Related article: Date: Fri, 1 Feb 2008 10:28:34 -0800 (PST)
From: Warren
Subject: The Coldest Place, Chapter Lolita Cp
The following story, novel, or chapter contains homosexual themes and is
not intended for anyone under the legal viewing age. If depictions of
homosexual activities disturb you, DON’T CONTINUE TO READ! You’ve been
warned.Do not e-mail me and complain or harass me with hate mail over this story.
I will ignore Lolita Cp you, or, if I find your message humorous enough, I’ll
probably thank you for the best laugh of my life.Copyright 2008 - Warren (singerboi22yahoo.com)This is my second story…take it easy. Thanks :) Mine Shadow:
The Coldest Place
Chapter Six
“I always knew there was a reason Command put you here.” James
preened at the compliment. “It’s remarkable, finding that ship and getting
these images of it, all without them knowing. Just remarkable.” Hillerson bent closer over the pictures, looking at some of the
larger images. James had returned to the Commander’s office with a whole
stack, which now was spread out over the desk, each one depicting a big
white blob at various angles. “I’ve never seen anything like it. Ever. I’m
half tempted to ask someone over at Exobiology, but I don’t want any of
this to get out yet.” “I couldn’t agree more, sir. We need to keep this quiet for now;
investigate more.” Hillerson looked up and raised his brow. “Are you starting to enjoy
this?” James looked uncomfortable. “I’m not sure what you mean, sir.” “A little bird told me how much you dislike `investigating’. I
think they said you felt like a `floating science lab’.” James was about to snap back, but then he saw that Hillerson was
smiling. “I, ah, changed my mind, Commander.” “No doubt that contact with an alien race can do that to you! It’s
exciting! It gives you something new to explore, away from this war. Even
if only for a moment.” Hillerson stood up from his desk, walked over to the
fake window next to his chair and looked out. “James, I want to apologize
for my behavior earlier.” James was a little taken aback at the abrupt change in topic. “You
don’t need ”, “Yes, I do. I was completely out of line.” He interrupted, turning
around and looking at James, piercing him with eyes that were shining with
a light that he had never seen before. “It’s lonely, here. We’re closed
off. Ships stop by all the time for supplies, but rarely does anyone really
visit. You’re the first visitor I’ve had in a long time, and when I first
saw you, I ”, He stopped for a moment, thinking about what to say.
“I wanted you so badly. I didn’t know how to act at first. And I pushed
myself on you in the wrong way. I didn’t mean to do that.” James took a deep breath and kept his gaze locked with Hillerson’s,
willing himself not to look at away at the emotion in his eyes. “I did,
too, uh, Patrick,” he said, stumbling a little over the name. “But I can’t
do that right now. I’m not able to.” “Why?” The other man looked at him pleadingly. “I can’t. I can’t explain
it yet. But I want us to work well together. It’s important.” Hillerson nodded and snapped back into his officer mode. The light
in his eyes vanished, leaving James, for a moment, feeling empty. “Then we
will. Shall we continue?” He motioned to the desk and sat back down.
* * *
He left the Commander’s office later that afternoon, feeling
lighter than he had in a while. His first stop back on the Galactic was to
check on Kaer, who unfortunately was still deep in Lolita Cp his coma. The doctor was
sure that he would be fine for now, but eventually the damage from such
deep sleep would become irreparable. Without proper movement, exercise, and
nutrition, the muscles and organs of the body would waste away. James was
reassured by the doctor that it would be months before any of that
happened. He had taken lately to talking to Kaer about the ship, though he
had long since been informed that Kaer couldn’t hear him. He kept him
abreast of ship’s gossip, and of Eli’s problems with various crew
members. He regaled Kaer with a Lolita Cp tale of a most talked-about fight between
Eli and a junior ensign that nearly ended with blows. It was the same-old
Core vs. Ring fights that plagued every ship. James imagined Kaer laughing
at his narration, and winced inside when he realized he had never heard
what Kaer’s laugh sounded like. Here he was, bonding to a comatose officer
that he knew little about. “Captain?” The doctor had slipped into the room, unnoticed, while
James had been mentally laughing with Kaer. “Yes, Doctor?” The other man was wringing his hands in that very doctor-like
fashion that James detested quite a bit. If it wasn’t for Kaer being in the
infirmary, he probably would never even step foot in there. Nick never had
a problem with doctors, but from when he was a child James had always been
afraid of them. It was something that Nick always laughed about whenever he
was due for military-mandated physicals. “I normally wouldn’t bother you, Captain. Yes. But I have found
something that I would like Lolita Cp you to see.” James cast the sleeping Kaer one more glance before nodding and
following the doctor into his office, which he noticed was just as sterile
of emotion and personality Lolita Cp
as the rest of the infirmary. It annoyed him
deep inside. Perhaps he had shown some of his dislike on his face because
the doctor looked a little taken aback as he sat down behind the desk,
facing James. “Yes. Well, Lieutenant Kaer’s scans show some very odd enzymes in
his brain.” The doctor started, his brow furrowed. “They’re a type that I’m
unfamiliar with, but careful monitoring has showed me that they interfere
with the ability to convert short-term memories into long-term ones.” “Does this mean he’s lost all of his memory?” Doctor Cavetti - James finally read the lapel pin on his robe -
shook his head, looking very disturbed at the idea. “No, not exactly; the
enzyme seems to interfere with specific memory groups. Which means it was
most likely bio-engineered, and is not of natural origin. It also means it
was developed for our brains.” He sat back, letting the implications sink
in. His shock transformed into a fire deep inside him. It had to be the
Ascendancy, of course! Seemed like an odd way to take out ships though
one officer at a time? Then a terrible thought occurred to him. Memory loss. He’d had
memory loss too. True, he wasn’t in a coma, but that didn’t mean it wasn’t
the same thing. He looked imploringly at the doctor. Cavetti seemed to realize immediately what James was
thinking. “Yes, I’m afraid you had the enzymes in your brain, too. Yes. But
they’ve long since circulated out of your system. It explains your memory
loss, too.” When James looked at him in surprise, Cavetti pulled out a
sheet of paper from the others on his desk. “Dr. Smith, the doctor at the
depot, sent it to me when you returned. Concentrations in your brain were
the same as the Lieutenant’s, so I’m at a loss to explain why he’s still in
a coma and you’re not.” The doctor slipped the paper back under the stack,
looking annoyed at the idea that there was anything that he couldn’t figure
out. “What about everyone on the station? And the Galactic?” Cavetti nodded. “Yes, they all showed signs of the same enzyme. I
had samples of the food, air, even the water tested and I can’t find a
trace of it. How it got into anyone’s system is a mystery to me.” James was seized with the irrational desire to act, and act now, to
protect his crew, but against what? How do you fight enzymes? He struggled
to remember basic biology at school. Enzymes were catalysts that created
chemical compounds in the body important for digestion and energy. It
humbled and scared him that he and his crew were so Lolita Cp easily affected by
something so small. “I’m not going to stop looking for a way to block the enzyme, and
for a way to help the Lieutenant, Captain.” The doctor looked so sure of
himself that James believed him completely.
* * *
“So what you’re tellin’ me is that there was this tiny bug in my
head, and that’s why I don’t remember anythin’?” “Yeah, pretty much.” James was stretched out comfortably on his
couch in his quarters with Eli sitting across from him on one of the
leather chairs. It had become a ritual over the years for Eli to deliver
weekly reports in James’ quarters. Even after the move to the Galactic, the
ritual had not changed. James smiled at how upset Eli sounded. “It all Lolita Cp
sounds like bullshit if you ask me,” Eli grumbled, his
mouth downturned in distaste. “Enzymes and viruses and bacteria and germs.”
He said, dragging out the word `germs’. “It’s enough to make any man wanna
crawl in a hole.” James chuckled. “Like it or not, old man, you’ve got billions of
the things inside of you right now.” Eli looked even more disgusted. “I never bother to think about it,
ya know. I don’t ask my wife in the morning, `How are the enzymes today?’”. Bursting into laughter, James tried not to spit out the coffee he
had just started drinking. It Lolita Cp felt so good to have a real, deep laugh, and
through his now watering eyes he could see Eli trying hard not to crack a
smile, but failing. A second later, Eli’s deep laugh joined his own. When they had finally stopped laughing James was lying on the floor
and Eli was resting back in his chair, holding his chest, still
smiling. “Whew, Eli, you’re a crazy man. Honestly.” “I am, aren’t I?” “Yeah, and speaking of crazy, just what was it that Ensign Malone
said to you that made you go off on him?” James quirked an eyebrow, looking
up at Eli from the floor. “Oh, that.” Eli tried to look contrite, but failed miserably. “He
mumbled under his breath that I stank like an Earther. I just let `em have
it. Ya know those Ringers.” “I don’t like fighting on my ship, Eli. I seem to remember an
occasion a few weeks ago where you insulted Lieutenant Aleardi for being
from a Ring World.” “He deserved it.” James felt a little angry at how insensitive and rather hard-headed
Eli was being. “I don’t care who deserves what, Commander.” Eli snapped up
at being addressed by his rank, momentary surprise on his face. “My ship
needs to run efficiently. Fights do not make it run efficiently.” There was
a hard, annoyed look on James’s face that told Eli he meant business. “Yes, Captain.” Now Eli did look remorseful. “I’ll do my best.” He breathed a sigh of relief, and relaxed more on the floor,
playing with a piece of the carpet. “Thank you, Eli. I really don’t know
what I’d do without you here.” “Youd’a run the ship into an asteroid by this point, I’m sure.” Eli ducked, barely missing the pad James threw at him.
* * *
“Bring us around to port, bearing 60, Z plus 45.” James felt the
Galactic shudder slightly around him as the ship tilted upwards and
maneuvered around the Ascendancy’s two light cruisers. Both ships were
smaller and less capable than the battleships that had attacked before, but
could still pack a punch. “More action, eh, James? I betcha that’s got the fire burnin’ in
ya.” Eli looked like he was having the time of his life, his older, lined
face smiling as he held onto the table supports while the ship shook around
them. “Yeah it has, Eli. But it’s amazing how often the Ascendancy
attacks when we’re the only ship left in port.” He snarled, upset at how
cowardly the Ascendants could be. James felt his stomach flutter when the gravity plating died for an
instant and then the lights flickered. The two enemy ships were far more
maneuverable and it was taking a toll on the stronger, but much larger,
Confederate vessel. He watched on the screen as one of the ships soared
over them, laying down fire that temporarily overwhelmed the sensor feed. It was time for more drastic measures. “Tactical, target the lead ship with torpedoes and prepare to fire
on my command.” He knew that Eli would object they were less than ten thousand
kilometers away from the enemy and that meant backwash from the
impact. Sure enough, Eli yelled over the noise in the CC, “We’re too
close!” “Torpedoes have guidance systems! We can’t rotate the guns fast
enough to hit them. And if we don’t destroy them now, they’ll wear us
down!” James yelled back, still holding onto the edge of his chair. He
remembered all too well what it was like the last time they detonated a
torpedo too close to the Galactic, and felt a trace of fear. Eli’s face had
lost its smile, and he looked as apprehensive as James felt. The lead ship dropped into view, dead center. Now was the time! “Tactical! Fire!” His voice cracked and for a moment he wasn’t sure
if the officer had heard him. But then he felt the ship shake, this time
not from weapons fire, but from their torpedo launch. The crew took a
collective breath and watched in awe as the bright star streaked out from
the bays beneath the bow of the ship. A torpedo was similar to their guns ordinance, but far more
powerful and contained extremely precise targeting systems. It worked in
tandem with the mother ship’s sensors to triangulate the target down to a
two meter square radius and then detonated with the force of over 200,000
tons of TNT. Because the explosion was in the void of space, nearly half of
it would end up lost, but it was still an impressive sight to see,
firsthand. The entire bridge crew, including James, held their breath as the
brightly lit torpedo homed in on the nearest Ascendancy ship and struck
home, lighting up the screen in a bright, furious, flash of white. As the
screen filled up, he swore he saw another shape, closer to the ship, come
between them, then the glare faded and they could see the cruiser spinning
out of a control. A huge hole was ripped out of the side of the ship as if
a mouth had bitten it out. Angry sparks from fires igniting and
extinguishing all over the ragged edges were the only illumination from the
spiraling hulk as it tumbled out of view. The expected backwash from the explosion never came. After a few
moments James glanced around to see everyone else holding onto something,
expecting the worst, but looking as surprised as he was. It was only then
he realized Eli was no longer next to him. “Are you okay, Eli?” Where had the old man gotten off to? “Yeah, yeah, I’m fine.” James heard brushing sounds underneath the
table and looked below to see Eli, apparently having fallen, brushing dirt
and dust off of his uniform as he crawled back out, a very sour look on his
face. James wanted to laugh, but a dark look from Eli quelled his desire
quickly. “Damm fucking Ascendants! This was a new uniform!” James privately allowed himself a smile as he turned away where Eli
couldn’t see his face. “Tactical, where are they?” “You won’t believe this, Captain! The impact from the torpedo was
absorbed by the other ship! They got in the way!” So that was the shape he
had seen just as the torpedo hit! Triumphantly, he helped Eli to his feet, schooling his face back
into an impassive look, and then slammed his fist down onto the center
table. “Tactical, track them. Do they still have power?” “Yes, sir. But they’re heavily damaged.” “Good. Eli,” he said, turning to his still very irate Commander,
“Prepare a team of marines to board the ship and take command. Let’s find
out everything they know about recent events.”
* * *
“Galactic Actual, this is Team Kilo. We’ve arrived at the docking
port. We’re cycling it now and entering.” James could hear the background
noises of the door opening. Most of the bridge crew were observing from
their posts. James picked up the two-way mike. “Who am I speaking to, Marine?” The marine’s voice was young and low. “This is Sergeant Hicks,
sir. I’m commanding the team.” “Carry on, Sergeant.” James put the mike down on the table so
everyone could continue listening. “We’ve opened the door and are proceeding inside. It’s completely
dark in here. No lighting.” A few tense minutes passed as the marines slowly moved through the
ship, checking each room as they passed for signs of life. James’ feeling
of dread grew with each passing moment. Something wasn’t right here. The
impact couldn’t have been that severe, even as close to the detonation as
they were. He started drumming his fingers on the tabletop. It was a
nervous habit that always had, and still did, annoy Eli. “We still see no sign of the crew, sir. We’re done sweeping the
first deck.” With bated breath the bridge crew continued to wait. Eli grabbed
James’ hand when he Lolita Cp
finally had enough of the `thump, thump’ sound he was
making. James gave him a dirty look, but put his hand back in his lap. “Deck two completed, Galactic. No sign of any survivors yet. No
power to any lighting. It’s…eerie in here, sir.” James felt a prickle of fear run down his spine. “Keep going,
Sergeant. If you haven’t already, get your ” “Galactic!” The panicked marine’s voice over the speakers was loud,
making everyone jump. “What do you see?!” “Bodies! Bodies everywhere!” The sergeant’s voice jumped an
octave. “They’re all dead! Jones, check that one out! Is he breathing?”
More shouts could be heard from the other marines in the group. Eli mouthed
`bodies?’ to James, who shrugged his shoulders, a very confused look on his
face. He wasn’t sure why everyone would be dead from something that small. Static drowned out the sergeant’s reply and James tried
again. “What do you see, Marine?” “Everyone is unconscious, sir! All of them! The whole ship
we’re Lolita Cp
in the CC and everyone is just lying here!” Eli cursed next to him. Just when they were going to get answers,
another wall in the way. “Don’t touch any of them, Sergeant. You and your team need to
report back to the ship, immediately.” “Understood, sir. We’ll what the fuck!” A Lolita Cp scream was heard,
from farther away, high and agonizing. “Gleeson! Gleeson!” “Sergeant! What’s going on over there?!” James barked into the
comm. He was feeling frantic now, and that familiar pain whenever his crew
was in danger was filling him up. “Marine!” “Something’s got Gleeson! It just grabbed her! Shit! Weapons free!”
More than one of the crew crowded around the table clapped their hands over
their mouths in shock. James started yelling into the mike, “Get out! Get
out!” over the noise of gunfire. There were more screams and shouts coming
through the line, “Don’t hit her! Fall back!” It was complete chaos and James slumped over on the table, his head
in his hands, shaking. No one, not even Eli, had seen him lose control like
that before. He continued to sit like that after the mike went dead, as if
he was simply waiting for a lover to call. “Galactic actual! This is Lolita Cp Team Kilo, come in, please!” James’ head snapped up, and he grabbed the mike before Eli
could. “This is actual. Sitrep?” His heart was pounding in his chest and
his mouth was dry. “One down. Gleeson. The rest of the team is moving to the
airlock. No injuries. Sir, we couldn’t find her or whatever grabbed her. No
surveillance images. Whatever it was, it moved fast.” His hand tightened around the mike and he ignored the rest of the
bridge crew, who were whispering among each other. Out of the corner of his
eye, he could see Eli shaking his head, his face angry. “Did you see what
it was? Anything you can use to describe it?” “Negative, sir. All I saw was Gleeson being pulled away from me,
incredibly fast. There was a spike through her left shoulder, and there was
blood…and then she was gone.” Another crew member lost. Another burden to add to my shoulders,
James thought. Perhaps Eli knew how he felt because he gripped his shoulder
tightly for a moment, and took the mike from his hand. “Sergeant Hicks,
this is Commander Falke. Report to me in the CC as soon as you’ve passed
through quarantine.” James didn’t bother to listen to the rest of the chatter filling
the CC. He was simply numb. He knew, deep down, that he shouldn’t let it
affect him like this, and that any good Captain understands loss. To lose a
crew member, but gain nothing in return, was a very hollow feeling. He
always had trouble controlling darker emotions like fear and sadness, and
he knew he needed to leave the bridge before he broke down again. “James, we need to tow the ship to the depot and establish
quarantine. Whatever attacked the team may still be on board.” Eli said,
kindly, concern in his voice. He pushed his feelings down and swallowed thickly, steeling himself
for the moment. “Yes, we do. I’m sure you know what to do, Commander.” It
was a perk of command in moments of great stress, not so important
orders could be fobbed off to other officers. “I will be in my ready room,
preparing my report. You have the CC.” He felt Eli’s eyes on him the whole way across the room.
* * *
It was never an enviable job to write out the required documents
and letters when a crew member died. He didn’t have to, of course
Command would take Lolita Cp care of that. But unlike most Captains, he felt it was
his duty to connect with the remaining family in a more personal way. It
helped to remind him that what he might have looked at as numbers on a
roster, was really a living, breathing, human who was loved by
others. Gleeson would be no exception. He skimmed over her service log. She was from Arindi, one of the
oldest Ring Worlds, and by all accounts a capable marine, having
participated in a number of ground fights and never been injured. And she
had more than a few commendations from previous CO’s for Lolita Cp her bravery and
valor in battle, he saw. Now she was dead. And for what? A ship full of
comatose corpses? He labored, slowly, over the letter, trying to make sure that her
family her husband and two year-old son - knew that she had died for
something worthwhile. Picturing their pain only made it that much harder to
write, so he tried to detach himself a bit so he could get the words down
on paper. Finally satisfied, he sat back on the couch across from his desk
and looked out the view-port at the blackness of space. From this side of
the ship, the depot wasn’t visible, but the glowing pinpricks Lolita Cp of light from
the distant stars were. James purposely kept his ready room very dim at all
times so he could see them, and today they proved to be as great a comfort
as they always were. The aliens… In his mind they were shapeless, evil beings, coming
out of the darkness to steal away children. He knew that wasn’t true, of
course, but why did they take Gleeson? Was that what was in the CC earlier,
what had attacked Kaer? It seemed likely to him. While he had been writing, Dr. Cavetti had sent up his quarantine
results. The marines didn’t lose any of their memories, Lolita Cp
so James wasn’t
sure where to place the blame for the enzymes. It didn’t seem like the kind
of thing the Ascendants would do, but he couldn’t pin it on the
human-stealing aliens either, not without more evidence. He was beginning
to feel extremely frustrated; he hated mysteries. Not like Nick, who read
every mystery novel that came out. Not like Nick… He wondered for a
moment what Nick would think, or feel, if it had been him taken by the
alien? Would it even matter to him by now? It was Lolita Cp at times like this that James was glad he was alone to let
the tears fall. He could feel them now, warm, on his face, soon to cool in
the dry air. How could he give in to Patrick, no, to Hillerson, when Nick
had never, ever, left his heart? There was no more room in it, and with
every blow it shrunk a little more. Maybe if things had been
different… But that was never the case. Eli came by a few hours later, long after he had debriefed the
marine, to deliver his report when he knew James would be ready to face
him. “In short, Captain, nothin’. No images, no thermal scans, not even
an eyewitness report. None of the marines in the team could even tell me
what it fucking looked like.” His frustration was etched in every line in
his face. Eli was like James in that respect he hated the things that
got in his way; The mystery was more annoying than the ending. Rubbing his eyes, James Lolita Cp skimmed through the report again, then
dropped it onto his desk and looked at it like it had crawled out of the
toilet. “I can’t give this to Command. They’re going to want something more
solid than `A thing grabbed Lance-Corporal Gleeson.’.” Eli looked offended. “Hicks mentioned some kind of spike that had
been pushed through her left shoulder, but he couldn’t give me any details
on it. Other than that, we got nothin to go on!” James gave voice to some of his thoughts. “I think that whatever
grabbed Gleeson is related to what Kaer saw, and the alien ship we
found. Was anything found on the Ascendant’s ship?” Eli shook his head. “We’re getting closer to an answer, Eli, I can feel it.” He tried
to sound more confident than he felt. The older man threw his arms up in the air. “I sure as hell hope ya
are, `cause I sure as Lolita Cp
fuck ain’t. None of this makes sense!”
* * *
Over the next few days the Galactic continued to patrol the space
around the depot, but there was nary a sighting of an Ascendant, or alien
vessel. The stress was beginning to tell on everyone. More than one fight
over whose planet was better had erupted in the mess hall, quarters, even
the hallways around the ship. The optimism that James had felt days ago was
quickly evaporating. Kaer was still in a coma, and now the depot’s sickbay
was Lolita Cp
completely filled with comatose Ascendants - Ascendants with whom James
had no idea what to do about. In short, nothing had changed. To Be Continued.
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