Red vs. Blue: The Syn-Gen Stratagem

Year One

Chapter Five: Out Of The Frying Pan

Hello people! Apologies for my tardiness. This is the last chapter of Syn-Gen Year One. It takes place completely away from everything that has been established in the previous chapters and takes Mitchel, as you can guess from the title, out of the frying pan. I hope you enjoy reading as much as I have enjoyed writing.

After finishing this, I am going on a hiatus from FanFiction for a while. During that time, I will be focusing on writing my novel, with small breaks in between for these stories but they will not be put up immediately. Instead, they will be stockpiled so that I am not rushed to churn them out. For now, here is one final chapter before the break. Enjoy!

Zap! The pain surged through him like bees through a hive, stinging him wherever they went. He couldn't see much apart from the single shaft of light aimed at his eyes. However, he did see the nodes attached to his forehead, and as he looked down, more over his body. "Rise and shine, Colonel Paxx." Said a young male voice. It was smooth and calm to the point of ecstasy. Mitchell didn't like it. Personally. "You have many things which we need to know."

"Who are yo-" Another charge channelled through his body. It was painful, but it tensed his muscles so he was unable to shout, let alone speak. When it was over, his front flopped like a dead fish onto his knees. As he tried to catch his breath, a cold black glove pulled him back by the hair to sit upright in his chair.

"I ask the questions here, Colonel. Is that understood, soldier?" Mitchell refused to answer. The hand tightened its pull, some of the hairs snapping while others were ripped slowly from the scalp. "That was rule number one. Rule number two is that you must answer my questions without hesitation. Do. You. Understand?"

"Y-You already know goddamn well what my answer is!" gasped an out of breath Mitchell. The hand released him and the pain began again. Luckily, he had experienced worse but that didn't stop the effects from being any easier on his body. Coughing, Mitchell gathered himself up and laid back in the chair.

"What can you tell me about The Syn-Gen Stratagem?" The man waited for a response, no hint of annoyance in his voice. "Who is The Administrator? Have you seen his face?" Once again, no answer. "Do you know anything concerning Project Freelancer and the workings and or location of The Director and The Chairman?" After a third dose of silence, the man sighed and knelt down to Mitchell. "This will all go a lot smoother if you tell me what I want."

"Paxx, Mitchell. Colonel. Thirteenth Battalion. Serial number; one, one, four, seven, n-"

She was probably the most normally dressed woman in the facility. Walking from the landing pad, she had been surprised by how many security personnel wore facial coverings, even the technicians, obscuring their facial features. It was either for anonymity or protection purposes, but to her it was just ridiculous. The one face that wasn't hidden didn't exactly brighten hopes of human contact. The man she had come to meet had one large gash across his young face, his left eye faded to white. For a boy, he had obviously seen more than many aged men. He greeted her with a slight bounce, hands clamped together behind his back. "Miss Cramer, I presume." He began softly in an approachable tone. "Welcome to our humble abode. I'm glad you could make it on such short notice."

"Spare me the short talk, Six. Take me to him and explain on the way." Miriam said in her most stern voice that she could muster. Six directed her down an adjoining corridor and followed an armed guard through the complex. He saw Miriam rubbing the back of her neck. He had also seen the bags under her eyes when she had first approached.

"Jet-lag?" he queried. She looked up at him with tired eyes. "You're quite exhausted."

"It wasn't exactly lunch time back in the Emerald City when I was called in." snorted Miriam, rolling her head from side to side. "I had a lot of reading to get through before I arrived. I'll be fine for it."

"I have no doubt. It would put quite a sting in the whole operation should he get a whiff of your fatigue. 'It's all about having strength on your side, show them that their efforts with the enemy have not affected us as much as they think. Make a lie become the truth.' Your words, I believe."

"I see that I'm not the only one who's been doing their homework." Said Miriam. "Right out of 'Mind over Mentality'. You read my book."

"Your methods are quite ingenious. The way your techniques fool the patient into believing lies and thereby making them better." Summarised Six, almost intoning intrigue. "Any other psychiatrist worth their salt would claim this to be the devil's work. I see it as...potential for something greater."

"I'm flattered." Lied Miriam. No matter what kind of compliment was paid to her by this man, it wouldn't matter; he was below her status. An old mentor of hers once said that if you were ever going to take praise, it only ever meant anything from people of a higher significance than yourself. "But I wonder how a man such as yourself; with many battle scars and enough medals and titles to rival them, has managed to adapt to a quiet service in a research facility?" She glanced in his direction, reading his reaction. He wasn't liking his transfer at all. "Does The Insurrection have a poor idea for retirement?"

"We're not exactly the military, Miss Cramer." He responded, a little annoyed at the truth of his own statement. "When a soldier is damaged beyond serviceable repair, he is replaced. When one of us is damaged beyond serviceable repair, we're not shipped off to some cushy resort where we may bask in the sun at the cost of a pension. We're a rebellious front, we use what we can get. To my superiors, I'm leftovers." Miriam pondered over this for a moment as they stopped at a sealed iron door.

"One other thing; why are you called 'Six'? Is that some sort of ranking?" she asked. Six swiped a key card through its reader.

"No." he rasped, sounding a little older than usual. "It's how many times I died on the operating table." The lock bleeped and the door slid open. Six stepped inside first, ignoring Miriam completely. Inside was a small observation station filled with computers and equipment. There was a large window at the far end that overlooked a cylindrical cell. Inside this cell was a man restrained to what appeared to be a cross between a chair and a table. Miriam could see him screaming and struggling, but all noise was supressed.

"Is that...?" she checked. Six nodded. "How long has he been in there?"

"Two weeks. He's been kicking a fuss the whole time."

"And he knows how to make us worried." Said a doctor by the main console. He approached Miriam with a hand outstretched ready to shake. She accepted, but hated the fact that he was wearing a mask. "Doctor Simon Pascalle. I've been overseeing the Colonel during his residence."

"What can you tell me about him?" asked Miriam. Although it sounded more like an order.

"He's a smart one, not like your average grunt. If I didn't know any better, I'd say he was testing us more than we were him."

"How so?"

"Well, as Six pointed out, he's been unsettled all the time he's been here." Explained Dr Pascalle. "And when he said non-stop, he means non-stop. Four whole days of kicking and screaming exhausted him to the point of...well, near death. He simply refused to eat, so we had to start pumping the food into him. All of the people we've had in here before you have either been verbally abused or completely ignored. One day, he almost escaped."

"We used to take him out of the chair for recreational purposes, otherwise his muscles would deteriorate." Said Six. "On one of these days, Mitchell somehow managed to steal a cardkey and pen from one of his clerks. Thankfully, he only made it as far as this room."

"Ever since then, he's had to be sedated, force fed, we've had to outfit the chair with pads to massage the muscles and keep them intact, make the room soundproof, and let me tell you that was a blessing, and kept under round the clock watch." Concluded Pascalle. "Needless to say, I think he knows we need him alive."

"It said in the report that the Colonel was physically enhanced. Why doesn't he just use brute force to escape, it seems he has the capacity to from what I've been told." Asked Miriam.

"If you'll take a look at these." Pascalle directed her over to a monitor and pulled up images of Mitchell's brain scans. As he increased the magnification, it became clear what was wrong. "You see, Colonel Paxx's abilities were the result of these Nano creations. They transformed his body chemistry into some pretty advanced stages of human evolution that we won't see for thousands of years. When we hit him with the EMP blast, they went offline, knocking him out." He changed the image to one of Mitchell's internal body scans and indicated areas throughout his form. "Most of these changes hadn't been completed. Either they've been slowed down to the point where they won't occur for months or the changes are reversing." All this might've interested Miriam if she had been after his physical abilities, but what she was really after was his mind. She didn't care about advanced genetics, artificial probes and state of the art battle armour. The brain intrigued her more. Much more.

"I'll speak to him now." She said. Again, more like an order.

"I don't think that's wise; he's in one of his more heated moods." Pascalle indicated Mitchell through the window. He was still unsettled.

"Miriam Cramer is an expert." Assured Six. "She handles cases like this all the time. Right?"

"Of course." Answered Miriam. "Don't listen in. I want him to feel relaxed...for as long as I need him to." She made her way down the staircase towards the cell door. Six caught a glace of her face; no longer weary and tired, but bright and fiery. She looked like a woman who had found their life's meaning and she wasn't going to let the opportunity pass her by. The second she entered the cell, the prisoner looked her over and immediately decided to be quiet. Not only that, but ignore her. Apparently, the wall next to her was much more interesting because he couldn't take his eyes off it. Miriam too made her observations from a safe distance. He would be a hard nut to crack. She leaned up against the wall and inhaled loudly. "You got a girlfriend, Mitch?" she asked. No response. If anything, Mitchell just concentrated on the wall all the more harder. "I do, back home. She's lovely; we met at a conference on 'Psychology Technique Comparisons with Human Cross Tree Studies'. Weird, right? Comparing thought patterns of a flesh and blood human with a tree. Well anyway, we bumped into each other in the foyer and started discussing how moronic the whole thesis was. I made some stupid crack about I felt like telling the guy to make like a tree and leave, so then she comes back at me with 'this thesis isn't worth the trees it's printed on' and I am hooked right there. I guess the moral of the story is that you don't really know what's gonna come your way. I mean, I had a horrible day, I never thought it was going to end yet I end up meeting the love of my life there. It just goes to show that something that looks like a bad situation might actually be your salvation. What do you think?" For the first time in a while, Mitchell blinked. Slowly, his head rolled over until it faced Miriam.

"You're a lesbian?" he asked simply.

"I'm glad you were paying attention to the whole story." She smiled. "For a moment there, I thought you weren't paying attention."

"You'd be surprised how much detail I can remember. Who are you?"

"It isn't important."

"Then I'm not telling you mine."

"I didn't say you had to."

"But you already know my name."


"So why bother telling me I don't need to tell you my name?"

"Because I wanted to give you the choice. Isn't that what Syn-Gen has denied you? Choice? Freedom? Free will, the power to control your own destiny?" Mitchell was silent, but this time listening. "I doubt you really trust the stratagem, let alone its chief of staff; The Administrator. Didn't he recruit you through lies and deception? Doesn't seem much of an ally in the long run."

"Yeah, says the same people who stole me and are keeping me locked up in a cell!" barked Mitchell.

"Stole? You are not some piece of hardware, Paxx. I wouldn't be surprised you'd think like that; with all the time you've spent there, I bet the idea was drilled into your mind from the very beginning." Miriam straightened her back, appearing strong. "Our methods were necessary. Unfortunate, but necessary and we apologise. If you would be so kind as to listen to what I have to say and offer, then we may be able to come to some sort of an agreement." Mitchell leaned as close to Miriam as the restrains would allow.

"I don't respect people who refuse to introduce themselves, especially when they already know me." He struggled, straining himself against the grip of the shackles.

"Professor Miriam Cramer. We are The Insurrection." The words filtered through the air. After a tense moment, Mitchell relaxed and nodded for Miriam to begin. "We've been watching you since as long as we've known about Syn-Gen but we've had tabs on them too. There's more going on behind the scenes than you think; The Administrator is fighting his own personal war against The Director, a battle that could see the future of humanity lost. He's practically in bed with The Chairman of the Oversight Committee but my point is none of them care about Covenant movements or giving Earth and advantage over them. It's personal vendettas, titles and money that concern them."

"And what concerns you?" asked Mitchell.

"Death, plain and simple." Answered Miriam. "We want you to join us. Freely, of your own admission, to help The Insurrection put an end to all this stupidity and end the war...but you don't believe a word I've said, do you?"

"Lady, you've been telling me things I already know. While these people may not have a great track record, yours isn't so shiny." Mitchell turned to the ceiling. "I suppose you're going to do some more 'unfortunate but necessary' things to change my mind."

"Necessary, yes." Miriam pulled herself away from the wall and knocked once on the door. "I suppose, you'll do your best to resist us."

"Yep." Said Mitchell. As the door opened, one last question popped into his head. "Hey, you really a lesbian or was all that just bullshit?" Miriam smiled and turned back to him.

"It was the truth."

"Not all of it, though."

"No, not all. Until next time." She returned to the observation station, keeping her eye on Mitchell through the window.

"What do you suggest?" Six asked immediately even though he knew what the answer was. He had been looking forward to hearing it all day.

"What do you mean 'it has had no effect'?" barked Six. "It has been two whole weeks. Cramer herself has been personally overseeing every stage of the process and you are telling me that nothing has happened?" He just couldn't believe it. This man was more stubborn than any human. For a fortnight, Miriam had been using special techniques to alter Mitchell's thoughts and turn him; torture in many respects. Psychological torture. Hallucinogens, subliminal suggestions, continuous visual stimuli, electroshock treatment, ice baths, pain agitators, nightmare inducers, isolation; the works all rolled into one. It was enough to drive any sane man out of his mind. "Why is it not working?"

"To be honest, I'm not entirely sure myself." Admitted Dr Pascalle. "But I have a theory. I believe that there may be some sort of interference."

"Outside interference? That's impossible." Stated Six.

"No, not outside. Quite the contrary in point of fact." Pascalle pulled up a blueprint of the Nano-Cells and showed them to Six. "We've gone through these a hundred times and discovered that each batch of Nano probes was specifically created with a certain task in mind but there was one that we had no idea what purpose it served."

"But they're all dead. How can they be helping him?"

"That's the funny thing, sir. They are off, but these particular probes went offline weeks before we captured the Colonel." Explained Pascalle. "Whatever they did must've been directly associated to the mind. That's what I theorised and that's what led me to find...this." He switched over to a brain scan, measuring synaptic activity.

"Are those...two sets?" asked an astounded Six.

"One set grafted to be in sync with the other." Summarised Pascalle. "Almost like a double personality, only much more subtle. Whatever troubles you've been having cracking Paxx, this is the cause."

"Is there any way to purge it?"

"Not in time. Those repressed abilities of his are starting to return at an accelerated rate. It's only a matter of days before they come back and this is one tough little bugger to expel."

In the next room, Mitchell lay panting. He was afraid that if he stopped breathing in and out so fast that he would surely lose control. It's not as though the torture didn't take it out of him, physically or mentally, the tole was clearly visible to anyone who looked. All of it was killing him. It had killed him, several times over. Somehow, whenever he thought it was over, he would still be alive. God knows that this poor man had prayed for death during his captivity but someone else was keeping him grounded. He wasn't even sure anymore if he wanted them to succeed. That's when Six entered the room. Gradually over the course of this hell, while Mitchell showed only mild fatigue, Six had been growing much more impatient. He had become less tolerant of failure and even shot one of his own men for insubordination in front of Mitchell. Six rounded on the restrained soldier, an odd squeak with every step he took, and grabbed him by the collar. "Alright, you persistent son of a bitch! I want to talk to you!"

"What the hell do you want with me?" growled Mitchell and was met with a sharp blow to the head.

"I'm not talking to you, Paxx! I'm talking to that other fucker living inside your head, screwing up our plans!" shouted Six, shaking with anger. "I want him to talk and I want him to get out!"

"I don't know what you're-"

"LIER!" The restraints suddenly unclamped. Six picked up Mitchell and flipped him onto the cold, hard floor. Before Mitchell could retaliate, Six kicked him in the gut, sending him back into the wall. He pulled back on Mitchell's hair and whispered furiously in his ear; "You would have noticed by now. I bet you and that buddy of yours have little tea parties inside that small head of yours. I'm sure he'd wanna get out, seeing as it's a little cramped...or maybe he'll push you out instead."

"Go fuck yourself." Choked Mitchell.

"Don't make me..." Six withdrew his pistol, "...force you both out all over this room." Mitchell tried to turn around but Six sent his elbow into the side of his head. Six dug the barrel of the pistol into Mitchell's brain stem. "Since we can't turn you, we can't let you live. It's a shame, really. Now you won't be able to see the empire I planned on creating using the technology you've given us."

"You're not better than The Administrator."

"Oh, but I am...because by the end of this war, I'll still be alive." Six stood up, gun still against Mitchell's head. "Like I said, shame."

"I hope that's a water pistol you're holding there, Six." Came the cool voice of Professor Miriam Cramer standing in the cell doorway. At the mere sight of her silhouette, Mitchell couldn't control his impulses. He took Six's distraction and charged at Miriam, arms outstretched to strangle her where she stood. But he wasn't fast enough. A cold arm held Mitchell back just barely inches from her.

"I'll kill you one of these days." He hissed, spitting at her. "For what you've done to me." Six swung Mitchell around and slammed him head first into the wall, knocking him out cold. Six turned to Miriam and glared darkly at her. In his opinion, she had failed.

"He won't be broken." She said. "Not while this other entity exists. There is nothing we can do with Mitchell anymore, he's useless."

"Then why didn't you let me finish him and be done with it?" barked Six.

"Because we are not barbarians!" she replied sternly. "And you are not here to have fun. We're taking all of our information gathered about the Nano probes and the battle armour and taking them to safer quarters. I suggest you wipe the spittle off your suit." Miriam turned and began her exit. "Make one last brain scan, then be humane."

"Yes, ma'am." Muttered Six. He waited until he was sure she had left the observation station then added; "I thought you were supposed to be just an advisor." With one final bitter glance at the lump on the floor, he left Dr Pascalle to clean up the mess. He did so without question, without complaint, without insulting Six under his breath. Wait, scratch that last bit. It was difficult for a man of his stature to pick up a heavy brute like Mitchell and drag him back onto the table. After one final scan of his brain, Pascalle prepped the euthanizing solution. The mechanical arm slowly hummed its way next to Mitchell, extending its arm to hover above his forehead, the needle point ready for injection. It was then that Pascalle noticed a highly paced rhythmic beat that he discovered was Mitchell's heartbeat. The monitor was reading a dangerously high pulse. He glanced over to Mitchell; his eyes were rolling in their sockets as though struggling with himself to wake up. Just when his heart seemed it would burst, Mitchell's eyes snapped open, the rest of his body went rigid.

"It's time...we escaped..." he shivered before falling limp into the chair. There was no more beat, no more life left. He was dead. It took Pascalle several seconds to realise that he should do something. He looked all over the vital readings just to confirm that termination had taken place. It had. Nothing left to do but dispose of the body.

'Isn't that a treat.' Thought Pascalle in his most sarcastic voice. 'Dragging dead people all the way down to the incinerator. Could be worse, I suppose.' He mused as he unclamped the restraints. 'I could be like Six; that guy is worse than dead.' Suddenly, from out of the blue, a needle stuck in Pascalle's neck. This needle was attached to a robotic arm and the robotic arm was being controlled by an organic one connected to the dead Colonel. Only now, he wasn't dead. But after several seconds in which Pascalle tried to figure out what was happening, he was dead, dangling like a rag from the empty syringe. Pale and almost ready to faint, Mitchell slumped his way off the chair, the sheet falling away as he crashed to the floor. His head was spinning so much that he threw up in the corner. It helped; his mind was beginning to realign. He crawled to Pascalle and took his cardkey. Stumbling and staggering, he barely walked his way out of the cell and through the observation station. There was no idea of knowing where he was going, but luckily there weren't too many people in the corridors that seemed to stretch around and out of sight. Still, he kept to the shadows and out of sight as he ventured deeper into the heart of the beast.

There it was, in the centre of the room. The MJOLNIR combat armour, surrounded by dozens of engineering staff. From what he could tell from the room he was in, they had managed to repair all the systems that had suffered damage during the Emp attack and brought the whole thing online. All he needed to do was get back inside, destroy all information these people had about him and the suit, escape and...well, he wasn't entirely sure what he would do with Six and Miriam Cramer. The first problem he had to deal with was how to get to the suit in the first place with all these people here? The sound of the door closing made Mitchell jump to his feet. Turning around, he came face to face with a security officer staring at him with a cup of coffee in each hand. It was also now that Mitchell realised just how naked he was; entirely. "Dude," began the officer, "you've got a really small di-" Mitchell kicked him face first into the door and grabbed the cups of coffee before they hit the floor.

"It's cold in here, arsehole." Mitchell looked at the officer's clothes, they were about a similar size to him. After changing, he left the room with one last comment for the unconscious officer. "A little piece of advice; next time, don't hesitate in going for the alarm." Mitchell stepped out into the engineering level and manoeuvred his way between people and equipment, like a maze, towards the suit.

"Attention." Called the cold, stern voice of Miriam Cramer. Mitchell's first instinct was to turn away but then he realised he was wearing a mask. "We are switching to a more advanced and secure facility. Finish any experiments or test you may be running then pack the necessary equipment to take with us. You have under an hour to comply." And she left without hesitation.

"Under an hour, for God's sake." Cursed the technician working directly on the body armour. "We'll barely have enough time to pack a toothbrush, let alone any of this equipment." Mitchell walked up to the man, hoping that his plan would work.

"Six wants a report before we leave." He said as 'militaristically' as he possibly could. "What is your progress?"

"Tell Six that his precious suit is almost complete." The technician spat. "The jets aren't exactly up to standards yet, but I should have the cup holders ready by next Tuesday."

"Cup holders?"

"It was a joke, Joyce." He mocked. "You're not exactly the brightest bulb. Why would anyone design cup holders on battle armour?" Mitchell considered this for a second.

"Would be quite convenient, though." He said. The technician looked up, intrigued by this new idea.

"Yeah, I suppose it would. Just in case." He jumped off the platform and ran over to one of the other technicians. "Sorenson, can we set it in the calendar to have cup holders installed into the body armour?"

"Sure. Wait, cup holders? Actually, that would be quite convenient." Admitted Sorenson.

"I know, right." Agreed the technician who returned to the armour. "Hey bud, tell Six tha-" He looked around and noticed the soldier was no longer there. He shrugged and went to pull the power cables out but saw that they had already been ejected.

"I'd stand back if I were you." Said Mitchell from inside the armour. He knocked the technician away and began shooting out all of the computers in the room, destroying all the information he could as the room evacuated. Several of the guards tried to shoot Mitchell down but he made short work of them. Suddenly, the alarms blared. He turned to the room he had been in and saw the security officer by the alarm controls.

"Thanks for the advice, douchebag!" he shouted. Running away, he added; "That's it! I'm gonna transfer somewhere in the middle of an ocean!" Mitchell turned his attention to the technician, still lying on the floor.

"All of the information you've gathered, where is it stored?" he asked, threatening the man with a raised fist.

"H-Here. You've destroyed it." Gasped the technician. "But that woman. She has a copy...on a hard drive. Everything is stored there."

"Where is it kept?"

"With her!" announced Miriam's voice from behind Mitchell. He turned and found her and Six standing at the far end of the room. "At all times. I'm glad to see you're up, Paxx. Shame what you had to do to Pascalle."

"Like you give a damn."

"I don't...but then again, neither did you. It's over, Paxx. Just because you have your armour back doesn't mean you'll succeed. Nobody knows where you are."

"Then it looks like I'll just have to do the best I can!" He shouted, charging towards them both. Six raised his service revolver and aimed it directly at Mitchell.

"No!" screamed Miriam, but it was too late. Six fired and the bullet passed right through Mitchell's stomach. He fell to the floor, blood dripping from his open wound.

"Don't try to get up, Colonel. There's no one here to save you now." He smiled down at the soldier.

"Not yet." Laughed Mitchell. The suit started to beep.

"What is that?" asked Six. "Tell me!"

"It's a beacon, you idiot!" insulted Miriam. "You set it off when you shot him. Now they'll know where he is!" Six couldn't believe that he had been fooled, and Miriam was very, very pissed. "Set the nuclear detonator. They won't find him alive." She left Mitchell and Six alone.

"Looks like The Administrator won't be the only one dead before the war ends." Sneered Six. "Enjoy your crater." And then, Mitchell was alone. His injury may not have been life threatening, but all the trauma, all the pain and suffering had brought him down. There was barely enough strength to move. He didn't even react when the announcement rang out to evacuate. At least he was going out in a nuclear explosion. That had always been his dream. It was all about to come true.

"Get up." Grumbled a voice in his ear. There was nobody there. "I said get up, Paxx!" Mitchell suddenly started to feel stronger, the pain was fading. "Your job's not done yet, soldier. You don't want to die knowing that you failed." The voice was right; even after all this, Miriam would still get the information to safety and The Insurrection would win with Six leading them into victory. This wasn't over. "Get up!" As if pulled off the ground, Mitchell stood and followed Miriam and Six as fast as he could. The facility was starting to shut down, and as a result, most of the systems were destroying themselves. Some of the chambers were even ablaze. He kept on running, right through the fires, following the signs leading to the hangar. Finally, he made it, crashing through the doors and seeing Miriam and Six board a drop ship. Mitchell bolted to the ship as it powered up its engines. He leapt onto its wing and held on for dear life as it launched itself up into the sky. For the first time, Mitchell saw the vast complex he had been imprisoned inside, but didn't have time to take in the view. He edged his way along the wing, the turbulence making it difficult for him to keep hold. At long last, he reached the roof and the emergency hatch. They could hear him pounding on it from the outside. Dents were being made in the thick metal.

"Pilot! Shake him off us!" ordered Six. Abruptly, the Pelican began tumbling and weaving through the air. Mitchell was thrown back and forth, unable to keep a constant grip on anything. Then, as the drop ship shot up further into the sky, Mitchell slid down the Pelican's back, only just managing to hold onto its rear with one hand. But breaking through the atmosphere was causing too much turbulence. Finger by finger, one by one, he lost his hold and fell. Down, back towards the planet, tumbling, still reaching out for his redemption. The jets on his back fired, but cut out almost instantly. They were not working properly. He tried several small bursts to try and slow himself down before he hit the-

Mitchell stared up at the sky, marvelling at its beauty. The stars had come out and were so bright from this planet, he couldn't deny that the view was better than Earth. He didn't remember hitting the ground or how he ended up on his back in the sand. He didn't even feel his body which was probably broken, but at least his senses were numbed. As he admired the stars, a starship flew above him. He followed its course down with his eyes until they rested on The Insurrection base. At least, what was left of it. Already, the mushroom cloud was hanging brightly overhead, blazing up the sky like a sun. So much fire and destruction that it changed the world from night to day. Chaos was not a word that could describe the scene before him. Beautiful...but frightening. And with that in mind, Mitchell laid his head back and closed his eyes, waiting for sleep to overcome him.

Thank you for reading! I hope you have enjoyed reading The Syn-Gem Stratagem - Year One. There will be another instalment later on in the year, but until then I shall be focusing on writing my first novel. The Administrator and his Syn-Gen Stratagem will return in Year Three. That is no mistake, Year Three. Thank you for reading, thank you for sending reviews/PMs and see you all again sometime!