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   Chapter 31 Escape from Tamarax Station

The Life, Death and Life of Amelia Hollow By EJBowman Characters: 51055

Updated: 2017-12-27 12:04


I was forced to reside in the bathroom for most of our light speed flight. Chorst did not question why I left him so abruptly. I could no longer control my nosebleed by just sniffing when it got too intense.

The dub spaceship bathroom was even smaller than the ones on the airplanes of old. My legs were crushed between the alien toilet and the alien sink as I tried to deal with my nosebleed. The toilet paper was even coarser in the Mar than it was back at Starside Academy.

My complexion was not attractive in the mirror, and not just because of my bleeding nose. Something about my eyes was not right. I looked deranged. I wondered if Chorst noticed. That was probably why he was holding onto the Bennu Bomb instead of moi.

I stopped breathing when I noticed a shadowy figure standing behind me in the mirror. The black shadow was too hard to make-out because of the dirty mirror. Despite the cramped conditions, I was able to swivel my torso and head around to look behind. There was nothing there. – I'm not sure if that was a good thing or a bad thing.

"Are you actually appearing or am I just going insane?" I asked aloud.

Both.

I sighed. "You know, I really don't like you."

The feeling's mutual.

Once my nosebleed had subsided, I re-joined the trinard at the front of the ship. Frenchy did not acknowledge moi when I sat down in front of him. That was probably for the best. I did not want him to question what I was doing in the bathroom. I put my helm back on when I sat down. Even though my nose was done bleeding, there was always the chance that the trinard would catch my eye twitching.

"We will arrive at Lieu Com Feb's last known coordinates in approximately two minutes." He reported impassively.

"Excellent." I replied. "You ready to take on the whole of Tamarax Station?"

He answered with his own question. "The USM should have seen our ship leaving the hangar. They could have deactivated our spaceship if they had not wanted us to leave."

Chorst was right. There was no way the hunk of metal we were driving could leave the outpost without being noticed. This intrigued me as much as I presumed it intrigued Chorst. Someone inside of Starside wanted us to go. I had a hunch on who it was, but chose not to tell Chorst my suspicions.

I shrugged casually: "Maybe they have someone following us."

"Unlikely." He glanced at his wrist computer. "We can track all USM ships even if they are in light speed or are cloaked. There are no USM Naval ships for over fifty light-years."

I shrugged. "The USM probably has its reasons for not caring about us."

"All the cadets are of second-class species."

"That's probably the main reason."

I was surprised when the light speed dega-drive stopped humming loudly. According to the monitor we were staring at nothing but blackness. I inhaled sharply. Had I been wrong? Tamarax Station was most likely still in the same area as Lieu Com Feb's last GPS transmission, but we did not have the time to fly around this sector searching for it.

"What should we do?" I asked Frenchy.

Remaining silent, he rotated the ship one-hundred and eighty degrees. I sighed in relief when a lone rock body appeared in the blackness. Tamarax Station had been right behind us.

The station was larger than I had expected it to be. The lump of rock it was attached to was only about half the size of Earth's Moon, however Tamarax had really expanded on the place with much of its surface now being covered in manmade structures that made it more than three times as large. It was certainly no match for the whole of Starside. Tamarax knew that. That was why she kept such a low profile.

"Landing the ship on the far side of the station is the best option." Chorst said as he slowly drove the dub spaceship toward the wretched station. "Tamarax appears to not have as many buildings or machinery on that side. It is likely the testing ground for new weapons."

"If we manage to save the cadets, how we will get them out to the Mar?" I asked, now hesitant about my own plan. "I doubt any of them have their armour."

"Stealing one of Tamarax's ships within one of the hangars is a possibility." I nodded along. "Then we would use the Mar as a decoy for our escape. I would control the dub spaceship via my wrist computer, make it take off and prep for light speed, and while Tamarax Station was focused on the dub spaceship, we would take an inconspicuous spaceship in one of the hangars."

"Not bad." I praised. "But this is all providing we survive everything else, right?"

"Yes." He looked back at his wrist computer. "Tamarax Station may have already spotted us."

"They have." The voice within moi whispered aloud. "But Tamarax wants us to come."

Chorst said nothing. Instead, he reached down to his belt to make sure the Bennu Bomb was still in his pocket. There would come a point when I would have to get the little bomb off him. I would most likely have to get it off him by force. I shook away the thought. I could worry about that later.

***

Tamarax sat at her desk, scratching lines into the nice antique desk she had bought many years ago. She was not a patient woman. The hekkit felt she had already waited long enough for me to arrive. She would usually pass the time by exploiting her little blue friend, but he was currently locked-up and dealing with the scars on the left side of his face. She reminded herself that he needed the timeout. After all, when she reshaped the universe she could have whoever she wanted in her bedroom and the measly slave clone would seem less important. He had to remember his place or she could make sure he was never created.

Drops of black blood speckled the desk below her. Tamarax had been thinking too much recently. She was sure that after she claimed the universe, the chaos in her mind would settle. Telepathically, Tak had reassured her that her mind would be at peace once this was all over. Maybe the 4th dimensional creature's words had double meaning. Tamarax did not think about that. She only heard what she wanted to hear.

The large door to her office creaked when one of her expendable assistants entered. The new one, Dork (don't laugh), was bulkier than many of her previous ones. His leathery skin meant he was going to be a lot harder to kill when it was time. She would not be able to pierce his skin with just her sharp nails. Instead she was going to have to use some sort of gun.

"A USM ship has been detected in the area, " Dork strode up to her desk, "and it's heading this way."

The lack of concern in his voice made Tamarax look up. If it was a proper USM Naval spaceship then there was going to be a real fight. "What kind of ship?" She asked curiously.

"You're not going to be believe this." He smirked before he remembered who he was in the presence of.

"Try me." She hissed.

"It's a dub spaceship."

Tamarax accompanied her assistant in laughter. The rickety old dub spaceships would fall apart if a gust of wind got them.

"Want me to blow the little thing up?" Dork asked.

She shook her head seriously. "No… this is who we've been waiting for."

Her assistant doubted that. Tamarax had made it very clear that I was a real threat, but what kind of threat would appear in a frail dub spaceship? Dork thought I had to be as crazy as Tamarax.

"Should put more security in the cellblock?" He asked. "That is likely where she's heading."

"No." Tamarax licked the blood from her nose off her lip. "Put some extra security in hangar four. Let them think they're going to escape… and then crush them at the last moment."

Dork did not know how the witch-like woman knew that the cadets and I would head for hangar four, however he didn't ask.

"But, " she hissed firmly, "do not kill Amelia. The obnoxious Earthling is mine."

"Yes ma'am." He said before striding out of the room.

He's a good assistant. She thought as she leaned back in her chair. It's a darn shame he'll have to die.

***

Passing right by the main structures of Tamarax Station made my stomach feel uneasy. Not just because it was the station of the USM's most wanted woman, but also because it vaguely resembled the crappy home planet of the Psychlos from Battlefield Earth. Dear God, why did my father ever make me watch that film? That was probably the one benefit if Tamarax recreated the universe in her own vision; that film never would have been made.

"Their defence system has not locked onto us." Chorst stated.

"Let's just stick to your plan." I whispered while gazing at the monitor.

"It is possible they are going to take us captive like the other cadets."

"Very possible." I lied. I knew why Tamarax wanted me to come here. The biatch wanted moi to die by her own hand. – It was an ego thing.

The dub spaceship shuttered as Chorst landed it onto the rocky terrain. The trinard was best at landing spaceships out of the four dub captains, yet even he found it difficult to land delicately on the surface of the rough body. He was right about this area being where new weapons were tested. The surface of the asteroid was charred with many manmade craters from where bombs had been dropped.

"Computer, give me mobile control of the Mar." The Frenchy commanded of his wrist computer.

Computer is not a very original name is it? Oh well, unless you are a nerd you would never understand why I named my wrist computer Data.

The wrist computer must have complied because all the panels and control suddenly switched off. After a second they came back on, but their blue lights suggested they were hibernating.

"Tamarax has created artificial gravity." Chorst noted as we stepped off the dub spaceship.

We both floated upwards slightly when we walked. The Mar remained firmly attached to the terrain. Its claw-like feet hooked into the ground making sure it went nowhere.

I followed the trinard's lead and switched on my boots. We flew close the ground like stingrays above the seabed. It was good I was not part of Gall anymore because that white uniform would have made moi very noticeable. Our black Mar uniforms made us shadows. Of course, technology was so advanced these days that any camera or scanner would have picked-up on us. Tamarax was probably watching me from a window right now. Chorst must have known that; his hand kept brushing across his stun gun holster as we flew.

"Where do ya think the cadets are being held?" I asked him via earpiece. We were flying too far apart to speak directly. I then realized I had asked Chorst where he thought they were and quickly changed my question: "Where are the cadets?"

"Probably in Tamarax's cellblock." He replied swiftly as if he had not heard my first question.

"Tamarax has a cellblock?"

"It would make sense for her to have one. She is a terrorist to the USM."

"Right."

I swallowed when we flew underneath one of the hangars. Most people would not know this was a hangar. It really just looked like a large metal growth coming off the station. Only I knew it was a hangar due to the small electro field on the bottom. The hangar was made for a very special ship… A ship disguised as a comet that I would soon be chasing. I did not tell Chorst this. He didn't need to know about that part of my mission.

It would be hard to keep my mission from him when I needed the Bennu Bomb back. Not because I would possibly have to tell him the truth, but because I honestly could not explain what I needed to do. Trying to say my plan aloud was impossible. It was as if I was thinking in an alien language that my mouth could not cope with.

"There." Chorst pointed to a little hangar on the back of one of the large structures. According writing above it, it was 'hangar one': Tamarax's personal hangar for her own ships. Yeah, we'd be really inconspicuous going through there. I doubt Tam has any security cameras in her own hangar.

"You're the boss." I muttered.

The electro field tickled my skin as crept into the hangar. A single henchman stood at the entrance guarding the little hangar. He raised his heavy gun to fire but Chorst and I were too quick. Tamarax's henchman had stronger bodies than most so it took more than one shot form the stun gun to take them down. I noted this because Chorst and I would not want to find ourselves up against an army with only stun guns.

I admired the witch-like woman's ships as we strode through the hangar. There was something very gothic about them. The spaceship we passed had a black paintjob while its interior was black and red. I suppose they suited Tamarax's mind-set. Not just because of the colouring, but also because of the scratch marks near the door. I pictured Tamarax in my head looking like a crow. – I was not far-off from her actual appearance.

"I don't like this." I said as we stepped over the immobilized guard. "Tamarax would not leave her personal hangar to be guarded by one soldier."

Chorst did not reply. He just opened the door and walked through. I followed behind him slowly. The dark corridors created a labyrinth I could see myself easily getting lost in. What was intriguing about them was the strange equation that had been painted on all the walls. The scratch marks alongside the alien equation suggested it was Tamarax's doing. – She was more insane than I thought.

My head throbbed when I had a flashback to the dark room from my dream with the white curtains. After a few moments my mind returned to normal when Chorst grabbed my wrist firmly and dragged moi along like a parent taking a child away from their favourite ride at a theme park.

"I'm okay, cap." I told him.

He remained silent as he dragged me to the light-up map. "There is only one major cellblock." He said while pointing to the map. "We will check there for the cadets and if they are not there we will go to one of the smaller ones. There is a possibility that they are already de–"

"They're not dead." I said sharply. "Tamarax wants us to see them die."

"This would have been easier if the Tit had aided us."

I nodded in agreement. "If only we could contact the USM from here to tell them that we were right."

Actually, the USM would be able to aid us if they really wanted to. The Mar was constantly sending of a GPS transmission so they knew where we were. Maybe the Titonic would come, and maybe they would bring an armada. Unlikely; we had not moved up the pyramid of social hierarchy in the past hour so we were still worthless to them.

I waved my hand in front of Chorst's helm when he continued to stare at the ceiling. We did not have time for the Frenchy to stare at nothing. Only I was allowed to stare at nothing!

"The air vents." He said, pointing up at the grate on the ceiling. "Tamarax may be watching us, but it is unlikely she has security cameras in the vents."

"Will the vents take us all the way to the cellblock?" I asked while looking at the map.

"Yes." He said before taking a photo of the map with his wrist computer for future reference. He sent the image to my wrist computer as well even though it was unlikely I would need it if he was leading.

I followed Chorst into the air vent. The light from our wrists computers guided us. We had to move quickly in

kill them." Nor squeaked, almost in tears.

I felt a little uncomfortable to have all eyes on moi for answers. Apparently I was leading this mission so the fate of the ungodly experiments was up to me. Thank God my awkwardness was hidden by my helm. I avoided the gaze of the poor creatures in the kennels. Although they had all lost their sanity a part of them knew we were not to be feared like Tamarax was. They were intrigued by our presence.

I took a step back to address my fellow cadets, Cacey and my father. Little did I know that on the bench behind me was a tank of overgrown insects. No one bothered to mention this so I didn't notice.

Zand, being the leader she was, joined me at the front to address the others on the situation. Who knew that in the end Zand and I would be able to work so well together? At Starside Academy we had probably been enemies because we were so similar which meant we were equally stubborn. I saw now that she was a great ally. Even Chorst trusted her seeing as he gave her his stun gun to protect the group. There was a reason she was going to become a captain in the USM Navy, and I knew what it was now; she was a badass.

Even the Jell-O girl was surprised by my decision: "We leave them how we found them. They're not our problem."

Harsh words. Even though the dark voice inside my mind had actually said that, I agreed with it this time. If I was sane I'm not sure I would have agreed with my alter ego. Maybe me and the dark voice were finally merging minds and not duelling it out for my body… or maybe the dark voice was about to take over my body and I would become the voice at the back if its mind… or maybe I'm paranoid.

"Am?" Donn asked as if he was not sure it was me.

If the cadets had not known I was losing my sanity before, they knew now. They all wanted to aid the poor abominations in some way and yet I just chose to ignore them. I sounded like the perfect USM employee.

My father wished he could see my eyes. There was something not right about me. He wondered what had happened to his daughter. Sadly, I doubted there would be time later to explain to him what had happened with the tear in the space time continuum.

"We're wasting time even talking about them." I said coldly.

Everyone I stood in front of gasped when Zand picked up a scalpel from the bench behind us and jabbed it into my back. I doubted the scalpel could penetrate by armour, but I still spun around like lightning to face her. To my surprise an overgrown insect was at the end of the scalpel and Zand had taken it off my back. I was relieved she was helping moi instead of trying to literally stab me in the back.

I nodded in understanding. "Thanks."

She chucked the scalpel and the overgrown insect aside. "Anytime." She replied placidly.

"Let's move." I said before making my way around the insect-infested bench and towards the end of the lab.

Despite the fact no one agreed with my decision, they continued followed me. Besides avoiding the looks from the creatures in the kennels, I also ignored my father's judgemental gaze.

"Amelia…" He began.

"What would you have me do?" I hissed sharply. "There is no good ending for them." I pointed to the kennels. "Releasing them would accomplish nothing and murdering them would accomplish less."

Sven said no more. He was not sure what he would do if he was in my position.

"Where do we go from here?" I asked Cacey as we reached the door. "How far are we from hangar four?"

"Well, how fast do you want to get to the hangar? We can either go directly through the corridors which will most likely get us caught or we can go through the second part of the lab across the hallway which will take longer but we are less likely to get caught."

The fact there was a second part to the bioengineering lab made my stomach churn. Tamarax had a lot of experiments going in such a 'little lab'.

I sighed. "Looks like we get to go through another lab. Hooray!"

Cacey nodded and opened the door with his free hand. Luckily, the door to the second part of the lab was only a few feet away. What really intrigued me was the monitor to the side of the door. It was like the one Chorst and I had seen before that had the map on it, but this one had a message about the USM raid on it. Wait… what USM raid?

"Are we the USM raiders?" Veck asked, almost joking.

"No." I said with a smile that nobody else could see due to my helm. "I know who the raiders are."

***

Tamarax stared the bloody corpse of Dork on the floor in the corridor. It had been his job to make sure the security alarm would not go off. Tamarax wanted Chorst and I to think we were go to make it make out the station discreetly and then she wanted to crush our ambitions by killing us in the hangars. The alarms had ruined everything.

Her head snapped up when a heard a henchman jogging towards her. "Get to hangar four." She hissed.

"That's what I'm here to talk to you about." He grunted.

"Eh?" She squinted her eyes. "If Am has already escaped then yo–"

"No." He shook his head. "They haven't arrived at hangar four yet, but a USM marines have entered through hangar four and will possibly help them escape."

The witch-like woman stared blankly at the henchman. "I beg your pardon?"

"There's a USM Naval spaceship circling Tamarax Station. More may be on the way."

If my nails were sharp enough I would stab right through your tough skin and tear out your lungs. Tamarax thought with a twitching eye. In her vision of how this would all go down she did not recall a USM Naval ship appearing.

"Then you really need to get to hangar four and annihilate all USM personnel." She turned away from the soldier, and then turned back. "But leave Am… and my slave clone alive. I'll deal with those two myself."

"Yes ma'am." He grunted before sprinting to hangar four.

Once she was alone Tamarax incomprehensibly cursed in her native language while kicking the corpse Dork repeatedly. She stopped once the poor dead man's ribcage was completely shattered.

"Stick to the plan." She told herself. She wasn't even sure if she had a plan. All she knew was that Tak was on its way to collide with the star and then she would be able to recreate the universe.

We're still following that plan, right? Tam asked the dark voice at the back of her mind.

Hey, I'm doing my part. You do yours. The voice replied beguilingly.

***

Cameron Vis Home jumped when he spun around to see Cap Gor staring at him. The Titonic's hangar was bustling with anxious marines who wanted their chance to hop on a shuttle and go down to Tamarax Station. All of them had been incredibly sceptical about Gor's decision to fly across the galaxy on what appeared to be a wild goose chase, but now all they could think about was how amazing it would be to defeat Tamarax. It would look great on all of their records.

"I suppose you're going down with them." Cap Gor said to the little harsnic who was in full armour with his gun in its holster.

"My sister's down there… and if she was right about Tamarax Station than maybe she was right about Tam having my father as well."

"I was informed that Dell tried to call you."

"I'll call her back."

"Tek wants to have a word with you."

"I'll talk to her later."

Gor's pincers clicked: "She said she's impressed."

Cameron smiled behind his helm. Maybe it was possible that First Off Tek wouldn't kill him after all. She would only charge him for assault and have him dishonourably discharged. By that point, Cameron was okay with that.

"Cap." A man in full armour acknowledged as he strode by to get on a shuttle. He was a primary reason that the Titonic had left dock. The man was a professionally trained USM assassin that requested they journey to Tamarax Station because he trusted me, and Gor trusted him seeing as he was Lord Frekostillion Hes Canamao which meant he worked directly for Mel. If he trusted me, then Gor saw a reason to trust me too.

"Try not to kill everyone down there!" Gor joked. Frek spun around and blocked Gor's comment with his hand before turning back and leaving.

The ground shuttered as Tamarax Station fired on the Titonic. The heavy warship had a strong shield and an even stronger body. It would be hours before they worried about Tam doing any real damage. They would only fret if Tamarax brought out her bigger weapons that they knew she probably had.

"Are we going to receive any aid?" Cameron asked.

Gor shrugged. "I think we're going to get a little bit of aid."

"The USM is going to send a ship even though we went against orders by leaving the dock?"

"They're sending five ships… and Mel."

If Cameron had been sipping water he would have spat it out comically at that moment. Mel did not fight. Everyone in the galaxy knew that. The last recorded time Mel lifted a finger to fight was over twelve billion years ago during the early days of the United Systems of Mel. An extremely chauvinist race of aliens hated the USM for having a female leader and rebelled. They intentionally tortured and killed female USM personnel. After the fifteenth death of a female Mel took action sent all USM spaceships away from the planet while she remained. Mel returned to the original USM outpost a few months later drenched in the blood of a million people. – She singlehandedly created the first fourth-class planet.

"Is she going to f-fight?" Cameron stuttered unprofessionally.

"She did not say. She just said she would be joining us after she finished some other work."

My brother swallowed. He, like most of the crew, had conflicted feelings about Mel intervening in the fight. They all knew the story of the first fourth-class planet so they knew how ruthless she could be. She could destroy the whole of Tamarax Station by herself. Cameron just prayed that she did not confront moi and question me about how I broke so many rules and found Tamarax Station. If you made Mel a personal enemy, nothing in the universe could save you from her wrath. She may have done nothing about Tamarax Station before, but now that she was coming it could turn into a bloodbath.

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