Ben and Streek: Clone Saga Ch. 08byAxelotl©
Chapter 8 - Roads to Keyser
The Van Halen cruised through hyper-space. On board Mia poured Streek a Dark Rum in the common room. "So, ...aboard the Fed Cruiser, how bad was it?" asked Mia.
"Bad enough, could have been a lot worse though. They beat and raped me pretty badly. But I'm a clone, I bounce back"
Mia nodded sympathetically, "Fuckin' Blue-coat bastards!, I'd kill every last one of them if I could. You and Bernie still fought your way out of there though?"
"Yeah, we spilled a lot of Fed blood on our way out."
"Glad to hear it. So, you're not a kill virgin any more." said Mia as she took a mouthful of her own drink. "I heard you gave Naeme an even worse beating then I did."
"I ...I kinda had a score to settle with him, it was personal."
"Yeah, he and his Pirate crew raped you and Bernie when you were traders, you told me."
"I did?, I can't remember. Technically it happened to our Sires, but it's like it happened to me. Did I um, ...tell you anything else about our Sires?"
"You just told me they were small time traders from Darion. And that they were once Bull Ants, ha!, I always pictured Bull Ants as dirty, scruffy old men."
"Oh, that's all?"
"Why, you got some deep, dark secret about them?"
"No, they're pretty boring actually, Bernie was in the Federation Academy for a year."
"So? A lot of the Resistance members are former Feds."
Streek took another drink of her Rum, she didn't know why she didn't just tell Mia she was really a guy, she was going to find out sooner or later, Doctor Arnott and General Bolton knew.
"So what's the plan?" asked Streek.
"When we drop out of hyper-warp again, I'll try and contact the Doctor. He might have some intel for us. Bernie might have even made contact with him. We're heading for Verona, Keyser City, you heard of it?"
"Of course, lots of crime holo-films are set there. 'Unusual Suspect' is my favourite."
"Mine's 'Difficult Target'." said Zac, coming into the room.
"That wasn't set in Keyser City."
"Part of it was, where McDuggits' partner gets killed."
"You two are getting a bit off topic." said Mia. "Verona's one of the few inhabited worlds that's not ruled by the Federation. It's out in unprotected space. So it draws scum-bags like flies to shit. The newly reformed Pirate Alliance has claimed the Planet. And the Pirate Alliance is being ruled over by some guy named Skylar."
"...Intel says he's established a base of operations in Keyser City, a big Fortress in the harbour. I'd bet my black belts, that's where the Cloning Pod is."
"So, Bernie will be heading to Keyser as well." said Streek.
"If we go after the Cloning Pod, we're likely to run into her. We'll see what Grandpa has to tell us, and then we'll plan our next move, but for now we're off to Verona."
Far away, on the jungle moon of Reldor, Bernie made her way through the thick vegetation. It was night time and the jungle was dark and scary.
She could hear the constant beating of drums nearby and headed toward the sound. A mosquito buzzed around her ear and she swatted at it. She kept going on, sometimes stumbling over roots and sometimes scaring off small animals as she clambered through the dark jungle.
She had already been bitten by a snake, but she assumed her nanobots took care of the venom. She could see the glowing light through the trees and the drum-beat was getting louder.
She finally came out into a clearing, where there was a large structure in the middle. It had four meter high, thatched walls that went around in a large circle, like one large, roofless hut. She could see the glowing of the fire and the embers rising up into the night sky. She could hear the drum beat coming from within.
Bernie walked around to the entrance. There were two men guarding it. They were tanned, with dark hair and were wearing animal skins and crude looking bracelets and necklaces. Tribals; men and women who have lived here for generations, forsaking modern technology and living a life of hunting and gathering, and dancing around fires.
They raised their spears as Bernie approached. They jabbered away in their strange language as they pointed the sharp spear-heads at her face. She pushed them away. "Let me in there." She held her hands out, showing that she was unarmed, she was just wearing a brown jump-suit. Her large breasts were straining against the fabric.
"Harab tohk nee var harka." said one of the Tribal guards. He poked the spear-head at her neck, nicking it and making a drop of blood run down.
"Ow, hey!" said Bernie. She grabbed the spear and slammed her boot down, breaking several bones in his foot. She ducked down as he cried out and the other guard thrust his spear at her head.
She took the spear and quickly spun it around, whacking the legs of one guard and then the other, making them drop. She quickly kicked one man in the head and slammed the spear into the head of the other. She dropped the spear and then stepped over the unconscious men and entered the structure.
Inside, huts were lined around the outer wall and there was a large space cleared in the centre and there was open sky above them. In the centre was a large bonfire, which several half naked men and women were dancing around.
At the far end, she could see a large, carved, wooden chair with a man seated in it. He was wearing a large, demonic looking mask. He had to be the chief.
Further on, she could see several naked white men, they were bent over and tied to wooden frames. Tribal men were behind some of them, making them cry out as they fucked them from behind. They were Ben Anders, all six of them.
Calls of alarm went out as she approached the chief. The drumming stopped and several Tribals came up and were pointing their spears at her, jabbering in their strange language.
Bernie just kept walking on. As she got close one of the Bens looked up at her wide eyed, "Girl-Ben? What are you doing here?"
"Drakk! Streek was right." said Bernie looking at the tied up men. "We have a knack for getting our crew into trouble."
"What are you doing Bernie? It's dangerous here." Tribals gathered around her, pointing their spears at her.
"Jahabu na tok, gatta nee jah hakarka." said the chief.
"Do you speak basic? These are my people. Let them go and we'll be gone." Bernie said loudly and slowly.
"They only speak jungle." said Ben. "Bernie you gotta run, they can't be negotiated with."
"Maybe they'll understand this." She pointed at the Bens. "Let them go!" she said loudly, "...Or you'll be sorry!" she smacked her fist into her palm.
The Chief said something and two Tribals came forward to grab her. Bernie gave a fast roundhouse kick, knocking them both away. A spear thrust out at her and she swiftly dodged the point and grabbed it. She thrust the spear back at the attacker, poking him in the chest making him let go, she then spun the spear around, knocking several other tribals back.
"Bernie, watch out, they practice a martial art style called Jaht-Ken, Wild Fist."
"Jaht-Ken? I know that one." Another spear came at her and she deflected it, then leapt forward with a kick to the Tribals' face.
Several other Tribals were attacking her at once, Bernie was moving about gracefully, blocking and dodging. She was kicking and whacking them with the spear, but wasn't killing them.
"Bernie! Bowmen!" Bernie saw the men come out with their bows and arrows, lining her up. She Cartwheeled backwards as they fired at her, several arrows shot past her, some of them hitting other Tribals, making them cry out in pain.
She rushed forward as they were redrawing and spun her spear around, knocking each of them to the ground. A powerful kick came at her, and she quickly moved her spear to block it, but the kick went straight though the wooden spear, breaking it, and knocked her back onto the ground.
Bernie got up again, it was the big Chief standing in front of her. "Rahor mater Jaht!" he said getting in a Jaht-Ken stance, squatting low with one arm out in front of him.
"Same to you buddy!" said Bernie, also getting into a Jaht-Ken stance.
"Bernie, be careful, their Chief is always their strongest fighter." called out one of the Bens. The other Tribals stopped coming at her and watched the two of them facing off.
The big Chief suddenly rolled at her, Bernie jumped up into the air, her feet came down hard, almost on top of him, but he rolled away. He swiped at her, barely missing her as she did a back flip.
They continued fighting each other using Jaht-Ken, it was a fighting style based on the movement of wild animals, and had a lot of rolling and jumping around and frenzied attacks.
The Chief was a very challenging opponent. Bernie considered using other fighting styles on him. The Chief managed to get in close and swiped at her face. His long nails cut through her skin and her face was bleeding.
Bernie rolled forward at him and gave a double legged kick that knocked him back. When he came at her again with frenzied swipes, she managed to spin around behind him and jumped on his back, clinging to him as her arm wrapped around his throat.
The Chief spun around, trying to get her off him. He threw himself back onto the ground. Bernie was winded as his weight slammed her whole body into the ground, but she didn't loosen her grip.
He managed to roll over and get up again as Bernie clung to him. He moved over to a wall and slammed into it. They both fell through the thatched wall and onto the floor on the other side. he struggled to get back up, but slowed down as he started running out of oxygen, and then he dropped unconscious.
Bernie was hurting all over, she got up and came out through the hole in the wall again. She raised her fists, ready to fight some more. The other Tribals didn't come at her, instead they dropped their weapons and kneeled on the ground, facing her.
"Yeah, you give up now, do you?" said Bernie.
"They follow strength." said one of the Bens. "You defeated their Chief in single combat, now you're their new chief."
"I'm the Chief?" said Bernie, lowering her fists and looking around. "Okay then, untie my people." The Tribals just looked at her. She pointed at the Bens that were tied up, "Let them go!" They seemed to understand and moved over to the Bens and started untying them.
"Get them their clothes and weapons." she said. She pulled at her brown jump-suit, "Clothes!" Then she made a gun gesture with her hand, "Weapons!"
"You're not even armed?" said one of the Bens.
"I was hoping to do this peacefully."
The Bens were freed and got themselves dressed and armed again, they came up to Bernie. "How the hell did you do that?, you're like Rocky Balboa or something!"
"How did you find us?"
"Why did you save us?"
"I have a question." said Bernie. "...Which one of you is the Captain?"
They were silent for a moment and then one of them stepped forward. "I'm the Captain, the original Ben Anders. Look, I'm sorry I left you behind in Rodfern, you would have done the same thing in my position."
"I guess I can't argue with that, can I? I'm not so angry that you left me behind, but Streek went through hell because of you."
"I never meant for anything bad to happen to you."
"No, you never do, do you? Yet shit always happens." Bernie looked around, all the Tribals seemed to be watching them questioningly.
"We're on Reldor now Captain. Tribal rules apply. I challenge you to single combat, for the Captaincy of the Clubber Lang."
"What? ...You're mad! No fuckin' way! The others won't accept you as Captain."
"You sure about that?" said one of the Ben clones. "You got us into this mess and she got us out of it."
"Yeah!" agreed another Ben. "Maybe we should be like the Tribals and follow strength!"
"Accept her challenge Captain!" said another.
"I'm Ben Anders!" said Ben, starting to look shaken. "...I created you all. You wouldn't exist without me!"
"So fuckin' what?!" said another. "Fight her!"
"No, I'm not going to fight!"
"Too bad for you." said Bernie. She stepped forward and gave a powerful right hook to his head, knocking him down to the ground.
"Aaaaaagh!!" Ben cried out, lying on the ground clutching his head.
Bernie stood over him, "Stay down! ...You've been relieved of command Captain Anders."
One of the Ben clones looked into her eyes, he gave a salute, "Captain." he said. The other all did the same.
Bernie looked around to the Tribals, "Sorry, I can't be your chief. I'm on a mission." She looked down at Ben on the ground and then turned her back on him, "Come on, let's go." she said to her fellow clones.
Ben got up off of the ground and pulled out his hand gun. "You're all a bunch of fuckin' traitors!" he said pointing his gun at Bernie. "I won't let you take my ship!"
Bernie turned to face him, her hands clenched into fists. "You don't want to throw down with me Anders. You don't regenerate like we do."
"You won't come back from a bullet in the brain. I'll kill you before I let you take the Lang. You know that, don't you?"
She looked into his eyes, "Yeah, I do." The other Ben clones had their weapons drawn and pointed at Ben Anders. Bernie and Ben stood there, facing off.
Suddenly a rock flew over and knocked to gun from Bens' hand. The Tribals were suddenly all over him, bashing him. "Stop!!" cried out Bernie. "Don't hurt him!"
The Tribals stopped and held him there, they were looking at Bernie. "What's their word for exile?" asked Bernie.
One of the Bens got his TAB out and prodded at it. "Tahool, Captain."
"Tahool!" Bernie said to the Tribals.
One of the tribesmen nodded, "Tahool."
"And what's the word for goodbye?"
"Kahli." Bernie said to Ben and the Tribals, and turned around again and started walking off.
"Fuckin'Bitch! Our paths will cross again." said Ben Anders. "...We're heading toward the same destiny."
"Let's get back to the Clubber Lang." Bernie said to the other Ben clones. "Who wants to fly the super-advanced fighter craft?" Five hands went up. "We'll sort it out."
Streek walked into the cockpit of the Van Halen. Mia and Zac were sitting in there. There was a star field on the view screen. Mia turned to her, "We're in the Lecras system now. One jump away from Verona and Keyser City. ETA six and a half hours."
"Have you managed to contact the Doc?"
"Should we be worried?"
"Not yet, the Avatari is incommunicado when it's in full stealth mode, and of coarse, when it's in hyper-warp. I'll just keep trying. I've been monitoring Veronas' ultra-net, it seems they're holding celebrations at Skylar Fortress."
"Celebrating their newest purchase, no doubt."
"Yeah, they're advertising for dancers, it could be our way in."
"Sure, once we're in, we can find out where they're keeping the Cloning Pod. Perhaps gather some intel on Skylar too."
"And I'll support you from outside." said Zac. "Back you up if anything goes wrong."
"But I'm not a dancer." said Streek.
"If you're good at martial arts then you're good at dancing. It's the same principals, the minds mastery over the body, graceful movement, learned routines. I've got six hours to teach you some dance routines."
"Shit! I don't know about this."
"That's okay. I guess I could go in there by myself."
"The hell you will!" said Streek.
Mia smiled at her, "Glad to hear it."
"Sit down Streek, we're jumping in ten seconds." said Zac. She sat down and then a moment later she felt the surge and the view screen went black. "We're away, next stop; Verona."
"Come on Streek, lets go and practice in the cargo bay." said Mia.
"Can I watch?" asked Zac.
When they got to the cargo bay they stripped down to their underwear. "Is this really necessary?" asked Streek.
"Dancers wear skimpy costumes, get used to it."
Mia started stretching. Streek admired her nice body as she bent down, then she started stretching too. "I've never danced in my life."
"Didn't you want to be a dancer as a little girl?"
"I was never a little girl."
"Oh right, ...clone. I wanted to be a dancer when I was little. One of my earliest memories was my Mum coming taking me to a dance recital. Then the war started, and Mum and Dad were always away on missions, there was no more time for dance recitals."
"...One day Dad came into my room and told me that Mum had been captured by the Federation. I was too young to fully understand what it meant, I just wanted my Mum back. I didn't want to be a dancer any more, I wanted to be a fighter, to get strong so I could go and save Mum. I was just a kid, I didn't know any better."
"...Then the day came when Dad told me and Zac that she was dead. I just threw myself into martial arts training and I guess I never really got over it. I still dance sometimes, when I'm alone. It kinda makes me feel closer to Mum, you know."
"I saw a picture of your Mum, she was very pretty."
"Yeah, she was beautiful. I'll never forgive the Federation for taking her from me. Well ...I've told you a deep, dark secret about me, now it's your turn."
"Um ...I dunno ...I ...I like girls."
"Yeah, I kinda guessed that about you. Are you and Blondie ...you know, ...an item."
"Bernie? ...She's my best friend. At least I hope she still is, we didn't really part on good terms."
"Yeah, I gathered that. Do you know that she and Zac had sex?"
"Yeah, she told me."
"Can't say much for her taste. Zac seems smitten though. Anyway, let's get started, just follow my actions."
"If we were on the Avatari I could just get it all loaded into my brain."
"Yeah, well, we don't have a mind-writer, so you'll just have to pay attention. Just think of it as Kung-Fu, without the hitting."
The two of them practiced dancing in the cargo bay for hours, and Streek started to get the hang of it. She enjoyed spending the time with Mia, even if she wasn't the most patient instructor.
The Hornet buzzed around the much larger Star Ship in space, stinging it with its powerful quad lasers and drawing a lot of fire in return.
The small fighter was white and triangular with two triangular wings sticking out either side, large laser cannons were mounted on each wing and two more were mounted on the front of the craft. Wide, green laser blasts lanced out of all four barrels simultaneously.
The other ship, the 'Ace of Clubs', was around twice the size of the Clubber Lang. It was long and dark grey, it had several guns mounted to it, including a laser turret that pelted the small fighter as it swiftly flew around the craft.
Large missiles were also launched at the fighter and exploded on its shields but the small craft continued unscathed.
"How are those shields holding up Ben-Two?" asked Bernie over the comm.
"Just fine Captain, this craft is fuckin' amazing. It's drawn a shit-load of fire and the shields are still around ninety percent. Can I divert more power to the lasers now?"
"Okay, just keep your distance from the ship, I don't want you slamming into it. and don't get carried away, we're aiming to disable them remember."
"Aye Captain Balboa."
It was a nickname the Ben clones had taken to calling her. Bernie was in the Captains Chair of the Clubber Lang, it felt good to be sitting there again. Two other Bens were in the cockpit with her, the other two were stationed in the engine room.
"I think the Hornet has their attention. I'm taking the Lang closer, you can fire when we're in range."
"Aye Captain." said Ben Four next to her.
"Ben-Two, we're getting in on the action, watch for us."
"Roger that. Better hurry, or there won't be any action left for you."
"Lucky bastard!" said Ben-Four. "Where did you get that fighter anyway?"