Gender: N/A Age: N/A Location: N/A
|Introduction: Not my story.|
The Final Battle
Ron was working in his quarters, detailing for himself what he had in mind for his next move against the Filitov Council. He was interrupted by a knock at the door.
“Oh, C’mon in, Karen,” he said, seeing who it was.
“I wanted to bring you the latest numbers on troop strength.” She handed him the papers, and he set them down on the desk, staring at them for a second. With the few new recruits they’d gotten since the battle in Washington, their numbers were just below five thousand. He stood up from his chair, stretching.
“Thanks. You’ve been working yourself awfully hard, Karen.” The bags under her eyes told of this.
“There’s a lot to do, with several of our leaders injured in the last battle, and…”
“And lots of people to do the work. I need you in tip-top shape real soon. We’re going to begin a new training cycle, and the next battle isn’t too far off. I don’t want you, or anyone else, to be worn out by this day to day crap. Get the enlisted to help you.”
“Yes, sir. Ron,” she started, not sure how to begin, “there’s something I’ve been meaning to say to you for a while now.” Ron sat on the edge of his desk, and gave her his undivided attention. “A few years ago, you saved my butt from some police officers who just didn’t understand. Since then, you’ve taken me in, given me a home, and a purpose. You’ve given me something to live for. While I’ve been here, I’ve found a home, a family, a boyfriend, and hopefully a future. I don’t know how to thank you for everything you’ve done for me.” There were tears in her eyes, and she lowered her head, embarrassed at her outburst.
Ron walked over to her, and gave her a hug. When he let go, resting his hands on her arms, she looked up at him. He said, “Karen, I haven’t done anything for you that you haven’t repaid twice over. You have been a friend, a companion, and someone I could trust. I’ve always known where you and I stood. If there is one person in this house that I have always been able to tell ahead of time what they would do or say, it’s been you. You are a rock amid shifting sands, someone I have clung to at times for your steady presence. You and I needed each other, three years ago, and we were good for each other then. Now, we have other people. You have Lars, and I have… well, everybody else.” She finally smiled.
“So, let’s just call it even. We’re friends, and there aren’t supposed to be debts between friends. Okay?” There were still tears in her eyes, but there was a smile on her face, and her nod was confident. He let go of her fully, and moved back to his desk. “By the way,” he asked, getting back to a more businesslike demeanor, “did you find that trunk I asked you to look for?”
“Yeah, it’s over there,” she said, pointing to a pile of paperwork. Ron laughed: it had been in here the entire time, and he’d never noticed.
“Where has my head been?” he asked rhetorically. “Okay, I need to think some stuff over. Tell everyone there will be a staff meeting tomorrow at 1300… no, make it noon, we’ll do the meeting over lunch. Okay?”
“Yes, sir!” she said with a smile and a salute.
“Dismissed. Get out of here,” he said with a chuckle, and she turned on her heel and left.
Ron removed the papers from on top of his trunk, and opened it. He rummaged through it, finally finding the small box he wanted. He opened it, and removed the DVD-RAM disk that he was looking for. He sat down at his desk, staring at the iridescent surface, considering the power contained in the layers of aluminum and plastic.
The lunch was good, but most of the people present weren’t paying much attention to their food. Lars was there, of course, as were Kim, and Karen. Also present were John Termannic, Shana Veltor, and Bob Maxton, who had been promoted to colonel after his expert defense of the White House.
“Now,” Ron said, kicking off the meeting portion of lunch, “We’ve had two big victories after seven months of hell. But it has been costly. We’re down from nine thousand to just below five thousand troops. Our victories haven’t been Pyrrhic, but we can’t continue to sustain these kinds of losses. The Russians have more people, and they can fight a war of attrition and win. Does anyone have any suggestions on how to counter this problem?”
After some murmurs, Lars said, “Our real problem is caused by the fact that the Filitov Council has always had tens of thousands of troops, while we’ve always been behind the curve. We’ve been trying to fight while building up our troop numbers. The only thing I see that can help us is to find more psionics.” There was general agreement on this point.
“Okay. Lars, Kim, Bob, I want the three of you to designate teams to sweep the country. I want the country searched from east to west in just two weeks, so use as many people as you need to, but you three will remain here. The purpose of the sweep is to find every combat-capable psionic we can. John, I want you to divide up your division into about a dozen teams. We’ll be sending them overseas to make contact with the other psionic communities.”
“Ron, how can we ask the other groups to give up members to help us? Won’t that leave their teams vulnerable?” Karen asked.
“It would, but here’s what I’m thinking, guys. It’s time we stop pissing around with little battles. We’ve lost enough people, and I think it’s time that we lay all the cards on the table. I’m proposing that we challenge the Filitov Council to one final, massive battle to the finish. Nobody leaves the battlefield until one side has either surrendered, or been completely wiped out. It’s a risk: if we lose, it’s all over. But it will bring this thing to a close.”
There was a bit of concern in the group. Kim said, “What about the numbers?”
“Well, that’s why we’re contacting the other teams. I figure, if we can get all of the countries to work with us, we’ll at least double our numbers, maybe even triple them. With no psionics in those other countries, the Russians won’t bother with them: they need to take out the psionics first.”
“How do we get a message to the FC?” Bob wanted to know.
“That part is easy. We’ll use Michelle. Let the little traitor go back to her friends, and deliver a message for us. A challenge. If they don’t accept, then we have to continue as before, but I think that Zinaida will accept. She still thinks she can beat us.”
“She may be right,” Lars said glumly. “Even tripling our numbers may not put us on a par with them.”
“Well, we do have two aces up our sleeves.” He had everyone’s attention now. “The first is about 15,000 people of roughly psion-14 strength, known as Guardians. I don’t want to rely on them unless I have to: this is supposed to be our fight, not theirs. But they have offered to help, and if we need them, we’ll make use of them.”
“What’s the other ace?” Kim wanted to know.
Ron pulled his DVD from a pocket. “This.”
At sunset that night, The Provisional Psionic Army gathered as a unit to hear their leader speak. They were told the announcement would be brief, but would radically change their fighting tactics. As he approached the stage, a sergeant called out, “Atten-hut!” The group snapped into proper stance in unison.
“Stand at ease,” Ron said, and the group slipped into a more relaxed pose. “As you know, we have fought, in the last five weeks, two big, winning battles against our enemy.” A cheer rose up from the audience. “However,” Ron continued, “those victories have been costly. We have lost well over eighty percent of our total troop strength over the duration of this war. We have fought hard and bravely, but we are outnumbered. Therefore, it is time to change strategies, to counter this weakness.
“Starting tomorrow, several groups will be dispatched to sweep the United States for stray psionics, and any psionic groups that may be hiding, and willing to join us. Those sweeper teams are given these orders: Make contact with the friendlies, not the enemy. If you are spotted by Russians, get the hell out of there. If you encounter a Russian group attacking what appear to be friendlies, engage only if you feel a victory is virtually assured. We can’t afford any additional losses in the effort of finding new recruits: it defeats the purpose.
“Furthermore, other teams will be dispatched overseas, to contact our brother psionics fighting in other countries. We will ask them to join with us in one final, all-out battle for the fate of the free world. We would hope that they would be willing to add their strength to ours in an effort to get rid of the Filitov menace!” Another cheer erupted from the crowd.
“Now,” he said as the group calmed, “there is one more thing. Up until now, we have asked you not to use your powers of mind-control on innocent civilians. However, in light of our almost certainly being outnumbered in the coming battle, I have had to rethink this policy.
“A couple of years ago, when I was still in the employ of a certain corporation, I developed a special programming technique that can turn any normal human into what I call a ‘psionic repeater’. We will use this technique in the final battle, to hopefully even up the odds somewhat.
“The drawback to this device is that it completely subverts the will of the normals involved. I have hidden this device from others, because of the awesome power it represents if misused. However, there comes a time when even the strongest of weapons must be pulled from the arsenal and put into action.
“So, each and every one of you is given the following order: find a normal that is not yet attached to any other psionic. This person should be someone you can live with for the rest of your life, because as soon as they are used as psionic repeaters, they will be forever and completely devoted to you. They will not be able to survive without you, you will be their sole reason for living. I know that some of you have never experimented with your mental controls, and that others of you have only limited mental control powers. Others of you have had followers in the past, and you know what this is like. Talk among yourselves: help the uninitiated understand what this really means. My door will be open to talk to those of you I can get to in the time allowed. Just know that you are going to be stuck with this person until one of you dies, so make sure it’s a decision you can live with.
“Once you have found this person, you are to bring them here. Miss Mercer will log them in, marking down who they belong to. When the alteration is complete, they will be kept in the barracks until this battle takes place.
“Ladies and gentlemen, you have fought long and hard. I ask you to fight on only a little longer. The planned date for this final battle is June 1st. You have until then to prepare. Good luck to us all. Dismissed.”
There was a great deal of murmuring after Ron’s pronouncement. As he stepped down off the platform, James approached him.
“Why the hell didn’t you ever tell us about this?” he inquired angrily.
“Because I didn’t trust you,” Ron answered simply.
“Do you realize how this could have affected the war?”
“Yes. I also realize what giving it to CAMP would have really meant. I built this thing, and I’ll be the one to decide how and when it gets used. And after this war is over, I’m destroying the data. It will never be used again. No one should have this kind of power.”
“I can’t let you do that,” James said.
“Are you threatening me, Lieutenant?”
James just stared at him, hoping his gaze would be sufficiently intimidating. Ron laughed in his face.
“You don’t scare me anymore, Jimbo. We both know I’m stronger than you are now. You want to try to keep me from destroying it? Go ahead.” Ron’s eyes darkened, and his voice lowered. “You’ll lose your life in the attempt.” Ron walked away, leaving James flabbergasted. Never had he been shown such utter contempt. The worst part of it was that there wasn’t a damned thing he could do about it.
The next morning, Ron was watching as the other officers prepared their teams to move out. He watched as Kimberly moved up and down the ranks, giving instructions to her people. He enjoyed watching her move, her body encased in her medium-gray uniform and her hair tucked in at the back: it drove him crazy to watch her.
Just then, he felt a nudge at his leg. He looked down to see that Jessica was standing beside him. She cocked her head in just that way that told him she had something to say…
…And Ron was once again on the Plane of the Watchers, standing with her. She was alone, so he figured this was a private conversation. He also noticed, for the first time, that he could see his body back in the Earth Realm by looking into the sea.
He embraced his follower, and she reveled in the feel of him against her. Then, she broke the embrace. Her eyes were turned away from him, toward the scene below.
“She is very lovely, Master.”
“That she is, Jess.”
Jessica sighed. “Master, it is time for me to leave the Earth Realm for good.”
Ron was stunned. He had not expected to be without her presence. “But… why?”
She still didn’t face him. “Master, do you remember that I told you it was unusual for a human to be allowed back to the Earth Realm at all?”
“Well, I was only allowed back because they felt you needed me. You don’t need me down there anymore.”
“But, Jess…” she put her fingers to his lips to silence him.
“Master, please. I will continue to watch over you from here, but the promise I made to the Council of Judges was that I would leave when my presence was no longer needed. Back when I first appeared to you, there was so much you didn’t understand about what was going on, and you wanted an emotional support. I provided that for you then.
“I am not now providing you with that. You have found other means. I am not sad about this, Master. You deserve someone who can be there with you. I cannot. I will wait here for you, as will the others. We will see you again when the time is right.”
“But… Jess… what will I do without you?”
“Master,” she said, pointing back to the image of Earth. Kim was in the center of the image. “You have all you need back there. I have never presumed to tell you what to do, sir, but for your sake, go to her.”
Ron understood what she meant. She was talking about more than what he already had with Kimberly. Silently, she embraced him, and then she walked off, into the mists.
Ron found himself suddenly back on Earth, and the sudden change of venue made him dizzy for a moment. It took a few seconds for him to realize that the white cougar was not beside him any longer. His heart ached, knowing that he would never again be able to scratch behind her ears or tickle her under her chin. But he knew that he would, one day, see his Jessica again, and the thought buoyed him.
Also was the thought that Jessica had revealed to him. It wasn’t a new thought; just one he’d buried deep in his mind. He trembled at the thought of what she might say, but he knew now that he had to find out.
Ron walked over to her as she sent her troops on their way. They both watched as the groups left, splitting up and heading in different directions to perform their duties. Kimberly kept her eyes focused upward until they were out of sight.
“I hope they all come back safely,” Ron said quietly.
“Yes. So do I.”
“Will you meet me in the garden tonight at seven? There’s something I want to talk to you about.”
Ron walked away without another word, afraid of betraying what was on his mind. He couldn’t know that she already knew what he was thinking about. And what do I tell him when he asks? she wondered.
Kim headed off to find Nikki.
Ron wandered through the underground shelter, considering what he was going to do later that night. His thoughts also wandered to the fact that he needed to set an example for his troops by finding his own target for the psionic repeater. It would look bad if he was forcing his men – and he knew some of them would not be happy about the order – to do this thing without doing it himself. He just didn’t know who he could bear to do this to anymore.
His mind was interrupted when he heard crying. He turned to see where it was coming from, but couldn’t spot the source right away. His ears were pretty sensitive, and he could hear things that came from quite a distance. He followed the sound until he spotted a young girl, probably not even Ron’s age, dressed in a knee-length dark blue skirt and a white blouse. She had long brown hair that covered her face at the moment. Ron took a moment to remember who she was, and when he did, his heart went out to her.
She looked up, her eyes red with her crying, her face a tortured mask. She waited expectantly for him to say something to her.
“What’s the matter?”
“He’s gone,” she said very softly.
Ron’s heart felt for her. She had been Jeff’s girl, and with his death, she had no one to lean on. Her life had been taken from her as surely as if she had been killed. He sat down beside her and put his arm around her, pulling her to him. She clutched at him, looking for some semblance of a world to live in. A thought clicked in Ron’s mind. She was already taken, technically, but her master was dead. Ron wondered how this would affect her afterlife, but he didn’t really want to go there just now.
He let her cry in his arms for a while, until she finally settled down. She sat up straight, holding herself properly away from him. Her head remained bowed, and Ron figured this was the posture that Jeff had burned into her mind.
“Crystal?” Ron drew her attention, and she looked at him again, her eyes almost pleading. “Would you like me to take care of you?”
She couldn’t speak, but she nodded. Ron stood up, and then extended his hand to her. She took it, but kept her head down. Ron led her from the shelter back up into the family’s portion of the house. He led her to Nikki, who was sitting with their mother and little Brian. They were talking quietly, but stopped as they saw him enter the room with a girl in tow.
“Nikki, would you do me a favor? Get Crystal cleaned up, and find her a nice place to sleep here in the house?” Nikki nodded, and took Crystal by the hand, leading her off to the shower.
“Ron?” his mother didn’t have to voice her question.
“Mom, I can’t make the troops do something I won’t do myself. I won’t do this to any of you, and I don’t want to go find some stranger. Crystal used to be Jeff’s follower. She doesn’t have anybody now, and, really, she already has lost her will, so what I’m going to do to her, really, is just change who she wants to follow. I don’t like it, I don’t want to do it, but I can’t expect them to do it if I won’t.”
She nodded her understanding, and kept her peace about the matter. It didn’t occur to Ron to wonder what she and Nikki had been discussing until well after the day was over.
Ron was waiting when Kim showed up. She had changed into a light blue calf-length dress that covered her completely while still making him want to take her in his arms forever.
She approached him slowly, and she didn’t know which of them was more nervous about what was happening. In the way of women, she had talked to Nikki about tonight, and Nikki agreed about what was coming. But what if I’m wrong, and this is something else? Her nerves ate away at her as she walked toward him, her eyes on the path before her.
She was finally standing next to him, but neither of them spoke for a long moment. She reached to take his hand, and he grasped hers, seeming to draw strength from the contact.
At length, he said, “Kim, do you still love me?” He held his breath for the answer.
“Of course I do,” she responded softly.
“We’ve been through a lot together, in the last year, haven’t we?”
“Most of it hasn’t been very much fun.”
“So, why do I remember our time together fondly?”
She couldn’t respond. Her voice was caught in her throat, and no words would come out. She couldn’t even croak a response.
Ron turned to her. His face was quiet, but not peaceful. He was troubled, nervous. “I’ve been standing out here trying to decide why that is. I came to the conclusion that had you not been here, this war would have been the purest form of hell for me. But with you here, it has been tolerable. Not fun, but tolerable.”
Kimberly remained silent: she knew it wasn’t time for her to speak. He had obviously been thinking about this for a while, and she wasn’t going to interrupt him.
“Ever since I met you, I’ve been different. I’ve acted in ways that were… well, silly, even for me. I’ve felt things that don’t come easily to me. You allowed me to truly love someone again.”
She squeezed his hand tightly, but still remained silent.
“A few days ago, Karen talked to me about all the things she thought I’d brought into her life. As I stood here thinking, I realized that it could have been me telling you a lot of those things. You brought a light into my life that hadn’t been there before. I have never felt for anyone what I feel for you.” His speech was becoming quicker, as if to rush to finish what he had to say.
“I decided that the whole damned war was worth it, because it meant I got to meet you, and fall in love with you, and be with you. There were moments… they didn’t last very long… when I hoped the war would never end, because if it ended, you might leave, and I couldn’t bear for that to happen.
“And that’s what I needed to tell you, Kim. I don’t ever want you to leave me. I couldn’t bear it if you went away. I… damn, this is hard.” She smiled encouragingly at that. He really was terrified of this. “I want you to be mine forever. I want you to… Marry me, Kim. Please.”
He’d actually managed to get the words out. She’d begun to wonder if he would falter on the brink of it. The smile on her face was soft and loving, it was a smile she reserved solely for him. He waited for her answer, and she wondered if his heart was even beating. It was now time for her to speak. First, she sent a telepathic message.
“Ron, I have been thinking about what you might want to say to me that couldn’t be said outright. I will confess that I thought perhaps this might be what was on your mind. I have been thinking all day of what I would say to you, if you asked me. Please, hear me out before you react.
“As I thought about it, all day, I thought about all of the other people in your life. I knew that I could never ask you to give them up, even if we did get married. Then I thought about where I fit into the scheme of things. I was concerned about how I related to everyone around you. Love can conquer all, darling, but it is much better if there is no battle to fight.
“That is why I cannot marry you.” She thought he would have a heart attack on the spot. She sensed a presence behind her, but still in shadows. She knew who it was: it was the person she had called for. “Please, wait,” she said to Ron, before he could do anything. “I cannot marry you…” and at that moment, Nikki stepped from the shadows. “But we would be delighted to.” Nikki smiled at her brother, a warm, encouraging smile that she never wore for anyone else.
“But… wh…” Ron was speechless.
“I know, she is your sister, and perhaps you still think of her in that way on some level. But Ron, you love her at least as much as you love me. I know this. I have always known this. In the forest, when Michelle threatened her, and Nikki warned of what would happen to anyone who touched her… I knew that included me. Be honest with yourself, my love: if you had to save just one of us, who would it be?”
Ron turned his head away, not quite wanting to face the answer. Kim placed her hand against his cheek and turned him back to face her. “I already know the answer. As do you. What you are asking of me is a symbol of our commitment to each other. But your commitment to Nikki is even more than that. I cannot live with myself if I appear to interfere with that bond.”
“…Nikki?” Ron stammered, still unclear of what was going on.
“I have never been with another guy, and I don’t want to. Maybe I’m sick, but I love my brother with everything that I am. I will go where you go. I will do anything you ask me to, except to leave you. Ron, I want to be yours forever. I love you, Big Brother.” She took his other hand: Kim was still holding the first.
Ron closed his eyes, and the ladies quieted. They knew he was fighting his own internal battle over what to do, and they would not push him now. His brow furrowed as he considered, and reconsidered. They knew that he would never have admitted just how deeply he felt about Nikki, and to have to throw it in his face this way was cruel, but Kim felt she had no choice. The family had agreed with her.
Finally, Ron’s face settled, and a calm expression came over him. He had come to a decision, but his face gave no clue as to what that decision was. He opened his eyes, and looked at the two ladies before him. One seventeen, the other a mere fourteen, but wiser and more mature than some adults he had met. It was in that moment that he admitted to himself that he would crawl naked over a field of broken glass to be with his sister.
Ron, keeping hold of the two ladies’ hands, slowly lowered himself to one knee. Neither girl spoke.
“Kim, Nikki, I love you both more than life itself. I can’t imagine my life without either of you. I would be overjoyed, and greatly honored, if you would do me the privilege of becoming my wives.”
Both girls, with tears in their eyes, nodded yes. He rose quickly, and embraced them both, all three of them crying with the joy of the situation. They stayed like that for many minutes, oblivious to the world around them.
Ron spent the night alone, by his own request. He had a lot to think about, as he lay there. A myriad of thoughts kept running through his head. Was he doing the right thing? How would everyone else react? They had agreed not to tell anyone for a little while, so that he could grow comfortable with the idea first.
He realized that he had become a bigamist. Well, a polygamist, really, since I have more women than just the ones I’m marrying. There was also the issue of Nikki’s age. Would she want to remain with him in four years, when she turned eighteen? He decided then and there that he would give her that option, when the time came. After all, it wasn’t as if their marriage could ever be seen as “legal”, “moral”, or “normal”. That part didn’t really bother Ron much: he worried more about how family and friends would react, and how it would affect his relationships with others.
Ron finally dozed off, but slept fitfully with these thoughts running through his mind. He thought, during the night, that he felt soft hands on him, but it wasn’t enough to awaken him.
When Ron finally awoke the next day, it was late morning. His mind had finally succumbed to his body’s need for rest, and he had then slept dreamlessly. He rolled onto his back before opening his eyes, which he rubbed the gunk out of before facing the world.
When he did finally face the world, he was presented with two very lovely naked ladies. Each was kneeling beside him on the bed, Kimberly to his left, and Nikki to his right.
“Good morning, sir,” Nikki said in a playful tone. “We hope that you have slept well, but it is time for your breakfast.”
Ron arched his eyebrows at her, wondering what delicious little game these two had dreamed up. They slid their way up to his head, so that as he looked up, he had a wonderful view of breasts.
“One should always begin breakfast with juice,” she said. Ron strangled a laugh. “You have your choice of domestic or imported.” Ron couldn’t help himself, he laughed openly. The girls smiled at each other.
“Well,” he said with mock gravity, considering the situation. “I think this morning, I’ll start with the imported variety.”
“Very good, sir,” said Nikki, as Kim moved to straddle his face. Nikki slipped down his body and said, in a far more passionate voice, “I think I’ll just have a banana.” She had pulled the sheet down, and was removing his dick from his briefs. “Mmm,” she muttered, “a gorgeous banana.”
Ron tried not to laugh as his tongue slipped out to caress Kimberly’s cunt. He traced the outside of her pussy lips before he delved between them, finding her inner lips, and her tight hole. His tongue slipped back and forth along her moist cunt, her juices flowing into his mouth. He continued his ministrations as Kim began to moan above him.
Meanwhile, Nikki was licking his shaft to complete hardness, not that this took very much. Then she closed her lips around the head of his cock, and sucked, using her tongue to lick at the very tip of his prick. Ron moaned with the sensation, but continued his licking of Kim’s slit.
Ron’s tongue danced along Kim’s pussy lips, and then slipped up to nuzzle her clit, which had begun to poke out from under its hood. Kimberly groaned loudly at the feel of it, and he repeated the action, driving her arousal higher.
Nikki’s mouth moved further down onto Ron’s shaft, until she felt his pubic hair tickle her nose. She began to suck furiously on his rod, moving her mouth rapidly up and down, keeping her lips and tongue in contact at all times. Ron’s hips were moving up at her, thrusting his cock further into her mouth. She savored the sensation as he fucked her mouth.
Ron’s lips closed on Kim’s clit, and he sucked her in as his tongue flicked across her sensitive bud. Kim began writhing on top of him, and he had to hold onto her hips to keep her in place. Finally, she came, crying out in pleasure and covering his face in her juices, which he lapped up greedily throughout her orgasm.
Once Kim had settled down, she moved off of Ron’s face, and then used her tongue to lick up all of her juice that had smeared on his face. They shared a kiss, their tongues playing back and forth. Nikki looked up to see the action.
“Okay,” she said, removing her mouth from his dick. “Now that you’ve had your juice, it’s time for the first course.”
“And what am I having today?” he asked.
“Why, melons, of course!” she said, and they all laughed. Both of the girls shook their chest at him. To be fair, he chose Nikki this time, and his tongue snaked out to slide along her right nipple. Nikki arched her back to press her tit into his mouth, and he opened his lips to take her in, sucking on her tit while his tongue played with her nipple. One hand fondled her other breast while his other hand rested on her ass, pulling her into him.
Kim wasted no time in moving down to resume the task that Nicole had started. Her tongue swirled around the tip of his dick before her lips slid softly over the head, moving as far down as she could manage. Her delicate fingers plied the rest of his dick, and slid down occasionally to fondle his balls.
Nikki moaned out her pleasure as Ron’s tongue danced on her tit. He had switched breasts to give equal time, and she loved it. Her brother was extremely good at pleasing her: he knew just what she liked. She reckoned it came from being able to read her mind, but just now she didn’t care.
Ron’s hand slipped between her legs, and his fingers started pushing past his sister’s cunt lips. She moaned loudly as his middle finger slipped up into her hole, and began moving in and out. Nikki was already highly aroused, and this treatment was heating her up fast. Ron’s finger moved faster and faster, as his mouth left her tit and moved up to her mouth. Their lips locked, and her tongue slipped into his mouth, sliding over his teeth and against his tongue. They moaned against each other as each felt wonderful sensations in their nether regions.
Nikki came hard, coating Ron’s fingers with her juices. He continued to slide his finger into her until her orgasm subsided, and he never broke their kiss.
He felt Kim’s mouth leave his cock, and she moved around on the bed. He couldn’t tell what she was doing without breaking his kiss with his sister, and he didn’t want to do that. He found out soon enough, anyway.
Kim straddled Ron’s waist, and slowly slipped herself down onto him. The walls of her pussy clung to his prick, slipping inch by inch down his shaft. Ron moaned into Nikki’s mouth as his body tingled with the pleasure. Kimberly groaned.
Finally, Nikki broke their kiss. Ron looked up with a twinkle in his eye and asked, “So, what part of breakfast is this?”
Nikki was always ready with a comeback. “First you have a light breakfast, then you exercise!”
“Ah,” Ron answered, followed by a groan as Kimberly began to move on his dick. He sighed, and then asked, “How many reps am I supposed to do of this exercise?” he asked devilishly.
“At least two!” Kim answered at once. They all laughed, but Kim never slowed her movements. As she bounced on Ron’s dick, Nikki sat up, and took Kim’s breast into her mouth, suckling on the nipple. Kim closed her eyes and moaned in bliss.
Ron watched as the two interacted. Then he reached out and took Kim’s other tit into his hand, kneading the flesh and pinching the nipple lightly. His other hand strayed between Nikki’s legs again. She moved her knees apart to allow him better access, and this time he reached for her clit. As his fingers passed over the small nubbin, she let go of Kim’s breast and uttered a sharp, “Oh, yes!”
Kimberly took the opportunity to return the favor to Nikki, bending down and lightly flicking her tongue over Nikki’s tits, paying special attention to her nipples. Nikki was very quickly on the verge of another orgasm. Ron reached out with his mind and sent a surge through her pleasure centers, and she was immediately over the edge. She collapsed backward on the bed, her own hand moving between her legs, and her body shuddering with the orgasm.
Meanwhile, Kim and Ron had revved up their own activities. Kimberly put her hands on Ron’s chest, and began to ride him harder. For his part, Ron reached up and groped Kimberly’s tits, manipulating them to maximum effect, eliciting pleasurable sounds from his partner.
Ron grew tired of this position, and, without warning, he grasped them both in his extension. He flipped them over, so that he was now on top. Kimberly looked up at him with some surprise, as she had not been treated to this before. He moved his hands to her hips, and began to pound into her. Her eyes closed as she sighed in contentment.
Kim wrapped her legs around Ron’s waist, and so he moved his hands beside her shoulders. He leaned down to kiss her as he continued to fuck her, their lips met tenderly, and then passionately. Her lips separated to allow his tongue access to her mouth. They remained that way for a while, moving together, in perfect sync.
Then, Ron broke their kiss, and increased their pace to a frenzy. Both of them were coming close to climax, and their grunts and cries filled the room. Ron pummeled her cunt, thrusting into her as fast as he could, and she bucked back up at him, trying to pull him farther into her with each stroke.
Finally, they came, their bodies convulsing in unison, their screams of pleasure echoing from the walls. Their climaxes lasted for several long moments before they both settled. Kim lay back on the bed, limp, as Ron sat up, his softening cock sliding from her moist pussy.
Nikki, who had finally recovered, leaned in and started to lick her brother clean. She smiled up at him devilishly, and he knew that this little game had just started.
Ron got up the next morning feeling a bit worn out. He’d never made it out of his quarters the day before, but he’d gotten very little rest. He’d asked the girls if what they were doing wasn’t supposed to wait for the honeymoon, but their answer was, “Why wait?” He didn’t have the heart to argue about it.
Now he walked down the hall in a clean and pressed uniform, going to breakfast – a normal one this time – and his morning briefing. He bumped into Linda as he entered the kitchen. Out of pure reflex, he leaned over and kissed her. She kissed him back, hard. He reminded himself that he had been neglecting some of the other females in the house, and that he should do something about it. But not right now.
They broke the kiss, and Linda smiled at him before moving into the hallway. Ron sat down with his cereal just as Lars and Karen came in. Kim entered a few moments later, and gave Ron a kiss before sitting down. The other two stifled a grin before beginning the morning brief.
It had taken several hours to put together the equipment for the reprogramming system. The facility had been fully destroyed in the attack a few months back, and Ron had to scavenge together the parts that he needed. Finally it was ready, though. He ran it through a self-test, and everything checked out. It was time for the first subject.
Ron walked over to Nikki’s room, where Crystal was staying for the time being. She was sitting on her bed reading when he walked in, but bolted to her feet as soon as she saw him. She stood in her usual posture, head tilted downward, eyes cast at the floor. “Good afternoon, Master,” she said.
He reached out and put his hand under her chin, gently guiding her eyes to his. “Crystal, I do not require you to keep your eyes down when you speak to me. I prefer to see who I am talking to. Okay?” She nodded.
“Good. Now, I have something I need you to do, so please come with me.” He led her out of the room and down the hall. It was nice to have the house mostly rebuilt. The contractor had done a good job, though the house was short on decoration, the structure was solid, and that’s what Ron had wanted.
They walked into Ron’s lab, and he directed her to sit in an office chair. It wasn’t nearly as comfortable as the original chair he had purchased for this job, but anything in a pinch…
“Okay, Crystal, I just want you to watch the television. The program may seem a bit boring, but I don’t want you to look away from it for an instant, okay?” Again she nodded, but did not speak. She was going to be a tough nut to crack, but he’d deal with that after the war was over. If he was still alive then.
Ron moved off to the computer controlling the program, and entered the startup command. He leaned back and watched Crystal’s posture as the program ran its course, looking for any sign of something going wrong. Once the program started, even her usual fidgeting ceased, and her eyes were glued to the screen. She watched, entranced, as the commands were absorbed into her brain.
What was happening to Crystal was something that Ron didn’t even know how to do without his program. Her neural paths were being aligned so that a signal sent to her from a psionic would be amplified, using the full force of her own mind. This required no concentration on her part, but it would drain her energy fairly quickly. The technique was good for only a short period of time, though without experimentation, Ron couldn’t say how long. The problem, as he had told his troops, was that once the alignment had taken place, the subject would become the unswervingly loyal servant of whichever person first used them as an amplifier. That would lock the specific identity in their psyche, and no one else would be able to affect them, or use them in this manner.
The programming took only a few minutes, and when it concluded, Crystal sat up and blinked her eyes, then looked to Ron.
“Now what, Master?”
“Come with me,” he responded, and led her outdoors. He needed to make sure of two things. First, that the damned programming actually did what he believed it did, and second, he needed to figure out how to activate the amplifier in her head. He led her to the remains of one of the old barracks which had been knocked down in the attack.
“Okay,” he said, standing behind her and facing her toward the ruined building, “I’m going to try something. Now, you may feel something strange, and you are probably going to get tired very quickly. Don’t worry about that, okay?”
She nodded again, a little fear in her eyes.
“I want you to focus on the building. Keep looking at the building, maybe even point to it if it helps you focus.” She did, lifting her left hand and extending her finger toward the center of the building. He hadn’t known she was left-handed. Amazing how you learn these things.
Ron concentrated his own mind on her. He thought he felt something click, as if an electrical switch had just been activated. He then sent a feeble amount of telekinetic energy to her mind. Immediately, from the tip of her finger exploded a huge gout of energy, lancing toward the building, and demolishing what remained of it. He cut off his energy flow, and the energy ceased to flow from her finger. There was nothing left of the structure. He quickly moved to her side, to see her staring blankly into space.
“Crystal?… Crystal!” He snapped his fingers in front of her face a few times, and slowly she came out of it.
“Wh… what happened, Master?”
Ron sighed with relief. Apparently it wasn’t physical energy that it made use of, but mental reserves. The blast had made her temporarily catatonic, but she recovered quickly. Already, he could see that her mind was building its store of energy back up. The psionic repeater could be used, it appeared, about once every three minutes in an emergency, but he didn’t want to think about how that might affect the person doing the amplifying.
“Don’t worry about it, sweetheart,” he answered, and she beamed at him. “We’re done. Why don’t you go and get some rest. Are you tired at all?”
“A little bit,” she responded, stifling a yawn.
He chuckled. “Okay, go take a nap then. Someone will call you when dinner’s ready.”
“Ron?” It was his mother standing at his door this time.
“Hi, Mom. C’mon in.”
“Honey, the contractor would like to talk to you.”
“Oh. Okay. Send him in.”
Mark Brisco had done an excellent job for Ron. He had kept up with changing demands and impossible timetables. His worry, now, was payment. He entered the room respectfully, but in a businesslike manner.
“Good morning, sir,” Brisco said.
“Good morning to you, Mr. Brisco. What can I do for you today?”
“Well, sir, all the work you have requested of my company is finished. Unless you have more tasks for us, it’s time for us to move on.”
“Well… No, I can’t think of anything more you can do here. But, um… where do you plan on going to?”
“That was my next question. We’ve put in an awful lot of work with a guarantee of payment at the end of the job. We’ve been working for ten months now…”
“With room and board provided,” Ron put in.
“Yes, and that was very generous of you, sir. The problem, as I see it, is that there isn’t exactly much of an economy left in the country. Money is going to be next to useless after you guys get done destroying everything. Beg pardon, sir, that’s not a slight on you: I know you didn’t have much choice.”
“No, but I understand the comment. You’re worried that money will be of no use in the new society.”
“Well, I’ve thought about that, Mr. Brisco.” Ron opened a desk drawer and pulled out a large box. In the box were several thousand red chips. Like poker chips, but they contained the emblem of the PPA. Also, they were specially made to be very hard to counterfeit. He slid the box across the desk to the contractor.
“These are… oh, for lack of a better term, ‘favor chips’. You have done us a very big favor. Each of these chips can be redeemed for a favor in return. Each member of the PPA has agreed to honor a favor request from someone who possesses one of these chips. Or, if that person can’t fill the request, he will direct you to someone who can. The PPA will remain in existence here at headquarters. Also, roving PPA members have agreed to wear this emblem after the war, so that they can be identified. This is only good for the first two years, you understand. After that, they have promised to still honor the chips, but they’ll be a lot harder to find, except right here.”
“And I’m just supposed to accept this as payment?”
“Mr. Brisco, after the war is over, psionics are going to be the only people with easy access to resources. There are already reports of looting and gang-fights all around the country. The people are reverting to a survivalist mentality. The world is going to function on a barter system. Because we exist here, we’ve been able to protect this community fairly well, but you’ll notice that food is already getting scarce, even for us. We’re traveling farther and farther away to obtain supplies. And these chips are what we are using to pay for those supplies. Now, if you don’t want them, I’m sure I can divvy them up among your crew, who would see the sense in this proposal.”
“All right, all right.” He hefted the box. “How big a favor does a single chip get me?”
“That depends on the psionic. When you ask for the favor, they will tell you how many chips it’s worth. We have established some basic guidelines for this system. Keep in mind, these favors should be used mainly to keep yourself alive for the next few years until something like a government re-emerges from the chaos.”
“Right. Well, I have to go distribute these to my men.”
“One last thing, Mr. Brisco. You and your men are welcome to continue occupying the barracks until the war is over. You’re in a safe place here, there’s not much point in leaving it.”
“Thank you for that, General. I will let them decide for themselves whether they wish to stay or go. Good day.”
“And to you, sir.”
Mr. Brisco left with his payment, and Ron returned to his battle plans.
It didn’t take long for new recruits to start swarming the facility. Each had brought along a civilian, as requested. Jill had a hard time keeping up with them all, so Ron detailed a couple of the new recruits to help her. Ron showed Karen the controls for the new system, and then he left it to her to deal with. He was hoping for somewhere between ten and fifteen thousand troops, total, and to reprogram that number of people would take a bare minimum of six days. They still had two weeks before their deadline, and he hoped it would be enough.
One week later, all the troops had finally arrived. The soldiers from Australia and New Zealand had been, understandably, the last to arrive. It had taken them three days just to make the journey. In total, Ron was left with an army of 14,206 psionics, ranging in strength from a shaky level 9 to a strong level 14. They ranged in age from 12 to nearly 40. He had noticed a strange trend about his military personnel: they seemed to have achieved high rank very quickly. He wondered if this had to do with their Ability or not, but he had no chance, or reason, to worry about it.
No one in his army was over the age of forty, and Ron wondered what that meant, as well. He had never run across an elderly psionic. Where were they? Had they been killed early, having lost some strength in their Ability? Or was the psionic phenomenon so new that there just weren’t any? No, that couldn’t be true: the ShadowDragon had been around for centuries, Lars said.
Well, it’s not really important at the moment.
“Bring forth the prisoner,” he intoned, returning to the job at hand.
Michelle was led from her cell. She had been subdued by the loss of her power. No longer did she kick and scream, but shuffled along peaceably, without resistance. They led her before Ron, and then a PPA soldier stood on either side of her.
“Michelle Donalli, the court reminds you that you have been found guilty of high treason against the United States of America. The first portion of your punishment has already been carried out. Now, the court directs you to perform the second section of your punishment, that is, the delivery of a written challenge to the enemy.” Ron reached out with his mind, and implanted just enough controls to make sure that she would do as she was told. “If the enemy refuses the challenge, you are to return here with any message they might wish to deliver. If the enemy accepts the challenge, you may choose to fight with them against us, or return here to finish out your punishment. Is this understood?”
“Yes,” she said meekly.
“Good. Lieutenant, give the lady a jeep and enough gas to make it at least a thousand miles. After that, you’ll be on your own, Miss Donalli. I hope you have contacts close by. Good luck to you: you’re going to need it.”
Ron dismissed her with a wave of his hand, and then intoned, “This court stands adjourned.”
Ron was directing a training session when Jill came to get him.
“Master, I think you’d better come quickly.” They jogged back into the house, and then went to the bedrooms. He found Dawn packing her stuff into a duffel bag.
“What are you doing?” he asked calmly.
She looked at him, fire in her eyes. “What does it look like I’m doing? They say you’re leaving for that big battle in a few days. I don’t want to be anywhere near here when that all happens. You say that, one way or another, the war will be over after this battle. If that’s true, I don’t need your protection anymore. My son and I don’t need to be around you and your freaks any longer than necessary.”
Ron sighed. He had hoped for a better resolution than this. But he had not really expected it. “You know, since he is also my son, there is every chance that he could be a psionic, too.”
Dawn turned and advanced on him, fury on her face. “My son,” she said, seething, “is not a freak! He is a normal, healthy little boy! And I want him away from here, so he can grow up without your twisted values and way of life! You’re marrying your sister, for Christ’s sake!”
“There was a time when I would have tried to explain this to you, Sis. Now, I merely feel sorry for you. Where is Nathan?”
“He’s in the next room. Why?”
“I’m going to have a talk with him before you leave.”
“I’m leaving right now. There’s no time – “ Ron cut her off with a look.
“That wasn’t a request.” He walked to the door leading into Nathan’s play room, opened the door, and closed it behind him. Dawn tried to follow, but found the door locked. This was odd, because the doorknob did not have a lock on it.
Inside the room, Ron found Nathan playing with some blocks. Ron sat down on the floor, and Nathan immediately brought some of the blocks over to him, so they could play together. Ron took them, and set them on the floor. He gently took hold of his son, and set him in his lap.
Dawn could hear nothing on the other side of the door. No sound, no conversation. She didn’t know what was going on inside that room, and she desperately needed to know her son was safe. She tried to bust the door with her shoulder, but a force not only stopped her, but repelled her back across the room. She did not attempt to touch the door again.
Nearly an hour later, Ron emerged from the room, Nathan holding his hand. He picked his son up and gave him a final hug before handing him off to his mother.
“You will never return here, under any circumstances. You will not tell Nathan who his father is until he is at least fourteen. And it would be best if you simply did not tell him about psionics at all. After Thursday, there probably won’t be all that many of us left, anyway.”
“Good,” she said spitefully.
“Where do you intend to go?”
“Somewhere you’re not. Somewhere away from here.”
“Knoxville, Kentucky is still standing. You might want to head in that direction. At least there will still be food available, and the gang-wars have been held at bay. Dawn, you shouldn’t be leaving, but I won’t stop you. But I want you to understand this: you are no longer welcome here. You’re too much of a disruption.”
“Like I would ever want to come back to what you’ve turned our home into! A fucking harem!”
“Dawn, leave, before I actually get angry.” Ron didn’t need her self-righteous indignation at the moment, and he was holding his temper in check as it was.
Dawn hefted her duffel, and walked out the door. Lars was standing at the end of the hallway. She saw no way past him.
“Lars, give her the keys to the Suburban. She can’t very well walk out of here, she’d never get anywhere.”
“Yes, sir!” Lars responded. Dawn followed him off to the garage, and Ron watched her go, knowing that he had seen his older sister for the last time. He felt that he should be more upset than he was.
“She just couldn’t understand, honey,” his mother said behind him.
“No. I’m sorry it had to be this way.”
“We’ll never hear from her again, I fear.”
“Probably not, but Nathan will be back. When his Ability comes out, she’s going to freak.”
“Are you sure he has it?”
“How do you know?”
“I saw it in his mind.”
It was noon, and it was the first of June. Ron realized that rhymed, but he was in no mood to smile. Michelle had not returned, so he could only assume that the challenge had been accepted. But he had no way of knowing for sure, until the FC was sighted. He had troops stationed all around the perimeter of his position, not allowing them the option of sneaking up behind him.
The PPA was positioned on the dusty flat plains of West Texas. Ron had chosen this spot for two reasons. The first was that his home was far enough away not to be affected by the battle. The second was simply that there was nothing here for hundreds of miles. The major cities of Lubbock and Midland-Odessa had been devastated long ago. Even the smaller towns of Andrews, Lamesa, and Seminole were gone. This area was desolate, barren, and completely devoid of human life. Ron could think of no better place to wage an all-out war.
He had positioned his troops in a circular formation. They had taken the time to dig trenches and fox holes, to hide the psionic repeaters in, to keep them safe until they were needed. Also, he had pulled his fifteen hundred or so mentspecs back into the center of the formation. They were not useful in a straightforward fight: they didn’t have good control of telekinesis or a powerful shield. They were, however, good at confusing the enemy, and he would use that to his full advantage. He had already given them their orders, and he knew they were anxious to show that they could be a useful part of the team.
It was just after two when the alarm was raised. The Filitov Council – all of it – was coming in from the east. Ron’s forces turned to face them, waiting for the command to begin the battle.
Ron stood his ground. He was standing on a small hill, above the battlefield, watching the enemy come in. They started to spread out, filling the sky. It reminded him of the black menace from Los Angeles, but there were far more of them here. Also, he could see that some vehicles were present. He found that strange, but ignored them for the moment.
It was next to impossible to guess their numbers, but it looked like nearly twice as many men as he had to command. He couldn’t let them encircle his formation, so as soon as they had spread out to the width of his front line, he ordered the battle to begin.
Ron raised his own shields and fired off the first volley. Immediately, a Russian fell from the sky. He was assaulted by four others, but his shields held. He rolled backward, using the hill as cover. He was no longer visible to his enemy, and so they stopped firing. He built up a strong ball of mental energy, and got to his feet. His head just cleared the crest of the hill, and he saw his target. He loosed the ball of energy, and directed it, taking out half a dozen men before the energy dissipated.
Suddenly, the enemy was charging him. He raised his shields and ducked behind the hill again, running down it and to the north. He was sure they were expecting him to fly off the hill, but he had given his troops orders not to fly unless absolutely necessary. Flying ate up psionic energy that could better be used for killing. Running, however, did not interfere with his mental energy, and so he used his good old-fashioned feet to maneuver.
He came around a large rock to see the FC troops trying to circle the hill he was on. He fired a blast from behind his rock, taking one of them down. Another tried to hit him with a tremendous blast, but he ducked behind the large rock, and the energy sizzled past him harmlessly. He rolled out from the other side of the rock, rose to his knees, and, with laser precision, cut off the offending trooper’s head. Ron ran on, dodging fire as he went.
Lars was carrying the sword that Ron had given him. He hefted it in his hands. Though none of the enemy were close enough for him to use it as a weapon, its symbolism was useful. He channeled his psionic energies along the blade, using it as an aiming device, taking down Russians one by one. Two tried to sneak up behind him, and his shields took the brunt of their impact, until he wheeled on them, a slashing shot charging through the sky. One was killed, the other severely wounded, and he fell out of the air.
Lars ran up to him, ready for the man’s counterattack. The man was bleeding badly from the gash Lars’ first shot had caused. The man looked up at Lars, knowing his end had come. One quick swipe of the blade, and the sword had claimed its first life.
He wasted no time gloating over this victory, but turned to find more enemies. It wasn’t hard: they were all over the place.
Kim would really rather have been by Ron’s side, but the battle plan on this day called for people to fight alone. Only when it appeared that group warfare would be useful would teams form up. The Filitov Council seemed to accept this as the proper course of action, as they, too, separated and came one by one.
A tall female swooped down out of the sky, charging Kim at full speed. Kimberly, as she was taught, merely rolled aside at the last minute, then turned on her knees and blasted the attacker into a cinder. Kim could feel another one behind her. With no time to roll, she merely lay flat on the ground. The enemy swooped over her with bare inches to spare, and no time for him to make any sort of energy strike. Kim was luckier: her hands lanced out and a tongue of flame erupted from her hands, incinerating the poor bastard while he was still in flight.
Kim rolled over, and saw that she had at least an opportunity to stand back up. Once up, however, she was a target once more. Two Russians came at her, one from either side. Their blasts would not penetrate her shields, but she redirected them, instead of stopping them. The two FC soldiers ended up annihilating each other before they knew what was happening.
Kimberly saw that one of her friends was in trouble, being attacked by three soldiers all at once. Kim’s mind-whip flicked out, squeezing the life from one of them. Her friend managed to take down the other two without further assistance, and he waved to her his thanks. Kim moved on.
Colonel Maxton was not surprised that Ron had overlooked a unique tactic for distracting the enemy. He had never served in the military, and he didn’t know that often, artillery fire is used for nothing more than to give the enemy grief.
Bob had come up with a technique he called “Ammo and Energy”. He had procured about a thousand M-16 rifles and ammunition for them. He had distributed these to select former military troops. The idea was to get the enemy so focused on avoiding the gunfire, they would blunder into the psionic blasts. Of course, if a Russian or two was felled by a good old-fashioned lead bullet, that was okay, too.
Maxton raised his weapon, and his shields. He took aim, and fired. And missed, but this was expected. Because as he fired his gun, he had also let off a psionic burst, just to the right of his shot. His enemy, avoiding the gunfire, was stunned by the burst of psionic energy. The temporary lapse in concentration was all Maxton needed, and he lanced a more powerful ray of power at the trooper. The trooper was killed instantly, his heart crisped by the blast.
Again and again, Bob repeated the technique. Others were doing the same, and having good luck with it. He wished he’d thought of it sooner, but at least he had thought of it.
Shana was not doing well. From the beginning she had been dogged by her opponents. Four and five of them at a time would come after her, hoping to catch her off-guard, or get her to lose her balance. Her shields were still up, and she had taken down half a dozen of the enemy already, but they just wouldn’t leave her alone.
Finally, she’d had enough. Summoning her strength, she threw a massive ball of force at them. Three of the five hounding her were thrown forcibly to the ground, their skulls and other bones fracturing on impact. The two remaining turned and ran from her wrath.
This was a good thing, as she had very little energy left at that moment. Their temporary absence gave her a chance to recover from her desperate move.
Ron was doing his best to keep an eye on how the battle was going as a whole. He had planned this one out to go a certain way, and he needed to make sure that things were happening as they should. After nearly a half-hour of fighting, he realized that his troops were being overwhelmed by the greater numbers. He had expected this, but had hoped it wouldn’t happen. He had a plan for it, however.
On command, the teams that had trained together sought each other out. Each had agreed on a meeting spot, and every member knew where they were relative to that spot. The units ranged from Ron’s group of twenty, all the way up to John Termannic’s group of over five hundred. Each group leader had his or her own tactics, and would implement them as discussed in the meetings. Ron trusted them to do that. They trusted Ron to know when enough was enough.
John formed up his team into a circular formation. The inner groups would erect an energy barrier, to protect the unit as a whole. The outside lines would act as offense, attacking any enemy stupid enough to get too close. John stayed in the middle of the formation, directing troops to move on or off the shield line, making sure they didn’t get too tired, giving them time to rest, and then moving them forward to the attacking line, so that they could have a shot at killing the bastards who had brought them to this point.
At first, the Russians made efforts to penetrate the barricade, but with so many psionics pouring power into it, only the strongest of the Russians stood a chance of even a point-breach. None of them could have taken the shield down entirely. As the enemy realized this, they bypassed John’s group for the smaller teams.
John had prepared for this. He immediately divided his unit into two groups, giving command of one to his second in command. The smaller groups again attracted attention, but the technique still worked. John wondered how long they could keep the Russians occupied like this
Ron kept his small group hidden. They were less-capable fighters, and he had chosen them more to keep them safe than to enhance his combat capability. They were good for keeping an eye on each part of the battle for him, and letting him know what was going on.
Their numbers were starting to dwindle dangerously, and he couldn’t let that happen. The Russians were clumped into small groups. He needed them in bigger groups if his attack was to be successful.
Circle One was the line of foxholes dug to protect the psionic repeaters. Ron led his troops down off their hill into their positions in circle one. He found Crystal cringing in a foxhole. He dropped down into it, to give her confidence, and to wait for the timing to be right.
One of his men reported to him that Circle One had been achieved, and that the Russians were now surrounding the formation. He held Crystal tightly, letting her know it was now time for her to do her job. She nodded to him, and they lifted out of the hole.
The Russians were very surprised to see the PPA using what appeared to be normals as human shields. The FC was temporarily stalled, unsure of what to make of this new, seemingly cowardly, technique.
called Ron, as he focused his energy through Crystal. Her hands were spread out before her, her fingers splayed apart. A massive bolt of energy shot from her hands, spreading across a wide arc of sky.
Similarly, all along the circle, each psionic that remained employed the technique, and massive amounts of energy were released. Some enterprising psionics had even adopted the repeaters of fallen comrades, so that the energy level would still be there.
The Russians didn’t stand a chance against such a forceful volley of mental fire. Thousands fell in the first seconds. The attack could only last for five seconds, but in that five seconds, the Russians had lost forty percent of their attacking force.
After the attack was complete, Ron dropped back down into the hole, telling Crystal to remain hidden there. He jumped out of the hole, and pulled his unit back together. What was to happen at this point was already known, and Ron didn’t need to give orders.
Again the troops were on their own, back to one on one battles. Kimberly allowed a scream to leave her throat as she took the lives of Russian after Russian.
She turned when she heard the gunfire. It was different from what Colonel Maxton was using, and it instantly drew her attention. What she saw made her blood boil.
Michelle Donalli was riding in the back of a large truck, firing what appeared to be a .50 caliber machine-gun into the PPA lines. Kim could tell that several soldiers had already fallen to this weapon.
Kim’s rage boiled to the surface. With a mighty battle cry, she flung her energies full force into the truck. The truck exploded, instantly killing everyone within, including the hated traitor. A satisfied grin came to Kim’s face as she thought about their little tussle in the forest. Guess we found out who Ron really loved, didn’t we, bitch?
She turned back to her enemies, satisfied with her actions, and ready to kill more.
The battle raged on as Ron made it into Circle Two. This was the encampment of the mentspecs, the territory that was defended by a solid wall of seven hundred kinspec soldiers. He made his way to the commander of the mentspec unit, a colonel by the name of Rosselli.
“Colonel, are your people ready?” Ron asked.
“Yes, sir!” he shouted.
“Then, by all means, commence the operation!”
At a signal from Rosselli, the mentspecs concentrated on the minds of their opponents. Although they couldn’t do significant damage physically, in the middle of a battle, when mental shields were at their lowest ebb, a mentspec could slip in and, at least, distract his enemy so that another PPA soldier could take the fucker out. At best, and this was often the case, the mentspecs were able to completely shut down the autonomous nervous systems of the enemy, causing their heart and lungs to simply stop operating, and thereby killing the enemy without firing a shot.
Soon, it was obvious to the Russians that this center encampment was the cause of the trouble. Zinaida herself led an attack on the unit. Ron saw her at the head of the approaching column, and he saw red. Before anyone knew what was going on, he flew up out of the midst of the mentspecs, toward Zinaida. She barely had time to see him coming and raise her shields before he slammed into her, his shields at full strength.
“Continue the attack!” she shouted as some of her troops slowed to help her. “I can handle this bastard!”
“Think so, bitch?” he taunted. She blasted energy at him which he adroitly dodged. He fired back at her, using a series of short but powerful blasts. They impacted on her shielding, causing a soft rat-a-tat sound. She laughed at him.
“Is that the best you’ve got? Come, and I will end your miserable life!” She leveled a high energy blast at him. He thought to teach her a lesson about who was stronger. He let her power wash over his shields for just a moment, not fazed by it. Then, he turned his shield inside-out, directing her energy back at her. She was thrown from the sky by her own attack, slamming into the ground with massive force that would have killed anyone who hadn’t the presence of mind to cushion her impact.
But while she was doing that, Ron was chasing down after her. He rained down many sharp, penetrating shots onto her shields. Some of the energy in his attacks made its way to her body, and she began to feel weaker.
She turned in fury, hoping to catch him with a laser-shot to the head, but she couldn’t find him. Ron had turned himself invisible, and had even masked his own psionic abilities from her senses. He was doing things he’d never been capable of before, and he didn’t question why. All he knew was that before him right now was the cock-sucking bitch that had cost him a year of hell and an awful lot of friends.
“This,” he said calmly, “is for Jessica.” He burned his way through her shields with a blast of kinetic energy. She focused her powers on stopping this, and so wasn’t able to avoid the mental attack that froze her body. Her shields dropped instantly, and her mind shut down. Ron had complete control of her at this point. He thought at first that he would just kill her, but he remembered something he’d learned about, and thought he had a better punishment for her. He lifted her limp body in his arms, and carried her off into the center of Circle Two. He ignored the very startled faces he saw there.
“What’s happening, Colonel?” he asked Rosselli.
“Sir, we’re doing the best we can, but there’s still more of them than there are of us!”
“What are we down to?”
“Less than eight thousand. They’ve still got nearly fifteen thousand troops!”
Circle Three was just outside of Circle Two, and inside of Circle One. The point was to form a solid wall, one person thick. The soldiers pulled their repeaters from their hiding places as they moved back. Kimberly showed up with Crystal, and her own repeater, in tow.
“What now, Ron?” she asked breathlessly.
“Now, we call in reinforcements.”
While everyone except Kim looked on in astonishment, Ron closed his eyes, and seemed to fade off into sleep.
Seconds later, his eyes were open again. But by the time he had gotten his bearings back, support had already arrived. The Russians did not see them at first, for they appeared behind them. The Guardians swept down out of the sky, and they uttered, as a single voice, a battle cry that shook the ground.
In unison, the circle of PPA soldiers let loose a thundering pulse of energy. It washed over the Russian soldiers. Some of them were able to withstand the might of such an attack, but a great many could not. They had been harassed and punished for too long, and they simply succumbed to the massive amounts of energy that were being thrown at them.
Those Russians that remained alive were by no means free and clear. After the PPA attack had subsided, the Guardians joined in, volleying heavy fire into the rear guard of the Russians. FC troops were dropping out of the sky like flies. Ron watched in satisfaction as the battle finally turned to the PPA’s favor.
“What are we going to do with her?” Kim wanted to know, referring to Zinaida Dostoyeva, still lying comatose on the floor.
“You’ll see, later.” He reached over and kissed her, right in the midst of the battle. No one said a word.
Although the battle raged for another hour, it was clear who would be victorious. To their credit, the Filitov Council soldiers fought to the very last man, dying with honor and bravery for a fight they knew was lost. Of course, they had nowhere to run, and the PPA wasn’t accepting any offers of surrender, so they were highly motivated. But in the end, it didn’t matter.
When someone did a count later, it turned out that 32,612 Filitov Council bodies were lying on the plains of West Texas. This didn’t reflect an accurate count of troop strength, however, because many soldiers, like Michelle Donalli, had been vaporized during the battle.
The sadder number was that Ron would be returning to headquarters with only 7,226 members of his army. The victory had been very costly.
Ron took the time, before they left the battlefield, to meet with his Guardian friends.
“Callista, Minerva, Valeria, I can’t thank you all enough for your help today. Without the Guardians… well, actually, we might not have won this one.”
“Ron,” Callista said, “We are charged with helping the Earth Realm. There could have been no better use of us than in this time of need.”
“Frankly,” Minerva said, “We’re just glad it’s over. Maybe now, when you visit, it’ll be strictly for fun.” The other girls giggled as Ron took her in his arms and kissed her.
“I promise to try to stop by more often… for fun.” He winked at her, and she blushed.
“Now, we must return to Guardian Hall. We’ve already been in Earth Realm too long. We’re starting to weaken. Ron, it was good to fight by your side. Give our praises to your courageous troops.”
Kim walked up, seeing that the conversation was ending. Callista turned to her, and bowed her head in respect. “You will take good care of him for us, I trust?”
“I will do my best,” Kim replied honestly.
“Yes. Perhaps you can come to Guardian Hall with him some time. You are always welcome.”
There were a few more parting comments, and then the Guardians lifted off into the sky, and soon vanished, returning to the Spirit Realm where they belonged.
“C’mon, Kim. It’s time to go home.”
As they flew home, Ron carrying Zinaida’s still-limp body, Bob Maxton flew up to join them.
“Hey, General, I was wondering… do you think we’ll be greeted by another song?”
“Count on it, Bob. And if I’m right in my guess about who’s doing it, I think I know which song it’ll be. She really likes Queen.”
Sure enough, as the army approached the house, a song blared from its loudspeakers…
Here we are… Born to be kings… We’re the Princes of the Universe…
Bob laughed as they landed, and Ron smiled. Well, we may not be immortal, but we damned sure were fighting for survival.
Nikki and the rest of the family came out to greet their returning heroes. They knew, from messages sent ahead, that the war was indeed over, and that the United States had triumphed. Well, thought Ron, that’s a little optimistic. Triumphed is a little too strong. Survived is even a little shaky. He shook off the thoughts as his future wife embraced him to welcome him back.
“Nikki, I want you to come with me.” Ron didn’t give her a chance to question him as he walked quickly down the hall toward the military portion of the building.
They entered a cell where Lars, Kim, and Karen were waiting, with another person that Nikki couldn’t see, for she had her back to the doorway. When Nikki was directed around the table, she saw…
“No, not Michelle,” Ron corrected. “This is Zinaida Dostoyeva, crown princess of the Filitov Council of Russia. She thought she wanted to rule the planet. She forgot that some of us might not like the idea.”
Zinaida was conscious, but only barely. Ron had maintained a severe clamp on her movement and had closed off her access to her Ability completely. He didn’t know for just how long he could keep her like this, but it only needed to last for just a little while longer.
“Nikki, I want to offer you a little wedding present.”
“During the war, we found out that psionic power can be transferred from one person to another. Usually, it kills the psionic in the process, but I know how to prevent that from happening. I’m offering you Zinaida’s Ability.”
Nikki sat down, stunned at the idea. “You mean, I’d be… like you?”
“That’s right. You’d be a psionic. You’d have to learn how to use your powers, but soon you’d be able to do everything I can do. Well, almost. I did beat her, after all.” There were chuckles around the room.
Nikki sat back, dazed. She had never even considered the possibility. She looked around at everyone in the room, but got no help there. Everyone was supportive, but no one said a word. She thought back to when she had learned about Ron’s Ability, and how it had changed their lives… but she thought most about how it had changed his life, and what it had meant for him.
She shook her head, and stood back up. “No thanks. I appreciate the offer, Big Brother, really I do, but no. I’ve seen what kind of responsibility this thing carries with it. I’ve seen what it’s made you, and Kim, and everyone else have to do. Things you didn’t want to, things you didn’t like. And even with the war over, I’m not sure you’re past all that. I don’t think I want that kind of responsibility right now. I’m just happy being yours.” She smiled at him, and gave him a soft kiss, before leaving the room.
Ron turned to Kim. She shrugged and said, “I warned you.”
“Yes, you did, Sweetheart. Now what?”
Kim thought for a moment, and made a suggestion. Ron immediately agreed, and another person was summoned.
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