The Betrayal RW Chapter 6 snippet
Floating towards the hulk, she reflected on the realities of space walks. No matter how many times people try to tell you what it’s like, she mused, they can never match the reality of it. To be able to look down and see the surface of a planet several hundred klicks below was enough to give any woman a strong case of acrophobia!
It’s a very long way down, she told herself as she swallowed hard to keep the bile down. Gripping a piece of the hull in her hand, she looked ahead to keep from looking down.
The bowels of Hell itself, she reflected, couldn’t match the destruction aboard the destroyer. She felt the bile rise dangerously close in her throat as she saw the blood spattered on the walls. Something hit the back of her helmet and she turned to see a partial arm float past her faceplate. Ending in a jagged stump just short of the elbow, it carried the markings of an ensign on the sleeve.
Kate felt her eyes grow wide with terror as she turned away and pressed on. As she moved towards the bridge, the terrible horror started to sink in. In the main corridors, human bodies, and what were left of them, floated in the zero gee environment. Droplets of human blood floated like crimson rain that coated her faceplate. Feeling her stomach start to protest, she pushed herself onwards.
The crimson coating made it hard to see so she took a gloved hand and wiped her visor. Even though it smeared the fluid, she could see better then before. These people didn’t stand a chance, she thought as she trembled in rage, Janice was so overmatched that she didn’t even want to think about it.
Floating past a weapons control station, she felt the tears well up in her eyes. A blast had shredded the armored bulkhead, destroying the human bodies within. As she looked, a severed head floated in the compartment, it’s body nowhere to be seen. May God look over their souls, she prayed silently.
I want who did this, Kate told herself, the familiar warmth of rage starting to build in her stomach.
“Bridge,” she spoke softly. “The damage over here is…inconceivable.”
“Understood, Skipper,” Marie said.
She continued down the corridor, the carnage continuing to grow. This had to have been done by beam weapons, she mused, but ones that were stronger then any she had ever seen before. Were these new Fleet weapons, she wondered, or were they from someone else on the block now?
Kate stopped at another tear and examined it with her bionic eyes. The pattern of melting didn’t look right, she noted, not for a laser beam at least. Just what the hell had happened here?
“The hull appears to have melted,” she said. “But not in a typical laser pattern either. I think we’re dealing with something beyond our technology here.”
Grabbing the wall of the corridor, she pulled herself on towards the bridge. One hundred meters away, she reminded herself, would be where she would likely find Janice’s body. Other then that, who know what she was going to find, other then something horrific.
“I’ve reached the bridge,” she said.
If the rest of the ship had been horrific, then the bridge was like entering the seventh level of Hell. The blast that had destroyed the CIC had sent splinters ripping through the bridge. Human bodies didn’t stand a chance against hot pieces of metal flying at near supersonic speeds. Killing everyone on the bridge, the amount of blood and bodily matter floating threatened to make Kate retch in her suit.
Necko wasn’t even as bad as this, she told herself as she looked away. It took all her effort to keep the bile at bay.
She spotted the main computer, which by luck had avoided damage. How that had happened, Kate reflected as she floated over to it, was a mystery she would never untangle-even if she had felt motivated to try. Either way, it was her ticket to trying to learn what happened to Janice and her crew.
With a hand she pulled herself down before the computer as she sighed. Typing in her command authorization code with her free hand, she waited several long seconds for the computer to respond. Accepting her codes, the damaged computer opened up its databanks.
Keeping her timetable of air on her mind, Kate moved quickly to try to patch the damaged computer to the one aboard the cruiser. Once the network patch was connected, she felt a surge of pride race up her spine. Now, she mused, they could learn everything that Janice knew-providing the computer’s power source didn’t die before the download was finished.
“Bridge,” she said. “You’re linked in.”
“Roger, Skipper,” Malone said. “Downloading now.”
She felt a body bump into her, which she started to push away. However, one glance at it and she felt her jaw drop when she recognized Janice Long. A horrified expression of agony was on her face as Kate looked on. Sobbing uncontrollably, she pulled the corpse tight to her as she took on of Long’s hands into her suited ones.
She hugged Long tight to her as the tears ran down her cheeks. Floating free for several minutes, they pirouetted for long minutes amongst the dead. Closing her eyes to the death around her, she let her mind float backwards in time.
Memories of shared time together flooded her mind as she floated there. Laughter they had shared brought a weak smile to Kate’s face. The bouquet of flowers and bottle of champagne that Long had sent her in congratulation of getting the Roanoke had been one of her most memorable moments.
Kate pulled the shattered body tight to her flight suit as she cried, cried and cried.
Never again will I let someone kill another friend of mine, Kate thought as she finally let go of Long’s body.
Without warning, a sudden convulsion struck her body as she went into a seizure. A cry of agony escaped her lips as visions shot through her mind in a kaleidoscope. A meeting with Reyes filled her mind, the former Intelligence Chief taunting her that she wouldn’t remember…
A deep, soul-rending scream of anguish came from her lips as she opened her eyes again. Everything was different now, she knew. There was nothing she didn’t remember anymore, the events on Ireland clear as day to her. An intense hatred started to flare deep in her soul. How dare he do this to her! Who did he think he was?
“Kate!” Loving’s voice was frantic in her ears. “Kate! Can you hear me?”
“I can hear you,” Kate said opening her eyes to true reality.
“Are you okay?”
“I remember,” she said. “I remember it all…”
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