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The Beyond

by Thomas R. Willits

Table of Contents
“The Beyond” began
in issue 165.
part 4 of 5

“Who was it?” He asked ignorantly.

Ethan already knew the answer.

“I don’t know,” Norian continued. “They’re not saying much. But Ethan. They’re also implicating you. They mentioned your name. I think they’re coming for you.”

“Me?” Ethan looked out the window not noticing anything unusual. “Why would they?”

“They found a disc,” Norian answered quickly. “They’ve been scanning it over and over. It was coded but they managed to uncover part of it. They found a name. Your name. It was on this disc several times. I heard Droverson will be ordering your arrest.”

Ethan was now far from this apartment. The communicator was light years away. This could not be happening. Ric was dead. They would likely be coming to arrest him right now and he was supposed to be leaving in less than five hours.

“What are you going to do?” Norian finally slowed down his conversation although still impatient.

“I don’t know,” Ethan said and that was the honest truth. “I... can’t believe this.”

Suddenly there was a chime at the door. Then a knock on the door. It was an unfriendly knock. Five constant thuds. Ethan moved forward. They were here. It was too late. He spun around as if looking for something or a way out but there was none. Norian was still there.

“Ethan,” Norain’s voice came through but it was distant.

“I have to go,” Ethan said and ended the call. It was over. His dream. This time for good. How long they would lock him up he did not know. But it would be a long time. He moved back to the window and opened the curtain. He could make out two transport cars just below in front of the entrance. They were definitely here and just outside his door. He looked closer at the two cars below and determined they were unoccupied.

Someone began speaking outside his door. “Ethan,” the voice shouted followed by three more thuds. “I know you’re in there. Open this door.”

It was Droverson. He had accompanied the enforcement team to participate in the arrest. Ethan moved to the kitchen, checking the door. The security was still engaged. The door was nearly impossible to open. It would hold until they used explosives. Ethan tried to think through this mess and devise a route to escape. How did Ric get in?

He looked around. The window? Ethan realized he could get through the window and possibly bypass the security but how in the world did he make it up the building? Ethan returned to the window and looked down. It was ten stories down. Ten very tall stories. One slip and see you later.

He pushed the window open and looked down the building. Each window had a ledge about ten inches wide. If Ric had come up this way then maybe it was possible.

Another five thuds and Droverson yelled again. “I want this door open. I know about the sabotage. I know about your little mission. I know everything.”

He examined the communicator in his hands thinking of a plan. They would attempt to break the door in soon.

“Don’t come in!” Ethan shouted back. “Don’t even try it.”

“I demand you open this door.” Droverson was angry and pounded on the door four more times. “Your friend is dead, Ethan. Now open this door before you get hurt too.”

“Don’t try and enter or I’ll blow up this apartment,” Ethan said hysterically as he began to work his plan. He laughed, sounding a little crazy. Hopefully it was believable. “I’ve got this apartment rigged to blow.”

Ethan pushed a few buttons on the wall communicator. It responded with a couple of beeps and a red light came on. The speaker light. How loud and real it would sound he didn’t know. He guessed the louder the better and adjusted the volume to full. Before squeezing through the window he surveyed the street below to find it empty and balanced himself on the ledge. The communicator was in his shirt pocket and left on. He gave it a try.

“One more knock and I’ll blow the whole tenth story to ashes!” Ethan spoke loud and close to the communicator. He could hear his voice echo through the speaker in the living room. It sounded real enough. The pounding on the door stopped. He could hear them talking out there, discussing the situation. Perhaps they did think he was mad. He slipped down to the ledge below. If only he could make in down before someone else arrived and saw him scaling down the side of the building. He moved quickly. Droverson’s voice came through the communicator. The living room unit was picking it up nicely.

“Let’s talk this through Ethan.” He no longer sounded angry. Now he sounded quite pleasant. Droverson was utilizing his skills at negotiating. “You don’t have to do this. If you come out here right now we can make this go easy.”

Ethan looked below again as he moved down another ledge, still no one below. He had to be quick. There would be more enforcers arriving. In response to his bomb threat they would obviously bring in a tactical team and have the building surrounded. He grabbed hold of the ledge just above his knee and dropped to the next floor below. He had moved down three floors already.

“I meant what I said,” Ethan spoke in the communicator again. “I’ll blow this apartment wide open.”

“I know what you’ve done, Ethan.” Droverson spoke though the door and Ethan listened below through his shirt pocket. “Why did you join them? I killed that spy you sent me. He thought he could board my ship and destroy it. Fortunately we know where he was on the ship and we will find what he’s done. The flight will go on as scheduled. And as for you. You better open this door or you will never see daylight again.”

Ethan said nothing and quickened his pace. As he moved down the next ledge he looked below. No one yet. But soon. He kept moving, feeling more confident with each step. Ric had really been insane to climb up this to get in his apartment. Or perhaps he scaled down from the roof. Which wouldn’t be easy either since it was ten stories above him.

And why had he entered Pegason? The fool, trying to buy time. But it had only made things worse. The silent alarm aboard the ship was something he hadn’t foreseen. Ric had no idea it was there. Even Ethan was unaware of such security measures. And when he left the ship security was all around him. Ethan surmised he’d rather try and make a break for it than be captured. And he had a disc with him with information on it. A disc that had Ethan’s name all over it. He must have thought it was an easy job. Get in and get out. The disc was encoded but still they were able to get at it. Or enough to know Ethan was involved.

Ethan could visualize Ric’s attempt at escape. Running as he was engulfed in laser fire, blood spraying as his skin was penetrated. He stumbled forward and fell to the floor another shot penetrating his shoulder. He was immobilized. Most likely dead at this point.

Ethan grabbed the ledge below with his left hand and then his right, making his feet drop to the ledge below. He was getting tired and still had two floors to go. Far off in the distance he heard the sirens. He slipped his left arm down again trying to hold himself to the building. Just enough foot hold to make the drop each time. But it was difficult.

His arm grabbed below once more and the communicator slipped out of his pocket. He thought about grabbing it but didn’t. He was still about twenty feet up, outside the second story which was high enough to break his neck. It smashed into useless fragments as it hit the ground. Ethan moved down quicker, wondering if they had heard this above.

Above, Droverson was talking with one of the enforcement men when he heard the crash. It sounded like an explosion. He raised his arm to shield the blast and jumped back against the opposite wall. He uncovered his face when there was no explosion. He looked at the door and then heard a loud feedback noise coming from inside.

“The communicator!” Droverson pounded his fist on the door before turning around. “He’s been talking to us the on it the whole time. He’s not even in there. The window. He’s gone out the window. Let’s move.”

Droverson and the six members of the enforcement team moved down the hall to the elevator. The elevator car was at the bottom. After the button was pressed it started to rise to them on the tenth floor.

“Damn you, Ethan!” Droverson yelled. “I want Ethan taken alive if possible, understood?”

As the door opened they entered the elevator and started for the first floor. The approaching enforcement team sounded only a few blocks away now. Ethan made his way down the side of the first floor. The ground was six feet below. He hung for a second finding his balance and dropped. The smashed communicator was just in front of him. He glanced around to see if anyone had seen him.

If Droverson had discovered the communicator trick, they were likely on their way down now. He didn’t linger long. He glanced around for a quick escape. He ran to the enforcement cars near the front entrance. Droverson and his enforcement team would likely come crashing out any second. The first car had been powered down, impossible to start without access codes. He ran to the one in front of it and examined it through the window. Ethan expected it to be off as well but to his surprise and maybe the team’s haste, it had been left on. The front entrance doors hadn’t opened yet. Inside he saw the elevator doors open and Droverson was stepping out along with five or six others.

Ethan slid into the driver’s seat and closed the door. He engaged the drive system and was ready to move. The entrance doors flew open, all had weapons drawn. He pushed the acceleration as far as it would go. The car lurched forward with great force, giving a loud burst of machine whine. He was down the street before they reached the sidewalk. He made a right turn trying to find a way out of this busy part of town. He could see two men climb into the other car to persue. Droverson stood watching from the street.

Ethan quickly moved into the opposite lane to pass a car. He checked behind him and saw the pursuer turning onto the same street. There were too many cars down here to make a run for it. Ethan looked at the sidewalk on his right and saw it had more opportunity than the street. He veered onto the sidewalk, pushing the car’s acceleration forward. He saw the enforcement team behind him closing in. Two more cars now joined the pursuit.

The car behind him swerved over to follow Ethan. Ethan hadn’t time to think about what he was doing. He was a fugitive now. Someone stepped out of the building ahead. The person didn’t notice until Ethan was past him. He jumped back into the exit he came from and looked down the street. The transport car was already a half a block away. Then another car passed and the man fell to the ground in shock. He had dropped the lunch he was carrying all over his lap.

Ethan looked in the mirror on his right and saw the man was okay. “Sorry,” Ethan muttered.

He did feel sorry. He didn’t want to see anyone get hurt, but this just wasn’t happening the way he expected. The two cars in the rear stayed on the street and were backed up in traffic. Ethan considered enabling the car’s flight mode. The two transports in back were now lifting from the street with their flight mode engaged and advancing quickly. Ethan had hoped he could get away but saw it was impossible to evade them. The car following behind him on the sidewalk was still there, too. Ethan saw the end of the sidewalk approaching. He would have to get back on the street. Whatever he was going to do he would have to do it now.

Up ahead he saw a transport station. If he could get aboard a transport train he might loose his pursuers. After reaching the end of the sidewalk he guided the car back onto the street moving as fast as he could. Once he reached the backed-up traffic he stopped his stolen car and shut it down. He swung the door opened and ran hard for the station. The three pursuing cars had just reached him and were stopping as well to allow his pursuers to follow on foot.

Ethan ran down the street, already having crossed two busy intersections. A car nearly ran him over, another brush with death, but Ethan stopped before entering its path. He kept moving. The transport station was just ahead. If he was quick enough he could make it. If he took the transport train twenty blocks south it would get him to his destination.

Ethan squeezed between people at a half-run pace; it took extreme coordination not to run anyone over. Six enforcers were running after him. He could see them moving through the crowd of people behind him as he approached the entrance to the building. He flung the door open and rushed inside. Ethan glanced behind, seeing them near the building. Ethan moved through the giant hallway into a larger room. Down the stairs was the train entrance and he could now see it pulling away at a slow pace. Too late. The next one wouldn’t arrive for another twenty minutes.

Proceed to part 5...

Copyright © 2005 by Thomas R. Willits

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