A Thief from Space Chapter 3
A Thief from Space
I pushed the bejeweled lizard away and shot the last lizard with my screamer. I glance at my body screen to see it burning yellow, “Nine, this is Kitten. You will find a group of dead at the foot of the ramp down; turn right.”
There was quiet before he answered, “Copy, turn right at the bottom of the ramp.”
I started moving carefully down the tunnel, scanning in front of me. I had not reached the next intersection when I heard stone grinding and lizards arguing. I checked my weapons and moved forward carefully. A buzzing noise made me drop as my scan went red. The hallway above me was laced with laser beams.
I pulled a small sphere and tossed it ahead of me several feet. There was a large zap, and the beams stopped. I lay still and waited; it was not long before a human figure walked down the hall towards me. I shot him through the head with my pistol and stood up to move forward. I had barely taken two steps before the tunnel was filled with lizards.
They were so tightly packed that when I dropped and fired into them with my screamer, they all started screaming in agony. I rolled and came to my feet, firing again as I moved forward. When the attack lizard hit me, it saved my life. I had dropped and rolled as I heard something rushing me from behind.
Two armored lizards fired screamers into the hallway as the giant lizard continued over me. The attack lizards screamed as it was hit and continued rushing down the hall. It hit the two armored lizards and tried to tear them apart. I rolled to my feet, watched the attacking lizard grab an arm, and jerked before twisting.
It did not break through the arm armor, but I realized it did not need to as the armored arm tore off the suit in a shower of blood. The giant lizard dropped the arm and turned to the other armored suit as it turned to run. I moved forward and drew my force knife. The armored lizard was down with the attacking lizard on top of him. It had the armored helmet in its mouth and was twisting it back and forth as I came up alongside.
I did not hesitate and shoved my force knife down through the back of the attack lizard’s skull. As it jerked and started thrashing around, I fired my nerve screamer into the armored head below it. I continued into the intersection beyond, “Nine, this is Kitten.”
“There was a laser net in the first hallway. I killed the controller, but keep your eyes open. I am turning right at the intersection.”
“Copy, kitten, we are approaching the top of the ramp now.”
I took the next hallway and walked cautiously down the middle. I came to the next intersection and slowly walked across. I had just stepped into the next hall when I felt the blow on my side. I spun and dropped onto my back. I was heading back into the intersection to see two men running from another hallway.
I fired my pistol and screamer together before rolling and coming to my feet. Both men were down as I waited and turned to keep going, “Nine, this is Kitten.”
“I am going straight at the next intersection.”
I was ten feet from the next intersection when my scans fuzzed. I dropped and rolled to the right as both walls opened, and lizards rushed out. I did a back flip off the ground and grabbed a lizard. As I spun around, there was a firing barrage, and the lizard I used jerked. I rapidly fired both my weapons as I dropped and rolled. I came up as an armored hand grabbed me.
There was no time to think. I dropped my weapons and grabbed the suit by the back of its wrist. I pulled and slid along the outside of the arm as the lizard stumbled forward. My right hand went to the back and top of the helmet while my left released the wrist and came up to grab the chin.
As I slid around the back of the suit, I jerked back with my right hand and twisted with my left. There was a pop, and I heard sizzling as the combat suit went limp. I released the case and retrieved my weapons. Nine was calling me, and I took a breath as I glanced at my body screen. It was flickering from yellow to red, and I shook my head, “Go Nine.”
I grinned, “did you know you can kill a lizard combat suit by twisting the helmet up and to the left?”
There was a moment of silence, “Ah… no, I did not know that.”
I checked my weapons and changed charges and magazines before I started walking again. I holstered the screamer since I was down to my last change. I turned right at the intersection following Dan’s blue nine probes, “Right at the next intersection, Nine.”
I walked down a brighter-lit hall, and as I got to another intersection, a large group of men came running from where I knew the ramp was. I pulled my left pistol as I started firing. I was against one wall and shooting at them as they came into sight. I could not believe that none of the men had body screens. A body screen was costly, but so were combat armor suits.
I grunted as another bullet slammed into my side, and my body screen went red and screamed a warning. I shot the last three men as they came at me together and leaned against the wall, “Nine, this is Kitten.”
“My body screen is in the red. I doubt I can reach the ramp down and across the last level. A drop shoot in the left corner of this intersection… comes out in the anti-chamber of Morse’s center lair. I will do my best to clear it for you.”
There was a long pause, and the female voice I could only think of as my mother spoke quietly, “Give them hell, Kitten.”
I breathed and changed magazines before pushing away from the wall, moving into the intersection, and then to the narrow drop shoot. I holster my pistols and pull two spheres. I armed both and tossed down the shot before drawing my guns again. I counted to five and jumped into the drop shoot as two explosions from below shook the tunnels.
I landed on my feet and dropped into a crouch as both pistols appeared. As they shouted, I picked targets from the scattered men and lizards and started taking cover. They did not make it. I grunted as my body screen flared and died, and the last guard dropped as my right hand pistol locked open.
I changed the magazine with my last one and slowly moved through the carnage to the big double door, “Nine, Kitten.”
“Anti-chamber is clear. Preparing to enter the center lair.”
I slipped my left pistol into its holster and pulled a small flat wire with a box on one end. I knelt, slipped the probe's other end under the door, and watched the tiny screen. There were three human guards to the right and two lizards to the left, one in a suit of combat armor that looked engraved. In the center of the room were two men and a lizard. Morse, a tech and a richly dressed lizard, stood by a stunning strawberry-blonde girl.
I pulled the probe out and pulled out the small tools of my trade. It took all of fifteen seconds to unlock the door. I stood up and pulled my screamer, “Nine Kitten.”
“I have five men and three lizards in the lair. Your dove is present, and one of the men is working on the collar. I am going in.”
I took a deep breath and opened the door. I just started walking towards the Synth. I shot the three guards as I stepped forward, first in the chest and then in the head. I hit the armor suit and then the other lizard with the screamer. As the richly dressed lizard turned towards me, the tech yelled that he had it.
I raised both weapons and as the lizard started pulling a large pistol, I shot him through the throat and head. I had kept the gun pointed past the lizard at the tech as I hit Morse with my screamer. As the lizard fell away, I shot the tech as he was pulling at the collar. I was still six feet out as the tech fell back, pulling the yoke with him.
I stared, and my eyes darted to the bright green ones looking back at me. I spun away and knelt as the world turned and blurred, “Nine, Kitten.”
“The lair is clear and secure, but I have a problem. I am having problems with my sight, and everything is… spinning on me.”
There was a natural long pause, “the alarm for the collar went off.”
I sighed, “it was pulled off as the last man fell. She is behind me … and I am afraid to turn around.”
There was a chuckle, “Welcome to the club. Tell her to sit and close her eyes.”
A crackle from the radio, “Silver, this is Roger.”
Mom’s haunting voice drifted out to me, “Silver.”
“I am coming down.”
There was a long pause as I gasped and fumbled for my other phone, “Roger, this is not…”
“I know what I am doing, Silver. I will be good and let your marines lead the way.”
I shook my head and dialed by feel. I was almost completely blind and was feeling very sick. When the phone clicked, I heard it over the other phone and knew they had tapped into Dad’s phone, “This is Silver kitten. Tell Dad Roger is coming down. He is going to need guides and protection. Tell him I… I might have screwed the pooch. My body screen is gone. I only have half a magazine and a trickle charge in my screamer. The dove is uncovered, and I… I cannot see and think something is wrong; I am sick…”
Dad’s voice calmed me, “Buck up, kid, I taught you better. Close your eyes and use your other senses. We will make sure Roger stays safe; you protect the dove.”
I almost sighed as I closed my eyes and turned my head, “Your Highness, please sit behind me and close your eyes.”
I lifted both weapons and pointed them at where I knew the door was while listening. I heard the rustle that told me she was sitting close behind me. I could listen to shooting from a distance, and after almost five minutes, I heard men moving around in the anti-chamber, “Nine, this is Kitten.”
“I have movement in the anti-chamber.”
“We are still at the foot of the ramp, Kitten. You have hostiles.”
I concentrated on listening, and when I heard them rushing through the doorway, I started firing. I swept the door with the screamer and shot at the sounds I heard. Six seconds, and it was over. A beautiful voice drifted to me, “They are dead.”
I nodded as I holstered the screamer; it was empty anyway. I closed the chamber of my pistol and put it away before pulling my other gun. It was only a minute before, “Kitten, this is Nine. We are in the anti-chamber and prepared to enter.”
I sighed and lowered my pistol, “We are still here; you are clear to enter.”
I heard the shifting and metal footsteps of combat armor coming from the door. I listened and heard what I thought were eight people entering the room. One of them came closer and knelt beside me. I heard my mother’s voice and almost cried, “We are here, Kitten.”
I nodded and lowered my pistol to the floor before sitting down. I winched as I felt her armored hand on my ribs, “broken?”
I nodded, “cracked, I think.”
I heard her radio crackle as it came to life, “Silver, this is Bronze. Roger is descending from the first level. We have old lions in support, and they are leading.”
“Copy. Just watch the walls.”
I heard her stand and give orders to secure the area from the ramp to the lair. If anything, I felt worse when I listened to the commotion by the door. I opened my blurry eyes to see a man in plain clothes walking through the door with Dad beside him. The scraping of stone had me lunging up and diving to cover the Emperor with my body while spinning and firing the three remaining rounds from my pistol.
The searing impact of rounds in my chest and shoulder tossed me aside like a rag doll. I heard the multiple shots echoing around the room as I crashed to the floor. Dad was there before I could move, but I knew it wasn't good. One lung had been hit, and my right shoulder felt like it was shredded. Someone else knelt over me, and a miniature female hand cupped my face, “Look at me, my kitten.”
I turned with pain-filled eyes to the voice and green eyes that looked back. It almost felt as if I was falling into them. The memories came next, flashes of girly scenes I could not understand. When it stopped, I looked clearly into the princess’s face and felt her wonder as if it were my own. I could almost feel her heartbeat in time with mine. Everything started darkening, and I heard an angel’s voice cry.
I woke in a large, soft bed. I could feel a warm, smooth body against mine and knew it was hers before I opened my eyes. A soft laugh and a gentle shake had me opening my eyes. I looked into green eyes inches away from my own, “I… should not be looking at you.”
She smiled, “Too late, my kitten. You belong to me, and I belong to you.”
That felt… more than right. I sighed and relaxed, “I think your father might not like that.”
She caressed me, “he is… satisfied.”
I finally looked away and around the richly furnished room, “where are we?”
“The Imperial Palace.”
I looked at her, “On Timbo?”
She nodded, and I moved to the side of the bed while feeling my shoulder. She followed me and put her arms around me, “the doctor said you have to take it easy.”
I glanced back at her, “what is your name?”
She grinned, “Catherine, but you can call me… Cat.”
I could not help it; I grinned and then burst out laughing. Her silvery laugh echoed my own as she hugged me.
As we drifted out to space.