Title: Spies Like Us
Author: Jos Mous
RATING: PG, maybe R, I'm not sure.
PAIRINGS: Not really sure yet, I got to set everything up first
(provided I continue this)
DISCLAIMER(S): The 'Popular' characters belong to whoever owns Popular. Planet, the factions and their leaders belong to 'Firaxis Games'. Led Campbell belongs to 'Valkyrie Studios'. Scott Guber belongs to whoever owns 'Boston Public'. Samabusage (TM) belongs to Aeryn ;).
"you are the children of a dead planet, earthdeirdre, and this death we do not comprehend. we shall take you in, but may we ask this question--will we too catch the planetdeath disease?"
--- Lady Deirdre Skye, Conversations with Planet
The earth was dying. Everybody knew it. War, famine and disease had spread world-wide and humanity had rapidly begun its trip towards extinction. Realising this grim reality the United Nations (or what was left of it) built a spaceship, the Unity. The ship was bound for the Alpha Centauri system and the recently discover earth-like planet Chiron.
But the Unity mission was nothing more than a flare to light up a burning sky. To give people the hope that mankind could survive. Nobody _really_ expected the ship to make it, but they had to believe in something.
Surprisingly enough the Unity did fairly well until just before arriving in the Alpha Centauri system. The reactor malfunctioned and the entire crew woke up from cryo-sleep prematurely. While the scientific engineers were working around the clock to get the Unity back into shape again, the most important crew officers started arguing about how the new world should look like. Soon the rest of the crew got involved as well and fights started to break out. In the chaos that ensued captain Garland was assassinated by an unknown assailant. With the captain dead the entire crew soon split up into several distinct factions, each with their own beliefs and ideologies. On the approach towards toward Chiron -or Planet as the inhabitants would start to call it- each crew officer took their followers and claimed an escape pod. They all said that they would reunite again when they reached Planet's surface, but everyone knew that wasn't true.
In a final irony, mere moments after the crew had abandoned ship, the Unity broke apart.
*Ferret's Lair; Data Angels*
Bite lower lip, stare at screen, tap on keyboard, look at textbook, stare at screen. It was a routine Samantha McPherson had perfected and it was meant to look like she was actually doing something, while in reality her mind was busy working on entirely different things. Someone nudged her on the arm.
"C'mon Sam, pay attention." Led Campbell hissed. "You can't afford to miss this."
Led was one of Sam's best friends and she knew exactly when Sam was actually working, or when she was just pretending.
"Miss Campbell, if you would be so kind to keep any conversational topics to yourself and continued working?" The teacher said. Led glared angrily at Sam for a moment, who kindly smiled back.
"Sorry ma'am." She said before returning to her own work.
"Also, Miss McPherson, while I must admit you keep getting better you really should try to focus this time."
Now it was Led's time to smirk. Sam remained completely calm when she looked at the teacher and said. "I'm sorry. I'll make sure you won't notice anything next time."
Now in any other class a remark like this might have resulted in an angry outburst from the teacher and possibly some applause from the students. In this class, however, the teacher merely smiled, nodded and said: "See that you do."
The door to the classroom opened and Scott Guber, the vice principal, entered, clearly looking for someone.
"Can I help you?" The teacher asked.
"Yes, I'm looking for a…" Guber briefly looked at his paper to make sure he got the names right. "Samantha McPherson and a Brooke McQueen."
From across the classroom one blonde and one brunette looked at each other. Why would anyone wanted to see them at the same time in the same room? That was just asking for trouble. Reluctantly Sam and Brooke got up and walked towards a patiently waiting Guber, whilst occasionally glaring at each other.
"This way ladies." Guber said as he turned and walked out the door.The three of them had walked through several hallways when Sam realised something. Something she should've realised a lot sooner.
"Where are we going?"
"You don't need to know that just yet." Guber answered.
"OK… Can you at least tell us why we're going there?"
"No, I can't."
"Great." Sam muttered before she lapsed into silence again.
Soon they left the school, headed past the recreation commons, the energy bank and the hab complex and ended up at the covert operations centre. A pair of men were leaning against the wall, talking quietly. They looked normal enough, but both Sam and Brooke were observant enough to know that these men were well-trained spies, infiltrators, hackers, saboteurs and whatever else they needed to be.
"Samantha McPherson and Brooke McQueen?" One of the men asked.
"Yeah, that's us." Sam answered, and her tone clearly indicated she wasn't happy with it.
"Come with us." The man said. "That'll be all Mister Guber."
Guber nodded, turned around and headed back towards the school. Without saying anything else the men turned around as well and started walking in the opposite direction. Once again Sam and Brooke had no choice but to follow.
After a few more moments of walking they four of them ended up at a door.
"I take it we need to be in there?" Sam asked.
One of the men nodded, before both of them walked off again.
They entered and soon found themselves in the small office of Deborah Grant, the unofficial commander of Ferret's Lair's probe teams.
"Please, sit down." She said smiling, gesturing at two chairs in front of her desk.
Naturally Sam and Brooke sat down.
"Now, I assume you're wondering why the hell I invited you over?" Deborah asked.
"Basically, yeah." Sam answered.
"It's not all that difficult. You see, both your parents have been assigned to an infiltrating mission in Gaia's Landing."
"WHAT!?" Brooke and Sam both yelled at the same time.
"When are they going?" Brooke asked.
"About two hours." Deborah answered. "And you two are going in with them."
Again the two girls yelled 'WHAT!?' at the top of their lungs, quickly followed by 'WITH HER!?'
"Yes." Deborah answered calmly. "Jane McPherson and Mike McQueen have requested a mission together, and they want you along with them. At first we had our doubts about this since you two are far from professional, but the Gaians have relatively low security and you are not going to do anything that might endanger you." She waited a few moments for the girls to process the information. "Now then, four of our best teams have worked around the clock to provide the four of you with records. You don't need to know all the details, what you need to know is that both of you were born and raised in Razorbeak Wood, a small Gaian outpost close to their Spartan border. Anyway, after a recent mindworm attack your parents have requested transfer to the HQ and that has of course been approved. Any more questions?"
"Well, yeah." Brooke said. "Why are my dad and her mom go on a mission together?"
"What? Haven't they told you yet?" A smile crept over Deborah's face. "Well, let's just say that soon the two of you will be stepsisters."
Sam's brain seemed to have frozen in absolute amazement after that announcement. She and Brooke… stepsisters? What kind of sick mind would come up with something like that? Sam groaned and put her head in her hands, not noticing that Brooke displayed a similar reaction.
*Near the Gaian border; 5 hours later*
Mike, Jane, Sam and Brooke watched the Angel jet fly away again. That settled it. They were now stuck in Gaian territory, for better or worse. The flight over here had not went very smoothly. Sam and Brooke had spoken barely two words with anyone. They just kept sitting at different sides of the plane and kept glaring at each other. Mike and Jane had been fairly aware that their daughters did not get along well, but this was a bit unexpected. They had expected angry shouts and arguments, not silent staring.
After a few minutes a small scout rover came riding their way. Even through their bio-suits they could still hear the roar of its engine.
"I hope that's our contact." Jane said.
The others merely nodded.
The rover screeched to a halt not far from them. Soon a girl of early in her twenties practically jumped out.
"Valerie Schuyler?" Mike asked.
"Call me Sky." She answered. "Everyone else does. Come on, hop in. I can only be gone for six hours and it's a two-and-a-half hour drive."
The rover was well on its way before Valerie, or 'Sky' as she kept insisting, started talking. "So, why are you here anyway?"
"If you don't know that yet, we're not allowed to tell you." Jane answered.
"Stupid rules." Sky grumbled. She quickly cheered up again however. "Hey, have you seen the terrain around here?"
"Not particularly, no." Jane said.
"Pity. The Gaians've really done a great job with it. Did you know that they have forest to create a fresh supply of air? Way better than that recycled stuff from back home."
They drove again in silence for several minutes longer. Then all of the sudden Brooke started talking.
"OK, Sam, I don't like you and you don't like me, but it seems we're gonna be stuck together for a while. So what do you say, let's call it a truce."
Sam didn't answer, but nodded.
"Gee, your kids really get along, don't they?" Sky remarked sarcastically.
"Well…" Jane started. "Let's just say they've been getting along like Zakharov and Miriam."
"Oh." Sky merely said.
Zakharov was a man of science who only believed in pure scientific facts. Miriam on the other hand was a devout Catholic with a large suspicion of secular science.
Needless to say, their two factions had almost constantly been at war with each other.
Three large trees suddenly appeared at the horizon. As they came closer the trees didn't turn out to be large, but huge. They looked like branch-less stumps, with only mushroom growing out of them. A few soldiers patrolled the base of the trees.
Sky stopped the rover and turned around in her seat to look at her passengers.
"Ladies and gentleman," She said. "Welcome to Gaia's Landing."
NOTE: OK, I got exactly 1 person who liked it so far, so I'm gonna continue this anyway.
Carla, thank you.
*Gaia's Landing; Gaia's Stepdaughters*
Upon entering the reasonably large quarters Mike, Jane, Sam and Brooke immediately and almost instinctively started searching for any hidden mikes or cameras.
"Don't worry." Sky said. "It's not bugged. The Lady trusts her followers."
"Convenient." Jane said.
"Don't get your hopes too high up. The really important stuff is still pretty secured."
"Not for long it isn't." Mike said smiling.
"Try to get settled in first before you start stunting." Sky warned. "They may be liberal, but they're not stupid."
Sky's wrist communicator started bleeping. Silently cursing the fact these annoying things existed she tapped a few buttons.
"Yeah, what is it?"
"Sky, you were supposed to be at flight training right about now."
Sky groaned. "Damn, I completely forgot. Sorry. It's just that I had to pick up some transfers. Be there as soon as I can."
"Well hurry. There are ten rookies here annoying the hell out of me and they won't go away until you show up."
"Alright, alright, I'm coming." With an irritated sigh Sky closed the channel and diverted her attention back to Jane and Mike. "Well, you heard the man, gotta go." She reached down one of her pockets and managed to fish four very wrinkled papers out of it. "OK, these are both your duty rosters and also Zak and Miriam's school rosters." Sky smiled. "Better be careful when giving it to 'em, they share quite a few classes together."
Meanwhile Sam had already commandeered a bedroom for herself and was now enjoying the view. It really was a beautiful sight. Green as far as she could see without a speck of red intermingling. Sky was right, the Gaians really did a wonderful job with the terrain.
"Do you think earth looked like that?" A voice behind her asked. "I mean, before we messed it up."
Sam turned around to see Brooke standing in the middle of the bedroom. Sam turned back to the window.
"I dunno." Sam answered. "Could be." A thought occurred to her and a smile appeared on her face. A smile that usually predicted quite a lot of chaos and mayhem. Or at least considerable discomfort. "Hey, Brooke," She started. "What do you think of all this?"
"What do you mean?"
"You know," Sam turned around again and faced her. "Being dragged all the way over here, having to live with me of all people."
Brooke shrugged. "It sucks." She deadpanned. "But I think I'll be able to live with it. Provided you don't try to destroy my birth records again."
"Hey, that was only because you drained my energy account." Sam countered. "But anyway, I think our parents deserve to squirm a little for this, don't you?" She asked smiling
"What did you have in mind?" Brooke said, smiling as well.
Dinnertime soon arrived and it was met with a deafening silence. Brooke and Sam hadn't come out of their respective rooms and the air was filled with that eerie feeling you get just before the tornado hits your house.
"So," Mike said, in a forced cheerful tone. "Nice food, huh?" There were probably a million things that would've been more appropriate, but Mike just couldn't think of one right now.
"I guess." Brooke answered, while she was prodding the nutritious mass on her plate with a fork.
Jane, on the other hand, knew that seemingly idle chit-chat would not solve anything, so she decided to get straight to the point. "OK, spit it out so we can get this over with."
"Get what over with?" Sam asked.
"You know very well what I'm talking about."
"Beats me." Sam said. "You got any idea Brooke?"
"Nope." Brooke answered.
"See? No problems." Sam said, returning her attention back to her food. "So when's the big day?"
"What do you mean?" Jane asked, dreading the answer.
"Well, since Brooke and me are gonna be stepsisters I suppose the two of you are going to get married."
"Who told you that?" Jane asked surprised. "Deb." She groaned soon after.
"Yeah, it really hurts to hear it from some woman we never even met before." Sam said, her voice icily calm. "So when were you planning to tell us?"
"Yesterday, actually." Jane said. "It's just… Intelligence found something distressing and I was the one who was supposed to go check it out ASAP." She sighed. "Lousy timing, huh?" She offered weakly. "Anyway, I refused to go without Mike, not while we were planning a wedding sometime into the future." She smiled weakly and chuckled. "They thought it was perfect. A happy little family certainly wouldn't attract attention."
"So this is a long-term thing then?" Sam asked.
"Marriage usually is."
"I wasn't talking about marriage." Sam said calmly. "Well, if you'll excuse me, I want to go to sleep. I got a jetlag and classes in the morning." She stood up and left for her own room.
After that Brooke stood up and left as well.
Mike and Jane were left, feeling highly uncomfortable. It went well, right? No sudden outbursts of violence or whatever. They had accepted it nicely, hadn't they? Then why did they have this feeling that something was not right?
"Nicely done Sam." Brooke said as she entered Sam's room.
"Thanks." Sam said. "They're probably in there wondering what the hell to think of all this."
"I really expected you to throw a tantrum." Brooke admitted.
"I considered it." Sam said jokingly. "But it's gonna be more fun this way. The more time we act calmly the more they're gonna think. And the more they think the more afraid they'll be for a sudden outburst."
"You're evil Sam." Brooke said smiling. "See ya tomorrow."
Sam watched Brooke leave with her very own thoughts going through her mind. She and Brooke had been mortal enemies for so long that she had even forgot the reason why exactly it was again. But somehow, during their personal little war in cyberspace, a small measure of respect for the blonde had wormed its way into Sam. And now that they were more or less working together, she felt that maybe she might even like her.
(Nothing like a common foe to unite two enemies.) Sam thought smiling.She walked over to the window to look out over the vast green terrain. Alpha Centauri A was setting and, together with Alpha Centauri B, gave the sky a strange orange colour. Taking in the vista that was far more beautiful than anything she had ever seen back at Ferret's Lair she decided that just maybe being stuck here wasn't all that bad after all.
NOTE: OK, I know I never really say 'thanks for the feedback', but I want everyone to know that I'm very grateful for it. So… err… Thanks for the feedback, I really couldn't keep on writing without it.
*Gaia's Landing; Gaia's Stepdaughters; The next day*
Sam was not happy. The reason being she had to go to school. Now, normally she kinda enjoyed going to school, but not now. Not while all her favourite subjects could no longer be found. She actually missed sitting in Basic Hacking Skills, listening to Mr. Alda who only told stuff she already knew. Now she was blessed with classes with exciting names like 'Standard Terraforming Techniques'.
In fact she was now sitting in a chair waiting for that very same class to begin. The chair next to her moved and a girl sat down on it.
"Hi," The girl said. "Name's Carmen. You new here?"
"I'm Sam. And yeah, I'm new."
"Where you from?"
"Razorbeak Wood." Sam easily lied.
Carmen whistled through her teeth. "Must've been rough."
"It was OK." Sam answered.
"OK?" Carmen said confused. "If I'm not mistaken that place got raided by mindworms about, what, twice a month?"
Sam coughed. Living in a place that got attacked by those little nightmares _that_ often was most certainly not OK. "Well, it was home." Sam said, hoping Carmen would buy it.
Carmen shrugged. "Guess that counts for something." She said. "Hey, do you know that other new girl?" She asked.
"If you're talking about the blonde over there, then yeah."
"Who is she?"
"Brooke McQueen. My darling soon-to-be stepsister."
"Somehow your tone of voice implies that you're not happy with that." Carmen said smiling.
"We've had our differences." Sam said diplomatically. "Who's the girl next to her?"
"Ah." Carmen said. "That would be Mary Cherry."
A loud laugh escaped Sam's throat for about five seconds. "What kind of a name is that?"
Carmen, seemingly unfazed by the outburst, shrugged. "Beats me. But then again, all those Morganites are a bit crazy in my opinion."
"She's a Morganite?" Sam asked.
"What's a Morganite doing here?"
"The short version is that her mom swindled Morgan Industries out of a couple million credits and then fled here seeking asylum. Which they got, unfortunately."
"Poor Brooke." Sam said, but the huge grin on her face betrayed otherwise.
The lesson had come and gone and in the end Sam felt that she had learnt absolutely nothing. It was true that she really did find the results of the Gaian environment plans to be quite beautiful, but she didn't want to know how they did it. In her mind terraforming was something that only the actual terraformers needed to know. Then again, to the Gaians basic spy training was probably something only the actual probe teams needed.
Sam was interrupted from her musings when some short mean-looking blonde girl planted herself right in front of her.
"OK, newbie, I don't know your name and I don't need to since I'll forget anyway. There's just one rule here and that's that I'm the queen around here, is that understood?"
Sam smirked. "Yes, Your Majesty." She said, making a highly mocking bow.
The blonde glared at her for a few seconds. "Better not cross me, or I'll personally see to it that your already pathetic life will become so miserable you'd wish you were in The Hive." Having said that she stormed off.
Sam watched her going with a smirk firmly on her face. "What a temper." She remarked.
"That's Nicole Julian." Carmen said. "But we like to call her Satan.""'Satan?'" Sam asked.
"It's an off-world reference." Carmen explained. "Presumably Satan was the Lord of all Evil."
"Thought that was Yang." Sam said as she and Carmen started to make their way into the opposite direction.
"Afraid not. In a contest between Yang, Satan and Nicole Yang would come in third, while Nicole would win with a sweeping victory."
"So is she a Spartan refugee or something?" Sam asked. After finding a Morganite in the Gaian headquarters nothing could really surprise her any more.
"Sadly no. I don't know how it's possible, but she's one of us. And don't be fooled, Nicole doesn't use a direct confrontation like the Spartans. She excels at scheming, stabbing people in the back and how to make personal secrets a public scandal. So if you'd really want to place her somewhere it'd be with the Angels."
Sam winced internally upon hearing that. Rationally she knew that her faction was seen as a bunch of unreliable thieves, but it still hurt to hear it out loud.
At lunch Sam discovered that the meals in the cafeteria here were almost the exact same formless blob substance that was supposed to be nourishing. It didn't really bother that it looked like something not even mindworms would want to get close to, since it always tasted fairly well. She had just spooned a large chunk of green blob on her plate and was reaching for some red blob when Carmen stopped her.
"Better not eat that." She warned.
"Why not?" Sam asked.
"What?" Sam said, too amazed to hide it. Xenofungus, the dangerous red stuff that was home to a thousand mindworm boils and that easily tore through the best equipment. And they were eating it?
"What, don't they have this at Razorbeak Wood?" Carmen asked.
"No." Sam said. "Xenofungus was most definitely not on the menu."
"Hmmm." Carmen pondered. "Could've got something to do with the continuing attacks on that base."
"Yeah, that's probably it." Sam said, seeing an easy exit out of a possibly difficult conversation. "So… why do you eat it?"
"I don't know." Carmen answered. "I just know that some are on a diet of the stuff for some reason."
(I wonder if that's why mom was sent here?) Sam thought.
But before Sam got the time to ponder the question a little longer she was already seated at a table next to Carmen and she was being introduced to two of her best friends. Sam tried to get into the conversation, but sadly she had no clue what they were talking about. So instead she looked around the cafeteria, casually observing its visitors. She smiled when she saw Brooke trapped between the capitalist and the spawn of Hell.
She turned her attention back to the conversation and as she kept listening she finally managed to unravel what it was about. She even managed to make a few sensible comments.
Then she noticed something that made her lose track of the entire conversation once again. She more carefully studied the girl Carmen had introduced as Lily. There was something unsettling about her. She soon realised what it was.
"So, I see you're eating xenofungus." Sam remarked.
"Doctors orders." Lily said.
"Why?" Sam asked.
Lily shrugged. "Don't really know. But my medical records say I gotta eat at least some of the stuff every meal."
"Do you have a medical condition?" Sam asked with genuine concern in her voice. She didn't know these people very well, but they seemed nice enough and Sam was already inclined to like them.
Instead of receiving a clear 'no' or a more worrying 'yes' Lily merely looked at her and smiled. "You could say that."
*Sam's room; 3 hours later*
Sam had always considered computers to be very helpful. Just a few clicks of a button and you knew what you wanted to know. Sometimes it required getting past the security encryption, but the end result was the same. But now the computer wasn't being very helpful. She angrily stared at the three words on the screen she had seen much too often already.
'File Not Found'
It was simply infuriating. And it had started so well too. Getting a hold of Lily's medical files had been easy. She had found nothing out of the ordinary, except for a reference to chromosome 21. Not really expecting to find something interesting Sam had started looking for any information on that chromosome. But she couldn't find it. By now she knew the exact location of the gene for hair colour on chromosome 5, or the gene for colour-blindness on chromosome 13. She could find anything on any chromosome, except for number 21. It almost seemed as if the blasted thing didn't even exist.
Sky had been right, the Gaians may be a freedom-loving lot, they sure knew how to cover what they found important. The only way she was going to find out now was to hack into the science networks, but Sam knew she wasn't good enough yet that pull that off without being noticed.
Casting one last angry look on the monitor Sam turned the computer off. She flopped down on bed and grabbed a textbook out of her bag. She wasn't really eager to know how the process of crossing Planet-plants with earth-plants worked, but she had to do something to take her mind of her failure.
The door to her room opened and Brooke came walking in. Her face clearly showed that she was very unhappy about something. Always a little pleased to see Brooke angry about something Sam decided to start an actual conversation.
"Bad day at school?" She asked sweetly.
"It was OK." Brooke said as she walked over to Sam's desk and sat down on a chair.
"Really? Sounds surprising considering the company you had."
"Nicole and Mary Cherry aren't as bad everyone say." Brooke said, not surprised that Sam knew who she had hung out with. "Besides, they told me that your new friends are a bunch of lowlifes."
"Well, what do _you_ think?" Sam asked, also not surprised that Brooke knew who she had met that day.
Brooke shrugged. "They seem nice. They certainly fit with someone like you." Sam wasn't really sure whether that was an insult or merely an observation. She chose to consider it an observation since she didn't want to get into a fight right now.
"So if it's not about the company you had, then why did you come in here looking like a virus has demolished your hard drive?"
Brooke sighed. "That's not even so far from the truth actually. It's just that when I came home I did a little routine checking on Nicole and Mary Cherry and I stumbled across a rather large hurdle."
"Wait, let me guess. Chromosome 21?"
"That's the one." Brooke said. "Do you have any idea what it means?"
"Nope." Sam said as she stood up from her bed. "But now I'm feeling this sudden to find out."
NOTE: Turns out I've been writing uber fic for quite some time now. And I didn't even now what uber fic was until very recently! Come to think of it, I don't know most terms that define fanfic. But anyway, on with the story, even though this particular update is rather short.
The only sound she could hear was that of her own breathing. Her vision was rather blurred and the environment slowly came into focus. When it finally did focus her breath got stuck in her throat. All around her, everywhere she looked it was red.
She was in the middle of a xenofungus field.
Sam was so shocked that she didn't even stop to wonder how she got here, or why she wasn't dying a gasping death. She merely looked around, hoping to see something that indicated a human presence. She thought she saw something in the distance, but due to the fact that Alpha Centauri A was shining brightly in her eyes, she couldn't quite make it out. After a few minutes she could clearly distinguish two human forms casually walking her way. It were Nicole and Lily and they looked awfully smug. Then Sam noticed movement in the xenofungus close to the two Gaians. Soon she could see the small orange worms that had become one of mankind's most feared enemies. Sam tried to shout, to warn them to run, but no words escaped her throat.
Nicole and Lily soon noticed the mindworms as well, but instead of trying to flee Lily merely stuck out her arm at them. The worms soon crawled up her arm and covered her body, but for some reason they didn't attack her. Nicole too was soon covered in mindworms. Sam started to back away from the two humanoid mindworm boils.
She turned around, intending to run, until she saw the hovertanks. Rows upon rows of hovertanks lined the horizon, slowly moving in her direction. She couldn't see any symbols linking the hovertanks to any particular faction. The only thing she knew was that they were out to kill her. Sam turned around again, deciding to take her chances with the two boils instead of the vast hovertank army. But she wasn't faced with two mindworm boils in a field of xenofungus. She was faced with something much worse.
She stood in the middle of a black and charred battlefield. Bodies were all around her, discarded like dolls. Some were ripped to shreds; other had the distinctive holes that indicated that mindworms had managed to burrow into their brains. Sam started running, but soon stumbled over something. Looking down she could see it was her mother. Or at least her torso and her head. Her dead eyes stared at her accusingly. Sam struggled back her to feet and continued running.
"Sam." A voice echoed over the field of slaughter. "Help me."
Sam rushed over to where the sound was coming from. It turned out to be Brooke. She lay huddled on the ground, clawing at her eyes. She looked up at Sam, but the brunette wasn't exactly sure if she could really see her.
"Help me." Brooke repeated.
Before Sam could move Brooke screamed and several mindworms dug their way out of her eye sockets. Sam stumbled backwards again, repressing the urge to throw up.
She turned to run again, but soon froze on the spot. All around her were the corpses of everyone she had ever known. The bodies slowly burst open and mindworms crawled out of them. Sam dropped to her knees, defeated.
The mindworms crawled over her body. Sam knew the little nightmares would soon make their way into her body, implanting their larvae inside her head. But she couldn't really care any more. Everyone was dead anyway. All she cared for was gone.
The last thing she saw before her entire world turned black were the smoking remnants of Ferret's Lair.
"Stay out of this Data Angel," A voice whispered through the darkness. "Before you get in over your head."
*Sam's room; Gaia's Landing; around midnight*
Sam bolted upright in her bed. Sweat streamed of her body, her breathing was ragged and laboured. It hadn't been a dream, it had been too real for that. She slumped back, trying to block the horrendous images out of her mind. She shakily took a deep breath, but it didn't calm her. She stood up and walked over to the window. The landscape outside was dark, illuminated only by the distant Proxima Centauri and Nessus, one of Planet's two moons. It looked so peaceful, so unlike everything she had experienced mere moments ago. The view managed to calm Sam down somewhat so she could think. What she had just seen had looked awfully much like the psychic terror mindworms used in their attacks, but there was something different about it. The main thing that was different of course was the fact that she was still alive. Sam took one last look outside and returned to bed.
Something was definitely going on here. And the dream had only made her more determined to find out what it was.
NOTE: The fun part about writing a crossover about something not too many know about is that you can throw quite a few surprises in the way of the reader which are consistent with the universe you cross over with.
*Gaia's Landings command centre; Gaia's Stepdaughters; The following day*
Jason Cartwright hated the morning shift. It was a little too late to be night shift and a little too early to be dayshift. Because of that Jason was usually half asleep on the job. Fortunately for him and the rest of the Gaian faction Jason's role in the command centre wasn't all that big. He merely monitored the sensors and kept an eye on the terraformers in the field. If there ever were an emergency, like the sudden outbreak of a war, Jason wouldn't be bothered with it professionally. It would even make his job a lot easier since all formers would be withdrawn back into the base in case of hostilities.
So Jason sat leaning back into his chair, leafing through the latest garbage Morgan Comics had produced. He snickered when he read how a fearless Morganite soldier single-handedly made his way into Dawn of Planet and captured the 'evil' Cha Dawn.
Yeah, right. Like any of those moneygrubbers would ever even pick up a gun. Never mind being able to stand up to those fanatical hordes the Planet Cult was filled with. Deciding that he had read enough science fiction for now Jason casually deposited the shameless Morgan propaganda into his small trash bin. Looking around his small office and seeing that everything went as it should Jason got up to get himself something to drink.
He hadn't even stepped outside of his office when the alarm lights started flashing. Jason wouldn't have noticed this rather distressing fact if it wasn't for the brilliant mind who had decided to include alarm bells as well. Jason stormed back into his office and observed his monitors. A mindworm boil was crawling its way through the forest!How did they get there!? Not really knowing Jason decided that the best course of action would be to warn someone in charge and let them deal with it.
"General Corgan, mindworms in sector 72-A." He said over the intercom.
"Are you sure?"
"Alright, we'll take care of it."
Jason leaned back into his chair again with a satisfied grin on his face. Crisis averted. The possibility that the mindworms _could_ penetrate the base all the way to the command centre didn't even cross his mind.
*The McQueen/McPherson quarters; Gaia's Landing*
"Good morning girls." Jane greeted cheerfully. "Sleep well?"
Sam and Brooke walked into the kitchen like zombies and let their bodies fell onto the chair. The fact that they were sitting was a nice side-benefit that they didn't really notice.
"I take it you did not sleep well."
Sam looked up at her, fatigue clear in her eyes. "No, I did not sleep well."
"Bad dreams?" Jane asked.
Sam nodded and returned to her state of semi-awake. Last night had been Hell. She had the same horrific nightmare over and over again. She looked at Brooke, who also didn't seem to be doing fairly well, and half expected her eyes to pop and mindworms to come crawling out of them. Sam shook her head, trying to get rid of the image.
"Well, I have to get going." Jane said. "Make sure you make it to school on time."
Sam and Brooke made head-movements that could be interpreted as nodding as mumbled something that could be interpreted as 'Yeah, sure'.
Sam and Brooke more or less watched Jane leave, before they looked at each other quite knowingly.
"Mindworms?" Sam asked.
Brooke nodded. "And hovertanks."
"Thought so." Sam indicated to the door through which Jane had just left. "My bet is that we're closer to whatever this is than the parents."
Brooke nodded again. "Which probably also means that someone knows who we are."
"Wouldn't know about that." Sam said. "I don't think that normal procedures when dealing with probe teams is scaring the hell out of 'em with nightmares."
Brooke yawned. "How much longer until school?"
"About an hour." Sam answered.
At that point the alarm sirens started to blare. The soothing voice of Lady Deirdre could be heard throughout the comms system.
"Mindworms have been spotted near the base. All garrison units prepare for combat, all civilians proceed to the nearest safe zone."
It was probably just a standard recorded message, but it sounded much better than the computerised voice Sam and Brooke had always heard before.
"Well, apparently there'll be no school today." Sam said smiling.
"Good. I think I'll go try to get some sleep."
Sam shook her head. "During a mindworm attack? You'll only get nightmares again."
Brooke leaned back in her chair and chuckled briefly.
"What?" Sam asked.
"Nothing." Brooke answered. "Just remembering some really weird part of my dreams last night."
"And that was a reason for amusement?" Sam asked sceptically.
"Looking back on it, yeah." Brooke said. "Wanna hear?"
Sam sighed. "Yeah, sure, why not?"
"It was about you," Brooke started. "You were shouting my name, asking me to help you. I found you standing in the middle of the battlefield and…"
"And mindworms eat their way out of my eyes?" Sam asked.
"No, it was something else entirely. Some… thing… suddenly appeared behind you. It was an alien I guess. Not something that already exists on Planet. It's hard to describe. It had some sort of carapace with a sickening green colour, and its eyes lay deep inside the folds of its face." Brooke shivered. "It was pretty disgusting come to think of it. Anyway, that creature makes this weird warbling sound that I don't understand, but you apparently do since you grab your head screaming and fall to the ground. After a few moments you stand up again and you look exactly like that creature."
"That was it? I don't get what was so funny about it."
"Oh, come on Sam. Aliens? If there were any aliens on Planet it'd be us."
"Still not getting the humorous contents."
Brooke shook her head. "Never mind. Best not to think about stuff like that before a mindworm attack."
As if on cue both Sam's and Brooke's breathing become slightly more shallow as the two of them are momentarily transported back to the blackened wastes of destruction.
"It's beginning." Sam said, trying to calm herself to get rid of the images.
"Tell me about it." Brooke said, her voice trembling.
The mindworm assault was not directed at them, but most likely at the soldiers fighting them. But Sam and Brooke's still fatigued minds, combined with the horrors they had witnessed last night made them more susceptible to the unleashed psychic terrors. Sam could only guess what the fighting soldiers were going through right now. The door to their quarters opened and thousands of mindworms came swarming. Sam shook her head, knowing that this was merely an illusion. The mindworms fast approached her, but Sam managed to calm herself down and the mindworms disappeared.
Sam took a deep breath and looked over at Brooke. Brooke looked back, but didn't see her. Her face was twisted into a mask of fear and terror.
"Brooke?" Sam asked.
"Oh God no," Brooke whispered. "Not again."
"Brooke, snap out of it!" Sam said more forcefully.
"Oh God, please don't die on me, please."
Sam wondered suddenly and irrationally if this was another illusion. She calmed herself again until she was perfectly at ease and looked at Brooke again. The look of horror was still set on her face. Whatever Brooke was going through it was too powerful to snap out of until the attack was over. Sam stood up. Brooke was pleading madly for someone to stay alive and Sam somehow felt it would be an invasion of privacy if she stayed. Her intentions, however, were quickly cut short.
"Sam, stay with me!" Brooke cried desperately. "I need you!"
|Section 2||Jos Mous||Popular||Main Index|