[ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]
.Sam hurried after him as he started up the opposite slope.'Anton?'He'd raised his hands to his neck.With a shock, Sam realised that he was removing his helmet.'Anton!' She glanced at her suit's air monitor, saw that the atmosphere outside was barely breathable.Had he run out of air? Perhaps she could share her supply, or something.She ran up to him, saw his wild face, his hair glued to his forehead with sweat.She heard his shout even through her sealed helmet.'It's calling me.'Sam felt a jolt of fear.'The dreamstone?''We have to join with it:''What? ''I know it's frightening but we have to - we have to tell it -' He was breathing hard, as if he were running.Sam realised that she could feel it too.Fear.Raw, terrible, fear.Pain.Fever.'Anton.We have to go back.' But he was still climbing the slope.'Anton! 'Shapes were crowding Sam's vision, dim, flickering shapes of terror and delirium, some of them human, some alien.Anton screamed, a hoarse, terrible sound.- the monsters are here -'Doctor!' she yelled.- he's dead he's dead -'- you've got to help you've got to stop them they're killing me they're killing me -Chapter 14When Daniel and the Doctor climbed back up the dropshaft, Cleomides was waiting at the top, still wearing her e-suit, though she'd taken the helmet off.Daniel followed her into the jump bay, squeezed along the space between the young marines.Beside him, the Doctor limped along, looking around him with growing bafflement.'I don't suppose they found Tiydon?' asked Daniel suddenly.Cleomides shook her head, and Daniel cursed under his breath.'Is he dead?' asked the Doctor softly, looking at Daniel.Daniel nodded, gestured at the external viewscreen above the lock doors.'Be more than one friend dead,' he said.The Doctor stared at the screen, at the wreckage that had been Sector Six of the DMMC base.It was receding slowly: Daniel could feel the podship's engines running, acceleration as gentle as that of an elevator.More of the base came into view: Daniel was relieved to see that some of the other sectors were relatively undamaged.The floor shifted under their feet.The ship was manoeuvring, looking for a place to make a landing.Suddenly, unexpectedly, the Doctor spoke.'How many people have died in this?' He was staring at Cleomides, his voice trembling with anger.'And you knew there was a fleet ready to evacuate the place.You knew.Why didn't you do anything?'The young men in their battlesuits looked up at him in amazement.Cleomides stopped and turned, but instead of facing the Doctor she looked at Daniel.'It wasn't my decisionl'she shouted.'I didn't know that an incident on this scale was likery! I ordered an evacuation as soon as -''What scale of incident were you expecting, then?' interrupted the Doctor.Cleomides looked away."That's classified.' Daniel stared at her.He could see the blush of anger over her brown skin.Slowly he realised that she wasn't angry because of what the Doctor had said, but because she knew he was right, and that she had been asking the same questions of herself.She was only a captain, after all.The ultimate responsibility for all this lay higher.Judging by the number of ships around, a lot higher.'We seem to have had this conversation before,' the Doctor was saying.'Last time you didn't tell me what you knew, and now hundreds of people have died.Well this time, I can at least tell you what I've found out.This dreamstone your people are mining isn't just a crystal: it's part of a living system, quite possibly an intelligent -'But Cleomides started to walk away.'I have to get into a proper suit,' she said to Daniel."There's a job to do.We're docking with the Serendipity in -'she glanced over her shoulder at a wall screen - 'ninety seconds.Daniel, get to the comms room there and see if you can help them organise the evacuation.You know the base better than our people.' A pause.'And get him -' a glance at the Doctor - 'locked away safely.''Locking me away won't solve any of your problems,' said the Doctor.'You need my help.This situation is dangerous.You can't just use military tactics against it.'Cleomides ignored him.'We should listen to him, you know,' said Daniel.But Cleomides was already climbing the stairs to the next level, her boots clicking on the metal stairs.Daniel realised that it was his turn to acknowledge that she was right, at least about some things.There was a job to do.Recriminations would have to wait.He turned to the Doctor.'Look, just go quietly.I'll see what I can do for you.'The Doctor met his eyes.Daniel was suddenly sharply aware of the almost mesmerising power there, of the alienness of this so often warm and human-seeming person.'I hope you can do something, Daniel,' said the Doctor, with quiet intensity.'I really hope you can.All our lives could depend on it.'***The cave was dark when Sam woke up.She felt as if she'd slept for an hour or more, though her suit timer told her it was only ten minutes.Gradually she realised that the faint sobbing sound she could hear was Anton.She switched the suit lights on, saw him curled up against the now dark slab of dreamstone, his helmet off, rocking slowly back and forth like a child.It must have been much worse for him, she realised.He was already sensitive to this stuff, and he'd been much closer to the huge crystal.But what had happened? It had been like every childhood nightmare made real.She'd been convinced she was dying, and she felt now as if she'd been feverish - her throat was dry, and her limbs were weak as she stood.She looked around the dim cavern, wondering if any of the aliens were still here.Natives , she reminded herself.Not aliens.They lived here.She didn't.Aloisse would have made that distinction.So would the Doctor, probably.Aloisse.The Doctor.Where were they? Was either of them still alive? What was happening on the surface?No way of finding that out, without going back there.She walked across to Anton, leaned over him.His eyes were open, but he made no response to Sam, just carried on rocking to and fro, whimpering softly.There was a mark on his cheek: a dark graze, bleeding.'Anton.'Still no response.'We've got to get out of here.Our suits are going to run out of air.' Actually, Anton still had his helmet off and was evidently breathing the air in the cave, but Sam wasn't willing to risk doing that herself unless she had to.'Anton.Please.'Something was glittering in the graze on his cheek.A fragment of rock? Of dreamstone ?She reached down, touched the wound as gently as she could with the clumsy gauntlet of her suit.The crystal was pea-sized, and lodged more deeply than she'd thought.It wouldn't come out.She pulled at it, not caring if she hurt Anton, half hoping that the pain would shake him out of his stupor.'No [ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]