Renko's vision was blurry, his entire body felt like it had been run over by a tank, he couldn't move, and something was grunting in his ear. Were the situation different he might have been inclined to make a joke about being tied down, but the slowly sinking flaming wreck of the helicopter in the distance and the sound of a boat nearby told him that spouting one liners was the last thing to do.

"Where..." was all he could manage at the moment. As his senses came back into focus he realized he was being pulled and that something was wrapped around his arms. With a grunt he managed to slip out of his bonds, an action he instantly regretted as he began to sink like a stone. Panic set in and he screamed, filling his mouth with water. He looked up towards the surface of the water and noticed a silhouette against the dim light of the helicopter wreckage. It approached and wrapped its arms around him before slowly pulling him back to the surface.

"Damn it Renko..." the silhouette gasped as he pulled Renko's head above water. "You scared the shit out of me...i thought you were dead." Devlin? He'd survived the crash again? Should Renko have really been surprised?

"...Not...yet..." Renko croaked. The dim light coming from the fire of the helicopter gave Renko a good look at his comrade's face. It was indeed Devlin, a battered and bloody Devlin, but still Devlin.

No, not exactly. He's A Devlin, but he's not the one i knew.

Still, russian soldier or no, he'd managed to save Renko's life and that had to count for something.

"Good, let's try and keep it that way." Devlin's voice was strained. Surviving a helicopter crash and lugging Renko around the ocean had to be hell. "It won't be long before we hit shore...maybe we can find a working radio, anything that could get us into contact with red fleet. I'm getting too much interference on mine, might've been damaged in the crash...what about yours?"

While Renko loathed the idea of going back to the island he knew they would have to get there to wait for pickup anyway...and as long as he was there he could just pop back into the past and put things in order. "Nothing..." he lied. He regretted the lie instantly. Sure he could go back into the past again...but he didn't know what exactly had happened. What he had to fix in order to set things straight. had to be him.

Not very far away Renko could make out the sound of a boat, occasionally a voice would cut above the hum of the motor. The american resistance...what the hell had happened? Barisov had somehow constructed the TMD and taken over the world...or at least led communist russia against the united states, possibly winning. But Demichev was dead, Katorga 12 should have been shut down. How did any of this happen!

Wait, shore?

"Shore?" oh god no, he was really going back...why couldn't he have died in the crash?

"Katorga 12." the word's were a knife through the heart. It was one thing to think about going back, another to be literally pulled onto the island with no other alternative, save a bullet in the head courtesy of the american resistance. "Now be quiet, those demmie bastards don't know where we are and i didn't survive a helicopter crash and a half hour of pulling you through these frigid waters to get gunned down because you talked too much and gave our position away." Devlin hissed each word into Renko's ear.

Renko strained to turn without upsetting Devlin's hold on him, hoping to see just how far away the island was. God it was close, a few minutes away at the most. The clouds parted and the moonlight silhouetted the singularity, making the island into some sort of cliche forboding picture usually found on the cover of cheesy horror movies. Only this was real life and somehow the mad scientist and the monsters were real. Starring Nate Renko as the unwitting soldier damned to play along...forever.

Devlin pulled Renko up onto a rocky outcropping before finally letting him go. "Damn you're heavy." Devlin let out a sigh as he leaned back into the rocks. "If you think i'm carrying you around any more you've got a big disappointment coming in the near future."

Renko shifted until the rocks he was laying on top of stopped trying to tear through his uniform. "I'll be fine in a minute." he said, ignoring the pain traveling the length of his body before stopping to kick him in the head.

In the distance they could see a spotlight scanning the water. The american resistance still thought they were in the water...good, it gave them a head start.

"Renko," Devlin hissed. "I'm going to scout ahead-"

He was shocked by the sudden fear that rose up in him. "Don't leave me here!" he hadn't meant to yell, it had just come out.

"Shh, Shh," Devlin moved down onto the rocks next to Renko. "I'll only be gone a minute, don't worry." he hissed. "Stay calm and take this-" he unholstered a gun, not unlike the centurion, and placed it in Renko's hand. "If they get too close take as many of them as you can, just remember to save a bullet for yourself." the words were a reminder lit in big red neon letters: This was not the Devlin he knew. The man he knew would never have suggested something like that, no matter how grim the situation. No man left behind.

Still, Renko managed a nod and that seemed enough for the communist version of Devlin who promptly began the climb up the rocks onto the actual island.

It seemed like an eternity...waiting...waiting...he was so easy it would be to rest his eyes for just a moment.

"There's someone on the rocks!" the voice startled Renko out of a slumber he hadn't been aware had overtaken him. "Get a light on the fucking rocks, now!" and then he went blind as the spotlight hit him. "Got a survivor!" someone else yelled. "Drop him before he radios for help!" another said.

"Wait-" Renko started and then there was a familiar feeling in the air and his plea stopped short. Every hair on his body seemed to stand on end, his fillings rattled and the ground seemed to be vibrating.

The people on the boat screamed, a few splashes told Renko some had even jumped overboard. He turned around and there it was...the...bubble...speeding towards him. Rushing out from the center of the island almost as if to embrace him, to say "welcome back to the island old friend, it's been too long".

He went blind once more as he was engulfed in the power of the singularity. When his vision returned everything had changed. The sun was setting, birds flew overhead and the resistance boat had been replaced with Renko was very familiar with.

The Pearl.