War Games

From the Story Arc: Two For The Show

Previous Story in the Arc: The Oddest Couple by Astra Kyne Murdock (Monday, August 14, 2006)

(posted Monday, July 30, 2007)

Astra and Kyne played high-risk tag with a squad of Rikti, leading them into Sun Kai's ambush. She'd heard the Commissar and the Captain shouting at each other over tactics, and the problem was they were both right. Guerrilla tactics worked on the small groups, but only to a point. They'd pursue for a while...but only if you kept stinging them. Otherwise they lost interest and ported out.

Like the bugs that Commissar Bella called them.

She turned to give them another sting in Mefnanim form. This was the high-risk part, she could move faster and do more damage in this form but it was fragile. She dodged a barrage of plasma beams and kept going.

This was surreally familiar and unfamiliar. Unfamiliar, because this was home, King's Row, and the worst things here should be Thorns and Vaz. Familiar because this was what she and the Clan had been doing for weeks and weeks....back there. Shadowed Earth.

Maybe that was why she wasn't freaking out. She was a war vet already. Although she'd had a good long cry over Sister Jo...remembering ice cream...and the gaggle of giggling girls...and Nepthys taking over and just having an ice cream orgy. And laughing about how for a little while Sister Jo had thought she subscribed to some kind of wierd Aztec religion because she said she worshiped chocolate.

She stung her pursuers again. Only a half a block to go now.

Sister Jo was probably the only one she could have talked to about all of that business on Shadowed Earth. Nobody but the Clan really knew about what had gone on there. Not even Dad. Mom was keeping the details away from him; she said he was already too....

Too broken. Just admit it. Even the month Underhill hadn't helped that much.

If she had been in human form, she would have sobbed right then. Her Mefnanim form gave off a kind of spark.

The only people that knew anything were Petro--because he had set up the gun-running shipment to the rebels--and the Portal Corps bosses. No one else knew anything, anything at all, not past the generality of "they were on a really bad parallel and for some reason Sera and John's link was blocked." Mandy might guess some, but not the details. It hadn't been an order or anything but...outside of the counselors Underhill...it just seemed wrong to...make it the subject of curiosity and gossip.

Maybe because no one would really understand just how horrible it had been. But also because....

Because the last time something horrible had happened to her, some people had just trivialized it all.

At least this wasn't quite as awful as Shadowed Earth. There were no Fallen here. If you died...well...there were worse things than death.

Much.

And that was why Portal Corp had interdicted the world, locked the records and would allow no heroes there for the foreseable future. And maybe that was another reason why none of them cared to talk about it.

Because no one, no one, should ever have to find that out for themselves.

She rounded the last corner and, without pity, though with a silent prayer for forgiveness, led the Rikti onto the mines of Sun Kai's ambush.

And then she flew away to begin it all again.