Beyond the DarkSide: 32-4 to 5


They trudged on in silence, heading in the direction of the relay. After ten minutes, Evan stopped looking over his shoulder for the DarkSide security shuttle. After twenty, he wished it found them instead. The never ending sea of grey dust and rocks made estimating time and distance almost impossible. Despite what the oxygen gauge on Evan’s suit suggested, he was certain they would run out of air at any moment.

“We should turn back,” Evan said. “I’m sure security has left by now. We can break back in and call for a ride.”

“Shut up, idiot. There is no going back there, not if we want to live anyway,” Hanse said as he lumbered forward.

Evan bit back a response. He did not think Hanse was the type to leave him out in the wasteland to die, but he did not want to take that chance just yet. He followed in silence, keeping his eyes trained on the heavy backpack carried by the other man. He grumbled in his head that it could have held more oxygen, and he told Hanse as much while the big man emptied the original contents, but Hanse had his new gun and the other items they originally came for, and he was not about to leave such treasures behind.

Beyond the Darkside: 32-1 to 3


CHAPTER THIRTY-TWO

Moon-craters

Evan peeked from behind the bus-sized boulder, wishing his emergency space suit provided better visibility, he did not see anyone walking around. Hanse assured him that it would take a little while for the security team to put on their own suits, but Evan was not so sure. The guards seemed very interested in catching them and Eva did not relish the idea of getting dragged before Aldric.

He bounded across the distance to the next large boulder and waited for Hanse to catch up. The big man stopped short of bumping into Evan and looked back. “Still no sign of them,” he said.

“Let’s keep going,” Evan said as he peered around the corner and bolted for the next big rock. He did not feel all that fast in the low gravity lunar environment, but he knew that distance was key. “Hey, Hanse?”

“Yeah?”

“How did the security guards get here? There’s too many of them to be from the guard shack alone,” Evan said as he took a moment to catch his breath and look for the next stop along the way.

“I’m not sure,” Hanse said. “Probably a shuttle.”

“A shuttle?” Evan made for a crater that looked like it would offer some cover. “Shit.”

“What’s wrong…” Hanse was silent for a moment. “Shit. They can look for us in the shuttle.” He bounded ahead of Evan, taking the lead and no longer worrying about cover. “We have to move, smart guy, or they’re going to find us in a big hurry.”

“Wait,” Evan said as he tried to catch up. “They’ll see us.”

“We’ll have to risk it,” said Hanse. “There’s an old communications relay that way.” He pointed away from the warehouse toward a vast expanse of grey nothing. “If we don’t get caught, we might be able to get some help before we run out of air.”

“That is not very encouraging,” Evan said as he followed along. He dared a look behind them at the warehouse. “Won’t they see us out in the open once they get the shuttle up?”

“They won’t be looking for us over here,” Hanse said.

“Why’s that?”

“You’d have to be crazy to walk through this wasteland in and emergency suit,” Hanse said with a laugh.

Beyond the DarkSide: 31-14 to 15


DarkSide“I’ll need the location,” Debra said, “and a budget.”

“Fine,” Margaret huffed. She tapped the screen of her terminal, sending Debra the location of the warehouse and access to an account for expenses. “Done. Now get me what I want.”

Debra turned and walked from the room without saying a word. Margaret watched the woman leave and briefly considered having her shot before she left, but the woman’s record suggested she was someone that got the job done, and Margaret was woefully lacking for people who she could say that about. The door closed and thoughts of killing the security chief faded away.

Margaret pinched the bridge of her nose and stared at the screen once more. Nothing moved, but that was to be expected from a camera located on the lunar surface. Why did this feel important? Maybe her fixation with Aldric was getting the better of her, but she did not think so. She could feel it. The balance shifted and she could not figure out whether or not it was in her favor.

The buzzer chimed again and Cathy’s cute little face with her perfect sweetheart lips popped up on the screen. “What?” she asked, clipping the word off short.

“Kraven is here to see you,” Cathy said.

“Good. Send him and see that we are not disturbed.” Margaret poked the image with a finger, once more banishing Cathy from her sight.

Beyond the DarkSide: 31-12 to 13


Security
“CWAC” by Unknown photographerCredit: Canada. Dept. of National Defence/Library and Archives Canada/PA- – Found at http://www.junobeach.org/canada-in-wwii/articles/the-canadian-womens-army-corps/ – website for The Juno Beach Centre, Courseulles-sur-mer, Normandy. Accessed 1st May 2007. Photograph taken October 30th, 1943 by Canadian Crown employee and hence out of copyright.. Licensed under Public Domain via Commons – https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:CWAC.jpg#/media/File:CWAC.jpg

A tall, lanky woman in her early thirties, Debra Carter carried herself with a quiet confidence that Margaret instantly admired and hated. Alarms went off in her head. This woman was a threat to her, or at least her plans, but for the moment Margaret needed her, so she pushed down the warning and smiled.

“Welcome, Debra,” Margaret said as she stood up. “It is a pleasure to finally meet you.” Continue reading “Beyond the DarkSide: 31-12 to 13”

Beyond the Darkside: 31-11


Pollution
The global warming icon for the ubx. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

She turned away from the monitor and looked out the window onto the lunar landscape. The earth hovered on the horizon. The blue of its oceans did not match the photos from humanity’s first trips beyond earth’s atmosphere. Pollution and failed attempts to correct global warming left the planet with a dingy grey-brown tint that persisted after decades. The earth was a dying planet, but it was still better than anything else humanity had stepped foot upon.

A chime rung on Margaret’s screen. She turned and tapped the blinking icon. “Yes?”

“Debra Carter from Lunar Paveway is here,” Cathy said.

“Good. Send her in,” Margaret said. She remained seated at the desk with her hands upon the surface.

Beyond the DarkSide: 31-10


Margaret watched the monitor, but after the initial onrush, she could not see any activity. Not for the first time she wondered why she still did not have someone planting cameras inside Aldric’s buildings. Perhaps she liked the little bit of mystery his machinations offered up, but really she knew that Aldric would find them and trace them back to her. He knew plenty as it was. She did not need to give him anything more.

A few more security guards entered the warehouse, but that was it. No one left. Either they were all inside or they left through another door. It did not really matter to her. That is what she had other people for.

Beyond the DarkSide: 31-6 to 9


Secret

Margaret watched the man leave and enjoyed the stink of his fear in the air. Men of power were so easy to cow; they all had something they were afraid of losing, so showing them how easy it was to take away their something special usually put them in line. Not Aldric though. No, that man kept nothing close enough to use against him. Margaret thought she might be his weakness, and she certainly could influence him, but he would sacrifice nothing for her. His only love was for himself, and she suspected that even that love was fleeting.

She sat at the desk and pulled up her terminal. A quick flick series of motions brought up the latest satellite imagery of DarkSide’s research facility. It looked like they were building a new warehouse, but why? What did they need more storage space for? She thought for a moment, plumbing her knowledge of the company and the man that ran it. It was not for storage and it was not a warehouse she decided. Aldric was building something, and it was probably something big. What was it?

A tap on the monitor brought up a video image of her secretary. “Cathy, tell Carl that I want that information on my desk in an hour.”

“Yes, ma’am,” Cathy said. “Is there anything else?”

Margaret pursed her lips and thought for a second before saying, “Yes, have Kraven come here in two.” She closed the window and returned to looking at the satellite feeds. “There is a secret hiding in there, Aldric. What do you think you’re doing?”

A red light blinked in the corner of her screen, so Margaret touched it. A live video feed popped open showing the entrance to one of Aldric’s many supposedly hidden warehouses. A full squad of security guards rushed in through the airlock with their rifles pointed forward. Margaret paused the feed and zoomed in on one of the rifles. “Set to kill, I see,” she whispered. “Someone must have found something you wanted to stay hidden.”

Another tap on the screen and Cathy popped back into view. “Cathy, tell Kraven to get here as fast as he can, and I want the security captain for Lunar Paveways here immediately. Send a shuttle if you have to, but I want him in my office by the time Kraven arrives.” She closed the window again, not feeling the need to say anything further.

Beyond the DarkSide: 31-1 to 5


CHAPTER THIRTY-ONE

DarkSide
“Lunar eclipse October 8 2014 California Alfredo Garcia Jr mideclipse” by Alfredo Garcia, Jr, [2] – Flickr [1]. Licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0 via Commons – https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Lunar_eclipse_October_8_2014_California_Alfredo_Garcia_Jr_mideclipse.JPG#/media/File:Lunar_eclipse_October_8_2014_California_Alfredo_Garcia_Jr_mideclipse.JPG
Margaret flipped through the invoices for five minutes before tossing the bound collection onto her desk. She stared at the short, balding man sitting in front of her. When he did not speak her stare turned to a glare. He tried to sink further back into the uncomfortable, expensive, wooden chair, but it only made him appear that much more pathetic in her eyes.

“Well?” She felt like the statement conveyed her needs well enough, but he still did not speak. She sighed, grabbed the invoices from her desk, and tossed them into his lap. “Why the fuck should I care about these, Carl? They’re bills. Assholes like you pay the bills, or pay someone to pay the bills. I don’t give a shit about the bills. That is your job.” Continue reading “Beyond the DarkSide: 31-1 to 5”

Beyond the Darkside: 30-17 through 20


Fire

A staccato burst of cobalt bolts flew down the aisle with a high pitched whine. They struck a car sized container at the end of the rack, evaporated the steel exterior and struck the contents with the force of speeding tank concentrated into the head of a pin. The jellied fuel inside the container reacted to the sudden intrusion with violence. The normally stable and inert fuel reacted with the bolts and exploded. The container contained the blast for less than a fraction of a second. Fire and steel erupted outward bathing the racks in destruction and killing the security guards in before they even understood the danger they were in.

“Oh yeah!” Hanse shouted as he lifted the rifle up and rested the barrel on his shoulder. “I love this thing.” Continue reading “Beyond the Darkside: 30-17 through 20”

Beyond the Darkside: 30-15 to 16


The hiss and clang of a door opening in the distance brought Evan’s head around. “Hanse, I think we have company,” Evan said as loud as he dare without giving away his position. “Hanse?” The sound of heavy booted feet running across the ferrocrete floor made Evan get to his feet. “They’re getting closer, Hanse,” Evan called out.

“Just hold on,” Hanse yelled back. “I almost have it.”

At the far end of the row, a pair of helmeted men in black body armor rounded the corner and jogged toward Evan. “Time to go, Hanse. They’re almost here,” Evan said as he stepped into the doorway.

“Can you stop them? You know, with your…mind…thing?” Hanse shouted back.

“I couldn’t pick up a pencil right now,” Evan said.

“Oh well, I guess this will have to do,” Hanse said as he left the room. His backpack was overflowing with all manner of materials, and his pockets bulged, but the three barreled pulse rifle he carried with both hands that made the big man smile. “Let’s see how those security goons like my new toy,” Hanse said as he passed Evan and pointed the barrels down the hall.


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