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July 04, 2022

Anachronocity v8p5

By Josh Brown

Truth and the Goddess Arl - Part Five

Before Alex finished his almost-unabridged version of history--he left out the parts about Bethany throwing herself at him--two rather large, steroid-enhanced gentlemen had slipped into the room. So engrossed with his storytelling, Alex failed to notice the new arrivals when they entered from behind a life-sized three-dimensional portrait of Avril Lavigne. He did notice, however, when their overly massive hands clamped painfully down on his shoulders and upper arms just as he was about to get to the first appearance of his brother.

"An intriguing story," Kai said. She unfolded a SoftPAD, her lips tightening. "Of all people I least expected Mama to join the League."

Alex's eyes widened. Lost in the moment, getting into the retelling of his adventures, Alex had completely forgotten about keeping the League a secret.

Kai set the SoftPAD down and refolded her hands in front of her. "Your ship has been locked down. Security forces are already entering and placing everyone aboard under arrest. From what you've said, we should find most of Interpol's most wanted. Unfortunately for Interpol, they'll never get a chance to deal with you. We don't appreciate child killers here, Barney. You'll all be executed as soon as we can verify everyone's identity."

***

Alex avoided eye contact with the others from the ship as they were lead through the containment area one-by-one. In his holding cell, behind an invisible wall of energy, he kept a firm gaze on the crack that ran along the concrete floor. Only a single cot, a toilet and a sink filled the room, giving him the almost familiar feeling of living on the ship.

He looked up once, at the sound of dragging feet, to watch in horror as two thugs unceremoniously tossed Bethany into a cell, her head still bandaged and slightly stained with blood. From his vantage point, he watched her crumple to the ground and not move. Somewhere down the line, out of sight, Franky battled his energy barrier in an attempt to get to the guards and Bethany. He failed. His shouts died after only a few zaps of the barrier rendered him unconscious.

"She's injured," Mama said calmly to the guards. "At least put her in here with me so I can tend to her."

One of the men smirked. "No bother," he said. "Be dead soon enough. Don't matter if we do it or she dies in there."

"You all right, Anthony?" Mama asked after the guards left.

"Fine, fine. It's just a cut. Pain is something one gets used to when one get as old as I."

Alex sighed. "What happened?" he asked in a low voice.

"One of the security officers recognized him right away and decided his fist needed to introduce itself to his face," Jared said. "But I'm sure you already expected that, didn't you Alex? Seeing as you were the only one not on the ship, besides Bethany, I'm wondering who gave up our secret."

"None of that," Mama said. "It was bound to happen sooner or later. We're still a group. We're not going to be putting blame on anyone."

Alex shook his head. "He's right. I told them. Loose lips sink ships and my lips are looser than Michael Jackson's pants at a Boy Scouts meeting."

"Knew he was a spy," Jared said. "Yerik was right--should have tossed him out the airlock first thing."

"If he's a spy, why is he locked up with us?" Mama asked.

"To get more information out of us, that's why. So I'd advise us all to not talk anymore. Let's just live the rest of our lives in silence."

"I'm just as dead as all of you." Alex noted the absence of Katlyn in Jared's accusations. "If you think I'm a spy, don't you think Katlyn is, too?"

"Of course not. Katlyn is just a pawn for you to fool us with. Makes it more convincing if you have someone with you that isn't a spy."

"Naturally."

"Enough," Anthony said. "Nobody is going to die."

Jared's voice took on an edge of anger. "And how do you plan on getting us out of here, old man?"

"Watch yourself and show some respect," Mama said.

"News of our capture will travel fast, yes," Anthony said. "News of Mama's betrayal will travel faster. Moreover, you can count on people not believing she's a traitor. The level of respect and loyalty to her won't be killed by talk of her working for the League. Some people won't believe it. There are people out there that can hear the one-hundred percent truth and still refuse to believe it--their ways are too set and nothing will change their views."

***

"This is horseshit," Horus blurted. He rose from his chair in the corner of the room, the muscles in his neck throbbing violently. "This eetee is trying to warp our minds and turn us against each other. You're not going to sit there and listen to him are you?"

Katlyn didn't know what to think. She'd now heard two very different stories--one from a veteran of the League, another from an Elder. Both histories were probably embellished, leaning toward the tellers liking. Then the truth, if there could ever be such a thing as the truth, had to lie somewhere in between.

"I will do as I please," Sela stated. "And you will refrain from telling me what to and what not to believe."

Pieces of a very confusing puzzle were starting to become clearer to Katlyn. Ever since this whole situation began, she'd felt as if she was trying to put together a puzzle with the pieces from two different puzzles. Sela was the top, the executive to the League. That didn't necessarily mean she knew the truth, though. The founders of the League clearly had their reasons for hating the Elders--the war. From what she's gathered, those founders were veterans of the war with the League being an almost guerrilla force to deal with the Elders now that the government ceased action. It would make sense, in some twisted, logical way for those founders to make up a more likable story to help the propaganda machine collect new recruits.

Did she believe Anthony's story? Not entirely. Did she believe the Elders story? Not entirely.

Horus refused to back down. "You believe him? You actually believe that garbage? Elders are really human? What's wrong with you, Sela? You're the leader of League! You of all people should know better."

Sela turned her dark gaze on Horus. "I didn't ask you for your opinion."

"He's right," Yerik said quietly without looking at Sela. "Horus is right. Is not truth. Is eetee lies to splinter League."

Sela pursed her lips until they turned white. The animosity between Yerik and Horus was no secret onboard the ship. For the first time, though, they agreed on something. That bothered Sela. Katlyn saw the startled look on Sela's face; it was only there for a second, but that second was enough to show everyone just how thrown she was. Whether it was because Yerik agreed with Horus, or because Yerik had the balls to say so in front of everyone, Katlyn didn't know.

"I did not say that I believed him," Sela said evenly, once more in control of her emotions after that momentary lapse. "I did not say that I didn't believe him. Neither of you are telepathic. Therefore, you will keep your comments and your thoughts to yourselves until I ask for them."

"This is ridiculous." A vein in Horus's forehead grew perceptibly larger by the second. "You shouldn't even be leader of the League, Sela. Everyone knows that. This is just more proof as to why you are the biggest mistake in a long string of mistakes. I hate the guy, but Yerik was next in line. Yerik should have been in charge and you stole it out from under him. You're probably screwing him out of guilt! And I wouldn't be surprised if this was all a show just for our sakes because you're really an eetee spy!"

So much for control. Sela's entire head went redder than a tomato. Katlyn truly feared the woman's head would actually explode. Instead, Sela charged the larger man with full force. She plowed into Horus like an angry bull hopped up on adrenaline. Caught off guard, Horus slammed back into his chair, the back of his head bouncing off the wall. Before Sela could get at him, though, he swung his head forward and smashed her between the eyes with a resounding crack. Blood ran down her nose as she staggered back into Yerik's arms.

"If you are through playing barbaric games," the Elder said. "You might like to know your shipmates have been arrested and face execution."

***

"Where are the others?" Kai asked.

Alex leaned back on his cot and crossed his arms. On the other side of the barrier, the priestess stood waiting expectantly. He said nothing.

Raising her voice, Kai asked of everyone in the containment area. "The others, where are they?" When nobody answered, she nodded. "Very well. Let's try this another way. Tell me where the others are and you'll be spared a painful, drawn-out death. Any takers?"

Alex wanted to take that option; he dared not say anything more, though. His yapping had already caused enough problems.

"Fine." Kai waved a hand and one of the muscle-bound freaks entered the hall of holding cells.

He walked down the hall until he came to Bethany's cell and stopped. A moment later, the barrier blinked out.

Alex jumped to his feet in alarm and nearly slammed into his own barrier. "What are you doing?"

"Waiting for an answer," Kai replied.

"They're not on the ship," Mama called out. "They were taken to the other plain by an Elder that escaped imprisonment."

The guard stood just inside Bethany's cell waiting for permission to do terrible things to the helpless, unconscious girl. The eager look on his face made Alex's stomach flatten.

"Convenient," Kai said. "Took you long enough to make that up."

"What would Avril say about what you're doing, huh, priestess?" Alex asked.

Kai frowned sharply. "You will refer to her as the Goddess Arl. The likes of your kind are not worthy of speaking her name."

"Avril, Avril, Avril Lavigne."

"Guard."

As soon as Bethany's barrier went back up, sans guard inside, a great relief washed over Alex. Then the guard entered his cell and proceeded to beat the ever-loving shit out of him. Once the punches, the kicks, and the tosses were done, Alex lay in a pool of his own blood, a mangled mess. One eye refused to work, the other showed only a blurry representation of reality, but it was enough for him to see the priestess still facing him.

In that pain-filled moment of defiance, Alex croaked out, "Avril Lavigne," before he passed out.

To be continued...
Article © Josh Brown. All rights reserved.
Published on 2004-11-06
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