Chapter One: Stolen
A/N: Alright, so...hi guys. I haven't seen any Eugenics Wars era stories here, correct me if I'm wrong! I thought it would be interesting to explore Khan and the other Augments during this time period. I've done a little research but other than that, I have not seen the original series and I've likely taken a few liberties here. This is only a taster for now - not sure yet whether I will continue, but please let me know what you think, and I might consider continuing if there's enough interest in the story. Hope you like it!
Bordeaux, France – 1992
"Come, sister. We do not have much time."
Night had just started to settle over Bordeaux, the horizon still a burnt amber as Aurelie Beaumont helped her sister Clemence load the last of the suitcases into the pack of the car. Her arms ached from the strain of the luggage she had been carrying outside consistently for the past hour or so, and then the two hours of frantic packing that had occurred before that.
Aurelie's honey-brown eyes searched the streets, finding nothing but shuttered windows and fading tarmac. There were no cars in sight, and she exchanged a dark look with her older sister. Everyone else had already left. The girls had been waiting for their parents to get back from the countryside, but when the sun started to dip below the horizon, Clemence and Aurelie realised that it was too late, far too late. They would have to leave Bordeaux by themselves.
"Have you tried calling them again?" Aurelie persisted as Clemence strode back inside, dark brown ponytail swinging determinedly behind her head. "Père dit qu'ils seraient là…"
Clemence spun around with a frown as her younger sister lapsed into French, which Aurelie had a tendency to do when in despair. Both sisters knew that their mother, who was English, did not appreciate the girls speaking French when she could not understand it. As such the two were bilingual, although English remained their primary tongue.
"You know that Mum doesn't like it when we speak French."
"Mum isn't here!" Aurelie exclaimed in frustration. They both knew what was coming, and they should have evacuated the city hours ago when most of the others did. There were still some stragglers, but they were predominantly on foot. The desperation of the escape and the lack of organisation made one thing clear: Khan Noonien Singh was coming.
It had been happening everywhere, not just in France, but all over the world. These Augments, these supposedly genetically enhanced human beings, had gained themselves followers and armies, they had proved their mettle time and time again. They had overthrown the rulers of every country they set foot in. Only yesterday, the French government had fallen. Since then, everything had been chaos.
Most of France had been subdued quietly, but the population of Bordeaux had been among the most vocal, the most outraged at the takeover. Any attempt at resistance was met with a dead end, which was why the Beaumont sisters were trying to flee Bordeaux before Khan managed to bring any escapees into custody. It had happened in Calais, where entire ferry-loads of people had been seized when they had attempted to cross over to England.
"Have we got everything?" Clemence inquired, her head whipping from side to side as she inspected the now bare surfaces of the kitchen bench and the dining table. Aurelie could feel the frustration bubbling up within her at Clemence's agonising pace. Khan and his followers could arrive at any moment, and here her sister was worrying if they might have left something behind.
They had to run, Aurelie knew it. She could not bear to be enslaved like so many of their fellow countrymen, like so many others worldwide. There was talk about a resistance forming already, although there had been no solid evidence. Aurelie had always been more impatient than Clemence, reckless where her sister was sensible, daring where she was responsible. All she wanted to do was dive into the car and stamp down on the accelerator – but even that might not be enough to save them.
"Let's just go, Clemence! Merde!"
Clemence didn't even comment on her slipping into French again, instead grabbing the keys and wordlessly locking the door. Aurelie hurried down to the car and jumped into the driver's seat, waving her hand impatiently. Clemence gave her younger sister a frown, but they both knew that Aurelie was the faster driver. If they wanted to escape Bordeaux, she was the one they wanted behind the wheel.
"Do you know where to go?" Clemence asked as she clambered into the passenger seat, strapping herself in as Aurelie started the car up.
"Of course," Aurelie replied dryly, twisting the keys in the ignition and making the car roar to life. "To the ferry."
Aurelie resisted the urge to hammer at the steering wheel with angry fists when she saw how many cars were queued in line at the ferry carpark. This was just getting ridiculous. Night had well and truly fallen, and there was as of yet no sign of Khan and his men. This was cause for anxiety rather than celebration. Raking a hand through her blonde hair, Aurelie turned the wheel and parked the car up on the pavement, earning a quizzical glance from Clemence.
"Let's face it, we weren't getting a spot," Aurelie said brusquely, dragging herself from the driver's seat. They had so much stuff in the car – but they were going to have to leave it behind. Clemence rummaged around for the essentials while Aurelie stuffed her hands in her pockets impatiently.
Down by the docks, some people were starting to chatter animatedly and point upwards. Aurelie looked up and had to shield her eyes as the bright lights of helicopters beamed down upon them, and she felt sick to her stomach. They had been found. Now they would surely be taken into custody and…and then what? She hadn't heard of any deaths, but it wouldn't be hard for a man who controlled most of Europe to shield such harsh truths.
"Clemence!" Aurelie cried.
Her older sister lurched from the car as men dressed in military uniforms dropped from the helicopters. Tanks rolled in from surrounding streets, blocking them off completely. Many had panicked and attempted to board the ferry anyway, but Aurelie knew that it was a futile task. Her eyes searched frantically for some kind of escape, any little alleyway they could slip down, but found nothing.
Aurelie stepped towards her older sister, but a harsh grip on her upper arm prevented her from doing so. She half-turned to see that a soldier had grabbed hold of her, dragging her away from Clemence. Aurelie cried out in horror, struggling against the soldier who held her fast. She attempted to kick at his ankles, only to be hoisted up and half-carried, half-dragged over to where most of the other would-be escapees had been rounded up and forced to their knees.
A man in black paced back and forth before the kneeling group of Bordeaux citizens. Aurelie examined him closely as she too was pushed roughly down onto her knees. He had cold, chiselled features and appeared to be in his early thirties. His black hair was immaculately slicked back, and the moment she saw his icy eyes raking over them all, she shivered involuntarily. This must be Khan.
"Why do you continue to rebel?" The man Aurelie suspected to be Khan stated in a baritone voice over the quiet that had ensued. Aurelie lifted her head and sought out Clemence, but she couldn't see her older sister anywhere. "All of you should be aware that it is a fool's errand. I do not intend harm towards those of you who would accept my rule peacefully."
So this was Khan. Aurelie had never thought about what a genetically enhanced human, an Augment, would look like, but now she had her answer. There was triumph shining in those cold eyes of his, and she didn't think she could stand it any longer.
"We're not here to make things easier for you. Some of us would rather die than accept a tyranny under your rule."
Aurelie didn't even realise the words had come from her mouth until Khan turned on her, eyes narrowing as he assessed her critically. She wanted to look away, but at the same time, she wanted to keep her chin raised proudly. Letting him know that he was not going to simply rule them without rebellion. Khan's boots clacked across the pavement and he gripped Aurelie by the arm, hauling her to her feet.
"You would rather die, would you?" he inquired, voice dangerously soft. Khan reached out and caught Aurelie's chin, making her look up at him. He was not an overly tall man, no more than six foot, but Aurelie barely scraped five foot three. His grip on her chin was hard enough to bruise.
Should she take it back? Should she cower and pretend she had never uttered those words, or beg his forgiveness? To some tiny degree, the thought was appealing in that it would likely ensure her survival. But at the same time, she felt disgusted at the thought of appearing so weak, so utterly ready to become subservient. Aurelie had always been stubborn and she was not prepared to change, not for anyone and especially not for this Augment monster.
"Yes." Her voice was firm. "I would."
To Aurelie's complete surprise, Khan smiled. It was ruthless and devoid of mirth, but a smile nonetheless. His blue eyes continued their inspection of her face, and she almost felt as though she was naked before him. His grip on her chin tightened until she winced, making his smile widen.
"I admire your spirit, girl. In fact, I think I shall have you accompany me back to the Vatican."
The Vatican? Aurelie thought blankly, before she realised with horror that must be where Khan had established himself. Why did he want to take her back with him? He should want to kill her! She didn't understand. Khan noted how her brown eyes widened in shock and remained silent, only serving to prolong Aurelie's sense of confusion.
"Have the others rounded up and detained." Khan waved a dismissive hand towards the other would-be escapees, shifting his grip from Aurelie's chin to her upper arm, holding her firm as the soldiers began to haul the others to her feet.
Aurelie was afraid now, although she would not admit it. Why would Khan bring her to the Vatican? Did he have some kind of long and painful death reserved for those who spoke out against him? She frantically sought out Clemence and saw her sister pushing against the soldiers that held her firm, yelling her name over and over again. Aurelie bit down on her lip so hard that she could taste blood.
What have I done?
Père dit qu'ils seraient là – Father said they would be here
Merde – shit