Tuesday, September 12, 2023

The Sands of Time Ch 49

Joon was stunned.  

Hillier was talking to the other commander while troops took up positions, shooting any wounded Faction. They also shot anyone who came through the Gate. Joon and Maia were being guarded, and had been disarmed. The troops were all dressed like Faction, so the troops in Ops hadn't had a chance. 

Hillier and the other Intruder were in their true forms now. Jet skin, silver hair, amber eyes. They were laughing at the moment, although one could sense a tension underneath the surface. 

Joon tried to edge closer to hear but one of the guards hit him with their weapon. 

"Easy with that one," Hillier called over. "He's with me. Come here, Joon."

Joon approached, Maia following. 

"I didn't say anything about you," she said to Maia, but waved her hand, relenting. 

She resumed speaking with her counterpart in an alien language. Joon looked around. There were probably seventy or more Intruders now here, and the entrances were well guarded. There were a few other Gaxians here, as well, floating about, although Howie stayed close to Maia. 

Hillier turned to Joon. 

"Take this off," she insisted, fingering the collar. 

"I can't," Joon said. "Only Stella can."

"Seriously? That bitch does not want to see me right now. Call her. I want it done."

Joon looked around- was there a comm panel not all shot to shit? 

"N'arth'kaa tells me they're in control and the Faction in this area are mostly dead. No word on Stella."

"What is their next step?"

"They want Stella. Then they want to leave. But they're going to take a lot of people with them. Or just kill as many as they can kill." 


"I'll keep you alive. As long as you don't do anything dumb. Nice job, by the way. You're not a killer but you held your own."

"How do they plan on acquiring Stella?"

"You can help with that. Call her."

"Absolutely not," replied Stella. 

Mallory couldn't hear whatever was said on the far end. 

"I'm not dumb enough to come down there," Stella continued. "I don't mean to put you at risk, but I'm not coming there to be their sacrificial lamb. Grant's reinforcements are on base already and far outnumber her pitiful band." 

Mallory patched in to the connection. 

"... she wants this collar off, and we owe it to her. We owe a lot to her actually," Joon was saying. 

Stella scoffed. 

"She can die with that collar on. No, no, I'm just saying that. I'll deactivate it when they stand down."

"Now," interjected Hillier. 

"They're not standing down," added Joon. 

"Well, they can't just stay there. Grant will take them out." 

"We're not staying. But they want you. Someone needs to pay for what you did to us." Hillier was talking. 

"Tough. I don't feel like dying today." 

"If you won't take responsibility we'll have to do other things." 

"Such as?"

"Kiss your Ops center goodbye. We have explosives planted... and little gifts strewn all over for Grant. He may get here, but he'll pay a hefty price to do so."

Stella shrugged, but Mallory could tell she was furious. 

"I know where your crystals are, and how weak your outposts are. Do you want your people back, or do you want to come down here?"

"I'm not that stupid. Those people know the risks."

Somebody came up to N'arth'kaa and whispered to her. She then conferred with Hillier who came back online. 

"Reports are that your reinforcements are almost here, and taking heavy losses. That's unfortunate. Are you going to come here or continue to hide?"

"You know what? I will come. I'll be there in five minutes."

"Are you crazy?" hissed Mallory. 

"How will you be here that fast?" 

"You'll see." 

Stella appeared through a magenta doorway, using one of the Intruders' own teleport devices. She came with a security detail and two combat robots as well. Joon had never seen them deployed but he knew they were serious. 

"You have balls," Hillier said. 

"Using their own teleport devices," Maia muttered. 

Stella came right up to N'arth'kaa. Hillier approached. They took the measure of each other. No one spoke. Then Stella said "What do you want?"

"You," said Hillier. 

"Not happening."

"We can take you anytime. You were foolish to come here." 

"If you felt that way you would have killed me already."

"Wrong. We want you with us. Joon can live. Your life is with us."


Everyone was training weapons on each other. Joon could hear servo motors as the robots brought their heavy weapons to bear. 

"Maybe we should just take it down a bit..."

Stella and Hillier both dismissed him with a glare. 

"I wouldn't have treated your people the way I did if I could do it over," Stella said. "I was following orders and doing what I thought best. No, that's wrong. I knew it wasn't right. I can't undo it." 

"How touching," Hillier sneered. "I know for a fact you're growing... morphers, I believe you call them?- in vats right now. Premised on the vivisections you did of my people."

Stella said nothing. 

"I killed Valerus. I know things. I want to do that to you, too. Although part of me doesn't."

"I'll stop it. I've had time to reflect. I made mistakes. But if you were in my role would you have acted differently?"

"I don't know," said Hillier.  

There was a humming then, from the Gate. 

"Someone's coming through," said Maia. 

Sure enough, figures emerged. They could see a starry expanse... night, somewhere?- and then a squad of armored humans came through. Every weapon trained on the newcomers, who in turn saw they were stepping into a situation and adopted defensive postures. 


Andreas could sense things were on a knife edge. 

Where were they? 

This was not where they were supposed to be. He motioned to Gillian, who made a gesture and the troopers went to their defensive posture. They were in some kind of facility, and humans and... something else... were present. The apparent leader, a female, was speaking, but in an alien tongue. Translation software didn't work. 

Time to go. 


Joon stared as the strike force- what else could they be- slowly stepped back through the Gate. Their leader was tall, with silvery grey hair, and exuded an air of easy confidence. His second in command was a tall woman with long black hair and what looked like a sniper rifle. The team moved with the practiced ease of a crack team. If Stella had been able to communicate with them things might have been different. But they were gone now. 

Weapons were once more trained on each other. Someone came up to Hillier and whispered, and they could hear gunfire now. The reinforcements were here. 

Time to go. 

N'arth'kaa lunged for Stella, her robots began firing, and everyone went for cover. Hillier issued a command and explosions went off. Chaos. Most of the Intruders passed intothe Gate, as N'arth'kaa and Stella fought. Maia grabbed N'arth'kaa by the hair and hauled her off, Stella kicked her, and then one of the robots blew a hole in N'arth'kaa and she was gone. 

Joon couldn't see Hillier. Wait, there she was. By the Gate, issuing instructions. She had a tablet. Stella was bleeding. There were explosions everywhere. He made contact with her, and they looked at each other. 

Hillier was the last one to go, but she remained. 


  1. Definitely some intriguing entanglements in this installment! N'arth'kaa was a surprise (any prequeals with some of these characters?)

    Oh Stella (she really did give that political feel that many of us are seeing these days presently!)

    I think what would be hard for me to do if I had gotten this far into the story..of killing off the characters. Anyway, certainly a lot to think on. I do like how the atmosphere changed and the commotions happening at the gate..but still the question...will Hillier ever get that collar off?Also a very interesting line at the end!

    Carefully Listening
    The Book Group
    Cherry Blossoms
    Better Left Unsaid


    Thanks so much for reading and your comments! I greatly appreciate it. I did spend more time this month with the youngesters in my ellie story. While things do get a little pulled apart with Caitlin & Megan.

    1. I like the fact that Hillier probably has more backing than they know..and we get to see her (or Joon gets to) see her true self. Of course, we want to know more what's up with Joon and Maia too. So much I would like to know about Maia. I kept thinking..maybe she's up to no good after all, but there is Howie and I hope you explore Howie's power too. Who know, Howie could show up as one of the soliders. ..or have a solider's story. Well..it's Thursday and I am on my first Margarita. I don't work tomorrow, just the weekend. Oh, I could go for a lot more cool fall weather. Maybe some rain too. 🍁🍁🍁🍁🍁🍁🍁🍁🍁🍁🍁Thanks for your comment..oh, there was always that guy I would have loved to have been my boyfriend back in high school..but he was either on the other team or from a super religious family. Although, we did have a couple of dances at in the hallway at school..since he couldn't be at the dance. Yes, I was very good at spilling a soda all over my outfit too. I did have fun with my homecoming story this year. Some of it, it is even based on a true story..hahahaha.. I hope you have a fantastic weekend coming up and I'm glad you've got the great lakes too. Next best thing to the ocean (u‿ฺu✿ฺ)

  2. I confess I haven't read the other 48 chapters so out of context I can say you have something here. Very creative and strong writing.

  3. This piece is action packed with thrills.

  4. Uy pobre Stella. Me gusta mucho ese personaje. Genial fragmento. Te mando un beso.

  5. Very curious about that strike force that came and went so fast!

  6. Great chapter. You write with passion! This text has many emotions.
    Greetings from Poland!

  7. "I'll keep you alive. As long as you don't do anything dumb" I feel like this is what Kevin would say to me in this situation lol

    Karen @For What It's Worth

  8. Catching up on some chapters again :D

  9. I'm glad I'm behind and don't have to wait for new installments! 😯