Awakening. Part IV. Reality
It is not a man. You saw what it did to others. You saw it rip out the steel door. It is not a man. Kill him. Save yourself. You can not hide — it will find you. No! You will not escape — it will catch you. Kill him.
— But I... — Ron's head hummed, as if struck in the temple.
His hand was on the start button of the loading exoskeleton. He did not want to run it. He did not want to attack Dr. Mace, but something inside Ron told him: this is the only way out. Mace will get to you sooner than...
The dark silhouette, outlined by the light that came from the alien ship, turned in his direction.
— And destroy all those who are involved — the doctor said.
Involved in what?
No way! Not me! Not today.
Ron pressed the button and grabbed the control stick.
— I dare you — he said, and moved toward Mace. The heavy steel machine moved easily under his control. Ron knew exactly what he was doing.
Although before that he had never...
The doctor, in response, moved at him.
Ron did not wait. He directed the rivet nozzle to the enemy and pressed the trigger. With a howl a red-hot piece fell on the floor in the place where the doctor stood a second ago. A sharp step forward. A right-hand strike. With an acrobat's skill, the doctor jumped over it.
— I'll find you, every one! — Cried Mace, —you will regret what you did!
— No way! I will not let you kill me, do you hear me? — Ron again aimed the riveter at the doctor.
— We're not talking to you, Ron, — Mace just shook his head. The blow of his fist shook the device to the side, and the rivet hit the alien ship. The compartment was lit with a bright green light. The machine, still alive, reacted to the blow.
— We're not talking to you. To them, — the doctor pointed to the emptiness next to him, — me and Maria.
Do not listen to him! Strike!
Ron sharply threw forward the right manipulator of the exoskeleton and the doctor who turned away to his ‘Maria’ did not have time to react. The blow sent him back to the ship. Ron stepped forward.
— You're a crazy old man! — He cried, — you killed them all!
A rivet shot hit the doctor and hit the floor. Mace jerked, but could not free himself.
— They killed them. Those who pull your strings.
Ron tried to grab the doctor. Twice he hit the manipulator with his foot, but for the third time the arm closed on his body.
— I'm free, — Ron shouted, — I make my decisions myself!
The doctor grabbed the claws with his free hand and began to unclasp them. Ron tried to squeeze him harder, but to no avail. Where did he get such power?
— You know what it is, — Mace nodded at the alien ship.
— I do not care!
— This drone was part of a great hive. Billions like it pierced the surface of the planet and tore the heart of a Bione to create an implant inside. The slave collar. The Leviathan. On this Bione they failed. But the plans remained...
While he was talking, his hand already managed to unclasp one of the three clips.
— What are you talking about? What Bione?
Ron lifted the doctor into the air, tearing him off the floor. The doctor did not react.
— PB-42. The planet is alive. She speaks to me through Maria.
Ron walked a few more steps and struck Mace with all his might against the hull of the alien ship. The structure flared up even more.
— She is dead! — he shouted, striking another blow — dead! Dead! Dead!
Even in spite of his unnatural strength, Mace could no longer resist. Ron put the rivet nozzle to his head.
— Your wife is dead, Alex,— he said, — and you will soon join her.
The doctor smiled.
— How do you know that Maria is my wife?
Ron froze. The glow from the alien ship pulsed without the blows. And the same glow emanated from the casket, which he held at the waistband of the space suit. Where did it come from?
Do not listen to him. He's playing with you. He is dangerous.
— Who is speaking? Who speaks in my head!?
There was silence.
— Like crystallids controlled Biones, the Revenants control you, — the doctor said, — through the implants.
No! It's impossible!
- No! It's impossible! Ron exclaimed and pressed the trigger.
The doctor's body hung limp in the manipulator clamp.
Ron shut off the exoskeleton and left it. In his hands was the casket. He tried to open it, but could not. At that moment the all-terrain vehicle stopped, apparently, having reached its goal. But the shaking did not stop.
It's time to go. We need to get to the shuttle.
But he was still looking at the casket and could not understand why it was so important to him. Why he risked his life for it. Why did killed for it...
His mind was sorting through hundreds and thousands of options. A gift from your mother... or your beloved woman? Something you got from your father? Something very important. But somewhere in the depths of his mind, he clearly realized that no such thing existed.
And then Ron looked more closely at what was in his hands. It was a broken piece of green crystal. A part of the alien ship.
— Not for this...
— Enough, — an unfamiliar female voice sounded in his head, — I'm tired of this game. Go to the shuttles.
Obeying this voice, he headed for the exit from the all-terrain vehicle. Ron wanted to stop, but one thought about it responded with excruciating pain all over his body.
— You... you made me!
— You should have read the contract more attentively. The manufacturer has the right to update the implant at its discretion, — the voice was both joyful and cruel.
Ron went down the ladder. His body carried him towards the shuttle station. The boots of the suit walked across the shaking earth. Another earthquake was about to start,
— If I can hold her off a little...
— No one allowed you to think for yourself.
A powerful spasm wrung Ron's entire body, but he continued to move.
— We just have the time to catch our flight.
And at that moment, the figure of Dr. Mace appeared in front of Ron. It's like he materialized from nowhere, from under the ground.
— You are dead! Cried the voice with Ron's lips.
— You can kill the body, — Alex smiled.
— But you can not kill the memory, — Maria added, embracing Ron from behind.
Star Conflict Team