When last we left our intrepid hero, thats me by the way, I had just been introduced to Melythra. Horus (The actual model for the Egyptian god of the same name but not really. Oh hell, read the first story. I explained it all there.) . . . Where was I? Oh yes, Horus. He had just introduced Melythra to me explaining that she was to be my Companion and then just left. I wished that he had stuck around because there were a thousand questions I wanted to ask him about this Companion business. Instead he just upped and left. To say that this left me in an awkward situation would be putting it mildly.
I would have had a heart attack but I dont think that I have a heart anymore. (Note to self. Ask Melythra if I have a heart?) Melythra wasnt helping things any. I mean she was staring at me like she had just swallowed a bug or something. Not that I could really hold it against her. I mean I did have the face of Rin Tin Tin. I tried smiling at her but that didnt help at all. I mean when I opened my mouth my tongue flopped out like some drooling idiot or dog as the case may be. I quickly shut my trap and made a mental note never to pant in Melythras direction. (I am instructed at this point to state that panting is permissible under certain conditions but I wont go into those just yet.) I was stuck there not knowing what to do or say and my lovely Companion wasnt helping me. Wasnt that her job? Finally I could stand the silence no longer.
"Im sorry about all this," I apologized. "I know that Im not what you were expecting."
"It is not my place to make complaints," she said with that superior high handed tone that I was going to know so well. "I do what I do for the good of my planet and my people. No sacrifice is to great for that."
Believe me at this point I was looking for the nearest dog house to hide in. Then I remembered that I could get my old face back if I wanted. It might not have been much but it was a hell of a lot better than the one I had now.
"Horus said that you knew how to get my old face, uh countenance, back."
"Well, how do I do it?"
"It is simplicity itself. You must close your eyes and see yourself as you once were. Your body will do the rest."
"Ok, sounds simple enough," I said closing my eyes. "Here goes."
Only it wasnt that simple. Whatever had happened in that throne had done more than change my body. It had also messed with my mind. When I first closed my eyes all I could see was my new really tall body complete with Jackals head. I concentrated hard and got Mel Gibson. Much as I would have like to use his face I knew that it would have been a lie and I knew that Melythra would have known it too. So, I dug down deep and was finally able to recall my face from that morning in the mirror as I shaved. It took a bit of work to get the image reversed but finally I had it.
"Alright," I said, "now what?"
"Simply will yourself to change. Your body will do the rest."
It was simple when she said it but it was harder to do. I placed my hand over my chest and that helped. I shook for a about ten seconds and when it was done I was very dizzy. When I opened my eyes I found that Melythras eyes were now much closer to my own.
"Well, did it work?"
I wasnt exactly hoping that shed say that I was handsome but I was hoping that at least she say that it was better than before. Melythra didnt say either of them.
"Look for yourself," she said pointing to yet another polished metal wall.
I shrugged my shoulders and looked. I recognized the face but the body that was something different. I was still as tall as before 6' 2" but I had instantly put on another 40 or 50 pounds of muscle. I didnt look like a bodybuilder but then I didnt want to. I had to admit that all in all I looked pretty damn good. I also noticed that the clothes that I had worn before the change were back and were damned tight now. I took shallow breathes so as not to pop my buttons.
"Not bad," I said turning back to Melythra. "So what now?"
"That is not for me O Guardian of Tomorrow. I am but the Companion," she said but the way that she said it made it clear that she did not believe it.
"What did you call me?" I asked as gently as possible. The last thing that I wanted was to antagonize Melythra.
"I called you what you are the Guardian of Tomorrow."
"Right." No pressure there. "Look I may be the Guardian of Tomorrow but you dont have to call me that. My name is Ross."
Very well," she sighed.
"I can see that this is going to take a while. Is there any place that we can go to talk?"
"We may speak throughout the entire complex. It is yours."
"Thats not what I meant. Any place comfortable, you know with sofas and easy chairs."
"There are reclining benches if it is rest that you require and each room can produce articles to sit upon. There are none of these sofas or easy chairs that you speak of."
"Great, no place to relax and probably not a cup of coffee to be had. I wish that we were back at my place."
"I am ready to leave any time that you wish it."
"How? Oh, the translocator."
"No O . . . Ross, the translocator is no longer necessary for you. If I wish to travel without you then I must use the device. You around bound by no such strictures."
"How do I that? No, let me guess. I close my eyes and visualized where I want to be and will us there."
"The closing of your eyes is not required but the rest of the process is correct. But first you must return to your first form."
Well, I think that Ill close my eyes. I dont feel like appearing in the middle of a wall or out in the street somewhere."
After I once again got back my extra eight inches of height and jackals head I closed my eyes and thought of my living room. This time the visualization process was much easier. I was just about leave when Melythra spoke.
"Do you wish to leave me behind?"
"No, of course not."
"Then we must be physically touching for the journey to be made by us both."
"Oh, sorry," I said glad that my new face made it impossible for me to blush. "I didnt think of that."
"That is why I am here," Melythra said matter of factly as she stepped into my arms.
Now, the visualization process was a lot harder. My canine nose inhaled Melythras heady scent like flowers after a spring shower and it went to my head. My arms felt her lithe body next to mine and her warmth touched a cord in me that I thought that I long since buried. Her sea green eyes looked up at me with impatience and I remembered what I was supposed to have been doing. Once more the look, sounds and smells of my living room in California came back to me. It was almost as if I could just step forward and I would be there and then I realized that was exactly what I could do. There was a sensation of loss as I willed us there.
The trip took just a couple of seconds and there was just the briefest period of utter darkness and then our feet were back on solid ground. It was my living room all right. There was a moments dizziness and I felt weaker for just a moment. After about half a minute I felt as good as before and finally remember that I had Melythra in my arms. She hadnt said a word but just looked at me with an enigmatic expression. (At this point my back seat writer says that this had been the first time that she had moved without the aid of the translocator and she was very nervous. I was wondering why she stayed in my arms as long as she did.) I opened my arms and she stepped back a couple of feet.
"You must learn to husband your strength," she lectured gently. "Everything you do has a price which must be paid. You put far too much of yourself in the transfer and as a result drained yourself more than was necessary."
"Oh, so thats what that was. But I felt better a couple of seconds later."
"Your body replenished itself."
"Right," I said changing back to my old face. It was easier this time. "Now about that coffee and that chat."
Coffee was a big hit with Melythra. I tried Mel but that was shot down in flames. Oh well, you cant blame a guy for trying to be friendly. After all we were going to be together for a long time. Anyway back to the coffee. Melythra thought that it was marvelous and just loved it with honey and just a little milk. (Boy was the guy at the corner store surprised to see that I was back from Egypt.) We talked and I told her about myself, what there was to tell, and she listened closely but made no comments. I tried teasing her a little. You know about being a twelve thousand your old woman and stuff like that but all it got me was a couple hard stares and an even icier treatment. Finally I just gave up.
"How about some shopping?" I asked.
"Why is it necessary?"
"Well, if youre going to go out in the world your going to have to get some new clothes."
"What is wrong with the garments I presently wear?"
"Nothing and everything. I mean they look great on you and make you look great but theyre not exactly in fashion these days. Im sure that you dont care about fashion. The mission and all. But if youre going to interact in this world your going to have to get new clothes."
"These are not appropriate?" she asked looking down at the little bit of nothing that had caught my eye.
"Not for general consumption no. But whatever you do dont throw them out."
Again I was on the receiving end of one of those mysterious little smiles of hers. I dont know if she meant to or not but when she looked at me that way I felt my blood run both hot and cold. At least I think it was my blood. Melythra looked me right in the eye and gave me just a hint of a smile and I knew the answer.
Melythra took the clothing decision with her normal calm. She gave me a look of quiet resignation and then agreed. I was the One after all. The next problem was finding something for her to wear for her to shop in. I finally had to settle for a pair of fleece jogging shorts, from when I thought that running was a way to meet women, a Stanford tee shirt, a souvenir from a guest lecture I gave, and her own sandals. I would have liked to stick her in some running shoes but mine were all way too large. As I hustled her out to my car I tried to think of a plausible story to explain her exotic footwear.
"Is this conveyance required?" Melythra asked after I had her seated in my vintage Land Rover. Hey, what is an archeologist supposed to drive?
"Yes," I said quickly losing my patience.
"Why? You no longer require the use of mechanical forms of transportation. You can fly or transfer yourself to your desired location."
"I suppose that I could," I sighed. "But then who knows how many people would see me and my big snout and theyd see you. It wont take a rocket scientist to figure out who I am when they saw us together later on with my normal head. Trust me I know what Im doing. I grew up on comic books and know all about secret identities."
"As you wish," she said like she was indulging a child.
I opened my mouth to deliver a biting rejoinder but immediately shut it again. It was the story of my life all over again. Keep quiet and hope that no one noticed me.
As youve no doubt guessed by now I have had almost no experience with the opposite sex. Dont get me wrong Ive had some, two girlfriends to be exact. It was a poor total for 26 years on the Earth and I knew it. I also knew that I knew little about women. This had helped me avoid some mistakes in the past and caused others but one thing that I thought I knew was that women liked to shop.
You wouldnt have said that by Melythras attitude. She let the sales clerk at the first store carefully measure her after I had explained that she was from France and did not know her measurements in this country. I kept careful track of them even though I was sure that she would not forget. (I am instructed at this point to state that the Companion cannot forget anything that she sees or hears. This makes me wonder about this little chronicle but then orders is orders.) Melythra was almost no help in picking out clothes. She simply stated her color preferences and that was that. It was up to the now beleaguered sales clerk and me to choose clothes for her. I was almost no help at all. My knowledge of womens fashions would have fit into a thimble and left room to spare but somehow we toughed it out.
It was an hour and a half later that Melythra and I exited the third store with everything that I thought she would need and the sales clerks said that she should have. It was a hell of a lot of boxes and bags let me tell you. I was glad of two things as we went back to my rover. One that I was a strong as I was otherwise I never would have made it and two that I had never spent a lot of money on myself otherwise I could never have paid for everything. Shit, I thought my credit card was going to explode when the clerk ran it through the terminal.
After putting the last of the purchases in the rover I decided that I had earned a break. I looked over at Melythra and she was looking at all the people on the street. There was a look in her eyes that I had not seen before. It was a timid look as if she were afraid of something. It was then I realized that she had not seen another human being for over twelve thousand years. No wonder all the people around her made her jumpy. She did not mind when I put a reassuring hand around her shoulder but then again she didnt exactly thank me either.
"Are we not returning to your domicile?" she asked when I turned to head down the street.
"Its called a home and no, were going back right now. I could use a drink and a break after all that shopping."
"As you wish."
I wanted to tell her not to worry about all the people, that she would have to get used to them sometime. I wanted to tell Melythra that I would protect her and nothing would ever hurt her while I was there. I wanted to tell her a lot of things but my shyness around women tied my tongue in knots. In fact if Horus hadnt thrown us together I doubt I would have had the courage to even put my arm around her. Then again if it hadnt been for Horus I never would have met Melythra. Id better move Im starting to confuse myself with all this circular logic.
I took Melythra to a near by restaurant. One that I hadnt been to before. The last thing I needed was to explain how and why I was back from Egypt so soon. True to form my luck was bad because the first person that I saw was Zack Harvey. Let me tell you a little about Zack. First off hes a jock and thinks of himself as a jocks jock. The second thing you should know about him is that hes a bully and has always been a bully. I heard that from people whove know him since he was a boy. The third thing youve probably already guessed. One of Zacks favorite targets is yours truly. I tried to turn and leave before it was too late but he saw me almost the second that I walked in the door. Let me correct that, he saw Melythra. I was an afterthought. Like a magnet to iron he made for Melythra and me. As youve no doubt realized Zack also thought that he was Gods gift to the women.
"Well, well, well," Zack purred leering at Melythras chest, "if it isnt Doc Archer. Youre back early. What happened get homesick and have to rush back to mummy?"
Zack laughed heartily as his pathetic attempt at humor. The only people Ive ever seen laugh at his jokes were others like himself. People who had the IQs of turnips. The laughter quickly died out as he turned his attention to my Companion.
"So baby, whats your name?" he asked oozing what he thought was charm. I just thought that he was oozing.
"I am Melythra," she replied in that quiet flat way I was rapidly getting used to.
"Nice name baby. Why not join a real man for a drink and tell the loser to go play with himself?"
Normally, I just ignored Zack. He was a loud mouthed idiot and was mainly talk. This time was different. He was focusing on Melythra and I didnt like it. I was about to give him a demonstration of my improve physique but my Companion jumped in first.
"Your offer is irrelevant," she said coldly. "Just as you are irrelevant. Go away little man."
I was so proud of Melythra at that moment that I thought that Id bust. Zack just stood there his mouth hanging open. Finally, after about half a minute he began to splutter with rage.
"Why you lousy bitch, nobody talks to me that way, especially no stinking skirt."
That was enough. I gently pushed Melythra behind me and stood nose to forehead with Zack. Did I forget to mention that I was about three or four inches taller than him.
"Zack," I said trying hard not to lose it, "you heard the lady. Go away."
I thought that Zacks eyes were going to pop out of his head. For the first time he looked at me as something other than a piece of dog shit on the bottom of his shoe. He was afraid and we both knew it. My lips curled back into a tight little snarl and that was it. Zack left the restaurant without even saying goodbye to his friends.
I looked back at Melythra thinking that she would be happy at the way I had gotten rid of Zack. The look of disappointment on her face told me that I couldnt have been more wrong. I didnt have a clue why she was looking at me like that but didnt have to wait for long. She gave it to me with both barrels as soon as the waitress left the table.
"You should not have use The Voice on that man. It was inappropriate."
Not exactly cursing a blue streak but for Melythra it might as well have been. It was the first time since we had met that she had actually and openly criticized me. You may not have thought much about it but it stunned me.
"The voice?" I said after remembering how to speak again. "What do you mean The Voice?"
"You spoke to that man as the Wanderers speak, as Horus spoke to you."
"Oh that," I said remembering the peculiar inflection I had used. "What is the Voice?"
"When you speak with the Voice you talk not only to the ears but to the mind as well. It is very powerful and can be very dangerous."
"Right," I said realizing the possibilities. "I guess it a good thing I didnt tell him to take a flying leap or jump off a bridge. So, does this mean that everyone has to do what I say when I use the Voice?"
"No, the Voice only ensures that they will listen to you. Those of little intellect will do as you command but you must never use it against another human being."
"Why not? It did a great job against Zack and nobody got hurt."
"You duty is to this planet and its people. You are to ensure that the Time of Joining comes to pass. But you are forbidden from interfering in the evils man brings upon himself. Only in those ills brought from beyond the stars may you wield the power that has been given."
"No, it is forbidden."
"Great all this power and I cant use it to help humanity."
"You shall protect humanity by shielding it from the evils of other races, who would destroy this world."
"What about natural disasters? I mean that isnt something that man brings upon himself."
Melythra gave me one her warmest smiles and her whole face lit up as she said, "You are correct. In this it is permitted to render assistance."
I returned her smile and was about to give friendly conversation another try when something on the TV behind the bar caught my eye.
". . . As the hostage crisis moves into its second hour there is still no word on the condition of the ten hostages known to be held in Syl Gen research facility. All of us at channel 10 send our warmest thoughts to the families of reporter Maria Sanchez and camera operator Mike Popplewell, who are among the hostages. The police have tried numerous times to establish communications with the terrorists but so far have no gotten any response. . . ."
I turned away sad and more than a little ashamed. This was not something that was my job to deal with. Yet, each time I drew my eye from the TV it came back as if it had a will of its own. After the third time this happened I began to suspect that something more than morbid curiosity was at work.
"Youre the Companion," I said turning to Melythra, "so maybe you can help me with this. I know that Im not supposed to interfere with whats happening at that lab but I cant get this feeling out of my head that I should be."
"It is possible that you should be," she said, which totally surprised me.
"Any ideas how I can tell the difference because Im drawing a blank here?"
"You must read their auras if you are unsure."
"Auras?" I asked wondering if there was an instruction book and then realizing that I was sitting across the table from mine.
"Pick anyone in this room and look at them closely. It will be difficult as you are not in the form of a Wanderer. You must focus on that person alone and try to see into their depths."
I did precisely what my Companion suggested. Since the choice of subject was mine I chose our waitress, a cute petite brunette who couldnt have been more than nineteen or twenty. If I had to stare at someone closely I was damned sure that I was going to enjoy the view. At first there was nothing and I was glad that she had her back to me. The way I was looking at her was sure to make me appear like a perv. I then tried looking at her but not looking and that did the trick. I saw her tight figure surrounded in a glow like those Curlian photographs only in much greater detail. Smiling I turned back to Melythra.
"Got it," I said triumphant.
"Very good, now look at me."
When I did as she instructed Melythra said, "Do you see the difference?"
"Yes," I said refocusing my eyes, "theres a difference. Its not a color change or anything dramatic but its there all the same."
"The difference should be even more pronounce on the alien races."
"Good. Lets go."
"Are you not going to fly there?" she asked rising from the table.
"No, Im not leaving you alone on your first night back on Earth after twelve thousand years."
"No human can harm me," she said.
"I dont really care. Youre not used to the way people act these days and I want to avoid problems. Dont worry I know that lab, its not that far."
The Syl Gen labs were located on a rolling park land estate set back in the stands of trees. I had a pet theory that the more dangerous the research the better looking the lab facilities. If that was true then they were making some seriously deadly shit at Syl Gen. I parted the rover in a clump of trees just off the main road and told Melythra to wait for me in the car. The look I got back in return would have withered lead. I shrugged my shoulders and left. Didnt she realize that I was just trying to look out for her. (Once again the voice over my shoulder says that the Companion realized this but did not want the One to forget or neglect his primary duty. As if I could with all the reminders I got.)
I walked further into the woods until I was sure that no one could possibly see me . The last thing that I wanted to happen was for some nosey bird watcher to witness my change. This time I had my eyes open as gained eight inches in height and far furrier head. Let me tell you I was weirded out by the experience. I mean the change of sight perspective was strange enough but the other sensory changes put me over the top. Imagine suddenly being able to hear the sound of a cricket breathing and being able to taste the air and then youll have some idea what happened to me.
Now there was no problem with finding the lab through the trees. My big black eyes cut through the leaves and the tree limbs like they werent even there. I ran through the woods on surprisingly silent feet. My target was the cluster of police cars near the front entrance. I was able to get to within a couple hundred yards before the thinning trees and the presence of large numbers of heavily armed police officers stopped me. I hoped that I was close enough. I turned my large pointed ears toward a cluster of officers behind a large police van and found that I was.
"How long till FBI special ops team gets here?" asked a large middle aged officer. I assumed that he was the man in charge.
"Twenty minutes. They had a problem with their helicopter."
"Shit! We may not have twenty minutes or even twenty seconds. I dont know what going on in there but whatever it is I know its bad. I just got off the phone with the labs chief administrator. Theyve just completed a full audit on whats in there. And according to her theres enough biological material stored in the lab to turn California into a ghost town."
"Son of a bitch!"
"No shit. And if that security guard is right and the terrorists are Arions then were dead if we dont do something soon. Lindsey, were you able to get anything more out of him?"
"No lieutenant," said an efficient looking female sergeant. "He lost consciousness the moment they got him to the ambulance. With all the injuries hed sustained it was a wonder that he was even able to speak as long as he did. I send an officer in the ambulance with him in case he regains consciousness and can tell some more."
"Good. Now when the feds get here I want to move as fast as possible. Ill need liaisons from SWAT to show them the layout. I dont think that we have all that much time. So, well have to move as fast as possible when they do get here."
I had heard enough. I kept an eye on the police officers as crept back into the trees. As soon as I was safely out of sight I began looking at the top of the five story building. I could have flown to the roof but that would have meant being seen by a couple hundred cops and blowing any hope of surprise. No the only way to do it was to teleport to the roof and for that I needed a good visual. I couldnt see that much so decided to float upwards until I could. This was the first time that I had even attempted flying and I was nervous. What if I went flying out of control? Or for that matter how did I fly in the first place?
The questions were unnecessary. Flying must have been instinctive because the first thing that I noticed was that I was ten feet off the ground and still rising. I fought down my momentary panic and concentrated on the building in front of me. I was near the top of the trees when I saw my goal clearly. It was the service stairs near the ventilation plant. I fixed the spot firmly in my mind and moved.
This time I heeded Melythras warning and kept a tight reign on the power that I put into the move. There was no sense of loss this time but I didnt know if was because of my control or the fact that the jump had been so short. What I did know was that I felt no different when my feet touched the asphalt roof.
Unfortunately for me, what I hadnt noticed on the roof was the female SWAT officer stationed there. We looked at each other for a few seconds and then both acted simultaneously. She raised her M-16 and I charged. I was quicker and grabbed the assault rifle out of her hands. She looked desperately at me and then at her radio. I wanted to smile but that would have freaked her out even more. I did put one finger in front of my mouth and motion for silence.
"You probably wont believe this but Im on your side," I said. I wanted to use the Voice but didnt. Instead I laid her M-16 in front of her feet and stepped back. "You can shoot me," I said calmly, "but that wont do you any good."
"What are you?"
"Would you believe a friend. No, how about a member of the local kennel club on a recruiting drive. Look does it really matter the fact is that Ive come to help if I can."
"I guess not," she said slipping the assault rifle over her shoulder. "You could have killed me and you didnt. That means that at least your not an Arion."
"Then its true that the terrorists are Arions?"
"Were pretty sure given the damage that was done to the lobby but we havent gotten a look at them to be positive."
"Well, thats why Im here," I said wondering how powerful my eyesight had truly become. "Where are the hostages being held?"
"In the executive suites, one floor down that corner of the building," she said pointing to the south side.
I turned my eyes on that section of the building and really concentrated. Id read that Aurora could see through walls and was hoping that I could as well. I found that in fact I could but not in the way that I thought. It wasnt like the walls disappeared. It was more like they turned into a slightly opaque curtain. The images were a little strange until I recognized them as just thermograph images. I started counting and there were a dozen in the one large office and since there were only ten hostages. Well, I could do the math. I looked even harder at the dozen rainbow images and saw their auras. There they were standing out like beacons on a black night. Two auras I knew werent human.
"Excuse me?" said the officer.
"Sorry, there are two terrorists down there and theyre definitely not human."
"How do you know that?"
"I smelled them," I said wrinkling my nose.
She ignored my attempt at humor. I guess she was a little intimidated by talking with a dog-man. I couldnt blame her. Could you?
"Where are you going?" she asked as my hand touched the doorknob to the service stairs.
"Down to deal with your trespassers. What does it look like?"
"You cant. Those are Arions down there. Theyll tear you apart."
"Thanks for the concern but Im not exactly human you know."
"Oh right, sorry."
"You might want to tell your colleagues to get ready to evacuate the building. Ill try to keep the damage to a minimum but you never know."
"Dont worry well be ready," she said lacking anything like confidence. "Uh . . ."
"Whats your name?"
"You can call me The Jackal or just Jackal."
"You got a better name? Cause Im open to suggestions."
"Then Jackal it is," I said opening the door and entering the building.
I knew that Arions had super senses as well as the ability to see through walls. This didnt give me much room for error. I floated down the staircase not wanting to make any sound at all. My only hope was to get to the executive offices before they noticed me. I would have like to have started on something easier. There was nothing like jumping in at the deep end to see if you could swim. Well, there was no going back now I was committed. I had been from the moment I told Horus yes.
There was no welcoming committee at the bottom of the stairs. So, for once it looked like my luck was holding. Before I opened the door I turned all my own senses on full blast and nearly passed out. I mean talk about sensory overload. Suddenly it was like I was in the room with the hostages.
"What is that thing?" asked a warm feminine voice filled with curiosity. It had to be the reporter.
"Its death," replied another feminine voice filled with venom. "Death for every Terran for a thousand miles and there is nothing that you can do about it."
"Then why dont you just activate your bomb and be done with it."
"But thats too easy to simple. No, I have something much more enjoyable in mind. Dentack! How long?"
"Ten minutes more, perhaps twenty."
"You have ten. The helicopters with the FBI special ops team will be hear in eight. They will take two perhaps three to reach their attack position and then they will move. You must be ready before they attack."
"I will Saddyra. I will."
"You see Maria, what Dentack is constructing is a sound activated trigger for this device. When the FBI attacks and it will the device will detonate and the virus that it contains will be released. I will have done nothing. It will be your own saviors who will kill you all. Isnt it all too delicious?"
I knew all that I needed to know. I knew why I hadnt been spotted. The Arions were too busy and that gave me the edge. I only hoped that it would be enough. They didnt notice as I slid the door open and floated down the hall toward the office
I stopped just outside the double doors and tried to think of a plan. I couldnt just knock on the door and say, Candygram for Mongo. These were trained Arion warriors and from what I had heard and read they wouldnt stay surprised for more than a fraction of a second. I needed more than that if I was going to eliminate the virus bomb as a threat. I didnt have to think long. Which was a good thing as the sound of the approaching helicopter kept getting louder and louder.
I kicked in the door. The double doors exploded in a shower of wood splinters. Everyone in the large room turned to face me. Now was the time.
Everyone froze even the two Arions. It wouldnt last long on them but it gave me the edge. My black eyes saw the man and woman near the large metal container. I didnt have to ask what that was. I also saw in the mans, Dentacks, hand a small triggering device.. Even in the couple seconds that it took to see all this the woman, Saddyra, began to shake her head. I could not cover the distance in time. Anger and frustration flamed within me and was directed at the small box in Dentacks hand. I didnt realize that my eyes had changed color but I was the only one. (At this point the Companion offers an apology that she did not speak about the force bolts before this encounter. It would have made things a lot simpler if I had known.)
I saw the flash and for a fraction of a second didnt realize that I was the source. It hit me just as the bolt of energy from my eyes struck Dentacks hand and wrist and arm and part of his torso as well. There was this burst of light that was tinged with pink which was quickly followed by the most god awful screams youve ever heard. When the light cleared I saw Dentack. Correction, I saw what was left of Dentack. He had been thrown against the far wall and was stuck into it. There was no sign of his left arm or about a third of his torso. I couldnt believe what had just happened and that I was responsible for it. The look of absolute rage on Saddyras face brought me back to reality.
"Get out of here," I shouted to the hostages before I was tackled by flying female Arion Prime.
I got a good look at her body considering what she wore or rather what she didnt wear. It was something out of some B-movie like Nymphoid Babes from Planet X or something. What they couldnt have imagined was the muscles that exploded out of her golden skin and filled my eyes. It was one of the hottest thing Id ever seen, except that she wanted to rip my head off.
I shouldnt have fallen. The blow wasnt that hard, which surprised the hell out of me, but I wasnt used to being 6' 10". Theres a lot to be said about balance and I still didnt have mine. So, when Saddyra hit me in the gut I went down on my ass.
Saddyra was on me faster than I thought possible. One of her hands went for my throat and the other went to my stomach. Ive since learned that this was a sure way to kill one of the Supremis beings but at the time it just tickled. She tried to reach under my ribs but my abs just didnt move that way. Yet, this wasnt the kind of girl to take defeat lightly and she kept up the pressure even as the grip on my throat tightened. Now that did hurt, it made my eyes water but the pain was more than bearable. I could still think clearly. (At this point the Companion wants to know if I could think why hadnt I before this? All Ive got to say is this. You have a muscled up woman from beyond the stars try and choke the life out of you and see how clearly you think.)
I had lost the momentum but I got it back. I grabbed her hands and pulled them away. She was strong but I was stronger. For the first time Saddyra looked closely at my head. I saw the light dawn in her electric blue eyes. No, I wasnt wearing a mask. I curled my lips back in an appropriately vicious doggy snarl and thought that she was going to shit herself. I was beginning to like my new head.
"What are you?" she asked.
"Pest control. I heard there were some pests that needed controlling."
I dont think that she liked that answer because she head butted me. Damn was my snout sensitive. My eyes watered my whole body twitched a little. I wasnt really hurt but it was enough. I howled and dropped her. Saddyra didnt take the opportunity to follow up. My eyes cleared in less than a second.
Saddyra had her eyes turned on the bomb and from where I was I could see her eyes turn violet. I knew that Arions and Aurora could project incredible amounts of energy from their eyes. She was about to activate the bomb with hers. I tackled her and put my hands over her eyes as I did. Instantly my hands were heated by her release of energy and though they hurt like hell I kept them there. (I am informed at this point that my pain receptors can be adjusted. I wish I had known at the time but it did dramatically demonstrate my level of invulnerability and it did shoot my pain threshold to a whole new level. I still think I could have done without that but back to the fight.)
I had to get her away from that bomb, far away. Dentack was no longer a problem. He was in shock from what I had done to him and would no longer pose a threat. Saddyra was still very much a problem. I flew right through the wall and out of the building. I didnt think about the cops seeing me. The most important thing was to get Saddyra away from the bomb as fast as possible.
We burst through the wall of the lab in a spray of concrete. A hundred heads turned up and saw fly overhead. I carried a squirming Saddyra past the cops into the woods. I didnt want anyone else getting caught up in this.
Saddyra finally gave up on trying to fry holes in my hands because it wasnt doing any good. In fact I thought that it was somehow making me stronger. When she did I grabbed her by the hair and held her like that.
"Catch!" I said as I threw a wicked cross to her chin.
Saddyra was torn from my grip and hurled to the ground below. I followed. There was no way I was going to give her time to recover. I plummeted out of the sky and landed right on top of her rock hard abs. I grabbed her by the front of her skimpy black costume and hit her twice more in the face. She was groggy and no longer a threat but for how long?
"What now?" I asked the trees.
"You must finish her," said a soft voice in my head.
"What? Melythra is that you?"
"Yes, it is your Companion."
"We are linked you and I. Now and throughout time we are inseparable."
"Shit! You mean that you can listen to my thoughts?"
"If I choose to do so, yes."
Great, no wonder I kept getting all these looks from her. I mean Id undressed her with my mind at least a half a dozen times since we met. It was a wonder that she hadnt hauled off and hit me. I was still working on my apology when Melythras thoughts interrupted me.
"You are wasting time. You must deal with the threat now or it may be too late."
"You just want me to off her. I dont know if I can do that."
"You must Ross. There is no other way. Alive she remains a threat and will continue to kill the people of our world. You have looked into her eyes and know this to be true. You must harden your heart and do what must be done to preserve the Time."
Melythra was right. I knew that she was right even before she started explaining things to me. I didnt know that I would be asked to do this but even if I had I would have still signed on. Whatever the Time of the Joining was going to be I knew that it was important for the people of Earth and had to be protected from people like Saddyra. I only wished that there was another way.
I sighed mentally, "Alright, what do I have to do?"
Melythra mentally showed me two equally deadly methods of disposing off Saddyra. Her eyes began to flutter and I hit her again. I may have had to kill her but at least I could ensure that she wouldnt suffer, not like Dentack. After tossing an imaginary coin I made a fist with my right hand and placed it on her chest over where her heart was. I extended the energy which was now a part of me out from my hand and felt the skin being pushed back. The beam was narrow and slipped easily between her ribs. I continued to push until I felt her beating heart. I stopped and then in one quick shove crushed her heart. Saddyras body jerked once and then lay still. I kept up the pressure for a few seconds more and then removed what I had been told was an force dagger.
I sat next to the body of the woman that I had just killed and wondered if I was cut out for this job. I wanted to cry but no tears would come from my jet black eyes. Perhaps this is what Horus meant when he said that I was worthy. Maybe he wanted someone who would never like the killing but would do it because I was necessary. I didnt know and really didnt care. I was caught up in my own self pity to think clearly. It was then I knew that I wasnt alone. Melythra was there with me. I felt her presence as if she was standing next to me. She mental held my hand and soothed my troubles and for the first time was truly grateful that the Wanderers had seen fit to create a Companion for me.
I heard the sounds of approaching footsteps and figured that it was time to make myself scarce. I got to my feet and pictured the spot where I left the Land Rover. I stepped forward and I was back there once more.
Melythra was waiting inside the rover just where I had left her. There was a look of concern on her face but even as I changed to my more human self it vanished. As I got into the car I consoled myself with the fact that at least for a few moments I had penetrated that exterior.
"Thanks for your help," I said as I started the engine.
"I am the Companion," she said flatly. "It was my duty."
Bang went the touching moment that we had shared. Oh well, the more things changed in my new life the more seemed to stay the same.
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