About Me

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Writer, soldier, thinker, and science fiction lover. I just can't seem to find a way to divide my adventurous self of constant outdoor activity and exercise from my nerdy self playing games and going to conventions. So why not just be both?

 I am a young professional living out of Tallahassee, Florida for the past five years. I have been on a deployment with the United States Army and continue to work outside of my other occupations to better myself mentally and physically. My passion for writing is driven by my passion for everything I find entertaining in life, and of course by my friends and family.

Monday, November 28, 2016

It is done! "American Crime Tale"

November's writing is over for me, and I have completed a second book as promised! It is a crime thriller following the rise of a drug lord in the US.

With that completion I will return to writing more regular blog entries. I hope to have more updates regarding the status of my two books in the coming weeks.

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Silent Hill cosplays

So I wanted to do a Pyramid Head cosplay for myself and have my girlfriend go as one of the nurses. So for nearly two months I worked to create these two creatures.

I started with a 36' by 48' red cardboard display board (the kind you see at science fairs). I chose red because my two options were white, or red at my local store. I figured red would be easier to cover, and if it did end up chipping some or peeling it wouldn't throw off the look too much. I wish I still had the photos of my early work because it's almost impossible to understand the simple starting platform it all came from.

The first step was to get a shape. I needed three triangles, one for each side of the head, and one to create the back of the helmet. I knew 48 inches was the smallest and for my frame unfortunately, the largest I could go while still getting that look. I worked around getting the angle just right. I can't recall the number that worked, but once I got the first cut, I just used the first cut as a template for the second cut, and done. Now I had to fill the back with the third piece. This was extremely difficult to get right. You could make two pieces as others have done, but I didn't have a clamp soft enough to hold the two I already had, and I'm thankful I didn't try because I spent a good hour just trying to hold it up. I had to do this twice. I messed up once, thinking I could just use the back as a template. I somehow ended up with a piece too small to fill the gap. So I used that piece to create one I knew would be too large, and then shaved it to fit.

This sounds simple, but by the end, just getting it to a point where it was ready to be stuck together took almost four hours by itself. I used painter's tape to hold the form as I went to town on the entire structure with a hot-glue gun. I knew the end product would cover up and make the glue look good so I just filled any edge with glue that I could.  It dried well, and was surprisingly sturdy.

The next step was to cut out eyelets. I am a big fan of being able to see, so I cut massive eyelets which would cause me issues later. I now I had a simple head created.

I knew I wanted to create armor looking plates, like they were welded together, so I used EVA foam strips, cut them into rectangles and spray-painted them black with black textured outdoor Rustolleum. I will admit I also screwed up on the side piping, I should have made it come out on its own, but I just took a pvc pipe and painted it black, and glued it on. Crap work on my part. Now with the EVA strips painted I put a coat of black across the head. With the first coat of everything dry I glued the EVA parts around the edges to do two things. 1) Cover up the carboard sides 2) Create plate like look. Worked great. The foam with glue looked like welded metal. I took bolts and screws and glued them on and it finished the look I wanted. I took copper paint to add to the look, I knew painting wasn't done yet, but wanted to get the base to look solid first.

The next step here that gave me a headache was covering the eyelets. Remember I said I cut them large, I figured I could get a thick screen material that was one way and put that across and it would be dark enough. Wrong, I double layered it and it was still very easy to see through. I had to think of some way to address this, I also needed to add a base trim, more coats of paint, and worse, it wasn't level, I needed a counter weight!

Here is the attempt at the helmet to this point.
 To solve the weight issue, I took real copper water pipes and painted them black. I used them on the back to create the industrial look, and they worked well. Their weight was perfect and kept the helmet centered. I put two more coats of paint on, and began to add brown and red to put in that old blood and rust look. I also cut two strips of cardboard for the trimming and put them along the bottom. I Then took a dremel to shave them to fit right.

I was really upset with how it was looking. Also, I found out that when wearing it the back was showing my hair, and I have short cut hair meaning my head was peaking out. To solve this I ended up taking another piece of cardboard and increasing the length creating a plan like look hanging off the back. I literally screwed it on which helped give it a good look. I also got another dark sheer material which I used to line the inside.
I then decided that shoulder cuts did not look right when I wore it, instead of giving up on the project like I wanted to at this point, I did something similar to what I did to the back. I created armor plate covers.
I needed a break from the head. So I went to work on both his apron and on the nurse outfit. For the apron I bought two white aprons from amazon, a short and a long. The long would be used for the back and the front would be used to cover the front. For the nurse outfit I found a supplier of simple nurse uniforms for nursing graduation and bought a white one. All three items would get three soakings in hot coffee to create an aged look. I also added the first wave of paint coloration on my apron to start creating that grit look. Liking what I saw I took a butane lighter to the edges of both outfits. I then proceeded to mark it with charcoal, paint in both brown, red, black and copper. I used red mixed with brown for old blood, and used special effects blood for fresh smears.

Next was to begin working on the head of the Nurse. I thought at first I would just wrap my girlfriend in bandages and then paint the bandages, but I wanted something that could be kept and reused and have the same look. So I went with plaster. Buying three rolls of thin cut plaster, I then took a plastic bag which I used to cover my girlfriend's head as I dipped the strips in water. I created the base of the mask by putting a X across her face and then simple wrapped her head in haphazard laps to create that bandage look. Carefully pulling the semi dry mask off her face, we placed the mask on a foam head and allowed it to dry over night.

Using a base of black acrylic paint I created dark edges where blood would be added and lots of black around the eyelets to help conceal the eyes when it was finished. I used red mixed with brown to start creating a dried blood look and placed that in areas that I then blackened. I used more black on a brush with light drags to create burn like marks across the plaster. I did attempt to burn the plaster with a lighter, it did not work very well and took too long, so paint was the only way.

 I then bought special effects blood that is made to dry looking wet. I filled in the opening with this gel and made the eyelets darker with red. I let my girlfriend continue to paint and add blood as she wanted since she would be the one wearing it. She added more black, more red, and had fun adding blood across it all.
Now I had to return to the pyramid head. I decided to blast it all with more coats of paint, focused on adding small rust detail with brown and copper. I then took random combinations of red/brown/black and smeared it across the areas with my hands. I then took the special effects blood from the nurse above and just allowed it to be poured across it at random.

I was much happier with it at this point.
Now we needed to add the finishing touches to it all. We took out outfits and using cheap halloween blood in a squirt bottle, we blasted the outfits with blood splatters. I bought a cheap fake spear, and using the bronze paint and blood repainted it from grey to brown. My girlfriend used a halloween hypodermic needle with a glow stick in the middle for her weapon. She also added a nurse hat to the top, she aged it the same method as we did the tops and aprons.

To give our own skin the ghastly look, we used white body paint, a water activated makeup set to make our bodies pale. I soaked one hand in blood and felt good about it. And that's it!

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Hurricane Matthew

Hello everyone, my writings were delayed due to the hurricane that swept through the East late last week. No worries, my area was not hit; however, I did get activated to responded to areas that were affected by the hurricane. Fortunately for Florida, the damage was minimal and as of yet, there has not been any deaths in Florida. I wish the best for our fellow Americans in Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina who were hit the hardest during the hurricane.

Updates on what is going on here:

I announced my second novel! This novel is crime thriller, similar to my short about Catherine the serial killer, but following a completely different premise. I believe this will be the most thrilling writing I have done. You can follow or even join me at NaNoWriMo and see the writing get finished by the end of November.

My first novel, yes it is complete, as in all the words are put together on pages. I have a peer edit happening now, looking at story line and content. From there I will be sending it to my new editor, I have decided CreateSpace's editors will be the best option for my venture because 1. They are corporate and personal issues will not conflict as they had with my first editor 2. They offer a relatively cheap three round editing session which hits all the major areas.

My short stories here will continue to be written, but with November quickly approaching, this blog will take a side step as I focus on my newest novel in the hopes of finishing it by the end of the month.

My cosplay, still working on new ones. Hopefully I can post my finished products for the month of October here soon. I am working on two Silent Hill cosplays and am very excited about showing off the hard work that has gone on for two months.

ALIENS! I have a very nice collection of Alien figures and since they are currently just post very cool, I thought I'd take a swing at creating a diorama for them. The end work will be displayed here.

Friday, September 30, 2016

A New Kind of War (Inner Workings)

 The Regret knew what had happened. It wasn't that hard to foresee. The universe had a cosmic harmony to it. Everything ended, but that moment had not been the end to him, to Juan, yes. Just like the deplorable Americans and their sense of rights and liberties, everything has a end though. The Americans never realized theirs ended decades ago, just as the man as he is now does not know his time has come. The Regret would use his supreme ability to show him the faults of his ways, and convert him.
  At at time, someone like him would have been proclaimed to be royalty, sent from God. Of course, religion was only a means to control the masses, and in the last century it has become much simpler, with the singular exclusion to the arrogant American public. But soon enough, they too would be subjects, as truly, the 99% of the masses belong, subject to a singular righteous body to do as it saw fit. Hector, The Regret would be among the elite. Of course, neither the SoA or any singular government would understand. This was a global movement, done by the very select elite and carried over and worked on in each era.
 Now they were so close. And he would be The Regret's perfect pawn to tip the balance. He needed strong pawns to be the iron fist. People need to be subjugated, controlled, and especially disarmed. Even for his loyal work with the SoA, they did not fulfill his personal quest enough, the Soviets had almost done so, but since the death of his dear friend in 1953, the Motherland was never really the same.
   Hector sealed the door behind him. Turning he faced a long corridor, the walls were concrete, the center walk way was a grated metal catwalk over a body of water that should have been stagnant but in the last hour had begun to slightly rise. The water was just reaching the point to which it was touching the catwalk. In the next half hour he expected it to be ankle depth. But he was not concerned about the rising water, his guest was about to enter through the door at the opposite end of the catwalk.
 The door squealed and water poured in at the step.

 Zane saw the last submarine off. He didn't see Hector Kajima on board, he doubt he missed him. The bastard was still around somewhere. He had other issues to attend to. His small contingent and himself remained behind to attempt to learn as much as they could on the secret server. The server, if his commander's suspicions were correct, were more important than the rail-gun itself. The potential of  holding the facility after they cracked the server was complicated by several structural breaches that occurred after the main passage was destroyed. Now the holding tanks for the facilities weapon develop sector was leaking into the general water passage and maintenance corridors. Too much was at play against Zane and his SoA contingent, but information was power.
 Zane had to swallow a tough pill, even for a combat veteran. It wasn't easy first learning your origins had been a lie, the learning most of your life had been orchestrated, but lastly to learn his creator had no other motive other than 'they could.' His actions weren't any more treasonous than Eve's had been in the Garden of Eden.
 The next hour he'd be on his flight, to his first steps of freedom, and the first attempts at a world freedom as well.      

Clark heaved, the door creaked, squealed and water poured from around his feet into the next room. At the far end of the long room stood a thin man. Clark locked his arms out, steady and squared up ready to fire his pistol. The figure didn't move. Clark eased off the trigger. Maybe he was another scientist who made it?
 "I've been expecting you." Clark kept his muzzle pointed at the man. His eyes narrowed. He knew something was wrong. The walls began to bend at his peripherals, no he ignored it, focus on the man. Clark said nothing in response. "You look just like him."
"Who are you?"
 "You can call me The Regret, and I want to see all your sins." The man flung his arm out. Clark almost squeezed the trigger, but the man's hand was empty. Just an empty hand pointing out to him. There was a nothing be silence between them.
  And then it began.
  An ear piercing whistling, like a dental drill being dragged across a blackboard inside of his head. He wavered, winced, pressing against his skull to get the noise to stop. He fell to his hands and knees, the water soaking into him and the noise stopped.
 Clark stood, blinking his eyes from the tears that watered their edges. He found his footing, and blinked at the images that were coming to him, trying to blink them away. He was no longer in the artificial caverns of the facility, but in wet soggy riverbed.
 The banks were steep but short, thick lush prehistoric like plants were hindered from reach him only by the barrier of water he stood in. The water was moving, a soft stream just over his ankles. The water was murky, clouded and impossible to see through. His legs felt weighted, and a heavy fog rolled across the stream before him. Too much fog rolled across the top of the stream between Clark and where the man who claimed to be the Regret had stood to be seen. Yet all around Clark he could heavy the heavy breathing of the man, like the trees were speakers blasting the sound around him.
 Clark took several step forward, he felt heavy and burdened, carrying weight that didn't belong.
 "You are a murderer." The man's voice came from the fog and from within him simultaneously. Clark looked behind him but he was alone, and in front of him, there the fog swirled. The fog swirled and hardened in thick lines, heavy arms and a disfigured face. "You convince yourself doing so on behalf of others isn't murder, but that makes you a liar." Clark took another step forward, dragging his right leg with him. The fog had created the image of the reptilian man he had faced. The figure floated, a phantom given form. The thing lunged, Clark  threw his hands up last second. The hit never came, but his gut tightened and a knot gripped his body. The figure was gone. A chill rose from within his bones, worse than when he had awoken in the snow fields, a knot grew tighter in his stomach.
 Clark moved forward. The fog swirled and more shapes began to take hold. Clark tried to move faster, faster to the end of where ever, to where ever but his legs moved as fast as concrete pillars.
 He saw other faces, faces of old friends, Army buddies and faces of enemies around the world begin to form. The was suddenly Randal, and old Birdman standing at the side of the banks. He stopped and looked at them, their semi-transparent figures looking at him from their sides and then down, disgust and disappointment painted across their features.
 "You could have kept us alive." But neither of their lips moved. Neither ghostly figures moved, even if they could see, they wouldn't look at the hurt that was in his eyes, they only sought to worsen it.
 In the center of the stream ahead he could see the man, The Regret, Hector Kojima, he two was ghostly but more solid, more present. When he spoke, his lips moved.
 "Look at all the pain and suffering you've caused."
 Another figure began forming among all the dead that surrounded him. Behind him his entire team had formed and stood silent. The Jackal, the woman formed, her death marks still there where they had stopped her heart beat.
 "You look just like him, a demon, a demon!"
 A final figure formed, it was Coppola, the agent, the mannequin man standing with his face just before he died. Clark's grip was loosening on his pistol. He sagged some, his head weighing him down, wanting to topple his body. He put his hands on his knees to hold himself up.
 "You killed me." He heard Coppola call out. Clark shook his head. Mumbling to himself, I didn't kill you. I didn't kill the half of you. The ghosts closed in on him, all except for Hector who stood stoic, but gleefully so in back, of the group, but with a clear path right to Clark.
 "Look at your sins. You can repent now, and attempt to fix them." Clark shook his head, it wasn't right, Coppola, Birdman, Randal, he didn't kill them, they didn't belong. "All you have to do Captain is work for us, for me, I can lead to you reason. Rational is a group objective. The individual does not matter, only the whole of society, and you've fought too long and hard against the whole of society."
 Clark only shook his head again in response.
  "Your delusions of good and evil have only made you a pawn to a system of oppression. You, could, fix it all right now."
 Clark shook his head. His grip tightened on his pistol. He looked down at it in his grip. It was real, it was real, it was truth. His body stopped shaking, something he became aware of only when he stopped. The silence of words brought his eyes up to Hector who eyed him.
 "Well, if you won't join what you know is right, then you could set yourself away from doing more harm. You know your damage is irreversible. Go ahead, use the pistol demon. Caste yourself away, or do what is right for the greater good."
 Clark pushed off his knees, his back still hunched from a knot that was only slowly dissolving. He would use the pistol, Hector was right. Raising it as his grip tightened, the silent audience around him of all those dead, the false dead around him.
 "Fine, use the pistol, end yourself, demon." Hector spoke, a smug grin as he clasped his hands behind his back watching Clark.
 Clark looked down at the pistol. The slide smooth, and nicked from years of use. He looked up at Hector, the smug content look. He snapped the pistol up at Hector.
 He fired.
 He was back on the catwalk. The river gone. The dead, gone, dead as dead. Hector lay on his back. A single hand's fingers twirling above a bubbling hold in his chest.


Tuesday, September 13, 2016

A New Kind of War (Door to Door)

 Clark pressed on the handle for the door, it resisted, then gave. A heavy metal click confirmed the latch had disengaged. A drum of heavy bass beats pounded away from the inside of Clark's chest. The catwalk on the opposite side showed no sign of the reptilian creature. Only the wet marks along the grated steel where it had climbed out of the water gave any sign that what he had seen was real. Clark proceeded forward, scanning the girth of the walk away, trying to get his rifle to scan each nook and corner among the large pipes leading up and down the walls. Junctions split off from the walk way. Each time he'd move up, his breath would go stale, but the results were the same. Some dead end with only gauges and control valves at the end.
 No one had been posted along the lone industrial like path, did he eat them too? Clark found himself at the next door. A steel framed set of double doors, the reptile man had gone through here as he watched in horror it snake up and out of the water.
 As Clark closed the last few steps to the door, his palms poured sweat. Entering a room was always one of the most dangerous things to do, doing so alone was suicidal, doing so alone against genetically modified creatures was fucking ridiculous. He breathed out heavily, his joints old stones grinding as he readied, steadied himself.
 Clark pressed in. The door swung open. Clark's vision began to tunnel. He cleared the fatal funnel behind him. He kept sweeping the area, his corners, nothing, bleak concrete. Piping. Water.  No shots came. No teeth came bearing at him.
 The room was wider than the last. A catwalk ran along the center over a massive body of water. The room took a hard turn at the end to the right. He could tell that the cat walk began a slight decline as it took the corner to the right. That was concerning, it wasn't high off the water as it was, if it dipped down, he didn't know how wet he'd be getting. Clark scanned the area again, the large pipes coming down in the central area and off the side walls cast humanoid shadows against the concrete walls. Paranoia.  It could keep you alive, but it could also waste time. He could stay in one place making that area the most cleared area at anytime. Facing the unknown is more dreadful than facing the worse of the well known.
 Clark moved a few steps, his rifle at the low ready, his steps going from heal to toe. The metal under his feet stayed strong, but with each step he expected it to beg to give, for the water to get closer to flooding over his body. He moved along the long length of the center catwalk, the ceiling lowered down, narrowing as he went, the ceiling was almost touching his head as he came to the right turn.
 The water was higher after the right turn. A large crack along the right side concrete wall spewed a geyser of water. The metal catwalk was submerged, but within the hour would be completely underwater. Clark let out a slow breath and took his first step into the water.
 The water was surprisingly warm but chilled him as it soaked through at ankle depth. He moved, slowly, stiffly, the spurting of the water from the cracked wall masking his subtle movements. His socks had become soaked and heavy, the wet squish enveloped his feet with each step.
 The waster spurting from the cracked wall obscured Clark's view to the other side of the catwalk. His world became a blur of sound and foaming white as he passed under the spraying water.
 He emerged. Pain spread across his face. He couldn't register what was happening, react! His rifle was over whatever it was pushing him. A heavy heave. He was being hit hard and drove back. A blur of sound and foamy white. His stomach heaved with the blow as he slid back with the force. His shooting hand left to catch himself as he felt the descent coming. He gripped onto the slippery rail, the man driving him back by his stomach sought to take him in the water. His back rammed the rail, snapping. He felt a twist. The rail giving out. The reptile man pushing on. Not the goddamn water! Clark bore down with his fist, the rail giving away and breaking loose. The man slid off, giving as Clark held strong. Clark's teeth gritted as he back felt no support behind him. He pulled hard. The man slid off and a splash of water came up. Clark felt his feet giving, the edge of his boots tipping, threatening his balance. He flexed harder. His boots coming back to the side of reason. Clark looked back. The rail torn and twisted to his left, the water rippling where the reptile man had gone. Clark turned facing the ripples, just as he oriented himself a mass of teeth emerged. His finger squeezed, high, too late, the rounds burst out. The teeth snapping shut around his magazine, inches from his crotch. He felt the warping of metal. The snap of the spring. Clark tried to twist up and away, but the massive creature pulled back, yanking him forward. The hind end of the creature began to slip into the water, and Clark could see the water approaching, he pushed and drove, but the rifle was attached by the sling and dragging him forward with the sinking weight. Clark's fingers moved to the lower receiver and  before he toppled over with the reptile man, Clark ejected the magazine. 
 Again, only the water rippled where the creature had been. Clark back away faster than a scared cat from a Doberman. Clark moved further from the busted rail as he fished the next magazine from his carrier. The fresh magazine slid and settled in the magazine well. He swore he felt a bump come from the cat walk under his feet. He swore, he turned to where he had come from, started going back, wanting to get his feet out of the water, higher away from the water, out of its advantage. Clark splashed for the segment that was slightly raised out of the water, the small gap closing smaller and smaller but not fast enough.
 The grating below collapsed, sliding away to the depths. The water exploded up towards the ceiling. Foamy white death, Clark flinched back, his rifle coming up. Clark squeezed off a round into the geyser, the massive reptilian mouth coming towards him. The round went wild, drowning in the water. The mouth kept closing the distance, faster and faster, Clark fired against his barrel pushed out of the way by the thick stubby fingers of the thing. A single round found its mark in the thick fleshy leg of the man. The mouth recoiled back. The fat fingers gripped the rifle, Clark found himself being dragged along to the other side of the catwalk, led by his rifle.  Clark began to pull himself from under his sling but the force took him with it. He was greeted with twisting sharp pain as the rail and rifle pressed into his stomach muscles. But he was free of the sling. The rifle went toppling, midair, in slow motion he watched as his rifle splashed horrifically in the water and was gone.
Clark flipped around. The creature cam stumbling at him with the stubby hands out at him. Clark launched his body away back towards the gushing water. The creature lunged sporadically at him, favoring the uninjured leg. Clark crashed through the spurting water, the creature disappearing from view as he passed through the portal. He drew from his thigh his sidearm, his last hope as he sloshed backwards. The water came with a crashing roar as the reptilian face came smashing through. Clark tried to get a square frame and fire. Muscle memory overruled and he fired when he found had a sight picture. The .45 slug punched and ballooned up  the right cheek, but the maw of teeth still advanced. He fired again, wild, the bullet hitting a mark, teeth sinking into his left forearm. Clark yelped, his pistol firmly in only his right hand now. He pressed his arm out as he felt the thing begin to twist taking his arm with it. The muzzle pressed against it, and he fired, and again, and again, and again, more twisting, and again. The reptile man drooped to his knees. The teeth still firmly clamped onto Clark's arm.
 Clark looked at the milky filmy eyes of the creature, marbles motionless at him. The dead weight bore down heavily on his arm, the muscles swelled around the filled puncture marks. He waited, the thing didn't move.
 Clark moved, his pistol hand lifted the head up, the straight teeth and humanoid teeth pulled out of the flesh, the tendons screamed. A sickly sucking noise escaped as the last of the teeth came out of their burial places in his arm. The body slumped forward, a hiss came. Clark fired, the .45 slug cracked the dome. But it was only a death noise, no life had caused it, and his pistol had locked back the slide, empty. The empty pistol still pointed at the now deformed dome of the deformed thing. His arm lowered and he ejected the magazine.
 He tried his left hand, the fingers moved and his arm screamed at him in protest, but he could grit it, and silence the screams. He put in a spare magazine, only two left for his pistol now. Turning away from the body, he saw the last door to the other side before him. 

Friday, September 9, 2016

Alien Isolation writing

I entered a writing contest based around elements from the game Alien: Isolation. The story was recently posted, you can can add to the group on Facebook and read it on the Wyland-Yutani Bulletin here.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

A New Kind of War (Reptile)

 "Hector Kojima was another attempt with the CIA, but instead the focus was on psychic intelligence. Using electronic enhancements we tried to tap into the brain wave patterns in an attempt to read people's mind. An invaluable asset for the CIA if we could get it to work. We thought we figured a way out how to, but we misunderstood how the chemical of the brain worked." Joseph stopped.
 "So what was the result."
 "Ugh, the results were, unusual. The chemical make up has little to do with thoughts, thoughts and memories are electronic synapses in the brain, the chemicals we thought were going to be thoughts were emotions. Hector Kojima was able to pick up some memories, but they were tied too heavily to emotions, sometimes he'd be wrong. But, ugh..." Clark could tell Joseph's stress was high, but the stutter was gone, it was pure honesty coming out of him, "he could guilt people, change what they saw and felt to a level. It was still an asset, a success we had not anticipated."
 "What's his involvement doing here? Why would he defect?"
 "I-I don't know. Captain, there's a lot of unusual things happening at a level I think I may only be scratching at. Hector, Zane, Lee, to some extent myself and even you are involved by organizations that planned this far too well."  Clark was up, he needed to move, he moved and communicated, knowing both were equally valuable at the time.
 "You think this was all coordinated?"
 "Well, no, not like that." Joseph had picked up on the skepticism. "But there's too many major factors at play here, too many large coincidences. I have some theories, but, I don't know what level each one is at." Clark came up on the security door that had the disk he needed. The guards were gone, likely the ones he had engaged earlier.
 "Try me. I need the information, because Lee was cryptic before he died."
 "Well, ugh, well Zane isn't really human."
 "Yeah, one of your super soldiers, right?" Clark breached and entered solo. The room was desolate.
 "Well, ugh, no not exactly. I mean, what I'm thinking is borderline conspiracy theories."
 "Focus Doc, how is Zane not human."
 "Well, do you believe in Vampires?"
 "Doc?" Clark stopped solid in the room in front of the safe. "Are you fucking kidding me?"
 "Well, ugh, not how you're thinking. See, vampires the mythical sense of them, exist in every culture, and there's a reason for that. They aren't like the fairy-tales, but is it really hard to believe we share this planet with another species?"
 "So there's a species of them? Vampires?"
 "They aren't, well, vampire is the wrong word, but it's the closest we have to it. See, ugh, during the Second World War, scientists on both sides realized there was another humanoid species we share this planet with, they look just like us, aren't all the different from us, but much more predatory. Ugh, well, both sides tried to find and recruit as many as possible. It was the Germans who thought first to try and use these people to create a super race, ugh, like a perfect soldier." Clark put in the combination, 09221991, the safe opened, and square floppy disk sat inside a lone safe.
 "Yeah, the Super Man race, the perfect race, I thought it was more genetic perfection they chased. Blond hair, blue eyes type stuff."
 "Well, ugh, that's just how we portray it to the public actually. To some extent, it's ugh, true." Clark turned and began to pie his way out around the corner heading out. "The originals, they had blonde hair, a blue almost glowing blue eyes. They're a site to be had! I ugh, only have seen videos." Joseph put a break in.
 "But Zane looks nothing like that."
 "I know, ugh, I know. I had my suspicions, but see Zane isn't pure. The Germans tried to replicate and breed with the creatures as much as possible, experiments by a Dr. Voigh, it wasn't until a defector came to the Americans that the extent of German research came to light. At the ugh, end of the war, the Americans and Soviets took up trying to replicate what the Germans didn't finish. Zane is one bred from the captured samples."
 "Zane is a Nazi?"
 "No, no, that's too simple. Zane was the result of captured biological materials. Remember that man floating in the tank, Zane was created the same way. Creating a womb in a massive test tube to grow a man, a creature, to be the perfect predator. Ugh, the soldiers you're facing, they're all, enhanced with traits taken from the creatures themselves."
 "Yeah, well, they're resilient little bastards."
 "I can't imagine what a pure creature would be like."
 "I don't really want to know." Clark knew better than to try and use the elevator. He cut across the bay where the firefight had broken out. He needed to get to B2, but he couldn't waste time searching for stairs going down. The facility was massive, he'd waste too much time and risk getting caught. He was low on ammunition, only two full magazines to his rifle left, then he'd be stuck with his sidearm.
 "Doc, I need to switch over and report to my command, I'll contact you back when I am finished." He switched his radio over. He moved to the elevator. It was an industrial lift, it would be far too loud to use. He peered through the gate that protected the shaft. The elevator was down, at B2 from whoever last used it. He could see a service ladder on the side near the corner. Clark tried to raise the gate, it was latched down. Once more he pulled the cutter from his kit as he clicked his radio.
 "Hound 6 this is Dog 6, come in."
 "Dog 6 report, we lost contact after you took contact."
 "Roger, had to fight, I am clear of contact, be advised, the masked man is dead."
 "You killed him?"
 "Negative, the defecting soldiers did."
 "What is your current mission progress?"
 "I have the disk, I'm making my way towards B2 now. Hound 6, request further information on friendly forces."
 "Friendly forces are one hour from your location; however, they can not move until the rail-gun is neutralized."
 "Understood, are there friendly Agencies in the area?"
 "Negative Dog 6, situation has not changed."
 "Is there any indication there are others who came with the masked man?"
 "Negative, we continue to scan the area with our abilities, we pick up no further activity." Clark had cut up about six wires, half way, almost enough to slip through.
 "Understood, I'll continue mission and report back as necessary." He early gagged at the very situation he now found himself in. He understood classification, but withholding information in such a way was dangerous, or did the General really not know? Lee Coppola had said he was behind on a lot of information, did he mean just about SoA? Where were the other agents in his team?
 Clark had cut enough to fit through the gate. He pulled the piece up and slid through, holding onto the gating on the thin ledge he now stood. He slid over to the side and grabbed a hold of the ladder going down. Before starting down he clicked his radio back over to Joseph's channel.
 "Doc, I'm back."
 "Hey Captain." Here was the lack of stutter, but something else that came through his voice. Some relief? He wasn't sure.
 "Tell me more about this server I'm about to sabotage." Clark started the long work down the ladder.
 "The system is one of several servers that exist as, ugh, like a personality. Each one is assigned similar, but, um, ugh, slightly altered roles. Each role is to make the entire war machine autonomous in about a decade."
 "So replace troops too?"
 "Not so much ground troops, no. I never had enough access to see everything, so I don't know the intricacies of the program. I'm not even sure the program's name honestly. But ugh, um, this system would take care of immediate strikes, not too unlike the MAD theory that exist between the U.S. and the Soviets."
 "MAD? Mutually Assured Destruction?"
 "Yes, exactly, ugh, so that's how the program started, a system that could retaliate even if there was no government left to order it. It became apparent that these systems could be used to coordinate several defensive systems, and then there's the inclusion of ugh, well, my work."
 "How does your work fit into this?"
 "Well, ugh, remember the self healing tanks we talked about?"
 "Well, ugh, the big use was in troops. See, the healing properties were based off that species I told you about, ugh, the vampire like people, they are able to heal remarkably quickly. Replicating it synthetically was easier than directly ugh, well, I guess copying it. We found we could suppress neurological signals, or trigger different ones depending on the environment the soldier was in. The next step was to link it to a system where we could shut off certain responses to soldiers." Clark gritted his teeth as he continued down.
 "Blocking fear, inducing adrenaline, you could block a lot of the shocks of combat with that."
 "That's the idea, ugh, well the problem is... ugh what else are we blocking?"
 "Hmm, yeah, do you really want your soldiers coming home without guilt?" As if to answer his own question. "We've been killing each other for centuries, coping with our own actions make us human, allows us to define what is right and wrong."
 "And the control the system would have on the armed forces. B-but it um, was done with the best intentions." Clark wanted to finish the saying, the path to hell is paved with the best intentions. He didn't.
 Clark set his feet on solid foundation at the bottom. He had to climb on top of the elevator it self, as it was blocking the entrance into the next bay. Looking about, he found the service hatch that allowed him to drop down into the elevator and thus, into B2. Joseph didn't stop talking.
 "I-it's nothing new. Governments have always tried to find ways to create strong, loyal soldiers. Until this break through, either drugs or intimidation were required. Neither were found to be so effective."
 You can't intimidate your intimidating force. Clark moved into B2. There was a long path way, he could see several protrusion farther down the hall where the tunnel turned or had entrances cut into. it.
 "I was too young to have worked directly on Zane himself, he seems to be the most successful result." Clark moved down the hall, keeping break between himself and the wall, ricochets had a habit of traveling along the wall, the wall only made you feel safe. "I have some theories as to why they never, ugh, um, tried that method again though." Clark saw rubble near an intersection in the tunnel. Something, wet, and fleshy lay near by. "All the ugh, current events leads me to believe my guesses were right, that ugh, they lost their chances." Joseph clicked off the radio for a moment.
 "Doc..." Clark stopped at the intersection. The wet fleshy object on the ground a crushing truth.
 "The tunnel was blown in B2, it's completely collapsed in."
 "Ugh, there's, ugh, another tunnel farther down, a service and storage tank that permits access to the other side. Ugh, there's also all the offices and smaller passages."
 "Yeah, Doc, it looks like they may have..." He clicked off, the human arm pale and loose, the hand contorted. Bluing occurred along the forearm.
 "May have what?"
 "Never mind, I'll try and go for the passage ways."
 Clark saw a cut away, a narrow cut away coming up along the wall.
 "Ugh, Captain, I don't think you'll be able to use to use the passage ways." Clark was coming up closer to the cut away, it was some sort of viewing port, a long port into some sort of industrial room.
 "What is it Doc?"
 "There are um, a lot of soldiers in the narrow passageways and offices." Clark could see through the port, it looked into a chamber, piping and a heavy catwalk crossed over a large exposed tank of water.
 "Then I have to take...." Clark stopped, staring into the port, his radio still keyed. "What fuck is that?"

 Zane stood before the massive rail-gun, it took up the center of the cavern, water remained subtle, icy and stagnant. The tunnel ran a long length, with a set of tracks on both sides all the way to the fridge outside air. Two ports, one on each side of the gun allowed docking for submarines. It was here that a single submarine took in the last of the cargo that the SoA and Zane's men loaded in.
 In the last hour they had learned something far more interesting than they had expected while trying to bypass the rail-gun's security. At first they thought the security system had been mechanical only, then it quickly became apparent that it was also electronic, when they dived into that, with the help of one of the researchers, they learned it was an entire system being locked by a signal. It wasn't the signal that interested SoA though, it was how the server was responding, it wasn't just receiving their signals, it was communicating back and forth. The server was sending a complex signal to other systems. The signal was scrambled and there were still security measures they could not bypass, but Zane's commander knew what it was, and their focus shifted to gathering as much information on the the server the rail-gun contained.
 Zane's icy eyes shifted hard right. Heavy clicking shoes drew his attention away from his men's work. Turning, he saw the man.
 A tall, lanky, man, his cheekbones sharp, a white receding hairline was combed back. A soviet khaki peacoat fluttered up around his dark suit and vest he wore, out of place of his environment. Zane imagined he looked very much like the very common and silly professors that populated American universities, spewing the very vile they claimed to hypocritically be against half way around the world. They man's eyes were thin, sunken in, behind a thin bridged nose, his stare more icy than even Zane's.
 "He is here."
 "How do you know?"
 "Because..." the man took a deep inhale, closing his eyes, "...his thoughts flood this place." Opening his eyes again. "You know, he's not all that unlike you."
 "I'm no pawn, not any more. I know what I am."
 "Mm, you know, he could be a valuable asset."
 "It's not my concern, he dies, he dies. My mission is complete."
 "Aw, will you be leaving with the submarine?"
 "No, I'll leave with the helicopter, ensure nothing interferes here before they are safe in deep waters."
 "And what of our friend? Don't you wish to see your own flesh and blood?" Zane narrowed one eye, lifting the opposite brow. 'The Regret' as the man went by, seemed extremely out of place in the SoA, not a soldier, not a real agent either in Zane's opinion.
 "I don't have time to talk sense into ever government pawn."
 "Mm, is that how you deal with your own regret? The soldiers whose perils you ensured? The good soldiers from around the world, who you murdered under a guise from a shadow government?"
 "You know Mister, I think it'd be safer if you rode out on the submarine, wouldn't want you falling out of the chopper mid-flight." Zane began to walk away, he wanted to observe the work more, but knew he'd soon start justifying killing The Regret, and that there would be no regret.
 "You both enjoy the killing, I wonder if it comes from your source material?"

 "C-Captain?" Joseph's voice had become hoarse from calling for the umpteenth time. There came a click. Joseph had to pry his free hand from his scar, the warmth of embarrassment washing over him again.
 "Doc, I don't know what I just say, it looked like a giant lizard just climbed out of water dressed as a man." A coldness flushed Joseph's body. His scarred brow yanking at his frail efforts to show emotion. He had to seat himself, he had worked himself into a squatting stance.
 "It's, ugh, it's Reptile, that's the project name at least." Joseph set the radio down, his hands had become cold and clammy.
 "Yeah, not too creative are you?" Joseph looked at the radio that had squawked back at him. Joseph steadied his arms. He kept a conscience thought of where his hands went. He took a firm hold of the radio and keyed it.
 "He ugh, wasn't mine, ugh, not directly at least." He let go of the key, took a breath, swallowed, breath, now talk. "Reptile was earlier, before I ever came to the team. They took the work they had captured, and instead of trying to fill in the missing pieces with the right genetic material, they supplemented it with other animal information. Technically, it shouldn't even be possible, but the other specie's DNA allows more adaptability." He let go of the key. How much trouble would he get into for helping this man? Was honesty punishable by death? Was death the worse that could happen?
 "So Doc, you just made a fuckin' mutant because you all could?"
 "Well ugh, there was a reason behind it." He swallowed, justifying another's work like his own child. "The man had been an OSS agent, came back severally deformed, similar to Agent Coppola." Breath, swallow, breath, be honest, now talk. "There was a rumor, during WWII that a Japanese platoon had been wiped out by, ugh, crocodiles. Someone, ugh, not me, decided it would be useful to have loyal something to ugh, always be in the waters ever since." Swallow, breath, don't touch your damn face, now talk. "Project Reptile was the result. But ugh, he was incarcerated here after he proved to be too volatile."
 "Yeah well he's walking around now, why was he too 'volatile'?"
 "He ugh, he was um," be honest, it wasn't your work, you owe 'them' nothing. "h-he killed civilians, a lot of them. W-when confronted about it, he admitted to it. Said he, ugh, he enjoyed feeding on them."
 There was a silence. Joseph's stomach knotted and rose.
 "Ugh, C-Captain, you there?"
 "Yeah I heard you. Jesus, you guys ever stop and think maybe, just maybe you shouldn't?"
 "It was a different time..." Joseph trailed off, he released the key. Nothing he could say would justify anything. Sure, the Soviets were evil and he knew first hand their experiments weren't even done on volunteers. But, was there a line he had crossed. Joseph had long come to believe he was no longer fighting communism, but in fact, in some odd fashion helping them and in turn, they weren't so much different from communists. "Captain, I-I don't know why Zane released him, but, ugh, be careful, please."
 "Is there anything else I should know about this, thing?"
 "Ugh, the purpose was to make him adapt to amphibious operations, ugh, so he's at home in the water tanks."
 "What are these water tanks for anyways?"
 "Ugh, they're um, storage tanks for water about to be turned to heavy water, for ugh, nuclear use. The ugh, um, heavy water is ugh, stored in a contained tank in another area."
 "Hm, this place is just getting better and better. I'm going in."
 Joseph heard the radio click out. He set the radio down and looked at the monitors, one showed just the corner of the door the captain was about to enter. Joseph swallowed hard, his fingers tracing the the fine line where his scar and skin came together. 

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

The Convention

I had a great time at the convention last Saturday (8/20/2016) and got the opportunity to meet some amazing local talent. I did not participate in the costume contest this year since my costume was not ready and I refused to attend without a complete outfit; however, I did show off my personal chest reactor (see pics below for proof).

Walking in, it started off with a bang. Thankfully I was worth more alive, and more so, was able to escape.

  Soon after my escape, I ran into a member from the Northern Army seeking to eradicate zombies. His pup was somewhat, stoic, but claimed I was infected. No worries, I'm a billionaire, playboy, philanthropist, I was walking fine within the hour.
His efforts can be seen here:

Oddly enough remnants of INGEN were found in the area. Some poor creature decided the front wheel of the abandoned vehicle was a safe location for a nest. Oh, if only Grant could see us now. The vehicle along with an unseen Mystery Machine van are all works from a Justin Webb who can be viewed here:

 My journey taught me not all demons are horrible, some are just photogenic.
 Evading zombies, demons, and bounty hunters I met E.M. Smith, author of The Shadow of Olympus after a short talk, I acquired the book and received a nice hand written note inside. You can't really be an author without reading, and I look forward to reading his book. It can be purchased here:
 Then soon after I met T.S. Barnett, author of the series Under the Devil's Wing which as she said in her own words was her attempt to create a character with no redeemable qualities (so, me?), I am excited to see how she went about her work, and you know, seeing her dressed up as Mad Max helped a lot. You can follow her on twitter at @TS_Barnett or Instagram: tsbarnowl. Her website is located here: 
Another author I had the distinct pleasure of meeting is Jeremy Laszlo, author of multiple books but more notably to me the series Left Alive, and he has a van covered in zombies! His lovely wife also creates coloring books of intricate detail, both were great company and I spent a bit at their booth, having fun discussing writing and publishing options.  His work can been seen and purchased on his Facebook profile located here:

 Another example of custom pieces you could pick up at the convention is this handcrafted wood box. Inside the light source is a tea light (or so you think). It'll accompany me on many of my future writing adventures.
 I got to see some incredible work in regards to Steampunk and decor, the gentleman obviously spends a lot of time and effort into creating unique weapons and accessories. I was unable to picture or purchase any major end items; however, above are two examples of small items his partner creates. Being a writer of horror, it was an easy pick for me. 
His work can be viewed and purchased at:
 Dr. Maw greeting an astroidmech droid.
 What can I say? Harley Quinn has a soft spot for guys with Arch Reactors in their chest.
Here is another great example of the amazing work that people dedicate themselves to. The kind lady at Pagemaster Studio takes beloved books and creates 3D standing memorials to their source material.... from the source material itself! Her work can be seen here:

Another great worker who I now regret not getting any photos of (either of him or his work) is the owner, maker and mad scientist behind DemonCrafts. What really pulled me towards his work was a steampunk style, self contained, solar panel box. You can link your devices to it, and keep your outfit running all day, and in style! But looking at his other work, he has a great line of affordable leather armor and accessories. He allowed me to try out one of his shoulder pieces and examine in depth his pistol belt which he had crafted. Patrick "Demon" Taylor also does custom ordered work, so he doesn't know it yet, but he'll utilized for many of my own personal endeavors!
His work can be seen here:

Then there is the story of my (temporary) arrest. Gotham Police Department had caught onto my evil doings and arrested my female compatriot and myself. Of course, unbeknownst to them, I am an amazing escape artist and Arkam Asylum could not contain me for long. Comic CONvics is a great fun way to raise money. Basically you place a bounty on anyone, and the police go out and arrest them. They are then taken in to be photographed for a mugshot. Proceeds all go to the Ronald McDonald House. Their work can be seen here:

Friday, August 19, 2016

The Convention is Here!

This coming weekend is the Pensacola Comic Con, and I will be attending! Unfortunately, my own cosplay costume is not ready yet so I will not be in the associated cosplay contest, but I still look forward to seeing you and all of the artists there.


Be on the look out for a future posting with pictures and memories!

-S. S. Fitzgerald

Friday, August 12, 2016

A New Kind of War (Information)

"There are complications we did not foresee." Zane used the radio equipment inside of the Hind-D helicopter to communicate back to a Sons of Arms headquarters. The voice inquired back what complications.
 "The weapon has multiple fail safes we were unaware of, my soldiers also report multiple intruders. I know we shot down two helicopters, but I believe there's a special visitor here."
 The voice on the other end informed him he would not see any support for several more hours due. He would be on his own. Zane looked out the open side of the helicopter. Several of his snipers, had been killed, and the Jackal was recently found dead. But those deaths did not match with the reports from the third floor and fourth floor sabotage in the research wing.
 He scratched at his thick beard in frustration. These infiltrators were sent here by them and they are traitors. There of course was the possibility that he could recruit something even greater against them though. Until then he had an old friend he needed to greet.
 Leaving the helicopter behind, he and his four man escort moved through the new snow flurry that moved in on them.  They went around the South end of the research wing. A massive loading lift gave access to the lower levels. It was how large materials was brought in and transported to the lower levels of the facility. To one side several heavy machines sat parked collecting more snow on their tarps.
 The large lift doors sat open from their previous use. Stepping inside there was enough room for two tanks to side side by side. For the five of them, the barren steel room that was the lift was vast and silent.
 Zane's ID card activated the lift. With heavy grinding, the shutters closed off the entrance, and the elevator started its decent down. The lift moved at a crawl, but it gave Zane the opportunity to think.
 If the United States did not think they could gain access to the nuclear capabilities, there would have been a concentrated effort to retake the facility with a major force. What was the only barrier to that being true, was how complex the electronic security was. It was a network which they did not even know existed. There was a signal coming and going that prevent them from manually operating the device. 
 Next, the other priority of his mission was to get as much of the research and information and equipment loaded and out to the SoA. So far they had been very successful. They had moved most of the genetic material and research already. There was the body still up on the third floor, but the major component he was missing was Dr. Gregory Joseph. He was the key to continuing the work and giving SoA an edge. He couldn't imagine how he slipped through his soldiers. A lucky break would have him turn up, otherwise, these intruders were proving to be even more complex than he needed. Regardless, without the doctor, they could still make due, that mission was accomplished. The next submarine would come into the rail-gun's bay within three hours, and then his men will begin to load up experimental machines. The only thing left will be to get the rail-gun itself to respond, then the U.S. would never dear to strike out at them.
 The lift stopped at the bottom of B2.  The gate opened to the lift, and unlike the facilities above, here the walls were still exposed, stone walls with part steel part stone ceiling. His boots clicked along the painted cement flooring that lined the large room. Pallets, mostly of the magnetic shells and supporting industrial equipment lined the room.  
 At the end of the room his old friend was waiting for him. Juan Gaitanis was the peek of experimentation, but more so, an astounding fighter. He was an imposing man, six feet and seven inches, and shoulders wider than the best whisky barrels, arms the like cider-blocks, his teeth only added to the equation. But a combination of his war injuries and experimentation had left him looking nothing like that man he was born to be. In fact, that tightened the bond between Juan and Zane. Juan was the antithesis of what was wrong with the traitorous system. Juan had been through genetic torture, given his mind, body, and soul to ideals and the founding, only to be betrayed and labeled volatile. When things got dirty, a real fight, the reality of the fight, they tossed him aside, and literally locked him in a chamber, unsure if he should be killed or simply forgotten.
 It was his opinion society didn't like men like Zane and Juan, and they didn't like them because they looked too much like what they feared. The violent controlling predators of society, but unlike others similar to Zane and Juan, they were made this way.
  Juan wore cargo pants and a H-harness which held his pistol. He was shirtless, showing off the rough lime colored scales. A humanoid dragon, his face was wide and split with a sickly pop when his mouth opened revealing the haphazard line of human and crocodile like teeth. His eyes bulged, the human still there, but the innate reptile coloring had become sharper and more consuming from the time Juan had spent in isolation. His long webbed feet did not smack the ground as he walked, but thudded from the heavy weight. The short stubby tail that formed his lower back out waved with controlled sways.
 The two grabbed hold of each others arms by the forearm in a brotherly embrace.
 "Juan, good to see you adopting to freedom so well."
 "Fresh air is nice." His heavy accent had gone away, his voice was horse, but the voice alone was no less human.
 "I'm sorry it wasn't under better circumstances, but we are finally taking the first steps to crafting our own world."
 "Our own world? Sounds nice after a year of isolation."   
 "It'll be more than nice, but we have some issues that I need your assistance with first." Juan blew a heavy breath out of his nostrils that had been relocated to the back top of this skull.
 "I'm listening."

 Clark had entered the weapon's development portion of the facility. The main bay he entered was vast and lined with large manufacturing machines.
 He moved slower than he usually would have, forcing himself to do things right. The paranoia, the enlightenment from Doctor Joseph, with the ever growing distance between him and his command spider-webbed through him, like mortar between the bricks of despair.
 A grunt pulled him fully into the moment again. It came from around a corner to Clark's right. He moved forward. He could hear rustling. Pieing around the corner, step, by short step, Clark revealed more of the scene.
 Two figures stood with their backs to Clark, locked in a death embrace. A tall, thin, wiry muscular humanoid figure held one of the genetic soldiers. The soldier still twitched in the humanoid's hands for a moment before going limp.
 Clark could only see a part of the profile of the humanoid. The white face was flat and smooth, like a mannequin's, a single 'Y' shape engraving glowing a lit blue. The body was almost bare, the arms exposed, but an olive drab coloring looking more like the thin armor seen on vehicles. The torso looked like it was welded together with some form of body army which was plated to allow movement but gave the boxy look of being reactive armor. The pants the figure wore were smooth, straight and green, blending in with the exposed portions. The boots were large, black rimmed boots with armor like plating along the sole. An unusual futuristic looking weapon was clasped to the right leg of the figure.
 The body the figure held slumped down to the ground, and before Clark's eyes, the figure disappeared. Clark sighted his rifle to where the figure had just been standing. He heard heavy steps that hurried away. He scanned with his eyes above this sights. There was nothing there but the body the figure had been holding. Had the body not been there, he would have thought it was all a hallucination. Hell, it still might be an hallucination. Clark edged around more. The gap between the two pieces of industrial equipment was barren with the exception of the lone dead body.
 "Dog 6, this is Hound 6." His radio clicked. He stayed frozen, not wanting to move in the event the figure came back, but relented and responded.
 "Go ahead."
 "I saw it via camera too, we do not know who this lone operator is."
 "Hound 6, he just disappeared before my eyes."
 "Affirmative, he appears to be using some form of quantum camouflage."
 "General, you're going to have to speak grunt to me, quantum camouflage?"
 "Quantum camouflage has been a secret project recently in the field testing stage, especially in and around the Pate Facility. Quantum camouflage focuses on bending light waves instead of using a pattern to distort the wearer's body."
 "It's optical camouflage?"
 "No, optical camouflage implies an optical reflection is being produced, what you saw was a bending of shadows and light waves to distort the figure. Regardless, Captain, assume the individual is hostile. Hound 6 out."
 Clark moved forward and took a knee next to the dead body with the mass of pooling blood. The throat had been completely cut out, the tongue exposed through the massive slit. Clark looked back over his shoulder, nothing was there, at least nothing he could see.
 "Fuck it." Clark switched his radio over to speak to Doc.
"Doc, it's me."
"H-hey Captain."
"I need you to shed some light on something." He paused. "I just saw a disappearing soldier."
 There was a long pause. Doc didn't respond.
 "I heard, c-c-can you ex-explain more?"
 "He looked almost like he was wearing a suit, but it was too tight around the arms, like it was his very skin. Armored. His face was blank, with some, lights."
 "A b-blank w-white face?"
 "Yeah." He nodded, he didn't think he was too crazy with Doc's confirmation.
 "Umm, hmmm, i-it sounds like..." Doc let go of the transmit button.
 "Doc? Doc it sounds like what?"
 "Well, ugh, b-before I worked here, my work was d-done at Langley, Virginia. The work w-wasn't terribly d-different but a focus on r-robotics took precedence." Doc put a break in the traffic. "I-it was the predecessor to the 2040 Program. W-we took a-an old V-vietnam veteran, a former CIA a-agent who had lost his a-arms and legs to d-do our work. We rebuilt him with very advanced technology, t-things that a-aren't stable. L-last I knew though, h-he wasn't anywhere near field t-test ready."
 "Yeah, well I just saw him. Why didn't you continue the work?"
 "W-well technically I did, j-just here. T-the project on agent Coppola was consumed by the CIA, a-and I c-came to the Wolf Unit. C-Coppola w-wasn't even able to walk without s-support last I saw him! A-and the light b-bending tech was decades a-away."
 "He's also carrying a weapon I've never seen before. Boxy looking, short, but not like the weapon the soldiers here carry."
 "Hmmm, was there anything e-else?"
 "Well, not much, I think he's the one who shot up those soldiers in the stairwell. I picked up a shell casing. It was marked FN."
 "Ugh, it-it sounds like t-the XP90. I-I can't be sure without seeing it, b-but it's only an experimental weapon c-created to satisfy NATO for a p-personal defense weapon. Great armor piercing capabilities f-for such a s-small weapon. I-it is s-suppose to be in p-production by 1990."
 "When did you last see him, the agent I mean?"
 "T-this was a-all four years ago."
 "Alright, I'll talk to you if I see anything else."
 Clark let the information sink in. He thought it was odd how the general could spew off information like a machine. But there was sobering honesty with what Doc told him. He considered telling the General that the man was CIA, but he wasn't really sure of that. Doc hadn't seen the man in four years, there was no saying it was the same man, let alone sent here by the CIA. He would need more accurate information before trying to send a report back, if he really wanted to send one at all.
 Clark moved on, but there was a tingling along Clark's neck. A similar feeling he had in an operation in South America. They had been sent in to eliminate communist cells that were operating in border regions of Ecuador. Which, was a half truth, unbeknownst to them at the time, they were also eliminating political threats to one of the local generals. The CIA had been pulling their strings along, getting what they wanted without ever having to do any dirty work themselves. The entire operation stunk from the beginning. But they were good soldiers, God, Country, and Duty. They did the mission, and they didn't complain when they were finally let in on the loop.
 Yeah that tingling feeling.
 Clark found himself in another bay. The floor was made up of individual grated panels. Some places he could see through to the bottom, others he could see were solid, made to support extreme weight. There were several unusual looking vehicles, unusual, hell, nothing looked like this. Rows of them existed. The ones he was closest to looked like what would happen if a kid had taken a dune-buggy and strapped legs to it. It was a  single seat, like a motorcycle with similar looking controls, and two dog legged stubby legs instead of wheels. None of them looked operational, the last few were covered in tarps. The row on the right were much bigger, tank like vehicles, but they were all draped in tarps, which he was appreciative of. Their masked outlines made them look like they would be giant spiders. He didn't want to know what a giant machine spider looked like.
 Down along the row of shorter vehicles on his left there were more soldiers with a rolling loader. They were taking one of the short vehicles and loading it onto the gurney. Two others walked along the rows, patrolling along the large spider like tanks. Even here, inside they are paranoid and on alert.
 "Hound 6, this is Dog 6."
 "Send your traffic." Instant response, what is he doing, just waiting right next to the radio?
 "I'm in a vehicle hanger in B1. It looks like our friends are moving the vehicles out, likely stealing them."
 "This is troubling. Captain, your mission remains the same; however, if you are able, we must stop the transportation of those vehicles into enemy hands."
 "Understood." Clark couldn't get into a firefight. He was greatly out gunned, five to one, and he wasn't sure if there were others. He couldn't do anything about it in the immediate time. An opportunity would come, but he didn't know how or when.
 Until then, he would need to figure out a way to move, he couldn't with them loading up vehicles and a roving patrol on foot. He looked down at the grated panel floor. There had to be a way. 

 Juan took four of the soldiers with him along B2's main corridor. He and Zane agreed, there was either multiple insiders working against them, or a team had infiltrated the facility. Personally, Juan believed it was a combination. The damage discovered by the patrols outside indicated someone had come through the fence, but the internal sabotage was something someone inside had done. I will find them and feed on their decaying flesh.
 A long tongue, warped with boils slithered up between his reptilian lips and licked where his human nose had been.
 That left him with the objective to secure the water bay next to the rail-gun. There were two main routes. The equipment tunnel, and the maintenance bay. The offices and vents provided other means to access the area, which were easier to contend with. There weren't many of Zane's men, and they were being used for ever task as only a handful of SoA forces had arrived. Given his options, he would do as he had experienced before, in another life, he'd blow the equipment tunnel. That would limit what vehicles Zane could capture from B1, but he was told that was secondary as they had achieved their primary objective. The offices and the vents, he would put the soldiers dedicated to defending the area along routes where the vents could accessed by a man, and the offices secured and patrolled. That left only the maintenance bay. The bay, was a long tunnel, there was a sport path that was large enough for men and medium sized equipment to be moved along. All the steam pipes, air-shafts, and gauges that had nothing to do with the actual working converged here for easy access. It was also left open to treated heated water used to create heavy water for other operations here. That's where he'd place his ambush. Channelize their guest into heading one way.
 Then there was the final problem Zane brought to him. The scientists and researchers who absolutely refused to cooperate with Zane. Zane Lumbard had extensive experience, so even to the predatory urges of Juan himself, it was surprising that some still held out, even when Zane had to be more, persuasive, than he was to others. Only a dozen remained. The others, either out of fear or persuasion submitted and had already departed the Pate Facility. Juan would have to deal with the more reluctant ones. He could just feast on them, it's been far, far too long. But that would take long, and be time consuming. And even being glutenous he couldn't do it it to all of them.
 The captives would be coming along any moment, he knew how he'd handle them. Save what little resources they had. He watched as the soldiers finished the last of the explosives along the tunnel. As they backed out the captive scientists and researchers came down with their armed escorts. Many of them were soiled, beaten, bloodied, bruised. Some limped, their clothes hanging on them in tatters. Good, Zane showed no mercy. He had feared Zane had gone soft, or kept some silly ideals of right and wrong. You couldn't change if you held onto anything of your old self. There was no place for such ideals in their new world. The men recoiled at the sight of him. Others gritted their teeth, recognizing him and remembering. He remembered too, he remembered them!
 "Line them along the wall." The soldiers had the captives kneel along the wall, still restrained, looking at the wall. They shook, expecting the inevitable firing to begin. But instead, Juan and the soldiers left them there, on their knees.
 The was a long pause. The researchers and scientists began to fidget. Looking left and right. No sign of guards. Their swollen and bruise eyes looked to one another. An opportunity to run. That was the last fleeting thought before they became like tissue paper, the explosion came.

 Clark had picked up one of the grated panels and crawled underneath it. It wouldn't help him if he was seen through in the areas where the panel was grated and could bee easily seen through, but it would allow him to cross the way faster and without having to be seen upright. The depth was greater than he had thought, there was almost enough room for him to crouch and move, but doing so with his rifle and kit in a duck walk made it too slow. He moved quickly in a high crawl.
 Like a sledge hammer beating concrete it came. He felt the ground tremble. Jesus Christ, what the fuck was that? He stopped his movement. He didn't hear panic or confusion from the soldiers above.
 His radio clicked.
 "Dog 6, report."
 "I don't know what that was."
 "Satellite image images show a piece of the field above just caved in. Looks like they blew something with charges."
 "Could you see anything with the camera system?"
 "Most of the surveillance systems on B2 are down, several prisoners were seen being moved into B2, but we do not know what caused the explosion."
 "Understood, I will report any findings."
 "Roger, be careful. Hound 6 out." Clark twisted the knob on his radio and switched channels.
 "Doc, you hear me?"
 "Hey C-Captain. What was that?"
 "I was going to ask you the same."
 "It wasn't you?"
 "No, I was hoping you could see something on your monitors."
 "I s-saw them take a f-few of the researchers to B2, b-but couldn't s-see what happened."
 "How many went down?"
 "About a t-t-twelve. They looked like they were in b-bad shape."
 "Hmm, alright, I'll call back if there's anything else."
 Clark had crawled along the tight corridors to the point where all that faced him was a solid wall of concrete. He couldn't go any further and was being forced to take his chances back up top. Though he knew this was the length of the bay, he also knew the soldiers were still around, working, and patrolling. He squatted, he couldn't see much, but he didn't hear anyone near by. He put his hands up and began lifting the panel above him.
 "Contact!" He heard a masked voice call out. His heart sank. His blood ran cold. This was it, this is how I die, pushing a fucking panel off my head.
 A burst came out, like an electric saw in the air. Nothing cut through his skin. He pushed up and the panel came off. The air was alive with rounds whizzing back and forth. Clark scoot on his butt against one of the massive legs to the spider tanks. They weren't shooting at him. The loud chemical pops of a firearm bounced off the walls. Clark looked around the corner. At the far end he could see the mannequin man, using a steel crate as cover as he fired long bursts from his weapon at multiple targets advancing in on him.
 Clark took the opportunity, he edged around the corner. Breath out, squeeze, squeeze. A controlled pair. One of he soldiers dropped, his partner mechanically turned and fired. Clark retreated to cover. The burst tore into the machine's leg. A white gel oozed out. He was up, moving to another vantage point.
 Two soldiers down, he'd seen one go down as a result of the fire being laid down from the mannequin man.
 Clark rounded another corner searching for targets, he saw a blur at the far end of the room. The mannequin man moved at such a blinding speed. The soldiers tried to gain a sight on him. Clark tried his hardest to track the man as well. He went straight for a corner, his feet moving so fast, he didn't even realize where the man had gone until he was up in the air. He had kicked off the corner and launched himself at such a speed, it was his gun fire that gave away his new location. The soldiers had sprayed the air with bullets trying to hit the flying target. The man was now on Clark's side of the bay.
 Another soldier down. Clark fired another pair. Missing. A burst came in respond. He saw the man rotate his sights on him. Shit, shit, shit! Clark couldn't shift his sights fast enough, but the man didn't fire. He breathed. A burst came, the man fluttered back, rounds had caught him the chest but he recovered and fired back.
 Clark moved sideways, heel to heel, moving parallel on the targets. The first soldier came into his sight picture. He fired another controlled pair. The soldier flinched, and turned on him. Clark fired another pair without hesitation. The soldier sank to his knees, and struggled to stand again. Jesus. Clark fired twice more, and the soldier finally fell back. The man crouched, and like a grasshopper, leaped, finishing several meters from where he had jumped. The tracking lone soldier continued to fight, undaunted by the situation. His rifle buzzing in the air. Another burst, the man stuttered back but fired a long steady stream back at the soldier. There was silence as the last soldier fell.
 Clark swept the area with his rifle as he advanced forward. The man was moving already, stumbling, but Clark had to clear the area of possible threats. He still wasn't sure what the man would do if confronted. He noticed the man moved with his back to Clark, not rigid and confident, slumped, and wildly, not stumbling, but twitching. He moved to where the bay turned. Clark didn't call out, he followed with distance between them, losing him on the corner but not wanting to move quickly and make a mistake. Clark turned the corner. The man was heading through a door. He was pulling himself away from the wall that he had collided with. Clark moved, cautious, his rifle at the low ready.
 The man fell and slumped on the ground. Clark didn't hurry his steps, still too unsure of the man's intent. The wall that the man had ran into a moment ago dripped with what looked like old milk, the liquid strung along the wall the entire length where the man had smeared it.
 The man had rotated to a sitting position, his back to the wall for support, facing Clark. Clark steadied himself on the man as the man's arm raised his weapon. Clark sighted on the man, his finger nearly engaging the trigger. But the man didn't aim directly at Clark. The man's arm twitched in the air, not in a human fashion, but as if a machine was trying to engage a movement and a gear kept slipping. The arm hovering, clicking back and forth.
 The glowing 'Y' shape looked up at Clark on the otherwise featureless face. Clark suddenly realized he didn't know what to do now. How to engage with conversation, if he even could engage with conversation with... that.
 "I thought you all had died." A heavy voice came as if it were speaking through a plastic cup. Clark didn't know how to respond. The Y shape split open, like flaps of a wrapper coming undone, the stone cut face made him think of Robocop. "I saw your helicopters go down." Clark realized the white liquid was pooling on the floor. The man's arms poured the white substance out, but two round had pierced the breast area, the black armor seeped out red, like a normal person.
 "Who are you? Who sent you?"
 "My name is Lee Coppola. I was sent here by the Agency."
 "Why wasn't the Agency working with us?" Lee smiled, a devilish smile, a smile like he knew someone was onto his game.
 "You're behind on a lot of information. Who are you?" Clark didn't see any harm sharing the information. He looked around the corners, he didn't see any cameras spying on him.
 "Captain Clark Duncan." The man tried to nod, but his neck was stiffening unnaturally.
 "Well Clark, our government is going through some very radical changes."
 "What do you mean?" The man ignored him.
 "The terrorist group here isn't your average run of the mil radicals. I was sent here specifically to ensure the assassination of a key member with a team." He tried to readjusted but it was as if the man only had control of his core, and his limbs were suddenly just useless "We watched your team get attacked as we were observing on the other side of the facility." The milky substance had stopped flowing, the limbs became stiff, only the core of the man moved now. "There is a man here, you need to know about Clark, if you're going to do anything, you need to know about him."
 "You're not making any sense." Clark assumed the man was going into shock. He knelt down next to him. The man looked at him from the the corner of his eyes, seemingly unable to turn his head.
 "You need to do it, the man goes by the title, The Regret, his real name is Hector Kojima. He's a traitor Clark, to the agency."
 "Why didn't the military know about this? Why..." Lee cut him off.
 "He's not just any agent Clark, he will mess with your mind, change the way you see things. Don't fall for it Clark, you need to kill him."
 "I'm not going to listen to anything he says, now...." Lee's face became still, not as a dead man would, but as a machine that just stopped working, like the battery died in the middle of the usage. Clark backed up, the chest wounds poured out blood like an oil leak.
 Clark stood up and looked down at the body. The limbs stiff and rigid, the right arm still up in the air holding the rifle. Do cyborgs dream?
 He switched his radio over, and keyed up to Joseph.
 "Doc, you read me?"
 "Hey C-captain."
 "Agent Coppola is dead. He's pouring out blood and some, milky substance everywhere."
 "Oh..." Joseph kept the radio keyed down while he regathered himself. "His enhancements can't repair his human core, that's why his body was plated with armor. His limbs were c-cybernetic, somewhat s-s-self healing, basically a powered exoskeleton in place of where his limbs use to be." Clark let Joseph ramble, he couldn't interrupt anyways over the radio. "I-I c-can't believe h-he's d-d-dead." Joseph let off on the radio.
 "Listen Doc, he told me some stuff before he went. I don't know how much was real, he could have been going into shock. He said something about a traitor to the agency working with SoA, a man named Hector Kojima." There was an unnaturally long pause over the radio.
 "Captain, I think I need to start being more honest with you." There it was again, Doc's stutter disappearing.
 "I think so too." He didn't know what he was getting into with the comment.