this story takes place one day after "Bewilderment"
BetaMountain – Office of Cmdr. Walsh
2086-07-06 – 22:07
altered an ad hoc adaption. Walsh put the readpad with Fox'
report about his team's second mission onto his desk with a
clatter. To unknown conditions... He shook his head. The
boy had taken an incredible risk – obviously without
telling his captain about it for Zachary Fox mentioned the
cruelty with which Gooseman had grabbed and injured Niko, and
demanded for further advice how to react to the situation –
when interfering with the reflex adaption routines by adding a
donating device for gaseous oxygen to his adapted breathing
system. He knew better than to believe Gooseman wasn't aware of
the risks he'd taken. The boy knew them as well as he since...
Joseph closed his eyes for a moment when the memories about what
had happened back then streamed back into his conscious mind,
beginning with a surveillance recording...
Wolf Den Military Base
were summoned to the exercise hall. Judging by his
even-more-cautious-than-usual darting glances Shane noticed the
humming in the charged floor and ceiling plates the moment he
entered the bare room. The wide observation window high above the
ground was brightly lit. Too brightly for even his enhanced
vision to see more than shadows. But nevertheless the boy's eyes
zeroed in on it.
He knew he
hadn't had to see them at PTS. To recognize them.
Shane clenched his fist a
bit tighter than before. His eyes kept flashing around. Taking in
Two shadows more
than usual behind the blinding light. The boy ground his teeth.
Additional observers always meant it was growing worse. Killbane
lashed out at him with a hand that the older trooper had
transformed the moment they'd entered the charged hall. Shane
flung his body aside, avoided being touched, being cut. And was
rewarded with a cruel laughter and a whispered promise the sound
enhancers had made understandable on the recording: "Wait. I
will get you!"
said nothing, but he 'd never been so stupid as to announce his
plans. Killbane wasn't his problem right now: two additional
observers... and all BDC's at the same time. Killbane and the boy
himself. Mikhal, who wasn't much longer in the project than
Shane... and Janna. The only one of the third season who
developed correctly. Killbane was of the first, Shane officially
belonged to the fifth. She was the only BDC girl who ever made it
into the project. The only one who sometimes told Shane how to
avoid transformation errors though as often she simply hit him
when he dared to ask...
body transformation. Ad hoc.= The voice was electronically
obeyed, for there never was an opportunity to deny an order in
their lives. Who didn't subordinate was considered
uncontrollable. Who turned uncontrollable was abandoned. They'd
long ago learned to fear 'the A' as it was called.
energy surrounded the boy, the cocoon of golden light enclosed
him, while his body lost its shape, reconfigured, restructured,
remodeled, on a molecular level... skin cells turned to steel,
polished, blank. Nails to iridium, sharper, harder...
protective cocoon of transformation energy collapsed.
BetaMountain - Office of Cmdr. Walsh
2086-07-07 – 00:04
ground his teeth at the memory. New Years Eve 2079. The adjutant
who had finally found him was too much out of breath to produce
an understandable sentence, but he'd gotten enough: General
Class. Two Stars. Two times trouble...
had been the one who originally set up the military environment
for the project. Class had been the supervisor during the first
years in which Joseph had become first a Major under Anderson's
protection, then Colonel himself: but two stars counted more than
Walsh stared at the
readpad with the report. The man and that day was the reason he'd
never carry his second star. He'd gotten it years ago. And never
applied it to his uniform. No more than the other one he'd gotten
He'd come too late.
It had been triggered a minute before he'd ran into the
observation room, and all he could have done then was simply
stand and stare...
Wolf Den Military Base
for Killbane none of them was old enough – and experienced
enough – to perform the task they had been ordered to do.
And Shane was the youngest, was only twelve... The scream that
mixed into Class' swear wasn't human, and Joseph was already
running, drawing his service weapon, checking its charge. It was
a single snatch that charged the weapon to a deadly energy
output. Class called after him. He didn't care. If he'd cared
he'd likely have wasted a shot.
eyes took in the details in only a glimpse as he rushed into the
hall: unstructured cellular matter was splattered across the
floor. In the center of it lay a torso, cut oblique. Rib bows
protruded out of the lower end, stomach contents, bile, blood
poured out of the body cavity.
felt bile on his tongue. Searched for the features, the hair in
the bloody mass... One couldn't be sure to identify a transformed
The body remnant
in midst of the splattered mass shivered. Another scream,
blood-chilling and hopeless. One of the ribs propping the
shattered torso in a half sitting position broke, and it toppled
over, turning its face towards him: the eyes were huge puddles of
pain. Still conscious. He aimed carefully. Between her violet
The shot was incredibly
loud in his ears.
The next thing
he could hear again was laughter, terrifyingly amused laughter.
Killbane – the ugly spike form was the only one he
recognized – asked why the boss wasted a
he ordered sharply and the next moment, he looked into children's
faces: one with a ragged scar across one eye, one with a dark
shock of hair had stared onto his own, trembling hands, and one
with icy green eyes, cold enough to cause even Hell to freeze
over... It took him a moment before he noticed that Class had
entered the room behind him and that Shane's eyes wasn't focused
The General hadn't
noticed. "Who is your enemy?" he asked the troopers.
"The one who shoots at you or the one who tells him to do
bellowed: "The shootist." Luckily erasing a much
fainter, and totally different comment...
one who orders us to do it."
BetaMountain - corridor in front of MPQ 217
2086-07-07 – 01:38
had lost two lives that day though Class never had gotten to know
about it – he was dishonorably dismissed not even three
weeks after the incident. Joseph wasn't naive enough to believe
it was because of what the man had done that day... though Owen's
intervention at the Board likely had sped up the procedure. No,
Class had been fired because he didn't ask for the Board's
approval for reacting to the alien signals detected by the Outer
Rim outpost on Triton with a general mobilization expecting the
worst: an alien attack on Earth. Years later it was learned that
the signals had been the Andorians' first attempt of
Twelve months later,
the third BDC, Mikhal, was abandoned because he had been unable
to force himself to transform properly any longer. He'd seen the
horror in the child's eyes whenever the black-haired boy with the
tan skin had been forced to do it anyway. And he knew that
whenever Mikhal had transformed he'd seen Janna's body scattered
across the floor.
still looking at the door, without even considering knocking. You
always knew who your enemies were, he thought sadly and
wondered if the boy had understood the reason for the shot back
then. He wasn't sure about that. But he knew without a doubt that
he would see two pain-filled violet eyes in his sleep this night
again right before the remaining bone between them would explode.
wished he could erase the memories of that day. But he
No more than Shane
could see another female colleague die at his side.
to S. 'Trivia' Black for her help with English.