Copyright 1999, Delma RM.. All rights reserved. No part of this story may be re-posted in part or in full without written permission from me.

Disclaimer: Gene Roddenberry's Earth: Final Conflict is copyright 1998, Tribune Entertainment Co. It's characters are used without permission, no infringement is intended.

Title: Illusions III

Author: Delma RM

derema@hotmail.com

 

Illusions III

 

            Lili came to as she hung suspended from the cliff. She was grateful she had fastened the clip and was slightly aware that she had not been alone but a wave of pain washed over her. She forced her eyes open and looked around, remembering why she was there.

            The assignment was that she and Sandoval would go in and arrest the cell hidden therein… things had not gone exactly as planned. They lost three men and the cell was wiped out but before she and Sandoval had reached the top a blast had hit them. Lili remembered hearing a skrill blast before losing consciousness. Lili turned her head and saw him hanging limply by his rope.

            "Sandoval…" her weak voice squeaked. Her side was burning and her arm was heavy. The past few weeks flashed before her eyes. What if she never got to set things right? What if she never told him? No! They were not going to die here. She mustered up some strength. "Sandoval!"

            She was grateful when the form moved. But just his arms moved, his head turning slightly. Lili jumped over to his rope to make sure the clip held. "Sandoval, can you hear me?"

            "Lili?" the voice came out weak.

            "Good. Are you hurt?"

            "I can't feel my legs." His eyes fluttered open.

            "Can you make it the rest of the way up?"

            "No." He whispered.

            "Okay… okay… just stay awake. I'm going to climb up and pull you the rest of the way, but you have to stay awake, I'm a little weak." Then dragging up her other arm she pulled herself up the cliff. Arm over burning arm until she reached the top. It seemed so far now but they had almost made it. Her side had almost made her pass out on the way up but she was a Marine, she knew how to ignore pain. Once up she found a place to brace herself so she could pull him up. Another agonizing process, finally she had to resort to pulling with her good arm and holding the rope in place with her foot until she could get a grip on a lower piece of rope. She just thanked the Great One that the pulleys had stayed in place.  She pulled Sandoval up over the edge and dragged him under the cliff face.

            "Do you know where … (gasp) you're hurt?"

            "My back… I still can't feel my legs and my arms are getting heavier. Go get help."

            "I never leave a man down unless I'm absolutely sure he's dead. You are not dead so I am not leaving."

            "You can climb out without me."

            "Well, no I can't. I don't have the strength to make it out." She busied herself with pulling off the half melted pack from his back.

            "Where are the others?"

            "I looked down, I didn't see anyone else, resistance or otherwise… (gasp)." She set about getting what she could out of the pack, leaning him against the wall.

            "Captain? Are you hurt?"

            "I'm a big girl I can take care of myself… but that last blast did a number on the both of us… the global is busted, we can send a signal but no guaranteed anyone will get it from in here, we can't receive. Here's a blanket… it'll get cold soon." She found the first aid kit. Thank goodness. "Lean forward so I can look at your back."

            He gingerly did as she said and braced himself as she peeled the suit from him. She found a rock shard in the middle of his back, with gauze in hand she pulled it out. She pulled the roll of gauze from the kit and wounded it around him to keep the gauze in place.

            "Thank you… My arms don't feel as weak." She carefully leaned him back. "What about your arm?"

            "I can do that." She hoped.

 

*****

            "Maj. Kincaid. Where is Agent Sandoval?" Zo'or demanded.

            "On assignment I believe."

            "Why has he not returned? His party should have returned hours ago… with prisoners."

            "I will look into it myself." Liam hoped he could remember where it was Lili had said they were going.

 

*****

            Lili peeled off her shirt and nearly gagged at the sight of her arm and side. How was that blast so strong? She must have voiced that because then Sandoval spoke.

            "This is a bat cave. They used to make gun powder from bat dung, it amplified their weapons."

            "Bats?" Her head snapped up.

            "They won't bother us, just make sure we aren't in their path when they take flight tonight. Let me help you with that." Lili turned so that he could clean her wound. "Your gonna have to take that off so I can do this right."

            She nodded and undid the clasp to her bra. "I see you got movement in your arms back."

            "I saw the shard you pulled from my back, I'm lucky it didn't do worse damage. If they don't find us soon… I'll have a box in my back and be in a wheelchair for the rest of my life. I don't see how you pulled me up."

            "One arm, one foot and one hell of a pulley system." She tried to laugh but the wound in her side protested.

            "I'm not hurting you am I?"

            "No… it's getting colder."

            "It'll get colder still. Is this the only blanket we have?"

            "I lost my pack, I think it took the brunt of the blast for me. All we have is what's left in yours." Sandoval finished bandaging her arm and taped some gauze to her side.

            "How's that?"

            "Good… thank you." She reached for her suit jacket, suddenly she was shy. It's not like he hadn't seen her without a top before… (but that was different) the voice in her head told her. Then the global gave a warbled blip and died. "No!"

            She picked it up and there was nothing. "What happened?"

            Lili turned to face him. "Some one tried to contact us and it overloaded the cell. We'll be here awhile. There are two rations of food, we can stretch that into four maybe five and the canteen."

 

*****

            "I tried contacting them but the signal vanished in these caverns." Liam pointed on the screen.

            "That is where they were sent. Please retrieve them as the absence of their presence suggests injury of some sort."

            "Yes. Sir."

 

*****

            Sandoval leaned his head on the rock behind him. Lili was asleep on his chest, what was left of the blanket covering them both. Once she had gathered some strength he planned on sending her up without him. He held her close and remembered another time when he held her and could feel her heart beat next to his. He shook off those thoughts. She had obviously not taken that week as anything but assignment, but it had been more to him. Sure the Vegas resistance followed them everywhere, they were trying to make sure they were legit. But they didn't have to do all they did while they were there. Just having someone that responded to him in a loving way for whatever reason was reason enough to keep him going.

            Lili feigned sleep so she could think, and feel the arm that held her to him. She wondered if he was thinking about the same things she was. She was aware that his breathing had become slightly ragged but hoped he could hang on. Her thoughts wandered back to that week, that glorious week and that day in the lab. That dance had almost been orgasmic in itself. Bodies moving in perfect rhythm just like in another dance, involuntarily her arm held him around his midsection and she started to drift off, she needed some sleep to get out of there.

            Sandoval felt her arm across his stomach and wondered if it was a reaction to being close to someone in sleep or if she meant it. He hoped she did, even as he felt his chest growing heavier with every breath. There was something else wrong, very wrong. They lay this way for a long time. Finally, he had trouble breathing and he gently shook Lili.

            "Lili, I have to tell you something… but-" his voice broke and she lifted her ear to his lips. She listened intently while he forced the words out. Tears forming in her eyes and she turned and kissed him on the lips.  The kiss ended when Sandoval took a shuddering breath and then stopped all together.

"No! You can't tell me that and then die." She sat up. Lili heard voices from the opening at the top of the cavern where the morning light had just started pouring in. She listened to see if they were resistance or Volunteers.

            "Marquette, Sandoval!" Liam's voice called down.

            "Kincaid! Hurry! Sandoval's hurt (gulp) I think he might be dead." Lili stood, holding her arm and side, and waited for them to come down. Liam touched down first and she pulled him over to where Sandoval lay.

            "Liam you have to help him." Liam took one look at her face, her bright eyes and nodded. He turned to the two men behind him.

            "Take Marquette up first, she can't climb with her arm and side like that. I'll stay with Agent Sandoval until the next stretcher can be brought down. Now!" They fastened Lili into the special harness they had brought down and up they went.

            Liam knelt next to Sandoval, his eyes brightening. He whispered aloud. "Not you too. How can all of you leave me here alone?"

            He took his father in his arms and held him. He placed a hand on his back and kept the other on his head and closed his eyes. He felt his shaqarava activate and his tears fell from his face onto his father's hair. Sandoval suddenly inhaled deeply, then his eyes flew open. Liam sighed in relief. He still had one parent left.

            The med team landed behind them, ruining the moment. "Come on Agent Sandoval, can't leave you down here. Can we?"

 

****

            Sandoval woke up in the hospital, his head slightly throbbing with a fuzzy recollection of what had happened. He stretched without thinking and then realized he could feel his feet, his toes, and his legs. Like nothing had happened. Raven purred contently, and sure enough in his left hand there were a bunch of tubes sticking out… like he didn't have enough holes in his body… His back didn't hurt. How long had he been out?

            To alleviate the throbbing in his head, he closed his eyes. He let himself drift and he barely heard them walk into his room, he thought it was a dream. Da'an placed a hand on his head and the headache stopped but it felt too good to open his eyes. Sandoval felt the Taelon move away and someone take his hand. They leaned forward to whisper in his ear. "You can't tell me what you told me then not be awake for the response. We are all waiting for you."

            "If you don't mind, I'll stay."

            "Of course Liam. I must protect my first protector from those who find him useless now. You will head the security of this room and its patient." The door closed a moment after. Footsteps echoed through the room, squeaked and stopped. Sandoval just hoped they would leave.

            "I know you can hear me. You can't fool me."

            "What ever would make you think that?" Sandoval opened his eyes.

            "You were holding your breath."

            "What do you want? A medal?"

            "Just checking to make sure you woke up." Liam sat in a chair at the end of the bed.

            "Why do you care?"

            "I don't, not really. Lili does…"

            "What are you talking about?"

            "Come on.. you know, never mind. I'll just take up my guard outside."

 

****

            Lili scratched at her bandages; they were supposed to come off soon. Sandoval was acting like nothing ever happened. It stung a little but once in a while she caught him looking at her. Belman said he 'apparently' had temporary or selective amnesia. Something wasn't adding up. He wasn't telling her things anymore.

            She never mentioned to anyone else that Sandoval had injured himself that badly. The tests proved nothing but burns from the energy weapons. Liam had fixed him up good before the paramedics got down there. He was walking around ordering everyone around just like before.

            "Earth to Lili, you're gonna scratch off those bandages." Augur plopped down on the couch beside her. "What's on your mind? Hopefully not a puppet or an alien."

            "Sorry, puppet's on the brain. Tell me something. Why do guys feel the need to ignore once the magic words pass their lips?"

            "Which magic words would those be? Pretty please? Open sesame?"

            "You know what I mean. Put it this way, Liam tells me and I had to shoot him down… Sandoval tells me and then once he is fully functional he acts like a total blank."

            "Well as much as I'm against either one… you shot down the wrong one. Sandoval's girls tend to end up dead or worse. Now Liam is a nice guy but too young for you. My personal opinion is.. I'm your best bet."

            "Ok, now why are you the good one?"

            "I'm open, honest, rich, handsome, a genius and a master in the bedroom." He flashed his smile at her and she laughed.

            "Ok, Liam's honest and open, handsome and a genius. Sandoval's handsome, intelligent and rich. I think I was getting the best of both worlds."

            "You forgot to say which one was a master in the sack."

            "Did I?"

 

****

            "When do we start?" Vosser looked back at him from her equipment.

            "Soon as I can get Kincaid arrested."

            "Why him?"

            "He's the only one I think could get it done… and he's the most likely to get arrested after the election."

            "What about your chick?"

            "Who?"

            "Marquette, she'd make it."

            "Try and make her slip. She's too smart for that… but you're right, she would make it. I'll keep t