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[Fiction] All Souls Night


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He stood ankle deep in the snow, Siberian winds whipping his duster violently and the fur covering his body underneath as he watched the city from the hill above. Omsk, the Forgotten City, a massive Directive training facility and holding compound for Nova criminals. Somewhere in there were his objectives. Somewhere in there, seven helpless souls were crying out for help. He was going to find them. He had to.

Again Jordan considered the wisdom of doing this alone as he began the long slow walk to the city below him. He was sure any one of his friends would have been willing to help him if he’d asked, but that was the crux of his dilemma. How do you ask your friends to commit virtual suicide by walking in to the biggest Directive training compound in the world? The answer is you don’t. By now, Jager would know that he’d left his network of safe-houses, and it won’t take him long to figure out where Jordan had gone. In fact, anyone who understood Jordan’s inquiries online would understand exactly where he was and what he was doing.

About an hour after leaving the hill, Jordan hit the road leading to Omsk. Right on time, he thought as he watched the headlights of a distant truck flicker and blink through the falling snow. Slowly, it made it’s way along the road, closer and closer to where the young man was standing. Discarding his duster, Jordan moved out into the middle of the road, his Eufiber already adjusting to cover his body entirely and rapidly taking on the coloration of the surrounding terrain. As the truck came closer, he laid down and waited for it to pass over him. Not the most comfortable way to travel, he thought as he lashed out to grab the passing truck’s undercarriage. Still beats walking though. Unaware of the passenger pick up along the way, the truck rumbled on towards the forbidding complex.

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"Sir, it's Albion Station. Everything has been compromised. The Project departed before exposure. We will initiate relocation at this time."

With that Page Shevers hung up the phone and turned to look at the three men covering her. The leader's bodylanguage appeared to be 'pleased' with her little performance. She couldn't tell from his face, as it was covered in a kevlar mask. Past him, slumped over obscenely on the sofa, was Murphy. Her partner and lover was still very, very dead. Multiple gunshot wounds will do that to you. She looked back into the barrel of the gun.

"Okay, I did what you wanted. Jager will be moving to meet up with me within twenty-four hours. I will take you to the location. Just don't kill me. Please."

The merc team leader nodded and pulled the trigger.

"We already know the location", he whispered to Page as she fell over the desk and her brains began slidding down the wall.

With a quick hand gesture, he gathered his team and they moved efficiently and ghost-like out of the safehouse.

Once they had boarded the van, the team lead looked over his crew. They were all damn fine operatives and the mission had gone down without a hitch. The Primary hadn't been there, but that was exactly as Intelligence had projected. All he had to do was take out two past-their-prime agents and bait the trap. Mission accomplished.

He turned to his No. 2 and, for only the second time this mission, he spoke.

"Tell the Money that everything went off like clockwork."

To the rest of the crew, he continued, "Good job everyone. Now it's back to the warehouse, we clean up, and then it's time for a well deserved vacation."

No. 2 finished recording the message and then burst-sent it out.

Three blocks away and directly across from the compromised safehouse, the five members of Orange Team-7, were also on the move. It was time for them to head for the next mission objective.

Paulstone, the communications specialist, noted the burst transmission and a vindictive smile came to his lips.

"Transmission away, sir. Can I toast their asses, now?"

Ava Granz, Seven Leader, wasn't smiling.

"Waste the bastards."

She had seen the entire scenario unfold from the monitoring equipment stashed around the safehouse. The two guardians, Shevers and Murphy, hadn't been able to put up any defense what-so-ever. They had been killed, and she thought she knew why. Someone was sending Jager another message, and she was sick and tired of people killing her own just to send a fucking message.

A drone on the top of a Wal-Mart activated. It rose up and moved rapidly to aquire the moving van. Since it was sheathed in Hino-camofiber and was only the size of a large frisbee, it went un-noticed. By itself, the drone wasn't dangerous. That wasn't it's purpose.

Once it had aquired the van, it painted it with an infra-red laser and began barking commands back to its launcher. Beside the launcher, was a dual-missle launcher, that was decidedly very dangerous.

A missle launched and began racing toward the target so lovingly illuminated by the drone. Withing ten seconds of launch, it dove straight through the van's windshield and detonated.

Back at Orange 7's room, Granz and Paulstone witnessed the explosion. Infra-red imaging picked up the fireburst expanding into the van's interior and consuming the mercs.

"Hit them, again", seethed Granz. The second missle mindlessly launched and angled toward the wreckage. The secondary explosion scattered the van all over the night street.

'Boy, there going to be using really small coffins on this one', thought Paulstone.

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  • 4 weeks later...

"James, Mr. Rossi's package has been opened." Michael intoned; the sense of frustration that had colored his voice over the past day had finally lifted.

"Thank you Michael," James Meehan arose and walked over to Michael’s dedicated monitor array. "That didn't take you very long at all."

"Longer than I wanted. Mr. Rossi's sense of security requirements rivals your own."

"Well, I can't blame him. These latest moves against him are far from the first. They are just the first to lack any subtlety. I'm surprised Solar Solutions did as well as it did for as long as it did. Few companies experience that kind of hostile actions under the radar and survive."

James’ fingers started dancing over the controls, pulling up a dozen schematics, a few theoretical papers and one partial design. It was the last that intrigued him. His breathing slowed, his brow furrowed and he stood there, motionless for many moments. Probabilities and possibilities danced in his mind.


"What is James? The partial? I thought so too. I don't understand it." Michael's voice switched from speaker to speaker, giving the impression of nervous pacing. A strange habit picked up during his maturation.

"Honestly, neither do I. Not yet at least. It's time to let the Greek Chorus be something other than an annoying mental itch."

"Which measures James?"

"Full lockdown. Isolate systems until re-integration is confirmed. Just leave me this data and full science access."

Michael hesitated for a moment. It always gave him a strange sense of worry whenever his 'father' loosened his mental reserves and allowed the hundred plus baseline personalities that were incorporated into James's mind upon his eruption. While always a prodigious intellect, allowing certain personalities a greater influence gave him greater focus. However, these personalities were not always pleasant to deal with or particularly interested in being used thusly. Security, always a primary concern, needed to be amplified; for fear that some particularly powerful shard personality would usurp control.

"All right James." As always, Michael had difficulty hiding his emotions and the fear he felt was almost tangible.

James sat in a comfortable chair and slowly changed the pattern of his constant struggle to maintain control. Allowing just a few to come to the surface was always especially difficult. But doing so always seemed to sharpen his skills, focusing him in some area that needed his greatest efforts.

"Come on you rabble. Stop making this so difficult" The strain in his voice was unmistakable and he began to sweat. And then it happened. His posture shifted nervously, his hand flicking up to hold the cigarette whose presence his body seemed to expect. His legs crossed at the ankle, and he held himself almost primly. The constant whispers died down and four voices became distinct. Dr. Adiel Mozar of M.I.T, a theoretical physicist often described as ‘scary smart’ by his colleagues came to the fore. As always, the primary emotion was annoyance. “Where are my goddamn cigarettes? I had them just a moment ago?” James stood and walked with a quick step to the consoles, his shoes transforming into the tan high heels favored by Dr. Edith Mosell of Harvard. “Never mind, we have work to do.” Mosell was often the least troubling of the four, her drive to solve problems seemed more important than the wonder at her current situation. Suddenly the gait shifted and James’s ankle turned on the high heels, a stream of Spanish erupted from his lips and he cursed Dr. Mosell and her instance on the gender inappropriate footwear. Dr. Alfonso Rentaria of Lima, Peru was as intolerant of Dr. Mosell as he could manage given the circumstances. However, James considered his history with bleeding edge of technology to be worth the interpersonal conflict. As usual, Dr. Subram worked in an impenetrable silence. His superiors at New Delhi always complained about his refusal to expound on his theories. His explanation that reading his papers would be more illuminating infuriated the many that were incapable of understanding the final product. Several minutes of unspoken cajoling were required before James was able direct his mental resources to the task at hand.

Michael watched as James worked. The language shifts, the switches in body language and the constantly changing wardrobe made the serious scene almost comical. The shouting matches aimed at unseen ghosts seem to be the stuff of melodrama’s focusing on misunderstood mental illnesses. Time passed and as the minutes turned to hours and the hours heaped upon themselves Michael began to worry. James always tried to limit these occasions. The unspoken fear of not being able to return to a cohesive singular personality always haunted him despite his protestations to the contrary. Eventually though a decision seemed to be reached.

“Michael. Release the secures.” James spoke harshly as he strode to the door. The changes in body language seemed gone and the voice was again James’. But security was security.

“Please step to the verification bench.”

“Not now, this is important.”

“Security is always of the greatest importance. Please demonstrate reintegration.”

“Fuck. All right goddamnit.” James quickly snatched up four throwing knives and hurled them perfectly at the target across the room. He then stepped back towards the door. “Now open.”

“Please recite the pass phrase.” Michael began to worry. This rush through security was unlike James.

James frowned and looked at the speaker with an angry look. He then puffed out his chest, “Our goal is achievable. Let no man dissuade us.”

“In Greek please.”


“Excuse me? James, security is an absolute in these cases. That is your law.” The worry flared.

“Open the computer now Mike.”

Mike. Profanity. Hand eye coordination. American accent. Memory but no Greek. It made sense. “General, I am sorry sir, but security is security. You know that better than anyone else.”

James face contorted and then relaxed. “Thank you Michael. It was difficult this time.” With that James again stepped over to the bench and picking up six billiard balls he began to juggle while reciting a number of bawdy Latin limericks. As Michael deciphered the hidden message he felt relief wash over him. “I’m sorry James.”

“No need Michael. As always you performed admirably. Now, let me out, we need to get to the data hub. Jordan is in a tad more trouble than I thought. The package had been tampered with. Not successfully but I could identify the source of the interference. It seems Walt feels that he can turn against those I consider friends. I’m very disappointed.”

“How disappointed?” Michael was intrigued at this personal fury that James so rarely exhibited.

“I think it is time to inflict some pain.”

“And how is this different than any other week?”

A cold smile crept across James’ face, “This time we are going to enjoy it.”

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