But really I think you have to have played (or watched someone play) the game to really get any of these stories so this should be more of a rehash.
Background from the game: Rorke is a former Ghost, turned by the Fed to be a Ghost Hunter. He wants to kill all Ghosts and takes a personal interest in Elias Walker and his son's. Elias dropped him during a disastrous mission to save the rest of the squad, leaving Rorke for dead and in the hands of the Feds. We learn that they kept him in a deep pit for months, feeding him food laced with the poison from jungle plants until his body is broken down. Then the Feds went to work on his mind and soul. At one point, when Rorke was captured and during his escape from the Ghosts, he tells Logan Walker that if they meet again, there's always room for one more. When they next meet, the Ghosts are captured. Logan is shot to try and get the father to talk. Logan gets free and gets Rork's gun but Rorke struggles with him and wins. Father is shot, Logan ends up on the floor. Elias ends up shot several times. He ends up on the floor next to Logan. He tells Logan he's proud of him, then Rorke steps on his face and shoots him in the head. Just before Keegan saves the captured Ghosts, you hear a lackey say that the boss wants the youngest (Logan) kept alive. Keegan does the saving and the Ghosts get away. Later at the end of the game, the brothers take down Rorke and nearly die in the process. Bloodied, Logan swims his wounded brother to the surface and drags him up the beach to prop him against a rock. But the credits stop rolling to reveal another scene: Rorke is not dead. He defeats the wounded brothers, breaking Logan's arm. Then he promises Logan that he will help him kill the Ghosts and drags him off into the jungle. After the long credits roll, we have a brief scene of being in a deep pit with a locked grate over the top, giving us a quick glimpse into the unpleasant future of Logan Walker.
This greatly disturbed me, making this story a necessity.
More Than A Ghost
by Philippe de la Matraque
Keegan saw only one figure on the beach through his binoculars. One body perhaps, lying prone beside a large rock. "Hesh," he tried the radio again. "Logan? You guys alright?" The body didn't move. He could only see one. He dropped the binoculars and willed the boat to go faster. It was already hurtling forward at its top speed. He picked up the binoculars again, scanning wider, trying to find the other brother. Riley whimpered beside him and Keegan put a hand on the dog's head. "We'll get them," he said. He hoped it was true.
Finally, he put the binoculars down for good. He could see the beach and the body there with his own eyes. The boat slowed as it neared the beach, and Riley jumped out quick, padding toward one of the brothers. Keegan jumped out to follow. He rolled over the body to find a camouflage painted face. Hesh. Logan had worn his father's mask. Riley began to lick Hesh's face and Keegan pushed him back. The dog didn't need to injest that paint. But the licking was stimulation and Hesh began to groan. He opened his eyes wide and tried to get up. Keegan pushed him back down. "You're alright," Keegan told him. "We're going to take you back and get you patched up."
"No!" Hesh tried to roll back over but could only twist to look back into the jungle beyond.
Keegan saw blood there, drag marks. He looked around. Boot prints on the beach. None near Hesh's feet, an indentation where the drag marks started. Blood there. Logan. Who had dragged him off?
Hesh had the answer. "Rorke! Not dead. He took Logan. I have to go after him."
Keegan held him down again. "If you don't go back now, you will die. I'll look for Logan. I'll take Riley." He looked back to the crew in the boat. "Get him to a medic ASAP. Send someone back for me."
He stood as they started to pick Hesh up. He looked to Riley. "Riley, find Logan."
The dog sniffed the ground where Logan had bled and started off in the direction of the drag marks. Keegan took a moment to feel that blood. It wasn't warm. Rorke had a head start.
Logan tried to be strong. His arm hurt like hell, and he was seriously scared. The Federation had done something terrible to Rorke to turn him and now Rorke meant to turn him the same way. His father had said that if they could turn Rorke, they could turn anyone. He was scared for what was to come. But right now, he just tried to be strong. He was cold at night, hot in the day, hungry and thirsty and covered in mud when it rained. When it rained he got water. When considering that, it was fortunate that it rained every other day or so. But that left him wet and his hell-hole slippery and thick with mud. He was in a pit, too tall to climb out if he had two working arms. He had no clothes on, no tools, no weapons. Rorke had thrown him over the edge of it and locked a barred grate over the top.
The first day alone, he'd tried to jump up to grab the gate. He hadn't come close and he'd slipped in the mud and landed back on his right arm, which was still busted. He'd blacked out from the pain and woke up still on it. Just rolling over was an ordeal. He hadn't tried jumping again. He was stuck and the only way he was getting out of the hole was for Hesh and the Ghosts to get him out.
Whenever he thought of his brother, he felt even more alone. He saw Hesh, leaning forward with his hand outstretched. Heard him calling his name but unable to follow. He probably died there on the beach. No, no someone was coming to get them. Maybe it was Keegan. Keegan would have found him, would have reached him in time. Hesh would tell them that Rorke took him. They'd be looking for him. Maybe Riley could follow his scent.
But it had been a week and no Ghosts. He was counting the days. At least since he'd been conscious enough to do so. He'd passed out now and then after Rorke started dragging him. Maybe he'd put him in a boat. He did remember waking up on a hard, rocking surface. Well, the Ghosts could follow a boat. But maybe Rorke took him on a plane or chopper. Maybe he was far from the beach now. Maybe they couldn't find him like they couldn't find Rorke after Dad had to let go of him in Caracas. Maybe they wouldn't find him. Maybe Rorke would turn him and he'd find them and do terrible things. God, he didn't want that.
He tried not to think that way. He tried to be strong. He was so hungry that he was seriously considering eating worms. There were enough of them, slithering out of the mud after the rain. The mud got so deep, it pulled him deeper into the hole and he had to scramble up as much as he could. He thought he'd drown in that mud if it rained all night. He tried not to sleep. But then, not sleeping can drive a person insane. Insane would make it easier for Rorke to turn him. He couldn't be insane. He had to sleep. If he drowned, he couldn't be turned.
Exhausted and cold, Logan fell asleep and dreamt of being eaten by worms as Rorke laughed at the top of the pit.
Hesh woke up from a troubled sleep. He'd had surgery more than a week ago to repair his bullet wounds, but they still had him off-duty when he wanted to be out looking for Logan. He was surprised to find Keegan there beside the bed. "Did you find him?"
Keegan looked down at his joined hands between his knees. "We lost him in the Amazon river system."
Hesh felt sick, like his stomach had just been ripped out his body. "Lost him?" he repeated.
"Riley and I tracked him to the water," Keegan went on. "Evidence of a boat. We sent choppers up and down the river but it branched out in tributaries that went deep into the jungle. Without a scent. . . . We did find one thing."
He took something from his pocket and handed it to Hesh. It was a black woven cloth and Hesh knew exactly what it was before he opened it. Dad's mask. Logan's mask. His throat hurt and tears welled in his eyes.
"We're not giving up, Hesh. We don't give up on our Ghosts."
"You gave up on Rorke," Hesh accused. He felt bad for it but not bad enough to stop. "Rorke wants to turn Logan to hunt the Ghosts. Like they turned him. It's what he said."
"We thought he was dead and we kept looking for his body until we were pulled out," Keegan argued. "We didn't have a choice. But we know Logan is alive. We know Rorke is keeping him alive. We won't give up." Keegan stood. "We'll be in the wardroom when you're ready." He left the room.
And Hesh cried. He cried in grief for his father, and for his brother, and in frustration because he should have gone after them. He was too weak. Too hurt. And now his baby brother was being tortured in Fed territory by a monster of a man who just refused to die. Riley, who must've returned with Keegan, jumped onto the bed and laid his head on Hesh's chest. Hesh buried his fingers in the loyal dog's fur. Riley was all he had left.
Forty minutes later, Hesh and Riley joined Merrick and Keegan in the ward room.
He didn't think he'd ever get used to the stink. He couldn't get away from it. He had to relieve himself. Of course, there was no way to keep that sort of thing separate from everywhere else when the rain turned the pit into quagmire of mud and water and everything else. Sometimes his feet disappeared and he worried about getting stuck like that. He was disgusting and he didn't have any choice.
He got confused. Couldn't count the days and nights any more. He ate a worm in desperation. He threw it back up. He managed to keep the next one down. He gulped handfuls of water when it rained, slaking a desperate thirst. But it was never enough.
Tonight, the rain wasn't stopping but coming down in droves late into the night. But he was too tired to keep trying to catch it, and it fell through his hands. His calves disappeared under muddy water and he though very seriously about drowning himself in it.
"Don't do that, Logan."
Logan fell back into the muddy wall of the pit. He looked up, but no one was there. He knew that voice.
"Logan, I'm here."
He lowered his head and thought he could just make out a face in front of him, obscured by the torrent of rain. His father's face. Dad?
"It's me," the face said. "I'm here. I won't leave you."
Tears mixed with the rain streaming down Logan's face. He hadn't had the chance to grieve but he knew his father was dead. He couldn't be here with him in the pit. I'm losing my mind. Or this is some trick by Rorke.
"Rorke can't control me, not anymore, Logan. You buried me face down to keep watch over you and that's what I'm going to do."
Then he felt it. A hand on his cheek. And he lost himself in relief he didn't understand and grief too heavy to carry anymore. He sat back in the water and mud and everything else and sobbed all the while feeling his father's arms around his shoulders.
When the sobs subsided, the rain had finally stopped. The water was slowly receding into the muck. And Logan decided to trust. Crazy or not. His father was a ghost and he wasn't alone anymore. He wants to turn me.
"I won't let him. Every lie he tells you, I'll tell you the truth. I'll help you remember who you are. I will help you through this however I can."
The physical therapist did not look happy to see him, Hesh thought. Too bad. He didn't want to be there. He wanted to be out there looking for some clue to where his brother was, not doing these stupid, painful exercises. But the doctor ordered it and Merrick agreed. He had argued that Hesh would be in better shape to rescue his brother if he were one hundred percent rather than fifty.
And they had found something. During a raid on a base in the ruins of Machu Pichu, they had found a record that put Rorke in Brasilia three days ago. If Rorke was holding his previous pattern, he would have moved every twelve hours. But if he was trying to turn Logan, he might not be doing that. He might have stayed put. Or he might have left all that to others. Hesh had a feeling that Rorke had made it personal there on the beach. He'd wanted Logan. The Federation would probably rather Logan was dead.
Hesh was a bad patient. The therapist said he was too impatient. He had to push his body, not punish it. He didn't care. He wanted to be out there, on the way to Brasilia with Keegan. He swore Riley was forgetting whose dog he was. Well, not really, but Hesh was full of dark thoughts like that these days. It had been three weeks since Logan was taken. Three weeks of hell for Logan. And Hesh couldn't do anything about it.
Every once in a while a bucket appeared. It had food in it and a rope tied to it. And he ate the food even though it made him sick and dizzy and made everything worse. The hunger was constant. The thirst desperate. The bucket went up when the food was gone, and everything that came after joined in the sludge at the bottom of the pit. Logan felt a part of that sludge, a useless lump of suffering nothing.
Having his dad with him helped. Oh, it didn't make him less hungry. It didn't keep his arm from hurting, his hell-hole from stinking or sinking him in mud. It didn't make the worms taste any better or catch more of the rain. It didn't keep him warm or shelter him from the heat and humidity. It didn't keep him from worrying about what was to come.
Though to be honest, he didn't give that a whole lot of thought anymore. There was only the now. And the now lasted forever. There was just trying to find shade now, or catch water now or choke down a worm now. He sometimes found that night had come suddenly, and when he slept morning came much faster. He didn't remember sleeping but he did it a lot. And when he was awake, he could see his dad sitting with him. And his dad told him stories from when they were children, reminding him of the life of a boy he didn't remember. A boy named Logan Walker.
Three months. Three months since the big victory against the Fed where they thought they'd killed Rorke. Three month since Logan was dragged into the jungle. Three months while that monster had him doing God knows what. It ate at Hesh like a cancer in his gut. He had trouble eating but forced himself because if he dropped too much weight, they wouldn't think him fit for duty. He'd bulked up, got into shape again. He was ready to go out, itching to go out. Already they'd had a couple leads.
Brasilia was a bust, except that one guard was overheard talking about a gringo Ghost, Rorke's new pet. They worried what that meant. Had he been turned? They made sure not to kill that guard. They let him escape and followed him with a tracker on his helmet. He'd moved on to La Paz where they found a guy wearing Logan's helmet. The data dump from that one had included a short video from Rorke. He was laughing.
They were pretty sure then that Rorke was toying with them, but they followed every lead anyway. The Federation was losing the war and every base they took out sped that up. And just maybe they'd find a lead that Rorke hadn't meant them to find.
This time, Hesh was finally going along. He was ready, more than ready. He'd find Logan if it meant killing every Federation soldier one by one. And someday, someday he'd find Rorke and he'd make him pay.
The rope was back but no bucket. There was a man with high boots and hand-cuffs and another rope. Logan didn't know what to make of the change but his heart began to pound in a ribcage that showed prominently through his skin. Pain shot up his arm when the man grabbed his wrists to put the hand-cuffs on. And he was confused when the man tied the other rope around his neck. The man didn't pull it tight but he threw the other end up the rope up. Logan looked up and saw the grate was gone. But a face looked down at him with a smile. A face he never wanted to see again. Rorke.
"Pull him up!" Rorke ordered. Logan felt the rope slip up under his chin and then the knot in the back hit his neck high up. He quickly stuck his fingers under it and took a deep breath. Then the pulling began and he choked. He thought his head would pop off as his feet stuck in the mud. But they released with a pop and he slowly slid up the muddy sides of the pit, struggling with the pull on his neck and his inability to breathe. His vision blurred and went black. And then the pressure stopped, the rope loosened, and he instinctively exhaled the breath he'd held and gulped in a few more. His vision brightened and he was lying on the ground. The weeds were tickling his mud-caked skin. He saw his dad crouched beside him. He looked worried.
"What a miserable, stinking lump of shit!" Rorke roared. "Get him on his feet."
Two men, wearing long gloves, pulled him up by his shoulders, but his spasming legs sent him back to the ground.
"You'll stand or you'll be dragged," Rorke warned, giving the rope a little tug.
"Stand up, Logan," his father urged gently. "You can do this, son."
Logan used his left hand and pushed himself up, shaking violently. His head swam to be up so high but he managed to stay on his feet. The knot came round in front of him and Rorke started walking. The rope pulled on the back of his neck and Logan nearly fell again. But he made his legs take one step and then another. Rorke kept his distance but Logan had to follow. The now he'd been lost in suddenly collided with the future he was so afraid of. Maybe he was better off in the pit.
Rorke was walking too fast. It was hard to keep up without tripping. Logan's father tucked a hand under Logan's arm and Logan kept his feet moving. He had no idea how long they walked. He couldn't tell time anymore. He only knew he was tired, and his body felt extremely heavy. Finally he saw a truck parked on the other side a stream. Logan found himself relieved to see the end of the walk but still terrified of what lay beyond the drive.
But Rorke didn't go to the truck. He stopped by the stream. "Walk to the middle," he ordered.
Logan didn't want to but he didn't see any alternative at this point. Even if he got the rope off his head, he'd never outrun Rorke at this point. Logan stepped into the cold water of the stream. The current was fast and the rocks were uneven. With his father's support he went in further. By the time he was in the middle, the water was to his knees. It was washing the muck off his lower legs.
"Stand still and don't move," Rorke said. Then he threatened, "You move and I'll shoot you in the arm. Won't kill you but it will give you something else to think about." He walked behind Logan and Logan heard him splash into the water.
Suddenly there was a jerk on the rope and Logan fell back into the water. His father's hand kept his head from slamming into the rocks. Instinctively, Logan's hands had come up to the rope but he tried to turn to get back up. Rorke's booted foot stopped that. It pushed down on the cuffs holding Logan's hands to his chest and kept him on the bottom.
Logan couldn't breathe and hadn't had a chance to take a breath. He jerked but couldn't get out from under that boot without his hands. His vision blurred again and the water came in. Rorke hauled him up, and Logan coughed out the water and gasped for air. He continued to cough as his lungs tried to push out the last of the water.
"What? No thank you?" Rorke pushed him back down. This time the blur changed to black and Logan drowned. Until Rorke hauled him up onto the shore by his hair and dumped him in the dirt. He pushed Logan onto his back with his foot then knelt down and thumped him hard on the chest until Logan splurted out the water and threw up.
Logan woke up coughing and feeling the rope pull on his neck again. "Get up!" Rorke ordered. Logan struggled to his feet, still retching. Rorke jumped into the back of the truck and jerked the rope so that Logan fell into the bumper and floor of it. He pulled and Logan had to climb in. Rorke tied the other end of the rope to a bar then jumped back out. He closed the doors and Logan lay shaking where Rorke had left him. His father sat beside him, trying to rub the hair out of his eyes.
"I'd kill him if I could figure out how," Elias told his son.
The truck began to move. Logan closed his eyes and willed the blackness to come back. It obliged.
Rorke left them another lead. Another file. This one with coordinates. It was deep in the Amazonian jungle of what used to be Brazil. It was very likely a trap. Merrick ordered a drone to check it out. The spy plane dropped the drone at 2300 hours with infrared sensors sending data right to the command center. It was cold. No activity at all. The only heat signatures showing corresponded to plant and animal life. But right in the center of those coordinates there was neither. A fifteen foot diamater circle of nothing. The nearest Federation presence was twenty miles away. What looked like a native village was two clicks south. Rorke had left it open for them.
Merrick decided a small team could recon and get back out as quietly as they went in. He'd liked the brothers' work with Riley when they first met. So it was just the four of them when they set out. A chopper brought them in, stayed high and hoisted them seventy feet to the jungle floor.
They wore black to blend in with the night, the only color being the white of their masks. The night vision allowed them to see clearly their environment. Still, they stayed low and let Riley lead the way. Hesh had the monitor, guiding the dog toward the clearing. They saw no other presence. They made it to the edge of the clearing in twenty-three minutes.
They could see the glint of metal over a dark spot in the center of the clearing. Hesh sent Riley out slowly. As the dog approached the dark spot, Hesh's guts clenched. He remember what his dad had said about how Rorke was left in a pit for months. Now he was staring through the camera at a deep pit. Riley whimpered and snapped one quick bark.
"Send him all the way around," Merrick ordered. "We have to be sure there's no hostiles out there."
Hesh shook his head to focus and guided Riley around the clearing and looking off into the jungle all around. "It's clear," he reported and guided Riley back.
Keegan had watched over Hesh's shoulder. "We have to know," he said quietly. Hesh nodded and put away the monitor. They went single file until they were at the edges of the pit. The smell hit them hard. Merrick popped a flare an dropped it down. It went down a dozen feet or more and squelched into the mud. In its wan light they saw no body. Logan wasn't there.
But he had been. Hesh was sure of it. Riley found a scent and they followed him to the east. It ended as it had before, in a stream. "Have him check the other side," Merrick ordered. Hesh synced up again and guided Riley through the water and over to the other side. He found the scent again and followed it to where it stopped a few feet downstream. The three of them hurried across the fast running stream. There were tire tracks.
"We can follow them," Hesh suggested.
"Not tonight," Merrick said. He didn't sound happy about it. "The chopper's waiting and these tracks are heading toward that base twenty miles out. I'm sure of it. We need a plan." He turned to head back. "We'll be back, Hesh. Let's go."
Hesh stared at the path for another moment, then reluctantly turned back. Riley whimpered but followed.
They went back out the way they'd come and hoisted back to the chopper. Hesh didn't say another word, but hugged Riley close. The others were quiet, too. Except once as they passed the border. Merrick shook his head and just said, "Bastard." Then they were silent again.
Logan was cold. He was curled up in a small wooden box. He knew he was flying as he'd felt the take-off. He could see other boxes through the slats of his. He was in the cargo hold.
His father was both in the box and out of it as there wasn't room for him to be all the way in. "I'm keeping track where we are," he told his son. "I'll go to the cockpit and find out."
Please just stay, Logan asked. It doesn't matter anymore.
"It does," his father argued. "Because I'm going to learn how to be stronger. I'm going to figure out how I can get your brother to find you."
Logan thought he should feel cheerful about that but he just couldn't muster up any cheer. He could feel his father's touch but his father couldn't move the slats in the box. He just pushed through them. The rules must be different when you were that kind of ghost, he mused. Wait 'til I'm asleep.
Elias waited until his younger son was asleep. He looked peaceful then. He slept a lot lately though there were still dark circles around his eyes. Logan was exhausted. He broke Elias's heart.
He cursed the fact that he was non-corporeal. He was useless to really help his son. But as he passed through doors and floors as he moved to the front of the plane, he had to admit to himself that if he were still alive, he'd be looking for Logan just like Hesh surely was now. Logan would be lost to him. And even though he couldn't rescue Logan or break him out, he could comfort him and make sure he was never alone without someone who loved him. And that was something Rorke hadn't had. Maybe if he had, he wouldn't have broken.
Rorke was in the cockpit, standing between the pilot and co-pilot's seats, his arms on the backs of their chairs. Elias wanted to break those arms. But he when he swung at Rorke, his hands went right through him. That didn't happen when he touched Logan.
"Drop us off at Antonio Noriño Airport, then get those supplies back to Caracas."
Elias thought hard about South American geography, trying to realize where that was. Then it came back to him. Colombia. They were heading west northwest. It was closer to the coast than where they'd been. That could be useful. If he could somehow get a message to Hesh.
Elias stood in front of Rorke, nose to nose, wishing hard for a way to harm him. Suddenly alarms went off throughout the cockpit.
"We're losing power," the pilot called out.
No, the plane couldn't crash. Logan would be killed. Elias retreated to the back of the cockpit and the plane stabilized. But he realized something. He'd found a way to affect the real world. Now he just had to figure out how to use it.
Proceed to Chapter Two
If you like this story and feel you have a good handle on the military jargon and/or world of Call of Duty Ghosts, please contact me and offer your help. I do have a good idea where this story is going. I know HOW it will end, though not exactly WHEN it will end.