Honorable Man - A Las-Flash in the Night
Shit. Shit. Shit. This was bad.
Las-bolts cracked through the darkness, lighting everything up in staccato flashes. He was running, running like he’d never run before, boots hitting the dirt hard enough that his feet hurt with every step. That didn’t matter, so long as he got away.
His coat was too heavy. His boots were too heavy. Everything was too heavy. At this point, it felt like his legs were just too heavy. He should have worked out more. Shit, he didn’t belong in this kind of work.
“Shit. Shit. Shit. Shit.” Every exhalation was coming out like that. He didn’t care. It was
shit, it had all gone to shit. They’d blown the operation and the puritans were coming. He didn’t know which ones, but it didn’t matter.
They’d kill him all the same. Or worse. He wasn’t sure which he preferred.
He didn’t even have the book. They’d failed utterly- the cult hadn’t handed it over before the shooting started. Shit, if he’d had the book something could have been made of this escape, instead of just a terrified sprint through the woods. The matter remained, though- he didn’t have it. He didn’t have it, the puritans probably had it, and everyone was dead or dying.
His toe hit something, a root, a rock, something hard, and he pitched over on his face. Something cracked- his nose, most likely. Didn’t matter. That could be fixed. He rolled over, grimacing, and hauled himself up.
Remember your training. Remember your goddamn training.
He was running again, one hand up to cup at his nose and stop the blood from dripping everywhere and the other at his holster, fumbling with the catch. It finally came open; the laspistol’s heavy weight in his hand was somewhat reassuring, but not nearly enough. The las-cracks had stopped, and that meant that they’d be looking for survivors. Shit, were there even any other survivors? Was it just him left? That wouldn’t surprise him. Not at all.
He had to get offworld.
He shook his hand free of blood, digging into his pocket for his vox-link. Clicking the transmitter button, he held it up to his mouth. “Ishtar
, this is Kental. Ishtar
, I need an extraction.”
No response. Just static. “Ishtar
, please respond. Ishtar
They’d hit them too, probably. Shit, it was all over. They were all dead, or were going to be. The inquisitor was already down- he had been the first one down, actually.
He could hear crashing through the forest behind him now, and the whine of auspexes. They had him now, unless the Ishtar
miraculously responded. The Inquisition wasn’t known for its mercy, either. “Ishtar
A crack; something hit him in the shoulder, spinning him around and throwing him to the ground. A second later, the pain hit and he let out a strangled cry. Stab-lights from helmets snapped into existence, lancing the night with brightness, picking him out from where he lay among the trees.
They had him.
Someone hauled him to his feet by the lapels of his greatcoat. They were stormtroopers, he could see that now, clad in red and black. All were helmeted, but he could hear muted clicks coming from them. They were talking amongst each other. Deciding what to do with him, perhaps?
That wasn’t up to them, though. Another figure, in the same carapace armor but unhelmeted, carrying a massive hammer rather than a lasrifle, appeared out of the darkness. This one, he recognized. Inquisitor Aethel, a noted monodominant. No hope of recovery then.
Aethel walked up to where the stormtroopers held him, coming face to face. The inquisitor was shorter, even in the carapace, and had to look up; there was a stern frown etched deep on his face, as one would expect from a puritan. He prodded Kental in the chest with the head of his hammer. “Interrogator Kental. Where’s the book?”
“Screw you.” the interrogator spat at him, following it up with a gob of bloody saliva.
A gauntleted hand smashed across his jaw and Kental sagged in the stormtrooper’s grip. “I said,” Aethel gritted out, reaching out and grabbing Kental’s wounded shoulder. “where is it?”
The interrogator cried out; waiting until he was satisified that he’d made his point, Aethel let go. “I don’t know.” Kental replied, panting to try to diffuse the pain. “You stopped the exchange.”
He had nothing left to hide. He’d put up the token resistance, and that was all anyone could ask. He was an interrogator himself- he knew what would happen if he held anything back. That was a fate he didn’t need, especially since his own inquisitor was already face down in the dirt, gone in the first volley. Nobody he needed to protect anymore, and nothing worse could happen to him if he talked...
Aethel lifted his gauntlet to his mouth and muttered something into the vox-link affixed there, turning away. “You know what to do.” he said to the stormtroopers, nodding before dropping his arms to his side and starting to walk away.
The stormtrooper shoved Kental to the ground; the interrogator pulled himself up and began to run, already knowing what was to come. Aethel was whistling something as he walked away; Kental’s heart was pounding loud enough to drown it out, it felt like. Shit, he knew what was going to happen. Why did he even bother running? He knew already.
Still, it was a surprise when the las-bolts finally lanced through his back.