Join Date: May 2006
Enigma panted. He had been traveling for twenty minutes and it was hot in his suit. He switched the AC on and ran further. Finally, he reached the perimeter of the base. Surrounded by miles of barbed wire, the massive structure rose hundreds of feet in the air. He pulled out his sword and switched it on. There was a soft humming and a slight distortion hung in the air. He swung at the wire. Before him, the barrier broke effortlessly, cut in half. He swung again and cleared a hole wired enough for a maan. Running to the next barrier, he swung the sword in a broad arc and cut a hole in the thick steel wall. Cautiously, he crept into the building, sheathing his sword.
For dozens of meters, he crept along, meeting no one. Finally, he keyed his headset.
“Enigma to Madman. Come in.”
“Madman here. What is your status?”
“I’ve infiltrated the perimeter. Madman, Torch, Aquaman and Dumpster are free to continue.”
“Rodger that. Madman out.”
Enigma ran back to the exit, awaiting the squad’s approach.
Kevin ran as quickly as he could along the dirt path on the way to the base. Just before the final rise, he suddenly dropped.
“Down!” He hissed. His squad obeyed. Kevin crawled to the top of the rise and looked down. In a small hole cut in the wall, he could see Enigma waving, and then he disappeared. Kevin scanned the building for cameras or guns. Finding none, he proceeded, still prone, to the fencing. He looked up, suddenly bound by some impulse. In the sky hung a helicopter. Out of it climbed a soldier on a rope, descending rapidly. Kevin pulled his gun up and fired. The soldier hung limply as the helicopter sped away. Kevin zoomed in again. In his mind’s eye, the helicopter turned around. He fired in back of it. As he had seen, the copter turned around, directly into the path of the bullet. The fuel tank exploded and the chopper sunk like a rock.
But all Kevin heard was Luc’s screaming, then silence.
“He’s dead.” It was Pyro’s voice over the com. “The chopper fell on him.”
Kevin hung his head in shame.
“Get over it, man.” It was Oscar. “He was French anyway.”
Kevin lifted his head slowly. “He was still a Maan.”
“Sure, I guess. But even if you killed him, don’t let him kill us by making us wait around. Let’s get going.” The company ran forward into the small hole where Enigma waited, into a hallway, dozens of feet tall.
“I’ve been waiting forever. Sorry about Luc.”
“It’s all right.” Kevin was almost teary. “We need to carry on. Pyro, which way?”
“I don’t know. Luc was carrying the GPS.”
Kevin sighed. “Pick a direction, then.”
Pyro closed his eyes and pointed.
“All right. On we go.” The company pressed forward into the heart of the beast.
An hour later, the company reached a large room. In it they could see thousands of mechs, ready for combat. Next to them lay tens of thousands of nuclear warheads. Further on lay grenades, rifles, thousands of every weapon imaginable.
“Wow.” Oscar gasped. “All right. Everyone get back far. I’m planting half a pound in here. Actually, go forward, deeper.” The company sprinted across the floor. An alarm sounded.
“Move!” Oscar yelled. “Don’t stop!”
“No!” Enigma turned back, where now dozens of soldiers were suiting up in their mechs.
“Run, Enigma!” Kevin shouted.
Oscar laid a bomb on the ground and grabbed a trigger from his pack. Inserting it into the plutonium, he yelled
“Enigma, run!” With a heave, he jumped on the pile of plutonium.
Enigma was thrown back, passing even his running friends in the hallway. With a crunch he hit a turn in the hall and stopped. Kevin and Pyro ran up to him.
“Go on. I’m gone. I think my back’s broken. I’ll hold them off. Run!”
Kevin wasted no time and sprinted down the hall with Pyro. Behind them, they could hear gunshots as Enigma shot at their pursuers, following close. In front of them, more troops ran at them, emerging from their bunkers, pulling guns out of holsters. Kevin pulled out his assault rifle and fired, holding down the trigger, his eyes closed, praying. When he opened them again, Pyro was several feet ahead, spraying flame into bunkers. Kevin leaped ahead into the carnage. When finally every enemy near them was down, they ran ahead into the gradually cooling corridor. They stopped as they reached a gaping chasm. Kevin looked into the hole. Within the structure was a giant cold fusion reactor, powering the human war effort. Twenty storehouses like the one Oscar had killed himself to destroy. Only one reactor to fuel it all.
“Give me your grenades.” Pyro spoke, his voice chill.
“Give me your grenades.”
Kevin handed over his grenades, puzzled.
“Run.” Then Pyro pulled all the pins and jumped, heading straight for the core. Kevin stared, then leaped into the air. The shock wave hit him at the peak of his jump, and as his head hit the roof, he lost consciousness.
When he woke up, his body was broken, but he was still flying. With a push of his finger, he engaged his jets. Coming down, he could see a ten-mile wide crater where Pyro had sacrificed himself to end one attack, to save all men from themselves.
Far away, a pile of rubble lifted itself and an invisible force staggered out toward freedom.
In the hospital, recovered with amazing speed. He walked out onto the balcony one day and stared out at the golden sunset. One more day, one more triumph. One man against a thousand. The war for humanity was not near the end. No, this was just another page in a thousand. Kevin Heathcliffe walked away from the balcony, the sun setting on one more page.
Only when you know you do not know do you know.