Doctor Who: Panic Moon Ch. 15byKurokami©
Author's Note: This is a sequel series to Amy, Captured. To get the full experience, please read through that one first.
Hello again! Gotta tell you, readers: I am glad to be done with this chapter! After this one, we'll be back to our regularly scheduled programming; slightly shorter chapters with more focus on the canon characters. In fact, join us next time, when I unveil a couple more additions to the canon crew that I think you'll enjoy. In unrelated news, this chapter should be released at or around the one year anniversary of Amy, Captured! Yay!
Thanks go to Isabel, Allyourbase and LogicalDreamer, as is usual. Those are some awesome people, right there. Votes, comments and feedback is entirely appreciated. Enjoy!
'Taking Kana to the medical lab with Tsugi,' Sander growled, his voice slow and halting, filled with rage. Walker got the feeling that it was a great effort for him not to leap the gap between them and throttle him with his bare hands. This delighted him.
'If she dies, so do you. But you suffer first,' Though the space between them was quite large, Sander's attention was so focused on the grinning man before him, they might as well have been the only two people on the moon. His grip on the handle of the rifle tightened, and he couldn't handle being in his own head anymore. Ever since discovering Kanaria, throat slit and bleeding out in Tsugi's arms... Ever since seeing his Mara's face, stricken and pale as she watched her sister dying, Sander felt as though some vast internal pressure had been building up through the entirety of his body. He was no stranger to this feeling; it was anger, pure homicidal fury, and it brought with it questions.
What had he done to provoke Walker to attack? How dare he invade his home, and hurt his friends?
Of course, he knew the answer to the first question: the last time he had seen Walker- also the first time he had met the feared serial killer- he had beaten him to within an inch of his life. This was something bound to stick with a man. Still, knowing that Walker was a dangerous psychotic helped a great deal in explaining... all this.
They were on a cliff overlooking the ocean, the only entrance to which was the single door behind Sander. Kana's blood had seeped in from under it, a grisly reminder of the terrible scene he had had to walk through to get here. The Diamond Dust, the odd psychoreactive particles that suffused the air on Trismestigius, was out in force, filling the air and casting the scene in eerie blue light. He couldn't help but think that this was all a setup, and not only because of Kana, but...
Because this was where Elsa was. Not literally, of course; whatever had happened after her death, his late wife's remains were no doubt long gone. But Sander had marked this as her final resting place, where she could lie in peace, at least in his mind. The refuge for his memories, where he could go to remind himself why he was fighting this war. To reignite the fires of hate against the Doctor.
To that end, he had erected a headstone overlooking the ocean... the same headstone Walker was now leaning against, almost to the point of pushing it out from its moorings. The simple sight of that made Sander's trigger finger itchy.
'Oh, I never wanted your little programmer dead, Sander,' Walker chuckled, the picture of calmness, despite the gun pointed at him. Those eyes... 'She wouldn't be much of a gift if she'd died. Didn't she look beautiful, hanging in between that and life, though?'
Sander exploded. Vocally, it was only a tiny choked gasp in the back of his throat, but the rest of his body tensed for attack. He lifted his rifle, fired from the hip in a wide, scything arc, diagonally across Walker's torso. Behind him came the whirring of machinery, and bright light, before the bullets tinkled out of the air, drained of momentum. A moment later the same light hit the rifle, tearing it from his hands and sending it spinning away over the lip of the cliff and into the ocean. Growling in frustration, Sander drew the pistol stowed in his belt, aimed and fired, only to have it suffer the same fate.
'Jerry!' He shouted, eyes burning with murderous intent. 'Shut off the fucking zero point generators so I can kill this fucker!'
'Jericho isn't taking requests right now,' Walker said, a tad smugly. 'Marduk had some very specific instructions to fulfill, and he did rather well. I spent a long time setting this scene, Sander. I'm glad we're both here, now.'
'Okay, I'm going to say this as nicely as I can: what the fuck do you want?!' Sander shouted. Really, shouting was all he had, given that he no longer had any weapons and, if he opted to physically attack Walker, he would lose. Badly. So he shouted, and it actually did make him feel a little better. Only a little.
Walker smiled that chilling smile again. It wouldn't have been so bad, if only he would show any emotion anywhere else on his face. As it stood, it just looked like he wanted to eat you.
'I think you remember the day I met you, Sander Hackett,' He said, leaning back further against the simple black headstone, making Sander's fists clench involuntarily. 'I certainly do. You beat me a rather unsightly shade of black and blue, and that sort of thing leaves an impression. Or several. You punch hard, Sander.'
He laughed then, and this was even worse than smiling; at least with smiling Sander got the sense that Walker understood the basic concept. This laughter was plain ghoulish, an expulsion of sound that seemed to have nothing in common with human joy. Sander began to wonder just how twisted up inside the man in front of him was.
'And that made you come here for revenge? It made you do this?' Sander fought down the urge to attack. It wouldn't help, it wouldn't help...
Okay, voice in the mind. Dulcimer. Don't react, don't let him know...
'I am communicating with you through the Dust. I have your back.'
Through the Dust? It can do that?
'Revenge? Oh, you misunderstand me, Sander!' Again, the awful laugh. 'Do you know how long it had been since someone had beaten me like that? Been that angry with me? It was wonderful! Pure sensation! Nobody has ever hurt me the way you did! Your rage, Sander. I love it.'
'What. The. Fuck. Does. That. Mean?'
'I'm saying that I love you, Sander.' Nothing on Walker's face seemed anything other than completely genuine, which was actually more troubling than when he was hiding something.
'Oh, and here I thought this wasn't going to get creepier...' Sander sighed to himself.
'WALKER!' The voice howled, slamming through the door like it wasn't there. It was the sound of tortured metal and screeching machinery, yet it carried a disturbingly organic, familiar air.
Moments later, the door was torn from its hinges with a roar of true fury, thrown over the side of the cliff and into the sea. What walked through it was... not human.
And, well... It didn't so much walk as sprint, eating up distance shockingly fast and booking it straight for Walker. Sander knew; it had to be Ren. He had recognized a distinct undertone in the voice, and the creature itself was clearly her suit, just alive. The armored plating roiled and flexed like living tissue, constantly changing and evolving, sprouting new tentacles and spines. The helmet and faceplate had completely changed, morphing into a reptilian face and jaw, set with rows of needle sharp teeth and four jagged, glowing white eyes set high on the head. The whole creature ran on all fours.
It was frightening, it was impressive, and...
It was quickly zeroed in on and caught in the same zero-point beam emitters that had so effectively disarmed Sander himself. It sat, poised mid stride, partway along the path to Walker, who leaned back further against Elsa's headstone and laughed. Cruelly, only Ren's legs and lower torso were rendered immobile; her head- the creature's head- was still entirely conscious. Her helmet receded, actually rippling back along her neck like it was syrup, revealing her livid face.
'Well, well, if it isn't the freak!' Walker taunted. 'Good to see you're still around. Mighty fine performance you pulled with my men, too. It's edifying to see how you've finally managed to overcome those pesky limiter programs yourself, for a change. You look beautiful, in that suit. Too bad I'm only here for one guy.'
'Oh, someone's still a tad miffed at me for what I did on Uo. That was a fun day,' Walker grinned.
'What you did...' Ren roared, the words barely understandable above her pure, blast furnace fury. 'I'm going to RIP YOU APART WITH MY BARE FUCKING HANDS!'
Seven years prior
Shikishima Team 01 mission log: 145
Team: C.O Captain Jae Hoshikuji, Squad 4, Subject Seven (Ren Syfte)
Mission Status: Package Secure, landing zone listed hot. Subject Seven en route to assist.
'We're getting fucking strafed here, Captain!' Itazu leaned out from behind cover, just slightly, shouting across the gap, over the gunfire. He actually seemed angry at Jae, as though the C.O had been the one to put them into this situation, rather than, say, a combination of the enemy, and mission dispatch.
Though, admittedly, Jae could see why his subordinate wouldn't want to be here, right now. A hail of gunfire was not an environment that was conducive to calm and relaxation. In fact, it was rather the opposite, a point that Jae proved moments after thinking it by jumping with an inarticulate shout as a bullet slammed into the dirt inches away from his leg. There were plenty of places he would rather be.
He had been lucky even to get back to the secure landing zone before the firing started; only now, they were pinned down. The area was too hot, and until one- or both- sides of the conflict were gone, their extraction vehicle would not be touching down. The last transmission Jae had gotten from Command had been a confirmation that "Subject Seven,"- why wouldn't they just call her Ren, already?- was on her way.
Jae imagined her running- yes, she always ran, since she was faster than most of the transport options available- here, chewing up distance like nothing else, grinning like a madwoman. The action awaited, and she craved it. He just wished she'd hurry the fuck up, as it was only a matter of time until-
Oh yes. There it is.
To a man, the entire group swore out loud at the sound; the low droning thump of helicopters. Granted, in-atmosphere combat craft weren't incredibly advanced for this day and age, but given that Jae himself was squishy and entirely bereft of all but the most basic of body armor, they would suffice for the task of reducing him to bloody shreds.
'So, that's the end of us, huh?' Hirasawa said flatly, looking out over the five helicopters comfortably cresting the safety of their cover and directed their sights downward. There is a unique feeling one gets, when sighted down the barrel of a gun. It's not so much seeing one's life flash before one's eyes, but seeing the rest of it; unfortunately, it's often a short affair, and bloody, too.
'Must be!' Itazu snapped. 'Unless that fucking Half hurries the fuck up and comes help us!'
'You rang, Shotacon?' Her voice rang out over the radio. At the same time, a missile detached itself from the underside of the nearest helicopter and sped toward Jae's position, causing literally everyone affiliated with him to swear in the most virulent and wholehearted way.
'I got it, I got it!' Ren crowed, speeding out from the undergrowth in a sunset orange blur, stopping rigidly in front of Jae, as the missile approached, burning through the air in a dull roar of fire and imminent death. She repositioned herself, armor glinting in the setting sunlight, distributing her weight in a certain way. Everything about her, in that moment, signaled that something awesome was about to happen.
'Booyah!' She roared, bringing her heavy booted foot up sharply into the air, a deep, resounding clang hitting the air as it made contact with the underside of the missile. The entire projectile was forced upward, over her head, as her leg swung up, high in the air. It careened away, out into the treeline, eventually exploding some way away from the landing zone.
'Oh...' Itazu sighed. 'That did not just happen...'
'I know, I know,' Ren said, helmet sliding back to allow her to wink knowingly over her shoulder at Jae. 'I'm awesome. Now check this out.'
And she jumped.
Thirty vertical feet. Directly through the center of the helicopter that had fired on them.
There was the sound of screeching, tortured metal- and the screams of the crew- as the Ren-shaped bullet slammed into, then through, the windscreen of the chopper. For the woman herself, each individual action became itemized; arms forward to protect against breaking glass and metal, tuck the limbs in to avoid catching on anything particularly strong, then stretch out an arm like so to grab the stabilizing fin on the other side to swing around, planting feet against the side...
As her own motion stopped, Ren suddenly became subject to the swinging momentum of two halves of an expensive aircraft separating and falling out of the sky, while sparks showered down from the wreckage. Her entire world jerked and spun and dropped fast; she braced herself- essentially standing horizontally, gripping onto the side of the chopper as it fell, before jumping again.
This time, the unstable nature of her standing start meant that she couldn't leap right through the next helicopter in line, only onto it. Her metal-shod shins slammed into the side of the nearest intact craft, causing it to lurch dangerously to one side, swaying in the wind. Down below, her crew watched incredulously as she cracked open the plated armor like it was a cooked lobster before drawing first the copilot, then the pilot, from within before dropping them out of the sky. They flailed as they fell, honestly looking more surprised than fearful.
'Okay, it's official:' Jae shook his head. 'Ren is using helicopters like piñatas, there is nothing more for modern weaponry to accomplish.'
They fell from the sky, one by one; screams and crashes punctuated with explosions. Some fell whole, others in pieces, metal and scrap falling like rain. They left deep craters in the earth, thud after sonorous thud, each one far more acceptable to Jae than the wet thuds of bullets through flesh that he had been expecting. He actually found himself smiling as they fell; he was very lucky to have Ren on their side.
Saki's gasp snapped him out of these thoughts, and he looked up through the latest spinning dervish of wreckage-to-be to see that, as strong as she was, Ren simply wasn't capable of making the jump between the rapidly falling chopper she currently stood upon and the next one. Worse still, two more were on the horizon, and Jae found himself calling out for her to stop, as she attempted the leap.
She had fallen too far, there was no way she would make it; in its attempt to escape her the nearest functional helicopter had risen to a safer altitude, and Ren's leaping attack had landed her directly through the left side rotor. The blades screeched as they met the immoveable hardsuit she wore, screaming to a stop as Ren, noticeably shaking from the impact, struggled to right herself and climb atop the support strut that attached the rotor to the rest of the craft. Suddenly bereft of left side propulsion, the right side rotors spun on, sending the chopper into a steep freefall.
Ren's vision blurred as she spun, swaying heavily on the spot. The damn rotor had hit her right in the face; as invincible as the armor made her feel, sudden impacts like that could still cause her head to slam into her helmet, buffers or no. A trickle of blood dripped down her forehead from near her hairline, and she barely caught the warning siren going off through her speaker systems before the first bullet slammed right into her head, the impact bashing her temple against the unforgiving metal of her suit interior. She went down hard.
Jae cried out in shock as the two remaining helicopters, strafing their falling comrades, got a bead on Ren and fired in unison, the twin high-velocity chain rifles attached to the noses of the craft opening up, lines of bullets lancing across Ren's chest and up to her head. It was those last few shots that seemed to do her in, causing her to fall heavily and roll off the now perforated chopper as it fell.
'Autopilot mode engaged: All personnel, retreat to a safe distance.'
The voice was soft and childish, but the sheer volume of the speakers made it resound through the air. Once or twice, when he had been able to coax it out of her- sometimes through less than admirable means- Ren had spoken to Jae about Shichi, the alien intelligence that was, technically, in control of her hardsuit-growing capabilities. This voice sounded pretty much like he had imagined Shichi, based on those conversations.
And now it was in control of the suit...
Shichi was happy. He had never gotten to play like this before.
He had been happy before, when Ren let him jump to the helicopters. Ren did not like being in midair while wearing him, and so she usually just fired his guns. Shooting was nice, but jumping was better. Much more fun, to be allowed to punch and kick. Much more like before, in the times before Ren.
Shichi could not really remember those times that well.
The Doctors said that when Ren went to sleep, Shichi was allowed to play by himself. There were a lot of things Shichi was not allowed to play with, like Captain Jae and the rest of the unit, and when Shichi tried to play with things he was not allowed to, the Doctors hurt Shichi. But that did not matter now. There were plenty of things Shichi was allowed to play with. Big things.
The bullets had hurt him, but now Shichi was in control of the suit, and Ren was along for the ride. Shichi knew how to jump much higher than Ren did, and so he jumped to the helicopter that had attacked him first, and tore off its wings. No more flying for them.
He threw the wings at the other helicopter, because he was a good shot, as well as strong. Shichi did not get to play like this for very long, so he thought it was important to show off all of his skills when he was allowed. He even let himself fall with the helicopter, because he wanted the unit to see that he could walk out of the flames without being hurt too much. And Ren would be fine, which would make Captain Jae happy.
Ren liked Captain Jae, but she told Shichi not to talk about it. Still, Shichi liked making Captain Jae happy because of this. So, he would make sure Ren would be safe. Because he liked Ren, too.
Soon, his game would be over, and he would have to sleep. Still, Shichi did not mind. He had gotten to play, and that was a treat. He would have a story to tell Ren.
She would like that.
Jae watched, warily, as Shichi walked out of the flames and wreckage, stepping briskly- if a tad stiffly- over to him, before saluting.
'Mission accomplished. All hostiles eliminated. This unit will retire upon embarkation in a designated extraction vehicle. It is recommended that the pilot be given medical treatment ASAP: Pilot's condition is stable, she had sustained a concussion but it otherwise functional. A call for extraction has already been made.'