Dust Trails: of Earth, Chapter Fourteen
01-30-17 03:11 PM
Eirinn is Offline
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Oh gosh this is late. So sorry. Can I blame the holidays? Also this is the shortest chapter in a while, but it covers a lot of back story...sort of.
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"Know that love and hate may abide together, but that love is the stronger of the twain."
Lauren's pulse speeds up, and though she can't say why, she somehow senses danger, and suddenly feels an overwhelming urge to keep Aaron inside while she checks things out in the yard. Looking back and forth between Aaron and Sanya, she sees at least some of the apprehension that she feels mirrored in their faces, especially in Sanya who looks more shaken than Lauren's ever seen her before. Seeing that look on Sanya's face, and feeling this fear for Aaron, all of Lauren's pent up anger toward them melts away for the time being.
Without thinking twice, Lauren heads for the front door. What is she doing? She has no idea what's waiting for her out there, but clearly Sanya and Aaron do and they've enough sense to be wary of it. Yet here she is rushing out to meet it.
"Hey, whoa." Sanya objects as she puts an arm out in front of Lauren to stop her advance "You need to stay back. I can handle this myself."
"Sanya, we can argue about this later." Lauren replies as she pushes past her and opens the door. "Can I help you, sir?"
"What you can do is send her out here." a man close to Aaron's height and build says, his granite eyes emotionless.
"What is it, Rylan?" Sanya asks as she steps up behind Lauren. "Couldn't find something better to do than hunt me down again? What, were there no children to terrorize? Maybe an old lady to arrest?"
"Don't get smart with me, Sanya." he replies showing no appreciation for her comments. "You know why I'm here."
"No..." Sanya answers, dragging the word out in mock confusion "But my guess would be because you've run out of people to stab in the back." she adds as she steps past Lauren who's still standing in the doorway.
"Don't play innocent here."
"Okay, tell ya what: I won't pretend to be if you won't."
"Sharp as always, I see." Rylan answers dryly "But enough with the pleasantries, huh? We both know why I'm here, and we both know how it'll end. So just come with me so I don't have to kill you, okay?"
"Oh, well when you put it that way..." Sanya lets her words trail off as though she's considering his "I mean why didn't you just say so ten years ago? You didn't have to keep letting me beat you everytime."
"Like you beat me last time?"
"Hey, you shot winged bird. Big accomplishment."
"Touchy, aren't we?" The mockery in Rylan's voice nearly sets Sanya off.
"Sanya, don't do it." Aaron cautions as he sees her tense up.
"Give me one good reason not to." she seethes.
"Because he wants you to."
"To kill him?" Sanya replies with a disdainful laugh "I'd be glad to."
"Listen to yourself." Aaron says sternly "Is this how you've lasted as long as you have? Intentionally playing into your enemy's hand?"
Without looking away from Rylan, Sanya replies to Aaron's caution "What are you talking about? I've taken down bigger and meaner guys than him without breaking a sweat. He can't take me. Now stay out of this."
Sanya's head whips around at Aaron's rebuke "What did you just say?"
"I believe he said you were an idiot." Rylan chimes in.
"Sanya, you're being foolish, and if you'd stop and think with your head instead of your emotions, you would see that." Aaron answers, ignoring Rylan's remark "Look at him. He has his gun drawn, yet he keeps taunting you instead of shooting. Do you really think he came all this way just to make wise cracks?"
Rylan's expression changes from one of mockery to one of consternation. Clearly this is no ordinary man before him; he seems to see right through his plans, but he couldn't, could he? No Earthling would even know about the zoning and region laws of galactic law enforcement, let alone what laws applied to which planets and various sectors of this galaxy.
Turning, Sanya looks at Rylan again, this time with the methodical expression that she usually wears in an encounter with him or anyone else. "He wants me to attack first."
"Exactly." Aaron answers as he walks closer to Sanya. "And don't you think he has a good reason for that?"
"Well he can think what he wants, but he wouldn't stand a chance trying to counter me. He's not good enough at real combat." she reasons.
"You wound me, Sanya." Rylan says, placing a hand over his heart in mock offense.
"You're right, he couldn't." Aaron answers.
"Hey now." Rylan objects.
"And he knows that too." Aaron continues, casting a quick glance at Rylan "So he clearly has something planned. Why play into his hand? You're smarter than to be fooled by his little plot."
Staring at Aaron so hard he could bore a hole through him, Rylan continues trying to determine exactly what it is about this man that seems so familiar. He knows him from somewhere, he's sure of it.
"And what might I be plotting, sir?" Rylan probes, hoping for some admission to a working knowledge of intergalactic laws; if he truly knows this man, he would almost certainly possess such knowledge.
Smiling, Aaron realizes that it's his turn to play into this man's hand, but he has no choice but to offer an explanation. Otherwise Sanya might jump at the trick still. "You won't attack first because you can't." he answers, hoping that's vague enough.
"What?" Rylan tries his best to feign confusion "I have a gun, she has a sword; I should think I'm the one in the best position to attack first, wouldn't you agree? I simply want to offer her a chance to surrender first."
"Which is something that you know Sanya Irzorwyn would never do." Aaron says, stepping closer yet and throwing caution of revealing himself to the wind.
Seeing his continued approach toward this man, Lauren breaks into a run to get to his side, but stops at the edge of the porch as Aaron casts a glance over his shoulder that tells her to stay back. As soon as his eyes are back on the other man however, she begins her approach again, this time moving slowly and silently.
"You seem awfully knowledgeable about your friend here," Rylan replies "Mr..."
"Yeah well I've known her for a long time." Aaron ignores Rylan's attempt at learning his name for now. "And you, sir," he practically spits the word out "need to work on your detective skills. As obvious as your attempts at fishing for information on me are, it's no wonder your attempted capture of Ms. Irzorwyn here has been a failure ten years running."
Rylan's jaw clenches and he frowns angrily, showing that he doesn't appreciate the jab, but he says nothing in return, mostly because there's nothing he can say — the man has him on this one. His hand grips his gun more tightly, hoping he finds a reason to use it.
"But I'll meet your challenge for my friends' sake." Aaron continues "Yes, I am fully aware of the intergalactic laws and how they affect your attempts at capturing Sanya so long as she's here." looking back at Sanya, he meets her gaze as he continues speaking, as much to her now as to Rylan "Earth is a class three planet in a class three sector of a class two galaxy. You can't attack her here. You're on dangerous ground even bringing your ship here."
"I see. You're no ordinary Earthling, now are you?" Rylan asks as he relaxes his grip on the gun at his side. "In fact I'd dare say you're not an Earthling at all. You must be the one responsible for the Milarmin energy source nearby, yes?"
"Who I am and what I am are none of your concern." Aaron says as he turns to look at Rylan with a scowl. "And I would suggest you get out of here before someone alerts the authorities to your presence on Earth soil."
"Well now that would be a problem if I didn't have a command directly from a ruler of the high order, now wouldn't it?"
"A ruler of the high order sent you to Earth? You expect me to believe that? Who? And why?"
"Queen Gaelia, ruler of Leocyn." Rylan answers as he holds his left arm in front of himself, his elbow bent. "Nyota, display permit." the silver band on his wrist blinks in response and shines a hologrophic image of his order to pursue Sanya, complete with the name of Gaelia Faedan. "As you can see, it's an order that grants me a level one clearance. I have every right to be here."
Aaron manages to conceal his surprise, and resorts to his trump card "But no right to attack unless threatened first. No order can absolve you of the guilt of that offense."
"Wait a minute" Sanya speaks up again "you were trying to provoke me so that you could have an excuse to shoot?" The look on her face looks strangely like betrayal "That's pretty low, Rylan. I see Tanada passed on his morals and ethics to you along with his skills during your training."
"You're a fine one to speak of morals, aren't you?" comes Rylan's angry retort "Theft and murder on your rapsheet, and here you are trying to talk to me about morals and ethics?"
"She didn't do it!" Lauren shouts from behind her friends, and Sanya cringes. "I know her too well to believe it for a moment."
"Do you now?" the grin on Rylan's face shows how much pleasure he derives from what he's about to say. "Well let's see, which murder are you speaking of? Which one did she not commit?"
"Stop it, Rylan." Sanya says, her head hanging low.
"Now Sanya, don't you think it's kind of important information? Or with all of your interactions with your friend here, did you never mention to her that you worked in the, shall we say, murder for hire field?"
Lauren's gasp is the last thing Sanya needed to hear. "Alright Rylan, you wanted a fight, I'll give you one."
"Sanya, don't!" Aaron tries to stop her, but before he can do anything, she lunges at Rylan, glowing red beam in hand.
Evading her with ease, Rylan turns to fire at Sanya, but misses as she ducks. Siezing the opportunity, she extends her blade, and, rising back to her full height, slashes at him; Rylan manages to anticipate the counter and leans away, then firing again at her, hits her in the left shoulder.
Dropping her weapon, Sanya cries out in pain; never one to be defeated however, she uses her good arm to land a solid punch in Rylan's gut as he attempts to grab her in order to apprehend her and take her alive. As he doubles over from the blow, she readies another sword beam to slash at him, but he counters with a strike of his gun to the side of her knee.
If Sanya's scream wasn't enough to tell how severe the damage from that blow was, the sickeningly loud crack that accompanied it was.
Falling prone she reaches instinctively for her broken knee, gritting her teeth and groaning to keep from yelling anymore. The expression on Rylan's face as he looks down at Sanya seems to be one of regret, as though he feels bad for what he just did to her. Still, bound by a sense of duty, he reaches down to place a binding cuff on her, thankful that he at least didn't have to kill her, even though he has no doubt that queen Gaelia will. This is his life though: finding whatever small detail he can to redeem himself and his actions.
"No!" Sanya shouts as she emits an energy field, knocking Rylan backwards and to the ground. "You're not binding me. If you wanna take me in, you'll have to settle for my dead body."
"Don't tell me what to do, Rylan!" her reply cuts him off as she struggles to stand back up on her one good leg.
"Sanya, listen to me" Rylan tries to reason with her as he approaches once more, binding cuff in hand still "it doesn't have to end this way. I don't want to kill you. You know that."
"Do I, Rylan? And what do you think they'll do to me when you take me in? Spat my hand and tell me to behave next time?"
"Sanya, I can't help what they do, but you have to face the consequences of your actions. The Sanya I knew..." Rylan's words trail off as he purses his lips and turns to look away for a moment. Looking back at her after a moment, he continues "she would have said the same."
"And that's exactly what I'm trying to do." she answers softly, the anger no longer present in her expression or tone "I'll face it, but you're gonna be the one to do it. Not Gaelia's goons. Do that much for me." she asks with tear filled eyes.
"No!" Lauren shouts as she rushes to Sanya's side, but she's stopped as Aaron puts out an arm and grabs her.
"It'll be okay, Lauren." Aaron says gently, trying to comfort the distraught woman.
"Let me go!" she protests as she struggles against his hold, but to no avail.
"Listen to him, Lauren!" Sanya yells without breaking eye contact with Rylan. "It has to happen. It's better this way."
"No it's not!" Lauren shouts back "I don't care what you've done in the past; that was then, this is now. You're not like that anymore."
"So that's it? You think someone can just play nice for a few months and suddenly their past crimes don't matter anymore? Are you really that naive?"
"No, but you can't fake the kind of change you showed after coming here. You've changed, and that should merit some sort of mercy."
"Enough." Sanya says emotionless. "Do it Rylan."
"I'm not going to kill you, Sanya."
"Do it, Rylan. We're not kids anymore, we're adults, and sometimes adults have to do things they don't want to."
"I won't." is the cool answer she gets. "You're no threat to me like this. I have no right to shoot you, and I won't."
"Fine then, I'll make myself a threat." Sanya replies as she stretches her arms out in front of herself to fire an energy blast, but the motion sends her off balance and to the ground.
"Sanya, stop it already. Just let me take you in. Please."
"And why would I listen to your plea? Seems to me you refused to hear mine."
"That was fifteen years ago, Sanya..."
"Yeah, and this is now." she answers as she again extends her arms. "Now it's you or me: you choose. And don't think for a moment that I won't do it. I have nothing to lose." she adds as she prepares a ball of energy to blast him.
"Sanya, don't." Rylan says but she doesn't show any signs of stopping, and he knows she's telling the truth. He knows what his training demands he do, and he knows that he has to do it. "Don't!" he shouts even as he raises his gun to fire at her. Shutting off his emotions he points the gun at her, closes his eyes, and squeezes the trigger, discharging a concentrated laser shot at the woman on the ground before him.
"NOOO!!!" Lauren screams and slips through Aaron's arms, falling to the ground in a heap, sobbing for her friend.
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