I see two lights, stars maybe, shining bright. Both rising high up into the sky, twirling around each other as if intertwined, rising up to the apex. They stop, floating in mid air, their light almost blinding but their beauty so captivating and mesmerizing that I simply can’t look away.
But then one star turns darker, and darker, and even darker. What once was a bright beacon of hope now turns a crimson red. It falls down with beautiful twists and turns as if to say it’s last flashy goodbye, but then, at the last second, before the red star is to fall into the darkness below, the last bright star swoops in and gives the crimson star a wind on which it can glide back up, together again they fly, they make incredible distance gradually climbing ever so higher together. But the crimson star is at its end, the wind that was giving it the last bit of energy is fading and the time is running out. The bright star tries yet again to help it’s friend regain its will to fly, the will to live, but to no avail.
Both of them stop, floating in space, still and silent, the crimson star grows darker and darker and with it’s last remnants of power it willingly falls down, into the shadow below to disappear and never be seen again. The bright star stands there, wordless, emotionless, unmoving... the light slowly fades and turns a familiar crimson red and...
“Oi York! Get up man, we’re here!”
A voice echoes through my ear causing me to jolt back to reality. I open my eyes suddenly and blink multiple times trying to get the sense of what’s going on. As I gain consciousness I recognize the voice coming from the other side of my door.
“I’m up! What do you want?” I yell, a bit annoyed that I was woken up from such an interesting dream.
“Get up dude, we’re about 15 minutes out.” Marko says as I hear footsteps going away from the door and onto the lover floor.
After staring at the ceiling for a bit and wondering where this whole mess will lead me, I make my way out of the bed and towards my wardrobe. I put on my standard issue suit and dress pants, but considering the rain hasn’t let up I put on some knee high boots and a heavy hooded cloak, I also make sure to bring my monocle that I use in cases when I really tire my right eye and it looses most of its ability to see, and a small silver chain that I hang from my right hip that was given to me by Captain after my first successful mission as a memento. After strapping myself into my outfit I pick up my diary and envelope, putting them in my back pocket, and leave my room heading downstairs.
As I reach the bottom and make my way into the dinning area, I see Marko sitting there having a light breakfast.
“What’s on the menu this morning?” I ask.
“Some nice hot sandwiches.” His voice a bit muffled due to the unchewed food in his mouth.
“I wouldn’t recommend eating anything heavy, if everything that I’ve heard is true, then the Sun Valley reeks of death and decay. But thank God I have the stomach of champions!”
“That so?” I ask sarcastically. “Now that I think about it, I guess I’ll go with the sandwiches as well.”
I reach into the little heater box thingy and grab a couple of bite sized sandwiches and sit down at the table.
“This rain looks like it’s not letting up.” I say as I put one of the sandwiches in my mouth.
“It’s gonna make our job a pain in the ass!” He says as he throws his arm up in an aggravating gesture and then throws another sandwich into his mount.
“Our job being?” I ask and start taking bites out of my sandwiches.
“Hah! Get this, body collection. Ain’t that a bitch!” He says.
“Body collection? They seriously need even us to help with that?”
“Apparently so, but that’s all I know. And with this rain coming down it’s gonna take much longer then it would have.” He says.
“You got a point there.” I say while walking towards the fridge to get some soda. “So how long is this going to take?”
“No clue. I mean if it’s all hands on deck, and it’s looking like it, then I would assume around a week, taking into consideration the rain.” He says as he moves his now empty plate away from him and picks up a beer from his side.
“Well this is going to be a blast.” I say sarcastically. “Guess now we just have to wait until we arrive at that shithole.”
. . .
After a short wait, we finish packing up and getting ready for what’s in store for us. Looking outside through the windows, there is seriously some destruction here, I can see pieces of wall I presume and various other pieces of structures, all scattered about. Of course mud covers every inch of this place, it’ll take a while until some heavy machinery will be able to come here and start moving all of this junk, which also means that our job will be even harder than it had to be.
After arriving at a small makeshift camp our ride dumped us off and left. We were greeted by some woman who was apparently in charge and she showed us where we can leave our stuff and where we should get to work.
Being here in here in person is definitely unsettling to say the least. I’m used to seeing dead bodies and blood sure, but this is on a scale I never saw before. Looking around I definitely see where the main structure would be, but where stood a probably pretty impressive structure now lays a half demolished pile of rubble and ash. Around it were four towers probably serving as some sort of a defensive wall, but now only two are standing and even they have holes which were probably caused by explosions of some sort, the gate is practically non existent, whether it was cut through or bent or melted I can’t really say, but my best guess is that the gate suffered probably all of the above. As we moved closer to the area where one of the gates would be I take a closer look at the destroyed gate just out of curiosity, and along this line between two towers the gate seems like it was bent or destroyed from the inside towards the outside, just as if someone was getting out instead of getting in, which even further makes me question how did an attack like this even happen.
Marko and I were sent to the western side of the structure just up to the ‘gate’ area. Along the way I see several groups of people already hard at work clearing what little debris they can so that the corpses can be removed. The two of us get to work starting with the bodies that are just laying around and pilling them in a bunch, and while moving them I notice that even though most of them have either laboratory coats and outfits and some have armoured Organization uniforms, there are a surprising amount of bodies with disturbing grey boiler suits, and while sure they could be like janitors or something, still there’s no way this place had that many janitors. Taking a closer look there’s nothing on the back of them and no pockets front or back, turning them around nothing catches my eye since there’s nothing to really see, but I do spot a consistency between them, on the left side of the chest area there is a five digit number with letters in it as well, alongside a bar code of sorts right below it. It just looks like random numbers and letters so I can’t quite say who or what these bodies were.
The rain doesn’t let up, though it becomes quieter after some time, your brain just registers it as white noise and simply ignores it after a while, but I don’t mind not even walking in this mud, since I used to do this back home, I will say that it does make moving bodies and piles of bricks and cement pretty difficult at times, thankfully I have Marko with me who helps out with the heavy lifting. We don’t talk much while doing this, primarily since it’s hard to hear much while the rain is pouring down, but also since we never really talk during missions, that’s what Captain taught us, keep quiet till the job is done, calling out to one another for help is fine but the two of us keep our distance and work independently for the most part.
After roughly two to three hours of slogging in this mud we get called back to our resting area for a break. The two of us sit down and are presented with a decent meal, as are all the other agents that are helping move these corpses. We eat and mostly complain for a better part of an hour.
“You know, I don’t want to be the one to complain or anything, but they really could have given us some better freaking food! Like, we work in this shithole moving dead bodies and all we get is this basic shit! This ain’t right man...” Marko says.
“I do apologize about the food.” A female voice, coming from behind Marko. “But be assured that better food is on it’s way and will be available in a short while.”
I look up while Marko turns around and who we see is the lady who is in charge here and who originally pointed us to our work and rest area.
“Sorry for the intrusion, but you wouldn’t happen to be York by any chance?” She says and looks at me.
“Yeah, that would be me. Is there an issue?” I ask.
“No nothing of the sort, but I would like for you to come with me and have a chat with a certain individual who was asking for you.” She says, gesturing outside towards a small tent in the distance.
I hesitate for a second, thinking back to Captain and the men in suits that took him. “Sure, any particular reason why I’m needed?” I finally ask, although begrudgingly.
“He said he wants you for a different job, that’s all I know.” She answers quickly. “Now, shall we?”
I quietly stand up, giving Marko a quick glance, and follow her out of our rest area and towards the tent.
“My, this rain is quite something isn’t it?” She asks as we head towards the tent.
I don’t answer. I don’t trust her one bit, or this whole ‘we have another job for you’ bullshit. I’m not going to play any games with these people, not after what happened to Captain. Could I be overreacting? Sure, maybe Captain’s safe and sound, but I doubt it. He knew something was coming, and after working with him for a year I trust him when he says that something is coming. I don’t like this, I don’t like this at all...
As we approach the entrance to the tent the female in charge gestures to me to enter ahead of her. I comply, having no other option.
I enter into a nicely lit interior that surprisingly has a dry hard ground beneath it which shouldn’t be possible, but for some reason it is. On the inside there is a singular grey table with a chair on two opposite sides, and on the chair facing the entrance sits a comically large man, arms crossed and back straight up, looking directly at me as I enter.
“So you are the one, eh?” He says, not moving a muscle other than his mouth of course.
“Yeah, why did you ask me to come here?” I ask as I stop right as I enter the tent.
He scoffs, lifting his chin up as if to look down on me. This guy is seriously built like a mountain, he is as tall as I am, and he’s sitting on a chair! He has muscles like I have never seen before, face chiselled like a goddamn statue, his hair is red along with his eyebrows. His uniform resembles that of a high ranking agent, though what rank exactly I don’t know. He keeps his eyes on me, or if my assumption is correct, he’s keeping his eyes on my right eye, this guy knows what I am, I’m not liking this.
“So.” He says, face still, and unmoving. “York, I hear you’ve been working for the Organization for about a year now, yes?”
“Sounds about right.” I say, still standing by the entrance.
“Hm.” He finally moves, he puts his still crossed arms on the table as he hunches over, and gestures with one of his hands for me to sit.
After a second I finally decided to walk up and take a seat. With him hunched over like that and me sitting down it almost looks like there’s a huge tsunami that’s gonna swallow me whole. “So what’s this all about?” I say, trying to keep as much eye contact as I can.
“You don’t talk, you listen.” He says. “I am a commander for the Organization here, so you listen to what I say and you do it, understood?”
I flex my jaw and take a deep breath. “Aye commander.”
“Good... You see what happened here, yes?” He asks, taking a quick look around him for extra effect.
“This location got attacked, right?” I ask.
“What did we say about talking?” He says with a deeper tone and leans further towards me. “You are correct, it did get attacked. By none other than Constantine and his merry band of persistent fuckers!” He slams the table and raises his voice. “But you know what makes me so angry, hm?”
I shake my head signalling that I have no idea.
“Have you heard of an operative named SkyJumper?” He asks, returning to his normal voice. “Well she is one of our more, how should I put this... special units. Well to cut the story short, she betrayed us. I do not know what happened but when I got here I heard that she attacked one of our operatives and ran away.”
SkyJumper? That name doesn’t really ring any bells.
“Why am I telling you this? Well let me tell you, you will go and find her.” He says.
“What?” I ask.
After hearing me speak he shoots up knocking his chair to the ground and practically yelling says. “What the fuck did I tell you to do boy? Do you intend to be a little bitch all the time, eh?” He leans over the table using both of his arms as supports and gets very close to my face and lovers his voice. “You disgusting Bootleg, to think you would have the gull to talk back to me.”
“I put you in a team.” He continues backing off and now pacing back and forth. “You and the other members go and track down SkyJumper, you follow and report to me when you find her. Your transport is waiting.”
As he says that, the woman who escorted me here and who was apparently standing in front outside the whole time now comes in and holds the door open for me to leave.
I get up and as I’m about to leave the commander says. “You better not mess this up, boy.” As I get outside the woman starts leading me away from my rest area and towards the same spot that Marko and I got dropped off, now that I think about it Marko has no idea what’s happening, shit... I guess I can ask this woman to relay the info to him.
As we approach the spot I can already see a similar vehicle that I came here with and in front I see two people, one male and one female just standing there trying to stay as dry as possible but failing spectacularly.
“This is your transport vehicle, your stuff has already been transported here for you.” She says.
“Great... Hey, could you do me a favour? Could you tell that guy I was eating with, where I’m going just so that he’s aware.” I ask.
“That I can certainly do, yes.” She answers.
We finally get to the vehicle and what I see is a guy, probably in his thirties, fully armoured for combat with a thick fur collar and pieces of paper hanging off his shoulder, looks like they have some writing on them but I don’t recognize it, he’s carrying a large rifle on his back and a handgun on his right hip. His face looks rugged but no visible scars, except a tattoo that covers most of his left face, looks like some religious iconography and text. His head is completely bald, from here I think he’s about my height, maybe a bit shorter.
The other individual, the female, looks kinda young, maybe my age or a couple of years older. She’s holding some sort of metal briefcase above her head to prevent the rain from hitting her. Not much to say about her, she looks like your average agent, light red hair that’s made into a ponytail at the back, and a white coat that reminds me of a science coat a bit.
Making our way towards the two individuals, the woman escorting me puts her arms forward and wide in a greeting fashion. “I am so terribly sorry for making you two wait.”
The dangerous looking male shoots up and salutes. “You do not have to apologize, miss! We will stand here as long as we need to ensure our victory!”
“Yes, yes... well I’ll be leaving you three, if you don’t mind could you fill York here on the details please? Thank you.” She says.
“Understood!” The guy replies.
“Wonderful, well off you go and good luck.” She waves to all of us, turns around and leaves.
“Let’s just get inside already...” The female says in a low voice.
The three of us make our way into the large vehicle. The female tells me to meet her in the dining room in five minutes and goes off to drop her stuff off in her room. I follow suit and find an empty room, as I drop my bag and sit down on the bed to catch my breath, soon after I feel the vehicle starts moving towards out destination, wherever that may be.
After a couple of minutes settling in I decide to go downstairs as agreed. I walk into the dinning room and see absolutely no one, I quickly check the clock on the wall and see that both of us are technically late. Well I suppose I’ll just wait, not like I have anything better to do.
A good five minutes later as I’m still just sitting at the table still half wet from the work I’ve been doing just twenty minutes ago, the doors finally open and in she comes, in some pretty comfortable looking clothing and most definitely dry, which is a stark contrast to my drenched ass.
“Took you long enough...” I mumble.
“Can’t blame me for wanting to get out of the wet clothing.” She replies, brushing me off and goes to make herself coffee.
“You know, I would have loved to take my clothing off and put something nice and comfy on too.” I persist.
She sighs. “Whatever.” She takes her cup of coffee and sits down opposite of me. “You’re name is York right?”
“And what would yours be?”
“Anna, and I’m the one looking over you so you better behave and not cause me trouble, you hear?” She says and takes a sip of her coffee.
“Watch over me? What for?” I ask, puzzled.
“Well, not to be rude or anything, but your kind are not known to be the most stable of living organisms. Not like there is much research done on you guys anyway, but the intel that we do have shows that the safest thing, in this case, is to have someone trained enough to oversee you so you don’t flip out or something. And that someone would be me.” She concludes with a raised chin and a grin on her face.
“I never needed any supervision. I never ‘flipped out’ or anything like that, so why are they so worried about it now?”
“Alright there kiddo, I don’t have all the answers and quite frankly I didn’t care enough to ask, but what I do know is that I need to fill you in on the mission that we are all a part of.” She says, looking me straight in the eyes and with a much sharper voice this time.
“Wait, you just called me a kiddo? You’re like a year or two older than me!” I say in return.
“So I’m guessing you at least know that we are tracking a rogue operative, am I correct?” She asks, completely ignoring my previous statement.
I stop myself from pursuing the obvious condescending at play here, and take a sharp breath as I answer. “Yes, I know that we’re going after SkyJumper. I would most definitely like some more intel.”
“SkyJumper yes, I don’t know exactly why she flipped but it happened shortly after the initial attack. She attacked some of our men who arrived as a backup as soon as they could, and ended up wounding two of them before fleeing the area. We got intel that she went west towards the ocean, probably to go across and to the mainland, we already have patrols on the water looking for her but no luck so far. Our objective is to find her on the mainland and keep tabs on her from a distance, that’s of course where you come in, that neat little ability you have is the reason why you were chosen for the mission. I was put into this team as a medic of sorts, primarily just focused on you and your behaviour, and the that other guy upstairs is the muscle, in the off chance that we end up engaging with SkyJumper he should be more than enough to take care of her, I believe his name is Nicholas. And that about sums it up, we have a boat waiting for us at the pier and after that we’re on our own.” As she finishes her briefing she leans back into her chair and puts her feet on the chair next to her. “Any questions?”
“Several.” I say. “But I don’t necessarily like taking to you so I’ll keep it brief. Why are we keeping tabs on her? Why not send a kill squad and take care of her?”
“Can’t say, It’s not my field of expertise. Maybe she’s going somewhere special and the higher ups want to know where that place is.” Anna answers, genuinely looking like she doesn’t know.
“Can’t say that I expected anything more than that... So who is that guy up there? SkyJumper managed to escape from a squad bigger than ours, even injuring two guys in the process, and yet only one guy can take her on with no issues? It doesn’t add up.” I blurt out as I lose myself in my thoughts.
Anna makes a quick scan of the dining room before answering. “He’s a zealous freak from what I hear. You saw the tags he has on the shoulders? From what I could see it’s some religious writing, and the tattoo as well is pretty heavy with that shit too. Now why was he assigned to this mission I can’t say, but from my knowledge I do recall that there was a small branch of the Organization that dabbled in religion, like something out of a movie when kids are brainwashed and then become mindless killing machines! I think something similar is what happened to him, but all that is just from what I managed to gather.”
“Holy shit... I never heard of anything like that. A religious freak, huh? Why in the world would someone like him be on this mission...” I lose myself in my thoughts once more.
Sure there are various religions within the Organization, everyone has their right to choose what they want to believe in. I never took to any of that, even if there is a God, I sure as hell wouldn’t have anything nice to say to him after what he has done to me, so I just choose not to participate in anything of the sorts. Captain wasn’t religious, though I do remember him having unique necklaces that he would clutch from time to time. He used to say it brought warmth to his heart, but never explained any further.
“Beats me. I just seriously hope I can keep my distance as far away from him as possible.” She sighs and puts down her now empty coffee cup.
“Any particular reason?” I turn towards her and ask, as I too was keeping my feet on a chair next to me just like Anna.
“I don’t know, he just gives off a bad vibe you know? Like a guy who’ll snap at a moments notice, and I sure as hell don’t want to be around when that happens.” Still looking at the cup she continues. “I like more stable and down to earth kinda people, he just gives an aura of an egomaniac and a self-centred douchebag. But I guess,” She looks up at me. “I guess you seem pretty cool. Even though you still kinda weird me out with that eye.”
“Wow, didn’t expect for you to fall for me that easily. And besides, I still think you’re a pain in the ass to talk to.” I respond with a slight grin.
“Right, right... and fuck you too, thank you very much.” She says with a smile and a slight chuckle at the end.
I breathe out sharply and stand up. “I’m gonna go and get changed, want me to come back down or do you think that the amount of interaction for today was enough for now?”
“Why are you asking me for? Do whatever the hell you want to.” She replies.
I bow my head and give a smile and head towards my room, but before I’m able to open the door out of the dining room, they open on their own and in comes the religious freak, as I’ve been told. He walks straight ahead and even as I try to step to the side so that both of us can walk through he just walks straight, managing to bump into my shoulder with enough force to push me to the wall.
“Watch where you’re going!” I yell out to Nicholas.
He continues a few steps before stopping and only turning his head so that his back and the tattoo on his face are visible to me. “What was that?” He says.
I stop for a second, managing to feel the bad vibe that Anna had when she interacted with him. After a moment I say, “There’s not a lot of space here, let’s not go around bumping into each other now.”
He slowly turns around and without breaking eye contact slowly approaches me. “You dare speak to me? You disgust me, you hellish creature. I become sick just knowing I’m in your presence, and I would be more than glad to send you down into the fiery debts from where you came, you foul creature!”
He continues walking towards me, now being face to face with me. I do not move for some reason, is my body completely paralyzed by his presence, or perhaps by his insanity?
“The mission of our God is to cleanse this corroded world of parasites like you! And yet here you are, in the presence of one of his holy warriors that is here to save this world, and you dare act so insolent!”
He starts raising his voice and visibly starts morphing his face into something terrifying and bat shit crazy like something out of a serial killer movie. I don’t know what to do or what to say, at this point I’m preparing for the worst. I know there’s a knife on my left thigh, this guy is obviously physically stronger than me, but maybe I can use his deluded mind to find an opening when he’s going on about cleansing the world, and strike. But before things get any more dangerous, Anna’s voice rings out from behind Nicholas as now she got herself involved.
“Lay off him Nicholas! There’s no point in starting a fight, we have a mission to do! Don’t be stupid and fuck everything up!” She yells out.
He turns around to face her and simply scoffs and continues walking the way he originally was going and purposefully hits her with his shoulder as he walks past, sending her stumbling back but managing to stabilize herself with one of the chairs behind her.
Nicholas keeps walking until he leaves the dining room and goes into another room adjacent to it. After he leaves Anna closes her eyes for a couple of seconds while I lean on the walk to catch my bearings, she’s the one who speaks first. “Want some coffee for when you come down?”
“That would be very nice...” I say, and after a deep breath I go up to my room.
For the rest of the day I spent in the dinner talking to Anna, and later going to my room for some needed rest. Talking to her is unsettling, not in a bad way, but in a curious one. Admittedly I haven’t spent much time in the Organization and know very little amount of people, but she is the only person who is kinda like me. She’s not some high and mighty agent who looks down on me or anything, usually I would be ignored and it’s not like I blame anyone for doing that, but she spoke to me quite openly about a some subjects like what she does in the labs she works in and about her history in the Organization and so on. Nicholas walks past us one more time but doesn’t acknowledge us and keeps on walking.
We talk late into the night, even sharing some laughs and banter, which I haven’t done in quite some time, so it’s refreshing in a way. Afterwards we part ways and go to our separate rooms and call it a night.
So we are on the sea now, well we are on the sea for about three and a half days but hey I don’t have the energy to write diary entries every day so fuck off... Don’t know who I’m saying fuck off to but oh well...
After about a day and a half of travel from the Sun Valley and to the coast just west of it, we managed to get into contact with some agents waiting for our arrival and they gave us a pretty nice boat with its own captain and crew. It looks just like our big vehicles with rooms and stuff that I usually travel in but this one goes on water, neat!
As far as I know we have about a week of travel left at this point before arriving at MawGate. I’ve never been there, but what Anna told me is that it’s a pretty shady town with little to no law enforcement almost like Purgatory which is not to far from MawGate. As far as my knowledge goes, I know that a couple of big cities on the mainland are like asylums or safe havens for criminals, they surprisingly manage to keep some semblance of order in those cities all on their own which is pretty impressive considering their size. MawGate is one of those cities, maybe not as big as Purgatory and maybe not as nice, but it sure has its fair share of diverse citizens from all paths of life.
Speaking of Anna, we started talking a bit more recently, of course she does daily checkups on me to see if I’m stable, even though I never had any problems with not being stable. We would just hang out on the deck looking out at the sea and talk about different topics but all in the realm of our work and the history we had in the ON, it’s short for Organization, at least that’s what she told me. I don’t mind her company, at first the thought of a doctor looking over my shoulder 24/7 definitely didn’t sit right with me, but slowly we started interacting more and now we spend most of our days out on the sea just hanging around each other. We found some common ground like science, she dabbles a decent amount in chemistry at the lab that she works at, which is something that I vaguely remember being good at back home. Through some more conversation I slowly but surely start to remember small stuff here and there from my memory, revolving my interest in chemistry when I was younger. I still got to thank her for that, but won’t she think that’s weird? Do I just thank her for helping me remember my past? What person doesn’t remember their past?
Maybe I shouldn’t say anything... Even though I like having her around, at the end I’m still just a monster and she’s a normal human girl, there are just some things that are different, any way you look at it.
What I am and what my problems are shouldn’t concern her, she doesn’t need to worry about me... I, don’t want her to worry about me...