"If someone wants to interrogate Jane
to discover the secrets of subspace they have made a mistake, all she does
it take it for granted. Krell won't need to come back, there are enough warheads
in subspace to start a nuclear winter."
"Neil, don't do anything rash I'll get right on it."
"Well after you've asked questions at your end, speak to the weasel
over here before I start blood letting. If it's private enterprise the
world will be in queer street."
"Give me twelve hours, I'll wake everyone on the planet if necessary."
"I'll restrain myself for that long. Then I'll start my own line
of enquiry. If I haven't found her alive and well in forty eight find
a very deep hole to hide in because Armageddon will follow."
Jane had been attacked in the Tesco car
park. Three men overpowered her and held a chloroform soaked rag over
her face. It hadn't even given her a chance of escape, before she had
realised what was happening her head was swimming in a sea of syrup, then
darkness. Perhaps a needle had been inserted into her arm to keep her
sedated. When you are dead to the world time has no meaning, when images
began to form in consciousness she was slumped in a chair, two figures
standing in close proximity.
"Ah, nice to see you are with us."
"What?" Jane was still trying to understand.
"We need you to explain how subspace works, how to lay hands on one
of your craft."
"Who are you?"
"That does not matter."
"Where am I?"
"Somewhere safe, we are on a small island, we have taken the precaution
of removing all means of communication lest you think it possible you
could escape and raise the alarm."
"Well if you decide not to tell us we will use some very effective
drugs to loosen your tongue. If you have a resistence to these we will
rape you repeatedly until you cooperate, after all you are very attractive."
"One thing, I don't know anything and I'd die rather than have my
body defiled. Sorry two things, I know nothing, I'd rather die and you'd
suffer the wrath of..."
"Stop your stupid games. If you want we can start now."
"Two things then. Straight up I don't have the faintest idea what
happens as I'm little more than arm candy and then there is Judge Dredd."
"A comic book character?"
"The galactic code name for your worst fear."
"What do you mean, galactic?"
"Have you been hibernating over the last few months? D'Oh, the interstellar
"They do not exist, it is the Americans using subspace technology."
"Perhaps you should ask them how many have died on their continent?
How much of their military has been reduced to dust."
"They would lie."
"I honestly don't know anything."
"Maybe we will save the drugs then, play with your body to decide
if you are lying. Then we shall call your husband, tell him what will
happen to you if he refuses to cooperate. Of course we would not say that
we had already started."
"Then I hope you have made a will."
The man stood up, pushing his chair back in anger. "Take her to her
room, strip her naked and give her a chance to think, I will be the first
to taste the fruits of her body. In the morning I will call the husband."
Thrown into a small room Jane collapsed on the bed, her mind swimming
with the after effects of drug induced sleep. Without fabric around her
the cold air drew goose pimples to her skin.
"Cry havoc and release the dogs of war." Then she slid into
subspace where she felt a lot warmer.
Two hours later the man, by then eager for a little entertainment entered
the room, it was dark, there was no sound. Flicking the light on he was
"Where is she?" he shouted, turning into the corridor.
Figures came out of several rooms, confused expressions were standard
"Was the door still locked?" questioned a figure.
"Yes." Turning back into the room he looked carefully. There
were few places to hide a mouse, the flimsy tubular steel bed providing
no opportunity to conceal a figure. The window was closed, the opening
barred. "There is nowhere for her to hide. Did you strip her?"
"Of course, she has very firm breasts, but she had not fully recovered
from the drug. There was no point having sex with her if she was not even
aware. Anyway, you wanted to be the first."
"Then she had no mechanism with her?"
"Nothing, normal clothing, which is in the kitchen now."
"So where is she?"
"Perhaps she is more clever than we believed, maybe she does not
need equipment to enter this new place"
Jane knew they could never hold her once she was mentally aware, but had
discovered that there was no escape, having recovered her clothes she
at least felt less vulnerable but was still staying invisible. Up until
that point she had shied away from police work, from violence, but being
groped by a dirty, roughly shaven stranger had angered her, and the threat
of rape had been enough to make her blood boil. The men searched frantically
but had a feeling they were on a lost cause. When they retired for the
night Jane retaliated.
"You wanted to have me first, I'll have you instead," she whispered
in the man's ear. Then she gripped his wrists and played with the dimensional
boundary. As she hauled him off the mattress Jane reentered conventional
space. Only as the bed head was mid way through his torso he suffered
from a little discomfort. Still, the uproar drew others to the room. Not
that there was a lot anyone could do.
"Perhaps we underestimated her?"
Minutes later she found a man alone in a corridor.
"I want to have sex with you against the wall," she hissed pushing
her body against him.
The man smiled widely, sliding his hands up her back as she pressed her
hips against him. Then suddenly there was intense pain, he found himself
screaming, drawing his hands around his head, tearing at his hair as Jane
slid away, laughing. Only he couldn't hold all his head, was unable to
move, he was embedded in the wall. Then she turned conventional and simply
stepped out of subspace behind the next two figures and thrust a knife
between ribs. Four down, two to go. Only she didn't want to wipe them
out, she needed a way off the island. No doubt there was a schedule, the
men would have to be relieved somehow, obtain supplies. Only the kitchen
was well stocked.
Back in a bedroom there was a semi conscious figure hanging off a bed.
There was a chair beneath his shoulders, he was not losing blood, he could
remain alive for maybe days.
"Perhaps I should call an ambulance, only I can't find a telephone."
"You will not either. That we made sure of, if I die here so will
"Fool, I can walk across water when I am in subspace. I just don't
want to waste my energy."
The helpless figure tried to spit but the torment it caused to his abdomen
"So," laughed Jane, "what's so special about this?"
gripping fragile anatomy firmly she twisted fiercely. "That's for
just thinking about rape."
Screams failed to attract attention.
"Most of your friends are dead," Jane said quite calmly as she
left the room. "Incidentally who are you working for?"
"Why should I tell you?"
"Well it's been a while, I'd say by now Judge Dredd will know which
direction to turn. I don't think you are American, if you're Russian I'd
say you need to think about your family as the country will be depopulated
in strips a hundred miles wide. If you are freelance then you'll have
to imagine how you'll get paid as the planet turns into a graveyard."
"What do you mean?"
"Well, Dredd will contact the Russian government, ask for my return.
If they fail to comply he will start to sterilise the country. If they
plea innocence and he believes them then he will strike at random until
your friends return me."
"He wouldn't dare."
"He'd do more than dare." Jane knew that Neil's patience had
already be taken to the limit, if he couldn't find her it was clear in
her mind that all hell would break loose.
Nobody was accepting responsibility.
Perhaps it was an independent, a criminal element who thought they could
sell the information to the highest bidder. By the end of the day Neil
was no closer to finding his wife despite a television appeal.
"Krell, I need advice, can you respond?"
"Dredd, what's the problem?"
So at least between patrol craft there was no time delay.
"Initially can you discover someone in subspace when you have half
a planet to search?"
"This sounds ominous."
"Someone has kidnapped Jane, I'm guessing she's safe, no doubt out
of sight, only nobody is saying anything. Destroying half the planet may
not accomplish anything and millions of innocent people will suffer."
"I'll call in some help, three or four of us can scan the planet
in about ten hours, just so long as she stays in subspace."
"I'm hoping she'll feel safer there, invisible from dangerous figures."
"Neither of you had the beacon implanted did you?"
"No, we were going to get it sorted out later. Jane wasn't sure,
she wanted time to think about the ramifications."
"We all omit a bio-pulse when exposed in subspace. I suggest you
set an automated search pattern five hundred mile radius circles moving
across the most likely region, we'll join as soon as possible. You've
been using an atmospheric screamer, drag it in normal space, scare the
population mindless and perhaps Jane will assume you are in strike mode
and move into subspace if she isn't there already. I will do the same."
Neil began over Central Europe and headed East. Over a hundred and twenty
decibels tearing at eardrums, causing pulse rates to rise. After an hour
Krell joined in, running a line south, overlapping search areas by maybe
fifty miles, his signature was slightly higher pitched, there was no escaping
the presence of a second vessel, or in time yet another. Three hours later
the third patrol craft joined in, working north, starting over Ireland
and heading for Scandinavia. The population of Europe, and after a while
Asia, could not see anything but they couldn't close their ears to the
cacophony. There was fear in the hearts of every man, woman and child.
Seven hours into the vigil the Northern patrol craft picked up a trace.
Three ships converged on a small island just off the coast of Denmark,
about one hundred miles north of Neil's upper search limit. Over Germany
at two hundred feet Neil moved to conventional space and slowed to two
thousand miles an hour. Krell, without the need to remain in subspace
was also visible on everyone's radar and causing just as much fear.
Because no one knew why they had suddenly become visible, unless it was
Jane heard the din and smiled, relaxed on grass kept warm by the characteristics
of the dimension. The newcomers let Neil move in first, so that he could
be the one to rescue his wife.
"Dredd, find Jane, but wait before you interrogate anyone, we have
a much more frightening technique."
"What do you mean?"
"Daak, the mere sight of her could cause death."
Neil did a low high speed pass then span around and landed on the shore
line. In subspace he walked out holding a pulse detector firmly in his
grasp. Approaching the large building he saw Jane beside the doorway and
held out his arms. It didn't need further invitation. They didn't need
to breathe, the kiss lasted two minutes. A scream announced another arrival
and the craft landed as Krell rolled into view.
"I was worried," whispered Neil once speech was possible.
"I was, more for the planet though."
"It came close, luckily there was a way to find you, otherwise I
hate to think what I could have done."
"There are two hiding inside, one more alive but not going anywhere."
"We're to wait for the others, they have a particular technique."
"The one I've tried to get information from is rather reluctant to
"You may need a little support in a moment," said a soft voice
as Krell appeared at their side.
"Would you like to meet Daak?"
"I'll hug her for finding Jane."
"If you dare, I'll admire you."
"Dare?" questioned Jane, raising her eyebrows.
A figure emerged from subspace, figure was as close as it was possible
"Oh God!" Jane wobbled unsteadily, Neil was white.
Krell had said the figure was female, maybe to some her features were
attractive, but you needed to look for longer than a couple of seconds.
That was quite difficult.
"I'd hate to meet you on a dark night," Neil offered as he found
the courage to speak.
Two metres tall, proud, erect, apparently naked.
"Thank you. Do still think you could hug me?"
Neil was concentrating on facial features, hard cheek bones, a prominent
jaw line and copious thick hair that fell across her forehead. Lowering
his eyes a little he tried to decide where he could put his hands, tissue
was thick, in places it was best described as serrated.
"Do you hug?"
"I fuck just like you, almost. But if we tried it you would die."
"I'll take your word for that." Somehow Neil found courage,
held Daak's face firmly in his hands and kissed her, then he held her
in his arms. Not too firmly unless her body tissue cut him. At least her
mouth was warm and moist, though when she parted her lips his blood ran
cold. Just as well he wasn't being passionate, he could have cut his tongue.
"You would make a bold warrior, Dredd. Few have done that."
No, but he was so glad to have Jane back by his side it was worth a small
sacrifice. No doubt Daak was highly muscular, it was difficult to tell,
her skin appeared almost armoured, something akin to coarse organic chain
mail. Almost reptilian.
The most striking feature was overall colour.
Daak was bright blue.
"Do we have a chance to obtain information?" asked Krell.
"I've saved you three, I'm sorry but I was angry, I killed the rest."
"You too have spine," said Daak softly.
"Not as much as you I expect."
"Give it time."
The first figure collapsed as Daak entered the room, slumping into a lifeless
heap, causing Krell to smile widely. The second drew a gun at the sight
of movement but was instantly paralysed with fear.
"Perhaps you would like to help a little, information wise."
"Why should I tell you?" he offered feebly.
"Well for a start my spiky friend is hungry."
"I work for no one."
Daak snarled, the sound deep, rising from her chest like the voice of
an angry lion, even Neil felt cold.