Real short chapter compared to how long I've gone without posting. Just bear with me, I'm having some problems finding out where I want to go with the plot. Please pm me with ideas if you have any. Stupid writer's block.
Chapter 15: A Coward's Reprieve- "Oh God..." whimpered the marine. "Please dun... dun shoot... oh my." The captain was so dumbfounded by this marine's behavior that he didn't even pull the trigger. The image of a marine was an emotionless, fearless, and efficient fighting machine. The last thing the captain expected was to have one groveling at his feet.
"Please, I have... valuable money.... good goods, and... and shiny trinkets!" The marine begged while holding out a pitiful pile of ore dust, old Sol currency called "pennies", and a few broken gadgets. He tossed these at the captain's feet. "Here, now don't press that trigger. I'm not one of them. I swear! I swear!" The captain recovered from his daze and pulled the marine to his feet.
"Who are you?" He asked. Not expecting an answer, he reached behind the marine and lifted up the headpiece from the rest of the armor. Behind the breathing apparatus that was still attached, the face looked awfully familiar. "I know you! You're the hermit I saw in that hut!" Said the captain.
"Yes, yes, I'm not a marine. Don't kill me.. please." came the reply.
"I'm not going to shoot, now tell me who you really are and what you're doing in a marine suit if you're not really a marine."
"Oh, right. I... I come, I mean I came here a few months ago. My ship, oh how I miss her, my ship... crashed onto this planet. Terrible soldiers, marines, yes, they took me but killed the rest of my crew. I was the only human. That might have something to do with it. Yes, yes, I'm human, but I wish I weren't. The Ville Corp-" The hermit hesitated at the thought of his employing corporation. "- only takes humans. Death would have been much more... better. The rest of them. I saw. The rest of them had these, these things put into their skull. They lost their self becoming empty shells of a computer, a strange computer chip. Oh but I got out of it. I escaped for a while and they thought, they thought I already had it. I became, I pretended... acted to be brave, and ruthless, but I couldn't stand it. I couldn't, I wouldn't do this to my fellow stranded survivors. I deserted, left them. Made my own hut. That's when they barged in and took me back. Tortured me for days. Oh god."
The hermit clutched his head at this horrible memory. The captain held onto the shoulders of the hermit while he breathed heavily. "About these chips, are you saying that those marines are humans being enslaved by Ville Corp?"
The hermit took a deep breath. "Yes. Another, like me, he got away the second time I was captured. They recovered him too. I saw the fear in his eyes. Like a madman! He was no marine, he was just a fatigued survivor forced into being the arm of Ville Corp. He became crazy, wacko, cuckoo! I sure am glad I didn't go mind-sick like him!" The hermit forced a laugh, showing his relief that he himself was not crazy. The captain looked at the hermit and laughed genuinely himself. The whole time he thought he was dealing with a marine, in truth he was dealing with a nut.
"And I got away again. Pretended to be like them.. I accomplished, like them, being them. Until you showed up. I don't think I could've kept, keep on, rounding up humans and killing the aliens. I just don't have the nerve for that kind of, business, stuff. " The hermit sighed and looked around at his dead comrades. His eyes welled up again with tears, and for the first time since they met, he said something that didn't quite seem like something a crazy coward would say.
"You know, you got to stop this Ville Corp. These men, marines, don't deserve this. Nobody does. To lose your own identity, horrible. But to never know freedom anymore, even worse. They are humans, there are so few of us left. Stop them stranger, please stop them. I... I don't want to see humans gone forever. I want to leave this planet with my brethren by my sides. Stop them, that's all I ask. I don't want to be the last proud human in this universe."
The captain shouldered his rifle and turned around. "Me neither."