The following contains adult language.
“But how did you even know?” I asked Ascheya while stumbling over large rock.
I still didn’t understand how she knew that Samantha Schmidtweiler had been on the transport. She was out investigating when Kelly had found Samantha’s name. It didn’t make sense. Well, that and the fact that no matter where I went, I was falling over some kind of rock.
“We already went over that,” Ascheya dismissed me with a wave of her hand.
Jacob just shook his head while I continued my line of questioning, “You said it yourself, I’m a ‘by the book’ kind of guy. Procedure is that our mics aren’t cued when communication isn’t required.”
Groaning, the hematite skinned woman next me rolled her eyes, “I guess you messed up. I know I made a mistake once, maybe you made one huh?”
“Because I don’t make mistakes!” I barked, “Mistakes on Charon get you killed!”
I felt a thud in the back of my head and saw Jacob’s hand returning to his side. He’d slapped me upside my head!
“Either get a damn room or shut the fuck up,” he ordered. “One thing you need to know, she’s a girl. She makes up rules on the run and changes them on a whim so she’s always right even when she’s wrong.”
“Hey!” I exclaimed, but before I could say anything, Ascheya spoke up.
“In your dreams buddy,” she snickered, “This body is a temple and I won’t let you or anyone else desecrate it.”
“What the hell!?” I shoved them both. “No!” I pointed at Jacob, “And hell no!” I responded, pointing at Ascheya.
Jacob stopped, causing me to stumble again, and looked around, “You sure you got your bearings Ascheya?”
“Yeah, why?” she asked, likewise stopping and turning to face Jacob.
Looking at the rocks and stones that surrounded us and then looking up at the sky, I noticed a slight grin on his haggard face, “You were what? Twenty five kliks from the base?”
“Uh huh?” Ascheya nodded, looking around herself.
“What do you think L-T?” the right side of Jacob’s grin grew.
Shrugging I kicked a rock, “This place always looks the same to me. Let’s see; rock, rock, dirt, another rock.”
“You sure it was twenty-five kliks?” Jacob asked, looking over his shoulder.
“Yeah, right …” Ascheya paused and turned her attention to Jacob.
“You … sure?” Jacob asked again, raising his right eyebrow.
Ascheya stared at Jacob for a moment. Her face was blank. Expressions are our methods of communicating with the outside world. She had stopped communicating with the outside world, everything was inward … just for a moment.
“FUCK!” she suddenly bellowed and kicked a rock hard enough to break it into pieces.
Jacob just laughed. I watched him laugh at the woman that everyone feared. I watched him laugh at her folly. I watched Jacob make a victim out of her.
She had left so many in her wake, so many corpses, so many upset people. She had dedicated her life to making other people her victim in whatever way possible. She had told me she wasn’t her sister. Maybe she was more like her sister than she wanted to be.
“You missed a landmark,” Jacob chuckled, watching her rage boil. “We went the wrong waaay …”
She stopped her blade just under his chin, “You think this is funny!? HUH!? WE COULD BE ANYWHERE!?”
“You’re fast,” Jacob grinned, “But you’re still predictable.”
She didn’t see it, but I did. His dagger was pointed at her heart and he tapped her to let her know she’d been caught.
“And we’re not just anywhere,” he continued grinning. Taking his dagger off of her heart, he motioned to the ridge of rocks we were standing next to.
Shaking with rage, Ascheya dropped her weapon to her side. Walking to the stones, she peered over the edge, “What is that?”
Jacob sat down, the smile having vanished from his face, “It’s a foundry. You know why I got the drop on you Ascheya?”
She didn’t look back and only shrugged.
Standing up, Jacob grabbed me by the collar and pulled me over to the ridge of stones. Below us was a huge steel building with stacks that tried desperately to reach the rotten, rolling sky. Smoke billowed out of the stacks and the rancid stench of burning blood and flesh filled the air.
“You desperately want to live,” Jacob said flatly. “Just like you’re sister. She taught me something though. There’s no guarantee I’ll live to take another breath, I’m not scared any more. Just waiting.”
Jacob sighed. It was one of those contented sighs of someone who knew something nobody else does. He leaned on the rocks and hung his head, his matted hair falling over his face.
“I wasn’t worried about whether or not you would be able to kill me,” Jacob explained. Slapping me on the shoulder, he took a deep breath, “Draghixa wanted to level that place. Come on Lieutenant, let’s see if there’s anything left of Samantha.”
So I blundered down a hill behind the most advanced killing machine ever created and an obsolete cover model comfortable with his impending death to face beasts that created horrific monstrosities out of the pieces of their victims. It was going to be one hell of a day.