Wednesday, 2 March 2011

A Darkening Sky....

Dr Kim Leannder was more than a little annoyed when she heard of the destruction of her medical bay by Ithiria. She was also scared. As soon as news had reached her she had tried to get a confirmation from her daughter, but had been unable to locate her and so had headed down herself.

Reality was a great deal more disturbing. When she landed and headed into the back rooms the door leading down to her medical bay was bowed out. Several of the guards helped her break the door down. The stairs beyond led downwards and were stopped halfway down, blocked by debris and twisted metal. Shining a torch down she shook her head and returns to the lounge where one of the girls brought her a drink.

"Here, lass. Call this number, tell the person at the other end to get here as quickly as he can. I need excavation equipment for a level 3. He'll know what I mean. Tell him he has two hours. I'll be outside."
The geisha nodded and went to walk away, then turned back.
"Ma'am, would you like us to inform Carmilla that you are here?"
"No. If she turns up she turns up. Just let me know in advance if Ithiria is coming."
Sipping her drink she headed back to her shuttle and came back laden down with equipment bags. A few of the girls watched curious as she paced up and down in the gardens before placing a several flags and sitting on a nearby bench.

It was nearly an hour later when a heavy cargo shuttle appeared overhead and headed towards the flagged area and landed with all the grace of a dragonfly. A portly balding man jumped out and lumbered over to Kim, embracing her in his arms while a work crew disembarked and began unloading equipment.
"Aaah, chikita, it does me good to see you again."
"Pablo, I hear you have been working with my daughter again?"
"Yes, she uses my factory almost exclusively now. I make sure she is well looked after there, all of the crews there love her to bits, like she is their own daughters."
He laughed and looked around at the Geisha House and it's surrounding.
"I never knew this place existed, Geisha House, Khanid style yes?"
"Yes it is, and you and your crew are welcome here. I'm surprised Carm hasnt' invited you before?"
"Aaaaah, we have other places we go, but this we will enjoy. Now... to business. What do you need?"
Over the next ten minutes Kim explained the situation to the man and his crew. Plans were brought out and shown. One of the crew checked the blocked entrance way and agreed it would be impossible to pass without heavy equipment.
"One thing I must say, Pablo. Your men as soon as they break through must call me or one of the guards. There are things inside that must be kept inside if they have escaped."
"Please please, we have known each other far too long, we all have secrets. And I have come prepared."
He put two fingers to his mouth and let out a piercing whistle. Four black combat armoured man slipped out, heavily armed, looking around wearily.
"I learned a long time ago, when you are concerend, be prepared."
"A wise decision Pablo.... now lets work."
She looked up at the darkening sky, the wind was picking up and the whole horizon was black cloud, lit up from behind by lightning strikes.
"Quicker we get in and check things out the better. I have a bad feeling about this....."

Even with the dedicated excavation gear it took several hours to dig down to the medical bays extremities, and even then longer to penetrate the hardened ferro-crete. In the end explosives were needed as the drills couldn't make any headway. When the smoke cleared she looked down into the hole, pointing a heavy pistol, one of the crew shining a torch into the hole. From her vantage point she could see the debris inside and the scorching from the demolitions charges.
"This is the first of three of my clone chambers. If I can get to the ducting system I can move between them...."
Pablo clicked his fingers and two of the men leapt into the hole, the lights on their weapons cutting through the darkness. She shuddered, a cold shiver running up her spine and the first drops of rain started to fall.

Kim slipped herself into the hole and looked around from the pile of rubble she had landed on. The heavy pistol in her hand was a reassuring weight. An oppressive darkness filled the room, even the backup lighting had failed in here. The twin rows of cloning cylinders were twisted, ruptured and the nutrient fluid had covered the floor, now a semi-dry sludge. A scent of death was in the air from the twenty bodies that had been in cryo-stasis, and now just so much rotting meat. She listened intently, hearing only the footfalls of the two men with her, and the sound of nutrients dripping from feed lines. Several of the tubes were charred, the demolitions devices had done their work properly. Making her way over to one of the dead terminals she tried a few keys and frowned. Even after this the backup power should have trickled into systems, though maybe the connections were damaged. The door leading into the main facility was buckled and twisted, a heavy beam blocking almost all access to it.

The first guard stopped outside the duct and gestured to them to come over and together they removed the cover. Rain was now falling heavily, coming through the gap and she could see that Pablo and the crew were manhandling a tarpaulin into position.
"Pablo, I'm heading into the ducts with your men. Keep in contact with me."
"You got it chikita.... be careful."
She turned to the guard and drew a schematic on the soot covered wall.
"Take this route, we'll be right behind you."
"You got it, lady."
Heading into the ducting system she tried to fight down her fears. There was nothing alive in the complex, it was all dead. The demolitions charges had been placed so every single tube would be destroyed. Even hers. But she needed to check. In the darkness there was now only the sound of the three of them, her breathing was loud in her ears. Ahead the next panel was kicked out and the guard slipped into the room, and audible splash as he did so. As she came to it the light showed that there was a foot of fluid in the room. Slowly they all slid into it, and looked around. Again the tubes were destroyed, but here the fluid had not dried or washed away. Flashing her torch around she saw the door blocked by the roof caving in and one wall collapsing. Somewhere at the other end of the room there was a continous sound of liquid dripping. She shuddered and checked the tubes. These too were all ruptured, various mangled body parts sticking through in some places.

The three of them moved over to the next duct and opened it looking inside. Clear, the lead guard entered and they followed, both hearing a gasp from him. The smell struck them as they got closer and slipped into room. This chamber had not been destroyed by the demolition charges. All of the cylinders were in perfect condition, except that they were open and the smell was obvious now. The three of them followed the wall around and looked at the remains.
"The cylinders must have gone into automatic reanimation instead of detonating. Nutrients drained and the bodies released."
"Then who did this?"
They looked at the torn and eviscerated remains of a large amount of bodies as they walked around the room. Blood had flowed to the drain in the middle of the room, and filled the air. She reached down and touched one, the flesh still warm from the reanimation. One of the guards pointed to the floor. There were naked footprints in the blood, leading away, towards a dark opening at the end of the room.
"It's the door into the main medical bay. Someone must have awoken and done this. I'm not surprised with some of the people who were locked away here....."
The two guards moved to the doorway as Kim opened her neo-com and tried to call Pablo. she frowned, then cursed. The interferance from the jamming signals, the power must still be active here.
"Guys... check your comms...."
She waited....
She looked up at the doorway and saw a shape flitter past, very quick, almost a trick of the light and she walked towards it, gun out in front of her, torch showing the way. Nervous and with her heart beating she looked through the doorway and into her medical bay. Her eyes and torch took her to one place, Carmilla's clones statis tube. It was open!
"Guys? Talk to me..."
For a moment she realised that her torch was the only light in the bay. She stopped breathing and listened, hearing a faint bubbling rasp. Pointing the torch in the direction she saw the two bodied. Of the guards. They were both lying in pools of blood which were expanding, their necks cut to the bone. She backed away as she heard something, the sounds of feet, slowly walking. Throwing caution to the wind she turned and ran back to the duct and threw herself in it. Crawling as quickly as she could, not looking behind her. Not noticing the silvery eyed figure looking into ducts opening that she had just crawled into. As she reached the junction she turned, pointing her gun and torch down. It was empty, but still she felt cold daggers digging into her and she pushed on, running through the next room and diving in. Screaming at Pablo to get her up as she stood under the hole, her mind racing, hearing the scratching of something coming through the ducting after her until she was pulled up screaming and struggling.
"What happened? Where are my men?"
"Dead. Something is still alive in there. Seal this off... if anything comes out, it doesnt' matter who. Kill them. Kill them!"
"Chikita... I've never seen you like this. What is down there?"
"You don't want to know. Pray I'm wrong. Seal this hole... I need to call in some firepower if we're going back down... I need to get to the terminal."

Pablo watched her go and shrugged. For something to have scared her, it must be bad. He gave his crew orders and handed out the weapons to them and watched the lightning storm that was around them. Aaah, nothing like a good storm he though and headed to the Geisha House, and watched as the power went out.

In the lounge Kim sat infront of the terminal and listened as a party of Amarrians were enjoying themselves. The screen flashed and Ithiria appeared at the other end.
"Aah, Kim. To what do I..."
"Goddam it Ithiria. What did you do? You set the self-distruct on my Medical Bay!"
"Kim, you know better than to speak to me like that."
"Ithiria.... Get down here now. We're all in trouble. And bring Carmilla if you can. And your paladins. Bring everyone you can. We're all in troub....."
The screen went black as did the entire facility. Screams were heard, then laughter and slowly candles appeared in the hands of Geisha. Music continued to play and more candles appeared, together with lanterns. Kim turned pale. The power was down, no security, no defences. No communications off world. She hoped the girls were as good as Carmilla claimed. Hinare, still sleeping in one of the chairs started snoring gently.

Far away Ithiria watched the screen flash as the signal was disconnected. Attempts to reconnect indicated the destination signal was not transmitting or receiving. She thought about it for a moment then turned around and looked at Kaelali kneeling beside her.
"Kael, we're going to Seshala. Prepare a fighting outfit for me, and my swords."
Kaelali nodded and departed to prepare and Ithiria activated the terminal again. She pondered why the signal was down at the Geisha House, there were sufficient backups to power everything and enough warning systems there to prevent any attack. The screen flickered and Mizhara appeared on the screen, behind her her sister Gherena. With a thin smile she saw Carmilla bound and gagged in black leather and latex on the bed behind.
"Aah, my dear Wife. I hope you are free, I have need of you at the Geisha House. It seems we have a problem there, and as it's now yours I thought you should be informed."
"What sort of problem?"
"I don't know. That's the problem.... I'll meet you in orbit in an hour."

Kim pulled a bottle from the hidden alcove and poured a glass, not noticing the silver eyed figure that slipped past the windows like a wraith. As she drank and leaned back against the window looking at the main door and towards the excavation she didn't realise that only an inch of glass was between her and one of her worst nightmares. The glass fogged as the figure breathed on it, the lightning in the sky flashed, and anyone who was outside would have seen the heavily tattooed and naked form of a very familiar sebiestor.

Putting her glass down she walked towards the entrance and looked out at the excavation, not noticing the naked footprints on the floor that were being obscured by rain. She saw what she assumed was Pablo and his crew around the hole. Then, as horror slipped into her mind, she realised there was no light there, no movement. No sound. Nothing.

To be continued....

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