Adventure Eleven: Conception Part 5 of 6
Pairings: Yunjae, KyuWook, ShiMin
Genre: Crossover, Science Fiction, Adventure, Angst
Summary: An explosion sends an away team spiraling toward destruction. As the power of the captain and Jaejoong’s timeless bond is stretched to the breaking point, unlikely heroes rise to the challenge. New allies are found, and new enemies emerge. Someone once lost is found, while another is lost.
SungGyu, who had just arrived back in the area where he had left the captain, Junsu, and WooHyun, came to a dead stop. A blonde woman was leaning against the tree where Ensign Junsu was sitting beside the unconscious captain, with Woohyun sitting on the captain’s other side. The woman had a gun pointing at Junsu’s head. She looked at SungGyu and motioned toward his insignia and whispered, “Turn it off.”
SungGyu immediately reached up and tapped his insignia off.
“Now, take it and throw it as far as you can,” the blonde woman ordered.
SungGyu did as he was told, throwing the insignia far away. The woman cast a smile in his direction and then reached down and took the phaser away from Junsu. “Too bad you only have one of these.”
“Yes, it is,” SungGyu agreed. He would have loved to have another phaser at the moment.
“Don’t blame this one,” the blonde said as she affectionately patted Junsu on the head. “He’s a sweetheart. He was nice enough to activate the…phaser for me. He’s been very hospitable to us.”
“Me and my girls,” the blonde woman explained as three other women walked into view.
Junsu gasped aloud and stood up; shocked as he recognized one of the women. “Lieutenant SooYoung!”
“Now, now, now; sit back down,” the blonde woman ordered as she pushed Junsu back to the ground. “Calm down, and take a deep breath, this much excitement isn’t good for your heart.”
SungGyu glared at SooYoung and accused, “You are with them?”
“No,” SooYoung barked, offended at the accusation. “Never; I am their hostage.”
“I wish you wouldn’t say that,” Tiffany told SooYoung, sounding truly hurt.
Taeyeon, who had her gun aimed at the back of WooHyun’s head, added, “She actually is a hostage…or perhaps a treasured slave.”
“Slave? That’s a little harsh,” Tiffany told Taeyeon.
“Yes, much too harsh,” the blonde agreed as she pointed to SungGyu and then to another nearby tree. “I want you to sit down there.”
SungGyu did as he was told, without a second thought.
Then Vic turned to WooHyun, ordering, “You go sit with him.”
WooHyun got up and did as he was told, also without a word of objection.
Tiffany knelt down beside the captain and told the others, “He doesn’t look good.”
“No, he doesn’t. It’s better that he stays unconscious,” the blonde told them. “It’s easier this way.”
“Since you are planning to murder him,” SooYoung told the blonde. “Is it easier to murder a man with his eyes shut, Vic?”
“Murder him?” Junsu asked in an alarmed voice. “You can’t murder the captain.”
“We don’t have a choice…we have our orders,” Vic told them, stepping away from Junsu. “The Council of Warlords has ordered his death.”
“No, but you can’t.” Junsu pleaded. “He didn’t survive all of this just to die. You can’t kill him.”
“I know it’s been very hard, and I wish it didn’t have to end this way,” the blonde told Junsu, stepping farther away from him.
“You aren’t sorry, Vic. If you were sorry, it wouldn’t be happening!” SooYoung accused. “Nobody has to die here!”
Vic closed her eyes and told SooYoung in a long suffering voice, “You have never understood. I must follow the orders that Our Lord and Lady Hangeng give me.”
“The hell you do! You are Lady Hangeng,” SooYoung spat back at Vic.
Tiffany and Taeyeon looked at each other and shared a laugh. “Are you nuts, SooYoung?” Tiffany asked the lieutenant, finding her claim hilarious.
“You have seen Our Lady Hangeng…she’s a lot bigger and lot older than Vic,” Taeyeon told SooYoung, shaking her head in dismay.
SungGyu, who was listening closely, added, “Isn’t he the warlord with the mommy issues?”
“Unfortunately,” Vic answered. “But who are we to judge the immortal love between Joongs and their mates.”
“Hangeng doesn’t have any mommy issues. That is what they want everybody to believe so she can do his bidding, bending others to his will. I assure you, she is a Joong,” SooYoung declared. “This isn’t the first time I have made this accusation and each time…everybody else seems to have forgotten I’ve ever made it.”
“Which you should be grateful for, because it’s totally insane,” Tiffany told her, still laughing.
SungGyu’s eyes narrowed. “Or extremely clever.”
“Exactly!” SooYoung said with much relief. “Finally, somebody believes me. If they knew she was a Joong they could use her against him, but this way, she sneaks around doing all his dirty work without getting a second glance.”
“Now dear, I get lots of second glances. I am rather attractive,” Vic said, trying to tease the lieutenant.
“And that is why your elite force consists of only attractive females…to distract from your own beauty,” SooYoung informed her. “You can fool everybody else but you can’t fool me.”
Vic looked back at SooYoung and shook her head, relenting. “Your mind is a mystery I enjoy, but at times I would give almost anything to control it.”
“Then you finally admit it?” SooYoung asked surprised.
“Yes, I will give you that. I am the Joong you believe me to be,” Vic told SooYoung before raising the phaser and shooting the lieutenant.
“SooYoung!” Tiffany screamed and ran towards the fallen woman. “You shot her. How could you shoot her?”
“You stay where I told you,” Vic yelled at WooHyun, who had gotten up to go to the fallen woman. WooHyun sat back down, doing as he was told; his mind greatly influenced by the Joong. “The fake pox outbreak was very clever, doctor,” Vic added.
WooHyun, who had his eyes glued to the fallen SooYoung, muttered back, “Thanks.”
Taeyeon stared at Vic horror-struck as she fumbled over her words, “You…you…you…but you liked her…is what she said true …are you the real Lady Hangeng?”
“You shot her,” Tiffany repeated, kneeling down beside SooYoung’s limp body.
“She is only stunned,” Vic informed them. “I haven’t kept her this long just to kill her. I can’t trust her. It’s better with her unconscious…she doesn’t need to see this.”
Tiffany, who was feeling of SooYoung’s pulse, sighed in relief. “It’s like she is only sleeping.”
“Stunning somebody once causes them no permanent harm,” SungGyu explained, while watching the Joong apprehensively. “When she awakens she will be fine.”
“Are you Our Lady Hangeng?” Taeyeon demanded again. “Is what SooYoung said true? Have you been lying to us all along? All those messages you always said you were getting from…we’ve been such fools!”
Vic closed her eyes as if Taeyeon’s words caused her physical pain. “It doesn’t matter. You don’t care,” she willed with the power of her mind to both of the other women.
“It doesn’t matter. I don’t care,” Taeyeon repeated aloud.
SungGyu watched as the angry woman calmed, as if the revelation that her commander was really Hangeng’s Joong mate meant nothing to her. SungGyu questioned, “What are you going to do with us?”
“The captain is the only one…that has to die. I will not harm the rest of you. I will erase your memories of this encounter, and then I will leave you here. I will instruct the townspeople to leave you alone,” Vic told them. “Hopefully, someday you can return to your ship.”
“Why does the captain have to die? SungGyu implored. “He has done nothing to you or your mate. We were only here to retrieve Lieutenant SooYoung.”
“I know this, and I wish it didn’t have to be this way, but as long as he lives we are in danger from him and his mate,” Vic explained. “I can’t allow Hangeng to be in danger.”
“You are not in danger! The captain doesn’t go looking for a fight. He isn’t even hunting after ZhouMi…after what he did! Please just leave him alone, please!” Junsu pleaded, feeling terribly helpless, he didn’t know how they could escape a Joong.
The Joong winced as if Junsu’s mental anguish was physically hurting her. “You will not remember anything that happens here. The captain’s death will not be a burden you have to carry.”
SungGyu watched the Joong dealing with Junsu and a thought occurred to him and then he tried desperately to suppress the thought.
“You ask people about Joongs in this galaxy and they make them out be some great powerful, wonderful, evolved people, but they aren’t. You are a horrible people! First Hyun Joong betrays us to ZhouMi, and now you plan on killing the captain! You are a horrible people. Horrible! Is it possible Jaejoong is the only decent one of you? Even children on Earth know how wrong it is to murder a person in cold blood! We treat our animals better than you treat human beings,” Junsu cried.
“Stop it,” a clearly shaken Vic told Junsu. “My blood does not run cold, I assure you. It does not. I feel the consequences of my actions! This is not...this is not how I want it to be! But I can not allow such a risk to my Hangeng to exist. I can not allow your captain or his Joong mate to live.”
“Long before he found his Joong mate, the captain was loved by all his crew. He is not vindictive, but that can not be said of others on that ship. Without him there to control them…you will never know peace. They will hunt you down,” SungGyu told the Joong.
“You don’t truly believe that,” Vic told SungGyu. “The lies you told the town’s people, will not work on me.”
“I’m not lying!”
“You might think your Commander Yoochun is vindictive…but if Commander Cho resumes command of the ship…he would not allow for such vengeances,” Vic reasoned as she shifted through Junsu and SungGyu’s minds finding the truth.
“Would he not? Do you know what your friend the Warlord ZhouMi did to him?” SungGyu told her, trying his best to believe his own words and to be as emotional as possible. “He isn’t the same man he used to be…you Joongs saw to that. Hyun Joong delivered him to that madman!”
“Stop it!” the Joong ordered, visibly shaken. “ZhouMi is not a friend of mine, but Hangeng is my life. I can’t allow such a danger to exist. He is not like ZhouMi!”
“You can’t murder the captain,” Junsu begged as he grabbed a hold of the captain’s hand and squeezed it. “You can’t. You just can’t. He won’t hurt Hangeng. I promise he won’t.”
“Stop it!” The Joong yelled, dropping to her knees, and willing the Star Fleet personal to be quiet.
“Vic, are you okay?” Tiffany asked as she and Taeyeon approached their leader hesitantly.
The Joong looked up at them and told them. “I am fine…just a momentary moment of weakness.”
“Weakness?” Taeyeon questioned.
Vic stood up and smiled at Taeyeon as a solution to her problem came to her. “I need to rid myself of the source of my weakness…and I hope to provide you with pleasure also.”
A bewildered Taeyeon asked, “How?”
“Stand up, Junsu,” Vic ordered, both mentally and verbally.
Junsu immediately stood up.
“Our young Junsu here is an innocent virgin, and even though he is very distressed about his dear captain, he is very attracted to you, Taeyeon.”
“Just Taeyeon?” Tiffany asked with a frown.
“Mostly Taeyeon, but he does find all of us attractive,” Vic answered. “We are going to let Junsu focus on more pleasurable things, and Taeyeon you could also benefit from the company of a man.”
Taeyeon took a step back and refused, “No, I don’t think so, not like this. I am not...” She paused as the Joong manipulated her mind. “That would be nice. It’s been too long.”
“What?” Junsu shrieked.
Vic walked behind Junsu and rubbed his shoulders. The look of horror that had been on Junsu’s face disappeared and pure lust replaced it as he looked Taeyeon up and down. “It’s okay. Go enjoy yourself. She’s a very good teacher. I will make sure she is very nice to you; very,” Vic whispered, while persuading him telepathically.
Taeyeon walked up and took Junsu’s hand and promised, “I’ll be really nice. You have a nice body.”
“Thanks,” Junsu blushed and answered shyly as he allowed himself to be led away by Taeyeon.
Tiffany watched Junsu and Taeyeon leave and asked uneasily, “Are you going to make me have sex with one of them too?”
Vic shook her head, pointing toward WooHyun and SungGyu. “You are not their type.”
WooHyun and SungGyu quickly glanced at each other then away. SungGyu found his tongue and told the Joong, “So you are not only a murderer but a rapist also?”
Vic spun around to face SungGyu, taken aback by his accusation. “No, I am giving two adults what they both desire. It’s been much too long for her, and he abhors his lack of experience. Humans are always thinking up excuses to deny themselves what they want most. I just rid them of those excuses.”
“You are totally disregarding free will.” SungGyu snapped back at her. “You are raping both of them, both mentally and physically!”
“And you are trying to distract me from my true goal.”
“Yes, I am,” SungGyu didn’t bother denying. “I can not in good consc—”
A moan coming from the direction of SooYoung interrupted SungGyu’s tirade.
“She is awakening already,” Vic said, displeased. Pulling a rope from her belt she tossed it to SungGyu. “You go tie her up. Tiffany can’t tie a knot to save her life.”
“It’s true. I can’t even braid my hair…holy smokes!” Tiffany cried out. Instead of going to tie up SooYoung, SungGyu had lunged for WooHyun and laid a heated kiss on him.
The two shocked women watched as the young ensign pressed the doctor back toward the ground; devouring him with hungry kisses as his hands fumbled underneath the doctor’s clothing, touching him all over.
“Vic, I don’t know why you are doing it, but it’s a nice show,” Tiffany told the Joong approvingly.
“I am not responsible for that,” Vic denied. “Stop it, and go tie her up!” Vic ordered aloud and mentally.
SungGyu broke away from a very stunned WooHyun, picked up the rope and stumbled towards SooYoung, following the Joong’s commands.
Vic, who was closely observing, watched as he bent over, rolled SooYoung to her side, and tied her hands behind her back, ordered, “Now, go back to where you were.”
SungGyu got up quickly, twisting his back purposely as he made his way back to the doctor who was watching him with wide eyed amazement. SungGyu sat back down on the ground as roughly as he could, causing pain to go shooting up his spine.
Vic turned away from SungGyu and stated, “It is time I finished this.”
Tiffany looked back at the unconscious captain and asked, “Do you think maybe we could just…not? He doesn’t look like he will make it much longer anyway; maybe we could just let him die peacefully.”
Vic closed her eyes and ordered, “Tiffany, go for a walk. Do not come back till I call for you.”
Tiffany cast a sad glance toward the captain, nodding her head. “Okay, I just wish it could be different.”
“I do too, but I can not give his ship anymore time to rescue him,” Vic told the other woman as she walked away. “It is not my decision or Hangeng’s decision alone…it was the decision of the Warlord Council.”
“If you don’t feel it is the right thing to do, then don’t do it. Do you not have a mind of your own? Follow your conscience,” SungGyu pleaded. “It isn’t like Hangeng can divorce you. Just tell him it’s wrong and you won’t do it.”
“You don’t know—”
SungGyu quickly interrupted her, “It’s not wrong to have mercy on someone. It’s not! Let all of us go. The captain is dying already…you should not be his judge, jury, and executioner.”
Vic inhaled a deep breath and said in a voice of longing, “When I was a child my parents surrounded me with love, but they were restless souls and they left the safety of the Joong home world to explore other worlds.”
“I was a young girl when Hangeng’s father killed my birth parent, and by doing so killed both of my parents. Unfortunately, I was old enough to survive my parent’s deaths. Hangeng’s father captured and imprisoned me in hopes of bonding with me. He was an ill man and he thought that bonding with me would extend his life. For months he tried to bond with me and that is when I learned what true hell was.”
“I would never bond with Hangeng’s father…no matter what he did to me. I could never forgive him for killing my parents. I am not the strongest or most gifted Joong, but I would not bond with that evil man. After months of torture he realized this and pushed his son on me instead. His son…his poor, young son who felt so sorry for me; his son that was often beaten for not abusing me as his father ordered…I did bond with him, to spare us both.”
“I do not regret it…because we were both victims of that terrible man. When Hangeng’s father died he inherited his father’s empire, like all warlords do. Hangeng is not a cruel man…but powerful men…must maintain their power through ruthless means at times. He is not purposely cruel…and I am not a monster. I feel the weight of every wrong I have ever committed.”
“That’s a terrible story,” WooHyun told the Joong. “I’m sorry that your life has been so tragic, but your past does not excuse what you do here today.”
“No, it doesn’t,” SungGyu agreed, twisting his back again, causing pain to go shooting up his spine. “You can’t kill him.”
With tears sliding down her face the Joong told them, “I am not going to kill him…I can not.”
WooHyun heaved in relief. “Thank God!”
A still suspicious SungGyu questioned, “What are you saying, exactly?”
“I can not pull the trigger…it is against Joong law.”
“If not you…then who?” SungGyu demanded.
“Not you, I don’t trust you with a phaser…you are purposely clouding your mind with pain and emotions. The good doctor will put the captain out of his misery for us.”
“No, I will not!” WooHyun yelled, outraged. “You can’t make me commit murder! I am a doctor! I save lives, I do not kill people!”
“You will not remember what you do here today,” Vic promised him.
“You should do it…yourself,” Yunho said in a soft whisper, shocking all of them.
The Joong spun around quickly to face the dying captain. The captain was still propped up against the tree. His eyes were barely open and heavily clouded with the black veil of approaching death.
“You should not have awakened,” the panicked Joong whispered. SungGyu and WooHyun’s eyes were glued to the critically injured man.
“Making others kill me…and pulling the trigger…it’s the same,” the weakened captain explained to the Joong.
“No, it isn’t the same. I have to cling to that. I have to believe there is a difference,” Vic stated as she stepped closer to the captain. “Your mind is so closed…not like SooYoung’s, but still so closed. I did not notice you had returned to consciousness.”
Yunho managed a small half smile and told her, “My family…they take very good care of me…they make me strong.”
The Joong gasped, reaching up to cover her mouth as his emotions washed over her. “I’m sorry…you don’t know how much.”
Yunho’s eyes closed and he told her with the last of his strength, “You do it…don’t make...” He never finished his sentence as the abyss pulled him back under.
“I can’t…I don’t think I can. I do not wish to do this, but I must. I will though…I will not make another…I will grant you your last wish,” the distraught Joong told the unconscious man as she lifted the phaser and aimed it toward Yunho. Before she had time to fire the phaser a powerful blow slammed against her head, knocking her to the ground.
SooYoung, who had gotten out of her restraints, had picked up a tree branch and with all her strength bashed the Joong’s head with it, to the surprise of everyone. The lieutenant then quickly picked up the phaser that had fallen out of the Joong’s hand, aimed it at the Joong and fired.
“You are not always a good man,” Siwon told Kangin as he sat down beside him on the beach.
Kangin snorted and looked off in the distance where Sungmin was prowling the beach like a caged animal. “Neither are you.”
“I am not cruel, though.”
“Do you actually believe that?”
“Yes, I do.”
Kangin pointed at Sungmin. “Fucking him is the cruelest thing you have ever done.”
Siwon tensed. “My relationship status with the lieutenant is none of your business.”
“You are a straight man, my friend. Toying with that emotional wreck will only bring you both a heap of misery, and make him more pathetic than he already is.”
“Like I said, it’s none of your business,” Siwon repeated.
Kangin, whose eyes were still following Sungmin on the beach, explained, “He can kick my ass, and yours too, but he is one of the weakest men I know. A man does not bed his best friend’s husband eight days after that friend is assumed dead if he is strong. He does not stay in a one sided relationship with somebody for a year, if he has a thread of self respect.”
Siwon exhaled a deep breath. “You should stop.”
“You know it’s true, but it’s his weakness that draws you in. You don’t come from Earth; you come from a planet that believes in royalty and still believes females to be the weaker sex. If it weren’t for his weakness you would have no use for him,” Kangin told his tall friend. “You associate his weakness with femininity.”
“That isn’t true.”
“Remember on the planet? After you pulled him from the river? You were instantly protective of him. It wasn’t his shining personality that drew you in…because he never uttered a rational word, only words of misery and self hatred spoken in his delirium. I could see it from the start. He was beautiful and wounded and he needed you to rescue him, and that is what drew you to him.”
Siwon closed his eyes, hating the truth of Kangin’s words. “But…I do feel for him.”
“You want to save him; you need to be his hero. Let’s face it, on this ship there are a lot better heroes than you…knowing that must pierce that princely heart of yours. Sungmin, with all his weaknesses…how attractive you must find his weakness; but not him…it’s only his failings that attract you.”
“No, he isn’t nearly as weak as you make him out to be,” Siwon insisted.
Kangin chuckled and wrapped his arm around Siwon. “How you must hate his strong moments. Do you run from him? You should break this off before it goes too far.”
“It’s already gone too far,” Siwon sighed and admitted.
“That’s too bad, but it’s his own fault.”
Siwon removed Kangin’s arm from around him. “No, it is my fault.”
Kangin smirked and told the prince, “Don’t be so hard on yourself. Maybe we will never make it back home, maybe a beautiful woman will never turn your head…maybe he will be weak enough to keep you. He is attractive for a man. Maybe he will have a sex change for you; he’d probably do anything to keep you.”
Siwon stood up and brushed the sand off his legs. “Like I said, you are not a nice man.”
Kangin looked up at the prince. “Truth hurts.”
Siwon looked out at Sungmin walking the beach. “It often does, but you take too much joy in hurting him.”
“You should thank me.”
“Thank you? Why would I thank you for hurting him?”
“Isn’t that when you find him most attractive?” Kangin asked knowingly.
Siwon clenched his fists and walked away, not sparing the other man another word.
Changmin regretfully walked into the bedroom of his parent’s quarters after removing the necklace. He stopped at the doorway and watched two helpless souls, and one dying one. Sulli and Ryeowook both sat on opposite corners of the bed, unable to help the man curled up in the middle of it.
Jaejoong’s breathing had slowed and he was completely still. Changmin took a step toward him, causing both Sulli and Ryeowook to look up at him. Changmin approached the bed and reached out a hand, his fingertips trailing across Jaejoong’s bare arm. The coolness of the skin startled him, causing him to pull his hand back quickly.
Changmin turned around and faced the wall, avoiding both Sulli and Ryeowook’s hopeful gazes. Hopeful that he would say something comforting, but there was no hope left. Only cold skin and emptiness…his birth parent, that had always been so vibrantly alive, was void of that great energy that had always emanated from him. Changmin clenched his mouth shut and attempted to master the overwhelming sadness that engulfed him. Everything would soon be lost. Both his parents would be dead, and he would cease to exist.
A soft hand wrapped around his wrist. “Changmin.”
Changmin turned to face her, unable to deny her. He looked into her beautiful face. He felt her kindness, and her warmth…her wonderful warmth that had warmed him on his coldest of days. She did not ask anything of him. She just stood there showing her support and unwavering friendship.
“Their battle…is ending. Yunho and Jaejoong…they will soon be gone, and I will be gone with them,” Changmin told her, his voice cracking as he watched tears glide down her cheeks.
Ryeowook appeared beside Sulli, struggling with his own emotions, but still trying to comfort his old friend, “We know you did everything you could.”
Changmin pulled free of Sulli’s touch and returned to Jaejoong’s side. He knelt down beside the bed and reached out and picked up his birth parent’s cold hand. “It was not enough. As hard as I tried, I could not find a way. I wish…I wish…I wish Yunho had been here,” Changmin said, unable to control the unbearable pain that filled him with knowing he had failed Yunho. “Yunho and his basic logic that bordered on illogic…his way of finding the simple answers that always evaded my complex way of thinking.”
The other two said nothing, afraid of causing him more pain.
“Yunho is dying somewhere down below us; I hope he isn’t alone. I really hope that he isn’t alone. Yunho wasn’t meant to be alone…he does not do well when he is alone…and I don’t do well without Yunho. It’s good that we will all be lost together. It’s better that way.”
Changmin stared down at his birth parent, trembling, and continued, “In my future that will never be, or is it my past that never was? Jaejoong told me that he loved me and Yunho more than anything…he said I wouldn’t believe him, but I do. I believe him.”
“Changmin, I’m sorry,” Sulli cried as she came up from behind him and wrapped her arms around the trembling man. “I am so sorry.”
“You should not apologize for my failures. I was unable to find a way to transport them back to the ship, or making a shuttle capable of withstanding the unstable forces of the planet’s atmosphere. It was I who could not find a way to save them. The failure is all mine…do not apologize for my failures.”
“Changmin, you know that isn’t true. If you couldn’t find away…then there wasn’t a way. This isn’t your fault,” Ryeowook told him as he wiped his tears away.
“No, it isn’t your fault. They know you did everything you could. It isn’t your fault if the shuttle isn’t strong or big enough to withstand the atmosphere. It isn’t your fault,” Sulli told Changmin, hugging him tightly from behind.
Changmin stiffened. He immediately let go of Jaejoong’s hand and stood up, causing Sulli to let go of him.
“Changmin?” Ryeowook questioned as a familiar look appeared on the science officer’s face.
“I’m a complete idiot!” Changmin declared, tapping his insignia and calling for Commander Yoochun as he hurried from the room.
SungGyu watched in amazement as the Joong collapsed to the ground after SooYoung hit her upside the head with a large tree branch. Then to SungGyu’s continued amazement SooYoung picked up the phaser the Joong had taken from Junsu and shot her with it.
“Did you kill her?” SungGyu asked in awe as he gingerly stood up, mindful of his injured back now.
SooYoung looked up from the fallen Joong to stare at the ensign. “No, I just stunned her. Should I kill her?”
“No, don’t kill her,” WooHyun answered instinctively as he hurried towards the dying captain.
“I don’t know,” SungGyu admitted. “If she regains consciousness she will use us against you.”
“I know,” SooYoung agreed and stunned the Joong again. “You two stay ten feet away from me…if you come any closer I’m going to stun you.”
“What about those other two women? They are both armed; if she awakens could she have them shoot you?” SungGyu asked as he looked toward the trees that surrounded them. “They could sneak up on us and we wouldn’t even know it.”
SooYoung, who was attempting to control her nerves, nodded her head. “Believe me, I’ve been thinking about it. I’m a science officer, security isn’t my strong point.”
“Lieutenant, you are doing a wonderful job so far; just keep doing what you are doing,” SungGyu said, highly impressed with the lieutenant. “Just keep stunning her.”
SooYoung did as he suggested and stunned the Joong again. “But they heal fast. What if she adapts? Killing her might be the only way to secure Yunho’s safety.”
“If we could get the guns away from the other two then it wouldn’t matter so much if she woke up,” SungGyu suggested.
“How do we go about doing that?” SooYoung asked.
“I don’t know…maybe her spell over them will be broken and they will return; you could just take them. That one woman won’t be pleased with her,” SungGyu said as he turned to face the woods looking for any signs the others were returning.
“They both seemed reluctant to help her, even with her manipulations of their minds,” WooHyun said, speaking up as he tended to the captain.
“They did seem hesitant,” SungGyu agreed, scanning the trees with his eyes.
SooYoung sighed and admitted, “I know. It was as if in some things she did not completely control them. It’s almost as if she wanted them to think freely as much as possible.”
“She didn’t totally abhor original thinking or she wouldn’t have kept you with her,” SungGyu pointed out, still scanning the wooded area surrounding them.
“No,” SooYoung agreed as she stunned the Joong again.
“She did seem regretful about having to kill your captain,” WooHyun told them. “I don’t think it is easy being a bonded Joong.”
“Forgive me if I don’t feel sorry for her,” SungGyu snapped, not feeling the least bit sorry for the Joong.
WooHyun shook his head as he studied the captain. “No, you wouldn’t. She was going to kill your captain.”
“You tied my hands really loose,” SooYoung said to SungGyu, suddenly curious. “That had to be on purpose. How did you happen to manage that?”
“I did exactly what she accused me of doing. I noticed that she couldn’t handle emotions well. She seemed to be really bothered by Ensign Junsu’s emotions; she even had to send him away. So I tried to cloud my mind with emotions,” SungGyu explained, still searching the woods for any movement.
WooHyun looked up from the captain to eye the ensign, and asked, “Is that why you kept purposely aggravating your back injury, and is that why you kissed me?”
SungGyu nodded his head. “Yeah, I thought my…distaste at having to kiss you again would be louder than my plot to make sure SooYoung could escape.”
WooHyun winced, hurt at having been used by the other man. “I’m glad I could help.”
SungGyu shrugged, feeling guilty suddenly. “Sorry, I’m being a jerk. It wasn’t bad. It was much more pleasant than twisting my back all the time. If we don’t make it off this planet I’m going to be permanently crippled. But that doesn’t matter; all that matters is that we still have a chance…the captain still has a chance.”
“What about the…captain?” SooYoung asked as she stunned the Joong again.
WooHyun shook his head. “He’s not long for this life…there is only so much I can do. Sometimes when people are dying they rally one last time; I think him telling the Joong to kill him herself…was his last rally.”
SooYoung’s shoulders slumped. “That…that is terribly unfortunate, not after all of this…Commander Jung was always so nice.”
“I don’t even remember him as a commander. It’s like he’s always been my captain,” SungGyu was telling them when something caught his eye. “Lieutenant SooYoung, right there! Somebody is coming!” SungGyu said, pointing towards the woods.
“You better come out of there slowly, or I am going to stun you,” SooYoung threatened with the phaser aimed at the movement in the woods.
“It’s me,” Junsu hollered back at her.
“Is Taeyeon with you?” SooYoung yelled, questioning him.
Junsu stepped out of the woods, nodding his head. Taeyeon was walking closely behind him. “She isn’t going to do anything though…she has her own mind now.”
“Well, she is welcome to her mind as long as I can have her gun. Throw it over here, now,” SooYoung ordered. “I don’t need Vic waking up with her favorite puppet around to manipulate.”
“I am not her puppet!” Taeyeon seethed and threw the gun at SooYoung’s feet. “Not any more.”
“You need to leave, Taeyeon,” SooYoung told the woman she had spent so much time with. “I don’t know how long the stun is going to work on her. She’s too good at controlling you.”
“I can’t leave without Tiffany. She and I were just as much her victims as you were,” Taeyeon told SooYoung.
“I know that, but I can’t risk her waking up and taking control of you again,” SooYoung explained.
“I understand that, but I can’t leave without Tiffany,” Taeyeon repeated.
Junsu walked over to the captain and collapsed to the ground beside him. “Is he even still alive?”
WooHyun reached out and patted Junsu’s arm and told him, “Just barely; his suffering will soon be over.”
SooYoung was stunning the Joong again when movement in the woods caught her attention. “Tiffany, is that you?”
“Yes,” came the familiar voice.
“Tiffany, you need to give SooYoung your weapon…and then we are leaving,” Taeyeon yelled to the approaching woman. “We are getting the hell away from here.”
Tiffany stepped into the clearing and threw her weapon at SooYoung’s feet. “I feel so weird,” Tiffany told them, reaching up to touch her head.
SooYoung stunned the Joong again.
“It’s like my mind…it’s like it is my own again,” Tiffany explained.
Taeyeon walked up to Tiffany and told her, “It is yours; probably for the first time in…for who knows how long.”
“You two need to go,” SooYoung told them. “If she wakes up…you are going to be the ones she goes after first.”
“We are leaving, and thank you…thank you for freeing us,” Taeyeon told SooYoung. “If we ever meet again…I hope there isn’t a Joong in sight.”
“No goodbye hugs?” Tiffany teased with a sad smile.
“No hugs; nobody is coming within ten feet of me. I don’t trust her…I don’t trust her at all,” SooYoung informed them.
Taeyeon grabbed Tiffany’s hand and told SooYoung, “You always were smart.”
Tiffany looked down at Vic sadly and told them, “But she wasn’t all bad. I think she truly cared for us.”
“Perhaps, but only like a master cares for its prize pets,” Taeyeon seethed.
“Go,” SooYoung ordered. “Just go. I wish you luck.”
“Bye, SooYoung, I always thought of you as a friend. I swear it,” Tiffany told SooYoung as Taeyeon pulled her toward the woods and away from them.
SooYoung watched them leave, hoping they escaped the grasp of Hangeng and his empire.
“Are you okay?” WooHyun asked Junsu, who had turned to watch the women leave.
“No,” Junsu admitted, turning back to the captain. “It’s been a rough day.”
“That’s putting it mildly,” SungGyu mumbled as he walked up to the captain’s other side and stood over WooHyun.
SooYoung stunned the Joong again and asked, “So, I am guessing there isn’t any chance of a rescue?”
Junsu sniffled, looked up at her and answered, “If there was a way…I would have thought Changmin would have found it by now.”
“Changmin…” SooYoung repeated and then her eyes widened and she blurted out, “What about Minho? Is he alright? Is he alive? I heard almost all of the crew died.”
“Minho is fine,” Junsu told her, smiling bitter-sweetly as he watched the relief flood her face as she realized her younger brother was alive. “Sulli, too.”
SooYoung’s whole body shook as a great weight was lifted from her. “Oh, thank God. I was so worried about her. I feel terrible for being so happy…when Yunho is dying. It just doesn’t seem right.”
The captain let out gasp, causing both the ensigns to jump. “I thought he had stopped breathing,” SungGyu admitted, still standing behind the sitting WooHyun.
“It’s agonal breathing…it won’t be long now,” WooHyun told them. “His pulse has slowed.”
“Captain, I will never forget you…no matter how long I live. I will name my first son after you. I am going to tell him what a wonderful namesake he has. How brave you were, and how you…I will never forget you,” Junsu vowed, his whole body wracked with grief.
SungGyu blinked and swallowed down his own emotions as he looked down at the man that had placed such faith in him. “Me either, Captain. I won’t ever forget you. I’m sorry…that I couldn’t find a way to save you.”
WooHyun looked up to the sky to say a silent pray for the departing soul when something caught his eye. He watched as the object in the sky got bigger and bigger. WooHyun reached up and tugged on SungGyu’s sleeve, causing the other man to look down at him. “Do you recognize that, by any chance,” WooHyun asked, using the hand that wasn’t holding on to SungGyu to point towards the object in the sky.
SungGyu, Junsu and SooYoung all gazed up at the sky. SungGyu’s eyes widened as he barely managed to get out, “It’s the Expectations!”