Chapter 38 snippet (new writing)
“Are you ready to die yet, Almir?” Benton’s voice was soft in her ear.
Clenching her eyes shut, Kate tried to close him out of her head. There was no way she was going to die, she told herself. With so much at stake, she couldn’t afford to die! Too many people were going to be depending on her for their freedom!
She sucked in a deep breath. Her voice had to be confident, she told herself. If Benton heard even the slightest hint of fear, he was going to capitalize on it!
“It’s not me that going to die, Benton,” she said.
“A pistol against my rifle?” He chuckled. “I don’t think you have much of a chance!”
The metal echoed as he walked closer. Hearing her heart rate increase, she concentrated on his steps. He’s coming down the left side of the level, she told herself, smiling. That would allow her some breathing room!
As he drew closer, she slipped to her right. Keeping the pump between her and Benton, she crouched behind it. She licked her lips, slipping around the assembly. Ahead of her, Benton had his back turned to her.
Just as she lifted up her pistol, he spun to face her. Something flew through the air. Her eyes went wide as she recognized the stun grenade. Cursing, she dove back behind the assembly.
Hitting on her stomach, she went sliding across the deck.
Behind her, the grenade exploded. Moving with her momentum, her ears ringing, she felt herself slide under the railing. Crying out, she felt herself go over the edge.
For a single, dizzying moment, she thought she was going to fall. Lashing out with her left hand, she caught a railing post. Looking down, she could see her feet dangling over the ground, eighty meters below her.
The sound of Benton’s laughter made her look up. Smiling at her predicament, he walked up to her. His rifle was held casually, his body language triumphant. It was obvious he thought her finished, she thought.
“My, my, my,” he said. “It appears that you are in one bad spot, Almir.”
A grunt escaped her lips as she strained to hold on. A weak smile crossed her face. Her pistol was still in her other hand, she realized. It was too bad for Benton; it still left her in business.
“I’m still going to win,” she told him.
“I don’t know how,” he said. “You’re going to die.”
She smiled at him sweetly, as she raised her other hand up. The arrogant look on Benton’s face disappeared as he saw the pistol in her hand. Reacting, he tried to bring his rifle up.
Moving faster, she pulled the trigger twice.
Benton’s shoulder exploded in blood as the impact sent him sprawling. His rifle hit the decking with a clatter and fell over the far railing. A scream of agony burst from his lips as let out her breath.
“You were saying, Benton?”
She pulled herself up onto the level again. Grunting from the effort, she fell back onto her buttocks. Without taking her pistol off Benton, she looked at him with a wolfish smile.
“Now, Graham,” she said. “We’re going to play a game.”
“What kind of game is that?” he said, clenching his teeth in pain. Blood flowed between his fingers as he tried to staunch his bleeding.
“It’s called: I ask you questions, and you tell me what I want,” she said.
“Go to hell,” he said. “I’m not telling you anything!”
“But I haven’t told you the consequences of not answering me,” she said. “For each time you don’t tell me the truth I will shoot, or cut off, something. And I’ll guarantee it will be painful.”
Benton looked at her for long minutes. Even in his pain, he raised a corner of his lip in contempt. How dare she speak to him like that, he raged. If she didn’t have that gun, she wouldn’t be anything!
“So what will it be?” she asked. “The truth or the pain?”
“You bitch,” he spat. “I’ll talk.”
“First off,” she said. “Who’s behind all this?”
“Carver,” he said. “With Beatty and Johansson.”
“Why do they want me, specifically dead?”
“You know too much,” he said. “You’re a danger to the movement.”
“‘The Movement?’” Kate asked. “What is that?”
“A move towards National Socialism on a galactic scale,”
Closing her eyes, she felt her blood run cold. The bastards were trying to bring the NAZI’s, she realized. Mankind’s most evil regime back on a galactic scale would lead to the end of everything. How could they be that stupid?
“You bastards,” she breathed. “What were you doing with the biological weaponry?”
“I don’t know of any biological weaponry,” Benton lied.
The sound of the gun was startling as she fired. He screamed as the bullet tore into his other shoulder. Looking over it with a ice-cold expression, she waited before speaking again.
“Now, Graham,” she said. “Don’t lie. What was the biological weaponry for?”
“We were using them on several worlds in the Beta Scorpii sector,” he gasped. “That way people would suspect the Sagnar of being behind it.”
“Why blame them?”
“Carver wants a war,” he said. “That’s why the prototypes are being built.”
“Why does he want to start a war?”
“To take over the galaxy under his rule,”
Kate ran a hand through her hair. It wasn’t enough that the Bastard was an egomanic, she thought, but now he wanted the galaxy. Could things for her get any worse?
Those ships have to be stopped, she thought. Without them, he won’t have anything stronger then anyone else. It would put everyone on even footing.
“How many prototypes does he have?”
“Just the one at Earth orbit,” Benton moaned. “The remainder is being built at the Sirius shipyards.”
So they only had one ship right now, she mused, other then the battle cruiser. If they could destroy, or steal, that one ship, Carver was in trouble. Follow that up by destroying the ships being built; then the war would be leveled out for a while.
“Anything else you need to tell me, Benton?”
“I’ve told you everything I know,” he said. “So I guess you’ll kill me now,”
“I always was jealous of you,” he said simply. “The fact that Reyes put all those bionics into you. You were fast, stronger and better then me, and I couldn’t stand it.”
The death’s bed admission made her pause for a moment. For the first time, he had honestly told her the reason why he had hated her. Jealousy, she mused, it was the type of emotion that made people do crazy things. It also was one emotion that oftentimes drove people to kill.
“I know,” she said softly.
The sound of the pistol firing echoed forlornly around her. A single bullet struck him in the center of the chest, the blood flying. She watched her enemy die, a cool feeling rising up in her soul. Benton had done everything to her just because he was jealous, she thought, nothing more nothing less. However, try as she might, she found it hard to have sympathy. For he and his cadre had been hunting her, stalking her, for the past five years, and all because Carver wanted to take over the galaxy.
And I’m the one who has to stop him, she thought.
Sitting her head down in her hands, she started to cry. Why was it, she wondered, that she always had to be a harbinger of death? Couldn’t she have a nice quiet life like everyone else? Why couldn’t she have the chance to retire to a nice cabin in the woods, overlooking a lake?
Wiping the tears from her eyes, she stood up. As she stumbled away, she couldn’t help but think about what Brown had sat. It was her destiny, Brown had told her. After Benton spilled his guts, she was starting to think she was right.
Stumbling away, she started to make her way back towards the town. It was time to find Kosloski, she told herself, and get the hell out of here…
She had done it again, much to his surprise. He had been certain she was going to die. How she had managed to keep from falling, he thought, beat the hell out of him. The woman had luck, and skills, which was going to make the Syndicate very happy.
Keeping her under surveillance, he continued to follow her…
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