WARNINGS: slight sexual innuendos, some violence
The drive to the docks took longer than expected. Traffic was heavy as they went through town to arrive at the correct area. The SHADO mobile unit was equipped to go overland and was slow by comparison on the road. Davidson, one of Ford’s people, greeted Straker as he joined the mobile crew. “We’re still not triangulated. Ferrales is working on it. Ford’s trained him well, sir.”
Realizing how weary he was, Ed just nodded. “How much longer?:
“Got it!” Ferrales called, pulling the headphones off his head and nodding to the two men. “This way.” He headed toward a dilapidated looking structure that might have been new in the mid 1800’s.
Although the sun was still hovering over the horizon, the street was shadowed. Ed followed Ferrales and the security personnel, Davidson bringing up the rear. The place was abandoned looking, grass growing through the cracks in the concrete around the front and in the alleyways down both sides. There was no activity at the buildings on either side. The silence was eerie.
Ed nodded to Davidson and Ferrales. “Keep an eye out, men. Someone has Col. Freeman, we’re here to get him back, but not at the expense of anyone else if we can help it.” He pulled his familiar Glock and gave the signal for them to get the door open. Davidson knocked it down with one well placed kick. The hinges were corroded and broken. Cautiously, they entered the building, darkness closing in on them as they moved into the interior.
They stopped to click on electric torches. Huge shelving units towered over them filled with an interesting variety of goods, from rotting bolts of fabric to pipes to lumber and things Ed didn’t have a clue about. Boxes were sagging open here and there dropping excelsior to the floor where it mixed with dirt and dried vegetation. It was perplexing and creepy at the same time.
As they moved into the building, there was a sense of death and decay that owed nothing to the musty smell of the place. Ed didn’t care for the narrow paths through the warehouse. He wasn’t as agitated by his claustrophobia as he could have been, but there was a sense of impending doom that hung about the place. They came to a branching cross corridor and Ferrales stopped, pulling off his headphones again. “Signal’s gone, sir,” He told them. Shining his torch upward, he caught the gleam of dirty glass on the loft office. “Probably up there, Commander. Shall we spread out?”
“No. Stick together. We’ll check out the floor first, then move to the office
Some inner voice drew Straker to the right at a gloomy intersection. He moved into the lead, against his own orders. Four strides down the walkway he heard what he knew were Alec’s screams. He didn’t notice he’d left his men behind until he hit another intersection and turned to give orders. He was now alone in the dark cavernous building. There wasn’t another sound to be heard, not a footstep, not a voice, not an indication of animal or insect life in the ruins. Straker moved forward, gun in hand, praying that the silence did not mean that Alec was dead.
He kicked something metallic and stopped. The sound seemed loud to his ears, but that was probably just his nerves. Looking down he saw a dozen or more broken Steel poles lying about on the floor. Reaching down, he hefted a four foot length with a wickedly jagged broken end. The piece was awkward to carry, but it felt right in his hand. Caution kicking in, he slipped further down the aisle until he caught a glimmer of light ahead of him. Ed slowed, edging forward until he could see into the open area beyond the shelves.
There were two people. Blond hair tumbled down the woman’s back to her slender waist, while her body showed through the thin, dark material of her … gown? She had a hand wrapped around the man’s throat. His left arm dangled limply, the hand twitching feebly.
“Dammit, Alec … how could you?” He recognized Virginia’s voice, harsh and strident. “You cannot escape. You have not … “ Virginia’s voice stopped. She turned her head much farther around to look at Ed than he could consider normal movement. She smiled, a feral V splitting her face, teeth gleaming in the light he shone on her. Virginia blinked once and then dropped Alec so she could face her commanding officer. “Edward, how nice of you to join us,” she purred, moving toward him with a lithe, sinuous grace that ended only when she discovered the end of a piece of pipe pressing against her diaphragm. She looked down and then up at Ed. “Why Ed, when did you become afraid of me?” Her voice was amused.
“When you started kidnapping my people,” he answered her evenly.
“Kidnapping? Why Alec, did I kidnap you?” she asked the prone man without taking her eyes off Ed.
Alec groaned, his broken bones rotating back into place and beginning to knit as he lay there. “Does seducing me into dying count?”
Ed’s eyes flickered to the man and back to Virginia who was running a hand lovingly over the pipe touching her. “What have you done?”
She smiled, soft, seductive, inviting and pressed forward. Ed held fast, the rusted end of his weapon grating against the v of her ribcage. “I’ve become,” she answered. “I am so much more than I was, Edward Straker. “And you can be also,” she murmured in his ear, movement so fast he could not track it. Her breath tickled his neck. Part of him wanted to turn in that embrace, pull her to him and smother her mouth with his own. The other part was wary, frightened and feeling very claustrophobic at her proximity. He shifted his grip on the pipe, turned slightly away from her and shoved hard, completing his turn only as Virginia’s sound of shock told him he’d caught her.
With the strength of terror, he rammed the pipe further into Virginia’s stomach and shoved relentlessly until the broken end hit a stout support column. He stood there, froze, aghast at what he’d done, yet mesmerized by the now changing woman pinned to the post. Her jaws elongated slightly, becoming more animal like. Teeth like a something out of a horror movie filled her mouth. She gripped the metal pole and pulled at it as he released his hold and backed away.
“Alec!” he called to his friend.
“Yeah,” came the weak response.
Ed chanced a look. Alec was sitting up flexing his hand, the one that lay so limp only minutes earlier. The man met Ed’s gaze and looked away. “Alec,” the word was torn from him in denial.
Alec gave him a wry look at that. He came to his feet like a tired old man. “I haven’t … finished yet …” He gave Virginia a sad look. She glared at both of them, then stopped struggling, her gaze losing focus. She shuddered, almost sexually. He frowned and then looked back at Ed. “I guess she found … something … “
“Power. Immortality. A way to take the war to them.” Her voice was languid and she stretched, arching her back slightly, licking her lips in anticipation. “We can stop them. They’re not immune to what we can do,” she continued, her body moving as though … both men were held by her movements, listening and becoming aroused by the raw sexuality she was projecting. “We can take information from them, from their minds, and there is nothing they can do to stop us! Ed! It’s what we’ve wanted from the beginning, a weapon to use against them.” Her eyes met his, pleading for his understanding and more. She licked her lips in a slow, provocative move. “Release me,” she said in a voice that promised so much more than the simple request.
“Immortality?” Ed looked at her. The pipe was inconvenient but not obviously painful for her. He gave a bitter laugh. “I don’t see the use. I fulfil my duty until the day someone replaces me. An eternity of this?” his short gesture indicated the world they knew. “No.”
“Ed …,” her voice chided him gently. “We out live them. They can’t kill us. And when they’re gone …” Virginia’s voice was full of hidden promise before her head snapped up and back suddenly, eyes going full black, fangs back and a shudder like an orgasm rippling through her. Her scent of death and arousal was nearly physical, pulling at the two men. “Massssterrrrr,” she moaned deep in her throat.
He glided out of the shadows, pale skinned, dark haired, clad in shades of red with silver accents. Ed backed into Alec and stopped. Alec stood there, barring his retreat, silent and wooden. He chanced another look at his second in command and wished he hadn’t. Alec’s eyes were fixed on the new comer and there was a faint trace of drool from the corners of his slightly open mouth. For just a moment, Ed considered that mouth, wondered about its touch on his own, about touches and tongues that … he wrenched his unruly thoughts back into line, turning his attention to Virginia’s “master”.
Straker looked away again as Virginia moaned again, straining toward the newcomer. With one sharp wrench, her Master removed the stake that restrained her and then pressed hard against her, his fangs buried in her neck, his hands roaming her body, stripping her naked. His touch alone seemed to send her into shuddering ecstasy. She wrapped herself around him, inarticulate sounds of pleasure hammering at them. Ed heard Alec swallow hard behind him, but the man did not move.
“Who are you?” Ed asked, his voice strained.
The monster stepped back from Virginia, one hand trailing over her shoulder to her breast before he turned to face Ed. The woman clung to her Master, her eyes heavy lidded with pleasure, one hand stroking the monster’s arm, fondling the hand that now rested on her belly. This time she licked her lips hungrily as she stared at Ed.
Time stopped for a moment and the thing was in front of him. There were faint traces of green on the other’s skin; his hair was worn long but slicked back from the gaunt face and his eyes were dark, so very dark. His lips stretched in a travesty of a smile. “Your worst nightmare.” He answered Ed’s question in a voice like the sound of air escaping from a crypt. “You are Straker.”
His fingers were icy as they touched Ed’s face, tracing the line of his jaw before coming to rest on Ed’s shoulder. The dark eyes flickered to Alec and back to Ed. Obediently Alec staggered away. “You are of interest to me.”
“Like Hell.” Where he mustered the strength to resist the oppression of mind and voice, Ed didn’t know, just that he didn’t want the snakes crawling inside his head so he shut them out.
“Excellent. Strong. Intelligent. Wilful.” The fangs protruded more with each syllable.
“Ed.” Alec sounded thoughtful.
“I’m a little busy here,” Ed told him dryly, wishing he could get his body to rebel the way his mind seemed to be working.
“It was a trap.”
“I noticed,” Ed grated as the hand on his shoulder tightened painfully, fingers digging into flesh around the bones.
“I’m sorry.” Alec’s voice was fading. Ed heard the other man drop to the floor, breathing gone faint. “I’m …”
“Enough. My pet will deal with your man. You … you I have a bargain for, one you will see is beneficial to both of us,” the oddly accented voice crooned. Breath with charnel house stink offended Ed’s nose as the thing leaned in close, holding him so easily.
“Master,” Virginia addressed the thing coyly. “Let me help.” She stepped around her owner to wrap her arms around her commanding officer.
Her breasts were firm against his back, but there was no heat to go with that touch. Ed stood tight coiled between the two of them as Virginia let her hands wander over him. He had always been aware of how beautiful Virginia Lake was, of how attractive and sensual she could be; but chain of command and his own understanding of military protocols of relationships kept him from noticing. His own history kept his mind and his libido in check. So, now, with a naked woman pressed against his back and an alien monster trying to control his mind, Ed Straker was trapped and in full rebellion.