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Writer, soldier, thinker, and science fiction lover. I just can't seem to find a way to divide my adventurous self of constant outdoor activity and exercise from my nerdy self playing games and going to conventions. So why not just be both?

 I am a young professional living out of Tallahassee, Florida for the past five years. I have been on a deployment with the United States Army and continue to work outside of my other occupations to better myself mentally and physically. My passion for writing is driven by my passion for everything I find entertaining in life, and of course by my friends and family.

Friday, October 24, 2014

The Horseman's Blade, Part 5

He opened the door; it was Emily with an ammunition box. “Hey, you don’t have any rounds.” She came in past Spears without him inviting her in. She set the box down by the nightstand and looked at the rifle he had laid out on his mattress. “Have you ever used one before?”

“You mean a rifle? Yes, I wouldn’t be here if I hadn’t.”

“No I mean the Sig. I’m not familiar with the operating system.” Spears swallowed something heavy in his throat before he answered her.

“I’m not too familiar with it. I know it’s new, but it’s still a simple blow back action like most standard assault rifles. As for taking it apart, I have no clue.” She turned to him as he finished speaking.

“So I’ve been able to talk to everyone else, but you. So how’d you get here?”

“I was about to ask you the same, I mean women aren’t known nor wanted for this type of work.”

“My gender has nothing to do with it.”

“On the contrary,” he said avoiding her original question “you don’t know these other guys, you’re a target, and if we were overpowered and boarded by pirates you’d be the first one taken.”

“We’ll you’ll stop that won’t you?" A brow raised in a challenge from her. "Anyways, you never answered me.” He rolled his eyes and let out a sigh of tired annoyance.

“I’m a veteran, and I’ve done work like this before, in Angola.” Spears took a seat on the bed next to the night stand as he opened the bucket. “And now you have to answer the question, how did a woman get this job?” He asked as he took a round from the bucket and snapped the first round into a magazine.

“I work for the Corporation, along with the other two. We are actually on the pay roll for the company. We just happened to be shorthanded for this work sort of work, and the main security force is prioritized.”

Spears stopped half way with the magazine and looked up at her. “Why would this company need its own security force?” He had read a pamphlet; it said they produced medicine and computer technology, he understood security, but a whole security force?

“It’s cheaper to have individuals like me who can be placed in anyone of the needs than to hire a mercenary like you.” Spears looked up at her with narrowing eyes.

“I never said I was mercenary.”

Please, we both know Angola didn’t hire ‘security’ specialists. You were an illegal mercenary.” Spears went back to his magazine and like any good tactician, bit his tongue for a moment.

“What does this company actually do, that it needs its own security force?”

“Just computer technology and medicine. It’s the shipping back and forth that normally requires us. Although, I have heard that there is a biological response team for the company.” Spears finished filling the first magazine and looked up at her.

“Why would the company need a biological response team?”

“Has something to do with the medicine,” she shrugged her shoulders “I think it’s a waste of money, I’ve never actually heard them ever being used.” She began to crack her fingers and then looked down at him. “Well I’m tired, by the way, Steven gave you and me day watch. We’ll be out there at 6:00. See you in the morning.” She left before he could say anything to her. He finished filling his magazines up as the thought about the biological response teams that Emily mentioned. It didn’t make sense in his mind, a company like this wouldn’t need a biological response team, either Emily was lying to him or she was incredibly stupid. For now he chose to believe the latter.

Spears eyes shot open. He had fallen asleep, but had not realized it. He had no idea of the time of day, or night. He knew his shift had not started yet; someone would have been by to wake him by now. He was still dressed, but he had removed his boots. He slid his feet back into them and tightened them. He brushed his hand through his buzzed hair and realized his hat wasn’t on. He turned and found it propped on his pillow. He adjusted it on his head and checked his watch on his left hand 5:45, his watch didn’t start for another fifteen minutes. He had propped his rifle up in the corner, another event he didn’t remember. He stood up and felt light, as if he was on the clouds around Olympus. The room seemed to grow darker, fuzzy, static ran by his eyes and he took a step to the corner and his bearings were back. His vision was fixed and he felt, normal again.

He picked up his rifle by the sling and did one more check of it. He chamber was empty as he left it. He picked up the loaded magazines on the night stand and left his cabin. He headed up the stairs where he passed Mark going down the stairs. He had to flatten himself against the small hall for Mark to be able to get by. He looked exhausted from the night watch. Spears headed up, past the bridge and onto the cat walk around the tower of the bridge. Jesse passed by him and barely acknowledged Spears, but his exhaustion told the story, neither he nor Mark were ready for night watch, their bodies weren’t adjusted yet. Spears went to his spot and looked back across the adjacent corner. Emily was already there, she too wore the clothes from the previous night. He looked back across his post to the ocean; he knew nothing was going to happen on this horizon, they were still too close to United States.

Spears stood watch and could feel his skin burning under the light. He took a step back into the shade and looked down onto the lower deck of the ship. He could see the crew was carrying boxes from the top down to the cargo hold. He could read the large letters stamped on the sides in stencil, ORCUS FEED. He had no idea what an Orcus was, or what it the world an Orcus ate. As he thought about it, he was never told what they were shipping. Not that it mattered, but he now began to wonder if they were shipping some sort of food to a zoo, or even if they were caring live animals below deck. He looked back over and saw Emily was peering out the opposite direction into the horizon. He looked back down; the crew had finished with the last of the boxes.

Spears had stood in the shade for the majority of his shift, his skin was still bright, burning red, the sun sought him out wherever he moved to. The 12 hours of silence allowed his thoughts to drown in an ocean of loneliness. The sun was finally setting; the water began to have a green tint to it. Spears hung on to his sling over his right shoulder and began to lean on his right side against the rail.

A siren screamed. Spears’ right ear throbbed. He turned around and looked at the twin sirens above him. He stared into the sound in a numbed sensation. He had no clue what it meant until he heard the high pitched squeal of the bridge door opening. He looked over to see Steven hanging out of the door puffed up, reddening around the cheeks and a thick vein coming from his forehead. “Get down below, now!” He stormed back into the bridge and stared with narrowed eyes and gritted teeth down at something on one of the consoles. Spears looked over at Emily who was then looking at him with a look of questioning. Spears shook his head and headed into the bridge and Emily followed close by.

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