Last Rites

Sarah transmitted her blog’s profile of Rex to C’therax.  He stated to read it:

“The thing about being in downtown Greatsville, is that we were used to being ignored,” Rex Marshall, an inmate soon to be executed for ‘betraying his species’ says.  “We were in poverty.  We were ignored.  We were hopeless.  We were ignored.  We shot each other.  We were ignored.  We sold drugs.  We were ignored.  We formed gangs.  We were ignored.  So when laws were passed against doing business with multiterrestrials we just thought it would be ignored like every other law in Greatsville.  Then, suddenly, they dropped the hammer on us.  Several of my fellow street brothers thought we could convince the Supreme President and the so-called ‘Humanity First’ movement to be merciful by turning in multiterrestials, but I knew better.  I knew that the people outside of Greatsville didn’t give a shit about any of us, so I went to some of my multiterrestrial customers, told them I could promise them nothing but two hands and keen trigger finger.  And I’ve fought alongside them ever since…”

Sarah remembered the outrage her profile of Rex caused, and as C’therax read her article her mind wondered back…

Sarah pushed and shoved her way through the crowd.  Signs proclaiming “An Earth Without Barricades” and “Free the Planet” were being passed out by zealous organizers.

Well, I started something, Sarah thought.  You’re not being ignored now, Rex.  Around the perimeter, dozens of national troopers stood in riot gear.  Several of the protesters had their phones out and were live-streaming to multiple social media platforms to dissuade the police from making too strong a show of force.  But that may not convince them, Sarah thought.

Her phone was buzzing like crazy.  Not now Michael, Sarah thought as she inched forward.  Someone bumped into her and she fell, losing the large sunglasses she was wearing.  Sarah quickly covered her face, felt around for the glasses and put them back on.  She glanced left and right.  None of the protesters or the police seemed to have noticed her.  Sarah took a deep breath, hoped the makeup covering the red on her neck wouldn’t sweat off and pushed forward.

Sarah’s phone went off again. She pulled it out and typed, Not now Michael!

Sarah flipped through the messages he had sent her.

Call me.

NOW!

They are going to disperse the crowd; they are planning to cause some number of causalities-you need to GET OUT NOW!

Sarah took a deep breath and looked at the swarm of police.  More and more trucks filled with troopers were piling in.  Government helicopters were in the sky.

Sarah typed into her phone, My article is the reason why they are here.  I can’t abandon them now.  I love you cuz.    

Michael instantaneously wrote back YOU ARE WORTH MORE TO THE RESISTANCE ALIVE!

Sarah turned of her phone and took out the battery.  She always presumed that the state could hear her through the phone unless the battery was removed.  Sarah therefore spent her time in as much a public way as possible so that, if she were killed, she would be killed before a crowd-where cameras would make the crime public.  Not today though. Today, secrecy was her best bet of survival.  President Blake was so furious that even her politically powerful protectors may not be able to stop him.

The crowd started to take up a chant: “FREE THE FREEDOM FIGHTERS!  FREE THE FREEDOM FIGHTERS!”  Sarah took up the cry, not wanting to stick out in the crowd.

With one more thrust of effort, Sarah made it to the front of the crowd and stood in front of the barbed wire of New Alcatraz, Mainland Satellite.  Inside the barbed wire, several members of the press were snapping pictures of both the crowd and of the three prisoners, who were chained hand to ankle such that they had to walk bent over.

Sarah heard screams behind her, and soon her eyes started to fill with tears.  The hiss of pepper spray canisters filled the air.  Sarah lunged out and blindly climbed a few feet up the fence to prevent herself from being trampled  by a frantic crowd. With one hand she held on for dear life, and with the other she reached into her pant pocket and removed a red spay canister.  She sprayed the contents into each eye and blinked repeatedly. Her vision cleared, and she once again saw the three prisoners.

Thanks for telling me your story Rex.  

They were on their knees now, and three men with rifles stood just a few feet away, aiming, simply waiting for the command to pull the trigger.

Sarah reached into her pocket again and pulled out a custom made black speaker and pressed a button.  Over the sounds of the frantic crowd, the Martian Planetary Anthem played.  Rex, Luke and Zeleyn looked away from the guns pointed at them, and looked towards Sarah.  They smiled. Sarah smiled back and mouthed, “thank you.” Then there was a chorus of gunshots.

Pain exploded in Sarah’s right shoulder and she fell off the fence, hitting the ground hard.  Her eyes started to tear up, and she stumbled through the mist choking.

She saw a figure through the smog and then a blow landed strait in her stomach.   She stumbled back and threw out a punch.  She was mostly blind, but the assailant was cocky.  It connected, and Sarah heard the sound of snapping ribs.

She gave her eyes another spray from her bottle, silently thanked her allies at the University and blinked to clear her vision.

Her attacker, who stood a full six foot six, had his teeth gritted in pain, but he had an assault rifle aimed at her.  Sarah briefly considered running through the smoke, but knew it would be futile.

The man had red scars, like the one she had on her neck, all over his face.

“Sarah Debattista.  I am so glad no one got to you first.”

Sarah motioned to her collar, where a small camera was clipped.

“Oh, you sweet little girl.  Unlike the police, I won’t be dissuaded by bad publicity.  I have waited so, so long to do this.  But I am a merciful man, Sarah.  I was in the same building as you when the alien rebels tried to escape past Earth’s barricade.  I was there when the spaceship exploded sending debris upon our screaming children.  I was burned just like you.”

Sarah wondered if she should press the panic button on her belt.  Michael and the resistance won’t be able to make it in time.  And even if they did, they would have to engage in open combat…a move we can’t make yet…I am sorry dear cousin…

“And, like you, I was sucked up by the yellow light.  I saw the green faces like you did.  But I recognized this for what it was.  It was a publicity stunt.  ‘Oh trust us weak and feeble Earthlings and we will give you medical technologies beyond your wildest dreams!’  If their tech was really so great they would have stopped the ship from falling in the first place.  They new full well that trying the run the Barricade would cause an explosion.  Its just like what you do.  Set up publicity stunts and filthy lies and hope you can sway the sheep to trust the wolves.”

He threw a punch and Sarah was thrown against the barbed wire fence.

“So I am going to give you a choice, Sarah Debattista,” the man said.  With one hand he kept his rifle pointed at Sarah.  With the other, he took out a cellphone and started to record.

“Now, it’s Humanity First’s turn to get a little publicity.  Tell me Sarah.  Will you now reject the alien scum and all the half-breed traitors that aid and abet them?”

Sarah tried to speak, but between the tear gas and her stutter all she could do was choke.

“SPEAK UP YOU WRETCH!”

Sarah tried again, but she just exploded into a coughing fit.  “Well you know what, Sarah? Maybe that’s for the best.  Tell you what.  I will edit your voice in and the remaining alien scum will know that their greatest defender spurned them with her dying breath.”

Sarah reached for the red canister and pressed a different button.  A red light beamed into the man’s eyes.  He winced and Sarah took the opportunity to run.  His bullet missed her by inches, but she soon tripped over the body of someone who had been trampled in the stamped.

The assailant approached her and aimed his gun.  Sarah aimed the red light on his chest.  The beam formed the Martian Coat of Arms.

The man looked at it and spat on her.  “You are a disgrace Sarah.  A disgrace to your flag, to your culture and to your species.”

Sarah prayed inwardly and touched the chain on her wrist.  She shut her eyes only to open them again when she heard a mighty roar.

The tear gas once again obstructed her ability to see.  She could make out dozens of dark figures and could hear the sounds of gun fire. These guns were louder than any Sarah had previously heard.

Sarah felt herself being lifted up into a yellow light, like she was so many years ago…

“So honored to finely meet you, Sarah Debattista, one in whom the Immutable’s Light shines,” a voice said in her ear.

To Be Continued… 

mars-2051748_1280

(Pixture by Aynur_zakirov )

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