For Better or for WorseMature

Bryant threw his overstuffed rucksack onto his back midstride as he leaped from his doorway. He sprinted across the front lawn over towards the personal parking deck, his breath coming in rapid gasps. He punched in his access code and cursed loudly when his shaking hands couldn’t hit the right buttons. He cursed again and steadied himself; this time Bryant was able to hit the right keys and the gigantic storage unit began to turn. The garage was designed much like an old Imperial revolver magazine; it was a pattern of 6 platforms all attached to a large wheel that brought the right vehicle to the unloading point when a code was entered.

                Bryant hopped on his motorcycle and expertly kick started the engine as he settled into the seat. The powerful sport cycle roared to life as Bryant twisted the handgrip and sent the bike soaring out of the parking space. He skidded out of control for a second, the bike coming to terms with the change in driving surface, but Bryant was soon tearing through the base on his way to the Command Center. He looked briefly behind him at his rucksack; it was vital those documents survived otherwise he was liable to be executed the minute he entered the compound. Bryant looked back at the road after checking his rucksack, and depressed the accelerator more than it was probably safe to do so.

He hoped was not too late with his revelations.

                He sped through the near deserted streets with his valuable cargo; after reading the documents on his computer, it was very apparent to him why there wasn’t anyone around at this time of day. Everyone was asleep because of the commissar’s schedule; he was working the residents of the base like a madman. Bryant himself had eaten more than double the suggested amount of stim-tabs just so he wouldn’t fall asleep on his way to the compound. He glanced around the intersection he was approaching and, seeing no other cars around, depressed the accelerator still more.

He had to make it to the compound as fast as possible.


                Commissar Kulinov fidgeted quietly in his private quarters. After so long, the moment was finally here. They were so close to the climax of their planning and that made the brief wait all the more unbearable. He leapt from his cot suddenly and started to pace the room. He retraced his steps over and over again, each time drawing nearer and nearer to the fruition of their plots. He unclasped his hands from behind his back and brought them to his temple as a frown crossed his eagle like features.

                He rubbed his head forcefully; his headaches that had previously been minor annoyances were now coming with increased frequency and ferocity. He stopped rubbing his head and scratched at one of the scar-lines that crossed his once noble face. As he passed his desk on the way to the teapot, he glanced at his computer and was surprised to see the status light blinking. He frowned again and opened the small computer’ screen.

                After the screen had warmed up for a second, a dialogue box with the Imperial Eagle popped up immediately. There was a stylized exclamation point plastered almost comically over the Eagle next to a small block of print. As the Commissar read the small block of text, his frown grew deeper and pulled the various scar-lines of his face down towards his chin.

Due to remote access, your user profile has been signed off this unit for security reasons. All file transfers were completed by end of session. No viruses encountered and no security threats encountered. All questions refer to the user manual or contact a tech-priest.

Remote access? File Transfers? None of this made sense to Kulinov as his brain worked furiously to decipher the meaning of the text on screen. As the obvious answer dawned on him, he grew furious and slammed the screen of his computer closed and stormed over to his trench coat and high peaked cap.

His brain continued on its mad drive through his memories as he struggled to identify who could have accessed his profile or who would have been smart enough to figure it out. He threw on his trench coat and cap, and quickly threaded the bolt pistol and holster around his waist.

                Whoever had done this would pay for their treachery.


                Sergeant Chavez worked his way around his entire squad, making sure everyone had an ample supply of both morale and rations. The men ate their personal MREs quickly, scarfing down food that was just barely preferable to starvation. They ate their rations in buddy teams, one man wolfing down his food as quick as he could while the other watched the tunnels. The squad was soon finished with its meal and they all resumed their positions as Anderson continued to look at the auspex.

“Sergeant, the contact still hasn’t changed position. It’s holding about 20 meters south west of our position.” Anderson called to Sgt. Chavez quietly.

“No change yet? Damn things patient, we’ve been here over an hour.” Chavez replied grimly,” Check that auspex again.”

There was another soft string of curses as Anderson resumed checking the auspex and Chavez smiled ruefully; that Private was learning quickly.

                The rhythmic noise of water dripping off overhead pipes into the water below hadn’t ceased or broken rhythm since they had taken this position. There was absolutely zero ambient light; they were over 800 meters from their starting point and far underground at this point. The only light came from the soldiers’ individual tac-lights and that light was unsteady as every trooper felt the effects of fatigue and fear. Anderson continued messing with the auspex and each soldier checked their separate sectors in the large ante-chamber.

                Suddenly Anderson’s face contorted in confusion and he hurriedly motioned for Sgt. Chavez. Chavez hurried over to the young private, already knowing what to expect from the horrified look on the private’s face. He glanced at the auspex and confirmed his suspicions. As Anderson looked on, Sgt. Chavez watched the ghostly contact move on the screen slowly towards his squad.

Sgt. Chavez made a quick signal to his men and resumed his position in the center of the line. The only sound was power cells being clicked into place and the swift metal clink of safeties being shut off. Whatever had been chasing them, it was about to show itself for better or for worse.

The End

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