Marcus wiped blood from his chin. The thick red fluid stuck to his fingers. He stood slowly, pushing himself up off the ground with all the dignity he could muster as his foe stood proud and arrogant. Marcusâ€™ feet were pressed into the soft Mars soil as he readied himself again.
“You fool!” Marcus screamed out across the yards between him and his adversary. “You do not comprehend how much more precious is my life than yours! I am Mars-born!”
Gaither kept his eyes on his quarry and turned his attention inward for a moment. Focus the rage. Do this professionally. Itâ€™s a high-profile case; lots of media attention. Donâ€™t give them any reason to cry brutality. His fist ached from cracking into the Red Planet monsterâ€™s jaw. He shook it off and pushed the pain back down, eyes boiling with a deluvian hatred that conquered all other emotion. He knew that if he didn’t kill him today, Marcus would go on living for another four hundred years. All of the Mars-born did- at least the ones who could escape Marcusâ€™ knife. This time, however, Gaither had to stop him. Ninety-seven murders, eighteen rapes, and so many robberies that NASA police were still piecing it all together; Marcus had outdone every other criminal in extra-Earth territory. It stopped here.
The fiend spat blood, shaking off the solid hit that jarred his jaw. His broad shoulders rose and his bleeding lips sneered at the NASA marshal. “You high-radiation types are all the same. What? You think you got time? Ha! A pathetic 75 years at best you filthy Earth-born. C’mon… you’re dealing with a deity here. Just walk away, boy.”
Gaither left his pistol in its holster, watching Marcus weigh his escape options across a skyline of yellow Mars soil. He had heard enough. “Under NASA law of the Solar System Peace Treaty Agreement, you are hereby ordered to surrender You will receive a fair trial.” The wind was blew holes in his words, but Gaither knew Marcus got the idea.
“Simpleton!â€ Marcus squealed. â€œYou die today, Earth-born!” He charged the officer, but Gaither was ready. Dodging the first fist, he took a second in the ribs before he grabbed Marcus’ wrist and sent his own head cracking into the criminalâ€™s fleshy face. The blood was thicker than Earth-blood; it had to be. The nose broken, and the man disoriented, Gaither snapped the cuffs on his left wrist.
â€No,â€ Marcus frothed as he spoke. “I wonâ€™t be defeated by a weak-muscled Earth-boy! I live forever!” He wouldn’t shut up, so Gaither exercised his militaristic rights: he expertly administered a slam of his fist into the yet undamaged side of Marcusâ€™ jaw, precisely as per the diagram in the Academyâ€™s text books.
“Under NASA law, you are under arrest.â€ For the first time in days, Gaither smiled. â€œPoint of interest: I’m from Pluto, asshole… I’m the one that’s immortal.”
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