Among the Shine Clan, Dellani Oakes

Among the Shine Clan – Part 20 by Dellani Oakes

among the shine clan coverThere is a wonderful party after the ceremony. After a special dance, Deacon takes Fiddlestix back to bed. The following morning, Jasper wakes them again, because it’s time for her to go home.

“I don’t want to go, Deacon. I wish I could stay with you forever.”

“You could, Hannah-Belle.”

“I’ve got commitments, Deacon. I can’t walk out on them.”

“I know, baby, I just don’t want you to go.”

“I’ll come back.”

“You promise?”

“Cross my heart,” she whispered, her voice catching in her throat.

“I’m gonna hold you to that promise, Hannah. You stole my heart right out of my chest. You can’t stay gone, a man can’t live with long without his heart.”

“I’ll give you mine then,” she placed her hand on his chest.

She could feel his heart beating strong and fast. Suddenly terrified by the idea of commitment, she kissed him one last time and dashed from the room. Deacon followed her to the door, stopping just outside the compound as she and her people prepared to march down the mountain. Their air transport, sent by Captain Bark, would pick them up near their drop point and take them back to their base.

Deacon raised his hand, whistling to catch her attention. The sharp, shrill sound rent the air. Fiddlestix turned and grinned, raising a hand to wave goodbye. Deacon blew her a kiss which she returned. One last, fond look and she ran to the head of the formation, bellowing at her troops.

“Move it out! Double time. Don’t make me wait!”

“Yes, Master Sergeant!” they yelled in unison, speeding up.

The last Deacon saw of her was her spiky, blonde hair bobbing at the head of the column. That faded into the mist that hung over the mountain top. With a heavy sigh, he turned and walked disconsolately back into the compound. Jasper ran up behind him, nearly tackling him.

“Yo, big brother! You’ve got a meeting at 1100.”

“Yeah? So what? Maybe I’ll cancel all my meetings today.”

“No can do, bro. Life’s got to go on, Deacon. Even if she’s gone, you can’t stop doing your duty.”

“I know. It’s duty got me into this, it’s duty that will keep me going until she comes back.”

Punching his brother in the arm, he walked to his office. He sat behind the desk that had been his father’s and grandfather’s before him, wondering what else life had in store.

Fiddlestix had to force herself not to keep looking back. She knew Deacon would stand at the door until she was out of sight. If she looked back at him, she didn’t know if she’d be able to stand it.

Kaz jogged up next to her, puffing hard. “Master Sergeant, can we slow it down a little? Some of us, me included, can’t keep up. I’m hurtin’ bad. If you don’t slow down, I’m gonna drop dead. Hell of a note to live through the battle, and die of exhaustion.”

Fiddlestix laughed and slowed down. “Sorry. I had to make a clean break. If I hadn’t, I don’t know if I’d have left.”

“You could have stayed.”

“And make you face McLain alone?”

Kaz looked wistfully back at the mountain peak. “I wouldn’t have minded staying myself, Master Sergeant.” He sucked air in sharply. “Damn, that girl was fine! I could have stayed my whole life and never been sorry a day. When I get out of the Army, I’m going back. I’m going home.”

“I’m not the settling down kind, Kaz. It was fun while it lasted, but it’s not the life for me.”

“You might surprise yourself, Master Sergeant. I seen the way you looked at Deacon. You ain’t gonna admit it to yourself, but you’re hooked on that big, blond hillbilly.”

“And I suppose you aren’t hooked on Betsy?”

“I’m gonna marry that girl and have a passel of pretty, redheaded babies.”

“I truly hope you can, Kaz.”

© 2018 Dellani Oakes

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Among the Shine Clan, Dellani Oakes

Among the Shine Clan by Dellani Oakes – Part 19

among the shine clan coverAt the ceremony, Kazinsky, Harmony and Fiddlestix are awarded ranks in the Shine Clan Militia. Not only that, Fiddlestix is formally adopted by the Clan. Oh—and Deacon proposed.

Deacon extended his hand. When Fiddlestix took it, he drew her to him and kissed her passionately in front of the entire assembly. He held her close, whispering in her ear. “One day, Hannah, you’ll stand here as my wife.”

Fiddlestix didn’t know what to say. She was stunned by her reception by this clannish, secluded people. They treated her like family, called her friend, and extended the warmth and comfort of their hearts and home to her. Even among her own people, she had never been so well accepted. Tears threatened to fall. To hide them, she took Deacon’s head in her hands, bringing his mouth down to hers once more. They kissed hungrily as the crowd went crazy.

Someone in the audience started yelling, “Speech! Speech!”

Everyone took up the chant. There was nothing for it, she would have to say something. Deacon led her to the center of the stage and the crowd grew quiet before being asked.

“I’m not good at giving speeches,” Fiddlestix grinned rather nervously. “But I do want to thank you all for your kindness and generosity, as well as your bravery and sacrifice. Everyone here lost someone they care about. Therefore, I honor your dead by swearing to you that I will always do my best, no matter what, to protect the Shine Clan. You are my family now. Thank you!”

She stepped back by Deacon, trying to lose herself behind his massive body. He took her hand, leading her forward once more. To loud, joyous applause, he took a bow, encouraging her to bow as well.

Blushing furiously, she backed up to hide in the ranks of her soldiers. They parted enough to let her into the front row, but refused to let her go any further. They were proud of her and they thought she deserved all the praise she was getting.

After the ceremony, a huge dinner was set up. The Shine Clan women prided themselves on being able to feed a man until he could eat no more. They pressed food on Fiddlestix’ men, practically force feeding them. After eating, the tables were pushed out of the way and musicians clamored onto an improvised stage at one end of the room. They struck up a traditional square dance and Frank Lord got up to call it.

Fiddlestix had no idea what she was doing, so she refused to dance. Deacon and Jasper tried to persuade her, but she kept refusing. Finally, in desperation, Deacon spoke to the musicians and asked for a different tune. Because it was for Fiddlestix, they heartily agreed. The square dance tune ended and the couples left the floor. The band struck up a slow dance, an old tune from the 1970’s.

It wasn’t something Fiddlestix remembered hearing before, but it was so sweetly compelling, she agreed to dance with Deacon. The melody carried her away and she lost herself in his embrace. As they danced, he sang to her, his voice a smooth, melodic tenor. The lyrics brought tears to her eyes as they danced.

“I wanna rock your gypsy soul, just like way back in the days of old. And magnificently we will go into the mystic.”

It wasn’t a long song, but the band enjoyed watching Deacon and Fiddlestix dance so much, they improvised, each instrument taking a solo. She didn’t even notice that she and Deacon were the only ones dancing until the music stopped. Her heart was so full, she wanted to cry. Tears welled in her blue eyes, dripping out the corners and down her cheeks. Deacon leaned forward, kissing her gently. Quiet applause surrounded them as they walked off the dance floor. Instead of stopping for the congratulations and well wishes, Deacon took her back to his quarters.

“Won’t everyone wonder where we’ve gone?”

Deacon got his elbow stuck in his sleeve and nearly ripped his shirt trying to get it free. “I don’t give a good damn. Let ’em wonder.”

“As their leader, don’t you have to put in an appearance?”

“Did that all ready. Hush now, woman, and kiss me.”

They made love long into the night, finally falling into an exhausted sleep once more. It seemed no time later that Jasper was again banging on the door. This time, he woke them to let Fiddlestix know that her people were ready to go. Their job done, it was time to go back to General McLain and make their report.

© 2018 Dellani Oakes

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Among the Shine Clan, Dellani Oakes

Among the Shine Clan by Dellani – Part 18

among the shine clan coverAfter the cyberwarriors are taken care of, Deacon and Fiddlestix enjoy one another’s company. Jasper wakes them the next day, calling them for a meeting.

After a short explanation, a sharp slap and a brief apology, he got her some clothing.

“Next time you visit, I promise to have clothes in your size for you to wear,” he smiled as he watched her dress.

“You know, I didn’t like you much when we first met,” Fiddlestix told him. “But damn if you didn’t grow on me.”

“Kind of like a fungus?” He winked. “You should marry me, Hannah-Belle. I’d make you mighty happy.”

“That’s just the sex talking, Deacon. You don’t want me. I’m a soldier, not a wife.”

“I don’t want just a wife, Hannah. I want someone who will stand beside me and help me lead, like my mama and grand-mama before her. Our women don’t take second place, they’re equal to their mates. Think about it, Hannah. The offer’s open.”

“Thanks, Deacon. I will.”

“I’m serious,” he told her, taking her hands in his. “I’ve never met a woman I wanted more than you. Stay with me, Hannah. Forget the Army. Stay here with me.” His kiss was compelling, inviting her to forget everything else.

“I can’t,” she whispered. “This is who I am, Deacon.”

“But you could be so much more.”

Dropping the subject because he could see it made her uncomfortable, he led her to the main gathering area. It was a huge auditorium lined with benches, set up like an amphitheater. They walked to the base of the steps. Deacon held out his arm to her, walking beside her up the stairs. Her soldiers were already gathered on the huge stage, Harmony and Kaz in the forefront. Deacon escorted her to the head of the line, walking to the center of the stage.

Holding up his hands, he signaled for quiet. The chatting and whispering stopped and almost complete silence fell. Fiddlestix was impressed. She had never seen a quieter, more orderly crowd.

“We are gathered here today to honor those who came to our aid. Let us rejoice that our home is once more safe and secure!”

Wild cheering filled the room, echoing off the metal lined walls. Deacon let it continue a few moments, then held up his hands once more. Silence fell again.

“For bravery in combat, and continuing to fight even though he was sorely wounded, The Fire Star goes to Corporal Walter Kazinski of the United States Army.”

Kaz limped forward, one arm in a sling. His bruised face was wreathed in a happy grin. Betsy stood by his side, supporting him. Deacon put the medal around his neck. It hung from a red and gold ribbon. They exchanged a complicated handshake and Kaz stood to one side.

“From now on, Walter Kazinski also holds the rank of Guard Sergeant in the Shine Clan Militia.”

Fiddlestix knew that Guard Sergeant was equivalent to her rank and was more than just an honorary position. If Kaz ever returned to live with the Shine Clan, his orders would be honored and followed like any other officer’s.

“For bravery in the face of the enemy, and his assistance in shutting down the enemy soldiers, The Silver Star goes to Private Steven Harmony.”

Harmony strutted forward and was given his medal on a blue and silver ribbon. He took his place beside Kaz.

“Private Harmony now holds the rank of Lance Corporal in the Shine Clan Militia.

“Finally, for bravery, courage under fire, tenacity, and ingenuity, the Shine Clan Golden Star goes to Master Sergeant Hannah Braun.”

Wild cheers exploded around the auditorium as the gold and white ribbon slid over her head. The Shine Clan members were only marginally louder than Fiddlestix’ own soldiers. Even when Deacon held his hands up for silence, it was several minutes before quiet descended again.

When everyone finally settled down, Deacon continued. “As an additional honor, Hannah has been awarded a captaincy in the Shine Clan Militia. Also, the Clan adopts her as one of its own. From now on, Hannah, you are a member of our family, second to none.”

© 2018 Dellani Oakes

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Among the Shine Clan, Dellani Oakes

Among the Shine Clan – Part 16

among the shine clan coverFiddlestix and Deacon find Pete on top of the mountain. Deacon shows her his personal cloaking device. She provides a distraction, talking to Pete, while he moves into position. Fiddlestix fires at the cyber handler, only to find herself contained in the slow motion field.

Pete leaned in, careful not to be caught in the field himself. “Pretty,” he chuckled darkly. “Pretty, pretty lady. Very deadly, insubordinate. Macky doesn’t like you, nope, nope, nope! Wacky Macky doesn’t like interfering, fiddling Stix!”

With a mammoth effort, Fiddlestix tried to move her hand to fire at him. He was so close, she could smell his bad breath. But he wasn’t close enough to get caught in her field. Suddenly, Pete Livingston was shoved into her. Caught in the same slow motion field she was, he was at her mercy. Her cyber arm was able to move more quickly than the flesh and blood one. It wasn’t governed by the same parameters as the rest of her. Blade deployed, it slid slowly through his throat, severing his spine. Gurgling, Pete Livingston wilted to the ground, his blood spraying in long, slow motion arcs, bathing her from head to foot.

With a disorienting surge, time started moving right again. Deacon was at her side, Livingston’s computer in his hands. Grabbing her arm, he jerked her toward the clearing. There was, rather unexpectedly, a console in the middle surrounded by toadstools and wild flowers. Deacon placed his hands on the dome covering the control panel and it slid aside. Palm down, he placed it on a screen. A quick scan and she saw a row of yellow blinking lights gradually fade and go out.

“Your people are free again,” he said. “Contact them.”

“Diaz,” she bellowed.

“Yes, Master Sergeant!”

“Get to the Shine Clan compound. They need our help.”

Deacon was already talking to Jasper. “Hannah’s people are heading up the mountain now. They’re coming to help.”

“Get back here fast,” Jasper said abruptly. “It’s fixing to cut loose.”

“On my way.” Deacon held the device out to Fiddlestix. “Tell me you can use this,” he implored.

“I can’t, but Harmony can. He used to be a handler. What’s the fastest way back down?”

“The speediest elevator east of the Mississippi.”

He grinned, leading her to a large tree to the side of the clearing. The inside of the tree was hollow. There was a metal platform that hardly looked big enough for the two of them to stand on it. Deacon held her to him, hugging her close, heedless of the blood on her. As soon as they stepped on the platform, it started to drop.

Fiddlestix felt like she was going to vomit. Had the trip been any longer, she probably would have. It was over in less than thirty seconds. Ears ringing, she stumbled out of the shaft with Deacon in her wake. They were standing next to the room they’d started from earlier, at the junction of the tunnels leading to the east and west gates. They heard fighting behind them. A glance at the scanner showed that the cyber warriors were already at the east gate.

“Harmony!”

“Yo, Master Sergeant!”

“Got a job for you. Where are you?”

“East gate, Master Sergeant. We’re under attack.”

“Coming.”

Deacon nearly dragged her behind him as they ran along the hall. Harmony was waiting for them at the mouth of the tunnel. She thrust the scanner into his hands.

“What can you do with this?”

“Let me see.” He fiddled a moment with the controls, then smiled. “It’s responding. Get your console, Master Sergeant. We’ll take these boys out.”

Kaz’ console in her hands, she typed in the deactivation code. She followed Harmony to the gate. Cyber warriors were mowing down the Shine Clan soldiers, flattening them. The one doing the most damage slowed slightly, hitched and stopped moving. His gaze traveled to Fiddlestix and Harmony. Raising his weapon, he tried to fire, but froze. His companions surged him over, walking on top of him as they clambered up to the door. The second one in line faltered, hesitated and crashed onto its back. The third got a little further, but tripped on his downed companions before toppling over and rolling down the mountain a couple hundred yards before crashing into a tree.

© 2018 Dellani Oakes

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Among the Shine Clan, Dellani Oakes

Among the Shine Clan – Part 15 by Dellani

among the shine clan coverAlthough they haven’t found Pete Livingston, Deacon thinks me might be at the top of Shine Peak. He takes Fiddlestix to the fire station so they can fly in via a two man flitter.

No questions, just instant response. No one knew what he was planning, but they didn’t second guess his orders. Fiddlestix had to admire that about him, as well as his people.

“We’ll fly in,” he told her. “Can you handle a two man flitter, Master Sergeant?”

“Rating ten, General.”

“Great. I’m only an eight. You fly.”

“As the general wishes,” she winked.

At the fire station, they ran up the steps of the fire tower. Saunders had a small, two man flitter set up and ready to go. The small ultralight looked like a skeletal bug, but it was fast, highly maneuverable and silent. They put on helmets and goggles and took off. Deacon showed her where to circle around and land on top of Shine Peak where they were less likely to be seen.

“If he’s in the room itself, he’s blind. No monitors work up there. If he’s outside, he can still be partially shielded. The scanners won’t work right there, not with all that power flowing through it.”

“What does that cloak do? My people disappeared. But even cloaked, they’d be able to hear me and respond.”

“They get held in a slow motion field. They won’t hear your voice until sometime next week.”

“What?”

“It’s like a stasis field, but takes less power to maintain and leaves less of a footprint.”

“I see,” but she really didn’t at all.

“You trust me, Hannah?”

Fiddlestix blinked. Did she? “Yes.”

“Good.” He kissed her and disappeared. He reappeared behind her. “Portable. Only a few of us have them. That’s how we snuck up on you in the woods.”

He took her hand firmly, pulling her close. He hit a button on his communicator and a shimmering wall surrounded them. She could see through it, but it was like the entire world had slowed down. They weren’t affected.

“How’d you do that?”

“Slight modification. We are cloaked, but can move. Don’t talk though. We’re invisible, not inaudible.”

Picking their path carefully, they approached the top of the mountain. In a small clearing, she saw Pete Livingston. He gazed intently at something in his hands, occasionally laughing slightly hysterically.

“I know you’re there, Hannah Braun. I know, know, know!” he giggled, turning in slow circles, looking for them. “Yes, yes. I know! Come out, come out wherever you are!” He pointed directly at them, eyes wide with maniacal glee.

Deacon said nothing. Walking in a slow arc, he moved to the other side of Livingston. Putting her finger to her lips, Fiddlestix let go of his hand. She immediately reappeared facing the psychotic handler.

“Look, look! There you are! I knew it! Can’t fool Pete. Nope, nope, nope!”

“I’m here to take you back, Pete. McLain’s plan has failed. We’re taking your men out.”

“Code’s not working anymore is it?” He giggled loudly. “Not anymore!” He teased, waving the small computer in his hands. Dancing around in a circle, he giggled again. “They’re almost to the doors now,” he sounded almost rational. “Very soon it will all be over. We’ll take the compound and kill them all off. Yes, we will! And you’ll be blamed! You’ll face court marshal, yes you will! Marshal court, court marshal! Then won’t you be sorry, sorry, sorry that you insulted General McLain! Because only he can save you!”

“I’m gonna kill you, Pete. I’ll end you. Right here, right now.”

“Nope, nope! Not gonna end like that. I’m gonna kill you!” He hopped and danced, chanting, “I’m gonna kill you, I’m gonna kill you!”

Fiddlestix had enough. Grabbing her handgun from her belt, she fired at Pete’s head. Point blank range, the bullet never left her gun. She was slowed in a time field. Caught in the same cloak as her people, she could only stand there feeling like a fool, gun raised and ready.

© 2018 Dellani Oakes

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Among the Shine Clan – Part 14 by Dellani

among the shine clan coverAfter examining a map of the compound, Fiddlestix realizes that the warriors they just fought were a distraction. The others can be seen moving in on the rest of the compound. Their leader isn’t anywhere to be seen.

“We have to get back there now,” Fiddlestix gasped.

“They’re on foot,”Deacon assured her. “We’ll get there first. Don’t worry.”

“What about this lot?” Jasper motioned to the downed warriors.

“They’re not going anywhere,” Deacon assured him.

“Kill them,” Fiddlestix warned him.

“You’re supposed to bring them back, aren’t you?” Harmony asked her.

“The parameters of the mission just changed,” Fiddlestix said. “Take them out, Harm.”

“Yes, Master Sergeant.” He chambered a round on his heavy weapon.

Standing a safe distance from the shut down warrior, he emptied his magazine into the control panel at the base of the skull. Reloading, he moved to the other, doing the same thing. “Is that satisfactory, Master Sergeant?”

“That’ll about do it. Let’s move out, people!”

They left the wounded in the hands of the medical personnel, Kaz among them. Fiddlestix didn’t stop to see how he was. She hoped he would still be alive when she got back. There was no time to worry over him now. Others needed her more.

Loading up the Jeeps took a couple of minutes, but they made up for it in actual transportation time. On the way, Deacon contacted the commanding officers at the other three gates, warning them what was coming.

“We want the handler,” Fiddlestix told them. “Take him out, the rest will be relatively easy.”

“I don’t think I like how you qualify that statement, Hannah-Belle.”

“Nothing’s ever easy. But if we take out Livingston, it will be less difficult. Still have to tag them within a line of sight.”

“True.” He leaned back, putting his arm around her as Jasper drove. “When this is over, I get you alone. All to myself, ” he whispered, his lips close to her ear.

“Which way, Deacon? East or west?” Jasper called.

“Did we get a visual of Livingston on the scan?”

“No, sir.”

“Find me a screen, littler brother.”

“You got it!”

He turned right without slowing down much. Pulling up in front of a room, he left the Jeep running while Deacon and Fiddlestix jumped from the vehicle. Dashing into the room, they accessed the scanner again. Livingston didn’t show up on any of the scans.

“He must be somewhere out of range,” Deacon muttered, glaring at the screen as if it had done him an injury.

“Is there anywhere he could hide that’s shielded? Could he be inside, but hidden?”

“Oh, God,” Deacon groaned. “The cloak room.”

“You’ve got a room for coats?”

“No, no the cloaking device. The thing that made your people disappear. That area is shielded because it has an independent power source that makes our other instruments go all wonky otherwise.”

“Where’s it located?”

“Shine Peak. About a quarter mile straight up.”

“Can we get there from here?”

“You good at mountain climbing?”

“Tell me there’s an elevator.”

“There is, but if he’s up there, do you really want to trust it?”

“Good point.”

“Jasper, take us to the fire station.”

Deacon leaped in the back of the Jeep, giving Fiddlestix a hand up.

“You got it, Deacon.” Jasper swung them around in a tight arc, heading back the way they’d come.

“Saunders, it’s Deacon,” he spoke into his communicator.

“Go ahead.”

“Have me a two man flitter set up. I’ll be there in less than five.”

“Yes, sir.”

© 2018 Dellani Oakes

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Among the Shine Clan, Dellani Oakes

Among the Shine Clan – Part 13 by Dellani Oakes

among-the-shine-clan-coverThey have managed to shut down one cyber-warrior, but their handler seems to be blocking their device. Gathering their wounded together, Deacon and Fiddlestix regroup to come up with a plan.

Deacon sat heavily beside her, covered in blood and cyber fluid. “Now what?” He panted, taking a sip from a bottle of water he’d taken from a cabinet nearby. He handed her the bottle and she took a grateful sip.

“Now that the signal’s jammed, we have to find Livingston, their handler. We have to take him out.”

“Okay, how we gonna do that, Hannah-Belle?” He grinned, his blue eyes sparkling.

“They’ll protect him,” she said half to herself. “If I were a half crazed, cyber handler, where the hell would I go?

“Want to see a schematic of the area?”

“Deacon, I’d love to see that.”

“Cool,” he grinned again, jumping to his feet.

She took his proffered hand, even though she didn’t need it, simply because she wanted him to touch her. He motioned her to follow him to a view screen on the wall. Tapping in a few commands, he showed her a floor plan of the compound. Zooming in the image, he brought it to their position.

“There’s us,” he indicated the green blips representing their small force.

“If we plug in the scanner, can we use this to find Livingston?”

“We can but try.” He whistled sharply. “Jasper.”

His younger brother walked over. Deacon explained what Fiddlestix suggested. “Can you do it?”

“Hell, yeah, Deacon. Piece of cake. Give me fifteen minutes.”

“You have ten.”

“Cool, I only needed five.” Laughing, he went to work.

Deacon led Fiddlestix away from the others, turning off his communicator. Figuring he wanted a chat between leaders, she did so as well.

“You’re a hell of a warrior, Hannah-Belle,” he whispered.

Taking her in his arms, he kissed her. Shocked at first, she pushed away from him, but he held her tightly. After a moment, she realized that she didn’t want to push away and clung to him almost desperately. Warming to his touch, she matched his intensity. Most men would have been intimidated and pulled away, but Deacon wasn’t like most men. Their kiss lasted less than two minutes, but left them both breathless.

“I really didn’t mean for that to happen,” Deacon backed shyly away a few steps.

“Me either,” she admitted awkwardly.

“It was damn good though,” he chuckled.

“Oh, yeah!”

“Hannah, when this is over….”

She put her hand on his lips, stopping him. “When this is over, Deacon, I’ll go back to work.”

“I understand,” he whispered. “But before you do….” He left the invitation unspoken.

“Yeah,” she agreed with a sharp nod. “You better.”

Jasper whistled to get his attention. Suddenly, she and Deacon were back to business.

“It’s done.”

Fiddlestix looked at the schematic. “He’s not here!” She frowned, looking even more carefully. “Am I missing him?”

Deacon and Jasper were looking just as intently. Harmony came up behind them, also gazing at the wall.

“He’s not here,” Fiddlestix grumbled. “He’s not here!”

“We’ll find him, Hannah.”

“He could be anywhere! Oh, God,” she turned wide eyes on Deacon. “The rest of the compound. He’s taken the others to try a frontal attack. This was just a diversion! Dammit!”

Deacon didn’t follow, so she explained. “Look. We found only three of his men. Where are the rest?”

Deacon, Jasper and Harmony gazed at the map that was zoomed in to show their immediate area.

“Where,” she said, unzooming the image. “The hell are the rest?”

Red blips showed up moving slowly around the outside of the compound. One group was headed to the east, the other to the west.

© 2018 Dellani Oakes

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Among the Shine Clan – Part 12 by Dellani

among-the-shine-clan-coverFiddlestix asks to see the cyber warriors on the video feed. Alarmed, she sees that they are getting updates from their controller. Insisting that she be taken to their location, she wonders why the area wasn’t better protected. Sadly, it was, and all the men are dead.

The cyber warrior was inside, working the consoles quickly. He paid no attention to them. Deacon aimed and fired at the creature’s head. His bullet ricocheted off the skull casing, narrowly missing Fiddlestix. The cyber soldier turned slowly, eyeing him with a bland expression. Smiling cruelly, it bared sharp, metallic teeth, advancing on Deacon slowly, haltingly. It was then that Fiddlestix noticed it was damaged. The dead men had not died without a fight. The creature could hardly move. His legs were damaged. Cyber-hydraulic fluid leaked from a half dozen wounds. A puddle had gathered underneath him.

With a flick of her thumb, Fiddlestix’ communicator went back on. “Kaz,” she spoke sharply. “Initiate Shut Down Code Three Three Alpha.”

There was no response. The warrior continued to advance. “Dammit! Kaz!” It was then she heard the gunfire outside.

The thump of a heavy shoulder mounted cyber cannon was distinctive. She heard screaming over her headpiece and knew the others were in trouble. A wet ripping sound filled her ears. Turning toward the sound, she felt sick.

“Master Sergeant!” It was Harmony. “Kaz is down.”

“Coming! Deacon!” She motioned for him to follow her.

The cyber soldier couldn’t maneuver easily. It slipped in its own fluid, moving at less than half its normal speed.

“He’ll keep. We need that computer!”

She slid to a halt at the corner, glancing around to see what lay beyond. One cyber warrior was down, obviously disabled. The other stood over Kaz’ limp form, firing on the rest of the group. Pocked with bullet holes, he kept fighting as if nothing troubled him.

Fiddlestix ran up to him while he was turned the other direction, distracted by one of Deacon’s men. Sliding the cyber blade out of her arm, she stabbed up and under the metal casing that surrounded his chest.

“Harmony, activate the code!”

Harmony held Kaz’ computer in both hands. He didn’t hesitate, but looked at her in surprise. “I’m not coded to it, Master Sergeant.”

“I lied,” she replied tersely.

The cyber warrior had drawn a bead on Deacon’s man, lowering his heavy shoulder thumper to fire. His movement slowed to a stop. He shut down, falling face first to the ground.

The warrior who had been following Deacon stumbled around the corner. He didn’t fire his weapons as he searched for the best target. Without being told, Harmony pointed the computer at him and pressed he initiation code. It didn’t work.

“Stix!” his voice caught as the warrior looked his way.

“Initiate Shut Down Code Three Two Delta.” Nothing happened.

“Shit! It’s being jammed.” Taking the scanner from Harmony’s limp fingers, she jumped over the downed warrior, landing nearly at the feet of the other one. He was bleeding out his cyber fluid slowly. She decided to see if she could speed it up. Her cyber blade slid neatly into his knee joint, severing the plastic artery. His left knee collapsed and he went down.

Fiddlestix tried the code again, but it did no good. This called for good old fashioned brute force. Raising her cyber arm, she hammered the face plate of the downed warrior. He tried to fight her, but by this time, half of Deacon’s force had him surrounded. All of them were armed with brutal knives, stabbing at unprotected areas of his body.

Deacon took up a heavy gun from one of the other cyber soldiers. With all his strength and body weight, he swung at the cyber man’s head, smashing the face plate with one brutal blow. Jasper fired at point blank range into the creature’s face, blowing its head off. With a cry like a wounded animal, it fell to the floor. Blood and blue cyber fluid flowed out of his body, pooling into dark, murky purple puddles.

“Fall back,” Fiddlestix bellowed.

Dragging Kaz and the other wounded with them, they regrouped in the computer room, barricading the door.

© 2018 Dellani Oakes

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Among the Shine Clan, Dellani Oakes

Among the Shine Clan – Part 11 by Dellani

among-the-shine-clan-cover

Fiddlestix asks to see the cyber warriors on the video feed. Alarmed, she sees that they are getting updates from their controller. Insisting that she be taken to their location, she wonders why the area wasn’t better protection. Sadly, it was, and all the men are dead.

The cyber warrior was inside, working the consoles quickly. He paid no attention to them. Deacon aimed and fired at the creature’s head. His bullet ricocheted off the skull casing, narrowly missing Fiddlestix. The cyber soldier turned slowly, eyeing him with a bland expression. Smiling cruelly, it bared sharp, metallic teeth, advancing on Deacon slowly, haltingly. It was then that Fiddlestix noticed it was damaged. The dead men had not died without a fight. The creature could hardly move. Cyber-hydraulic fluid leaked from a half dozen wounds. A puddle had gathered underneath him.

With a flick of her thumb, Fiddlestix’ communicator went back on. “Kaz,” she spoke sharply. “Initiate Shut Down Code Three Three Alpha.”

There was no response. The warrior continued to advance. “Dammit! Kaz!” It was then she heard the gunfire outside.

The thump of a heavy shoulder mounted cyber cannon was distinctive. She heard screaming over her headpiece and knew the others were in trouble. A wet ripping sound filled her ears. Turning toward the sound, she felt sick.

“Master Sergeant!” It was Harmony. “Kaz is down.”

“Coming! Deacon!” She motioned for him to follow her.

The cyber soldier couldn’t maneuver easily. It slipped in its own fluid, moving at less than half its normal speed.

“He’ll keep. We need that computer!”

She slid to a halt at the corner, glancing around to see what lay beyond. One cyber warrior was down, obviously disabled. The other stood over Kaz’ limp form, firing on the rest of the group. Pocked with bullet holes, he kept fighting as if nothing troubled him.

Fiddlestix ran up to him while he was turned the other direction, distracted by one of Deacon’s men. Sliding the cyber blade out of her arm, she stabbed up and under the metal casing that surrounded his chest.

“Harmony, activate the code!”

Harmony held Kaz’ computer in both hands. He didn’t hesitate, but looked at her in surprise. “I’m not coded to it, Master Sergeant.”

“I lied,” she replied tersely.

The cyber warrior had drawn a bead on Deacon’s man, lowering his heavy shoulder thumper to fire. His movement slowed to a stop. He shut down, falling face first to the ground.

The warrior who had been following Deacon stumbled around the corner. He didn’t fire his weapons as he searched for the best target. Without being told, Harmony pointed the computer at him and pressed he initiation code. It didn’t work.

“Stix!” his voice caught as the warrior looked his way.

“Initiate Shut Down Code Three Two Delta.” Nothing happened.

“Shit! It’s being jammed.” Taking the scanner from Harmony’s limp fingers, she jumped over the downed warrior, landing nearly at the feet of the other one. He was bleeding out his cyber fluid slowly. She decided to see if she could speed it up. Her cyber blade slid neatly into his knee joint, severing the plastic artery. His left knee collapsed and he went down.

Fiddlestix tried the code again, but it did no good. This called for good old fashioned brute force. Raising her cyber arm, she hammered the face plate of the downed warrior. He tried to fight her, but by this time, half of Deacon’s force had him surrounded. All of them were armed with brutal knives, stabbing at unprotected areas of his body.

Deacon took up a heavy gun from one of the other cyber soldiers. With all his strength and body weight, he swung at the cyber man’s head, smashing the face plate with one brutal blow. Jasper fired at point blank range into the creature’s face, blowing its head off. With a cry like a wounded animal, it fell to the floor. Blood and blue cyber fluid flowed out of his body, pooling into dark, murky purple puddles.

“Fall back,” Fiddlestix bellowed.

Dragging Kaz and the other wounded with them, they regrouped in the computer room, barricading the door.

© 2018 Dellani Oakes

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Among the Shine Clan, Dellani Oakes

Among the Shine Clan – Part 11 by Dellani

among-the-shine-clan-coverFiddlestix and Deacon have finally calmed down enough to talk professionally about their mutual problem with the cyber warriors. She asks him if they are under surveillance and he assures her, they are. They’re sitting quietly, with a blue light flashing on their necks.

“Oh, shit. Why didn’t you tell me this before?”

“Why, Hannah, what’s wrong?”

“They’re recharging, getting new orders. It’s a satellite uplink straight from the commander’s office. Take me there now.”

“Hannah, I….”

“Now, Deacon. I’m not kidding!” She rose, marching for the door.

He followed her, his long legs eating up the distance between them. Suddenly all business again, he said, “Follow me.”

“My man, Kazinski. We’ll need him.”

Deacon spoke into his communication set. “Deacon to Jasper. Find the man Kazinski. We need him. Hannah and I are on our way to the north gate. Meet us there.”

“Yes, sir.”

Jasper wasted no time explaining that Kaz wasn’t going to be happy being interrupted when he was in Betsy’s company. He knew Deacon wouldn’t care. They’d both been interrupted often enough when an emergency came up.

Deacon led Fiddlestix to a vehicle depot. Vaulting into a Jeep, he rammed it into gear and took off at top speed. He drove quickly to the north gate. Jasper, Kaz and Harmony pulled up only minutes behind them. To men in their position, uninterrupted sex was a luxury. Deacon dashed over to a small alcove off the main hallway. Inside there was a sophisticated surveillance set up. Striding to the screen, he zoomed in on the cyber soldiers. Something weird caught Fiddlestix’ eye as she watched the screen.

“It’s a loop,” she gasped. “They’ve circumvented your security system. They could be anywhere!” Knocking Deacon aside with her hip, she tapped some commands into the computer. The loop ended and they saw the hallway was empty.

“Damnation!” Deacon bellowed. “Find them.” He told his men. “Find them now.”

Jasper brought Kaz up moments later. Wasting no time, Fiddlestix held out her hand to him.

“Scanner.”

“I’ll find ’em for you, Master Sergeant.” He plugged into the console quickly.

Under Kaz’s magic touch, red blips appeared on his screen. The life signs of the cybered men appeared. Breathing slowly, trying to keep calm, Kaz held the scanner for her to see.

Fiddlestix went pale. Some of the men were coming down the branching hallways, not more than half a mile from their location.

Deacon blanched. “What now, Hannah-Belle?”

“Now we gear up and fight, Deacon.” Using hand signals, she directed her men to follow her.

Deacon removed the cyber damper from her arm and handed them weapons. He and his men armed themselves and followed. Fortunately, the Shine Clan used a system of signals close to their own. They were able to communicate without speaking. As they moved forward, Fiddlestix told Kaz to key in the fail safe codes for the warriors. He knew to initiate the codes when each soldier came in range. Fiddlestix hoped to take out Pete Livingston. He would be well guarded. The cyber teams took preservation of their handler very seriously.

Unwilling to let them come to her, Fiddlestix made her way down the corridor, seeking the nearest warrior. By the scanner, he looked to be in a side room. What the room was or why he was there, she didn’t know. Turning off her communicator, she indicated Deacon should do the same.

“What’s in that room?” She pointed to Kaz’ scanner.

Deacon sighed heavily. “It’s a computer sub station. From there they can tap into anything they want. Life support runs through there, power, water, blast doors. Everything.”

“Why was it left unguarded?”

“It wasn’t.” Deacon looked sad. “It was well protected.”

“We cry later,” she whispered, taking his hand firmly.

His eyes met hers with a grim determination. His mouth was set in a defiant line as he nodded. Together, they went quietly to the sub station room. Dead and dying littered the hall. Forcing himself not to look at them, Deacon led her to the doorway.

© 2017 Dellani Oakes

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