by her reaction but Elle simply looked away. "You're ... you're here."
"Oi," Susie stepped back into view, forcing Bathory to snap out of it. "Stand up!"
"Susie," Bathory started.
"I said stand!"
Bathory raised her sharpened hands and did so. The chair swirled to a slow stop behind her as she glimpsed between Susie and Elle anxiously. Susie recognised immediately the fear which hung in her black and watery eyes. Bathory's soul was unearthed. This was human fear. Susie could smell it.
"Susie," the monster urged her. "You have to listen to me. You're being deceived."  
Susie stomped over and grabbed Bathory the throat. "You. You took my baby from me."
"I...protected..."
"You."
"Just..."
SLASH.
Susie stepped back as Bathory collapsed back into her chair. Her blood oozed down her long nurse gown from the open gash across her throat. Her head hung back, ready to topple. Susie pinched her shoulder and forced her forwards again. They met eyes, only this time Bathory couldn't speak. Susie had severed that ability clean.
"I told you I would kill you," Susie said to her slowly. "All of you."
Bathory struggled for breath. It gurgled and drowned in her shark-like mouth. She twitched and shuddered as Susie fixed her into place, trying to clear her mouth of the bloody downpour. The bitch of the Bathory Courts was suddenly drunk with a special sort of agony.
Behind them both Elle was gradually reaching down into the cot.
Overcome with the last of her strength Bathory lurched forwards. Susie almost leapt back but she felt the pincer sharp fingers hold her in place. They made her bleed.
Four final words escaped into Susie's ear, and then Bathory was dead.
Susie's eyes widened with absolute horror as she reeled around to witness Elle's skin roll off into the air like glitter. It smouldered and vanished into nothing. The disguise was gone. The masquerade was over.
She held the baby tightly to her bosom and even dared to talk playfully to her. The spy in Elle's place was younger, almost teenage, with short styled hair and scantily clad in rough leather but rich velvet. It was no secret who this scheming turncoat was. Susie's heart cocooned in on itself.  
"Hello again," said the Countess to the baby. And then she looked up and cleared her throat. The betrayal was met with a simple and thieving smile. "Thank you kindly."
Susie had no time to react. Instead she made a full dash for the baby.
But it was too late. The triangle-engraved sword was already spinning wildly through the air. It drove her back, back against the office wall. The bloody combat knife slid out of Susie's paling fingers. Her whole body tingled with shock. She gasped and whined helplessly as the reality hit her like a blade to her heart.
She'd been stabbed.
She was going to die.
Her baby was lost.
The world blacked out.   
Thunder rolled.

**

The generators, CJ made a mental note. They hung from two willow trees like giant beehives, the skin of which shimmered gold as it was touched by the moonlight. She finally breathed out and walked through her icicled breath as it uncurled ahead of her. The forest was freezing over. She had to act now.
CJ unclipped the explosive charge from her belt and walked out into the meadow where the hives lived as the clouds gathered over the woods. It was raining. Of course it was, she thought. It's always raining here. The world flipped away and a darker world flipped back into place. Doggerland.
The generators were larger than their woodland counterparts. They were thick glass canisters which stretched high up into this colossal silo. This place was darker than any chamber she had stumbled across thus far. It had to be. This was the city's core.
A security panel stood in the space between the generators. She knelt beside it and rigged the charge to the main hub. It clicked into place. Finchy seemed to know the system well. The charge automatically started to synchronise itself with the Vertigo Core's system. The timer had already started.
She stood and turned and ... SMACK!
CJ was hurled behind the generators. She shook away the shock and then scrambled back onto her feet. Behind the panel waited the Iron Angel, bearing two new swords. She released Kazumi.
"Alright," she told it breathlessly as memories of the Chronos assassin flurried back to her. "Round two."

**

"What do you mean you can't get a signal?" Valculga said and then pummelled the man who had disappointed him. Another nervously stepped forward to take his place.
"The communication system is in disarray, my lord," said the scientist, one who had survived the raid on Celestial Heights, "the Bathory Courts have gone silent."
Valculga pummelled him as well. Bodies were starting to fill his office. He punched a wall in his rage, and then caught his breath. "Maybe she planned this," he thought aloud, "maybe Bathory thinks she can lure me into a trap..."
"No sir!" said a surgeon as he stumbled through the door. One of the mutants held him in place with a fist. "The Courts have been attacked."
"By whom?" Valculga said as he fell back into Koch's chair and waved for another mutant to dispense with the bodies. "King is still fighting the hybrids in Shades Alley."
"Two women," gasped the surgeon as he struggled for breath, "Susie's one of them."
Valculga took a moment to mull this piece of information over. "And the other?"
"Unknown sir!"
Valculga clenched his fist. Seconds later and the second mutant was trying to scrape the surgeon's remains off the office floor. "I sense betrayal..."
"Such is your nature," said a familiar voice. Valculga swung around in his chair as Koch's face appeared on screen. "Hello again, brother."
"You resurrected," Valculga seemed surprised.
"Long before your assault I assure you. For a brief time there were two of me running around this city."
Valculga recognised the rich, neat office that surrounded his previous comrade. It was Bathory's office. There was a smear of blood across the face of the monitor. Koch used a napkin to carefully wipe it away. "Was it worth it, in the end?" said the professor as he cleaned his glasses.
Valculga looked to his two mutants seriously. "Secure all the entrances. Set a perimeter. They'll be coming..."
"Professor Valculga," Koch said to him calmly. "I'm talking to you."
"Was what worth it, Koch?"
"Yours and Bathory's little rebellion."
"Bathory was ... She was my ... associate. We had a plan."
Koch looked amused. "And you thought you could just take over the city? The Countess is very unhappy with you."
"She cannot do anything to me in here. I have an army. I have protection!"
"You're all alone, Valculga. You've always been alone."
"Alone with hundreds at my disposal! How d'ya figure that, professor Koch? Hmm?"
Koch smiled a little and let out a loud sigh.
"You've forgotten one of the League's most prized of secrets, haven't you? Bathory promised you power and went and got yourself caught up in it. I feel for you, brother. But they're not your servants, those creatures in your castle. You didn't create them. They were made to be ruled, by her."
It took a moment for Valculga to register what it was that Koch was trying to tell him, but he got there. He turned again and saw that the two mutants hadn't moved from the doorway, but were staring into Koch's eyes through the monitor – hypnotised by the return of their creator.
Suddenly the radio buzzed. He clicked the speaker system.
"Sir," came a panicked voice, "its Shades Alley, sir! They've overwhelmed the hybrids. The inmates are forcing their way through our barricades. King is leading them! It's madness! Oh God, we're being overwhelmed. There are too many of them!" The connection buzzed out and crackled in an ending set of screams.
More mutants appeared at the office door. Their eyes drained of colour. Valculga slowly came to his feet. "I regret nothing. Our way would've seen this city rise from the ashes of your regime. Tell the Countess that I die gladly, knowing that my way would have been better."
The mutants, those who had served him for so long, suddenly marched up behind him. Koch shook his head and watched. "Goodbye, brother."
In a single neck-snapping moment Koch became the ruler of Celestial Heights again.
"Secure Subject 12," he commanded. "Time for things to resume as before."

**

"It's done, my lady," Koch bowed his head to the Countess as she rocked the baby. She was staring out of the office window.
"Bathory always had such a grand view of the city from way up here," she commented as fires burnt out across the streets below. Koch joined her.
"It's King's men. They've broken free of the Alley. It'll take time but we can restore what was lost."
"No," she said in a voice just louder than a whisper. "The League of Iron was a failure. There's no need to remake a failure. Surely a professor such as yourself should know this." She stopped looking at Doggerland and was instead mesmerized by the eyes of the child in her arms. "She's beautiful."
She was. She was small and plump, with eyes of a blueish-green. The baby wasn't crying anymore. Both of them were looking into each other's soul. The Countess smiled. Koch meanwhile scratched the stitching on his forehead. "Uhm, my lady?"
"Leave us," the Countess did not even look up.
"Yes," he said and backed off towards the door.
"And take her mother with you. Run some tests, take some blood, whatever you need. From this moment forth Doggerland is back in business."
Susie lay in a heap beside the corpse of Bathory, with the sword still impaled in her chest.
"Yes, my lady."

**

"Ow," said Laski. He hadn't felt genuine pain in a long time. He knew he had been thrown around a lot during these adventures in space, but it was more like being in a big ball full of air and being bounced around like a hamster. But this wasn't like that anymore. This was pain.
It stung.
It tingled.
It reminded him that he was alive.
The world burned white, whatever world was left. Shapes formed in this cloudy wonderland he had come to inhabit, structures, people. Eventually the whiteness faded into a pale sort of mist which rolled harmlessly off the walls like spectres. This structure was a structure of metal and caverns, not unlike Doggerland, but not Doggerland. There were windows here and beyond them there were stars. Billions of stars.
It reminded him of being on the Cantina.
He looked down at his hands ... Hands?
And his legs, and his ... body?
And his ... breasts.
These were new.
"Ah," Laski said in Susie's voice. "I gotcha." He caught a reflection in the nearest window, and saw Susie's face.
But this wasn't the real world. The real world was solid. This world was cloudy, foggy, like a fading dream. Still, it felt good to be able to move again. If he even was moving. It didn't feel like moving. It felt like he was drifting, in Susie's form, around this dark meld of caves and metal. It had taken him a few moments to register that he was surrounded by people. Humans, covered in dirt and mud. None of them had noticed him ... her ... whatever. They were all going about their business. Some of them had wheelbarrows full of coal, others had sharpened hammers and blunt pickaxes, but all were wearing yellow helmets with torches in them. This wasn't Doggerland. This was somewhere else.
The floor started shaking unexpectedly. Earthquake, thought Laski. Where is this?
A siren filled the caves. Suddenly all of the miners dropped their equipment, stood straight like a group of meerkats, and turned as one. There was surge, an exodus of the cave system as the quaking started to gather momentum. The organisation of the miners dissolved as they each joined in an angry scramble for the exit. Laski decided it was best to follow.
He hurried after them, grinning like a mad man in a comatose woman's body as he bounded and shoved his legs ahead of each other joyfully. Lefty. Righty. Now your turn again, Lefty. And righty, you go again! I'm running. I haven't run in ages!
The rush fed into his chest and made his boobs hurt. But he persevered nonetheless. Ahead, a blast door was closing.
The others all scuttled through, pushing and shoving. It was a free-for-all.
Behind him great bursts of carbon dioxide and hydrogen hissed out through fractures in the cavern walls, causing the whole place to cave-in. Nature it seemed was fighting back! Laski flew as several rocks hurled past him and smashed into the closing blast door. He jumped and fell and rolled and then finally squeezed through the gap.
It slammed shut behind him. As he rose to his feet he could hear the cave catapulting larger rocks but the door held them back with ease.
"Thanks for the heads-up arseholes!" He shouted to the miners who continued to ignore him. "I might have died!" The miners had slowed into a shuffle now and were meanwhile shuffling their way up a rocky slope and out into the light of whatever surface world lay beyond.  
Laski adjusted his bra, or tried to. Susie wasn't wearing one.
Typical.
She was still wearing the tattered rags she had found back in Blue Moon Street, along with the old leathery duster coat. He wrapped it tightly around himself for warmth. Being cold was an odd experience. It made him feel every tingle in his body go frighteningly numb. Wherever this place was, it wasn't warm. He needed warmth. He needed a fire. Laski followed the miners out into the light as the cave blurred into a ghostly nothing behind him. Words formed overhead: 'Shaft T15.'  
The damp air hurried up into his nostrils like refugees escaping a vile, toxic regime. He could see why. This next cavern was large enough to fit a whole population and did so easily. It reminded Laski of what CJ and Mapp had once found in the asteroid core of the Chronos ... A hidden, underground society. Homes had been carved into the rock faces and shops and stalls congealed around an artistic hub in the centre of the town, some kind of large power conductor. It lit up the houses and shops vibrantly.
Laski absorbed the scene.
The rest of the miners had scurried off, but two remained close enough to notice. Laski accepted that he was just a spectator to this world and couldn't interact with these people, and so he breathed in the opportunities and then scampered over to the loud discussion the two miners were having.
"Shaft fifteen has had it," said the first, a smaller fatter guy with a greying beard. "I mean for real this time. The whole place caved-in. Someone's gonna have to inform the overseer."
The other guy was taller, thinner and also had a beard. Laski noticed, actually, that most of the men here had beards. And, he feared, some of the women. He tried not to think about it.
"The overseer won't accept that," said the second man, "you heard his last announcement. The Triangle is building a new fleet of ships. They can't do that without our resources. Also, and it's all a bit hush-hush at the moment, but Dirty Stan over in the Smog Tavern says that the Empress herself had given the go-ahead for new terraforming machinery. There are plans, he says, to recover the worlds which were destroyed in the initial uprisings, when she first came to power, as a reward for her most faithful subjects."
The first man regarded this with a thoughtful silence.
"Earth?" he finally said.
"So Dirty Stan says."
"Dirty Stan also said that the Triangle was going to close us down," the first man added. "And how would he know anyway?"
"You can't deny the sense of it though, Decimus," the second miner looked around suspiciously, "I mean the Empress is all powerful after all."
"She's just a figurehead," Decimus said quietly and started to walk away. The second man followed. Laski followed both. "She's human. I admit that she has power but without it she's just one of us. She's a good speaker too. That's why they all follow her."
As Laski followed them around and got a good tour of the town he took note of various banners and flags hanging over the main structures. In the centre of them were decorated Triangles, with each corner stretched out to form daggers.
"Careful," warned the second man as he discarded his helmet and shoved the torch into his pocket. "I heard that the Empress created New Gallifrey herself, using ancient power."
"You're saying she's some kind of sorceress?" Decimus continued walking even as the other miner stopped behind by a stall to bargain with the scruffier-looking pensioner behind it. "I'll believe that when I see it."
For some reason Laski chose to keep following Decimus. The man seemed to have his mind in the right place. Don't be ruled, Laski thought. Democracy to prevail n' all that freedom fighter stuff...
Decimus rounded the town and eventually strode down into a small residential block.
The stone homes circled a central fountain which, Laski was surprised to see, was active with actual water. The homestead was busy with activity. People were hanging out their washing. They weren't mutants or hybrids, not like the monsters back in Doggerland. These were real people. Others were trying to decorate their rock porches with plants and synthetic lights. Others were filling up the street, if you could call it that, discussing current affairs.
It was warmer at least Laski considered, just as two young kids brushed by him. One of the girls ran into Decimus, who knelt down and embraced her. She had long black hair, bright cyan eyes and pale skin, not surprising considering the lack of sunlight making it through into this place. Were they underground? Was this perhaps some sort of sanctuary under the surface of a dead world?
"Daddy!" said the girl loudly. "Aila's chasing me again!"
Decimus smiled at the accusation and watched as the other girl stumbled to a stop behind them. The other girl had very short hair, a dirty sort of carefully-braided blonde, with deep hazel eyes.
"Is she now?" the man raised his eyebrows. Aila put her hands behind her back and glanced away innocently. "Are you sure she's not just playing?"
The girl with black hair shook her head. "No," she said. "I'm sewious."
Decimus rolled his eyes. "And Aila, what say you to these charges?"
Aila shrugged and searched the airwaves for something to say, and then shrugged again.
"Was just playin' is all."  
"She was chasing me!"
Aila stood her ground. "Was just playin' manhunt. Elle was on."
Intriguing, thought Laski as he watched her closely.
Decimus looked at the black haired girl once more. "Is that true, Elle?"
Elle pushed him away and folded her arms defiantly.
"Don't make me separate you two now," he told them, and then stood up again and brushed at the coal stains on his mining uniform. "Now where's your mother at?"
"She's in the house," said Elle. "Doin' stuff."
Decimus smiled again. "I'll see you two later," he said, and then strode off towards whichever of these rocks was his home. Laski felt his feet stuck in place. He looked Elle up and down and compared her to the older self he had met with Susie back in Doggerland. The resemblance was uncanny.
Aila pushed her in the back. "You told on me!"
"Was just playing," smiled Elle confidently, changing her tune, "or can't you take it?"
"I can take it!"
"Nah!"
"Yeah I can so!"
Elle rolled her eyes. "You're not scared of grown-ups then?"
Aila laughed. "I 'ain't scared of no one!"
Elle scoffed at the very idea. "You got scared when Dirty Stan sleepwalked into your back privy t'other week!"
"Yeah," Aila stumbled again, "but Dirty Stan's a peeper. Everyone knows that."
"Peeper or not," Elle sighed. "You's scared."
Laski sensed that Dirty Stan wasn't in fact a 'peeper', whatever one was, but that both of these children had a very sharp creative flux. He imagined he had gotten many members of the townsfolk into problems...
"Shuddup," Aila shoved by her and headed towards the fountain. "I know me better than you."
Laski watched intently. This was Elle's past. Her early childhood.  So Elle had been real then? She must have been and not just some wild imagining of the Countess, using her appearance to fool Susie. Why was he here? Where was here?
Elle followed Aila over to the fountain again and soon enough; the two children were chasing each other again. Laski leant on the side of the fountain and watched Susie's reflection wrinkle her forehead into lines. He tried to remember...
Susie had charged into Bathory's office and cut her down, just as Bathory whispered in her ear four final words ...
"She is the Countess."
Susie had turned to face Elle, who wasn't Elle anymore. Her skin had rolled off like glitter and now ... now she had the baby. The Countess had stabbed Susie, he remembered that, and everything else had blinked away.
Had the Countess stabbed Susie?
Yes, he could see it happening... He remembered.
But Susie was alive, he could sense that strongly too, and she was okay. Unconscious, but okay.
How could Laski know that?
He looked at Susie's eyes again as they rippled in the water ... Here, in whatever world this was, he had taken on Susie's form.
...
....Ooooh...
Laski felt a tingle where Susie's stomach was.
....That's what happened.
The sword had hit him instead.
He remembered lying innocently in Susie's breast pocket when BAM! The edge pierced through his pages and hooked her against the office wall with such incredible force.
BAM!
And ... ouch.
So why am I here then, Laski wondered as he returned his attention to Elle and Aila as they played before a far off porch. They were fencing with bits of wood. What's the significance of this memory?   
It wasn't his memory. He knew that for certain. No, he was watching someone else's memory unfold. This had happened to someone years ago. As he watched them play the whole scene suddenly became engulfed in a blinding stream of light. It burned throughout the cavern like the first sunlight.


Everything had changed. Laski was standing in a murky narrow hallway. The floor panes were covered in thick soot and he held his breath as the stink of sweat tickled Susie's few nostril hairs. He tried to shake it off. Suddenly a girl appeared at the end of the hallway, with long black hair.
"Elle?" he said.
She was older than before, about fourteen or fifteen if he had to guess. Ten years had flown by in a blinding instant. Her eyes had melted into a runny cyan colour. They were beautiful. Aila of course was close behind her, also several years older. She was taller but her hair was still cut short. She was bound by straps of leather – a sort of desperate clothing put together by someone who cared not for they might appear. Elle appeared much better dressed out of the two, and her clothes were at least clean, especially considering she had come from the homestead of a miner's family. Both girls were giggling as Aila finally caught up and pinned Elle against the wall.
"Stop it," ordered Elle and she held her friend back. "If Dad catches us down here they'll be Hell to pay!"
"Relax," Aila smiled and released her, "these tunnels stretch far across the eastern gloom of the colony. They called it T15 back in the day. The overseer abandoned it when we kept havin' those bloody cave-ins. Remember?"
Elle considered this. "Ah yeah."
"Now shh," said Aila. "We rarely get time to play these days."
Elle smiled, but emptily, and then pushed Aila aside. "I'm sorry," she said back and then approached a nearby porthole. Stars rolled by outside. "Everything's changing at the moment. Dad says he wants me to join his next expedition. He says it's an important one. Remember what all those rumours about the Empress terraforming the old worlds? Dad says Earth has been chosen to pioneer the research."
"Earth?" Aila took this gravely. "Earth's a dead world!"
"Exactly," Elle looked back. "It's the perfect candidate. I bet the Empress knows that too."
"The Empress," Aila spat the name and then joined Elle by the porthole. "She's a monster you know, like the ones your dad used to tell us about. She destroyed Earth in the first place when it rebelled during her rise to power. It's her fault it's dead!"
"Shh!" Elle grabbed her by the shoulders and looked around desperately. "Someone might hear you!"
Laski looked around too. They needn't worry. This shaft looked as if it had been abandoned for years, Aila shoved free. "It's the truth though!"
"Whatever. It doesn't matter. What matters is that Earth might have a future in the Triangle. Doesn't that ... mean anything to you?"
Aila seemed to think about it. She looked around the hallway and tried to imagine it. A few moments had changed her mind. "I guess it would be pretty awesome to have the old home world back."
Elle smiled.
"Anyway," said Aila. It was obvious that something else was on her mind.
"Yes," Elle said, as if she agreed, and pulled Aila back towards her. "Anyway..."
They closed their eyes and kissed.
"That's better," Aila brushed aside a rogue strand of Elle's hair. "Have you decided about this expedition then?"
Elle shrugged and fell into a hug. "Not yet," she said into Aila's ear, "I mean I want to help Dad, but I don't want to be on the other side of the colony. He says it's important for me. He says it'll help me create my future in the Triangle."
"The Triangle," Aila spoke the name with distaste as she squeezed Elle tightly. "I say we apply for off-world visas and wait until we're eighteen."
Elle grinned. "And go where, exactly?"
"Anywhere we want," said Aila as her thoughts drifted to the place her dreams were made of. "Anywhere we want."
Laski really felt like he was intruding now. He stepped back, just as another stream of pure blinding white came in like a tide. It overwhelmed the scene, and planted him somewhere else ...

(will be updating this page - Stay tuned!)
Susie faces her abductor and CJ reaches the generators of the Vertigo Core, but things don't go as planned for either of them!
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© 2012 - 2021 mappalazarou
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