Chapter 18: Boxed like Rats

It was at the break of dawn that the ATSG left their bunker on what they hoped to be a fruitful mission. The van drove slowly through the thin layered streets of snow, carefully turning corners and following the map laid out before Siris on the GPS. He looked to his right to see Ken quietly staring out the window. "So, have you gone over the mission briefing?"

Ken remained quiet at the inquiry. Siris already knew that his student had done so purely out of habit that he drilled into him since day one of their tactical training. "It would be nice if we can finally end our struggles here can't we?"

Ken shifted in his seat to look in front of them. He stared at the GPS map, they were close now. Siris became a little uncomfortable with the silent treatment and gently tapped the steering wheel with his left hand. "Look, Ken, I'm sorry for keeping the truth from you. I know this may not mean much now considering how I failed to act on this issue when you first found out and it was wrong of me to lie the way I did it. But I just want to fix things now. Can't you at least even afford me that one chance?"

Ken pointed in front of him just as the van exited a forest of large buildings. "We are here."

Siris looked with a defeated sigh and nodded his head. He knocked to the back compartment housing the rest of their soldiers and said. "Get ready, we are almost there."

He approached the gates of the building. Who the hell would build a base in this decaying building? He wondered parking the van. He knocked behind them as Ken exited the vehicle. "Alright, time to go people! I will keep the van active near the area so as to avoid suspicion. If you need immediate evacuation, use your comms to call me without a second thought."

Carolina burst open the lock and drew her rifle. The rest walked in behind her with Ken sticking to the shadows. "Church, give me area layout."

He uploaded the data to her HUD. "There you go, but keep your eyes peeled."


The ATSG soldiers spread out into different directions scanning every inch of the complex. There was nothing there but the dust and debris. They were beginning to think that perhaps there was more to this than met the eye. Ken searched for any underground routes, but found no such thing. He radioed into his comrades only to find similar results. They were alone, and there was nothing here for them. One walked past without noticing a tripwire. Without a sense of sensitivity, they activated it causing a red light to spin round and round with a loud piercing alarm to their ears.

Many panicked momentarily while covering their ears in agony. Several enemy soldiers from the second floor popped their heads out and pointed their guns. They opened fire at the group in the center leaving many for dead. Carolina reacted upon seeing her allies fall to the floor. "Church, activate the bubble-shield!"

The bullets deflected from the spherical shield captivating a certain diameter of the floor. Church appeared beside her. "You may want to think of something fast or else you will drain all of your energy."

The other ATSG members raised their weapons and readied their aim. Ken sneaked up to the second floor taking special notes of any traps along the way. Carolina looked around and nodded to her comrades. "Church, match their fire rate and adjust shield."

"Oh okay," he replied quite anxiously. "I mean I'm not Theta but let's see how this goes."

"Sync?"

"Sync!" shouted Church as the shield blinked. The ATSG soldiers opened fire and Church accounted for every bullet trajectory. He opened holes in the shield just before the bullet would near the edge of the shield. They nailed their targets in the head. Ken sneaked up behind one and with a firm grip on the soldier's hair he smashed his nose onto the ground. The others looked towards the commotion but before they could act, they were down in a pool of their own blood. Ken took the man and threw him down to the first floor. He jumped after him and landed on his rib. The enemy soldier screamed in pain while taking a fetal position.

"Start talking pal," Ken slapped him on the cheek while sitting him up. "Tell us where the leader of your organization is."

The man spat near Ken's feet. "Fuck you."

Ken gripped the man's leg and stretched the bones beyond a comfortable threshold. "You are not playing the odds here friend."

"I won't talk."

Crack!

Ken silenced the man upon his loud squeal. He took the other leg in his hands and looked at the enemy. "Still want to put on this bravado?"

The enemy soldier looked from the leg to Ken. He shook his head still reluctant as ever to comply. Ken applied more pressure. The silence persisted. "You must really like pain. I wonder if you are a masochist."

Ken quickly broke the man's other leg and moved onto his left arm. "Come on, no amount of loyalty can be worth this pain now can it?"

"I will never talk," the man replied swallowing a bit of spit. His whole body shook from the sharp sting he felt. Ken shook his head and slapped the man on the cheeks. "Come on, I'm basically giving you a chance to play for the good guys here."

"Good guys? Don't make me fucking laugh you good damn government dogs."

"Oh come on," Ken mused. "You don't need to be so stuck up about being here in this situation right now. You chose this. Now talk or I break."

"Screw o-"

Ken broke the other arm. The man squirmed onto the ground shouting in agony. "You fucking bastard! Gah! Fuck!"

Ken kicked him in the nose to shut him up and held him up by his hair. "Not so tough now are you?"

Suddenly the enemy soldier took out a knife. Ken backed away to gain some distance, but what followed was a sight most wished to wash out from their memories. The enemy soldier stabbed the knife into their gut and began to cut through their organs horizontally. Blood spluttered out followed by his intestines and stomach. Many ATSG soldiers covered their nose to block out the disgusting stench of a freshly butchered body. Several were so horrified that they could no longer bear to watch. "Jesus, god damned fanatics."


Thud!

The metallic sounds of the front gate closing echoed through the complex. The ATSG soldiers looked towards the entrance and saw a great many numbers approaching their position. Ken drew his pistol and opened fire. "Stop staring and fight back!"

"Church, find us an exit!" barked Ken as he reloaded his pistol. Church worked fast to get a real time 3D layout of the terrain. "Oh no."

"What?" Carolina asked not liking the sound of his voice. She nailed her targets straight in the head. Church appeared near Ken. "We are boxed in."

"Great, thanks for the news. You sure know how to cheer a guy up Church," said Ken as he took out a pair of binoculars and motioned for his team to create a defensive perimeter to hold off the advancing threat. Everyone continued their assault. They made good head way on the terrorist soldiers. Just as quickly as the enemy came, they were gunned down.

Adrian walked through one of the major bases of operation for Cradle of Hope. He eyed the frantic workers quickly getting everything ready upon his orders. He stopped when faced by a large circular and metallic safe door. One of the soldiers presented himself to the advisor with a salute. "Sir, we have unlocked the door. The lights to the chamber should be operational. But just in case here is a flashlight."

Adrian nodded to the soldier and gave one final order. "Transfer operational rights of the faculty to me. Once that is done, abandon base."

"Sir?"

He began walking inside and looked back one last time. "Be sure to lock up the door tightly. This is a crucial moment for our organization. Do as I say, relocate to other bases and be sure to bring everything here down to the ground once everyone has retreated. The tunnels will hold so don't worry about me or our dear leader."

The door closed behind him. Adrian walked in the yellow tinted circular hallway that slowly descended into the ground. I'm here Aria, I'm here for you.


Ken led the group to the front and tried to get the doors open with the help of others. But no matter how hard they tried, the door just wouldn't budge. "Someone contact Siris, and let him know of the situation."

He looked around for anyone carrying heavy armaments. For once he regretted not packing any weapons with more impact. At the sound of glass breaking, he jumped to look back. There he was, there was the big man that had been so fixated on hunting their whole group down this whole time. Creed stood alone with the crack of his neck. Several of the ATSG soldiers opened fire. But their bullets held no argument against Creed's armor. He dispatched of the attackers quickly and brutally. More comrades were dead, and Ken could see no other option but to fight this threat. He looked back to the others and motioned for them to leave. "Spread out and find us another exit."

Creed watched the group disperse, but the only one who interested him the most opted to stay behind with Ken. He cracked his fists and smirked under the helmet. "So here we finally are. Let's end this dance for good, soldier girl."


A/N: Thank you for dropping by. I appreciate the support and readership!

Constructive feedback is always welcomed! :)

~ Monty