Chapter One

The Abandoned Warehouse

03:20. a cloud-covered sky; no moon to cast any unwanted shadows that could betray the operative's moves. The ground was still wet from the previous evening showers, which had fallen more heavily on the minuscule remote island off the coast of Finland, far from the capitals harbor yet still within sight of the Tuomiokirkko Cathedral.

Moving stealthily, the operative's back pressed firmly along a tainted wall of what was supposedly an abandoned warehouse. Winds howled from outside the building, whistling as it squeezed through broken windows and holes of the weather-worn roof. The warehouse itself had been abandoned several years ago. According to official documentation, the place had been shut down after a group of black arms dealers were caught using it to smuggle weapons into Finland. The walls were weak and a demolition was scheduled; yet it never came. Intelligence had suggested an under-the-red-tape proceeding was taking place there.

One glance around the corner laid to rest all hunches the operative's partner had had prior to his arrival on the island. As a man wearing a long white lab coat carrying a fairly hefty briefcase crossed his field of vision, another man decked out in full BDU (Battle Dress Uniform) stepped out from behind a pillar. The operative kept low watching closely as the two men headed toward the same point, meeting outside a large cargo container 60 feet from his position. Watching, from the shadows, the operative honed in listening as the soldier was the first to speak; his words were faint, hard to hear clearly. Taking one step closer, the light that flickered from the bulb above hit his once-shadowed figure, revealing a portion of himself as he attempted to listen in closer.

"-ourse I know, everyone on site knows about it." The man's response to the soldier was defensive, as if he believed his intelligence to have been in question. The man was short, middle aged, average weight with a slim face and short hair.

"Well, I was instructed to inform all personnel at this location of what the situation is." As the two men had engaged in conversation, the operative contemplated his entrance strategy but kept an eye on the cargo container where they stood. The soldier in front and to the left of the cargo doors wore a balaclava; this made it impossible for any facial recognition to be sent back to HQ. Turning back to study both men, the operative focused his attention on the scientist who began looking around wildly, forcing the operative to recede behind the damaged wall. "What are you doing?" asked the soldier.

"I thought I heard something." The man replied before the soldier added, "no doubt it's those damn rats again. Here, let me get you in here so I can continue my sweep." Remaining silent, and with caution, the operative once again peered around the corner.

"Of course. Sorry, next time I shan't take so long." The man said regretfully before the soldier stepped over to the cargo doors, removing a panel located to the right and under a large painted number three; a small screen and key pad came into sight. The soldier again spoke as he entered in a code, "How long do you thing we have to be here?"

"Don't worry. Not too much longer. We're almost done and good thing too, this place is a crap hole."

The operative watched as the soldier removed his glove and placed his palm upon the screen. Within seconds, the large door was opened and the scientist had stepped on through, with the soldier immediately locking it from the outside. As the operative pulled back once again behind the wall for cover, he wondered what the soldier had meant when he said "this location." Could there be more than one? He made a quick check to ensure that the coast was clear, and then with one forearm resting on his knee, he placed two fingers to his ear. With the use of his codec, he punched in frequency 141.12. "Hal, do you read me? Come in." The answer came from HQ, and the same man responsible for the Intel that had led the operative to his current location. "I'm here. So, how are you liking the use of your new codec?"

The operative couldn't complain, given the bulkiness of his last equipment, "It beats wearing a headset, that's for sure." Hal began to give a brief introduction to the device, "The Codec stands for compression/decompression." Though the operative could care less on how his equipment worked technologically, the operative hated to interrupt Hal whilst he explained his gadgets, since it would only offend him, "In this case, it basically allows for a high-fidelity audio signal to transmit with a minimum number of bit rates, while retaining its quality. Thus allowing us to miniaturize the device and use it in the field."

"Got it. I was a little irritated with the inner ears receiver at first."

"Yes, this Codec is a little older than the ones we're used to, and sorry but no nanomachines this time. We just don't have the funding we used to, not to mention with the new SOP system in place…" the operative butted in finishing Hal's sentence. "We don't know the nanos' origin, right! Besides, you know me, I like to do things old school, just like in New York, remember?" There was no enthusiasm from Hal what so ever, nor any intention to bring up that topic; only silence filled the airwaves. The operative continued, "I've already spotted some activity. Hal, your Intel was pretty damn solid after all."

"Oh! Really! What have you seen?" Hal spoke with surprised interest, as if he had expected the operative to come up empty-handed.

"A sentry, using a biometric scanner attached to a cargo door, allowing a scientist to enter. Though I'm surprised you'd send me all the way out here on such little information," the operative answered.

"Well, in these times we shouldn't rule anything out, not to mention this intelligence came from a previously reliable source. So any give on what they're doing there, exactly?"

"No but I'll contact you the moment I'm inside." With that said, the transmission was ended and he turned back to scan for the soldier's current position. Having now left the position by the cargo doors, the soldier had carried on with his sweep. The operative spotted a shadow as it moved along the warehouse's left interior wall, northwest of the operatives position "That must be him!" he thought to himself before the shadow disappeared behind yet another cargo container. Weapon at the ready, he stepped on through the hole in the wall and made his way in the same direction as the soldier. Checking each opening for the enemy, the operative came to a halt next to a small pile of boxes. Kneeling, he picked one up and turned the box to find a label marked "LIVE TISSUE" and underneath that, "WARNING KEEP REFRIGERATED." The boxes were now empty, as a few of them lay collapsed on the floor and the temperature was nothing suitable for the storage of live organs. The operative stood, ready to press on after the soldier, when suddenly the sound of debris sandwiched between the cemented floor and a rubber sole was heard from behind. The approaching boots became louder as they headed right for his position.

Seconds away, even in this dim light the second soldier would spot him for sure. The only way to evade would be to conceal himself, but where? A few seconds would not be enough time. The soldier was almost upon him; but the soldier stopped a mere two feet away and turned back to face from whence he came. Unaware of the operatives' presence, he scanned the area and then continued onward with his routine check of the perimeter.

The operative carefully removed the box from which he'd hidden under and began to prey upon the soldier as he moved away. Treading carefully, the operative removed his M9 from its holster as he closed in. To his amusement the soldier wore headphones, the operative could hear the music blearing from the ear buds. A smirk dressed the operatives face as he holstered his weapon and removed his knife from its sheath. Once directly behind the soldier, he clasped onto his uniform from around his shoulder with his right hand, knocking one of the ear buds out from his ear. Simultaneously, the operative brought the knife in and up to press upon the soldiers throat "Not a sound," he whispered to the exposed ear. The soldier complied as he allowed the operative to pull him back toward the pile of boxes, struggling occasionally, only to have the hold tightened each time. The knife was spun around in the operative's hand as he immediately applied a sleeper hold; again the soldier struggled but with a few more jolts of his neck the struggling ceased, along with his consciousness. The soldier was now unconscious and his body hidden amongst the boxes out of sight. Before pressing onward the operative stripped the soldier's gun and inventory of all his ammo, discarding them inside a box that lay open, for any reason he'd wake before the operative entered the facility.

Looking down at the unconscious soldier, the operative could tell he was the same one he'd seen earlier, the one who'd opened the cargo container for the scientist; scanning his surroundings for any give on the first soldier's location, the operative decided to head in the same direction he'd last seen him. Coming up to the far left of the building, the operative pressed himself firmly against another cargo container and began to peer around the corner. The operative's hunch was right, as the soldier had begun walking back, his attention was elsewhere as he continued on his rounds. Stepping away from the containers edge, the operative crouched down, concealing himself within a shadow, a shadow cast by the container itself. As the sound of approaching boots became louder, the operative stayed poised awaiting the unsuspected soldier to enter within view. As the soldier stepped past the cargo container, coming within view, he stopped suddenly, startled as he felt the barrel of a 9mm silenced pistol press up against his back. "FREEZE!" said the operative as the soldier's arms flew up, "Please don't shoot" cried the soldier.

"I won't if you give me what I came here for." The operative began to carefully tread around the soldier, pulling of his balaclava to see his face. The man was tall, short blonde hair with stubble and brown eyes, he expressed little fear and had surely been in a situation similar to this before. "What's your name and what are you doing here?"

"Jacob. Jacob Sears and I couldn't tell you."

The gun rose to Sears's head, forcing him to look down the barrel. "That's not what I want to hear, Jacob"

"OK, OK" Sears said trying event harder to compose himself, "look, all I know is that they asked me to wear this uniform and patrol this area"

"What! You're civilian?" the operative was shocked; nothing made sense. "That's right" replied Sears as he then began to explain his involvement and how he came to be in his current position.

The operative began to piece what he could together, starting with Sears's M16A2; the operative knew that sort of assault rifle was standard U.S Army issue and not that of the U.S Marines, as Sears was dressed. "But your employer doesn't appear to be type to make a mistake," he pointed out, interrupting Sears. Sears ignored this, he had no answer for the operative, but instead continued, "they shipped a bunch of us off a few weeks ago, said something about a cleanup, I'm really not sure what or where though. Here they've been running tests and processing newly found data, well, that's what Robert told me any way."

"The one you spoke to just a while ago outside the cargo container doors?" The operative watched as Sears gave a look of surprise, his eyes widened as he thought back to that moment. Robert had been looking around for something and now he knew what. The operative continued, "So does Robert have a last name?"


"You guys must talk to each other, what else has he let slip?"

"All he's told me is that they're attempting to fuse together live organs with robot mechanics… some kind of SciFi shit if you ask me." Sears watched as the operative took a second to process the information, lowering his gun slightly, as if he'd heard of something similar before. "Is that all? There's nothing else?" the operative asked as he again raised his weapon to Sears's eye level. Sears in turn raised his hands as high as he could. "It is. I swear."

"I believe you" the operative said as he looked down at Sears's rifle. "Your weapon, hand it over." The operative demanded, giving Sears the hand gesture for him to pass it over. Sears reluctantly complied, slowly taking hold of the strap with one hand and removing it from around his neck. "No ID lock!" said the operative softly to himself as he examined the weapon. This made sense as the two guards were posing as military personnel, and supposedly in training.

The two shortly found themselves outside the main cargo container numbered three, which held the door lock to enter. "What else do you want from me? I've told you all I know." Asked Sears as he became nervous, wondering what might become of him. "You did and I believe you. However, I need you to get me through that cargo's door."

"You know what they'll do to me for letting you in! And besides, you'll just…" the operative interrupted Sears, "put your lights out! Trust me; your survival is best laid in my hands." Sears shot the operative a puzzled look as he thought momentarily about his situation before giving his response, "I don't see how I win in that!"

"You live, that should be all the motivation you need" the operative stepped back from the panel allowing Sears room to use the keypad, "Well… go on then" he added.

Sears stepped up to the panel, removing it to use the keypad that sat behind and punching in a six digit code. The operative couldn't help but wonder what the six digit code could mean, his thoughts dissipated as the door locks turned and the door opened, leaving it ajar. The gun lowered to face Sears's chest, "Thought you were going to let me go" Sears pleaded.

"I can't have you running around now can I."

The operative wasn't sure why but felt it only right to help this one, "this will only put you to sleep. Then I'll come back for you once I'm done, I promise". Watching again in amusement as Sears's eyes grew, realizing his life could not have been in imminent danger until he himself had relinquished his own weapon, "HUH! You mean…" the operative cut him off by firing his weapon. Sears looked down to witness the three inch dart standing from his chest above his heart, his speech slurred and his vision became a blur. Within seconds the operative caught him on his descent to the ground. Holstering his weapon, the operative dragged Sears out of sight, laying his body close to the other soldier, stripping him too of his ammo and discarding them with in a box close by. The operative laid Sears's now empty weapon down beside him, although the rifle was ID tag free, the sound given off by its discharge would be enough to alert the surrounding enemies. Once again the operative found himself in front of the cargo container's door; drawing his weapon he slowly slipped inside, closing the door behind him.