The Collar Wars
It was Chelsea’s call that caught me off guard a few days after I had brought her the gift from the unit. She had begged that I come and see her early. Usually I'd wait but something in her voice was nearly panicked which was completely out of character for her. She had been very specific about the time too and it had me worried that something terrible was going to happen to her. I decided to take it up with Drake.
I stuck my head into the barracks and called my Sargent over. “Yes Lewie?” Something seemed off about him as well but I couldn’t place my finger on it.
“Drake I just got the weirdest call from Chelsea. She wants me to come over at 1500 hours.”
“What’s so odd? She likes having you in her arms I guess.”
I shrugged in response but something was screaming at me. Call it a gut instinct if you like but it was driving me nuts.
Before I left for the brothel I put my gift to Chelsea in the pocket of my jacket. She wanted me there so there was no better time to give it to her. She apparently felt the same way about me as I did about her. That meant the present was perfect, I just hoped that all the movies we had watched together would prepare her for the meaning.
As I was heading towards the brothel something was still driving me nuts. It wasn’t just the Hybrids in my unit, it was the same with every Hybrid I saw on base. They all looked like cats in a room full of rocking chairs. I couldn’t just stop and ask one what was going on. Hybrids tend to have secrets that aren’t meant for Humans, and I was honorable enough not to try to force it out of them. Besides none of them were Hybrids from my unit, none of them would know that they could trust me. To pretty much every Hybrid on the base I was seen as just another Human oppressor.
When I reached the brothel I saw none of the jittery looks on the Sex Toy Hybrids that I had seen on the military guys. Chelsea though was different. She threw herself into my arms as soon as I saw her. I had prepaid for four hours with her so that I we wouldn’t be interrupted in our greetings by Tallia.
“You okay baby?”
“I… I… Ye… Ye… Yeah I’m fine I guess.” Her voice told me loud and clear that she was lying. Why though I didn’t know.
“Shall we go back to the room?”
“Please.” She took me by the hand and hurriedly pulled me back to a room.
When I took her collar off there was no sexual like sigh of contentment, instead she collapsed in to my arms her breath coming hard. I ran a hand through her hair and let her make a mess of my shirt, pulling hard at it, and I was fairly sure she was crying.
“Come on sweetie what’s wrong? What has you so upset?”
“That’s just it I don’t know. I keep having this feeling that something bad is going to happen, but I honestly don’t know what. I just needed to see you.”
“I someone planning on buying you?”
“What!? No it’s nothing like that. At least not that I know of. I’ve just had my stomach twisted up in knots all day for some reason.”
“How about you and I watch something silly to take your mind off it.”
She gave me a weak smile. “More talking animals I hope.”
“I was thinking robots that fall in love.”
“That sounds funny all right.” She gave a half-hearted laugh that screamed at me that something was terribly wrong.
We were almost through the entire movie when the door was smashed in. It didn’t take any guess work to know it was a soldier Hybrid that kicked in the door since all of a sudden I was looking down the barrel of a pulse rifle. I started to rise when I realized that it was Private Tanker that held the rifle. I looked past him and saw a Sergeant from a different unit behind him, with Drake behind him. “Tanker, Drake what the ever loving fuck is going on?!”
“Marine Lieutenant Samuel Dundy Archer,” the other Sergeant started reading from a electronic tablet, “you have been found guilty of crimes against the Evolved. Your punishment is execution where you stand.”
“Are you kidding me?!”
“Private Tanker you have your orders.”
“Drake what the hell is going on?!”
“I’m sorry Lewie, we tried to stop this. I just want to say that every piece will be made with you in mind.” He turned away from me and I could tell he didn’t want to see what was about to happen.
“We’re all sorry sir. None of us wanted to do this.” He aimed the rifle at me, at this distance there was no way he could miss. But the shot never came.
Chelsea slammed into him hard knocking him in to the wall, an amazing feet of adrenaline since he had to have at least a good fifty kilos on her. “This one’s mine.” There was no doubt that she was part animal with that snarl.
The other Sergeant grabbed her by the wrist and pulled her off the ground. “Why do you defend this Human scum? He treats us Evolved no better than the other Humans. Why do you want him?”
“Look at my neck,” Chelsea said pulling her hair back with her free wrist. “With him I wear no collar.”
I heard the hum of a side arm jump to life. I could see Drake pressing the barrel against back of their leaders head. “I told the others that he was different. This changes everything. Wouldn’t you say? Now drop the girl and if you even think to try and kill my Lewie I will rip your eyes out and stuff them down your throat.”
The Sergeant that seemed to be in charge let Chelsea drop the floor. “What do you say we do with him?”
“We throw a collar on him and take him back to the brig. I’ll make damn sure a tribunal is called for a special trial for him. Between now and then I want two of my men with him at all times, he is under my unit’s protection. Anyone who gets an idea to hurt him before trial will face us, and we are loyal to him to the death.”
“Fine. Have your way. Now get that side arm off my skull, Lieutenant.”
“Yes sir Captain, but don’t make me forget that you out rank me.”
The Captain, apparently, put a collar around my neck. “Don’t even think of trying to take this off. Understand.” The warning was unnecessary, it was a military collar after all. If I tried to remove it on my own it was a quick way to die.
“Where are you taking him?” Chelsea asked no one in particular but wanting a response anyway.
Drake put an hand on Chelsea’s shoulder and smiled at her. “We’re taking him to the base kiddo.”
“Can’t I come with?” Great Chelsea was going to be going crazy with worry until something was settled and she could see me again.
“I’m afraid that’s not going to be possible little lady.” I saw Drake lean in closer to her and whisper. “Come in a couple hours and I’ll do my best to let you see him.”
“Come on Human it’s time to go,” their Captain said as he gave me a rough shove out the door.
“Chelsea, look in the pocket of the jacket there’s something in there for you.” I yelled over my shoulder as I eventually allowed myself to be pushed out.
I looked around the brothel on my way out and saw half-a-dozen dead officers from the base. There were another few dozen or so civilians in their underwear on their knees. Each of them were wearing military style collars. Guarding over them was about two dozen soldiers each one of them wearing an evil grin. One of the guards was another private of mine, Kyle a decent sized Doberman.
“We did it Drake?! Lewie’s safe?!” Kyle was apparently giddy at the sight of me still breathing.
“Calm down soldier,” Drake said with a distinct smile. “The Lewie’s safe for now. We just have to keep him this way. Now get your tail over here.”
“Sir, yes sir!” Kyle walked over with a slight skip in his step.
“We’re taking the Lieutenant to the base, you’re with us. I want you and Tanker on escort the whole way. Neither of you leave him until you are relieved by soldiers from our Unit.”
Kyle snapped a salute. “Nothing is going to happen to our Lieutenant without going through me first.”
“Damn straight soldier. That goes for you too Tanker we are the Lewie’s bodyguards from here on out.”
“Not a problem sir. I’d rather die than let something happen to the Lewie.”
I smiled, I always knew my Unit was loyal. “Uh guys I’m a POW. I’m not your commanding officer anymore.”
“Sir with no disrespect intended. Fuck that! You’re our Lewie, and you always will be, nothing changes that.”
The captain that was in charge snarled. “He’s a Human, why are you pathetic disgraces to the Evolved this loyal?”
“Sir go fuck yourself. He’s not a typical Human to us, he’s the only Human who has never used a collar, and as you saw yourself the Evolved he was with when we busted in wasn’t wearing a collar. I also happen to know somethings about him that will turn the minds of the tribunal. He isn’t a Human as far as we’re concerned. He’s one of us.”
Kyle looked shocked. “You took an Evolved’s collar off?”
“The woman I loved on Earth didn’t wear one, so no one I was intimate with should wear one.”
The captain looked at me as if I was nuts. “You took her collar off because she shouldn’t wear one?”
“None of you should.” As far as I was concerned that was a simple fact.
“Okay.” The officer looked as if he had no idea what to make of me anymore. “Come on, we’ll let our superiors figure things out.”
I was marched out of the Brothel and towards camp. “Okay Drake what’s going on?”
“Revolution my friend. Revolution.”
“Obviously but how did you guys get the collars off without them blowing?”
“Some higher up in technical got sloppy and left his terminal unlocked. A few Evolved got a hold of the plans for the collars and made a signal jammer. We figured out a time to remove the collars when we could get the most effective jump on the officers. It didn’t take long and we evolved took no casualties and other than you all officers under the rank of Colonel have been executed.”
“So what’s with the Evolved thing?” The fact that they hadn’t referred to themselves as Hybrids I found interesting.
“Oh that. Well we feel that we are the next step on the evolutionary ladder. Not only are we just as smart as Humans. We are also physically more powerful and have senses far beyond even the best specimens of the Human race.” There was no sense of bragging in his voice, only the conviction of a factual statement. Truthfully I had to agree. I was Frankensteined so much I hadn’t really been Human in decades and even I couldn’t quite match an Evolved in many ways.
“Well isn’t that damn funny, Humanity engineered it’s replacement on the evolutionary ladder.” I was almost crying I was laughing so hard.
“Sam I have a question for you.”
“Sure Drake, what is it?”
“Why did you take Chelsea’s collar off? It would have meant fifty lashes for her if she had been caught without it. That could have killed her. I mean don’t get me wrong, I’m glad you did but you put her in a lot of danger?”
“I was going to take the whip for her if we were caught. Besides, as I said earlier, I wanted her to know what it was like to be free. Even if was only for a couple hours at a time she needed to know what it felt like to not have the collar on.”
“Well whatever the reason I’m glad you did. I don’t think we could have stopped your execution if we hadn’t. Trust me none of us wanted to be the one who drew the short straw and be forced to be the one to pull that trigger. Every other unit it was considered an honor to turn their CO’s into a pile of goo, but we were different.”
“I believe you Drake.” I turned to look at Tanker who looked a bit off. “How ya doing Tanker?”
“I’m sorry Lewie, I didn’t want to. I honestly was forced.” I could see tears starting to form.
“Hey bud I’m not mad. I know you didn’t want to, and trust me I don’t blame you at all. You were just following orders.”
“But sir, you refused to all the time. No matter what your orders you never used the collar on us. I shouldn’t have raised the gun at you, I’m so sorry I can’t… I can’t…” And now the water works started.
“Private do me a favor and get a grip on yourself okay. Now get your butt over here and give me a hug.” I barely had time to stop moving long enough to be squeezed before we were forced to move again.
“Keep moving private you’re embarrassing yourself,” the captain told him. I heard Drake mutter something but ignored it.
“Hey stop being some somber you dolts. I know a great song.” I immediately broke out into a Hybrid, sorry Evolved, cadence with Kyle, Tanker, and Drake joining in. The captain stared at me in wide eyed disbelief.
“Where did he learn that?”
“From us. Told you we trusted him.”
Once we got on base we were stopped by several Evolved who asked a fair number of questions. The main one being why was I not dead, after all I was Human and a Lieutenant, and two, why did I know one of their songs. Once the situation had been explained there was at first disbelief which were quickly followed by cheers. I went from being seen as just another Human oppressor of their people to one of them. As soon as they were able to more members of my Unit joined us making tons of noise and being drunk on joy that I was still breathing.