Chapter 29 of Death and Coping


Here is the next installment for everyone, hope everyone enjoys it and if you haven't read any of it before, go to for the first 27 chapters and Chapter 28 can be found in the Fan Fiction section. Enjoy!

Chapter 29

Blair walked down the featureless hallway. Footfalls echoed deeply, bouncing along the gray corridor. The place was unreal, as if it was detached from reality in some way. The walls gave off a soft heat and even seemed to pulse with life. He ran his hands along the warm metal and it retreated from him. Disbelieving, he pushed his hand hard against the wall and it suddenly grabbed hold of him, ice running throughout his body. It slid over his flesh, sucking the life out of him as it devoured his soul. He screamed as it pulled him forward, into the wall, deeper and deeper. Then with a sickening gulp, he was gone, the corridor all alone.

He fell a long way, hours or days he didn’t know. There was nothing for him to gauge his fall against. He might have been falling up or stationary for all he knew. Blair looked around desperately for anything that might give him a way to orient himself. His stomach wrenched as he fought against vertigo. Slowly he willed himself to see above his head as “Up” and his feet as “Down” but it was a very weak illusion. If he moved too fast or twisted wrong, the delicate balance was upset as would be his stomach. And he continued to fall through the empty blackness, farther and farther down.

After however long it had been he finally spotted something. A speck of light, nothing more than a pinprick. But it was something, and it was something that he could easily orient himself against. He watched it for some time, slowly getting larger. He was positive that he was heading towards it now. It was beginning to take on shape now, no longer a dot but a spheroid. Something was wrong about it though. It seemed distorted, fuzzy. Its “atmosphere?” made everything around it hazy. It was coming at him faster now, growing larger, as if it was a balloon that was slowly expanding. Blairs’ eyes widened in horror as he recognized the object. It was distinct now and the reason it seemed distorted was plain. It was Kilrah. Or rather it was what remained of that once proud world. Its’ tortured body tumbled through space, continent sized chunks of stone surrounded by a fine mist of gases and dust. It was a world beyond dead, laid waste in a war that had gone mad. Everything on that planet had died by his hands, every single creature. No human being in history had killed so many with so little effort. It was too much to comprehend. He knew that if he could fully understand what had happened he would go insane. Faster and faster still the planet hurled towards him until it almost covered his entire field of view. It would not be much longer now. Soon he would smash helplessly against one of the surviving continental masses and be shattered, mercifully put to rest. He looked down as the dead and rocky terrain below him. Nothing down there moved. And soon neither would he. It came closer and closer, surging even faster near the end and he closed his eyes and hit the ground.

Blair opened his eyes, apparently still alive. “What the hell?” Blair asked as he stood up on shattered remains of the Kilrathi homeworld. Apparently it would not be that easy. He dusted himself off and wandered around, looking to see if there was anything around. All he found was desolation and destruction. Occasionally he would find some fragment of something made by the Kilrathi but it was almost always indescribable. Virtually nothing remained that would have once proved that a mighty race of beings had once walked this world.

“Why?” a voice asked off in the distance. It seemed to come from everywhere and yet nowhere. It was the voice from before. It was coming for him again. Blair stumbled backwards running away, unable to confront it again. How much more do I have to suffer, he thought. He turned around a corner and ran straight into himself. He careened off of his doppleganger and hit the jagged ground hard. He grunted as the wind was knocked out of him. He sat back up and looked at his counter. He wasn’t exactly the same. His “other” self was far older looking, with a goatee. His face seemed heavily lined and there was pain in it, as if it had seen too much death and suffering. There was something missing from the older Blair, something he couldn’t describe. Whatever it was terrified him.

“Why?” the older Blair asked.

“What do you want, damn you?” Blair screamed.

“Why?” it asked, more urgent now. Angrier.

“Why what? I don’t know why!” Blair yelled, scrambling away from his double.

‘WHY?” it bellowed. Its voice was a crescendo, booming down all around him. Blair wailed against it, curling up against the verbal assault that was literally shaking the planet.

“I don’t understand!”

Suddenly, the older Blair fell to his knees,
trembling. Tears fell freely from his eyes, his hands limp on the ground. He murmured weakly to himself, shuddering occasionally. The doppleganger muttered “why” to itself, rocking back and forth. The whole scene tore Blair apart and he wanted to reach out and help his double. But he feared its wrath, its accusations. He stood up and inched towards him. He reached out and touched his shoulder when his older version crumpled into dust. The wind began to gust and within seconds any trace of the phantom Blair was gone. And he was alone again, wondering the significance of why.


“Terran, we have found them.”

Blair forced his eyes open, with only a shadow of the dream remaining in his mind. It was only a sliver but it still terrified him. He pulled himself up out of the bed and fanned his shirt, which was drenched with sweat. He then realized that someone had spoken and turned to see Melek at his door. “Melek? What?”

“We have found the renegade apes, Heart of the Tiger. They are indeed heading towards T’Lan Meth as you prophesized.” Melek said curtly.

“Listen, will you stop calling me that. And I didn’t prophesize anything. I had… I had a dream…”

“That foretold all of this. Your are like your species Hindu god Shiva. You are the bringer of destruction and yet you are our savior.”

“I’m just a man, Melek. Nothing more.”

“Perhaps, Christopher Blair, you are right. Nevertheless, we are heading to T’Lan Meth at maximum speed. Apparently there has been dissention among the ranks of the apes in command of the TCS Eclipse, as someone activated a distress beacon and notified us of their intended target. We do have reservations that it might be a trap, though.”

“The TCS Eclipse? That’s an Ajax class destroyer if I remember right. Don’t know any of her crew though. I don’t think it’s a trap though, I have a feeling…”

“You had a dream,” Melek replied.

“… I have a feeling… that they might be desperate now,” Blair replied, frustrated. They know that you will be coming so they will do anything they can to accomplish their mission. What defenses does T’Lan Meth have?”

“Only a few orbital defense posts and two light destroyers. Most of the fleet is patrolling our borders and there are… other civil problems right now. We are the closest ships and we might not make it there in time.”

“Two light destroyers against one Ajax destroyer. We have the advantage in numbers; they have it that they need just one missile to reach the planet, probably. We have to get there when they do. There’s just too much territory to cover to be able to prevent even one missile from getting in.”

“As I said, we are pushing our engines beyond their limits as it is. Our only hope is that they are trying to make a stealthy approach. That is our one hope of getting there before they do.”

“We’ll stop them Melek.”

“Yes, we will stop them.” A new voice said.

Blair turned and saw Kevin and Janet standing there. “Listen, you two don’t have to do this.”

“Yes we do, Blair,” Janet said. “Don’t bother trying to talk us out of it. Some of us would like to believe that redemption is possible.”

“I understand that more than you can ever know, Janet. So I won’t. We’re going to need all the help we can get anyway.”

“So, do you want to fly or man the turrets, Blair?” Kevin asked.

“Thanks for the offer, but the Tao is going to be too slow for what needs to be done. I’ll need you for fighter cover though. Melek, could I use one of your fighters, a Dralthi?”

“I do not think you could fit in one, you are too small. No offense intended.”

“None taken, but I need something fast. How long until we reach the system?”

“About half an eight of your hours, why?” Melek replied.

“Because that will give me time to steal a few of your techs to help rig me a workable cockpit.”

“Can you even understand the controls?” Melek asked.

“Yeah, I infiltrated Kilrathi space in a stolen Dralthi once before. It was an older model but I think can handle it.”

“Then I will do as you ask. I thank you Terrans for the honor of fighting beside you. You would all make fine Kilrathi. A pity that Sivar chose to make you hairless apes instead,” Melek said with what could only be described as a Kilrathi smile. “May Sivar grant us victory.”

“May Sivar grant us victory,” the three humans echoed as the ships raced through the night.