Huntress: Unbreakable

Huntress: Unbreakable | download free pdf
IshaJohnson Profile Pic
IshaJohnson,United Kingdom,Professional
Published Date:31-07-2017
Your Website URL(Optional)
Huntress: Unbreakable by Jaye Patrick Copyright © 2010 Jaye Patrick All rights reserved First Electronic Publishing October 2010 Not for profit under any circumstances, but free for distribution Huntress: Unbreakable Prologue Senor Del Rey carried the curled up, pink creature towards the group, huddled close for warmth. The watching Nomadians knew not what he cradled in his appendages, it was hairless, skeletal and a hard pink, like the shattered pines around them. Something razed the Human settlement and vast tracts of surrounding forest; and that something obliterated the enslaving aliens, too. For more years than the Nomadians wished to count, the shadowy aliens studied them, using the gift of implants to manipulate, to punish, to enslave the government and those in key business and enforcement positions. And then the Hunter arrived. Judgement made flesh. Rumours abounded on what happened up here, rumours that the Hunter freed the Nomadians, sacrificing herself for all of Nomad. The scientists knew who, why and when, now they needed to know the ‘how’ and the Nomadian hierarchy suspected Earth technology. Senor Del Rey, already on planet for a scientific conference, insisted he accompany the expedition north as a consultant. A human saved them by using something; so a human could solve the mystery – under the supervision of a few Nomadian scientists, of course. And when they discovered what type of device the Hunter used, then the Nomadians could replicate it, use it to protect themselves from other alien species who attempted to enslave them. Never again would the Nomadians trust an alien species offer of technology or gifts – they’d work it out on their own. The human didn’t speak to them, refused to look at them, he walked by them, as if he’d found what he sought. The Nomadians shuddered. This early in Barkoosh, the snows came thick and unrelenting. When Credosh came, ice blanketed this area as far as the 3 Huntress: Unbreakable eyes could see; every animal hibernated, awaited Ardrosh and the first pink sprouts poking through the glittering white crust. The landscape was empty almost to the horizon; nothing lived, no creature returned in the many weeks since the incident and the silence unnerved the scientists. The Nomadians stopped building their camp and watched the human. No one spoke until the human was out of sight, striding across snow covered ash and dirt. Senor Del Rey’s expression was... dangerous and the scientists did not speak for fear of raising the human’s ire. Though none would describe himself as a Diviner, each scientist recognised the aura of potential violence surrounding Senor Del Rey. His expressionless grey eyes gleamed near as white as the snow, he held his mouth in a tight, grim line; and he strode through the snow as if it were grass, as if daring anyone to get in his way. “Do you think what he’s carrying is important?” One biologist asked and turned his curved, hammerhead-shark head to watch the human. An atmospheric scientist bared sharp, triangular teeth in disdain. “He didn’t look happy. I would think a human would be happy if he carried something important.” “I get the impression,” a botanist murmured, “that Senor Del Rey has no interest in what caused all this damage; his interest was in locating whatever he found.” “Should we call the Enforcers?” The biologist asked. “Look around you, Cenrish, what could he have found that would be worth anything?” The atmospheric scientist waved his long fin-like arms, indicated the devastation, the silence. The botanist paused in thought. “Wood samples? It was pink, though strange in form. He could determine if there was significant genetic damage. 4 Huntress: Unbreakable Maybe it was a twisted piece of pine or remanent of the device, work with it to create another weapon.” The other scientists looked at him for a moment, then the surrounding empty landscape. They hissed out laughter, fell against each other at Cenrish’s statement. “What?” He protested. “It could happen.” 5 Huntress: Unbreakable Chapter One Excalibur Jones emptied his mind of thought as he bulldozed through the knee-high snowdrifts. His heart pounded with effort, his lungs hurt from sucking in frigid air and his head throbbed with a deep ache, but he didn’t stop; couldn’t stop. He wanted to put some distance between him and any Nomadians who might happen by, even as he admitted the impossibility of company arriving. The government declared the Northern Province off limits to anyone but scientists until declared safe from radiation. He also did not want to think about whom he carried, rescued; or her words to him. Instead, he contented himself with memories. The first time he’d seen Cambria Petersen, when she arrived on the male- only prison planet Tudor, he’d been shocked speechless. When he saw her and the ‘pillar escort, Haariss, walk down the path, everything around him disappeared. He’d watched as Haariss escorted her into a hut, and then absented himself until he could regather his thoughts. She’d looked lost, tired and wary, her face red and puffy and she’d walked as if in pain. He’d begun to wonder what could cause such discomfort when one of the ‘pillars informed him the female had tried to cook herself without the benefit of a death blow and asked if this the way of females? He’d grinned, then laughed and shook his head. She had a ferocious case of sunburn, all over that lush body. And he knew they were going to be friends. It hadn’t quite worked out that way. Instead a love/hate relationship developed. Cambria did not understand she was anyone’s meat until she proved herself more violent than the men. Being a generous soul, Excalibur set 6 Huntress: Unbreakable about teaching her, and there was no better instructor’s tool than throwing the student into the deep end, by forcing confrontations to see how she coped. Cambria proved made of tough stuff indeed. She killed and killed again for him, ridding the ‘pillar-built village of all his problems. And then she defended them all against the large, indigenous animals summoned by that bastard Moeller to trample the village. His smile grew pained as he recalled she’d won over big Sam at the foundry and the quiet assassin, Chien. Even took on an unwanted apprentice in Vangana and taught him to fight. She also knew how to escape Tudor and he could not allow her secret spread to other inmates. He knew she planned to leave, was considering informing her ‘friends’ on how to escape, he’d seen it in her face, the internal conflict. And he’d again, forced the issue. He destroyed her friends as easily as he slaughtered his many other victims. It was, after all, why he called Tudor ‘home’. His lip curled and he adjusted his hold on his precious burden, refocused on his memories, lest he falter. Humanity did not countenance the removal of the dispossessed, the dissolute or the corrupt. They fought wars over ideology, over some religious doctrine, killed as many of the opposition as possible – the good and the bad – and yet, take out those who burdened society like leeches and you were a killer, a serial killer, in fact. Shunned, feared, exiled. He accepted it all – especially the fear – and, by sending him to Tudor (with the expectation someone would kill him), the Judicar provided him with his own special playground, as if rewarding him, or ‘hiring’ him to do their dirty work in secret. A win-win situation for all concerned - until Cambria arrived. 7 Huntress: Unbreakable Excalibur stopped and swayed with exhaustion. He could go no further today. He set her down, groaned as he removed his pack and stretched his lower back. He walked around in a circle, shook out his arms and then stood still, watched the sparse forest. He’d walked further than he expected - and not far enough. On a sigh, he set up his camp in the lea of downed, giant pink-barked tree. He constructed the light-weight tent, scrounged for wood and lit a fire, and when the hot coffee warmed his insides, he turned to study his obsession. So quiet, so... innocent. So different and strange and frightening. He’d come to this world of Nomad to continue his imperative of destroying malcontents, but he’d made a mistake. How could he have known that a planet called ‘Nomad’ didn’t have... nomads? That it was a high-functioning civilisation where everyone worked and no one fit his description of a target? That the locals bore a striking resemblance to Terran Hammerhead sharks? Judge Bolingbroke’s database indicated this world was ripe for exploitation, had listed it as one of his possible escape planets, through his personal, illegal corridor. And the name appealed to Excalibur. A planet full of nomads must have those who refused to pull their weight, who were defective... who would get lost in the vast landscape and not be missed. But neither Bolingbroke, nor his minion Moeller, visited the planet - that became obvious to Excalibur the moment he stepped through the portal and saw his first Nomadian. But then a Nomadian sneered at him, told him he to go to the human enclave where he belonged. And Excalibur’s interest spiked. Certain he’d 8 Huntress: Unbreakable find what he needed - what would scratch the ever-increasing itch between his shoulder blades - he set off. Kekotown. Ruled with an iron fist by Vladimir Kekovic. Excalibur figured he could take on the big man anytime he wanted. None of his victims fought much, it was all about gaining their confidence, gaining their trust and moving in to remove them from this life. He’d been wrong. Again. And he couldn’t understand it. Kekovic was unlike his usual victims, and life took a turn for the worse – at least for him. He’d kept up the charm, the innocence, even as they viewed him with suspicion. He’d been helpful, worked hard to ease his way into the community. Then Kekovic came for him, hauled him to his office and secured to a chair, demanded Excalibur tell him about the missing colonists. Excalibur denied all knowledge; he’d not had the time to scout out his victims yet, but someone had. Kekovic had his suspicions about who Excalibur was, for he explained he was all about second chances and building new lives. But back-sliders deserved all they got and were not welcome in his town. With his giant hands and huge wrestler body, Kekovic cracked his knuckles, smiled and then beat Excalibur senseless, dumped him beyond the borders of the village with the warning never to return. Excalibur made his way back to Cohasha City, with the intention of leaving Kekovic alone until he had a better plan to take him down. Face-to- face, Excalibur didn’t have a chance and it was unsporting to use long distance weaponry, though he felt tempted, just this once. 9 Huntress: Unbreakable He’d healed and turned his thoughts to his own personal assassin, wondered whether she’d worked out his clues and booked himself into a hostel to wait. The Nurturer – and what kind of a name was that? – proved informative about a guest soon to arrive who would rid the world of evil. He’d registered as ‘Henry Tudor’, the excitement of a game resumed flashed through his veins. His eyes went to her again. No movement, not even breath. Only silence. Excalibur shuddered. The chances of him and Cambria Petersen being in the same hostel, he’d thought, were impossible. Only fate could explain it. That the hostel accommodated visiting dignitaries meant nothing to him; destiny did. Their destiny: teacher and student, together until student equalled the teacher and they could hunt whomever they pleased. He did not see it as coincidence that she was a World Council Hunter and he, a hunter of the parasites of humanity. They fit. It was all - it was everything. And he’d set about thinking he could use her as his tool once more, that she’d take Kekovic down for him and he could live through the death vicariously. And, again, she surprised him when she headed right for Susrah City. Excalibur followed, took his time while a plan stewed in the back of his mind. Cambria, as a Hunter, could take on anyone, kill anyone who threatened her, and her target was him; all he had to do was divert her attention toward Kekovic and the man was most definitely a threat. They’d made a deal, called a truce for the greater good. Jones would shut down the illegal corridor and Cambria would take care of negotiations to 10 Huntress: Unbreakable stop the Nomadians from slaughtering the humans because they were being uppity. As a bonus, she planned to take out Kekovic. He’d wanted to stay and see to the corrupt World Council Minister, Corona Cottington-Blake, the financier of the illegal settlement and corridor, but escape seemed the greater imperative for him. For the first time in his life, he’d felt torn. He and Cambria engaged in the most incredible sex of his existence and he found he wanted to stay with her and do it again and again. Maybe her sense of justice was rubbing off on him, for he agreed to stop the corridor’s operation. And he’d actually promised to return for her. But... he’d gone through the corridor and then the whole thing stopped, disconcerting those about to go through. Jones meant to fulfil his promise: to contact the Hunter and Retrieval teams. With the damn corridor shut down, he knew someone else arranged it. All he thought about was getting back to Cambria. His eyes watched her for any movement, any indication of life, but he saw none, even as her words echoed in his ears. “You kept your promise. For a change.” He still felt freaked out by it, by the circumstances, by the story told to him by the Nomadians. Humans weren’t the first to try covert invasion and the Nomadians took steps to squash any further infiltration. Not because they were angry... oh, they were pissed about their inability to get human leaders to stick to their word, but because they were trying to save the humans from the alien experimentation that had befallen them. One ship of unknown origin enslaved the entire planet before the first human stepped foot on Nomad. Intrigued by this new species, the aliens directed the Nomadians to give them land, corral them for study. 11 Huntress: Unbreakable The Nomadians had no choice but to agree. The last any Nomadians had seen of Hunter Petersen and First Officer Karesh of Cohasha City, was in a report from the troops sent to dismantle Kekotown. First Officer Karesh ordered the troops away, to head back to Susrah City as fast as their vehicle would take them. One trooper said he’d never seen the First Officer so scared and that translated to the driver. Not long afterwards, an enormous explosion erupted into the sky; a huge cloud seen from the orbiting satellites. The truck, just, made it to a safe distance, though it rocked and staggered as the shock wave caught it. Nearly every single window in Susrah City shattered, buildings shook and the deep rumble shimmered in the marrow of bones. Excalibur did not believe Cambria was gone, not when he’d promised he’d return; not when they had something to work on. She would not abandon him or her Hunt for him. It wasn’t possible. So, he’d donned an alternative persona and joined the research team, determined to find Cambria, to find something, because unless he had evidence, even genetic evidence, she wasn’t dead. Not to him. She was his, heart and soul, and he wouldn’t give her up for anything or anyone. He couldn’t entertain the thought she was dead. That way lay true madness and he would wreak such vengeance on the World Council for causing him pain... They were, after all, responsible for setting her on his trail. He sighed and unrolled his thermal sleeping bag, wrapped it around him and lay down next to her pliant, hot form, enveloped her in his arms and... slept. 12 Huntress: Unbreakable Darkness lay heavy when Excalibur rolled out of his thermal bag. He’d slept for eight hours and still the night reigned. On this world, thirty-hour days dragged on, at the primeval need to sleep when it was dark, work and play during daylight. He’d adjusted to the difference by not trying to change. If it was night following his eight hours of sleep, he still rose and went about his business. If it was day when he felt tired, he slept. His work did not require a set time. Cambria hadn’t moved all night, still lay curled on her side. Steam rose from her heated, dusky pink skin into the chilled air. He held a hand over her, then lightly pressed his fingers against her flesh. “So hot,” he murmured, fascinated by the growing plumpness. No longer a bag of bones, Cambria’s body slowly reconstructed her. But how? She’d taken no sustenance; where did her body get the energy, the material to rebuild her? Excalibur found himself uneasy over her coma, over her very nature. Yet, however, why ever she survived, Cambria returned to him and for he was thankful. He rolled away from her and broke down his camp. His shoulders ached, but he figured he was more than a third of the way back to Susrah City. There, he could acquire a vehicle and drive down to the southern province of Cohasha – he dared not risk flying, he had no explanation for her and he refused to let her out of his sight. He stowed his gear into his pack and shrugged into it, adjusted the weight. Then he crouched down and lifted her. She felt heavier than yesterday, but not the weight he wanted to feel. Excalibur walked for the rest of the night, paused at sunrise for a break and continued on. When the sun was high above him, cool and bright, he set his camp and settled down for another eight hours sleep, resumed his 13 Huntress: Unbreakable journey until he saw the glow of lights from Susrah City in the growing night. He found a secure area and laid her on the ground, settled his pack next to her and arched his back to ease the strain. He needed a vehicle. He could have taken the scientists’ car, but guilt nibbled him as he thought of the older Nomadians walking such a long distance. “Damn you, Cambria and your sense of fair play.” He muttered and walked into the city. The alien quarter was abuzz with species. But no humans. Their shops were dark and empty, like pockmarks in an otherwise bright and vibrant street. He’d get no assistance here, but he did see a human vehicle, abandoned. Excalibur grinned. It was one of Kekovic’s Enforcer cars, unmarked by graffiti. The Nomadians and the local alien species seemed reluctant to go near it. He climbed in and started the engine, grinned at the subtle hum and near full energy indicator. “This’ll do me.” He muttered and drove off. No one paid any attention to him or the vehicle. He bumped over grass and sticks and avoided downed branches to where he’d left her. His pack went onto the passenger side seat and he picked Cambria up, laid her on the back seat, secured the belts. Then he got into the driver’s seat and headed south. Excalibur lost track of the days – Terran or Nomadian – as he made the thousands of kilometres drive south. His food reserves diminished and he 14 Huntress: Unbreakable was tired of supplementing his rations with Muriak and Mushtak, or, in human terms, a burger and fries. And still Cambria didn’t awaken. She remained catatonic, yet her body became pliant, regained more flesh and muscle, weight. Her skin darkened to red and burned with heat. Excalibur rubbed his tired eyes. If his life was to mean anything, if he was to do this one good deed – the only good deed he’d ever do – he had to persevere. When his patience neared snapping point, and the itch became almost unbearable, he drove into Cohasha City and towards the docks. It was late in the Nomadian night when he arrived at the checkpoint. He drove up as close as possible, kept the engine running and emerged to greet the slow and sleepy guard. “You are not authoris...” The hunting knife slid deep into the Nomadian’s lower belly and Excalibur walked his victim back into the guard hut, then dragged the blade up, as if gutting a fish. Are sharks fish? He wondered as he absorbed the slow fading of life from the guard’s black eyes. He eased the body down to the floor, wiped his hand and the knife on the guard’s uniform. His lip curled at the awful stench of ruptured internal organs spilling onto the ground. He’d expected it to stink like fish, given the Nomadians’ apparent evolution from native sharks. “I guess you don’t eat other fish after all.” He muttered and grimaced at the sticky feel of blood. He’d have to wash everything, clean the blade properly, but not yet, not now, and he knew it would be extra work to return the blade to its proper shine. That was okay. For now, he absorbed 15 Huntress: Unbreakable the Nomadian’s death into his soul and his shoulders eased with relief, felt energy course through his veins. He got back into the car and drove along the dockside, searched for the corridor. He smiled as he saw the alleyway, with its scattering of debris, of dirt and mud and old rotting things. It hadn’t taken much torture of another Hunter on Earth to discover the corridor’s location. It had taken a little more pain to find another corridor away from the one destroyed at Kekotown. Excalibur used his pack to keep the corridor’s access hatch open. It wouldn’t do for him to be transported into the very heart of Hunter territory. Although, he could easily imagine the shocked faces if he did. Unfortunately, there’d be no escape from them and he couldn’t let it happen. He wanted Cambria to come after him again – and now he had the patience thanks to his latest victim. He picked Cambria up and carried her inside, laid her down on his coat and brushed a hand over her bald scalp. A surge of some... emotion went through him as he bent down to kiss the scorched, sunburned skin of her forehead, to brush his lips over heat and baby softness. He eased back with a sigh, then he set the emergency beacon on his wrist unit and placed the band on top of her so still form. “Safe journey, Cambria. I’ll be waiting for you.” He rose and picked up his pack, paused at the door and watched her. “But don’t take too long. You know what happens when you don’t do what I ask of you.” The door clanged shut behind him. Excalibur Jones got back into the commandeered car and drove away. He did not look back. 16 Huntress: Unbreakable Chapter Two Cool, empty darkness surrounded her, held her in its comforting embrace. The longer she stayed, the more content, even relieved, she felt. There was no pain - physical or emotional – no sound nor scents nor tastes; no joy, either. Nothing to stimulate her senses, but a vague memory of duty incomplete. Who and what she’d been no longer mattered; only the peace and comfort of the darkness soothed her. As long as she stayed wrapped in the cool silence, she didn’t need to recognise any imperative, any demand; she could float, unafraid, unconcerned with the issues and problems of others. Others. Flashes of light erupted at the thought. Had she brows, she would have frowned at the flickering images. They didn’t come all at once, just a sharp flash, like a strobe, followed by peace and quiet. She waited until she felt sure the flash didn’t come again, then sank back into lassitude. But it came again, with others, before vanishing. The images increased, until a long flow of interconnected images that at first made no sense filled her mind. A strange, liquid voice called to her, but she made no sense of the alien words and ignored them. A room with old, dark furniture and a man called... Bolingbroke. A jungle planet called Tudor and a man called... Excalibur. A cold planet with shark-like creatures called... Nomad and a man called Excalibur; another man called... Vlad? The sharks, Gordash, Nurturer... Karesh The images stopped with a flash of brilliant light and she sank back into the darkness, deeper and blacker so the images wouldn’t come again. Again the garbled alien voice, querulous, demanding, then fading. 17 Huntress: Unbreakable The pictures returned, a strange montage of her life. They hunted her, taunted her, demanded things of her she couldn’t do. Wouldn’t do. The images replayed over and over again, the brilliant flash repeating with painful intensity and brightness until she would have wept had she the tears. The explosion repeated itself and she saw Karesh’s face, solemn, grateful and proud until it vanished. Simply... disappeared into the light. And she vanished, too. Painlessly, without thought, vanished into nothing until she became aware of the comforting darkness and all that followed. Does it understand the visions? She recognized the soft alien words as they murmured around her, inside her. Does it understand the progress of its life and where it will end, what it is constructed of or how it came to be? Does it understand it should not be here and cannot stay? Did it understand anything of this dimension, of its own? What are you? What will you be? Did the uniqueness of being, in this dimension, in every dimension, make any sense? The voice faded, as if walking away to ponder an interesting philosophical question. She wanted to call the voice back, to talk, to ask her own questions and seek answers, to end the darkness as she realised the loneliness of this empty place. The horror and terror and understanding of her nature sent her back to the darkness, where she buried the memory of alien’s questions. She could not stay here and then a mournful sigh eased through her. Yes. She understood. She was not meant for this place, for any place in time and space, but if she could find her way home, she need not face what was to come; she could hide amongst the familiar and ignore the future. 18 Huntress: Unbreakable More quiet, more peace, but different. She was warm, felt something light covering her and slowly opened eyes long shut. The low light hurt her eyes. Without thinking, her vision adjusted to a more comfortable level. She was in a room with unrelenting white walls, with no windows to the outside world, no colour to break the monotony of white and nothing to indicate where she was or what she was doing here. She’d slept, but for how long? She sat up, the sheet falling to her waist, exposing patchy, flaky skin, as if shedding the old like a reptile. Alarms, harsh to her ears, shattered the silence and to her right, a door burst open. Armed soldiers, dressed in green poured in to surround the bed. The alarm shut off and the soldiers aimed their rifles at her, each one with grim determination in their eyes as they watched her. She kept still, not wanting to give them any opportunity to fire. Her gaze met each of the soldiers, but there was no flinching, no change in expression and she heard the creak of someone’s leather glove tighten around the barrel guard. A white coated woman hesitantly entered and she turned her head to the newcomer. Medium height with seal-brown, curly hair tied back in hasty ponytail, wary blue eyes and trembling mouth. She held a clipboard and nervously flicked her gaze to it. The... doctor cleared her throat. “Do you... do you know where you are?” She was frightened, or... confused about something. “No.” Cambria said with a rusty voice. “Do you know who you are?” “I am... I am... Petersen.” The soldiers leaned in, as if she was dangerous. She frowned at them. “Cambria Petersen, Hunter.” 19 Huntress: Unbreakable “Do you know why you are here?” What an odd question, she thought and tilted her head. If she didn’t know where, how could she know why? But since this woman wore a white coat, she must be a doctor, ergo... “I’ve been... sick?” She asked. The doctor didn’t answer, but didn’t approach, either. “How do you feel?” Again, she frowned. “I feel... I feel... unnatural.” She said and heard a collective intake of breath. Was it the wrong word? It was the truth. She did feel unnatural - and strange and odd and out of sorts, as if she’d been away for a long time and in her absence, the world changed. “Have I been ill for long?” She asked but the doctor didn’t answer. The woman eyed her as if she was something to study. Study? The word echoed inside her with savage disbelief. She’d felt it before. “Karesh.” She murmured and dropped her gaze. She’d explained... something studied, experimented on her people, and then the humans. An alien species Karesh had to stop somehow. “Do you know the word ‘Karesh’?” The doctor asked. Cambria eased back against the pillows, drew up the sheet and folded her hands in her lap. “First Officer Karesh of Cohasha City.” She said and a spurt of sadness drooped her shoulders. A film ran behind her eyes again in detail. “Killed in action at Kekotown, Susrah Province, Nomad.” “What else do you remember?” “Everything.” She murmured. “Everything except where I am and how I got here.” No, not everything. Something lurked in the darkness of her mind, something waited, patient and terrible. “What’s the last thing you remember?” 20

Advise: Why You Wasting Money in Costly SEO Tools, Use World's Best Free SEO Tool Ubersuggest.