Devroy Manufacturing (Redone)

Joeyray's Bar
Prev 1 7 8 9 Next
It didn’t matter what the Lieutenant thought. Markus could technically override his orders if needed, not that anyone would respect his non-existent leadership capabilities.

Markus didn’t bother to salute, or really acknowledge the Lieutenant at all. Instead he just took off down the stairs with the muzzle of his rifle leading the way.

It didn’t take long before Markus had to activate his night vision. He eventually made it to the bottom of the staircase. Markus took several deep breaths before opening the door and slowly and silently walking in. The dimly lit room had a bloody haze and smelt of death, but nobody seemed present. Not that Markus could tell with the lack of light. Even with his night vision it was too dark to do anything but pick out shadows and shapes.

Several of what Markus assessed to be surgical tables were evenly spaced on the walls and in the center of the room. Perhaps it was a medical bay? Markus slowly made his way to the far side of the room with the hope of finding a door.

Markus nearly jumped out of his skin when he heard moaning only feet away from him. His rifle darted to the location and Markus froze up. It took Him a few seconds to gather the courage to move.

Seeing what looked like to be the silhouette of a person, he pulled out a flashlight and clicked it on. Shining the light in the direction of the noise, he spotted a wounded soldier surrounded by three other badly wounded soldiers.

Markus’ eyes bulged when he began to recognize certain pieces of equipment on the soldier.
“Ramey!” Markus exclaimed, rushing to his knees before him. Ramey had two bullet holes in his chest plate and one in his stomach plate. His whole torso was coated with dried blood. Ramey’s face bore heavy cuts and scrapes. His whole left arm plating was completely torn off, exposing a bloodied and bruised arm.

“Hey, kid.” He croaked, coughing up blood immediately after. “I- I-“ The man tried to speak, but his voice was faint and he couldn’t get any solid words across without coughing up blood. Markus shushed him.

“Don’t speak, Ramey, don’t worry, I’m going to get you out of here. Just hang tight, buddy.” Markus began to tremble. For the first time in his military career, he didn’t know what to do. He gaped at himself for a couple seconds before shining his light on a few other soldiers beside Ramey. They were in roughly the same condition as him.

Ramey shook his head with draining strength and beckoned Markus to lean in. He did so reluctantly. Ramey swallowed hard and cleared his throat. He coughed twice directly after, but mustered the strength to speak.

“Markus” He began with John’s real name. Odd. Doing so was strictly against regulation.

Ramey must have simply not cared. Honestly, at this point, neither did Markus. “Remember the story I told you guys when we first met?” Markus thought hard about the question. His mind began scanning through memories of any and all times Ramey spoke. Only a few memories came to mind, but one stuck out.

Markus had a small flashback of being in a shuttle with the rest of the Blackjacks after Ramey had told a story of murdering a family because the father had betrayed him. Markus concluded it must have been what Ramey was talking about and nodded his head.

“Every damn word of it was true.” He said, his voice breaking up as sobs shook his body. A single tear began to crawl down his bloodied face. Markus’ heart sank into his stomach when the details of his story came back to him. Ramey had talked about torturing a family of four in front of the father.

“Every night I relive the horrendous memory and-“ Ramey went on to say more inaudible gibberish while shaking his head and trembling with sobs. Markus was speechless. He couldn’t bear to look Ramey in the eye.

“Lieutenant Parker, this is Elite Murphy, we need a medic down here ASAP.”

“Food is ash in my mouth. Sleep.” He paused and clenched his jaw shut. “I can’t remember the last time I slept.”

“Hang in there, Ramey, it’s not too late.” Ramey lifted his Palm-comm and his bloody fingers began gracelessly dancing on the holograms.

“Please” He coughed blood onto his chest. “I- I- can’t live with myself anymore.”

“Don’t go, Ramey, we need you here, to kick some !@#!” Markus reasoned, trying to stop his lip from quivering.

“Tell-“ His voice cut short and he had to swallow saliva and blood. “Tell him-“

“No, you tell him yourself, Ramey!” Markus said, raising his voice over his. Markus didn’t even know who he was talking about exactly, but it didn’t matter. Markus would be the one to bring Ramey out of there. Even if it meant his own life.

“Damn it, boy, just listen!” Ramey tried to raise his voice, but it just came out more rustic.
“Lieutenant Parker, this is Elite Murphy, we need to medevac critically wounded soldiers. Copy, damn it!”

Markus swore again after a few seconds of silence. Markus’ Palm-Comm lit up when the data from Ramey’s was received. Suddenly, Ramey’s arm bolted to Markus’ Collar and Ramey brought him down with all his might, which still was about the strength of an old man. Markus let Ramey bring him in close. The two’s eyes locked and their noses almost touched. Ramey’s eyes were filled with regret, remorse, sorrow, but more then all, determination. It was as if he had a million things to say, but knew he didn’t have the time to say them.

“Markus” Ramey blinked away tears and swallowed hard. His voice was tainted with determination. It dripped with desperation. “Stop Ashley.” Markus almost forgot how to control his muscles. Millions of question’s flashed by his eyes and Ramey saw them plain as day.

“Stop her before she-“ Ramey had to swallow more saliva and blood, “Before she-“ He coughed.

“Before she what!?” Markus nearly yelled it. Ramey’s eyes suddenly became distant. They aimlessly drifted closed and Ramey’s grip on Markus’ collar fell limp. His hand fell on his thigh and Markus slowly leaned back. Markus had never watched someone die up close before. He could feel the effects it had on his soul. Sure, Markus had only known Ramey for a few days, but the bonds of soldiers are said to be stronger then brothers.

Markus slowly caught his withering fall with his fingers, then pushed himself back up to his knees. The sound of an explosion was heard overhead. It jolted Markus back to reality. Not an easy task after watching a brother die.
“Parker, what the hell is going on up there?” Again, no response. Markus rose to his feet and walked for the exit of the blood hazed room. His legs threatened to drop out from beneath him, but he forced them to keep him up. Darting through the door, he climbed the stairs two at a time, forgetting to let his rifle’s muzzle lead the way. He reached the top of the stairs. The sound of battle was easily distinguishable now. Markus opened the door and instantly the heat of battle washed over him. Gunfire going in every which direction, the occasional explosion. Shouts and screams of wounded soldiers. Chaos.

Markus ran and slid behind one of the closest barricades beside Private Charles Walker who was reloading.

“Where the hell is Lieutenant Parker?” Markus asked. It was a rhetorical question. Obviously, he was here on the battlefield. What he really meant was ‘why wasn’t he responding to my orders’, but Markus wasn’t feeling too articulate.

“Wasted, sir. He took a clean hit to the face and it knocked him clean over. I’d pin his survival at less than ten percent chance.” Markus normally would have sworn, but instead just gaped at Charles in disbelief. One of the best Lieutenants. Gone. Just like that.

“Well, who’s next in the chain of command.” If Markus would have thought about what he was saying for a second, he would have known the answer already. Charles gave Markus a worried look.

“You are, sir.” Markus swore. Not again. He didn’t want the responsibility of leadership. “Don’t worry. You’ll do fine.” Charles assured before instinctively ducking when three rounds pierced the sandbags he and Markus were hiding behind. Markus rubbed the bridge of his nose and scrunched his face while Charles leaned out of cover and fired at least twenty rounds.

“Orders, sir?” He asked. The image of Ramey and the other soldiers he had found flashed to the forefront of his mind. He then looked up just in time to see Private Boldgers get his face caved in by a large caliber bullet.

“Everyone fall back.” He whispered. Then again with rage after seeing Boldgers scream for his life before getting impaled by seven more rounds. “Everyone fall back!” Markus screamed. He could tell each squad member hesitated at first, then didn’t look back while fleeing to the building. Markus stood up and held his trigger down, unloading his magazine towards the general direction of the enemy while his newly found squad took shelter in the building.

Charles took point with his rifle and fired three rounds before joining the rest of his squad in the retreat. Markus kept at it, putting his anger into each round sent downrange until it clicked empty. He then turned and ran towards the door. His whole squad was covering him, but it wasn’t enough. Rounds still splashed the dirt around him and ricocheted off the walls in front of him until he dove into the building and the doors closed behind him.

Markus took his time picking himself up off the ground to find the whole squad staring at him.

“Orders, sir?” Charles finally said, breaking the silence. They could hear the soldiers trying to get through the door Charles had locked after Markus had dove in. Rising to his feet, Markus reloaded his rifle.

Stop Ashley.

Ramey’s chocked up words rang through his head and refused to leave. Markus scrunched his face and rubbed the bridge of his nose. He then quickly tapped up his Palm-Comm and used his Elite given authority to pinpoint Ashley’s location last known location. He didn’t pinpoint her exact location because it was restricted. Not even an Elite could know her exact location. Apparently she didn’t want to be found. Not that it mattered. Her last known location was near a, according to Separatist intelligence, some sort of information hub. Hopefully it would yield some clues.

Markus looked up at his squad of nine men. The fifth platoon was sent in with ninety soldiers. Markus was now looking at nine.

“All of you, go down there and guard the wounded. Stay down there and await further orders. Do we have a medic?”

“Aye!” Said a hardy woman.
“Good. Treat whatever wounds you can and prepare to move them to a medevac.” The women saluted and rushed down with the others.

“You, you and you,” Markus pointed at three very capable soldiers, one of them being Private Charles Walker, “Follow me, I might need your help.” Markus hated being in command, but as long as his squad was safe, he might be able to live with being a commanding officer. He just didn’t like the idea of sending someone else to take care of a problem. He liked to go conquer it on his own and risk his own life, rather than others. Seeing the four go down the stairs and the three following him, he took off down the hallway in Ashley’s general direction. Markus didn’t know exactly what Ramey meant, of course, but he wouldn’t have sacrificed his dying breath to tell him if it wasn’t important.

“Are you expecting to find a rogue Elite, or a friend?” Charles asked. He was, apparently, an observant fellow. Markus thought about the question for a second, then dipped his head while he ran.

Well done. Nothing obviously clunky, good plot development, the hints at what might really be going on aren't too frequent.

All in all, a good chunk.
OK, here's my semi-weekly/monthly feedback. Sorry, I've been too busy to read of late.

OK -

Warhawk's assessment that things are too predictable is semi-accurate. Things are predictable somewhat, but in a good way. You make it easy to notice that something's going on, but leave multitude of possible things that could be going on. We'll see whether you manage to pull off a true "OMG SHOULDA SEEN DAT COMING'" moment.

Stop Ashley is a good example of this... can't wait to see what that's all about.

The Interrupted Curses are entertaining, but be careful not to overuse them or they will just get annoying both to those who find profanity acceptable and those who don't.

I find that you do an admirable job of making your heroes 'balanced.' They are obviously skilled (well duh, they're highly trained special forces), but they aren't OP. They don't just destroy entire armies with pieces of furniture. I like that. OP heroes have a place, but that place is usually mythology. I also like that you make skilled enemy redshirts; occasionally some badguy will pull off an epic move despite not being a recurring foe. This is satisfying to me at least, as it makes sense: just cuz they're not good guys or elites doesn't mean they don't how to fight (or run for their lives).

Gonna make one prediction: Walker dies. His classification dooms him.
Well done. Nothing obviously clunky, good plot development, the hints at what might really be going on aren't too frequent.

All in all, a good chunk.

Thanks for keeping up with the story, you have no idea how much it means to me :)

OK, here's my semi-weekly/monthly feedback. Sorry, I've been too busy to read of late.

Thanks so much, man! I just appreciate you taking notice and treating me like just-another-writer, even though I am a very novice writer. You aren't treating me like I'm a ten year old and I really do appreciate it.

Warhawk's assessment that things are too predictable is semi-accurate. Things are predictable somewhat, but in a good way. You make it easy to notice that something's going on, but leave multitude of possible things that could be going on. We'll see whether you manage to pull off a true "OMG SHOULDA SEEN DAT COMING'" moment.

We'll see, I have planned this out for awhile and don't really feel comfortible changing it, so ya'll will just have to tell me if it's good :P

Stop Ashley is a good example of this... can't wait to see what that's all about.

I didn't throw that in there... Ramey Brossen did. Ramey wrote his own death scene, I swear.

The Interrupted Curses are entertaining, but be careful not to overuse them or they will just get annoying both to those who find profanity acceptable and those who don't.

Thanks for the tip! I will take this one particularly to heart. I like using profanity because it fits so well, but at the same time, I don't like my characters dropping f-bombs every time they turn around if I can help it.

05/11/2013 01:54 PMPosted by KnarledOne
I find that you do an admirable job of making your heroes 'balanced.'

Thank you so much! I personally hate it when heroes are OP, so I try hard to make my heroes... Die :P

Gonna make one prediction: Walker dies. His classification dooms him.

Dude, this looks like an AWESOME resource!

Just want you to know, I already have Walker's future in store, whether it's long or short, and I don't plan on changing it.
Dude, this looks like an AWESOME resource!

What... have I done?
I don't know... What have you done? It just looked like a good resource?

Curses, I did it again...

Curses, I did it again...

It's fine, the thing is too complex for me anyways :P
The four men, Markus, Pvt. Walker and two other handpicked individuals from Lieutenant Parker’s squad moved as fast as they could down the hall, Markus’ rifle’s muzzle leading the way. He remotely opened the coming door via Palm-Comm and didn’t slow down as he blazed past the doorway. They were only a klick away from Ashley’s last known location. Markus began to fear the worst as he jumped over debris and slid under fallen trees like he was in an obstacle course. The others tried to keep up, but couldn’t help but fall a few feet behind.

Markus skidded to a screeching halt after running in enemy territory for nearly two minutes. He didn’t hear anything. Nothing. Not a trace of enemy movement. Sure, they were moving a little further from the heart of the complex and more to the outskirts, but according to Separatist intel, this was some sort of information hub for the pirates. He should be encountering at least a little resistance. Something was wrong. Very, very wrong.

The four following Markus stumbled to a halt behind him. All the while, catching their breath and wondering why Markus was suspiciously looking around with squinted eyes. He suddenly raised his rifle and began slowly walking towards the beacon on his Palm-Comm indicating Ashley’s exact last known location before she dropped under the radar. He stopped right on the beacon and looked around. Nobody. Signs of battle that took place approximately an hour ago were strewn all over the place, but other than that, silence.

“Mission Control, this is Elite Murphy. Requesting a status on Elite Blackjacks, over.”

“Elite Murphy this is Mission control. Elite Dwayne Walter is currently holding the far AA towers. Elite Johnson Davis is currently under fire holding a small landing pad meant for the extraction of the wounded, including Elite Ramey Brossen. Mission control over and out.”

“Over and out? What about Elite Ashley Sanders?” Silence on the other end. Markus swore and glanced around to see if the others were hearing this, or if it was just him going crazy. Were they really ignoring him? Markus’ paranoia began to creep in. Something was incredibly wrong.

“Elite Ashley Sanders has gone MIA. Over and Out.” The words cut Markus deep. MIA? How? She was the most skilled Elite in the Blackjacks, Ramey being the next. How could she just dip off the radar, then go MIA, without slipping a word?

“Something isn’t lining up here, Murphy.” Pvt. Walker stated the obvious. Markus rubbed the bridge of his nose and scrunched his face. Something he always did when he was stressed. He held that expression for a few seconds before looking at the sky as if looking for direction from it.

“These kills are fresh.” Markus looked at Charles who was pointing at several bodies, at least seven, clean kills. Some of their throats were slit, others had a bullet in their head. Some of them still had their weapons holstered. The trail of bodies led to the nearby information hub. All pairs of eyes were fixed on the door to the hub, then at Markus.

“Elite Murphy, this is Mission Control.” Markus sighed,
“Come in, Mission Control”
“New orders straight from command. We need you to secure the extraction of the wounded. They are being held up in ‘wing D’ of the complex.” Markus made eye contact with Charles while he answered.

“Yes, sir. Over and out.” He then began following the body trail to the information complex. The others followed him. Markus’ Palm-Comm would signal his location and tell command he didn’t plan on following that order. He took out the charge and slid it in his pocket. His Palm-Comm was now just a glove. All communication with the outside world had been severed. The others didn’t quite catch what he was doing.

“Um, sir?” Charles finally asked a few seconds later, “I believe our orders are to go that-a-way.” He said, throwing a thumb over his shoulder. Markus turned around and grinned.
“One of the advantages of being an Elite. Only the highest of command can override your authority to do as you will. Our judgment supersedes all orders except a direct order from an Admiral.” Almost immediately after Markus finished his sentence, Mission Control came in again. This time, it wasn’t the usual operator. It was a man with a rustic, older voice. He spoke with wisdom and experience.

“Elite John Murphy, this is Admiral Teckah.” They had hacked his earpiece and were communicating with his helmet directly. “Elite Brossen is more valuable than you can imagine and it was a mistake bringing him on a simple mission such as this.” Markus closed his eyes and thought of the many soldiers he watched die that day. To say they didn’t need the best was foolish. This mission was supposed to be a simple clean up, instead it turned into an all-out war. “We need you to ensure his safety. I hope you see the importance of this assignment. Over and out.”

“And now?” Charles smirked. He was smart enough to know Markus had a thing for Ashley or he wouldn’t be going this far. Markus zoned out of reality as the weight of his situation came crashing down upon his lap. How did they get an admiral to order him directly? Why did they waste an admiral’s time just to ensure he follows his orders? No. Markus would do things his way. He had to know the truth.

“Now things get interesting.” Markus replied, returning the smirk.

Markus was about to open the door when the three soldiers behind him suddenly checked their illuminated Palm-Comm. It was odd, Markus thought, that they would all get a message at the same time. Markus turned and examined Charles’ darting eyes as he read the text on his hand along with the other two soldiers. Charles’ gaze lifted to the other two men at the exact same time their heads lifted to each other. Markus awkwardly watched as the three men looked at each other. Their eyes portrayed inner conflict with whatever message they had recently received.

“What was that?” Markus asked, but he had a hunch. His paranoia always gave him a hunch. All three men’s eyes drifted from person to person. Markus finally turned to open the door when he heard the clicking of a hammer being pulled back. He turned around to see two of his handpicked men with their weapons at the ready and their hammers pulled back. Charles was quick to raise his pistol to one of the men’s temples.

“Don’t you dare follow that order or I will blow your brains all over private Can’t-think-for-himself over there.” The man who was now being held at gunpoint began gently trembling in extreme fear and indecision as his temples pulsed and his eyes flashed. Markus adjusted his stance to be ready for anything. Any hasty movement might cause things to get more complicated.

“You too, twinkle toes!” Charles shouted, shifting the aim of the weapon to the other man.

“What the hell is going on?” Markus asked nice and slow, making eye contact with the newly found hostage. Charles pulled the hammer on his pistol back.

“I’m going to count to three. If you haven’t dropped your weapon by then, I will kill you.” He announced. The man didn’t flinch.
“One.” His trembles became largely visible as his indecision was displayed in practically every way.

“Two.” The second man had dropped his gun after two, leaving only the one who had no doubt wet his pants in fear by now. Markus didn’t know what Charles was doing, but it was clearly for Markus’ good. Markus watched as Charles struggled to squeeze out the next number. His lip twitched in anger. Or was it disgust? Perhaps disappointment?

“Three.” Markus didn’t have time to think. He immediately punched the Separatist Soldier in the nose and out of the sights of Charles’ pistol, which was now thrown back in recoil. The man hit the ground and his head bounced off the dirt. Blood ran down his now broken nose.

Markus might have dodged a bullet for the first man, but not the second. Charles readjusted his aim and fired a single shot into the man’s chest. He gave a cut-off grunt in pain before Charles put the man on the floor in his sights. The man was already incapacitated. Markus’ swift strike to the nose as hard as he could left the man out cold on the floor.

“No!” Markus shouted, lowering Charles’ aim. “Do not kill them.” Markus ordered. Charles dipped his head and holstered his pistol. Markus turned to the man who had a been shot.
“Radio for help. Get him and yourself to safety.” The man’s hand found it’s way to the hole in his chest. He then nodded and dragged his squad mate into the distance.

“What now?” Charles asked, turning to Markus. He returned the stare.

“Now we find Ashley.” Markus said, turning to the door behind him leading into the complex.

“What if command is right and Ashley has been captured?” Charles asked. Markus didn’t answer Charles, nor himself after he wondered the same thing. The door slid open and Markus led the way in followed by his loyal companion, Charles. They passed corpse after corpse of guards that never stood a chance. It was pretty obvious they were killed swiftly and quietly.

“This is most definitely the work of an Elite.” Charles said, trying to pry his eyes off a man who had a bullet in his forehead. Markus didn’t bother to respond to the obvious statement.

“Okay, you stay here and take out any reinforcements that try to sneak up on me.”

“Where are you going?” Charles asked with a backwards nod. Markus threw his rifle behind his back and let it dangle by the strap across his chest.

“Just following her trail.” Markus said, gesturing to a large ventilation shaft on the roof with a roughly cut man-size hole in it. “Here, give me a lift.” Charles weaved his fingers together and received Markus’ boot while lifting him up. Markus grabbed on to the hole with the tips of his fingers and pulled himself up.

“Makes me wonder how she got up here.” Charles remarked.

“She’s good, but I’m better.” Markus stated boldly. Deep down, he knew it wasn’t true, but he needed Charles to believe in him. He needed to believe in himself.

“You really think you can get Ashley out of this?” Charles asked, looking up at Markus.

“It had to be me. Someone else might have gotten it wrong.” He spoke with void confidence. He was about to begin crawling when Charles interrupted him.

“Markus!” He froze.
“What?” The two locked eyes for a second.
“Good luck.” Markus nodded and started crawling.

He didn’t know exactly what he would find on the other end of the shaft, but it didn’t matter. He would rescue Ashley, whether it would be from herself or not. But something in the back of his mind knew this was bigger than both of them. The whole mission had gone to hell and this was no different. Even if he carried her out in his arms and everything went perfect from here on out, he was facing severe punishment for disobeying a direct order from an Admiral.

Treason was a probable outcome of his actions. At this point, Markus didn’t care. The truth was becoming more important by the minute. Or was his personal emotions just clouding his view? If Ashley were anybody else, would he be taking these steps to save them?

Markus didn’t have time to answer the question before he exited the shaft and fell on his feet into a dark room. The only light came from a lone console in the middle of the room. Markus went to activate his night vision visor, but realized it was impossible with his power source-less Palm-Comm. He took a second for his eyes to adjust, then approached the console.

The console appeared to be a central information provider. His surroundings would give him a better idea of exactly what information it could provide, but it was too dark to get any clues. Approaching it slowly, he assessed it was already logged in to. He quickly began to read what was already open. A window was opened with the text “Upload completed one minute(s) ago.” Markus hit the key “More Info” and it brought him to a folder called, “Devroy Manufacturing Operation Specs”. Markus gasped inside and opened the folder with a tap of the holo-pad.

The folder read “Empty.” The data had been extracted, then erased. Markus swore, then navigated to a map of the building. A copy of the data might be found in the archives nearby. It was a slim chance, but worth a shot. He quickly abandoned the computer and ran for the far end of the room where, according to the map he had just looked at, a door was. To Markus’ relief, a door opened and he ran through. Markus ran down the dark hall and counted the doors on his right hand side. The archive room was down the hall, around the corner and the third door on your-

Markus’ thought process was interrupted by gunfire ahead of him. Flashes of muzzle fire blinded his darkness-adjusted eyes. Sparks ignited on his stomach plating just before he hit the floor. Seven more shots flew in his direction as he struggled to pull his pistol. He had gotten to his knees when he felt warm liquid pouring down his stomach into his crotch. His vision blurred in sync with his heart beat as he returned three shots down the hall. He heard a satisfying grunt before firing in it’s direction repeatedly. He continued throwing shots downrange until his weapon clicked empty. His strength faded, but he caught himself with his free hand. The sound of metal scraping against the wall sounded before a thud. Whomever he was shooting at had skidded against the wall before collapsing on the floor.

It was a fluke that he actually hit the man. The only thing he had to go off of was muzzle fire. At the same time, it was a tight corridor and fifteen rounds is a lot to miss with. It didn’t matter now. Whomever had attacked him was down and out. But so was Markus.

He fell back against the wall and slid to the floor. He then dropped the pistol and felt around his wound. He could feel his chest and abdominal plating was cracked in three places from the various shots he had taken throughout the day. Only the most recent one had gotten through. Lucky for Markus, the bullet hadn’t gone far through his skin. His armor had taken nearly all of the impact and left little to no damage to his abdomen. Another close call.

Markus whistled with admiration of his luck. He knew it wouldn’t hold up for long. With the click of a button, the empty charge in his pistol ejected from his weapon and Markus slid a fresh one in. He holstered his pistol and pushed himself off the cold floor. He then pulled around his assault rifle and let it’s muzzle lead the way rather than his nose. When luck runs out, firepower comes in.

Rounding the corner, Markus moved quickly down the hall. He reached the third door down and took a deep breath before opening it. Storming in, he looked around with squinted eyes. Two suspended lights illuminated the room just enough to see semi-clearly. Data archives covered the walls with two rows in the middle of the room. A computer meant for navigation was directly in front of the door.

“Sweet mother of…” Markus trailed off. What could these data files contain, anyways? These archives could hold as much data as the Separatist intergalactic economics center.

Approaching the console, Markus wasted no time. He quickly navigated through the library guide and found the same file he had found on the other console. When he tried to access it, a window popped up requesting he insert data log D7. Markus glanced at the nearest wall and saw the shelf was labeled “C” He glanced at the next one and approached the shelf labeled “D.”

Markus stroked his fingers across the files until he got to the seventh file. He pulled it out and turned to go back to the console. His path was stopped short when he felt the end of a pistol in his gut.
“Don’t move.” Came a female voice from the dark. Markus slowly raised his hands in surrender. Wait. Was that Ashley’s voice?

“Markus?” Ashley’s voice came clear now. Why did she always call him Markus?
“Ashley?” Markus put his hands down and stepped out of the dark. Ashley lowered her pistol and glanced behind her shoulder.

“What the hell are you doing here?” Ashley asked, her eyes fixed on the Data log in Markus’ hand.

“I was about to ask you the same thing!” Seeing Ashley again awoke slumbering emotions. He had forgotten how beautiful she was.

“I’m on top secret orders, you know better than to poke your nose where it doesn’t belong.”

“Never mind that,” Markus pushed Ashley aside and shoved the data stick in the console. “These pirates know something about Devroy Manufacturing!”

“Markus, everyone knows something about Devroy Manufacturing.”
“No, I mean, they have an operation underway.”
“Markus, that log needs to be found by command! Leave it here and they’ll look it over.”

“Hold on, I need to learn the truth first.” He began pulling up the specs of the operation. Images of Markus, his father, Devroy Manufacturing HQ and Devroy Manufactured weapons flashed past the screen. The images got more and more detailed. Pictures of hidden safes, Jacob Devroy’s private floor, secret weapon labs and testing chambers. Much more information than they could have collected externally. Someone had to have done this from the inside. One document in particular stood out to Markus.

The folder was labeled “Inside Man” when Markus opened it, copies of fake business orders came to view. All the evidence the Separatists had gathered against his father’s innocence was in this folder. But why was it labeled “Inside Man”?

Markus gasped when the realization hit him. The whole thing was a coax. Jacob Devroy didn’t really sell top secret weapons to these pirates, they were stolen and made out to be a false sale! Then they framed his father and left him to Separatist justice without knowing what hit him! But that means these ‘Pirates’ had deep influence in his father’s company. That alone was a disturbing thought. Markus looked over at Ashley to see if she came to the same conclusion. Her expression was blank.

“Are you seeing this, Ashley?” Markus asked with enthusiasm.
“Markus, just leave it! The Separatists will find it and your father will be proven innocent!”
“No, these archives could be destroyed in the battle, I have to take this data to them directly.” Ashley’s head hung low. Her eyes fixed on her feet.

“Markus,” she paused, lifting her gaze to Markus. The two’s eyes connected. “You’re not taking the data.” Her voice was cold and sharp. She might has well have shot an ice shard into Markus’ heart.

All the pieces were falling together. But why? Why would Ashley want Markus’ father to be convicted? Why would she defend these scum pirate’s guilt while concealing his father’s innocence? Markus had so many questions, but couldn’t seem to find his voice. All his questions were easily visible through his eyes.

A long silence endured while the two waited for each other to make the next move. Ashley’s eyes grew moist.

“I’m sorry, Markus.” Every word dripped with agony and despair. Markus couldn’t believe what was happening. Could Ashley be the one behind it all? Was she the inside man destroying his father’s legacy?

“Stop me.” He taunted, looking back at the console and reaching to pull the log.

“Markus,” He was stopped short by the end of Ashley’s gun to his chest. “Walk away.”

“Can’t do that, Ashley.” Markus formed a fist in his hand. He couldn’t believe he was staring down an ally’s barrel for trying to secure justice. No. He wouldn’t let it end here.

“I don’t have a choice here!” Ashley shouted. “Walk away, or I will stop you.”

“Not your decision.” Markus drilled Ashley, “Not your company, not your family! Stop me if you must, but I’m willing to die for justice!” He roared. A tear rolled down Ashley’s cheek.

Markus ripped out the data log and proceeded to the door. Ashley swore under her breath, but her gun continued to follow Markus as he walked out the door. Half of Ashley was pulling the trigger down with all her might, the other half was keeping it from budging. Markus walked out the doorway and threatened to escape, but Ashley lost the battle with herself. Her pistol jerked back with recoil as the round was barely deflected by the door closing behind Markus. A smoking hole was left in the door, rather than Markus’ back.

Markus took off down the hall when he heard her gunshot. He couldn’t believe she was really willing to kill him and let injustice befall on his whole family’s legacy. Markus tripped, but caught himself as he passed the last doorway leading to the outdoors. His feet crunched the dirt and grass below him as he ran as fast as his feet would carry him.

More gunshots from Ashley’s pistol echoed from the building before the door closed on Ashley. It opened once again and bullets began whizzing by Markus’ head. He ducked and dodged under them as best he could. Lucky for Markus, she wasn’t using a rifle of some sort. If she was, he would have been dead on her second shot. She must have used all her rifle’s ammo getting into the complex.

The bark on trees exploded around Markus as he ran through the forest. He leaped over a heap of rubble, which crackled when more rounds impacted it, and rolled to the ground. Even more rounds flew where Markus would have been lest he not rolled. It seemed as though luck had not yet abandoned him.

Just as the thought crossed his mind, the sound of ringing metal echoed through his ears. A round had connected with the sniper rifle on Markus’ back and it fell off it’s sling, clambering to the ground behind Markus. It didn’t matter now, he wouldn’t need it. Besides, it was weighing him down.
The hill hit it’s peak and Markus began running downhill. An outdoor helipad was visible just six hundred feet away. Three Separatist shuttles were docked there. Perfect. If only his luck would hold out just that much longer.

Ashley made it to the top of the hill and was beginning the downhill when her pistol clicked empty. She went to pull another charge, but her fingers grabbed only air. She was fresh out of charges. She swore and continued her run after him. Maybe she could take him on in hand-to-hand combat. With any luck, the Separatist soldiers on the heli-pad would follow their orders and kill him on sight. She could hardly believe she was actually chasing down her best friend. Her only friend.

Her thoughts were interrupted when she stepped on something metal. It wasn’t just any metal, however. Ashley knew what it was as soon as she came in contact with it. She looked down and spotted Markus’ sniper rifle. She must have shot it off his back. Without hesitation, she dropped her pistol and grabbed the rifle with two hands. Dropping to her knee, she checked the ammunition in it. Three rounds. She was never as good with a rifle as Markus was. Especially at a moving target at such a distance. She looked down the sight of her scope and put Markus in the crosshairs. Just before she yanked the trigger, the crosshairs moved. The rifle jerked back with recoil.

Ashley pulled back the bolt shoved it back into place. While lining up another shot, she could see Markus looking behind him and swearing. He knew she had found his rifle. Markus lowered his head and covered it with his arm as his mad dash was coupled with even more power. She lined him up in her crosshairs once again and pulled the trigger. The dirt in front of Markus exploded. What? How did she miss that time?

She grunted in anger and pulled the bolt back, ejecting the empty shell before pushing it back into place. Lining up the crosshairs, She spotted a building that would give Markus safe passage to the helipad. He was only ten seconds away from it. If he made it to the building, he’d be a goner. The soldiers at the helipad wouldn’t have time to react before he had stolen a shuttle and been half way back to Devroy HQ. This last shot would have to be the one. Ashley’s sister’s life hung in the balance of this next shot.

Lining up the crosshairs with Markus’ chest, she held her breath. Shifting her rifle to keep up with his sprint, she squeezed the trigger back. A shot of guilt and pain entered Ashley’s heart as her shoulder rocked back with recoil.

She heard the impact of the shot before she saw it. The sound of Markus’ high caliber sniper rifle’s round penetrating flesh was a unique sound. It was followed by a grunt and a tumble. The sonic sound of the shot echoed off the hills as Ashley peered through the scope to see what she had hit. She first saw a splat of blood, then a small trail leading up to Markus’ body. It was sprawled all over the ground, just ten yards away from the doorway. Ashley could tell, even from a distance, he was struggling to maintain consciousness.

A lump welled up in Ashley’s throat as the young man crawled through a forming river of his own blood. His arms alone carried him across the dirt. Ashley couldn’t tell if he really believed he could make it, or if he just refused to give up. Either way, she could tell his minutes were numbered. He was literally leaving behind a river of blood.

Standing up, Ashley took the longest walk of her life to Markus. He had left a ten foot trail of blood by the time she arrived. He grunted with every muscle strain as his arms pulled him closer to his goal. She wiped another tear from her cheek and let his rifle slip from her grip. Approaching his soon-to-be lifeless body, she walked up beside him. His arms stopped crawling and he pushed himself up just enough to look her in the eyes. He winced in pain and grunted weakly. The bullet no doubt went in one end and out the other.

Ashley dropped to one knee and couldn’t hide the frown plastered to her face.

“I-” His voice was rustic and it took great effort for him to exert his voice. She could tell it took great strength to even speak. “I hope whatever reason you did this for.” He took a deep breath before speaking again, “Was a damn good one.” She closed her eyes as a tear dropped from her face. Ashley pried the data log from his weak fingers and wrapped it in her own. Markus’ breath slipped from his lungs against his will and his eyes drooped closed.
Ashley stood up and turned away. She couldn’t bear to look at Markus a moment longer.

Approaching the door to the helipad, another tear rolled down her cheek. She let this one roll. Ashley stood in the doorway and turned back to look at Markus. A pool of blood was forming around him. His head had fallen and his body lie still. She could hardly believe he killed her. It seemed just yesterday they were at the range getting to know each other through friendly target practice. Now she was walking away from his body after shooting him in the back with his own rifle.

Ashley wanted to mutter something back at him, but couldn’t find her voice. She stared at Markus’ body for a good long while before turning away and letting the door close behind her. It was a damn good reason. Wasn’t it? After all, the safety of the Separatists, and her sister, was more valuable than the life of one innocent man. He had said it himself. He better not be wrong. And what if he was? Ashley thought. She answered herself out loud.

“Then God help us all.”
Sorry, I know this is a lot, but it didn't feel right cutting it up. It needed to be one segment :\

This is one of the most crucial parts of the story, and thus requires the most criticism. Please hold nothing back :)
When the three soldiers get the message, why doesn't Charles say something about it afterwards? And even if he doesn't you leave the topic too abruptly.

Also, (assuming this is the end) it need more details!!! How is Ashley's sister involved? A detailed explanation of what's really going on and why the truth can't be told.

Probably more, just can't think of it right now.
When the three soldiers get the message, why doesn't Charles say something about it afterwards? And even if he doesn't you leave the topic too abruptly.

Hm... That's a great point...

...Crap... That's a biggie...

Also, (assuming this is the end) it need more details!!! How is Ashley's sister involved? A detailed explanation of what's really going on and why the truth can't be told.

No, not the end. That'd be a horrible ending! xD Main character dies, THE END.

The reader suppose to be in the dark with Markus at this point. Whether that is a good or bad thing on my part, I don't know.

Rest assured, all will be explained.
No, not the end. That'd be a horrible ending! xD Main character dies, THE END.

This is the tippity-tip climax. My guess would be one-two more segments to tie things up.
“John!” Private Charles Walker ran down and examined Markus’ body. He couldn’t believe his eyes. Charles glanced around and assessed nobody was in sight. No bodies, no signs of one-against-ten battle, nothing. What he did notice, however, was Markus’ rifle on the floor. A bullet hole was through it’s sling, giving the vibe someone must have shot it. The question was, who shot it? Markus, or someone else?

Charles examined Markus’ wounds. One shot to the back from a high caliber rifle. This was done by a professional. Charles instantly feared the worst. Could Ashley be the one who shot him? Killed him, even? Charles bent low and checked for a pulse. It was weak, but existent.

Throwing off extra weight on his back, Charles went to pick Markus up, but hesitated. His life was too fragile to be carried over the shoulder. Charles was no medic; he didn’t know what to do. He glanced up at the helipad just above and frowned. Maybe he could get a medic to come down. If his memory served, there was another Elite up there. Surely he would follow his orders in killing Markus. It was a huge risk, but he had to take it. Just maybe, if he could find a medical team to come pick him up without attracting too much attention.

Charles turned and sprinted through the door and up the stairs. As soon as the door opened he was greeted by three rifle muzzles.

“Hey, we got a wounded down here, I need at least two medics and a stretcher!” Charles shouted to the busied men.

“Aye!” Said a man with a large pack full of supplies on his back. “Lead the way, mate!” Another medic stood up and followed him.

“Come on, he’s just down this way!” Charles turned back around and took the steps two at a time. He turned and exited the door. “Here!” The two medics skidded to a halt on their knees examining the body. They instantly took hold of him and moved him to the stretcher. Strapping Markus in, they went to lift him up.

“Come on, he looks like he needs a medevac to-“

“No!” Charles shouted, cutting him off. “Do what you can for him, but keep him here.” The two medics locked eyes with a raised brow, then looked back at Charles. “Please.” He added. They must not have recognized Markus, or they would have said something. Or maybe they didn’t get the order to kill him? It didn’t matter, it was a risk Charles wasn’t willing to take. Markus stayed where he was. He certainly wasn’t getting close to any other Elites.

“As you wish. We will begin first aid.” The medic threw off his pack and began working away. The other medic instantly began cleaning Markus’ large bullet wound.

Suddenly, the archives Markus and Charles had infiltrated exploded randomly. Charles turned to see the flames lick the air where the building used to be. The two medics glanced up, but then quickly returned to work. Just another part of war.

“It looks like the bullet didn’t hit any major organs.”

“What?” Charles asked, astonished. “How could he leave such a trail and not hit a major organ?”

“Hey, I said it didn’t hit a major organ, not it didn’t hit a major artery. It’s a damn miracle, but the man’s still alive.” Charles breathed a short sigh of relief. He honestly thought Markus would be dead by now.
“Give me his survival odds.” The man blew air out his mouth, letting his cheeks puff up.
“Twenty percent. Twenty five if he has a strong will and we keep him conscience.”
“Then for heaven’s sake, wake him up!” Charles shouted.
“If we escalate his blood pressure, it could kill him. He’s lost too much blood!”
“Then get him a transfusion!”

“It’s in the process, would you calm down?” The medic pleaded, digging through his medical bag. “Make yourself useful and keep watch!.” Charles grunted, but did as he was told. Several minutes passed while the transfusion was in process. Every now and then one of the medics would ask for a tool or say something in paramedic speak. Charles would just keep an eye on the horizon.

“What the hell are you doing?” Charles asked when one of the medics came at Markus with a needle. He looked up and gave Charles a look as if he was talking to the most ignorant person in the world.

“Giving him a stimulant, would you let me do my job?” He asked, raising his voice. Charles backed down and watched as he injected clear fluid into Markus. Thirty seconds later he could see Markus’ eyes moving under their lids.

“Private Brown, he’s waking!”

“Keep him sedate, but awake. It will get the blood flowing at a steady pace. I’ve almost got things patched up.” As the medic was speaking, Charles noticed a group of four men coming over the hill. They suddenly saw them and rounds were fired.

“Look out!” Charles shrieked, trying to pull the stretcher Markus was on. One of the medics took a bullet to the face and stammered backwards. The other swore loudly and tried to help Charles with the stretcher. They made it a few yards before three rounds penetrated the medic’s back. Blood spurted from his chest with each shot. He fell to his knees and dropped the stretcher before falling on his face.

Charles swore and continued dragging Markus. A few rounds whizzed by his face and the stretcher slipped out of his hands. Bending over to pick Markus up, he hesitated. Why was he risking his own life for someone who would most likely die in the next hour anyways. The truth cut Charles deep, but he felt any man would do the same. He turned and sprinted with all his might for the door. More rounds popped dirt into the air around him. Diving into the hall, Charles remotely closed the door.

Climbing to his feet, he darted up the stairs. He had to alert the men up top. Not that they didn’t know, but he needed them to listen to him. If he could rally enough men to go back down, he just might be able to save Markus after all.

Markus’ eyes broke open and light entered his world once again. The first thing he noticed was his lack of strength. He hardly had the strength to breath, let alone move. Everything he heard was muffled and distorted. What sounded like gunfire came from above him. Above him? He must be lying down. He instinctively tried to move his hand, but leather around his wrist kept it from budging. Markus lay still, falling in and out of consciousness for ten minutes before he finally awoke. The transfusion had been completed, despite the circumstances.

Gathering his strength, Markus looked down to see himself strapped and locked into a stretcher. He groaned and slipped his wrists out of the hold. His arms floated weightlessly in the air for a second before he unbuckled his waist, then his feet.

Taking several deep breaths, Markus slowly pushed himself off the ground. It was a miracle, he thought. One second he was diving for the door, now he was up and walking. As soon as the thought passed, a wave of light headedness passed over him and he had to catch himself on a nearby boulder.

Markus took several more minutes, but eventually, he gathered himself and his memory began to serve him. He was running. Running? From what? Pirates? No, they were soldiers. Right? Charles. Ashley. Ashley! He was running from Ashley. But why? The memories slapped him and he had to blink the intensity away. Like a pummeling wave, he suddenly remembered everything. How could Ashley really shoot him?

The data! Markus glanced around, then swore. Ashley pried it from his fingers. She would be long gone, and even if she was standing in front of him, he could barely stand, let alone fight. Hope was gone. The Separatists would probably charge him for treason. Ashley would probably try to kill him along with any other soldiers and he lived by miracle. Wait, how did he live? Charles!

With trembling legs, Markus inched for the door. He had to reach the shuttle and get Charles. He looked around for any clues to his whereabouts and only found dead medics. He swore again and hobbled faster to the door. The shuttles were just up ahead. He had to reach a shuttle.

The door opened and the stench of death instantly filled his nostrils. Dead Separatist soldiers lay scattered everywhere. Markus made it half way up the staircase before slipping and falling to his knees. He swore again and crawled the rest of the way up. Using the rail to reach his feet, he opened the door and walked onto the landing pad.

“Private Walker” Markus barely managed a whisper into his battery-less Palm-Comm. “Ch-Charles” He repeated, not realizing it had no battery. He then examined his hand with glazed over eyes and let his hand drop when he realized it had no energy cell. What happened to the energy cell?

“Freeze!” Johnson’s voice came from behind Markus. He was so close. He couldn’t stop now. Johnson would probably follow his orders and kill Markus if he stopped. He was only a few feet from the shuttle.

“Take another step and I’ll finish it, Murphy!” Markus couldn’t take on Johnson in his state. He stopped. Markus turned to face Johnson.

“How- what?” Johnson asked himself in confusion. “Ashley said she killed you!”
“Is that what she’s telling people?” He asked, gripping his abdomen.

“Ashley might have the balls to kill you, Murphy.” Johnson lowered his gun. “But I don’t.” The two stood in silence for a second.

“Thank you.” Markus whispered, turning to the shuttle.

“But it isn’t worth losing my job over.” Markus glanced over at Johnson, who had a grin from ear to ear. “Try to make it look like I beat you up or something” Markus chuckled, then glanced at his armor, which was completely destroyed, and his many injuries. They both openly laughed as Johnson walked away. Markus turned and crawled into the shuttle, then made his way to the cockpit. Collapsing in the pilot’s seat, he punched in his co-ordinance and hit ‘Auto-pilot.’ The shuttle was worthless to Markus without one. Markus was good at two things: Shooting rifles and pouring cereal. Piloting a shuttle wasn’t even close.

The shuttle whirred to life, then zoomed into the air. Markus closed his eyes with a sigh of relief. It wasn’t that relieving, but Markus took what he could get. And at the moment, everything he could get was only his life. He didn’t have much time to celebrate, however. He quickly slipped into a deep sleep.
This was sinking pretty low, so I just thought I'd post what I had :)

Join the Conversation

Return to Forum