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The Path To Eternity

Authors: Jemarcu
Categories: Adventure
Crossovers: Forever Knight
Show Year: Y1
Rating: PG
Date: 2015

Story 7 in the "Forever Alpha" series +
1 - Forever Alpha
2 - Greetings from Cylon
3 - ... Et Willelm Ad Pevensae Venit
4 - Schanke Resurgens
5 - Crossfire
6 - Out of the Frying Pan…
7 - The Path To Eternity
When the immortal and nearly invulnerable psychopath Balor is unleashed on Alpha, Nick and Nat try to stop him without revealing their vampiric nature. Can even an 800 year old vampire hope to stand up in the face of Balor's power?
A "filler" for the "Forever Alpha" crossover series by the great and venerable Andrew Caruthers, whose help in editing and improvement was much appreciated.
Average Rating: No reviews.

The gurney was brought into Medical Center at breakneck speed, and Dr. Natalie Barber (nee' Lambert) barely had time to catch a glimpse of a tall man, dressed entirely in black.

"What have we got?" she asked, rushing to his side.

"Blunt force trauma from an explosion. Severe lacerations to the face, fractured skull in three places, possible tension pneumothorax, and probably massive internal bleeding!" replied Helena.

Natalie removed the hastily applied bandage from the mystery patient's face, and could not help but gasp in horror. As a Crown Coroner in Toronto, she had seen many dead bodies in various states of mutilation, but never in all her years as a physician had she ever seen a body so horribly broken up as this one, and yet still alive. The patient's nose was a crushed pulp, and one of his eyes had partially been forced out of its socket where the skull had been caved in. His head was even worse. The scalp was cracked wide open, with gray matter and blood avulsed in three places. His head was twisted away from his neck at an impossible angle, as though the former had been caught in vice grip and pressed flat.

"My God, how can he still be alive?" asked one of the nurses.

"He's not from Earth. That's one answer," replied Natalie as she inserted a second

intravenous needle into the alien's arm to supplement the one already in him. "D5-W?" she asked Helena.

"Yes. That's what they gave him on the flight back, and so far no adverse reaction."

Moonbase Alpha's Medical Center was nothing if not efficient. Within five minutes of having entered, the mystery patient had been intubated to protect his airway, punctured for a bottle of D5-W solution, and was in the process of getting a full body scan as a prelude to immediate surgery at the hands of Dr. Bob Mathias, who was looking at the scan real time. Normally, the patient would have been fitted with a cervical collar to protect his spinal column, but the damage to his neck and head was so severe, no one bothered.

"You were right, Helena. He has massive internal injuries. Look at that! Ruptured

spleen, I think. Damage to the heart, and looks like a rib punctured a lung. And the head

wounds!" said Mathias, shaking his head in disbelief.

"If the head wound hasn't killed him yet, then he might have a chance. We'll just have

to take things one step at a time. Internally, he seems more or less human. The placement

of the organs is a little different," commented Helena.

"I think we should continue to supplement with the blood substitute from the

synthesizer. He already had a unit on the flight back here, and there is no way he is going

to make it through surgery on IV fluid alone," said Natalie. Mathias nodded. As they both

left to scrub for surgery, the heart monitor sounded an alarm.

"Dr. Russell! He's coding!" cried one of the nurses.

All three doctors ran over to the patient. "V-fib! Adrenaline, one to ten thousand. Ready defibrillator," ordered Helena. Natalie expertly inserted the cardiac syringe into the patient's heart, and delivered the dose of adrenalin, Dr. Russell took hold of the paddles.

"Four-hundred watt seconds," confirmed the nurse.

"Clear!" ordered Helena. All hands came off the patient and the gurney. Helena applied the paddles to the alien's bare chest and depressed the button on the right paddle. The patient's body heaved upward in response to the electric shock. She did not need to look at the heart monitor to know that there was no response.

"Again." she ordered, and waited for the capacitor to charge.

After twenty minutes of heroic efforts, Helena finally backed away and shook her head, cursing under her breath. She hated losing a patient.

"I'm calling it. Time of death, twenty-two thirty-three," announced Helena with a glance at the wall clock. "There was just too much damage."

"What killed him is no mystery. I'd like to know what was keeping him alive," commented Dr. Mathias.

"I'll get the paperwork going. If you don't need me Helena," said Natalie.

"Go ahead, Nat. I think the autopsy can wait 'till morning."

As Natalie walked into the adjacent office, she saw Commander Koenig looking in through the glass in the observation area. She carried with her a blood sample. She thought briefly of looking at it under a microscope to learn more about the late, mysterious alien, but decided against it. She was tired, as her shift had actually ended an hour ago.

More importantly, she was hungry.

When she was sure she was alone, she went to a nearby cabinet and took out a flask of

synthetic blood and drank it down quickly. She immediately felt herself invigorated as the blood suffused throughout her body. Not for the first time, she thought to herself 'thank God for the blood synthesizer.' As a vampire living in the confines of Moonbase Alpha, there was no other source of nourishment, other than their fellow Alphans, and both Nick and Natalie had forsworn the taking of human victims.

As she opened the door to her quarters, she heard the sound of a finely tuned violin

expressing a classical piece, although she could not have named it to save her life. She had actually heard the music well out into the hallway, courtesy of her vampire-enhanced

senses. But she was so tired, she had barely noticed.

Dr. Nicholas Barber, formerly Detective Nick Knight of the Toronto police department homicide squad, was so engrossed in his music that he barely noticed the arrival of his wife. Only after he had played the final notes, drawn out to a mournful larghissimo, did he notice the shower running. How long ago had she come in? He shrugged and smiled to himself. Music had always been an escape for him, a way to relieve stress and forget the horror of his existence. It also reminded him that, vampire though he was, he was still at heart a man, and man needs culture: music, art, dance, theatre. To Nicholas De Brabant, these things were as necessary to life as food and water would be to him if he were still human. Also, it was important for the future. One day, he would be human again. This he believed with all his heart and soul. One day, he and Natalie would step out into the sunshine of a new planet. They would have children. They would grow old togeth-


He just wished he could have brought his beloved piano to Alpha. Once owned by the great Beethoven..


"Oh. Sorry Nat. What were you saying?" he said, rousing himself. She stood there, wearing only a slinky nightie. And a grin.

"I was saying that this alien, whoever he was, must be made of stern stuff. Nick, it was unbelievable! This man, for lack of a better word, looked like someone had parked a truck on his head, then thrown him down three flights of stairs, and he still had a heartbeat," said Natalie. "Compared to him, the way you looked on the night I met you was a skinned knee."

"That bad?" he quipped.

"And how," she said, in full doctor mode and not hearing the tone in his voice. She

proceeded to explain in detailed medical language the patient's injuries. Nick was both

appalled, and impressed.

"Did you get blood and tissue samples?" he asked, putting away his violin.

"You better believe it. I'll look at them first thing tomorrow," she said as she slipped under the covers. "Helena and I are handling the autopsy," she said with a yawn.

05:30 came early for Natalie, as it always did. Used to night hours even as a mortal,

such distinctions were often meaningless on the sunless world of Alpha. Nevertheless, she was up, dressed and out the door while her husband slept on. When she entered Medical Center, she saw Helena, Bob Mathias, and Nurse Lancaster already suiting up to perform the autopsy. Inasmuch as she had the most experience with pathology, Natalie prepared to take the lead. As she turned to prepare her tray of instruments, Helena began to remove the bandages from the corpse.


At Helena's tone, Natalie turned, and saw the impossible. Helena had removed most of the bandage, exposing the alien's face. Both his head and face were completely

healed! Helena then put her ear to the alien's chest, not even bothering to reach for a

stethoscope. Natalie already knew what the result would be.

"He's alive,"said Helena with astonishment.

"That's not possible!" said Mathias.

Helena ran out of the exam room and picked up her commlock. As she did so, Natalie

ripped the covers off of the "body" and began re-attaching sensors to the alien. She now

had, God knew how, a live patient. She commenced programming the diagnostic panel to record various autonomic functions. When completed, she turned to Bob Mathias. "Bob, I'm going to take a look as the blood and tissue samples we took last night."

"Good idea. I think we can handle things here," said Mathias.

As Natalie walked out towards the lab, she overheard Koenig talking to Helena.

"I'm going to put two security men outside that door. No one is to have access to this room unless I give permission." Two hours later, she and Nick summarized the results of their tests to Helena.

"As near as we can tell with the tests we were able to perform, what we're looking at here is a perfect balance between anabolism and catabolism, coupled with some form of instant tissue regeneration," said Nick.

"Yes, that would explain a lot," said Helena, nodding slowly. "But how were they able to achieve it?"

Natalie shrugged. "No way to know without a lot more tests. Is it natural, the result of some sort of bioengineering, or is he a freak of Nature? We won't know without a lot of study. But based on what we have seen so far, I'd say our guest is ..immortal." There, she had said it. As vampires, Nick and Natalie also shared that distinction to a degree. Oh, they had vulnerabilities to be sure. But barring a wooden stake to the heart, decapitation, or consumption by fire, they too were immortal. The question was, would this alien also have vulnerabilities?

"Natalie, Nick, I'd like you to continue your research on this. I think we all know that for various reasons, you two are most uniquely qualified to gain an understanding of what is going on here."

"Of course, Helena," said Natalie gravely. Helena was one of the three people on Alpha who knew about Nick and Natalie. She was also helping them in their efforts to find a cure for the virus that caused vampirism. But as Helena got up to leave, the Red Alert klaxon sounded.

"Are we under attack?" asked Helena.

"I don't think so. It's a general alarm, not 'battle stations'," said Nick. Alpha had instituted some new security measures in response to dangers never even considered in Earth orbit. One was a special alert to take cover in the catacombs from a sudden alien attack. This alert sound was not for that, but the system was new and most Alphans were still learning it.

Helena went over to the lab's communication post, and called up Main Mission, The face of Controller Paul Morrow appeared on the screen. "Paul, what's happening?"

"The alien has escaped from Medical," said Paul. The three of them looked at each other for a moment, then bolted out of the room. When they got to Medical, they found Bob Mathias stitching a wound on one security man's forehead. A nurse was prepping another guard to x-ray him for a possible broken femur.

"Bob, what happened?" asked Helena.

"When I got here, the door to the exam room was forced and the two guards were out cold. Nothing too serious, just knocked about," said Mathias, not taking his eyes off of his patient.

On hearing this, the injured guard who was having his head stitched said, "He's incredibly strong, Doctor. He lifted me up with one hand like I was a rag doll. Tell Security not to fool around. Stun him on sight."

"There might be more injuries. We better go see if we can help," said Helena, grabbing a portable kit. Nick out a hand on top of hers. "Helena, maybe we should go instead. You're needed more here."

"But.." Helena paused and looked at Nick and Natalie, the import of what Nick was

saying finally sinking in. "Maybe you're right," she allowed, and handed over the medkit. As they turned to leave, she said, "Be careful." Nick nodded and smiled, as he keyed the commlock to leave.

As they both walked down the corridor at a brisk pace, Nat said "Nick, are you sure it's a good idea to race into a confrontation like this? If we are forced to use our powers, we could expose ourselves."

"I know, Nat. It's a risk we have to take. If that alien really is as strong as the guard says he is, and he is immortal, they may need our help," said Nick, not slowing down. Using their heightened hearing, Nick and Natalie were easily able to locate the source of the trouble, and they were both able to get there quickly. As they rounded a corner, they almost ran into three security men, one of whom was Tony Verdeschi, Alpha's Chief of Security. Tony's right arm was still in a sling, recovering from a broken collar bone sustained on their recent foray to the planet Retha.

"Tony, what's going on? I didn't know you were cleared for duty yet?" asked Natalie.

"The alien is up ahead just outside the entrance to travel tube three," answered Tony, ignoring the second question, but wincing. "I'm not sure what's happening, but the Commander ordered us to seal off this section and not let him past. The Commander and Alan are approaching from the other.. Hold it, Nick! The Commander ordered us to hold this position."

Nick turned on Verdeschi, looked into his eyes and pushed a thought. "Tony, we're doctors. We're going ahead to see if we can help the injured. You and the guards stay here," ordered Nick.

"Yes, we'll stay here. Right. You go on ahead," responded Tony. The other two guards were far enough back that they did not overhear. Nick and Natalie did not have to go very far before they caught sight of a very tall man with dark hair, dressed entirely in black. He was in the process of throwing a security guard into three of his fellow guards.. They all toppled like candlepins. Next, he saw Alan Carter retrieve a weapon from the floor and fire it at the alien.

No effect.

"Use the kill ray!" he heard Koenig order. A deadly blue light hit the alien in the chest. He faltered for just a moment, then shrugged it off. The Commander and Alan were defenseless.

"Nick..." Natalie said anxiously. Nick crouched and braced himself to launch at the alien. A microsecond before he did, he heard the alien shout out.

"No! Please! Please, I to you."

Nick and Nat stood in Main Mission listening to an amazing tale. Balor, as he called himself, was indeed immortal, from a planet where death had been defeated. This, Nick had already figured from his initial analysis of Balor's cells. Still, hearing it from the man himself was startling. The rest was incredible, yet somehow believable. An entire civilization thrown into chaos because, having the threat of death removed, they no longer had anything meaningful to live for. And Balor's proposed solution? On that part, Nick knew right away that Balor was hiding something. His vague references to "my philosophy", which the populace of Progron found so objectionable that they exiled Balor from his home world forever. One does not live for eight hundred years without learning how to detect when someone was not telling the whole truth, quite apart from his vampiric senses. No question- Balor was keeping something back. Yet, Nick kept his own counsel. As he watched Controller Paul Morrow escort Balor out of Main Mission, he quietly left a few minutes later.

"Well, what do you think?" asked Natalie.

"I think we're in trouble," responded Nick, as they entered their quarters.

"Don't you think you're being a little paranoid? I mean, from what we know about him, and that asteroid prison, his story makes sense."

"Yes, the external facts do. But I trust my instincts, Nat. He's hiding something, believe me. I've seen his type before." As Nick said this, his eyes got a faraway look. Yes...

Nicholas looked out at the jeering crowd from the balcony of his Paris hotel room. "What's all that about, Nicolai?" asked Janette diffidently while looking in a mirror to adjust her hair.

"Didn't you hear? Its DeSade." said Nicholas.

"No! They found him?" asked Janette.

"Napoleon's agents are taking him to Saint-Pelagie prison. I hear the madman was hiding in his publishers office." said Nicholas, taking a sip of bloodwine from his goblet.

"Ah Nicholas. After all these centuries you still retain vestiges of your stunted Christian morality. You would sit in judgement on a man merely for rejecting rules imposed on him by a weak and moralistic society and church?" This caustic comment came from a nearby ante-chamber. It was the voice of his master, Lucien LaCroix.

"LaCroix, I cannot believe that even you would approve of such a debased guttersnipe as de Sade," said Nicholas.

"Nicholas, we prey on mortals. What is it to us if they prey on each other? Besides, times are changing, and the type of society DeSade would usher in would be to our advantage. Imagine! A world without priests, sacred symbols, or petty rules to hem us in," said LaCroix.

"Then lets go see this apostle of the new age in person, LaCroix," suggested Nicholas, donning his cloak.

Getting past the police cordon was child's play. None of the gendarmes were resistors. "Be quick." One of them said. "The coach will be here any moment."

As they walked up to the man and got a good look at him, Nicholas began to feel very strange. Although he was the vampire and DeSade, the mortal, was flanked by two burly policemen, he felt more and more that he was in the presence of someone...something, reekingly, powerfully evil.

DeSade looked up and appraised his three visitors. "Well, what have we here? Gloaters or admirers? There is no third possibility. Unless perhaps the..ah, lady, is in pursuit of some diversion? Eh?" He laughed, softly.

Nicholas looked over at his companions. From Janette he sensed disgust. And from LaCroix..his mask of self assurance was slipping. LaCroix looked at DeSade and frowned vaguely. The two locked eyes. DeSade seemed to look through LaCroix.

"Hmmmm. I sense in you a kindred spirit, sir. Or am I mistaken?" inquired DeSade, grinning broadly, but the smile never touched his eyes, which were as dead and cold as any Nicholas had ever seen. And then Nicholas saw something he had never seen before. LaCroix actually flinched.... in fear.

"I assure you .." began LaCroix. Without warning, DeSade lurched towards LaCroix. The gendarmes moved quickly to restrain him, but DeSade was lightening fast, and unexpectedly strong for a mortal. He grabbed LaCroix by the face and bit him on the cheek, drawing blood. LaCroix reacted automatically, hissing and throwing DeSade back. He landed in a heap with his police guards, laughing maniacally. In the general melee that followed, the three disappeared back into the crowd. Once clear, Nicholas turned to LaCroix, whose cheek was already healing. "Well, what do you think of your free-thinking hero now. LaCroix?" His only response was a brief, and ancient Latin curse.

"Nick... Nick?" repeated Natalie.

"Oh, sorry Nat. Yes, I have seen his kind before," said Nick. "I'm going to go talk to him."

"Alone? Do you think that's a good idea?" asked Nat.

Nick scowled. "I've been taking care of myself for quite a few years. We're just going to talk." He keyed his commlock and left through the open door.

As he walked the halls towards Commander Koenig's quarters, he was deep in thought. He remembered the words of his Master from that last fateful night in Toronto. "Life is a gift."

Well then, who was the giver? God gave him his life as a man born of woman. LaCroix had given him his "life" as a vampire. On Progron, who was the giver of immortality? A group of fanatical scientists searching for the fountain of youth had managed to find it after all, or so their guest said. And if so, just where did Balor fit in?

He rang the chime on Koenig's quarters. The door opened and he saw Balor standing near the window, the lights very low, looking out. He was a tall, imposing silhouette.

"I hope I am not disturbing you," said Nick.


"I am a physician, and as you can understand I am very curious about your regenerative abilities. If I understood you correctly, they are not native to your species."

Balor finally turned to look at his visitor. Something in those eyes?"Yes, I can see where you would be?"

"Barber. Dr. Nicholas Barber."

"Yes! I believe it was your wife who helped to revive me. Not that I needed any help, of course." Balor took a few strides towards Nick. Nick stood his ground, though every instinct in him was crying to get out while the getting was good. Why, he wondered? This being has made no threatening moves of any kind.

"We studied samples of your tissue, you know. How were your scientists able to do this?" asked Nick. His scientific curiosity was, at the moment, outweighing his survival instinct. "Genomic sequencing?"

Balor smiled his smile again, this time with remembrance. "On my world, there were a mythical people known as the vurdalak. In your language, it's roughly translated as "night people". They were the focus of much entertainment and literature. Children were frightened with bedtime stories, especially during the season of our harvest interval. Stories of the people who shunned the daylight, and lived only on the flesh and blood of the living." He looked squarely at Nick. "Then, modernity overtook all of us. We discovered the night people were not mythical but real."

"That's incredible," said Nick.

"They were interrogated by the authorities, located in their lairs, registered, and then examined by our scientific establishment. The properties that made them all but immortal naturally fascinated our scientists."

Nick maintained his composure at this amazing revelation, but inside he was in turmoil. Vampires on a distant world?? I must know more.

"In time, the micro-organism that caused them to be the way they were was isolated, and altered. We were able to bioengineer a new virus that guaranteed immortality, minus the undesirable?" Balor smiled again, his chilling smile, "side effects."

"And these night people? What happened to them?" asked Nick.

"Those already infected with the original virus were found to be immune to the improved version. Thus, the night people had no place in our society."

"What are you going to do? Are you going to tell the Commander?" asked Natalie.

"What can I tell him? That Balor is an outer space vampire, the new-improved version?" said Nick.

"I see what you mean. Nick..?"

Nick turned to face her.

"If what Balor says is true, then he could... I mean, what's to stop him from taking over Moonbase Alpha? Could even we stop him?" asked Nat.

"I don't know, Nat. But I have a sinking feeling that we're going to find out. All we can do now is watch, and wait. The next move is Balor's".

As it turned out, they did not have to wait for very long. Nick and Natalie had both been one hour into their three to eleven shifts in Medical Center when a gurney containing the body of Mike Baxter was wheeled in.

"Oh no. What happened?" asked Natalie. She had always liked the cocky, smirking English pilot.

"We're not sure," said Mathias. "He attacked Commander Koenig, and then just dropped dead. All we know for sure is that Balor visited Baxter in his quarters some time before it happened."

Nick and Nat looked in horror at the body of Baxter, hands outstretched as if to ward off some danger, and face frozen in a rictus of horror. They exchanged a sober glance. "Jennifer, I'll be in the lab. I want to run a few more tests on that tissue sample. Call me if anything comes up," said Nick.

"Yes, Doctor."

It took nearly an hour to set up the cultures and the test programs he wanted. Before he initiated the last one, he went down the hall to peak in on Medical Center. Dr. Russell had stopped in, and was helping Jennifer and Nat prep a sedated patient for a skull series. In that time, she informed Nick of what had happened. Balor had revealed his true colors. He had ordered Koenig to turn command of the base over to him, so he could use its inhabitants as part of some sadistic pain orgy to test Balor's theories on the value of life.

Balor was at this moment loose in another section of alpha, destroying equipment and terrorizing the personnel.

"I was afraid of that." said Nick.

"The man is insane. I'm afraid for John," said Helena.

"We're all at risk," said Nat.

"The best thing we can do is lay low and give them room to work. Koenig and Bergman will think of something." said Nick.

"Think of what? How do you kill what can't be killed?" said Helena anxiously. Nick had no immediate answer to that, so he went back down the hall to his lab. One of his test programs on Balor's tissue was almost done. Maybe that will give us an angle we can use, Nick thought to himself. He had no sooner gotten there when he heard the Medical Center doors open. He felt a chill go up his spine, then heard that malign voice once again.

"Doctor Russell. You have heard of my powers of healing? Your medical functions here are now obsolete," said Balor soothingly.

He then heard Helena respond in a shaky yet determined voice. "I am in control of this unit. And I shall determine whether or not my function is obsolete." Brave woman, Nick thought. At that moment, Nick knew he had run out of options.. He quickly went to the cooler where reserve supplies of synthetic blood were stored. He tore open a pouch and drank it down. Then another, and another. If he was going to take on that madman, he wanted to be at full strength. The blood coursed through his system, filling him with a dark, potent, almost erotic energy. He felt his strength triple. As he had just finished off the last pint, he heard his wife, Nat, cry out and felt her pain through their shared psychic link.

"Every time that I ask for your help, and you deny it, I will inflict pain. And it will get worse," he heard Balor say. "But I will not kill you."

Ahead of conscious thought, Nick raced to Medical Center, consumed by rage and bloodlust. There, he saw Nat on the floor, lifeless, and Balor leaving through the open door.

"BALOR!" he roared, and flew towards Balor in a headlong rush. Balor turned just in time to get the full force of Nick's one hundred and ninety pounds in his abdomen. Nick propelled Balor with all his strength, slamming him into the corridor wall so hard, it left a huge indentation and shorted out some of the electronics behind it. A few hallway lights went dark... Before Balor could recover, Nick pivoted and head butted him viciously. He then clasped his two hands together into one fist and administered two killing blows, right and left, to Balor's jaw. Balor's head reeled back from the force, blood spattering from his mouth, but he recovered quickly. He gave Nick a powerful backhander. Nick landed in a controlled roll and got back to his feet quickly. He launched himself at Balor again. Balor threw a haymaker right, but Nick ducked under it and punched Balor hard in the solar plexus, then gave him a combination right upper cut to the chin and left hook to the jaw. Balor reeled back, bleeding from mouth, but was otherwise unhurt. He stood erect, touching his bleeding mouth and facing Nick with a look of amusement, examining the blood on his gloved hand with wonder.

"You are not like these others, Barber. What are you?" asked Balor softly, almost in a whisper.

"Go to hell," said Nick, fighting the excitement he felt, at the sight and scent of fresh blood, from his foe. Deep inside, he could feel the Beast, stirring. He fought it, then moved in yet again, shuffling, now using the boxing skills he had learned long ago, bringing his rage under control. He gave Balor three quick jabs to the left eye, then another to the jaw. Any one of these blows would have killed a normal heavyweight fighter instantly, but the only visible effect on Balor was to enrage him even further. He then reached out to grab Nick with those long, powerful arms, and missed. Nick ducked under and gave Balor three hard shots to his kidneys...Nick winced in pain. His fist felt like he had just punched a granite statue. As he backed away, Balor landed a punch on Nick's right shoulder. He felt a bone crack and his whole arm went numb. He tried to back away to recover, but Balor, taking full advantage, was on him. Within seconds, Balor had Nick in a choke hold.

God, he's strong! Nick thought. Got to break his grip. Nick reached down to try to get purchase. He grabbed hold of one of Balor's legs and pulled with all his strength, but it was no use. Nick felt his vision begin to blur, then he felt a strange backwards and forwards motion. He's trying to twist my head off.

Just as he started to black out, Nick felt Balor's grip begin to loosen ever so slightly. Through the mist of semi-consciousness, he heard the voice of Tony Verdeschi, as though from a great distance.

"Keep firing! All four diodes, maximum power!" ordered Verdeschi. Nick felt Balor's grip loosen a little more and heard the sounds of multiple kill rays lancing through the air. He slipped out of Balor's grip, turned quickly, and gave him an elbow to the throat. Nick heard a sickening sound, like a bag of fortune cookies being stepped on. Balor let go, stumbling backwards, clutching his neck. Nick fell to the floor, gasping. As he got up, he saw Verdeschi and a team of four security men, aiming their weapons at Balor but waiting to resume firing until Nick was out of the way. Nick moved shakily towards them, out of their field of fire. Balor slowly got to his feet, pausing to get his bearings. Immortal though he was, his brawl with the Terran vampire had taken a toll.

Nick staggered into the Medical Center to Nat's side. Dr. Russell was cradling Nat's head in her arm and had just administered most of a pouch of blood. Nat's eyes fluttered. She was alive!

"Let's get her on the table." Nick lifted Nat up and placed her on one of the examination tables. At that moment, Balor came back into Medical Center, still holding his throat. Verdeschi's security team were still standing in the corridor, waiting and watching. Although it probably meant certain death, all five of them looked ready and eager to take on Balor hand to hand, but for now Verdeschi held them back. Nick felt his broken collar bone beginning to heal.

Balor surveyed Medical Center, and saw the empty pouch of blood on the table near Natalie's bed, and the traces of blood on her lips and chin. He looked from Nick to Natalie, and scowled. "Vurdalak," Balor said with disdain, his voice still gravelly from Nick's elbow. Nick said nothing, but stood ready to take on Balor again, even though he knew what the likely outcome would be...

Balor pointed at both of them accusingly. "You are discarded," he said imperiously. "You are the refuse of the past."

"You're full of crap." said Nick, with a tone of utter contempt.

Balor's deranged temper flared momentarily, then subsided. "No. No, I will wait to deal with you. The last sight you shall see will be that of your wife's head being twisted off..." he grinned. "Right before I do the same for you." With that, Balor strode out. Once he was clear, Tony Verdeschi and two of his men came in.

"Dr. Russell, are you all right?" he asked. "Any other casualties?"

"No, just Dr. Barber, and she was only stunned," said Helena. "What are you doing here?"

"We got a report of a power outage near Medical," said Tony, holstering his weapon. "The Commander ordered us not to interfere unless someone's life was in danger, to ignore all the damage he is doing to Alpha. When we came around the corner, we saw him strangling Nick."

"Alan told me our weapons had no effect on him." said Helena, as she called up Main Mission to fill them in on what had happened.

"Yeah well, that's true enough. But four us firing our weapons on full power, at point blank range, was just enough to get him to let Nick go. What happened here, anyway?"

"He came in and assaulted Nat. I let my temper get the better of me," said Nick, massaging his now healed shoulder. "Tony, thanks. That was a big risk you and your men took."

"Look whose talking. You're lucky to be alive," replied Tony.

"But for how long, with that psycho loose?" asked Nat, rising from her bed, rubbing her neck. She had just managed to erase all evidence of her restorative meal before Verdeschi came in.

"I just got word from the Commander. We're to evacuate Medical. Jennifer, get me a gurney for this patient," ordered Helena.

"Yes, Doctor," she replied, and went out quickly with Verdeschi and his men.

"What good will that do? There is no safe place for any of us," said Natalie.

"I will never accept what he offers, Natalie. Even if he suffered me to live, I would sooner go back to being the kind of vampire I used to be than let him turn me into something far worse. And that I swore I would never do."

Helena poked her head around the door. "Are you two coming?" she asked.

"No. Not yet, Helena." said Nick.

"Why? What's to be gained by staying here?"

"Nothing, except maybe the end of Balor."

"Nick, she's right." said Nat. "He's too strong even for us."

"Nat, you go on ahead. I don't have time to explain," Nick said.

"No! Whatever crazy idea you have planned, you're going to need help."

"Nat, please!" urged Nick. Nat did not even bother answering this time. She just stood there glaring. Nick could not help but affect a sardonic grin at his plucky wife.

"All right, then. Just...try not to get killed."

"Right back atcha," replied Nat.

"So what's our plan of action." asked Nat, after the rest of the medical staff had departed.

"First, can you hack into the security circuit, so we can see what Koenig and Bergman are planning? Maybe we can help them, without exposing ourselves." said Nick.

"No problem," said Nat. A few entries onto her customized work station gave them full view of Main Mission, with localized audio and visual coverage. Nick just shook his head.

"If Verdeschi ever found out about this, he'd skin you alive, woman," commented Nick. Nat made no reply to that. It occurred to Nick that it was Verdeschi, under Nat's "influence", who had provided her with the access codes in the first place. That gave him an idea. Before it fully formed in his head, he listened as the Commander and Bergman formed their own plan to isolate Balor in Section B, and get Balor off the base by luring him into an airlock, with Koenig as the bait. Sure enough, in the next instant they both received a base wide message from Controller Morrow, via commlock, to stay clear of Section B.

"Nick, we can't let him go through with it! Carter is right. Balor will kill him," said Nat..

"I know that. I just don't know what..."

"We know he is vulnerable to massive trauma. Maybe a high explosive..."

"No way. Any explosive powerful enough to damage him would compromise Alpha," said Nick. "If only we could slow him down somehow, at least enough to deal with him. Maybe? a tranquilizer."

"Yes! Thats the answer...Ionethermyecin!" said Nat.

"Ionethermyecin? Here?" asked Nick. "Was Medical planning on knocking out any dinosaurs?"

"We've got a supply in the pharmacy, locked up with the other controlled substances." said Nat, moving through the medical annex towards the pharmacy.

"What are we doing with..." began Nick, peering into the cabinet.

"Never mind that for now," said Nat, cutting him off. "There's no time." She keyed the code for the security lock on the drug closet, and it clicked open. She quickly found what she was looking for. A small, innocuous red box on a top shelf, with a bar code across the edge. Inside were a dozen small vials of amber colored fluid. She quickly inserted one into a hypo injector gun, and set the dose for maximum.

"Forty cc's. This would be enough to kill ten men of his size and weight," commented Nick. "Will it have any effect on him, other than to just piss him off?"

"I don't know, but we've got to try." said Nat. "While we still have a base left."

"Right. Lets go." said Nick. He took his wife's hand and they both ran down the corridor. It took them five minutes to find their way to Section B. Thanks to the damage that Balor had done to Alpha's equipment, they were not seen on any of the security monitors, but he was also easy to follow. With his vampire enhanced hearing, Nick located Balor. He could only hope that Balor did not likewise have enhanced senses as a part of being immortal.

"How do we want to do this?" asked Nat. "Sneaking up is hardly an option, Nick."

"Yeah. I'm afraid there's no percentage in deceptive tactics here. I'll rush him and try to distract him. You just get in as fast as you can and pump him full of that potion. And pray that it works!" said Nick. "Here, let's take travel tube two. That should put us right on top of him." They stepped into the travel tube, and did not bother to sit down as the car took off smoothly down the monorail. Nick strained to listen, but the noise generated by the travel car made it difficult to hear anything else. The car slowed, and the door chimed that the destination had been reached. "Can you hear him?" asked Nat, as the door opened.

"Yes, I think..." But Nick never finished the sentence. The travel tube door opened and Balor was there, smiling his malignant smile. Before the Barbers could react, he lunged in. Nat's voice screamed in surprise, much to her own annoyance. Balor grabbed Nick by the throat, lifting him up and slamming his head repeatedly into the ceiling, grinning. Nat reached for the hypo, and got a backhander that slammed her against the wall, the hypo falling to the floor. Fangs down, eyes blazing, she leapt onto Balor with blinding speed and sank her fangs into his neck. Balor gasped briefly, then laughed. He let go of Nick who dropped to the floor, then grabbed Nat by her hair, pulling her away from his throat. He held her at arms length. "By all means, doctor. Do partake of my blood. It might even improve you. Vurdalak scum!" Then, Nat felt a searing pain go through her, like an electrical shock, but much worse. She dropped to the floor writhing in agony, unable even to draw breath, barely hearing Balor's maniacal laugh.

Nick looked up and saw his chance. The only serious advantage that he had over Balor was speed, and he used it now. While Balor had his back to him, still reveling in the pain he had inflicted, Nick, with his preternatural speed, wrapped his arms around him and quickly put him in a power half nelson, using his vampire strength to force Balor to his knees and immobilize him. This was a move that was designed to allow a weaker man to immobilize a bigger, stronger opponent. Yet, even with his vampire-enhanced strength, Nick knew he had but seconds.

"Nat! Nat, give him the injection!" Nat was slowly rousing herself. "NAT! The hypo! Reach for it!" urged Nick. Nat lifted her head, blinking and dazed. Balor was trying to break Nick's hold with brute strength, but Nick held on. Balor tried to stand up, so Nick shifted his weight slightly and slammed Balor down again. This only enraged Balor further.

"Barber, when I break free I will tear you limb from limb!" raged Balor. "Your pain shall be legendary, even on Progron!" Now, he felt Balor start to slip out of his grasp. Nick still held him fast, but he felt his strength starting to fade. It was as if he were trying to hold back the tide with his bare hands. Balor now tried a different tactic. He started to reach for the hypo with his free hand. It was just inches away from Natalie. Nick could do nothing. He could not stop Balor from reaching out with his free hand without releasing him from the shoulder lock. And to do that was instant death.

"Nat!" he cried, just as Balor put his hand on the hypo. Before Balor could inject Nick with it, Nat's hand closed Balor's wrist into an iron grip. Balor cried out in pain and rage, and there was a snap. The pain galvanized him, breaking him loose from Nick with a roar. As he turned to finish off Nick, he felt a sharp pressure on his thigh. He cried out?

"What..." Nat rolled clear, holding the now-empty hypo, expecting to be killed at any moment. Balor stood there, a bit unsteadily, blinking, and breathing heavily. As the "medication" took hold, he seemed to look tired, smiling vaguely. He cradled his savaged wrist.

"Incredible!" thought Natalie. Forty cc's of the most concentrated and deadly anesthetic known to Man, and he stands there looking like he just took a few tokes from a joint. Almost exhausted, and knowing he might only have a precious few seconds, Nick looked Balor in the eyes and summoned all of his hypnotic power, even as Nat prepared another shot.

"Balor. You will go to Section B. You will not kill Commander Koenig. No matter what he says or does, you will not kill him. Do you understand?" commanded Nick, pushing the thought. As an immortal with enhanced powers, Balor was a resistor, immune from vampiric mind control. But with the Ionethermyecin coursing through his brain, even Balor could not resist Nick's influence. The vampire pushed again. Hard. "You will not kill the Commander."

"I... will...not...kill," repeated Balor, voice a bit unfocused, and dull. He now shook his head as his body began to compensate, and tried to shake off the effects of the drug. No matter. It would have to do, Nick thought. Before Balor could react, or fully heal, Nick grabbed Nat and they retreated back to the travel tube, stumbling. Nick managed to throw the emergency handle as he fell to the floor, spent; this closed the doors and took them automatically back to the first exit.

"My God," said Nat, panting and shaking, and every cell in her body seeming to ache.

"I know," answered Nick. After a few minutes, the travel tube stopped and they got out. "Let's head for Main Mission. It's closer than Medical."

Their suffering was not over yet, though. From Main Mission, they watched along with the others, as Balor found, then, with a sadistic glee, taunted and manhandled Koenig. Like a cat, almost, toying with its prey. Would their hypnosis work on an alien? Would it be enough? Then, Nick winced in horror as Koenig, standing on the threshold of the airlock, gave Balor a right cross.

"Never Balor!" cried Koenig. And he saw the psychotic alien cry out in rage as he laid what should have been a killing blow on Koenig.

He heard Alan Carter yell "Now!" and in the next instant, with a scream of horror, Balor was gone, ejected out onto a remote section of the lunar surface. While not enough to give him escape velocity, the force of the decompression would be enough to hurl him far away from Alpha, hopefully to die on the lunar surface. But with someone like Balor, could they ever be truly certain he was really dead?

Later, over Alpha's ersatz coffee in the Anderson lounge, Nick and Natalie recounted some of the recent dreadful events with Alan Carter and Tony Verdeschi.

"I've been saying for months now that we need more powerful weapons to deal with threats like this. Our sidearms barely had any effect on that lunatic. I hope now maybe the Commander will listen," said Verdeschi between sips.

"You're right, Tony. But with Balor, any weapon strong enough to destroy him might also destroy us." said Carter. "Like nuking the roaches."

"Hmmm." was Tony's noncommital reply. "What I don't understand though is why Balor didn't kill the Commander? He seemed almost to be holding back when they were in the airlock. He even said 'I'm trying not to kill you'. I wonder what that was all about?"

"We can be certain it wasn't an attack of conscience." said Carter, refilling his cup.

"It doesn't add up though. And he had to have pulled that last punch, otherwise the Commander would be dead."

"Madness has no consistent pattern, Tony. It doesn't follow any sort of logic or sense that the rest of us operate by. If you try to attach reason or purpose to the acts of a madman, you'll only put your own sanity at risk," said Nat. "Besides, Balor loved control. He saved the Commander, so he could control him. Killing him would mean losing control. Maybe, in Balor's twisted mind, that's what it came down to. Hell, I don't know." She shrugged.

"Maybe we don't really want to," said Carter.

"I guess you're right. Either way, we'll never know." said Tony, dismissing the matter.

Out on the lunar surface, miles from the nearest airlock, a blackclad body lay in a crumpled heap, inert and motionless, partly covered in regolith and rock. Within the body, ravaged by vacuum, deprived of oxygen, all was in stasis. Yet, in a small corner of the brain, neurons fired over and over again, thinking the same thought of hate, perhaps for all eternity: Koenig!

The End ?

This is the last story in the "Forever Alpha" series. Previous story
Copyright (c) 2015. Reprinted with permission.

Space:1999 is (c) 1976 by Carlton International Media. All stories are the property of their respective authors.
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