Copyright to Jonathan O'Donnell - Protected under UK and International Copyright Laws, any reproduction, copying or publishing without the Authors express consent is strictly prohibited.
The Rise of Marth
The Rise of Marth
Denny stepped from his transport, his
polished shoe landed in an oily black puddle. He cussed loudly; throwing an
angry look towards his driver. Shaking his foot, he walked towards the
entrance. The driver eager to make amends rushed to open the door, which
cracked and groaned, its rusted hinges long due replacement. He walked into the
dimly lit abandoned storage area, light streaming across the concrete from the
high broken windows that lined the upper, now collapsed, first floor. He moved across
the warehouse to the only place that was illuminated, a small room at the back.
As he entered the room, he heard a
scream, his eyes scanned the room; blood pooled in puddles on the tiled floor, the
air stunk with a fresh aroma of iron that hung in the air. He looked at the
source of the pungent but to him a pleasant smell.
“Has he told you where it is yet?”
“Not yet,” replied the giant wielding
the long blade streaked with blood.
Slowly he walked over to the body
hung by rope to the wall, the open wounds exposing the intestines, which pulsed
with steam in the cold air.
“You know lad, your brother and
general pain in my arse, has cost me a great deal. So if you tell me what I
need to know, Kirk here will end you quick and I will leave your brother out of
this. You choose. Personally I can’t wait to get him just where you are now.”
The body twitched, the eyes opened, fixing
on Denny, the mouth parted as if to speak, then the pain kicked in and the eyes
closed. Denny leaned forward hoping to catch any final words. His eyes saw the
intestines pulsing with the effort; he looked up just in time to catch the
mixture of blood and phlegm that spat from the mouth of his victim.
Taking a step back, pulling a perfectly
folded handkerchief from his pocket. He slowed and careful mopped his face. He
turned to Kirk, extending his small manicured hand “Give me your knife”. Kirk
dutifully obeyed, a sickening grin spread across his face. His fingers wrapped comfortably
around the rubber grip, like an old friend, he reacquainted himself with the
instrument of murder. The blade shone in the light of the single bulb, he admired
the blade and then stepped forward.
Slowly, intently and with delicate
precision, he inserted the knife in the open wound and like a surgeon, hooked
the large intestines onto the blade. His toothy smile wide and unpleasant he
looked into the red weary eyes enjoying the pain he inflicted. He felt an
instant pleasurable rush, and as the feeling peaked, he moved his hand in a
swift upward move, slicing the upper intestine in two. The young man’s body
arched against the wall, the intestines slipped forth, spilling blood and
digested food over the floor, the stench filled the room. He briefly paused
admiring his cut before tossing the blade back to the giant, he said,
“She’ll be here soon, you know what to do.
Keep him going for a little while longer”
Kirk just nodded as he ran the blade
over his arm, wiping it clean.
Joanna pulled her top over her head,
flipping her long dark hair. She picked up her shoes and small bag and silently
slipped out the door. She turned just the once to look at the young man she had
left asleep in the bed. The door clicked behind her and she moved down the
empty carpeted hallway to the lift.
The only sign of life were a few pre-booked
guest newspapers, an old Martian quirk inherited from mother Earth, they
refused to give up their morning printed papers even on the most modern of
man’s worlds with contact lens readers Martians still loved paper.
She called the lift and waited. A few
moments passed and she put the time to good use by adjusting her top. She heard
the hiss as the lift arrived.
She checked over her shoulder before
entering and asking for the taxi station.
Inside Joanna slipped her black
strapped four-inch heels on and checked her hair in the reflective steel walls,
her self-assessment occasionally interfered with by adverts for Hover Cars and
Lipsticks scrolling across the crystal smooth surface. Dissatisfied with the interruptions, she took
a tiny mirror from her bag, checking herself with a quizzical look. She took
out a lipstick, laughed and then put it back again, what was the point? The
lift took just under a minute to climb the sixty-two floors to the taxi
station. She stepped into the fresh cold air, high above the low cloud layer;
she pressed her thumb into the payment pad. The computer scanned her prints and
hailed her a taxi. With typical Martian efficiently the Taxi promptly arrived to
whisk her home.
As she flew over the city back towards
her apartment, she pondered why she picked up young men in bars. She knew deep
down in her heart, family life was not for her, not yet anyway so any
entanglement with men for her was purely mercenary. Men were too needy, too
controlling; she needed freedom to do what she wanted to do, when she wanted to
do it. The man she would settle for would have to understand her.
understand me, you have to know everything about me. There is no one I trust
that much. Not anymore.’
The taxi dipped its nose, cutting
left, and then swung round to the right through the towers of the apartment
buildings that made up the outskirts of New London. The taxi flew silently and
unopposed as this early in the morning few taxis were flying.
The taxi glided in to a smooth
landing on the roof of her apartment building, the door opened and the thin
winds caught her long dark hair blowing it over her face. She hooked her hair
behind her ear and closed the door.
Joanna was a young woman in her
prime, just thirty-three years old, fit, toned and she exuded power. She was
elegant even though she topped six foot four inches, not gangly at all. Like
most Martian humans born to this world, the lower gravity was less demanding on
human genetics designed for a planet with a larger core. Women averaged over a
foot more in height than their earth born counterparts and that was only after
a few generations. Her black hair reached her shoulders and her even longer
legs caused many a man to lose their co-ordination. In her heels, she stood
nearly six feet eight.
She strolled over to the apartment
roof door, choosing not to take the lift. Taking the stairs, she quickly
covered the one flight to her apartment, the penthouse at Mons Apartment Tower.
She cleared her elaborate door security and relieved to be inside she kicked
off her painful shoes and let her feet sink into the deep soft carpet. The
fibres caressed between her toes. She pulled her earrings off and her watch and
placed everything including her bag on to the entrance table. More at ease she
flopped on her large sofa, she chucked a few cushions to one end and eased
herself back, resting her head against the soft welcoming cushions. For a moment,
she allowed herself to pause, breathing lightly easing herself back into her
comfortable home. Thoughts and memories of the previous evening slowing
replayed in her mind, she raised both her arms above her head stretching, while
her toes clenched and unclenched. She wiggled them feeling the blood return and
her toes come back to life. Heels, she hated them and felt more as home in
trainers, shoes or army boots. However, if she wanted company she would have to
make some sacrifices. Arching her back,
stretching her muscles she let out a gentle contented sigh.
She lay and looked out of the window and
watched as Sol rose on her home world, higher and higher it climbed, warming
Mars and her slowly. The manufactured atmosphere helped to keep the heat in on
Mars now, but it was still a very cold world at night and only lukewarm during
Finally warmed and with circulation
restored she rolled off the sofa, leaning forward pressing a button on her
table; automatically the shower began. Slowly she stood, stretching again and
walked over to her bathroom. She eased her top off over her head and unzipped her
skirt. With a wiggle, it dropped to the floor and she stepped over the
discarded item. Her flimsy underwear followed, left as they fell and as she
reached the bathroom door, she was naked, her long elegant body looking perfect
to any trained or even untrained male eye.
After a long hot shower and steam dry,
she wrapped herself in her robe; it was soft, fluffy and white. Making her way to the kitchen, she made a pot
of coffee, some dry unbuttered toast, poured a large glass of orange juice and
rewarded herself with once small piece of dark chocolate. Placing them on a tray,
she went out on the balcony into sun. She pulled her wicker chair over to the
table, poured her coffee, took a piece of toast and then relaxing lifted her
feet onto the chair to enjoy the morning view and the light cool thin breeze. Sipping her chestnut and herb coffee, letting
the aroma waft up her nostrils and relax her. Joanna was at ease.
After a time, she noticed her
communicator light was persistently flashing, an indication that she had urgent
messages. She did not like being pestered or hurried her life was an ordered one,
planned and considered and urgent messages were not part of her plan. She thought
about taking the messages for a moment and then decided her toast would come
first. Toast finished, chocolate consumed and coffee warming her she finally
took the messages.
Touching her finger to the button and
listened to her messages. She noted three messages from her Mum, each one
designed to leave her with a little more guilt than the one before. Her Mum
always fretted about her and wanted Joanna to be more like her twin sister. Her
sister was of course her complete opposite, three children, a home, married to
the boring and in her view lazy director of the Oxygen plant. Her sister was prim
and proper and was always made up ready for show every hour of the day. Her
sister often held long and excruciatingly boring dinner parties, which on occasions
she sometimes had to suffer in the name and tradition of family unity or just for
her mum. Her delightful sister always nagging at her that she needed a man to marry,
told her to give up her silly spy work. It was alien world to her, a nightmare-inducing
world, even the thought of her sister in her high heels and tight fitting
evening gown made her cringe. As the thoughts of her sister filled her mind,
the final message was playing. The sound waves finally penetrated her eardrums and
into her consciousness, interrupting the agony of family dynamics and the voice
as it penetrated made her body tense and responsive, she leaned forward, eyes
widening with every word from the familiar if distant voice. She reached
forward and pressed the replay button.
The voice penetrated her mind clearly
on the second attempt, ‘Joanna, Joanna, I hope you are there?’ the voice
whispered ‘It’s James, I need you. I am in trouble, big trouble. Darn it Jo,
where in hell are you? Joanna?’
His voice from her years of training was
under extreme stress; her trained ears could sense the change in tone, a skill
that had served her well in many a mission or painful interrogation. Then as
she listened intently to his voice, an explosion caused the sound waves from
the communicator to crackle deep in her ears. The message ended abruptly.
Joanne paused, she had not realised
she had been leaning forward her ear almost pressed to the speaker; she sat
back her hands shaking uncontrollably and her breathing shallow and fast. She
could feel her heart pounding and her mind racing but she forced herself to think,
to take stock to analyse and make the decision that would best fit the
situation. This was the academy training kicking in! ‘Calm down’ her mind
demanded of herself. Before she did anything else she needed to assess the
message. Joanna downloaded the message onto her wrist communicator, she
scrambled it and coded it and then called her office her actions deliberate and
detailed as any secret agents would be. Peter, her faithful and trusted assistant,
‘Peter! I am sending you a message.
Trace its origin and call me back. Do it urgently Peter, top priority and
delete any records of your search OK’?
She hung up as Peter’s confirmation was
still travelling across the frequency stream to her communicator. She forced
herself to get up, her legs shaking like her hands were before. They felt
unnatural, the feeling for her was unnatural. Joanna was controlled as a
person, fear and emotions usually so tightly locked away. But now they were
having a field day with her body now.
She willed her legs to work and made
it to her bedroom and got dressed, throwing on a pair of jeans and a top. She grabbed
her trainers and her black jacket. As she tied her laces, her wrist
‘Hi boss,’ said Peter ‘I have the
details for you. I am sending them over coded and on a secure line now, let me
know if you need anything else?’
Joanna waited for her wrist to
vibrate. It seemed an age as her mind was already leaping ahead. Finally, it
came through; the location of the call for help had been on Earth, New York, Lower
Manhattan Area, Manhattan Island. Without pausing to think, she packed a bag
and headed to the spaceport.
On the way to the spaceport, she allowed
herself to remember long forgotten moments, she did not need to delve too deep
to locate the memories of James, he had never been far from her thoughts every
day, every week since he had left to return to Earth. He had been her man for a
short while, back in the old academy days. Those times back then seemed so relaxed,
innocent and not politically or otherwise driven. A time when old mother Earth
and Mars had yet to fall out, it seemed so long ago another lifetime.
Now relations between the two most populous
planets had reached rock bottom, accusations and counter accusations, minor navy
skirmishes in planetary orbits between the fleets. The war of words seemed to
intensify every day.
and James had been career minded back in those better days, which proved the
deciding factor in the end. They were not ready for emotional commitment. They
were both young, in love yes, but also so in love with what they were training
They had parted on good terms
promising to find each other again one day and for both of them they had meant
She had since relived those days
countless times on many a lonely night. How she would like to have made
different decisions. How she would have asked him to stay, stay forever.
Her mind always wandered back to
their first night together, he had been the only one she had stayed with until the
next morning, the only one she had cuddled and the only arms she had not wanted
to leave. That moment had surprised her just as much as it had him. He was in
the Earth Secret Service on detachment to the Academy; she was in the Mars
Intelligence Academy, both on their way up with promising careers in front of
them. How long had it been? Ten years? After all that time he had found her,
needed her and this time, no career, no mission or anything else was going to
get in her way. James needed her and that was the only fact that she needed.
The spaceport loomed large in the
window; she zipped up and checked her laser was stowed in the scanner proof
container. ‘I am coming James’ she said, ‘I am coming’!
Do you want to read Chapter 2?
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