Chapter Two – Eos Settlement
This morning was unlike any other; I’m not sure if it was the quietness, or the dark gray paint peeling off the walls that made it unusual, or maybe it was the stillness of the air; like a gloomy night in a cemetery that relayed this feeling of silence. At this point I didn’t even want to get out of bed; I’ve never had time on my hands to search the corners of my mind, but it seems Kim was at every turned, even though my thoughts wandered from time to time Kim never left my mind. I lay here not moving a muscle, not wanting to disburse the calmness I feel before the storm, a shit storm of running from everyone and everything; a glimpse of my future. Where will it take me, where will I end up, and Kim, will my eyes ever see her beauty again?
“What The Hell Am I Doing!?” I screamed out loud. I must have laid there for hours, thinking, with no answers to any of my questions. Then I did the one thing I should have never done, I got up! I sat there, staring out the window, counting the stars; have you ever done such a thing? What a waste of time, I only did it to keep from think of Kim, I guess? I was tearing myself apart from the inside out, not knowing if she was still alive was the worst though ever. “I will find you my love!”
Then a knock at the door scared the shit out of me, awoke me from this waking nightmare I was in. Lucky for me, it was only Autumn; at that point I wasn’t sure if this was a good omen or not?
She stepped in and closed the door behind her then slowly walked over to my side and sat on the bed next to me. “I checked on the flights leaving tonight and we’re in luck; a cargo ship called the Gull, low security, and with an atmosphere, is departing at 10PM sharp. Its destination is a shipping port on Encelandus, one of Saturn’s moons. ETA about four months; do you think you can put up with me for that long?”
For some reason she placed her head on her arm, and grabbed my hand. Her actions in some way made me feel better, but why was a mystery to me, was it the fact she need comfort from a past love like me, most likely do to the fact she was clairvoyant? “Sure, I’ll be asleep.”
“Lucky for me,” she said, smiling slowly letting go of my arm, it was funny the warmth of her touch seem to bring me back to life.
“Get your things packed, we need to leave soon.”
“And it starts,” I mumbled.
“What…? Forget it,” she said, checking her bag. “Did you scan your tracking tag into the new one?”
“No, I’ll do that now, but I might need a hand,” I said, pulling off my shirt as I turned my back to her.
“What the hell…?” She said, running her fingers on a crossed my back. “What happened to you? Damn!”
“Scars from my tour in the 2359 Mars wars, my last offensive; the battle at Valles Marineris.” I said, as she started working on my tracking tag.
“I remember that one,” she said. “Which side?”
“The highland settlers,” I said.
“But I thought everyone was massacred in that battle?”
“We had over 200 ships and 3000 thousand soldiers, and only three of us made it out alive.” I said. “In the beginning, that is.”
She stopped working on the tracking tag for a moment. “Oh I’ve got to hear this.”
“Well, to start. I remember it so well; we were flying an attack F-wing, a crew of three, it had two rail guns, and a hundred bomb capacities. We had just dropped half of our bombs, I remember coming around the far mountain to the camp, I pitched down and entered into a delta pattern, then from out of nowhere we were hit on the left wing with a shot from a land based plasma canon. The F-wing violently pitched right. ‘Hang on boys!’ I yelled. I can see their face even to this day; we were all ready to die at that very moment, flames shooting out of the control panel, alarms going off, and systems showing red a crossed the board. I fought the controls but then she started to respond and I was just able to bring up the nose before impact. Dan, my co-pilot and Jeff, my gunner, were still in one piece I though. Then I heard Jeff scream, “Pull up!” just before impact. We crashed on the far side of the west ridge. Somehow we survived, but Jeff was in rough shape, we carried him for at least 5 clicks in the blowing sand before we found a stone cave, fighting the wind, as it sandblasted us. We placed a camouflage force-field up at the entrance, and heated some stones to keep us warm. I remember it like it was yesterday, Jeff was so badly injured, right-side ribs crushed and bleeding badly. I tried everything, but I just couldn’t stop the blood from gushing out; I’m glad he was passed out before the end. We couldn’t bury him in the cave, stone floor and all, and going outside was way too risky, so we left him there, sitting up against a large rock, gun in his hand as if still ready to fight, hopefully this gave him a little dignity in his death.”
Just then she stopped working again on the tracking chip, as if to be mesmerized, or in disbelief at my story. “I don’t know what to say, it must have been bad… shit!”
“That wasn’t the worst part of it all, after five days passed, and the search party’s missed us twice. We started to run out of food and low on air from giving the cave an atmosphere. We had decided to take our chances outside, I remember Dan mapped the nearest settlement, so we ventured out, and headed for the Eos settlement, where we thought help was waiting!”
She turned me around quickly, face turned white, hand started to shake, and her eyes wide. “Holy shit…! you were at Eos!? No Fucking Way!” she yelled, and then looked down for a moment. “The story’s I heard that came out of there were… well, unbelievable; the Cloaks tortured those people for months, just for fun… and food! I couldn’t even imagine the pain, and horror; it was a massacre above all others on record, but no one survived!”
“Yeah, Jeff was the lucky one, I guess.” I said, in a low voice, looking down in sorrow. “And I was one of them, I remember seeing so many being tortured, they would scream, begging to be killed, the Cloaks just laughed more. Dan was petrified, losing his mind more by the minute, and then they pulled him out of his cage after a week or so. They started removing his body parts one at a time, first his right leg one day, then the left the next, just so he couldn’t run, then his arms.”
“That should have killed him!” she said.
“No, the Cloaks burned wounds so he would stay alive. Slowly, day by day he would lose a piece of himself as they laugh and cooked them, eating them in front of us. And I was next on the dinner list, the only thing left of Dan at the end was his torso and head, no ears, or tongue, and then they started on his organs, doing their best to keep him alive, it was sickening, but worst of all they left his eyes for last, so he could see everything until the end. I will never forget the screaming, it went on for weeks, endlessly.”
“How in the universe did you not go mad!?”
“I don’t know I was the last one left with no body parts missing; until one morning they were eyeing me up, as if I was dessert, saving me for last. I remember being frozen with fear that morning, I hadn’t slept for days, I remember hearing doors open and footsteps coming closer, and then, an explosion, it knocked me to the floor; shouting, gun fire, and yelling. Lucky for me Ulea attacked the settlement, the troops systematically wiped out the Cloaks. Ulea troops killed every last one of those bastards! They also killed the rest of the hostages but me, the rest were missing too many body parts to be saved; I remember hearing their words; ‘Please… kill me… Please!” they screamed. ‘BOOM,’ right in the head, the walls were painted red in brain matter; they killed everyone, a humane way to die by any standards. I was the lone survivor of Eos sediment. The courts wrote me out of all records and granted me mercy, due to the hell I went through. Some mercy, they said I would be useful to them at Mars command and said I would be released after 20 years of good service. It was more to keep an eye on me, making sure never to say what happen at Eos, they were hiding something.” I said. I didn’t tell her about Kim, and how I ended up here at Alpha 32, I figured there was no reason for her to know.
She held me and started to cry; empathy, I’ve never seen it before, well maybe a little, but not like this. I guess because she was clairvoyant, she could see and feel my pain, my past horrors, a reflection of them that is, but still the depths of my sorrow did not extend to her pain.
“I will never let that happen to you again… I promise!” she said, holding me; we sat there in silence for some time, a time I cherished.
She then stood up gazing down at me. “I’m sorry Tim… but we must be going now.”
She seemed speechless at this point, so I nodded my head in approval; we packed what we could and made sure to take only what we needed, and then we headed down to the docking bay. On the way there, I fought to remove those past memories from my mind, so I could focus on our escape.
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