KnM Blade - In Destiny's Way

Kixi Rajki, a professional high speed racer, is a seemingly average citizen of the United Systems of Sol in the 31st century. Going by the alias of Kay Blade, she is also a secret agent for an underground resistance cell intent on bringing down the powerful freedom restricting government. Mako Jhasmin Zaneca, alias eM Blade, and Kixi's lover, recently trained up as an agent, is also an expert computer slicer and hacker in her own right. She must accompany Kixi on what will be her first mission, and with all certainty, an extremely dangerous mission. Choosing arrest in order to save her lover, the two narrowly escape death, and consequently trigger in motion an unprecedented course of events. Unwittingly, her actions will forever change the balance of power, and with it the face of humanity as a space faring species.

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http://www.kixi-rajki.com/full-outline-of-storyline

http://www.kixi-rajki.com/the-k3k-universe-in-detail

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35. The Citadel - Part 3

Chapter 29 : The Citadel - Part 3.

 

After having walked with the others to the exit, Shizuka raised the ship's loading ramp which despite having been landed in a vertical upright position, had been extended from the belly of the ship. We all carefully climbed out of the small rocky crater we had landed the ship in, and sauntered out onto what visibly was a lush forest floor, absorbing the scenery that surrounded us.

Out into the far distance, toward the direction we were headed, the Citadel tower loomed like a thin giant needle at the horizon, pointing into what now was a sombre grey sky, save for the band of salmon pink that hovered over the nearby mountains. The dusky grey peaks gave the bottom a jagged edge, whereas the clouds above soothed it with charcoal swirls. In the opposite direction, also far out into the distance, the skyscrapers of New Rome, Mars' second largest city, towered above as great monoliths of concrete and glass. Over there, contrary to the natural environment we were now encompassed in, it was nothing more than like a jungle of steel and glass skyscrapers, that grew right out of the concrete metropolis.

I hefted my primary pack over my shoulder and grabbed a second bag of water, as it was clear that we would be needing it for the long demanding trek we had ahead of us on foot. The others carried similar loads. I saw that Icarus had insisted on carrying his massive projectile weapon as well. I had my blaster, X Plasma blade and a pair of good long knives – for the just in case, as the knives were excellent for those deadly encounters that required combat of a nature that was up from front and close.

I smiled to myself. I had used knives many times in both simulated combat and even live combat. They proved ever so valuable in close hand combat, that despite being a skilful fighter and possessing telekinetic talents, I still felt vulnerable without them.

“I don’t feel like I could carry a whole lot of stuff back if we had to come back that is,” eM said. “I guess we’ll have less water to carry by then, though.”

“We can't risk being detected, we could have made better arrangements otherwise, but as it stands, this is the only way into the complex, and eliminating the off chance at being spotted,” Miyuki explained. “As it is, we’ll just have to press our advancement slowly on foot. Besides I doubt we'll be walking back. Even if circumstances were to change, and we need to improvise when Shizuka is supposed to come and get us, I doubt we will be able to run through here with an army of Skysec scum shooting at us from every which direction.”

Ālrai looked grim. “I'm guessing that we should be able to make it in and avoid detection. But once we're in, there is gonna be a point where we are going to have to fight our way out. We ain't walking back, and that's whether Shizuka comes to get us as planned or not."

I could see that Icarus was glad to see that everyone clearly understood the reality and graveness of the situation. Everyone but eM, as I could sense his growing frustration regarding her constantly build up. I gently tapped her on the shoulder, but didn't speak a word. The tap was merely to reassure her that I was still there for her, as I could undoubtedly sense her anxiety. eM turned her head slightly glancing over to her rear, returning a set smile as she acknowledged me, appreciative of my caring, before turning back to face forward again, quietly moving along like everybody else.

The plant life looked spiny, like species in arid areas on Earth, but they grew in a jungle like density. We saw a wide variety of plants, but only a few animals. The creatures appeared to be crabs or slugs that moved slowly through the trees.

“Wow, look at that,” Miyuki said and pointed.

I looked into the forest where she indicated. I saw that a thickset tree with a bare trunk and a wide, spiky crown supported an identical tree on top of it. The roots of the piggybacking tree intertwined with the crown of its supporter.

“There are several of them doing that,” Icarus said. “They must be getting some kind of competitive advantage.”

“Maybe the crown collects water. It’s very wide,” I said. “The tree on top sends water down to its own roots, and the extra heads down to the tree below it. They deprive water from those below.”

“Or maybe the top one even helps feed the one supporting it, who knows?” Miyuki said. “The supported ones probably get more sunlight.”

Ālrai nodded. “Well, if you’re this fascinated by the damn trees, the information regarding this is readily available. After all it was us humans that terraformed this planet half a millennium ago, and these trees are an evolution that occurred slowly in the centuries that followed after the terraformation."

"Nuh not really that keen or interested." I responded on behalf of everyone else including myself. "More the less I'm thinking that Miyuki only first mentioned it because the trees are virtually standing before us, and she wanted to somewhat alleviate the general talk away from the mission for a little while, seeing this would have been very much the only opportunity we would have gotten at that for very much until the mission is all over." I concluded as the corners of my eyes crinkled, while at the same time the corners of my mouth slid upwards.

Miyuki nodded as she glanced over into my direction, her eyes, her lips, and her spirit all at once smiled at me, while eM's warming reaction to my comment painted a ray of sunshine all over her face.

"Fair enough," Ālrai responded not really sounding overly enthusiastic over the whole 'tree' discussion.

"Although I do have something I do wanna bring up right now that's mission related Ālrai," I said as my tone suddenly shifted from calm and composed, to serious and concerning.

"You seem suddenly troubled Kay?" Ālrai lifted an eyebrow not expecting the sudden shift in my demeanour.

"No, not at all. Just a question going back to us not being detected. Are you sure the ship is camouflaged well enough so that they won’t spot it from orbit?” I asked, looking back toward the edge of the crater we had used as a landing site. "It's just that Shizuka is all alone out there, and she's just a kid." I said, my voice doing little to hide the fact that I felt some genuine worry and concern for the youngest member of our team.

“It's not very like you Kay to be overly stressed about things of this nature. Anyway relax girl, I've got it covered,” Ālrai said. “Everything looks as you see it from down here, but I have us cloaked from above. Our equipment should fool any but the most sophisticated sensors. If they don’t have an actual vessel in orbit specifically looking for us, we should remain hidden for now. That's both the ship and us here on foot. They will need to use a specialised satellite normally reserved for experiments and things of that nature, in order for them to notice an anomaly on the surface."

“That's in other words our ship that's sitting in that crater, and us. Although with the cover of the jungle, it should be hard to spot us, even if they deliberately fly a ship directly over us. We can just hide in the cover of the trees. As I said before, its Shizuka I'm worried about. Anyway I get how it all works. Hopefully your methods buy us enough time, cos given New Rome air traffic control lost our ship during descent, they'll be looking for a possible crash site.”

I didn’t comment any further regarding the matter, nor did Ālrai, and nor did any of the others have anything else to further add to it either. In this line of work, there were risks involved everywhere, and Shizuka like the rest of us, would have realised the extent into which she would be taking them when she signed up to fight for our justly cause. In the end, risk and danger was routine for the life of any freedom fighting resistance agent – and this mission alone most certainly would present no exception to the rule, yet still, I couldn't help but feel some anxiety over the young Shizuka eX Uchiha being left all alone in a ship, that was stationery in the middle of extremely dangerous enemy territory.

I looked around toward the landing site again, wondering, before looking away and not giving it a second thought. Shizuka had gone through the same hard rigorous training that I and everyone else had. She had most certainly earned her place for her inclusion to take part in this mission. She'll be able to take care of herself, I silently contemplated to myself.

As a group we moved into the forest. I looked over my shoulder at the edges of the crater our ship was in, before the view became blocked by vegetation. The rough rocky cliff like edge shape in which beyond it lay the crater with our ship in it, had settled just below the surrounding treetops.

I checked my headset seeing that all intracranial links had now been deactivated. The only things I could communicate with, were our nearby ship, my equipment, and my companions’ headset devices. All other broadcasting services were shut off, eliminating the chances of any transmissions being intercepted by Skysec, or anyone else in authority.

The zone between New Rome and the Citadel was true wilderness in nature. Life without link services and being off the grid. 'Ughh.' Oh well it wasn't the first time we had shut ourselves off the system wide grid, or entered into some sort of dead zone or wasteland, and been absent from it. Although on most occasions, we still had some sort of high level of communication available to us. However that was most certainly not the case on this occasion, where the absolute highest possible measures for avoiding detection were necessary, and therefore being implemented.

Ālrai indicated the direction, and then Icarus continued in the lead. I asked for an offline link from Ālrai and got it. Now I could see a cached map of the surrounding landscape in my mind’s eye, with our objective destination clearly marked. We fell into a line behind Icarus, with myself in the rear.

“Stay alert,” Icarus said over his link. “The flora and fauna are largely unknown. If we get in over our heads, Skysec will be the least of our concerns, and there won’t be anyone to save us.”

I acknowledged the message and dug out my blaster and set it on stun. I attached it to the webbing on my belt. Normally the webbing held onto the stunner firmly, but if I touched the weapon with my hand, it weakened so that I could tear the blaster away easily. Then the separated fibres would intertwine again as good as new. The same was the case if I needed to quickly retrieve my X Plasma Blade in a hurry. As for my long knives, they were harnessed securely over the back of my shoulders, and retrieving them meant just a quick stretch of an arm over the rear of my shoulder.

I scanned the surrounding vegetation, searching for anything that might be dangerous. Looking at the native trees made me itch. Their trunks were covered in so many tiny spines, that they almost looked hairy. The spiny leaves added to their shaggy greenish appearance. I saw now that some of the spines were soft, liquid filled leaves, but a few of the plants did have truly sharp spikes like cacti. I saw three more of the piggybacking trees, this time arranged with two specimens leaning together on the bottom to support another on their heads. The spines did not seem to inhibit the native lifeforms’ ability to make their homes in the trees. I saw a large variety of mollusk like creatures oozing around, squeezing between the spines. Many sported extra protection of some sort, mostly flat plates of armour or complete spherical shells. I got a good look at one hanging from a nearby limb. The creature was a round ball with holes placed randomly around it, from which tiny green legs poked out and retracted as needed. I committed some images of the trees and the creatures to my offline link memory which could be uploaded later. To date, I had never known of such existence virtually being so close at hand to the city of my birth.

The hike continued. When I began to sweat, I opened the vents in my clothing that were specialised for this sort of gruelling task. My every stride pumped air over my torso and sent it down to vents at my feet. Despite the added cooling, I felt the strain of walking on the uneven ground, pushing through the heavy foliage.

The hours went by quickly, while we occupied ourselves with making our way through the not so familiar ecosphere. I saw several more odd local creatures, but nothing larger than a small dog. With the Martian sun blazing down directly overhead, the trees afforded some protection, their spines blocking a great deal of the light. Still, the humid forest seemed like the inside of an oven during the middle of the day. We all drank a lot of water. I wondered if it would have been a better plan to have taken this trip during the night, but the thought of trying to make our way in the darkness, and with all sorts of odd creatures creeping about, would not have been pleasant. Besides, negotiating this unknown terrain on foot in the dark, would most likely have taken double the time, thus one of several reasons to go in during the daylight hours.

With no communication to the outside world, we continued to trek with a vengeance. I had time to think about the possibilities of what sort of weapon Skycom was trying to create, but kept the thoughts to myself. Until we actually got into their well guarded facility, my thoughts regarding Skycom's best guarded secret to date, would be nothing more than mere speculation.

We forged on for another hour, getting ever so closer to the initial part of our objective – the Citadel's protective shield generator. I was glad I had been working out and training regularly, even if this exercise was quite different. I wondered how long eM could continue this level of exertion, although I figured the others could probably go around the same distance as me, since we all had around the same level of training and experience under our belts.

Although that would hardly matter anymore, after Icarus placed a hand out for all of us to come to a halt, and then spoke up.

“Okay team, we're almost there,” Icarus said. “A good thing as this hiking is killing me, as I'm sure it's killing the rest of you too."

I was exhausted, as were the others. Although taking a quick glance at eM who had turned around to take a quick look at me, she appeared to have faired a lot better than I had anticipated.

“You're doing exceptionally well, keep it up.” I told eM, smiling at my delivery of the classic compliment, as I patted her gently across her shoulders.

Icarus though, frowned. “Actually, now is not the time for any compliments. Sure we've all done well to get this far, but we’re barely even started the mission. I strongly suggest we refrain from any behaviour of that nature until we've successfully completed the mission." He concluded dryly.

Not to happy with his reasoning, but thinking the better than to argue with him, I simply took a step back from my fiancée, and nodded an agreement.

"On the other side of that hill up ahead," Icarus immediately spoke again, his voice guttural. "The forest ends as you all would've noticed. The entrance to the shield generator has to be on the other side where the clearance begins. We'll move up slowly and take a closer look to examine our options. Kay and I will go first. The rest of you will follow slowly and cautiously." He said in a thickly voice that now sounded toneless, motioning for me to come forward.

Up ahead, Icarus and I reached the crest of the hill. We dropped to the ground, crawled the last few feet, and peered over the edge. Icarus raised his arm and hand, signalling the rest of the group to stop. All at once, the forest behind us seemed to become much more silent.

Ālrai, Miyuki and eM crawled forward on their bellies, to view what Icarus and I were observing. Pointing through the ferns, both Icarus and I cautioned stealth. Not far below, and on the inside part of the protective energy shield, in a glen beside a clear pool, two Skysec scouts had set up temporary camp. They were fixing a meal of rations, and were preoccupied warming it over a portable cooker. Two hoverbikes were parked nearby.

Beyond that point, and out in the distance, a shuttle was being off loaded on a landing platform docking ramp. Several ground assault vehicles were parked nearby. Skysec officers stood around, helped with construction, took watch, and carried supplies. The massive shield generator that enveloped all of them, hummed away in all directions.

"First thing's first," Icarus said as our entire strike team carefully moved a little, crouching behind a woodsy ridge overlooking the entire Skycom shield generator area. I viewed the area through a small electronic scanner.

"Here's our chance to pass through the energy shield as it will shortly be lowered to allow that shuttle to leave." Icarus turned to me with a hopeful grin.

I put down the scanner and scuttled back to the others. "The entrance to the shield generator is on the far side of that landing platform. This isn't going to be easy, but our chance to pass through the shield is here. There is a shuttle in which its departure is imminent, meaning the shield will be lowered momentarily. There are only two scouts in our immediate path. While Icarus and I charge at them to neutralise them, the rest of you run behind us and follow. The window time of the shield being down is minimal, so we must all hurry as the next opportunity may be hours away from as far as we can tell."

“Oh, come on, guys," I gave Ālrai, Miyuki and eM a pained look after noting the sceptical looks across their faces. "We've gotten into more heavily guarded places than this, it's only two scouts down there.”

"Well there better be only two of them, otherwise it's all our arses on the line that you're dealing with Kay." Miyuki cautioned.

"It is only two, for until we get past the shields. Of course we'll likely encounter more resistance once we are in at some point, but we'll all cross that bridge once we come to cross it," I countered with a dismissing gesture.

"Okay Icarus, the others are ready." I said as I made my way quickly back to where I had left him waiting. "We run at them and take them out at close proximity range. No guns as the noise may arouse the others that are close by."

“Agreed." Came Icarus' quick sharp response. "Look, the shuttle is about to lift off. It's time to go. By the time we reach the shield perimeter where those two scouts are, it should be lowered.”

Before I could even think of anything else, Icarus and I were already dashing toward the two Skycom scouts that were inside the boundaries of the shield perimeter. I could hear the initial humming of the shuttle's ion engines, as it rose into the distance overhead. It then turned into an ear piercing roar, at the very precise moment the shield barrier that would have been between us and the two scouts, briefly gave way to nothing but thin air.

Neither scout, too preoccupied with their meals saw us coming or what would hit them. Using a telekinetically assisted jump, I leaped over Icarus, spinning and summersaulting in mid air to land firmly on my feet behind one of the two scouts.

"What in the name of—" The young sounding male voice of the scout was abruptly cut off as I grabbed him from behind, and secured my arm firmly around his neck cutting off his air. I then retrieved one of my knives that had been secured over my shoulder, and held it to the man's neck.

"Say even a word and I'll slit his throat," I threatened his companion, as he then thought twice about going for his gun.

"Who, what are—" the voice of the scout I was holding was cut off when I tightened my hold.

The other man saw the look of sheer terror in his companion's eyes. With all the training they had done through the ranks of the Skysec hierarchy, nothing but experience could prepare them for what they were facing now. He trembled as he stared in both my eyes and that of his companion. This was a whole new ball game for him, as he had never been faced in a situation like this before.

"Please... Whoever you are. Just let him go. I'm sure we can talk this over like civilised people." My captive's companion begged.

“Why? So I lose the leverage I currently have on you so you can stop me?" I hissed and moved backwards as the other man took a step forward. "I mean it! Come any closer and he drops dead!”

I pressed the knife harder to my hostage's throat, so that a thin line of blood showed up. He gasped and clawed at my arm to try and break free. "Don't think about trying to escape," I hissed into his ear and pressed the knife even harder.

I then heard the familiar humming of the protective shield once more, as it enveloped the same area it had prior to the departing shuttle. By now Icarus and the others had safely crossed inside of the shielded zone.

Unlike me, Icarus wasted no time with futile negotiations. Ducking behind the other scout who was concentrated on his companion taken hostage by me, he used the thick stock of his massive projectile weapon, and swung it up against the back of his head. Before he knew what hit him, the man went down like a tonne of bricks, bleeding profusely from the gash caused by the blow, and was rendered blissfully unconscious.

My hostage didn't even hear the scream from his companion's mouth, as he saw everything in horrible slow motion from literally three metres away. He screamed in panic, but his cries were immediately silenced as my knife inadvertently pushed deeply into his throat, cutting into it. The man gulped causing blood to gash out from his fatal wound, and splatter gruesomely over the fancy wrist gizmos on my arm. Then the slashing sound of my knife cutting his throat clean, abruptly ended his life as I pulled the arm wielding the knife back. Letting go of him, I gazed into eM's terrified eyes, and then looked away as he dropped dead beside his unconscious companion.

Returning my bloodied knife back to its spot over my shoulder, I made my way to the other fallen scout that Icarus had clubbed over the back of his head. The others looked at me in astonishment as to what I was doing, when I gently rubbed the back of his head, and checked for the source of blood, while trying not to move his neck. I found an eight inch gash at the base of his head. I proceeded to tear a section of clothing from his uniform, and gently applied pressure on the open wound to try and stop the bleeding.

"May I ask what the fuck your doing Kay Blade? You just slashed his friend's throat and killed him over there, and now you wanna fucking save this guy?" Icarus questioned me in utter disbelief.

“I didn't want to kill him!" I protested. "His throat pushed into the blade of my knife when your actions caused him to shit himself. Had you not—”

"Kay Blade! Have you totally lost your fucking marbles? We are at war with these guys, and infiltrating their installation. They won't hesitate to kill us in a heartbeat. These men here included had they still been standing. Leave him there to die and get back on your feet. Now! That's a damn order Kay." Icarus barked out in frustration.

"Fine then Icarus," I snarled back in anger. "Have it your way. I'll take him out of his misery then so he suffers no more." Without a second thought or even a glance at Icarus, I retrieved the same knife I had only been brandishing a minute ago, and firmly placed the sharp edge of the blade to the throat of the fallen and now unconscious Skycom scout. With a quick retraction of my arm, the blade made swishing sound as it sliced his throat clean. The man's body twitched spasmodically for the amount of time it took me to put away my knife, before laying motionless. I reached and felt for a pulse, but got nothing but the familiar feel of cold flesh expected from a deceased body.

"There, satisfied now Icarus!" I said getting back onto my feet and turning away from him to deliberately snob him off.

Yet as I did, I felt the heavy weight of a hand, Icarus' hand, press firmly down on my shoulder, prompting me to swivel around and face him.

"What!" I snapped back at him.

"You know what Kay. You need to cut that attitude out as of immediately. It's them or us. There is no sparing anyone if you don't have to kill them. You basically kill any Skysec scum that crosses our path. In the end that one person you spare could be the same person that comes back to kill you, and hell if I'm gonna be responsible for that happening during a mission that I have command of. As of now and until we leave this place, you will eliminate anybody and without mercy, that is unfortunate enough to be at the wrong place at the wrong time. You got it Kay Blade?" Icarus said, his voice very firm and callous.

Although I didn't agree with his logic in any shape or form, for the better of the mission, the words, "Yes sir," immediately followed, with me doing a fairly reasonable job at not revealing my obvious hesitancy toward him.

Good and that goes for the rest of you too. Now let's move." Icarus said in a complete insensitive manner as he turned around.

We continued walking in utter silence. It wasn't before long until we reached what looked like the entrance to the shield generator. Four Skycom guards kept watch over the entrance to the installation, that half emerged from the natural land formation far to the rear of the main section of the shield generator complex.

In the undergrowth beyond, our resistance infiltration squad lay in wait. "There's not many," I observed slowly.

"You're right, Kay," Icarus agreed, "with just those guards, it shouldn't be hard to get in there and set the timers for the detonation chargers. We need to kill all four of them quickly and systematically. It only takes one to sound the alarm," Icarus cautioned.

I grinned, a bit over self confidently. "Then we'll have to do this real quiet like. From here we need to get that small railcar across to the Citadel tower. There could be others inside. I guess like you said back there before, there lives are to be forfeited too. This oughta be no sweat. First off, we just gotta hit those guards fast and quiet."

Icarus snapped back into his authority readying his Tear gas grenade launcher. "I'm gonna fire tear gas at them. By the time they realise what's going on, you can clean them up with that plasma sword thingie of yours Kay."

With a last glance behind me, I turned. I motioned to the others. "Stay close to us."

"I'm not going to argue with that," Ālrai said, while the other two females nodded their heads in acknowledgment.

"Okay here goes.." I said turning back at Icarus who had by this stage readied his tear gas grenade launcher.

I took a heavy long breath in, focusing my mind on what I was about to do, and then slowly expelled my breath out. Weirdly enough, my mind became at ease, as something unknown to me, something I quite didn't understand yet, but I knew was guiding me, told me what I needed to know.

With my X Plasma Blade in hand, I readied myself to charge forward.

Icarus was at my side with his launcher ready. He then called out in a whisper. "Wait!"
I paused impatiently. Icarus pointed his tear gas grenade launcher in the direction of the four unsuspecting Skysec guards. "Get ready to do your magic moves Kay Blade. I'm about to give you the edge you need."

I hesitated slightly. "Icarus, I'm not sure about this."

"Trust me, and believe in your abilities. Just do it and stop thinking about it." Icarus said reassuringly.

There was no time to argue. It was now or never. Paw. Paw. Paw. Paw. Icarus' action was so fast, that it was almost a blur. With a quick pull of the trigger on his launcher, Icarus sent four tear gas grenades shooting down toward the guards below, which detonated before hitting the ground where the guards stood..

At first, the guards were just confused. Then they tried to evade the non lethal gas, but one started coughing as he inhaled the gas and started to fall. Another lost his balance and staggered into his colleague on his left. Before long, all four were trying to keep their balance to desperately try and stay on their feet. I leaped directly into their midst, while the others followed me down with blasters ready for the just in case. My X Plasma Blade danced. Within seconds the squad of four guards had been demolished.

We then stood at the door. Icarus indicated for eM to step forward. Pulling out some fancy slicing tool, she plugged it into the installation's control panel. With natural speed she punched a series of buttons on her device, and then the panel. eM produced a cheeky grin as silently, the door opened.

Icarus peeked inside. No sign of life. He motioned myself and the others, and we entered the installation. Ālrai, Miyuki and eM followed close on our heels. eM then pushed a series of buttons on the inner panel, closing the door behind us.

Miyuki had the backpack containing the detonation chargers. She tossed a couple to each of us, and we then proceeded down to the to shield generator plant. The sound of loud spinning turbines and the distinctive sound of the generator's humming, dominated the scenery around us, as we planted the charges at several different key sections in our immediate vicinity.

From here it was time to get the railcar across to the Citadel. We began to walk towards the awaiting railcar after having left the large shield generator room. Icarus lead while the rest of us followed cautiously. As we got into the railcar, we did encounter a single female Skysec officer, most likely the operator of the actual railcar. By the time she had even registered that we were not supposed to be here, Icarus stepped in close to her. Using the mass of his much larger build to grab her, he smashed her head against one of the walls knocking her out. He then slung her limp body over to one of the railcar's seats, firming wrapping his massive forearm around the unconscious woman's neck bracing her in a firm headlock. With a quick hard turn of his arm around her neck, the awful sound of bone cracking, and the empty motionless hazel eyes that stared out toward the ceiling that followed, was enough for all of us to know that he had brutally just snapped her neck, killing her without mercy.

He then reached for the railcar's door and sealed it shut. "Ālrai take us to the Citadel tower now. The rest of you sit tightly and be on the ready for anything." His eyes burned with fire, merciless, and almost giving the impression of being demon like. "Now Ālrai, let's go already!"

"Oh and Miyuki, put that dead officer's uniform on, eM help her with that." Icarus barked out emotionlessly.

"That's okay eM, at ease, I can move the body on my own and remove her clothing." Miyuki quickly spoke out before anyone could say a word, observing the terrified look in her little adopted sister's eyes. She lifted the body off the seat by placing both her arms under the deceased's arm pit area, lifted her up, and slowly lay the deceased's limp body across the now moving railcar's cold metal flooring. Without paying any attention to anyone else, she slowly began to remove the deceased's knee length boots, followed by her pants, before moving up to the dead body's upper torso area, to remove her upper clothing. I placed a light hand over eM's shoulder and turned her around, so she could face forward and not have to look. After Miyuki was done, she dragged the almost naked body of the very unfortunate Skysec officer, closed her eyelids, and dragged her near a wall, leaning her face first onto the wall, so that only the backside of her body and hair were exposed. After she had covered most of the body by gently placing her own clothes that she originally had been wearing on top of her, Icarus, eM and myself all turned around to see a Miyuki dressed in the elegant glory of a Skysec agent.

"You look ever so sexy in that attire Miyuki." I commented jokingly, even though I did actually think that the stunning lines and contours, of her newly acquired uniform did make the perfectly featured Asian woman look even hotter than she already was.

"You're so hilarious Kay Blade," Miyuki retorted back, clearly not interested at my sarcasm, nor was she overly too happy at Icarus' unnecessary brutality, which had resulted in the death of the Skysec officer she had taken the uniform off.

However if the mission leader had noticed Miyuki's disapproval of his actions, he was either totally oblivious to it or had chosen to ignore it. "You look good Miyuki in terms of passing as one of them. When we arrive at the Citadel tower, you can get out first and assess the surroundings, and from there we will determine how we proceed forward from there."

"Yes sir. Understood sir." She replied. Being on the Arjian Council she could've pulled rank on Icarus. However the very same Council she was on, had chosen Icarus as leader of this mission. She didn't agree with his methods, yet he hadn't done anything of wrong to put everyone and the mission in jeopardy, thus wisely, after Icarus nodded his acknowledgement and turned around, she took a seat and quietly sat down for the remainder of the short trip to the Citadel tower.

 


Meanwhile, somewhere deep within the confines of the Citadel tower complex...

 


Kes En'jusek barely breathed as she examined the odd creature through the scope of her SX-47 sniper rifle. It looked like a tentacled mollusk with a flat, platelike shell, hanging upside down from a branch so the shell faced the ground. It had at least three tiny eyestalks waving around, examining its next potential meal, a big green fruit dangling in front of it. The thing was about the size of a large house cat.

“Computer here’s another one,” she said. “Let me know when you—”

“The scan is complete Kes. You may take your shot,” a clean, emotionless voice responded from behind.

Kes swept some of her brown hair off her face and centred on the target. She gently squeezed the trigger. Her slim 60 kilogram frame absorbed the light recoil, causing her to flinch just a little, however all in all, the assassin woman had little or no trouble coping with it. The round hurtled toward its target, too fast for the human eye. While still dozens of metres from its target, the bullet detected a wind drift from its logged destination, and corrected for it with tiny bristles on its surface that could alter its drag. The projectile slammed into the unfortunate tree dweller and tumbled through its innards, dropping it from the branch.

Kes searched through her scope for a moment, looking for her target. She found it lying on the ground, leaking red fluid. The thing looked very dead.

“Looks like it’s got iron based blood, anyway,” she noted happily.

To Kes En'jusek, this was just one of her many talented ways in eliminating a living creature or soul from the realm of the living. Although in this instance she found herself buried deeply within the many training facilities of the Citadel, or to be specific, in her case the holodeck.

The holodeck was the perfect tool to recreate or even invent one's own scenario of a planet or strange planet, with every type of life form, intelligent or non intelligent, and then kill it in whichever way she saw fit, or her hungry burning desire told her too. It could even simulate a real person to the exact details, feel and all, where she could to her heart's content, kill an adversary, over and over again.

“I wouldn't mind having a hologram of that Kay Blade scumbag created. Simulating killing her a few times will do wonders to pump my adrenaline levels to a high." Kes commented to the holodeck computer, who had absolutely no idea who or what I was.

"You may submit the full details of whoever you want simulated at anytime Kes. Once you do, I'll attempt to recreate that person in which together, we can then further refine the hologram in that it will perfectly simulate the target person in question." The holodeck computer responded in its usual monotonous electronic female voice.

“Agreed computer. That will most certainly make this experience big game, as I want nothing more than to either stab or strangle that whore to death.” Kes said snarling to herself at just the thought of killing me. She scratched at the back of her head, then played with a strand of her long hair as she moved her hand lower behind her head.

“I’m afraid we are going to have to terminate this session prematurely today Kes. You are being called upon by someone very important who appears to be in need of your many talented services.” Kes' eyebrow rose, but she didn’t have time to reply.

Her comm link announced an incoming message with a mental flourish of musical notes. For her own convenience, Kes had set for all calls incoming from Skycom Corporation to be transferred directly to her comm link, rather than her usual comm device. The major significance between the two devices was more than obvious. The more popular and heavily used comm device was simply an external device either handheld or attached externally anywhere onto the user's body. It could either be answered by speaking to the party on the remote end by the use of audio speech, or by a holographic visual projection of the calling party. A comm link on the other hand, was a highly more sophisticated advanced neural implant connected to the user or subject's brain, allowing them to hear and see the calling party within the mind's eye, not having to do with the use of external devices, attachments or gizmos.

Kes connected and saw none other than the person that she had expected would be contacting her, Director Langley waiting to speak with her in her mind’s eye. She immediately joined the channel.

“Kes En'jusek here,” she announced.

“Kes. We have something requiring your immediate attention.” Came the calm subtle voice of the director.

“Yes Director. What is it?" Kes responded in a way that was quite the opposite to that of her superior only seconds earlier – quick and abrupt.

"New Rome flight control has reported a Maelstrom cruiser identical in its description to the decoy that left Earth several minutes ago." Kristy continued, ignoring and not caring about the assassin's abruptness and rudeness towards her. She had come to expect nothing less from the disobedient woman, who apart from her usefulness in silencing those that Skycom Corporation deemed needed to be silenced, had become nothing more than an annoyance and a pest.

"A decoy?" Kes questioned raising an eyebrow.

"Yes Kes, had you listened to my orders instead of running off to your own crusade, you would have known." Kristy said, standing tall and proud, trying to intimidate the assassin for not listening to her in the first place.

"Umm perhaps not. It sounds as if the Arjian Resistance force has already gotten here. Good thing that I didn't listen to you after all." Kes responded, understanding the almost childish like game the director was trying to play on her, and not having a bar of it.

"Whatever Kes." Kristy said pursing her lips.

“The Maelstrom appeared to be in sudden distress, and then completely vanished from all ground and orbiting scanners." Kristy continued with a quick huff and puff, indicating her clear annoyance more at the fact that Kes had bettered her judgement, than at the fact that we the resistance fighters, had for the time being gotten the upper hand over Skycom.

"Has a crash been confirmed?" Kes asked knowing all too well that it wouldn't have been, but wanted Kristy to confirm it wasn't, just to take further pleasure in seeing her more irritated.

"No, and being well inside the Martian atmosphere, if the ship did veer out of control and crash, it would have been found very much straight away." Kristy said hiding away her obvious high level of disappointment for allowing us in getting as far as we had so far.

"So it was staged then, meaning it was definitely them. That sure was quick. Well probably not quite cos they would have left earlier than you anticipated." Kes said with a big mocking smirk across her face. "So what’s the plan of action?”

“Here’s the suspected landing zone,” the director said, forcing herself to ignore the assassin's mockery.

A map appeared on the link and Kes mentally examined it. The vast open and non populated area in between the Citadel tower complex and New Rome, was displayed with a wide red swathe over about a third of its surface area.

“I know, it’s large. They were quite resourceful in our orbital encounter. However finding their ship or landing site, and identifying the ship is not your priority. Our own space force can do that. Given our orbital scanners have identified nothing approaching the Citadel complex, it can only mean they have set out on foot and used the shroud of the forest that is the area marked as red on your map. Assuming they were successful in entering past the defence shields, they should be inside of the complex, or almost in it by now. They have eluded us for longer than I'm willing to accept. They will be heading for the Citadel's archives database in search for the Time Portal plans and location. Your job Kes is to intercept them and eliminate the threat."

“Does that mean I can use any means of force necessary Director?”

“In other words kill them?" Kristy blatantly clarified what the assassin had been wanting to say. "Yes kill them, but with one exception. If you can capture both Kay and eM Blade so that they can be tried and executed—”

"We had an agreement that I get to kill her Director." Kes cut in.

“And yes Kes it still stands. You will execute her lover eM Blade first and make her watch helplessly, and then give Kay her turn by reuniting them in death.”

"Her lover?" Kes questioned confused.

“Yes that is correct. My late mother Cerberus learn't about that when we had captured them both, and condemned them to death by fighting in the gladiatorial arena.”

"Ah I see. Then killing her little pet lover painfully and slowly should be most pleasurable." Kes' eyes lit up in excitement at the prospect as she responded.

"Of course, if you are given no choice while you run across any of them while investigating, then kill them both, although at worst I'm quite sure you are clearly capable of maiming them instead, which is my preferred that outcome. That way we can carry out both their brutal executions later, and in public.”

Kes knew what that meant. Given neither I nor eM would be alone, capturing us alive or at least alive without critically maiming either of us would be near impossible. And there was no chance that we would surrender either, meaning the moment she came into contact with us, it would be a fight most likely to the death.

Director Langley knew Kes quite well. The assassin’s line of thinking was transparent to her.

“I thought you’d enjoy the chance to bag these scumbags, and in particular our most hated and most wanted Kay Blade."

“Yes, ma'am! I appreciate that, ma'am.”

“Be careful. I know you're good at what you do— the best there is for that matter, but these resistance fighters are dangerous and determined. This means as they have already proven, they will be well prepared. If anything, they’re more likely to start shooting at you once you bump into them.” Kristy said sounding like she was sucking up the assassin's arse now, and inevitably giving Kes more satisfaction at the director's expense.

“Yes, ma'am. Sounds good. Anything else?”

“Those are your orders, Kes En'jusek. Keep me notified.”

The assassin broke the link. Kes then opened her eyes, and threw her sniper rifle over her back.

“Big game this will be.” she said happily, and began walking back toward her ship in the Citadel's main hangar bay, where she could gear up and prepare for her encounter, and more importantly as far as she was concerned, her personal and private battle with me.

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