I’d really like to say that RealLife(TM) has been really busy. And, I’ve been working hard on finishing ‘Cursed Hearts.’ Plus, there’s this new story idea I’ve been playing with….
It’s all a lie: I’ve been a lazy drunk for a month. I come home from my day job, make dinner for the family, drink shitty wine and watch anime. My wife noticed immediately (my ‘jerk’ factor goes up rather quickly when I don’t write – my girls think it’s funny: ‘daddy’s on another alt-right rant again!’). So, in a moment of clarity (and a quiet house with no-one to bother me) I braved Writer’s Fear and sat down with Nichole and…
Wrote a way to get Maya onto Miramar Air Station…
Wrote Chris and Cat taking a tour of a C-130H… but, God help me…
I STILL HAVEN’T STARTED KILLING MY MAIN CHARACTERS!
It was just noon as they came to the checkpoint. There were more men about than normal: change of watch. The sergeant of the Mexican Army recognized the special plate on the front of the Lincoln, but was not one of Anton’s men. He snapped his fingers for two to follow him: another Mexican soldier and a US Marine MP. The two Mexicans came to Manuel’s window as the Marine ambled around the passenger side, rifle at the ready.
“<What’s this, then?>” The sergeant asked the driver. Maya hissed in displeasure, ignorance.
“<Major Alvarez is transporting a suspect to a secure location on base.>”
“<Major… Alvarez?>” He asked, suspecting which Alvarez this might be. He waved a little. “<All windows down; passes, please!>”
Manuel lowered the rear windows as Anton was taking his ID out of his lower jacket pocket when the US Marine began shouting.
“Holy Shit! It’s the terrorist! From the pictures!” His rifle came up, the end of the barrel only a meter and a half from the girl’s head.
Shoot, you fool! Anton raged in silence.
“<Terrorist?>” The sergeant’s right hand went to his sidearm. “<I’d heard something about trouble at the Uni…>”
In his pause, Anton waited for Manuel to throw open his door and get to safety before the shooting started. But, no one moved. Damn it to Hell.
“<This suspect has surrendered to me,>” he risked the Spanish, while he passed over his ID, “<and at my father’s request, I’m personally transporting her for… enhanced interrogation.>”
He expected another hiss, but there was no motion at all from his right.
“<I see… sir,>” the sergeant replied after verifying his identity. He returned the ID. “Lance Corporal! Stand down!” he directed at the Marine. The rifle came down, but the man was obviously confused.
“<Let them through!>” The sergeant called to the men on the steel gate blocking the road. It began to slide aside. He stepped back and sharply saluted Anton, who returned it as best he could while putting his window back up.
Just before the car began to move, he spoke.
“That did not go like I thought it would, Manuel.”
“Yes, sir.” Very much aware of how rarely the young master used his given name.
“Let’s make sure we do better next time.”
The car took an immediate right and began to accelerate up Raven Road to the base atop the mesa.
“Take us right into the hanger; as deliberately as you can.” He looked to Maya. “Is that acceptable, miss?”
She again bared her teeth at him.
“You must love your family very much!”
Anton looked to the rearview mirror into his man’s eyes.
“Right into the hanger; and no mistakes, this time!”
“Sir.” Anton was surprised how much sadness could be packed into a one syllable word.
“<This is an ‘H’ series?>”
“<Ah, yes. Have you been aboard a Hercules before…?>”
“<Not at all,>” Chris replied, looking intently at the instrumentation. He froze for a moment, learning. After half a minute, the younger office spoke up.
“<Is there something else…?>”
He gave a small, tight-lipped smile and shook his head. With another bow, Chris backed out of the cockpit and down the stairs. Nodding to Corporal Cortez, they began walking back out of the aircraft. Cat took his right arm with her left and a little laugh.
“How do you say it? I’m getting older about you, Chris!” Another chuckle. “I don’t really know how, but you just taught yourself how to fly this, didn’t you?”
“It’s best you’re marrying me,” he leaned to kiss the side of her head, “as you now know me better than anyone!”
Cat flinched a little, looking away.
“Even… even better than Maya?” She whispered. “After all, I’m just… a human.”
Cortez’s grasp of American English was rated Very Good, but he was wondering what the hell they were talking about.
He moved his arm from her to about her waist, pulling her close.
“Do not insult me by saying I choose ‘just’ a human; no more than you should be insulted by ending up with ‘just’ a Synth.”
She stopped and looked at him. What?
“’Synth?’” She asked.
“That’s the Engrish of what the techs at Neuroi called… people like me. And Maya.” He shrugged. “It’s rooted in the word ‘synthetic.’”
Cat first made a moue, but the corners of her mouth began to dance. She moved both arms around his neck and move her mouth close to his. He parted his lips –
“Beloved?” She smiled.
“Cat?” He whispered, wanting to kiss her.
“I Order you to never call yourself a Synth again!”
A Wall came up in his own mind as that pathway was closed. He routed around it, to understand what she’d done. Ah.
“I understand; I shan’t!”
They turned back to a confused Cortez, nodding for him to take them back to the security of the hangar. But, just over the Corporal’s shoulder…
“Corporal?” Chris said, suddenly concerned. “Is that not Major Alvarez’s personal car?”
Turning to follow Chris’ gaze, Cortez saw the overpowered Lincoln plow through the ad hoc orange barrel barrier made though the chain link fence separating the road from the flightline. It accelerated sharply, first heading right for them and the aircraft, before suddenly turning left.
Right into the corner of the hangar. The front end of the vehicle crumpled inwards as the rear was lifted to over sixty degrees into the air, before crashing back down, blowing out the tires. A fire started in what was left of the engine.
“An…ton?” Cat breathed.