The Azren Chronicles: Winter Kill – Chapter One

This is the 2nd book in The Azren Chronicles. The first book in the series is The Trouble with Pies (And Why they Are Necessary), which is a one-shot. Winter Kill is going to be a feature-length novel.

And, yes, the blogger cast from the first one has agreed to return. So, expect to see them as some of the main characters in future Azren Chronicles novels/short stories/one-shots.

Meet the blogger stars:

  • Rue – Rue the Avenger is me! (Anyone notice the jab at the Marvel Cinematic Universe that I made in The Trouble with Pies (And Why they Are Necessary)?) (Don’t worry – I LOVE the MCU. It was a friendly jab). I am the leader of the three heroes stooges (I say that in good humour, guys 🙂 ). P.S. – I call myself ‘Rue’ as it’s my nickname and part of my WordPress handle.
  • Bond – or otherwise known as bottomlesscoffee007, he is a sidekick of mine in The Azren Chronicles and I am going to have A LOT of fun with his character this time around (be afraid. Be VERY afraid). P.S. – I call him ‘Bond’ due to the fact that it’s part of his WordPress handle).
  • Jones – also known as jmshistorycorner. My other sidekick in The Azren Chronicles.
  • Racquel – Princess Azalea’s lawyer. NOW Queen Azalea’s lawyer. Racquel was more of a cameo in the first one, but in this one, Winter Kill, she will be a main character – and she and I will have some AWESOME fun later on in the story – bottomlesscoffee007, DEFINITELY be afraid. I’ve got the law on my side here! 🙂

I will have another blogger appear as a character in Winter Kill, but I won’t announce who it is yet. It is a surprise. The secret cast member doesn’t appear in this chapter.

DISCLAIMER!!! {The personalities of each of the blogger characters are either grossly exaggerated (as far as I am aware) or completely fictionalised (with consent of the blogger if I am correct) for the sake of the story, privacy, and laughs.}

And in Winter Kill, parts of my character’s past will be mentioned or at least hinted at. I should mention that my character’s past in this is COMPLETELY FICTITIOUS!!!!! NONE OF IT IS REAL!!!

I definitely recommend that you read the first one before reading this one – you will understand this one a lot better.

List of my previous stories:

  1. ZION
  2. ZION: The Rebellion
  3. Zion: War of Thrones
  4. The Inside Job
  5. A New Heart
  6. KIDS!!
  7. Broken
  8. The Ruins
  9. Restored
  10. The Icy Depths
  11. The 1st Year
  12. The Azren Chronicles: The Trouble with Pies (And Why they Are Necessary)

Anyway, on with the story!


“Jones, missile to your right!”

Jones perfectly executed a corkscrew manoeuvre. He watched as the missile flew past him, almost touching the Skylon space plane.

He saw something on the side of the missile. What does it say? He almost made it out…

He gasped. Why him?

The missile slammed into a nearby orbiting satellite. There was a small explosion that was quickly sniffed out due to the lack of oxygen. Parts of the satellite entered the planet’s atmosphere, and began burning up.

Like the streaking comets Mum, me and Rue would lie on the grass and watch.

“Indy! Are you alright?”

The frantic voice of Rue snapped him back into focus. He took a deep breath and turned on his comms. “Yes. I have just found out who we’re chasing.”

“Who?” another voice joined the conversation. Bond‘s hologram popped up next to Rue’s.

Ver’thad.”


Oh my gosh.

Her hands began to shake. Her vision went blurry.

Nononononono

“Rue, watch out!”

Huh?

She was heading for a satellite. “Oh, shit!” She yanked on the yoke and the bottom of her Skylon scrapped the top of the satellite. She looked back and saw some antenna subsystems, comm links, and solar cells break off and float away into space.

Oops. Okay – get it together, Rue. It isn’t like last time.

Her hand absentmindedly grazed part of the scar that was behind her ear. The whole scar ran from behind her ear, all the way down her neck and then part way down her back.

Last time…

“Rue? What happened? You OK?” Jones’ voice shattered her thoughts. She then realized that her breathing had become shallow and quick. She looked down at her hands where they were gripping the yoke. Her knuckles were white.

She relaxed her grip. “I’m fine,” Rue replied.

“Are you sure?” Jones prodded.

“Don’t worry about me,” Rue brushed it off. “Let’s focus. Was it Ver’thad that was firing at us?”

“No. Ver’thad would never allow anyone to get that close. Those were drones firing at you. Judging from previous encounters, he will be some distance away.” It was Dritz, the ruler of the kingdom of Aidiwen. His hologram appeared between Bond’s and Jones’ holograms.

“So, where’s Ver’thad?” Bond asked.

“We haven’t been able to track him yet,” Dritz replied. “We believe that he has some sort of technology that prevents him from being picked up on radar.”

“Well, then, let’s find him,” Rue ordered.


A little while later…

A planet loomed infront of her. Steering her ship to the right, she cruised alongside, slowing down as she looked down at the planet below.

Rue spotted large oceans down below. Islands dotted the seas. The large masses were half in nighttime and half in daylight.

Earth. Where I used to live.

Her eyes looked over at one of the continents against her will.

Africa.

Where Mum is scattered.

“Whoa! Found him,” Bond’s hologram said.

“Where?” Rue enquired. She tore her eyes away from her home planet and looked ahead.

Oh. That’s where he is.

See the source image

“That’s a big ship,” Jones remarked.

“Just remember,” and this time it was Racquel‘s hologram that popped up, “at all costs, avoid destroying the data chips. They have important data on them. Do your best to retrieve them. But, if absolutely necessary, destroy them. Can’t let Ver’thad get away with them.”

“Yes, Ma’am,” Rue acknowledged, wondering what was on the data chips. Racquel had contacted them that the infamous Ver’thad had accessed their planet Azren’s data chips and hired them to go fetch them back. ‘Top priority’ and ‘critical’ were the words she had used when carefully avoiding divulging what type of information was on the data chips. “Information.”

Prompted by her voice, her Skylon’s onboard computer system instantly brought up a scan it had just done on Ver’thad’s ship, which Rue reluctantly confessed was pretty cool. Keeping one hand on the yoke, Rue zoomed in on the ship. “Computer, locate points of ingress.”

A couple of seconds later, three green blimps appeared on the holo-image of the ship. One at the front of the ship around the bottom and the other two on the right and left side. “Send it to Skylon 2 and 3.”

Two beeps indicated that they had been sent. Almost immediately afterwards, Bond and Jones’ holograms appeared.

“Those are hangar doors,” Jones noted. “Maybe we could turn on the stealth capabilities of our craft and try to fly in.”

“How are we going to open the hangar doors?” Bond pointed out.

“Good point,” Jones conceded.

Rue stroked her chin. There was something in Jones’ suggestion…

“We can use the stealth capabilities to sneak over to Ver’thad’s ship and use our laser cutters to cut a hole in the ship,” Rue suggested.

“Wouldn’t that set off alarms and maybe, I don’t know…activate some sort of self-defense mechanism? This is Ver’thad we’re talking about here. He’s got more technology than in Star Wars and the aliens do in Independence Day movies!” Bond argued. “Even if we could cut into his ship, there’s the trouble of getting there. From previous experience, I know that he has the technology that will still detect us even with our stealth capabilities.”

“Well…shit!” Rue and Jones exclaimed in unison.

“Lasers!” Jones exclaimed. Rue jerked upwards. Two lasers slammed into each other behind. A tremor rippled through her ship. Lights flashed red. Alarms blared.

With a grunt she stabilised the Skylon. Looking through the windshield, Rue saw Bond and Jones dodging lasers. No lasers were coming in her direction. Ver’thad must have forgotten about me, Rue realized. Or think I’ve been hit by the lasers.

Then it hit her.

“Guys,” she said, excitement making her voice rise. “The Signal Disruptor!”

“What?” they responded simultaneously.

“We can go onboard and use the invisibility cloaks. I’ll fire a Signal Disruptor onto the ship. It’ll knock out the power and the doors will open wide,” she explained.

“Let’s do it,” they agreed.


“Firing Disruptor,” Bond announced.

He pressed a green button on the yoke. A small yellow cylinder with a small fin on the side shot out. Using the holo-tracker, he watched as it flew like a bullet and latched onto the front right engine of Ver’thad’s ship. Blue energy was being emitted from the engines, propelling the ship forward.

A small light on the tip of the fin changed from red to green, indicating that it was on. “Just waiting…” he muttered.

The blue energy suddenly disappeared. The lights on the ship blinked out.

“We’re going in.”


Exiting her ship, Rue turned on her jet pack and zoomed towards the spaceship, looming up ahead. She and Bond had turned on their Skylons autopilot and programmed to fly around, firing low-voltage energy beams into Ver’thad’s spaceship engines while they used their jet packs to fly over to Ver’thad’s ship and board it through the now-open hangar doors.

Jones was staying in his Skylon to help make the charade more genuine. Rue and Bond had their invisibility cloaks on to mask their approach.

“Bond, status report,” Rue turned on her helmet comms.

“Right beside you.”

What? She looked around, doing a full 360-degree turn. “Oh, right. Sorry. Didn’t see you.”

She heard a sigh. “That’s the idea.”


Bond and Rue turned off their jet packs and invisibility cloaks as they made their way through the hangar doors.

Space planes, spacecraft, Lunar craft and other miscellaneous objects floated around. Rue frowned as several of the objects crashed into each other and some went out into space.

Of course! They would have been connected to the electromagnetism servos, but they turned off with the power outage, releasing the craft, Rue realized.

She rolled forward as a flock of drones shot over her head.

“Heads up!”

Bond grabbed her arm and pulled her away. A dark shadow passed over their heads. Rue looked up as they performed a double back flip, triple twist in zero-gravity and saw a a North American X-15 shatter as it collided with a Boeing X-37 and the X-37 nose-dived into the floor of the hangar.

Bits of steel and other unidentifiable parts flew around. “Rue!”

She felt her arm yanked from his grip. She began spiraling out of control. Spacecraft, debris, the approaching ripped hole all spun around.

Her dented jet pack zipped past her helmet.

Hell!

Seeing a piece of steel sticking out, Rue reached up and grabbed it. Her arm yanked and the momentum carried her forward. “OOF!” she exclaimed as she collided with the left side of the hole that had been ripped into the floor by the X-37.

She gasped for air.

Closed her eyes. Oh my gosh, ohmygosh!

“Rue!” Panting filled her helmet’s comms. “You alright?”

“Yes!” Rue assured him and, looking up, saw a twisted piece of steel sticking out of the side of the hole. She grabbed it and heaved herself upwards. Grabbing another one further up, she saw that there was no more pieces of steel sticking out on her side. Looking to her right (Well, she thought, in space, it’s never right), she saw there was a really thick beam sticking out on the ‘right’ side of the hole right at the top where Bond was waiting for her.

Pity the jet pack decided it was retirement time.

Taking careful aim, Rue pushed herself off, she floated up. Almost got it…

“Look out!”

She looked down.

A large portion of the X-37’s wings was shooting straight for her.

She twisted towards the edge.

Something slammed into her air hose.

Hiss…

Escaping air propelled her forward.

Twisted her.

Spun her around the hangar.

Her hands groped for her air hose.

The air hose was squirming around as the air was forced out of it, like a hose with a heavy force of water squirting out of it.

She tried to breathe.

No air.

Became dizzy.

Grabbed her air hose. Locked the loose end back into place.

She took a deep breath. Air!

She turned on her comms. “Before you ask, Bond, I’m fine.”

“I was going to say ‘I guess you can’t kill weeds.’ “

Rue spluttered as she followed Bond to an airlock. I so hate his one-liners.

“I mean, look at your survival rate. It’s like James Bond in those movies.”

Rue chuckled. “Like in Quantum of Solace when he rode his motorcycle across two boats?” Then she muttered to herself, “Or was it three?”

Bond laughed. “No, no. That’s believable compared to how he survives the start of Skyfall.”

“Never saw it. And, I think my survival rate is pretty believable. I mean, this is real life, you know?”

Bond snickered. “Is it?”

Rue groaned. Bond unlocked the airlock and they floated through into an empty hallway.

Pushing themselves through the hall, they arrived at a doorway. The electronic door had slid open due to the power outage. Floating through the empty hallways, Rue went to activate a tracker that was one the data chips then remembered about the power outage. Good thing our comms are on an isolated system.

They arrived at a corner and they peeked around it.

A shadow enlarged at the far end.

Rue pulled Bond out of sight, pressing themselves to the wall. Or was it the ceiling? Straining her ears to hear, she became aware of breathing from down the hall they had being going to go down. It sounded like two sets of breathing.

Okay, she mentally sighed.

Oh, shit!

She and Bond floated down infront of the hall’s entrance. The two people in bulky suits drew up in surprise.

One lunged at Bond.

The other lunged at her.

She easily dodged the person. As the person floated past, Rue grabbed his wrist and twisted it.

SNAP!

“OWWW!”

His screams of pain were joined by another one’s.

Then there was silence.

“I slipped in the oxygenated knock-out thingy. He’s…no, she’s not going to be a problem for 48 hours,” Bond declared.

Rue nodded once and then slammed her opponent against the wall, or ceiling, or whatever the heck it was.

“Okay, okay! What do you want?” the man begged.

She slipped a knife out of her belt and rested the tip against the wrist of his suit. “Now, you’re gonna’ show us where you stored the data chips OR I will slit your sleeve from the wrist to the shoulder. You will run out of air and suffocate.” She paused for dramatic effect. “Please co-operate. I couldn’t stand the guilt.”


“You know, Bond,” she said casually as the man led them through the labyrinth of halls. She made sure the channel of communication was only able to be heard by Bond and herself.

“Yeah?”

“After this is all over, I was thinking…”

He glanced at her suspiciously.

“…that I need a beer.”

Bond inhaled and said, “Good luck trying to find it this time.”

“Hmm. Maybe the one in the bottom left-hand drawer of your dresser.”

It took a few seconds for it to sink in.

“Wait a minute. How did you find out about that?” he asked in a hushed voice.

“You mean I was right?” Bond muttered a colourful string of words simply unable to be printed as he realized how he had been played.


“We’re here,” the man announced.

Floating through the open doorway, Rue looked around. The room was empty, except for a transparent glass box right in the middle of the room.

And inside were the data chips.

“Come on,” she said to Bond and they floated over to the box, keeping a firm grip on their guide, who was whimpering the whole way.

Something’s off, though, Rue could not help but notice. Why is this straight in the middle? This is very important material. Why isn’t there guards around? Or even buried amongst other stuff to help hide it?

The lights flicked on.

They fell to the ground.

Artificial gravity’s back on.

Oh, crap!

“Let’s get out of here!” Rue ordered. They scrambled onto their feet and whipped around…

…and saw several people drop from the ceiling and land lightly on their feet.

Movement to their right.

Bond whipped around and aimed his watch face at the person. A blue beam shot of the watch face and hit the person in the chest. The corpse toppled down to the ground with a reek of burning flesh. Rue caught a glimpse of the face through the helmet.

Our guide. Definitely a trap. And a clever one.

Laser beams came towards them.

Rue rolled out of the way. Onto her feet. Punched one of the people in the jaw. Someone charged at her. She threw her knife. It sunk in at the join of the neck and shoulder.

She swung a kick at the same time as she pressed a button on her watch. Her foot slammed into someone’s abdomen. Someone slammed into her back and knocked her to the ground. She crashed her elbow into someone’s face. Pushed her off.

As she fought, she used the watch’s secret controls to remote-pilot her Skylon around to their position. Dodged a knife. Grabbed it as it passed. Threw it back. It slashed the person’s face from the right eye, across the nose to the bottom of the left cheek.

Activated the laser guns.

Pressed FIRE.

She dropped to the ground as the left wall erupted in a stunning combination of orange and yellow. Bits of the wall shot everywhere. Suddenly, Rue felt herself being violently sucked out of the room towards the gaping hole in the wall into the open arms of space.

She saw a hand and grabbed it, then saw it was Bond. People tried to grab onto anything they could. Were sucked out. She grabbed the ledge and tried to keep a good grip.

“Data chips!” Bond shouted below her. She looked up and saw the glass box of data chips flying towards the hole.

“Hang on!” she warned him and let go. She was twisted; turned; saw a flash of the box. Reached for it…

Missed.

No!

“OOF!”

Oh. Fancy hitting my Skylon.

She climbed inside and, with a grunt, pulled the ship away from the pull. “Bond, status report,” she said over the comms as she began circling the ship. Thankfully, there was no shots fired at her. Too busy with the damage, she figured. “Bond?”

“In my ship.”

“Did…did you retrieve the box?”

“Yes. Barely.”

“Phew!”

“Yes. Let’s get out of here, please.”

“Doing. Jones,” she said as she and Bond swerved their Skylons away from Ver’thad’s ship and around earth. “We’re leaving.”

“Copy that,” Jones replied. Rue glanced out at earth again. This time she spotted Russia, where the Kingdom of Eden was. Eden’s rulers – King Alexei and Queen Zipporah – had a ‘shoot-on-sight’ order for Ver’thad. He’s stepped on too many toes. She glanced behind her. Then frowned.

Jones’ Skylon was flying in an erratic pattern.

What?

“Jones, what’s going on?” No answer. “Jones?”

A beep! and a hologram popped up. She gasped. No. Not him.

Ver’thad.

A Kabuki mask stared at her. Rue could not see his face, but she knew he was mad. And that made her happy. Ver’thad stabbed a finger at her.

“This is what happens when you mess with me.”

Jones!

Looking back behind her, she saw Jones was still in the erratic flight pattern. He’s taking control over Jones’ Skylon.

Suddenly, it became a ball of fire that exploded.

Like the scream from her heart.


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All novels and short stories on this blog are the works of @rue202 and Racheal’s Novels Unauthorised use and/or duplication of this material without the express and written permission of the author is strictly not allowed. You may use excerpts and links or reblogs of this material provided that complete and clear credit is given to rue202 and Racheal’s Novels with clear directions to the original content.

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