Saturday, August 09, 2014

SFR Presents: What is the Ultimate Duty?

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A military officer must choose between her sworn duty or her rebellious blood ties. 

Facing a life of drudgery on a repressive factory planet, Remy Belieux longs to escape. Her only option for release is to enlist in the Space Service, becoming a soldier for her own world’s oppressors.

She receives her first assignment:  guarding a charismatic rebel leader being transported to a prison planet.  When rebel troops surprise them, Remy fails to thwart the ambush. Despite a commendation from her Captain, she feels she must redeem herself by recapturing the handsome fugitive.

Shocked by what she learns during the pursuit–her own family’s past involvement in the rebellion–Remy faces a dilemma: remain loyal to the oath she swore as a soldier or join the rebel cause and condemn herself to a death sentence for treason. What is her ULTIMATE DUTY?

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The Starbird reached Syrtia and entered stationary orbit. The prison did not allow ships of any type to land, so Captain Herrick radioed the prison to send a shuttle for the prisoner. He included all of the preplanned codes to ensure security, and the prison answered as required.

When the shuttle arrived, it docked in the ship’s small transfer port. Once the connection was secured, Borinsky opened the port bay door. The guards handed transfers to Captain Herrick. He examined them briefly, then placed his mark on the electronic copy. Remy had already shackled Phillip for the move to the prison shuttle. She considered adding leg shackles, but thought she might leave him a little dignity.

“You know,” he said, “you made this trip almost pleasant, Remy. Thank you for your company. Maybe we will meet again.” Phillip held out his right hand, trailing his cuffed left hand below.

Remy began to raise her hand to shake his, but thought better of it. She’d be opening herself to a potential attack. “I doubt it, but was a pleasure to meet you as well. You’re not quite the monster they’ve made you out to be.”
“I hope not, my dear lady.” He smiled at her and walked the few steps across the Con to join the guards. Remy felt her cheeks flush at the endearment. Then, she shook off her feeling of sadness. No matter how charming he might be, he was still a traitor. The courts decided his punishment, so it must be fair.

Still, she felt a twinge when the guards secured Phillip’s legs with a chain and ankle cuffs. They moved in a single file toward the narrow hatch, when Herrick called out. “Wait!”

The rear guard turned to Herrick. “What is it, Captain?”

Herrick stepped over and thrust out the transfer manifest. “The warden’s approval. I know him, and this is not his imprint.”

The guard took the transfer and examined it. “No, I guess it isn’t,” he said, then swung his weapon upward, smashing the barrel into Herrick’s temple. Herrick stumbled and fell to the deck. The guard raised his weapon again.

Remy leaped forward and slashed down on the guard’s arm, knocking his weapon out of his hands. With a swinging kick, she hit his face, knocking him aside. Another stepped forward raising his gun. Remy grabbed the barrel and swung him around, flinging him away. She kicked his downed weapon to Borinsky. “Grab it,” she yelled, but Borinsky had knelt next to the captain and didn’t try to capture the blaster.

Remy swore and whipped her body around, giving the second guard a roundhouse kick in the face. With both guards down, she glanced at Phillip, but he just stood still, a slight smile curving his lips. She saw movement from the airlock. “Now what?” she muttered and took two long strides forward.

She grabbed Phillip’s cuffs and twisted the chain around her own wrist. If she could take him hostage again, she’d have a chance. Another guard rushed in through the lock and pointed his weapon at Remy. She wrapped an arm around Phillip’s neck. “Stop or I’ll break his neck!”

Phillip let out a strangled groan. “Believe her,” he gasped.

The guard nodded and strode toward Captain Herrick. The man kicked Borinsky in the chest, knocking him backward. Swinging the barrel of his blaster downward, he pressed the end against Herrick’s bleeding temple. “Let go of him, or I will kill your captain. Believe me.”

Remy hesitated, then loosened her grip on Phillip’s neck. He unwrapped the chain from her wrist as she raised her arms in surrender. Phillip stepped away from her. “I’m sorry, Remy. I hoped this would go smoothly and no one would be hurt. Unfortunately, your captain seems to be a stickler for details.”

She glanced at Herrick and the guard, gauging her chances of reaching him before he could pull the trigger. She was fast, but not that fast. A second man came through the airlock and took position next to the guard who had the drop on them. He pointed his own weapon toward her.

The captain lay groaning on the deck. Borinsky had gotten up from the floor, but stayed crouched by Herrick’s side.

Phillip stepped into the open airlock. “Come with us, Remy.”

Remy shook her head. She knew Phillip believed in what he was fighting for, but now he’d injured her superior officer. Her duty to her captain came first.

“Too bad,” Phillip said, then he turned back to the airlock. The guards stepped backward toward the lock, holding their weapons pointed at Remy.

“You can’t leave unless we close the hatch,” she said, trying to stall them.

“Then, please do so.” Phillip nodded toward the control panel.

Remy folded her arms and glared at Phillip. “I can’t do that.”

One of the guards shifted his weapon toward Borinsky, who looked up from his place by the captain. He rose with his hands up and pressed the cycle button. As the hatch closed, Phillip raised his bound hands again and saluted Remy.

“I hope we’ll meet again.”

When the hatch closed, Remy lowered her hands. Yes, maybe we will, but next time I won’t let down my guard. Phillip Vincente wouldn’t live through their next encounter, if there was one. She hurried to get the medi-kit from the lounge.

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