****ACTION**** "Beauty and the Beast" - Part Three

Who: Rufus, La Resistance et al.Where: Supply Field CWhen: As Rosette pulls the trigger.~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~The combustion of the cordite propellant igniting in the chamber of the pistol, creating the raw kinetic energy to fire the small metal hollow point slug faster than the speed of sound caught them all by surprise, even to a degree Rosette, who fell to her knees as she pulled the trigger. The bang echoed around the empty supply field and the soft, wet crunching thwip as the bullet struck home, dead on target between Castillo's eyes.Cassandra was on form as the second the bullet left the chamber her finger twitched on the trigger, the noise making her jump as well as her evil intention to kill the boy genius. Time seemed to slow down as Rufus, who had heard the rush of air and smelled the cordite as the projectile zipped past him didn't watch Castillo hit the deck, he turned and looked at Rosette and Amber. The former head down, not able to draw her gaze from the rusting decking, the latter drawing her own pistol, almost in slow motion. A smile crossed his lips as he saw the inevitable fury cross his sisters face and knew that the JMC would pay for their misguided leadership. Time slowed even more and everyones actions seemed to stop as he felt the electric charges igniting the gunpowder, the searing pain wiping the small smile off his face and ripping it into one of pure horror. His eyes went wide and his mouth opened into an involuntary scream. He remembered how Cassandra had said this would be quick, that he wouldn't feel it. His last thoughts were of the certain fact that she lied.It all went white."Urm.... Hello?" A soft female voice said, concern and worry evident in the tone. "AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAGH!" Rufus screamed, sitting bolt upright and clawing at his neck. A few seconds passed and he started to feel light headed."Try breathing." The woman said, her voice flat because of the vast expanse of empty white, with nothing for the sound waves to bounce off it was a disconcerting sound.Rufus gulped in a huge gasp of air, suddenly aware that his was the cause of his light headedness. He remained on the floor and looked up at the angel who was smiling down at him. "....." Small sounds came out of his mouth, but none of them were understandable."Oh! Right, no, sorry this isn't heaven." She smiled. Rufus eyes went wide. "OH! No! It's not that either!" She exclaimed. Slowly, sense began to creep back into Rufus mind."Annie?" He breathed "Am I dead? I... I... I felt it.....""No, sorry. Well, you could do. It's up to you really. I can return you to that point or I can just put you back after the collar explodes." She smiled and her face lit up like a pinball machine. Rufus scrabbled to his feet."I can't leave them all behind. Amber needs me, she's going to be Captain, so soon after Jay.... She won't be able to cope. And Rosette...." He blushed and turned away. Annie's face fell a little, but when Rufus turned back she was all smiles again. "That's what I thought.... Still, worth a try right?" She winked at him and kissed him on the cheek. "You might want to lie down again." She said, gently pressing Rufus to the floor. "Why?" He asked, how looking up into her eyes."I can only bend reality without being noticed so much, you know. Don't worry about the scarring, it'll fade in a week or so." She smiled, she was always smiling Rufus thought, it made her face all bright and pretty. As he blinked he realised he was feeling sleepy."It won't hurt will it?" He said, yawning, mildly alarmed at the thought of scars."I was joking, be careful Rufus, and would you say..... Never mind..." She said turning away and shaking her head. The whiteness began to fade, before sleep took him into it's arms he was sure he saw the small cotton tail of a rabbit peeping out in a slit in the back of the white dress she wore.---- Supply Field C ----The collar exploded in a huge ball of flame, nothing was left in it's place. A small pool of blood stained the deck where Rufus should be. Castillo's limp form lay prostrate on the deck, her life long gone, the shell that had been the woman seeping her life's blood onto the deck plating. Amber emptied her clip wildly, missing everythitng in her rage. Soon all that was left was the empty clicking sound as she pulled the trigger again and again. The quiet became pronounced as she realised that everyone was looking at Castillo's corpse. It was blood that was pooling around her corpse, but it wasn't red. It was grey.Castillo wasn't human.

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