The Weston SpherebyElenia26©
"You'll have to arrest me, General. I won't go peacefully and I won't let you kill any more civilians. You're not thinking clearly. You keep blasting their planet; as if that's going to make them get up and leave. You've gone over the edge and I'm sick with it."
He gave me a level stare, and responded, "I'm sorry you've lost the stomach for this, Doctor. Sergeant, arrest her."
And so I was put in handcuffs for the second time in my life. Only this time it was by my own people.
I am Doctor Rosamund Weston, a quantum physicist and a pretty sharp tack if I do say so myself. However, being raised in a community of scientists and doctorates, i.e, a roomful of sharp tacks, I am only maybe a cut or two above the average. I had however managed to distinguish myself early in my career with a couple of major breakthroughs. It was the latest one that had really skyrocketed my career. Using a dimensional gateway and a special particle I had created, I had come through with one of the dreams of mankind - an unlimited power source that never ran out and that literally used time and space and matter to keep on regenerating itself.
I had high hopes for this sphere, affectionately dubbed the Weston Sphere by my colleagues. I hoped to usher in a brand new era of prosperity for my people. Imagine what we could do if we never had to worry about power! Imagine what we could accomplish!
But human nature intervened and things went down just about as you would expect. The knowledge had been leaked and our neighboring planet, Saracen, using alien technology, had attacked. They had destroyed us utterly - we were mostly a community of scientists and not warriors. I had escaped the research labs I had been working in with my Sphere, which was small enough to fit in a pocket, and had actually managed to survive out in the country, entirely on my own, for seven days before encountering one of our own patrols. (It helped that service in the Armed Forces was mandatory for everyone. I'd done my two years.) I had hopes of somehow escaping, but one of my colleagues had been the source of the leak, and he had planted homing devices in the case I carried the Sphere in. Stupidly, I had not thought to check.
We were captured and all of the soldiers were executed.
For nine months I had been forced to work for the enemy. They had my baby sister, grown up to be a history professor at the local university, and threatened to hurt her if I didn't work. As long as I worked, she was safe. I tried to sabotage the project, but they caught on and I was only able to escape her being hurt badly by agreeing to do what they said. I repaired all of my work.
After nine months, however, my own people - Caledonians - broke me out. On the way the Saracen Colonel who had been overseeing my work threatened my sister over the intercom and when I wouldn't comply, shot her. I wanted to go back to her, more than anything, but the Sphere I was once again carrying could signify the death sentence of billions of people. Even when I hesitated at the last, she screamed, "Run, Rosa!"
So I ran.
I then spent eight months in a bunker with my people designing a cannon to be used with my Sphere. Me, who had always sworn to use my intellect for non-violent purposes. I knew there was no way out of this, though. In front of me all I could see was my sister's face. And for the last two weeks we had been tooling around the countryside in a ridiculously massive truck with an enormous cannon mounted to it. A fully-grown man was the size of one of the tires and I was just a petite woman.
At first we shot all hard targets - shooting destroyers right out of the sky, a capital ship carrying troops and equipment. Then we went to one orbital platform, then another. I began to grow uneasy - there were most likely civilians on these.
By then, however, the Saracens had mostly pulled their ships out of low orbit. I showed them the capabilities of my machine by calculating the trajectory to hit a carrier ship in high orbit. I think they pulled their ships to the other side of the planet then!
Then the General wanted to target their planet. I knew I could do it. And I did it. We hit their capital city. I justified it by the ruins of my own home - they had unleashed planetary bombardment on our capital, and dropped a nuke on two other cities. My world was in ruins.
But the General wanted to keep on going. Two shots on the capital...Ok. A third shot on some coastal cities. And then a fourth shot. I admit I let it go on this long. Some out of vengeance and some out of a genuine feeling that the Saracens would expect no less. But that inner eye, the one that saw my sister all the time, finally dimmed a little and I began seeing all of the other sisters that had lost loved ones.
Finally one day the General came back with news that the Saracens "had not capitulated", and told me we'd need to make more examples. I looked at him, flabbergasted. Did he think they would just roll over and play dead because we had a mighty big cannon? We needed to conduct guerilla warfare, to hit things on the planet, to let them know we still stung. He said he wanted to "make a point". I said the point had been made.
Well, you see where this conversation led me. To being locked in the back of a Jeep. At least they took my cuffs off. This went on for two days, during which time they hit three more targets.
The third one went differently, however. The shot went off, and even as they were lowering the cannons, the power generators exploded. It took me a second to realize that the hit had come from the sky, from fighters flying overhead. I had little protection in the Jeep and lay low until I heard someone fumbling at the door.
Into the driver's seat jumped Dr. Robert Walker, my colleague and friend, who had been helping me with the cannon. He had also heavily disagreed with the General but had kept his mouth shut during the argument. I pressed up against the grate separating us.
"What the hell happened?" I shouted.
"I told the Saracens where we were, what else?"
"You called them down on our own people?" He'd started the Jeep and drove, away from the battle.
"Yes, and I shot the General. Anything else?"
Silence for a moment, and then I grinned. "Bloody brilliant. Now get us the hell out of here."
"What do you think I'm trying to do?" Just then I heard shots hitting the back of the jeep and dropped low.
"I think they're on to us!"
"I know, but I think they've got bigger fish to fry. Is there a gun in this car somewhere?" He was driving hellbent into the woods now and I was being tossed back and forth. I gripped the seat as tightly as I could.
"Yeah, between us. I can't get to it, before you ask. I'm kind of locked up back here."
"Great. Let me get clear and I'll get you out."
It didn't actually take that long to get clear. Our troops were too busy dealing with the fighter jets and helicopters overhead. It was the middle of the night, so visibility was poor anyway. Deep in the woods he stopped the car and came around to let me out.
Robert – never Bob or Bobby or even Rob – and I have been friends since he first moved into my hometown, Memphis at age six. We were the same age now; thirty-three, and our friendship had never wavered.
Right now his face was pale as he helped me out of the back of the Jeep. Impulsively I hugged him. He was sweaty and I could tell he was scared but not showing it by the way he hugged me back tightly. Well, I was scared, too. "Thanks for sticking by me, Robert."
He grinned. "I figured if you were going to be that crazy so would I."
"Do you have it?"
He nodded and started to undo a case at his side. I shook my head, stopping him. "That thing is more important than me. If they – either side – capture me again, they can't have that. Can you protect it?"
He nodded. "Of course. Now let's get out of here."
"Sure." I jumped in the passenger seat with him. "Let me find a map."
"This thing has GPS."
I loaded it up and examined it. "It's also got a tracker, so we're going to have to ditch this vehicle pretty soon. But let's see...we're about thirty miles outside of New Caledonia." I looked at him. "Go west."
"All right." He started the car and headed off before he asked me. "What's our destination?"
"You know there's only one safe place we can go."
He glanced at the GPS with New Caledonia showing on it. "You're kidding, right? Ah, but you're right – it's the only safe place to go."
"Hopefully we can slip in under cover of darkness and hide."
"Head for this river. It's about three miles outside of the city. I'll search the Jeep."
I came up with a duffle bag and a satchel for us to carry things, and I stripped the Jeep of everything. There wasn't much here, but there was a shotgun and two pistols, both of which I snagged, as well as some MREs and a few other supplies. No compass, but we could manage for now.
It wasn't long before we got to the river. There, we climbed out of the car. I handed him the duffel bag and slung the satchel, and then put the car in drive, aiming it for the river. It wasn't exactly a deep river, but it did tumble hood down into the water, maybe about four feet deep.
"At least they won't have this vehicle, unless they stop to fish it out. Now come on."
From here we could see the ruins of the city and struck across the land. It didn't take us long to reach the outskirts, and we slipped in without notice.
"We need to find a place to lay low, Robert. Come on."
"Right behind you."
I eyed the houses in the rising sun until I found one that had basement windows, and gestured Robert behind me. Both front and back doors were locked, but I found a bathroom window we could push up, and with his help, we both clambered in.
The house was empty, and it was clear it had been abandoned in a hurry. We didn't waste much time, but raided the kitchen for some food, finding some canned food leftover, as well as a can opener, and escaped to the basement.
We blocked off most of the windows with some towels we found, leaving just one partially unblocked, for some light. Finally we were able to sit a moment and relax.
"What do we have to eat?"
"Let's see." He went through the cans. "Potatoes – why does everyone always have canned potatoes? Carrots. Beans. Lima beans. A pound of granola in a box. That's...about it."
"I'll take a can of the potatoes, and we can split some of the granola."
We opened the cans. For a few moments there was no conversation, as we both ate. We were very hungry, and I think we were contemplating the situation we were in. It was Robert who spoke up first.
"Rosa," he said. "We're traitors."
"I kind of gathered that, Robert." I said with a half-smile.
"Still, to say it that bluntly – it really brings it home."
"I know. You shot a General."
"I did, at that. In the stomach, so I don't think he's dead."
"You should have shot him twice. But I don't intend to let them have the Sphere again."
"Right. So what do we do?"
"Well, I told you what they were doing to Sasha." Sasha was my sister's name. I'd not wanted to talk about my time with the Saracens, but Robert's friendship had compelled me and I found it actually helped. So I had ended up telling him everything.
"I intend to leave this planet, Robert. I'm not even going to say goodbye to my family or look for them." I looked him in the eye.
"It's the only way to keep them safe. Neither side will ever stop looking for me and my Sphere."
He'd looked surprised but now he just looked resigned. "I guess you're right, Rosie." I smiled at the affectionate use of the nickname.
"And you'll have to come with me. If they catch you, you'll be shot."
He chuckled. "I guess I have to. So now we just have to find a pilot, a ship, and a way off this planet. Am I right?"
"Is that all? You make it sound so easy."
I watched the window for a few minutes. "We should get some rest," I finally said.
"Do you want to sleep first?"
"I'm not dreadfully tired. I mostly sat around in the Jeep for two days. Why don't you rest?"
"All right." We'd found some sheets in the basement, and just spread one out on the floor. He laid down on it, fully dressed except for his boots. We'd both been given fatigues and that's what we were wearing now.
I watched him as he fell asleep surprisingly quickly. Or perhaps it wasn't surprising, at that. We were both exhausted.
He looked surprisingly vulnerable, lying there like that, the worry lines on his forehead smoothed out. He was strong, and brave, my friend, but now here at the end of our world I knew even his resolve was wavering.
Robert and I had never dated, though I did think he was very handsome. When the Saracens had attacked I'd been sort of dating a news anchor from Channel 6 news for about three years. It'd been semi-serious, as far as it could be – I worked 70 hours a week in the lab, and he traveled and worked almost as hard and as many hours. In a way it was a match made in heaven, since neither of us demanded anything of the other more than we could give, and no one was looking to start a family.
But I hadn't seen Toby for almost two years now, not in person. Oh, I saw him on TV now and then. They made him deliver propaganda and he was still delivering the news. I watched him, but felt no twinge in my heart. I think I had lost him but too much had happened and if I ever loved him that love was faded now.
And here we were, alone, just the two of us. And I was lonely. It had been two years since I had been with a man, and just as long since anyone had held me.
Impulsively I got up and moved over next to Robert. Slowly I lowered myself until I was sitting cross-legged next to his head.
I reached out and tentatively smoothed his forehead, letting my fingers drop into his hair. His hair was black, and very curly. He kept it short-cropped, but the curls ran rampant anyway. They looked good on him.
Suddenly I wanted more than anything to not be alone anymore, and to feel alive again. I wriggled down until I was stretched out next to him, and moved right up against Robert, sliding an arm around his waist from behind. I gripped him tight and buried my face in his back.
I could smell his male smell and feel his chest move with each breath. When I put my head to him I felt his heart beat. I sighed deeply, and the noise must have penetrated even his heavy sleep, for I felt him shift.
"Hmm? Rosa? What's wrong? Is someone here?" I heard his sleepy voice.
"No, it's fine. I just didn't want to be alone." I said sheepishly.
He was still for a long moment, and then he rolled over to face me, putting his arms around me in one smooth movement. "I know what you mean," he said, drawing me close.
He held me tight, and I gladly curled into his arms. It really brought home how much taller than me he was; his chin rested on the top of my head, and my feet were somewhere around the vicinity of his lower calves.
"If we are able to leave the planet..."
"Don't think about that yet. Let's get away first."
"Of course. Sorry."
On a whim I craned my neck upwards and kissed the underside of his chin. He was unshaven now for two days and I felt the scratchy hair on my lips, and his warm skin. I was unsurprised to feel a well of unfulfilled desire rise up in me. I squirmed a little.
"What was that for?" he said, referring to the kiss.
"I just....Don't say you're sorry. You came this far with me, didn't you? Nothing to be sorry for."
He was quiet for a moment, and then whispered, "Do that again."
I closed my eyes and inhaled deeply, and then reached up and kissed his chin again.
"That's lovely," he whispered. "I don't recall doing anything particular to deserve it, however."
"Oh, nothing much. You just turned on your own, admittedly bastardly, country, broke me out of the back of a Jeep, and fled to safety with is all." I smiled.
He looked down at me for a long moment. "You are so sweet," he murmured, and then, hesitantly, shyly, he leaned down and kissed my mouth. It was brief and fleeting but his lips were so warm and so tender I could have wept.
"Robert?" I whispered.
He looked directly into my eyes. "Please don't tell me no." His hand came up to cup my face gently. "Have I ever told you your eyes are beautiful?"
I blushed. "I don't intend to say no. I just...this is all new to me. We've been friends for forever."
He smiled. "Me too. I mean, it's new to me, too. Is it bad? You're all I have, these days."
"Oh, no," I said. "In fact, I think it's wonderful," and without further preamble, I kissed him back.
His moment of surprise was surpassingly brief and as he returned mine, his kiss was gentle and sweet and so tender. I could almost feel the same wellspring of desire and loneliness in him as his tongue entered my mouth, needing to be closer to me, needing to be inside me. And I wanted him inside me, I realized, as my arms looped around his neck, pulling him right against me.
"Yes, my friend?" His voice was tender and full of feeling.
"We're in deep trouble, aren't we?"
"Oh, so very deep." He nuzzled my neck, sending renewed shivers down my back.
"Whatever are we going to do?"
He lifted his head, and looked into my eyes. His hand stroked my hair back, and he smiled gently. "For the moment, I was just going to kiss you until you begged me to stop."
"Uh." I blushed scarlet. I'd seen him with other women, and I knew many women found him irresistible, but this was the first time he'd ever turned the heat of those eyes directly on me. I felt like I was the only woman in the world. It's not like I wanted to protest. Instead I smiled up at him. "Do you really think I'd beg you to stop?"
"Shall we find out?" he said, rolling me gently onto my back and indeed, kissing me as though there were no other cares in the world, no destroyed city outside, no armed forces looking for us.
He was so gentle and loving. I'd almost forgotten what it was like, in the care and worry of our lives over the past two years. As we moved I felt his hardness against my leg and it made desire flame up inside me. I wanted to feel his naked skin against mine, and I removed my arms from his neck enough to pull my shirt up. His hands were cool on my belly as he helped me divest myself of my clothing, first pulling my shirt over my head, then letting his hand slide down to my fatigue pants. I pulled at the buttons of his shirt, and soon enough we were both clad only in our thin cotton underwear.
I pushed him over on his back, straddling him. Smiling down at him, I crossed my arms over my chest and lifted the thin little undershirt I wore these days above my head. He watched me with bedroom eyes, half-lidded, and when I had tossed the shirt aside, sat up, cuddling me in his lap, to kiss first my mouth, then each nipple, then took my nipple in his mouth, drawing on it gently,
He ran his thumb over the other nipple. As it stiffened under his ministrations he kissed me on the nose. "Why did we never do this in all the years we've known each other?"
"Because you're a playboy," I smiled. "And honestly I never thought you were interested."
"I didn't want to spoil our friendship."
"I'm pretty much sure this is going to spoil our friendship." I said, grinning, and then caught at his mouth again. "Kiss me again, and talk later."
"Yes, ma'am." He did so, and I slipped my hands to his shirt buttons, undoing them. I knew what we were doing was dangerous, but we were in the darkened basement, with the only light coming in through the window. Who even knew we were here?
I whispered "I want to see you naked. Take these off," pulling at his jeans. We slipped away from each other long enough to strip, and soon enough we were naked in each other's arms, me in his lap again. We kissed again, hard this time, passionately, and I felt his hand drop to between my legs. I was wet already, just in anticipation, but I eagerly welcomed his long slim fingers. I was a little embarrassed that I had neither shaved nor trimmed down there in a long time, but he didn't seem to care, and as he slipped first one finger inside me then another, I closed my eyes and tipped my head back and gave myself over to him entirely, moving against him, shamelessly letting him please me.