Not-with-a-whimperMember Since 28 Oct 2011
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- Member Title Together, Always
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- Birthday December 14, 1992
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Sisk was hiding behind a cover panel, bullets flying everywhere.
He rose and shot a few Iraqis, then dipped back down.
Everyone else was dead, except for a few Corporals and a Private, and of course, the General.
"Sisk! Flank them, Rooney, charge in head on." The General called.
"firetruck me." Sisk muttered, and advanced from the side while Rooney distracted them.
Rooney danced around and made a distraction, though juvenile, it did the job.
They dropped down when another jeep full of Iraqis rained hell on the camp with their mounted machine gun.
The Comm Center blew up, and Sisk swore under his breath.
It ruined contact with Jesse in means other than the earpiece.
He cocked a grenade and threw it into the back of their jeep, and it blew like the 4th of July.
"When will these firetrucking waves stop?!" The General shouted, obviously acerbated by the amount of Iraqis.
The General was then shot in the neck, and he doubled over in pain.
'Sir' probed through the hole in his neck and dug out the bullet. He threw it on the ground, and it clinked on a rock.
"Is that all you Iraqis got?" He shouted through a few ounces of blood in his throat.
firetruck, Sisk thought, this is bad.
He hurled a grenade in the air at a helicopter which was floating a kilometer into the air.
It hit the tail and blew up, falling out of the sky 60 feet north of camp, settling down in the dense rock formations.
"Jesse! We're under attack, report back as soon as possible!" He shouted
More came to the camp, and a shot flew by Sisk. He saw it as the best chance to play possum.
He fell immediately when his earpiece presented Jesse's voice.
"Sisk! Sisk! Sisk? Come in, Sisk!" Jesse's voice came.
An Iraqi General and a few Corporals advanced onto the camp, seeing that all but the General were dead.
"You won't break me!" 'Sir' shouted, punching the General in the face.
The General's nose contorted with a CRAAK.
'Sir' fell, blood streaming out of his neck. He tried to say more, but only blood came up. He shut his eyes, and his breathing ceased.
"ا تترك أي رجل على قيد الحياة! يجب أن يعرف هذا اليوم ان الجيش العراقي قد ضرب ضربة كبيرة على أمريكا." The General said.
"ا من رجل في قاعدتنا خراب؟ أيضا ، تلك المرأة؟" A Corporal responded.
"ركها لتموت>" The General replied.
Sisk had a hard time playing dead for a while, but he fell asleep. Eventually, he was then awoken by somebody.
"Ah, it will take a few hours to reach, because the Crypt Dwellers have covered some in their unbreakable spittle, as I saw on the wway to the Conversion Lab. It's on the other side of the chasm, though going through another one of those streams, we can shorten it to ten minutes, and, of course, this one has a current." Minerva said, answering his question.
"Where's the current?"
"In that ventilation duct." She said, when they walked out of the Conversion Lab, and pointed down the hall.
Immediately, Jesse advanced towards the shaft, and climbed in, Minerva following.
Jesse went to the left and fell onto a solid surface. Minerva fell too, on top of Jesse.
Minerva stared into his eyes for a second. Is she going to get off me? Minerva instantly pushed herself off him, not letting Jesse know that she had enjoyed it.
"Come on, Jesse." She said, annoyed, and jumped into the foul-smelling stream with a splash.
Don't women have problems with being dirty?
He jumped in after her, and the current carried them off.
After 7 grueling minutes of being the current's ragdoll, they came across the exit.
Metal bars blocked their way, and Minerva shot through them with her rifle and climbed through.
Jesse climbed through as well, to find themselves in a ruined Sewage treatment room.
Tiles hung from the ceiling, broken light fixtures swayed.
The explosion didn't eradicate the rooms, but it killed Iraqis, Jesse observed.
Minerva walked through the open door, looked at both ends of the hall, and signaled for him to follow.
Minerva led Jesse to a dead end.
"Minerva, this is a dead end."
"No, it's not."
"This is a dead end." Jesse repeated with emphasis.
Jesse looked up and saw a hole, gaping into a cavern.
"Ladies first," He said politely.
Minerva sighed, and jumped into the hole, and grabbing an indentation, and using them as footholds to climb up the hole.
Jesse followed and found himself in another cavern, like when he first cave.
"There's our exit." She said, pointing at the door.
Jesse was relieved.
He ran towards the door and slammed his weight against it, and it burst open. He worked a few kinks out of his arm, and motioned her to follow.
"What was that for?"
"The door could have been locked."
"Right, but you couldn't have checked beforehand?"
"No, I felt like doing that."
Minerva shook her head and followed him out the door. She shut it behind her, and used her auger's laser pointer to meld it shut.
They emerged from the cave, and Jesse resisted the urge to double over and kiss the ground.
"Minerva, what day is it?"
"Last I checked, December 14th, 2010. And that was two days ago."
"That means...I've been down there three months?"
"No, Iraqis have implanted their own timefield, only God knows how, and it accelerates the time passed, and decreases aging. I don't know how they ever accomplished it, but they did."
"You've been down there probably only two weeks as it seems, but all your army friends think you've been down there three mon--" Minerva suddenly collapsed and convulsed. "Gaaah!" She moaned.
Jesse tried helping, but she was turning him away.
After witnessing Minerva in pain, she passed out.
Jesse picked her up and heaved her over his shoulder.
It put great strain on him, but he didn't mind. He began walking back to the army camp, Minerva hefted on his shoulder.
~Chapter 16: Now, It's Personal~
Jesse finally made it to the camp, and placed Minerva in a tent.
He strolled along the bodies, and noticed Sisk was snoring.
A Corporal sleeping on the job?
He kicked Sisk, who awoke with a start.
"Axel!" He shouted.
"Who?" Jesse asked.
"Oh...you didn't know his name..." He looked at the General's body.
Jesse gasped. "Ho-- Wha--" Jesse was at a loss for words.
A horizontal line scaled the General's throat.
"And I guess...I should tell you why I was calling you...by your first name..."
Sisk heaved a sigh, and began his tale.
"It began in Middle School. We...were best friends..."
"How...I don't remember you..."
"Oh! That was you?"
"And, you left because your family was moving, and it was then I realized that..."
"...Go on..." Jesse prompted.
"I...was in love...with...your sister..."
It hit Jesse like when Jonas was hit by a car.
How could he forget? Heather. His sister, in high school when he was in middle school.
She moved to California after she turned 18. Nobody heard anything since.
"Being the smitten adolescent I was, I made up a false story of being bullied by Miguel. It... he was sent to Juvenile Detention Center..."
"Then...I urged my family to move to California...and when...I got there...I...saw her again."
Jesse felt he wasn't done. "...and?"
"She...was killed...by a terrorist with a shotgun..." He held back tears.
Jesse averted his eyes, and tried to change his train of thought.
Heather. Killed. Jonas. Killed. Who next?
"And...after that...I avoided people, I became an outcast."
It all fit together.
Heather's unreturned calls.
Jonas's argument on not visiting Heather.
For years of his life, he'd been lied to.
It also made sense of why Si-Jason, referred to Jesse by his first name.
"I'm..sorry..." Jason said. "That you had to hear it...from me..."
Jesse sighed. "Let me guess-- the nationality of the man: Iraqi."
Jason nodded. "Name: Herbert Selsinki. Nationality: Arabic, inclined with Iraq."
"That's it. I've had enough of this. For all I know, they've bombed America, killed my parents."
Jesse cracked his knuckles. "It's time to hit Iraq where it hurts."
He helped Jason up, and looked at the Jeep the Iraqis left behind.
"Where did they attack from?"
"I don't know, but we can follow the tracks from where they came."
"Alright, let's get to it." Jesse said, and entered Minerva's tent. He took her rifle, and hefted her on his shoulder.
He tossed her in the back of the jeep, and hopped behind the turret.
"Let's hit the road!" Jason chided, and started the jeep, and the engine skittered to a start.
Jesse figured out, the hard way, that it wasn't the engine that was skittering.
A Crypt Dweller had jumped on his back, teething through his uniform, which, was insulated with Iraqi material.
He grabbed it and threw it down beside the jeep, and it screeched. It crumbled, as if made of stone.
He looked up and saw more coming.
"Let's hit the road faster!" Jesse said, and Jason stamped the gas.
He aimed with the turrets sights, taking out the Crypt Dwellers that followed.
As it turned out, they weren't on the menu for just the Crypt Dwellers.
Chargers barreled after the jeep.
"If this doesn't remind me of Resident Evil 5, I don't know what will." Jesse said, incapacitating more creatures.
Soon the waves of creatures died down, and Jesse heaved a relieved sigh.
"The tracks end here. Like, somebody came down and lifted them up the rest of the way."
"No, no, no." Jesse said. "It's another facility, if not a part of the last one, which I doubt. This one is completely different."
~Chapter 17: Betrayal?~
Jesse looked around on the Jeep for a button of any sort.
He found one and smacked it, and the car plummeted into the earth.
They landed in another facility, from the looks of it.
Lights flashed on one by one.
It wasn't a facility.
An underground hangar.
It was where they attacked from.
As if on cue, an alarm sounded, and an English voice screamed from the loudspeakers.
"Get the intruders, infidels! The War could be at stake here!" Minerva awoke to the loud, unintelligible scream that followed.
Iraqis flooded the room, guns pointing at the Jeep.
"Can't we settle this over coffee, gentlemen?" Jesse chided.
Minerva plunged her hand in her pocket and threw a tube in front of them*. A red vapor rose from the impact point, and a creature, minuscule, yet very deadly, ran around the room.
Then, it began growing to the size of an elephant.
"What the firetruck was that?" Jesse asked.
"A creation of mine. It's metabolism is advanced as soon as it exits the tube, and grows to the size of a bus in a matter of minutes. Then, it just dies."
Jesse nodded approvingly.
"As must you and Sisk." She said nonchalantly.
She jumped out of the jeep and tossed a grenade in it.
She then dashed off into a room adjacent to the hangar.
Jesse jumped out of the vehicle, and the grenade exploded.
Jason attempted to jump out as well.
Jesse awoke many hours later, his arm burned like hell.
Jason didn't fare so well. Some skin was missing, and what wasn't missing was black or tinted.
Jesse ran to his side and knelt down.
"Now...I know...Mari isn't her last name...she fed you...us...a lie. She betrayed us."
"Now, now, she had a reason. But why kill us? We're on her side. I guess I'll ask her when I catch up."
Jason nodded. "Can you walk?" Jesse asked.
Jason shook his head. "Leave me...go to Minerva...and slap her for me..." He closed his eyes.
Jesse sighed, got up and turned around. Suddenly, his arm didn't hurt so much anymore.
He still had her rifle, which was a plus.
But after that tube, he wasn't so sure he would survive another encounter. And after Jason.
He ran to the door she exited through, and swore when he saw it needed a keycard.
"This is getting old." He muttered, and shot the keypad.
It sparked at him, and the door opened. In the room, there was a long hallway with doors on the side.
The ceiling had white, bold font that read "DUNGEON".
All the doors slid open at once.
"Kill the intruder." A voice droned.
Out of the doorways came humanoids, twisted experiments.
"firetruck me." Jesse muttered.
~Chapter 18: Ally to Enemy~
Jesse plowed through the twisted experiments, shot the keypad at the end of the hall, and the door flew open.
Strangely, there were no Iraqis around to stop him, and went through the next many rooms without any trouble, until he saw Minerva.
She was killing Chargers with her new rifle, slowly advancing to the door while doing so.
"Minerva!" Jesse shouted, but she was already at the door, swiping her keycard. The door opened, and she hurried through.
It shut behind her.
"Hardy!" A voice came through his earpiece, and he stopped dead in his tracks.
Could it be? Axel survived?
"You should have left that girl!" He bellowed through the line.
"Ranks come with perks, Hardy." He said, showing no intent to letting Jesse know more.
"Why are you chasing her now?"
"He's not dead, I'm with him right now. Burnt to a cinder, but not dead."
Jesse sighed with relief.
"So tell me, why are you chasing her?"
"I figure she could be a reliable source of answers."
"Well, what the hell are you waiting for? Go get her, and bring her back for questioning."
Jesse shot the door's keypad and ran through, and Minerva was ducked behind cover.
"I'm initializing the lockdown, Hardy, so she can't run anymore."
"Initializing lockdown..." A loud voice droned, and metal shutters draped the doors all around the room.
Minerva swore, trying to open the door with her keycard.
She saw Jesse, and dipped into cover.
"Minerva, I'm not going to kill you. I will keep my promise to Jason, though."
She set her gun above her cover and pulled the trigger.
Small bursts of yellow energy flew towards Jesse, and Jesse dipped into his cover.
She kept shooting, but Jesse didn't dare shoot back, because the Army needed her information.
He went from cover to cover, which was just rubble that fell from the ceiling.
She didn't stop shooting, when a miraculous thing happened.
A voice emanated from the gun, "Fire ceased, coolant process engage," and azure vapor floated from her gun.
Jesse stood from behind his cover and attempted hit her in the head with the butt of his gun.
She grabbed the butt of his gun, and used it to heft herself from her cover.
She leaned in and her lips touched Jesse's.
Jesse was surprised at the sudden event, but after a few seconds, he came back to his senses and pushed her away.
He hit her in the head with the butt of his gun, and wiped his lips.
"Not a good enough distraction, but kudos for trying." Jesse said.
"Hardy, status report."
"I've incapacitated her. I'm ready to bring her back."
The lockdown lifted.
He hefted her on his shoulder, and put the grueling stress on his shoulders of carrying her back.
The rooms all looked the same; they were all hangers. But what was at the end?
He took her back to where the ruined jeep was.
"Hardy, now got the Command Center. Take the lift in the hangar you're in."
Then a thought hit Jesse. Isn't Minerva supposed to be invincible? A gun butt knocking her out?
He decided to dwell on the topic later, and took the lift up to the Command Center.
~Chapter 19: From here to Pasteur~
Jesse watched as the unconscious Minerva was tied to a chair up in the Comm Center.
After a bit of waiting, she came to her senses and found herself bound.
"What is this? Why have you bound me?" She screamed.
Axel immediately calmed her down. With a strict palm to the face.
"Stop spouting unintelligible nonsense." He said, rubbing his burning palm with the other.
He crouched down as a man would to a child to be level. "Minerva. Mari was just a fake alias, I presume."
"You figure that out now? To think I would assist you in winning, with such slow wit."
Axel's face flared red, but he closed his eyes and calmed down.
Minerva felt smug at her chance to break the General. "Why ally yourself with America? We both know that you're of different nationality."
Jesse was intrigued. He had thought Axel as American, his cigar scented breath vouching for him. Brand Dakota Hurans.
"Why, General, when your homeland is faced with war? Why not pull a Robert E. Lee?"
Axel couldn't contain it any longer. He pulled his arm back and let his fist fly.
It stopped mid-course. Jesse had caught his fist.
"Axel, considering the circumstances, it was rough enough to bind her to a chair. Calm down, and I'll interrogate her."
He sighed, and began to leave, and stopped for a moment to realize that Jesse used his real name, but continued.
"Hoping for another kiss?" She asked with an obviously fake smile, after Axel slammed the door behind him.
Jesse sat down in the chair in front of her.
"Maybe if I'd actually want one."
The reason why Jesse volunteered to interrogate her in Axel's place was merely because she used wit and sarcasm to break him.
Jesse could retaliate easily that. Brute force would not win to Minerva, who'd enhanced her blood, which increased the rate of healing, so a bashed in face would look fine in a mere bruise, just give 5 minutes.
"Shame. I'm actually willing to give one."
"What we want is answers. Question one: Where did you gain your information on our Army?"
Minerva grinned. "Easily. Breaking into the White House to steal documents was about as easy as stealing a chocolate bar from a convenience store."
Jesse was both shocked and appalled. The Army was dealing with more than just a French teenager, assuming she told the truth, which Jesse did not doubt.
"Question two: What is your true identity?"
"How about a kiss first?"
Jesse knew what she was doing. He heaved another sigh, and put his face in his palms. She probably thought that by appealing to Jesse, he would let her go.
"Later, when I'm in a better mood."
firetruck, Minerva thought, this isn't going how I planned. He has a stronger will than I thought.
"Maria Pasteur. My family renamed me Minerva."
Name rings a bell....
"Hardy, don't make any sudden movements." Jason's voice intoned. "She can't hear us. I'll let you know if she's telling the truth."
Which Jesse did not need. He knew Jason was listening in.
"I know you think I don't hear that earpiece." She said slyly.
Jesse took his earpiece out and crushed it under his boot. "Now we're playing fair, eh?"
Psychologically, this put Jesse at an advantage. Crushing his resource to her truthfulness made her lie more often, and Jesse can easily detect a sudden physical change. It would make the interrogation go smoother.
"Question Three: Why are you intent on helping America?"
"Got a bone to pick with Iraq."
Jesse got the feeling she wouldn't let on more.
"Question Four: Why did you betray Sisk and I?"
Minerva exhaled audibly. "I didn't need you trailing me for the rest of the investigation."
"Care to give details?"
"Later, when I'm in a better mood." She mimicked.
Jesse rubbed his temples with his index and middle fingers.
"Interrogations, unfortunately, don't work that way. You answer the questions, and the questioner can decide if you've answered truthfully."
"I'm not going to stick around that long." She told him.
"Of course." She said with cockiness that brimmed through every syllable of her sentence.
Jesse understood right away. "So, you have friends in this matter?"
"No, I'll persuade you to let me go."
"That won't work so well."
She stared into his eyes, until Jesse swore he saw that her pupils started flashing colorfully.
The colors swamped his vision, until he could see nothing more.
Minerva blinked, and sighed. Jesse fell unto the floor like a ragdoll.
"It's about time things go my way." She took Jesse's rifle carefully, trying not to wake him.
She draped the rifle around her shoulder, and opened the door ahead, where there was a squad waiting for Jesse to emerge.
Instead they saw Minerva, and started shooting.
Minerva tapped the button on her gun, and a yellow turtle pattern flashed in front of her.
She watched the bullets deflect off the shield for a bit, and then shot some bullets of her own.
They fell down, and stayed down.
She ran past them, to avoid conflict in that area again.
She ran out the door labeled "Lift" and began her descent.
Jesse opened his eyes to find himself in a large, circular room, with metal grate for flooring.
Red light streamed in through the grate, almost blinding Jesse.
He saw black wisps fly through the air, merging to one point in front of him.
It was the man again, holding his butcher knife at his side.
"It's time that you confronted your creed." Jonas's voice echoed through the room.
The man grinned, which was a terrible sight. All the deformities had lifted, showing black teeth.
"Can I do this some other time?" Jesse asked, showing no interest in doing what he was told.
The man apparently didn't appreciate his sense of humor, Jesse observed.
~Chapter 20: Controlling the Relentless Beast~
Jesse stepped back and the knife swiped harmlessly in front of him.
I'd best be careful, Jesse thought, When you're under stress in your dream, you can die in real life.
The man chuckled, and stepped closer to Jesse, attempting to cleave his head open.
Jesse jumped back again, and the man must have swung too hard, because he cleaved through the metal grate.
Wait a second...if this is my dream...I must be able to control it. I mean, I'm inside my own subconscious, right?
Jesse was dead wrong. The disease extracted from god-knows-where was actually trying to kill him.
This disease wasn't your garden variety cold. It broke down your subconsious and took full control of your brain. That is, when your body is shut down, so sleeping is dangerous.
Um...stop! Halt! Cease your attack! Jesse thought, avoiding more knife swings.
Dammit! There must be some way...
What Jesse did next surprised both him and the man.
He grabbed the knife midswing and it formed a cut. It dug into his hand, and Jesse didn't wince from the pain, or seeing blood flow down his arm. He kneed the man in the stomach, and ripped the knife out of his hand.
He kicked the man in the leg, and he fell.
Jesse tackled him and placed his knife against the man's throat.
His head burst with pain, children's laughter filling his ears.
That was when Jesse remembered this man.
Jesse was gripping his jacket together since the zipper had broken, and followed his class back into the school.
He was always the last one at everything.
They flooded into the building, still 60 feet behind them.
He stopped, and his feet dragged audibly against the snow.
He saw a man running through the snow, with no shoes, boots, not even socks.
He sighed in remorse for the man, and ran after him.
"Jesse!" His teacher called. "Where are you going?"
He didn't respond, his shoes kicking up snow behind them.
He caught up with the man, who was sitting under a tree.
His face had deformities and dried blood splattered around the center of his face.
He's a little ugly, but, as my teacher said, I can't judge people by their looks.
"Hi. My name is Jesse!" Jesse said, smiling and holding out his hand.
The man smiled back, pushing the deformities up a few centimeters. The man took his hand and shook it.
He had white teeth, Jesse observed.
"I noticed that you had no warm clothes on."
The man looked him in the eye now.
Jesse took off his boots.
"These are my dad's boots. They don't fit me well. You can have them, he's grew them out anyway."
He gave them to the man, who put on the boots with relish.
"Hold on. I'll see if I can get a coat or something for you! I'll see you again!" Jesse said, running away.
"Jesse! You gave us a shock!" His teacher said.
"Miss Gonyea, there's somebody up to the tree!"
She peered over to the tree. "There's nobody there."
Jesse took a look himself. No bootprints leading away, he just vanished.
"Oh..." Jesse grimaced.
"Where are your boots?"
"I...gave them to the man..."
Miss Gonyea smiled, and asked, "But what will you use to walk through snow?"
"I'm fine with my sneakers."
Jesse couldn't kill him. He knew who the man was now.
The man evaporated into black wisps, and faded the black wisps faded into white.
Jesse blinked, and found himself on the floor of the interrogation room.
Minerva was gone. Axel rushed into the room. "Hardy! Where is she!"
"She...hypnotized me and ran away..."
~Chapter 21: Chasing Once More~
"Hardy, take this earpiece before you go, considering you broke the last one." Jesse stuck it in his ear, and nodded respectfully.
He ran out of the comm. center.
But there wasn't a trace of her anywhere.
The hangar's exit was still open, the hole gaping wide enough for 3 planes to exit at once.
He saw a shotgun-like weapon handing on a rack, and pulled it off.
He aimed it up at the hole, and pulled the trigger and a cord zipped from the gun barrel and took hold of the hole's ledge.
Jesse pulled the trigger once more, and he felt himself being lifted to the hole.
He held on for dear life for what felt like the longest ten seconds of his life.
He neared the ledge and stuck his arm out, and grasped the ledge.
The line retracted into the barrel, and Jesse pulled himself up.
The hangar door closed behind him, and he tossed the grapple gun into the hole before it shut.
There was a jeep in the distance, scattering sand in its' wake.
Jesse swore under his breath, and boarded a jeep.
He stamped on the gas, and it zipped at an extraordinary speed.
He finally neared the jeep ahead of him after a bit.
He saw Minerva muttering something under her breath, without looking at Jesse.
Jesse looked around the jeep for a heavy object, and found a shotgun ammo box. He grabbed it and removed his foot from the gas, replacing it with the box of shotgun shells.
The jeep kept a steady pace next to Minerva's, and Jesse stood up in the passenger seat, climbing onto the jeep's frame.
He balanced carefully, and thoughts rushed through his head.
What the hell do you think you're doing? What will happen if you miss? Said Jesse's skeptical sense.
Go for it! You can do it! Responded his brave sense.
While the two senses conflicted on jumping or not, Jesse closed his eyes, and heaved himself through the air.
He felt his back hit a comfortable surface, and it definitely was not sand. Jesse opened his eyes to see himself staring up at the sky.
It moved along at 75 miles per hour.
Jesse sat up and saw the jeep he had occupied racing alongside the one he now occupied.
Does Minerva know I'm here? She seems pretty calm. Jesse thought
The jeep suddenly jerked, and Jesse flew forward, ahead of the jeep.
He hit the sand, and bounced like a stone across a lake.
He coughed from the impact, and slowly rose.The jeep had stopped, and Minerva was standing in front of it triumphantly, the rifle dangling at her side.
"Check and mate." She said with a smug grin.
She reached for rifle, and Jesse braced himself for the worst.
He closed his eyes and took a deep breath.
He opened them to see Minerva standing in front of him, reaching for him.
Ah. I suppose she'll try to kiss me.
She grabbed Jesse's uniform collar and hefted him up.
"I guess I should spill my guts now."
"You've heard the term, right?"
"Shh." She said, and placed her index finger and middle finger on Jesse's lips.
She removed them, and sighed.
"Where do I begin...? Of course, the beginning. I was 13 years old. I was your normal teen. Nothing explicitly wrong with me. That is, when my dad left to be in the war. We sided with America, and my dad was ordered to kill us. He killed my mom and told me to run as far as I could go and he would come get me after a while. I ran as far and as long as I could, and I collapsed on the street. I found myself in an ambulance rushing to the hospital, and I thrashed around, demanding to be let go. They injected me with a sedative, and I fell asleep again. After that, I don't remember because my memory is blotted out from then to now. But I do remember living peacefully for 2 years, until I decided to anonymously join the war and help the United States. My enhanced blood was step one. The last step, step 2, is hit them where it hurts. But first I need to know where to hit them. And I've got a lead on where, but you and Jason interrupted my investigation before I could get anywhere. I had to betray you. I knew you'd survive, and Jason as well. I just needed to make you think I was a traitor so that I could conduct the investigation without you trailing me, and, I was wrong."
"What happened to asking 'Can I just go do something?'"
"No point. You'd still request to follow."
Jesse sighed and rubbed his eyes.
He then felt his hand lift, interrupting the kneading of his eyes.
He then felt a warm mass in his mouth.
Warm droplets hit his face, and rubbed into his skin.
Jesse didn't open his eyes, and returned Minerva's kiss.
He promised to kiss her, anyhow.
"I don't know about this, Hardy, what if she's still playing you?" The General said later, back at the Comm Center.
"I can't be sure. She was crying. I have a feeling she's telling the truth now."
"Feelings are feelings. And she's toying with yours."
"Be that as it may, she's helping the US win. As long as we win the war, who cares about how one private felt through it?"
"I may not look it, but I do. I love my battle-hardened men. They fight for their country."
"By the way, where is she now?"
"I gave her clearance to investigate the hangar."
Axel sighed, and slumped in his swivel chair.
"I know she won't leave, because the only way out is that hole. And hasn't changed since we took this place over from the Iraqis."
He continued to type out his report to the President, and Jesse couldn't help but read.
Enclosed in this email are the reports of our separate war party of exploiting the Iraqis technology that only those such as you have at least a shred of knowledge about.
Private Jesse Hardy flushed out a facility on his own, with help from a third party.
Many of our men were Killed In Action by a surprise attack from the Iraqis. We have taken over their underground comm center, and have discovered more about the third party. We look forward to returning to the United States, and giving you a full report of what happened in the field.
~Chapter 22: Keeping it Real~
Minerva stretched the paper out in front of her, examining every detail.
She twisted the frequency setting on her earpiece.
"Jesse. I've found their plans."
There was a sharp crack, and an audible thump. Jesse had fallen out of his chair.
"This is beyond me... I can't believe it...they're planning to bomb the United States."
Jesse froze, a bewildered look of shock plastered on his face.
"They're carrying out their plan today... Jesse, get down here and read this."
Jesse left the Briefing Room, and basically flew down the hall toward the Hangar, where Minerva was sitting on the hood of a jeep.
Jesse sat next to her, and read the paper.
Director's Plan 0083; Keeping it Real
Orders have been issued to The Blemont's soldiers to send planes to the United States.
We assume they will take over our hangar bay, or, in no less, attempt to.
Colonel Masuri has agreed to pilot the shuttle, and from the Blemont, they will fly to the United States and reign fire upon Washington DC.
During these times of hardship and war, we must abide by the slang term of "Keeping it Real", which may raise our chances of winning, though I don't enjoy placing my hopes on a term of slang.
A complex drawing of a bomb's anatomy followed, and in chicken scratch writing next to the bomb was written, "One can take out three cities. What will approximately 26 bombs do?"
"The Blemont. Their sanctuary. How could I have been so damn blind?!" Minerva swore.
"A building. Looks like a normal New York skyscraper."
"So what are our plans to attack them?"
Axel entered the room, a cigar protruding from the corner of his smile. He took a drag, and released the smoke into the air.
"Easy. Use this Hangar's remaining planes. Jesse goes in, plants a few bombs, exits, then the planes crash into the building."
"There's a hole in your plan. Where will we get the soldiers ready to die?"
"Private, you crack me up. We've got an army full of those. But just as the plane crash, the bombs blow, and we win."
Jesse sighed. "Fine. Let me at them."
"Ha. Straight to the point. Alright then, I say you're ready to leave. Use a jeep, and don't die."
Axel strolled out of the room, smoke trailing his every step.
"Awkward. I just had a conversation with a General where the General didn't yell at me."
Minerva smiled. Before Jesse could register what was happening, a fist knocked him out cold.
~Chapter 23: Solely for Your Protection~
Jesse awoke in what seemed a hallway, but it was blue.
"firetruck," he swore. It seemed he wasn't yet cured of his disease.
The hallway was a frozen passage that spanned on for what seemed miles.
He sat up and saw Minerva running with a rifle to her side through the dark passage.
He got up and sighed. "Jonas! I'm done playing games with you!" He shouted, and it echoed through the passage.
"Jonas! You hear me?"
He felt a breeze at the back of his neck, and his hair stood.
He turned around, but there was nothing.
"I'm done playing Cat and Mouse. Come on! Are you too chickenshit?"
That egged Jonas on. He felt his legs sweep to the side, and he began falling. A knee jutted into his back, lifting him up.
Jonas smirked. He jumped, doing a backflip that would surprise acrobatics, and kicked him again. Jesse was launched through the frozen hall, occasionally bouncing from the sides. "Goal!" Jonas chided once he landed, waving his hand, and Jesse came tumbling back. He gazed at Jonas with a tinge of sadness.
"What was that about my being chickenshit?"
Jesse spat blood from his mouth. He knew it was a dream, but actual blood? Actual pain? "Exactly what I meant."
Jonas grabbed Jesse's shirt collar, lifting him into the air.
"It's your fault I died. Your fault. Why? Bec--" Jesse cut him off.
"You saved me, Jonas, and that's what brotherhood is! Not blaming your brother for your choices that cost your life. I would have done the same for you!" Jonas was taken aback. He dropped Jesse, and his hands flew to his head, holding it as if in pain. "I-I...Jesse...what?" "Jonas. You were there when I needed you. You saved me from my death. If that isn't a bond, I don't know what is. Now, you just casually walk into my head, and blame me for what you chose to do. If you were going to be this conflicted, you should've just let me die!"
Jonas knelt in pain. Then, his true sense kicked in. Now he wasn't controlled by Jesse's disease. "Jesse..." He said, as if he had just recognized a person he hadn't seen for years. "Yes, Jonas?"
"I'm sorry...that I couldn't live to help you."
"It's okay, Jonas. You saved my life. And I'm grateful."
Jonas sighed. "I didn't know the toll I and the disease put on you. I'm sorry for what I did. I was aware. I knew. I couldn't help it."
"Jonas. Stop apologizing! It's not like you."
He laughed, and his leg started to glow. Little particles began to pick away off of him, and floated to the top of the icy passage, blinking out like a waning star.
"Heh. Guess it's really goodbye now. Jesse, do me a favor."
More of Jonas picked away, and it appeared to be just an upper body of a human just floating there.
"What? What do you need me to do?"
"Win this war in my place. And...slap that bitch for me."
"By 'bitch', I assume you mean Minerva."
He smiled, and it slowly vanished into floating particles.
Jonas's laughter rang throughout the passage, and the ice cracked, and Jesse's vision faded to black.
[End Music, if you selected the spoiler tab and played the music.]
Jesse's eyes fluttered open, and he found himself in a building. People were chattering over him.
"Target secured. Bringing him into containment inside the Blemont."
Jesse saw leather straps bound him to his gurney, and he writhed, struggling for freedom.
As if assisted, his arm bonds came free, and a voice cackled in his ear. "Jesse? You're in? Ah, great. The charges are on your belt. Place them as instructed." Minerva said.
He grabbed the nearest soldier's revolver, and he twisted his legs, and the gurney flipped in such a fashion that provided cover from the now-alert Iraqis. He used the pocket knife in his suit's pocket to free his legs, and he hid behind the cover, bullet's deflecting off the gurney's metal frame.He checked the revolver's bullet chamber. "Yeah, real helpful. Only three bullets." He muttered, rolling the chamber back into place. He rose and ran across the hall, scrambling for cover behind an open door. He heard their guns click, and emerged from his cover to shoot them while they reloaded.
They dropped like stones, and Jesse tossed the revolver behind him. He picked up a rifle, loading it with bullets from the Iraqi's leg holster. "Alright, where do I put the first charge?"
"In the lobby."
Jesse did as told, and it beeped, allowing itself to be set for detonation.
"Okay. Second bomb?"
"5th floor. Take the stairs and avoid being seen. They can disable the elevators and flush you out."
Jesse ran into the staircase, and noticed there was something that looked like a water heater. He placed himself aside it, and uprooted it from the ground, and pushed it in front of the door. Gas leaked from the open pipes, seeming to look for fire to ignite itself with.
Jesse advanced up the stairs, ignoring the raucous banging on the door below him.
After counting five flights, he emerged from a door, only to be greeted with a hailstorm of bullets.
He ducked behind what looked like a filing cabinet, waiting for them to run out of ammo. He couldn't risk attempting to kill them while they were shooting.
He waited for the click, and proceeded to dispatch them. He didn't wait for more. He placed a charge on the wall behind a bonsai tree where nobody would think of its' presence.
Jesse ran back into the staircase, and by the sound of it, the Iraqis broke through the door, steadily proceeding up the steps.
Jesse had to turn around and toss a frag down the steps. It clinked a few times, and an audible explosion sounded, collapsing the flight of stairs beneath him. He burst through the 7th floor door, and was relieved to see no Iraqis had come to hinder him.
He grinned. He set the explosive, and he spoke into the mike.
"Bombs set. Should I exit the building?"
Jesse couldn't go down the stairs, and he couldn't use an elevator, so he swore under his breath. It seemed the most logical option.
Out the window, he saw a few planes heading his direction.
"I'm crazy. I know I am. But it's the only way." He muttered.
He broke the window with the butt of his gun, and glass rained down to the sand.
He backed up, and ran towards the window.
He leapt out the broken window, and saw the plane rushing from beneath to greet him.
He leaned forward, and landed on the plane with a somersault.
He grabbed onto a niche in the planes metal, and took a second to compose himself as he hung from the niche.
He stood up awkwardly, fumbling for balance on the tilted aircraft.
His boots slid on the chrome metal, so he let go of the niche, and began at a headlong sprint that almost made him trip, and jumped to the next plane.
He heard the first plane crash into the building, so he pressed the button on his remote, and the building went up in flames, and Jesse sighed. Mission accomplished, but what made him worry was the matter of getting off the vehicle that planned to crash in what remained of a destroyed building.
"Dammit." He said, closing his eyes, and jumped to the sand.
He opened his eyes in midair, and saw something he wouldn't soon forget.
Minerva was hanging on a flagpole sticking from the building, or the lack thereof.
The last plane merged with the building, and Minerva vanished from his sight.
He hit the ground, and sand scattered into the air above him.
Charred remains of the building rained down over the sand, and a thought struck Jesse before he was completely unconscious.
Why was Minerva there anyway?
After Jesse vanquished the Blemont, or, at least, played a large role in the vanquishing of, he left Iraq to be in his homeland, and is still in the army, awaiting another war that suits his skills. He still is not sure if Minerva died or not, but his memories of her plague his dreams with nightmares of her getting killed. He is also sure he sees her more often than not in real life, but passes it off as just hallucinations.
The US Army proceeded to win the war, what with Iraq's nerve center destroyed. Sisk had decided to fight against them again once he'd healed from
his burns and lesions, but was soon killed in action on the battlefield, still ailed by what remained of those injuries.
Minerva's whereabouts are still unknown, and the US Army refuses to believe the woman who has aided them has been dispatched, and there a few searching the Blemont's ruins in hope of finding her. All that remains is her final video log, before the Blemont's destruction.
Video Log Contents
The screen flickers, and Minerva's face becomes clear.
"Minerva Pasteur, video log seven." She recited, and began to explain recent events.
"...Jesse Hardy works admirably as a soldier, but just how long can he last? There has to be something that may break him. I fear the the enemy might find out what that is, and turn it against him. To ensure his safety, I shall go to the Blemont and "touch up" the plan to the Army's expectancy. I can only hope that Jesse won't realize that it's too easy for him, because the Blemont may be the toughest point of this war, for any soldier."
The screen flickers a few times, and Minerva reaches over the camera, and ends the recording.
Posted by Snow on 08 January 2012 - 01:08 AM
The world is known for its' complications and broader aspects. Hardships and struggles teem throughout the world, stagnantly engulfing innocent humans, overwhelming them with sadness and sorrow, sometimes in immeasurable potency.
Friends made die, as everyone does sometime or another.
Torn from a home only vaguely known.
Harshly forced into the fields of war.
These qualities can only fit Jesse, one who, against all odds, attempts to cope with the hardships life has so cruelly placed upon him.
~Chapter One: Graduation~
Jesse is average.
At least, how most would describe him.
At seventeen years, he and his brother were ready to graduate from high-school.
That's when a monkey wrench is thrown into the ordeal. But, thank god, not now.
Jesse was tapping his finger against the arm of the chair impatiently. He couldn't wait to be awarded his diploma, after thirteen long years of wretched education. He wanted to be done with High-school, so he could actually do something with his life.
His brother, Jonas, was gleaming up on the stage, taking his diploma from the principal hand. "Speech! Speech! Speech!" The crowd cheered. Jonas was the most passionate person in the grade. Of course they wanted to hear from him.
"Alright, alright, calm down." He took a deep breath, and began his speech. "All through school, all we thought about was getting through the day to get home and play video games. Up to now, it was steadily becoming more than that. We finally aspired to do something interesting in our lives. Even so, we've already had our interesting moments right here in high-school."
He paused, and glanced over the crowd. "Most of you couples out there now are going to be with each other for the rest of your lives. If not that, the friends you've made are going to be with you. You at least have to carry something from your years here in your heart. Just remembering your time will do us all a favor."
He smiled, his white teeth shining in the light. Everybody clapped.
Not the best speech, Jesse thought, but what the hell. They bought it, didn't they?
Jonas turned and strolled off the stage and down the aisle, and sat next to his brother, who already had a sarcastic comment ready.
"Nice speech, Shakespeare." Jesse said with a laugh.
"Shut up." Jonas retorted. "It was the best I could do."
"Ah, well, nothing I can do about it, I guess."
"And next for the diploma, Jesse Hardy!"
Jesse grinned, walking up the aisle to retrieve his diploma, which was adorned with a red ribbon and a signature.
The crowd cheered, and Jesse held it up.
Nothing can go wrong now, Jesse thought.
At that moment, he didn't realize how wrong he was.
~Chapter Two:That One Car~
Jesse gazed down to the diploma is his lap.
He had finally done it. He graduated. He rubbed his eyes.
He hadn't expected it come so easy.
"Do you ever plan on getting up? We have somewhere to go, you know." Jonas said.
Jesse heaved a sigh, getting up off the bench. He didn't really see the point of Hannah's party.
Seriously, a high-school party after high-school is over?
He rolled up the diploma and put it in his jacket pocket.
Jonas walked into the street, and looked up at the street light.
It shone radiantly down on to his face.
Jesse started walking, Jonas following suit.
Just another block, Jesse thought.
He heard a screech of tires ahead, as Death reared its' ugly head.
It was then Jonas realized that they were jaywalking.
The car was charging at Jesse.
To Jesse's eternal disgrace, Jonas made the right choice.
Jesse stood, paralyzed. Jonas felt a surge of energy in his legs.
He closed the gap between him and Jesse in what seemed like a flash.
He shoved Jesse away, and the headlights did not slow their advance.
Jesse squeezed his eyes shut.
When he opened them, he didn't see anything left of Jonas.
He took a sharp, painful breath.
The car was jammed into a tree, the engine faintly running.
The purr of the engine was the only sound that arrived to Jesse's ears.
The car had swerved, making the headlights flood over Jonas.
Jesse averted his eyes, not daring to look at his brother.
He had a vague feeling that it wasn't a sick dream.
He heard a siren in the distance, coming slowly closer.
Jesse closed his eyes again, hoping when he opened them once more, they wouldn't be staring at the same environment.
~Chapter Three: The Dream~
Jesse opened his eyes. He saw a broken light fixture swaying above him.
He sat up and looked around. He was in a hospital, no doubt, but there was something off.
The walls had blood splattered over them. He got off the gurney he'd been laying on.
Throughout the hall, there were more gurneys. With more bodies, only dead.
"This is probably just a well planned prank," Jesse said out loud, "Too unrealistic."
Slowly, but surely, he walked down the hall, avoiding the bloody gurneys.
He heard a shuffle in the next hallway, and placed his back against the wall, tilting his head over to see.
There he saw a man in a bloody hospital gown, who had somebody pinned on the ground.
Jesse couldn't see the one pinned, until he heard the voice.
It was too memorable to not recognize.
"G-gah-- Get the hell off me!" Jonas shouted.
"Jonas!" Jesse yelled.
"J-Jesse!" He called back. "Help!"
Then, the figure brandished a butcher knife, and instantaneously slit Jonas's throat.
Jonas stopped struggling, his arms falling limp.
The man laughed as he was getting up and turning to Jesse.
His butcher knife was wet with fresh blood.
He started walking to Jesse.
Without second thoughts, Jesse turned around and ran, navigating the ruined hallways.
He tried every door he could see, but none worked.
After a while of running, he turned around.
No man, no mouse, no indication that anything around was alive.
It seemed that he'd been running for months. He took a breath, and turned back around.
The man was suddenly there, holding his knife up.
Jesse finally got a good look at his face.
In fact, it wasn't a face.
A bloody lump of skin ridden with deformities.
He saw the knife flying at him from the left.
He closed his eyes, and opened them once more, many seconds later.
He was again looking at the ceiling, which held a light fixture. This one lit.
"He's awake!" A voice called.
He sat up, but stinging pains in his arms kept him down.
"Wh-what-- where am I?" He asked.
"You're in a hospital." A voice told him matter-of-factly.
He saw a man in a green suit in the room.
He looked like a general. An Army general.
"Wh-who are you?"
"Ah. That's right. I know you, but you don't know me. Just call me Sir. Got it?"
"You're required to serve in the army."
"Hold on here. What? Why?"
"Your bother. Jonas. He applied, but he died. We need a close relative."
For a second, the man from his dream's face flash over the generals', and his head started aching.
"Are you okay, Private?" The General asked.
"Y-yeah...Why am I here now?"
"Coma. Disease. I don't know, you had something."
"But...I was unharmed..."
"Says you. Check the calendar."
Jesse turned his head, and saw a calendar.
September, 13th, 2011.
"Holy shit!" He exclaimed, shocked.
"Yeah, Private, been asleep for months."
Jesse's headache tensed.
"So...itinerary on the war?"
"I'm starting to like you. Straight to the briefing, you." He smiled.
"Ah, well, I take things in fast. Continue."
"You know the Iraq war has been going on for ages now, no?"
"We're short on troops. That's where you come in."
Jesse sighed, but let him continue.
"We've gained intelligence that the Iraqi are using...rather different technology and weaponry than us. You are needed to investigate. Perfect stealth mission for a rookie."
"Alright, I guess I have no choice."
"Aright then. Come on. The birdie is leaving soon."
The nurse intervened their exit.
"Je-Jesse," She said, fumbling over her speech, "We spotted s-somethin-ing ab-abno-ore-rmal on your bra-ai-in r-readings."
Failing to comprehend her sentence, Jesse smiled. "Thanks for the encouragement!"
"N-no..that's--..." She couldn't finish. Private and General left.
She cursed herself for not taking the speech class when she was younger.
~Chapter Four: First Day in the Field~
After leaving the hospital, Jesse and 'Sir' took a helicopter to their Iraq camp.
"That sure was fast." Jesse observed upon arrival.
"No shit, Private, we're Military."
There was a tent that stood out in the somewhat dark camp.
"There is the Private's Quarters."
"We're all lumped together?"
"Well, Corporals too. And there's only one General in this camp, so I get a smaller tent."
He began to walk away, but turned around.
"Nobody is ever to know of this camp. We have Secret Ops going from here, defying government orders."
Jesse nodded. He didn't dare think of the consequences.
He walked into the Private's tent.
"Finally!! We get another!" somebody cheered.
"Um...hi..." Jesse said. He didn't know what to say to guys with guns. And he didn't mean those guns. The ones you kill people with.
After a while of getting to know everybody, which was about 6 people, he found a cot to sleep in.
"FIRST ASSIGNMENT!" Barked 'Sir'.
Jesse awoke groggily, rubbing his eyes.
"Every Private, in the buggy!" He ordered.
Everybody snapped and jumped into the buggy, and Jesse reluctantly followed.
"Uh, yeah, I'm a rookie, don't I get a little, like, training?" Jesse asked.
The General looked him over. "There is no time, Private!" He barked.
"If you can lift a rifle, you don't need training."
The General tossed a gun in his direction.
Jesse caught it.
".303 Hail Rifle. Rapid-fire weapon. Red dot sight installed." 'Sir' recited.
Jesse rubbed the barrel in awe. The first gun he'd ever held.
The buggy started and catapulted forward with no warning.
Jesse put the strap over his shoulder, the constant bumping of the buggy making it difficult.
He sighed. This meant he'd have to take human life. He was against it, if anything.
He closed his eyes. He remembered Jonas, and how full of life he was.
He must've fell asleep and started dreaming.
The buggy swerved, awaking Jesse in the rudest fashion possible.
He rubbed his head, and the General started shouting orders.
"Jones! Flank their right! Hardy! Go straight in the middle and pray you don't get hurt, when I order you. Gonzales! Flank their right!
Jesse looked over at the field. Bullets sprayed over the field, twanging off the metal wide stands that provided cover for the two soldiers already there. One tried shooting, but was quickly killed.
Jesse sighed, and held the gun tightly.
He jumped off the buggy, his boots scattering up sand. Sand? He thought. I thought Iraq was a non-desert place. I must be wrong.
He slid behind the cover adjacent to his General's before he got shot.
He waited for the General's order. Jones and Gonzales approached from the sides, and started unloading on the Iraqis.
The General made a swift hand motion, gesturing him forward.
Jesse emerged and ran straight while they were distracted. He aimed, but his sight shook. He couldn't do it. Instead, he knocked them out by banging his gun butt on their helmets.
"Private! Why didn't you shoot?"
"Sorry...I'm still a little mixed on taking human life."
"Well then, get over it fast!" He said, stomping on an Iraqi he knocked out. Jesse averted his eyes as the head was squished by his General's boot.
"So, the assignment?" Jesse asked.
"Glad you asked, Private. The Iraqis have a secret bunker where they produce their technology. We've been trying to attack it for months now. Maybe you'll change something."
The General handed Jesse an earpiece. Jesse slid it into his ear, and adjusted it slightly.
The General spoke into his sleeve, and his voice seemed to be right in his ear.
"Gonzales will be the scout, and Jones will follow when needed. Then you go, Private, and enter together with them. As the General, I'll stay outside and give orders."
Gonzales nodded. Jones nodded. They had earpieces too. Jesse assumed they were all on the same frequency for ease of contact.
Jesse sighed. This was going to be a hell of a day.
~Chapter 5: The Cavern~
When Gonzales called safe, Jesse followed, cover to cover, to avoid detection.
The bunker was a big stone formation, with an underground chasm of high-tech machinery.
At least it was how the General told him.
Gonzales whistled, and waved his hand.
Jesse proceeded once more.
Gonzales looked around for Iraqis, and placed a charge.
Jesse and Gonzales hid behind a close metal cover, and the charge detonated with a slight boom.
Jesse took the time to do a weapons check. On his leg, a machine pistol, and his belt, a few grenades and C4 charges, with an ammo cache.
He then caught up with Gonzales, who had crouched through the hole and was behind a door jamb.
He motioned for Jesse to open the door. A door inside a rock formation? Jesse thought, twisting the knob and pushing it free.
Inside was a cavern-like area, with a few tunnels opening up in front of them.
Gonzales pushed a button on his gun, and it illuminated the area ahead.
Ah. thought Jesse. Flashlight.
Almost immediately, there was a crack throughout the cavern.
Out of holes in the cavern's wall, insectlike creatures flooded the room.
Gonzales stood, dumbfounded. "Hardy! Fall back!" He called.
"They're bugs. What the hell can they do?" As if on cue, a creature jumped on his back and used bit down hard.
Jesse stepped back as Gonzales screamed in pain. Blood seeped from his wound as Gonzales fell.
Then the creature looked up and saw Jesse. It lunged at him, teeth bared. Jesse swung his gun and hit the creature with the butt of his rifle.
It crumbled as if made of stone. His mind drifted off Gonzales and looked to the crowd of creatures scurrying towards him.
He leveled the red dot sight on them, and pulled the trigger. Bright flashes of light shot out of his gun, hitting the creatures one by one. After about 3 dozen were dispatched, the gun clicked.
The last bullet clinked unceremoniously on the floor. The bugs were coming out more and more by the second. Jesse sighed, and thought rationally for once in the past 2 minutes.
I'm assuming Gonzales is dead, but there's no time for tears. The bugs keep storming out of their hidey holes by the second. How will I get through if they keep coming if I have no ammo?
Instinctively, his hand dropped to his belt. There was a grenade fastened to the side. He grabbed it off and examined it. It was an Impact grenade. He sighed in relief. He tossed it into the crowd, and it exploded. He ran through the smoke, avoiding sepping on any of the bugs, which were disoriented by the grenade smoke.
He then felt his body being yanked down, further into the earth.
~Chapter Six: Separation~
Jesse's vision faded in from black.
He looked around. He was in a prison cell.
The rust was peeling off the metal bars, drenched in fresh blood.
Dead bodies lay in the hall beyond.
I fell... He thought. How did I end up here?
He looked up. No hole.
His gun and his gear had gone, and he realized he was sitting on the cot.
He rose, tendons cracking. He walked towards the bars, and dragged his hand along the rust.
It crumbled immediately.
Jesse grasped the bar and pulled with all the strength.
The bar came free, showering him with rust and dried as well as fresh blood.
He stepped out of the cell into the hall.
The light flickered, making the hall only more haunting.
He walked through the hall, avoiding the bodies.
He reached the end, where there was a door.
He grabbed the knob, and placed his ear against the door, listening for the slightest sound.
Nothing. He pushed his weight against the door.
He scoped out the new room. It was a surveillance room. The room was a circle, and spread off into two separate hallways.
There were holes carved in to the wall, allowing prison personnel to view their captives.
In the middle was a ladder, leading both up and down.
He climbed the ladder to the top floor, which was another surveillance room. He heard a loud yell from a room.
He dismounted the ladder and strolled cautiously to the peephole to the room in which the sound came from.
He placed his eye against the door and looked in.
There was the man from the hospital, rather his nightmare, pulling out a man's innards and laughing contentedly.
Jesse looked at the late victim, and held back a gasp.
The light flickered.
When the light went out, Jesse lost the sight of the man.
When the light came on, the man was in front of the peephole.
Jesse fell back, and the environment burned away, changing into something different.
He heard a voice in his ear.
"Hardy! You there? Hardy!?" The General's voice intoned.
The environment finished changing, Jesse found himself underground.
He looked up. A hole, which was plugged by a large rock.
"Y-yeah. I'm here." Jesse said.
"About damn time. I was getting nervous that we'd lost a private or two."
"In one piece, I assure you."
"Killed in action."
"Can you make it back out?"
"Negative. The entrance is sealed."
"Try to find a way out."
The line started cackling.
"firetruck!" The General swore. "The Iraqi are on to us."
The line drowned out.
Jesse sighed and picked up his rifle.
He pushed a button on his gun, and it produced a light that illuminated the environment.
He was in a hall made of ceramic tile.
There was a keycard door ahead.
Shit. Jesse thought. I have to wait until an Iraqi comes through, so I can kill him and take his keycard.
Jesse dropped his head into his palm, ashamed for thinking about taking a life in such a manner.
But, that Iraqi wouldn't think twice about killing me. He thought in his defense.
He shrank against the wall aside the door.
For what seemed like hours, nothing came, but in reality it was only 3 minutes.
An Iraqi ran through the door. Jesse shot him in the back of the head.
Qualms ran through his head, such as God bless him. and such.
He took the soldiers' rifle ammo, and then the Keycard he carried.
Jesse then looked to the end of the hall, wondering why an Iraqi would come this way anyway.
Probably to kill me. Jesse thought. Nice to know people care.
He ran the keycard through the reader, and stepped in to the next room. Or, hallway.
For what seemed as ages, Jesse traversed the chasm to no avail.
No Iraqis had come to kill him yet. Strange.
He then found a door labeled "Science Chamber 01103", and ran his keycard.
"Access denied. Keycard barcode disabled upon request of General Brown. Initializing alarm..." A voice droned.
He then heard a door open behind him.
"Hands up, US Soldier." A voice ordered.
~Chapter 7: Inhospitable Hospital ~
Jesse sighed, turning around.
He saw Jonas. Jonas was standing at the end of the hall. Grinning as if to mock Jesse.
His eyes widened. Then a car flashed over his vision, and Jonas was replaced by a man with a cigar.
His head exploded with pain. He knelt over, his head in his hands.
"I said hands up." The General said, his voice thick with Iraqi accent, aiming a pistol at him.
"Gaaah." Was all Jesse could muster.
The General advanced slowly.
A voice speaking Arabic droned through his earpiece.
"Noma. Noma. Noma." The General said.
"Talatiko banna walitacoub?" He asked in Arabic.
"Telasha ara senia? Barama, arunasai kodolahugan nahol."
Naturally, Jesse didn't understand a word. He couldn't if he wanted to, with the headache that seared his brain.
"You're coming with me." He said to Jesse, punching him in the face.
Everything went black.
Jesse came to in a hospital bed, being pushed down the hall.
Several Iraqi men were shouting over Jesse.
"The General punched him that hard? Out for two days? I expected no less."
Jesse tried moving his hands, but they were bound by leather straps, as were his ankles.
"Ah, he's up! Yum cuna delasha ara senia aren!"
Jesse was brought into a well-lit room, under a large light machine.
"Hardy? Hardy. Can you hear me? Did we lose you again?" A voice droned in his ear.
"Don't talk, you'll alert the men around you. I'm glad they forgot the earpiece. Groan if you hear."
Jesse faked a pained groan.
"Ah. Good. I heard them talking. Thank god I took Arabic. They said "We can do the X-Rays now." I wonder what for.
The light above him flashed. "I know where you are. I'll guide your escape."
The line shuddered, and a new voice came on.
"I respectfully decline, General."
"Corporal Sisk! What the hell are you doing?"
"Relieving you of your guide duty. I'll take over."
The General sighed, which sounded like somebody was showering his mike with nails.
"Hardy, I've been to that hospital before. You're still in the underground chasm, just in a lower section."
Jesse coughed to let him know that he understood.
"First, you know the switchblade in your pocket? Check if it's there."
Jesse felt his pocket with the palm of his hand.
"I assume it is. Now take it out and cut the leather."
Jesse strained his hand into his pocket, and secured the switchblade between his index finger and his middle finger.
He dragged it out, flipped it to avoid it being seen, and started with a cutting motion.
After a minute and another flash, the leather gave way.
Jesse cleared his throat to let Sisk know that he cut the strap.
"Now, make it look like the wrist is still bonded. Transfer it to your other hand."
Jesse lifted his legs half an inch and flicked it under them. He put his index finger over the open blade and dragged it under his hand.
He grasped it and cut through the leather. Which, again, took another minute and another flash.
"Now, wait. When an Iraqi comes in to disable the machinery and take you out, dispatch him and cut through your ankle bondage."
He waited for another minute, and an Iraqi came in to turn off the device.
Jesse sat up and grabbed his lower arm. He twisted his wrist, and broke his arm. It took a lot of strength, and may soon cause an ache in his arm, but it worked.
The Iraqi was surprised, and his arm became his priority.
Jesse quickly cut through his ankle bondage and jumped off the gurney. The door opened, and shots fired at him. He ducked, grabbed the Iraqi with the broken arm, and held him in front of him as a shield. He put the switchblade to his throat and threatened.
"If anybody moves, he dies."
They all froze. Jesse reached into the Iraqi's holster and grabbed a pistol. He pointed it to the group of Iraqis at the door. He advanced slowly. When he was close enough, he pushed the Iraqi on them, and they fell like dominoes. Jesse jumped over them and ran down the hall.
"Good! I heard the commotion. Now find a way out!" Jesse didn't need an order to do that.
He stopped and shot the keycard reader to the door in front of him, and it opened. Jesse dashed through, and shot the keycard reader on the other side. The door began to malfunction, and began opening and closing like a motor powered horizontal guillotine.
Jesse took a look at the room he was in.
Rifles were being carried throughout on mobile racks.
Jesse took one, and looked it over.
It wasn't a normal weapon, that was sure enough.
Experimentally, Jesse shot the space in front of him.
A bullet didn't emerge like he had expected.
Instead is was a red, concentrated sphere of energy.
After about 70 feet, it dissolved.
"Corporal Sisk, come in. I think I've found some of the technology we're searching for."
~Chapter 8: Destroy the Facility~
Iraqis flooded the room from the other side, so Jesse ducked behind a panel.
One in the crowd spoke. "Jesse James Hardy." Jesse was shocked. How did he know his name?
Jesse peered over his cover to see him. He was a General. A tag on his chest read "Brown".
He tossed a folder toward Jesse. It landed behind Jesse.
"We have information on everybody in your army." Brown said.
"Jesse, ehm, Hardy you found it? Good. I assume you're surrounded now. Thank god they don't hear me."
Brown aimed his rifle at Jesse's cover.
"Mana Rifle, .989 Millimeters distance. Can drill through solid matter, and generate a temporary shield."
Brown smirked. "What you have is a lowly Burst Rifle, same as your Hail Rifle."
Brown pulled the trigger, and Jesse sprung from behind the panel to the next.
"Ah, don't be afraid." He said.
"Hardy. Kill him and take his Auger." Jesse recognized the word Auger. Code for "Rifle".
Jesse stood from behind his cover and shot the General's lackeys. He dipped back behind it as the General laughed.
"Mere Privates. Come on, shoot me. I Implore you."
Jesse heaved a breath.
When he stood back up to shoot Brown, he saw the man with the Butcher Knife from his nightmares standing there.
"What? Too afraid, Private?" He asked, taking steps towards Jesse. It seemed to him that the man was coming closer in flashes and not steps.
Jesse's headache came back, this time more potent.
He knelt down, and what looked like blood flooded his vision. He closed his eyes and opened them.
The blood that flooded his vision was gone, and a gun barrel was touching his forehead.
"That was too easy." He cackled.
Jesse batted down his headache and grabbed the gun barrel and pushed it away, at which point Brown had fired, and the bullet, or to be apt, sphere of yellow concentrated energy, strayed from target.
Jesse stood and kneed him in the stomach, and the General doubled over.
Jesse then kneed him the head, which sent him staggering back.
Jesse ripped the Mana Rifle from his hands and shot the General in the head.
The General fell slowly, as if the air turned to syrup.
"Heh. Good job." He managed to mutter, which surprised Jesse, since the General had a hole in his head.
The syrup lifted, and the General hit the ground instantaneously.
Jesse sighed, and took his rifle, discarding the one he had.
He took the General's keycard and exited the room, and he was out of the hospital, as it seemed, and in to a Science Chamber. On the wall read "Science Chamber 01103". The one he'd tried to enter.
There were bodies. Floating in tubes with green liquid.
"Sisk. I've found something."
"What is it?"
"I don't know...there are bodies floating in tubes."
"Are the tubes labeled?"
"Affirmative. Keep searching."
Jesse then found a memo pad. It was in Arabic script.
كما أمرت، قررت لمحاولة عملية التحويل. بطبيعة الحال، إلا أنها لا تعمل بشكل جيد جدا. لقد كسرت الهيئات لقد اختبرتمن أنابيب وهاجمني. وكان التحويل فقط لنجاح حريش قبو بمدني. سمعت انها تريد قتل بعض المشاة الامريكية وخاصةملف. ولا بد لي من مواصلة أبحاثي إذا أنا لمساعدة العراق في كسب هذه الحرب. أحاول الإنسان إلى شاحن الآن، وآملمن أعماق قلبي أنهم لا يذهبون المسعورة ومهاجمتنا. بعد كل شيء، يمكن أن يكون لدينا ورقة رابحة، فضلا عن سقوطدينا.
دكتور إبراهيم، أخصائي التحويل
"Sisk, I've found a memo pad." Jesse said.
"Really? You did? What does it say?"
"It's in Arabic. I can't read i--" He was cut off by a loud crash.
The tubes had broken, and large monkey creatures were dashing towards Jesse.
In desperation, Jesse hit a button on his gun and closed his eyes, preparing himself for the worst.
But he didn't feel any pain. He opened his eyes, and there was a yellow pattern in front of him like a turtle shell.
The monkeys were banging against it, infuriated of being separated from their prey.
Jesse took aim and tried shooting. The energy shot through the shield, killing the monkey.
He dispatched the other monkey, and the shield disintegrated.
He sighed in relief. They were dead.
Sisk sighed. "Hardy. Destroy the facility. Place Charges around it. Apparently we can't take any more chances.
"D-destroy it?" Jesse asked.
"Yes. It would raise our chances of winning this war. But first, you need to disguise yourself as in Iraqi."
Jesse sighed. "Fine. I'll do it. I'll destroy the facility."
~Chapter 9: Charges~
Then a thought struck Jesse.
"Where will I get these charges?"
"firetruck. I thought you picked some up in the weapons production room."
"No, I haven't."
"For firetruck's sake, think rationally. Pick up things you may need."
"Corporal, there weren't any charges in there anyway."
'Sir' cackled into the line.
"HARDY!" He barked through the mike, which sounded as if the microphone were going through a garbage disposal.
"THE CHARGES YOU NEED ARE IN THE ROOM LABELED CORPORAL WASTE!"
"Why the hell are you shouting at me?"
"Oh. Sorry. Force of habit." 'Sir' said.
Jesse was aghast. A war General apologizing?
"Room labeled Corporal waste, eh? First dress as an Iraqi, make sure he looks like you."
Jesse swiped his card through the reader, and it beeped.
The door slid open, and Jesse stepped through.
"Alright, let's blow off some heads." Jesse said.
He saw that Iraqis had already formed a block for him, some had rocket launchers.
"Oh, can't you guys play nice?" He asked, tapping the button on the gun to form a shield.
It deflected the rockets, which exploded on the side of the hallway.
Jesse emerged from the smoke, picking them off one by one.
He took a moment to lament deliberately taking human life in such a fashion.
He ran the card through the reader, which unveiled an empty hallway.
There were hallways branching from the one he was occupying.
"Dammit. Sisk. Which direction do I go?"
"Right, then a straight, then a left, and you should be at Corporal Waste."
"Alright. Gotcha." Jesse said, taking a right.
The Iraqi security was becoming lax, Jesse observed.
What, did they give up? Not likely, but possible. He thought, running through the hall..
He took the left, and as if on cue, more Iraqis.
Jesse smirked. He ducked to avoid their bullets and fired some of his own.
They fell to the ground slowly.
Jesse advanced to the corporal waste door.
He ran the card through the reader, and the door opened.
There was a goldmine of weaponry.
Jesse could not resist muttering "Damn,".
"Hardy, what do you see?"
"Tons of weaponry."
"Take the Charges."
Jesse didn't need to be told twice. He clipped them to his belt.
He planted one in the center of the room, set it for a half hour, and exited the room.
A voice blared on the loudspeaker.
"Aldrehnz ilakhmad, barijil, tol halsoul di Ameradrica!"
'Sir' was listening to the announcement.
"Hardy, he said, "Code Red, Men, Get the American!""
"Then, I'm screwed, aren't I?"
"If you weren't already." Sisk cut in.
"Now, dress as an Iraqi. Take somebody's army suit."
"Yeah, right after I accessorize myself." Jesse said, looking at his belt, which held 5 timed-charges.
Jesse looked at the dead bodies.
He took one into the Corporal Waste room and swapped suits, which was not enjoyable.
Thankfully, their suits came with helmets, so it would not be easy to tell it wasn't him.
"Hardy, plant one in the Science Chamber. Then in the Cell Hall. Then when you come up, in the cavern, cave them in."
"Alright, alright. But when I get out of here, I want to see some hallways made of materials other than stainless steel."
~Chapter Ten: The Third Party~
"Where do I place these charges?" The line replied with nothing but static.
"Dammit!" Jesse shouted. But no Iraqi had come. He heard gunshots come through the earpiece.
"Sisk! Are you okay?" No response.
"Listen to me, and listen good." A voice came from the other side.
"Um, okay." Jesse replied, even though he had many sarcastic comments ready, like My mommy told me not to talk to strangers.
"The first charge goes into the--" More gunshots. "Science Chamber X85."
"But Sisk said--"
"firetruck him. Do what I say. I know this facility like the back of my hand."
"Okay. And who are you?"
"No time. Go! I'll tell you what time to program it to when you get there."
Jesse was surprised that there were no Iraqis barring his path.
After a while of roaming, Jesse found it. The Science Chamber.
He sighed. Too easy. No challenge. He proceeded to place the charge.
Minerva stuck behind cover, bullets flying from Iraqi gun barrels to the door jamb she was taking cover behind.
She grinned, looking at her tube. A little present to the American army. A sample of their creatures.
This sample could topple the Iraqis chances of winning the war, and plummet them into the negatives.
She knew more of the Iraqis then they would care to let on,which made her priority number one.
She cooked a grenade and tossed it through the propped open door.
A muffled boom and smoke traveled through the door.
She had personal reasons for doing this to the Iraqis-- mostly because General Brown ruthlessly killed her family.
Being inside a war zone meant being forced to cooperate with one of the opposing sides.
She ran in after the smoke cleared.
She ran her keycard through the reader to the door on the left side of the hall, where more Iraqis stood guard.
She left the card in there and took cover in the door jamb again.
She loaded her pistol and inclined her head to see them.
She dispatched them one by one, and they fell to the ground. She took out her keycard, and advanced through the door.
She took one of their rifles and slung the strap around her.
"Okay. What time, and next charge?" Jesse's voice came through on the other end.
"26:23, Hospital. West wing." She told him.
"Got it." Jesse replied.
She examined her new rifle.
No bullet chamber. Does this gun reload? She thought.
She ran her keycard through the next door, and it beeped.
"Access denied. Barcode disabled upon request of General Maquis.
"firetruck," she swore under hear breath. She knelt over and picked up a keycard off an Iraqis dead body, and swiped it.
It beeped. "Access denied. Required rank is General."
A door opened at the end of the hallway.
"Heheh. Minerva. What a pleasant surprise." He said with a chuckle.
Jesse made his way through the abandoned hallways, wondering where the Iraqis went.
He planted the charge in the center of the west ring.
"Hey, what time?" Jesse asked.
"24:46." Came a breathy voice.
Minerva was in a firefight with General Maquis, so she couldn't give much of a response.
"Mess hall 6X3."
Jesse stood up and turned around, running out of the hospital wing into the third area.
Gunshots sounded on his earpiece. But not normal gunshots. Ones from a rifle similar to his.
After a bit of running and keycard swiping, he found the Mess Hall 6X3.
He planted a charge in the center of the room.
"Time, next charge?" Jesse asked.
"20:39, General's briefing." Came the woman's voice.
Jesse rose automatically and began to leave when the doors burst open.
"Hands up! You are to be detained!" Somebody from the crowd shouted.
"Like hell I will." Jesse muttered, throwing a grenade at them and taking cover behind a beam that kept the room from caving in.
They dispersed, and the grenade exploded harmlessly.
He was then locked into a firefight with them, which took more time then necessary.
"Dammit. It'll take more time this way, but it can't be helped."
He turned around and ran towards the other exit.
"Make chase!" One shouted, but the lackeys didn't have time to execute it, because on the way out, Jesse shot the beams, caving the room in.
Jesse hoped it didn't effect the charge.
After more of running and card swiping, he advanced to the General's briefing.
"Time, next charge." Jesse said into the earpiece.
"13:23, Hallway B6J2."
Jesse sighed. He wasn't good with specifics.
After a while longer, he found the hallway.
"Time." He said into the mike.
"2:53." She said.
"Are you kidding me? firetruck!" He said, planting it and immediately running.
But it was already too late.
Six simultaneous explosions sounded, and the facility caved in.
~Chapter 11: Minerva Mari~
Jesse awoke coughing, and static flooding into his ear.
"Hey! Girl! You okay?"
"What? A girl?" Came the other end.
"Oh, Sisk, thank god you're okay. There was a woman helping me. Don't know what happened to her when the bombs exploded."
Jesse walked through the ruined door and analyzed the room.
There was a person standing there, head and limbs twitching manically.
He advanced, and the person immediately ran.
He started running, and almost tripped over a metal pipe sticking up from the floor.
"Hardy, leave that place now! The survivors besides you have been affected by radiation. I'm guessing this 'girl' too."
"But I can't just leave her."
"Hardy, do you have feelings for a girl you don't know?"
"Then report back."
"That was an order."
"I'll act upon it when I find the girl."
A sigh came through the line.
"Fine. Don't keep me waiting."
Corporal Sisk drowned out of the line in a rush of static. Jesse advanced when his brother's face flashed across his vision.
His head exploded in pain, and he doubled over.
He heard a murmuring voice telling him not to run.
He looked up and saw the man from his dreams.
He gasped and tried scrambling away, but remembered that he had a weapon.
He took hold of his rifle which was dangling to his side and shot the man until he realized the man wasn't feeling any pain.
He put his eye against the sight and shot him in the head.
A hole blew through the man's nose, and he continued walking, but soon fell over.
"Hey! Girl!" He yelled over the line.
"Hey! Girl!" Awoke Minerva. "Yes?"
"Oh thank god...you're alive! What hall are you in?"
"F43M7." She recited to Jesse.
"firetruck...that sounds far."
"Wait, why do you ask, American?"
"Chain of effect. You help me, I help you. What goes around comes around."
"No...no...I didn't even do that much." She replied modestly.
"What you did caused a large facility to turn to ashes. Don't be modest."
She sighed. "Fine. I'll try to meet you in the Weapon Production room."
"Minerva, be careful. Some Iraqis have mutated."
She didn't need to respond. After all, she had planned it.
She cracked her knuckles and picked up her rifle.
She advanced through the halls and kept an eye out for Iraqis.
Strange...there wasn't any around her...perhaps Jesse lied?
"Minerva. What's your last name?"
"Mari." She replied nonchalantly.
Jesse then turned off the frequency that connected him and Minerva.
He turned to the frequency that connected him and Sisk.
"Sisk. Pull the file on one 'Minerva Mari'."
"Is 'Please' out of fashion?" He sighed.
"College student, 19 years old, perky, wears red clothing most of the time. Fluent in Arabic, French, and English."
"Damn," Jesse muttered. Three languages? I only have one and a half.
"Why do you ask?"
"She's the one who's been helping me."
"Really? Says here that she hates Iraqis and..."
"She's a very skilled manipulator. Jesse, did she tell you where to put the charges?"
"firetruck! Jesse! She planned this!"
Sisk sighed. "She manipulates American to place charges in Iraq territory. The charges destroy the facility, yet leave crucial places intact."
"Isn't that what we wanted?"
"We wanted complete decimation."
"What are the rooms intact?"
"The technology productions room, Neuroprocessing chamber, and Conversion Lab."
"Why does she want those rooms?"
"She's not here just to help you, I can decipher that much."
Jesse sighed. "I'm still helping her out."
"We still got the facility destroyed. So what, there's a few rooms rest? What if the army can use those rooms?"
"Possible, but it's Iraqi technology! Who's good on stuff like that?"
"The subject's topic. Minerva Mari."
~Chapter 12: Not Everything Died in the Explosion~
"Now, Jesse, I see why you can assume that. If she wanted the rooms, she must be knowledgeable on them. But what if her guess is as good as ours?"
"You know what's strange? You're in the army, yet you call me by my first name. Care to explain?"
"J-- Hardy. Now isn't the time for that."
Jesse heaved a sigh. "Fine."
He reached a dead end in his hallway. He looked at the side and turned the gun's light on. It illuminated the hallway's number.
"Hallway E99H65." He muttered under his breath.
He turned the light and saw that wreckage lead up into the facility's ventilation system.
"firetruck me." He muttered, climbing up into the ventilation system.
He heaved himself in, the edge scraping his stomach viciously.
He heard skittering around in the vents, and thought it was just the surviving roaches. As much as it grossed him out, he didn't waver.
He changed the frequency on his earpiece, in case Minerva had an update.
He then chanced upon a scent that would stay in his nostrils for a few years.
It was probably sulfur that sunk into the facility after explosion.
Jesse ventured around the vents corner and found himself coming in through the ceiling into a strange stream of liquid, and the scent grew stronger. He grasped a pipe, hanging over the rank liquid.
"Minerva. What's this? Shit liquid? Rankest thing I ever smelled."
"That, Boy, is the facility's sewage. If you take that you should end up a few hallways near the Weapon Production hall, in the Sewage Filtration room. Have fun swimming!" Jesse could tell she was enjoying this. "For future reference, my name is Jesse."
He sighed, plugged his nose and let go. The green water felt strange, so he bat his hands downward to accelerate his ascent.
When he surfaced, he shook his head, the liquid flying in all directions. Even while he held his breath, the scent traveled its' way into his nostrils.
He coughed erratically, and started a front crawl maneuver, while awkwardly trying to keep his mouth, eyes, and nose away from the water.
After what seemed like ages, his hand hit something, and he grasped it. He saw metal bears, gallantly intervening in his path. Behind them, a narrow stream of green water being processed into clean water.
He placed his hand on his shoulder and his hand slid down the strap, expecting his auger, but found nothing but a broken strap.
"firetruck!" He swore. "Minerva! My auger is gone and I can't use it to cut through the metal bars."
"And is that really a problem? You must have some sort of explosive device.
Jesse sighed. "No, I used them, remember? Rather powerful charges, now that I think of it...."
"Never mind that, let me think..."
Jesse held onto the bars patiently.
"You have a knife, don't you?"
"Minerva, please, these aren't plastic."
"No, seriously. The Iraqi's knives have some strange cords, like...Bungie cords, on them. Jesse, how rusted are the bars?"
Jesse slid his hand down a bar. "Mild."
"Okay, tie the cord around a bar. Swim up the stream, and stick it in the rock formation."
Jesse did so, and plunged his knife in the rock formation, which took a few tries, until he decided just to carve through it.
"Now how do I get it to stay?"
For the life of him, Jesse cannot figure out how exactly this worked.
He let the knife go, and it sprang from its' hold, crashing through the bar.
"Is the space wide enough to enter?"
"Was it really necessary to stick it in the rock?" He asked.
"No, I just enjoyed making you do extra work."
He pushed himself through the bars, and found himself surrounded by Chargers, who beat their chests in sight of prey.
"Minerva. I have a slight problem."
"Chargers. Lots of them. No rifle."
"Their weak spot is their stomach, when hit by a blunt, hard force."
"You're not implying what I think you are, are you?" Jesse grimaced, observing that the Chargers were done beating their chests.
"Don't you ever watch UFC?"
"I don't either."
Jesse evaded an attack from a Charger, and climbed out of the narrow stream.
Chargers, apt to their name, began rushing towards Jesse.
Jesse cleared his mind.
Okay, fistfight with about ten monkeys...
He looked them over, the malice streaming out of their eyes.
Yeah, you 'll live.
Jesse took the offensive, and kicked a Charger in its' stomach. It howled, and slumped over.
Wow, Minerva was right.
He then uppercutted another in the stomach, and it flew back three feet.
"Home run!" Jesse announced.
A Charger leaped into the air, high over Jesse, coming down with tremendous force. Jesse caught it and hurled it into the wall.
It fell, and didn't get up.
Chargers weren't really monkeys per se, they were about as tall as humans and had the strength of 3 bricks in a single punch.
Which is why Jesse stumbled back when a Charger punched him across the face.
Jesse's brain rattled within its' skull, causing a migraine. He saw stars, making him susceptible to a few more blows, which were delivered with gusto.
Jesse's attackers were then interrupted by sudden gunshots.
Jesse's vision faded into black.
I got beat up by monkeys. Wouldn't Jonas have a laugh?
~Chapter 13: Jonas~
Jesse found himself running down a forest path.
He was chasing after somebody in a black coat, who only drew farther and farther
away. Involuntarily, Jesse's hand went up and started shouting, "Come back!"
The man in the coat turned around. It was Jonas.
His eyes glowed red, staring at Jesse.
Jesse caught up, panting. "Jonas. Who was that man? With the knife."
When Jonas replied, the tone surprised Jesse. It was like a whole opera harmonizing together.
"The man is what can be considered you. You left me to die and saved yourself. That man represents your newfound creed, to take
life and preserve yours in the name of the American Army, the Iraqi war. You've converted into the man
from your nightmares."
Jesse fell back, and his flesh burned. His skin festered and morphed, and he was
suddenly the man, in a cell, pulling out the man's innards, then slitting
Jonas's throat on a dishieveled hospital floor.
Rain patted his hair down as he looked up at Jonas, who was no longer there. It was
himself. His dreamself was shooting many Iraqi soldiers, grinning as he did so.
He felt a pang of guilt, and shot up, holding his dreamself's gun down. "Stop.
Please." He said to his dreamself, and his vision faded into black, and he found
himself against a wall, with a girl holding ice packs against his stomach and head.
"Who are you?" He asked immediately, pulling away and aiming his rifle at her.
"Who have you been talking to for the past hour?"
"I-i talk in my sleep?" Jesse asked.
"Sort of. You kept mothing the words 'I'm not a murderer, brother'.
Jesse sighed, dropping the rifle to his side. "I'm guessing you're Minerva."
"In the flesh."
"Then we need to leave."
"I need to do something first."
"I need to take a sample of my blood and enhance it using the rooms remaining from
"What exactly are you planning to accomplish that way, Minerva?"
"I'll be the first human to meld with manmade creature cells, and possibly end all Iraqi life, with given enhancements."
"Talk about sadistic."
"It will take only an hour. Will you assist me?"
Jesse heaved another sigh. "Fine. As long as it can end this war and my rabid killing."
"I assure you."
"Fine." Jesse said, beginning his advance down the hall.
"Um, the Neuroprocessing chamber is that way."
"I knew that," Jesse said immediately, turning around and emerging in the other burnt hallway.
There were more of the stone-bug-things in the wall. Jesse aimed at the walls, picking them off one by one.
"Sisk, the retrieval of Minerva will need to wait a bit longer." Jesse said, changing the frequency.
"Dammit Je--Hardy, what now?"
"She has vital leads on ending the war with the rooms she saved."
"Make it quick, or the window is closing.
Jesse knew exactly what those words meant.
The words meant that they were closing all entrances and exits of the specified area, nothing gets out, nothing gets in
"Affirmative. Hour and a half tops."
"You're on thin ice with that proclamation, but I'll see what I can do to prolong the closing."
The frequency burst into static. "Sisk? Sisk! Come in, Sisk!" Nothing but static responded.
"firetruck," Minerva swore. "The Crypt Dwellers are eating into the wireless feed connection. If we move in range of another, we might regain connection."
"But we don't have time for that, do we?"
"Figured as much."
Soon, they chanced upon the Neuroprocessing Chamber. Tubes were spread around the room like an intricate blood vessel network.
Immediately, Minerva picked up a syringe, and stabbed it into her arm, a bit of blood spraying a few feet in front of her.
"Emo much?" An observing Jesse commented.
She stuck it in and fastened it, and used her other hand to pull blood out.
"G-guh-gah.." She moaned as 1 and a half ounces was extracted from her arm.
She pulled it out, leaving a small hole in her elbow crevice.
She walked over to the machinery and inserted the syringe, and the machine sucked the blood up. It ran through the tubes and a voice said, "Sample ready for extraction. Insert holding chamber."
Minerva took a strange vial from the shelf, and placed it into a different part of the machine. Blood filled it immediately. Minerva pulled it out an placed a cap on it.
"To the next room now." She chided, and exited to room.
Jesse followed. "Mind telling me what you did?"
"Merged the neuro-cells of the creatures with my blood."
"Ah. But wouldn't that make you a creature yourself?"
"No. But it will make me near-invincible."
After a bit of walking and killing a few creatures, they found the Technology Productions room. Minerva entered without a word and placed the blood into a cube-like machine. She typed a few phrases into the computer, and the machine rumbled to life.
"What is this doing?"
"Removing toxins that can kill me whence the blood is placed back into me."
"Freaky enough, but how the hell does this room, and the others, have power?"
"Each room is fitted with its' own electricity generator."
Jesse nodded approvingly.
The machine beeped, and the blood surged back into the vial. Minerva removed it.
"Now to the conversion lab."
"Why did you say 1 hour? This was only ten minutes."
"Because in the conversion lab there is a stasis module there, where my body is disabled and the blood cells," She held up her vial, "Will reproduce and my immune system will fail defending it, but will be strengthened by the invader."
"It sounds like this invader doesn't want to do damage."
"Under normal circumstances, it would. But not whence I've removed the toxins."
Soon, they arrived at the Conversion Lab, where Minerva want to the side of the room, where a row of Stasis machines were lined up. She pressed a button and the glass cover lifted, air hissing at Jesse and Minerva.
"This will take some time." She grabbed a syringe and twisted the plunger off. She poured the vial's contents into the hole, and replaced the plunger, and inserted the blood into her system. The veins bear the area of effect bulged with surprise at an unexpected addition to their ranks. She slipped into the stasis module and pressed the button. The glass cover slid over her, compressing air in the chamber.
Instantly, Minerva shut her eyes and her body went blue.
The hand of the clock above her chamber twisted to 45 minutes, and started ticking.[/color][color=#282828] [/color]
~Chapter 14: Music~
Jesse sat in wait, when he heard a strange tune emanate from the loudspeakers.
At first it just sounded like wind, but it beat up into a rational tune.
Then, a female voice started singing:
Maybe I...didn't love you...quite as often as I should have...
Maybe I didn't hold you....quite as long as I should have...
And maybe I didn't treat you quite as good as I should have...
I'm so sorry....I was blind....
You were always on my mind...
You were always on my mind....*
Jesse had the feeling he'd heard the song somewhere before, but he didn't remember where.
He heard a voice through the constant static on his earphone.
"Je-- we-- und-- attac-- report... ba-- as soon a-- poss--"
"Sisk! Sisk! Sisk? Come in, Sisk!"
No response, except for gunshots and screams of pain, muffled by static.
"Sisk! Status report!"
Still no response.
Then the static died down into legible voices.
"لا تترك أي رجل على قيد الحياة! يجب أن يعرف هذا اليوم ان الجيش العراقي قد ضرب ضربة كبيرة على أمريكا!" A voice yelled in Arabic.
"ما من رجل في قاعدتنا خراب؟ أيضا ، تلك المرأة؟" A voice responded.
تركها لتموت. The first voice responded, then dashed by a rush of static.
The song on the loudspeaker got even louder.
Jesse's head exploded in pain once again, and he passed out.
Jesse found himself in a strange room, where the walls were red and looked like organs, beating solemnly.
He looked up and saw a web of metal bars that intervened his escape.
"...is this real...?" He muttered to himself.
He was wearing different clothes, casual would be the word to describe his attire.
]He patted against the wall, and jumped up, attempting to grab the bars.
He finally succeeded, and it came free as soon as he grabbed it. He jumped up again and went through the hole.
He found himself inside a long narrow hallway, and Jonas was far ahead of him.
Jesse started running, but found it unhelpful.
The hallway stretched, and Jonas went farther and farther, until Jesse collapsed, his lungs burning.
Jonas was now in front of him, crouching down, as a man would to be level with a child.
Jesse looked up and saw Jonas.
But it wasn't the Jonas he remembered.
His face was bloody and had lesions all over it.
Through the mess of lumps, Jesse spotted a grin.
His head suddenly bursted in pain again, and he closed his eyes.
Jesse opened his eyes to see Minerva's stasis module folding back its' glass cover.
At first, Jesse saw Jonas in the chamber, his face thawing, which caused Jesse the usual headache. He closed his eyes and shook his head, opening them again. Minerva was attempting to exit the module, but her body was too busy running a systems check.
After her mad twitching, the body had reaccustomed itself to Minerva's nervous system and the patterns it sent.
Jesse reached inside the module and fished her out by her hand.
He helped her out, and Minerva collapsed on the floor.
Jesse held out his hand, but she batted it away.
"I'm fine. This stuff is normal for stasis module users."
Jesse nodded, but that didn't dash his concerns
"Now, where's an exit? You must know of one, Minerva."
Posted by Azure Flame on 20 January 2012 - 10:13 PM
Inhabiter: Squall Leonhart
Personality: A bit of a loner, though wants to make friends.
Height/Weight: 5'8, 155lbs
Posted by Lu Xun on 20 January 2012 - 07:42 PM
Post your opinions
Chapter 3.4 - A successful escape
“Repeating -- 10 minutes before crashing.” the voice said.
“IDIOT, give me the password now!!!!” Keyla said.
“Never... If I die, you’ll die as well.” the captain replied.
Then, the woman that had fainted finally woke up, and was slowly trying to attack the captain from behind.
“YOU DUMB BLOND -- I STILL NEED HIM” Keyla said this before throwing one knife, which she had been holding with her right hand, in the direction of that woman.
Everything that was heard was one last scream from that poor woman. The captain panicked, and was now aware of how mad Keyla truly was. If she did that with her, she could easily kill him -- but not quickly, make it a painful, slow death.
“You... monster....” the captain said.
“AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! Me? Am I the monster here? By what I’ve seen, you tricked that woman. She asked how you two were going to get out of this tragic situation alive -- but you were selfish. You lied to her. You must have said that you two would be able to get out safe... She might even be your lover! And I’m the monster? Baby, I just learned that we need to pretend to be cold as an ice berg -- otherwise the world will make us suffer so much -- and we’ll barely feel any happiness at all. That’s why I’ve ‘forgotten’ all my feelings. Life has made me such a cold person. But, here, my dear, it seems like I’m not the monster.” Keyla replied.
“How do you --” the captain said.
“Hahahaha. I am right... I knew it... Humans... We’re all equal. We pretend we care for others, but inside, we only care about ourselves. I’ve learned it the hard way. But enough about that.” Keyla said.
“You’re not crazy --- you’re worse -- you don’t feel bad for anything.” the captain replied.
“Call me whatever you desire. You don’t know what I’ve been through.” Keyla said.
“Five Minutes before crashing! Five Minutes before crashing!” the voice said.
“Hahaha. You’re smart, little boy. It seems you were trying to distract me, so both of us would die -- but your tricks end now.” Keyla said.
“What?” the captain replied.
Keyla then picked the captain, and put the knife that she was holding in her left hand, and put it in the captain’s neck.
“We still have five minutes. It’s more than enough time to torture you. Ahahahahaha! What do you prefer, little boy? Slowly die with a knife in your neck, or simply die because of the airplane? I would choose to have the quickest death possible, which would be caused by the crash of the airplane... But it’s up to you.” Keyla said.
“I -- don’t know.” the captain replied.
“Oh, you DON’T know? How sad. I’ll start with the torture then.” Keyla replied.
Slowly, she started to hurt him with the knife. After feeling a tremendous pain, he finally decided to say the password.
“STOP! I’ll tell you the word.. The password....” the captain said.
“Ahahahahaahhaa! Yes! Finally! Come on, baby! Say it!” Keyla replied.
“The password... it’s my name... Georg...” the captain replied.
Then, she left him on the ground, and tried to put the password. It worked. She had finally found her escape route. Without waste any more second, she pressed the button that made the transport fly.
“Ahahaahahahaha! May you all die. I am the one who will be able to tell the tale. Bye-bye, Georg. And bye to you too -- dumb woman.” Keyla said.
She had turned into a completely crazy person. Time had really been hard on her. But, of course, she was weak enough to follow that road. She had the support of her family, but even so, she decided to follow the wrong path.
The captain Georg used his last energy to send a report to the men on Earth.
“Alert.Alert. A Mysterious woman has stolen PWF-0005, and killed a woman that works here. I’m also injured, but the airplane is going to crash very soon -- Please, catch her!” the captain said his last words.