THE RED SASH: THE NIGHT V ISITOR II****
“Ma'am he's just seventeen you know what I mean?”
The sound of the voice instantly awoke Aeryn, and taking but half-a-second, she acquainted herself with her surroundings. She was lying on her side was in bed facing the wall. The light above her bed still on for no reason. She lay still waiting and listening, but there was no sound, not even the hum of her drone's anti-grav motor.
"Lights down," she said, but lights remained on.
"U-34-61, why is my light on? Attendant drone U-34-61," she called out.
"U-34-61 activate and respond! Repeat, attendant drone U-34-61 activate and respond!"
Still no response from the drone, but then Aeryn thought she heard something, like someone breathing hard or maybe crying. She froze, there was someone else in the room besides her!
Aeryn lay still on her bed listening to her own breathing, waiting to hear the sound again. Then there it was again, the sound of someone softly crying and sobbing. Aeryn immediately sat straight up, and spinning around, leapt from her bed yelling, "Attendant drone U-34-61, there is an un-authorized person in my room, please respond!"
The room was almost completely dark lit only by the one light above the bed, but the sound came from the corner opposite the door. Straining her eyes thought she could make out a huddled figure sitting in the corner and crying.
"Intruder identify yourself?"
Grabbing the holster the hung from the head of the bed, Areyn drew her laspistol pointed it at the figure in the corner saying loudly, "Intruder identify yourself or I will fire! Identify yourself now!"
Looking hard down the sights of the laspistol Aeryn froze when she finally recognized who it was, Private Reginald C. Llampo from Reichart's 18th Platoon. The same young man she had once killed, crying and bleeding, like he had been that night so many years ago.
"Llampo? What the fudd are you doing here?" she shouted, but then over her shoulder she yelled, "U-34-61 activate and respond! C'mon Aunty talk to me! Aunty where the hell are you?"
"*BAD WORD DELETED!*, are we back to calln' it 'Aunty' are we?" said Llampo looking up at Aeryn with tears running down his face. "Fought you 'ated dem xenos abominashuns? What you gone soft on us? Well...no worries luv, it's a dead bit'o machinery now. Take a look at your feet Commissar!"
Aeryn kept her eyes trained on Llampo, but scanned the floor around with her periphery vision. Not being able to see anything, she took a step backward, but tripped on something on the floor behind her. Falling backward, she reached out and broke her fall with her power fist. And there it was on the floor, right beneath her wellington boots, were the broken remains of attendant drone U-34-61. The drone had taken several las rounds, probably defending her life. Aeryn yelled, "You prick Llampo!"
That's when she noticed the power fist, and the commissar's jacket, and red sash around her waist, and the laspistol in her hands.
Llampo just laughed, "The great and terrible Commissar Tailor 'as more feelings fo' a dead tau bot, then she ever 'ad for us a 'uman bein'? No suprize that eh?"
"What are you doing here Llampo?" said Aeryn again aiming the laspistol at the guardsman.
"You tell me Commissar! First I was dead, then I wasn't...And now I'm in your room? Which I kinda made a mess'o didn't I?" said Llampo around and scratching his head.
"First you lovely little bot comes over and asks me, if I'd like a cup o'tea, then as its pourn' the squadie a tinful, I let it rip wif my lasrifle: 'pop, crackle, pop, crackle' and the little bluey abominashun goes down! Then, cuz all the lights was what 'urtin' me eyes, I start at the lights: 'pop, fizzle, crackle, pop, pop, pop'...Yep shot 'em all out, but for some reason, you was asleep frough the whole fing? Still can't figure that one out..."
Aeryn looked around her room and indeed there were blast scoring on every panel, on the key pad, the holovid camera, and almost all the light fixtures. Then Aeryn noticed for the first time the smell of ozone in the air, the stench of burnt metal, and the strange aroma of singed fio'tek flooring.
Llampo wiped his hand across his nose and flicked the wet bogey on the floor. Then as he stumbled to his feet, but Aeryn shouted, "Stop right there private, don't move!"
"Whateva Commissar...like a dead man has gots some place to go?"
"Llampo give me your lasrifle and your web gear...now private!"
Llampo removed his web gear tossed it at Aeryn's feet, then kicked his lasrifle across the floor where is slammed against her left foot. "Yaow! By-the-Throne that hurt!" griped Aeryn.
Then as her foot throbbed from pain and her nose again filled with smell of ozone and burnt fio'tek, Aeryn thought to herself, "This isn't a dream? This is really happening, this is bloody real!"
"Of course it's real, you bimbo!" said Llampo spitting on the floor and pointing at Aeryn. "But too bad your Bluey Grampa ain't what 'ere to save you eh? 'E ain't 'ere to give you a warm blankie and kerchief to sop up your tears? 'Boo-hoo, boo-hoo! Wise Gramps, Wise Gramps, that nasty guardsmen been 'ere and shot me favorite bot! Boo-hoo, boo-hoo! Bring me some curry and spring rolls wif tomato sauce, eh Gramps? Make me feel all bedda, boo-hoo, boo-hoo!' You never cared if I was cryn' or not did you Commissar? Just popped me head your power fist and got on with your life!" shouted Llampo with his blue eyes swollen from crying.
"LLAMPO SHUT-UP! WHY THE HELL ARE YOU HERE?" shouted Aeryn at the top of her lungs.
"Go ahead and shoot me Commissar! It's not like I 'aven't been dead before is it?” said Llampo shoving his red hair out of his face. “But then you neva cared about anybody did you?! 'Ell you almost tortured Riza to deaf didn't you?"
Aeryn froze, her heart leaping into her throat.
"When did the terrible Commissar Aeryn Tailor eva give a-rat's-arse about anybody but 'erself? Neva!" yelled Llampo.
Aeryn started to crying, but Llampo kept going on, "Boo-hoo, boo-hoo! What the 'ell Commissar? You tortured Valetzi Riza, who was the closest thing you eva had to a friend back in dem days! Did you care, NO! And me? You killed me when I was only seventeen...Aand I ain't neva even been proper drunk like. Did you care, NO! And I ain't neva been wif a girl, I ain't eva been laid. Did you care, NO!"
Tears followed down Aeryn's face and the hand holding the laspistol shook hard.
Llampo limped forward, blood dripping from his left thigh, and raising and arm he pointed a finger at Aeryn and shouted, "I'm yelln' and all you can do is stand dere wishn' that Sergeant O'Farrell and 'is mates was 'ere to save you?! You wishn' that the Sergeant with 'is cute pink face, and 'is cute little nose, and 'is cute little bum, waz 'ere to save your sorry, sorry arse. Aren't you Commissar?"
By the time Llampo was finished Aeryn's hand that held the laspistol had dropped to her side, and she was sobbing, "No, no, no..."
"I ain't eva been to bed wif a girl, but Commissar Tailor don't care."
Aeryn continued to cry silently now.
Llampo dragged his arm across his face to wipe the bogeys from his freckled nose. "What is it now Commissar? Why you'd go all quiet like?"
He looking grim took a step towards Aeryn.
"Is it because you been 'aven the wet dreams about Sergeant O'Farrell isn't it? About Finnbhar? 'Ooh, 'e could nail my arse to the bed anytime eh!' That's what you been finkn' about all this time. That cute little bum of 'is all the time I been talkn'?"
Llampo took another couple of steps towards Aeryn.
"Yeah, you finkn', 'Ooh, I could make pretty babies wif 'im! What wif that cute tight bum of 'is!' By which you mean 'ez probably packn' a big lascannon in 'is pants. 'Ooh, c’mon Finn, I'll pop me legs open for you anytime!' Yeah that's what your finkn' right now ain't it Commissar?"
Llampo was now almost face-to-face with Aeryn, who shook her head as tear flowed even harder.
"Commissar you're a smutty little tart, you know that right?" said Llampo wiping more bogeys off his face.
Llampo stopped talking and looking down, pulled at the torn bits of his bloody trouser leg, to reveal a deep scratch that ran his waist down to the top of his knee. "Looky 'ere Commissar you were right after all, it was just a scratch! Hmm, I just need a few medi-strips or one large chest bandage and I'm good-to-go. You wouldn't 'appen to 'ave any layn' around would you? Wait...neva mind, I forgot I'm dead already."
Aeryn's stopped crying as the anger in her chest began to rise again. The laspistol felt heavy, but powerful in her hand. She re-aimed the pistol at Llampo.
"Oi, on second thought, maybe I could use a bandage. You got a few somewhere round abouts?" said Llampo, but then seeing Areyn pointing the laspistol at him again said, "Wait...you're thinkn' to shoot me aren't you? Too bad I'm dead already, eh?"
"SHUT-UP-LLAMPO!" shouted Areyn.
"Alrighty ma'am, no need to be all impolite! But 'ow do you gonna kill a kid what's already dead? Just explain me that one Commissar?"
"Llampo, shut up and tell me what you're doing here!" said Aeryn now feeling in her blood the power of the Red Sash again.
"Beats me Commissar? You're the one what brought me 'ere..."
“Let’s find out Llampo?” said Aeryn as the Red Sash filling her with pride and arrogance. The pride of being one of the Commissariat and that came with it. The promise of glory and honour… The wonder and awe of power… The excitement of meting out such awful and deadly justice… The righteous and terrible justice of the Emperor of Mankind. All this came with the Red Sash. And it was hers once again.
Areyn fired the laspistol and Llampo's left knee exploded. His body went one way and the leg below the knee went another.
"FUDD THAT 'URT! THAT FUDDN' 'URT!" cried Llampo clutching his severed leg.
"Tell me why you're here Llampo...and maybe I'll be a nice little girl and get you a tourniquet!"
"Frakk you bitc...OH, *BAD WORD DELETED!*" shouted Llampo as Ayren shot off his right ear.
"Why are you here Llampo?" asked Aeryn in a calm voice.
"No, no don't shoot!" yelled Llampo, his right holding to his head and waving his left hand at Aeryn. "I don't know why. I really don't know...I don’t! I don’t!"
Aeryn fired twice taking off three fingers and part of the palm of Llampo's left hand.
"AHHH *BAD WORD DELETED!*! STOP SHOOTING! STOP SHOOTING!" cried Please in the name of the Holy Emperor...STOP!"
"Why are you here Llampo?" asked Aeryn in a voice as cold as steel.
"I-I-don't know? Why are you trying to kill me?" sobbed Llampo.
"Not the answer I wanted," said Aeryn who then shot off Llampo's right hand off at the wrist.
"AHHH! AHHH! DON'T..." yelled Llampo as he lay sobbing on the floor in a puddle of his own blood. Staring up at Aeryn as she stood over him he moaned, "Why Commisar Tailor? Why do want to kill me?"
"Why are you here Llampo?" asked Areyn aiming at Llampo's head.
Llampo could only sob and tremble.
"Why not Llampo? Why not kill you? I live to serve the Holy Emperor of Mankind," said Aeryn kicking away the remnants of Llampo's hand. Stepping over the pool of blood, she then put a boot on Llampo's chest, and aimed between Llampo's eyes.
"Why Llampo?” Aeryn paused and for a moment raised her laspistol and cocked her head to one side.
“Because I love wearing the Red Sash. I love being a Commissar. Why do I love being a Commissar...well it's because I love to kill Llampo. You know how the slogan goes, 'Abhor the Mutant...Kill the Xeno...Purge the Heretic'. Yeah, it’s kind of like that.” Aeryn’s auburn eyes burned with the love of the Emperor.
“We use to say 'Join the Commissariat and travel to distant star-systems and meet interesting people...most of whom are human and loyal to Emperor…And kill them!' The best part of it all is that I get to kill in the name of the Holy Emperor of Mankind. I personally get to kill mutants, xenos, and heretics. And I most of all Llampo, I get to cull the Imperial Guard of deserters, thieves, murders and cowards! Just like you Llampo. There is so much power and so much satisfaction at being the instrument of the Emperor's Wrath and in destroying his enemies! Whoa Llampo! I just can't begin to tell you just how much...I...love...to...kill!"
And with that Aeryn reached over and took Llampo's head in between the forefinger and thumb of her power fist. Unlike that night when she killed him so long ago, this time she would let the power build up slowly. And as the energy levels crept up, first Llampo's hair caught fire, and then his skin. Next his eyes popped out of his skull and burst one-by-one. Then his tongue swelled up and burst as his teeth and jaw flew apart. Finally his entire head exploded in ball of blue-white energy, leaving the flesh of his upper body burning and his uniform smouldering.
Areyn wiped Llampo's bloody remains off her face with her forearm. She brushed off the bloody bits of his burnt skin, the fluffy globs of his brains, and the little fragments of his skull that hung on her face and her uniform. She lifted up the power first and holding it close to her face, and inhaled the acrid smell of burnt flesh and thought, 'I loved being a Commissar.'