Disclaimer: I do not own Matthew Reilly's characters and probably never will unfortunately. I only own the characters that I have created in this story.
The American Army suspects that Jack West Jr kept the pillars after researching the events at the Final Vertex in March 2008. It is now November and they send a team of Lieutenant Egypt Reacher and the infamous Scarecrow to extract them to get the rewards. However, after a member of their team who has served with West before betrays them, the Recon division are caught up in a deadly and mythological power struggle that could effect the whole world.
So, I'm re-writing and re-publishing. I have better ideas and even better grammar now. I almost had a whole next chapter written a while ago and then my laptop crashed and I was disheartened. The Matthew Reilly fandom has too little stories for such an amazing author. In any case, I have made some amendments/clarifications.
1. I was unable to find out when Scarecrow was set and so it made the dates a bit tricky for this story. The latest Jack West Jr took place from March 2008. The final date in the book was May 1 2008, six weeks after the Final Vertex incident. So, I'm having the events of Scarecrow run parallel to the events of Five Greatest Warriors. This begins to take place in November 2008 and Libby Gant's death was in May
2. I am actually doing research to right this story! I want to try and have everything more accurate, such as the Marine details (i.e. their clothing, their rank, and their weapons). I'm also trying to use actual previous operations that actual divisions used in this story. I still apologise if I get anything wrong and I will have to rely on my imagination at some points.
3. Please review! I love for my writing to improve, and personally, I think this story will be much better than the first.
Scarecrow didn't see their faces anymore. He walked through the Pentagon, ignoring any female presence. Unfortunately for him, the reason he was being sent through to the place where America's military related decisions took place was to visit a female and generally, etiquette demanded that you look at someone when you are talking to them. Schofield sighed, turning down another corridor. It was six months since Libby Gant; his girlfriend had been viciously- and literally- executed because Schofield hadn't been able to save her. He hadn't been there but the images of the possibilities haunted him not only at night but throughout the day as well.
Fox looked up at Schofield, head locked in the guillotine. Her eyes were resigned to her fate but also pleading, pleading, pleading for Schofield to save her. The knife dropped and Elizabeth Gant was no more.
Schofield hardly realized he'd reached his destination. He walked in to his commanding superior's office, General James Stone. He was requested there for a meeting for a new operation. Schofield had no idea what it entailed; all he knew was that he had been handed several files earlier and told to familiarise himself with them. Schofield glanced down at the top file. It contained the details of the woman he was soon to be working with, the latest addition to his small and closely knit reconnaissance team.
FIRST LIEUTENANT: Reacher, Egypt, USMC, the name read at the top of the page before a small biography followed it.
Enlisted: Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego
Division: The 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit
Call sign: Relic
D.O.B: 1983 (age 25)
Weight: 139 lbs
Hair Colour: Black
Eye Colour: Brown
Below that information was a short paragraph about her recruitment. She had had no military background prior to joining the army when she was twenty-two but it appeared she had risen through the ranks relatively quickly. He shut the file and stood in front of the desk, waiting for her and General Stone to enter. In some cases, if you'd grown up with a military father or mother, you were inclined to become one. Schofield could think of a very good example in the case of Book II, a young marine on Schofield's team. His father, the original Book, had been on one of Schofield's most traumatic missions and died as a result of it.
Footsteps approached and Schofield straightened his posture, automatically standing to attention. A tall, physically imposing man with a buzz cut walked into the office. Four glittering silver stars hung off his chest, followed by a row of medals. He was followed by a tall woman with glossy black hair. She was everything that Libby hadn't been – tall and dark with flashing, watchful eyes. Schofield studied her for a moment, assessing the damage she could cause on first appearance. She had defined muscles and she held herself in the same stance as him, ready to fight. A small crescent scar curled under her eye, the only noticeable record of an injury. Schofield ran several possibilities of how she could have attained it before giving up. People did that to him far too often for him to have any right to do it to this woman.
"Ah, Schofield," Stone said as he walked behind his desk. "Thank you for flying in here. This is Lieutenant Reacher of the 13th MEU." He pronounced MEU as 'myuu' and Schofield inclined his head slightly to acknowledge the other soldier. She appraised him as he had done to her a few minutes prior and Schofield wondered what she could see. Could she see the cool, collected and somewhat legendary military figure or could she see the tortured mind behind it? Whatever she was thinking, he would never know. She saluted him, as was respectful to a superior officer before Stone began to talk again.
"Schofield, Reacher," he began, "We are sending you into a hostile area to retrieve objects of great importance to the United States Marine Corps, the United States Government and the United States as a country." Schofield thought, not for the first time, that Stone was one of the more patriotic Generals in the USMC. He picked up a photo off the desk and slid it across to face them. It was of a farm, surrounded by a dusty dry landscape. If not for the peculiar reddish dirt, it could have been in Utah. "This here is Jack West Jr's farm in the Simpson Desert, South Australia." The name, Jack West, rang a slight bell in Schofield's head as he leant forward to study the picture some more. A low slung white farmhouse could be seen. As he did, Stone slid a photo of West beside the one of the farm and Schofield instantly realised who he was. Once upon a time, he'd been listed on the Pentagon's Top 10 Soldiers list, making the claim of being the only non-American. However, twelve years ago, he had dropped off the radar. There had been speculation that he was the opponent against Colonel Judah Marshall in a top secret mission to assemble the Golden Capstone and save the world but nothing had ever come of it. It had seemed it was to remain only that; speculation.
"Why do you need us to break into the farm?" Egypt Reacher spoke for the first time and Schofield couldn't say he was surprised she was direct like most soldiers. Her voice matched her appearance, low and silky and foreign. It also appeared that she hadn't done her homework and didn't realise she was going to be accompanied by a group.
"Captain Jack West commanded a small coalition of nations sometime in 2006. None of them were American in nationality. They reassembled in late 2007 to begin a race to gather several objects known as the Pillars. These pillars hold immense power and would be extremely beneficial to both your country and your careers." Schofield couldn't supress a dry smile. Stone obviously knew Reacher's type; ambitious and career hungry, wanting to reach the highest rank attainable.
However, before this could happen, she would have to complete the mission and at the moment, she appeared to be looking doubtful. "Pillars?" she queried. "As in… rocks?"
"Are you as ignorant as the rest of your gender, Reacher?" Stone snapped as Schofield noted that he should add sexism to the list of patriotism and manipulation. "These aren't any sort of rocks you've seen in your lifetime. They were designed to hold our world up from a dark anti-sun advancing on our planet!" Schofield only felt mildly surprised at this revelation. After all, if they could develop a space ship that would appear invisible to the naked eye, why wouldn't there be an evil twin to the largest supply of energy to Earth coming towards them? "West claimed he no longer has the Pillars but we have reason to believe otherwise. So we're sending you in." There was a tense moment before Schofield spoke.
"General, why did you select me and why did you select Reacher?" he asked respectfully. Reacher had the audacity to stare at him, clearly shocked at him saying anything that could undermine her position in this mission.
"Schofield, despite recent events, you have proven over and over again that you are able to survive and adapt under enormous pressure. I was also advised to choose you as you would be able to cope with the… uh… supernatural nature of the mission," Stone explained, pausing slightly on the word. "And as for Reacher here, well, I believe she already knows her purpose here even if she doesn't want to admit it." Stone slid a final photo in line with the other two. Unlike the previous photos, it was blurry and at a terrible angle. However, Schofield was able to recognize a door with some sort of writing on it. Reacher met her General's eyes and glared as soon as she saw the photo.
"Is that the only reason I've been chosen to go?" she asked her voice low and simmering with anger. Stone smirked, clearly glad to have one up on this dangerous young woman. "Because, respectfully sir," she continued, "my record is fucking spectacular and unheard of for someone of my age. So you can just get the fu-" Stone cut her off before she could say anything more.
"Actually, Reacher, I think you'll find that one other person held a better record than you do at your age." He gestured at Schofield who was trying to figure out where the conversation was going.
"Oh yes," Reacher began again, her voice mocking. "The Great Scarecrow has to come along to baby sit the female translator!" Her voice had risen and she swept her hand across the front of the desk, knocking the papers to the floor before turning and walking out of the room.
"Translator?" Schofield questioned when she was gone.
"What is inscribed on that door is known as the Word of Thoth, Captain. Thus far, Reacher is the only one we've been able to find who can decipher it. The cryptologists here literally spent months and months trying to decipher it." He shook his head, standing up to pick up the pictures from the floor. "She could have been an analyst or a cryptologist but instead she joins the army." Schofield understood what he was saying but Reacher's point about her record was justified.
"Just to clarify, sir, my team and I have to assist perfectly competent soldier into entering a farm?" The dark smile of Stones returned again as he sat back down, the photos now filed away carefully.
"Don't play me for a fool, Captain Schofield. I know you know Jack West is no one to be trifled with. He is what would be called paranoid outside of the army world and excessive within it. He has certain security measures that will require a team of at least five to disable or avoid. In addition to this, his wife is an ex-member of the Sciathan Fhianoglach an Arim. And finally, his daughter is the only other known person who can read Thoth. We wish for her extraction in the future, after we have crippled West."
"The extraction of a child, sir?" Schofield tried to keep his tone light.
"She's fourteen and of more than enough cause for concern. With a father like hers, I'm wouldn't be surprised if she's been trained. Do not underestimate her. Now," said Stone, standing for a final time and holding Schofield a much bulkier file. "Assemble your team and acquaint Lieutenant Reacher with them. She can be a bit temperamental but for all her arrogance, she is a capable soldier. You are due to leave two weeks from now. See that you're prepared," he ordered before striding out of the office. Schofield was left standing there, holding a file, having come full circle during the course of the meeting.