The Stars Came Back -076- Visit

INT – DAY – Tajemnica bridge

Helton, Quiritis, Bipasha, Cooper, Allonia, Lag. Everyone but Lag looks tense and worried. He looks patient.

Lag: Lots of smoke that way, so our suspicions were right. But until we hear from them, we can’t know that’s way is CLEAR, only that they brought down their own special slice of Hell on the guys trying to shoot us down. Waiting and not knowing is always the hardest part.

Allonia: (on the verge of tears) But it’s been HOURS!

Lag: Yes. And it may be hours MORE.

Quiritis: We haven’t picked up much of ANYTHING, yet, ours OR theirs. I’d take that as a good sign. They didn’t call for help.

Cooper: They wouldn’t. They ARE the help.

Allonia starts to stifle a cry, then makes a very set, determined face.

Allonia: One more load, low and fast over that area. They’d not expect us to head FOR the smoke, and we can see what’s what. Maybe they got their radios damaged, and they can signal us.

The rest of them look at her, their worry about her increasing a bit.

Allonia: When we get back, I’m going to pay Seymore a visit, no matter WHAT we see on the ground.

Dissolve to

INT – DAY – Aft cargo bay ramp

The ramp is partially lowered, and Tajemnica is streaking along, hugging the tree-tops. Allonia, Lag, and two of the recruits are looking out as they streak over the hills and woods. The ground below becomes less distinct, as swirls of smoke start to be seen, then grow more dense. Suddenly, the scene below them changes, from seeming idyllic sparse woodland to a line of flaming carnage and a roaring forest fire. The snaking road stretches out in either direction, scores of burning vehicles all along it, bodies can be seen scattered all over, mostly on one side of it, small craters are all along the roadway, the scene of a devastating battle. A truck on fire erupts in another fireball as they pass, and the sounds of gunfire make it faintly to their ears. Thy do not see any obviously undamaged trucks.

Lag whistles, softly, features set. Allonia looks shocked. The recruits look somber.

Lag: More like a battalion than a platoon. And it’s been hit hard. We can deliver this load, then make that quick stop for you.

Cut to

INT – DAY – Lag’s cabin aboard Tajemnica

He’s on screen with Kat, talking fast, like he’s in a hurry.

Lag: -at LEAST a light battalion-

Kat: A BATTALION!? Jesus!

Lag: -and from what we could see it looks like all the vehicles got hit. We flew right over, low and fast, didn’t get a hint of radar, or any sort of tracking. Fighting was still going on from the sounds of it, and LOTS of guys moving around, and a forest fire burning, so no way to sort them out at speed, and there MAY still be some operative stuff there, just busy. See what you can find out about other routes being cleared. No doubt they got hurt bad, but… (shakes his head)

Kat: On it. Out here.

Dissolve to

EXT – Day – Hasty dug fighting position.

Harbin, Kaminski, Kaushik, and the five recruits are all in a shallow depression, hastily dug into a slightly better foxhole, circled around and occasionally shooting in all directions as needed. Smoke swirls around, blue wood smoke, black plastics smoke, white powder smoke. They all have bandages and are bloodied, with torn armor and bayonets that show signs of recent use. The sounds of gunfire and a forest fire crackle in the background. There do not appear to be a lot of supplies with them. Around the rim of it, Kaushik and the recruits are aiming and firing slowly and carefully as best they can. Buck lies in a bloody mess next to Kaushik, magazine in his one good hand, ready to pass it to him when he needs it, a distressingly small pile of full magazines next to him. Harbin is looking at a wound on Kaminski’s side, and is putting another bloody bandage over it. It’s not the only bandage he’s sporting.

Harbin: You’ll last a while. Just a flesh wound. Can you shoot?

Kaminski: (though clenched teeth) Got no choice.

Harbin: You know what I think?

Kaminski looks at him grimly.

Harbin: Trust me. She’s going to give you HELL for getting shot like that.

In spite of the pain, Kaminski grins weakly and gives a half-hearted chuckle. He hefts his rifle gingerly, and rolls onto his good side, moving slowly to get back up into the fight.

Cut to

EXT – DAY – Roof-top landing pad

A four-story building on the outskirts of town, on the edge between the industrial district and more upscale urban building. The pad has three small fliers parked on the side of it. Tajemnica glides down, pads retracted, ramp down, and hovers precisely above it, the edge of the ramp very close but not touching the roof, near the door, where a husky guy in a dark suit and sunglasses stands, looking like a bouncer at a high-end club.

Guard1: (yelling) Get that huge-ass thing OUT of here!

Allonia and Helton hop off the ramp, looking like they are in NO mood to be argued with. Allonia is in full high-tech synthetic combat armor, holstered pistol at her side on a belt laden with magazines, Helton wearing only body armor and carrying a suppressed 6.5mm rifle slung across his chest, a few spare magazines here and there. On the ramp, Lag stands with a rifle casually under his arm, looking at the guard with a slight smile, as if to say “just give us a reason.”

Helton: Open the door. We have an appointment with Seymore.

Allonia: And you are NOT going to announce it.

Guard1 sees the situation he’s in, his face goes from angry and demanding to professionally blank, and he opens the door and stands aside.

Cut to

INT – DAY – Outer office reception area.

A cute young lady sits behind a desk, as much decoration as functional. Three muscular, tough-looking men, fashionably dressed, stand or sit around the room. One cleans his finger-nails with a viscous-looking knife. The door flies open violently, kicked by someone in a hurry. Allonia and Helton storm in. Seymore’s hired muscle are good. They react instantly, reaching to draw weapons, and KnifeGuy throws his knife expertly and fast. Allonia and Helton are prepared. Allonia dodges the knife flung at her head. It just barely grazes her temple and sticks in the wall. She draws her pistol lightning fast while dodging, getting it in another’s face while he’d still mid-draw. Helton’s rifle is leveled at the third one, and knife-thrower just threw away his weapon, and is freezes while starting to reach for another blade, realizing he’s just NOT going to be fast enough.

Helton: Nobody moves, no one dies.

Allonia: (without looking at the receptionist, and glaring at the guys she’s covering with her pistol, talking cold and deadly) Hit the switch and open the door for us. NOW.

The receptionist, to her credit, understands the situation and controls herself well enough to reach for the button.

Helton: NO. The button that opens the door. ANYTHING but that happens (he shifts his aim to her) you die first. Then these three. Then Seymore.

The receptionist changes the direction of her hand, her eyes big and locked onto the muzzle pointed at her. She hits the right button, and the door clicks open. Helton’s rifle goes back to covering the guards. Allonia heads for Seymore’s office door, eyes and gun still on the guards. She gets to the door, grabs the knob, and shoves it open fast and strides in.

Seymore sits at his desk, leaning back, feet up, but startles and starts to get up, shouting, then freezes. In the corner sits Seeless, who starts to stand up and to reach for a pistol in a shoulder holster when he sees her enter.

Seymore: I SAID NO VIS-

Allonia has a glare that would do Clint Eastwood proud, and her eyes are on Seymore. Her pistol she points at Seeless out of the corner of her eye.

Allonia: SIDOWN!

They both freeze a moment, then sit.

Allonia: I don’t have all the details, but I know you are involved in the treason of trying to shoot Tajemnica down using Kiv SAMs. If the Plataeans we dropped to stop them don’t come back alive, neither do YOU. If I find out they died and you had DIRECT involvement, you better kill yourself, because when I get to you, your demise will be downright Old Testament. I know you and Darch have been talking to the Kiv, and it’s only a small matter of time before we know EXACTLY who said what. Call anyone and everyone you know who even MIGHT be able to call those dogs off. Your life, and Darch’s, DEPEND on the survival of those three men. And if you try to stop us from leaving, there’s twelve thousand tons of metal hovering over your building waiting our safe return.

She turns to Seeless.

Allonia: And believe me, after what you did to her parents, Quiri would be happy to set Taj down right here, right now, if we don’t walk out.

Seeless blanches, and a sudden stain appears and grows on the front of his pants. Allonia holsters her pistol, turns, and strides out, leaving Seymore gasping in rage and fear. The office is silent except for the sounds of Allonia and Helton leaving. The moment the outside door closes, the three guards in the outer room rush in to check on him, then rush back out as he rages at them, yelling almost incoherently, chasing them out of his office.

Seymore: WHAT THE HELL DO I PAY YOU ASSHOLES FOR YOUR MORONIC ROID_RIVEN PATHETIC EXCUSES FOR DOORMEN! GOODFUCKNGODYOURUSELESS! YOU-

He freezes, mid sentence, seeing the thrown knife in the wall. He gets closer. The view zooms in on the bit of blood on the knife edge.

Fade to black.

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6 thoughts on “The Stars Came Back -076- Visit

        • Oh, that would be WAY to confusing to have a collision of events, where a half-dozen major threads all collide at once, especially if it were in any sort of surprising and unexpected way…. Right?

          • Yeah, there have been quite a few glimpses of things that may or may not be interrelated and may or may not affect plot development. Maybe some are red herrings, or maybe not.

          • Lots of ambiguous hints and leads, but not many outright red herrings.
            Only pickled herring (preferably on rye crisp).

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