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A Luriani Quean Blog Tools Rate This Blog
Creation Date: September 17th, 2011 06:22 AM
AndreaV AndreaV is offline
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"Searching for Truth, Justice and the Zhunastu Way"
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In Moot Member Blogs Liadtee and Dalen (Part Seventeen) Entry Tools Rate This Entry
  #60 New June 3rd, 2012 08:17 AM
They spent as much time together as they could. Liadtee figured a way to enter control without scorching her hand, a simple glove. Dalen was a telepath, a powerful one, perhaps not quite as strong as Liadtee, there was no way to be sure, but she taught him what she could. He could share the burden, extend the time they could share and it had given them another special thing to share. Together they slowly built a world where they could escape to. A home, a garden, a quiet wood to walk in. There was very little they couldn't have there and those things didn't seem to matter, at least not yet. Two months had come and gone. Another battle, another victory. The boredom and terror didn't seem so bad now they had each other. They were in orbit around a massive frozen moon with hidden oceans of water. It made little sense to be here, but much about the war made little sense. They'd be leaving soon, in a few hours, but still time to share their world before returning to the ship's.

Liadtee watched Dalen as he lay sleeping, waiting for him to wake. It was a treat, they didn't spend the night together often, there were 'risks' and he usually woke before her when they did. Of course she knew part of him was awake, holding open the connection between them while the rest slept. That part was aware she was awake but they pretended he wasn't, it was better that way. She could see he was stirring, he'd be with her soon. She smiled, he couldn't maintain the older Dalen when he slept, but teenage Dalen was very pretty. One eye fluttered, she kissed him, the other opened. “Good morning sleepyhead.”

Breakfast was tense, Dalen was cross with Liadtee and she knew he was right “It's not that bad Lover, a day, two at most, Fred fixed it right up.” Fred, she'd named the medical robot Fred in a fit of glee after their first night together.
“Frostbite Liadtee, frostbite. You could have lost your hand.” There were risks, her glove had slipped in the night.
“Okay, alright, I'll tune the monitor a bit more, but you have to admit, it's worth it.”
“Possibly, but be more careful next time.” He sounded less than certain it was worth it.
She changed the subject “You know, you can eat there. You should let me cook for you sometime, I'm rather good at it. Much better than this.” She pointed at her reconstituted meal.
He chuckled “Maybe, sometime.” She knew the truth, he still doubted the reality of their other world and some things he didn't want to pretend about.

Their next mission had surprised Liadtee, Arynro, a Fasu world. They were going raiding. It had never occurred to her that war wasn't just defence. They'd followed a circuitous route, Firlavas, an unimportant border world then an unnamed brown dwarf. Go in with the least possible charge in the stardrive, just in case they had to leave in a hurry. She was scared, she'd grown used to trouble coming for them, but this time they were looking for it. She'd strapped herself into the control couch and already released the weapons to Dalen.
“How long now?”
“Two minutes less than the last time you asked, relax, we'll be fine. Just focus on the missiles my love.” Dalen had figured a way for her to help in combat. He'd fire a spread of missiles and set the computer to control them by following a set of small globes. Liadtee would control the globes through telekinesis. They both knew it wasn't much, but it did give them an edge and in combat, an edge could make the difference. Liadtee felt the sickening wrench.
“Okay here we go Liadtee.”

Liadtee's plot had been close to perfect. She'd brought them out almost on top of the Fasu settlement, between it and the guardship. Liadtee was proud of her handiwork “You owe me a kiss Lover.” Missile ports slid open and point defences powered up. “Take the bombardment missiles and I'll deal with the ship.” Ten deadly sleek missiles leapt silently from their silos. Liadtee felt herself being thrust back into the couch as Dalen pushed the ship for all it was worth. She didn't think as she took control of the deadly salvo. Even with her 'improvements' the G forces were punishing. First her colour then her peripheral vision were stolen from her. It didn't matter, she focused on the missiles in front of her eyes. She didn't want to let Dalen down this time, her first attempt at this had been... less than successful.

The point defences opened up, the computer started to counter, deploying decoys. Dalen had told her missiles and defences were controlled by computer, that she should go with her instincts, that was their edge. She wasn't so sure. She carefully directed the missiles watching the computer's instructions, she dodged and weaved. One missile, then another and another. Three down, not a good start. She focused, kept trying, a fourth, then a fifth. Definitely not going well. She relaxed, ducking and diving, moving delicately, like guiding herself in free-fall. Doing better now, but then the sixth was lost, only four left. She let go, thought of her last night with Dalen. She lost another while she did. Only three left but she just needed one to hit. She found her rhythm, dancing the missiles through the storm of fire. Closer now, almost there, damn they got the eighth, still two. She focused, her instinct guiding her, her vision blurred and distorted by the G forces.

It was those forces that let her finish, her loss of peripheral vision. She didn't see it right until the last moment. The starport, her target, was in a city. Heaven itself only knew how many men, women and children dwelt there. She watched as the missile exploded in an atomic fireball, a blast front of heat followed by a crushing wave of pressure incinerating and obliterating everything in its path. The starport was destroyed, but so were the surrounding suburbs. She desperately jerked the last missile, sending careering into an interceptor missile. At least there would only be one nuclear devastation. She tried to scream, but her lungs were being crushed by the acceleration.

Dalen noticed the annihilation of the starport. He turned hard and accelerated away from the guardship. No point in fighting any longer, they were faster, they could escape. The Fasu ship gave up the chase within minutes, realising the futility. Only then did he let the acceleration drop and the weight fall from Liadtee. She wept, guilt and horror mixed in equal parts. She had to have killed thousands of civilians, humans snuffed out by her actions.
Dalen saw her tears. “Liadtee, what's up?”
“I killed them, there was city, I killed them.”
He understood, he had felt the same the first time “Yes, this is war. You had no choice.”
A wave of anger overtook her “Of course I had a choice! I could have let all the missiles be destroyed! I could have missed! I had a choice!”
“And then what? They'd have sent another ship, probably piloted by a fanatic who'd scorch the entire planet.” He spoke softly, kindly, trying to comfort her. It didn't
“But it wouldn't have been me! And the next ship might have failed too.”
“Maybe, maybe not. I've learnt one thing in the past eight years, if they want something destroyed it will be destroyed. All we can really do is keep it as humane as possible, save what we can.”
She slumped in down back into the couch, understanding what she did not want to hear. “Lover, I wish you could hold me now.”
“So do I my love, so do I.”

(Copyright Andrew Vallance 2012)
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