The Betrayal Rewrite Chapter 1 snippet
“Who are you?”
Captain Kate Almir opened her eyes to the question and sighed again. Floating in a black, formless void, she had to be dreaming again. None of this was real, she mused even though it did feel like it was a real experience. There was no way it could be, because she remembered going to sleep, so it had to be a dream! Didn’t it?
Before her hung a semi-transparent globe that had enveloped her in two flowing tentacles. Looking at it, she could see through it except for the wisps of white energy that floated through it. Something about it hinted at intelligence, but she couldn’t finger why she felt that way.
It’s probably because I want it to be, she thought sourly. After all it is my dream!
“What do you want?”
Frowning, she thought about the two questions it asked her. Who was she? She was just an escaped gladiator slave who had joined the Fleet four years ago and moved up the ranks. What was so special about that? Since she had gotten a taste of freedom, all she wanted to do now was to protect hers from ever being stolen from her again.
“Who are you?”
The same damn question again, she thought. And I answer it the same way every time and I get the same results each time!
“I am Katherine Elizabeth Almir,” She said. “Former gladiator slave.”
“You are so much more…”
The voice trailed off and then everything hit her at once. Visions of people she had never seen before rushed through her head, her eyes, making her squeeze her eyes shut. Placing her hands on her head, she saw people she had killed while working in Intelligence. Buildings and places she had never seen before flashed by her like a holovid movie.
With her hands still on her head, she leaned back and screamed…
…Only to jerk upright in her darkened compartment.
She looked across the compartment, her chest heaving, and the echo of her scream surrounded her. The stars outside her cabin streamed by with a serenity that she normally found peaceful. They held no peace for her at that moment as she ran her hands through her sodden hair. Shivering, she realized that during the insanity of her nightmare, she had kicked the covers off her body.
Another nightmare, she thought with a sigh, hoping what normally followed it wouldn’t this time.
The nightmares had started off slowly, she reflected, several years ago while in Fleet Intelligence. When they started, they had been very few and far between, but it seemed that the more time passed by, the more frequent they had become. Now, she thought sourly, they almost seemed to be a nightly companion.
When they first began, Intelligence had gotten concerned and ran an entire psychiatric evaluation on her. The extensive work ups weren’t successful in finding a cause, so they relieved her from Intelligence duty. Once she had entered mainstream Fleet operations, they seemed to go away. Now however, she reminded herself, they were back with a vengeance!
Everything about her was going to be a mess, she reflected. Why look in a mirror when she already knew the answer? Wiping a drenched bang out of her eyes, she looked down at her wet t-shirt. If this were a wet t-shirt contest, she thought with a snort, some guy would be happy as hell right now! Shaking her head at how it clung to her torso, she collapsed back onto the bed.
Oh God, she thought to herself as she shivered on the wet sheets beneath her.
Another sigh escaped her lips as she stared into the darkness overhead for long, silent moments. The sweat-soaked sheets beneath her started to grow cold as the first protest from her stomach reached her brain. Clenching her stomach, Kate rolled to onto her side, doubling over as the cramps hit her. She hissed as the pain spiked into her head, her stomach feeling like a vise was tightening down on it. A grunt was the only sound she could make as her teeth bared in agony, as the cramps got worse.
“Oh ****,” she groaned as she threw the sheets of her body and raced for the head.
The trip, mercifully short in a heavy cruiser’s captain’s compartment, was nearly too long. She barely made it in time, dropping to her knees before the head, her stomach switching into reverse. With a loud retching sound, she vomited into the head, the pain growing worse by the second. Fresh tears ran down her cheeks as the hit the evacuate button, her stomach feeling like it was on fire.
With the contents of her stomach having been emptied, the retching turned into dry heaves. Kate’s throat felt like it was on fire as the acid in her stomach worked its way up her esophagus. She held her stomach in her hands, weeping, as the blazing pain reached a crescendo before the spasms started to ease.
Kate flushed the head with the last bit of her strength, sending it far away from her. With her energy exhausted, she felt herself collapse backwards from her kneeling position. Her back hit the shower and she slid down until she was sitting on the floor, her hands running through her sweat-sodden hair.
She slid down the wall of the head onto her side, pulling her legs up to her chest. With her head on the cold floor, in a fetal position, she closed her eyes to everything around her. A shiver ran up her spine as the cool metal chilled the side of her face. As she lie they, trying to get her breathing under control, her mind raced, the tears flowing.
What I wouldn’t give for a second chance at life, she thought, a bionic fist pounding the deck in frustration. There are lots of things I’d do differently!
Pushing her head off the floor, she crawled to her hands and knees. With a shaking hand, she reached up and grabbed the corner of the sink. A sigh escaped her lips as she pulled herself to her feet. A single look at her disheveled appearance brought out a disapproving stare from herself.
“Come on Kate, get it together,” she growled at herself.
As she undressed herself, she found her eyes drawn to the spider web of scars around each shoulder. Without thinking, she ran a finger over each one, her skin on her torso the only one giving her any sensation. Cybernetic bionics, she thought, they make me feel more like a machine then a person!
While she ran a finger around her eyes, she looked down and saw the same spider web around her pelvis. Legs, arms and eyes, she thought, replaced with bionics due to extreme damage…no wonder she felt more like a machine then a person!
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