(Doubtful by Liviu)
Disclaimer 1: This is fanfic. That means I do not own any of it. I just borrow it to play with for a little while and let people see the pathetic
results if they really want to.
Disclaimer 2: I'm not making any money from it. It's just for fun.
Disclaimer 3: What isn't borrowed is all made up. None of this is real or most likely at all realistic. Please don't trust any of the information in here.
Most likely you know more about whatever I'm writing about than I do.
Disclaimer 4: Attitudes, views and opinions expressed by the characters or in the story are not necessarily those of the author. Even when writing Science
Fiction or Fantasy I do not tend to attempt to create perfect/better worlds in which everybody gets a happy end ... or whatever is best for them. Please
accept that some characters will have a bad ending or be unhappy.
Disclaimer 5: I intend no insult to anyone. If I offend anyone I'm very sorry. Please understand that it was an accident as I tend to be very clumsy in these
Disclaimer 6: If my characters' conversations seem odd or they appear to be talking past each other the latter might occasionally be intentional, but most
likely it is an accident and I'm not aware that they are. It's just my bad communication skills.
Title: Final Sunset
Rating and Warnings: PG 13
Disclaimer: Not mine, just borrowing.
Archive: I’m sorry, but no. This one was in answer to a challenge by Yamuri, for which I’d already read Ele’s answer. Considering that and the specifics of the challenge itself the fic turned out very similar to the other one and I was later accused of stealing it by a reader. As said reader left no way to contact her nor a title or author name of the original I am supposed to have stolen (I suppose Ele’s, but can’t be sure), I have no way to work this issue out. I don’t want any trouble and therefore decided to keep this where I can remove it quickly.
Summary: The good guys win ... or do they? Are there even good guys?
Notes: In answer to Yamuri’s Alternative Episode Challenge no. 10 “Who is Nemesis”
Colt ducked into another doorway at random. Maybe this hadn’t been such a great idea after all. The Outrider planet was huge. He had no idea where he was and if he happened to run into an Outrider patrol that was probably it.
So far he’d been lucky to meet only one or two Outriders at a time, but if he really found Nemesis’ control center, it’d probably be filled to capacity with enemies. Colt knew he was good, but there was no way he could shoot twenty people at once. If he met a large group of Outriders some would definitely get time to shoot back.
‘You’re an idiot, Colt.’ he thought to himself. ‘When will you ever learn to think before you act?’ Probably never. His chances to survive this latest foolishness were slim.
Maybe he should head back to Bronco Buster and try to get out. Saber would be furious, but he was at least sure to survive his anger. Lucky the guy was so reserved. He hardly ever managed a proper scolding at all. April was a lot worse in that department.
The ground shook. Earthquake? Or was the planet already under attack? Was this Ramrod coming to look for him?
Colt ducked into the next doorway that the quake had pushed him towards. This time it wasn’t another corridor. The room was full of blinking lights, Outrider technology and ... Jesse Blue?
The traitor was all alone and hadn’t even noticed him, yet. He was too distracted with hammering into some computer console. Colt had the chance for a perfect shot.
He lifted his gun, aimed carefully. Now!
A sudden explosion shook the ground and knocked Colt off his feet. The shot went wild and hit one of the machines beside Jesse.
The traitor shot around. “You!” he stared at Colt for a moment, then turned back to the computer.
“Yes, me.” Colt jumped back to his feet aiming anew. “Step back from that thing or you’re dead.”
“Idiot, there’s no time for that.” Jesse hissed not even looking up. “I have to stop the collision or it will kill us all.”
Jesse wanted the same thing he did? That was a surprise.
“So just turn off the engines.” Colt suggested.
“I’m trying to, but Nemesis is blocking me.”
Colt lowered his gun and walked over to see what Jesse was doing. One look over the traitor’s shoulder told him this was over his head. He knew how to use a computer, but he wasn’t an expert. Even Fireball understood the things better than he did and neither of them had ever even tried to understand how April and Saber managed to actually reprogram the things. It had always been enough to know that it could be done. If you needed it done, you called someone who knew how.
On top of Colt not being a computer expert, this one was an Outrider construction. Colt didn’t recognise any of the symbols on the keyboard and the thing looked a lot more complicated than April’s controls on Ramrod. And those were top notch in human technology!
“Can’t you just override him?” Colt asked.
“Block him out?”
“He’s inside the system, Colt. I can’t disconnect the computer from itself.”
“You mean he’s at the main terminal?”
“No, he is the main program. He steers the whole thing.”
“Nemesis is what?”
“He is the computer.” Jesse hissed exasperatedly. “I’m trying to trick him, but I’m on his territory here. He has all the advantages.”
“Nemesis is the computer?” Colt repeated.
“Yes, now stop distracting me!”
“So where’s the actual CPU?”
“Right, behind you.” Jesse hissed.
For a moment Colt just stared at the thing. It didn’t look like any computer he’d ever seen, but then Colt knew next to nothing about computers and this one had been built by aliens.
It took him only a moment to regain his resolve. With a determined look Colt approached the alien technology and planted his explosives. He set them to go off in five minutes. That should give him just enough time to make it back to Bronco Buster and escape.
His eyes fell on Jesse who was still hammering in vain at the keyboard. He was trying to help, damn it! And he was a fellow human being. Colt just couldn’t leave him here to die.
Colt grabbed Jesse’s arm and pulled. “Come on, we have to get out of here!”
“What?” Jesse asked confused.
“I’ve set bombs all around the computer.” Colt declared proudly. “It’s going to blow in five minutes.”
“You did what?” Jesse yelled. “That thing runs everything. It’s going to start a chain reaction and blow up the entire planet!”
“And that’s why we have to get out!” Colt yelled back at him. “Bronco Buster’s close by, but we have to run.”
He turned towards the door, but it had slid closed and wouldn’t open.
Jesse tore his arm out of Colt’s grip and vaulted to the console next to the door. The big blue switch on the right would unlock the door controls. Jesse’s eyes glanced over it and higher. The green button up there would open the intercom.
Colt was still fumbling with the deactivated door controls not paying Jesse any attention.
Jesse made a split second decision and hit them both. “Akheszt!” he hissed into the microphone praying that that was the correct command and at least understandable pronunciation.
He couldn’t waste time thinking about it though. Instead he whirled around, ducked under Colt’s arm and hit another button. With a hiss the door shot open while the echo of his message still rang through every room on the planet.
“Hey, I tried that one!” protested Colt as they ran out into the corridor.
“The controls were deactivated.” Jesse shouted back. “Which way?”
They dashed through the corridors not paying any attention to the Outriders scrambling about in a panic, trying to ignore the more and more frequent floor shaking.
The shockwave from Colt’s explosives going off knocked both of them off their feet, but they’d already reached Bronco Buster. The lights went out as they tumbled through the hatch. Jesse just let himself drop on the ground next to the pilot’s seat and closed his eyes.
He could hear the hatch slide closed and the engine roar to life. Right now the Triton Matter was burning. Did Nemesis feel pain? Was he screaming in agony and fear? Or was he already dead?
‘Thirty-one, thirty-two ...’ About thirty-three seconds after the main computer’s explosion the life support system would go offline as the fire reached its central controls. Next it would reach the explosive fluid tanks that supplied the vapour chambers.
BANG! The shockwave shook the fleeing Bronco Buster just on time.
‘Thirty-six, thirty-seven ...’ The fire was racing along the tubes devouring the fluids getting closer and closer to the chambers ...
BANG! This time Bronco Buster barely felt the explosion.
Now the vapour chambers were on fire and on the other side of the planet the fire and explosions would be about to reach the fuel tanks in the hangars.
“Colt to Ramrod, Colt to Ramrod! Get out, guys! The planet is about to explode!”
“Colt are you alright?”
Jesse couldn’t hear this explosion, but he knew that the hangars were on fire.
‘Forty-one, forty-two, ...’ By now the fire must have reached the Badlander. The automatic fire fighting systems had gone out with the computer and now the fire was nearing the labs. The chemical substances stored there would cause the biggest explosion, yet, and who knew what other horrors would be unleashed when their containers burst and they mixed at random. What had the Biology labs been working on at all? Biological weapons?
“Yes, we’re both fine.”
“Who else is there with you, Colt?” Saber Rider sounded as calm as if he were enquiring about the weather over tea. How could he sound so normal in a situation like this?
“Jesse. He helped me, Top Sword. He’s on our side.”
A second of surprised silence.
“Don’t wait for us. Head for Yuma. We’ll meet you there.”
‘Fifty-six, fifty-seven, fifty-eight ...’ almost exactly one minute after the computer’s explosion the fire would have reached the munitions depots. This was the moment it would finally tear the planet apart.
“What the?!” Colt’s surprised exclamation caused Jesse to finally open his eyes again.
The burning planet flickered on the monitor and then it winked out.
“I don’t believe this!” Colt stared at the monitor. “It vaporised! The entire planet vaporised!”
The planet could vaporise? Had Nemesis known that? He must have! But that meant ...
Jesse suppressed a sob. Nemesis had never planned to kill his own people. The war world would have vaporised upon impact and most of its population would have survived. Of course there would have been some damage from the collision, but the computer would never have exploded, the vapour chambers wouldn’t have burned, the fuel tanks and space ships would have been safe, no chemicals would have spilled and the munitions depots wouldn’t have exploded either.
Most of the humans would probably have survived, too. They would have had to evacuate their destroyed planet, though, as it would have been thrown out of its orbit causing all sorts of natural disasters. Now that had been prevented and the humans hadn’t suffered any harm at all.
There was a huge victory party. Everyone kept thanking him for his help, but Jesse felt so terribly lost and alone among all these people. He retreated into a dark corner away from the festivities and stared out the window.
How often had he longed to return, to finally live among his own people again? How much had he wanted Cavalry Command to welcome him back as a hero? And now that it had all come true he ran from it. He wished he could be alone somewhere out there among the stars.
Jean Claude would laugh at him, if he told him, but of course he wouldn’t tell Jean Claude.
He couldn’t even tell Jean Claude, if he wanted to! He would never again be able to tell Jean Claude anything, or Nemesis, or Gattler, or Point, or that infuriating old toad Razzle.
A tear dropped onto the windowsill between his hands. How had it gotten there? Was he crying? What reason did he have to cry? He hadn’t cried since childhood. Crying hadn’t brought back his parents and he hadn’t cared enough to cry for anyone since. Caring only hurt.
Had he cared about the Outriders? They were just a bunch of aliens. Weird racist aliens that hadn’t given a damn about him. And now they were gone. He’d even given them the command to leave.
Was akheszt really the correct word? Jesse was almost completely sure that it meant retreat. Had he pronounced it correctly? He had no idea.
He had never attempted to actually speak Outrider before. They had always taken care to speak English in his presence. Still he’d often overheard them speaking Outrider to each other and some of them didn’t know English at all. There was quite a number of Outrider words he recognised, especially military commands. Akheszt meant retreat. It had to! And his pronunciation couldn’t be that much off. There were a lot of Outriders with strange accents and they still recognised each other’s words just fine. They must have understood that he meant for them to retreat.
But had they recognised his voice? Had any of them obeyed the command? And if they’d understood it as a warning, where had they retreated to? Where would they have ended up, if they had vaporised with their planet still in this dimension? Drifting helpless in space? Would they have been able to reach their destroyed planet again after it had followed them? Would anybody have thought to collect them? Would anybody have been left to collect them?
“Jesse?” Saber Rider suddenly stood behind him. “What’s wrong?”
Jesse shrugged. What could he say when he didn’t know the answer himself?
“I can’t stay.” Where had that come from?
“Why not?” Saber asked calmly as ever. “You saved all of us. Cavalry Command will be proud to take you back. Thanks to you all the Outriders are gone. If we’re lucky none of them even survived, and if not, they still will need years to regain enough strength to strike again.”
“And you’re glad they’re dead?” Jesse hissed.
“Of course.” Saber clearly didn’t understand, but Jesse didn’t either.
Or did he?
“And you call yourselves the good guys? If you wanted to kill them all just as much as they wanted to kill you, how are you any better than them? They were people, too!”
Yes, that was it. The Outriders Jesse had gotten to know had all been people just like the humans he’d known. They’d each had their own personalities, hopes, fears, little ticks ... and now they were gone, maybe just from this dimension, but maybe gone from the universe forever, maybe even gone as an entire race and Jesse had no way to find out. He didn’t even have a ship anymore. He was stranded and alone among the humans for the rest of his life.