I was ten when my parents and brother went out to the summer estate. I had a series of tests and would be brought out the next morning. Only there was the accident no one would talk about and my parents died. My brother was fine but he acted different after that. He was meaner and crueler and more of a bully.
I was the scholar and he was the handsome stud. He was into sports and fitness and hung around with a few guys that were as bad as he was. When our parents died our grandfather became our guardian and that was when I was forced to take secret classes. Sometimes it was neural net training and then there were the martial arts I had to learn.
I was sixteen and Roger was almost twenty when the nobles petitioned grandfather to remove him as the heir. He walked into my study as I was finishing my end term exam, “hey.”
I glanced at him warily, “what?”
He leaned against the door and ignored the teacher, “I am going hunting and thought you might want to come.”
I started to shake my head and he sighed, “come on kid. We are brothers and never get to do anything together.”
He has always had a smooth tongue and this time was no different. An hour and I was dressed for the forest. I wore a new twelve millimeter pistol on my right thigh and a new hunting knife on my left. I also had a grav gun tucked under my left arm. Since we were hunting I added a small belt pack with a trauma kit and small charged anti gravs.
The rifle was new and I was not really comfortable with it. To tell the truth I was not even planning to fire it. Since this was supposed to be a retreat I had to leave my comm and comp. When I climbed into the transport my three guards followed. They were acting a little strange and kept glancing at my brother or one of his guards.
As for my brother, he mostly ignored me and spoke with his three friends who I did not like. At least there were the grav sleds we were going to use so that was fun. After the transport landed my brother spoke with the pilot. We unloaded and I followed the others into and through the trees.
We went north and a little west and in the early afternoon we reached a river and stopped. I got off the sled and stretched and walked to the river to look at it. I saw Roger speaking with the others who kept looking at me. One of my guards went to his sled and returned with a case. Roger pulled out a long pistol and walked towards me.
I was nervous as he shook his head, “sorry kid. I killed our parent so I did not have to wait fifty years. Those bastard dukes can rot in hell if they think I will let them set me aside.”
He lifted the pistol, “this fires a bullet with the same groves as your rifle. After you are dead I am going back and using it on grandfather.”
He pointed it as I took a step back towards the water. My foot sank right before he fired. It was like a vehicle had driven into me and I went back and down. Searing pain was stabbing into and through my upper chest and it was hard to breath. I could not feel my legs or move them as I stared into the sky in shock.
Roger turned away, “alright. As soon as we get back head for the assembly. The others will kill the dukes once word of grandfather dying reaches them. By tomorrow you will all be dukes and I will be the next emperor.”
I shifted and slowly my right hand moved to pull the grav gun. One of them could come back at any moment. I heard one of the guards say to take my sled and slowly used my thumb to change the setting. I heard them leave and shifted to aim the gun and squeeze the trigger. I held it tight as it pushed and my body slid away and into the cold water of the river.
My feet dragged on the bottom as the current pulled me out into deeper water. A few moments and I was moving down the river and could barely feel the bottom through my boots. I do not know how long it was before everything went dark and I passed out. I woke as I was going through a fast but shallow area.
I looked up and into the face of an angel in a tiny bikini who was pulling me towards the shore on the other side of the river. She looked down and smiled, “I have you.”
I glanced at her breasts and hoarsely whispered, “you are very beautiful.”
She snorted as she began to drag me out of the water, “you must have hit your head.”
I glanced into her face as she stopped and bit her lip. She looked around, “can you stand or...”
I tried and could barely move my legs which was an improvement but not enough to help. I tried to relax with the pain in my chest, “no.”
She sighed and looked towards shore again. I remembered my grav gun and whispered again, “my gun.”
She looked at me and I slowly extended my arm and aimed towards a tree. I used my thumb to change the setting and squeezed the trigger. I held on and gritted my teeth as I was pulled out of the water and across the ground until I released the trigger. She followed and knelt and started to open my shirt and I groaned, “take off my pack.”
She was looking at the wound in my chest and hesitated before she rolled me onto my side. That was when I felt the blood in my abdomen and chest and knew I was bleeding inside. She worked the belt off and the pack and then opened it. I shifted and reached out to tilt it so I could see, “you need the vial of nanites and the nanite clotting cloth.”
I touched a tube and a surgical knife, “also you need to cut a hole between my ribs and put the tube in.”
She gasped, “I can not do that!”
I looked at her and finally nodded, “get my shirt off.”
I talked her through pouring a vial of nanites into the entrance and exit wounds and then using a nanite clotting cloth on the outside to seal the wounds. Next I talked her through using the self injecting IV kit and connecting it to the bag of nanites and solution. Once she had that going I took a breath and struggled with the surgical knife.
She hissed as I shifted and positioned the knife and rolled suddenly. I screamed as the knife went between my ribs and into my chest cavity. I rolled back and panted as I tried to pull it out, “I need the tube.”
She growled and pushed my hands away and pulled the knife out quickly. She wiggled and pushed until the tube slipped into me. She hissed, “blood is coming out!”
I relaxed and nodded, “it is supposed to.”
I looked at her, “do you know how to make a litter?”
She bit her lip, “I can not pull you.”
I kept looking and she nodded and I gestured, “use my knife to cut the poles.”
I looked into the sky as tiny stabbing pain began in my feet and legs. I heard her talking and then a curse and turned my head, “what?”
She was holding a comm and looked at me, “I got the emergency services and then the comm shut off.”
I knew right then my brother or one of the others would be coming, “make the litter and hurry!”
I struggled with the med pack and in the bottom I pulled out eight tiny charged anti gravs. They would be good for at least eight hours and I hoped that would be long enough. When she returned I struggled to attach the anti gravs, “it will not get me very far off the ground but more than enough for you to pull me.”
Next was the hard part, getting me onto the litter. She abandoned her stuff and used a cord to pull the litter, “I am Penny.”
I laid back as my mind tried to think, “Michael. Do you have a flyer?”
She looked back, “yes but it is several hours away.”
I shifted and pulled the new pistol and checked to make sure it would fire. I held the grav gun in one hand and the pistol in the other, “do you have a boyfriend?”
She snorted, “no.”
I turned my head and glanced at her, “why not? You are beautiful.”
She lifted an eyebrow, “are you sure you did not hit your head?”
I smiled, “if you were my girl I would be begging you for sex.”
She laughed, “if you were my guy I would be giving it to you.”
I looked at the sky and could feel my strength returning. The nanites must have stopped the bleeding too. I felt in the med pack and hesitated before I took two stim tabs. We kept talking as she pulled me and just over two hours later I heard the grav sleds. I tried to sit up, “stop.”
Penny turned and I struggled up and off the litter, “take the litter to the right and into the trees.”
I moved slowly to the left and stopped behind a tree. It was moments before my three guards slowed as they searched the ground. They got off the sleds and looked towards the forest where Penny had gone. I used the tree and aimed and took a breath before I squeezed the trigger. I shifted as the plasma round exploded through one’s head.
I fired again as the other two reacted. The second guard died as the third brought his weapon up. Penny yelled and he hesitated and then I fired a third time. The shot was a little low and went through the throat and spine. He went down and I started to move towards them. I heard the other sleds and cursed and looked around, “stay behind a tree.”
I crossed to the other side of the trail and had barely gotten behind another tree when my brother’s three friends sped in. They yelled and shut the sleds off as they jumped off. I peeked around the tree and they were looking at the other side of the trail where I had been. I pulled the grav gun and lifted the pistol.
.... There is more of this story ...