Ketairne, p.3

Ketairne, страница 3



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wasn’t the beast- it was still out there.

  Right then, another funny idea came into my head: what stopped the beast from killing the subspacer back in that ravine? Put the tracker on Metland, killed the subspacer instead, hopped right into her suit, and played the part? I poked my head out around the corner, and there she was, still just sitting; I could blow out that entire room with my launcher . . . but what if it was really her?

  I was ghost-quiet, but I was freaking out inside; I searched the place a little more and found an armory.

  I got a new gun, the most recent O.E.L. military model, along with a couple other things that I thought might help, and then I walked up to the girl and took a seat opposite. By this time she was probably really confused why I didn’t respond the first time.

  “Hey,” I said.

  “Yeah, are you ready to go, then?” she said.

  “Actually, it’s still raining and all, I thought we could just relax here a bit; maybe wait for it to get light.”

  “Oh? Why’s that?”

  “Because I’m tired, and I know you are too. Go on, remove your helmet,” I said. She paused a moment.

  “Is something the matter?”

  “No,” I said, “just curious what you look like.” So I was keeping a close aim on her under the table this whole time, and just now she picks up on it.

  “Why are you pointing that at me? We killed--” she stopped. I’m guessing she took me for one of those scumbags that go on hunts with people and use opportunity to take advantage of his mates. My mind was racing for a way to prove it without a doubt . . . it had to be the helmet.

  “Don’t worry, I’m not going to hurt you, I just want you to remove the helmet,” I said. Subspacers aren’t big fans of being told what to do, I tell ya’. Her breathing picked up real sharp, because she realized that I had a complete advantage. It didn’t matter if it was the beast or the girl, there was no way they could arm themselves quickly enough, or move quickly enough to outrun my shots. I couldn’t go near, either, because I couldn’t risk the beast swiping the rifle.

  So we just sat there for a moment, and then, the girl gripped the table real tight, like she was about to shove it right into me.

  “Why don’t you just take off the helmet?” I said one more time, though I knew she probably wouldn’t. You see, kid, disarmoring oneself when threatened is considered a huge insult in subspace; it’s something only cowards and children would do. Of course, the beast wouldn’t do it either. So then she took a deep breath.

  “Why don’t you go fu--” she was cut off by the robot’s voice outside; it was torn up but something was still working.

  “Varv, take the shot!” it yelled.

  Right here the girl flew back and pushed the table into me. She was quick as hell, way quicker than I had seen her before. I followed the robot’s advice, and shot. The rifle was an auto, so even though I missed the first few times it tore the subspacer right up, no time to even talk. Blood was everywhere, and I gave a sigh of relief.

  “Good job,” I said to myself. So then I took the beast’s DNA out from the subspacer’s suit, and went back to my seat. I guess the robot was okay somehow, and guessed it just in time.

  . . . It was then that a funny idea popped into my head. I started sweating, and got really scared: what if this wasn’t the beast? I looked at the subspacer, took off her helmet, but whatever was in her armor was a total wreck; couldn’t make anything out, not even skin. That’s the thing about O.E.L. anti-personnel rounds, if they shoot those things at you you’re going to be a pile of mush the second the first one hits- something about “kinetic dispersal” I heard.

  So then I called out to the robot.

  “Ey, you there?” I yelled.

  It was quiet.

  “Hey! Are you there! Robot!” I yelled again. Nothing. I slowly brought myself to the window and looked outside. The robot was still there. Metland’s corpse was still there. I broke into a cold sweat right there- I just had to know.

  I double checked to make sure I was the only thing alive inside of the outpost, and then I went up to the DNA analyzer. I put in the sample I got from the subspacer, and after a few seconds, it beeped. It said the sample was a human being.

  Just then, I heard what sounded like the robot laugh, and then Metland, laugh, and then the subspacer laugh; all of them outside. I vomited all over the place, I was horrified and had no idea what the hell was going on. But then I heard a voice speak from just over head, thing was that the voice was mine . . . my own voice was speaking to me.

  “I’ll let you go. I need someone to tell a story and make sure no one else comes here. You listen here, sir: I don’t enjoy the company, I don’t enjoy it when you bastards come here to shoot at me and my friends, I really don’t enjoy it that you think you can own something just because you walk on it, or that the earth doesn’t rise right up and strike you. Go back to your space gate, leave me alone,” my voice said. Then I heard a heavy, strong creature leap off the outpost’s roof, and just like that it was gone. I waited until it was light, and then I went back to the gate.

  Well kid, that’s my story. I just wanted to tell you this to maybe help you realize, now that you’re going on your first mission tomorrow, there are hunters, there are the hunted, and there are those that hunt the hunters. No matter how big a gun you have, there will be other things smarter than you; so smart, and so skilled, that they can just decide to have you and your hunting buddies kill each other. That said, kid, the mind is the best weapon, because it’s the one that decides who’s the target, and who isn’t.

  Anyway, don’t get cocky, think often, and have fun; next time dinner’s going to be on you . . . don’t give me that look . . . yes you’ll have the money . . . okay, good, deal. Now let’s get back home, your mother’s going to be pissed if we don’t head back pretty soon.

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