Ghost

Coming from the suburb of Richard, he entered the city on foot with the sun beating down on his back. He was walking faster than a normal human being, but wasn’t even feeling it. He was different, not quite normal anymore. He had been altered by an experiment that made him more than human, and less. His goal was to attack the city, to show them what he was capable of doing with basic weapons and himself. He had a double barrel shotgun and several pistols, and his knowledge. He didn’t hear anything but the insane soundtrack in his head.

 

He kept walking, his pace increasing as he reached the factory section. He saw a chemical plant that should have what he needed. He knew thousands of high explosive recipes and how to use them effectively. He approached the fencing and blinked. His vision changed to an infrared type and he saw the bright white of the pressure plates and laser beams crossing the lawn. He scrunched down, and put all his effort into leaping.

 

He seemed to float over the fence and the first hundred meters of the lawn and landed on piping that was running above the ground. He blinked again, and his vision went back to normal. He started jogging along the pipe, smelling the storehouse where the chemicals he needed were stored. He jumped down to the pavement, an impact depression spider-webbing around him. He took off, hearing the guard around the corner and slid against the wall, his skin and clothing mimicking the concrete. He was wearing what looked like a long trench coat, and combat boots. His shaven head shined in the early morning sun until his flesh took on the pattern. He then slid to the left, towards the corner and waited.

 

                The guard didn’t feel anything as his head exploded from the impact of the fist. His face crumpled inwards and the kinetic force pushed the back of his skull out. He fell in a heap, and the cyborg picked him up. He leapt to the top of the building and dropped the body like a sack of shit. He walked over to a skylight and blinked. His vision picked up on no tripwires or lasers around the window or frame and he punched it out. He dropped down, landing on a pile of containers. They went flying, crimped and broken.

 

Finished with his task he leapt down and went towards what looked like a collection of store rooms. He reached his left hand out towards the biometric reader and the last palm print appeared on the screen. His hand changed to match the prints and he pressed his modified hand against it. The door slid to the left, and the chemicals were his. He stepped in and the door slid closed behind him. He started working.

 

                Sitting in the diner, he kept checking his phone for a message from his wife. Dianna had done it again, drove home drunk from a get together with her girlfriend and she nearly smashed the car doing it manually. He kept telling her to just let the auto pilot get her ass home, but she never listened to him. He was a cop, and he turned her in when he saw her pull shittily into the drive. He came out and apologized for having to arrest her and book her, but he couldn’t stand the drinking, the late nights anymore. He didn’t care if she was cheating on him; he just wanted his wife to understand that he loved her for who she used to be.

                A text came through but it was work, not his wife.

                Possible break in at PetroChem, please standby for further information.

                Raihji “Ghost” McKenna had been a private sector security guard for fifteen years, but recently stopped working because he had been injured on the job. A Xero addict had broken into the building he was guarding, through an old basement window. The addict had been hopped up and screaming about angels and demons, the hallucinations driving him to find an answer to the insanity he was seeing. The drug Xeno gave people horrible hallucinations and super human strength. People didn’t last long once addicted to it because the body was pushed to the limit, and in the wrong hands addicts became monsters. They would do anything from dismembering people by hand to having cannibalistic tendencies. It was a designer drug and no one knew where it came from or why it was so cheap on the streets.

The drug had been on the streets for six months and already a few thousand people were dead from it. Some said it was government made, something to kill the poor or the weak. Others just wished it had never appeared in Neo Detroit. Neo Detroit had been growing quickly as the space port had gotten new business when the private sector took off again. Old Detroit had been turned into farmland about a hundred years ago, but when the private space race took off in the mid 2000’s the city was selected as a great port for exiting the planet because of the open farmland around it if something catastrophic had happened. As it grew so did the crime and misery that seemed to haunt the old city before it.   Neo Detroit had one of the finest military police forces in the world, but the recent attacks and spike in crime had meant that their forces were stretched thin.

 

The Xero fiend that nailed him had a large pipe, and Ghost was in the break room getting a cup of coffee when he was hit from behind. He went down, and the asshole went to town on him. He woke up in the hospital with his wife crying and holding his hand. It had been a month since he was out of the hospital and he still had aches and pains. His employer SECSERV had given him a six month leave with full pay. It wasn’t the first time he caught the bad side of a weapon though. He’d seen some of the worst action a private contractor could see outside of armed combat long before that. He’d been in Washington, DC when the riots started. The government had admitted to extraterrestrial contact and their existence. The aliens had already come and gone by the time the government revealed their presence in the mid 2000’s. The private space race occurred because the government had released some of the tech they had stolen or were given by the races of aliens that visited Earth after the first nuclear bomb went off in 1946.

 

                People of all walks of life had rioted, furious to be handed the information years after it had already come to pass them by, they brought Washington, Moscow, and other national capitals to a grinding halt. For two years, he had been in DC, fighting the rioters and there were things that he saw that could never be shook from his mind. Cops, military personnel killing and pillaging peaceful protesters, body parts flying as homemade bombs went off… He shook his head at the memory of finding the head of his partner sitting on a curb after a chaotic push to take the White House back.  He hated it, but it was the only job that he could find at the time. He had been labeled as a troublemaker since childhood, a bad seed. He’d never committed crimes or harmed anyone, but did have an anger problem.

 

He grew up in a household that was divided at best. His mother was Iranian, his father of European decent. He never knew much of his father’s history, but his mother made sure he knew of hers. His mother was a drunk, his father a weak man who should have never of married such a strong woman. His parents loved him, but it wasn’t enough. He left and joined the Services when he was only fifteen, getting the permission of his parents. He knew they would end up killing each other eventually but he didn’t care. Basic was easy, and he took to assassination and sniping like a fish to water. He worked for a group of men that reported directly to the POTUS, and for ten years he was the best killer the government had. But, once his time to be rolled out came, he had enough money for a house, car, and a year or two of deep therapy. He had seen enough, but knew that he would need help adjusting to being a civilian again. He found a wonderful psychiatrist who saw him for who he was.

 

                He was a man conflicted about everything, and he just wanted to know who he really was. He was a killer, a biological killing machine honed by the government for the government, but that wasn’t all that defined him. As he tried to forget the pain, the suffering he caused he’d fought to find a release, a way to get rid of the anger and then he realized he could take photos and bring out things that other people never noticed. He loved taking pictures of anything that caught his eye, and he had a talent for writing too, but hadn’t really explored it except for writing an autobiography that only he and Dianna would ever see. She read it once a week, after he had polished the week’s entry, and they still held therapy sessions. But now she had gone off the deep end when he was attacked, scared of him being murdered or disabled by another attack. He was healing real well, but it was going to be a few months before he was back to normal.

 

                He was shocked to see a text message from work, because he was on leave. If they were calling him in, he knew it might be bad. It might not just be for work, but it might be for his past experience. If SECSERV had been contacted by the government about a break in or terrorist activity they’d surely be told to bring him in. He finished his coffee and put out his smoke, throwing some bills on the counter. He walked out of the diner and onto the busy street. He tried calling Dianna again, and her phone just went to voice mail. She was pissed, but she had no right to do so. She was the one who came home drunk, nearly killing herself or others by driving in manual. He had to do this to wake her up. The DUI charge would be a difficult problem for her license, but they had issues they needed to solve. He didn’t care about her career, she could do freelance work for magazines or just rely on her royalties from her book and video about caring for veterans and traumatic violence victims. That’s how he found her actually, he had seen the book and picked it up. It understood him, and people like him, perfectly. Her past had been long and rough, but she overcame it.

But now she was a drunk like their individual parents. Her father was an abusive man who drank too much and her mom died when she was young. She escaped when she was in her early teens when her father slammed into a tree, dying instantly. Dianna had always hoped that he burned in the Hell he raged about constantly. She found refuge in psychology, trying to understand her father and her potential addiction to alcohol. She stayed away from it, and kept to herself during college and didn’t do much but study. She earned top honors all through the seven years it took her to get her PHD in psychology and a minor in pharmacology. She had the rights and ability to prescribe anything she felt the clients would need.

                But this has all gone to hell with just a stupid decision. Raihji thought this as he was walking towards his car, and he climbed in. He knew from a friend at the police station, that Dianna had been released about two hours ago, and left on foot. He didn’t have a clue where she would be going because the studio apartment they owned was about six miles from the police station, but she could and probably had snagged a cab to anywhere but home. Raihji was pissed, but he wanted to make sure she was safe. He got the car started and he clicked on the radio. He tuned it to a local station, one that played heavy metal and rock. He bobbed his head as “Day’s of Revenge” started playing and he sang along as he pulled out into the traffic. He tried her cell phone again, and got the voice mail.

                God damn it Dianna, where are you?

                Raihji was getting worried, and he didn’t know what to do. To have an APB sent out for his wife would only piss her off. To let her go on her own might mean he would have more heartbreak and pain later if something happened to her. He pulled up the search engine on the car’s computer and asked the GPS to find the closest bar to the police station. He pulled it up and started towards it. He was driving and listening to the thrash metal when his phone vibrated again.

                PetroChem break in confirmed. Terrorist has made IED’s and is now headed towards the center of the city. Ghost, come into the station.

                Fuck. What the fuck am I going to do?

                The GPS beeped twice, signaling he was about a mile from the bar. He decided to check out the bar, then head to the office. They could call if they really needed him. He found a cheap parking spot and got out, and walked to the door of the bar. It was open, and through the thick concrete walls he heard some shitty pop or hip hop song playing. He opened the door and the sound hit him like a baseball bat to his skull. He blinked and tried to ignore it, and looked around the dim room for his wife. He didn’t see her so he pulled his phone out and pulled up a picture. He walked to the bar, and got the bartender’s attention. He showed the phone and the lady behind the counter nodded and pointed towards the back, where a dim hallway had doors on either side.

                The bar was dark, and there were people in various stages of undress and drunkenness. He was getting worried and his hand instinctively went to his right hip, where his gun would be if on patrol. He saw various people doing sex acts in open view, not caring who saw. He kept bouncing his eyes from person to person hoping to find his wife passed out drunk or sitting alone. As he walked through the bar, noticing the pictures and crap on the walls, he realized this was a place where the dredges of society come to escape.

                Christ, this place? Why this place?

                He walked down the hallway, his hands sweating and his head pounding from the shit music, and he noticed a do not disturb sign on the door knob to his left. He turned and kicked in the flimsy door, and the room was bright. It was lit up and there was a camera infront of the bed, and two, no three people naked on the bed. A man was going down on his wife, and another man was taking him from behind. A rage filled Raihji, and he burst into the room screaming his wife’s name. He pulled the camera off the floor, ands swung the tripod and camera into the men, knocking the first man off, blood spraying from his back. The man screamed and rolled into the wall, rocking on his side. The man going down on his wife stopped and looked back, eyes wide. Raihji swung again, knocking him to the left. His wife was scrambling up, trying to cover her naked body with her arms and hands.

                “What the fuck! Raihji! What the fuck is wrong with you?”

                “Me? What the fuck is going on!”

                He saw a blanket on the floor and threw it at his wife, disgusted that she’d cheat on him, and he noticed the needle mark on her right arm. Xeno left a distinct bruise where it is injected, a black and purple square. It didn’t use needles, but patches that are designed to prevent infection and contamination. They injected into the skin the drug, and it left a square bruise. Her bruise was fresh, and if he was lucky she wouldn’t be addicted. One time is all it could take, and then you were gone into madness in matter of hours if addicted. No one had figured a way to clean the users of the need. Most addicts committed suicide if they didn’t get the drug.

                “Xeno! FUCKING XENO!?”

                She looked dazedly at her arm, and tried to focus her eyes. He then stopped, his heart pounding in his chest, breathing heavily. He took a look at the camera and ripped it from the tripod, and grabbed her arm. He lead her through the bar, daring anyone that looked at him to fuck with him. He wrapped the towel around her tightly and lead her to the car. She was crying and hid her eyes from the sun. He helped her into the car and started the camera. The view screen was cracked, but he could see them leading his drunk wife into the room… and slapping the Xeno patch on her.

                He turned off the camera and got in the car. She was crying and rocking back and forth. He threw the camera in the back seat and he started towards the hospital in this section of the town. He didn’t say anything on the way. The radio was off and the only sound in the car was Dianna crying quietly. He didn’t know what the fuck he was going to do if this got out that she had been raped and injected with Xeno. He kept praying that she wasn’t addicted.

                He pulled into the emergency entrance and walked her into the ER. Emergency personnel saw who was there, and rushed over. Raihji went and got her signed in, not speaking much, only when needed. He sat there freaking in his head about the commotion they were making when he left her. He got her papers and walked back to the waiting room, and found a nurse.

                “Dianna, my wife, where is she?”
                “The nurse is done taking samples and examining her. She’s being moved to a private room. What happened?”

                “I… don’t know. Its been a long day. Work needs me to go in. Can I see her?”

                “She’s sedated, and we really don’t know what’s going on with her. Is she an… addict?”

                “No.”

                Raihji gave the nurse a dark look and walked outside. He lit a smoke, hands shaking as he tried to figure out what he needed to do next. He wasn’t sure what the hell he was going to do if she was addicted. Didn’t know what she would do if she was aware of what had nearly happened to her. He smoked the cigarette to the filter and chucked it, not caring if security yelled at him or gave him a ticket. He stalked back to his car, lighting another one. He got in and checked his phone.

                He’d missed several calls from his boss, Tony Sterling. He sat in the car, window down, and called Sterling. Sterling picked up and cleared his throat.

                “Boss, um… My wife is in the hospital, I missed your calls. I’m coming in.”

                “PetroChem has been attacked, and we think the terrorist or crackhead made some sophisticated bombs. He’s driving a PetroChem van, and we are working with the police to find it. You’re being called off duty to assist the police in aiding or stopping this person.”

                “Who do I report to?”

                “Me, and Jackobi over at the 95th Precinct. He’s a good friend and has been briefed on your past… assignments. You are to follow his directions and any alternate ones that I may have for you. Get your ass over there.”

                Sterling hung up and Raihji sat there. He looked at the huge hospital, and knew his wife would be taken care of as much as possible here. He decided to follow his bosses orders and headed out to the 95th Precinct.

                He drove in silence, chain smoking like a chimney. He tried to get his mind into combat mode, but his loving wife just kept coming to mind. Her groin being licked and sucked on by another man. He’d made allowances in his mind for other women, but never men, for his wife to sleep with. She only did it once or twice a year, and he didn’t mind. He knew their bond was tighter than anything he’d ever experienced, even in the armed services. He knew that he was her male lover, and she needed a females touch. He himself had experienced the rough touch of a man a few times when younger, and decided that it wasn’t something he needed all the time. But the image of what happened in that room was playing itself over in his mind.

                God damn it. I have a job to do, my wife is in the fucking hospital because she got drunk again! What the hell am I going to do?

                He kept on driving the GPS directing him, distracting him from the shit he was thinking. He was on the Outer Belt, the highway that wrapped around New Detroit. The explosion in the distance shook the road, and for a second Raihji thought it would collapse. Traffic grinded to a halt, and people slammed into the ass end of his car, and he held the brakes down. The car slid forward and tapped the bumper of the pickup truck ahead of him and stopped. He climbed out to see what was going on better.

 

Chapter 2

                The communications room was a buzz of activity, people shouting orders, people carrying out orders, and in the center of the room, a man who looked like an average business man was controlling and coordinating everything in a quiet manner. He was giving orders, barking them actually, and people listened to him.

                “General, we have contact with Raihji McKenna, he was spotted up on the Outer Belt trying to reach the 95th Precinct. Sterling gave the orders and he will follow them. The prototype has detonated the explosives at the base of Neo Detroit 1, the designated target. The first fifteen floors are damaged and we don’t know when the tower will fall. Projected trajectories say it will fall to the south, where the most damage is. ETA for fall is about thirty to forty minutes. The city has started evacuations and will keep Fire and Rescue on call. Estimated death toll is around four to five thousand people. Everything is working and going according to the simulations. The prototype has not been discovered yet, but if that happens should we disengage the limits?”

                “Son, I want this fucker to destroy as many things and people as it can. I want as much death and destruction that it can wreck on Neo Detroit. This is a full scale operational test. Fuck that city up.”

                “Yes sir,” The short lieutenant spoke just loud enough to have the General hear him. General Stevenson was a decorated man, and he knew he had the authority to kill him on the spot if he disobeyed a single order. The general wanted the prototype pushed to the limit, and he, Ryan Guise would have to disable the limits on the machine. But it wasn’t really a machine, it was a man who was augmented into becoming more machine than man. It could do things that humans only dreamed of. It could download new programming from anywhere in the world. If it needed to know how to fly a specific plane or operate a weapon to peak performance, it had access to that information in milliseconds. It was the height of military technology and then some, a hybrid of alien and human technology combined into a human  body. The prototype was just an average drug addict, a Xeno fiend that they converted. They learned their lessons from movies and books to not make it dependant on its addiction of choice, but to a painkiller instead. It was administered every forty minutes and it killed the horrible pain the prototype felt because of all the augmentations. The augmentation of humans had been accepted for atleast a decade or two now, but military aug’s were outlawed.

The public face of the military was working on remotely piloted mechs instead of driven mechs and mobile artillery on the battlefield. The mechs had saved a lot of lives, but in the long run it was too expensive. If General Stevenson could get this prototype signed off on, any person who wanted to be more than they could be would. And the only thing it would cost is their freedom. Once the augmentations were made, they could never be reversed. But the General would find a way around this setback. Guise believed in the project, he just didn’t want an innocent civilian to have been used. But in the last two experiments to augment someone, they rejected the changes. The psychological damage to the mind and body connection was too great to overcome. That’s why they wanted to try an addict, to see if the connection was severed or worse. It was perfect, the body rejected the Xeno they gave it, and the painkillers were the drug of choice for it now. As long as it did what it was supposed to do, the drugs were administered.

                Guise walked back to his computer terminal. It was strange to everyone that a Lieutenant was in charge of the biometrics and limiter systems in the prototype. But Guise wasn’t just a lieutenant, he was also the chief scientist on the project to augment humans into weapons. He had been hired by Stevenson from his independent lab, and given the honorary rank, to make it easier. Stevenson had his records changed to match his abilities and gave him what he wanted or needed to make things happen. And Guise did, he created miracles and monsters in the testing labs. He started off with animals, simple ones like mice and cats, but they couldn’t handle the technology or the weapon systems. He used primates next, but they were too curious about their newfound abilities to be trained. Thank god he never put real weapons on the animals like a mad scientist. He was curious, not crazy.

                So he sat down at his computer and typed in a simple command.

                UNLOCK ALL. EXECUTE.

                Guise sat back, and thought about the extra things he included in the prototype that even General Stevenson didn’t know about. He had found a way to get nanites into the poor bastard, into his bloodstream. When he unlocked the limiters, he supercharged the prototype. It would be impossible to stop without the right commands into his keyboard.

 

                The explosion rocked the Neo Detroit 1, and the building was groaning with the stress of the first fifteen floors being either destroyed or nearly destroyed. The tanker that slammed into the front of the building, driving into the lobby was unmanned. Everyone scattered like ants in the rain, and as a security guard stepped forward with his assault rifle drawn to assess the situation, it exploded. Hundreds of people died instantly, and now, about an hour into the incident the building was slowly leaning to the south. The fire that started after the explosion was hot, much hotter than even firefighters had imagined it could be. The thermal scans showed that it was about a thousand degrees, and four blocks surrounding ND1 had to be evacuated from the heat. Everyone was just watching and waiting for the building to fall. People were still trapped in the building, and they were lost. The prototype was standing near a tent setup by one of the dozens of fire stations that originally responded to the initial explosion. He assumed the identity of a now dead policeman, who was floating in the sewers as he stood around watching. He would walk around and look busy but he kept his hearing tuned to the radio in the tent. Everything was as it should be. He felt the cool drugs slip into his veins and he relaxed, internally and a little physically. He shuddered as the drugs slipped through his systems and he leaned against the wall.

                On his eyelids he saw a message appear.

                UNLOCKED. ALL ABILITIES UNLOCKED AND PROGRAMS RESTORED. NEW DIRECTIVES ARE AS FOLLOW.

1)      CREATE AS MUCH DESTRUCTION AND DAMAGE TO NEO DETROIT AS POSSIBLE.

2)      CAUSE AS MUCH PHYSICAL, FISCIAL, AND EMOTIONAL DAMAGE TO RESIDENTS AS POSSIBLE.

3)      KILL RAIHJI MCKENNA

He stood there, looking at his newest directives, and he started walking away, in the shadow of ND1, and he slowly faded into the crowd.

Ghost was standing there, watching the smoke billow and curl upwards. He had been in too many firefights and combat situations to stand still, his legs actually started moving for him. He started walking towards the off ramp, about a quarter mile down the road. He locked his car down, and called the insurance company to inform them that it was stranded on the Outer Belt near the 113 exit. They informed him that they would send a tow truck out to retrieve it for him as soon as possible. He walked down the off ramp, past cars full of people freaking out and yelling at the other immobile cars to start moving. But at the bottom of the off-ramp traffic was at a standstill too. Everyone was trying to figure out what had just shook the city, and why smoke was coming up from ND1. He kept walking, but eventually his pace turned into a jog, trying to get closer to ND1. He decided to take the subway, and he found the closest underground ramp. Walking down, he saw people running up the stairs screaming. He stopped and looked down into the well lit area. There was a purple smoke coming up, and people caught in it were freaking out, attacking others, themselves, and imaginary things that were there for them. He decided to turn around and figure out where the 95th Precinct would be in relation to him. He pulled his phone out, and stepped into a doorway of a now defunct tobacco store. He pulled up the GPS and he realized it was about two miles east. He started off on foot, trying to reach it before all hell broke loose again. People were standing around dazed, or screaming at their kids to get their asses inside, or just walking away from the direction where the building might fall. The people were frightened and they kept moving, a mass of panicked people moving like ants through the streets and alleys that they once knew, but now alien.

The city had never really thought that they would be attacked, that a terrorist or terrorist cell would consider the thought. Detroit was known as one of the most violent cities in America, if not the world at one point. But when the city fell apart financially and emotionally in the early 2000’s, most of the city was turned into farmland. Entire suburbs were mowed over and farms sprung up, and in the vacant skyscrapers also. But as the city grew enough food for itself and half of the state of Michigan, new technologies started coming out of Detroit. The private Space Race began here because of the open farmland and the Bay was a great area to bring in the rockets and spaceships that were built in Cleveland, Ohio.

Cleveland and Detroit had found new niche markets for themselves, Cleveland had space tech factories and medical research, Detroit had a new space port and farming. Yes, the city was growing into its old, violent ways again, but the city was also one of the richest in the nation. America had become more tolerant of alternate views of thoughts, like the full acceptance of gay marriage as a basic human right, or how people could be trans-human and still respected as a person. Detroit had been renamed as Neo Detroit the day the space port opened on the Bay, about a mile and a half from the city. The fact that they, the citizens of Detroit had over two generations built Detroit back up to a thriving city after its horrible downfall in the early 2000’s… Was amazing.

There were poor people in bad situations, but they were better off than most of the world, much less America. The lowest paid worker in Neo Detroit was more than twice the pay of anyone else, but those pay grades came from the skilled labor needed for the farming and space port. ND had created a new renaissance of agriculture and botany because of the limited space available in the city.

Neo Detroit now had even more problems on their hands, the largest building in the center of ND had been attacked and while most citizens were terrified, some were angry. Raihji saw some men and women running towards the center of the city, others trying to drive, with guns and melee weapons in hand. The MP was stopping them and asking them to drop their weapons or to turn around and evacuate the city. Raihji keep pressing onwards, towards his goal. He didn’t have any weapons on him, but hoped that the Precinct would supply him with at least a pistol or revolver. He had a list of things he wanted to request if the city had it, but didn’t think they would. He was about a half mile from the 95th, when he heard the shriek and groans of ND1 getting louder. He looked over at it, and knew that he should be out of its range if it fell due south and the winds didn’t push it in any other directions.

Raihji felt his pulse increase and he started running, pushing people out of the way. People yelled and screamed at him, but he ignored them, his training taking over. He kept a steady pace, and sweat broke out on his back and forehead, and he was breathing heavily. His breath went in his nose, and his exhalations came from his mouth. It kept the flow of air consistent and he ran harder, feet pounding the pavement. His feet hurt and he was getting a slight headache from the screaming, but he pushed it to the side. He saw the 95th and he slowed down, wiping his face and forehead with his shirt, and the sweat was pouring down his body. He didn’t notice, and crossed the road. The traffic was at a standstill, and he vaulted over cars and trucks to cross the street. He walked up to the front door, where two MP’s were standing, and he fished out his ID. He flashed it, and they must have been waiting for him because he was escorted in, by the two MP’s. He was lead to the station chief’s office, and they stopped outside. He opened the closed door, and the chief waved him in.

“Raihji McKenna reporting as asked sir.”

“McKenna, sit down, your making me sweaty just by standing there. Want anything to drink?”

“Water, please.”

Raihji sat down, and he caught his breath. The Chief leaned over and opened a drawer, and tossed Raihji a bottle of water. He caught it and ripped the cap off and drank half of the liter, and then set it in his lap. Sterling had ordered him to work for this man, Jackobi, and he wondered what he would be doing. Jackobi didn’t make him wonder for long.

“McKenna, as you know, an attack has been inflicted on this wonderful, darkly sick city. We have information that the terrorist might just look like you. Your damn lucky your phones GPS system showed that you were elsewhere when the attack on ND1 happened. I have a tablet for you that will give you access to the Armory and even Weapon Evidence locker to get what you need. You’re going to take him down, whoever this is. We can provide backup, but it has come down from Military Command to have you take it down. I have no clue what makes you special, but looking at you, you look dangerous. You are the right man for this job. I think you might like something we have in the Evidence locker. It’s a military mech, and the badass mobster who had it didn’t even get to use it when we got it through a raid. I have no clue what a mob boss would do with it, but it’s definitely military. There is a rocket launcher, grenade launcher, and four mini-guns. There might even be an experimental laser weapon, but my tech crew couldn’t figure it out.”

Raihji’s hair on the back of his neck stood up. He had a sneaky feeling that something was seriously wrong. The terrorist looks like him, and there was a Military mech waiting for him. It sounded like a setup.

“You do realize that there is no way someone can get a mech from the military right? The safety protocols on that are worse than getting into the Danger Room in the White House. It’s something locked down tighter than Fort Knox. Those things can and do routinely destroy tanks for breakfast. And the fucker looks like me? This is seriously a setup.”

“I know. The idea crossed my mind, but I have to follow orders. Take it, and any gear you want. Godspeed.”

“No. I’m not doing this. Someone in the government or military is fucking with us, with me!”

“Do it for your wife. She’s sick, and needs to know you’re still strong and able to fight.”

“You leave my fucking wife out of this. Fuck you. Fuck this mission. Fuck!”

Raihji picked up the tablet that had been slid across the old wooden desk, and noticed the map. He stood, and shook his head.

Motherfucker. Something has seriously gone wrong in my life if I have to be hired back into doing shit for MILSEC again. I really… I know this is a god damned trap, but fuck it. If I die or something  happens to me, fuck it. Let’s do this.

He started following the arrow on the screen of the tablet and walked towards the elevator.

Chapter 3

                The cyborg walked through the city, throwing homemade grenades, and firing upon the MP’s that were sent in to attack him. The rounds bounced off his carbon fiber body, created to block up to a .50 cal round. His body had been taken from him and his mind had been jacked into this machine. His mind was being fed chemicals to make it operate at peak performance in a body that was designed to be remotely piloted. The hack and slash job caused his already insane mind to reel, and he knew that it would all be over soon. Although the machine didn’t have neurons for feeling pain, but he could sense when he picked up objects and manipulated them. He felt disconnected from the world even more when he was human. There was a hyper reality that now filled his cybernetic mind with senses that were on overdrive. He felt like the world was moving faster than it really was, but then when the gunfire and screams started, it slowed to a crawl. He had no sense of time, except when he was firing or being fired upon. He heard everything, literally everything, in a forty foot radius around him, and further out it turned into normal human ranges. He saw in pure digital images that were unfiltered by the flaws in human eyes. He saw everything in a higher definition than the human body was used to, and he could adjust the zoom level of his eyesight. He was super human, and it scared him, but he had to follow the directives or he would be destroyed. He had no real urge to hurt anyone, but the body that was housing his mind was working on automatic almost. He had never fired a gun, and kept identifying targets, living and not. He threw two grenades into a storefront, and heard the people running out the back door, screaming. If he still had a physical heart, it would be pounding right now, but instead his mind created phantom heartbeats and he pressed forward. He walked up to several MP that were firing assault rifles into his chest, and threw a punch. His fist punched through the chest of the one on the right, and he pulled the now slick fist and forearm out. He turned towards the left, and swung at the head. It exploded in a slow motion shower of blood, bone, and brains. He spun around and kicked at the MP sneaking up on him, and the kick connected to his groin. The man’s testicles exploded and he screamed higher than anyone around him thought he could. He was a tall, about seven feet tall and build like a line backer. He grabbed his crotch and fell over, screaming and crying. The cyborg curbstomped him, crushing his neck and upper spine. Grinding the heel down, he turned again. He started jogging towards a gas truck that was flipped over in the middle of the street, and pouring gas out of the tank. He flicked his finger and a spark flew from his outstretched hand and ignited the gasoline. He stood there, about seventy feet from the tanker and took the blast. He stepped backwards a foot, and started walking through the debris of the wreckage. He came out on the other side of it, and surveyed his surroundings.

                He was standing at an intersection of the street, and was in a business district that intersected with a housing area. He knew that he was supposed to cause as much destruction as possible, and was deciding if the houses or businesses would be better. In the split second it took for him to attack the houses, a semi slammed into him.

Chapter 4

                Raihji stood in front of the Armory and Evidence room, his face sweating and red. He was pissed. He had been singled out somehow, by someone who knew of his past. He didn’t want to even take part of this, because it wouldn’t end well. He’d be dead and labeled working with the enemy even if he stopped the rampage. He would be painted as a monster himself, a rogue unit that went vigilante. The MP’s wouldn’t fire upon him, a human, until the menace was stopped if it could be. He didn’t know what to do, but his body did. He walked in, flashing the tablet, and the MP behind the desk knew who he was. He nodded and pressed a few keys on the keyboard in front of him and the door slid open for the room. Raihji looked around and what he saw freaked him out.

                He saw all kinds of weapons and guns that shouldn’t have been on the street in the first place, and this collection was more than enough to fuel nightmares for Homeland Security for decades. He saw several professionally made flamethrowers and a homemade rocket launcher. He saw hundreds of assault rifles and handguns that would kill you by just looking at it wrong. He walked over and grabbed a duffel bag, and emptied the contents. It was full of clips for the newest military rifle called the SCT8, or Sector 8 because it was designed for use in maximum lockdown units housing the worst criminals. The gun was powerful for using a .22 caliber round, and it had bells and whistles that most guns didn’t bother with. DNA imprint locks, built in laser sights and a low level combatant laser. The LLCL was used to injure, and not kill people.

Perfect for making a riot stop because the targets were writhing in pain on the ground instead of chucking things. Raihji wished they had this technology when he was in DC, but they didn’t and he survived without it. He skipped the gun because he knew in his bones he would need something heavier. He walked over to a rack of light machine guns. They had a laser based mini-gun that was experimental still, and he picked it up. The gun and the battery pack that slipped onto your back was lighter than he thought it should be. The lasers would fire 14 million millijoules of serious firepower that would melt flesh from the bones and punch through anything that got in his way. He shouldered the battery pack and found the sling for the gun connected to the backpack to make it easier to carry. It was weighted properly to swing freely without hindering movement. He slipped over to the assault rifle rack and picked up a simple M16A6 and gathered several clips for it, around a hundred and fifty rounds. He carried the rifle by its handle over to the accessory drawers and set it down on the table top. He looked for holsters or a better way to carry his gear he was collecting.

                Maybe the mech will have storage space. It’s gotta.

                He found a vest with pockets and clips for webbing bags to put ammo and clips. He slipped it on, and started looking at the attachments for the M16A6. This M16 was the newest redesign, and it was configured to have three tactical rails that could he could put things on. He selected a red dot sight, and looked at the under barrel rack above the table. He found a grenade launcher that could be detached and slipped it on, adjusting the position to be perfect for his wide, but short fingered hands. He then looked in the drawers for the types of grenades they had. Everything from high explosives to an EMP grenade cache. He selected seven different grenades and put them into one webbing bag he clipped onto his chest. The ammo and mini-gun were starting to weigh on him, but he needed an arsenal to attack this situation. He knew he would take the mech, because it provided extra armor, firepower, and mobility that he would waste driving.

                With his ammo selection and weapons ready, he turned to head to the depot where the mech was. He spotted a large ammo box, and opened it. It was empty, but he decided to go back for more ammo for the M16A6. He filled it to the top with clips, and carried it. He walked down the hall, forgetting the tablet in the Evidence room, and searched by signs where the Vehicle Depot was. He found it on accident, and walked into the office.

                “Going to war?”

                “Actually, I am. Where is this mech I was told to use?”

                The MP behind the desk got up, and pulled open a drawer. He pulled out a card, and long thin key. He stood and started walking quickly, leading Raihji into the depot. The mech was in a corner with a large metal cage around it. It was atleast twelve feet tall, and bi-pedal. He stood in amazement, staring at the machine. It was designed to hurt and destroy, and it looked it. There were two mini-guns on its right arm, and a rocket launcher for the left arm. The shoulders carried what looked like the other two mini-guns and a grenade launcher. The depot chief walked over and eyed it like it would come to life and start killing people, without a pilot it would be impossible. There was a large circular opening in the chest, and it looked like a collector mechanism for a plasma charge. The mech was entered from behind, you climbed up the legs and the mech wrapped itself around you. The depot chief opened the gate, and slid the card on a slot on the right leg. The mech came to life, lights and sounds firing up. The chief jumped back, and skittered to the side. Raihji looked for mounts and found one for the laser mini-gun. He mounted it, and lights lit up on it, signaling it was ready for fire. The ammo case with the extra clips he wouldn’t be using was handed to the chief and he thanked him for the gear.

                “That machine is a monster. It killed sixteen MP’s when they were trying to stop it. An EMP blast short circuited it long enough to pull the pilot. Do you know how to use this thing?”

                “Yeah, I used these types of mechs in the service. They were more power armor than mechanized assault suit, but it’s based on similar tech. Stand back while I suit up.”

                Raihji climbed up and slipped into the seat/cockpit and it came to life, wrapping around him. He felt the heat of the machine, but then as the mech closed him in, cold air came pumping through. He stopped sweating and gripped the joysticks and slipped into the feet pedals. He looked around at the HUD and noticed it was very similar to what he had seen in the pictures and videos that SECSERV had shown him and others. They had received promotional materials for review before the military decided they would be for them only. Raihji had actually read the training manual incase SECSERV purchased one. He went through the checklist and unlocked the weapons. He started moving out of the gated area the mech was contained in as if he had always piloted one. The MAS-15 was a beauty to move and control. He turned towards the exit, and the steel doors were rolling up, and he charged up the ramp, heading into the fading light.

Chapter 5

                ND1 started falling south, and as its shadow loomed and grew smaller as it fell, citizens and MP alike were running and screaming everywhere. The windows crashed outwards, showering the streets and buildings with glass projectiles and debris that was inside the tower. The objects slammed into the pavement, some things exploding, and causing more explosions, other things just shattered and were destroyed beyond recognition. People were being taken down by the falling debris like a horrible disaster movie, and bodies were everywhere. The shadow grew smaller as the building fell, and at one moment it looked like the skyscraper was hovering over the city. It slammed down and crushed thousands of people and buildings. The rubble flew in every direction and the dust cloud was enormous and covered the entire south section of Neo Detroit. The news helicopters and drones overhead had to pull out because it was chocking the engines, and the scene was surreal. Fires had broken out everywhere after the earthquake of the falling building ruptured gas lines and broke underground electrical lines.

                The cyborg was several miles away, watching it from a rooftop. His mind was a symphony of images from his past and the ones fed to him by the central command. He noticed something leaping from rooftop to rooftop about a half mile away, and knew it was a MAS-15. He leapt off the building and started towards it, his mind being fed data about the mech. He was learning how to combat it as he rushed headfirst into a fight with one. His mind didn’t consider that it could kill him, only that it was a danger to his survival.

                Raihji saw the leaping figure, and his view screen zoomed in, and identified him as the target. He pushed the mech harder, and a cold sweat appeared at the base of his spine. Two blocks from the terrorist, he leapt in the air, pulling the trigger for the laser mini-gun. The shots fired out of the barrels and slammed into the terrorist, and it fell to a rooftop. He landed ontop of him and started punching with the fist on the right arm. The mini-guns were retracted to allow the fist to grab the terrorist, and to his surprise the terrorist grabbed the fist and shoved it to the side. He looked at the face, and realized that this wasn’t a human he was facing. He smiled, and knew he didn’t have to hold back. The head was simulated flesh, and the black armor face was exposed. He pulled the arm back and the cyborg let go, laying there, watching. Ghost opened fire on the cyborg’s torso, and the shots richochied off, and he stopped. He fired the laser mini-gun, and the shots seemed to be asorbed by body. Picking up the cyborg, he threw him towards the ground. The body made a clang sound as it hit the pavement, and an impact crater surrounded it. He leapt down, several stories of kinetic energy building up as he slammed the cyborg deeper into the concrete. He started punching the thing in the face and chest, and it took it. Suddenly, the cyborg grabbed his right arm again, and threw his balance off when it thrusted the arm to the left. He toppled, and saw the cyborg scrambling out from underneath him. He did a forward flip with the legs of the mech, and landed right side up, unleashing a rocket that the cyborg dodged like a ballerina dancing. It leapt into the air, and landed on the head of the mech, punching it. The sound was loud, but rang clearly in the deserted streets, but to no effect. The terrorist scrambled down, and noticed the laser mini-gun, ripping it from the mount.

                He opened fire in close range, but half the shots just bounced off, but a stray shot hit something vital. The HUD went crazy and Ghost started to freak, but the self repair system shut down the problem. The shot had hit a servo that controlled the legs, but the system rerouted the system for him to enable him to walk and kick still. Ghost spun to the left, and kicked the cyborg square in the chest, sending it flying towards a parked van. The terrorist punched through the side, and the van flipped onto its side. Ghost, who had reverted back into the mindset of when he did the wet work charged after the van, firing a rocket and all four mini-guns. The van exploded, and the body of the cyborg went flying into a building front. The glass shattered and rained down, and Ghost fired another rocket at the roof. It fell down on top of the terrorist, but it shoved the rubble to the side and leapt towards the MAS-15 firing the mini-gun it still gripped. The gun didn’t have many rounds left without the battery pack, but the shots landed around the mini-guns on the MAS-15, and shorted out two of them. A shot hit the face of the mech, and the view screen went blank for a few seconds and snapped back on. The cyborg was firing at a parked car near Ghost, and the car exploded. The blast rocked the mech, but didn’t topple it. The mini-gun had maybe thirty shots left, and the terrorist switched it to burst, firing at the chest and legs. The shots weakened the armor and as Ghost was charging to kick it again, the left leg froze. Ghost Alpha fired all the weapons at the cyborg who was retreating deeper into the building. The frozen mech leapt forward, and he started charging after him. Ghost didn’t care about the damage his mech had taken, he knew that it should survive this encounter, but the leg was bothering him. It shouldn’t have frozen like that, but he charged forward. The terrorist slammed open a fire exit, and Ghost slammed through the concrete wall, debris flying everywhere. The motion tracker picked up the cyborg running down the alley they were in to the right and he took off, leaping six to seven feet in the air every few meters. The cyborg was faster than his mech, and he opened fire with a grenade and exploded it in the air above it. The blast knocked him to the ground, and Ghost leapt on top of him. He reached out with the mech’s hand and grabbed the cyborgs left arm. He pulled it off, sparks and dark fluids spurting everywhere.

                The cyborg screamed in anger, not pain, when its arm was removed. He felt the pressure of the heavy legs on his torso shift, and it screamed again as his right leg was ripped from his torso. He felt the body shiver and start to fail as the hand grabbed the head of the body.

                Raihji squeezed the head, but relieved pressure. Through the speakers he screamed at the cyborg.

                “Who made you? Whose your controller? Why did you do this?!

                “Fuck. You.”

                Raihji felt the anger roll though him, but he stopped his heart from pounding heavily in his chest. He set the cyborg unit down, and it tried to crawl away, but he stepped on its torso, and pulled off the other leg. The subsystems in the cyborg couldn’t handle the damages, and the terrorist stopped moving.

                Raihji heard the sirens from several blocks over, knowing that somehow this moment was done, this terrorist had been stopped. But questions lingered, and worries appeared. He stood there, waiting for the MP’s to arrive, and powered down the unit.

                The beeping stared when he kicked the cyborg, and a bright red light appeared on its chest. He didn’t think, but ran. He ran hard and faster than he’d ever before. The cyborg had a dead man trigger and was going to pop. He didn’t know how big the explosion would be, but he kept on running. The explosion lifted him off his feet and he was flung forward. It went black for him before he hit the ground.

Chapter 6

                The war room was quiet as a tomb and just as somber. The large viewscreens had shown the destruction of the prototype in hyper HD, with details that the human eye would not have seen unless enhanced by the small drone flying overhead and filming the encounter with Ghost. The prototype was a failure, and it had cost them everything. Everyone in the room knew they were going to be fired, buried, or even outright killed by Stevenson. Guise was sitting in the upper office that overlooked the communications room with Stevenson.

                “Well fuck. That was an utter disasters, and now we’re out of funding son. What the hell are we going to do? We can say it succeeded in fucking up Neo Detroit, that’s for damn sure. And if one of those things can do that, its something.”

                “Yes, but Sir, we’re in a bind here. It was an unauthorized test, we’ve destroyed half of Neo Detroit –“

                “It’s a shithole. Always have been, always will be. That city is an eyesore in my eyes.”

                “Yes Sir.”

                “Son, you have any idea what we can do? The prototype is destroyed, we have all the data collected and nothing to do with it. And I think Ghost if he finds out… is going to come after us. You, me, everyone here is going to die by his hands. And in a way we deserve it. I figured if Ghost couldn’t kill it, that meant it was unstoppable. Maybe the prototype we used was flawed.”

                “No, it was the best prototype that we’ve ever had. It was the best functioning unit we have had. We can’t restart unless we go underground, and that takes backers and investors. I have a list of people who might be interested in a few of these prototypes if we can get them running. But we have sleeper agents in cities all over the world, ready to go when we say so. You want to start phase two of the mission, we can. We are all going to be labeled as traitors and villains. We are going to be hunted until we’re dead, either by Ghost or the government. Someone will hunt us down and kill us. If we can get Phase Three operational, we might succeed in this goal of yours.”

                “Phase Two starts now, go ahead and set loose one of the sleeper cells in New York City. Fuck them all up, and if we can, let’s keep it here. If need be we will move to NYC and command the sleepers there. But go ahead and let loose three of them and then we’ll decide.”

                Guise sat there, emotionless and unfeeling as he typed in the commands to start letting three sleeper terrorists loose in NYC. First Neo Detroit and now New York City, although Guise thought that a smaller city like Akron, Ohio or Orlando, Florida would be a better testing ground of the sleepers and maybe another prototype. He was already keeping a tally of who wanted a prototype, and what their goals were. He wouldn’t sell a prototype to true terrorist, especially if it went against the United States’ interests. He loved his country and the ability it gave anyone, much less someone like him, a chance. He grew up in an abusive house, and flunked out of high school. But after getting his GED, and applying to the military he tested well in medical and started there. He had always been curious, and highly intelligent, but in the military he found his niche.

Through battlefield surgery he learned how much a human body could in simple augmentations and repairs. He had worked on theories in a large notebook in high school that he now had the chance to test, and when his superiors found out that he had been doing experiments on wounded soldiers they demanded answers. He gave them the blunt truth, that humans can accept augmentations to make them better, faster, smarter, and stronger than average soldiers. He handed them his notes and research, uncaring if they killed him and took it. He had discovered the enzyme and proteins necessary for mechanical augmentations to not be rejected by the human body. But that answer was in his head, and never written down for fear of this kind of exposure. So as he waited in the brigade for what would happen to him, he finalized his plans for augmentations and started working on a cyborg prototype that would be even better than an augmented human.

He slid the syringe into his vein and depressed it. The fluid was small, about 10cc’s of nanites and genetic modifications. He had a seizure, his body flopping over and hitting the floor. He was testing a new strain of the Xeno drug on himself, before he had it shipped out to other suppliers. He had created the Xeno drug as a testing method for people who would take to the extreme modifications that he wanted to do to a human body. The cyborg program and the augmentations were two sides of a coin. He longed for a singularity of melding man and machine, and the public wanted augmentations for making them better. He worked in his head a formula to find the best candidates for his cyborg process, and so far the thousands who have died were weak and unworthy in the first place. Xeno was expensive to make, but it was cheap on the streets because he needed to find at least ten to fifteen people who were strong enough to make more prototypes. He had no luck, and it was starting to make him angry. But the Xeno slid into his veins, and he thought about NYC.

                It was a city of crime, majick, super science, Lovecraftian shenanigans and bad people. It had been exposed to a time rift after another version of NYC had experienced a traumatic experience and it bleed worlds together, and things that shouldn’t exist did. And things that existed didn’t, but that was NYC now. And they were going to fuck it up.

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