The Betrayal Chapter 46 snippet
There was its demand again, the voice probing yet not harsh. While whatever was asking expected an answer, it wasn’t cruel of capricious about it. No, it seemed to take the tack that if you ask the question enough, then someone would eventually answer it. Even if it was from annoyance with being asked fifty times, she mused, it must think that an answer is an answer.
“Who are you?”
“Okay, okay,” she said with a sigh. “I’m Kate Almir.”
“What do you want?”
What did she want, she found herself making a face at the question. Wasn’t it obvious what she wanted? She wanted to live, of course! To be able to live a life of freedom, where she didn’t have to look over her shoulder for someone coming to kill her. That, and that alone, was what she wanted.
“I want to live,” she said.
“Who are you?” it asked again.
“I’ve already answered that,” Kate said.
“You don’t know now who you are,” it said.
Without a warning, she felt the tendril start to move over her body again. Caressing her bionic arms through her jumpsuit, it held her feather-light. As it reached her hair, the energy field (or was it an entity, she wondered) tousled it, played with it and seemed to enjoy itself with her raven-colored tresses.
“I would listen to it,” Brown said for the first time in a long time in Kate’s head. Where had she been, Kate wondered, when Ferini had made his move? “The oracle will help you understand more then you can ever realize.”
A sigh crossed Kate’s lips as she continued to feel like she was having a psychological breakdown. If Brown was real, she fumed, why didn’t she lift a finger to try to warn her of Ferini? Now she had been drugged and she was looking at some giant blob of energy that kept asking her the same questions again. Was there a way to get off this ride, she asked herself, because it was starting to become painfully obvious that the only ending would be in her own madness.
“I am Katherine Elizabeth Almir,” she said, holding her chin high. “Orphan, escaped gladiator slave, Special Ops Agent, Captain in the Interstellar Fleet.”
“You don’t know who you are,” the voice said almost contemptuously.
“Why don’t you tell me who I am then?” she said, the annoyance showing in her voice.
“That isn’t the question you should be asking,” it said. “You should be asking: ‘Who am I?’”
“Then tell me,” she said with a cross sigh. “Who am I?”
“That is the right question…”
…The dark expanse disappeared, replaced by a cityscape that she had never seen before. She tried to look around but she found that her head wouldn’t move. Wanting to grit teeth she couldn’t control, Kate sat back and rode as a visitor to whatever she was witnessing.
“What is going on here, Brown?” she demanded.
“You’re being shown who you are,”
“That doesn’t answer me question, damn it!” she swore.
“Patience, little one,” Brown said. “Patience.”
“If I hear that one more time…”
Kate let her voice trail off as she watched an ancient automobile pass before her. Belching out noxious fumes from its exhaust, the car rolled by on its four solid white walled tired. Along for the ride, she couldn’t look at it closer to try to see what era it was from, but she could tell it was at least four hundred years old.
Where are we? She asked Brown, and noticed that the other woman was silent.
As they walked, Kate could see the building surrounding them on either side. Old row house type design, she noted, which were common in the early to mid twentieth century. As the view shifted to one building in particular, she found her attention drawn to it. A three story building, it had two men in jet-black uniforms guarding the door. On either side of the entrance flew a red flag, with a white center that held a black swastika symbol.
Nazi Germany? What are we doing here Brown? She thought, remembering the symbols from her military history classes.
The other woman was silent again as they approached the doorway. As they stopped before the two men, Kate watched a hand extend out from the bottom of her vision, with a small leather case in it. One of the men took it, and opened it up. After several seconds, he handed it back to her and spoke to her in German, which she found she understood every word.
Which is weird since I’ve never taken German! She thought.
“Good morning, Captain,” the guard said.
“Good morning, Lieutenant,” Kate heard a voice that sounded just like hers.
“The general is expecting you,” the Lieutenant said.
“Then I won’t keep him waiting,” she said with a laugh.
The hand disappeared from view again as the woman started to move into the building. Kate raised en eyebrow in surprise again as the woman came to a mirror. Looking into the mirror to check her appearance, and Kate took a deep breath in surprise. The woman, she told herself in shock, looked just like she did!
“Is this why you’re so silent, Brown?” Kate asked her hitchhiker.
“You’re learning, little one,” Brown said, obviously pleased.
“So this woman we’re riding with,” she said to the other woman. “I take it that she’s another version of me?”
“An earlier version, like myself,” Brown said. “But the same person.”
“How many times have I lived-and died?”
“Even I don’t know that number,” Brown admitted. “I would say you-I-have died a thousand times, only to be born a thousand and one.”
“That’s confusing as hell,” she mumbled. Why was it that she got the feeling that Brown wasn’t trying to answer her questions.
Turning her attention back to the matters at hand, Kate watched with interest, as her past self started moving again. Her eyes tracked their movement as the woman climbed up a curving staircase to the third floor. Whoever this ‘General’ was, Kate mused, he had his office on the highest floor of the building. If height was any indication of importance, or power, this man had to be really high up in whatever organization this was.
“The SS,” Brown whispered in her ear. “The personal army of Adolph Hitler. That is what this organization is.”
Kate felt her blood go cold at the information that Brown gave her. The SS, she mused, she had studied them too in class, but she had forgotten what their uniforms looked like. A nasty bunch of bastards, they were the ones who had done the dirty work for Hitler: rounding up and murdering millions of “undesirables” from his Third Reich until the Allied forces had defeated them. Not before, however, millions had been killed in the slaughterhouses they had run for their crazed “Fuhrer.”
When the woman stopped at a doorway that was guarded by two men, Kate found her attention drawn back to the present. Feeling like she was a hitchhiker herself, Kate watched the woman be admitted into the office beyond. Once again, she noted, Brown was staying oddly silent during the whole thing. Could this be because she didn’t know what was going to happen, or was she going to wait for Kate to figure it out?
As they entered the office, Kate followed the woman’s eyes as she scanned it. There was nothing special about the office, she mused, other then the older Nordic and Aryan art spread throughout it. The man sitting behind the desk was smallish built; his round spectacles giving his mouse-like face a more scholarly look.
“Captain Heinlein,” Heinrich Himmler said has he looked up from his desk. The small mustache above his lip looked so out of place, Kate noted from her vantage point. “Please make yourself comfortable.”
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