The story I shall now continue was originally written for the third planned book of the @steemfiction project. It would be sci-fi oriented but we decided to postpone that book, take a couple more months and publish one about the winter holidays first.
How you can join and what we have done so far you can read at the bottom of this post.
Since I love the sci-fi genre, I decided to give you this one. And when the time comes...just write another.
The 3-rd of Rager was written as a diary and with each post, an entry (or a few, if they are short) will be revealed, until you have all of it. You will now notice that a certain date is missing from the diary. Well, stuff like that happens around anomalies.
It may be the month of Rager on Redemption but do you know what month it is here right now? Yes, Inktober. So I am pushing my sketches along and I hope you don't hate me too much for it...
Can you read a chapter with no dialogue at all and still not hate me? Let's find out!
The 3-rd Of Rager — Part II
Log entry #244
Rager 4, Redemption year 9
The storm was not over. Alice was gone.
Maybe these two facts were related. Maybe the signal couldn’t come through. It happened sometimes, although it never took that long for her to resolve the problem and come back online. Except for this morning, obviously. I was worried.
There was also something else that bugged me — I had a vague memory of waking up earlier and actually talking to somebody as I lay down. Of saying goodbye. And I haven’t said goodbye to anyone for a long, long time. Certainly not since we landed on Redemption.
My wrist log insisted it was the fourth day of the month of Rager! The year was the correct one but the date was wrong. Somehow, the computer had skipped a day-night cycle. And it wouldn’t accept a manual reset. It kept going from 03 to 04, immediately after each override. It also claimed the Anomaly was now much closer and in every possible direction. That made no sense unless I had moved there overnight or it had sneaked up on me somehow. The wrist log’s brain was definitely scrambled. So was mine, by the way. I felt like space dung.
Well, the weather did its best to explain the situation. No thunder could be heard but the light show was still on. Sheets of sand whipped above and whirled like the skirts of a dervish from an old movie. Slightly up and down, keeping the same direction and slowly turning around without touching the ground. But not all of the sand, of course, since I could see there was enough of it accumulated at the bottom of the canyon to almost cover my runner. I feared it might have reached the engine which some idiot had forgotten to seal tight last night.
I crawled sideways from under the protective membrane, still covering my sleeping spot. I would unfasten it later. My first job was to go to my vehicle and push it out of the miniature dune that had formed around it. The task proved easier than I expected and I soon freed both wheels.
I had just crouched down to check for any damage that could be seen, when I heard a scream that was all too human, all too female, coming from all too close by. It came from the same canyon I was in, although the natural bends prevented me from seeing the person. But I didn’t need some quantum-ass AI with IQ in the billions to tell me it was a distress call. And there’s just something about damsels in distress that works on some men like the strongest spell. I was no exception.
I rushed in the direction I thought the scream had come from, but I managed to grab my saddlebags. I put my head through the hole in the leather piece that held them together so that they became an improvised vest with pockets on both the front and the back. Sprinting towards the source of the scream, I ran past a mild curve in the rock and I saw another T-shaped turn about a stone throw away from me. I proceeded as fast as I could and then I sprang around the next corner to the right, blaster already drawn in my left hand, feeling like a gale-force myself...and I bumped shoulder first into the face of the most beautiful creature I had ever seen.
I kept my footing but I dropped the gun while making an awkward attempt to mitigate the impact at the last moment. Which I couldn’t. She...she was sprawled on her back, head back and eyes closed, bright red blood trickling from her broken nose. She was completely nude and her skin was a strange light peach color, not the dark brown we all have. Otherwise, she seemed quite human. She also seemed quite fragile, unconscious, and vulnerable. I hated myself for hurting her. He who would hurt her should be shot.
Speaking of which, I then noticed the threat moving no farther than a hundred feet from us and closing the distance incredibly fast. And no wonder with that body! It was some mechanical being made of steel or perhaps even stronger alloy, in a design made for speed, strength, and agility. A design made to terrify, to impale, and to tear apart. Much like the forces of nature but concentrated in a couple of hundred pounds of metal blades and all the joints needed to freely swing them around. Later, I would recognize that design as belonging to the Terran artist of old called Something Something Giger. Somebody’s sick mind had turned it into reality.
I had no idea how or why this thing was here but it didn’t seem to be willing to give me the time to ponder on that for much longer. It rushed towards us and all I could do was grab the girl or the gun and desperately run. I chose the girl. I put her on my left shoulder, not the one that had broken her nose. With her belly pressed against me, her head and torso hanging on my back, and me embracing the back of her legs with my left arm so that she wouldn’t fall off, I whirled around and sprang towards the one bend on the T-turn that I knew nothing about.
Well, it turned out to be what my subconsciousness would love to find — a niche opening. But as I ran towards it, the rational part of me knew that our pursuer would go through any space we would be able to, and much faster than us. So it was stand and fight. If it were merely a girl chasing after us, I would have probably just tried to smash her nose in with my shoulder, but since it was a killing machine...maximum force was the only chance.
I reached for a grenade and detached one from my belt but the feel of its surface in my hand was wrong — it was not the electromagnetic pulse one I wanted, it was the antigrav. And it was not as safe for ourselves as the EMP one would be. But the only thing I calculated was there was no time to calculate the risks. So I rolled the grenade sideways in a way that it would bump into the rock just outside the small cave and hopefully stop there. I rushed in, still carrying the strange young lady whom I had knocked out totally not on purpose.
It was right then when I heard her moan quietly, probably just coming about. But the sound of it was enough to make me tremble with delight. Then the explosion went off, sending us flying forward before we landed rolling on the hard stone floor. Then an implosion followed, crushing the steely carcass of the Giger robot, along with the debris of the former entrance. Fortunately, we were far away from its epicenter this time and we suffered no additional damage. Also, fortunately, the bastard seemed well smashed and buried beneath tons of rock. Unfortunately, we seemed well sealed in.
But a cry of pain, still in that sweetest of voices, by the way, came to capture my whole attention and just in time. A piece of a broken blade, once part of the monster’s spine, was buried in the upper arm of the girl and it was causing so much bleeding I wondered how was she not unconscious again. I rushed to her side and dropped the saddlebags down, noticing other metal shards protruding from the fine original leather. It did not matter to me just then. I reached for the arm of the girl, who had somehow pulled the blade out, bleeding even more as a consequence, and I pressed hard over the wound with my bare palm, hoping to at least slow down the process.
With my other hand, I fumbled through the bags, searching for the most precious equipment I had — the life-saving nano shots. I almost cried out loud myself, when I saw four of the five syringe tubes broken, even though their case was still whole and it had just given me quite the challenge to open one-handed. I pulled the last syringe out and my heart sank as I saw the usually bright blue content turning dark purple. Most of the nanobots inside were dead, too. Still, it did not look as black as the content of other tubes. I had no choice but to hope for the best.
It would either clog the girl’s blood vessels and kill her, or those few nanobots who were still functional would be able to repair their colleagues as well as the patient’s cells. I quickly stuck the needle in her right hip, the one closer to the wound, and pushed the syringe’s content all the way in. All the while, she just stared at what I was doing and remained impossibly calm. Well, I am grateful for any miracle making my job easier. It was the invisible worker’s turn to do their miracle now.
It worked! The wound healed in less than a minute and so did even her nose. I guess half a syringe of nano doctors still held a few million of them. She looked too pale to stand up. Suddenly, once in a relaxed situation, I felt embarrassed about her nudity. Should I be fetching something to cover her up? She did not seem to mind being naked, nor did she complain in any way about me being around. Nevertheless, I stood up, following some compulsion to look around or to at least look as if I was acting my natural. And I sit back down again in pain. Something about my right kneecap felt awfully wrong. I must have fallen on it. Now it wouldn’t support my weight.
I looked at the empty syringe in my hand. I looked at the girl who was talking to me for the first time. I had no idea what she was saying for the words were alien to me. I told her so and I begged her pardon. She continued. The very melody of her speech fell like a spell on my mind. I even imagined they had their own healing power and I felt as if the pain had lessened a bit. But when I tried putting some of my weight on my right foot again, a strobe of piercing pain shot all through me. I lay down once more, looking at the ceiling of the cavern for what I thought would be just a few brief seconds.
The alien girl quit talking and before I could move she sat on top of me with her bare thighs locked on both sides of mine. Which, I insist on reminding anyone who might read this, were still in my pants. With one hand she pressed my chest to the ground and with the other, she took the syringe which I had just let go of. Not hesitating for a second, with a quick and graceful motion she stabbed with the needle right where I had done it before. She drew some of her own blood, then took a firmer grip on the tube, pulled the needle out of her muscle and skin and aimed it in a tight arch towards the side of my butt.
I had the time to shout a brief warning against it since I knew the needle would break in the almost impenetrable fabric of my pants instead of going through smoothly, as it would through normal clothing. The bruising it would give me, though, would be terrible. I winced and clenched my jaws together, knowing my warning was too late. However, her hand froze with the steely point just a hair’s breadth away from me.
Eyes wide open, I began asking her about the how-the-hell of it, since I never thought such a fast reaction possible. She did not let me finish and inserted the needle, exactly where she originally intended, through armored layers and all. To the last moment, I was thinking of how it required impossible precision to push even such a sharpened tip through the thickly compressed particles...I shut up mid-sentence and felt the coolness and relief that came with her nanobot-rich blood.
The miracle worked once more and a couple of minutes later I could stand and walk on both my legs without any pain. We fought the atmosphere of general embarrassment by silently working on the pile of rocks that blocked our exit. We were exhausted by nightfall but we had cleared enough of the debris to crawl out and into a new storm. Or maybe it was still the old one.
It did not howl, it somehow did its own work silently, discharging all over the place. Down in the canyon, it was still relatively safe. I did my best trying to explain to my tremendously-distracting-in-a-pleasant-way companion that I would be back shortly, then I willed my feet into bringing me a hundred yards or so to my runner, knowing they would have to bring me a hundred yards back after that.
But food was the one thing that was always worth the effort. When I got to the almost completely buried in the sand vehicle, I realized my saddlebags had been with me all the time and there had been no practical reason for us to starve all day long.
Log entry #245
Rager 5, Redemption year 9
I must have fallen asleep...
to be continued
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