"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.
- 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.