R/N; haha, youre not being let off the hook that easy. you, readers. dont review this chapter, instead complain at him refusing to wait a couple more days to add this to the last one.
Awareness returned to Jonah, albeit reluctantly. There was much less pain than he would have expected out of the ordeal, especially in comparison to the many other times he was knocked out. Apart from his aching chest and a soreness on the back of his shoulder (plus a bit of stiffness), he felt mostly fine. The teen wasn't overjoyed at his optimal state, but it did give him hope of getting away. Idly he wondered how long he'd been out cold.
When he tried moving his arms, the limbs jerked but didn't move from their spots. Trying again, his waking mind discovered tight restraints on his wrists. A test of his legs yielded the same result, the source coming from his ankles. He blinked, realizing his eyes were open but he saw nothing. A turn of his head didn't remedy the problem. Shifting his features around informed him of why: he had a blindfold on. Jonah's mental estimation of his chances dropped by a wide margin, especially when he heard a door open from behind him.
Jonah stilled himself, taking deep breaths. Whoever it was silent as they shut the door behind them, taking their sweet time moving to the chair he was strapped to. The teen had a good idea what he was in for, not the least of which was a quick introduction. He gave consideration to the idea of spitting in their face, but he decided to put the thought on hold until he knew more. For now, patience was the key.
A slender finger felt along the back of his scalp, unmistakably female. The simple fact gave him hope and despair, though whether the fact would help him or not remained to be seen. Meanwhile the finger looped around the back of his blindfold, dragging it off him. Jonah blinked at the light flooding his eyes, despite it being rather dim. He had a couple of seconds to examine the room he was in, noting it looked like a mostly empty office.
The owner of the finger, and presumably his jailer, slowly made her way around him. He saw her outfit, black fatigues with an over shirt over her torso. Long brunette hair spilled down to the midpoint of her back, jogging his memory. He knew he saw hair like that from somewhere, but for the life of him he couldn't place it. The thirtiesh woman stopped to turn in place, leveling a cold smile in front of him.
"Hello" she greeted. The woman's tone was friendly enough, but Jonah could easily sense the menace behind the simplistic word.
Jonah steadied himself, deciding on the casual approach. "Hi. Who are you?" he asked, his face blank.
Her smile increased a notch. "These days, I go by Hex."
H̋̉̓͊eͨͭͧ̂̓ͬ͂x͗̒͒ͣ͒ ͩ̀͌ͨ̚t̓̅̍̈͛h̃ͥ́e͗̐̅ͨ̎̆̄m̿͊e̓̽͒̎ͬ:͌̎ͯ̽ͥ̎ͫ ͯ̏̈́̊ͩͪͪPa͑͑ͤ͒̊p̍̂å̊̉̏̔̾ ͦ̋̍͐̚Rͩͦͥͩ̅o̊̾̍͛ͪ̀aͥͯͭ͂͑̓cͬh̾͆̌ ͒͋-̇ ͗̄̈́͛G̾̑̏̓̄ͤe͛̂̑̓͐ttͭiͫͩn̍ͦ̔g̓ ͑ͮ̑͐̈ͭ̒a̅̏̚wä́yͨͣ͊̚ ͌̾̓̀ͣwͧiͭ͊́ͥ͋tͮ̾ͦ͋̒ḧ́̈́ͥͤ ͭM͐ͫ͒̓̊ͧu͆̇̆͋ͩ̐̇r̀ͪͪͨͩdé̇ͧͣ̀ͤr͑̔
"Nice to meet you. You must already know who I am" Jonah replied, needing a moment to place the name (past an odd headache). He was mostly sure this was the same woman from the George Washington, apparently the one who rescued him after he was shot. Koko held no small amount of hatred towards this woman, but she never filled him in on why.
Jonah had the uncomfortable impression he was about to find out.
"You're right. I have to say, you're even cuter in person" Hex complimented.
Despite everything, Jonah closed his eyes as he took a deep breath. "Can I ask why you kidnapped me?"
"Of course. Understand its nothing personal, you're just an important part to my plan" she answered, never dropping the smile. It was like Koko's when she was angry.
"Can you do something for me?" she asked sweetly. His raised eyebrow elicited a chilling laugh as she planted her arms on his, leaning down so her face was inches from his. "Its simple really. I need you to scream."
Jonah narrowed his eyes. "You do know Koko is going to to kill you for this" he asked neutrally, his probe rewarded by a flicker over her features as she drew back.
"Under normal circumstances, she'll certainly try. But the thing is, and this is important, I have a new friend. This friend is going to do me a real solid, provided I run an errand for her" Hex explained enigmatically, bringing up one hand to crack her knuckles. "In a way I pity you. You're a child soldier whose going to suffer for the sake of an arms dealer. Shame really."
"You can try" Jonah curtly told her, hiding his fear.
Again her smile increased a notch. "You shouldn't try to challenge me. I'm going to hurt you, gonna make you scream more than you ever have before. While you're screaming, I'm going to livestream it to the team of mercenaries you call friends" she paused to giggle, a sound which sent a shiver down his spine. "But there's only one of them I care about. When she sees you in agony, it'll be a perfect storm of insanity."
Jonah's breath caught in his throat, fear written across his young face. Hex smirked. "This is what's known as a 'two birds with one stone' situation. I'll get rid of the monster you're so obsessed over, then destroy Koko. There is the minor risk of a part of Tokyo getting nuked, but it'll be a worthy sacrifice."
"You don't know what she's capable of" Jonah warned coldly.
"I've read all the reports, looked at all the available footage, and spoken to several survivors this so called Insane form left behind. I should be telling you that. Now" Hex turned away, going to a small table in the corner. After a few seconds she returned, a set of electrical nodes in one hand and a small camera with a tripod stand in the other. The smile on her face told the teenager he was in for a rough time.
"Lets get started."
Rock gasped in pain, making Valmet curse under her breath. "Can you try to drive straight?" she barked.
As if to mock her, the SUV swerved around a corner, jarring the trio in the bed of the vehicle. Valmet scowled as Mao tried to keep the girl still, stopping her from moving as much as he could. As the Finnish woman applied the contents of the medical bag to her, she sent an annoyed look at Wiley behind the wheel; she knew it wasn't his fault, nor was it Lutz's strained navigation. They needed to get to the embassy as soon as possible to regroup. But after what happened, she wasn't feeling charitable right now.
"Hey, hey, take it easy" Mao gently assured the struggling girl. Even after a shot of painkiller she was still thrashing, though the masses of bandaging over her gunshot wounds staunched the bleeding. Valmet was starting to apply another wrapping, knowing Rock needed much more than the emergency treatment she was giving.
The SUV lurched once again, eliciting a curse from both her and Mao. This time, the forward movement told her they had come to a stop. Valmet hoped it was because they were in front of the embassy. If they were caught in traffic, she was fully prepared to step outside waving a gun. She didn't care about the panic it would cause, right now she wanted nothing more than to fill the unknown kidnappers full of holes. Fortunately for everyone involved Lutz announced, "We're here!"
Wincing at the jolt of pain on her arm, Valmet crawled towards the back door to fling it open. She hopped out, at once turning around to grab Rock's boots. The woman felt her heart break when she heard the young girl let out a strangled gasp, still raw from the three bullets she received. Her healing abilities may have been phenomenal, but twenty minutes wasn't enough time.
Nevertheless, despite the powerful grimace on her features Rock stood up on her own, even if Mao had to help her move. Flicking her eye away, Valmet saw Wiley and Lutz darting to them, both men carting extra rifles heedless of the public eye. She accepted her weapon, nodding satisfactorily at the freshly loaded magazine before turning to the unassuming building. As she watched the front doors were thrown open, five figures practically running out to meet them. In the center of the four men was Koko, making a beeline towards their SUV.
"We got played on this end, how about you?" Lehm reported grimly as he rejoined them, his unsmiling face going first to the limping girl, then to Valmet's hastily bandaged arm.
"Jonah got kidnapped, two or thee guys with machine guns and a Witch" Lutz reported, loading a magazine into his own rifle. Ugo and R came back from the SUV they took, carting extra weapons.
"Of goddamn course" Tojo muttered as he accepted a Magpul Masada, "Turns out there is no Colonel Pham, at least no one who matches the description of our client. I dug a little, this whole thing has CIA fingerprints all over it. Lehm's right, we got duped hard" he reported darkly, slapping his forehead.
When the pale woman stepped around the two men, everyone in sight reflexively flinched. Koko wasn't smiling.
"First question. Who's responsible?" the air itself seemed to chill with the question. Her cold gaze roamed over the returning five, noting the two injured. The look on her face was the closest any of them had ever seen to unbridled rage.
Valmet couldn't stop herself from gulping first, knowing how dangerous her lover was right now. "They sounded like Americans, and saw a SCAR and a Minimi. Rock was closer, but they didn't kill her."
Koko walked closer to the girl, who was leaning against the side of the SUV. Rock continued to take shallow breaths, even as she looked up to meet the pale woman's gaze. Mao hurriedly shoved his phone at her, the injured girl taking it with a wince.
"Tell me everything you can" Koko calmly ordered, for the moment uncaring of her wounds. Rock nodded, bringing the phone up to type. Her pace was agonizingly slow, wearing on the nerves of the gathered mercenaries. A few pedestrians gave the armed group some puzzled looks, which none of them paid any attention to.
Rock suddenly frowned, holding the phone to the side while she looked at her side. "What's wrong?" Koko suddenly demanded, eyes narrowing. Rock reached into her pants pocket, digging around for a moment before drawing her hand back out. In her gloved palm was her own phone, buzzing insistently.
Mao gingerly took it from the girl's open hand, confusedly reporting "Its a call, from Jonah" before handing it over to Koko. Unlike him she snatched the phone away and clicked the call icon, planting it to her ear.
"Jonah?" she demanded.
Koko froze, her anger disappearing in a flash. For a second, raw fear replaced it. "Hex."
"That's right Koko. You'll never guess what I found."
Instantly a fearsome scowl overtook the pale woman, her bodyguards wincing helplessly. "What did you do to Jonah!?" she shouted into the speaker.
"A favor, part of a mutually beneficial relationship." The CIA agent's voice had a smug edge, grating on her nerves. "Short version, I hope you enjoyed the last day of your life. By sunrise tomorrow, it'll all be over."
"The hell are you talking about? And where's Jonah!?" Koko snarled.
Over the line, she heard the agent giggle. "I'll tell you, but first, there's something I want you to do. It'll take ten, fifteen seconds tops. Then I'll tell you exactly where I am. Scouts honor."
Koko's eyes narrowed. "You're lying."
"Maybe. Or maybe I'm telling the truth. How badly do you want to find out?"
"Boss, details?" Lehm pressed, frowning hard while Hex told Koko what to do. As they all were.
The pale woman was slow to act, sucking in a breath through her nostrils. Her feet carried her in an uneven pace, bringing her closer and closer to the pigtailed girl. Rock wore a confused expression while Koko approached, finally raising a brow when she held the phone out. A light shake indicated what to do.
Hesitantly Rock accepted, putting the phone to the side of her head when her boss gestured for her to do so. The eyes of all nine of them settled on the girl, watching her confused expression while she listened to whatever Hex was telling her.
"What's she saying?" Lutz wondered aloud, several nods showing agreement.
Rock's breath caught, her entire body stiffening. The phone slipped from her limp fingers, falling to the ground.
"What the...?" R's confusion didn't slow him down when he saw the girl sway on her feet. He and Mao grabbed her just as Rock went limp, the girl breathing raggedly. Grimacing as he held her arm, he briefly exchanged looks with the others.
"What did she tell her?" Ugo demanded, as Valmet quickly snatched up the phone from the pavement. When she brought it to her ear, the woman quickly discovered the line was dead, making her curse.
"Hey, hey, easy, its..." Mao trailed off, suddenly fixated on the arm he held. The color drained from R's features when he saw it: something dark was coming over her skin, both atop and underneath. It was causing her flesh to ripple, thin black smoke enveloping her form.
"Oh shit" R whispered under his breath, letting go immediately to cause Mao to stumble. Memories of more than seven months ago flashed in front of his eyes, realizing at the last second what Hex had done.
Rock pitched forward, yanking her limb from the chinese man's grip. Wrapping her arms around her torso, she staggered while the rippling black crawled up her neck. Stray pebbles on the ground around her began to tremble on their own accord, as her human friends began to back away. Unseen by any of them, her expression was one of utter terror.
Black Rock Shooter threw her head back and screamed.
The feed from the camera turned into static, grainy footage vanishing into oblivion. Whether the camera was destroyed or the signal was interrupted ultimately didn't matter to her. Phase one was a success.
Flipping the laptop closed, Hex turned back to her handiwork. Jonah was still heaving for breath, sweat glistening on his forehead. A glance at his pants showed he had wet himself. Unsurprising, considering she had taken a cattle prod at its maximum setting to the teen. When it burnt out, she grabbed the spare. While she did want to stretch their session out some, getting creative with the havoc she could wreak on his young body, time was of the essence.
Inwardly she was amazed it took a solid minute of being electrocuted before he finally did what she wanted. She wondered how much punishment the boy could take before he gave out, how much pain his body handle before it failed. A small part of her was curious; how much of his resistance was due to his Otherworld contact, and how much was him. It was a question for another time, to be answered when Hekmatyr was in her grasp.
She smiled dangerously at him, unmindful of how he was barely conscious. "Thanks for the help. Good news is it's almost over" she told him cheerfully, going for her radio next. It was time for Phase Two to begin.
Koko hit the ground hard, forcing the air out of her lungs. What little the blast didn't take away anyway. A lucid portion of her mind wondered if she was almost hit by an artillery shell; the parallels were eerily similar. When she tried taking in a breath, the woman was wracked by a cough. Part of it was some dust which was mixed in, most was the pain stemming from her ribs.
She wasn't going to be stopped however. Forcing the pain back, Koko groaned as she pushed herself up. The normally tidy pavement she laid on a moment ago was covered by stray debris, little of it larger than her fingernail. When she tried looking around, a mop of white obscured her vision. Groaning, she flopped her now disheveled hair out of the way.
Koko started counting the second she spotted the first prone form nearby; Lehm was sitting up with a groan of effort, Ugo was on his hands and knees trying to rise, Tojo was checking his now cracked glasses before he got up, and Lutz was feebly rolling. Turning her head, she felt especial relief at seeing Valmet sitting up fully (despite the blood leaking from her scuffed bandage), R coughed while he recovered, Mao laid against a pole while he checked himself over, and Wiley was staggering back to his feet.
There were other cries nearby, apparently from pedestrians caught in the blast. Ordinarily she tried her best to keep the common folk out of her way, caring more about minimizing problems than their wellbeing. Now, she wondered how many were injured because of her moment of weakness.
Stopping another cough, Koko sat up fully. She turned her numb gaze towards the edge of the sidewalk, where they were gathered a few minutes ago. The SUV was in the middle of the street, flipped over from the force of the blast. But she didn't pay any attention to that.
A single huddled form was present at the same spot Rock was. Around the figure was a small crater, showing many signs of a compact bomb going off. As she watched, a single part of the object detached, curling upwards with amazing dexterity. When the tip of the unknown object slammed into the ground, she identified it as a sword. It was barely recognizable as such, the black metal twisting into a jagged edge. On the hilt was a chain, moving on its own accord.
Two more objects detached, both substantially larger while they rose, before coming down less than a meter from the figure. One appeared to be an old M60 machine gun, if it were colored a glossy black and covered in uneven spikes. The other bore a vague resemblance to Rock's cannon, but larger and with a triangular blade on the end. Only when all three weapons were on the ground did the figure rise.
Koko stared, it was all she could do. Stare at the armored vest fitted to her chest, at the shaped metal covering her legs from the knees downwards, the metal gloves tipped by small sharp claws, the left arm appearing to be mechanical, and at the single black plate covering her head. A large white X was emblazoned on the metal, seeming to emphasize the new addition. The girl stood up fully, keeping her eyes closed as she made little movements throughout her body. When she creaked her eyes open, her empty purple eyes met Koko's cerulean ones. A purple flame ignited over her left eye.
The eye of Insane Black Rock Shooter.
Trackplay: Bullet for my Valentine - Waking the Demon.