Part 7 in Season 4 of my Insurgency series! A Rank-Up build for the Marauders! Please comment, rate and enjoy!
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10th January 2098: Present Day
The festive period had been a quiet one.
Not in a nice way either. When I'd been little, Christmas with my family had been an exciting occasion, filled with music, food and laughter. Then, in prison it had been the precise opposite. Just another day in a bleak cell. Since I'd escaped, I'd spent every Christmas surrounded by my friends - those I classed as my new family. Cat. Eris. Tracks. Basher. Everyone I'd met since I'd been on the run. But this year... this year had been horrible. After everything that had happened aboard the Spire, I wasn't sure I even had friends any more. I'd spent the festive period with Cat and Tracks, but it had been a very muted affair. Nobody was in the mood for celebrating, not after the death of Basher and everything else that had gone on.
So, when the new year came, I was actually happy that we could stop pretending to be celebrating and just get back to normality.
On New Year's Day, Judas, Governor Boan had announced that the Collective Registration Act was going to be passed into law. As was always going to be the case, this hadn't pleased half of the planet's population, but at least there had been a decision and quite frankly, I didn't want any more to do with it. The Governor had also announced that from now on, an appointed representative from every Religion would now be present in each Senate meeting. He said that the events which had caused him to create the Registration Act had also led to this decision.
Apparently, Vice Reverend Hhruuk-Te had been chosen to represent the Followers of the Universe, which didn't surprise me in the slightest.
Since then, the new year had been filled with yet more protests and fighting on the streets. Not the best start to a year, but I myself had kept quietly hidden away in my apartment. I wasn't afraid to leave, but I certainly wasn't in a hurry to venture outside.
I'd spent a fair bit of time considering how I could track down Darkblade, now that I knew he was still alive and had decided to ask Mr. Grey for suggestions, but he hadn't been overly helpful. Aurora had informed her mother, the High Priestess, that he lived and in turn, the High Priestess had informed the Governor of Fuyoria. They must have passed the message around because a few days later, I had seen a news article on the net entitled "Mercenary responsible for kidnap of Priestess lives!"
None of that had helped my search, but at least searching for him was keeping me occupied; giving me something to do and take my mind off of the whole registration matter. Hopefully it wouldn't be long before something came up and I could get out there and begin finding him for real.
In a house somewhere in the system, a lone figure stood, readying themselves for a journey ahead. The living room would have appeared cosy, were it not for the ammunition belts, grenade pouches and various weapons laid out of the furniture.
As the figure threw another ammo bandolier over their shoulder, the television in the background rewound and played the same video it had been set to show yet again. The man, prepping himself for war, muttered a curse at the air and the screen showed a video of the Collective headquarters, the Spire, orbiting above Qoter. It was a news report on the assault that had taken place there.
As Archmage Arathon began speaking to the camera, reading out a statement about the incident, the man hoisted up a combat helmet and slid it onto his head. The image on the TV changed and now it was Jay Arathon's turn to speak.
Man: "You..." he whispered, pausing his preparations to stare intensely at the TV, as he did every time Jay appeared. "You did this..." He'd seen the news report more times than he could count since it had first been broadcast and his attention to the screen only grew with every re-play. He would watch, and he would plan. But now, the time for planning was over. Now was the time for action.
When Jay finished speaking, the man grabbed his final weapon and as he holstered it, growled,
Man: "I'm coming for you..."
Governor Boan’s Office
As yet another bearcat thanked the Governor for his time and made their way out of Judas Boan's office, Manerre limped past them in the opposite direction, leaning heavily on his cane as always. At his desk, Judas groaned and rubbed absent-mindedly at his facial scar.
Manerre: "You're letting your tiredness get the better of you, brother." He commented and Judas threw him a scowl. "You used to be a lot better at hiding your emotions. People will begin to think ill of you."
Judas: "I really couldn't give a damn right now." He replied wearily.
Manerre: "Oh come now. That's enough of that."
Judas: "This act, the attack on the Spire; there's just so much going on, I have no way of keeping on top if it all. It's just one thing after another."
Manerre: "Yes, the Spire didn't come at the best of times. Is the Archmage pressing charges?"
Judas: "I have no idea, she won't tell me anything. But you know who was there?"
Judas: "Rockwell and Riley."
Manerre: "It's a small system. Were they involved?"
Judas: "It seems so. I'm getting tired of Tank always getting in my way." He growled, more to himself than his brother and as he said the words, a thought came to him, his eyes widening.
Judas: "In fact... leave me." He demanded abruptly. Manerre raised a quizzical eyebrow but a moment later, did as bade and ambled out of the room, leaving Judas alone.
Judas pulled out his comlink and dialled a number he had not called in almost half a year...
As The Governor's Aide limped away along the corridor, a small smile appeared on his face. He knew exactly who his dear brother was calling.
The mercenary; Darkblade.
His supposedly pure and honest brother may be a politician, but he wasn't very subtle. Manerre knew all about their deal, and he also had his own with the man in black - Darkblade would kill Judas in return for whatever he wanted once Manerre was Governor.
When Darkblade had vanished last year, Manerre had feared the worst. But now, according to the news, he was back, which had pleased Manerre immensely. Manerre was beginning to grow tired of playing the forgiving brother; the loyal and trusted Aide. He couldn't wait for his beloved sibling to meet his end. Where Darkblade had been all this time, he had no idea, but if it was true and he was still alive, then he had a heck of a lot to get on with...
The seemingly endless list of names and locations continued scrolling from the bottom to the top of the computer monitor and Darkblade, sat in one of the little alcoves of his base, took in each and every one of them.
His trip to Iapra to find Dr. Lobotomy, the man who had made him this way, had been fruitless. He'd made good use of his time there, but he was no closer to his ultimate goal. So now it was back to the drawing board and back to the search for the runaway Doctor. He had noted down a few locations that could be worth a visit - all locations associated with Lobotomy. He'd already got a strong starting point; apparently the Doctor had been spotted on Toliv, so that was at least somewhere for him to begin.
On the table behind him, his comlink began to bleep. Thankful for the distraction from the frankly boring job of lead-hunting, he walked over and activated it. To his surprise, the shimmering form of Governor Boan appeared before him.
Darkblade: "Well, Governor. This is an unexpected pleasure." He greeted.
Judas: "Cut the act, mercenary." He snapped. "Why didn't you get in touch? I thought you were dead."
Darkblade: "Thank you for your concern." He replied sarcastically.
Judas: "I'm growing tired of waiting for you to come good on our deal."
Darkblade: "I've been busy."
Judas: "Clearly. Too busy to tell me know that you were still alive."
Darkblade: "As I said..." he growled, already losing his patience. "I've been busy."
Judas: "Well, it's time to pay up. I've given you access to the Government's files, now it's your turn: kill Chain Rockwell. Now." The scarred Governor demanded.
Judas frowned, confused by the blunt rejection.
Judas: "What do you mean 'no'? You agreed to kill him and yet..."
Darkblade: "And I will." Interjected Darkblade. "Just not yet. He's not suffered enough. I tried once before but it didn't work. I need more time to plan the best way to end him. Don't worry, Governor." He added as Judas opened his mouth to protest. "Our deal is still on. I will kill Tank for you. But only when I decide. I'm heading to Toliv tomorrow and if all goes well, then I'll be able to decide what to do with Tank. Good day."
And with that, Darkblade ended the connection.
In his office, Judas closed his open mouth and ground his teeth in anger. The mercenary had never been the most pleasant person to deal with, but he was pushing his luck now. Still, he wasn't the sort of person that Judas wanted to cross so for now he would just have to wait. Wait until it was apparently a suitable time for Tank to die.
Until then, there was nothing he could do... unless...
Unless there was. Judas pursed his lips in thought. Was there anything he could do to get back at his old friend? The betrayer who had run off with...
Slowly, a cruel smile spread across his handsome face. Riley. Riley was the answer... if what he was thinking; the plan currently formulating in his mind, worked, he could kill two birds with one stone.
A stone named love...
The mechanical wings on Avorax Wolfhide's back folded in on themselves and vanished into his backpack the second his feet had touched the ground. He brushed his hands off and looked over to the lifeless corpse slumped against the wall ahead of him.
With a loud sniff, he prepared to get proof of his kill, ready to take back to the Matlocks for his reward, but the buzz of his personal com interrupted him.
Frowning, he pulled it out and activated it.
Judas: "Avorax Wolfhide." The Governor greeted, much to the bounty-hunter's surprise. His shock at finding the Governor of Qoter calling him was short lived however and he began to grin as a chuckle escaped his lips.
Wolfhide: "You politicians are all the same aren't you." He commented, ignoring any pleasantries. "Just when you think there might actually be an honest one in the system...." he finished, leaving the thought hanging with a pointed look at the Governor.
Judas: "I require your services."
Wolfhide: "Of course you do!" He boasted. "Why else would you be calling?!"
To that, Judas just scowled.
Wolfhide: "So what'll it be? Murder? Ransom? Extortion?"
In one of the suburbs of Regentis, Cat was on her way home from a shopping trip. It had been hard to relax after everything that had happened in December, so she had felt like it was time for her to take a little time to herself.
Luckily, both she and Tank had large bank accounts and so going on a shopping g spree was no issue. To her, it was just good to get out of the apartment for a while. She'd asked if Tank had wanted to come along but he'd refused immediately. It was almost as if he were afraid to go outside.
Cat smiled sadly to herself as she thought on the situation. It was such a shame but in all honesty, she couldn't blame him. Ever since he'd gotten Tracks back, he'd thrown himself into the hunt for Darkblade, likely to try and take his mind off of things, just as she herself was doing now.
Still, as she walked, she began to think of possible ways she could entice him out of the apartment. They could start small. Go for a coffee. Maybe pop to a shop or two.
I crinkled my nose up as, sat on my couch, watching the TV, I witnessed some sort of large, almost wolf-like creature tear a humanoid woman apart. I was watching that game show from System 55 again; Live Escape. It was grizzly viewing and I really had no idea why I kept watching it, but for some reason I kept being drawn to it!
I was having a break from mercenary-hunting. Tracks was sat in the armchair nearby, watching TV with me. I glanced over at him, memories from last month floating in my mind's eye. Memories of him killing innocent soldiers. Of hitting me. Trying to kill both Eris and I. And finally of Basher merging his conscious with Tracks' own.
Looking at him, it was hard for me to comprehend that Basher was in there somewhere. The droid that I had made was now a shell for another life. How much of Basher now resided in Tracks, I had no idea. He was certainly aware that Basher was in there; that much he had proved at the time. But did he have any of Basher's thoughts? Feelings? Memories? Again, I hadn't a clue. Part of me wanted to ask and find out, but it still felt too soon and besides which, since the incident, Tracks had stopped talking again.
When I remade him against Eris' wishes, I had given him a new voice module and enabled him to talk, just like he had done when I first created him, but for some reason, now he seemed unable to. He was back to simply whirring and grunting mechanically as he had used to do. I'd offered to fix it for him but he'd shaken his head adamantly and not let me anywhere near it. I'd fixed the rest of the damage he'd sustained during the fighting, but he apparently wanted me to leave his voice module alone. Some sort of penance? Some self-inflicted punishment? Once again, I had no idea. All I knew was that if he wanted me to leave it be, I was going to respect his wishes.
My thoughts were interrupted, as per usual, by the insistent beeping of my comlink. I grabbed it and saw Cat’s name scrolling across the display. Cat had been out shopping for quite some time now, so I was glad to see her name pop up. With a smile, I keyed the comlink on.
And my heart froze as Judas appeared.
Judas: “Happy New Year, Chain.” He snarled, sounding angrier than I’d ever heard him before.
Tank: “What do you want?” I demanded, cutting to the chase, worried. “Where’s Cat?”
Judas: “Oh, is that what she goes by now?” he wondered aloud. “Riley is here with me.” He finally replied and turned the comlink around to show me something.
Tank: “Cat!” I exclaimed. Cat was tied, head lolling, to a fancy-looking wooden chair in the centre of a dimly-lit, yet even fancier-looking room. In my peripheral vision, I saw Tracks look over to me, wondering what was going on. “What have you done to her?” I growled, my concern beginning to be replaced by fury.
Judas: “Nothing. Yet.” The Governor responded. “She’s just unconscious.”
Tank: “What do you want?” I asked, cutting to the chase by assuming that’s what he was after. He wouldn’t be showing me this if he didn’t want something from me.
Judas: “I want you. Here. In one hour.” Boan replied. “Or Riley dies.”
Tank: “I’ll be there.” I acknowledged and a cruel smirk teased the corner of Judas’ lips.
Judas: “You’d better. I’m sending you the co-ordinates now. Clock’s ticking.”
And on that note, he ended the call.
Somewhere in Karnon…
Cat's eyes fluttered slightly as she came around. Her head throbbing, she scowled as she began to become aware of her surroundings. She was sat on a hard, wooden chair with her hands tied using something rough, rope she assumed, behind the backrest.
The room around her appeared fairly stately, but the furniture lay covered in dust and the air held a smell of damp, giving the impression that nobody had lived here for some time now.
As she looked around, a familiar voice made her jump.
Voice: "Ah, you're awake."
She craned her neck to see the speaker, but needn't have bothered, as Judas slowly walked around into her field of vision. It wasn't a menacing walk, Cat reflected. More a walk of a man preoccupied.
Cat: "Judas. What the hell is going on? What do you want?" She demanded.
Judas: "The same I've always wanted." He replied from where he'd stopped across the room, on the far side of a large wooden table. "You."
Cat almost sighed with exasperation.
Cat: "You've got to be kidding me."
Judas: "On the contrary, I'm deadly serious."
Cat: "What; you think that by kidnapping me, you'll suddenly gain my affection? Have you gone mad?"
Judas: "Oh, I'm sane enough." He replied despondently, wiping a hand across the table top and clearing the dust. Looking at the grey fluff on his fingers for a few seconds, he brushed it off before Cat spoke again; quietly this time.
Cat: "What happened to you Judas? You had everything and now... now you're kidnapping people and hiding in dark, dusty rooms."
Judas: "You know what happened." He retorted, an edge to his tone. Cat was silent. She did indeed know what Judas was referring to, but could not think of a suitable reply. Instead, she remained quiet in the hope that Boan would continue and thankfully, he did.
Judas: “You turned your back on me.” He growled. “The day of the battle for Old Qoter. The day we lost Knightborn. You betrayed me.”
Cat: “I betrayed you?!” she asked incredulously, unwilling to believe what she was hearing. “Judas, you betrayed me! Betrayed US!”
Judas: “NO!” he roared, slamming both fists on the table and making Cat jump in surprise. “No, you turned your back on me and everything we had!”
Cat didn’t reply immediately, unsure of what she could say.
Cat: “Look…” she began. “I’m sorry. For whatever wrongs you think I’ve done you.” She explained as the Governor began to make his way slowly around the rest of the table. “But please. Keeping me tied up here is not going to achieve anything. Please. Let me go?”
Judas continued his slow walk across the gloomy room, emerging from behind the table and making his way towards Cat. Their eyes maintained contact for the entire duration until the Governor of Qoter was stood right over Cat, looking down into her brown eyes.
Judas stood, unmoving for several seconds, clearly contemplating his options, before he reached down and untied Cat’s wrists, allowing her freedom from her chair. But as soon as her hands were free from the backrest, he retied them again. At least, Cat thought, she wasn’t bound to the chair any more. A step in the right direction.
Cat: “What is it you want?” she asked again, softly.
Judas: “Don’t you get it?” he snarled. “The only thing I’ve ever wanted is you! Since the first day you appeared in the office, I’ve loved you.”
Cat: “But you know I love Tank.” She explained and with a growl of annoyance, Judas turned. But Cat wasn’t letting him get away from this. She knew that, at heart, he was a good man and she wanted to make him see. “I always have done. Judas, we used to be friends. Good friends! Tank too! Don’t you remember the times we’d go for coffee or go for a meal? Times when we’d walk through the botanical gardens or the wildlife sanctuary on our days off? Just the three of us.”
Judas: “Oh I remember.” he replied ominously. “I remember being the third wheel. It was always the two of you.” He lamented.
Cat: “Oh come on. No it wasn’t! It was never like that!” she exclaimed.
Judas: “Of course you wouldn’t see it!” he snapped, looking back at her at last. “But I did. I guessed what was going on between you two, but I just didn’t want to believe it. Tank stole you from me.”
Cat: “Tank didn’t steal anything from anyone.” Cat replied, defending her boyfriend’s honour. “I chose him.”
Judas: “Over me.”
Cat: “Yes, over you.” She confirmed, looking one of the most powerful men in the system in the eye. Judas looked right back and Cat was incredibly aware of the danger she was in right now, but she was also incredibly aware of the scar on the other man’s face – the scar that she had put there.
I never seemed to go anywhere at the speed limit while in the Viper, and now was certainly not the time to break the mold. As I pushed it to it’s limit, blazing through the Qoterian air, I checked my watch. It had been just over 50 minutes since Judas had called. That meant I had less than 10 to get to wherever it was I was going.
Outside, it was dark but I was following the co-ordinates that I’d been given and was currently flying over the middle of nowhere. I knew I was somewhere in Karnon, one of the planet’s agricultural areas, but other than that I had no idea. I hadn’t seen a high-rise for a good 10 minutes now. Below, all I could see were fields and small farms.
Tank: “C’mon…” I muttered impatiently, tapping my foot while keeping an eye on the navi-comp’. The little red dot which marked my destination was still at the top of my screen, indicating my target was still some distance ahead.
Then, thankfully, as I passed over a field of Carniguan cattle, the little red blip began to slowly move down the screen. Finally, I was getting close!
I desperately searched the horizon for anything that may be my destination and a minute later, a dark shape began to form. As I drew closer and finally arrived, I saw that the building below was an ancient-looking mansion. It appeared run-down and forgotten, possibly even abandoned, however, the light shining in one window said otherwise. I was directly over the red blip on my map now, so knew I was in the right place and quickly but carefully set the Viper down on what seemed to be the overgrown back lawn.
With just 2 minutes to go, I sprinted towards the imposing-looking building. I was alone, having told Tracks to stay behind. He had protested, but I didn’t know what Judas was playing at and didn’t want to risk Cat’s life by bringing my droid along with me.
I made my way around the mansion and arrived at the front door. Hammering on the peeling wood, I felt my heart racing in my chest. I was just in time, but what if Judas had already done something stupid…
WHY WAS NOBODY ANSWERING?! I wondered impatiently. I hammered on the door with my fists again.
Tank: “HELLO?!” I shouted, just in case somebody could hear.
Voice: “Long time.” A gruff voice from behind stated, making me jump.
I spun around and found myself face to face with the bounty hunter Wolfhide. I opened my mouth in shock, about to make some sort of remark when he punched me in the face and my world went black…
Judas: “You chose a common criminal. A murderer, no less, over the Governor of the capital planet of our system?” he whispered disbelievingly.
Cat: “Judas, you tried to force yourself on me! It wasn’t what I wanted!”
Judas: “And what about what I wanted? Did you care about that?” he snarled, beginning to get angry.
Cat: “That’s not how love works!” she exclaimed as the Governor began to pace. “It has to be consensual! It must go both ways!”
Judas: “But it isn’t fair!” he demanded, balling his fists.
Cat: “Oh, grow up!” she shouted, the tension in the room rising. “Can’t you see how childish you sound? Can you not tell how wrong you are?”
Judas: “No!” he shouted back. “No, Tank is the one in the wrong here and soon, he’s going to pay.” Cat frowned, a new concern in her mind.
Cat: “What do you mean?” asked the ex-assassin, worried. What had Judas planned? What was going on here?
Judas: “You’ll see…” he muttered, more to himself that to Cat, she thought as he turned away.
Just then, there was a knock at the door, making Cat jump slightly again.
The door was slung open and in walked a grey-haired man wearing a golden eye patch over one eye.
Judas: “Ah! Look! We have a guest!” The Governor announced and from out of Cat’s line of sight, through the doorway, the newcomer dragged the unconscious form of Tank into the room. Gasping in shock, Cat wanted to run to her boyfriend, to check and make sure that he was alright, but something gave her the impression that that wouldn’t go down very well.
Judas: “Tie him to the chair.” He ordered and the elder man growled something under his breath but did as he was bidden. Tying Tank to the very chair that Cat herself had been strapped to only minutes before, the silver-haired man finished and stepped back. Certain that the boy was strapped in, he made his way back to the door.
Wolfhide: “I get paid now right?”
Judas: “I will sort it. Now leave us.” He commanded. The other man glanced between the Governor of Qoter, the young woman and the man tied to the chair, a mixed expression somewhere between intrigue and amusement passed across his face and then he was gone, the door closing behind him.
Now, it was just the three of them.
Nobody moved or made a sound for a good ten seconds after the other man had left and they had heard the front door slam closed somewhere in the distance. Then, as if on cue, Tank began to stir.
When I awoke, the first thing I became aware of was my throbbing head. Groaning, I went to hold my head but quickly realised that my hands wound bound behind my back. My situation flooding back to me, my eyes flew open. Where was I? Where was Cat? Was she okay?!
But after my moment of panic had passed, I began to take in my new surroundings. I was in the same room I'd seen in Judas' holo-call, surrounded by furniture that had clearly once been very grand, but now simply appeared worn out and run down. Everything held an air of grandeur, but that was overridden by the smell of damp and the thin layer of dust that covered everything in sight. It was a shame, really, I briefly contemplated, but all thoughts of the room itself and the building that housed it were forgotten when I saw Cat stood close by, her hands tied behind her back, watching me with a concerned look on her face and Judas, looking scruffier than I'd ever seen him before, stood a short distance away.
Tank: "What's going on?" I managed to ask, my head still a little fuzzy. "Are you okay?"
Cat: "Never mind me. Are you okay?" She checked, firing the question straight back at me.
Tank: "Never better." I replied, scowling at Judas across the room. "Alright, Judas. You've got what you wanted, now let her go." I demanded.
I wasn't sure what I'd expected his reaction to be, but it certainly wasn't what actually happened. Judas laughed.
Judas: "You're the one tied to a chair! I don't think you're in a position to make any demands."
Tank: "Please, Judas. Don't do this. Don't hurt her." I begged, knowing what he said was true. I had no control here. None whatsoever. All I could do was try to appeal to his better nature.
Judas: "You idiot." The Governor practically rolled his eyes. "Did you really think I was going to hurt her? I love her!" He shouted, as if it should have been obvious and in hindsight, I supposed that if I'd taken a moment to think about it, it probably would have been. Judas had always loved Cat so I should have been able to guess that it was a trap.
Judas: "No. No, Riley is safe. You're the one I'm going to hurt." He announced dramatically before continuing. "You took everything from me. And now, I'm going to kill you for it."
Part of me was scared. Part of me was wondering whether or not to believe him. The rest of me was thinking about how eerily similar this was to when I'd fought Darkblade in the ruins of Knightborn. How many other people had I wronged? How many people throughout my life had I unintentionally hurt?
In my mind I saw my parents. I saw Uncle Barnaby. Eris. Basher. Max Power. Jarred. The list went on. I could hear Judas still talking; ranting and raging about how I'd apparently stolen Cat from him, but I was no longer listening. I was trying to clear my mind of the guilt he'd placed there. I tried thinking of all the people I'd helped. Mr. Grey. Aril. Tracks. Captain Brass. The list was shorter than the other, admittedly, but still, they were all people whom I'd done right by.
I was snapped out of my reverie by Judas shouting my name and I realised that I'd been paying even less attention that I thought.
Judas: "I asked you a question." He growled menacingly. "Do you know why I brought you here?"
Tank: "How should I know?" I retorted.
Judas: "This was my home." He began. "I was born here. Raised here. This is where my over-reaching father constantly demanded better of me. This is where my brother was born and my mother died giving birth to him. This is the place that has caused me the most pain." The Governor explained as he made his way slowly across the room until he was stood beside Cat, who, to her credit, stood her ground and didn't move away.
Judas: "But now I'm the one in control. And now it's your turn to feel the pain."
And just like that, Judas grabbed Cat by the waist, pulled her in close and kissed her. It was forceful, deliberate and wrong in every way. I could see the shocked expression on Cat's face as she tried to pull away, but with her hands tied, she couldn't.
I started shaking with anger, being forced to watch another man, someone I'd once considered my friend, forcibly kissing my girlfriend while I could do nothing to stop it.
After a good few seconds, Cat finally succeeded in pulling away from Boan, a disgusted look on her face even as he smirked. But Cat soon wiped that away as she spat at the Governor. In shock and anger, Judas raised his hand, about to strike Cat, who flinched away, but then he froze, his hand poised mid-air, the slap never coming.
Instead, a snarl on his lips, he reached into his belt and drew a handgun which had been concealed beneath his un-tucked shirt. Cat squealed in alarm, but it was me whom the Governor aimed at. As he pointed the gun at my head, everything ground to an eerie halt.
Judas: "Time to choose, Riley." He announced, issuing his ultimatum. "Either you love me, or I kill your boyfriend."
Cat: "Please, Judas. Don't do this." She begged.
Judas: "Choose." He demanded in return and there was a click as he cocked the weapon.
Tank: "Cat, don't do it." I urged. There was no way I was going to let Judas submit Cat to a life of misery and servitude.
Tank: "Cat, don't!"
Cat: "I CAN'T!"
Tank: "God dammit Judas, stop this!" I yelled, tugging at the rope around my wrists, hoping something would give, but nothing did.
Judas: "NOW!!!!" He bellowed and Cat started to panic.
With a roar of anger, Judas lashed out, smacking Cat across the face and sending her sprawling into a side unit, where a tray of glassware smashed. Both Cat, with her hands bound uselessly behind her, and the smashed glass fell to the floor in a pile.
Tank: "DAMN YOU JUDAS!" I furiously yelled while the Governor's attention was fully on Cat. In reply, a look of determination on his face, he marched over and pressed the barrel of the gun against my forehead.
Judas: "Choose." Boan repeated, more quietly and yet even more threateningly. It was clear that he wasn't going to ask again.
I knew this was it. This was how I was going to go out, I thought briefly as Cat awkwardly pushed herself into a sitting position. Shot, trying to prevent the woman I loved from getting dragged into a lifetime of misery. It wasn't the worst way to go, I supposed, although far too soon. Oddly, I wasn't scared any more. The time for that had passed. Now that the shouting had stopped, I was filled with an odd sort of calm.
As Cat slowly stood, breathing deeply to settle herself, she began to speak again, her past panic gone entirely.
Cat: "I'm sorry Tank. I can't let him kill you. Judas... I'm sorry. For all of the pain you have been through." She began, moving slowly towards us both. "I had no idea about your past. Your family. It must have been horrible for you." She pitied, stopping close to Judas, who's eyes never left Cat's.
Cat: "And I'm sorry for what I did to you. For your face. For breaking both your heart and your trust. It was wrong of me and I see that now."
Tank: "No..." I almost whimpered. I couldn't let her do this!
Cat ignored my almost inaudible interruption and continued speaking directly to Judas, looking deep into his eyes, their faces less than a foot apart.
Cat: "It was wrong of me and I want to make it right. If you'll let me?"
Judas: "That's all I've ever wanted." He whispered longingly.
And then Cat slowly leant forward, her eyes closing and my heart broke, as she gently kissed Judas on the lips. I felt tears in my eyes even as Judas closed his, relishing the touch of Cat's lips on his own, giving him what he'd desired for so long. It was all over, I feared, with Cat kissing the Governor and he in turn still holding the gun to my head.
As their lips finally parted, and their foreheads rested against each other, Cat repeated,
Cat: "I'm sorry. For the past,"
Judas still had his eyes closed.
Cat: "And for this."
Cat's wrists came free as the shard of glass in her hand finished cutting through the rope binding them and as my breath caught in my throat, a frown creased Judas' face.
His eyes opened just in time to see Cat plunge the glass knife into his right shoulder.
Letting out a pained roar, he staggered back a step, the gun firing harmlessly into the floor, but nevertheless making me jump, before with a defiant shout, Cat kicked Judas in the chest and sent him crashing backwards into one of the wooden side cabinets, the gun clattering away across the floor.
No sooner had Judas hit the ground, Cat was by my side, untying my wrists and setting me free. Judas was screaming in rage and had already started to get up again, even as I was released from my chair.
Cat: "Let's get out of here." She urged and I nodded eagerly. As Cat ran for the door Judas came at me, but he was unfocused and injured; I could see the blood seeping through his shirt now. With one powerful swing, I punched the betrayer in the face with a satisfying CRACK and he toppled back to the floor again.
I followed Cat out of the room and into a wide, wooden-panelled corridor, then from there onto an upstairs landing, and finally down a flight of stairs to the front door and all the while, Judas' screams of anguish followed us, echoing through the empty house.
Less than a minute later, I had led Cat to The Viper and after firing up the engines, we were away; Away from the crazed planetary leader and for now, away from danger.
Back inside the once-grand manor house, Judas sat, propped against the side cabinet, blood oozing from his shoulder and tears falling from his eyes, his pained sobs his only company. A wreck if ever there was one.
The set for the living room where the mystery character was preparing.
The interior of Boan Manor.
A WIP shot of the micro Boan Manor when it still looked a little different to the final product.
As my series is going to be jumping around though time, I will include a date on each episode and add it to the timeline at the end of each episode so that you can follow it.
I'll admit, I haven't fully caught up with your whole story yet, but I just couldn't not read it anymore. And this one... wow. Wowwowwow. That is incredible. Really, really good stuff. Hopefully one day I can get at least somewhat close to how good you are at this. I can't wait to see what happens next!
Another fantastic episode! Always worth the read mate; you never disappoint! Really like the character interactions in this one, especially from Judas! The sets were great as well, particularly Boan manor. Nice stuff! And thanks for the Matlock mention as well!
Yes! I was waiting for your next part and how worth the wait it was. This has to be my favorite episode of the season, probably one of my favorites in the whole series. All your characters are really well created, I was half expecting someone to die but glad no one did haha. Keep it up
Quoting Captain Kenbo
Yes! I was waiting for your next part and how worth the wait it was. This has to be my favorite episode of the season, probably one of my favorites in the whole series. All your characters are really well created, I was half expecting someone to die but glad no one did haha. Keep it up
Oh wow! Haha! Thanks Kenbo! I'm glad you liked it so much. Personally, I didn't think it came out as well as I'd been hoping!