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Of Secrets & Sacrifices

04 May

My sad attempt at Sci-Fi. 😉

***

Aster swiped the stolen keycard that she gently held in her hands. She heard the click of the mechanisms inside the door unlocking and the large metal door slid open. After looking around the empty hallway she slipped into the room.

The many blinking lights and beeping sound notifications told her she was in a room with a lot of computers. Not uncommon when living in a military battle ship where there were multiple of rooms with a lot of computers. On any normal day Aster would’ve payed no heed to this room. She probably would’ve passed it in the hallway, entirely unaware of the precious contents it held. But this wasn’t a normal day.

Today she had gone to great heights to get into this room. She now could be charged with treason and stealing. This did not bother her, though, Aster still held her head high and confidently as she strolled into the room. She sat down on a chair beside a desk, a computer sat on the desk. Her fingers fit perfectly on the white keyboard and the keycard slid into the computer with ease.

“Welcome General Sanders.” came the computer’s automated salutation.

“You won’t be working for my father today…” Aster said under her breath as she began to type into the search, her fingers flying expertly and quickly over the keys, silently placing words on the bright screen. She typed the words “Lieutenant Marcus Hailton” into the computer and clicked the enter key.

It’s seemed like an eternity before the file finally loaded, revealing a picture of a young teenage boy – not much older than Aster – with wavy black hair and kind brown eyes. Aster looked at the image and felt small tears build in her eyes. She hurriedly blinked them away and resumed reading over the file.

Most of the information inside of it she already knew; birthdate, family tree, rank, employee number, but these weren’t the things she was searching for. She needed something specific.

Her eyes lit up as they caught what she needed.

“Cause of death: Classified.”

She clicked on the link to the file. The computer loaded the file rather quickly and Aster resumed scanning the words on the screen. She only had so much time before they realized that a classified file had been opened by her father…when her father was in a meeting with hundreds of witnesses.

The words she read were scattered and few, but they were enough. Her suspicions were confirmed. He was alive.

***

Aster walked through the nearly dark, underground hallway. The tapping of her feet on the man-made, stone floor sounded loud to her and shattered the stealthy silence she had hoped to hide in. Ever so often she would pass the occasional light bulb that hung from the ceiling. She scoffed at the primitiveness of them. They were from the year twenty-thirteen, completely out of date. It was twenty-sixty now and these were as good as antiques. The only reason anybody would own them were because they had no money to buy current devices.

A strong hand covered Aster’s mouth and her arms were pinned to her stomach before she had time to fight back. She thrashed against her captor as he grabbed her laser gun from the holster that hung at her waist. He then preceded to place a strong piece of duct tape on her mouth and pull her hands behind her back, placing metal handcuffs on them.

Two men stepped into Aster’s field of vision, one of them keeping a firm grasp on her arm. She paused in her thrashing to glare at them.

“Stop fighting.” the man holding her arm growled.

“Come with us.” the other man said, then turned and walked down the corridor.

Aster hesitated. The guard shoved her. She stumbled and began to walk forward.

***

Aster was led into a large chamber were a very commanding looking man sat at the end of a table eating his dinner. Two guards sat on either side of him and a young boy stood a few feet to the right of him. Aster recognized the boy immediately and felt her heart jump, she would’ve screamed his name were it not for the tape that kept her silenced for the time being.

The two guards led her a few feet away from the boy and in front of the commanding man.

The man looked up from his meal angrily and scowled at the guards, “T’ke da’ tape off.” he said, his mouth still filled with a swallow worth of food.

The guards complied and took the tape – less than gently – off Aster’s mouth.

“Marcus!” she called out to the boy happily, a twinkle of joy in her eyes despite her hostage status.

The man turned to look at Marcus, “D’you know dis g’rl who ref’rs t’ye ‘s ‘Marcus’?”

Marcus hesitated before answering, glancing at Aster as she awaited his reply, “No…Sir.” he said solemnly, lowering his eyes to hide the tears that were beginning to build in them.

Aster wanted to scream at Marcus for his response, but she knew he was only doing it to save himself and his mission. This was her fault anyways. She had never planned to get captured, she just wanted to see Marcus, just one more time. To be sure he was alive. Yet here she was, entirely at the mercy of her captors, without hope, and abandoned by the one person in the world she thought she could trust.

The man scowled at Marcus then turned back to the guards, “Th’n be done with ‘er n’ leave me t’my d’nner.”

The guards thought for a moment before guiding Aster to the nearest wall and forcing her to stand up against it.

Marcus watched solemnly as one of the guards took out a laser gun and aimed it at Aster. He had been ordered to find out as much information as possible about an anti-military group that was supposedly hiding in the underground tunnels built in World War III. It seemed like a simple enough mission at first, but when he found out that they wanted him to go undercover and fake his death the mission grew harder. Even then he hadn’t imagined being in this scenario. Torn between his country and his friend.

The guard lifted the gun at Aster and prepared to pull the trigger. One shot would be enough to kill her. All it took was a single movement of the guard’s finger.

Aster looked longingly at Marcus. Her eyes now overflowing with tears, but she didn’t scream, talk, or sob loudly. No, she just stood there. Accepting her fate in the most noble way she could, silently watching as Marcus prepared himself for the terrible sight.

“Wait!” Marcus suddenly cried out, his heart causing him to do actions before his mind could make him think better of it. The two guards and the man turned to look at him. “I do know this girl.”

***

Aster sat in the corner of a room, her legs pulled up to her chest. A small trickle of blood made its way down her pale forehead and to her chin. She kept her eyes closed as her head rested against the pure white wall. Other than the occasional shiver, she showed no other signs of consciousness.

Marcus sat a few feet away from her, searching for something in the room to grab onto. He had various cuts and bruises on his arms and a quite large black eye. Despite being in a weakening state he still continued to attempt an escape plan. He had to save Aster, if nothing else.

There was a loud bump and the white box-shaped room shook. Aster let out a scream as she was dragged, along with Marcus, to the other wall of the room, which was now the floor. The two of them landed on the floor with a crash. Both of them made a small grunt as they attempted to absorb their fall.

Aster let out a pain filled moan from all the bruises that seemed to be building on her body and curled back up into a tight ball. Closing her eyes once again as she lay perfectly still. Hoping that this torture would end one way or another.

Marcus didn’t give up quite as easily, seeing as he was trained for this. So he stood up, dusted himself off, and continued to search for an escape latch in the doorless, windowless, room. He paced around the room for a few minutes before succumbing to the dizzy spells that haunted him and settling down next to Aster, who had proceeded to bury her head in her knees; frightened of the next gravity change.

“How did you find out?” Marcus whispered to her, brushing away a strand of her chocolate brown hair to reveal the cut that was the source of the stream of blood.

Aster quivered in response and forced herself to look up timidly, “I hacked into the Military computers in the central control panel during lunchtime.”

Marcus looked surprised, dropping his hand from her forehead. “How did you happen to pull that off?”

“I-I….stole my father’s security card-”

“Aster…” Marcus cut her off solemnly, disappointed by her actions. He may only be a year older than her, but he was in the Military and he knew the felonies Aster had committed would not be looked over. Assuming they ever got out of this mess alive.

“I had to find you.” she said, “How was I to know that you would be working in Caida?”

“The file, for one. Why would you come after me after you’ve found out such information? You know the Caida clan is ruthless. They would’ve killed you in a heartbeat or worse. Which classifies as this.”

As if in response to his words there was another bump and the room shook once again. Marcus attempted to shield Aster as they fell to the other side of the room. They landed with a crash, Aster falling on top of Marcus’ body.

Marcus sat himself up, though Aster kept her head rested on his chest. “Are you okay?” he asked.

Aster nodded slightly as tears slowly began to slip from her eyes to her chin. They combined with her blood and turned a light red, almost pink.

“You shouldn’t have come after me.” Marcus whispered to her.

“I had to…” she said, her voice barely audible. “I wouldn’t be much of a friend if I hadn’t.”

Marcus smiled, “Yes…” But you would have a better chance of living another week. He thought but didn’t say.

Another bump and shake.

***

The clicking of a lock opening rippled through the silent white room, jolting Aster awake to find that Marcus was already awake and holding her closer to him instinctively.

A door slid open on the other side of the room, revealing a tall man with dark hair and even darker eyes. He walked into the room, followed by two guards as the door shut behind them; leaving no trace of its existence.

The man walked up to Marcus and Aster. He signaled to the two guards and they preceded to take Aster out of Marcus’ arms. They roughly stood her beaten and tired body up as she let out a small high-pitched yelp in dismay.

“She doesn’t know anything. Let her go.” Marcus half pleaded, half commanded the tall man that stood staring down at him.

“Why tw’ould I li’t ‘er go?” the man replied teasingly, “She ‘as…so m’ny us’as. Ste’rtin’ with r’nsom. A life fer a’ army. T’bad…’nly ‘alf of da deal ‘ill be ‘ept.” the man chuckled; a deep chuckle, almost a whisper. It sent chills up Aster’s spine and planted fear in her mind.

“Do not toy with the Military, Alden.” Marcus growled, gathering all his strength and standing up to look the man in the eyes. “Especially by kidnapping this girl.”

“‘Nd why ‘s ‘hat, boy?” Alden said, “I s’all do as I p’ease! Milit’ry or no Milit’ry.”

Alden nodded to the guards and they began to lead Aster out of the room, followed shortly by Alden.

“I told you not to take her.” Marcus warned a final time then lunged at the man.

It would have been a great tactic of surprise, but Alden had seen it coming and quickly dodged Marcus’ blow, sending one of his own; right into the teenage boy’s chest.

Marcus grimaced as his rib cracked; broken. He leaned up against the wall, knowing he had been defeated and hoping that Aster would be strong. Helplessly, he watched as the murderous men dragged her out of the room. Leaving him with his own thoughts.

Another bump came and the room shook. This time the ceiling would become the floor.

***

Aster was taken to a dark room. A single metal chair sat in the middle of the room, its legs were nailed to the floor. The arms had straps for wrists to be tied to and beside the chair stood a small table with various devices on it.

The two guards carrying Aster forced her to sit down on the chair. They wrapped the straps around her wrists and fastened them tightly, causing Aster to grimace from the unexpected roughness. Then they stood up straight and both presumed their positions on either side of the door.

The leader, Alden, walked in confidently.

Aster leaned back in the chair slightly, clenching her teeth and tensing her body.

Alden grinned and walked up in front of Aster. He grabbed an item from the table, not removing his eyes from Aster’s. The two of them held each other’s stare for a moment before Aster looked away and shuddered.

Alden chuckled, “Da’ boy o’r est’mates ye.”

Aster settled her eyes on the item Alden now held. It was a simple knife. The clean, sharp blade glimmered in the dim lighting of the room. Alden’s hand wrapped tightly around the hilt, turning his knuckles white.

“Now it’ t’mm fer ye to ans’rr s’um ques’tans, g’rl.” He said, his hand switching the knife from his left hand to his right one. “‘F’n ye don’t coop’rate, Imma ‘ave ta res’rt to diff’rnt me’ods.” He lifted the dagger to Aster’s face, just below her ear, and slowly ran the blade down to her chin. The sharp blade left a bright red cut in its path.

Aster sucked in some air through her mouth and closed her eyes. She cringed as the cold blade ran across her cheek and shuddered when she felt the blood begin to drip from the cut.

“Is ‘at ‘lear tah ye?” Alden asked as he removed the blade from Aster’s chin.

Aster opened her eyes and looked up at Alden with tears clearly visible even in the darkness around her. She opened her mouth to responded, but stopped before she made any sound.

The door behind Alden swung open, hitting against the guard that stood to the right of it. The guard on the left of the door quickly drew his gun and prepared to aim it at the intruders, but what shot before he got any rounds out.

Aster jumped at the sound of the gunshot.

Alden acted more fast than either of the guards, quickly whipping out and aiming his gun at Aster. Another gunshot. Alden fell to the ground slowly.

Aster looked at her rescuers and let out a breath she had been holding in. Marcus came up to her and quickly undid her bindings, he glanced at her fresh cut and paused for a moment, frowned, then continued untying the tight knots.

Once he was through freeing Aster he hurriedly grabbed her hand and led her out of the room, following Aster’s father and the small army of men he had brought along.

“Hurry. It won’t be long before more guards come and they will be angry.” Marcus said as they ran.

Aster stumbled along, her free hand pressed to her side. She began to turn pale and gasped for breath. By the time they reached the exit to the underground caves Aster was finding consciousness harder to keep in her grasp.

The group entered into a green forest, miles away from any above-ground civilizations. The sunlight streamed in and the bright blue sky shone through small openings in the tree canopy. Aster, though, did not realize the pure beauty of the day as she began to become overwhelmed with pain. She sunk to the ground, kept from falling hard only by Marcus’ gentle caress.

Marcus sat down on the soft, moss-covered, forest floor, only now noticing the spot of blood on Aster’s side. It grew bigger as her gunshot wound bled more. Marcus held his breath and looked into Aster’s quickly tiring eyes.

Her father stood a few feet away, watching in silence, his face was firm, but filled with the anguish of a father’s lost. “There’s no way we could save her in time…” he said, watching the young lieutenant and his dying daughter.

Marcus brushed a strand of hair from Aster’s face, running his hand across her cut as he pulled it away. He had done everything he could to save her, but now he held her, powerless against death. After a moment of anguish and silence, Aster closed her eyes. Her chest that had only moved with shallow breath a few moments ago now stood still. Her life slipped through Marcus’ fingers. She was gone.

***

Bethany Faith

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3 responses to “Of Secrets & Sacrifices

  1. BushMaid

    May 4, 2011 at 10:39 pm

    *sniffle* That was really good, but really really sad, Bethy. 😥 I can see how the Hemingways fit in.

     
    • Bethany Faith

      May 4, 2011 at 11:27 pm

      Yeah, they were perfect for this story. 🙂

       
  2. Elly

    May 11, 2011 at 5:05 pm

    -cries- Lovely but sooo sad! *sniffles*

     

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