Two Months Earlier
We weren't moving fast enough.
The thought was still there, still rattling about and saying things I didn't want to hear, when I heard a scream break behind me. My feet stopped suddenly and in an ill-advised fashion, while I spun about to see the source of the sound. But I already knew.
The creature that was attached to me must have sensed the spike in my pulse, because it seemed to dig in futher, the firey ache it caused leeching out to my whole body. I just hoped all the drugs and anti this and anti that would be enough. It wasn't supposed to go on this long.
Doing my best to ignore all of that, I met my partner's eyes from across the forest floor. He had fallen, his right leg twisted beneath him at an ugly angle. Our route along the river had been dangerous, spiked with sudden changes in terrain, but it had been the fastest way out. The only way out, for all of us.
The sounds were getting louder now, crashing through the canopy with a force that was hard to ignore. I still stood frozen, unable to move. I was always able to move.
"Reynolds," I shouted into my comm, even though shouting was unnessecery. "What is your status? Are you able to continue?"
He wouldn't answer, but I knew. He just stayed there, unmoving, looking at me as the screaming grew louder. I knew.
I knew. I knew. I knew.
Damn him to hell and back again. I was going to have to stop this. Now. Furious at both of us, I began tugging at the specially made kevlar that covered my chest, trying to jerk it off. If I could just yank it free, then I could get to him. I could get him out, and we would just have to try again. This mission had been a year in the making, and I had fought for it. Sacraficed more than I could even think of right now. But I had to give it up. Right now.
"Don't move David," I finally spoke again. "Just give me...I will be there alright! Just stay there." I could see him, he could see me. Only a hundred yards seperated us, but I still used the comms.
"Why have you stopped moving Finn?"
"Reynolds has been injured," I answered immediatley, still working at my vest. Why was it taking so long? "I am aborting the mission."
David still remained silent. Why wouldn't he say anything?
"That was not your orders. You will resume you mission. We are waiting on the specimen.
"But," I answered back, knowing what hell I would catch for that word later. "They are right behind us. If I don't go back for Reynolds...he is dead sir!"
"He knew the risks. You both did. You will leave him."
I was supposed to go now. I was supposed to leave him. I wasn't supposed to look into his eyes.
"No....." I was about to argue, but before I could even think the sounds? The ones screaming from behind? They landed right on top of us. It was hard to make out where the sound came from, all I could see was teeth and claws and blood as they closed on both David and I. They would reach him first.
They were moving so fast. How could I have forgotten how damn fast they were?
"David," I screamed, forgetting all about technology.
"Shoot him Finn.
I pressed the comm tighter into my ear, I couldn't have heard right.
"The mission Finn, unless you forget! If you shoot Reynolds now, it might provide you with enough time to get out of there. Only a distraction of the greatest magnitude will save your ass now. Do it, and you might get out alive."
No. Not David. He had been my only friend, since...
"I can't," I whispered. No on heard me. Or, no one listened.
"You listen to me Finn. You try and save Reynolds and you both die. You follow orders, and we can get you out of there. Either way, he is dead. Shoot him. That is an order."
Say something David! You must hear all this.
Why was my hand reaching for my gun? I knew why, but why the reasons were there so clear - I didn't understand that. Order and Love, they were all I had. Love was gone, and that left only...
"An order Finn!!! Do you copy? Do it!"
And I did.
To keep him down. And because what they would do to him.
I screamed, and for a moment that was the only sound. And then the chambers of my gun an it emptied into him. David spun counterclockwise from his place on the ground, and I got one last look at his eyes before he was gone. They were all over him.
Later, much later, I sat silently in the lab after they had finished cleaning and stitching the wounds that sliced across my abdomen. It hadn't wanted to let go.
And damn...neither did I.
I never would have been able to get that vest off. An electronic lock made it impossible, because I had never been given the key. How had I not noticed that?
When he tried to speak to me, all I could hear was his voice. What he had ordered me to do. And what I had done. I didn't look when his featurs softened. I didn't care that it was a one-time deal, what he was abou to do. That he was trying to reach out. That he was trying to communicate.
Damn....why wouldn't they just let me be?
They had what they wanted. I could hear the noises from the room next door. Screams of a different kind now. And I couldn't even be glad.
"You did what had to be done."
I didn't look...anywhere.
"No I didn't."
I took a breath, and said it. For the last time.