November 13, 2063
WCG Black Ops Outpost Omega
"There are only 3 broadcast centers on Earth that can possibly access a BGI satellite in orbit to reactivate it somehow, Lieutenant..."
"One in the middle of god knows where near Tokyo or some Asian craphole, which has probably been decommissioned... One in the middle of the North American Wilderness Preserve that got raided and decommissioned when the TCTF found out there was one in the middle of it... And one in Prague that's probably been stripped to the point of uselessness by scavengers in the Eastern European Demilitarized Zone Wilderness Preserve... The Syndicate can't act on that pla-"
"We have no way of knowing whether the Verstosenen, or any of General Schwarz forces tampered with the BGI facility or not. For all we know, the Syndicate could be working with the Verstosenen or the European Peoples Liberation Front."
Now those were names I hadn't heard in years...
"Excuse me you two, but that creates a million more variables to this potential calamitous scenario. The Verstosenen and the EPLF have been at war for a long time ever since the region was declared a Wilderness Preserve after the E1K there was found to be at a dangerous concentration. Now those two have been at war for control of the E1K there. It leaves us the question of-"
"Whether or not the Syndicate is working with the EPLF or Verstosenen, or working with both behind the scenes to make the situation as hostile as possible for us."
"Why don't we just kill all the rebels? Would make a-"
"A squad of 4 against two armies that hate eachother and Syndicate forces. There's no example to make anyway, as far as the general public knows Eastern Europe is a huge wilderness preserve. They don't know anything about the tribals living in that region..."
"Now Kolo, don't be so insensitive, I mean, didn't you come-"
"Those matters are below your pay-grade Jager."
"Anyway. We go in and scout out the situation in advance, if we need backup then we can call it in, otherwise it should be something we can solve on our own."
"What about the two factions?"
"I'm personally putting my money on it being the Verstosenen working with the Syndicate. What better way to gain the upperhand in a losing battle than to ally with a rich terrorist organization with friends in high places? Then, once the EPLF are dealt with and the Syndicate has full control, they'll dispose of the Verstosenen like every smaller organization they've collaborated with."
"And how do you know they wouldn't just steamroll with the EPLF?"
"I... Have had certain knowledge of General Schwarz. The old man won't work with the Syndicate unless they've got something serious to compensate for a certain debt that's been 30 or so years left unpaid."
"Debt? Thirty years? That's when the atmos-"
"The destruction of the old processors is barely relevant to that debt. If I remember correctly I believe his son was with the Syndicate and got put in the crosshairs of one of our commanding officers."
"Where do you find these things Kolo? Hell, none of us are even old enough to have been able to see those kinds of things in person..."
I personally doubted this would be anything special. In my time me and Kolo had stopped three different nuclear attempts by the Syndicate around Western Europe. An attack on the S3 Array using dated satellites from atleast 40 years ago felt so unexciting and run of the mill compared to stopping massacres and preventing cities from being nuked. Maybe I'd get a few chances to kill some goons from 5 kilometers away during this mission. That was, if Dubois or Nash approved it.
November 20th, 2063
No Man's Land - In front of Syndicate base
"I need fire support Corporal!"
"Someone take out that sniper, 5th floor, right side!"
"Negative! That LMG has him covered from any flanking attempts!"
"Where's our damned medic?! Goddamnit we have too many wounded here!"
My entire body felt numb from everything the past week had thrown at us. This was supposed to be nothing more than a simple search and destroy op. And now it was a warzone between a Syndicate army and the WCG's forces.
It took me a few minutes to realize I hadn't seen our contact on the inside in well over 12 hours. Did the bastard sell us out to the Syndicate at the last minute?
"Get your head down Private! You trying to get mowed down?
Danovik was surprisingly the only person in this entire battlefield unfazed by the battle around him. Probably one of those people who got desensitized to war when he was young playing a bunch of annual rehashes of Call of Honor: Battlezone 4 on some old crappy FunCube 1080 Slim that probably got an orange bullseye of failure after using it for more than an hour at a time.
"What are you looking at Jager? Someone needs you to take out that sniper on the fifth floor!"
Not in the mood for disobeying orders, I promptly fired a few potshots towards the window that he was sniping from. By luck I happened to see a set of arms slump out and drop the rifle out the window before they fell to a point of rest on the windowsill followed by part of the window beginning to look awfully crimson.
"Goddamnit I wish Kowalski and Nash were here doing the hard work like us!"
"You sure seem to hate commissioned officers, don't ya Danovik?"
"Luckily I brought these!"
He threw me a few uni-ammo magazines before loading one into his gun. A closer look and I saw exactly what he was thinking
"You're not serious, are you? Fucking white phosphorus rounds? Are you insane?-"
"Not insane, just evening the odds a bit in place of our two commanding officers who didn't come to the party!"
"Where did you get these anyway? They're contraband even for black ops!"
"The Syndies are carrying them, I just figured I'd take what was no longer being used! And back in my great grandfather's day we called em' Dragon's Breath!"
"You're shitting me! Goddamnit Danovik! What if we have a misfire or something? This isn't some fucking barbaric war that happened a hundred years ago? Do you know how poten-"
"Quit your bitching, if you don't use these you'll be out of rounds and shavings in a few minutes at the rate we're using up ammo!"
Barely a few minutes went past before things got terrible again. People were dying by the minute and we had no support here in the No Man's Land. And that's when I finally saw our contact, trying to navigate the battlefield to our position. Before he could get to us, our radios finally stopped giving static as a voice came through
*"This is Commander Dubois. Squads Alpha through Echo, at all costs you are to get into that base inside the hour! Foxtrot through Juliet, hold positions and give them all the cover and fire support they need to get inside! All squad leaders confirm orders immediately!"*
That list included none of us, being in Omega... Probably forgot about us or didn't want to talk black ops over open channels... A minute later the radio beeped to life again in a much clearer secure format
*"Omega, you are to report back to the command post for a briefing on our plans to deal with this mess. Lieutenant Kowalski and Commander Nash are already here detailing their plan to me and the General."*
Orders were orders, and I didn't want to die in this barbaric little battlefield slaughter that was going on. The contact was still making his way to us, and he'd probably know to follow us to the command post...
"Mortar fire! Heads down! Fall back!"
WCG Command Post
"The entire situation at the No Man's Land has gone to hell... The forces there got hit in a white phosphor shelling, and there's been no radio activity coming from there, and there's been no way to see any movement or signs of life behind all those clouds of fumes left over from it. We are afraid they may all be..."
"May be what, Lieutenant Commander?"
I'd never seen Dubois so soft before, and in fact I didn't even realize until a few days ago that Nash was actually of higher rank than her. To be honest for someone so cold I didn't expect her to be taken down so easily. I promptly interrupted his hammering of Dubois to finish her sentence
"May be lost, sir."
General Sorin began to walk around the holodeck table silently until he was where he started
"That. Was. Not what I... Wanted to hear! You see this shitstorm? This is what happens when you entrust these matters into the hands of senile desk-jockeys who's 15 minutes of fame came from fucking up the Army's job 30 years ago!"
"Sir, with all due respect-"
"You think I don't know what you did? Now... Back to business."
Something told me that he had something terrible on his mind
"The world doesn't need to know what happened here today. The world doesn't need to know that the 'Wilderness Preserves' are just wastelands and areas that refused to join the WCG's order. Those soldiers out there learned that the moment they stepped on this soil. And now they've seen what the Syndicate is capable of. Do you know how terrible that is for our public image and morale if one of them survives and speaks out about the failure we had today?"
"Sir, that failure will be nothing compared to what will happen in a week if we aren't in there to stop it."
"I'm calling in the SSC Dreamland MJ-12 for orbital support. I'm blankslating everything that happened here, including those damned ruffians who call themselves the Verstosenen and EPLF."
No Man's Land
I could barely move myself around this wasteland here, and having Danovik dragging me around by my collar in this smoke screaming at me to "Rub some dirt on it!" wasn't helping one bit.
Every so often we'd see some poor soul running around flailing their arms in flames before they either disappeared beyond more smoke or collapsing to their death from the burns
The Syndicate bastards we're crafty bastards, they knew they couldn't just use up all their WP supplies on a single battalion now, unless they wanted to get killed by the next one to come. The idea was simple, launch a normal mortar barrage with fragmentation shells, mix in a few WP shells into the mix, and finish it off with test shells filled with white marker smoke, along with chaff to cut our radios so command would think we we're all killed.
All command saw was a bunch of people running out of white smoke in flames, and they'd think that the entire cloud was WP. Personally I'd seen the Syndicate due worse psych warfare tactics. By luck, me and Danovik survived running into a house that collapsed on top of us. I didn't know what was worse, being buried alive, or getting crisped by WP and frags. Our contact happened to also by chance survive and dig us out quickly from the collapsed drywall before he fainted from having a small fragment from the shelling graze him in his ass.
Now Danovik was stuck carrying both of us. I could barely move my legs due to being damn near crushed, and our contact who betrayed the Syndicate had fainted from a damn flesh wound. I didn't know these bastards could be so soft.
WCG Command Post
"Sir, if we blankslate then this entire thing goes to hell. Millions could die. London could fall to the Syndicate."
"If we don't blankslate, noone will be willing to defend London! Your operation is fucked!"
Dubois was more defiant than ever. She would die before getting proven wrong. Before I could give input she stole my radio and called in
"Any survivors of the Syndicate attack, regroup at all costs. Your support is coming within the hour."
"Since when did they take orders from you Hasegawa!"
General Sorin promptly took out a pistol from his holster. A vintage M1911 pistol. He aimed it down range across the table at Dubois, and appeared to be just as ready to shift focus towards Kowalski
"I found this in Kowalski's personal artifacts! The same pistol that has killed several of my greatest men over the past decade!"
Kowalski was in shock immediately and subtly began reaching behind herself for her own pistol.
"I've never even seen a pistol like that! And I never even touched a gun until seven years ago!""
Dubois was equally defensive
"If she was a traitor and working for the Syndicate I would have known and routed her out years ago!"
Sorin promptly yelled back in an almost insane tone
"That's because you're both the traitors! And it's time for you to be blankslated!"
The two pulled out their pistols and aimed before he could open fire. I reflexively pulled my aim towards Kowalski in defense of the General. I didn't have time to think that through... Now I was stuck in a shitstorm that never should have happened. I had never really been in a standoff before
"...Commander, you know I wouldn't betray any of you. Not for the Syndicate!"
"Shut up! Don't listen to her Commander, she's just trying to manipulate you!"
"Commander, are you really ready to trust an old man who is willing to quite literally nuke hundreds of men from orbit for the sake of morale back home?"
"Hasegawa, your actions 30 years ago got much more than a few hundred people who were already as good as dead killed. You carried out a Syndicate plan to kill half the Human race. I should have put a bullet in your head the moment we met back at that rogue manufacturing plant 30 years ago! You were willing to kill a civilian in cold blood that day over them pressing a panic button."
"Killing a single Syndicate scout who wasn't wearing armor is a lot different from killing hundreds of your own soldiers!"
It was getting tight in here, and having one of my own squad stuck in this situation wasn't helping at all. As long as she was pointing a gun at the General, my concern would be that she was a traitor and he was right
"Kolo... Put the gun down..."
She outright dropped the gun immediately, probably out of some sort of fear. Smart move by all means, she was no longer a target I was pointing a gun at.
"Now now, Nikolo Wollcroft, you've just folded all your cards. I don't see Syndicate troops do that very often. Usually when they see a General and his army they're slitting their own throats and jumping off cliffs. I guess the ones recruited by the more senior Syndicate agents aren't as ballsy as their masters. Isn't that right Hasegawa? You infiltrated our organization from the Syndicate and recruited that poor lass into your schemes when she was barely 18."
And now I was left with one of the hardest choices in my life. Both sides had their points. Either side could by the traitor. Sorin could have fabricated his evidence, or Kolo could have been a double agent along with Dubois. Either way I was betraying someone, somewhere.
If I killed Sorin, I knew I was the next in the chain of command, but there was always the risk of discovery and being declared rogue. I'd be able to take over and order the Dreamland to provide support for our surviving forces instead of nuking them. But it would be a matter of time before we had the WCG after us like the Syndicate. But we'd have a chance at finishing what we started, and saving London and the S3 array. A chance. Not a guarantee. This was a Syndicate army we were fighting. If we failed we'd unquestionably end up enemies of the state and be on our own, the four of us (Or five if our contact is alive) against the Syndicate, the WCG, and the guerrillas of the Eastern European Wilderness Preserve.
If I carried out his orders and arrested Dubois and Kolo, they might end up with the firing squad, and many others will die in the nuclear fire that that Dreamland would be ordered to dish out. The S3 array would never be saved, but we'd have a real chance at defending London due to our morale being intact from the coverup. It had just as much risk to it as betraying him.
Either way we're damned.
<Kill Sorin> "You're insane Sorin. You're a traitor to your own men if you want to nuke them to save face, along with framing one of my squad who I trust most and a senior officer who's done nothing but help to destroy the Syndicate"
<Arrest Dubois and Kolo> "Kolo, I'm praying to myself that what he said about you isn't true, but these are my orders..."
That's a tough choice.
I would say, arrest Dubois and Kolo, since we know what Hasegawa can do
Andel District, Prague
"Listen, I told you, we need to clear the hell out of this place!"
"Oi mate, it's your life. Not interested in getting court-martial'd for going AWOL"
"I tell you, I heard the radio chatter, they've recalled one of those warships from it's colony policing mission on Luna. They're going to fucking nuke this city!"
"If they wanted to nuke this place they'd have used an orbital platform or something, we have them for a reason"
Every so often I'd hear a bit of chatter or two around these streets, but I had no idea where they were. Usually they'd go quiet when the sound of isolated gunfire happened. Now I was hearing the voices again, but I still couldn't see the people talking. Danovik disagreed with that notion.
"You two, behind the tank, you can come out of hiding now."
"Aw shit... Strikers found us. Time to go out in a blaze of glor-"
"If you two keep talking like that there's going to be strikers."
The two finally came out, still arguing with eachother about what to do
"What are you two going on about? Why are you screwing around in the middle of this warzone?"
"Just repairing a tank after that shelling earlier... We got out of the interference field and heard some radio chatter about a warship being recalled back to Earth armed with nukes to hit this city."
"You serious? If they wanted to nuke this city they'd do it already..."
"Hell yes I'm serious, they're going to-"
At the same moment I could no longer hear him. A deafening explosion filled the air, cutting off our breath and causing us to collapse along with rubble from some of the damaged buildings before we finally regained our breath
"...Holy shit... Did they just nuke the-"
"I don't see any mushroom clouds, what the hell was tha-"
Right in front of our eyes in the sky it happened. A three kilometer warship designed for low-gravity environments warped right into the skies above us. Another deafening shock like the last one happened, and we were all blown off our feet and flown a few meters back. An audible crack followed by an incessant bitching was the first thing for me to hear again
"Fuck... My ass! Goddamnit!"
"Shut ya mouth, it's only your damned tailbone!"
"Did they just do a warp jump into the middle of a fucking city! What are they thinking?"
"...Last I checked this city stopped existing 45 or so years ago..."
"I guess all the civilians that have been living here without the WCG are non-existent too..."
"Well, I guess we better get to the evac posts before we get frayed alive..."
"If they're doing an evac..."
WCG Command Post, Brig
"Get in there you bitch!"
Before I could walk into the cell myself the soldier slammed the butt-end of his L-IAR into my face and closed the door. I'd felt worse before, but that was a long time ago.
"...That was nice... Either way we're too late to stop that nuke. You heard that warp jump right?"
"...Back in my day we didn't have war capable spaceships or warp-drives..."
Being a makeshift camp that had been put up for what was barely supposed to last a few days, I could already start seeing the security flaws in this room's design, apart from the fact it was a bedroom in a normal house with a locked steel door put in place of the original wooden door. The window had been boarded up with sheet metal, and from the looks of it the drywall here was completely unreinforced. Behind one of the shoddily placed in toilets I could see a vent that had been completely untouched. It was large enough to fit someone inside, but if someone realized that we were in it we would be fish in a barrel. I'd have to take another approach to this, and I would be needing the help of one of the other 3 prisoners.
"What were you two in here for?"
"Oi, caught trying to go AWOL when the ship warped into the city."
"Yeah mate, it's not like either of us wanted to get nuked by a ship that used all of our defense budget 10 years ago in the name of colonial peace on that arsehole we call Luna."
"...Well, if you two jackasses want to live instead of getting the firing squad, do what I tell you to do..."
12:00AM, November 21st, 2063
WCG Command Post
I couldn't believe that General Sorin was willing to nuke his own people to save his reputation. If that facility was off the map we couldn't reverse what the Syndicate did, and we'd be fighting a ground war in London by the end of the week. And here was the SSC Dreamland, a three kilometer ship, charging a railgun ready to launch a tactical nuke at the BGI control facility near the middle of the city.
"This is General Sorin, the target has been painted, fire when ready..."
"I'm starting to think we should have ran with those two guys..."
"I can't believe this..."
The ship was almost done charging it's railgun, and we'd probably be frayed the moment it fired
"What the hell is that light in the sky?!"
The moment I looked up all I saw was something that looked like the sun was falling on Earth
Just as the warship was ready to discharge it's railgun, what we thought was a light rammed right through the ship, followed by a sudden flare and explosion of the ship's main engines
"What the fuck was that?"
Within a minute the ship began to drift down towards the earth below it, and a few minutes later it impacted, followed by the sound of several collapsing buildings, a dust cloud blocking out the sky, and the same deafening blast and shock as when it warped in.
"...Did... Did that just happen?"
"Indeed, seems like friendly fire to the extreme from Sword Station..."
"Let's get the hell back to base before one of those orbital cannons nails us..."
WCG Command Post
"Sir, the guards at the brig report all four prisoners are missing..."
"Goddamnit, first the Dreamland, now we have escaped traitors..."
"Nash, I need to focus on finding out what the hell just happened. You're on your own on finding out how to fix this situation while I try to figure out how it happened."
<Go after the escaped prisoners> "The last thing we needed were rogues around the base disrupting our operations here"
<Search for survivors at the wreck of the Dreamland> "If we we're going to fight this war, we were going need every last man alive"
Search for survivors
November 21st, 3:00AM
SSC Dreamland wreckage
"...From the looks of it, the orbital shell bore a hole straight through the ship at about dead center of it's width over here..."
"Personally Jager I couldn't give a shit about where the hole was..."
"The commander said that we should rendezvous in the ship's wreckage... You got a better suggestion on how to get in? I'm listening. Because I personally wasn't interested in hanging on for dear life on the side of a ship trying to force it's airlocks open with no tools."
"...Where the hell did our informant run off to?"
"Probably to the forward command post. Kind of like we told him to three hours ago. Got your ears on?"
I couldn't help myself but to look down the breach in the ship. Didn't help any fear of heights one bit. One slip trying to make it to the bottom and I'd end up falling to my death on some crushed bit of rubble that happened to be under the ship. Looking down from here was like looking at part of the world with a chunk sliced out of it for you to look at the insides. Most of what I saw was just corridors and the occasional crew quarters or armory. After a minute or two I saw the railgun's shaft, which was quite hard to spot from this angle.
"Found a good spot to get down to. We can get into the railgun's shaft and follow it to a maintenance access to get to where we need to quickly..."
"...Jager, we don't have any repelling ropes..."
"Well, we certainly didn't have climbing equipment to get ontop of this ship either..."
"That's not helping, Jager. You realize how... eerie it is up here?"
By the time I got back to concentrating on getting down there I finally saw some movement on the ship, from it's lowest point. Four soldiers, from the looks of it. I couldn't see much other than that from this high up though, but I figure it would be a good idea to get down there to regroup with them.
"...Danovik, you ready to get down there?"
"Picking up movement on the Uni-Tool trackers, looks like two, descending slowly..."
"...Why are we even in this bloody ship..."
"Oi mate, surely someone sent to scour the wreck will look for us too in here..."
"...Would you rather run, Corporal? It didn't work last time. Add to that, this ship could be a ticking time bomb because of it's core. Which would mean you would get frayed in a nuclear hellfire before you could reach the Channel or the border into Germany..."
Somewhere in my mind I was hoping... Whatever her name was- was regretting letting those two idiots along with us, but I doubted it.
"...This day has been bullshit..."
"Will you two shut the hell up for once?.. From the looks of it we'll want to head for the main drive core... That's the best place I can think of. You two, guard this area against the Syndicate, and don't look suspicious to any troops that come. Kowalski, come with me."
"...Get me another cup of coffee... Mr... Argh I forgot your name..."
To be frank, I wasn't expecting to enter another warzone after spending eleven years doing light work. What's been going on the past few days has been a bit too much for me to handle. To be honest I'd prefer a desk job to this.
"...Back so soon, Mr. Slahet--... Mstis-"
It must have been luck that I had been getting the name right with whoever this was. I wasn't that great at identifying people whom's entire body was covered in powered armor
"...Oh please, let's not sit upon ceremony, just call me 'M'."
"...Great... I need my coffee."
"We don't have time for coffee, Misses Wollcroft. It's there, at the downed ship..."
"What is this 'it' you speak of? I don't have time for riddles..."
"What it is, dear, is the answer to what matters. The answer to you, to me, to my former leader, and to our enemy."
"...Personally I don't expect someone wearing powered armor like that all the time to speak like that. It hurts my hea-"
"...Here is your coffee, mam."
"...Oh thank you Mr. Slahetka..."
"Drink quick, my dear. I expect you at that ship soon..."
"Be ready to kill. Be at peace when you do, my dear. The worst error a killer can make is letting their blood burn whenever they strike.
Even more cryptic.
SSC Dreamland Drive Core
"...You know, this ship... It's a lot bigger than I expected..."
"Fucking eerie too. Am I the only one disturbed by the lack of nukes in the ammo supply of the railgun? All the shit on this ship was meant for orbital artillery on the fucking moon. Not a single nuke..."
He was right. This ship looked like it was going to nuke us, but none of the ammo for the main gun was even remotely a WMD. All I could find were glorified tank shells for this damned gun to shoot...
"...I can't help but think. My Uni-Tool can't pick up any E1K around this place either, except for the center of the drive core. None of this fits specifications... To be honest we would have died in a few minutes from rapid cell death in this room. Probably would be even worse if we had a cut on our leg or something. Hell, if that happened to my enemies I'd be executing them out of fucking mercy."
I couldn't help myself. I felt almost drawn to the central core where the E1K spike was at. No matter how much the back of my mind told me to stay away from it and keep moving down to the bottom of the ship I just kept going to it
"What the hell are you doing Jager..."
"I just need to... Check this out..."
"You sure about that? You were just talking about 'Rapid Death' a second ago"
"I'll be fine..."
Once I finally got to the core my Uni-Tool did all the work and opened the hatch to it almost immediately... I was... surprised... Awed, by it's presence. All that was there was a small pitch black crystal. I couldn't stop myself from touching it. It seemed almost perfect to my touch. I quickly grabbed it and slipped it into one of my uniform's pockets when Danovik wasn't looking and closed the hatch to it's container. Better find out what it is later.
"Nothing important, we should keep heading down."
SSC Dreamland Wreckage
"Just a few more hallways and we should be up to the drive core cham--"
"...You alright? You look pained..."
"Just... Give me a minute or two Kowalski..."
None of this could be right, and I knew it immediately, it was almost the same feeling I felt when chasing down Mukade and his lackeys thirty years ago... But it felt much more... Fresh, compared to what I had felt when I fought Mukade. It almost felt like what I was sensing was completely new, but it almost reminded me of myself thirty years ago.
"...Just a migraine, Kowalski..."
I didn't know what was coming over me. For a few minutes I felt great, but now I was starting to feel some crash like I drank some two bit energy drink earlier
"...Jason, I'd highly suggest we rested a bit... To catch up on the past eighteen hours or so..."
"Of course... Just tired after all of this..."
"Fine... I guess we'll sleep in shifts so someone doesn't slit us while we sleep..."
Luckily the room right next to us was a crew bunk that look like it had been abandoned. All I had to do was make one of these beds mine and I was off. And in an instant after I closed my eyes I was off into something comparable to hell itself.
The entire place seemed like I woke up in the room I had just fell asleep in, but slowly things became more and more off in ways I couldn't describe. Midgets of my enemies, conversations with random people I knew that seemed like the reached for the back of both of our minds, bloodied giant corpses of allies I had lost, and enemies everywhere that were gross perversions of what I knew. I fought it all to my fullest. Nothing could stand up to me. Not even myself.
I couldn't comprehend it myself. Just before the end of the dream I was being attacked by my very self. If it hadn't broken a conveniently placed bottle on my head and floored me I wouldn't have noticed it. Something was different.
Oh god, this wasn't right... I didn't ever recall having purple colored eyes... Or... I couldn't think of it. I had to get out of here... The broken glass had to be lying. It was lying. I knew it was lying... This wasn't me. I had to kill. My mind was telling me right here that killing 'him' would end it. So I did. A simple quick twist at his neck in addition to a slight tearing of the throat ended it in an almost instant. Wait, slight tearing of the throat? Oh god... He never saw it coming. The voice at the back of my head sounded almost pleased by the kill...
SSC Dreamland Crew Barracks
I woke up from that nightmare in an instant to look at Commander Nash and Danovik looking down at me in a curious way
"Is he normally like this, Sergeant?"
I couldn't out it about the crystal. It had to be the crystal. I could tell...
"I got a few of the survivors out of here... From the looks of it a Syndicate and Verstosenen strike team is on the way. We have to move. Now."
"Roger that. That means you too Jager!"
That damned Crystal... Something was wrong about it, but I felt normal now, and neither of them made a comment about my eyes. All just a dream. Thankfully.
SSC Dreamland railgun shaft
"...Commander, you are aware there's no nukes on this ship..."
"That's a bit of a curveball to be honest... But you or someone else disabled the core? I still got a bad feeling about this..."
"Wait, one man up ahead... Looks to be an ally..."
Something wasn't right about the guy, and it wasn't some voice emanating from the crystal into my mind telling me so. Most people don't stand around in this kind of position idling around. Perfect setup for an ambush. Could be a Syndicate troop disguised. Thankfully he didn't plan out his ambush very well. I already saw two escape routes to both sides of him. Both of them looked like coolant for the railgun, but thankfully plain water coolant from the smell of it instead of some poisonous thing.
"Hey, you there...!"
"Indeed. What are you doing here soldier?"
We quickly approached him and stood right in front of him, conveniently by the two coolant bays
"General Sorin warned us about you traitors! You're under arrest under article--"
"What is this about?"
It was too late to stop this ambush, we we're already surrounded by three soldiers on both sides of us who had just came out of hiding from maintenance ways. Unlike my two compatriots, I knew my way out of this one. Not that I would have time to save both of them. By the time I'd informed both of them we'd be in cuffs or worse. Sadly, one would be left on their own, and one would be getting a surprise push into the nearest pool.
<PUSH RIGHT; Take Danovik>
<PUSH LEFT; Take Nash>
The soldiers approached on us step by step, little by little.
"...Ready for a swim?"
Before anyone could notice I pushed Danovik into the coolant pool and got to kicking out one of it's vents, praying that I didn't just jump into a flooded cage. I could already hear bullets ringing down into the water, some of them barely missing me and not even making it all the way down through the water. The vent wasn't even budging, but it was our only way. Every second we had more bullets and less oxygen down here. With one final desperate kick I finally got the vent cover out of place and shoved myself in to climb upwards to the nearest maintenance cooridoor, slowly dragging Danovik with me who was still in shock from what had just happened. From the looks of it, the soldiers weren't interested in following us. We ran like hell out of that corridor before they eventually found a way around. If Nash was right, we had to get off this ship as soon as possible, and that meant going down, which was hardly an easy feat on this ship considering it's size. You'd expect this large of a ship to have a much bigger crew, but this ship felt almost like a derelict. I couldn't tell if it was because of an AI controlling ship functions, or if the ship intentionally had a skeleton crew for it's mission.
From the looks of it we had just reached the end of this part of the maintenance corridors. Right as we opened the door we saw an elevator and went to it immediately to get down to the bottom deck quickly, but the power on it was out. What a goddamn tease.
"What do you think the crew does in the event this kind of ship get's EMP'd? I doubt the officers want everyone crawling around maintenance..."
"...Well Danovik, I think they suffocate due to the life support of the ship being dead..."
I don't know if it was tiredness from the past day, Danovik's dumb comments, or the crystal making me tired. I couldn't help myself but to fall over and just sit down for a minute by the door of the elevator. Maybe it was damn near drowning.
"Shit man, you haven't looked so good for the past hour or so..."
Danovik seemed to be sneering.
"Come on soldier get on your feet, you ain't no damned leukaemia teenager!"
Oh shit... I personally didn't know if I had cancer or not, but I knew that one of the drugs I had been taking had one of it's stated functions as a cancer suppressant. I had to laugh back at him just so he wouldn't go any further
"Heh, you think I'd be in the army if I had cancer? I mean sure I take Sytropin, or rather, took. Stopped taking my weekly dose about, two or three weeks ago. Forgot about it, and then, hell, it's kind of hard to get drugs to places that the WCG denies ever existing."
"Great we got a crackhead with us..."
"...I mean, if I had cancer I would have noticed something like this a week ago, right?"
"Just shut your damned mouth, Jager... Wait, what's the noise?"
Whatever that noise was, was most definitely voices. Two females. Sounded angry about this ship. I can't blame them for hating this ship. Too much walking, too little elevators working. Who likes walking in a claustrophobic ship that's dark?
"...Damnit this ship is too big..."
"...From the looks of the schematics we should be a few minutes away from the core..."
"...Would have been there quicker if the elevators were working to begin with..."
If they were headed up to the core they were wasting their time, seeing as I tore it's core component right out of it about an hour ago. Maybe they had the same idea we did.
"Jager, is it just me..."
"They didn't have any nukes on this ship, or anything loaded into the railgun at all for that matter."
"Finally using some objective thinking, eh Danovik?"
"Jager? I can't help but think. Why launch a nuke in low orbit when you can bring a giant one to the ground and detonate it there?"
"So you're suggesting that-- Oh shit! Why didn't I think about that?"
"We need to get up there!"
I got myself up and started running towards the other voices headed towards the core, same for Danovik.
By the time I turned the corner I felt an arm go around my neck almost instantly, and it felt like it was ready to crush my neck. Thankfully whoever it was let go after a few seconds.
Verstosenen encampment; SSC Dreamland crashsite
"Same here-- Got a message coming in from... Phoenix from the looks of it..."
"Patch it in..."
In a second the hologram buzzed to life out of the trooper's Uni-Tool
"I trust the situation is well within your control?"
"Yes sir, the WCG forces are in complete disarray. The EPLF has began it's retreat back towards Germany. It could not be going any bette-"
"Irrelevant. What about the Dreamland?"
"The ship is surrounded. No guarantees that someone couldn't escape through the sewers below or potentially rigging a life pod to shoot out, but we are working on it"
"Good. Are you aware that your target is on that ship?"
"Yes sir. I am ready to go in for the kil-"
"Your orders are to take her alive. Hasegawa is to be taken alive. The rest are expendable."
"In addition, I need you to recover the Black Sample from the ship. I believe Mstislav may be trying to take it for himself. Liberate it from him or whoever has it. Kill anyone who knows about it, with the obvious exceptions."
As the holophone hung up I could feel the aches in me once again. Noone could notice under the armor I was wearing, and maybe it was better that way. I had to kill someone soon, or it was just going to get worse.
I couldn't help but look at this one soldier, Sergeant Jager, without having that one weird feeling I had whenever I had been in the presence of Muro and his other lieutenants. Something was just off about him. Maybe it was just that his looks reminded me too much of Muro.
"...There are no nukes on the damned ship... They're going to overload the core and blow up the entire damned city with it..."
"Is he lucid? He doesn't look like it."
"Of course I am Lieutenant! I wouldn't have made it here half asleep, as much as I need some sleep right now..."
"He's always like this..."
"Shut the fuck up Dano--"
More footsteps coming. Many of them, and it didn't sound like the kind of boots worn by TCTF troops. Something much more metallic akin to Syndicate powered armor.
"Freeze! You're surrounded"
A few gunshots rang out as a WCG soldier fell down trying to run away from whatever group was coming
"...Get scanners running again, this ship is too damn dark..."
"Of course sir... Ahem, scanning the area..."
A female interrupted them. Strange considering the fact that most females in the Syndicate were almost never in warzones like this, usually delegated to spying positions or lookouts.
"Will you shut up with your damned area scanning nonsense? I've heard you three say it too many times today... Sound like a bunch of nerds..."
I had to agree. 'Scanning the area' seemed like a bad inside joke to Strikers, considering the amount of times I had heard it before whenever I managed to evade their patrols. Sergeant Danovik ran off on us before anyone could come. It was a wise choice, but I wasn't going to leave Kowalski and Jager with a squad of Strikers. The group of them finally came and we were surrounded in moments. Their leader came in last, one I believe I had already met and meant to kill months ago. Paige Cooper as her cover name was, but I didn't know her real name.
"Well, Mrs. Hasegawa, it seems the tide has turned on you this time. Remember last time? I can hardly forgive someone for being a rude host who shoots their guests in the leg... But I think I'll let it slide for now..."
She looked over at Kowalski and Jager.
"...And you two traitors..."
Jager seemed surprised. I couldn't tell if it was either shock that someone would reveal it or that someone would falsely accuse him of it
She quickly whipped the CTE6 in her hand at Jager's skull and knocked him out. Kowalski spat at her.
"And you... I don't know if I could kill you or not... We'll have to see if I could..."
One of the Strikers searched Jager's pocket and pulled out a black crystal.
"So, he had it? I should have known. For all I know he could be the so called 'Mstislav'..."
She pointed the gun at his head and clicked the firemode from safety to single shot
"Kill him or not? Would his father approve of my actions?"
She looked towards me for a second, ignoring Jager.
"I can't tell, because YOU murdered the man in your damned selfishness when he was on the verge of saving this planet from the WCG and their poisons."
She began shrugging
"But this is a hell of a question. Kill him or not? Would HE approve?"
She looked back at me again
"I wish I could tell, if it wasn't for you killing him!"
In a flash she whipped the CTE6 into my face before I could talk or even think about whoever she was talking about, and then, just darkness.
5 days earlier
November 16th, 2063
EPLF Firebase 7, ten kilometers from Verstosenen
I had supposed to be meeting Mstislav and the other informant who had been going under the alias of JC, but all I saw here were a bunch of corpses. All of them EPLF troops that looked like they were here wrong place wrong time. At this rate I wouldn't be surprised if Schwarz was among the corpses. Besides, the reason I needed to get in touch with Mstislav and JC was for the sake of finding Schwarz to begin with. For all I know their little meeting place they sent me off to was just a subtle way of telling me "he's dead jack", but that could be just as wrong. All the corpses here seemed fresh, all the crimson pools on the floor were still wet, and atleast one of them looked to be gurgling around the time I got here. I'd never seen such a massacre before. All over the place I could see perfect headshots landed on these guys, either that or to other vital organs. What was disturbing me was the other half of the corpses, near the center of the room. Hell, it looked like a wolf, or something worse, had clawed their throats out or mauled their faces.
My cries were worthless. JC wasn't going to come here, he probably knew what happened and jumped. Maybe he was here, I could hear a noise of feet lightly tapping on the rafters above me in this building. A quick look up and nothing, and I could have sworn I had heard someone there. A shot suddenly landed itself right next to my foot, and I nearly ran from that ambush only to see a single person standing, still walking, on the rafters above. Didn't look to be Mstislav or JC. Too feminine, and the powered armor didn't match. Same silhouette as the typical Syndicate powered armor, same dim red glow from the visor. And she was also pointing a CTE6 at me. Terrific.
Holding cells; Unknown location
"Odd" was hardly something to describe how I was feeling right now. I was all alone in this cell, nothing but concrete walls around me and a single door, guarded by a single striker. I could still hear the voice in the back of my head telling me things I didn't want to hear, like it was some subtle attempt at brainwashing or something. I had to think back, atleast that kept the voice away.
November 16th, 2063.
She hadn't fired her shot yet, but it was starting to get a bit tight in here. I had to do something, or die like the others. I could see she was already planning her next move while I idled around here
<Try to talk to her>
November 16th, 2063
There was no use in running at this point, I already seen what happened to the others. Completely brutal. I'm not even sure whatever did that was human. I already had my L-IAR ready anyway, as always. A quick alignment of the sights and a tap of the trigger and this bitch would be dead like any other Striker. And so I did. Several bursts later I finally heard that clicking noise akin to a wasted ballistic mag. During those few seconds I had somehow lost track of the target. Maybe she ran like a coward, which from the looks of it she probably did. I gave off a long sigh of relief and turned around. I hardly saw a thing before a claw connected with my face.
15 minutes later
By the time I woke up I realized I had been moved to another part of the building. Much more clean in here, and even more open than the last one. And, whoever she was, was standing there, staring out a window in front of her, quite solemnly, before she turned around towards me.
"I can't believe I would have found a traitor like you here. I was told that Mstislav would be here, and instead I find a lone WCG soldier who had defected seven years ago and got the person he was escorting killed. You know, there's a lot of people who would have already cut your body into pieces and burnt them at this point over that."
I had no idea about what she was going on about at this point
"...Listen you crazy bitch... You're obviously... Are thinking about someone else..."
"Am I? I know that face perfectly. The scent, even that same buzzing noise I hear in the back of my mind when I'm anywhere near you."
I couldn't tell if she was crazy or what. I couldn't help but think that I'd seen that face before, but I didn't recognize those fiery, wolf-like orange eyes at all.
"Go ahead, run. By the way, I believe that pistol you grabbed belongs to Kowalski. Don't even bother trying to load a mag into that, it won't fit. I'd believe she would want it with the rest of her belongings..."
I quickly nodded and ran for my life. I was lucky enough to have even woke up.
November 21st, 2063
From the looks of it it looked like the guards here were about to let me, or someone else out for some reason. The guard seemed to be talking to someone in front of him before tapping on a keypad on the door.
"Get out you bastard..!"
I was obliged, every second in that cell felt like hell. Before I could make it a meter out I was grabbed and bagged by the guard and dragged off to god knows where in this place. It must have been ten minutes before they finally sat me down somewhere and took the bag off. And right in front of me on the other side of the table was that same woman from the looks of it, and even more recognizable. I could have sworn I had seen those soft, blue eyes before.
"...I see that those scars have already healed over completely from last time we met... You should be grateful you haven't been getting doped up on that drug for the past few days. It's done nothing but keep you down all these years. I must say I'm glad that I got to you before that WCG hit squad did... Are you even paying attention Arnold?"
"Who the bloody hell is Arnold..."
"Listen, Schwarz, I don't know why you're acting like this..."
"For god's sake, the name is Aaron Jager..."
She looked puzzled at me. Not something I would expect from a Syndicate troop.
"Arnold? Are you alright?"
"Apart from getting pistol whipped, yes. And for god's sake, my name isn't Arnold."
"You keep saying that to yourself and the enemy has already won..."
"I don't get what you're alluding to..."
She shrugged and began adopting a worried face for the next several moments before looking back at me again
"Seven years ago you were in Paris, assigned as a bodyguard to Doctor Hasegawa during his research into the atmospheric phenomena caused by the warp drives of the warships at the spaceport there."
"I don't know what you're talking about, and besides, Doctor Hasegawa was murdered in his home 40 years ago by Syndicate assassins"
"Listen Arnold, that's what you were told. Try to think back for god's sake. During your mission your team was sold out by the person you know as Kolo Kowalski when she defected to the WCG..."
"That's bullshit, I've known her for longer than the past seven years..."
"That's because you did know her before then... You knew my whole family, remember?"
"Your family? I don't recall Kowalski being the same as 'Cray Z. Bitchcroft'... What bullshit you have next? That my father was murdered when I was young instead of dying of airborne E1K poisoning?"
"...Arnold, as offensive as that was, I atleast know they didn't completely suppress your memory-"
"Arnold, are you not suspicious about anything? Not of Kolo possibly referring to you as Arnold by accident? Not of them constantly having you doped up on that 'cancer drug' Sytropin? Not of the WCG hit squad that was sent after you on that ship?"
I couldn't help but think she was right somehow. Either that or she was a spy. Both of the first two things were true, but I wasn't so sure about the last one.
"You want proof? Look who's standing next to yu"
I was shocked to see him here. Jason Danovik? And he didn't look to be a prisoner here.
"We sent him as a spy to look after you... Arnold... I'm probably going to sound like I'm giving a cliche here, but I can't help but think that the WCG brainwashed you..."
Danovik finally spoke up
"Listen Schwarz, I know it might be hard for you to think against it after seven years, but you should be able to figure this out."
"You had me fooled Danovik... Never expected you to be a damned spy!"
"Schwarz, do you ever remember your family or childhood?"
"Hell no, was a damned orphan when I was young, and unlucky enough to have skin cancer at that age. Because you bastards blew up the filters..."
"Schwarz, for the record, that was done by a single rogue sect of the-"
"Last I checked you bastards aren't bloody Al Qaeda..."
"Of course not. Schwarz, you have to remember your parents somewhat. Probably your mother moreso-"
"What bullshit do you have to say about my parents?"
"That your father and the rest of his unit- Except for that bastard Mstislav- got slaughtered by a single person while trying to recover sensitive information on the enemy?"
"Arnold... I have the records right here on your father... Courtesy of poor WCG security..."
She slowly pulled out a file from the a small box and put it on the table. To be honest I didn't recognize any of it
"...Eliminated November 26th... 2032... Real name, Martin Schwarz... Syndicate code names, Maverick, Magnet, Minerva, Mukade, Mars... It's all uninteresting. All you need to know is that he got murdered when he damn well surrendered to the enemy"
I was done arguing. Just play along and everything will be ok...
"What is it you want with me? Who are you anyway?"
"...Fine, you might remember me as Paige Wollcroft... Don't you remember any of this?"
"Of course not..."
"Listen Arnold... I'm sending you out to the East... I need you to find me information stored in archives at one of the WCG's science facilities... It's a... Personal matter... I... You'd rather not know... You wouldn't understand it... Maybe it'd be best that you didn't know... It'd just confuse you.
I couldn't tell if this was all an elaborate act to try to get me to defect to the Syndicate. The teeth chattering, the worried face, the mouth slightly opened in awe
"...Cut to the chase..."
"Fine... Just steal the entire archives from the facility... I'll have it marked on your Uni-Tool map..."
"And if I say no?"
"Then you'll be thrown out in the open for the WCG hit squad to find you. Which chances are you won't be able to fight or hide from."
I had to think of something. Maybe disappear once I get sent to whatever 'East' she was talking about
"...Fine, but this better be worth it. And I swear if you are lying to me..."
"It'll barely be in and out. A single person with half the experience of you pulled it off thirty years ago... You'll be fine with a whole squad..."
5:00 AM, Earlier that day
Four of them, one of me. Maybe I'd go after the two behind me first then shoot the other two with their weapons. The problem was timing. Too late and they'd have backup. Too early they might be expecting it. After a minute I finally got my opportunity now. As I struck the first two down with a quick blow to the throats I heard a shot ring out as the other two fell from getting shot in the head. A single man came out from beyond some smoke that some tracers had came from.
"Good to finally meet you Commander Nash. Jason Cooper."
He offered his hand towards me for me to shake, I was obliged.
"Who do you work for... JC?"
"WCG Intelligence. I believe you're... Acquainted with the rogue unit here under General Sorin's command..."
"What are you suggesting?"
"He's working with the Syndicate, or Phoenix. I believe he was about to hand over the Dreamland to the Syndicate..."
"So that's why he was against Dubois' strike plans... And that lightshow?"
"Indeed, you can thank me for the orbital strike on the ship..."
As I was about to walk off he handed me a CTE6 out of one of his holsters
"No way you're just walking off, Nash. I'm not going up against Sorin's forces with just me and Mstislav."
"Great... That name again..."
"I'll explain on the way. Are you in or not?"
<Go with him to go after Sorin> "Of course. I regret not stopping him in the first place. You plan on getting backup right? Otherwise it's just us against an army."
<Refuse; Go to rescue your squad> "Hell no. My priorities are the lives of my men. I'm headed for the Syndicate's fort. If you're smart you'll go with me instead of your suicide mission against Sorin."
November 21st, 2063
I couldn't believe this man could be such a coward and an idiot. For all I knew he could be a Syndicate spy lying to me. Especially since he was trying to get me to go up against the WCG.
"Hell no. My priorities are the lives of my men. I'm headed for the Syndicate's fort. If you're smart you'll go with me instead of your suicide mission against Sorin."
He paused instantly and turned towards me angrily
"Are you fucking crazy?!"
"So, you're not going to give me that fancy powered armor like the others for the raid? Wha-"
"You won't need it. Would just slow you down. Just give yourself some time to remember and recover"
"Recover from what?"
"You've spent seven years brainwashed and suppressed... I can't let you recover from it any quicker unless I want you to have a stroke or something..."
"We're in a place that's irradiated, and you're not even-"
"That white coat you're wearing has a layer of lead woven into it. Same for... Nicole's... And Danovik's, and whoever was your commander."
She went over to an approaching trooper and took a white coat he was holding
"I took the liberty of relieving her of that uniform. It won't matter anyway since the WCG's probably already labeled her as a traitor or terrorist thanks to Sorin."
"So, where are the transports? If you want to-"
"Just less than a kilometer from here. Can't have them too close to the base or we could get tracked. That would be-"
She started coughing and motioned towards Danovik to get something, clutching her chest for a moment
"...It's nothing... Just the flu or something..."
Thirty-one years earlier
TCTF Science Prison
WCG Agent #73310797M "Mstislav"
"What do you mean Schwarz is dead? What? You mean he had Konoko in a corner and Griffen didn't have anyone jump on that situation? Goddamnit, how do you people screw up like this?"
The tram finally started moving after stalling for the past minute
"You know where she went? Wait, do not pursue, I'll contact Griffen about it. Goddamnit, Hoover, good men have gotten killed because they didn't follow orders and got cocky about this bitch. Fine. Goodbye Casey. I just have to get some business done here and I'll be back in Seoul in a few hours... Of course, give me any updates on the situation... Give me a minute to call Griffen..."
I hung up and began walking down the hall. Every so often all it took was a simple flash of an ID towards a camera and every door in the sector opened up for me.
"Ahem... Griffen. You've got one more chance before we pull a plug on all of this. She was sighted in Seoul. Same house owned by some Syndicate fronts. Hell, it's the same one that Hasegawa lived in. I believe you know where it is... Good. I'll be back in Seoul to deal with the problem personally after I finish my business here."
Kerr's office door opened automatically as I approached.
"Doctor Kerr. I believe you are aware why I am here..."
To be continued...
Last edited by Valkyrur (15/9/12 22:01)
November 29th, 2032
TCTF Science Prison
WCG Agent #73310797M "Mstislav"
"Well Doctor, I believe that someone at this lab has finally synthesized a working version of the safeguard."
"Of course sir... But we still have some flaws to-"
"Flaws? I need specifics."
"Well, after about a week the experimental began to infect the control grou-"
"That shouldn't be a problem actually. That means we have a bioweapon that we could slip it right into Syndicate spec ops and sit back as they drop like flies..."
"But sir, so would our-"
"Acceptable losses. Besides, I'm assuming someone here has had the common sense to synthesize an antidote for this safeguard?"
"Of- Of course sir- but there's no guarantees about it working yet. Only fifty seven point seven four-"
"Acceptable losses. Let's finish up here. May I ask who was sampled for the experimental group?"
He sighed a weak sign of relief, his stress practically sweating off of him
"...Yes sir. We used TCTF Agent K-020-K0 as the exp-"
"Then we're done here. I'm going to have to 'borrow' that sample so we can make use of-"
"You can't be serious!"
I couldn't believe this jackass was thinking what he was thinking. I eyed the guard for a moment
"Excuse me mister. I'm going to have to ask for some privacy"
He jumped to attention and spat out the gum in his mouth right across the doorway into one of Kerr's labsinks.
"Of course sir. I'll be right out in the hall if you need me."
He left and began to put a cigarette in his mouth as he tapped a slight gesture onto the log panel, the camera in the corner of Kerr's office suddenly dying silent and folding back into the wall. I gave Kerr a damned good slap to his cowardly dismay. He fell back on his chair and began weeping like a sissy.
"You got something to say idiot? Huh? People are fucking getting killed by this bitch because of people. Like. You. Do you understand the kind of things we go through on a daily basis? I nearly got killed twice today on the way here by some thugs who thought they'd stick it to the man by killing someone."
"Back in the day my father had it just as bad. He told me a story of something that happened... Twenty years ago a bunch of dumb simpleton foreigners started murdering people over some insult to some box-lover. Nearly got killed on a simple police patrol in Sydney by those guys. He realized that a bullet in a head solves these kind of problems in an instant. Most valuable lesson he taught me when I got this job. Do you understand that?
"Y- Y- Yes sir..."
I swore that if I ever heard that stutter again I was probably going to cut my ears off for the sake of my sanity. Besides, I had to go now anyway if I didn't want to wait another half an hour to catch the tram when it comes back
"Damn right you wanker. Now wipe yourself off so you look presentable goddamnit... I'll be off."
5:06AM, November 21st, 2063
Whoever this guy was, I didn't think I'd see someone get so pissed suddenly
"Are you fucking crazy?! That place needs to be quarantined, not invaded! Fine, you want to go, that's fine. It's your funeral. Me and Mstislav can't offer you support. A lot of good troops will drop like flies if the contagion spreads"
"Fine, I'll go it alone. There's plenty of other soldiers in this city who aren't cowards!"
From the looks of it noone had followed us so far. It was just me, Arnold, and Jason now. I'd rather stay here and make sure that the people at the base didn't touch Nicole, but it would be suicide to stay here in Prague. Even after getting kicked down into that pool I had extreme qualms even thinking about doing the same. She never had much of a choice in her actions. Too young to think when she did it, especially when the "suggestions" came from someone who was a close friend of mine. She deserved another chance, moreso than I ever would. Every day I had to ask myself if I was really doing the right thing, and maybe some day I would get that answer now.
"...Paige, what was that thing about back there?"
"It's nothing... Just a panic-attack from being in this forsaken warzone"
I couldn't tell if Arnold was believing that lie or saw right through it. I knew I couldn't tell that lie forever, lest I would probably die from one of those one of these days.
"Hey, this is Danovik, you all fueld and ready to take us to Naha, hombre?"
"Oh... Of course Jay"
The door to the back of the dropship peeled open, two of the troopers sitting in it stamping out their cigarettes on the floor and quickly sliding over to the seats in back to make room for us.
"...Well, I'd rather not sit around staring at the other wall of seats in the back of this shuttle..."
I popped a few sleeping pills in from out of the coat's pocket, trying to keep my thought off the mind that we'd be raiding a WCG facility while wearing WCG whitecoats.
"...Wake me up when we're at the airport in Naha..."
The moment I shut my eyes I felt myself fall into that black void. The same prison, every time I slept. Atleast here I could truly be myself with no risks of getting shot at or causing some old Abrahamic cult of crazies to go witch-hunting again after three-hundred years of sanity. Maybe one day I would be free of all this, but until then I had to fight until the WCG was on it's knees as the people took back their lives from the WCG's 45 year old conspiracy.
<Think about self>
<Think about Nicole>
<Think about Arnold>
<Think about the raid>
Last edited by Valkyrur (16/9/12 10:28)
After ''you can't be serious'' i didn't understand who was saying what .. At first there was a convo between kerr and wcg agent .. Then what happened who asked for privacy, who left, who slapped kerr, i didn't get it .
That post's been updated for clarity now. I personally blame myself for focusing too much on dialogue recently.
[PS, I wish more people would post comments ]
[PS, I wish more people would post comments ]
don't we all lack of feedback is really frustrating i wish there were more comments on modifications like there used to be.
but tbh, i personally haven't read this thread much, cz u started when i was away months ago and the story has become too big and full of new characters that i'm not familiar with since then, so it might be too late for me to follow it now, but i do appreciate the hard work and creativity u're obviously putting into it, and keep on even if u're not getting enough comments now, look at the number of views, there might be unregistered users who are following this eagerly or one day someone new may find this and be crazy about it ..
do u have facebook ? If interested post updates or repost it from the beginning on the facebook group adding a new part every few days, that will definetly get some new followers and u'll also help me make the group more versatile.in content.
Last edited by Samer (18/9/12 3:26)
November 22nd, 6:15AM
Naha, Okinawa (WCG District W3413-00)
The first thing I saw waking from that void was... Nothing... It sure as hell wasn't the dropship I fell asleep in
"...Yeah, 'bout time you woke up. Was about ready to check and make sure we didn't bust your neck carrying you here. Speaking of busting things, you might want to consider getting some damned eyedrops. It certainly ain't healthy to let your eyes get so dry that they look like--"
Schwarz came in the room and pushed Danovik over with a single shove to shut him up, closing the door behind him before the frigid air outside messed up the warmth
"...Anyway, sorry for the crappy motel room. Could only spend so many creds before-"
"You did not just seriously use a traceable card?"
"Of course not, and not even the poor sod who's card I flash-copied onto my Uni-Tool will ever realize they're the one hundred millionth identity theft victim..."
"...I swear if I see any SWAT teams when I go outside..."
"You sure you'd want to go outside right now? It's awfully cold out there, and I don't know what would happen if someone saw those eyes right now. Either some sort of cult that thinks you're some sort of god, or potentially the inverse thinking your the devil that tries to hunt you down and kill you. Either way I don't like... Have you considered eyedrops?"
Danovik began getting up and quickly dragged Schwarz to the ground as he hoisted himself up
"Hey asshole that was my suggestion first!.. Ah fuck it I'm going out for some cigarettes..."
Danovik stormed out and grabbed Schwarz' flash copied credit chip
"See you around assholes!"
"...Well isn't he a lovely one..."
Schwarz got up and opened a mini-refrigerator to his dismay
"Goddamnit Danovik why'd you have to drink all the booze?.."
He turned around and began bouncing that small black crystal in his hand as his eyes slowly phased from blue towards a light (And somewhat glowing) purple
"...You know Schwarz, I think you should consider wearing sunglasses... Who knows if you'll accidentally start a cult or a witchhunt..."
"Goddamnit, it's that thing from... That dream... again... Ah damnit, you take it for now... I need some rest anyway from this damned jetlag, and I don't need some crystal keeping me restless somehow... Wake me up when you're ready to tell me why the hell we came out to this frozen hell anyway..."
"...Of course Schwarz... Of course..."
And now I was all alone. Just me and that damned crystal. No idea what it does anyway, except that everyone wants it bad... I slipped it into my pocket and got up to stretch.
Some kind of jump of I see...
Honestly..The writing is quite good, but.You jumping a lite to much from one location/time to another. This make story hard to fallow.
I also think that focusing on action more could be more interesting than overgrow dialogue but If this is your style of writing then fine I will use to it.
Please continue.I'm looking forward what will happen next.
Last edited by ltemplar (27/9/12 12:05)
Four hours earlier (GMT+1)
November 21st, 5:50PM
Verstosenen base airfield
The rebel bastards were practically more tenacious than the Syndicate. No wonder the European People's Republic (If you could even call them a "Democracy") wanted these guys dead. In all mind I'd have just preferred if we simply stomped on the EPR before they had a chance to land grab all the condemned land in the "Wilderness Preserve" east of the Rhine. All the three of the Syndicate, EPR, and Verstosenen were just as much terrorists in my book. I ducked down into cover and grabbed "Kowalski" down before she got shot.
"...Thanks... Can't think with how cold it is out here, bastards took my coat..."
"You know you can count on me 'Kolo'!"
"What is with you si-"
One of the Verstosenen troops fired off a grenade launcher towards our cover in a deafening roar, knocking Kowalski over
"Nehmen Sie imperialistischen Hunde!"
"Shit... They're pushing again?"
"Get a nade on the left flank, Cashlin! Hoff, get that dropship started up!"
"Kolo" pushed herself up and headshotted three of the rebels right through their powered armor visors, quickly backpedaling into another piece of cover closest to the dropship. I swore for a minute we were surrounded. No chance for take off, only a miracle would save us now. If it hadn't been for an EPLF jet squad strafing the airfield that all would have been true. After the confusion cleared I stepped up on top of rocks left from the old ruins of what used to be a traffic control tower and rallied all the surviving troops.
"As you are all aware by now, our government thinks us 'traitors' and 'disposable'! You and I both know that's all a load of bullshit! Just look over there and you'll see the ruins of a ship that they tried to silence us with! Thanks to bastards like Sorin, we've nowhere to go, nowhere to hide. Just us and two armies that consider us nothing more targets. Welcome to the Raiders gentlemen!"
I stepped down as they cheered and fired off their rifles into the air, sighing over realizing what I probably just started. Soon enough we'd be no better than the Syndicate, probably even worse. The Syndicate was nothing more than urban poor and other victims of the WCG who took up arms with little training that just so happened to have good funding, compared to us veteran soldiers. No turning back here for any of us now, not until the WCG fell. I suppose we could always seek refuge in the EPR, but I wasn't exactly fluent in Norwegian, and I doubt many of the other soldiers even knew a single word of it. The Dreamland began to explode violently from it's core overloading, albiet much more calmly (And a hell of a lot less thermonuclear) than I expected. The soldiers began cheering even more as the Syndicate's radio channels lit up into panic as nearly an entire platoon popped KIA in an instant on their tacnet. I myself considering lighting the contraband pack of cigs I sneaked out and decided to offer them to Dubois instead.
"Noticing the irony here? History just keeps repeating itself, and on a bigger scale every time..."
She accepted one of the cigs and lit up
"I don't see the irony in the WCG being themselves..."
I glanced over at "Kolo" for a moment
"...I wonder what she's thinking of herself defecting to the WCG right now. Probably regrets it completely..."
"...I wouldn't say that too loud Nash, I think it's best that she doesn't know that we know..."
"Say, I was surprised to see from those files how dearly her sister thinks of her... Moreso that she is that bitch's sister..."
"...And by that you mean?"
"I may have just found out how to get at that bitch now... Assuming the Syndicate's logs on dropship locations are correct we're going to District W3413-00..."
I radioed all of the pilots in the dropships they took
"Alright, set destination for District W3413-00... We're going after the bitch responsible for all of this!"
Most of the men were already sat in a dropship. Me, Kolo, and Mae sat down in the dropship piloted by Hoff as Cashlin got in and closed the door after pointing a few others towards a vacant dropship.
"All right... We're going after the Syndicate cowards who fled to the other side of the world after framing us."
"Kolo... I'm sorry but you're coming along for the ride"
I glanced around the bay for a moment and the back at Kolo
"Like I said, I'm sorry..."
Just want to say, I'm enjoying the story.
November 22nd, 6:00PM
Griffin AFB, R&D Sector
After a long twelve hours of waiting it looked like we'd finally be pulling this off. The tram ride was finally coming to a stop at the station we'd planned to get off at, and these WCG disguises had held so far, I didn't expect it to falter now. The door finally opened as a guard at the station pressed on the button at his desk saying something about us supposed to be here 30 minutes ago. He leaned back on his chair as he looked away again to talk on his radio.
"Ā, mochiron, watashi wa bōmei no tame no chōbō ni narimasu..."
He hung up and glanced towards us, his mouth nearly going agape after looking at Wollcroft.
"Koto wa kitsunedesu ka?"
I spoke up before he possibly fainted from whatever put him in disbelief
"Inspektionsteam sieben. Hier für die wöchentliche Überprüfung der Bio-Tech-Flügel"
He looked dismayed and sighed before replying to me as he wrote a few scribbles on his notepad.
"Sir, Englisch bitte."
"Inspection party seven. We're here for the weekly inspection of the biotech wing."
"...Oh... Of course..."
He glanced almost terrified at Wollcroft, in a way that seemed more like scared of offending her than scared for his life. I stayed for a moment as Wollcroft and Danovik walked by to try to figure out what was up with him.
"...The... The legend really... Really is true... I've only seen one other person with those golden eyes before... And I thought... I thought it was coincidence... Praise be-"
I quickly walked to catch up with the other two before my brain cells committed mass suicide listening to him and his bullcrap and tapped her on the shoulder.
"Looks like you should have done the eyedrops. Seems like you may have unintentionally caused a cult to come into existence"
She didn't care a bit about what I said and looked forward still
"You should be more concerned about what we're doing. Danovik tells me that apparently he was being told to look for someone"
"Some people actually... Precisely about an entire company of troops that went rogue..."
We opened the door in front of us into what looked to be a lobby area, the first thing standing out to us among all the scientists and guards was a WCG bounty board. The first two names had always been there for the past decade, Casey Hoover and Mick Hoover, whom were wanted for terrorism, espionage, and support of enemies of the state. After that I noticed John Nash on the board, posted about four hours ago on charges of terrorism and conspiracy. Next after that was a "Mae Hasegawa" for the exact same charges. I was surprised I didn't see Wollcroft on that list. And on that note she tapped me
"Something's not right... I know that face on the left end... I don't recall 'Jason Cooper' being 'Casey Hoover'... Be on the lookout..."
I walked away from the board after copying it to my Uni-Tool and began walking towards the cryo-corridors, trying to ignore Wollcroft's eyes which seemed to have been permanently stuck in a golden-orange phase for the past day.
November 22nd, 11:30AM (GMT+2)
Oslo, Norway. Capital of European People's Republic
Mick "Mstislav" Hoover
"From the looks of it, it seems that the persons of interest have relocated themselves since the battle against the rebels in Prague. Ever since the Syndicate's liaison officer, hereby referred to as Wollcroft, left the battle the operating capacity of the Verstosenen has dropped significantly. If you let my team take action we will be able to reclaim almost all of our lost ground and be ready to strike back at any time..."
On the other side of the table the mysterious "Fox Evig" stood motionless, the red glare emanating from the visor of her helmet stared down at me, the wait for her to talk felt to be an eternity.
"You will not. What of Wollcroft, and the others..."
"Of course... Wollcroft, in addition to Jager and Danovik, as pictured in this security footage, were spotted roughly half an hour ago by one of our agents inside the WCG... From the looks of it, at one of the WCG's major R and D lab in the eastern hemisphere, at Griffin AFB..."
"You said there were others..."
"An entire rogue WCG army platoon..."
I felt my legs trembling. Ever since I met her seven years ago, Fox had always struck fear into my heart whenever she spoke like this. When she spoke single word sentences you knew you had to answer or else. I'd heard stories of her killing people on a whim for not giving the correct answer. I tried to keep myself calm while I figured out where I left my notes, focusing on the TV in the background showing a live broadcast of a EPLF military parade going on it's ceremonies before we deployed yet another platoon into rebel territory to quell people who were nothing more than overtaxed farmers. The rows of troops paused for a moment and shouldered their ceremonial M416s. I'd be damned if we we're actually using those kinds of rifles in battle against the Verstosenen. Retrofitted guns that used uni-ammo instead of NATO ammunition did exist, but they were always prone to overheating and malfunction, not to mention that they were never designed to fire shard rounds that don't require constant reloads. Last time I fought someone using a retrofit, which was yesterday against a lone Verstosenen rebel, all it took was a quick pull of the loading mechanism to eject the shard slug from the gun. Bam, useless gun until they can manually load in another shard slug. Hint: They're supposed to be loaded at the base between missions, not in combat.
"I'll say it one more time. Names."
I finally found my notes on the dashboard and began reading them off
"Of course. According to my intel, the officers in charge of this rogue WCG platoon are as follows... John Nash... Kolo Kowalski... Mae Hasegawa... Joe Cashlin... Trent Hoff..."
"Stop. We've got our targets now."
"We'll move in tomorrow and dispose of Kowalski, Hasegawa, and Nash."
"Of course, I should be able to take them all out on my own-"
"There is always someone stronger. Don't forget that."
"And what about the Syndicate?"
Fox began to walk slowly around the table, maintaining eye contact
"Wollcroft and Jager are to remain untouched. Danovik is considered expendable, but not a target."
She finally made it to my end of the table and stopped
"Why the hell shouldn't we kill a Syndicate officer and--"
I was immediately grasped around the throat and lifted into the air by her. The red glow from her helmet's visor stared into my as she began to strangle my throat
"You will not touch them. You will kill the WCG officers as I command, without question, or I will crush your throat in an instant. The WCG punished your failure thirty years ago by using you and your brother as cryo test-subjects before I freed both of you. I am not as lenient as them."
She threw me to the side and stared down at me, slowly relaxing herself and sitting down in a chair across the room, taking her helmet off and watching the military ceremonies being broadcasting to every TV in EPR territory. Her sleek golden eyes looked at the TV as she began speaking to me again, without the vocoder filtering her voice, now divinely smooth and soft.
"Is that understood?..
"...Good... Your brother is already out there. However he will not be partaking in this. A certain target may put a certain emotional load on him that likely will impact his performance... I'm sure you're aware of who I'm referring to..."
November 22nd, 7:00PM
Just two hours ago we'd gotten our information that our enemies were camped out here. Right now I looked at this room wondering if the intel was wrong, late, or an ambush. Everything was stagnant in here, if you didn't count the other people walking around and taking pictures of every possible bit of evidence they could find with their Uni-Tool. I looked back at what I was doing and continued carving a block of silver into the shape of a Shard slug. Mae turned around and gave her typical "unimpressed" look.
"You do remember the reason Sorin had you put on indefinite leave is because he thought you had Schizophrenia..."
I looked up at her, still cutting the block of metal
"I do remember Sorin trying to have us all killed."
"Point not taken. What you seem to have drummed in your head about this 'Wollcroft' isn't helping that image."
Hoff laughed from the other side of the room, browsing /x/chan on his Uni-Tool
"Got any more stories for us Nash? Ghosts? Aliens? Bigfoot? Chupacabra? Nessie?"
I put the block down and walked over to Hoff, punching him straight in the stomach
Hoff keeled over, trying to breath after the punch, muttering "asshole"
"Hoff, I don't care what you think. You obviously didn't see several people you worked with get slaughtered by that... Thing."
Mae continued to stare unimpressed at me, taking a hypo-injection of Sytropin.
"Nash, he has a very major point there. Either you're saying this to spook us, you have schizophrenia, or you read some crappy teen books from half a century ago too much."
I backed up as Hoff began laughing again and pointed out the table behind me
"You see those marks on the table, right there? Claw marks from some beast, I know-"
As I tried to finish my sentence Mae sprayed me with water from the sink in the room
"Nash, those 'claw marks' are from your knife when you were cutting that hunk of metal up while sitting at that table. Get a grip."
"Get a grip? That thing is trying to kill us!"
"For the record, the WCG is coming after us, not her. We each have a ten million credit bounty on our heads, and if my source was correct, a few mercenaries based out of the EPR coming to fulfill that bounty."
Cashlin walked in and interrupted my train of thought before I could respond, tapping on his Uni-Tool
"Our intel was correct. They were here, but left about an hour and thirty ago"
A video pirated off of one of the privacy-invasive cameras hidden in the corner showed Wollcroft, wearing Kowalski's uniform, standing around looking at an image from a Uni-Tool. What it was was unclear from the angle and video quality. Her gold-orange eyes looked up and around, as if she had a paranoia that a camera was in the room, which there was. After about a minute in two other figures stepped into the image with their backs to the camera, also wearing WCG military uniform. The two of them walked to the end of the room and turned around, now facing the camera
"Son of a bitch! I should have known!"
The two figures turning around were none other than Jager and Danovik. Never before had I such little faith in WCG security, unless of course they being where they were in the WCG was Sorin's traitorous intention. I was beyond belief to have two enemy spies in my squad. Wollcroft referred to Jager as "Schwarz" for a moment, but it had to have been a codename or miscommunication.
"Sir, we have no idea where they went. They left nothing behind for us... The best we can do is wait- Looks like I spoke too soon!"
The three in the video finished preparing their weapons and began discussing their plan. Jager began to speak, asking Wollcroft "So, what is this 'TCTF Science Prison' place anyway..?". Mae perked up and began checking if her guns were loaded correctly
"I know where and what it is... If we're lucky, those three might still be there instead of dead or making their escape."
I checked my gear and got all the men's attention
"Listen up gentlemen, we've got fresh intel on our enemies' location. Half of you are coming with me as backup. The other half of you, hole up here and make a defensive position out of this place in-case they come back. If you see them, call me and open fire on them. If you can, capture Wollcroft instead of killing her. She could be valuable for interrogation... And personal vengeance."
Mae looked around the room, visibly worried about something
"Well, better start coming up with some ironic last words... That goes for all of you too..."
November 22nd, 7:30PM
Griffin AFB, R&D Wing, Section C
"Everything packed yet? It's only a matter of time before our cover gets blown. Ninety minutes clocked so far, I don't want to be here for one-twenty."
Wollcroft seemed rightfully paranoid. It was luck that noone found the two bodies we hid while trying to acquire security access to the bio-tech labs, let alone witnessed us. None of the ranking guards or scientists suspected a thing, assuming us for one of the "disposables" who would disappear in a month like all the other low-ranking security that got assigned here. I finished zipping up my duffel-bag filled to the brim with stolen documents and medications. I couldn't get my finger on it, but something felt off about what we were doing, and why. Every time I asked Wollcroft about why were doing this she refused to answer, or gave me the simple response of "to sabotage the enemy". I didn't see the "sabotage" in stealing drugs and some dull documents pertaining to cancer supression.
"Packed. Same for Danovik."
Wollcroft sighed a moment and checked her gear
"We move now. Stick together. Past the guard station and to the elevator going to the motorpool. Now."
From the looks of it out in the hall there was a disturbing amount of nervousness coming off the scientists and the lightly armed guards. One of the TVs in the corner was showing a line of text saying for the security to be on secondary alert, in addition to reinforcements being dispatched. Wollcroft kept her gaze away from everyone and tapped me.
"New plan. C4 the southernmost portion of the west wall in this hall and escape through the sewers. The motorpool is likely in lockdown now.."
I nodded and began sifting into the crowd. I didn't need to act uneasy, I was, just like everyone else. If they found a body the facility would have been immediately locked down door by door and put on tertiary alert with a small team sweeping the complex. Whatever was happening had to be worse. Most of the crowd here began to disperse back to their stations to lock them down and secure data. A few of the guards ran to the station to check the system and pack heat. I could hear a few people swearing and calling it "another one of those damned drills again". Others began locking their doors and putting bulletproof shutters down to cover the walls they had facing the hallway. My suspicions were only confirmed a moment later when the TV screen shut down for a moment and relit with a crimson exclamation mark as klaxon alarms went off. A guard ran from the station holding several Campbell-Munitions police standard-issue rifles and threw them to us one by one.
"Remember boys, Campbell guns don't use shardshot, so don't waste your goddamn shots like Jones did before he got killed on patrol last month! Goddamn Syndicate bastards are going to pay for that!"
The radios began chirping off from the dispatch in a panicked tone
*"Hostiles are damned near platoon level strength! How the hell did- These guys aren't even Syndicate, what the hell is going on! It's a goddamned raid, where's our back-"*
The tone of a gunshot overtook the voice as it went silent. I felt a headache going on as the noise ensued in the distance, slowly progressing to a blur of memory. I lost track of Wollcroft and Danovik during that time, only hearing the calls of the guards ordering us to advance and put down suppressing fire. When if finally came to I found myself checking the time on my Uni-Tool. 8:05. In addition to the squad of men in crudely repainted WCG military powered armor pointing L-IARs at me ready to unload until their shardshot had no mass left to fire with. One of them began speaking.
"Well well, Jager. Looks like we finally caught up with you."
He began aiming down the sight of his rifle like the rest. In the time it took him to speak I already came up with three exit strategies. I wanted to laugh thinking about what the consequences of their tactical farce were about to be.
"Well hello gentlemen. Or rather, goodbye!"
Really interesting...I'm looking forward what will be next.
Last edited by ltemplar (16/10/12 6:56)
Yes, I agree, keep writing.
November 22nd, 8:05
Griffin AFB, R&D Wing, Section B
Whoever these bastard were, they sure were cocky, busting into a WCG facility like that. Five rifles pointed at my face and it was certain none of them thought their plan through very well beyond "shoot anything that moves". One of them slowly began squeezing the trigger, unwittingly failing to pay attention to his flank
"TCTF, Freeze! Drop the weapon!"
Their squad leader flipped around to take aim at the cops behind him, leaving his back vulnerable when he could have had his squad handle the police.
"Well hello gentlemen. Or rather, goodbye!"
In an instant their squad leader went limp as the sound of his neck cracking filled the air before even a shot was fired. The other four with him began to panic and fired off shards randomly towards the TCTF agents. Two of them went down engaging the TCTF reinforcements, and by the time the TCTF team was dead or incapacitated I already fired a few rounds round from my CM-FM Police Standard Issue Rifle into one of the last two renegades' spine. A smell of piss filled the air as the last remaining man began to wet himself at the sight of me. He tried to fire some shard at me only to be greeted with a buzzing noise indicating the shardshot was out of mass to fire. Before his hand could even touch his sidearm I had already heaved him headfirst over my shoulder to an affirmative noise of his neck snapping in two.
I slowly began to breath after nearly exhausting myself in that short burst. I'd certainly never did anything like that before in such quick succession, or atleast I couldn't remember doing so. I felt a cold gun barrel tap against the back of my skull
"Nice try traitor. Welcome to die."
I turned around immediately to deal with him before he could pull the trigger, only to find his corpse sliding down at an awkward pace with a bullet hole going through both sides of his helmet. I readied myself only to find no trace of anyone else in the hallways here. I sighed for a moment, about to rest as my radio pinged
*"Wollcroft here, where the bloody hell are you Schwarz? The next train to Seoul is in half and hour and you sure as hell are not here with us and ready to go!"*
I shrugged and pressed the PTT button on the radio
"Just doing some mopping up... Got caught up in a horde of powered-armor bandits who randomly attacked the place when we were making our exit."
*"Get. The hell. Over here. You have a third of the materials my employers want, and they won't hesitate to kill you for it. Had you the Dark Sample, you'd probably already been assassinated by one of their agents."*
"Thanks for the vote of confidence. Hey, whatever happened to colliding a few space stations into eachother for some attack?"
*"I wouldn't know anything of it, that sounds like something the EPR would do. My mission is to retrieve the Dark Sample, it's pertaining documents, and a solution to the WCG's killswitch for my employers, which has gone smoothly so far."*
"So, why are we going to Seoul anyway..?"
Right around the corner
"So, why are we going to Seoul anyway?"
Loose Lips Jager was going on around the corner to whoever he was working for now. No reply came in on the radio as he began walking off. As tempting as it would be to simply put a bullet in the back of his brain stem, it would be much more productive to trail him to Wollcroft and then kill all of them in one place. I tapped on the button to stop recording on my Uni-Tool and forwarded the file to Hasegawa and the other Raiders, including the information to keep a safe distance from me and simply fly straight to Seoul while I trailed Wollcroft's gang alone.
那覇空港 (Naha-kūkō) Station
I began breathing as hard as I could after all the running, barely two minutes to spare before the train headed to the mainland arrived
"Nice of you to finally join us, Jager."
Wollcroft's golden gaze stared right through me as if she was ready to tear me into several pieces
"Now, hand over the bags before you lose them again."
I obliged, removing the bags so I could sit down right. I noticed a suspicious man out a few rows of benches down, wearing a trenchcoat and sunglasses, although I supposed it was fashionable among the locals since I already saw two others dressed like that. The man lit a cigar and slightly turned his head towards us before looking straight ahead again.
"What's up with him?"
He looked over at us with a slightly angered look, like he was ready to spit out his cigar and start a fight, only to decide to look ahead at the tracks again
"People these days... Damned chi-"
Wollcroft interrupted me after finishing her quick inspection of the bag
"Everything's good. I expect you all to be at your finest when we do the handoff in Seocho at midnight. Jager, I want you to be on guard a quarter klick south of the river, scoped in on the train station in Gangnam in case those raiders who attacked the labs happen to have been after us. Shoot to kill if you see them. Danovik, you'll be with me and make sure these fences working for Phoenix don't try anything funny. If you see anyone who could possibly be an agent of the EPR trailing us, kill them the moment there are no possible witnesses. There are plenty of people who would love to take what we're possessing for themselves. If we screw this up you all better know that there will be a price on our heads in the criminal underworld of WCG territory. And don't count on the EPR letting you take shelter in their land, they'd sooner give anyone with any connection to the Syndicate a bullet to the head than room and board."
The train, now at a complete stop at the platform, began opening it's doors. The three of us got on, as did the man in the trenchcoat down the rows from us. Sketchy, but probably coincidence. He started texting on his phone casually, which gave my some benefit of the doubt on him. My vision began blurring again as I got another headache, felling me down onto the seat behind me. By the time I was lucid again we were already midway through travel, Wollcroft and Danovik sitting to my left.
November 22nd, 11:30PM
Seoul, Korea, WCG District K1MJ0-N91L
Syndicate Safehouse, Seocho district
I woke up instantly to the grinding noise of an alarm clock that Wollcroft had set on me during my rest. A hypo-injector lie dangerously close to my arm as Wollcroft dropped it.
"I'd recommend you take it, unless of course you want to end up dead by the end of the month... It seems the WCG had nanomachines filled with killswitch microbes open up in you when they realized you went rogue."
She picked up the hypo-injector, forcing it onto my arm for a moment, and then swapped out another nozzle for herself
"That one bastard who's been trying to kill me for the past month or so shot me with a tranquilizer dart filled with it. I'm lucky I didn't drop dead a week ago."
She threw the nozzle out and began sorting through sheets of paper, stuffing in that same black crystal from earlier in with them.
"So, where did you figure this out and how did you get these meds anyway?"
Wollcroft turned around at me and gave that one gaze she always did
"Well it turns out having heart-attacks at thirty years old with no sign of heart disease is a grand red flag"
"How did you even know it was a kill-"
"I got curious when we were looting the WCG labs... Why else would I have you grab the meds? Phoenix needs documents to make it themselves, not samples that they could easily synthesize themselves with the information."
I got up off of the crap bed filled with dust and stains in the corner and began stretching
"We're on business in twenty-five. Get yourself ready."
Seocho District, nondescript rooftop .25 kilometer from Phoenix tradeoff
I checked my L-IAR to make sure my shardshot still had mass in it, along with the magnetic coils as a precaution. If I saw hostiles, I wanted it to hit them, not the side of a civilian-filled barn a few kilometers early of them. Less chance of us being caught.
"Wollcroft here, we're starting now. Link up with us back at the safehouse in an hour."
I spent the next thirty minutes waiting in boredom as noone came by. Just civilians going past every road, occasionally a police patrol. The best I got for entertainment was watching a few people get mugged, making it hard to resist the urge to squeeze the trigger on someone. It couldn't possibly take this long to trade a few bags of documents and materials. I began to yawn for a moment when I heard the sound of muffled gunshots and my radio ringing
*"Danovik here, taking fire from some bastards in powered ar-"*
The radio reception cut off. It didn't sound like he got shot. I knew Danovik was better than that. I tried to respond to him, but the radio wouldn't transmit on the frequency, with an error about too much interference in the area. I sighed, sliding down the ladder and beginning my sprint to the alleyway where the trade had been going on.
Seocho District, Nondescript alleyway
The running had done me some good atleast. Now I just felt freezing instead of hypothermic shivering in this weather. The alleyway was surprisingly clear here, but a few bends into an open area between several buildings turned out differently. There were atleast seven corpses of Nash's raiders in powered armor, along with 15 dead Asian men in leather jackets, presumably the agents working for Phoenix. I didn't see Danovik or Wollcroft here, nor any of the bags they had brought. For all I knew Wollcroft decided to rip off Phoenix as the raiders came in to attack. How the hell they got here without me scoping them was beyond me. I pulled the helmet off of one of the raiders and took it's recording chip to see what happened, plugging it into my Uni-Tool
Immediately the opaque holoscreen popped up and began playing, Once I skipped to the most recent part of it's week long recording the entire story unfolded for me. From the looks of it they were all cloaked and watching the trade go on all along. Suddenly, one of them begins opening fire as the bags switch hands, looking to grab them himself. He takes down a few of Phoenix's men only to be gunned down by Danovik, who then pulled out his radio as he took cover. With no apparent reason his signal seems to have gotten jammed. All the Phoenix agents are finally dead, and Wollcroft is hit and on the ground (Unbelievably surprising, really). No trace of Danovik at this point, who seems to have fled (Likely a wise decision at this point). Kowalski begins walking into the frame...
We'd finally taken her down. One of the men retrieved the bags and began sorting through what was stored there. Wollcroft began crawling on the ground, trying to reach for a Hypospray. I put my foot down on her back, pinning her before she could reach it
I laughed at her insults, knowing she had finally lost. I increased the pressure on her.
"Looks like I found you're weakness, eh, ain't that goddamned right, you bitch!"
Hasegawa looked at me again, unamused for whatever damned reason, as I spit upon Wollcroft and pointed my rifle at her head. I tried squeezing the trigger only to find my gun shot out of my hand, by Kowalski
"...Not so fast, I believe I get first shot on this..."
I backed off, not interested in being in a crossfire. Kowalski aimed straight at Wollcroft and smiled.
"It's for the best. For both of us. No apologies."
Kowalski began squeezing the trigger, almost laughing maniacally.
"Goodbye, you bitc--"
Two shots went through Kowalski's back, felling her instantly. Hasegawa swung around and was immediately blasted at near point-blank with a shotgun my visor immediately identified as a "Spas-12" by someone in pitch-black powered armor midway through uncloaking as they yelled out
"Det er ikke noe personlig!"
My men began aiming at whoever this assassin was only to be gunned down by another figure in powered armor who yelled out at the other assassin
"Fox, stjal du min kill! Jeg har ønsket å drepe henne selv i tretti år!"
Whoever they were, they kept firing on my men, killing them all. I plugged a new energy cell in where the expended one was before and cloaked, walking from the scene before I got hit myself. No remorse at this point. My first objective was down. Next one, the WCG itself. I texted the rendezvous point to all the remaining raiders before swapping my powered armor for a trenchcoat around the corner, neatly folding the powered armor into a single suitcase as I briskly walked the hell out of here
The already shocking beyond belief recording kept playing as Wollcroft began to get herself to her feet to apply medi-gel to herself. As she began limping the first assassin walked up on her silently and tazed her for a moment, applying hardlight-cuffs around her hands. She began to speak in Norwegian which I instantly understood on my own
"Wollcroft is secure. Mstislav, check on-"
She paused for a moment and saw the helmet cam on the dead renegade's helmet, and immediately shot it, causing the recording to stop. I couldn't see Kowalski or Hasegawa's corpses here, maybe they got moved. I got up, ready to puke over what I saw, and threw the SD Chip onto the ground in disgust, unaware of the cold barrel that had just pressed up on my head.
"Take this, you EPR bastard-"
The woman behind me paused for a moment and decided not to pull the trigger. I turned around to her, finding her to be wearing the same kind of white coat worn by the WCG military, same as what I was wearing
"Oh, mistaken you for one of those assassins... I... I'm sorry."
Whoever she was she certainly was native to these parts, and she had to have been with Nash at some time since she knew what had happened here. Her hair was charcoal-black and her eyes an atypical shade of icy-blue. She leaned back on the brick wall behind her and began listening for police sirens.
"Who... Who are you anyway?"
She paused for a moment, trying to see if police were coming.
"Yukie Kojira, I was in the battalion that got it's ass handed to itself by the Syndicate for the last week before the WCG decided they didn't need anyone around who knew what it was really like beyond the 'Wilderness preserve'... And you must be Aaron Jager, who Nash had us spend the past half of the day trying to track down and kill you for supposedly being a traitor. I think he forgot that he himself was actively betraying the WCG. And that mess off to the side? The signature handiwork of Kitsune Eien, whom you probably know, or don't know of, as Fox Evig and her damn near brainwashed ally, Mstislav, real name Mick Hoover, who used to be a WCG Intelligence officer before he got his ass handed to him several times by Konoko. And no, I don't know the real name 'Kitsune Eien'. All I know is the several aliases she uses in her line of work that all translate straight into 'Fox Eternal', which I'd say is a surprisingly fitting name in a way.... They're both the finest assassins in the EPR's arsenal, be glad they weren't looking for you..."
Well that was a mouthful to listen to. I didn't know what to think of it other than her beauty.
"You lost me at 'Kitsune', Ms. Kojira, and please don't break my heart and say it's 'Mrs'..."
She looked somewhat angry, not helped by the sound of police sirens.
"By now, every cog in the WCG machine knows the descriptions of everyone who was labelled as an enemy of the state in the past week. Especially the coat. I'd highly recommend we switch into casual attire if we want to blend in..."
I nodded in agreement and began walking behind her and she walked out of the alleyway
"Of course... And by the way, the name's Arnold Schwarz, not Aaron Jager."