the end?

~*~time passes*~

Dust clears, showing our now wounded hero lying in what will soon be a pool of his own blood; unless he wakes up and binds his wounds that is. The tunnel that he was blasted thru is now blocked by a mass of rubble that conveniently blocks his escape. Not that he wants to go that way. In front of where he will be going is a dimly lit corridor/tunnel type thing. Think Half-life, after the explosion but with out the nasty tick-bug things that take over your body.

As if that wasn't enough, a small cascade of pebbles and some dust brush past said heroes nose causing him to stir.

"Took you long enough to wake up."

"Hnn..? What happened?"

"Thomson sent a heat seeking missal at you, big surprise. But being a heat seeking missal and all, it veered off to the left of you to a greater heat source, a heat source, formally known as a welding torch next to a boiler room. Pity, it was a nice torch. It was going to get you out of that cell after all."

"uhg… my head hurts."

"You always were good at stating the blatantly obvious. You might want to wrap something around that by the way, and you might want to put this on. As nice as it might be, the sweater will help you blend into the shadows better. And sorta stop you from leaving a blood drop trail. Bleeding to death would put a massive damper on your social life."

"Not that I have one." he pulls on a rather large black sweater and in doing so sees the world spin.

"True"

"Your nice." he says in her direction, keeping his eyes closed so the world doesn't spin quite as much.

"So?"

"hmph"

"By the way, did I mention that he, he being an evil scientist type, is going to search for you? I'm going to suggest you make haste. NOW."

"Uh-hu… right. And I'm supposed to believe you because…?"

"heh"

"Fine I'm getting u-… wait…"

For the first time since the conversation started, he looks at her. The dark black/blue hair, the mask on the lower part of her face, black leather pant's with a little hole in the left knee, the boots, the beat to hell leather jacket that has seen better days… and the bullet holes in the jacket that pulls every thing together.

"Your dead."

"Like I said, master of the obvious. Now, let's get going. Or else you'll be joining me."

"… That's good enough for me. But I still don't know why I should trust you. You are, after all, dead. Then again I'm supposed to be insane."

"You don't sound insane to me, but then again you are having a conversation with a dead person."

"Your not helping, no don't answer that. Ok let's see… headset is shot, I'm bleeding a lot and my head hurts.  Not overly scientific but I'm not in the mood. By the way, how can I be having a conversation with you? I don't even really remember you."

"Suspension of disbelief."

"?" Yeah, he was pretty sure she could hear the question mark that he thought at her.

"It's a D&D thing. You roll a dice and if you pass it you can disbelieve something that happened. Or, say, have a conversation with a dead girl. Whether or not it's real doesn't matter. At least, not to the person that made the check or roll. So… in this case you disbelieve the fact that you can't talk to me. That or you hit your head a lot hard than we think."

"…"

"Get over it. Now move."

~*~more time passes~*~

"By the way, who exactly are you?" when I said that, she just stared at me.

"You really don't remember "

"No, I did some digging and found somethings that pointed to another person being with us for a while."

"And…?"

"And then I tried to find out how the hell that happened and thus became insane. Thanks to all sorts of half memories, memories that you probably triggered."

"If I did I didn't mean to. It wasn't supposed to happen. Either you knew or you didn't. If I had known you would have driven your self over the edge I would have told you right then and there. But… it didn't seem wise. But then again I was jumping at shadows and the like."

"That still doesn't tell me why you shot me."

"You still haven't told me."

"Touché."

~*~even more time passes~*~

"Question"

"Answer"

"Brat, any how… what on earth made you think that taking the same failed escape rout as me would work for you?"

"I didn't think. I just went with it. It seemed like a good idea at the time." he says as he stops briefly to rub his still aching head.

"You seem to be taking this whole 'talking-to-a-sublevel-of-your-mind' thing really well."

 "I got used to talking to myself while I was caged up. Because after about oh... I don't know about 24 hours in a messed up solitary confinement type thing that if you say anything out loud it gets you beaten bloody, you find out that having a conversation in your head with yourself or other people you made up is, in a way, sane."

"Will you stop staring at me like that."

"Are you sure you are insane. Because that seamed extremely logical."

"I'm positive that I'm insane."

"I also heard that if you think your insane your really not. But if you think your sane you get locked up. Maybe your just slightly wacky."

"You are not helping."

"Am I supposed to? I'm your imaginary friend. And stop grumbling."

"Which brings me back to the whole I-see-dead-people thing."

"Your lucky I can't smack you." She says with a glare.

"Try it. I'm wearing a sweeter that You provided for me. You haven't said anything useful. Am I the only one that sees something wrong with a illusion trying to talk sense into their insane creator?"

"I told you it's su-"

"Suspension of disbelief. Yeah, yeah… and the whole sense talking thing?"

"You don't want me to make fun of you or hurt you. you want to be re-assured that you are not completely loosing it. Which in a sense negates it if you want it to. As for the not being useful part of your rant, maybe you just haven't asked the right question."

He stops and glares at her. "I hate you."

"Heh. Now quit moping and keep moving. You said it was the next left?"

"The next right, question-"

"Answer"

"Brat. Ok, why has it been so easy to walk thru here? The lighting is even almost normal."

"Well… seeing as you were able to run down here in the first place, I'm guessing that they cleaned it up a bit. It wasn't finished when I was alive."

"They did this little work in a year? I mean look, you can still see where something blasted thru this wall. Because if I was a bad guy I wouldn't just leave little traces of a previous nasty visit this visible."

That seems to catch her off guard. She stops and looks at the wall while putting her hand against it, as if in remembrance.

"That is odd."

"Are you thinking trap?"

She looks off to the side in thought. A thought thinking. Weird.

"I am going to suggest running like hell and hoping to dear god that this is all paranoia."

"And if it's not…?"

            "then-"

~*~change of scene~*~

"And then what happened Rip?" Benz says as he hands me a nice warm mug of hot coco, the kind with the little marshmallows in it.

"Then boom."

"Boom?"

"Boom."

"Uh... That's it?"

"Well I think it was a trap. They must have had bombs planted around us, enough to force us through the wall. Then when we hit the water, nice of him to have a cliff-side base by the way; she kept me afloat and then took me to a safe place on shore some miles down from where we landed in the water. And finally rigging my headset to send you a signal to hopefully come get me. All the while waiting with my unconscious form to make sure I didn't bleed to death first. Which is all very polite of my subconscious mind.

Which of course means that have to believe that I was blown thru the wall, out over the cliff and into the freezing cold ocean. I then some how swam to shore and got a signal to you. Of course doing that when I'm unconscious."

I look at their stunned faces. Heheh, it's funny watching people try to come up with an answer to a question like that. I'm going to have fun being insane.

"Hey Rip…"

"Yes?"

"If it was your subconscious mind that gave you the sweater. Then how come I can hold it and feel it? Not to mention get it washed and then throw it at you like this."

It was my turn to be shocked as the now clean sweater hit me full in the face, curticy of one Jabs.

"That's what I thought." He says in his smug mater-of-fact way that only Jabs can do.

"But…"

"But maybe you're not as crazy as we thought."

"hmph, just when I'm starting to enjoy it"

Well... We still have no idea what's going on. We think Shard is alive and hiding. That or I'm a damn lucky bastard. That and I'm not as insane as everyone, including my self, thought. Again we don't know what caused it or if it will happen again. Fun don't you think?

As for Mako's mysterious re-appearance, we really don't have anything to say about that. It's good that he's back. It's bad hearing about his Real sister. Streex is going to look into that later on. He thinks something is up and wants to know more about her 'vision'. Which is all well and good seeing as it makes as much sense as everything else that has happened so far.

So we're back at the beginning, but this time we have a few leads. There seems to be a lot of action in the Bay Area lately. We're hoping more information will pop up. Preferably Gen. Thompson giving up and telling us everything he knows. Too bad we're not that lucky.