Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Sounds In The Night


The shout echoed through the spartan and sparsely decorated bedroom, grey with the first lights of the station’s artificial morning. Raxip sat up and looked about, his chest heaving with adrenaline, trying to locate the source of the cry. Eventually, though, the last hazy mists of sleep evaporated from his mind and he realized that he himself had cried out. A hand reached up from the form in the bed beside him and gripped the muscles of his upper arm, pulling him downwards.

“Come back to bed, love,” said the form beside him, bleary with sleep. “ It was just a nightmare”.

Raxip twitched the offending limb off himself, though, and swung his legs over the side of the bed. It was early, a couple hours before true dawn, but he knew that the dreams would continue to haunt him if he tried to keep sleeping. They were getting worse. He got up and pulled on an undershirt and trousers, before getting up.

“I’ll be back later,” he said, brusquely. “ Leave, or don’t. Whatever.” There was an op tomorrow, he figured he may as well get an early start making sure everything was ready.

The inside of the hangar was cavernous, with the weaving spotlights only serving to highlight the enormous scale of the structure, built to consolidate much more massive craft than Raxip’s Rupture class cruiser, which currently inhabited it. He stopped at the computer panel beside the door, verifying that all the additional equipment he had requested had been loaded onto it by the station personnel. Everything was fine, however. Since he didn’t have any problems to pursue, and he didn’t want to risk sleep again, he decided to take a rest in his office.

To get to the office, Raxip had to travel down a connecting corridor to the door at the very end. As he got closer to the portal, however, Raxip realized that the oppressive claustrophobic feeling of the empty, silent, vast hangar complex had lifted from his shoulders. Immediately he stopped, and pressed himself up against the wall, willing his breathing to slow, his heart to stop. Gradually, he became aware that he wasn’t alone. He could faintly hear voices, coming from the office.

Pushing his spine hard up against the wall, he slowly slid down the hallway towards the entrance. Easing his small handgun from it’s holster in the small of his back, he opened the door several inches with glacial slowness. Crouching down low, he peered around the corner, and saw two figures, one with his back to him, talking, in his office. Raxip recognized the man facing him as one of his crewmen, his weapons officer. The other was dressed all in matte black, in the uniform of the Republic Commandos, with a full mask over his head, concealing his features.

“I just need you to give this to him. Is that such a hard task?” The voice, a harsh buzzing growl, seemingly modified by some process, came from the man with his back to Raxip.

“No! I told you, If it’s so important, tell him yourself. I don’t wanna get mixed up in this!” His officer seemed agitated. Just then, the man caught sight of Raxip, and just for a second his eyes widened, and flicked towards Rax’s hiding spot. He quickly smothered the reaction, but it was too late. All of a sudden, things started happening quickly.

Raxip saw the intruder begin to spin and reach for a weapon at his side, and shouting “DOWN!” at his officer, a surge of adrenaline blasted through Raxip’s system. Time seemed to slow down, and he rose from his crouch like a sprinter from his starting blocks. Before the other man had even turned halfway into him, Rax slammed his shoulder into the man’s arm and side. Using the moment of bad balance to his advantage, he grabbed the black-clad man’s arm, twisted it up behind his back, and used his momentum and new leverage to bullrush the man the four remaining feet up against the wall of the office. The man grunted with pain, and dropped the small sidearm he had been reaching for. Raxip kicked it away. Sweeping the man’s feet out from under him, Raxip bore the man to the ground, and pinned him there with his knee, pushing the barrel of his own gun into the back of the man’s neck.

“Let’s see who you are, then,” Raxip said, as he unbuckled the sub-vocal microphone collar holding the mask in place.

“Shit,” the man half-rasped, as midway through the word, the voice changer was lifted from his mouth.

When Raxip saw the tall Civire intruder’s face, however, his expression of cold fury was replaced with confusion.

“Graham,” he said, “is that you? What the fuck are you doing breaking into my office and fucking with my crew?”

His posture relaxed slightly, but he still kept his knee on the man’s spine, and the gun pointing unerringly towards his skull. The other man smiled, and said “It’s okay, Rax. I’m not doing anything bad.”

“Weren’t you ordered by your commander not to communicate with me in any way ever again,” Raxip asked, with the slightest hint of a smirk at the edges of his mouth.

The man nodded, “That’s why I did this. I was trying to convince your officer to deliver you the message, so there would be no trace back to me.”

Raxip holstered his weapon, and stood up, releasing his weight from Graham’s back. He offered his hand to the other man. “It’s been a long time, Graham.”

Graham clasped his old friend’s hand firmly, pulling himself to his feet and rubbing his abused shoulder. He smiled. “I know. We move in very different circles nowadays, though, Rax.”

“We do, that. So what the hell is so important that you had to risk court-martial by the republic and getting shot by me?”

Graham’s smile fell from his face. He put a hand on Raxip’s shoulder, and said “You’re not going to like this, Rax. It’s Durynx. I think he might have resurfaced.”


  1. Yaay actionful.

    Alteration is decent, gj.

  2. Thanks it was at the behest of masterful editor Shae Tiann who will get massive props soon in a post for making my stories make sense.