Part of SS Vondem Rose: Talkin’ ‘bout a Revolution and Bravo Fleet: Sundered Wings

Talkin’ ’bout a Revolution – 3

Ta'shen, city of T’ma’ru
May 2400
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The sirens had started blaring just in time for the backblast to sweep across the city towards the spaceport and the rising fireball where it had been. The ground car had been tossed in the first shockwave, turned in the second, flipped by the backblast. Her hearing was a ringing buzz with muffled undertones. She was helping someone out of the car? Being dragged away herself? An alley between two of the facades offered some protection.

There was Revin, checking her over. A cut along her forehead, green blood down the side of her face, matting with her hair. She said something, but didn’t make it out. It was repeated to no avail.

“What?” she shouted back over that insistent droning noise.

A finger to her lips stopped her shouting again and a snapped one handed signal ‘Quiet’ was signed at her. She nodded in understanding, then raised a hand of her own, about to sign before she saw the red blood all over her hand.

Was it hers? She checked her arm, then her torso. Blood on her shirt, but the shirt wasn’t ripped. She pushed at her abdomen, checking for injuries. Nothing that screamed of an open wound but her ribs felt like someone had kicked her a half dozen times, then a dozen more for good measure. Nothing felt broken, but she suspected she’d have a hell of a bruise pattern forming.

Then she saw R’tin and Trid on the other side of the alley. She couldn’t tell much of R’tin for his back was to her, tending to Trid who was bleeding from a wound similar to Revin’s but more profuse in its outpouring. Then she saw the blood on Trid’s shirt, seeping through her shirt. The same red that was on her hand. “Check her,” she pointed at Trid, speaking quietly. “I’m fine.”

She still didn’t hear Revin, but she read what she said easily enough. ‘Liar.’ But she scrambled across the alley to R’tin’s side, mostly obscuring Trid from sight and doubling the number of hands raiding a first aid kit she had never seen before. Was it from the car?

The ringing was getting quieter, but slowly. Fingers came up, snapped a few times. Then held next to her ear and repeated. Muffled again. Repeat on the other side. Better, but not much. So it wasn’t some noise, but her own hearing. Oh this was going to get a growling at by Bones eventually. Regenerative surgery on ears was always a nightmare.

One eye was checked, then the other. Legs both moved, arms too. Chest hurt like no one’s business. Left shoulder was sore, like she’d landed on it all wrong. Or been thrown on it a few times. Disruptor, where was it? Hands patted, confirming it was in her holster. Then her brain clicked. She was sitting on the ground in an alleyway. That sword should have been a colossal pain but it wasn’t. It wasn’t there. Where was it?

She looked, not wanting to speak up and distract R’tin and Revin. It was nowhere near by. The alleyway was terribly clean, the only obstructions being side entries into the buildings on either side, or utility boxes, which was what they were presently between on either side. One end turned, flowing into the path that led behind the buildings, the other was blocked by the remains of the car, resting on its side and top, prevented from rolling completely, this time at least, by the buildings on either side that it’s ends were jammed against.

Scrambling to her feet was an interesting experience, her ribs protesting each movement and she could hear herself hissing in pain because she was vocalising it herself. And probably expecting it. Everything was moving either way too slow or way too fast, but not consistent. Shock, she thought, was an interesting thing.

Her left leg shot with pain, searing and hot, sharp like a knife when she put her weight on it. She’d have fallen if not for the utility cabinet she’d been using to help her stand in the first place. There was an awful gash down her leg, her pants ruined, but it wasn’t gushing, it wasn’t flowing either. It looked like an awful lot of very small scratches, or a rash? Had she slid along some abrasive surface? Thrown from the car perhaps? Her left arm was much the same she realised then, not having seen the outside of her arm. Leg, arm, shoulder – it all was lining up at least. What had happened again?

The car had been tossed, but why? A flash, then a second. A shockwave. Two large explosions? The spaceport! Grelka and Hendricks, they hadn’t responded to her calls. Why hadn’t they? The shuttle could take it right? It was built by idiots who in a day and age of long range weapons still wanted to hit their enemies with swords. Stupid clunky sword-staff hybrid monstrousities. 

She took a step towards the upended car. It was fine, then that searing pain came back to her. That was going to get old quick. Quick was one more step. She hissed at the pain, heard some muffled shout behind her that she waved off and took another step. Teeth ground at this one. Ten excruciating steps got her to the car, its glass bubble broken, shards all over the ground. Blood was smeared all over the ground, a mix of red and green, more of the former she noted.

There amongst the wreckage she found her sword, the scabbard lightly scuffed from being thrown around. She’d taken it off when she got in? It made sense. She’d only brought it with her as a fashion piece anyway. To show off. All those Star Navy twits and their daggers. Well hers was bigger yah?

Bracing against the frame she leaned down, reaching for it while her body screamed at her to take it easy, to stop. Fingers wriggled, caught the belt once, twice, a third with a finger hooked behind it this time. It was a relieved sigh when she righted herself, her prize in hand, going through the motions of securing it to her hip. A blinking light in the rumble caught her attention and it took her brain a few seconds to recognise it.

Again some things were fast, others slow. She was trying to think what it was, picked it up even through a fog of pain before realising it was her communicator. She loved the older device, it’s though truthfully it was more of a retro-remake then actually old. Anachronistic she’d been told by Bones once. The device was still open, its lights blinking at her.

The buzzing was less now, pain apparently good at helping to clear it, but not something she wanted to keep doing. She listened, unable to hear anything, so held it closer to her ear. Static, the hissing of the cosmos came from the little machine, then it squealed before some music started playing from it, loud and full of itself. Pompous in the extreme.

The lip was snapped shut and she pocketed the device in a smooth action purely on muscle memory. Then she turned to look towards the space port. She expected to see the rising form of a shuttle, swooping in their direction like a fat armoured flying turtle, its gruff exterior uncaring for anyone who didn’t want it in the air including the laws of common sense and physics. Instead she was greeted by the sight of a rising mushroom cloud from the spaceport.

The top was already flattening out, clouds pushed away in ascending rings as the bulbous shape moved upwards in a rolling self-feeding ring of plasma. It dragged dust and detritus up with it, the heating and sudden cooling of air condensing to give the cloud its column.

There was no way the shuttle survived an explosion powerful enough to create a mushroom cloud that large, its shadow casting over the city. No way.

She breathed in sharply, the pain registering but unimportant in the shadow of the fury that was building in her. She had lost two of her own. They might have been new, might have only been with them for a few months, but they were part of her crew. Her family.

Blood for blood.

The hand that suddenly settled on her shoulder was met with her whipping around, disruptor drawn in a smooth action and pointed straight into Revin’s own torso. Pressed into her gut in fact. She knew who this was. Knew what she’d done. What she’d just about done. Her eyes dropped to the weapon in her hand, just staring at it.

Revin’s own hands gently wrapped around her own and lowered the weapon before removing it from her shaking hand then holstered it before cupping her own face. “Revenge,” Revin said, her voice, her words, honey sweet and dripping with ice, cutting through the noise, “is a dish not rushed in its making.” She then just held her there, facing her to look her lover in the eyes.

She breathed in and out, slow and deep, pain with each inhalation, but focused on Revin. Seconds passed before Revin simply nodded and let her go. R’tin and Trid were behind Revin, the latter with her arm around R’tin’s shoulders and limp, a bandage applied to her head wound, a tourniquet on her leg. At least she’d gotten proper attention. Attention she knew she needed, but anger would carry her a while longer.

“Where to boss?” R’tin asked. For all it was worth the man looked unscathed, aside from looking like someone had rolled him around in dirt and messed up his hair.

She nodded, brain trying to process what needed to be done. She hadn’t thought about it before the communicator chirped in her hand as she flicked it open. “Sidda to Rose, come in.” That same blasted music was blaring out of the device and her eyes went to both Revin and R’tin for some sort of explanation.

“The Imperial anthem,” both of them said in unison. “Someone must be a fan,” R’tin added.

So comms were being jammed with nationalistic fervour. Someone had blown up their shuttle and all the others on the planet not in the Governor’s Palace. And she could swear she could hear the whine of disruptors in the distance. Or much closer depending on her hearing.

One last deep breath, masking the pain from her crew. “Lamec Spa. We were nearly there, a couple of kilometres at most. We find Hotet, we beat the information out of him, then we beat the hell out of whoever we have to to get off this rock.”

“Ah, I see we’re going right past Plan B to Plan C after all,” Trid tossed in, then coughed at the end, the coughing begetting more before she stopped herself.

“I never liked Plan A anyway,” Sidda said, then looked at the gap between the car, the building and the ground. It was going to be a bitch to crawl through, especially for her and Trid, but she didn’t want to risk back alleys she didn’t know and could easily get lost in. “Let’s go.”

Comments

  • Hard to imagine how this could have gone further south for the gang. Massively high octane, relentless pacing here that’s kept me on the edge of my seat so far. It really lends itself to the sense of chaos and confusion as the explosions rip through T’ma’ru. Writing all this from Sidda’s perspective gives a really effective “aftershock” vibe as she looks around, visual input happening perhaps a little faster than she is able to make sense of it immediately after the blasts. Revin being the first person she becomes aware of effectively highlights how important she is to Sidda, and I’m sure this plays into how quickly the latter regains her mental composure after such a traumatic event. So far we’ve gone from “the gang has a plan” to the plan literally being exploded. Then Sidda pieces it (and herself) back together again, demonstrating exactly why she’s the leader of this bunch. Can’t wait to find out what Hotet’s reaction is going to be after he gets roughed up.

    June 1, 2022
  • I agree that I have been on the edge of my seat wondering what happened and what is next, the fact that Sidda is out of it and confused as to what exactly happened to eventually piece things together. When she learned that it was their shuttle that exploded killing two of her crew members on board, she wanted revenge. I like the fact that Revin brought her back down, I agree with Wooz's statement that I can't wait to find out what Hotet's reaction is going to be after they come face to face.

    June 2, 2022
  • You’re always so good about digging into a reader’s sense memory and media literacy to drag us deep into the story with Sidda. The prose in this entire chapter was incredibly evocative, while maintaining an economy of words. At no point did I find you were over-egging the pudding, I was following along every sense of the way through Sidda’s recovery through the fog of her consciousness. I’m not ashamed to admit I nearly screamed at the idea of Sidda thinking she lost her sword. And then that ending. Man oh man, I have no particular nostalgia for revenge movies; there not quite part of my personal canon. But holy damn, the deep mooooood of your writing has won me over. I don’t think I’ll be satisfied until Sidda kills everybody on this planet?

    June 5, 2022