Chapter 1: Insertion

A whole plethora of thoughts and images ran through Jonathan Hayes' damaged mind as he ran out onto Runway 2. The thought of money, his first job, the Chinese, how he'd possibly survive in such a warzone.

The tortured screams of his family.

Why did he always focus on that one sound, why couldn't he let go? It had been more than 15 years since that event, and yet he remained unable to detatch himself. If this continued, he'd go mad. But wait, wasn't he already? Does a mad man know when he's gone insane? Or does he simply blow it off as a mistake, or does everyone have his problem?

No, it's you. It's only you, and you'll never go back to how it was. Jonathan sighed. The sinister voice inside his head he knew now to be only an aberration of the mind, his thoughts manifested into voice. But the word "schizophrenia" still sent shivers down his spine, a reminder of his past.

"Hello? Jonathan?" Jonathan, mildly peeved by this interruption in his train of thought, turned to see Fiona walking torwards him. "Lucky I caught you, I almost forgot to give you this." Fiona extended her hand, in which was some kind of computer device, somewhat bigger than a Palm Pilot. "This is your new PDA, your only link to the outside world. It has Internet access, satellite communications and television, email, and many other useful tasks. And this headset," she handed a small headset to Jonathan, not more than a wire with a microphone and an earpiece, is how you will communicate with me in the field.

"Oh, so you're the agent runner?" Fiona nodded. "Yes, I'll have hundreds of satellites and hacked communications centers at my command, I'll be watching you. So don't blow it. And why haven't you changed yet?" "What, do you wanna look?" Fiona blushed. For an albino, and one with such a mental instability, Jonathan wasn't that bad looking. "What? No, of course not. But you'll be dropping in via HALO jump, I think it would be best that you are properly equipped." Jonathan sighed. "Listen, I'll have plenty of time to change on the plane. That is unless, of course," He smiled as he got on the jet, looking back at Fiona, "You're watching." With this, he closed the door.

Six hours later, Jonathan was sitting in the cargo bay of a plane, dressed in his gear. Instead of the suit and tie he had been wearing before, he was now dressed in a leather jacket, baggy, black and grey camo pants, steel tipped army boots and fingerless gloves, for a good grip on whatever weapon he supposed he'd find there. His hair was still in that oh-so-messy-it's-
perfect look, which seemed to fit him very well. On his back was a small sack, holding his parachute.

Even with the impending combat just ahead of him, he was still bored to death. All he had with him was his PDA, his Mp3 player and his headset, which he used to chat with Fiona from time to time. The two, not knowing each other, had obviously started off with talks about each other's pasts, and since then had moved on to family, the army, who Fiona had recently worked for, Australia, North Korea, the combat ahead, and the current situation that lay before him.

"Is there anything that you'd like me to do once I drop in? I see countless possibilities here." Fiona, who had been typing codes and a few last encryptions into their comm link, wasn't paying attention. "Oh, I'm sorry, what?" "I said is there anything specific that you'd like me to do once I drop in? Should I visit one of the local power brokers first, should I meet with the Russian Mafia, should I just head on in there, or whatever?" "Well, this is entirely up to you, but I'd visit the Mafia first. They're situated in East Pyongyang, should be pretty easy to find. They run a nightclub there, as a front, and a nearby garage. The leader is one Sergei Grishkin, and might I say he's quite young for a Mafia godfather. His assistant is an old 'business partner' of Nillson's, Josef Yurinov. Ex-KGB, very efficient. You should have no problem with them if you say you were sent by ExOps."

"Hello, this is Comet 3. We're approaching the drop zone." After securing his helmet, Jonathan neared the door, open and waiting for him to leap into the cloudy night sky, the air passing by making it seem like the roaring maw of some mythical beast. The light turned green. Well, this is it, now or never. You can't think of anything better to say? No, not really. Jonathan smiled, his inner voice always had something funny to say, even before it stopped trying to drive him to insanity. But then again, he already was insane. Wasn't he?

"Hey, keep your head down out there." "What, you worried about me, Fiona?" "I'm worried about our payday." With this, Jonathan jumped.

Gone was the loud hum of the engines, replaced by the even louder roar of the wind passing by Jonathan's head at sub-sonic speeds. He was flying torwards the ground like a bullet, hurtling head over heels, the treetops rushing up to meet him. Wait, the trees! If his parachute hit them he would be trapped, torn up by enemy fire! Using his arms and legs to steer himself, he changed his course and instead rocketed torwards the beach head to his left. If he could land there he might just be able to-

Wait, what was that! To his north was a great city, probably Pyongyang, and one of the buildings was being hit by tank shells. That must be where his fellow operatives were holed up.

But he had to focus on the task at hand, not the billowing tower of acrid black smoke from the city. He was approaching the LZ quite quickly now, he had better pull the cord. He gripped the plastic handle of the ripcord and gave a hard tug, already expecting the sharp pull upwards and the loud "FOOM!" that followed. He then landed gently on the beach, unhooking his chute as he did so. He was on his own.

"Hello? Jonathan, can you hear me?" Ok, maybe not. "Yeah, I'm fine. Everything working over there?" "Yes, I can see you now, on the southern beachhead near Nanking, a coastal city. The Mafia and the Chinese are struggling over it now, and they're at a stalemate. Perhaps you could help the Mafia?" But Jonathan was already jogging torwards the city.