A Bond Unbroken
First, my thanks must go to "Lia's Lynch Mob", without whom I probably would never have finished this piece. I began working on this story in July 1995 and put it aside more often than not for various reasons. I thank them for the prodding, the patience, the honesty and the laughter...
This story is dedicated to two people...
Antonio Sabato Jr. who, much to his continued chagrin should he ever read these, breathed such life and depth into 'Alonzo Solace' that he inspired me to put three fingers and a thumb to the keyboard for the first time in six years and dream...
And, my favorite 'gargoyle', Russell Werkman, friend and veteran of many hours of "talking Terrian". May your dreams become reality...
+This is a work of fan fiction. It is not intended that any copyrights be violated in any manner.+
A BOND UNBROKEN,
sequel to "All About Eve"
"My mind is filled with visions of my own death..."
Devon Adair watched from afar as her friends dealt with her illness. She witnessed their struggle for her life and their final agonizing solution to deny death its prize. Sorrowfully, she watched their pain at her loss, her son's realization of her plight. Then, she slept.
As the TransRover skimmed over a level expanse of ground, John Danziger took the opportunity to worriedly glance over to Ulysses Adair as the child desolately hunched next to him. The young boy was not handling the situation well. Not that he should, the mechanic reflected with a frown, he had seen far too much, especially for a child his age. Since Devon had called upon him to take care of her son, Danziger had dutifully kept the boy by his side. His daughter, True, had taken the younger child under her wing. Almost literally, Danziger observed as the two children huddled together on the bench seat. The mechanic was filled with uncertainty whether Uly could handle losing both his mother and Alonzo. Danziger had noticed over the winter, as Devon became more comfortable with the Terrians' intentions with her son, she had allowed the boy to spend more time with Alonzo. As a result, the boy had become quite attached to the pilot, following the patient older man like a puppy, their Terrian connections a constant topic.
Sensing her father's scrutiny, True looked up to meet his gaze. She gamely tried to smile back to his reassuring wink but fear and worry warred with the faith that shone from her luminous eyes. Danziger sighed, quietly hoping he was up to the faith he saw there. John turned his attention back to the path as the TransRover swayed over a large bump then worriedly watched Julia Heller as she purposefully jogged alongside the lurching TransRover. Walman closely shadowed the young doctor protectively, his Mag-Pro armed and cradled in his hands. Julia had said nothing since the entire crew witnessed the capture. They had all watched in disbelief as Alonzo destroyed his gear to deny the captors a means of easily tracking the main group, the pilot crying out in pain as a Mag-Pro rang out at point-blank range while the transmission faded to static. Julia had instantly withdrawn at that time, only nodding and setting a blistering pace as they all rushed to the coordinates of a hollow their gear had been unable to penetrate earlier in the day.
Danziger thoughtfully scrutinized the rest of the group. He observed Cameron driving ahead on the ATV, Magus perched above him, her Mag-Pro at the ready. He spared a glance through the mirrors where he could see the people who had climbed in amongst the gear occasionally swing their legs out to maintain their balance as the large vehicle sped over the rough ground. Uly sniffled quietly as he clung to True, all pretense gone in his grief. Danziger patted the small boy's leg, giving what little comfort he could while still maintaining their frantic pace. Beyond the children, Yale studiously watched a scanner, occasionally glancing over to his young charge.
"How are we doing, Yale?" Danziger broke the silence.
"Another kilometer to go, John. Soon we will be out from under cover. We will remain in the open for approximately three-quarters of a kilometer. The hollow itself is quite heavily wooded, thankfully."
Danziger grimaced in frustration. "Just so long as we can get the 'Rover in there... I sure hope everyone can keep up this pace. You're sure it's impenetrable?"
"I had a very difficult time receiving any transmissions from that location. It is really only an educated guess. However, I suppose we simply have no other options."
Danziger nodded. "I know. I just don't like this situation at all. Not knowing what we're dealing with."
Yale nodded sagely. "All we know for certain is that they have to be from the Council... We will get through this, John. Have faith."
Danziger morosely scanned the rapidly darkening sky before resignedly nodding again.
Franklin Bennett looked up from his subject with a satisfied smile. "This scenario was my best to date!" he boasted smugly to his associate.
Elizabeth Anson raised her eyes from her own subject to stare at him in contempt. "I'm sure Eve would be pleased that you honor her memory by having her play the part of a naked, amok computer." she observed wryly. "And, as far as the two of us as a couple are concerned, only in your dreams."
"No, love." Bennett corrected with a leer in Elizabeth's direction. "In Devon Adair's dreams." He looked smugly down at the drugged woman as she slept quietly.
"What was all of that about her going into cold sleep? Did your subject get away from you, Franklin?" Elizabeth asked archly. "I'm really quite amazed she did not realize she was being manipulated. Your story left much to be desired."
Franklin looked over to Elizabeth's subject and shook his head. "At least I've managed to get somewhere with her. You haven't even achieved REM, so I wouldn't be so quick to judge if I were you."
Elizabeth returned her attention to the man unconscious on her exam table. She had tried everything she knew to do, even made some techniques up as she went along. All she had managed was to ravage his body in an attempt to reach his mind. Even as she mulled her other options the electronic restraints pulsed, sending shock waves through his distressed system. Elizabeth tensed as Bennett drew alongside her, brushing too close on purpose as usual.
He leaned over the young pilot and tsked. "I'm afraid he isn't going to be as much use to us as we had hoped. He was our best shot at getting the coordinates of Eden Advance. If we cannot access the information soon, we'll have to find another use for him." Bennett examined the Mag-Pro wound near the pilot's shoulder, grimacing in annoyance as his hand came into contact with the sticky discharge. "If he lives that long. Obviously, Adair is much more pliable. Perhaps she can provide the information we seek."
Elizabeth nodded as she slid away from her superior, pretending to study the readouts over Alonzo Solace's head. No REM. She could not understand how Bennett could get so far with his subject in just a day and she, with all her years of experience, had not even managed to cause her subject to dream. She looked at the pilot's pale face speculatively, absently noting how handsome he was even under the layer of dirt and bruises.
"Quite a looker, isn't he?" Bennett commented lecherously as he palpated the pilot's muscles suggestively. "I think he's a perfect roommate candidate for our friend. Don't you?"
Elizabeth looked over at the man noncommittally. "Whatever you want, Franklin. I would hate to intrude in your fun." She watched his disappointment at her lack of reaction with a slight sense of triumph. "Perhaps, before we get too excited, we should try one more thing. I would hate to tell Reilly we lost a subject without trying everything."
Bennett nodded in agreement. "That's why I neglected to tell Reilly we have them yet. I want to be able to bring him some information before we make contact. If we get something good enough, we may have a ticket off this god-forsaken planet."
John Danziger grimly stood in front of the group, surveying his friends. They had spent the majority of the night setting up camp in the hollow, hopeful the Council operatives who had captured Devon and Alonzo would share their difficulty in scanning the area. Walman sat nearby, Julia busily etching the "E2" tattoo common amongst the penal colonists behind his ear in preparation for their covert scouting foray. The tension became palpable as the two men prepared to leave.
Danziger turned to Yale and quietly drew him aside. "Still no response from the 'Rail?"
The tutor sadly shook his head. "I have tried to send the squirt several times. Alonzo must have been able to wipe the memory before capture. I do not dare use too powerful a transmission."
Danziger nodded unhappily. "It's a good thing we've been sending the scouts far ahead with these mountains being so unpredictable. Otherwise, they would have found all of us at once. At least we've been warned."
Yale nodded his agreement. "We cannot remain here forever, John. In spite of the arrival of spring, we have climbed to an elevation that will still see snow for some time and the temperature has been dropping quite steadily."
Danziger sighed as he looked back to where the others watched Julia work. "Not that I don't think they haven't already noticed, but don't say anything to the others about that yet. Let's just take this one step at a time." He regarded the tutor and added confidently, "We'll find them. Don't you worry. Just, do me a favor, and look after True."
Yale snorted with a tight smile. "Be careful. We cannot afford to lose any of you."
Danziger nodded and patted the tutor on the shoulder as he passed to say good-bye to his daughter.
As soon as the doctor was finished, she rose to face Danziger. "Wait while Yale does me."
Danziger shook his head firmly. "Julia, we already discussed this. It's too risky. We need you to stay here."
Julia crossed her arms as she regarded the man crossly. "Alonzo is going to need medical attention! Devon may too. I'm not doing them any good sitting in camp." She insisted defiantly.
"Yeah, but, if we get captured, Walman and I will appear to just be a couple of penal colonists. You'll stick out."
"There are female penal colonists." Julia interrupted stubbornly.
Danziger rested his hand on the doctor's shoulder and regarded her affectionately. "Julia, there is only one Julia Heller on this planet. We don't want to lose you. Reilly wants you too much to risk capture. You know the chances are that, if we find 'Lonz where we can get to him, he won't be alive." John's eyes softened with apologetic commiseration as Julia face fell with acknowledgment. He briefly squeezed her shoulder in comfort as he continued. "Besides, if they find you they'll know the rest of the group is nearby. We can't risk that. I promise, if I find him, I'll bring him back. You have to stay here. If I don't come back, I need you to keep the group together. Yale will help you." He resolutely nodded his promise as Julia met his eyes one last time then turned to disappear into her tent.
Danziger turned back to the group and nodded to Walman. Brief hugs and farewells were exchanged and the men were off without another word, grimly facing what could be an unpleasant task.
Alonzo Solace awoke slowly, the drugs and other treatments reluctant to let him out of their grip. He looked around, groggily attempting to focus.
"Alonzo? How do you feel?" Julia's concerned voice cut through the fog in his mind as her face slowly came into focus.
"Julia?" he croaked weakly. "Where am I?"
"You're in camp, Alonzo. Danziger found you and brought you back here. You've been badly hurt, so please stay still." She smiled down at him encouragingly as she smoothed his hair then bent to kiss him deeply.
Alonzo met Danziger's smiling eyes over Julia's shoulder and drew away from the doctor, grinning sheepishly. "Hi, John." he whispered hoarsely.
"I see you're feeling better than when I found you." the mechanic observed teasingly.
"I guess so..." Alonzo began hesitantly, glancing warily from Danziger to Julia. Looking to his right, he noticed the woman asleep in the next cot and asked, "How's Devon?"
"She's resting. Just like you should be." Julia remarked, bending to meet Alonzo's lips once more. Gently caressing his chest, she reluctantly rose to tend to Devon.
Alonzo closed his eyes in relief and lay back against the cot quietly. He opened them again to guardedly watch Julia attend to her work. After a few moments, Alonzo glanced around the tent one more time. "How's Deb?" he asked softly.
Julia turned in place to smile back at the pilot. "She's fine. Why?"
"Because, she's dead." Alonzo stated flatly, remembering the discovery of the navigator's shallow grave as his mind rejected the VR program. He looked through the VR gear to find himself back in the exam room he remembered being brought to when he and Devon were first captured. An impulse rocked his body, painfully alerting him to the restraints that held him to the table with irregular jolts of electricity.
Two people stood scowling down at him, their VR gear now in their hands. The same two people who were there every time Alonzo opened his eyes only to endure further questioning in an unrelenting haze of cruelty and torment. The woman slid the pilot's gear off with a frown and tossed them aside. She avoided his direct gaze, yet the man with her met Alonzo's bloodshot glare head-on.
"Clever fellow, I'll give you that much." the man said ominously. "But, then again, we now know that your pretty doctor still lives after all. That Danziger fellow too. You really shouldn't lie to the Council, you know..."
Alonzo closed his eyes for a moment as the bitter reality struck, swearing fervently under his breath as he reopened them.
The man's eyebrows rose as he listened to the pilot then replied with a chuckle, "Yes, Mr. Solace, I am well versed in the Romance languages. Very colorful and quite creative."
His eyes blazing, Alonzo fell silent, considering his two captors before concentrating on the man leaning over him. With great effort, Alonzo spoke again, enunciating each syllable carefully as the man's face rapidly flushed. Finished, the pilot lay back, his face twisted into a triumphant smile.
Placing a hand on either side of his subject, the man bent low until he was nose to nose with his captive. "I think it's about time you met my latest friend. I wonder how you will fare with him. He's not much for visitors, unfortunately for you."
Alonzo regarded him for a minute and then looked away, the electronic neck restraint restricting his movement. He could see Devon on the next table, apparently asleep. Alonzo noted with relief that she bore no marks that he could see and she lacked the restraints that he now bore.
"Your friend has been most cooperative. Why don't you take her example and provide us with the information we seek? It would only be in your best interest to cooperate." the man suggested casually as he manipulated some controls next to Alonzo then plunged a probe into the open Mag-Pro wound. "Let's say we start from the beginning..."
As the torture began anew, Alonzo's body rebounded between the restraints and the torment as the blackness of oblivion mercifully swallowed him.