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9/11/2007 2:23:28 AM

Ground Zero (A Story.) Pt. I

[quote][b]Author's Note:[/b] Not much to say about this story really, It's been split into two parts: Part I being Chapters 1 and 2, and Part II being Chapter 3. I'm currently working on a sequel (Think, Parts III, IV, ect.) if you may or may not be interested; and more short stories to come. (Hell, I might as well bring [url=]Beneath the Flood[/url] out of retirement at this rate.) Well, that's enough babbling out of me, hope you enjoy Part I of Ground Zero. Thanks for reading! [i]-1521[/i] P.S: Sorry about the format,'s left margin rule is a killer.[/quote] [u]Chapter 1[/u] The Helio hovered down shakily in the stirring dust of Ground Zero, the blue flares from the thrusters thrumming silently. The casting lights from the flares gave the defunct landing pad an eerie glow it didn’t need. The destroyed ruins of a great city were more than enough for the atmosphere here. Alexis landed softly on the ground, his black, faded boots kicking another puff of dust. Three of the nine soldiers got out behind him, their armor clanking noisily. The hum grew into a faint throb, and the Helio took off, two of the soldiers flicking off a cocky wave from their gloved hands. The four of them stood in silence, each silently relishing in the moment of peace that encompassed the group. The com crackled abruptly into their ears. It was the Commander. “Delta, stop standing around like fools and get going. We don’t have much time around here. HQ Out.” The dreary night silence was cut to a halt as the squad assembled. Energy batons snapped into their electric life, casting the same blue glow the Helio had minutes before. The com sputtered with chatter as they assembled into positions; the banter of the men as frequent as the commands they were given. A final chorus of off-beat clicks, snaps and clicks echoed as they readied their gear, and the three members of Delta Squad 15 fell silent to Alexis, awaiting permission to move. He was their ticket into this hell-hole, and they only way they could be guaranteed a way out; they might as well respect him. But Alexis only stood. His worn, leather cloak flapping aimlessly in the breeze that stirred around them. “What isn’t this jerk-off moving man? You heard the Comm, we need to get going before we’re killed out here.” Mark, or Delta 4 as his Com read him, gestured at the back of Alexis with an obnoxious flail of his baton. He had been ranting about their ‘Guest of Honor’ ever since they saw him. The guest had looked odd enough already, a tall, albino-skinned man wasn’t what you saw everyday anymore, never-the-less in a leather trench coat.. But when Mark had heard that this freak across from him was a mute as well, he couldn’t shut his mouth for a minute. Mark didn’t like this Alexis guy, quite plainly, he creeped him out; and Mark wanted to make sure his two squad mates knew it. “Shut it Mark. Just let the guy do his thing. It’s not like we have much a choice anyway.” “But he’s just stan-“ “Red’s right Mark, just give him his time,” The deep voice of Devin, Delta Leader 1, snapped Mike into place. Red he could care less about, the man was an aging vet in his forties well on his way out; but Devin intimidated Mark. He stood almost as tall as their guest, a towering black man with a voice that resonated with power and pride. “Unless that is,” Devin continued with an audible snicker, “[i]You[/i] want to lead us through here.” Mark fell silent once and dropped his head to the ground, suddenly not interested in complaining anymore. Alexis sighed and ambled forward, stepping gingerly over the metal spires and cracked boulders of stone. A desolate tunnel loomed ahead, and that’s where Alexis was going. He would meet up with Jake there, hopefully the soldiers would too, and he could rid himself of the Federation scum that clung behind him. It was sickening; he was here to lead them through his home, his land, for what? So that they could locate some generator and he could turn it on for them, like they needed more power anyway. [i]Try living without any power, scumbags.[/i] He thought grimly. Alexis may be the keeper of the generator, but the Feds were the ones controlling it. And wasn’t that the -blam!- of it? [i]Damn right it was.[/i] While his people slept in the ruins of New York City, the Feds slept in their lofts in the sky. The Feds knew that Ground Zero wasn’t safe for them, their troops still needed escorts to get through safely, but that didn’t stop them from tapping power here either. Alexis would be the last though. [i]The Last.[/i] It rang through his brain like a church bell. To think he’d be the last one to let them through. [i]The Last One.[/i] Yes, he liked the sound of that. Liked it a lot in fact. He and his people would rise up, and show them who was really in control. Mid-way through the tunnel, Alexis broke into a full-fledged run, the cries of the Federation soldiers as distant in his mind as the decrepit shadows of buildings flew past him, and the alleyway loomed nearer. [u]Chapter 2[/u] The ground crunched under the combat boots of the three Delta Squad soldiers. Devin led the pack, keeping in pace 10 yards behind their guest, only pausing to scan through the distraught intersections they passed through. “Where the hell are we going anyways?” Mark’s arrogant sneer wavered through his voice. “Weren’t you listening at debriefing you idiot? We’re firing up another generator. You done that before haven’t you?” Cried Red. [i]He sounds so exasperated,[/i] thought Devin, [i]he should be used to this crap by now.[/i] “For the record old man, no I …” Mark and Red’s arguing floated out of Devin’s ears. Ignoring those two had been just an essential skill to his leadership as his voice. It had taken long enough to master, but it was well worth it at times like this. Instead, Devin kept his eyes focused on Alexis. They were coming up on a dark overpass, and he’d heard enough stories to make sure he didn’t get the slip; at least not here. The faint afterglow of dusk was lost, and the four travelers were enveloped in a deep darkness, passing underneath the forgotten remnants of a tunnel. The scuffs of their boots echoed around them, falling into a deranged harmony with the scurries of mice and dripping pipes. The three soldiers huddled together, moving behind the large silhouette of their guide. Devin gave a quick hand signal, and they fell into positions. Any indication that the three had been simply strolling along was lost to the regiment they now showed. Red led up the rear, swiping his stance from side to side as he backpedaled warily. His feet scrapped back and forth over the gritty cement, in the tunnel, it echoed like nails on a chalkboard. Mark manned the middle. Like Red, he would whip his gaze back and forth as he walked. Slightly crouching, he held his energy baton in both hands like a bat and followed closely behind Devin. Devin was bent slightly, and he would glance occasionally to either side, altogether looking more like he had a back ache than scanning for threats. Inside however, his mind was racing 1000 times a minute. Every creak, crevice and shadow was analyzed, and nothing overlooked. This was how the three walked, Alexis merely striding ahead. It was now that Alexis ran. The soldiers, having walked fruitlessly in formation for near half an hour, had relaxed their stances back into a gait. The endless drones of the echoing tunnel had relaxed them, lulling them into the reservoir of repetition. What fools they were, poor, inexperienced fools. Alexis broke into a sprint, breaking the soothing echoes like a baseball bat to a phonograph. “Stop him! He can’t get away!” Devin’s roar pounded down their ears as the chased after Alexis, the tunnel now a brazen flurry of bangs and shouts. “Delta Commander! Requesting backup! The Guide is running! I repeat, the Guide is-“Red cried out in pain as the lead pipe hit him square in the face, his blood flying forward by momentum alone. Devin and Mark skidded to a halt, turning back at the sound of Red’s cry. But Red was no where to be seen. “Red?! What the -blam!- is going on here, man? RED!?” Mark flipped back and forth to either end of the tunnel. Panic had a hold of him now. “It’s a trap man! A -blam!- trap! I knew we shouldn’t have trusted that creep! Now we’re fu-“ “Enough Mark.” Devin’s commanding voice silenced Mark to whimpers. “We need to-“ The whole tunnel seemed to shift and shimmer in front of them. The shimmers began to take form, and people began to appear out of the mist. Ten on either side of Mark and Devin. Each one of them was like Alexis. Albino-pale and tall, each of them brandishing a brute weapon in their grubby, gritty hands. Devin glanced at each of them as they stood, taking in their intentions as clearly as the hate in their eyes. “Get my back Mark. Got it?” Devin gripped his baton tightly, wishing now more than ever for the days of firearms, before Ground Zero, before any of this. Mark backed into Devin, tensed, and stood his ground. If anything was to come out of this, Mark was going to see the end of it. [Edited on 09.11.2007 4:49 PM PDT]
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