Thursday, June 7, 2012

Aurora - Part 10


“I can’t believe you let him escape!” Gideon van der Riijn shouted for the tenth or so time as he stomped in circles around her living room; carrying on and on.

Flavia sat in one of her custom-made, cream-colored leather recliners, one short leg crossed over the other, flapping a pale-green silk slipper at the end of the foot suspended in mid-air. She wore a silk gown of the same color with a pleated and front-split skirt exposing an embroidered cream silk underskirt; the high waist helping to balance her disproportionate body and giving her an elegant and regal look. The bodice with the long, tight, pale-green trumpet sleeves which were hemmed with cream colored lace made her arms look longer, too. She had found the design in one of the online databases called ‘Fashion through the Millennia’ under the period ‘Early Regency’. People had really been more creative and adventurous when it came to clothes in those long past times, Flavia thought. She regarded her freshly manicured nails with languid boredom, comparing the nail color to the color of her dress. The color was just off. She wondered if she should have another dress made to match the nail color or another nail color mixed to match the dress.

By Horlus, would her father never run out of steam? There was no point in even trying to talk to him reasonably until he calmed down. Too bad he had shown up wanting to talk to Garran and gloat right when he did or Flavia would have already taken care of the situation on her own. She resented that she would have to kill Garran Raulsten now. She had really been looking forward to her little sexual games.

Unlike her father’s, Flavia’s expression was perfectly composed. She pitied Gideon that he had never learned to control his emotions, but she had wasted her breath trying to point out to him that he could achieve so much more if only he kept, if not his feelings then at least his facial expressions under control.

With a last harrumph he finally took a seat in another recliner across from her. “This is a complete disaster. If he manages to get in touch with the right people we might have an invasion army on our doorsteps. Never mind that we have half the Horlus III government in our pockets, too.”

Flavia shook her head. “To get more than another rogue military operation off the ground he would have to make his case before the Senate Subcommittee on Interplanetary Affairs. It would take them months of deliberations to approve and we would know what they are doing every step of the way.
“Even more unlikely they would try another covert attack now that their A team has been eliminated. I think the greatest danger stems from Raulsten directly. If he can muster a team of mercenary operators and truly go rogue this time he could potentially get close enough to do us harm, or you at least.” Flavia smiled sweetly at her father. Personally she was safe enough. She never went out in public herself, nor did she look like her public double. Nobody would ever suspect her to be the true Flavia van der Riijn.

“He could be speaking to the members of the Subcommittee or his mercenary friends right now for all we know.” Gideon growled.

“I don’t think he will talk to anybody official yet. He is too smart for that. He will suspect a leak by the reception he got when he arrived here the last time. No, I think he will lick his wounds for a while and try to figure out the set-up before he makes a move.”

“You are too confident. We have to be prepared for another imminent attack.”

Flavia’s eyebrows drew together. “And you are paranoid.”

Gideon huffed. “I just don’t like leaving loose ends.”

“Well it’s a good thing then he will never make it back to Horlus III.”

“What do you mean?” Gideon asked, a baffled expression on his face.

Flavia sat up straight and spoke with an air of superiority. “Old man, it’s really time for you to step aside and let me take over the reins. Did you think I wouldn’t plan for an eventuality like this? He’s got a failsafe implanted.”

Gideon shot up from his seat and shouted at her. “Then why haven’t you killed him yet?”

Flavia got up from her seat, too and stared up into her father’s angry face. “Because you interrupted me, you blustering old fool,” she said with cool, menacing clarity. “Now go back to your favorite golf course and work on your handicap and let me deal with the important matters.” She turned and headed back into her private chambers. By Horlus, if he weren’t her father she would have seriously considered retiring him a long time ago. Maybe it was time to consider him for a surgical intervention for a change. The thought made her giggle.

With an unusual spring in her step, she headed to her computer console to return to the task which had been so rudely interrupted by her father’s unannounced visit; hijacking a satellite to send the encrypted message that would detonate the failsafe inside Garran Raulsten’s body.

***

After his recent surgical nightmares, Garran had insisted on staying awake during the procedure. Lying on his back now, Doc had strapped him to the table. As a precaution he had said. Doc had done a spinal block and was now busy remotely guiding a surgical robot in removing the explosive device from Garran’s iliac artery.

Garran turned his head and watched Doc where he was sitting behind a specially designed console almost at the other end of the room, peering intently at the monitor in front of him and moving the robot’s arms and instruments with the aid of a joystick and another set of keys and controls. 


Doc had also placed a screen across Garran’s chest so he couldn’t see what the robot was doing. Another precaution, Doc had said. “Wouldn’t you be faster doing this directly, hands-on?” Garran asked after what had seemed to him like an interminable amount of time.

Doc answered him without looking away from his monitor. “These failsafes are delicate things to remove. I value my fingers.”

“I value my life.” Garran grunted. A while later he asked. “What is so difficult? Just cut the thing out and be done with it.”

“Do you know why this thing is called a failsafe? Because, not only can it be detonated remotely, it is also tamper-proof.”

Garran’s face turned white as a sheet. “You mean it will go off regardless and then you’ll just patch up the damage hoping I won’t bleed out beforehand?” Now he understood why Doc had hooked him up with a plasma expander, and two liters of artificial blood at the ready. Another precaution—obviously.

“Not necessarily, but you need to know what you are doing. You see, it’s partially organic. It grows tentacles into the wall of the blood vessel, but they only grow in the direction of the blood flow. If you clamp or cut a tentacle it will go off. If you clamp it above and the blood pressure drops to zero it will also go off. The only way to see how far the tentacles have grown since it was implanted is with dye. That takes a moment. Then you have to open the patient up and follow the dye to where the longest tentacle ends. Below that’s where you position your first two clamps. Like right ….. here.”

Doc carried on providing a live commentary on what he was doing inside Garran’s body. “Now you have to double clamp above. One … and two.” Doc released a sigh when the device didn’t go off. So did Garran.

“See here now I need to cut out a whole three centimeters of your iliac artery already. And we are lucky, too. It’s just before the artery forks into two branches. And now the drumroll, please…”

***

Finally the satellite that Flavia had tapped into was rotated into the right position. Through Riijnstone Communication Enterprises they had their own satellites in orbit. Satellites she could have accessed much quicker and diverted more easily, but she didn’t want there to be any direct link back to her or her father. The satellite would broadcast the signal for one minute and that minute would be enough to cover the section of space through which the Dark Goshawk was currently travelling.

She had already keyed in the failsafe’s unique identifier and activation code and entered the position coordinates from where the satellite would start transmitting. The broadcast counter started its countdown: fifty nine – fifty eight – fifty seven…

The failsafe in Garran’s body would receive the communication within a few minutes. A ship in space was relatively slow accelerating, only reaching cruising speed after about twenty four hours, whereas her signal would be travelling at the speed of light from the get-go. The failsafe would send an acknowledgement before executing the order, but that signal would be too weak for her to be able to detect it at this distance. She would have to go on faith and her father’s spies on Horlus III to know for sure that Garran Raulsten had died a sudden and unfortunate death.

… seven – six – five – four – three – two – one – zero. Flavia shut down the link to the satellite and smiled. Time for plan B.

***

The surgical robot lifted the two clamps between which the piece of iliac artery containing the failsafe was suspended above Garran’s pelvic region. A third arm reached under the blood vessel to keep it from sagging then the robot rotated away from the surgical field. Pow! The noise was surprisingly loud as the artery exploded, pushing the robot’s arms apart and spraying everything in the vicinity with a thin spatter of blood.

“Fuck!” Garran screamed.

“Wow. You okay Garran?” Doc jumped up from his console and raced toward the operating table.
Garran’s eyes were closed tight and he was holding his breath. His heart rate and blood pressure spiking to a dangerously high level.

“Garran! Garran!” Doc shouted at him “Garran you are okay. It was already outside of your body. He realized that the screen he had placed across Garran’s chest had prevented him from seeing what had happened and since he couldn’t feel anything right now… Doc pulled the screen away and lifted Garran’s head. “Garran look! You are still in one piece.”

Garran opened his eyes and mouth and drew in a sobbing breath. Doc lowered Garran’s head back down and put his hand on Garran’s chest. “Garran believe me you are fine. I just have to repair your iliac artery now.”

Garran closed his eyes again and drew in another ragged breath. His eyes were stinging. “Am I really okay?” His voice sounded strangled.

“Yes. Relax. It will be over in a few minutes.”

“Doc?”

“Yeah?”

“I have changed my mind. Just put me under until it’s all over.”

“Okay.” Doc went to the control panel and keyed something in and Garran slipped into blissful unconsciousness.






Aurora - Part 11

6 comments:

  1. My heart is still racing! Fantastic!
    Now . . . why, when I was counting down for the fail safe to go off, did I slowly count down--but then speed up at the end? LOL Guess I was kind of anxious to read the next part . . . ;-)

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  2. Oh wow-- that was intense! Please continue soon RyooT because I am loving this story! It's so intriguing!! Wonderful update and great job :-)

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  3. Yes! That was fantastic! Thanks for the update!

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  4. Oh, my goodness.

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  5. Wowww! That was close!

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