Chapter 16: CHILD’S PLAY
Zepas lay on a medical table as Stacy gathered some instruments.
Brad stood guard over the Anunnaki, “Stacy,” he called, “How did you know those energy blasts wouldn’t hurt me?”
“It’s one my designs,” Stacy answered, “I recognized the energy blast and knew it came from a repulser rifle. It wasn’t made to kill, only push someone away. It wouldn’t work on anyone with shielding so, the project was put on hold and the UED asked for something deadlier, something that could bypass shields. That’s when we found out about these old-style weapons.”
Brad looked at Zepas, “You hear that,” nodding and raising his eyebrows, “Look at your leg. We can hurt you guys. Makes you think twice about messing with us, huh?”
“Only your Myrmidons,” Zepas replied, “The rest of your species is weak!”
“Race,” Stacy corrected, as she went to work on Zepas, “If we were a different species I might not be able to fix you or interbreed us.”
“Yeah,” Brad said, before realizing what Stacy said, “Wait, what! ‘interbreed’?”
“I may have said too much,” Stacy said, as she continued to work on Zepas, “This will only take a sec.” she pulled the bullet from Zepas’ leg and then began running a device over the wound to heal it as if nothing was ever there.
Stuart walked in, “The other one is secured, back in the cell.” he said.
“Good,” Stacy said, “Zepas is ready to go back in too.”
Stuart walked over to help Zepas off the table and begin escorting her.
“Brad,” Stacy called, “Come with me.” In a hall, she led him to another nearby room. It was slightly cramped with equipment on both sides.
Brad looked around intently for anything out of the ordinary. As he came to the center of the room, it opened up quite a bit. He had wandered toward one side instead of following his exe.
“Over here.” Stacy said.
Brad looked over and saw Raven Eye’s big secret. Slowly approaching it in awe he realized what it was. It was an adult size incubator filled with a blue green glowing, transparent liquid and an unconscious female child suspended in it.
“We wanted to see if an Anunnaki was compatible with us,” Stacy began, “So we took one of their eggs and fertilized it with a human sperm. This was the result.”
“Why,” Brad asked, “What purpose could this possibly serve?”
“Several,” Stacy answered, “We now know interbreeding is possible. We’re hoping to study their energy projections and learn more about their specific biology since we can remove their suits, and anything else they haven’t told us. We’ve known that they’re immune to normal interrogation methods.”
Brad looked at suspended child and actually felt sorry for her, “What are you going to do with her once you’re done?” he asked.
“She’ll likely be killed in the process,” Stacy said, “It’s very unfortunate but, I’m sure we’ll make others.”
Brad was afraid of such an answer, suddenly reminded of the two mentally handicapped girls fighting in high school. He looked at Stacy, “I never imagined you being so cold.” he said.
“Hey, don’t look at me,” Stacy replied, “I’m just the messenger here. I would never kill her, but I’m just sure someone else will do something in testing.”
“Does she have a name?” Brad asked.
“Yes,” Stacy answered, “I’m the one who came up with Lilly.”
“Lilly,” Brad said, “Look at her and tell me, knowing she has a name that you picked, you can just let her go through all that testing knowing she’ll die.”
Stacy looked on at Lilly and came to the slow realization that Brad was right; that although right now Lilly was just a child, she’d be terminated, “I can’t let that happen I suppose.” she said.
“Let her go,” Brad said, “I’ll take her. She’ll be safe with me.”
“She’s not done yet,” Stacy replied, “It will be just a few more months.”
“What am I going to do with a fully grown one?” Brad said, “By then, it’ll be too late and I take it she won’t know much. Give me a child I can teach.”
“We’ve been injecting her with engrams,” Stacy said, “She’ll have basic knowledge. Are you sure you want to do this?”
Brad nodded and smirked, “As long as she can wipe her own ass,” he replied, “I’m all good.”
“You’re right about letting her out now.” Stacy said, touching a series of buttons to release Lilly.
The fluid in the incubator began to drain, allowing Lilly touch the ground while waking up as any tubes detached from her. Stacy caught the child as the main tube encasing Lilly’s body retracted upwards.
Lilly looked around shivering. She had skin like humans, with brown hair and brown eyes.
“Here let me give you this,” Stacy said, taking off her lab coat to wrap around Lilly, “There, you warm now?”
“Yes,” Lilly answered, “Thank you. Are you my mommy?”
Hearing the child’s voice made Stacy choke back tears, “Sorry,” she replied, then looking at Brad, “Your parents didn’t survive the attack but, Brad here will look after you.”
Lilly walked over and cradled onto Brads leg.
Brad hoisted Lilly up, “Lilly,” he said, “Just call me Brad. If anyone asks you, I just found you, alright?”
Lilly nodded her head, “Got it,” she said, “Your name is Brad and you found me.”
Stacy stood in front of Brad, “Look,” she began, “You can’t tell anyone about this. Not even Stuart knows about her.”
“What about Gina?” Brad asked.
“You’re fine there,” Stacy answered, “She knows about the project but I don’t think she’s ever seen her. On her energy projections, we don’t even know how that’s done so she doesn’t know. Kascor said they’re trained to do that.”
Brad looked around and asked, “Any clothes?”
Stacy hastily walked over to a panel on a wall and looked again at Lilly, studying her, ‘She could be five or six years old.’ she thought, then touching several buttons on a keypad. A panel in the wall glowed for several seconds before suddenly extending about two feet out. On its side was a hanging uniform with shoes just as Stacy had specified. She grabbed the clothes and quickly helped Lilly in them as she put her lab coat back on.
“When we leave,” Stacy said, “Throw some grenades in here to destroy this place and make them think she died.”
“No problem,” Brad replied, “Let’s get outta here.”
In the cell room with the two Anunnaki, the two humans and Lilly walked in.
Kimberly looked at the little girl and asked, “Who is she?”
Brad leaned down to Lilly, “Lilly,” he whispered, “Introduce yourself, remember what I said.”
Lilly nodded and looked at Kimberly, “I’m Lilly,” she answered, “Brad found me.”
Kimberly crossed her arms and stepped toward Brad, “What were you whispering to her just now?
“Yeah,” Stuart added, “Did you tell her to say something?”
Brad pretended to be shocked, “I was just telling her to trust you guys.” he answered.
“She’s lucky,” Stacy said, “I was showing Brad some of the weapons I made when we found her in one of the containers. It masked her signal so, she didn’t appear on my initial sensor sweep. She came in the building during the first attack and hid.”
Brad didn’t show it but, he was genuinely impressed with Stacy’s story, ‘I didn’t know she could BS like that.’ he thought. If he didn’t know the truth, he’d have believed her.
“Her parents were killed,” Brad said, “So I’m taking her.”
Kimberly kneeled with outstretched arms to embrace Lilly, “Oh,” she whined, “I’m so sorry to hear about your parents.”
“Are you alright?” Stuart asked.
While she hugged Kimberly, Lilly looked over at Stuart and nodded, “Yes, sir.” she said.
Brad took Lilly and looked at Stacy, “We should put her with the other survivors.” he said.
“Stuart,” Stacy called, “Stand guard here while the rest of us take Lilly and bring back Quinn.”
In the conference room, Quinn stood guard and pointed both guns at the door as Brad, with raised hands and his suit phased on, walked in first followed by the women.
Quinn lowered his guns and approached, “Excuse me,” he said, “It’s only you.”
Brad phased off his suit and picked up Lilly, “Lilly, this is my friend Quinn,” he said, “Quinn, meet Lilly, my new daughter.”
“Daughter,” Quinn asked wide-eyed, “You and Kim were only gone a few hours.”
“I found her,” Brad replied, “Her parents are dead so, I decided to look after her.”
“Oh,” Quinn said, “Lilly isn’t really yours then. She’s adopted”
Gina overheard everything that was said, “You poor dear” she said, “Come here,” she stretched out her arms, “Sit with me.”
Brad walked over and sat Lilly down on Gina’s lap. Stacy looked on to see any indication of Gina catching on. All was well as Gina began playing around immediately with Lilly.
Brad focused his attention back on Quinn, “We secured both fugitives,” he said, “You’re with us now. Kim, I’d tell you to stay but, I got a feeling you won’t.”
Kimberly faked a coo when she then said, “Aww, you already know me. That’s so sweet.”
Quinn held his guns tightly as he, with the rest, walked back in to the cell room.
Stuart stood by and noticed Quinn with his .38s, “Maybe you should keep those.” he said.
Stacy moved on to the next room with Kimberly.
Quinn looked at the Anunnaki and held up one of his guns, “You see this,” he said, “Don’t mess with me!”
Brad joined Stuart, “Myrmidon, huh,” he said, “I saw the way you handled that Anunnaki. Tell me about those genetic enhancements. I wish I had those. Does it hurt?”
“Nah,” Stuart answered, “Just a few injections. You should go for being a Myrmidon. It’s tough training but, I think you can do it. The enhancements heighten your senses, increase your speed, strength and stamina. Your endurance and reflexes go through the roof.”
Stacy and Kimberly looked over a giant map.
“Stuart’s cute,” Kimberly said, “You going to make a move?”
“Already did,” Stacy answered, “Or rather, he did. We’ve been seeing each other for about a year. Brad told me you two managed to do one date before all this. What do you think?”
“It was good,” Kimberly replied, “He sounds like a catch. Any pointers for me, things I should know? Likes, dislikes.”
Stacy had to think for a moment after she was done with the map, “Pizza,” she said, “He loves pizza, pepperoni, and especially exotic flavors. Mostly old-style music,” she got up and turned to Kimberly, “Oh, games. Any kind, he loves games to death and he enjoys a good book once in a while. He dislikes drugs and alcohol oh, and he hates smokers. The smell of a burning cigarette makes him nauseous.”
“Thanks.” Kimberly said.
Stacy approached the door for it to open, “Come,” she said, “You’re going to want to hear this.”
The ladies joined the guys in the cell room.
“We have a little problem,” Stacy began, “The barricade we just came from has been compromised. A lot of the defenses are down and I can’t get them back up. It seems our Anunnaki friends here were hacking them down. I suspect these defenses can be brought back online but, we’ll need them to do it.”
The men grew visibly agitated.
“Damn!” Stuart said, walking away.
Brad asked, “Is there any other way?”
Stacy shook her head, “I’m afraid not. It’s just one more barricade before this one and then we’ll have no choice but to go underground.” she answered.
Just then there was another large explosion that rocked the building. Brad looked over at Stuart now standing by the cell, “Looks like we don’t have a choice.” he said
“This sucks,” Stuart replied, “After all that, we have to let them out,” He turned to the Anunnaki, “You hear all that! We have to let you out.”
Brad turned to Quinn, “Keep those guns handy.”
“Don’t worry,” Quinn said, “I will. I won’t let ether of those two out of my sight.”
Stuart lowered the energy barrier, “You know,” he said “You two are coming back once you fix those defenses.”
Zepas and Kascor stepped out smiling. Everyone got behind them as they led the way back to the barricade.
Kimberly came to the side, “You two know what you did,” she said, “Now start fixing it!”
Zepas and Kascor activated their helmets and began to bring the defenses online one by one.
Brad looked at Stuart, “How long do you think this will take?” he asked.
Stuart shrugged, “Beats me,” he said, “Hopefully, that explosion we heard wasn’t the barricade in front of this one.”
Kimberly, Stacy and Quinn could only standby and watch as the Anunnaki suddenly stopped to look at one another then face down the hall, while raising their hands.
“Oh, no,” Stacy said, “Everyone, take cover!”
Quinn and the humans did so. Hiding behind various pieces of debris. Brad and Stuart phased their armor on and could see via radar that the AFU was rapidly closing in on them. They then phased out weapons for Kimberly and Stacy. Quinn wouldn’t need one as he was already armed with guns he took for the Anunnaki.
AFU soldiers began pouring into the hall and immediately began trying to descend on the barricade. Much of the auto-turrets came alive along with energy blasts from the Anunnaki.
The humans returned fire when they could. Brad had taken cover with Quinn and Kimberly while Stuart was with Stacy. Zepas and Kascor stood in front, out in the open, easily absorbing any shots being fired at them.
Stacy fired several rounds before ducking back in to cover, “I don’t know how long this barricade will hold.” she said.
Stuart fired a few shots himself, “The last thing we can do is destroy the elevator,” he said, “It’ll make rescue a little harder but, it should slow the AFU down a lot.”
Everyone was doing their part in supporting the defense.
Kimberly turned to Brad, “We may have only had one date but,” she said, “I just want to let you know…I love you!”
“Likewise.” Brad replied.
Quinn looked on in disbelief as Kimberly kissed Brad’s helmet, “Are you kidding me?” he said.
The hall was filling up with AFU soldiers quickly. Zepas and Kascor were doing the best they could to hold them off, but were just attracting much of the gunfire. One AFU soldier managed to toss a grenade just he was blasted apart by the Anunnaki.
The grenade landed near Kascor and exploded. Any energy it had was absorbed so it didn’t blow him away but, it did contain shrapnel that killed him on the spot.
Some of the shrapnel made its way into Zepas to gravely wound her.
“Kascor.” she said, falling over.
“Oh crap!” Quinn said, upon seeing the explosion that took out the Anunnaki. He could see Zepas barely moving and decided to get her.
Brad radioed, “Looks like we’re out of Anunnaki.”
Stuart could hear Brad clear as day, “We should retreat then while we still can.” he replied.
Quinn pulled Zepas back to safety, were he could see that she had been injured along her side and stomach, “Can you walk,” he asked.
Zepas deactivated her helmet, “I can try.” she replied.
Quinn hoisted Zepas up and had to help her walk. She cradled her side as she moved with a noticeable limp.
The humans had begun their retreat and stood by the door, waiting.
Brad waved for Quinn to follow, “Come on!” he yelled.
Quinn hurried to the door as fast as he could.
“Wait,” Zepas said, looking back at the barricade, “I don’t want to be a prisoner again. This is for you Kascor.” She activated her helmet and brought the rest of the defenses online, causing several of the cloaked bombs to come alive and detonate, pushing back the AFU to keep them from advancing so fast.