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The “Black Skimmer”, as it was commonly being called, flew for nearly an hour before landing. Markus never budged. All he could do was blankly stare into the darkness that had swallowed the small room and think about his father. He promised himself he wouldn’t break a tear, but had already broken that promise. Only a one streamed down his cheek. Markus thought about every moment he had with his father. Some made him sad, some made him laugh, but all the memories brought more pain. From the time he was young he had viewed his father as a hero. Every kid at school wished he was Jacob Devroy’s son and they would constantly tell Markus how lucky he was to have a father who was the CEO of Devroy Manufacturing. Even though Markus was born with a silver spoon in his mouth, Markus still went to the average school due to his father’s lack of caring to find a better one.
Markus remembered coming home every day to his father’s favorite chair and waiting in it. Anxiously waiting for hours on end for his father to get home from work. He couldn’t help but wiggle with excitement to see his Daddy. But he never came. Markus woke up late that night curled up on the chair. Completely alone. His father had returned and gone to bed, without even regarding Markus’ existence. A lump welled up in Markus’ throat as he recalled moping to his room and crawling into his bed alone.
Markus’ father always tried to buy his son’s affection. After ignoring him for weeks, he would buy him his favorite toy. When he was in his teens, he would buy him ammo and weapons as the occasional present, but he never showed any affection for Markus. So Markus found affection in other places. Even though Markus had no family other than his father, he was not friend deprived. Markus found comfort in his friends at high school and with various girlfriends until he found his true passion. Shooting. The rest is history.
Sure, Markus didn’t have the best father, but he wasn’t always like that. It was only after his Mom died that his father fell apart. Markus could never pinpoint it, but if he was honest, Markus’ life went from heaven to hell in one person’s death. Markus welded his eyes shut at the thought of his mother. He didn’t need to think of her right now. She was gone, and there was nothing he could do. His father, however, he could do something about. As soon as Markus was able, he was going to gut whoever did it. He was going to kill every last son of a-
Markus’ thoughts were interrupted by the sound of a heavy metal door sliding open. Two pairs of boots propped Markus up and he cracked his eyes open. The light was blinding.
“How you holding up, kid?” asked a rough voice. Markus opened his eyes to see a tall hardy man in a commander’s uniform. Markus clambered to his feet and saluted. “Cut the formalities, son, we have work to do.”
“Where am I?” Markus asked, looking around. He was obviously at a military base. Men in different uniforms ran to and fro with crates and dollies. Some were talking, some were arguing, but the topic was always about something work related. Several “Black Skimmers” lined the walls along with other APC’s and hummers.
“A small military base outside of the city. Due to recent, unfortunate, events, you are being inserted today. Now, to be more specific. Sorry for the inconvenience.”
“Inconvenience? You ripped me out of my home!”
“I saved your life!” The man barked, jabbing a finger at Markus. Markus glanced back at the Black Skimmer to see Ashley climbing off the chopper.
“Ah, Lieutenant Sanders! Excellent work!” The man greeted Ashley with a handshake.
“Commander Smith.” She nodded in acknowledgement.
“You made the front page.” He reported with a short smile, showing her a news pad. On the front page were the letters in bold, ‘Devroy Manufacturing gets hit!’ coupled with a picture of the headquarters with several holes through the side of the building with smoke rising from the occasional shattered window. Ashley quickly snatched the news pad and hit several buttons, deactivating it. She handed it back to the Commander.
“Thank you, Commander, but I am aware of my accomplishments.” She didn’t offer a glance to Markus.
“Wait, can I-“ Markus asked, reaching for the news pad.
“No!” Ashley interjected, grabbing the hand Markus extended and beginning to walk away with it. “We have work to do. Can’t be reading our own press clippings, now can we?” Markus pulled back.
“Why not? You can’t keep this from me forever!”
“No, but I can certainly try.” She insisted, pulling him harder. The commander rolled his eyes and walked away.
“You have your orders, Sanders.”
“Yes sir, right away sir!” She responded, suddenly standing at attention. Markus watched as the commander walked away.
“How long until I find out for myself? How long must I wait in agony, Ashley?” Markus pleaded. Ashley began to walk away and Markus followed. Ashley swore,
“Markus, you can know whenever you want, just..” She stopped and bit her lip. Markus walked in her path and halted her with his hand.
“What? Just what!?” She sighed.
“Let me get off planet before you do.” She walked around Markus and left him in confusion. Markus almost exploded in frustration. He turned around and watched her walk away. Every muscle in his body wanted to tackle her and choke the answer out of her – but he wouldn’t allow himself to move. Markus stood there for several minutes before his self-control ran out. He then walked down the hall she had ventured into until he ran into a man with a strange head set who confronted him.
“You seventy-six Devroy?”
“Devroy, you’re Devroy, right?”
“Yeah, that’s me.” He finally answered.
“I’ve been looking everywhere for you! Here, these are yours. Standard issue.” He handed him a strange fingerless glove and a wire for a headset.
“Latest tech. That Palm-Comm is your key to every door, your guide to the facility and your personal communication devise. It’s also the key to your personal dorms.”
“My personal dorms?” Markus asked, putting on the glove. The simple black glove slipped on comfortably. The only way to tell it was a Palm-Comm was the holographic projector that was activated by pushing a button located on it’s palm. Markus pushed it gently and his hand turned into a weightless computer. The only word Markus could find was, ‘whoa’ He easily navigated to where his dorms were and began his journey after receiving orders from the man to get approved apparel on. Luckily his palm-comm and his headset were connected somehow. As soon as he voice-confirmed his destination, the path to it illuminated in a small visor that fell over his left eye. When he arrived at a wall-like door, it automatically beeped twice before sliding open. A female voice welcomed him home. Markus didn’t know whether it was from his Palm-Comm or his headset. Probably both.
“I could get used to this.” Markus said to himself, tapping his palm to turn off his GPS. For a brief while, all the worries of the world left as Markus stood gawking at his room. The extravagant bed with two hand-crafted night stands. His dresser sat under a window overlooking a large body of water. Markus looked to his left and saw a closet door. He opened it and found several jumpsuits. Devroy Manufactured, of course.
Markus gaped as he then found his way to the bathroom. It was outfitted nicer than the average five star hotel. Markus ventured back to his dresser. He opened it and found several pairs of black T-shirts and cargo pants. Funny, that’s what Markus normally wears when he dresses casually. He pulled out a T-shirt and chuckled at what he found on it. The words printed in bold on the back made it obvious it was Separatist made. It had a snake cut into thirteen pieces and bold letters spelt, “Don’t Tread On Me.” The motto of the Separatists. He shook his head and began undressing. Just when he took off his pants, his visor fell over his left eye claiming he was receiving a message. He tapped his palm and suddenly Commander Smith appeared on his hand.
“Markus! I see you got your Palm-Comm.” Markus scrambled to put on his pants on. “Oh! Sorry about that.” He added in disgust, obviously looking away.
“No, no, it’s my fault! I didn’t think answering would summon you to my presence.” Markus got himself situated, then stood at attention.
“Yes, sir, sorry about that.”
“Relax, it’s not the first time I’ve done that. Just make sure you are presentable when you answer that thing.”
“I understand, sir.”
“Good. You settling in okay?”
“Good, good. You will be dining with the BlackJacks. Their dining room is on your Palm-comm.”
“Yes, that’s Ashley’s squad.”
“As you wish, sir.”
“No trouble then?”
His image faded. Markus sighed and finished clothing himself. It took ten minutes, but eventually Markus found the BlackJack’s dining room. The door automatically opened as Markus shyly glanced in. Ten men were laughing, scarfing down food and generally having a good time. Markus looked around and found a man dressed exactly the same way he was with a chef hat behind a counter with several pots and pans full of different kinds of foods. Markus moved towards him and recognized him as the same man who pulled him and Ashley onto the Black Skimmer only an hour ago.
“Hey, Devroy!” He greeted, being more friendly then Markus had expected. “Come for some chow?”
“I guess.” Markus finally answered, browsing the wide variety of food on the counter. Markus shook the dark skinned man.
“Help yourself! The main dish was thrown together by yours truly! Enjoy, my man!” He laughed and sat down at one of the tables. Markus grabbed a plate and surveyed the food. There were all kinds of fruits and vegetables along with soup, salad and a delicious looking Teriyaki chicken. The classics never get old. Markus thought, examining the scrumptious meal. But Markus wasn’t hungry. He must have looked at the food for a good five minutes before grabbing an apple and finding a chair in a corner.
Markus sat in solitude for twenty minutes while the other elites joked and laughed their meals away before retreating back to their dorms. Mark just stared at his apple. Ten minutes passed. Then another ten minutes passed. Then another. Markus found that the apple was quite good at staring contests. His thoughts were mostly empty. Markus felt trapped. Trapped by his circumstances. Trapped by Ashley. Trapped by secrets. Trapped by society.
A frown slowly spread across Markus’ face. The frown turned into a scowl. In a fit of rage, Markus punched the apple and it went soaring across the room before splatting against the wall. It fell to the ground with a few thuds. Markus slammed his juice-covered fist on the table and shut his eyes. Markus heard the door glide open and a pair of feet walked in. The chair in front of him squeaked in protest as someone sat in it.
“How are you doing?” Ashley’s sweet voice said softly. Her tone was different now. Before it was firm, but Markus could sense some sympathy. Now all firmness had faded away. Sympathy was all that remained. Markus looked up at her. A weak smile painted her beautiful face. Her brown hair flowed from her head down to her shoulders. Her green eyes peered into his as he angrily looked away.
“What do you want?” Markus asked with a rude tone. He didn’t mean to take it out on her. She didn’t deserve his anger. Whoever had the audacity to kill his father did.
“Just checking on you. After all, you are a squad member now.” Mark let out a soft chuckle.
“I’m fine.” He bit off the last word. His stomach growled. He hadn’t eaten in hours.
“People who are fine don’t stare at an apple for hours before punching it across the room.” Markus glanced up at the camera that was in the corner across the room. Markus had taken note of the camera when he had first walked in, along with the amount of paces he had to take to sit down, along with exactly how many people were in the room, along with two things on their person that made them stand out in a crowd. All that information had passed right through his head. He had forgotten about all of it until Ashley had pulled him back to reality. The reality that he had been staring at an apple for hours before smashing it to pieces. Wait… Had she been watching him? How long has she been-
“Look” She somehow appeared beside him. She must have moved while his eyes were glazing over. “I know you’re enraged, and you have every reason to be. But you can’t let this anger-“
“Control me?” He finished. “Don’t worry, it won’t interfere with my duties. He said, standing up and bringing his plate over to the counter. He dished himself a plate of cold chicken and returned to his chair. He began staring at the chicken.
“Please eat that, not destroy it.” Markus twitched. Destroying things was the only thing he knew how to do. All his life he was slowly being wound up. It was only now he was finally starting to unwind.
“Why?” He asked through his gritted teeth, “All I know how to do is destroy things.”
“Because you’re more than that.” She said, pulling his head to face her. “I knew it the day I saw you.” He removed her hand.
“You mean the day you tore me from my home and brought me here?” He asked, returning to his staring contest with various foods he had vainly stacked on his plate.
“No,” She began, “The day I got the famous Jacob Devroy’s autograph.” That name got his attention. He slowly turned his head to face her with glazed eyes.
“We have met before, did you know that?” He couldn’t bring himself to answer. They stared each other down for a long while before he broke the silence.
“Who killed him?” He asked slowly. She sighed and scooted closer, revealing a news pad. She showed it to him and hit the power button. Devroy Headquarters was on the front page.
“Markus, first of all, he’s not dead, but he might as well be.” Ashley had his attention. He looked up at her like a puppy might to it’s mother. She sighed again, then navigated through the digital newspaper.
“Six thirty, January 3rd, 3025, police stormed Devroy Manufacturing with a search warrant for Jacob Devroy.” Ashley explained, sliding through pictures of policemen carrying Markus’ father away.
“What?” Markus stared in disbelief.
“He is currently being charged with war crimes, that’s all I know.” Markus looked up at her and pleaded for more information with his eyes. It was as if he was walking through a desert without water for days and she just gave him a small child’s cup of water.
“Everything was top secret until this morning. I was given orders to make sure you didn’t interfere. Low and behold, I get word that you’re strolling back to Devroy Manufacturing.”
“Why were the police firing on you if you’re military?” Markus asked, questions buzzing in his mind, “Why were they firing on anyone if-“
“That’s what I can’t piece together.” Ashley admitted, shaking her head, scooting even closer to look at the news pad. Markus kept scrolling through press articles and clippings. He finally looked up at her.
“Thank you.” Although he tried with all of his might, he couldn’t smile.
“For what?” She asked. She knew, obviously, she just wanted to make him say it. Markus stood up and walked to the door.
“The truth.” He answered before vanishing into his dorms, leaving Ashley with a cold plate of chicken. She looked at it and sighed,
“You’re welcome, Mark.”
Edited by ThaneKrios on 3/13/2013 11:53 AM PDT
Predictable? Yeah, you should seriously consider A: letting them fall in love and then killing her off, or B: They could become fast friends, but not lovers. Then again, you could just let them figure it out. (If you've written enough, you'll know that characters can tend to write themselves.)
Edited by Warhawk on 3/13/2013 8:37 PM PDT
Yes, I have found that characters write themselves... I just wish they would hurry-it-up xD
Thanks! I was definitely considering those two options. I assure you it wasn't going to be: They fall in love, happily ever after the end.
I'm really appreciating your input, thank you!
Markus awoke that morning to his blaring palm-comm. He cracked open his groggily eyes and looked at the glove sitting on his night stand. The words, “Wake up” hovered over the glove’s palm. He groaned and rolled out of bed. He didn’t start thinking about his life until he was in the shower. That’s when he remembered current events. Going to Devroy Manufacturing, seeing his father, being abruptly kidnapped, discovering his father wasn’t dead. It all happened in a day. Boy, what a day.
Markus found himself staring at his own blue eyes in the mirror with a toothbrush down his throat. His staring contest with himself endured as he thought about Ashley. Had she been watching him at dinner? If so, why? His next memory made him gasp out loud. Ashley’s sweet voice rang through his ears. “We have met before, did you know that?” He spit the toothpaste out of his mouth. The words continued to ring through his mind as he thought about how she could possibly know him. Nothing came to mind. Surely he would remember her if he had seen her before. How could you forget a girl like Ashley? She wasn’t exactly the type that escaped your mind easily. Her beautiful eyes, her caring voice, her-
Markus blinked his thoughts away at the sound of someone knocking on his door. Markus toweled off his face and approached it, rotating his neck with a pop. He looked around for a control panel, but found none. He sighed as his eyes met his Palm-Comm. Snatching it off the nightstand, he returned to the door. It hastily opened, revealing Ashley leaning against the wall with her arms crossed. She already had a jumpsuit on and it looked like she was prepared to armor up.
“Hey” She greeted.
“Hi.” Markus acknowledged, slipping on his Palm-Comm.
“Meet me at the range in five? I want to see if you live up to all the hype.” He chuckled.
“Alright, fine, but I’m going to have to start charging for autographs.” He teased with a grin. He caught himself just before he winked. No winking. The last thing he needed was to give off the wrong message.
“Okay,” she chuckled and swung off the wall. “Don’t keep me waiting.” She added with a smile as she disappeared down the hall. Markus couldn’t wipe the smile off his face for a whole minute and it wasn’t until he was out the door that his stomach finally settled. He felt like he was in high school again. An immaturity he couldn’t afford to relive.
Markus navigated the simple corridors before emerging into the light of day. The small compound was located on an island not far from the mainland. A short ferry ride was the only thing separating them. The ocean to his right was stunningly beautiful while the view of the city on his left was equally baffling.
Walking down to the range, Markus could see it was well kept. Many soldiers were training in what was obviously an exercise. Markus’ recognized their drill immediately. He had done that drill one too many times. Then there was a range that was obviously for free shoot. A table was kept with plenty with ammunition boxes littering the area. Markus stepped up and took the second to last rifle on the rack. He examined it with a smile. It was Devroy Manufactured, no surprise. Markus recognized it as the latest model and he felt more comfortable with it in his hands.
Looking around for Ashley, he assessed with his big brain that she hadn’t arrived yet. Odd. She left before him. He grabbed a few charge packs and slipped them in his pocket while sliding another in the weapon. It beeped, confirming it’s readiness. Markus got in prone position and began scanning the horizon for targets. It wasn’t long before he was firing away at some. Eventually the weapon hissed and ejected the charge, which bounced off the ground leaving a trail of smoke. Markus reached into his pocket and pulled another one, placing it carefully in the chamber before slapping it closed.
Markus peered through the sights of his rifle and fired three more shots before his focus was interrupted by three more that weren’t from his rifle. He looked to his right to see Ashley lying beside him in prone position as if she had always been there.
“When’d you get here?”
“I tend to appear.” She said playfully. “You really are as good as they say.” She admitted, surveying the targets he was shooting at with binoculars.
“Practice makes perfect.” Their eyes met.
“Then you must have a lot of time on your hands.” Markus shrugged,
“Dad always had guns laying around and plenty of testing areas.” She sat up and looked at him.
“Everything that’s come out of your mouth has been about your father.” He was zoning out and aiming at targets already.
“He’s the only family I’ve got left.” Markus fired a few rounds.
“No mother?” A million heartaches were rehashed, then put back in their place in one moment.
“No mother.” He answered, not offering a glance. He said it heartlessly, but Markus always had a special place for his mother in his heart. It took a long time, but Markus could finally say with a sliver of honesty that wound had sealed. It will always be a scar, but no immediate pain emanated from it.
“What about you? You have any family?” Markus asked, sitting up and looking at Ashley.
“Two sisters and a mother. Father passed a few years back.”
“I’m sorry.” He said. Their eyes met.
“It’s alright. I’ve managed.” An awkward silence filled the air until Ashley broke it. Markus had a shot lined up on his sights. He wanted to ask Ashley a question, but couldn’t decide whether to do it before or after firing a few rounds off. It did make a break in the conversation, but Markus couldn’t figure out whether it was a good one or not. What the crux of the matter came down to was Ashley there to talk, or shoot? A question that would splinter Markus’ mind for a long time to come.
“Do you have any siblings?” Ashley asked.
“Nope; it’s just me.” He stared intently into Ashley’s eyes. They were so full of life. The way they danced around while you were stuck in their intoxication was indescribable. “It’s always been just me.” He said that with less meaning then it carried. Markus’ thoughts now dwelt in his loneliness even though he meant the words to mean he was a single child. Ashley knew what he meant, and his thoughts. His eyes were a dead giveaway.
Markus hadn’t realized until just now but, if he was honest, he was always lonely. A hole that no matter how much dirt was shoveled in, always persisted. Markus could never put his finger on it until just now, but all his life was like he was missing his other half.
“No wife waiting for you in the good life?”
“The good life?”
“You know,” She said, gesturing to the world, “The life of innocence. Home.”
“Oh” Markus nodded, “No, unfortunately not. I’m starting to wonder which side is the good life.”
“The soldiers life or the citizens life?”
“Yep.” Markus closed his eyes and thought about his life in the corporate world. So short. So complex. “I’ve come to the conclusion neither can be deemed good.” Ashley nodded in agreement. A long pause in conversation ensued after Markus’ statement.
“It seems we’ve come to the same conclusion.” Ashley finally said. She sighed and, leaning back, surveyed the ocean.
“Not that it matters. We can’t go back to the citizens life now.” Markus nearly took another shot, but found this opportunity more important. He set down the rifle and sat up with Ashley.
“If you could,” Markus began. He regretted opening his mouth like he always did. It was too late now, might as well go through with it. “Would you really want to?” Ashley thought about it for a long moment. She turned back to him and their gaze locked.
“If I could do it over again?” She asked herself. A long pause ensued while she thought about her answer. “If I could leave the Elites, never to return?” Another rhetorical question she asked herself.
“I would-“ Her Palm-Comm went off. She examined the hologram it projected and tapped a few buttons before the images faded away. She sighed and continued surveying the ocean. After yet another long pause Markus couldn’t help but break the silence.
“Breakfast time.” She said, almost sorrowfully. As if he had awakened a terrible beast by asking a simple question. He regretted asking, like he knew he would. It was too late now. Markus was never one to regret. Ever since he made the decision to never look back when he joined the Elites, it’s definitely proved more challenging than he had expected. He needed to make sure he conquered the little moments when they came to ensure himself who exactly ran his motives. His heart, or his mind? Markus’ stomach growled as he stood up and returned the weapon to the rack. He almost tried to lighten the conversation’s conclusion with a light comment, but decided against it. Best he not open his big mouth again.
He followed her back to BlackJack’s dining room.
Markus let Ashley get her food before he stepped up. She sat at the second table down and was instantly surrounded with people. A dark skinned man welcomed Markus warmly and directed him to the same counter as last night, except this time it had breakfast foods. Oatmeal, fresh fruit, bacon, eggs, sausage.
“Breakfast of champions.” The man exclaimed loudly before digging in.
“I don’t believe we’ve met.” Markus said while piling his plate with practically everything on the counter.
“Dwayne” the man answered, “Dwayne Walter” Markus sat down across from Dwayne.
“Markus Devroy.” He introduced himself. Dwayne looked at Markus as if he was crazy.
“Devroy, you say? I think I’ve heard that once or twice.” He teased, overly exaggerating his body motion. Markus chuckled. “Yeah, I knew who you were the second you were dangling with Ashley.” Markus paused. How did he know about that? “Word around town is you two went to the range today.” He said with a wink and a grin from ear to ear.
“No. Well, yes but” Markus shook his head, “But it’s not what you’re thinking.” He pushed Markus’ shoulder.
“So you two hittin’ it up? You go for the top dog on day one and score?”
“I didn’t ‘go’ for Ashley.” Markus said sternly, trying to shrug off his jokes by forking eggs and stuffing them in his mouth. The delicious flavor soothed his appetite.
“Really?” He asked, with wide eyes “It seems like something struck the right key because she is diggin’ you man!” Markus scoffed.
“Believe me, she isn’t ‘diggin’ me” He said, imitating Dwayne’s body language in a mocking way.
“Guess who was on duty to stay up all night and watch the cameras?” He asked, biting into a sausage. Markus exhaled deeply and took a bite of toast after shaking his head in refusal. “No seriously, go on, guess.” Just when Markus was going to open his mouth Dwayne interrupted.
“Me.” He exclaimed, pointing both thumbs at himself. Markus rolled his eyes and kept eating. “The dumbest shift ever, okay? Camera duty is the dumbest, most retarded, stupidest, most idiotic,” Markus couldn’t help but chuckle as his list went on. “Most tedious, most boring,” the list went on to describe how stupid the shift was. Dwayne began describing it with words Markus wasn’t even sure existed. He then went on to repeat adjectives when he ran out.
“Like” He used his arms to illustrate his seriousness, “Rather have shards of glass in my eyes then do that job, or drink a gallon of salt water. Hell, I’d rather lick the crap off the toilets for a week then-“ Markus finally interrupted him.
“Okay, I get it.” Dwayne was going to go on despite Markus’ wishes, but decided against it.
“And guess who comes strolling in wanting to take my place?” He leaned on the table with his elbow and scarfed down food while he awaited Markus’ response. Markus sighed and struggled to keep his eyes half-mast while he spoke.
“Ashley?” The man gawked at Markus.
“Yes! Now at this point I’m thinking, ‘what the hell are you doing here?’ she’s always the one assigning this shift to the bottom of the barrel, the lowest on the totem pole, right?” Markus was listening to his story mostly for entertainment rather than actually hearing what he had to say. The man was crazy, but hilarious in his own, annoying, way.
“Guess what she wants?” He forked his last sausage and waited for Markus to respond. “Go on, guess!” Just when Markus’ lips parted he shouted the answer.
“She wants to take my shift! And I’m all, ‘What the-, girl, this is the job you’re always trying to get a sucker to do, why do you want it?’ She answers some bull, right? I mean, she’s just flappin’ her gums at this point.” Markus chuckled again at his overly exaggerated hand motions and fidgeted in his seat as he finished his toast.
“So I decide to stick around, you know, find out what she’s up to. So I leave for half an hour and sneak back in. Guess who I find her stalking on the big monitors?” Markus shook his head and shrugged.
“No seriously, go on, guess!” Dwayne insisted. Markus pretended to open his mouth to see if Dwayne would interrupt him. He caught on to his little scheme and erupted in stale laughter followed by a long bony finger pointed at Markus.
“Funny comedian over here, thinks he’s so funny.” He said, emphasizing the ‘so’ and wagging his finger.
“Anyways, so I sneak up on Ashley and she’s creepily watching you on the monitors.” Markus frowned.
“What was I doing?” Markus asked. He honestly didn’t remember. The story was taking such a long time it seemed as though his whole life revolved around it. The man was lovable all the same.
“You were having a stare down with an apple. At this point, I’m completely weirded out, right? Well it gets better. I decide to stake it out and see how long she watches you. A couple hours pass and she’s still at it, watching you like a mother watches her children. I’m telling you man, she’s got something on you. She either has a thing for rich kids or-” He caught himself. “Man, how long have I been talking? You gotta tell me when I go off like that. You could be sitting here for hours!” Markus smacked his lips loudly and perched an eyebrow.
“Well that information would have been useful,” Markus checked his wrist and realized he didn’t have a watch, “A few thousand years ago.” The man let out a thunderous laugh. “Any day, man, any day.” Markus joined him in laughter, then finished his meal.
Sure, Dwayne was the kind to talk your ear off, but he was a lovable guy all the same. Dwayne stood up and dismissed himself from the room. Markus laughed quietly to himself and shook his head as he recited the ridiculous story Dwayne had told him.
“I see you met Dwayne.” Markus looked to his right and found the same man who pulled him and Ashley into the Black Skimmer yesterday. “Don’t let him start talking.” The man warned, “Ever.”
“Thanks for the warning. Unfortunately it’s a little too late, his voice is still ringing in my ears.” The man chuckled.
“The name’s Johnson.” He shook Markus’ hand.
“Markus.” He responded with a smile.
“Nice to officially meet you.”
“You too, Johnson.” Markus said with a plastic smile. was just finishing a piece of fruit a few minutes later when his Palm-Comm began beeping. Everyone at the table checked their palm-comm before every set of eyes was fixed on Markus’.
“Oh, that’s me.” Markus exclaimed shyly, trying to shrug off the attention. He hit the center button and commander Smith’s voice came through loud and clear.
“Devroy, you’re requested on the observation deck.” Informed the commander. Markus frowned as he thought of possible reasons he would be called. He stood up and proceeded out of the dining room. Everyone watched as Markus left, then continued their conversation as the door was sliding shut. Markus breathed a sigh of relief. He always preferred being alone. You could say he was an introvert. All those people bombarding him constantly with jokes about his celebrity status or his relationship with Ashley got old. Sure, he only had to endure a few so far, but Markus could already tell it was just the beginning.
Markus used his Palm-Comm in combination with his headset to find the observation deck. He found himself in an elevator going up. Markus took a deep breath and shook out all the anxiety in his joints. He didn’t know what this was about, but something about it made him anxious. It seemed like the elevator ride took eternity, but finally the doors parted. Markus stepped out and looked around. The first thing he saw was the most beautiful view of the ocean he had ever seen. It looked even better from up high then on the ground. The observation deck was perfectly placed to see the ocean on your left and the city at a distance on your right. Markus gaped for almost a minute until commander Smith broke his thoughtless state.
“Mr. Devroy.” Markus turned around and peered into his eyes. All he saw was determination. He shook his hand out of formality.
“Please come with me.” The commander guided him to a large room with several monitors littering the walls. Men were stationed at each one, attentively working away.
“I’ve come to give you your equipment.” He announced. Markus was inwardly puzzled by the statement. “Tell me, Markus, what is an Elite’s equipment?” The question made more sense now. He had studied this when he was first training to be an elite.
“Deception, Destruction and Diplomacy.” Markus recited. Obviously, those weren’t the only things an elite would ever need, but it was a good summary of the weapons they used to get their orders done.
“Right.” Commander Smith agreed, handing Markus several passports and an identity card. On the card read, ‘John Murphy’ and displayed an image of Markus’ face along with an age and other information. This was his deceptive tool.
“Markus Devroy,” Commander Smith gestured to a television set which was on the news channel. On the front page showed Markus Devroy with glasses on walking down the street. The picture was a few years old. The news anchor was explaining Markus Devroy’s tragic death. “Died this morning in a shuttle crash.” Markus had mixed feelings about what the Commander was telling him. He wasn’t quite sure he could take in everything that was happening all at once. The moment he had been waiting for all his life was now slipping through his fingers.
“Your elite code alias is #697-932-808. Your civilian identity is John Murphy. More identities will be added to your elite code alias as your duties see fit.” All Markus could think to do was stand at attention.
“This” commander Smith began, handing Markus a box just large enough to fit a small firearm. “Is yours.” By the box’s appearance Markus assessed it was just that. This was his destruction tool.
Last, but certainly not least, was the Diplomacy tool.
“Do not fear imprisonment or police. You are above and beyond them. There are no four walls I cannot break you out of and there is no law above you. It is your duty to carry out the wishes of the Separatists how you see fit, using the three tools you have at your disposal. Your first assignment begins soon.”
Commander Smith smiled and stuck out his hand.
“Welcome to the team, John Murphy.” Markus took it.
“Thank you, commander Smith.”
“Yes, one, actually.” Markus said, straightening his posture to look more formal. “Will any Elite ever be granted the use of their real name?” The commander answered with a blank stare. Markus followed up with a small explanation. “So I will never hear anyone call me Markus again.”
“Why would anyone call you Markus, John?” The commander asked. Markus inwardly sighed and nodded, darting his eyes around awkwardly as if he had just asked why the sky was blue.
“Right, I’ll be on my way then.” Markus said, dismissing himself from the room. As soon as the door closed behind him he made his way back to his room. He needed to clear his head. Markus didn’t waste any time and only noticed he was walking almost twice as fast as usual when he almost ran into someone with a dolly in the halls. The past few days had proved to be much different than what he had imagined.
Markus had imagined saying love-filled goodbyes to his father before departing joyfully to execute his duties as an Elite. Instead it ended in his father being killed – but not really – and him being thrown into action.
The room to Markus’ dorm opened and he quickly stepped inside. One thing Markus hadn’t noticed before was the print on the door. His Elite code alias was printed on the door. Strange. Normally he would notice such details.
“My name is John Murphy.” Markus continued to repeat in the mirror. “My name is John Murphy.” He practiced. Confidence grew overtime. “My name is John Murphy” He recited while carefully inspecting his duty weapon. He enjoyed ‘getting to know his weapons’ as he would call it. Markus cleaned his new firearm with determination. It was something to get his mind off current events.
Markus’ Palm-Comm went off an hour later indicating the range was prepared for his scheduled target practice. He made his way back to the range and between every shot he would recite his name under his breath. “My name is John Murphy.” The scheduled target practice drug on for another few hours. Markus burned through countless rounds as he entered a mindless state of shooting things. Of course, he tested out his new weapon too.
After nearly four hours of target practice he moved on to lunch. It was extremely uneventful for Markus. He came, he ate, he left. Nobody hardly offered him a glance this time. Markus retreated to his dorms where he began cleaning his weapon once again. He thought about Ashley. He thought about his father. He thought about his new responsibilities and duties. He thought about nothing. All at the same time, while cleaning his gun. It was a marvelous time for Markus to be alone with his favorite tool. His gun.
‘Happy time’ was interrupted by his Palm-Comm. Markus glanced at his glove and saw the word, “dinner” Already? Markus thought to himself. It felt like they just had lunch. The day was proving to be more on the normal side.
When Markus entered the dining room everyone’s attention was fixed on him.
“Hello, everyone, I’d like to introduce you to John Murphy.” Johnson’s came booming loud and clear, as usual. He came over and shook Markus’ hand while everyone applauded his new identity. It was then when it struck Markus, they all probably went by their code names. Every single one of the people in this compound didn’t use their real name. Ashley…
Markus sat down and enjoyed his meal alone. No surprise there. He was the new kid. Until he proved himself somehow, he would remain that way.
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