Chapter 6: Escape Attempt
A shuttle docked at one of the open spots inside Rise of Justice space station colony. The inhabitants exited the ship leaving the cleanup crew to handle the rest. Justice alongside others in similar looking armor walked into the cleansing room. Justice ensured the sword was safely attached to her right leg. Once the process finished, she quickly beamed for the transport to go to the building the boss was in.
Her crewmates decided to stay behind understanding that other tasks required their attention. She took a free vehicle to the building, and with growing impatience she began to overtake several other cars along the way. The news she carried was an important and a happy one. Taking the turn into the building's parking lot, she departed and headed for the nearest elevator that would take her to the top.
The door opened behind him and he saw Justice in the reflection. Her composure told him much. I thought you would be back by now. He slowly turned to face her as she walked forward towards his desk.
She presented a tablet with a detailed report and he reached out to study it. Clearing her throat, she presented the quicker points of the report vocally. "The alien structure which once seemed impassable was finally decoded and seemed enterable. The main object required as we had theorized was the sword, but activating it from a specific terminal was the key."
"What did the tower reveal?"
"Tower-D, when we activated it, it seemed to have the ability to teleport anyone galaxy wide."
"How do you know?" the boss asked browsing over the tablet report at the same time. Justice looked to her side in slight shame. "W- We forced one of our own through the teleportation stage like structure. He was outfitted with one of our best radio units, it has the highest range in communication. We tried to communicate with him for a good three hours, but we received nothing but static. He may very well have died upon going through the portal."
"That's quite a jump to a conclusion you are making there are you not?"
"I took our best scientists with us, I doubt that would count as a hasty conclusion."
"I suppose," the boss replied putting down the report. He could see some hesitation in Justice's eyes. "What concerns you?"
"That person we pushed through. He never wanted to go, he was opposed to the idea, and against his will we restrained him and threw him in the portal. I- It just seems wrong and…cruel. Doesn't this make us the same as the UNSC for what they did to us?"
"On the surface perhaps, but we did this with the intention of fighting back the UNSC for their crimes. What happened with that individual is unfortunate, but sacrifices are sometimes necessary for progress," the boss explained as clearly as he could.
Justice could tell that he believed in the words he spoke. Their actions were cruel, but their intentions were not as she understood it. But there was still doubt in her eyes. He turned to stare out the window pointing to the magnificent city. "Look at all this, this progress and recovery we have all made. None of this would have been possible if none of you chose to believe in me. Have I steered you wrong so far?"
"Then please, trust me?"
"I- I'm sorry for doubting you like this."
"I don't mind Justice. I would prefer that you are honest with me," the boss replied in a soft tone. His face however quickly hardened into business mode. "Now regarding this tower, it would be best if you send those scientists back down there again to study it. I will need you to stay here, and if they require the sword you will be free to go. This tower can be very useful for strategic placements against the enemy once we have configured the proper variables in our favor. We will also need to ensure that we dedicate a few resources to developing far better communication equipment."
"I will relay the message to our teams."
"Thank you," the boss replied with a smile. She looked back and found a sense of enlightenment in her heart after being more honest about her feelings. She smiled back making a quick remark. "You ever thought about getting out of the office sometimes? I'm sure if you run your smooth lines on a few girls out there, they will be all over you."
"I doubt anyone would want to be with a cripple," he replied with a bleak tone. Justice's smile withered, but she knew not to leave on that sour note. "Probably not the shallow ones, but they are out there."
Locus looked at his helmet. He sat motionless on his bed with his head sinking deep in thought. He raised his two hands and flexed the fingers into fists. These hands of mine have been responsible for murder, both under the pretense of the Great War and out of war. Both my face and mind were forever scarred by the war. Did my place not lie on the battlefield? No. Did my place not lie back to the place I once called home then? No.
His head fell at the memories. Locus punched the bed in anger. No matter how much I try to forget, it always clearly paints itself back into my thoughts. He grits his teeth, and finds his whole body shaking with memories…
Several years ago, Locus was a different person before the war. He was more compassionate, curious, and willing to question the things that stood against his moral values. But how the war remolded him not only surprised him but also those closest to him. He pondered each of their faces as he sat on the train back to his home town. The people that came out to meet him seemed genuinely happy to see him breathing and to have survived the war.
There was much discrimination against the aliens still as that was what the war was fought on. Use the media to induce discrimination and through discrimination came hate which fueled the fight for the soldiers. Media propaganda tactics which had been used numerous times throughout human history, it doesn't seem like people learn, or they simply never completely understand.
Maybe this was the case with Locus' closest family and allies as well. They quickly found out that his open and kind demeanor was now gone, nowhere to be seen in their interactions. Instead what they got was a cold hearted man, a man who was distant from everyone and everything back home. Soon people began to distance themselves from him, they began to ignore him and overtime he became an outcast, he was rejected. The one place he thought he could belong in was stripped from him. Not only because of war, but also because people could not accept this new Locus.
His life was forced down the path of a mercenary life from then on. He decided to abandon all past ties and leave his hometown for good. There was nothing there for him now, no hope as he had originally thought. Packing his bags, he left without a word, with no note of goodbye. He simply left his old life behind for good. Walking down the track that is life, wondering where it may lead him, he found himself going back to the military to retrieve his old armor and soon go AWOL. This allowed him to keep his suit, now rebranded in grey and green colors, and lay low to outrun the UNSC.
He never picked this life, he didn't want to pick it but he was there now. The tracks soon led to an intersection with an old acquaintance and rival going by the name of Felix. The rest after that was history.
…Locus sat with his head low. He gripped the edge of his bed and humped over. True redemption, can there even be such a thing for me now? Locus noticed a blinking light on the room's built-in communicator and got up to answer it. "This is Locus."
"We need you down here sir, it's an emergency. That prisoner you brought in by the name of Lavernius Tucker has escaped."
What?! Locus quickly rushed for his helmet and gun. Equipping himself, he ran out of his room and to Tucker's holding cell as quickly as he could. "I'm on my way!"
A few station soldiers and Locus stared into Tucker's room. The soldier in charge looked all around for any other clues whilst explaining the situation. "We came in here to do the usual rounds, and to check in on all the prisoners. When we checked in on this one, there was no one here. Opening the cell we found that the prisoner had escaped."
Locus studied the open vent. A soldier held up the vent cover and studied it in curiosity. "Sir, there are no screws or bolts on here. How would have even opened it? Isn't this electronically controlled?"
Seems as though he and his A.I. fragment were not completely helpless, Locus pondered exiting the cell alongside the squad leader. "He is using the vents, get your men positioned at every ventilation exit we know of. Tell them to keep their ears open for any noises coming from the ceiling."
"Yes sir," the squad leader replied placing two fingers on his helmet's in-built radio and gave out various orders. Locus readied his rifle and walked around with the flashlight on in the darker areas. Periodically Locus stopped and took a moment to stabilize his breathing and heighten his senses. This was bringing back the thrill of the hunt back into him, and the primal nature of human beings was beginning to surface.
Inside the vents, Tucker moaned at the tight squeeze. Sigma continued to display their progress on the collected map data. "If you take the next right and choose to exit on the third ventilation cover after the turn, you will be very close to the parking area of this building. You could take a vehicle and escape."
"Escape to where? I would only be running deeper into the colony, bow-chicka-bow-wow," Tucker argued doing his best to keep his voice down.
"It is your only option. As counter-productive as it may seem in the long run, it will certainly give you a lot of time to formulate a better plan Captain Tucker."
"I'm sure they will give me that time on a silver platter, if it were only that easy," Tucker replied twisting and turning his body around the corner. Tucker's body completely froze however when he heard a foreign voice in his ears. "I think I heard something."
Shit, move it! Gotta move it faster! Tucker shuffled with as little noise possible and as fast as possible towards his destination. The voice alerted the others and they quickly began to scramble beneath him. Tucker safely made it over the first ventilation cover, but just as he was going over the second, all of the covers suddenly burst open! Tucker's body arched downwards causing him to fall with the cover. With a loud thud, all the soldiers in the hallways were now on full alert and began their chase.
"Oh fuckberries!" Tucker made a break for it! He pushed past several of the guards who tried to restrain him. Just as he was close to escaping the floor in general, he was caught off guard by Locus who de-clocked in the door frame. Tucker saw behind him, and there was basically a small army was coming for him. He decided to take his chances with escape and threw several punches at Locus. With ease Locus avoided them all and countered many.
"Ow, son of a bitch!" Tucker shouted getting elbowed in the back. Locus walked towards Tucker who was now on the ground tired and out of breath. "Give up."
"In your dreams asshole!" Tucker shouted quickly getting up and throwing a punch. Locus in quick precision and instincts dodged it and threw a mean right hook at Tucker's jaw line. The aqua soldier was motionless with moans of pain leaving him breathless. Locus followed the other soldiers back to Tucker's cell. Before they left, Locus made sure to rectify the ventilation issue. "Weld the cover to the wall."
"We should have never let you go back on Chorus."
Locus looked down to see Tucker now awake. He ignored the prisoner and checked the welding job. "We should have stopped you then and there."
"When I said that I would make things right, I wasn't lying."
"This isn't any better than lying," Tucker replied trying to move his restrained arms. Locus stepped down and collected his weapon. "Change takes time."
"Seems to me like you are fucking it up royally so far."
Locus stopped in his tracks to consider Tucker's words, but quickly continued on his way. He stared at one of the soldiers and advised them. "Give him an electric collar with a built-in tracker. We need to take proper measures at avoiding something like this in the future."
Locus turned to look back at Tucker. "Use your time more wisely instead of trying to escape. You may not realize it, but you are steadily running out of time."
In the boss' room, the major figures gathered. The boss looked at the two new figures that enter besides Justice. "Truth, Pure, it has been a while."
"That it has," Truth replied with his hands behind his head. Behind them followed Locus, and the boss immediately went quiet. The boss looked away from the group and tapped his metal fingers against his table. "You all must have heard by now about the recent escape attempt by our guest I presume?"
"Yeah, this begs the question. Why are we even having this meeting in the first place instead of taking care of the matter ourselves?" Truth inquired crossing his arms. He found these meetings to be an enormous waste of everyone's time when there was a clear solution present. Justice shook her head at her colleague in disapproval. Pure in a heavy, yet soft and caring voice replied. "We can't use violence as our solution for everything."
"Are you really being a pacifist Pure? I mean you are a well built guy who is able to break fifty freaking bricks with his bare hands for crying out loud," Truth argued only to be ignored. But he did feel those words to be suitable for Pure to some extent. "Then again, I guess pacifism does suit you considering your name."
"If we are done with the unproductive arguments," the boss interrupted with a sharp tone. Everyone faced him in a matter of mere seconds. "We need to eliminate the problem at its core. You all know what that would mean."
Locus felt some worry rise from within him. "Re-consider what you are saying."
"Locus, as much as I respect your advice both as a friend and associate, I must also do what is best for us. I can't keep proven threats in such close proximity to our people."
"As cruel as that is, we will have another sword in our hands," Justice added, though this did not bode well with her considering their recent events and behavior toward their own. She understood Tucker's situation, he was not directly related to the UNSC, and so she felt a sense of empathy for him. But at the same time she had to be rational and see the bigger picture. To achieve the justice they all seek, they need the swords.
"I know I have asked for a lot from you in the past," Locus started looking all around the room. "But this is important. To kill Tucker would mean corrupting everything you stand for and have told me."
The boss stared up at Locus, both stared one another in the eyes. The boss wondered Locus' words and saw value in there, but he also saw danger. He stopped tapping his fingers and crossed his hands. "One more chance, and that is all I will give him. Locus, my patience runs extremely thin. If you really want for Captain Tucker to survive, then I suggest you do more to convince him to join us. Otherwise we will be left with no choice but to take extreme measures."
Locus looked beyond his visor with his worries slightly dying down. He turned around to leave. He stopped by the elevator doors and let his head fall deep in thought. I may have to take extreme measures myself if things keep up at this pace.