Far in our future: the Unified Galaxy! Kymn Valence, the galaxy’s second most dangerous woman, has been found guilty (in absentia) of over one hundred and sixty crimes and remanded to the Draper Extrasolar Penitentiary, aka Draper’s Rock. However, the prison seems empty except for a madman… and whoever just stabbed Kymn in the back!
Stairway to Heaven created by Douglass Barre
Part Three (of Five)
You don’t get to be the second most dangerous woman in the galaxy by having your heart broken easily. That’s why several years ago, Kymn Valence had a secondary heart installed in her left hip, just inside the pelvis. It was well armored there, and not the kind of place people usually tried to stab you. That’s why, when the knife slid into her back and cut through her cardiac muscle, it didn’t kill her right off.
Of more concern were the nerves that were severed by the blade. Under normal circumstances, Kymn would have been able to use her superpositioning abilities to form a quantum entanglement between the severed nerve endings. With the q-boot on her wrist, though, that craft was unavailable to her. Instead she would have to rely on her accelerated healing rate and upper body strength.
As soon as she felt the blade, Kymn reached back over her shoulders, her slim arms striking like snakes, grabbing for whom or whatever was in backstab-plus-3d6 position. Her left fingertips found purchase in a quickly retreating jacket collar and Kymn grabbed it tight.
Already she couldn’t feel her legs and there were only seconds before the lack of instructions from her brain would cause them to go limp under her. Kymn pulled hard with her left arm, twisting her torso around as she dragged herself towards her attacker.
The man with the knife wasn’t dressed in prison garb to her surprise. He was wearing a long duster jacket with a semi-paralyzed thief attached to it, a pair of stealthsuit pants, and a grey t-shirt with the words “IF YOU’RE READING THIS THEN I’VE DISTRACTED YOU ENOUGH TO KILL YOU.” In one hand he held a bloodstained shiv the same color as his glove. The other hand was curled into a bare fist that hit Kymn hard in the side of her head.
While her attacker was fully mobile, armed, surprisingly strong, and had a distracting t-shirt, at least Kymn had entropy on her side. Refusing to loosen her grip on his jacket, Kymn was weighing him down at the same time that his backward motion was giving her momentum. Grabbing the other lapel, Kymn pulled herself close, swinging her head down onto his nose as she did. The impact broke his nose, and blood ran down both Kymn’s face and his t-shirt, obscuring the distraction.
“By dose!” the man screamed, more angry than pained. Sadly, Kymn hadn’t had the right angle to have driven his nose into his brain. Fortunately she did have a decent view of his neck. She was about to attempt a bite attack on his jugular when the glistening metal blade in his hand made its way to her face, cutting a gash across her cheek.
It was a bad move, because Kymn didn’t mind losing a little flesh if it meant she could disarm her attacker with her teeth. In seconds, the knife was gripped tight in her teeth and he was pulling back a bleeding hand with a dislocated thumb.
He was obviously a stealth fighter, used to staying out of range and sight. Kymn’s kung-fu grip on his oh-so-cool jacket meant that he couldn’t move into his comfort zone. As a close hand to hand combatant, he made a great pincushion. Once the shiv was in Kymn’s right hand, it only took a few seconds to perforate his body enough for him to fall to the ground.
Kymn made sure to land all her dead weight on top of him and by the time the dust of Yellow Block settled around their collapse, she had his own knife pressed up under his jaw.
“One move and this becomes a hip, edgy neck piercing, asshole.”
The man coughed, and blood came out. Even so, his lips curled in a smirk.
“Y… you pass,” he said.
“Damn straight I do,” Kymn said. “The real question here is whether I’ve passed anything worth not killing you over.”
“Depends… *koff* if you want… to get through the door.”
Kymn was rummaging through his coat with her left hand. In one of the pockets she found a foil pack of stem cell cream. Biting it open, she reached around her back and squeezed it into the wound.
“What door? Where the pit is everyone, anyway?”
The man chuckled up some more blood.
“The other side,” he said.
Kymn thought back to the rantings of the Mad Hater. “The ‘promised land’?” she asked. “Draper’s Sky?”
Her attacker-cum-victim squinted up at her but the smile never left his face.
“If’n you know the answers… why’re you asking the questions?” he asked. “You passed the test, I’m authorized to bring you through as a sci of my Pate. Ever hear of The Stalker?”
The Stalker was a myth, a boogieman killer of killers. Still, Kymn Valence had encountered enough myths in her own experience that she didn’t disbelieve anything until she saw it dead with her own eyes, and preferrably at her own hands.
“Yeah, you have,” the man beneath her said after her momentary pause. “Well, I’m his rep here on the Rock, and I’m willing to set up a meet on the Skyside.”
“And I should trust you why?” Kymn asked. She was regaining feeling in her legs, and adjusted her position on top of the man to make breathing harder. For him, obviously.
“Because I didn’t kill you, Miss Valence,” he smiled. “Yeah, I know who you are. I also know that while you’re q-blocked you ain’t the killer queen you got the rep for being.”
“Took you out,” Kymn said, pressing the shiv a little harder against his stubbly skin.
“Only one of me,” he said with a bloody chuckle and without warning thrust his head forward. Kymn didn’t have a chance to pull the blade away before his throat swallowed it up like hot butter around a knife. Blood shot out of the wound in cardiac pulses like some kind of sick fountain and his head fell back, this time the eyes lifeless.
“Ready to go?” a familiar voice from behind Kymn asked. Whirling around and to her feet in one fluid motion, she came face to face with… the man she had just killed. Same stupid jacket, same smirk, even the same solitary red glove. The only difference Kymn could see was his t-shirt. This one read simply “TOO MUCH IS NEVER ENOUGH.” He held up his hands palm-forward in the universal sign of “whoa, man, back off.”
“Who are you?” Kymn asked.
“Tallen the Red,” he said. “Here, you’ll want this.” From a pocket he tossed her a small glass vial.
“What is this?” she asked.
“Antidote,” he said as she fell to the ground, consciousness leaking out of all the pores in her head. “Told you I could have killed you,” was the last thing she heard.
© 2013 by Douglass Barre, All Rights Reserved.