Author Topic: Dark Mirrors of the Soul: An Eagle Eye 28 Story  (Read 821 times)

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Offline Þórgrímr

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Dark Mirrors of the Soul: An Eagle Eye 28 Story
« on: April 09, 2010, 10:46:24 AM »
"Nice of you to join us, Daniel," Adam said dryly as Daniel came into the room still reading a sheet of paper by the light of his flashlight as he walked through the darkness.

"Adam, I know you're bored, I heard you teaching Joran 'One Hundred Bottles of Beer on the Wall'. I'm... this is important." When Daniel recieved no response from Adam he looked up from his papers, only to see Adam looking patiently indulgent, and Gina was openly grinning. "No, it really is."

The metal walls of the alien lab gleamed dull and cold around the EE-28 team and Gina seemed ghostly pale in the puddle of light given off by her flashlight. She looked down briefly at the partially dissected mechanical object under the flashlight, then back at Daniel. "Well, I've found nothing. What did you come up with Daniel?"

"I couldn't be sure at first, but the notes the aliens left behind indicate that they were reverse-engineering technology... Gomesah technology, as well as others, and they had had some success. What I couldn't be certain of was if, whether or not, they might have been Gomesah thralls, or even a Gomesah faction themselves; it's hard to tell from the projects they were working on, and we don't know how long ago this facility was abandoned. But I did figure out the aliens that worked here were explorers, like us, and were enemies of the Gomesah."

"And you know that how, exactly?" Adam asked.

Daniel flipped through a few of the pages in his notebook. "Because there's a record here of their efforts to remove a Gomesah 'zombie' chip from its slave. They were trying to figure out a way to do it so the chip would remain intact, and not self destruct, which made me think at first that they were Gomesah thralls, maybe trying to get a damaged chip out of a damaged slave. But then I realized it was so they could download its programming... although how you download a zombie chip without the slave's controller for it I have no idea..."

"Daniel, are you saying they had made progress in getting a chip out of a slave?"

"No... I'm saying they did it. They were just perfecting their technique. But there's more," he paused and adjusted his glasses. "Adam, they were reverse-engineering alien technology, just like we do, and running their own experiments like we do. They were working on all the stuff that we're working on, but they were ahead of where we are now. They were experimenting with weapons technologies, defense systems, power sources..." Daniel trailed off, and there was silence in the room. It was Joran who asked the question.

"Is there any indication of where the aliens have relocated?" Joran snarled, the translator turning his Iskarendi snarls into understandable english.

"Well, no... they left to escape the Gomesah, I think, so they didn't leave behind a forwarding address, but I'm pretty sure this wasn't their homeworld. I doubt we'll be able to find them unless the Atheri can tell us something."

Adam snorted at the idea, turned to look at Gina, and gave a gesture that included the room and its countertops filled with engineering detritus. "You find any gizmos like what he's describing, Lucas?"

"No, sir. Unfortunately, there's not much here. They left some of the large equipment, but nothing really extraordinary. I mean, some of it's interesting," she pointed at the 'gizmo' she had been working on when the team had re-grouped. "And some of it's even... a little different. But I haven't seen anything I couldn't wait to get back to my own lab. Of course, I haven't been completely through everything yet."

"Well, Captain, if there's any chance there might be any weaponry or useful gadgets here, I want them taken back with us."

"Yes, sir."

"Daniel, start focusing on gathering up all the notes, and potentially useful bits of paper to take back."


"Yes, I know. I also know that these people are long gone. You can translate the information for Lucas sitting in your far more comfy chair back at the JGC... in the land of overhead lighting. And I can watch the football game that's on tonight. We're not going to gain anything by being here much longer. Make a clean sweep of it, and let's move out."

Daniel nodded in acquiescence, where he and Joran followed the dark maze of hallways back to the offices to gather up notes. Adam returned to the mirrors room and was contemplating a cold beer and the pre-game show when he heard Gina call him over the comm-link.

"Sir? You should come and look at this."

They all answered her call, stepping over the empty boxes piled in the hallways to get to the back room she had gone into. Gina was standing, flashlight in her hand, watching the light bounce off the back wall as though it were... it was, it was a mirror. She turned to see Daniel and Joran following Adam into the room and held up her left hand. "Recognize this, Daniel?"

Daniel recognized it immediately. It was the control device for a multi-dimensional mirror, and the mirror was... the mirror was incredibly large. It didn't take up the entire back wall as he had first thought, but it damn near did.

"Okay, now there's something you don't see every day." Adam said as he gestured towards the mirror. "I'll bet they hated leaving that bad boy behind."

"Maybe they didn't leave it behind, Adam, maybe they went through it. Maybe that's why it had to be so large, so they could transport large equipment. If we could find them..." Daniel trailed off, hoping Adam would pick up what he was laying down.

"Why not take the controller with them, then?" Adam asked, pointing to the controller device Gina held.

Gina shrugged, "maybe they did. Maybe they had more than one and left this one in case somebody got stranded." She gave a small gesture with the device. "Should we take a look?"

Adam made a face at the mirror. "We haven't had very good luck with those things in the past."

"We haven't? If I hadn't gone through the first one, we would all be dead by now. And that one's big enough, sir, to have transported your 'big honkin' space gun'." Gina said as she grinned at the face Adam made.

Joran spoke up, his deep rumbling growls and snarls seeming to softly echo in the still lab. "It does indeed seem there is a chance for much useful information, if these people were advanced enough to remove a Gomesah zombie chip from its slave."

"It's certainly worth a look, sir." Gina chipped in.

Adam contemplated the mirror and its possibilities, then motioned for the team to take up better positions in the room. With the ease borne of many years of working together, they spread out and adjusted themselves. When they had settled in Adam gave his second a nod, and Gina activated the controller.

The mirror shimmered with a wave of light, then solidified into a view of another dark lab. Again and again the mirror glowed, and still the labs on the other side of the mirror remained dark, empty, abandoned.

And then... the mirror shimmered and when the new image coalesced, the room EE-28 stood in was bathed in the bright lights of a fully operational lab on the other side of the mirror. The exploration team drew its collective breath.

"That gizmo can get us back home, right, Captain?"

Knowing what he was considering, Gina nodded. "Yes, sir. We would have approximately forty-eight hours before entropic cascade failure begins."

"Would not the entropic cascade failure only affect us if we have counterparts in the other universe?" Joran asked.

"True, but all... well, most of us do tend to exist in the alternate universes we have seen," Gina said with a shrug.

"We shouldn't need the controller unless the mirror gets reset by another controller," Daniel added. "We should leave something here to mark our place, though, in case that happens. All those other labs looked a lot like each other."

Adam stepped forward and set his soft cover on a counter within sight of the mirror. "You can speak that language you were reading, right Daniel?" He waited for Daniel's nod, then added, "Okay, let's give it a try then." Gina slid the controller into her pocket and, as a group, the team stepped forward to touch the mirror.

There was the slight shock Gina remembered, and then her eyes were trying to adjust to the bright glare from the overhead lights in the new lab. The counters were covered with bits and pieces of objects, and some that still looked whole. She recognized a stun gun, a Gomesah hand-held energy projector, and a healing device in the piles of equipment. Being able to see the workspaces more clearly, she was surprised at how familiar the tools looked. Other than the equipment, however, the room was empty.

"Someone exited the room as we arrived," Joran said with a nod towards the door at the other end of the lab.

"Who?" Adam asked, instantly on alert.

"I do not know. I merely saw a leg and arm as he left."

"You know it was a 'he,' though?"

"I believe so."

"Okay, so the natives are restless. Let's go say 'hi'."

The hallway outside the lab was clear. Adam raised his voice and called out, "Hello?" No one responded.

Adam looked pointedly at Daniel, who called an alien word, then another, and then again with a different pronunciation. The corridors stayed empty and quiet. Daniel shrugged. "We could try the shuttle bay?"

The team moved down the hall, passing branching corridors and doorways. The base seemed to be identical in structure to the one they had just left, although brightly lit. They had not yet seen a single figure when the familiar sound of a stun gun filled their ears. The sound came from behind them, and the blast struck Joran squarely in the back. He fell with a surprised sound and a soft thud.

Adam and Gina wheeled in place, raising their weapons, while Daniel drew his pistol. Another blast hit Gina and she fell, but Adam still hadn't seen more than a glimpse of the figure that had fired before he darted back behind the cover of a corner.

Daniel was speaking in the alien tongue, words Adam couldn't understand but was relying on regardless. The section of the corridor where they had been trapped offered no cover; Adam and Daniel both had their backs to the wall, but Daniel was still speaking and had raised his hands in the universal sign of surrender. The gesture failed to have its desired effect, and Daniel cried out Adam's name as a third shot pinned him to the wall, then dropped him to the floor.

The figure reappeared and Adam fired off a three round burst, denting the wall, but missing his target. The fourth shot from the stunner struck him in the leg, and he collapsed. The world faded to a haze of red energy, pain, and the smell of ozone, while Adam struggled to retain consciousness, although his body was refusing all other commands.

Into Adam's vision came a man in a black t-shirt. In the slow-motion world of pain, his brain wondered why the man looked like Daniel, then promptly reminded him of the mirror.

"Daniel?" Adam asked out loud and wondered, silently, Why is Daniel shooting at us? There was no answer from the Daniel swimming in his vision, but Adam's brain answered, Not Daniel. Not-Daniel. He watched the Not-Daniel raise his stunner and aim it squarely at him.

"Move and die," the Not-Daniel said in a voice colder than Adam would have thought possible, then he made a motion and Adam watched men in JGC uniforms come forward and begin to strip his team of their weapons and gear. Adam couldn't raise his weapon; he tried, ineffectually, to tighten his grip upon it, but it was pulled from his grasp. With it he also lost his tentative grip on consciousness, and the world went black.
Sic vis pacem, para bellum
If you want peace, prepare for war

Offline Þórgrímr

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Re: Dark Mirrors of the Soul: An Eagle Eye 28 Story
« Reply #1 on: April 10, 2010, 10:51:53 AM »
Adam rubbed his temples and sat up. "Oh, yeah, that NEVER gets old." He looked around the room and saw that Joran was already awake while Daniel and Gina were still out. "Any news, Joran?"

"We are in some sort of detention room, and we have been disarmed."

"Yeah, thanks, I kinda figured that out for myself." A quick survey showed that they all had been stripped of weapons and equipment. The room was barren, except for two cots covered by green wool blankets, although all four of them had been laid on the concrete floor. Adam glanced at the door and back at Joran. "Door locked?" Joran nodded, then looked at Daniel, who was groaning and rubbing his head.

There were a few groggy passes of his hands over his face, then Daniel replaced his glasses and looked around the room and blinked. "Damn. There goes my fifty bucks."

Adam looked at him quizzically, "huh?"

"DeJonghe bet me fifty dollars EE-28 couldn't go five missions without getting captured. This was number five. Damn."

Adam snorted in laughter, "that was a dumb bet, Daniel. If I were the superstitious sort, I'd say you jinxed us."

"I must concur with Vickers," Joran growled in addition. "It was a most foolish bet. Please refrain from betting on the frequency of our injuries, as well."

Gina groaned and Daniel helped her sit up. "How can soldiers have so many superstitions and still call me the flaky one? Gina, you okay?"

"I'm fine, Daniel." She looked around the room through eyes that still resisted her attempts to focus. "We're in a cell, aren't we?"

"No, Lucas. We're in a locked room with no weapons."

"Oh right, sir. That's much better."

By the time the door opened, they were all fully awake and ready to meet their hosts, although Adam was the only one not completely surprised by the appearance of the man that entered the room flanked by two guards. He had been sure enough that he imagined it, which is why Adam had not said anything about the man who had single-handedly neutralized his team, but he wished he had as Daniel Martin motioned for an guard to close the door.

Major Daniel Martin, US Army, by the insignia on his jacket.

"Uh, hi," Martin said, with an apologetic smile at the group. "First off, very sorry about that. And, uh," Martin raised his eyebrows with another wide smile at EE-28. "Welcome to the JGC Outpost on Omicron Epsilon Ceti."

Outpost? Adam's brain quickly went through a series of questions, then settled on a priority. "Thanks. It's been lovely so far," Adam drawled. "Can we have our equipment back?"

"Oh, absolutely. We'll pick it up on the tour around the place." Martin sat on the edge of a cot and surveyed the group. "Like I said, I'm sorry about that. The technician you surprised was babbling something about aliens and intruders, and wasn't very clear at first that you weren't actually threatening him. We've been a little... touchy around here lately, we've had some security issues. So... I'm Major Martin. Dan." He grinned at Daniel and looked at his counterpart's jacket, bearing only the JGC logo. "And you're... not."

"Dr. Daniel Martin. Civilian consultant."

"Wow. Weird."

"Not as weird as 'Major Martin'." Daniel noticed the lack of glasses on the other man and wondered if his counterpart wore contacts.

"So... you aren't me, who are you? Where did your group come from?"

"It's the mirror," Gina said. "It's a dimensional gateway. Doctor Hugh Everett had an interpretation of the wave function collapse in quantum mechanics he called the Many Worlds Theory, and it stated that there are an infinite number of universes wherein all possible permutations are made real. The theory is true. The mirror is a multi-versal portal."

"You're from... another universe?" Martin looked at Daniel, who nodded.

Major Martin laughed and took in the group again. Adam watched him watch them. It was unbelievably odd seeing a version of Daniel doing the 'first contact' thing from this angle, but it was undoubtedly what Major Martin was doing. The biggest difference was a change in attitude. Daniel always had an inherent humility when dealing with strangers, he approached them on their terms.

By contrast Major Martin was implicitly working from a position of strength where he seemed very comfortable. After a moment of watching them Adam could pick out the physical differences as well, slight though they were. Martin obviously spent more time working out, and he was in no way clumsy. There was also a faint scar running down his hairline at the right temple.

"So, the walking bear is not... he's okay?" Martin's eyes took in Joran's mass as he spoke.

Adam answered, although the question had been directed at Gina. "Yeah, he's okay. And his name's Joran. We don't generally refer to him as 'the walking bear'."

"Oh, sure. Joran." Martin stood up and addressed Adam. "So would you like to see the rest of the base? General Vickers is dying to see your team."

"Oh, I'll bet." Adam guessed the Major had probably been given orders to bring them to a briefing room, and decided not to argue. "Yeah, let's go meet the General. Then we need to be on our way. We can't stay in a dimension where we already exist." Adam didn't know if the uncomfortable feeling in his gut would be any less were he dealing with another version of himself, but it was worth a try. At this point Martin couldn't give the order to have them released anyway. Time to go deal with the boss. Adam could hardly wait.

"How come you can't stay?"

"There's a thing... Lucas?"

"Entropic cascade failure, sir."

"Right. That thing."

Martin grinned, turned, and gestured to the MP to open the door. EE-28 followed the Major out of the room.

"Interesting group you've got here," Major Martin said to Adam as they moved down the hallway. "An alien, a scientist, a... civilian." There was just the slightest pause before the word 'civilian', and Daniel thought perhaps there was a bit of a sneer in the tone, as well.

"Yeah, we're just a rag-tag group of misfits," Adam said conversationally while he tracked their path down the maze of hallways.

"What I don't understand is why a version of the JGC would allow someone as valuable as Lucas into the field." Martin turned and walked a few steps backwards as he fixed a smile on Gina. "We couldn't keep the place running without our Captain Lucas." There was another smile her way, and although Gina returned it, Adam could tell it was her 'public face' smile, not one of genuine pleasure.

Which was good, in Adam's opinion. He didn't want anyone getting lazy just because the people here were wearing familiar faces.

Okay, that was unfair; it wasn't a 'familiar' face. It was Daniel's face... and yet it wasn't. Adam couldn't shake the thought that if he hadn't imagined 'Not-Daniel,' then he hadn't imagined that cold tone of voice, either.

Gina kept up the banter with Martin easily, making eye contact, and laughing at his jokes as they moved down the hallway. She also never fell out of step with her team, despite Martin's two attempts to separate her with subtle sidesteps around the few personnel they passed in the halls.

Being at least bright enough to see he wasn't drawing her in, Martin shifted the focus of his attention.

"So... 'Doctor' Martin, huh? Doctor of?"

"Anthropology and..."

"Anthropology?" Now Daniel was certain of the sneer as the Major looked at Adam. Major Martin recovered quickly, although, and almost managed to make his next question sound as though he was teasing a friend. "You've got an anthropologist in a field unit? What in the world for?"

"Oh, he's come in handy a couple of times."

The Major laughed, which set Adam's nerves on edge, and led the group across the base's shuttle bay. Adam spotted a security camera in the corner of the big room and wondered what sort of 'security issues' the base had if cameras hadn't been installed in the hallways; the shuttle bays camera was the only one Adam had seen. They moved down another hall, then Martin stopped at a doorway.

"And here we are." He stepped back from the doorway and threw his arm wide as though he were inviting them into his home and not into a debriefing room under the watchful eyes of an armed escort.

Adam's instincts were tugging at him, a nagging warning klaxon sounding dully in the back of his head. He watched Martin stroll around the room, and he tried to put his finger on it. The man had only been a little snide so far, and only to Daniel, which Adam supposed he could understand, if only just. He wasn't certain how he would react himself if he met a civilian Adam Vickers from another universe, but he could guess he would probably feel a little... 'snide.'

And as for the armed guards, well, he would do the same thing if it were his base. Still...

Martin took off his jacket and tossed it across a chair, revealing not only a chest considerably more developed than Daniel's, but also a well-worn shoulder-holster and sidearm. Adam thought the move was less than subtle.

"Always wear your sidearm around your own base, or is that just for us?"

"Wha... uh, no. Like I said, 'security issues'."

"And those would be what, exactly?"

Martin opened his mouth to answer, but the door opened, and General Vickers entered the room. He took in EE-28 with a glance, and made a small 'hmph' sound. Major Martin gestured to the group broadly, and turned to his CO.

"General Vickers, this is Eagle Eye-28." Amusement was twitching at the corners of his mouth. "Major Vickers, Captain Lucas, Doctor Martin, and the Alien's name is Joran."

"Interesting," was Vickers' only comment as he pulled a chair back from the table and settled into it. There was a moment of silence, and Adam was about to ask again for their equipment, but Doctor and Major Martin spoke at the same time.

"What I'm curious about..."

"So how did you..."

Both broke off, and Martin laughed. "Go ahead, Doctor."

"Um... yeah. What I was wondering was... what happened here on the Atheros mission? That seems to be the common denominator in the realities. What happened after the Atheri helped you figure out the jump gates keys?"

"After the Atheri helped me figure out the jump gates keys? I don't know who these 'Atheri' are, and they did not help me figure out the jump gate keys. Sherri Evins and a bunch of her, uh, scientists did that."

"You... you don't speak Old Norse?"

"Nope. I speak modern Icelandic, modern Aramaic, modern Hebrew, nine different modern Arabic dialects, but I don't read runes. You read runes?"

"Uh, yeah."

"Wow. Next you'll be telling me you read cuneiform," Martin said with a grin.

"Um, I do, actually. Read Sumerian cuneiform."

"Why in the hell...? Wow. You must have a lot of time on your hands. Get laid much?"

Daniel's mouth dropped open then snapped shut at the question, and by the time he opened it again he clearly had a full head of steam. Martin raised a hand, assumed a contrite look, and pulled up a chair to sit near Daniel.

"Hey, hey, sorry. That was totally out of line. Sorry. So you said 'realities'... you guys must get around then. How many different universes have you been in? Do you go and do research on a regular basis?" He directed the last questions at Gina while Daniel struggled to swallow the flow of words he had pulled together in his head. Gina cast a glance at Daniel before answering, somewhat formally.

"Not many. We've had people drop in on us, although. And no, no research... there's no time. We only have a couple of days before we have to return. Not enough time to do research." Not being satisfied by Major Martin's apology, Gina decided she would rather ask questions than answer them. "So without the ancient linguistics knowledge base that Daniel has, how did you communicate with the aliens on Atheros?"

"Well, we didn't have much of a chance to 'communicate' because we never went and met these aliens," he said in a slightly patient tone.

"You didn't meet the Atheri?" Daniel erupted. "How did you unlock the jump gate?"

"Yeah... I take it you did?"

Daniel's mouth was working soundlessly, and Gina stepped in.

"But the Atheri jump gate key database... if you... if you didn't go to Atheros, how did you get the jump gate map?"

Major Martin blinked and tilted his head. "The jump gate map?"

"With the jump gate locations and keys."

Martin traded a glance with his Vickers, still silent in the corner. "A list of keys? On this Atheros? There were jump gate locations and keys on Atheros?" He stood and paced a line to the door and back again. "No... we were never visited by these Atheri. But you found jump gate keys there? And you... you've made them work?"

"Yes, of course. The Atheri gave them to us in a trade treaty. We gave them trinkets and they gave us access to the universe. So how can you be exploring the galaxy without those keys? How can you be here?"

"The úlfhéðinn contacted us a little while after we killed Ratatosk. They wanted to be allies. And we still try random combinations every chance we get, that's how we found this place. Do you know about the úlfhéðinn?"

"Yeah, we know about the úlfhéðinn," Adam answered. "You work with them?"

"Yes. There's a group with General Richards right now back at the JGC base on Titan."

"GENERAL Richards?" Adam gasped out the words. "General Richards? Harvey made General?" He looked at General Vickers across the room. "You take orders from Harvey Richards?"

"Adam," Daniel interrupted what looked to him like a potential tirade. "Maybe he's different here. Maybe he's..."

"Not a slime-ball?" Adam snorted in disbelief. "I think that's one of the constants of the multi-verse, Daniel." He couldn't help but notice that Vickers wasn't rising to defend his commanding officer, and that told Adam everything he needed to know about this world's Harvey Richards.

Martin had resumed pacing, but he stopped and smiled at Adam. Adam presumed it was meant to be a friendly smile, but he was less than warmed by it. These people were taking orders from General Harvey Richards. He realized his alarm bells were going off again... not that they had ever really stopped, if he really thought about it.

"So," Martin said around his oh-so-friendly smile. "Seems like there's all kinds of little differences here. Very interesting." Seeing the shocked look still lingering in Adam's eyes, he turned his smile back to Gina. "All kinds of little things. How long have you been a Captain?"

"About a year."

Adam's eyes drifted down to the edge of Martin's shirt sleeve. Just visible under the hem was the bottom edge of a Special Forces tattoo. He recognized the design, although he didn't have one himself, he had never been part of the crowd that worked their way from bar to whorehouse to tattoo parlor and back again. He had had a wife at home, and then a son.

Martin laughed again at something Gina said, and Adam watched the humor bring the corners of Martin's mouth up and crinkle the skin around his eyes while leaving the eyes themselves completely untouched. Adam knew Daniel's moods well, and for all his banter, humor was the least of what Major Martin was feeling.

The sense of unease Adam had been harboring found its raison d'tre.

Special Forces operatives got a bad rap in the movies and it had always irritated Adam. Most of the men who served their country in Spec Ops were brave, dedicated, patriotic, and ultimately, stable, although perhaps somewhat hard-core. But there wasn't a lot of room for insanity in the field and rogues tended not to last very long.

But there was some room for the men that were more interested in adrenaline than in the cause or the goal. There was a place for men that got into it too deep to get out... men who, for whatever reason, slowly began to trade 'sensation' for 'feeling.'

When had that happened? When had Dan Martin's compassion shattered apart and become lost? Was it the passing from foster home to foster home that had stripped him of his ability to connect? Was it already gone when the military had put that first sniper rifle in his hands? Was it the moment he first slit an enemy's throat and watched the bright red blood flow? Or was it the thousandth time?

The man before Adam was Daniel Martin, but with his intelligence untempered by humility, his ability to read others untempered by empathy, his passions untempered by conscience.

It didn't matter when Martin had lost those things. Adam knew that they were gone, and knowing he saw what was happening. Martin had already initiated dominate behavior interrogation techniques, standing while he left them sitting, pacing the room so they had to turn their heads to follow him. The MP's were closer than they needed to be, and Martin was insulting even as he was being charming.

He was so charming Adam could almost pretend the man was chatting amiably when in actuality he was playing with his food.

Meanwhile, Adam's counterpart lounged in the corner. General Vickers had been completely silent while Martin worked the room, offering not a single quip or smart-ass comment. Vickers knew where Martin was going with this... he had to... and he was letting his 2IC be his pit bull, while he kept his hands clean.

Adam could almost taste his disgust at his counterpart's behavior.

"...not wearing glasses." Gina had finished saying.

"Oh, I had eye surgery. Only a idiot would wear glasses in the field." Martin stopped suddenly, as though he hadn't meant to say those words out loud. "Oh, I'm sorry, Doctor. No offense."

"No," Daniel drew the word out, his eyes narrowing slightly. "No, I'm sure. None taken." He flicked a glance at Adam.

This needed to stop, and now. Adam stood up and took a step away from the table. The MP's started forward, but a glance from Martin stilled them.

"Well, this has been a fun time and all, but we need to be getting back. We have a contact to make." Adam grinned as though he felt lighthearted enough to make jokes. "Besides, we gotta beat that... waterfall thing," he looked at Gina.

"Entropic cascade failure, sir." Gina corrected him smoothly with a tight smile, and stood up. Joran followed her, and so did Daniel.

"Right. Cascade. Point is, if we don't get back we turn into pumpkins. So where's our stuff?"

"What's the hurry, Adam?" Major Martin leaned against the door, his arms crossed over his chest.

Adam gave the Major a tight 'equal officer here' smile, and said, "I believe you mean 'Major?' You not being a civilian and all?"

"Oh, right, sorry." Martin beamed a wide smile at him. "So sorry. Major. You're right. What's the hurry? I'm sure there's a lot we could learn from each other."

"Nah, not from us. You said it yourself, after all... Daniel's just a civilian, Joran's an alien that cannot speak English, I'm as washed up as they come, and Lucas' bright, but she's not doing the tech-head thing full time like yours is, so I can't imagine she would know anything yours doesn't. Sorry, Lucas, but that's gotta be true." She merely nodded at him, her eyes glued to Martin.

Major Martin hadn't moved from the door. "Oh, don't sell yourselves short. After all, you have those jump gate keys you could give us." Martin's smile grew colder as he dropped the pretense of camaraderie.

"Well, it's not like we carry them around with us." Adam said in a quiet but firm voice.

"Oh, but you do, don't you? You have him," Martin pointed at Daniel. "I know as well as anyone how good his memory is. I'll bet he could come up with a couple of dozen off the top of his head, maybe more if he was... motivated. Couldn't you, Danny?"

In the moment Martin looked at Daniel Adam made eye contact with Joran, and moving as one, they struck the MP's nearest to each of them. Daniel and Gina responded immediately, and struck down the guard that had been between them before his pistol cleared its holster. Adam had had two guards on his side of the table while Joran was moving in to take the other when a gunshot rang out in the room.

The noise was loud in the enclosed, metallic space, and Adam's ears were ringing as he collapsed, his wounded leg no longer supporting his weight.

Major Martin motioned with his pistol. "You two, over by the bear. Move it," his words rang as cold as the gunshot had been loud. "I don't really need any of you to be mobile, and I have plenty of ammo."

"You don't need to do this..." Daniel started, but Martin cut him off.

"Shut up, 'Danny.' I'll be the one to decide what I need. General?" The last was addressed to his CO, who brought his eyes up from his counterpart bleeding on the floor and spoke for the first time since he had been introduced.

"Gordan, Spencer, restrain these three and escort them to the holding cells. Reyes, get someone in here to revive Ayres and Johnson, and to stop that man from bleeding all over my floor." Corporal Reyes turned and left the room, while Gordan and Spencer produced plastic handcuffs from their pockets and started restraining Gina and Daniel. Joran let out a deep, basso growl and made an attempt to take the MP's out before the job was done, but Martin's voice brought him to a stop.

"Hey, you walking fur rug!" Martin was standing mere feet away from Adam, his pistol trained on the man's skull. "I really should kill him just so you people will get it. I'm not messing around here, and I'm not all that sentimental. I would like to send you all home together, if you can behave, but I'm not married to the idea. Don't push me."

Adam looked up at Joran, trying to convey that he would rather die and have the team escape, but Joran stood down and let himself be restrained. One by one the members of EE-28 were taken away and led to solitary cells.
Sic vis pacem, para bellum
If you want peace, prepare for war

Offline Þórgrímr

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Re: Dark Mirrors of the Soul: An Eagle Eye 28 Story
« Reply #2 on: April 11, 2010, 11:15:58 AM »
"Hey, Danny, sorry to keep you waiting." Martin said as he stepped into the bright room, leaving the two MP's following him out in the corridor. Daniel's eyes narrowed. His hands attempted a gesture, but the plastic restraints that tied his wrists to the back the chair stopped the action.

"No problem. I don't have anywhere to go... oh, wait, I do. How about sending us all home?"

"Sorry." There was another chair on the opposite side of the table and Martin spun it around and straddled it, his arms crossed over the back. His movements were fluid and loose, the actions of a man comfortable with the way his body worked. Martin's black t-shirt stretched over solid muscle and he wore his shoulder holster with the same comfort Daniel wore his glasses.

"I bet you are." It irritated Daniel that with the exception of the shoulder holster, they were dressed identically, and he wished his jacket hadn't been taken.

"I might be," Martin managed to look a little wounded. "You're not giving me any credit for compassion. I might be a nice guy."

"You might be, but you're not."

"Well, you would know, wouldn't you? Want to compare notes? Want to analyze me? Figure out where I went wrong?"

"As if there is an excuse for this," Daniel snorted. "No, I want to go home. And I want to take my teammates with me."

"Absolutely." Martin said as he gave a lazy, comfortable smile. "What's the location and gate key frequency for the planet that's given you the highest technical advantage?"

"If we had any 'technical advantage' we wouldn't still be here. That was easy. Can we go now?"

There was a snort of a laugh from Martin. "Stubborn, aren't you?"

"Well, you should know."

"Yes, I would." Martin said as his eyes narrowed while he appraised his counterpart. Daniel wondered if he was making the same expression, and let his face relax. Martin seemed to come to a conclusion and he leaned back for bit. "I'm not buying it, you know."

Daniel couldn't help but sigh. Whatever Martin 'wasn't buying,' he doubted he could convince the man otherwise. "Buying what?"

"This 'sweet and innocent' routine you seem to have going. Dr. Daniel Martin the meek and easily offended. That routine. Do Lucas and Vickers always jump in to defend you like they did in the briefing room? I'm really supposed to believe you spend your life hiding behind other people?"

"Gina and Adam are my friends. They get offended when people are deliberately rude and insulting to me. If you had any friends, you would be more familiar with the signs."

There was another short laugh from Martin. "See? That's what I'm talking about, that was mean, Danny. It comes easy to you, doesn't it? Comes easier to you than that 'simpering scholar' bit you walked in with."

"Quit trying to see yourself in me. We are not the same. I, for instance, haven't tied you to a chair and threatened you."

"Ah," Martin held up a finger and Daniel recognized the gesture as his own. "But I haven't given you that opportunity, either."

Daniel sighed, and changed course. "This is pointless. We aren't any threat to you, and we can't stay here or we'll die. Why not just send us home? Are you that bored?"

"Okay, first off, and for the record, I'm not buying that 'we need to go home or we'll die' line. Secondly, I am pretty bored, Danny. You and your team are the most interesting thing I've seen in months. If I had some worlds to scout, well that might be a different story, though. Look, what does it matter to you... this isn't your universe. Who do you think you're protecting?"

"From what little I know of you, I can't think the idea of letting you loose in the universe is a good idea." You could have studied cultural heritage, you could have learned some more languages, you could have..."

"Jesus, you sound like Sherri."

Daniel glared and answered, "Good." He gave a look around the room that took in the whole of the JGC outpost. "So I'm guessing she doesn't know what sort of 'work' goes on in this place?"

"Sherri Evins? Nah, she passed away a little while back. Had a heart attack one night; died in her bed. Sad."

There was a dark smirk on Martin's face, and slowly, sickeningly, Daniel made the interpretation. "You... you killed her. Sherri's heart... is fine. I just talked to her last week, she... you killed her yourself. You know she died in bed because you killed her yourself. She..." Daniel's jaw clenched and he glared at Martin while he struggled to compose himself. Martin's smirk had turned into a full-fledged smile. "She knew too much. She didn't approve. She was going to go public."

"You are so bright, Danny." Martin stood and pulled the chair from the table and sat on the table edge. "So now that we've determined what sort of man I am, let's talk again about those locations and keys. And while we're at it, let's talk about your contacts and technical knowledge. But I bet Gina can help with that, of course, but I would be interested in anything you have to add on the subject."

Daniel felt sick inside, nearly overcome with the urge to vomit, but he knew he looked calm as he met Martin's eyes. "There is no way in hell you're getting any keys from me. I'm going to be dead in less than two days, and I'm going to die knowing I kept you stuck in your little corner of the galaxy. If that's the last thing I can accomplish before I go, it'll be enough."

Martin shrugged, "fine, we'll do it your way." He reached out and with elegant fingers pulled the glasses from Daniel's face, dropped them on the floor, and stepped on them on his way around the table. The first blow came too fast for Daniel to see it, even watching for it as he was.


It was impossible for Daniel to tell how much time had passed in his quiet, brightly-lit room before the door opened.

Daniel had let his head slump forward to rest on the tabletop, not that he could really rest tied to a chair under bright lights while his friends were being tortured, but that was part of the charm of being tortured, after all.

When the door did open Daniel didn't sit up; he didn't see the point. There was a pause, unfilled by Martin's witty repartee, and after a few moments Daniel could tell that the person in the room wasn't the Major. He raised his head, blinking at the light, and met the eyes of General Vickers.

Daniel lowered his head back to the tabletop. "Go away, Adam."

"That's General Vickers, and is that really the brightest tactic, Dr. Martin? Antagonizing me?"

Daniel raised his head again. "Look, GENERAL, after the first couple of times being tortured really loses its romance, and I've been tortured by the best. There's a logic to this and in none of the possible scenarios do you people willingly let us go home. And in less than two days we're all dead anyway. So, frankly, I'm not really in the mood to play along. Go away and let me go back to my dream of Joran breaking you all into pieces with his bare paws."

Instead of lowering his head, Daniel glared at Vickers defiantly.

The General met his gaze and after a pause shook his head. "That really isn't one of the possible scenarios, Dr. Martin. Your alien friend did serious injury to several of my men and he's been... restrained."

"Oh, that's really original, GENERAL. That's, what, step three in the torturer's handbook? 'Be sure and mention to the separated captives what bad shape the others are in.' I'm not an idiot, GENERAL. I know they're in bad shape. You've been torturing us... that's sort of the point." It hurt to talk around the split and swollen lip, but it was nice to have a chance to vent before the hitting started up again. Daniel didn't have any illusions about his new playmate's lack of skill in the area of 'interrogation'.

Vickers' eyes narrowed. "You're wrong, for a change. We would let you go if you just gave us some locations and keys."

"Oh, really? Have you told Major Martin? He seems to think he would like some tech intel out of Gina before she leaves." Between the lack of glasses and the eye that was swollen mostly shut, it was hard to tell for sure, but Daniel thought he had seen Vickers look a little uncertain.

"We just want the locations and keys, Dr. Martin." The General slid into the chair opposite Daniel's. "We don't want to have to hurt you."

Daniel's good eye went wide, and then he laughed out loud. "What the hell is this? Are you playing 'bad cop, good cop' with me? I've got a hint, GENERAL... that game's only going to work if you reverse the roles. Martin's your subordinate. He's not running this facility, right? If you don't want him to hurt us, then order him to stop." With another humorless laugh, Daniel shook his head. "Maybe you could even give the order before he gets to the fun bit with the knife. I'm not all that vain, but I'm not really into the 'cool battle scar' thing, either, so..."

"It isn't that simple..."

"No, of course it isn't. Spare me your platitudes."

"Dr. Martin, you have no idea how important those keys are to us."

"Oh, I think I'm beginning to see, GENERAL." Daniel was beginning to really enjoy spitting the man's rank at him like a curse. "Even the úlfhéðinn have decided you're no better than rabid dogs. They're keeping you on a tighter and tighter leash. You're running out of worlds to rape and pillage aren't you? Well guess what, GENERAL? You did it to yourselves." There was no mistake that time. The phrase 'rape and pillage' had cast a shadow over Vickers' eyes. It might not have been something most people would have seen, but Daniel knew Adam Vickers better than he knew himself.

Almost literally, in the present case.

Vickers didn't answer, although, and Daniel decided to press his luck. "God, how can you live with yourself? The Adam Vickers I know retired from the Air Force once because he got tired of shooting people in the back. Let alone the dirty laundry you clean in this facility. Do you have any idea the amount of blood that's on your hands? Do you have any idea how many innocent lives you have destroyed? How do you look yourself in the mirror, GENERAL?"

Daniel laughed bitterly and he knew if it hadn't been for the swollen lip the sneer on his face would have been uncomfortably similar to that of his counterpart. "You know, if I close my eyes, I can almost hear the vacuum sound where your soul used to be."

"I'm doing fine, thank you, Dr. Martin." Vickers said, his voice tight.

"Are you? Really? Your CO's a back-stabbing slime-ball and your 2IC's a sociopath. How many more years is it before one of them decides you're not quite as quick as you used to be... or one of them decides the tattered remnants of your conscience are just too annoying for words... and you have a nice, quiet heart attack in the privacy of your own bed?"

Daniel took a breath and shook his head again. "Or would it even be that difficult? Why not just leave you stranded on some planet? The point is, that man is seriously broken and if you trust him you're as crazy as he is."

The General stood up so abruptly his chair almost fell over. He grabbed it and slammed it back into place. "Your concern for my well being is touching, Doctor. But you're wrong."

"No, I'm not." Daniel said with quiet vehemence, and looked up into Vickers' eyes. "Adam Vickers is my best friend. I can read him as well as I can read anything. Go lie to 'Dan' if you like, if it makes you feel better. Keep lying to him until he slides a syringe into your arm in the middle of the night or slips the RCU out of your pocket. But don't tell me I didn't strike a nerve... I can see it in your eyes," Daniel said with a snort. "Lie to yourself, even. But when I'm dead and you're dying, remember me, will you?"

With thin lips, Vickers spun in place and slammed the door behind him as he left.
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If you want peace, prepare for war

Offline Þórgrímr

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Re: Dark Mirrors of the Soul: An Eagle Eye 28 Story
« Reply #3 on: April 12, 2010, 07:55:59 AM »
More time passed by in Daniel's bright room. If only they would install a clock in here, he thought wryly, knowing that was exactly the reason there wasn't one. A few times he heard footsteps passing by in the hall beyond the door, and twice he heard the faint 'woosh' of a shuttle lifting off.

The door opened again and this time Daniel opened his eyes and tried to brace himself for Round Two. The wind went out of him the second his eyes settled on the figure Martin was pushing through the door before him.


Daniel knew the plan as soon as he saw her; he knew where this was going to go. Oh, God... this was going to be... Gina was a professional soldier. Daniel was sure she could hold out for the time they had. He didn't think he was going to be able to if Martin started beating on her.

Martin efficiently pulled Gina's arms up by the plastic restraints holding her wrists together in front of her and attached them to a hook hanging from a ceiling pipe. She already had a dark purple bruise on her jaw, and she was missing her field jacket.

Having strung up his new toy, Martin ignored the second chair and leaned back against the wall, one knee bent, and his arms crossed loosely across his chest. He was just out of Gina's sight, unless she turned to look at him. She was choosing not to, her eyes locked instead with Daniel's, trying to burn her will into his mind.

I know, Gina. I'll try. Daniel thought the words at her, giving her a tiny nod to show that he knew the stakes. He just hoped he could withstand what was coming. Not his pain, that he could deal with, but could he let a man with his face brutalize the woman he thought of as a sister?

"All right boys and girls, I think we know the drill here, don't we?"

Gina continued to look at Daniel but spoke to Martin behind her. "We're not your enemies, Daniel. This isn't necessary."

"First of all, Gina-May, does the expression 'with me or against me' ring any bells? Secondly, it's Dan, not Daniel. I grew out of that when I was twelve, for God's sake."

"And it's Gina, not Gina-May, Dan."

"I think of it as my pet name for you, Gina-May." Martin chuckled as the quietly fuming Gina glared at him, and reached down to pick up a bag he had dropped by the door. "Okay, this is a simple game but I'll go over the rules for the away team."

One by one, items were set onto the table in front of Daniel, within Gina's view. There was an assortment of items Daniel didn't recognize, then a Gomesah healing device. Lastly, Martin set a pad of paper and a pen on the table, then turned to Daniel.

"That's for when you start giving me locations and keys." Daniel wondered if he ever smirked like that. He had to assume at some point he had, but he was still hoping that there was some difference in the eyes... he hoped that he was incapable of that exact expression, incapable of being that cold.

Still, there was pretty good evidence standing in front of him that he was capable of being exactly that cold.

"So, the rules, as I promised. Danny, I need locations and keys from you. When you're ready to give me any, we stop. Gina-May, I need tech intel from you. When you're ready to give me any, we stop. We don't know anything about the objects I have here, but we think they have the potential to be useful." He stepped close into Gina's space, and ran the tips of his long fingers down her face from the temple to her mouth.

The touch was obscenely gentle.

"You sure you don't want to stop now, Gina-May?" He reached behind him with his other hand, picking up the healing device and showing it to her. The pad of his thumb brushed over her lips. "Maybe you could just tell me what this does?"

Gina's eyes flashed and she pulled her head away from his hand. "Let us go."

"With me or against me, Gina-May."

"Then go to hell," she said emphatically.

"Temper, temper, Gina-May. Good girls don't use that kind of language."

She gave him a glare for an answer, suddenly his left hand came off her face and moved back down with lightning speed, striking her across the cheek and her already bruised jaw. She grunted, but didn't cry out. It disturbed her, although, to see the flash of satisfaction in his eyes at her reaction... as though he were pleased she wasn't going to cave in on him straight off. His reaction bothered her more than the pain.

Martin turned his back on her and looked at his counterpart. "So, Danny, how 'bout you? Feel like saving us some time here? Maybe earn your team a 'Get Out of Jail Free' card?"

"I know you're not letting us go. There's no point in pretending you are."

"No one likes a know-it-all, Danny. It's obnoxious. Besides... I don't get anything out of you being dead, now do I?"

"You don't get anything out of us being alive, either."

"Arguing the case for your own demise, Dr. Martin?" He turned to Gina. "Is he always this fatalistic? Or do I just bring out the 'Lost Little Boy' in him?"

"I'm sure you bring out the best in everyone, asshole." Gina said the words with a bit of a snarl and it cost her another hard slap.

"I told you about the language already, Gina-May. Honestly, a person would think you liked it rough." The smile that moved across his face was the worst one Gina had seen yet, and he slowly brought his right hand up and buried it in her hair. She wasn't surprised when his grip tightened, painfully, and her head jerked back. Quietly, but not so quietly that Daniel couldn't hear, he purred into her ear, "Oh, that's right, you DO like it rough, don't you, Gina-May?" And then he pressed his mouth into hers with more force than passion. Meanwhile, his left hand roamed over her breast, her ribs, and down her waist and leg.

Across the room Daniel had long since closed his eyes and had started to silently pray, working his way alphabetically through the gods of pantheons that only a few remembered. He tried as best he could to make it an intellectual exercise, interesting enough to keep his mind from contemplating the horrific scene in front of him. He was failing miserably.

Martin took his time, holding her hair with that same painful grip and forcing her head back at an angle that pulled at her wrists. She was gasping when he pulled away, letting his hand drop from her hair back to her face.

"Now that was nice, wasn't it, Gina-May?"

She glared at him for a few full seconds and then spat on his cheek.

He chuckled, made a fist, and took his first direct swing at her face. The blow connected and she went backwards with it, but was kept from moving far by the plastic straps cutting into her wrists. She gasped at the impact and the lightning flash of pain that exploded through her jaw.

Daniel's eyes snapped open at the sound and he stared at the sight of his friend struggling to put her weight back on her feet. Martin was wiping his cheek on his sleeve. And, of course, he was smirking.

"Just for the record, Gina-May, that was a pulled punch. No point in breaking bones this early in the game, and I do need you to be able to talk, after all." He stepped around behind her, running his hand down her side. "I just don't want you to think I don't know how to throw a real punch. Can't let you lose respect for me, after all, right, baby?"

Gina remained silent, and Martin chuckled.

"Decided to quit talking to me? Does this mean the honeymoon's over?"

There was still no answer from Gina and this raised another chuckle from Martin. Letting his eyes meet Daniel's over Gina's shoulder he ran his hand back up her side again, and deliberately cupped and held a breast with it before stepping away. Daniel knew the look of disgust and anger on his face was far too transparent but he couldn't keep it off.

"Remembered any locations and keys for me yet, Danny?"

"Daniel, don't." Gina's voice was strong and Daniel was glad to hear it. Martin walked back around to face her and raised his fist. She flinched, closing her eyes and turning her head. His fist stopped at the top of the arc, although, and he lowered it, wagging a finger at her.

"Tsk, tsk, Gina-May. That's just bad manners." Then the blow came so fast Gina didn't have a chance to prepare herself before it caught her in the stomach. She cried out with pain and the plastic cut deeper into her wrists as her body tried to double over. Blood trickled from her wrists down her arms. "Now you think about behaving better." He turned and strolled over to Daniel, running a hand carelessly through his counterpart's hair, then sitting on the edge of the table. "So? locations and keys?"

Daniel pressed his lips together and met Martin's eyes evenly.

"Fine. Everyone always thinks they want to play this game the hard way. Don't see it myself, but ah, well." He let his hand go to his waist where he pulled a knife out of its sheath. He spun it lightly in his fingers before setting it on the table. "Just to give everyone something to think about. You still paying attention, Gina-May?" He said the last sentence over his shoulder to Gina and nodded in satisfaction to see her eyes locked on them. "Good, good. Remember, Gina-May, you can stop this at any time. Ready, sweetheart?"

Without breaking his gaze on Gina Martin shot out a hand and grabbed Daniel by the throat.

"Are you going to watch, Gina-May? Or are you going to let your imagination fill in the fun parts between the sounds? Which do you think will be easier?"

With a pale face and tight mouth she stared back at him without answering.

"I'll be fine, Gina." Daniel's voice was broken off at the end by Martin's thumb cutting into his windpipe.

"Oh, of course he will be."

The blows came hard and fast. Daniel lost track almost immediately... he lost track of where he had been hit, the time that passed, lost track of everything except the unceasing pain and haze of red. Daniel could not have spoken even if he had wanted to; the blows were coming in too fast to have allowed it. Time spun out and around him in a bizarre series of lurches and jolts... slipping by and then freezing in place so suddenly he felt motion sickness.

By the time it was over he was gasping, coughing, and shuddering with such intensity he couldn't have spoken then, either.

Martin pulled back and surveyed his handiwork. Daniel was hunched over from the pain, fighting to pull air into his lungs, while across the room Gina's eyes were squeezed shut. Martin took the moment of respite to shake out his hand, then walked back over to Gina and sat on the edge of the table in front of her.

"What an amazing little soldier you are, aren't you, Gina-May?" Her eyes snapped open but she stayed silent. Martin shook his head in mock sadness. "We never talk anymore. So, Danny," he called over his shoulder and listened to hear if Daniel had gotten his breath back. Martin wanted him to hear, but not give him time to let the pain dim. "Can you be as good a soldier as Gina-May? Can you stand up to me hurting her as well as she did to me hurting you?"

"Maybe she doesn't like you as much as you like her? Or is she just tougher than you?" He paused and turned around. "We both know you're going to break, Danny. Why not do it before she gets hurt?"

Daniel's mouth opened but it was Gina who spoke. "No, Daniel! Don't!"

She got another punch in the abdomen for her trouble, followed by another. In direct contrast to Daniel's fuzzy recollection of the blows that had landed on him, Daniel could count exactly the number that hit Gina, he could see... even through his swollen eye and without his glasses... exactly where they landed and how hard. Martin was working his way methodically around her torso, around her back to her kidneys, and back again. Daniel watched, horrified, as Gina spat out blood, and he heard someone cry out, "NO!"

It was him.

"Stop it! I... I'll give you some locations and keys. Just stop hurting her."

Martin was behind Daniel's chair in a heartbeat, cutting the restraints away with a slash of the knife he had grabbed off of the table.

"Start writing," it was Martin's command voice, hard and full of authority.

Daniel raised his hands, covered in the blood that had come from his wrists, and started scribbling jump gate frequency keys and locations as fast as he could, his fingers stiff from the lack of blood. Gina's voice seemed to echo in the small room as she begged him not to give over the information, but when he glanced up at her, the trickle of blood coming from her mouth just made him write faster.

It was insanity to think they weren't going to die here, but maybe he could stave off the inevitable for a while. In the meantime Gina was clearly bleeding internally, and at the very least, she needed to lie down.

Martin took the pad from him as Daniel's hands stilled, then dropped it and pulled another set of plastic handcuffs from his pocket. Crazily, Daniel had the thought that the JGC was going to go over budget with the number of those damn things they were going through. Martin had Daniel's arms behind him again and this time the restraints cut into his flesh even without him moving.

Gina was looking at Daniel, her eyes filled with disappointment, but also with understanding. Daniel felt sick for the feeling that he had let her down, but he had stopped her pain for a little of the time they had left, and he could not set his marks much higher than that at this point in time. It would take them some amount of time to test the locations and keys, then the whole horrible thing would start up again, but in the meantime, his friend wasn't being beaten.

So he looked back her, sad, but resolute.

Then Daniel noticed the table in front of him and the objects that were scattered there. One of them was a healing device. Behind him Martin was standing up.

"Thank you so much, Danny. Now don't you wish we had done the short version?" Martin walked behind Gina and cut through her wrist restraints with a slash from his knife and pushed her forward into the table. Gasping, she fell into it, then stayed there and let it support her weight.

Daniel made eye contact with Gina again, then looked pointedly at the table, and back up at her. She looked down, saw the device, and looked back up at Daniel, her eyes registering the idea.

Martin had grabbed the pad of paper and pen and turned his back to put them into his bag. Gina reached out and cupped numb fingers over her prize, then slid it into a pocket as he was turning around. With a sweep of his arm, he knocked the devices that remained on the table into the bag as well, then shouldered the strap. His hand went into Gina's hair again, and he pulled her up.

"Come on, baby. Time to go back to your cell for a rest. We can talk about the toys later." With a shove he pushed her towards the door.

Martin forced Gina down the hallway and shoved her into one of the storerooms, sending her reeling against a pile of crates in the back of the room. She gasped as the impact jarred the internal injuries she had already sustained from his fists.

"You see, Gina-May, this is why girls shouldn't be in combat units. It makes men stupid." He gave her that smirk she had hated on first sight. "Even the supposedly smart ones." Martin drew his pistol from its holster and she raised her hands to tell him to stop.

She was still saying "No!" when the bullet tore through her abdomen. With the slow motion awareness brought on by the mind in stress, she could hear the bullet move through the crates behind her and hit the wall. Gina slumped to the ground and Martin blew her a kiss as he closed the door behind him and left her alone to bleed to death.

Fingers numb with the shock that was already overcoming her senses, Gina fumbled with the healing device in her pants pocket. No time, no time, no time...

No time for shock, no time for dizziness, no time for blacking out, no time for crying.

She slid the healing device over her bloody, shaking fingers and tried to focus on making it work. It flared briefly, then went out and a sob wrenched from her. No time. Her blood was soaking her clothes and wave after wave of pain-induced nausea threatened to overwhelm her. She raised her hand again, silently begging the device to activate.

Suddenly, the wound was bathed in a soft, steady glow, and the pain began to ease. The longer she kept it going, the more the pain faded and the easier it was. Gasping in relief she let the technology do its work until, finally, exhaustion overcame her and she fell unconscious.

How much time had passed?

Gina blinked her eyes and looked at her wrist before remembering that Martin had taken her watch, certainly to disorient her. Missing her watch she couldn't know how much time had gone by, but she did know she had to move. Her body was weak from blood loss and from injuries healed too recently and not sufficiently. It hurt to move and she was so tired she thought she could have slept for a week, but she and her teammates didn't have that kind of time.

Hell, they didn't have any kind of time. What had Martin been doing to them while she had been passed out?

With a groan she couldn't suppress, Gina forced herself to sit up, and then to stand. She had to find her way to the rooms being used as cells, to try to free Adam or Joran. Then maybe the two of them could think about finding the third. Daniel would be the hardest to get to... they would probably need weapons for that.

No, she would need weapons to get to the others, too. There been guards by the cells, hadn't there? Surely there had been, it was SOP to guard prisoners, and Martin and Vickers were nothing if not good captors. It bothered her that she couldn't remember... it meant that she was still in shock, possibly, or that she had a concussion, or... or something else. Something bad.

Something irrelevant. She had to move.

"Move, Lucas!" Gina gave herself the quiet command in her most authoritative voice she could muster. It sounded weak to her own ears, but she obeyed anyway, and made her way to the door. Covered with cold, half-dried blood, her clothes clung to her skin. She tried to wipe her hands off on the front of her pants, but the effort was futile.

The hallway was empty, thanks be to whatever god might be listening. Gina slid down the corridor, trying not to get blood on the walls as she went. The rooms that had been converted to cells had been storage rooms and labs in the original facility. And Martin had pushed her into a storage room, but which room... and which direction were the cells? The maze of the facility stretched out around her.

Gina heard the slightest of sounds from behind and before she could react she was pinned to the wall, her arm wrenched behind her and the healing device pulled from her hand. She gave a gasp of pain as her freshly-healed wounds protested the rough treatment and she choked back a sob as she heard a voice she had come to detest whisper in her ear.

"Did you really think I wouldn't miss it?" Impossibly, his voice was even more arrogant than before. "I knew it was a healing device... the úlfhéðinn wouldn't confirm it, but I knew if I gave you the chance you would want to show off. Now, you're going back to your cell for a bit while I wrap some things up with your oh-so-charming CO." Martin half-dragged, half-marched her down the hallway. "And then you and I are going to have another little chat about how this device works."

After depositing Gina back in her cell and restraining her, Martin stopped by to check on his counterpart. Daniel was leaning forward, his head on the table when Martin walked in, grabbed him by his hair and pulled him into a sitting position. He waited for a beat to let Daniel's eyes adjust, then tossed the healing device, smeared with drying blood, casually onto the table.

"That was almost clever, Danny. Almost." Martin smirked as Daniel narrowed his eyes. "Fortunately for the home team, I have more practice at espionage than you do."

"Lucky you."

"Yes... lucky me."

"I'd still rather be me than you, all things considered."

Martin glanced at his watch, beamed a cold smile at his captive, and raised his eyebrows. "Ah, but the night's young, Danny. We'll see if you stick to that theory. Those locations and keys you gave me didn't pan out, by the way, so we're going to have to start from scratch. Now you rest up and I'll be back as soon as I'm done chatting with 'Adam' and his bad knee." Martin laughed at the murderous glare that was leveled at him, scooped the healing device back up in his hand, and left the room.
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Offline Þórgrímr

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Re: Dark Mirrors of the Soul: An Eagle Eye 28 Story
« Reply #4 on: April 13, 2010, 11:31:28 AM »
The ordinary noises of his base floated into Vickers' office through the open door and he stared at the paperwork on his desk. The paperwork was far from getting done, as Vickers' mind was back in the interrogation room with Dr. Martin.

With Daniel.

The similarities were more unsettling than the differences. If the man tied to the chair hadn't set his jaw that way, or didn't get that certain tone in his voice when he started to lose his temper, Vickers could have written them off as completely separate people.

Vickers had seen his 2IC tortured. Martin had drawn upon a seemingly inexhaustible well of rage and fury filtered through the lens of his staggering intellect. He had bribed, sneered, snarled, and ranted, but he had never broken.

Perhaps that's part of it, Vickers thought. Maybe he just wants to see if he can break his double. The immovable object and the irresistible force. Maybe it's the challenge. If so, Martin was doomed to fail, there was no way Daniel would break, especially if what they had said about being time delineated was true. All Dr. Martin had to do was to keep giving them faulty locations and keys until his time ran out. In the meantime, he was too stubborn, too worried about his friends, too absolutely certain he was in the right for anything Martin did to him to touch his resolve.

And Daniel was right, which was something he was probably even more used to than Major Martin was. Or maybe it was the differences that were the most unsettling.

{Adam Vickers is my best friend.}

When was the last time he had someone he called a friend? Frankiln, before he died? Franklin was a subordinate, but they had done things together, told each other things, been there for each other. It was a strained friendship, sometimes, with Vickers giving the orders, but it was friendship of a sort.

{Adam Vickers is my best friend. I can read him as well as I can read anything.}

Could Franklin have read him like that? No.

Did Dan Martin read him that well? God, he hoped not.

{...if you trust him you're as crazy as he is.}

Surely it had been an accident, that mission four months ago. Vickers went over Martin's report in his head again, looking for inconsistencies. Martin's team had done everything they could, right? They just hadn't been able to come back for him. Sváfason and Áviðarson had come to help find him, not to confirm the kill, right?

There were no inconsistencies. There wouldn't be any. Vickers could write a seamless Black Ops cover... he knew damn well Dan Martin could do it in his sleep.

But that didn't mean he had.

{Martin's your subordinate. He's not running this facility, right?}

He wasn't?

There had been a time when Vickers had made decisions... if he concentrated he could remember when. But that time had been before Richards and Martin had come up with the idea of a JGC base outside the Pentagon's watchful eye, it had been before the Svartalfar mission, it had been before Wendy picked his gun up off of his dresser. Sometime after the sound of the gunshot, some part of Vickers' mind had gone to sleep and had not awakened.

Richards sent half his memos straight to Martin and Dupre. When had that become normal?

{Your CO's a back-stabbing slime-ball and your 2IC's a sociopath.}

"Hey, Colonel."

Speak of the sociopath...

Martin dropped himself gracefully into the chair opposite his CO's desk. "I haven't been by the fur rug's cell lately. Any word?"

"He's still restrained."

"Good. Healing?"


"Amazing. What a waste." There was a knock on the door, and both men looked up as Major Dupre stuck his head through the open door, then stepped in.

"Hey, Dan. Sir." Vickers nodded. "Having any luck?" Dupre had addressed the question to the Major, and Martin shook his head. "Oh, well, you will. Are they still sticking to that story about dying here if they don't get back?"

"Yeah, but that's ridiculous. It makes sense, I guess, in a science-fictiony kind of way, for there to be problems with two of the same people occupying the same place, but 'forty-eight hours' sounds a little too arbitrary for my taste. I'd think it would happen immediately or maybe over years. But forty-eight hours? I'm thinking they made that part up."

"You still planning on coming over for poker Friday?"

"Yeah, I'll be ready for a break by then, as long as the General doesn't need me," he glanced at Vickers before turning back to Dupre. "And I don't want to miss picking up my second paycheck." Dan said with a grin. "If Kohl doesn't figure out the meaning of 'poker face' I should have my bike paid off in another couple of months." He rose and clapped a laughing Dupre on the shoulder as the two of them left.

Vickers had never been invited to poker night.

{...if I close my eyes, I can almost hear the vacuum sound where your soul used to be.}
Sic vis pacem, para bellum
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Offline Þórgrímr

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Re: Dark Mirrors of the Soul: An Eagle Eye 28 Story
« Reply #5 on: April 14, 2010, 11:42:10 AM »
Gina woke up from a dream of hiking in the woods to find herself tied to a cot in plastic wrist restraints. In the dream her arms had ached from pushing the foilage aside; now that she was awake they ached from being held over her head. For that matter, her entire body ached and she was weak beyond belief, at least the throbbing and spinning in her head had stopped. She realized that despite the pain she was thinking clearly and it gave her a measure of comfort.

Tilting her shoulders Gina looked around the room she was being kept in. It had to be one of the labs the JGC staff wasn't using. There was a counter and sink covering the span of one wall, pipes running the length of the ceiling, and the light fixtures were the old ones left by the base's previous tenants.

Watching the lights for a few moments Gina's tired mind traced down the familiar path of questions it always did when faced with alien technology. How did it work? Where was the power source? Was it electricity as she knew it? Were there wires in the wall? No... that one she could answer... the light fixture may be alien but it was being run off power from the conduit running down the wall.

Gina ran her eyes down the length of the conduit, from its origin at the light fixture to its terminus at the retro-fitted light switch inches from the metal door-frame. Metal. Electricity.

An idea began forming in her head but the first order of business was to get free. The plastic restraints were tough but they weren't as tough as metal. All she needed was a jagged edge on the cot's frame... there was a bolt and the end of a screw. Not much, but good enough. Gina focused her attention on sawing the plastic across the screw's threads and the edge of the bolt. This was going to take some time.


Gina was shaking with exhaustion when at last the restraints broke free, the snap of the plastic was the first sound of freedom and a rush of adrenaline hit her. Now, the light switch.

The edge of her belt buckle made a passable screwdriver and Gina gave herself the luxury of mentally sneering at Martin for leaving her a tool. The light switch box opened with a minimum of fuss and she cursed silently as she saw the wires. Only 110. Well, 110 could at least stun, even kill. She just needed to make sure the current traveled through the guard's body. She contemplated the scenarios while she worked the wires, praying as she went.


At last, time for the moment of truth. The room was dark and she stretched back out on the cot, putting her hands back above her head. "Guard!"

No answer. "Guard! Damnit, I know you're out there. I want to talk!"

After a pause the door opened. "What?"

Bless him, Gina thought with relief, he had left his hand on the doorknob. Just keep it there, soldier, Gina thought at him. Out loud she answered, "I want to talk."

"What happened to the lights?"

"I don't know. They went out some time ago." She tried to make her voice sound weak and scared, tried to hide her impatience.

Back-lit by the hallway lights Gina watched the guard's right hand move up and make contact with the hot-wired metal switch plate. The electricity arced brightly in the dark and Gina watched it dance from right hand, arm, body, left arm, and down to the left hand, still clasping the metal doorknob. Convulsively, the left hand kept its grip on the doorknob, but after a handful of seconds the right shook free of the switch plate and broke the connection. The man slumped to the ground, unconscious.

Gina pulled him into the room and shut the door. She checked for a pulse and found one, weak but steady. She slipped his pistol out of his holster and considered her options. If she shot him the sound would likely bring other MP's. She couldn't take the whole base from this room. She needed the rest of her team, and she needed them to be armed. Although she couldn't shoot the guard, she couldn't leave him to get up and sound an alarm, either.

So far everyone Gina had seen seemed to have plenty of restraints. The MP's pulling them out after Adam had been shot had been her first clue that Martin had never intended to let them go. She searched her guard's pockets and found two sets. She almost screamed out with joy.

The cot was bolted to the floor; clearly enough people were interrogated in the base that someone had felt it was necessary to not only have the cot moved in, but also fixed in place. Gina restrained one of the guard's wrists to a cot leg, then pulled his arms apart and secured the other to a crosspiece in the frame. He was becoming less groggy and with a small amount of fumbling she managed to undo his belt and gag him with it.

Restraining a man in almost total darkness had proven to be a little difficult, and Gina wasn't entirely sure of her work. She crossed to the light box and carefully tapped the loose wire back into place where it would get the power back to the lights. Blinking as her eyes adjusted Gina surveyed her captive more closely.

Each restraint was secure but the belt wasn't going to hold. She tore a strip from the hem of her shirt and traded it out for the belt. Better. He was fully conscious by the time she was done, and glaring at her over the gag.

"Sorry." She wasn't really, but it seemed the thing to say. Now, to secure some weapons.

There had been a stun gun on the counter in the lab where they had first arrived. The healing device had come from there too... maybe Martin had returned it. If so, she could heal Adam's leg when she found him and he would be a hell of a lot more mobile. She didn't know what kind of shape Joran would be in and... she was trying not to think of Daniel.
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Offline Þórgrímr

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Re: Dark Mirrors of the Soul: An Eagle Eye 28 Story
« Reply #6 on: April 15, 2010, 10:54:53 AM »
Adam looked up when his door opened, and was surprised to see Vickers entering backwards, dragging a body.

Vickers dragged in the body of the MP and closed the door behind him. Moving quickly he went to the head of the cot and sliced through the restraints with his knife. Adam had followed his movements with narrowed eyes and sat up rubbing his wrists.

"So?" Adam's voice was hoarse from the abuse.

"So this is a rescue."

"'It's about damn time."

Vickers inspected the damage to Adam's leg. He didn't know how well his counterpart was going to be able to walk. He pulled out an extra stunner and tossed it onto the cot next to Adam, hesitating only a second. Adam was in no condition to get his team out of here alone; he needed Vickers' help. Dryly, Vickers replied, "I'm throwing away my career here. Probably my life, too. You could try to manage and feel a little grateful. Or at least sound it."

Adam picked up the stunner and hefted its comforting weight in his hand. "Grateful?" He made a dark face. "I'm grateful you remembered where you keep your balls, but I would be a damn sight MORE grateful if you could have remembered it before you let your pit bull shoot me. Also, the room service here sucks, by the way. Should I be 'grateful' it wasn't worse?" The tirade was punctuated by a gasp at the end as Adam attempted to stand and only partially succeeded. He waved off help at first but fell back onto the cot. Between the original gunshot wound, the additional attention the leg had received from the Major and being weak from blood loss, Adam wasn't up to bearing his own weight.

Cursing, Adam accepted the arm up that Vickers offered, and let the other man help support him. "Where's Joran?" Adam asked. "Is he okay?"

"Across the hall; that's where we're going next. And, I think so, yes... he was injured pretty badly but he's been healing."

Adam cursed silently and hoped Joran was in better shape than he was. Martin had wanted locations and keys along with tech intel, which meant it was likely the other two members of his team had taken the brunt of the damage. "Where's Lucas and Daniel?"

"Lucas is farther down the hall. Dr. Martin's closer to the shuttle bay."

"Are they going to be able to walk?"

There was a pause and Vickers didn't meet Adam's stare. "I don't know."

The trip across the hall hurt like hell but, eventually, they were pushing open the door to Joran's cell and stepping around the body of the guard that had been posted. Joran was bound by thick steel restraints on his arms, legs, neck, and waist, and he was muzzled. His eyes opened at the sound of the door and he looked from the General to the Major, taking in the injured leg as Vickers left Adam leaning against a wall. Joran met Adam's eyes, then looked at Vickers, who was crossing to his side. Adam nodded at Joran and waved in Vickers' direction.

"It's okay, Joran. He's helping." He paused and added, "FINALLY." Vickers didn't respond. "Why is he muzzled?"

"He bit one of the MP's. Reyes needed three hundred stitches."

"Cool." Adam ignored the look Vickers gave him and grinned at Joran.

Joran pulled the muzzle from his snout as soon as he had a hand free, then bent down to work on the set of leg restraints as soon as the second came loose. Once free he leveled a hard stare at Vickers. "Why did you not free me when you incapacitated and brought in the guard?"

Vickers looked at Adam. "What did he say?"

Knowing that Vickers did not know about the subcutaenous translation device Adam smiled, "He said, 'why did you not free me when you incapacitated and brought in the guard?'"

"I thought you told Major Martin you could not understand him without your equipment?"

"I lied," Adam responded as cheerfully as he could manage.

Vickers turned back to Joran. "I didn't know how well I could talk to you, and I figured you might try and kill me unless he," Vickers gestured at Adam, "told you not to."

Joran considered that for a moment and Vickers thought he could hear the Iskarendi debating the virtues of killing him anyway. Joran met Adam's eyes and Adam must have heard the same thoughts because he said with the continued false cheerfulness, "Nah, you can always kill him later."

Joran nodded once, and slid stiffly off the bed he had been restrained to. Adam could see the matted, blood soaked fur that tattooed his body and could imagine the bruising that was under Joran's fur. Good thing for Iskarendi healing rates, but he still has a ways to go. At least there weren't any broken bones; Adam was looking forward to leaning on someone he knew he could trust. Now to go get Lucas.

Joran took the stun gun Adam offered him and the trio moved unmolested down the hallway. Scanning the corridors Adam remembered an earlier question. "Martin said you've had security problems," Adam said quietly, "Why no cameras in the halls?"

Vickers snorted. "We don't have any security problems. No one knows we're even here."

"Why was he carrying a weapon?"

"To shoot you with, obviously."

Adam quit concentrating on walking long enough to scowl at Vickers, but the scowl was ruined as his feet curled underneath him and he stumbled against Joran's side. With a groan and a steadying arm from Joran, Adam fell back into step. "And the cameras?"

"Martin nixed them. Didn't want footage of any possible evidence."

"Jesus. Who's running this damn base?" Vickers ignored him and stopped at a corner, holding up his hand.

'One guard,' he signed, and stepped around the corner, stunner leveled and ready to fire. He stopped abruptly in mid-motion and dropped his arm. Adam wondered if the jig was already up. "The guard stationed at Lucas' door is gone."

Adam and Joran rounded the corner to see the same empty hall Vickers had seen. They made their way to the door, and opened it.

The trussed up guard looked at them and his eyes went wide at the sight of the base's commanding officer standing with two of the prisoners. He looked at the restraints on his wrists, then back up at Vickers, who gave a low whistle. "She's good."

"Yep." Adam couldn't keep the pride out of his voice; he barely managed not to yell, "Go, Lucas!" Vickers took in the smug look on Adam's face then turned back to the incapacitated guard. "Sorry, Currie. Someone will be back for you."

Once out of the room and around a corner Vickers asked Adam, "She'll have gone for weapons, then back to free you and Joran?" Adam nodded. "We need to get to the labs, then."
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Offline Þórgrímr

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Re: Dark Mirrors of the Soul: An Eagle Eye 28 Story
« Reply #7 on: April 16, 2010, 11:19:53 AM »
Standing in the same mirror-walled room where they had begun their stay at this universe's JGC outpost, Gina's eyes slid over the countertops, looking for stunners, the mirror controller, and anything else she could use. The lab's counters were piled with bits of technology in various states of disassembly, and she didn't have time to search carefully. Across the room she saw the mirror controller and noted its location while she continued to look for weaponry.

She heard a loud crash as the door was thrown open behind her and Gina spun to face the intruder. Major Martin burst into the room with his pistol raised, his customary smirk made even darker by the genuine anger that was flashing in his bright blue eyes. "You're beginning to be a real pain in the ass, Gina-May."

There was no chance she could get draw her pistol before he could fire. Gina stepped back, her hands bracing her as she ran into the counter behind her. Gina's eyes went wide and a tremor crept into her voice. "Don't... don't hurt me. I... I won't resist." Her hands fluttered over the devices behind her on the counter, searching out the one she had seen just before the door had opened.

He snorted and leveled the gun at her chest. "No, Gina-May. I know you won't. Now be a good girl and get down on the floor. Legs spread, hands on your head. You know the position. Go for your weapon and I will shoot you."

Her hands still behind her, Gina finished sliding the Gomesah small hand held energy weapon into place and raised her hands to her head and started to sink to her knees. The cool metal felt heavy under her fingers. Martin lowered his weapon and took the first step towards her. Looking up and meeting his eyes, she raised her hand, pointed it directly at Martin, and focused on activating the weapon.

Martin recognized the danger a split second before the energy blast hit him square in the chest and sent him flying into the opposite wall. Gina came up out of her crouch and took the handful of long, determined strides needed to get her to Martin's body. "Congratulations, you arrogant prick," Gina snarled at the unconscious man. "You just got out-maneuvered by a GIRL."

She was literally shaking with rage. Thought and emotion activated this form of weapon. In order to fire it, the user had to hate and have a desire to cause pain in such intensity that it became real. Having let the genie out of the bottle Gina wasn't sure she could get it back in. She was in pain, she was scared, and she was livid with fury. She wanted to kick him, to raise her hand and fire again, to see him beaten into a bloody pulp.

At her side, the weapon flared to life. Gina felt the soft seduction of it pulse through her body and sear through her mind. She raised her hand and the beam captured Martin's chest in its sensuous glow. Still unconscious, he writhed at her feet. The effect was exhilarating.

Watching the spectacle in front of her some part of Gina's mind considered the weapon making real her desire to cause pain. Marveling at the power of her own rage she wondered what it would be like to feel this sort of power all the time, to walk through life being able to cause this sort of pain with a touch and a thought... and then she stared at Martin as her perception shifted. There was a flash of pity in her, brief, but long enough to short-circuit the fury and stop the weapon's energy from pouring out.

She had seen what that power had been like in Martin's cold, empty eyes. Watched him strike like a rattlesnake because he would rather destroy her team than live with the thought that he could have had even the semblance of a family that they represented. Could have had, and yet hadn't.

Swallowing the force of her anger Gina bent down and took the pistol from Martin's nerveless fingers and tucked it into the belt at the small of her back. He was still wearing the knife in a belt sheath, which she also took, and then on an impulse, she checked his boot and found a small blade there as well. She shook her head as she took the last knife, wondering what sort of paranoia would drive a man to walk around his own base with that much weaponry. She checked his pockets for the healing device he had taken from her, but it was no longer on him. She still wanted to kick him, hard. And the impulse was hard to put out of her mind.

A last, quick scan of the countertops yielded the stunner she had seen earlier, although it had been moved. The healing device was gone, perhaps he had taken it to his office, but Gina didn't know where that was.

Finally she stood, snatched the mirror controller off the counter, and slid it into a pocket. Raising the stunner, Gina exited the lab, her back to the wall, and went off for the rest of her team. Moving as quickly as she could down the hallways, dodging the occasional soldier, she moved in the direction of the cells where she and the others were being held.

Gina rounded the last corner to the corridor where her cell had been, leading with her stunner. She aimed it immediately at General Vickers when she saw him walking a few steps in front of Joran and Adam. Vickers instinctually raised his weapon in response, and there was a second of a stare-down before Adam raised his head and saw her.

"Whoa! Check fire!"

Confused, she looked back and forth between them. "Sir?"

"Check your fire, he's a friendly." He paused. "FINALLY." He glared at Vickers who lowered his weapon, but didn't take his eyes off of Gina. Hesitantly, she lowered her stunner and looked back around the corner before taking a few quick steps to join them.

Adam found his teeth grinding as he did a visual assessment of his 2IC. She was pale, far too pale, and her face and arms were covered with bruises that looked too old and yellow to be recent, and yet had to be. Dried blood coated her arms in rusty ribbons from her wrists, but there was no sign of the injuries that had created the blood. Most disturbing was the bullet hole in the front of her shirt and the massive amount of dried blood on her clothes. Had they put her in a sarcophagus? Adam looked pointedly at the hole in her shirt and met her eyes again. She shook her head dismissively.

"Healing device," she simply said. "Martin took it, although. Sir, we don't have much time. We have to find Daniel, and I'm not sure I can remember which room he's in." She directed the last bit towards Vickers, who gestured slightly.

"I know where he is. Martin's probably with him."

Gina shook her head. "No, he's not. 'Major Martin's' been incapacitated." She held up her left hand, still encased in the Gomesah thought weapon. Adam gave a soft whistle, and Vickers took an involuntary step backwards. "You can use those things?"

"Yes." Seeing that Vickers and Joran had stunners, she handed her stunner and one of the pistols to Adam. "We need to move, sir."

"Agreed." He slid the weapon into his belt then he and Joran turned back in the direction of Vickers' gesture, the group headed off down the hall. "Kind of a shame, though. I wanted to shoot that son of a bitch."

"He's between us and the mirror, sir. You can shoot him on the way out." Gina said with a smile.

They moved as quickly as they could, avoiding a few guards, stunning a couple of others and hiding the bodies. Adam started to suggest that disintegrating them would be safer but held back the urge. Vickers didn't have much left but these men had been under his command. They were clearly the most 'morally flexible' the JGC had to offer, but they were still his men, and he wasn't going to kill them even on his way out.

The two sentry guards fell under blasts from Joran and Vickers' stunners, while Adam unlocked the door to Daniel's interrogation room. Joran and Vickers each pulled one of the MP's into the room. Adam and Gina traded a quick look before the door opened, and they tried to brace themselves.

Daniel's chin was on his chest when they first walked in, but he opened his eyes at the sound of the door... or rather, he would have opened his eyes if he could have. As it was only one would open, the other was swollen shut. There were large, angry bruises covering his face and finger marks stood out on his neck. Gina knew there were bruises covering his chest as well, but they remained hidden under his shirt.

Vickers let go of the MP's unconscious body and started to walk to Daniel's side to free him, but was passed by Gina. Curtly she said as she stepped around him, "I'll do that," and he paused in step, startled by the insubordination in her tone. He could no more have imagined the textbook perfect Captain Lucas he knew using that tone with him as he could imagine... as he could imagine her raising her hand and using a Gomesah thought weapon.

Of course it was also true, Vickers realized, that he wasn't her superior officer and that he had given her very little reason to respect him.

Gina knelt by Daniel's chair and the one bloodshot eye not swollen shut opened and focused on her for a second before closing. In a rough voice he said quietly, "Great. Now I'm hallucinating."

"Daniel, I'm real. I'm sorry... these restraints are tight it's going to hurt a lot when I take them off."

He laughed mirthlessly and she frowned in sympathy as she tried to work her knife into a position to cut the plastic ties away. Daniel's wrists were slick with blood from struggling in them and it was hard to see. She worked as quickly as she dared, talking softly to him as she maneuvered the knife.

Across the room Adam gestured towards the empty chair and Joran pulled it to them. Adam sank into it gratefully. His muscles had loosened and between that and the adrenaline he thought he could walk a little on his own. Before it came to that, though, he wanted some rest.

Vickers saw Daniel take in the sight of the two Adams, and he waited for the same sort of verbal jab from Daniel that he had been getting from Adam. He waited for some sort of gloating, some sort of claim of victory. None came, and from that small thing he realized the extent of the difference between Doctor and Major Martin. While Major Martin wanted to be right for the good of his ego, Doctor Martin wanted to be right for the good of his people.

Daniel closed his eyes again and bowed his head with a quiet sigh.

Adam, Vickers, and Joran watched Gina working on Daniel's wrists for a while in silence, then Joran moved to stand closer to the locked door and listen for problems. Gina was continuing to speak to Daniel and Adam said quietly to Vickers, "So is your Lucas as dirty as the rest of you?"

Vickers paused before answering. "I wouldn't have said so, but," he paused and made a face. "She's been dating Martin for the last few months, so who knows? It isn't as though she's stupid enough not to know what he is."

"Ewww." Adam said as he dropped his head and muttered to himself, "Lunatic fringe, huh, Lucas?" Then his head snapped back up as he heard Daniel gasp in pain. Lucas fumbled and almost dropped her knife. Daniel's head came up at the same time as Adam's had, and their eyes met across the room. Adam tried to smile. "You okay, Daniel?"

"Oh, just peachy, Adam. Want to go skiing this weekend?"

Adam gave a short bark of a laugh. "Quit stealing my humor gig. Go find your own schtick."

Daniel grinned a little at Adam through his swollen mouth. Adam could see a ghost of a grin on Gina's pale face, too, despite her concentration on her morbid, bloody task. A sideways glance let Adam know that even Joran had let go of a bit of tension. For just a moment, they all hurt just a little less.

Gina gave a quiet but triumphant cry just as Daniel gave another gasp of pain when the restraints fell away. He brought his hands up to rub his wrists, then took in the deep cuts that surrounded the joints and settled for flexing them instead.

Gina stood and offered him a hand. "Can you walk, Daniel?"

"Yeah, I'm just a little stiff." Daniel wondered how long he had been tied in the chair. He ached all over and the muscles in his legs were cramping up. He stood slowly and flexed his legs in turn. "Yeah, I'm fine; I can walk. Do we have the mirror controller?"

Adam hated the slurred sound in Daniel's voice, and a part of his brain he couldn't shut down ticked off the causes: throat hoarse from screaming, tongue a touch swollen from the strangulation hold, mouth dry from dehydration and blood loss...

"Your weapon is in Major Martin's office," Vickers said to Joran, "along with some of your other gear. We'll need to get across the shuttle bay, though, and back. Maybe you should stay here. If the men I stunned are still out, no one may know I'm involved..." He trailed off as the alarms sounded.

Both Vickers' cursed, and Adam stood. He waved off Joran as the big alien came forward to help him. "That's for us, I assume?" he said, drawing his stunner.

"Yes. And me. We've got to stop them from lifting off. There aren't many men here, but if they get to the jump gate and call in reinforcements we're dead."

Joran was already opening the door and looking down the hallway. It was clear, but they spotted soldiers turning the corridor before they were all out of the room. Vickers attempted to bluff his former subordinates, but they were aiming MP25's at him when blasts from Joran's stunner and Gina's thought weapon tore through the group and left them out cold. Moving as fast as possible they headed towards the shuttle bay.

EE-28 plus an extra General entered the shuttle bay with an explosion of their Gomesah energy weaponry and took cover behind a stone and metal control console as the sound of automatic gunfire filled the air. Adam signaled to Joran, who ran for a doorway, while Vickers made it behind a stack of supply crates on their other flank.

Vickers watched as the four extra-dimensional interlopers began taking out the best-trained, most ruthless men his own JGC had had to offer. He had honestly not thought it was possible; he had thought it was over when the alarm sounded. The four man team was bloody, bruised, angry, and had obviously been deeply shaken by Major Martin's interrogations. And Martin had been right, they were an insane combination: an alien, a civilian, a physicist, and... well, the General knew how washed up he was.

And yet, despite it all, they moved like a well-oiled team... moved with a fluidity and comfort level he would have been proud to have seen in any team he commanded. The General watched them work as they took out their opponents cleanly and quickly, and he saw they were responding to each other's body language as much as to the given hand signals. Exhausted, barely able to stand, they covered for each other, and took up each other's slack as though it were second nature.

They all shot straight, they all kept their heads, and the sheer force of determination in their eyes was unsettling even to the combat-hardened soldiers that were attacking them.

Adam gasped as his leg finally gave out and without hesitation or discussion, Joran moved back in to take his weight while Gina and Daniel covered him as they re-positioned. The looks that passed from each to the others were filled with concern even as they efficiently made the adjustments. Then Gina separated under the cover fire of her teammates to cover the flank Joran had left.

Daniel was struggling a little, blinking in an attempt to keep his open eye clear and focused, but he missed seeing a new attacker come up on his blind side. He slumped down instantly, although he winced with pain, when he saw Adam's quick hand signal mark the new threat. Joran, seeing the exchange from his peripheral vision, spun and took out the new target before Adam had aimed.

Finally, Vickers saw what it was that had set his 2IC off as soon as he had set eyes on the team. They weren't a 'team'... they were a family. They cared about each other. Vickers could imagine the group of them lounging in his living room, telling jokes and drinking beer, he could imagine them holding bedside vigils when one was injured, he could imagine them talking after a bad day. He could imagine them doing things for each other that no one had done for him since Sara had gotten disgusted and walked out. Vickers' mouth filled with the taste of bile as envy washed over him.

The last of the shuttle bay defenders had clustered themselves behind another stack of crates on the far side of the gate. Adam and Joran drew their fire while Gina moved to correct her angle, then stood and fired the thought weapon. Boxes and men flew. Corporal Reyes, having not been in the center of the blast was struggling to get up when he was hit with a blast from Joran's stunner and went still. The room was strewn with unconscious men, as though a giant child had left dolls behind when called for supper. After the sound of the gunfire and stunner blasts, the room was eerily still.

Into the silence Vickers spoke. "You three stay here," he said, gesturing to Gina, Adam, and Daniel. "Joran and I are the most mobile. We'll get the equipment and return." Joran looked to Adam to verify the command and Adam nodded. At a run Joran and Vickers headed across the shuttle bay and towards Major Martin's office.
Sic vis pacem, para bellum
If you want peace, prepare for war

Offline Þórgrímr

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Re: Dark Mirrors of the Soul: An Eagle Eye 28 Story
« Reply #8 on: April 19, 2010, 10:22:32 AM »
Gina made another attempt with the controller and, finally, Adam's cap came into view. "Sure you don't want to shoot him before we leave, Major?" Gina said as she pointed at Major Martin, lying prostrate against the far wall, struggling to regain full consciousness.

Adam couldn't miss the tone in her voice; she had meant it to sound like a joke, but there was no doubting she would not regret his death. Adam met Vickers' eyes and then answered Gina in a voice as tired as she had ever heard him use. "Nah, It's time to go, kids."

Vickers' own tired voice stopped Eagle Eye-28 as they started to turn to the mirror. "I don't suppose you know of a good place to hide? Martin's got a long memory and he's going to want my organs for this." There was a quirk of a smile, but the attempt didn't last long.

Daniel took a step forward and pulled a pen and paper from the pocket of his newly-recovered jacket. Forcing his bloody, stiff fingers around the pen, he scratched out a gate key and location as he spoke. "Go here. You won't see them; they will watch you before they make contact. The forest is sacred, so don't try and kill any living thing in it for food, or they won't talk to you. You'll think they're simple, but they have the power to keep you safe." He pulled the paper off the pad and handed to the General. "Trust me. You will be safe." His raw voice broke on the last word, and he swallowed.

"The Sarlei?" Adam asked, and Daniel nodded. "Also, don't be sarcastic," Adam added. "They may look dumb but they're way smarter than you. Honest." Adam said with a grin, and Vickers grinned back at him, a fraction of the fatigue fading from his eyes.

"Hey, do you have a pack ready?" Vickers shook his head, and Adam made a gesture to Joran. "Joran, give him yours." He looked back at his counterpart. "There's enough MRE's to last a week... more if you're careful. It may take awhile before the natives wanna talk." Joran removed the pack and handed it to Vickers.

"Don't kill anything," Daniel repeated. "And when you're ready to move on, they will help you find someplace else... unless you've ticked them off and they think you need to learn patience," he added the last bit an attempt at a smile through his battered face.

Vickers returned the smile as much as he was able, then the team touched the mirror, and with a flash of energy were gone from his life. He saw them reach the other side, then Gina made a motion with the controller, and the mirror went dark.

Leaving the room Vickers paused in front of Major Martin, who had pulled himself to a sitting position. He could barely speak, but his eyes locked with Vickers' and he hissed, "There isn't a place in the universe you can hide from me, old man."

"Oh, shut up, Danny," Vickers said as he stunned his former second-in-command. With a convulsion and a gasp of pain Martin returned to unconsciousness.

Vickers stunned a few more reviving soldiers on his way back to the shuttle bay, made a search of the room for any conscious personnel, and shot out the security cameras before he stepped up to the shuttle's doorway. The last thing he needed was to be followed to what he hoped would be a safe haven.

Heentered the shuttle, sat down and began to carefully enter the lift off signals and waited for the bay door to retract, thinking as fingers touched the buttons of the house and belongings he would never see again. He was glad he still carried a picture of Wendy in his wallet... it would be the only one he had now. With its customary grind the overhead bay door opened, and Vickers paused just a moment, wondering if the man he had allowed to be beaten for the better part of the last day was sending him into a trap.

{Trust me. You will be safe.}

With a shrug, Vickers lifted off and headed for the jump gate without a backwards glance.


Daniel looked out at the distant stars, then back to the glasses in his hands. Below him he could hear the laughter in Adam's living room step up in intensity. The last round of drinks must have kicked in, he thought, and then he heard uneven footsteps. That will be Adam, coming to check on me.

It was Adam, and soon they were leaning against the rail together, looking at the glasses in Daniel's hands. Adam ventured a guess. "Headache?"

"Umm, no. No, just..." his voice trailed off and he frowned, then looked sideways at Adam. "Adam, do you think I should have eye surgery? I mean, I know it can be done, I just hadn't thought about it before. I could probably see 20/20, and we would never have to worry about these again. It is kind of stupid to be wearing glasses in the field, isn't it?"

Adam looked at the new pair of glasses in Daniel's hands for a moment. Even after the recovery time they had had, Daniel was still processing... they all were, if he really thought about it. Looking at Daniel looking back at them with the eyes of a killer had been deeply disturbing for the entire team, Gina, in particular, was harboring a few ghosts. It was a given they weren't angry with Daniel, though, and just as much a given that he was feeling guilty anyway. It was one of the things that defined him as 'Daniel'.

Adam reached out and took the glasses carefully out of Daniel's hands and turned to face him. He slid the ear-pieces into place and pushed the bridge up Daniel's nose until it rested properly. Adam noted that in the dark he could hardly see the last of the fading yellow bruises. Daniel smiled with amusement and Adam patted his shoulder. "Nah, no eye surgery. At least, not for a while... okay, Daniel?" Daniel nodded silently.

"So, have any of us ever told you how much we appreciate your being you and NOT being some psycho asshole?"

"Um, you know... I don't... no, I'm sure no one's ever told me that."

"Trust me, Danny-boy, we do." Adam grinned in the darkness and a new round of laughter broke out from the living room. Daniel could hear Jeanie and Gina giggling in unison.

Daniel looked in the direction of the sound and smiled. "What's going on in there?"

Adam laughed. "Joran's telling Iskarendi jokes."

Daniel's mouth dropped open, then he shook his head. "But," he finally worked out, "Iskarendi jokes aren't funny."

"Ya know, it's the damnedest thing, but they are funny when you're drunk." Adam took Daniel's elbow, and maneuvering with only a slight limp, began to steer him back in the direction of the party. "C'mon, kid. There are people here who want you around."

Daniel smiled with gratitude at that, and let himself be led back to the party.

[center:1cu3uapi]The End[/center:1cu3uapi]
Sic vis pacem, para bellum
If you want peace, prepare for war


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