The Chimera Within

Chapter 22

Guy Kasady, Mike Hall, Janice Lincoln, Martin Li and Adrienne Toomes huddled around a diagram made of sticks for their briefing on Guy's great and masterful plan of attack on the Comanche helipad.

Guy announced, "So I will be explaining this plan of attack in five graphs. Graph 1: Situation. The situation is that we are stranded on the south side of Noble's Isle and are facing eight enemy guards who are preventing the takeoff of our Comanche helicopter, that is our means of escape from this military setback. For the moment there are no other friendly forces present."

Martin came over and approached Captain Hall quietly as Guy went through graphs two and three. "What the hell is this graph business?"

Mike Hall explained. "It's a five paragraph order. It's a basic command tool that is taught in Officer Candidate school." He paused and then added, "It's just not usually used this literally out in the field."

"Graph Four: Execution," Guy continued. "We will assault the Comanche helipad from the northwest using…"

"Aw, c'mon!" interrupted Martin. "This is absurd, even for you Guy. Open your eyes and freaking look around you!" Martin waved around at their little band of would be warriors and lab nerds. "What, we're taking on Iraklis' army of former British Special Forces and mercenaries, are we? Us? I mean look at us. What with two rifles and a canteen? Have you lost your bloody mind?"

"That's enough, Doctor Li!" ordered Guy.

"No, listen to me!" pleaded Martin. "Look, no disrespect, but why are we always taking on ludicrous missions where it's us against the world?" Janice set her jaw and nodded. "I know that we thought we were acting nobly for the greater good when we took that misguided decision to assassinate Connors, but why must we always be going uphill? I mean, does anyone else think that this 'plan' is freaking nuts? If we're putting our lives out there, again, then the plan should be fair. Let's make this fair. We'll have a show of hands and take a vote."

Before he was finished his tirade, Mike Hall interrupted him and pushed down Martin's raised arm. "No! No! Absolutely not! This is not a democracy!"

"Well it's not a-"

"The General is in charge! General Kasady is in charge! No ifs, ands, or buts. He says we go, we go! There are no questions!"

"We've already lost two men on this expedition, Cap! How many more are we going to lose?" Martin hollered.

Mike Hall and Martin kept staring at each other for a few long moments. "You need to sit down, and shut up right now," Hall growled.

"You can't tell me to shut up. I'm just as much part of Oscorp's administration as Guy or Toby."

Hall started pushing Martin backwards, "You need to sit down and shut up, right now," he said, as he pushed him down onto a log. He stood there with his arms crossed and sighed. "Your briefing, General."

"Thank you, Captain. Graph Four. We will approach the enemy position from the northwest using natural ground cover to mask our approach." Guy picked up a stick and pointed at his crude model on the ground. "Our objective is to clear the 'command and control' console. That should leave us clear to take the Chopper without fear of a rear attack as we're taking off. Once we reach this position," he said, pointing at the entrance to the helipad. "Janice, you're going to flank out to the left and make a feint on their position, hopefully drawing their fire long enough for me and Toomes to flank out to the right and get a shot at the console to clear it of bogies. Captain Hall, you and Doctor Li will stay at position one, and provide covering fire for both flanking manoeuvres. Okay, let's saddle up!" Guy pushed a pistol into Martin's trembling hands. "It's time to neutralize some bogies!"

Guy picked up one of the two assault rifles that they possessed and they moved through the jungle to launch their attack. Guy was almost feeling giddy that his escape plan was in motion.

When they arrived in sight of the road that led to the helipad, Guy and Mike Hall took a quick sweep with the field glasses. "There's two," said Guy, mentally marking their position, "and there's the other two, right where they're supposed to be." He pocketed the binoculars and faced his frightened little band. "This is it. We're going in. Janice, follow the tree line to point Alpha," he pointed forward.

"Whoa, whoa, General. There's four sentinels at the entrance to the helipad," said Mike Hall, staring through his binoculars.

"What?" Guy grunted, pulling out his field glasses again.

Martin crouched low. "Something's wrong isn't it? Something's wrong with the plan."

"Quiet down. There's nothing wrong with the plan. There are just a couple of sentinels that we didn't account for. That means eight here and another two guarding the Comanches." He turned to Martin. "Are you absolutely certain about the two guards at the choppers?"

Martin looked around defensively. "I know what I saw."

Mike Hall turned around from his binoculars. "Maybe there are only eight soldiers. They just changed their deployment. That would mean that they brought the two that were guarding the helipad itself down here. In that case, the choppers would be unprotected!"

Guy could sense his clean escape slipping away. "Gosh, Captain. If we had to circle around to sneak into the helipad from the other side, we'd have to double back like a click away."

"So what?" Hall's frustration came out. "The choppers' unprotected. We can slip away and regroup with Dr. Auchmann's main force. We don't have to take on the whole Oscorp army!"

A crashing boom shattered the quiet calm that they had enjoyed for the past hour. "What the hell was that?" cried Martin.

"Cannon shot from the north side of the island. It must have come from Iraklis mopping up after taking out the last of Doc Ock's forces. That means that Iraklis is in control of our surface to air missiles. We have to move now, take out the 'command and control' console so that we can make a clean break in the Comanche. When we're in the air we can always fire back some countermeasures and lay some blanket fire to cover our exit. But we gotta go, Cap! There's no time for discussion. Move out! It's game time! We'll take out these bastards before they kill anymore of us!" They picked up their guns and started moving through the jungle to launch their attack.

Janice sat with her back to a tree, starting to hyperventilate. She managed to push off the tree but she fell to her knees and stayed there, frozen.

"Dr. Lincoln! Janice! I said, move!" barked Guy.

"I can't!" Janice panted.

"What?" Guy snapped in disbelief. "That's an order!"

"She doesn't have to. We could just go take the chopper!" hissed Mike Hall through his teeth.

Guy focused on Janice. "Janice! You have to move! Janice you have to go! This is not a joke. Go! This is not a game, Janice. Go! Iraklis is prepping the SAM's right now, Janice. Any of our comrades who've survived are counting on us to get those birds in the air, Janice. Move!" All the while Janice closed her eyes and shook her head from side to side.

"Listen to me! We still have time to double back and steal away in the choppers right under their noses!" Hall's eyes were practically popping out of his head.

"Shuttup for a second!" snapped Guy. "Listen, Janice. Dr. Lincoln. You have your orders! I need you to go up there and create a distraction, now! Move!"

"There were only supposed to be two sentinels and now there are four," Adrienne whimpered. "How are we supposed to take out four sentinels?" Her shaking hands clutched her pistol.

"Ok screw the orders!" Guy continued to rail on Janice. "Our people are out there and we have to save them! They're dying! They'll die unless we can get to them and provide medical attention!"

Janice teeth were clenched. "Shaddup! I can't do it! I can't do it!"



Guy pulled out his sidearm and pointed it at Janice's head. Martin called Mike Hall's attention. "Cap!" Mike whirled around.

"Whoa. Hey. Hey! Put it down!"

Guy's grimacing face glared over the pistol. "You're going out there, Janice. You're going out there or I'm going to blow you're brains out, right here." Janice started to sob. "Right now."

"Hey General, buddy. Take it easy. Put the gun down. Take it easy."

"I'm counting to three," said Guy, stone-faced.

"This is crazy!" said Adrienne. "This is freaking crazy." She hung her head.


Mike Hall pulled out his pistol and pointed it at Guy. "Put it down! Right now! Listen to me! Drop your weapon!"


Janice turned her head away and Guy looked like he was going to cry. But then his face took on a firm, malicious aspect.


A pistol fired at close range, but it was Guy who lunged forward, his lifeless body crumpling against a tree.

The barrel of Martin's pistol continued to smoke as his eyebrows knitted into a scared look of surprise and shock. Guy's face was also etched with a look of shock and dismay; as his cheek pressed unnaturally against the tree trunk, and his dead eyes stared straight ahead.

Janice kept sobbing, and the rest just looked at each other in incredulity. A few tense moments passed and Mike Hall looked like he was about to say something, when bullets started peppering the ground and foliage around him. He ducked as Janice, Martin and Adrienne hit the ground.

"Fall back! Fall back!" shouted Mike, covering his face to protect it from bits of dirt and slivers that were flying through the air as the guards from the helipad, alerted to the enemy presence from Martin's gun going off, were laying blanket machine gun fire before advancing on their position. "Go! Go!"

Mike ripped off Guy's dog tags before running to take cover behind a big log with Janice and Adrienne, while Martin crawled up to Guy's mortal remains. He paused to look at him and ponder just what it was that he had done. But with bullets whizzing past, now was not the time for soul searching. He briskly grabbed Guy's assault rifle and went ducking for cover with the others.

Once he arrived, Captain Hall sent Janice and Adrienne running for their lives into the jungle, while he took the rear to try and slow down their pursuers and Martin ran just ahead of him. One of Iraklis' soldiers lined up his mark along a clearing and got a lucky shot where he hit Adrienne in the leg. She went down and fortunately was sheltered by a fallen tree. She called for help and Janice went back for her. Grabbing her arm, the two of them kept moving, albeit at a slower pace. The two of them huddled for cover behind a large tree, about three meters in diameter. Hall and Martin came from behind, both firing their assault rifles back but not being able to get a clear shot.

A bullet winged Mike Hall in the shoulder and he went crashing to the ground and his rifle went flying a couple of meters ahead of him. Martin dove for cover behind the same big tree as Janice and Adrienne, while he tried to keep firing from around the tree. Bullets peppered the ground around where Mike was lying as he curled up behind a short ridge of dirt. There was a log that protected him for the moment but he was unable to reach forward to get his rifle.

As he shielded his head with both arms and was shrouded in dirt and smoke, Martin screamed, "Cap! Cap!"

"Just stay there! Stay there! That's an order!" he yelled back. Taking a breath and scrunching his face, he pulled out his sidearm and leaped out from his shelter for one last stand. Screaming his battle cry, he unloaded his pistol at the attacking soldiers.

From before his eyes, two of the men exploded and were vaporized into a bloody mist, while the third and fourth were rattled with bullets. In a daze, Captain Mike Hall momentarily looked at his pistol in disbelief, and then whirled around to see what was behind him.

He turned around to see Lieutenant James Sanders and Petty Officer Elaine Colls in a Humvee, brandishing their Mk9 grenade launcher and M2 heavy machine gun. Sanders saluted and Colls called out, "You're welcome."

All four of them breathed a heavy sigh of relief, and Janice gripped Martin's hand as they wept pent-up emotion and adrenaline. Captain Hall looked at his surviving little troop with proud jubilation.

Back at the Admin building where they were receiving medical attention, Captain Hall handed Guy's dog tags to Commander Castle, who had come to check on the status of the injured and assess the extent of the sustained losses. Castle accepted the tags respectfully, then said, "That's a hell of a butcher's bill, Cap." He started to walk away when he paused and asked, "Doc Ock will want to know how Dr. Kasady died. How did it happen?"

Castle was looking at Hall but Martin answered, "Leading the charge. He gave his life in the finest tradition of the service."

Janice and Martin looked at Mike Hall, who seemed lost in his thoughts. Doubt was written on Martin's face whether Mike would deny his story, but then Mike looked up at him and said, "Yeah." He smiled. "He was a hero. Right to the end."

Castle gripped the tags. "Okay."

Lieutenant Adriana Soria walked around the animal paddock and came across where Peter and Tom were hunkered down. "Lieutenant!" said Peter. "How goes the battle?"

"Dr. Wirtham told me I could you find you here. You two are needed to serve as medics in the infirmary. Report to C building immediately."

Peter looked to Tom. "We might as well. We haven't had much luck with our wolf trap."

"He may be spooked because of all the fighting."

"Well let's get to work on these wounded and dying and hopefully in the meantime we can come up with a better idea on how to lure our prey."

"Are you sure they want me working in the infirmary?" asked Tom, "I understand that your skills as a Medical Doctor would be invaluable. But me? I don't have any clinical training."

"I know that from what I've already seen of your skills that you'd make an invaluable medical corpsman for a combat zone. Let's get to work and try to save some lives for a change."

Peter was sent to work helping in the OR, while Tom was indeed sent out as a corpsman, collecting the wounded where they had fallen, and providing first aid or helping as an acting Paramedic. He learned quickly how to prep the wounded and get them moved to the OR where they could receive treatment.

Tom got to work loading the soldiers into cots, applying bandages and pressure to amputated appendages, supplying morphine and hooking up field IV medicine bags. As Tom was working, he saw Kanaka, Lily Hollister's henchman, dragging a cot with a big Russian soldier strapped to it, his head flopping around unnaturally. "Something about that doesn't seem Kosher," thought Tom. While it looked like Kanaka had tended to a wound that was bleeding from his midsection, the all around lack of concern displayed by not immobilizing the head and neck for probable spinal injuries was a terrible disregard for basic first aid principles.

When Tom entered into the makeshift military hospital, everything was a buzz of chaotic activity as the medics, doctors and surgeons attempted to provide treatment to the many injured. Elias was busy in the OR, and as soon as he finished stitching up one patient, he rushed to the next, and he continued at this hurried pace for many hours. Tom could readily observe Elias' considerable skill as a surgeon, as well as someone who could perform under stress.

Tom assisted where he could, at first as a runner, but then, out of necessity, he began assisting as a nurse for surgery. While he was no replacement for an actual nurse, they took advantage of his basic knowledge of medical practice and his eagerness to help.

After all the patients had been tended to, finally Tom and Elias were able to sit for a few moments. Elias handed Tom his flask, and after the stress of the past twenty-four hours, Tom was grateful for the liquid distraction. As he handed the flask back to Elias, Tom asked, "What did Dr. Hollister want with you earlier?"

Elias shook his head. "She has been working on something really big for a while now. Something that she thinks will define her legacy, but she also has her own personal reasons why she's pursuing it now with such reckless abandon. I told her that we are still a ways off from having the expertise, but she feels that she has to attempt it now, that she can't wait any longer. I told her that I didn't want any part of it."

"How did that go over?"

"She flew into one of her typical tantrums. Not something that I haven't already grown accustomed to. But now she really seems like she's completely unhinged. But then, thankfully, I was ordered to report to the OR."

Tom looked suddenly lost in thought. "You know, you've never asked me what my reasons are for joining this ill-fated expedition." He looked around at the body bags.

"I figured you would tell me when we had firmly established a rapport."

"I also have my personal reasons for wanting to be able to use animal hybrid medical treatments, and I had been promised by the Oscorp executives that once this issue of the island was settled, then my project would receive the official green light."

"And how do you think that's gone for you?"

"I think, that Oscorp is going to want to cover this up as much as possible. They're not going to openly promote this technology, lest they allow investigations into how it was developed from any of the authorities or the media. And it doesn't help that Hollister's mind is a bag of cats. She can't be any sort of ambassador for this technology, and while it impresses me that she doesn't seem to be afraid of anybody, I think it's a given that no one is going to let her leave this place."

Elias just looked serious and nodded, thinking of the implications for himself. "I originally signed on with Oscorp after an… incident, that involved me being caught drinking before surgery. I was suffering from depression at the time." He looked at Tom, who nodded understandingly. "Anyways, the end result was me being put on probation for five years, so I couldn't practice surgery. I needed a job, and when I heard about Dr. Hollister and Oscorp, I jumped at the opportunity to work without being judged. Now that I've signed all the contracts and paperwork required to work on classified government research, it would appear a little complex to be able to go back to the US, and start a life again."

"Well you're right," Tom continued," we have developed a rapport, and I think we should try and help each other out."

"What do you propose?"

"We'll bide our time for now, but at the first opportunity, let's try and get the hell out of Dodge. You won't be safe if you wait here, but I promise you, that I'll do whatever I can to get you back stateside."

"I guess I'll drink to that."

Tom went to check on Peter, who was busy setting up his wolf trap. He had some snares set out, and then Tom helped him to make a buried bait set. They dug a small hole and proceeded to fill it with bones that they got from the kitchen. Somehow, one of the assistants had managed to shoot a stink badger, so Peter threw the carcass into the hole as well to cover up his own smell. Then they waited.

During the night, a shadowy figure approached one of the sentries who was guarding the south entrance of the compound. He climbed along the wall and then, dropping silently to the ground behind the unsuspecting guard, he swiftly came up behind him and put him in spine crushing hold. Scaling the wall and entering past security, he moved with superhuman speed to the animal holding area. Opening the cage that belonged to Penny, a female chimp, he quietly concealed himself under the straw that she had for padding in her pen, waiting for the morn.

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