AN: Dis is the second time I write dis darn chap. It was cuz mah darn computer started failing and I lose the previous data. Thankfully I could pass the second chap to the USB earlier, dat's the reason I decided to update earlier dat time (dat and I was happy someone had already made their blessed presence known by reviewing). But probably it was for the best; now dat I think bout it, it was not as well done as the previous chaps (and hey, I still feel I could had done better). Perhaps now I can improve it.
Speaking of that, I've been reading mah previous chaps, and dude, am I bad at grammar (but my spelling checker is still worse (fag, it just proved my point, ahaha!))!
Hehe, I also noticed dat in the last chap I used the word "apparently" A LOT, so I decided ta fix it, now if ya wanna read it and tell me if cha like it better now dat it has less darned apparentlies ye're welcome. Not dat I've really changed anything besides dat anyways (this is if you didn't read it after I changed it, if you did, well there's no need).
Important: From now on I'll write radio conversations in italics. You can differentiate them from thoughts because I write them in double comas.
Sigh, okay maybe from now on things are gonna… taste different. Just a bit more than a year since I started this (from Ch. 1) and I've changed a lot. Let's just hope I've changed for good more than for worse.
Interval 3.1: Infiltration
"W…e….. on!" I could hear a voice, but it sounded too distant to recognize; gradually it became clearer. "Red…. Ple…. Wake up!" That voice was so familiar. I tried with all my might to focus only on it, or else I feared I would get lost in the darkness once more. "Come on, Red! You have to wake up, NOW!" At last I was back in the world of the living, and I knew it 'cuz I was now able to feel the pain in my whole body, even in parts I didn't even know I had; perhaps the blackness wasn't that bad after all. Slowly, but painfully, I managed to open my eyes. The first thing I saw was Jin's preoccupied face over mine, and then I realized it had been her who had been shouting like desperate for the past minute. "Thanks God you're alive." She sighed in relief when I woke up. "Betters, I found him. He's fine." I took on my surroundings; there was a Delta accompanying Jin and it seemed like we were just in front of the same building I was in when everything went Kaboom… Easy to tell with all the fire and debris scattered around.
"Should I call a medevac?" I could hear Betters asking through my radio. Perfect! That means the connection is working again!
Jin examined me carefully to check for any injury. "Well… He doesn't appear to be injured. Otherwise I don't know how he survived." Indeed I felt fine… well, for someone who has just been blown away through a window, which in normal translation would be in a hellish bit of pain but other than that just fine, it was really nothing I couldn't just ignore. I felt fine!
"We'll worry about that later. I'm reading Fettel's transmitter near that position. We've gotta take that fucker out, fast! Jin, keep looking for Jankowski. I'm still reading his life signs." …On other thoughts, I got quite a good blow from that explosion, didn't I? … Oh, who am I kidding? At least Jin seemed to sympathize with me.
"You can't send him in alone, that is crazy!" she said while she got up.
"He can take care of himself. Now MOVE!" I got up slowly but steadily; my head was still pounding and I was just getting back my balance. Well, what would you expect for someone who just got blown in the face (literally)? I'm not Super Man.
Jin still looked very worried, though; so all I did (and could do) was just to give her a friendly pat on her shoulder as to reassure her that I would be fine. She looked up to me and sighed. "Just be careful in there, ok?" I merely nodded and got on my way.
"You're lucky to be alive." I heard the Delta shout as I walked away, and I couldn't agree more.
I won't lie now, I really didn't want to go; well, not alone at least. With all the shit that's happened… But it's my job to follow orders. That's how my life is. To some it may suck, but that was the only life I had. And if my whole damned life would be following orders, then I sure as fuck would follow orders like a fucking pro, because that's how I do things. That's the great logic I've used from the beginning, and that's what've kept me sane all this years.
In the next warehouse I entered were more dead bodies from workers; just a reminder that there were yet more replica ahead.
"Tomcat, looks like I'm not gonna be able to send you any reinforcements for a while. My helos just got diverted to Armacham headquarters. Something big is going on." There was Den Mother in the radio again.
"No shit! My people are right in the middle of it!" I heard Betters say.
"I hear ya! I wish I was calling the shots!"
"Is it the same bad guys?"
"Looks that way. I'm a little short on details."
"I guess this ain't a cover-up anymore."
I didn't understand. First they just kidnap some random guy (even though I'm certain he wasn't that random, but until I can figure out how he fits into all of this I'll just call him random guy), take him to an abandoned building and have him for dinner… literally; then they invade a water treating plant for God knows what and start killing everyone; and now they invade a big military company's headquarters for x reason. This puzzle was just missing too many pieces. But I was sure that in the end all would fit.
Going outside and crossing a catwalk above a big tank full of green water (which smelled horrible; by the way); I made it to a big, square-shaped manhole with yellow ladders leading down. I climbed down to a dark tunnel with just a pair of light bulbs hanging on the ceiling to light the path. The lights and my radio began to flicker and I read "Unknown Origin" again; somehow this didn't surprise me anymore. I braced myself for the weird shit that would come next.
I was in a dark tunnel; I had to turn on my flashlight. The only visible lights were ahead, only that they were flickering like crazy; it wouldn't surprise me if they just exploded and left me completely in the dark.
When I got further into the tunnel I could hear a childish chuckle. This made the hairs on my back rise instantly. I saw a few rats running, some of them brushing my feet, in the opposite direction. When I got closer I saw a small figure in a red dress crossing my sight. She disappeared as soon as she came. My heart was beating so fast and loudly I could hear every single beat; for a moment I felt my breath leaving my lungs and as much as I tried I couldn't get it back. When I got into the room with the flickering light I saw two niches in front of me, but the only one that got my attention was the one in the right. It was completely soaked in blood, and in the middle of the puddle was a bare skeleton. I got in the niche to get a better look at it, but then I heard the same chuckle behind me. I turned around fast only to see the same little figure in red disappearing in the niche beside mine. My heart was now beating a mile per hour. I quickly got to the other niche (undeniable proof that I must be crazy) only to find nothing in it. Absolutely nothing: no blood; no skeletons; no little girl.
I couldn't stay in that place any longer. I climbed up the ladder as fast as I could once my breath steadied enough again. While I was climbing up I saw two choppers flying above. If those were replica choppers (which they probably were since Den Mother said he wouldn't be sending any right now) then probably they would not be staying here for long, and neither would Fettel. I took this as an incentive to speed up the search, which in the end was a very good thing because it helped me keep my mind away from what just happened in that tunnel.
Curse this job. The replicas got word of my presence; not that it surprises me, of course. I haven't exactly been the most discrete guy since the moment I arrived. The only thing that really annoys me is their persistence. They're more a nuisance than anything, but after I'm done with one squad and keep going there's another one waiting for me right in the next room. Right now I'm taking cover behind a turned over desk. I've taken care of six of a squad of eight replicas, only two left, no problem, except for the fact that I'm almost out of ammo. In fact I completely ran out of ammo for my sub-machine gun, all I have left is my pistol. But those bastards wouldn't give me the chance to point properly. Not seeing any other options, I did the first thing that came to mind: I tossed my last grenade at them. As soon as I threw it I could hear a "Fuck" coming from one of them. 'Ha, got that right, asshole!' I thought, as irritated as I was.
As soon as it blew up I could hear their screams (which were difficult to identify over the loud "Boom"), this really satisfied me. I peeked out of the desk to see if they were dead. I only saw one body. I didn't wonder where the other one was, thinking that maybe it was blown up to bits, or at least somewhere out of my sight; my stupid mistake. Before I realized it the missing replica came out from his cover (behind a window that leads to an office) and started shooting at me. 'Son of a-!' Before I managed to get back to my cover a bullet almost got my throat, scratching it instead. I can't even curse at that. As soon as he stops shooting (idiot ran out of bullets as well) I take the chance to finally get rid of him. Things go in slow-mo as I run from my cover to take a better position and kill him before he can even point his gun at me again.
I watched him fall slowly to the floor. It completely looked like one of those cheesy action movies. Before he hit the floor time started flowing normally again. I pant, a bit exhausted. Just then I start feeling the pain in my throat. It's easy to forget how sensitive that area is until stuff like this reminds you. Even little scratches can be more annoying than they should be. I put a hand on it; it's bleeding, but slowly. It's more superficial than serious.
Funny: had I been slower to move, I'd probably be in the ground right now, bleeding to death (if not dead already). Guess death only comes whenever it feels like it. And it only would have been for a small stupid mistake. I almost chuckled at the thought. What a comical way to go would that be; comical and in a way sad. Here is the infamous F.E.A.R. Point Man; after taking out… how many replicas? Twenty? Thirty? It could have been a hundred as far as I cared (I have no time to keep count while fighting for my life)… Dead by one lucky shot from one replica. Lying on the floor drowning in a puddle of his own blood. Had the scratch not been this annoying, I would have started laughing like a maniac right then and there… Death comes so easily.
Fortunately I find in the office more ammo for my sub-machine gun and even a couple of grenades. I also found a med kit in the wall. I take it and open it; luckily it has all I need. I clean the wound with alcohol (it stings like hell) and press the cotton there, wrapping the adhesive bandage on it to keep it pressed in the spot. Finally it's not as annoying as before.
I kept going and to my surprise there're no more replicas, not that I was complaining. In fact I found something much more interesting: a laptop. Perhaps someone was using it before the replicas came in.
There it was in a table, open and turned on, practically imploring "Come here Red. Look at my wonderful contents!" well I couldn't say no to that. I took a look at the desktop and there was a document titled "Waste Water (confidential)". Nice title. Now if there's something I've learned is that any bit of information can be useful. They always make a point to tell us to seek any bit of it and send it back to HQ.
"Betters sir, I found a laptop containing information. I'm sending it right now." I take my time to send it to HQ (not too long). I wait a while more for it to get there (a bit longer). And finally Betters answers.
"Ok, it's uploading now… Hmmm, interesting. I found a wastewater analysis summary addressed to an Armacham review committee. According to the abstract, there's some major contamination coming from upstream. I can't imagine why Armacham would be interested unless they're responsible." A big scientific company polluting the ecosystem even further than it already is? Why I am not surprised?
I don't linger any longer than I necessarily have to. I keep going as fast as I can. I arrive to a door that leads outside. I peak through the window and see nothing.
… Who knows, perhaps there won't be so many replica ahead. "Squad, stay sharp!" I hear them say from somewhere obviously out of my sight… Well, they say that hope is the last to die… But when it does… Ouch!
After countless "booms" and "bangs" and "Aaaagh!'s" (the last ones exclusively coming from the replicas) I finally make my way to another building. This definitely doesn't seem like an office building, there's some heavy machinery inside. I make my way through it until I reach a place full of water. I'm behind a handrail and ahead is a catwalk and a yellow ladder to get to it. I slide from under the rail to the water and swim to the ladder and climb it up to the catwalk.
… Ok, from now on pay attention, the fun's about to start:
The moment I stand in the catwalk there's a window to another room in front of me. The lights start flickering like crazy when the same little red flash I had blissfully forgotten until now dashed through my line of sight behind that window. In a stupid impulse I attempt to see where she had gone. Of course I couldn't see anything.
My cursed curiosity, unfortunately, managed to get the best of me, so I made a point to get into that room as fast as I could. Why was there a little girl here anyways? Or was she just a figment of my imagination? It wouldn't be the first time after all. After a little walk around I finally made it to that room. I kept an eye for the girl (just in case). Of course I didn't see her. I then just kept walking when a flash of white clouded my vision. I blinked a couple of times and saw it: the girl's shadow in the wall, the light making it look bigger. She was skipping and giggling until I lose her from my sight. What the heck?
I rushed there to see where she had gone. And oh surprise: she wasn't there. I looked around, in any place where she could had hided. But I didn't find her. Finally I saw a hole in the floor that led somewhere with more water. Had she gone through there? No way, it was a bit of a fall (for a child anyways), and even if she had done so, I'm sure there would had been a pretty audible splash. I looked down just in case… nope, I didn't see her. I came to the conclusion that it was most probably all in my head. Besides, what would a small child be doing in a place like this? It doesn't make sense, no matter which way you look at it. Still why was I having this visions didn't make any more sense to me.
After thinking about the matter for more than a minute I looked down into the hole again. Now that I think about it, there was nowhere else to go besides down there. It looked promising and it was just a couple meters' fall. Hey, it's not like there's something horrible waiting for me down there.
… I take back my words.
Where am I? This doesn't look like a water treatment plant at all. In fact it reminds me more of a hospital. And where's the water? I remember landing into water; this is not water. Water is not red, nor does it smell this horrible. This is blood. I'm submerged to the waist in blood. It's like I've fallen into the Devil's pool.
I see a light in front of me. It's the only light I can see in this dark place. I look up and notice that it's a door; I can barely see what's behind the tainted window in it. I can hear a baby crying.
I get closer; I want to get a better look. There's a man holding something. I also see a girl in a surgical bed; she's reaching for the object the man's holding. She screams as he takes it away.
I want to see what's going on in that room. I want to get closer. I walked towards the door wanting see, but something horrible happened the moment I reached the door: a skeleton rose from the bloody pool. Its stretched arms caught me in a nightmarish hug. I panicked; I tried to get away from it in any way I could, but it just wouldn't let me go. Finally I tripped over something under the blood and fell backwards, the skeleton still keeping its grip on me.
I could barely let go a scream before everything turned red.
A/N: Whoooo! Wasn't the wait worth it? I wouldn't have written sumthin like dis two months ago! And the words, they just kept coming! Do you think I already had in mind the whole reflection about how easily death comes the moment I wrote about the bullet scratching PM's neck? I didn't, but before I could realize it there it was! And I laugh at this chap's previous version whenever I compare it to dis one (though I keep feeling that I could do better).
And special thanks to Rocketfist for the tip. I'll try to skip right to the interesting parts (unless I can make the not so interesting more interesting!). And an extra big thanks to everyone who favorite and reviewed. And a thanks just as big to everyone who just took their time to read it. Without any of you there would be no point in doing this.
Oh and by the way, I believe I'll let you know: Point Man's visions will be becoming a bit… confusing... You'll see what I mean. I'm trying to give this story a different style; something like no one's done before. Of course I might screw up, but at least I'm trying.
And… there was something else I wanted to say… Damn I forgot! It's just like with words; I forget how to refer to something and sometime later I remember. Oh well, I'm sure I'll remember later!
Ciao for now!