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Part of USS Jaxartes: These Are The Days Of Our Lives

Part 6: Who Wants To Live Forever?

New Alberta
3rd October 2303
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Jérôme Bruyere was a man with a mission.  That mission was to save his wife from impending death.  He’d been shown a glimpse of the future in which she would be killed by a burning rock falling from the sky. That moment was only a matter of hours away. The man in Starfleet uniform before him had prevented the defence satellites going active.  The power cells for the generator had been in that cart.  This was the reason she would die; or at least that was what had meant to happen. But Jérôme was in possession of something much more powerful and he was being guided as to how that power could be used.   

Jason noticed the man was holding a cylinder, a bit like the one he’d brought with him.  Inside this one though appeared to be a swirling pink cloud of gas.  It looked very much like the mist from the glass cave he’d been inside.  Was that the entity inside there?

The man appeared to read his mind.  May be he could, Devron wasn’t sure of anything right now. “Yes this is the witch.” Jérôme growled. “And with the help of that antimatter you’ve so kindly brought with you.  She will soon become a permanent integrated part of the power supply, keeping the planet defence system operational. 

Jason thought about making a grab for the cylinder, and possibly destroying it. Anything that might set about a change in the future, or was it the past?  Time was all mixed up and so was his head.  Was it even possible to make alterations to something that had already happened, especially when it was those events that had brought you there in the first place?

“You cannot alter fate.” Jérôme smiled pulling out a small weapon from one of the pockets on his jacket; motioning Devron to put down the cylinder of antimatter and step back.  “I know what you’re planning, and know how to stop you.”

Something was nagging in the back of Jason’s mind. If the entity was inside that cylinder why not just get this man to set it free; why allow him to hook it up to this machine?  A few moments later, Jason noted the man was a little stuck. He had three objects and only two hands with which to hold them. The gun would have to go back in his pocket. 

With Jérôme attention distracted in his efforts to connect up the two cylinders to the machine; the Lieutenant felt now was his best opportunity to make a move. Lunging forward he made a grab for the weapon. Jérôme reacted and a brief struggle ensued. A crash of braking glass and a rising column of pink mist caught both their attentions, bringing a momentary stop to the fight.  Jason no longer held the jacket collar and wrist of one Jérôme Bruyere.  Yes the body and clothing remained unchanged, but the mind of the French-Canadian man was now that of the entity or at least under its control. 

Jason let go and the man stepped back, flattening and straightening out the jacket. “Oh don’t look so disappointed Mr Devron.  Did you never stop for one moment and consider what your actions might create.” 

“I don’t understand all this?” Jason held his hands up waving them around the room.  “What was the point?”

“The point was, you’ve set me free from my prison.” The Jérôme entity laughed. “Instead of only being able to snatch another pitiful sole whenever the colonists needed to activate their machine.  Now thanks to your gallant efforts, I get to take them all. Starting with you.”   

Devron felt like someone had just clapped two large invisible hands around his head and was slowly starting to crush his skull.  The shed and his mind were both filled with echoing mocking laughter.  Everything was starting to spin, his vision blurred as the pain increased.  One thought in Jason’s mind held just long enough for the stone to react and whisk him away.  Jérôme cursed and then followed. 

**********

Jason found himself in a warm well-furnished wood cabin.  He knew who the woman there was even before she turned from the small kitchen stove soup ladle in hand and screamed at finding a complete stranger in the room behind her.  It was Jérôme’s wife; the ladle clattered to the floor. “Who are you?” The tall skinny woman with rusty coloured hair tied in a bun yelled. “What do you want with me?”

“Don’t asked questions.” Responded Jason firmly. “If you want to live, just get out and run!”

When the woman made no effort to move and just stood there just trembling.  The Lieutenant looked her in the eyes sternly and yelled. “RUN!” That broke her out of her confused state and made her bolt for the door, grabbing a thick fleece lined coat on the way out.  The door hadn’t even swung back shut on its huge sturdy iron hinges when Jérôme appeared in the room.

“Really, mister Devron, did you really think you could escape me?” The face and body was of the young French-Canadian the voice sounded closer to how the witch had spoken when Jason had first encountered the entity. “I could keep this up all day. But I’ll make you suffer in the process.” The man smiled.

“Who wants to live forever?” Replied Jason with an even bigger smile.

The wind outside seemed to have picked up; the gentle breeze had been replaced by a strengthening gust.  There was a rumble like thunder, yet the sky outside was clear.  That much was evident from the sunlight casting shadows across the room. The entity looked out and up into the sky, before darting out the same door the man’s wife had used. 

When Jason followed a few seconds later; Jérôme was standing arms outstretched reaching for the sky and the large lump of burning rock now suspended motionless.  It was the meteorite that was meant to have killed the wife of the man the entity now possessed.  The reason it had convinced him to be at the shed were it knew Devron would find himself. “Did you really think you could distract me long enough that I wouldn’t realise and be killed right here and now?” It asked him in a furious tune. 

“No.” Jason answered plainly. “I wasn’t the distraction.”

 Jérôme half turned, a look of mild confusion turned to one of slight worry, then finally horror.  As the Lieutenant pointed the business end of a double barrelled shot gun, which he’d snatched up from behind the door, at the man’s chest and fired twice in quick succession.

            ********** 

Reports state that the explosion was heard clear across the valley and the huge cloud of earth and snow turned steam was witnessed by dozens of colonists down in the town as it billowed skyward and spread out across the ground.  The impact caused a major avalanche but luckily for the colonists; well away from the town or any of the farmland in the valley.  It was one of five meteorites that stuck the area within the space of a few minutes, but had by far been the biggest.

When a group headed up there to investigate at first light the following morning, they found a crater 4 metre deep and 20 wide, where the Bruyere residence once stood.  Several trees around the crate lay either uprooted, leaning outward or in some cases split and shattered by the blast.  A few still smouldered having caught fire.  

They found Marie, Jérôme’s wife not far from the scene of devastation, who was being comforted by a young girl Céline Dubreuil.  The woman was cold and clearly shaken by the ordeal.  She kept babbling about some strange man in uniform appearing from nowhere in her kitchen and ordering her to leave the house.  That had only been minutes before its destruction.  She wanted to thank him and ask his name; but the rescue team couldn’t find any sign of this mystery individual, nor apparently Marie’s husband, who seemed to have disappeared.  In fact an extensive search over the following days would reveal no clues to either man’s whereabouts. 

As for the network of defence satellites; with the power cells installed in the generator, they would protect the colonists from any further meteorite strikes for the next 98 years.  Until a fault in the system would require the assistance of the nearest available Federation vessel; the USS Jaxartes.