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K-NiGhT

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Re: Overwatch
« Reply #30 on: February 08, 2014, 02:10:38 AM »

Chapter30: A Rash Decision

Marshal and Vlad were asleep in their room when an alarm in their HUDs rang. The two of them jumped up with a start. Vígi appeared in their view once their vision focused.

“Morning, boys and girls,” the A.I. said, speaking to the whole squad. “Breckinridge had me wake you all up a little early this morning because he wants everyone to report to the cafeteria for a n urgent meeting. I suggest you all get a move on.” Marshal could’ve sworn he saw a look of sadness on Vígi’s face as he blinded out of view, but he immediately forgot about it as he and Vlad got prepared for the day.

*          *          *

“I see,” Thomas Savage said, sitting in an office identical to the one in the Empire State Building. “So they now know that the Titan’s Ankh is here and they’ll possibly be coming at us full force within a few days’ time. Is that basically what you’re telling me, Jack?”

“Yes,” Jack admitted. “With this knowledge, it would be wise for us to get the Ankh moved to a safer location and-”

“No,” Savage said, cutting Jack short. “Everything is progressing as it should be. There is something else that I require in order to maximize the Titan Orb’s potential, and it just so happens that the Breckinridge Task Force is in possession of it. Or rather, in possession of her.”

“I’m not sure I follow,” Forrest said, scratching his head.

“I know you don’t,” Savage scoffed. “You needn’t worry, though. Soon, Walker Breckinridge will no longer be a thorn in my side, and we will be able to finish our search for the Titan Orb without opposition.”

“Understood,” Jack uttered, covering Forrest’s mouth before he managed to say something stupid again. He grabbed his shape shifting accomplice by the shirt and dragged him out of the office.

“Now,” Savage said, turning to look at an opaque, cylindrical container nestled in the corner of his office. “I just need to find out what makes Breckinridge’s soldiers tick.” He got up from his desk and pressed a button on the base of the tube, which lowered the covering to reveal a comatose Daniel Layton, suspended in some type of gel.

*          *          *

“Thank you all for coming early this morning,” Walker said as Squads Two through Nine sat down in the cafeteria. “I’ve got some good news and some bad news. The good news is that Squad One managed to find the compound and has confirmed that the Titan’s Ankh is in the compound in question.”

“Well, what’s the bad news?” someone at Squad Two’s table asked.

“The bad news, as you may have noticed, is that Squad One was…unable to make it back to us this morning,” Walker winced, dodging the reality of the situation.

“So?” Chris asked. “They’re probably just running a little late.”

“No,” Walker said weakly, his voice breaking slightly. “They won’t be coming back. They were killed last night.”

Murmurs began to circulate throughout the whole cafeteria. No one could believe that the task force’s top squad had been wiped out so easily. “What will we do, then?” Marshal asked.

“We’re not doing anything,” Walker muttered. “We can’t afford to suffer any more casualties. I’m keeping you all here while I recruit more members. That’s Savage’s biggest advantage over us, and as long as we stay this small, we’ll never be able to defeat him. That is it. You are all dismissed. This compound is on lockdown.”

Numerous complaints rose all around the cafeteria. “This is exactly what Savage wants us to do!” Karly shouted. “Are you seriously going to play into his hands like this after everything we’ve accomplished?”

“What have we accomplished?” Walker asked seriously. “If I recall correctly, the past three missions, which have also been our most important, have been failures.” With those discouraging words, everyone in the cafeteria grew silent. Some just stared dumbfound at Walker, and others looked down at the ground in shame. “That’s what I thought,” Walker sighed. “This discussion is over.” Walker walked out of the silent cafeteria without another word.

*          *          *

“What’s the plan now, Jack?” Forrest wondered. The two of them had been wandering aimlessly throughout the bland compound all morning after their meeting with Savage.

“For now, we wait,” Jack said. “Breckinridge’s forces should be here sometime within the day, most likely at night. We should just rest and get ready for their arrival.”

“Are you worried about that Marshal kid showing up?” Forrest guessed. “He got you pretty good last time.”

Jack turned around and glared at Forrest with murderous intent. “If you mention that name again I will personally throw you in the Pit,” he warned. Forrest shivered in fear and closed his mouth.

*          *          *

“So that’s it, then?” Adelia asked. She had stayed the night in the medical ward to keep tabs on Travis, whose wound had healed considerably from the previous evening. “We’re stuck here, completely helpless, while Savage is going off to find the Titan Orb?”

“That’s about it, yeah,” Mia confirmed glumly.

“Not only that,” Vlad added, “but we’ve also lost a great leader and our top ten soldiers.”

“We can’t just sit here and do nothing!” Adelia cried, trying to keep everyone’s spirits form crashing through the floor. “We have to get back there right now and show Thomas Savage that we won’t be messed with!”

“How can we do that?” Marshal asked, not even looking up from the ground. “Everything is on lockdown right now. Walker would blow a gasket if he found out we left during a lockdown to go do something that just got ten of our comrades killed.”

“Stuff like that hasn’t stopped us before!” Adelia reminded him. “Chris, when we were being chased by the Axex in Egypt and Serena told you not to launch yourself out of the catapult, what did you do?”

“I did it anyway,” Chris recalled. Serena also recalled that moment and immediately formed a scowl on her usually calm face.

“Exactly,” Adelia said. “What happened after that?”

“I beat the Axex,” Chris stated proudly. “I took it out with a single punch!”

“See?” Adelia said to the rest of them. “That’s just one example! Sometimes you just have to break the rules a little to succeed! That’s why we’re not going to let some stupid lockdown hold us back! Are you guys with me?”

“Yeah!” cheered the other squad members.

“All right, then,” Adelia said. “You guys find a way to sneak out, and Ryder and I will catch up with you after I’ve finished healing Travis.” Everyone nodded in understanding and walked out of the room, except for Marshal. He walked toward Adelia, attempting to feign aloofness.

“Thanks for the inspiring speech,” he said flatly.

“I wouldn’t have had to make it if you had been just a bit more optimistic,” she said back.

“I’m the one that got Daniel and the rest of his squad killed,” Marshal told her. “I pressured him into going on that mission in our leader’s meeting yesterday.”

“Why am I not surprised?” Adelia wondered.

“Adelia, please,” Marshal groaned. “I never meant for that to happen. I had no idea what we were up against, and if Layton hadn’t been such a hothead in the first place, he wouldn’t have even gone.”

“Look,” Adelia said, turning to face him finally. “I have to tend to Travis, so why don’t you just leave with everyone else? I don’t have time to listen to your freaky little problems.”

“I-” Marshal started to say something, but he stopped himself and trudged shamefully out of the room. Adelia just sighed and placed her hands over Travis’s wound. As soon as Marshal had left, Ryder walked in.

“Hey,” he said. “I saw Marshal walking out of here looking kind of sad. What’s going on between the two of you?”

Adelia sighed again. “Sit down, and I’ll tell you.”

*          *          *

Mia had managed to sneak the rest of the team into the storage room, where their Technical’s capsule was stored. She dropped the camouflage field and the seven of them came into plain sight. Tristan quickly grabbed their capsule and held it out for everyone else to see.

“We’re in business,” he said, showing a light grin as he waved the capsule around in his hand.

“Perfect,” Marshal whispered. “Now we just have to get out of the compound without being seen and hit the road for Iowa.”

“I’ve already hacked into all the security cameras,” Tristan reported. “They’ll just show a still frame of the room as it’s empty for as long as I want them to.”

“Great job, man!” Chris praised. He gave Tristan a pat on the back, but he misjudged his strength by a bit and knocked the scrawny hacker over.

“Ow,” Tristan groaned. “Thanks, I guess.”

“Let’s move, people,” Vlad suggested. “We’ve got a big drive ahead of us.”
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K-NiGhT

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Re: Overwatch
« Reply #31 on: February 08, 2014, 02:12:28 AM »

Chapter31: Compound Crackdown

Vlad brought the Technical to a stop behind a hill near the compound. Everyone jumped out and gathered together.
   
“Okay, everyone,” Marshal said, “this is it. We’ve got no backup, no medic, and no reconnaissance. We’ve only got one chance to get in there, get the ankh, and get the hell out. Vlad, you go set us up with some overwatch. Let us know what we’re dealing with.”
   
“Understood,” Vlad acknowledged, getting his rifle out of the Technical and placing it on his back. He took off to find a vantage point while Marshal turned to the rest of the squad.
   
“We’ll be going in quietly under cover,” Marshal explained. “If things get too messy, I’ll stop time and get us out of there as quickly as possible.”
   
“What’s the plan once we get in there?” Aurora asked.
   
“I’ll let you know when I get that far,” Marshal said, unsheathing Emerald Flash.

*          *          *
   
In the medical ward of Breckinridge’s headquarters, Adelia lifted her hands off of Travis to wipe some sweat off her brow. “He’s healed,” she said, exhaling sharply. “He’ll wake up in a little bit.”
   
“Thank you so much,” Ryder blubbered. “If I’d lost Travis, I…I…”
   
“I know,” Adelia said, stopping him. “You should stay here with him.”
   
“What about you?” Ryder asked. “Where are you going?”
   
“I’m going to help my idiot of an ex-boyfriend,” Adelia said, brandishing the helicopter’s capsule in her hand.

*          *          *
   
Looking through the scope of his sniper rifle, Vlad kept a close watch on his comrades using his enhanced vision. Looking at the area in front of the compound, he noticed one lone guard standing at the entrance. This could be a problem, he thought. He opened up communications to speak with the rest of his team.
   
“Lone hostile,” he told them with his deep Russian voice. “Right in front of the entrance.”
   
“One guard in Savage’s largest compound in the United States?” Marshal’s voice whispered back to Vlad. “You’d think they’d be a little more cautious.”
   
“Yeah,” Chris agreed, “especially considering the stuff they’ve got in there.”
   
“What do you want me to do, sir?” Vlad asked, still keeping his eye on the singular guard.
   
“Take him out,” Marshal ordered.
   
“Gladly,” Vlad replied, smiling to himself. He got the target in his sights, focused in on his head, and pulled the trigger. There was only a small noise before the rifle’s single bullet hit the target in the head and he immediately crumpled to the floor. Unfortunately for Vlad, the angle and speed of the shot were both just enough to pierce straight through the guard’s skull and hit the alarm button right behind him.
   
“WARNING,” the pre-recorded female voice blared as sirens went off behind it. “SECURITY BREACH. LEVEL ZERO.”
   
“Well, shit,” Vlad muttered to himself.
   
“So much for going in quietly!” Marshal shouted. “Let’s move, people! We’ve got hostiles inbound! Vlad, watch your shot next time!”
   
Vlad slammed his head to the ground in disgust.

*          *          *
   
Adelia snuck down to the first floor of the headquarters and tiptoed across the lobby. She stealthily leapt across the tiled floor, not making any noise and avoiding detection. She made it out the automatic door and into the crisp nighttime mountain air. She started walking normally again, not realizing that Walker was leaning on the wall next to the door.
   
“Going somewhere?” he asked her, standing up and walking towards her.
   
Adelia nearly jumped out of her skin as she yelped and whipped around to face Walker. “Oh!” she cried. “Walker! Good to see you! You always have the greatest timing, if I may be allowed to say. Also, if I may be so bold, you are looking about as cool as a fair number of cucumbers.”
   
“What are you doing, Adelia?” Walker asked flatly.
   
“Oh, Walker,” Adelia sighed, putting on the most ridiculous act ever. “Why must you assume that I’m always up to something?”
   
“I don’t,” Walker said, “but I do know that you’re a terrible liar and I can plainly see your squad’s helicopter capsule in your hand.”
   
“What are you talking about?” Adelia asked, playing dumb as she quickly slid her hand behind her back. “I don’t have anything in my hands!”
   
“Knock it off, Adelia,” Walker ordered. “Just tell me what’s going on before you make me angry.”
   
“Fine,” Adelia groaned, giving up the act. “Marshal and the others went to Savage’s compound after you told them not to, and I was going to help them since I had just gotten done healing Travis.”
   
Walker stopped and stared at Adelia in disbelief. “You guys directly disobeyed my orders just so you could avenge Daniel Layton?”
   
“Of course,” Adelia scoffed. “Jerk or no, he was a great leader to all of us, and he died getting us some very vital information that would’ve gone to waste. We weren’t about to let his death be for nothing.”
   
“That’s actually very noble,” Walker admitted. “Okay, I’ll allow it this one time. Why don’t I fly you there? I’m not sure you’ve ever flown this thing yet, and the last thing we need is our best medic getting killed in a helicopter crash.”
   
“Okay!” Adelia said, excited that she had managed to persuade Walker into going so far as to joining them on their mission. She threw out the helicopter’s capsule, and they climbed in. They were just about to take off when somebody ran out the door after them.
   
“Wait!” she cried, her long black hair flying in the wind of the helicopter’s blades.
   
“Ah, Anastasia,” Walker said. “Can we help you?”
   
“Take me with you!” she pleaded. “I want to help Vladimir and his friends!”
   
“Of course!” Adelia agreed. “Let’s get moving!” The three of them jumped into the helicopter and took off for the hidden compound in Iowa.
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K-NiGhT

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Re: Overwatch
« Reply #32 on: February 08, 2014, 02:18:01 AM »

Chapter32: Savage Smackdown

Vlad formed up with the rest of the squad as they dashed straight into the compound. Marshal sliced up the door with the Emerald Flash, and it fell into pieces at their feet. When they arrived inside, they were greeted by twenty Savage Corporation employees, who each held a sub-machine gun in their hands. They stood in a classic firing squad formation, pointing their weapons at the squad.
   
“Aurora,” Tristan squealed, “now would be a good time to do your thing!”
   
“I’m all ready to go,” she assured him. As she said that, the firing squad in front of them emptied their weapons at Squad Four. Miraculously, the bullets all stopped in midair, as if they had all stopped right into an invisible wall. Aurora smirked as she waved her hand around and the wall of bullets shot back at the people shooting them. The impromptu firing squad fell to the ground, all dead.
   
“Let’s move,” Marshal said plainly, not even stopping to consider the amount of murder that had just happened in front of him.

*          *          *
   
Walker touched the helicopter down in a cornfield near the compound. Adelia quickly jumped out and got her assault rifle out and ready to go.
   
“Anastasia and I will provide aerial support out here,” Walker told her. “All you need to do is get in there and help out your squad. Make sure none of them die.”
   
“Yes, sir,” Adelia acknowledged, saluting. She turned and ran over the hill to the compound as Walker took the helicopter back into the sky.

*          *          *
   
Marshal and the others tore through the huge compound, leaving a trail of death and destruction in their wake. Marshal slashed, Chris punched, and the rest of them shot through waves of Savage’s employees.
   
“I don’t think your insurance covers that!” Chris joked as he punched a poor, unsuspecting employee straight up into the air and into the light above them, electrocuting him.
   
“Tristan, we need some direction,” Marshal said. “Find us a map and let us know where the ankh could be located.”
   
“I’m on it!” Tristan said, pulling up a menu on his HUD. He stopped moving to find a map of the compound, and the others stood around him, covering him as he searched. In a matter of seconds, Tristan found what they needed.
   
“It looks like there’s a secret elevator up at the top that will take us to the room with the ankh, way down below ground level,” he observed. “They’ve gone all out trying to protect the Titan’s Ankh.”
   
“It seems almost too cliché to be true,” Serena thought.
   
“Agreed, but it’s also the most logical idea,” Vlad said. “Let’s go for it, Marshal.”
   
“Of course,” Marshal agreed. “Let’s move, people!”

*          *          *
   
Adelia found the entrance to the compound and went in quietly, not knowing what to expect. When she walked through the busted doorway, she had to stop herself from vomiting. In front of her, the entire room was a bloodbath. Chopped up pieces of human were strewn about, while others had bullet holes riddling their entire bodies and even more had fist sized imprints on their skulls.
   
“Damn it,” she swore. “Can’t they just control themselves at least a little bit?” She followed the trail of death, taking care not to notice the piles of bodies around her.

*          *          *
   
“They’re here!” Forrest screeched. “What do we do? They’re slaughtering everyone!”
   
“Calm down,” Jack said grumpily. “Let’s just get to the storage room and protect the Ankh.”
   
“Just the two of us?” Forrest asked. “There’s seven of them!”
   
“Don’t worry about it,” Jack said, leaving the room. “Let’s just get over there.”

*          *          *
   
Marshal and the others had made it to the top floor of the compound without much problem. At the end of the hallway in front of them they found the elevator that they were looking for. The whole hallway seemed to be entirely quiet.
   
“Let’s move quickly,” Vlad suggested. “They’re bound to be coming up here shortly.” The rest of them nodded and took off at a brisk pace for the door. They got about thirty feet from the elevator door when a small legion of enemy soldiers appeared seemingly out of nowhere, catching the lot of them completely off guard.
   
“Shit!” Chris swore out loud as the soldiers pointed their firearms straight at the seven of them. They were all poised to drill a sizeable amount of holes in the intruders until a single shot took down the soldier at the front and center of the group. Everyone looked back to see Adelia standing behind them lowering her pistol.
   
“You idiots,” she grumbled. “You couldn’t have at least waited for me to show up?”
   
“We figured you were preoccupied,” Marshal said, trying hard not to show the tiniest of smiles on his face.
   
“You’re here now, though,” Tristan reminded her, “and that’s what counts.”
   
“Hey!” one of the enemy soldiers behind them shouted out. “Don’t ignore us! We’re, like, trying to fill you all full of holes!” As he raised his weapon again to start firing at Squad Four, he was suddenly dropped by a sniper bullet that seemed like it came from heaven.
   
“What the hell was that?!” Mia cried. “Who’s the sniper?”
   
“That’d be Anastasia,” Vlad said, grinning widely. “I’d recognize that sound anywhere.”
   
“Let’s take care of the rest of them, then!” Marshal ordered. “Formation 8A!”

*          *          *

“Looks like they’ve got everything taken care of now,” Anastasia said, watching the fight through the scope of her rifle.
   
“Good,” Walker said, taking the helicopter up higher in the sky. “Everything is up to them, now.”

*          *          *
   
Jack and Forrest quickly spun around to see the door to the room fly off of its hinges with a huge explosion. Dust and smoke quickly filled the room as Squad Four quickly entered the room with it. When everything settled, Jack turned to find Marshal holding Forrest with a katana held up to the shape shifting boy’s neck.
   
“Don’t move,” Marshal told Jack. “Just give us the Titan’s Ankh or I’ll cut this kid’s head off.”
   
“Do it,” Jack goaded, equipping his claws. “I don’t even like him, to be quite honest.”
   
“Jack!” Forrest cried. “Please! Don’t do this! What about the time we’ve spent getting to know each other?” Jack just continued putting his claws on, not even acknowledging his terrified comrade. He finished putting his weapons on and lunged for Marshal, preparing to strike both him and Forrest, but was suddenly thrown back when Chris got in between them and landed a punch straight into his side.
   
“Dude,” Chris said, “you are one stone cold motherfucker.”
   
“You’re one to talk, oh legendary Berserker,” Jack grunted, slowly climbing back on his feet.
   
“Don’t even try to pretend to be Mr. Holier-than-thou, Jack,” Vlad growled. “Chris may be a homicidal Berserker, but at least he distinguishes between friend and foe.”
   
“That didn’t seem to be the case when you threatened to kill me before I left,” Jack argued.
   
“You tried to kill Marshal,” Adelia reminded him. “Might I remind you that you were once allies?”
   
“That doesn’t matter any longer!” Jack shouted. “I’ll just kill you all here, my enemies!” He lunged toward the group in front of him, but quickly stopped when another voice emanated from the doorway.
   
“Now, now, Jack,” Savage said, stepping over the broken-down door. “No need to kill any of them. We’ll simply make a deal with them.”
   
Aurora gasped. “Guys! That’s Thomas Savage!” Everyone immediately drew their weapons and pointed them straight at their greatest enemy.
   
“Calm down, everyone,” Savage said. “I’m only here to make a deal.”
   
“We’re not interested!” Marshal cried out. He dropped Forrest and lunged for Savage. While he ran, he took a look at the man who had caused him and his friends so much grief and hardship for the past several months. He looked to be older than Walker, seemingly in his mid to late 30’s. His brown hair was slicked back just like Walker’s, but started to show signs of graying. He wore a suite exactly like Walker’s as well. If Marshal didn’t know any better, he’d even say they were twins. Savage’s most prominent feature, though, was his set of deep blue eyes that pierced through Marshal’s very soul and seemed to drown him in an endless ocean. Suddenly, Marshal stopped his attack and stared at Savage’s mesmerizing eyes.
   
“I think if you stop for a moment, you’ll find this deal quite interesting,” Savage said, forming a smug grin on his face.
   
“Snap out of it, Marshal!” Vlad cried, slapping his leader on the back with his giant hands. Marshal stumbled forward and shook himself awake as if just waking up from a nap.
   
“What the hell was that?” Marshal asked, raising his sword in a defensive position.
   
Savage just laughed eerily. “You all have special powers of your own. Who’s to say that I don’t have my own, as well?”
   
Marshal growled in rage. “Open fire!” Everyone drew their weapons and fired at savage. The man simply laughed again as he effortlessly dodged every single shot fired at him.
   
“Not bad,” he said sarcastically. “You might make me break a sweat over this deal.”
   
Marshal had finally reached his limit. He stopped everything around him and sprinted for his enemy, poised to drive the Emerald Flash straight through Savage’s heart. He made his final lunge and started to thrust the sword when the unthinkable happened.
   
Savage blinked.

*          *          *
   
What happened in New York? Ryder asked his brother telepathically. Why weren’t you able to warn us about the trap?
   
I’m not sure, Travis thought back. I think there’s something about Savage that causes my powers not to work.
   
And if your power was stopped, there’s nothing preventing him from stopping the others’ powers, too, Ryder concluded. The others might be in some serious trouble if they meet up with Savage.
   
All we can do now is hope that they don’t, Travis said, still lying in the hospital bed.

*          *          *
   
Adelia barely even had time to blink when she saw her ex-boyfriend impaled through the head on his own sword. Savage stood where he had been before, yawning as he used the Emerald Flash to hold Marshal’s limp, lifeless body up off the ground.
   
“Now, for my deal,” Savage said, completely nonchalant. “You have a choice to make, my friends. You may either have the Titan’s Ankh, or you can attempt to save your friend, here. Keep in mind that he won’t necessarily survive either way.”
   
“Guys, we need Marshal to live to fight another day!” Chris said. Everyone immediately agreed and ran for their leader. Savage dropped Marshal to the ground, and Vlad immediately scooped him up.
   
“Let’s go!” Vlad barked, hefting Marshal on his back and running out the door. The others quickly followed behind him, with Serena bringing up the rear. Before she made it through the doorway, Savage stepped in front of her and grabbed her by the wrist.
   
“Going somewhere?” he asked, forming a frighteningly sinister grin on his face.
   
“Let go of me!” Serena cried, struggling to get out of Savage’s iron grip.
   
“’Fraid not,” Savage said, squeezing Serena’s wrist even tighter. “You’ll be coming with me. Jack, Forrest, let’s go.”
   
“Yes, sir!” the two of them shouted. They both ran over to Savage and Serena and Jack began to teleport them out of the compound.
   
“Chris!” Serena screamed as she disappeared instantly.
   
Chris turned around, hearing Serena’s voice, but saw no one behind him. “Serena?!” he cried out, searching for her. He looked back around the room, but Serena was gone.
   
“Chris, we have to go!” Adelia shouted.
   
“Serena!” Chris screamed, punching the ground below him.
   
“Live to fight another day!” Tristan said, repeating what Chris had said earlier about saving Marshal. “Let’s go!” Chris got up and ran to the elevator.

*          *          *
   
“Something’s wrong,” Anastasia said. “They should be out of there by now.”
   
“Agreed,” Walker said, turning the helicopter around. “Let’s go check it out.” He began lowering the helicopter to see the top level of the compound. Anastasia lifted her rifle to see inside. The elevator door opened to reveal Vlad carrying the unconscious Marshal on his back with the sword still protruding from Marshal’s skull.
   
“Get us down there, now,” Anastasia said. “We’ve got wounded.”
   
Walker suddenly cut off the engine and the helicopter plummeted to the ground. Anastasia held on for dear life as Walker immediately turned the engine back on and kept the two of them from crashing on the ground by just a few feet. He softly touched the copter down on the ground as Squad Four sprinted out of the compound and piled into the aircraft.
   
“What the hell happened?” Walker shouted.
   
“Thomas Savage happened,” Vlad said solemnly. “We need to evac immediately.”
   
“Of course,” Walker agreed. The helicopter took off and sped for headquarters.
   
In the back of the helicopter, Vlad set Marshal down on the floor and Adelia immediately hovered over him. She gingerly removed the Emerald Flash from Marshal’s cranium and assessed the damage. She quickly put her hands on his head and used her healing power. Marshal’s head was immediately enveloped in a calm golden light, and his wound closed up.
   
“He’s healed,” she sighed. She quickly went to check his pulse and heart rate, and found that both were returning, slowly but surely.
   
“Is Marshal going to be okay?” Mia asked, looking worried.
   
“I don’t know, Mia,” Adelia said, fighting back tears. “We just have to wait and see what happens.” The entire squad huddled together as Walker piloted the helicopter across the black night sky.
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Re: Titan
« Reply #33 on: November 12, 2014, 02:16:07 AM »

CHAPTER33: TUCKED TAILS

Darkness.
That’s all there was.
Blackness.
That’s all that there had been for what felt like an eternity.
Emptiness.
That’s all there would ever be.

*      *      *

Out through the crisp, calm air of the Rocky Mountains, a lone helicopter streaked through the star-lit night sky. A very worried Walker Breckinridge sat at the controls, doing everything in his power to get where he needed to go as quickly as possible without crashing and potentially killing all of the passengers. Finally, after a dangerous and excruciatingly long flight, Walker landed the helicopter next to the compound. So far, the war with Savage had not been in his favor, with Walker’s latest casualty being one of his greatest fighters, Marshal. Walker jumped out of the aircraft and dashed to the doors of the compound. Immediately after him came Squad Four and Anastasia.
   
“Let’s move!” Walker barked, holding the door open and making circular motions with his free arm. “We need to get up to the medical ward, ASAP!”
   
Squad Four’s sniper, the Russian man mountain Vladimir Kozlov, grabbed the unconscious Marshal off the floor of the helicopter and hoisted him on his back as he sprinted into the building and up the five flights of stairs to the infirmary in record time. The nurses on staff had already prepared a room for Marshal, and they guided Vlad to it. The others had finally caught up and were catching their breath as Vlad gingerly sat Marshal down on the bed.
   
“I’m gonna need some space,” Adelia said. Everyone stepped out of her way as she led a team of nurses toward her ex-boyfriend. She surveyed the situation and quickly made a decision.
   
“Hook him up to an IV,” she said to one of the nurses. As the nurse got started on hooking Marshal up to the IV, Adelia turned to Walker and the others.
   
“I need you guys to go outside,” she said, pulling her long, blonde hair back into a ponytail. “I’ll come out and let you know how he’s doing in a little while.” Vlad turned and led everyone out of the room.

*      *      *
   
Darkness. But suddenly, the darkness changed. It went from pitch black to a warm gold. The boy finally started becoming aware of himself as the darkness began to fade.
   
What’s going on? he wondered. How did I get here? Why can’t I remember anything? As he became increasingly confused, the darkness returned, swallowing up the boy and his thoughts.

*      *      *

Serena Carver woke up with a migraine. This wasn’t anything new for her, though. She suffered from these for most of her life. What was troubling for Serena was that she had no idea where she was. She tried to get up and take in her surroundings, but quickly found that she wasn’t able to move from her current position. The dark room around her suddenly brightened as a door opened in front of her. She snapped her eyes shut in order to adjust to the sudden, harsh light.
   
Before she had time to adjust her eyes, they were pried open and forced to focus on a grinning Jack Martin.
   
“Mornin’, sunshine,” he said, cheerfully sarcastic.
   
“Jack Martin,” Serena drawled, still half asleep, “let me out of here or I swear I’ll-”
   
“Do what?” Jack interrupted. “It doesn’t look to me like you’re in any position to issue any threats.”
   
Serena growled and thrashed against her restraints, but they held tight against her resistance. Eventually, she sighed and gave up. “What do you want with me, Jack?” she asked.
   
“I don’t want anything with you, Carver,” Jack told her. “The big man is the one who wants you. Not so much for you, per se, but for something you can do.”
   
“Bite me,” Serena said, gritting her teeth.
   
“No need to be so sassy,” Jack said. “It’s not like you have a say in the matter. One way or another, Thomas Savage will have the power of a Catalyst. You have some time left to make a choice. Choose wisely.” With that, Jack left the room and closed the door behind him, leaving Serena in darkness again.
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Re: Titan
« Reply #34 on: November 12, 2014, 02:17:36 AM »

CHAPTER34: A SEPARATED FAMILY

Adelia had been examining Marshal’s head for almost an hour while her team of nurses made sure that all his vital signs were in order. After some time, Adelia lifted her head from her work.

“Mia,” she sighed. “I told you to stay in the waiting room.” The nurses looked around, puzzled, until Mia appeared from out of nowhere, her brow furrowed with worry.

“Sorry,” the girl said. “You’ve been in here for a while. Everyone is getting worried.”

“I’m close to finishing, I think,” Adelia assured her. “Why don’t you start getting everyone ready to come in?” As Mia walked back to the waiting room, Adelia put her hands back on Marshal’s forehead and continued to examine Marshal’s wound. Seeing nothing on the outside, she focused her power and a golden glow appeared around her hands. She gently placed them on Marshal’s forehead and closed her eyes, allowing herself to literally see inside Marshal’s head. She searched the surface of his brain for any immediate signs of damage, but couldn’t find any. She looked deeper and deeper into Marshal until she saw what she needed to see. She quickly threw her hands back in shock as all of Squad Four, including Travis, who had been released from the infirmary hardly an hour ago, walked in.

“How is he?” Vlad asked. Adelia saw that Vlad looked extremely worried for the first time since they had met.

“I’m not entirely sure yet,” Adelia admitted. “He looks to be completely fine, but there’s something else.”

“Spit it out!” Tristan shrieked, mentally crumbling under the pressure. “What’s wrong with Marshal?”

“The blade managed to miss every part of his brain except the hippocampus,” Adelia explained. “That part of the brain is thought to store and retain memories, both short and long term.”

“So he’s lost all his memory?” Ryder guessed.

“We won’t know until he wakes up,” Adelia told him. “For now, all we can do is hope.”

“Everyone’s here, so let’s stay with Marshal,” Aurora suggested.

“Not everybody,” Mia reminded her. “We’re missing Serena, now.”

Vlad did a quick head count. “Not counting Marshal, there’s still one missing,” he observed. “Where’s Chris?”
Everyone looked around for Marshal’s best friend and Serena’s significant other, but he was nowhere to be found. When everyone thought about it, they realized that no one had seen Chris Harley since they had left Savage’s compound in Iowa.

“Son of a bitch,” Vlad muttered.

*      *      *

There was only one survivor left at the Savage Corporation compound hidden in the Loess Hills. He concealed himself underneath a table and watched as the lone assailant beat all of his comrades to a collective bloody pulp. The last soldier whimpered as the terrifying man crouched and stared at him.

“Where is he?” the assailant growled with rage.

“Who?” the soldier squeaked.

“Savage!” the man roared. He reached under the table and grabbed the soldier by the shirt, lifting him off his feet. “Tell me where he is!”

“I don’t know!” he cried. “He disappeared from the compound! He could be anywhere in the world right now!”

“Maybe this will help you figure it out!” the crazed marauder growled, raising a bloody fist in front of the terrified grunt’s face.

“South America!” the lowly peon sobbed. “He said something about the jungles of Guyana. That’s all I know, honest! Please don’t kill me!”

Chris Harley grabbed the grunt by the shirt and stared at him with a pair of burning red eyes. Suddenly, his face softened and his eyes reverted to their original brown color.

“Thanks,” he said quietly, letting go of the soldier’s shirt and allowing him to slump to the floor. He turned around and walked away from the now ruined Loess Hills compound and stumbled for the south, determined to find Savage and, more importantly, rescue the love of his life.

*      *      *

Darkness. After the episode with the golden light, it had seemed even darker. The boy wished to see light again, to figure things out. As soon as the thought was formed, he got his wish. A white light began to show up at the very end of his visual field. It grew larger and larger until it was all he could see. Finally, his eyes adjusted, and he was finally awake and aware.

*      *      *

“Look, everyone!” Tristan gasped. “Marshal’s awake!” Everyone turned quickly to see Marshal North sitting up in his hospital bed. Adelia immediately rushed to his side.

“Marshal?” she said cautiously. “Are you okay?”

Marshal slowly turned to give Adelia a puzzled look. “Who are you?” he asked. “Where am I?”

“Marshal, that isn’t funny,” Vlad scolded. “You should drop the act.”

Marshal’s eyes widened at the sight of Vlad. “Leave me alone!” he shouted. “I don’t know you people!” He ripped out his IV and jumped out of the bed, poised to fight the crowd in front of him.

“Hold him down!” Adelia ordered. Vlad and the other boys lunged for Marshal, but they underestimated the strength of a crazed, frightened Marshal North. The scuffle knocked all the equipment over until they finally held down a kicking and screaming Marshal on the bed. During the fight, Adelia prepared a syringe of sedative and managed to plunge the needle into Marshal’s arm, releasing the sedative drug into his body. Soon, the leader of Squad Four crashed onto the bed as the darkness he had been struggling to overcome pushed him back into slumber once more.
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Re: Titan
« Reply #35 on: November 12, 2014, 02:19:50 AM »

CHAPTER35: DWINDLING

Serena spent the night in agony. Even in the dark, stimulus-free room, her migraine still bothered her. She wasn’t able to shift to a more comfortable position, for she was strapped down to the cold, hard metal table in the center of the room. As soon as she was finally beginning to fall asleep, the door flew open and the lights switched on. Serena grunted with rage and looked up to see Thomas Savage staring down at her.

“Good evening,” he said to her, showing on his face that he actually had no intentions of wishing his Catalyst prisoner a good evening.

“Eat a dick,” Serena grunted, grimacing through the pain of her migraine.

“Such defiance,” Savage noted. “You are either very brave, or you are very stupid. Either way, you can’t ignore the fact that you are a captive, a spoil of war.”

“Like I care,” Serena spat. “You don’t scare me. My migraine is more of a threat to me than you are.”

Savage looked at her curiously and frowned. “Is that so? Well, I guess you aren’t worried enough to care about my plans for you.”

“Jack already told me,” Serena said. “There’s no way I’ll ever work with you.”

“I was expecting you to say that,” Savage chuckled, his deep blue eyes flashing brightly. “Fortunately, I’m developing a sort of…workaround.”

“What are you talking about?” Serena demanded.

“You’ll find out in a few days,” Savage said, smirking. “Once the Titan Orb is in my possession, the world will have a new Catalyst!”

Serena’s eyes widened as Savage left the room, laughing maniacally.

Chris, she thought. Please make it in time.

*      *      *

Adelia and the others stood over the now sleeping Marshal, not quite sure what to think.

“What do we do with him?” Mia wondered.

“For now, I’ll have to put Marshal into a medically induced coma before he wakes up and becomes more destructive,” Adelia said. “I don’t really want to do it, but we don’t have many other good options.”

“Poor Marshal,” Tristan sighed. Vlad, Aurora and the twins just shook their heads in sadness.

“Yes,” said a voice from the doorway. “‘Poor Marshal,’ indeed.” Everyone turned to see Walker trudging into Marshal’s room with a pained expression on his face.

“Commander!” Vlad shouted. The Squad immediately snapped to attention. Normally, Walker wasn’t one for stuffy military customs, but ever since the war with the Savage Corporation had broken out, he had become much more serious around his volunteer soldiers.

“At ease, guys,” he said, calming Squad Four down. “I came in because I heard that Marshal was awake, but it seems that I’m hearing things. Care to elaborate, Sinclair?”

“Of course,” Adelia agreed. “Things are worse than we thought. Marshal’s hippocampus is mangled beyond recognition, effectively running all his short and long term memories. He woke up, but he became destructive due to fear and confusion.”

Walker sighed. “This isn’t looking good. Squad Four isn’t fit for duty. Nearly half the group is either incapacitated or just AWOL. Under these circumstances, I’m afraid I have to disavow Squad Four until everyone is back in action.”

“Disavow us?” Ryder wondered. “What does that mean?”

“It’s a kinder way for him to tell us that he’s kicking us out,” Vlad explained, glaring at Walker as he spoke. Everyone gasped in surprise and disbelief.

“Why would you do that?” Aurora asked. “Why would you just dump us like that?”

“It’s not really a decision I want to make,” Walker admitted, “but seeing as your numbers are down nearly fifty percent, I can’t send you on any missions. Rather than have you all sit around here at headquarters, I figured I’d make some space for some new recruits,”

“What about Marshal?” Adelia inquired. “We can’t risk taking him back home; who knows what could happen?”

“Marshal will stay here, as will you,” he explained. “I may be trying to cut costs here, but I’m not so heartless as to leave a wounded soldier unattended. As soon as Marshal is back with us, I will reinstate you all. That’s all. You may take all of your equipment and vehicles with you. I ask that you’re all gone by tomorrow morning at sunrise.” The now former Squad Four stood in a somber silence as Walker Breckinridge turned his back to them and walked away. The remaining six members glanced sadly at Adelia, who was already hard at work examining Marshal, so they shamefully trudged out of the room and out of the compound.

*      *      *

Chris hadn’t the slightest idea where he was. He’d just been wandering around aimlessly since he left the compound. He started getting frustrated when he got a call on his Class 12 Heads-Up Display. He noticed that the call was from his teammates, so he quickly answered. “What’s up?”

“Where are you?” asked Vlad on the other line. “We’re coming to get you.”

“No idea,” Chris said. “I’ll send you my co-ordinates.” He navigated the 12HUD’s holographic menus and sent his current location to his team.

“Got it,” Aurora confirmed. “We’ll be there ASAP.” The line was cut, and Chris sat down in the middle of a field and waited for his friends to pick him up.
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Re: Titan
« Reply #36 on: November 12, 2014, 02:22:51 AM »

CHAPTER36: THE FINAL SEARCH

Jack Martin stormed into Savage’s office, seemingly angry.

“What seems to be the problem, Mr. Martin?” Savage asked.

“I’ve done everything you asked me,” Jack reminded him. “I got the Titan’s Ankh, killed Daniel Layton, and I even got the Catalyst from Breckenridge’s forces for you. When are you going to hold up your end of the deal and tell me about my family?”

Savage smiled. “Ah, yes. I almost forgot about that. Don’t worry, Jack. You’ll have your parents and your sister back as soon as you do just a few more things for me.”

Jack slammed his hands down on Savage’s desk. “I’m sick of this bullshit, Tom!” he shouted, showing his brash nature. “I’ve been patient with you for a long time, and I think that it’s about time you gave me some answers!”

Savage’s smile was quickly replaced by a frown. He stared directly into Jack’s eyes with his deep blue eyes. “You’ll finish your mission, and then you will have your parents and your sister back. I give you my word.”

Jack recoiled in disbelief. “You have them, don’t you?”

“I don’t know where you got that idea,” Savage smirked. “Just one more job, and I’ll help you, understood?”

Jack scowled, finally putting all the pieces together. “Fine,” he sighed. “I’ll play your little game. Just don’t forget what we agreed to.” Jack swiveled around on his heels and stomped out the door.

*      *      *

After hours of searching, Vlad spotted Chris waiting for them down below. “Found him,” he said to Aurora, the helicopter’s pilot. “Land right there.”

“I’m on it,” Aurora said. She softly landed the aircraft next to Chris, who hopped in the back.

“Thanks for leaving me at the compound, guys,” he said, his voice dripping with sarcasm. “I really just appreciate it, you know?”

“Maybe if you weren’t so slow, you would’ve gotten out with us in time,” Mia retorted.

“Whatever,” he grunted. “Anyway, how’s Marshal doing?”

“Well, he’s in a coma, if that answers your question,” Ryder said.

“We also got kicked out of the task force,” Aurora added. “So now we’re on our own until Marshal is better.”

“So what do we do now?” Chris asked.

“We’re planning on looking for your girlfriend,” Vlad told him. “Did you happen to find any clues about where they took her?”

“Somebody said something about Guyana, South America,” Chris remembered, thinking back to that poor soldier he had terrorized.

“It’s more than likely that Savage is in the rainforest there. Let’s start there.”

“Already on it,” Tristan said, fiddling around on his HUD. “I’m going to pinpoint her location; here’s hoping her 12HUD is still active. Vígi!”

“Yes, Tristan?” the Squad’s designated AI acknowledged as he popped up onto the dashboard of the helicopter.

“I need you to send a location request to Serena’s Heads-up Display,” Tristan ordered.

“Of course,” Vígi confirmed. “I’m on it.”

*      *      *

Serena woke up to an annoying alarm tone that sounded as if it were inside her head. She snapped her eyes open and found a message box from her HUD projected in front of her visual field. Vígi was also next to the menu, looking almost happy to see Serena.

“Hello, Serena,” the AI said pleasantly. “Tristan Kane is trying to locate you. Do you accept?”

“Yes,” Serena whispered, trying to be as quiet as possible, avoiding being found out by whoever might have been watching her at the time.

*      *      *

“Got it!” Tristan shouted excitedly. “She’s in Guyana, just like you said, Chris!”

“We’ve got a long flight ahead of us,” Aurora said. “We need to refill the gas tank.”

“Let’s go grab a bite to eat, too,” Chris suggested. “I haven’t eaten in a few days, thanks to some people.” He glared at Mia, who glared right back.

*      *      *

Jack walked to his quarters, where Forrest waited. He had transformed into a cat and had laid himself out on Jack’s bed, purring softly as if to imitate snoring. Jack slowly crept over to the sleeping cat, grabbed it by the tail and flung it off of his bed. Forrest flailed through the air and managed to land on his feet. He quickly changed back into his normal body and gave Jack a pitiful look.

“What was that for?” he asked.

“Let’s go,” Jack said, ignoring him as he walked back out of his room. “We’ve got a mystical orb to find.” Forrest stumbled after him, still dizzy from being thrown across the room.

*      *      *

Adelia hadn’t left Marshal’s side since they had returned from that fateful mission. She worked herself to exhaustion, then pushed herself even farther. She wasn’t sure if she would be able to restore Marshal’s memories, but she could at least fix his wound.
If only there was a way for me to communicate with him, she thought. Maybe I could manually restore all of his memories. She concentrated her healing abilities to the maximum until it all suddenly stopped and she passed out and slumped over Marshal’s abdomen.

*      *      *

Marshal woke up in a strange, empty space. He stood up, dusted himself off, and took in his surroundings. Everything around him was white.

“Well, I suppose it’s better than darkness,” he muttered to himself.

As soon as he spoke, a flash of golden light covered the entire world around him, save for a white patch around where he stood. Then, without warning, Adelia appeared in front of Marshal. She shook her head and opened her eyes.

“Marshal!” she cried ecstatically. “I did it!”

“Who are you?” he asked, still not recognizing her. “What did you do?”

“Oh, that’s right,” she muttered. “You don’t remember me. Anyway, my name’s Adelia, and I’m here to help you get your memories back!”
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Re: Titan
« Reply #37 on: November 12, 2014, 02:25:20 AM »

CHAPTER37: FLASH

“How are you going to restore my memories?” Marshal asked.

“Sometimes, people with amnesia can remember things once they are reminded of certain events in their life,” Adelia explained. “I’m going to try this with you.”

“Slow down a minute,” Marshal interrupted. “Can you at least tell me where I am first?”

“I’ll tell you,” she said, “but you have to promise not to freak out.” Marshal nodded, so Adelia took a deep breath.

“Marshal,” she said, “you are in a coma right now. Your sudden memory loss caused you to become frightened and destructive, so we had no choice but to put you under.”

Marshal sighed. “Okay, I suppose that makes sense. What is this injury you’re talking about?”

“You got a pretty bad stab wound through your head,” she explained. “The wound is healed, but there was some residual damage to the part of your brain that stores your memories.”

“I see,” Marshal said, struggling to wrap his head around everything.

“I realize that it’s a lot to take in,” Adelia said. “I’ll give you some time to sort things out. I have to go now, anyway. I’ll be back.” She slowly faded out until she was completely gone.

*      *      *

Adelia woke up back in the hospital, where Walker was standing over her. She slowly sat back up and shook herself awake.

“Napping on the job, Sinclair?” Walker asked, stifling a chuckle as he spoke.

“You won’t believe what just happened,” Adelia told him. “I just-”

“-managed to get your way into Marshal’s head?” Walker interrupted, finishing her sentence for her.

“How’d you know?” Adelia inquired.

“The nurses called me here,” Walker explained. “They said you had passed out on top of Marshal, and while you were out, Marshal began mumbling to himself as if he were dreaming.”

“Really?” Adelia uttered in surprise. “That’s great!”

“Yes, but I also have some bad news for you,” he said glumly.

“What could possibly be wrong?” Adelia wondered.  “With my method, Marshal should theoretically be back to 100 percent in no time at all!”

“That’s just it,” Walker sighed. “Your method is theoretical, nothing more. There’s a risk of causing more serious damage to Marshal’s brain.”

“How?” Adelia asked. “There shouldn’t be any adverse effects with a simple memory trigger.”

“We don’t know how much of Marshal’s memory has gone missing,” Walker reminded Adelia. “The amount could be enormous. The strain of the rapid return of said memories could be too much for him to handle. He could die from this.”

“But, Walker, with my Manafest, it really shouldn’t be a problem,” Adelia said.

“That’s true,” Walker conceded. “Your healing abilities really are astounding. Unfortunately, you simply don’t have the power to do something as demanding as keeping Marshal’s nervous system from getting severely damaged.”

“What do you want me to do, then?” Adelia asked, getting irritated.

“There is one way, but it’s an extremely slim chance,” Walker said. “We could potentially amplify your power with the use of a Catalyst, but-”

“Serena is the only one in the world,” Adelia finished.

“Exactly,” Walker confirmed. “So for now, I want you to just keep Marshal stable until Vlad and the others return with Serena.”

“Can I at least talk to him?” Adelia pleaded.

“As long as you don’t trip the trigger,” Walker said as he left the room. Adelia sighed and turned back to Marshal.

“All right, Marshal,” Adelia said as if he could hear. “We’ll have you all fixed up in no time, and we’ll go kick Savage’s butt!”

*      *      *

“We’re coming in for a landing,” Aurora told her teammates. “We’re touching down in the middle of the rainforest, so brace yourselves.”
   
“No need,” Vlad said. “Just set us near the canopy.”
   
“You’re joking, right?” Tristan asked nervously. “We’re not parachuting into the Amazon Rainforest. That’s crazy!”
   
“You’re right,” Vlad admitted, showing Tristan a confident smirk, “but who said anything about parachutes?”
   
“That’s even crazier!” Tristan shouted in disbelief. “I’m not doing that.”
   
“Perfect,” Chris said, stepping into the conversation. “You can stay up here with Aurora and do your little techie magic stuff.”
   
“Sounds good to me,” Vlad agreed. “Are the rest of you ready?” Everyone nodded, so Aurora lowered the helicopter’s altitude just above the top layers of the Amazon. Vlad, Chris, Mia, and the Urbans stood on each side of the helicopter and leapt out and quickly disappeared into the treetops.
   
“They’re going to get themselves killed doing stuff like that,” Tristan grumbled as he settled into the copilot’s seat and set up his tech.
   
“They’ll be fine,” Aurora smiled. “We’ll have Serena back before you know it!”
   
“Right,” Tristan agreed. “Hopefully the signal we have is accurate.”
   
*      *      *

Mia managed to grab a vine hanging in the canopy and used it to swing over to a sturdy branch. She planted her feet gracefully onto the thick branch and watched as the Urban twins landed on the tree with an equal amount of grace.
   
“What happened to Vlad and Chris?” Ryder asked, looking around for their interim leaders.
   
“Maybe they didn’t make the drop,” Mia predicted. “They’ll be alright, hopefully.”

*      *      *

Chris and Vlad were alright. They had decided to skip the vines at the top of the canopy and instead rocketed down to the forest floor quickly and silently. They stomped down on the ground with great force, but were unharmed.
   
“That went…better than I expected,” Chris admitted. He had only followed Vlad down to avoid being shown up by the big Russian, but realized what he was getting into about halfway down the fall. “How did we survive that?”
   
“These uniforms are made out of a special material Walker designed that manages to reduce forms of damage due to shock and stress,” Vlad explained. “Anastasia was telling me about it a while back, but I hadn’t really had a chance to test it out before now. I’m glad to see it works.”
   
“You and me both, buddy,” Chris assured him, chuckling a little.
   
“Anyway, we should gather the others and find out where Serena is,” Vlad suggested. “Let’s get ready to move out.”
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Re: Titan
« Reply #38 on: November 12, 2014, 02:27:36 AM »

CHAPTER38: THE SEARCH IS OVER

Mia, Travis, and Ryder touched down on the forest floor with grace and stealth. Vlad and Chris walked over to them, grabbing their weapons from off their backs.

“Ready, everyone?” Vlad asked. Everyone nodded quietly, so Vlad went on. “The mission here is a standard search-and-rescue. Tristan will guide us to Serena from the helicopter, and we’re going to find her and bring her back home with us. Let’s keep casualties to a minimum; stealth is key on this one.”

“Tristan, set us a waypoint,” Chris ordered to his companion in the sky.

“Got it,” Tristan buzzed back into everyone’s HUDs. “It’s on its way. On another note, would it kill you to say please?”

“No time for the sass, Kane,” Chris said flatly. “We’re heading out.” In a matter of seconds, the waypoint appeared in the squad’s views, about two kilometers away from their current position. It was labeled, “S. CARVER” in all caps. The five of them took off in the direction of the waypoint at a moderately slow pace.

*      *      *

Jack and Forrest had been leading their troops around the rainforest for hours. It didn’t help that they had absolutely no idea where they were going. The only clue they had to go on was the Titan’s Ankh, which was said to glow when it got near its destination.

“This sucks!” someone in the back of the large company complained.

“Like it or not, this is actually what you signed up for!” Jack snapped back. “You can’t complain now!” They trekked through the forest until the Ankh finally started glowing.

“We’ve got something!” Jack barked. “Let’s get moving, double-time!”

*      *      *

Vlad led the others in Serena’s direction through the forest path when suddenly, the motion detectors on his HUD flooded with activity.

“Mia, give us cover, now!” he ordered. Mia quickly focused her mana while everyone gathered around her. The five of them immediately disappeared and got off of the path. They watched as a huge company of people marched briskly through the rough forest trail. Vlad quickly caught a glance of Jack Martin leading the troops from the front, holding what appeared to be the Titan’s Ankh in his hands.

“Did everyone else see that?” Vlad asked. The others all nodded to confirm that they had.

“That must mean that they’ve found it,” Ryder theorized glumly.

Mia dropped the camouflage around them. “I’ll go tail them,” she said. “You guys go find Serena.” As she turned and got ready to vanish again, Travis walked up behind her and put his hand on his shoulder.

“Good idea,” Ryder said, as if Travis had said something. “Take Travis with you and have him let me know what you figure out.” Mia looked back at Travis, who smiled and tapped the side of his head to remind her of his telepathic link with his brother.

“Perfect,” she smirked. “Let’s go, Chatty Cathy. Try to keep up.” The two of them instantly vanished, leaving Chris, Ryder, and Vlad. The three of them turned back in the direction of Serena’s location.

*      *      *

Jack and Forrest stared in awe at the monolithic structure towering over them. It was so gigantic that it was amazing it had remained hidden for such a long time. The outer walls were decorated with ancient hieroglyphs, all seeming to depict a scene with what appeared to be the Sun. At the base of the structure, a carving in the wall looked as if it would fit the Titan’s Ankh. Jack looked down at the ancient key in his hands and noticed that it was glowing with a white light brighter than anything he had ever seen.

“This is it,” he breathed, hardly believing what he was seeing. He walked up slowly and placed the Titan’s Ankh in the indent.

*      *      *

Mia and Travis were only a few feet away as Jack was beginning to open the door to the Titan Orb. Mia looked at Travis fearfully under the camouflage field. Travis nodded and closed his eyes to send Ryder the news.

*      *      *

Vlad and the others were just outside of Savage’s jungle base when Ryder stopped in shock. “They found it,” he gasped.

“Who found what?” Chris asked.

“Who and what do you think, clueless?” Ryder asked exasperatingly. “Jack and his group found the Titan Orb.”
   
“We don’t have much time, then!” Vlad cried. “There’s no telling what could happen once Savage has the orb and Serena!”
   
“I could tell you,” said a voice behind them. The three boys whipped around in surprise to see none other than Thomas Savage standing behind them, smiling.
   
“You!” Chris growled in rage. He let a primal scream loose and lunged for Savage, but he suddenly stopped and stared into the same deep blue eyes that had nearly gotten Marshal killed. Vlad’s extremely acute vision began to blur, and Ryder found that he wasn’t able to get ahold of Travis.
   
“Every time we meet, you’re so rude,” Savage commented. “I don’t understand why we can’t just be civil for once!”
   
“What do you want, Savage?” Vlad asked, squinting to try to get his enemy in focus.
   
“Nothing,” Savage admitted, obviously lying. “I’m just waiting here for the Titan Orb so I can start my scheduled demolition of the world.”
   
“What are you talking about?” Chris drawled, almost ready to pass out.
   
“Well, what else is one supposed to do with an artifact of such great power?” Savage asked rhetorically. “We’ll start in London, and once we finish off Europe, we’ll move on to the rest of the world. Then, when it’s all over, I’ll use the orb to remake the world and become a god!”
   
“You’re crazy,” Chris slurred, stumbling. “Serena would never help you do that.”
   
“You’re right,” Savage said, shrugging his shoulders. “She’s about as stubborn and pig-headed as the rest of you. Unfortunately for her, though, I have my methods of getting what I want, and what I want isn’t her. It’s her power.”
   
Ryder, piecing it all together, gasped in surprise. “You want to steal her mana and gain her Catalyst power? That’s insane! You could kill her!”
   
“That’s not my problem, now, is it?” Savage grinned. He gave a laugh of pure insanity as he brushed past the three of them and back into his compound. Chris, Vlad, and Ryder all collapsed under the stress of Savage’s powers.
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Re: Titan
« Reply #39 on: November 12, 2014, 02:30:37 AM »

CHAPTER39: CHAOS UNLEASHED

Jack uncovered his eyes after the blinding light in front of him had died down to tolerable levels. He looked inside to see a simple black ball, no bigger than a basketball, sitting on a stone pedestal in the center of an empty room. The ball had a strange pattern on it that Jack could’ve sworn he’d seen before, but he just couldn’t place it.

“I-is this it?” Forrest stammered, cowering behind Jack in fear. Not even bothering to acknowledge his partner’s presence as usual, Jack stepped slowly into the dark room. With each step he took, his heart began to beat faster and faster until he was right on top of the pedestal and each beat of his heart felt like it shook his whole body.

“Incredible,” he murmured, gaping in awe at the orb. He gingerly grabbed it and slowly lifted it up. When he had it firmly in his grasp and off the pedestal, the pedestal slowly sank down perfectly into the floor. There were a few seconds of terrifying silence, and then the whole structure began to quake. The patterns on the wall lit up, and all Jack noticed were the patterns that seemed to resemble creatures of some sort. They slowly seemed to almost be coming out of the walls. Suddenly, the whole temple exploded in a beacon of light that could be seen for thousands of miles.

*        *      *

Walker went outside for a breath of fresh air. Along with constantly checking with Adelia on Marshal’s condition, he had been working almost non-stop trying to keep the task force from falling completely off the rails.

He sighed and muttered to himself, “Man, could things get any worse?” As he finished the word, “worse,” a brilliant light shot up into the sky like a rocket. Walker just stared at it for a moment and sighed.

“Son of a bitch,” he muttered. “Why do I even bother sometimes?” He turned and ran back into the compound to get his troops mobilized.

*        *      *

“Jack!” Forrest cried as the stone temple collapsed into rubble. A huge cloud of dust obscured everyone’s view. When the dust finally settled, Jack stood in front of the rubble, holding the Titan Orb in his hands. He looked dazed, as if he had been hit by a school bus. He shook it off and smirked at Forrest.

“We’ve got it,” he said, laughing in disbelief. “It’s finally over!”

“Hooray!” Forrest cheered. The other useless troops joined in the celebration until they quickly stopped, noticing something moving in the rubble behind Jack. The figure managed to get out from underneath the rubble, and they all looked upon it in horror. It was a creature identically similar to the Axex monster that guarded the Titan’s Ankh in Egypt. Unfortunately, that was only one of their problems.

*        *      *

Tristan fidgeted in the helicopter, trying to make contact with the rest of the squad. “No one’s responding!” he cried.

“We can’t land right now!” Aurora reminded him. “If I do, we run the risk of losing the helicopter!”

Tristan looked out of the window and gasped in shock. “Look out there!” Aurora looked where Tristan was pointing and saw an enormous swarm of strange creatures leaping and flying out over the canopy.

“What’s going on?” Aurora wondered. “First that weird light and now this?

*        *      *

Mia grabbed Travis by the wrist and sprinted away from the creatures swooping down onto the Savage Corporation troops. The two of them took off toward Vlad’s location. When they were a safe distance away, Mia dropped the camouflage and stopped to catch her breath. She got on her communicator and pinged Tristan.

“Mia!” Tristan garbled through the line. “What’s going on down there?”

“Jack has the orb,” she told him, panting. “Somehow taking it out of its resting place released all those…things!”

“Are the others with you?” Tristan asked.

“No,” Mia replied quickly. “They went to rescue Serena. Travis and I were sent to see what Jack was doing.”

“Well, the others aren’t showing up on radar for some reason,” Tristan told her. “You should go find them and get them out of there.”

Mia looked over at Travis, who nodded grimly. “Got it,” Mia acknowledged. She closed communications with Tristan and ran through the last stretch of forest before the compound.

*        *      *

Chris opened his eyes groggily and groaned. He stumbled to his feet and immediately felt a wave of nausea pass over him. He fought the urge to vomit and tried to focus on the figures sprinting up at him. Before he could even catch up, Mia was right in front of him assaulting him with questions.

“What happened to you guys?” she asked. “Where’s Serena? Why couldn’t Travis reach Ryder?”

Chris wobbled around dizzily and attempted to tell Mia what had happened, but it only came out as an incoherent mess. Ryder and Vlad were just waking up, and Travis rushed to his brother’s side. After shaking his head vigorously and waking himself up, Ryder nodded at Travis and looked to Mia.

“Savage ambushed us,” he recalled, rubbing his temples. “He cancelled out our powers somehow. Then we must’ve blacked out or something.”

“Come on,” Mia said, helping Vlad onto his feet. “We’ve gotta get Serena and get out of here. Jack has the Titan Orb.”

“That’s right,” said a voice from the door. Everyone spun around and drew their weapons on Jack Martin, who raised his hands above his head. Everyone immediately noticed the pulsating orb in his left hand. Something about the orb caught Chris’ attention and woke him up immediately.

“That pattern!” he gasped. “It’s the same as the one on Serena’s arm!”

“Interesting,” Jack smirked. He disappeared in a quick flash of light. A few seconds later, he reappeared, clutching Serena’s wrist with a death grip. “You mean this pattern?”

Serena looked panicked. She met Chris’ gaze and her face lit up a little bit. “Chris!” she cried.

“Serena!” Chris cried back. He lunged to take out Jack but was stopped by a ruthless punch to the gut from what appeared to be a giant gorilla. Chris, getting angry and gaining his strength back, gave out one of his signature primordial screams. The gorilla got angry as well and charged at Chris, eager to start round two.

“You’re right, Harley,” Jack said, not even paying attention to the deathmatch between Chris and the gorilla. “These patterns are identical. Thanks for confirming that! Now, we have to go. Have fun with the creatures we unleashed! Come on, Forrest, we’re leaving.” The gorilla suddenly stopped attacking. It lumbered back to Jack, and suddenly morphed into a familiar looking boy, staring at Chris with horror.

“That’s the shapeshifting kid from New Orleans!” Mia remembered. As soon as everyone was distracted with remembering Forrest, Thomas Savage walked out the front door of the compound.

“Excellent work, you two,” he said, congratulating Jack and Forrest. “Let’s move on, shall we?”

“Stop!” Vlad shouted, grabbing his rifle and firing a shot straight at Savage. Unfortunately, before the bullet reached him, Jack managed to teleport the four of them away and the bullet simply left a hole in the door of the compound.

“Damn!” Chris swore. “We lost her again!” He punched the ground in rage.

“No time to be worried about that now,” Mia warned. “We’ve got bigger problems heading our way!” Right on cue, a huge swarm of monsters resembling the Egyptian Axex circled them.

“We’ve got to go, now!” Vlad said, pinging Tristan as he started firing shots at the surrounding creatures.

*        *      *

“Kane, Kaiser, we need an extraction, now!” Vlad barked over the 12HUD’s communicator.

“There are too many hostiles, and it’s impossible to find a clear LZ!” Aurora replied hurriedly. “You’re going to have to get back up to the canopy somehow!”

“Wait a minute,” Tristan said, glancing at the radar. “There’s something coming our direction. One, two, three…nine dots. All friendly!”

“Walker must know something’s up,” Vlad guessed. Suddenly, another transmission cut in.

“Squad Four, this is Squad One AI unit Xenon,” said the oddly human-sounding artificial intelligence program. “We have heard your need for an immediate evac and are here to help.”

“We’ve got this!” Karly interrupted brashly. “You go get Serena back!”

“Thanks, everyone!” Aurora said, grinning.

*        *      *

“That’s great, guys, but could you PLEASE get us out of here?” Mia cried. Right on cue, heave fire rang out above Mia and the others, taking out a chunk of the attacking monsters.

“There’s an opening!” Vlad shouted, looking over where the enemies had been downed. There was a tree that could be easily climbed straight up into the canopy. Vlad immediately took off for the exit route and everyone else quickly followed. The five of them scrambled up to the top of the canopy, where Aurora and Tristan were waiting for them with the helicopter. Everyone piled in, and they took off away from the Amazon.

“I’ve picked up Serena’s signal again,” Tristan said. “She’s been moved to London.”

“How did they get there so quickly?” Ryder wondered.

“Jack’s abilities must be amplified by the orb,” Aurora guessed. “We have to get to London before things get ugly.”

“This isn’t exactly going to get us halfway across the world in time,” Chris said, knocking on the body of the helicopter.

Aurora smiled as she pushed a button in the cockpit. “Buckle up.”
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Re: Titan
« Reply #40 on: November 12, 2014, 02:31:55 AM »

CHAPTER40: PLEAS

Adelia woke up from another session of talking to Marshal. She was certain that she knew what event in Marshal’s mind would be the trigger to gaining his memory back, but she couldn’t bring herself to tell him about it. Besides, she thought, maybe this could be a good thing. Maybe we can just put all of this nonsense with Ankhs and Orbs behind us and just start over. She realized what she was considering and immediately shook her head. How could she be so stupid? Her friends still needed both her and Marshal to help them finish what they had started. She got up from Marshal’s bedside and walked out of the infirmary. It was eerily quiet, not a soul was out and about in the compound. Adelia crept cautiously to Walker’s office and opened the door. Inside, she found Walker sitting at his desk, staying as busy as always, blissfully unaware of the fact that the compound was completely empty.

“Um…Walker?” Adelia said timidly.

The commander gave out a yelp and jumped several inches off of his chair. He looked up at Adelia in wide-eyed surprise, but when he realized who it was, his expression softened. “Oh, Adelia. Forgive me, but I’ve been a little on edge today. How is Marshal doing?”

“He’s stable, at least,” Adelia reported. “Where is everyone?”

“Right now, the rest of the task force is currently neutralizing a threat in the Amazon that emerged after Savage managed to get his hands on the Titan Orb,” Walker explained. “According to the most recent reports, he’s escaped to London with both the orb as well as Serena.”

“What’s he going to do?” Serena asked, even though she knew that Walker would likely be just as clueless as she was.

“I’m still trying to figure that out,” Walker admitted. “With the Titan Orb, Savage is literally capable of anything. Our only hope of stopping him now is to get Serena back before he can…” Walker suddenly stopped, looking pained.

“Before he can what?” Adelia asked, trying to get Walker to finish his sentence.

“Before he can drain all of her mana.”

*        *      *

Serena woke up again on another table. This time, she found that her entire left arm was connected to some sort of machine through a series of tubes. She didn’t want to know how all of the tubes managed to fit inside her arm; it felt very weird. As she surveyed the room, she saw that it was extremely similar to the one that she had been in before. The door opened and Thomas Savage walked in with a smug grin on his face.

“Hello again, Ms. Carver,” he sneered, his voice dripping with dangerously toxic amounts of sarcasm. “Nice to see you again. I’m terribly sorry for the sudden change in location.”

“I’m sure you are,” Serena huffed.

“Silence,” Savage commanded. “If you’ll be so kind as to listen to me, I’ll explain just how much trouble you’re in at the moment.”

“Fine,” Serena sighed. “I’ll bite.”

“Well, it’s not like you have a choice,” he admitted. “In any case, I assume you have an understanding of the concept of mana?”

“Yep,” Serena said flatly.

“Well, good,” Savage said, giving her a fake smile. “Anyway, after some quick research on the Titan Orb, we’ve found that it only responds to a particular type of mana.”

“Mine,” Serena finished for him.

“The pattern on your arm proves it,” Savage continued. “Now, there is still a problem in all of this. You seem to be unwilling to cooperate with me, and the orb will only do what I want with your mana powering it.”

“Then I guess you’re done for,” Serena chuckled.

“Not quite,” Savage smirked. “If you won’t lend me your mana, then I suppose I’ll just have to take it for myself. I’ve been preparing for such an event. I’ve had a very nice test subject helping me through this time.” He walked over to a tube on the other side of the room and pressed a button on the base. Suddenly, the tank lit up, and Serena gasped at what she saw inside.

*        *      *

Marshal was getting better at staying aware of himself even while Adelia wasn’t there to talk to him. He thought about everything that Adelia had told him; who he was, where he lived, what he could do, and other things. He was even starting to remember some of it, but no matter how much he thought about it, he simply couldn’t figure out how he had ended up like this. Eventually, his head began to hurt, so he quietly pleaded for Adelia’s help as he drifted back into his deep sleep.

*        *      *

“Can he even do that?” Adelia asked. “I thought mana was exclusive to each person. That’s why Serena’s the only Catalyst in existence.”

“There’s nothing saying Savage isn’t going to try to get it.” Walker said, reminding her of Savage’s unethical methods. “He has a way of getting what he wants.”

“This is so dangerous for both of them, though!” Adelia cried. “Mana is still just being discovered; there’s so much we still don’t know about it. Savage could not only kill Serena, but himself as well!”

“He does whatever he deems necessary,” Walker restated.

“So what do we do?” Adelia asked.

“You’re going to stay here,” Walker said, standing up from his desk. “Be ready for everyone to come back, Serena included. As soon as we get back, we’ll get Marshal back up to strength and hit Savage right back.”

“Understood,” Adelia said, giving a grin as she left the office.
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Re: Titan
« Reply #41 on: November 12, 2014, 02:35:07 AM »

CHAPTER41: CATALYST

“Daniel Layton, in the flesh,” Savage said, grinning evilly. “Still alive. Still awake, but just barely. He’s been a fantastic subject for my quick studies on mana. Thanks to him, I’m finally ready to complete my plan.”

“You’re bluffing,” Serena said, but she was getting less and less sure.

“You’d like to believe that,” Savage presumed. “I can’t blame you. I assure you, though, Mr. Layton here has provided me with sufficient data on mana. I managed to successfully remove his mana and implant it into several cells. These cells quickly grew to become clones of Daniel Layton.” He walked over to a screen and brought up a camera feed of a strange room. Serena gaped in wide-eyed horror as she stared at literally thousands of clones of Daniel lying out on lab tables.

“This method has been a total success,” Savage reported. “So therefore, I can infer that your mana works the same way.”

Serena’s breath and heartbeat sped up rapidly as she realized just how real the danger she was in actually was. She tried to find a witty retort to regain mental control of the situation, but was mortified when nothing came to her.

“I see you are done talking,” Savage said smugly. “I won’t waste any more time.” He sat down at a chair across from Serena and inserted some tubes into the veins in his arm.

“Say good bye to your mana.”

*      *      *

Aurora pushed the button in the cockpit and the aircraft morphed back into a helicopter. In the back, everyone had lurched forward and fell onto the floor due to the sudden change in speed.

“What the heck was that?” Ryder asked.

“That was the helicopter’s jet mode,” Aurora confessed. “Walker showed me that feature before we left. I figured now would be as good a time as any to test it out.”

“Well, it worked,” Tristan confirmed. “Serena is right below us in that building."

“Good,” Vlad said. “Now we just have to—wait, Chris what are you doing?” Everyone turned just in time to see Chris leap out of the helicopter toward the skyscraper below. He brought his fist back and roared with anger as he plummeted for the imposing structure. Suddenly, he seemed to glow with a fiery aura as he brought his fist down upon the roof. When he made contact, a huge hole was blasted in the roof, and Chris disappeared in the resulting dust cloud. Aurora brought the helicopter down to a safe spot on the roof and capsulized it when everyone had gotten out.

“Well, is anyone honestly surprised?” Mia asked. Everyone shook their heads in response and made their way into the building.

*        *      *

Jack and Forrest walked into the room to find Savage and Serena sitting in the machine Savage’s scientists had designed. The transfer of mana was almost halfway complete, and Serena looked to be slowly wasting away. She was visibly losing weight and her dirty blonde hair became brittle and white. Savage, on the other hand, was experiencing the opposite. His slightly thinning hair quickly grew thick once more, and he was rapidly putting on muscle mass.

“This is just weird,” Forrest squeaked, trembling. “Just give him the orb and let’s get out of here!”

“Yeah, yeah,” Jack shrugged, not paying attention to Forrest’s complaints as usual. “This guy owes me some answers.” He walked over to Savage and slammed the Titan Orb down next to Savage, who opened his eyes calmly and turned to face Jack.

“Thank you,” Savage said. Jack noticed a deeper, heartier tone to Savage’s voice as he spoke. “You’re dismissed.”

“I don’t think so,” Jack spat. “You’re going to tell me where my parents and sister are.”

Savage looked at Jack for a while, and then he smiled. “You mean you still haven’t figured it out yet?”

“I know you have them,” Jack growled.

“Then you’re a little smarter than I give you credit for,” Savage said. “Well, you’ve figured it out. I have your parents, along with your dear sister, Molly. Unfortunately, I can’t tell you where they are yet. I still require your services.”

“I’m not lifting a finger for you until you let my family go!” Jack exclaimed. “I held up my end of the bargain, Tom. I got you the Titan Orb. Now it’s your turn.”

Savage blinked a few times, and then guffawed in front of Jack. “You have no idea how this works, do you? You’re not in any position to demand things from me.”

Enraged, Jack unveiled his claws and raced over to Serena’s side of the room. With one quick slice, he severed the entire mass of tubes draining Serena’s mana away. Mortified, Savage quickly turned to find that the transfer had not been fully completed; he had only received 60 percent of the Catalyst’s mana.

“Insubordinate swine!” he roared, shooting up out of his chair and grabbing the Titan Orb. “No one crosses Thomas Savage and gets away unscathed!”

Just then, the door behind them suddenly crumpled and flew to the opposite wall. Savage whipped around to find Chris and the others standing at the entrance. Forrest had morphed into a fly and flew away as quickly as possible.

“Serena!” Chris cried, seeing his other half in her diminished state lying on the table. When she heard her name, she got up slowly and murmured groggily, weakened from losing over half of her mana.

“Seriously?” Savage bellowed. “You people always have the worst timing! Do not interfere with my business!”

“They’re not the ones you have to worry about!” Jack reminded him. He charged Savage, claws outstretched, but for once, he was too slow. Savage turned around and jabbed a needle straight into his heart. He quickly hooked himself back up to the mana transfer machine and turned it on at maximum output. In an instant, Jack crumpled to the ground, having suddenly lost all of his energy.

“There,” Savage said, removing himself from the machine. “Thank you for your service, Jack Martin. You are hereby discharged.”

“Jack!” Serena cried, suddenly awake. She got out of Chris’ arms and stumbled over to Jack’s side.

“Serena,” Jack groaned weakly. “I’m sorry. I’ve done some terrible things to you and your friends. I’ve deceived you all this time. I only did what Savage asked me to do because he’s been holding my family hostage.”

“That’s why you left us, isn’t it?” Chris asked.

“Yes,” Jack coughed. “I couldn’t save them by fighting Savage. I had to convince him to give them back to me. I was a terrible person to all of you, even Forrest, who was only trying to help me.” Just then, Forrest morphed back into his normal form and knelt down at Jack’s side.

“Jack!” he cried, holding back tears. “I thought we were partners! What kind of partner dies like this?”

“A pretty shitty one,” Jack said, managing to chuckle a little bit. “I’m not asking any of you to forgive me, but I do have one last wish.”

“What is it?” Serena asked, tears forming in her eyes.

“Save my parents and my sister,” Jack grunted, his voice breaking as his eyes began to glaze over. “Tell them that I love them, and tell them I’m sorry that I failed them. Can you please do that for me?”

“Consider it done,” Vlad assured him, unsure if he was telling the truth.

“Oh, good,” Jack said, managing a smile. “Thank you.” He closed his eyes for the last time, smiling with his mind finally at ease.

“Honestly,” Savage muttered. “I fail to see the need for so much drama. It’s not like I was going to leave him alive long enough to give him his family back.”

“You’re a monster,” Forrest growled.

“Who are you to judge me?” Savage asked. “You’re nothing but a lonely little freak who can’t even decide what species he is! I only allowed you to join me so I could study your power! You were supposed to die before Jack.” Forrest hung his head in sorrow.

“Leave him alone!” Chris yelled.

“Don’t even get me started on you, ‘berserker’,” Savage hissed. “You are not so innocent, yourself. You’ve murdered just as indiscriminately as I have. As soon as you get angry, you commit a mass genocide of my work force. Who is truly the monster here?”

Chris fell silent, pondering what Savage had just asked him. In that moment, Savage grabbed the Titan Orb. Vlad immediately drew his rifle and fired at Savage, but he suddenly teleported out of the way.

“It’s no use,” Savage chuckled. “With Jack’s power, I’m virtually untouchable. Now, it’s time to say farewell as I use the power of this orb to wipe out the planet!” He focused Serena’s stolen mana into the Titan Orb, which began to shake violently and glow with a sinister purple light. Then he grinned evilly at Squad Four as he disappeared in a flash.

“This is a problem!” Ryder cried.

“We have to get out, now!” Aurora shouted.

Without warning, Vlad shot out a nearby window and jumped out into the London skyline. The others quickly followed, with Chris bringing up the rear while carrying Serena. Forrest collected Jack’s body and quickly followed suit. The nine of them crashed out to find nothing but an eighty story drop below them.

“Whose bright idea was this?!” Tristan screamed.

“Aurora, get the helicopter out!” Vlad ordered quickly.

“There’s no time!” she shouted back. “I can’t get in the helicopter and start it while it’s in the air!”

Vlad stared at her for a moment, then shook his head. “Well, it appears we’re doomed then.”

“Don’t say that yet, ladies and gents!” said a voice on their communicators. Everyone looked around and saw a jet screaming towards them, with Walker in the cockpit.

“Walker!” Mia shouted, excited that she was going to live.

“Get in, everyone!” Walker shouted, positioning the jet so all of them could skydive right into the back. Everyone managed to make it in undamaged, much to their collective relief.

“How did you know we were here?” Vlad asked him.

“No time for that!” Walker shouted. “We’ve got to move, now!” Walker turned the jet around and shot off into the horizon at Mach speed. The members of Squad Four and Forrest looked back at the building they were in and watched as it suddenly erupted in an explosion of nuclear proportions. Within seconds, the city of London was completely decimated.

“I can’t believe Savage just murdered all of those people,” Serena whispered in terrified awe.

“Not to worry,” Walker said. “I took precautions before I arrived, since I figured out what Savage was trying to do. Hopefully, everyone was able to evacuate in time and avoid casualties. Luckily, the family of one of my finest members lives in the area.”

“My parents!” Aurora suddenly realized. “They’re alright, then?”

“As far as I know, they should be safe,” Walker assured her. “I don’t know where else they can go at this point, though.”

“We have to stop him before any more people die!” Forrest shouted, still holding on to the body of his only comrade.

“We will,” Mia said, putting her hand on his shoulder. “Will you help us, too?”

“You won’t throw me in the Pit?” Forrest asked, unsure. “You won’t call me a freak?”

“Of course not,” Mia assured him. “You’re definitely not a freak. You have an amazing ability!”

Forrest stared at her, wide-eyed, and began to sob. “Thank you! Thank you so much! I promise I will do my best to help you all!”

“Forrest Albinson, right?” Walker guessed, looking back from the cockpit. Forrest nodded. “I’ve never been one to trust deserters, but your bravery today in the face of death has convinced me. Help us avenge Jack and defeat Savage.”

“Yes, sir!” Forrest agreed, saluting awkwardly. Squad Four smiled as Walker’s jet sped off to the compound, where Adelia was waiting.
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Re: Titan
« Reply #42 on: November 12, 2014, 02:37:01 AM »

CHAPTER42: RETURN

A quick jet ride later, Walker had led Squad Four back to the compound and rushed them all to Marshal’s room in the infirmary, where Adelia waited. She turned to see them, and a huge grin popped onto her face when she saw Serena alive and well.

“I’m glad you’re okay,” she said to Serena, trying not to tear up.

“I’ve been better,” Serena admitted, feeling her hair which had turned white after losing her mana. “Walker told me what we need to do to save Marshal. Savage may have taken over half of my mana, but I think I can still help you.”

“Good,” Adelia said. “Come over here and place your hands on top of mine.” Serena did as instructed while Adelia focused her mana into Marshal as she had done before, causing her consciousness to flow into Marshal’s. Serena focused on keeping Adelia’s mana stable while she was inside Marshal’s mind.

*          *          *

Marshal watched as Adelia appeared in front of him. He smiled, happy to be able to see her again.

“Hey, Adelia,” he smiled. “It’s nice to see you again.”

“Same to you,” Adelia said, smiling back. “I’ve got some good news! I figured out what it is I need to do to get all of your memories back.”

“That is great news,” Marshal agreed. “I was starting to get bored in this empty space.”

“There’s one problem, though,” Adelia admitted. “I’m not sure how to present this to you without it being weird.”

“After all you’ve told me, I don’t think anything could get much weirder,” Marshal told her, chuckling a little.

Adelia laughed as she walked toward Marshal. “Promise you won’t freak out?”

“Promise,” Marshal told her. He was suddenly surprised when Adelia got up close to him and kissed him on the lips. When Adelia backed away, Marshal slowly opened his eyes and smiled at Adelia.

“So?” Adelia asked. “Do you remember?”

“I think so,” Marshal answered. “Does this mean we’re back together?”

“If you promise not to go crazy again,” Adelia said, grinning. “Now, it’s time for you to wake up. Everyone’s waiting for you.” She disappeared again, and Marshal smiled as he closed his eyes again.

*          *          *

Adelia woke up and looked over at Serena, who was still covering her hands. Serena looked over at her with a look of concern.

“Is he alright?” she asked.

“I think so,” Adelia said, blushing. “The trigger seemed to work. Now we need to see if he’ll wake up.”

They didn’t have to wait long. Marshal opened his eyes and looked around at everyone as if nothing had ever happened.

“Hey, guys,” he said, smiling cheerfully. “Did you all come out just for little old me?” Everyone smiled simultaneously and crowded around Marshal in a big, awkward, group hug.

“Good to have you back, Marshal,” Vlad said, showing a rare smile.

“Are you feeling okay?” Mia asked.

“I’m just fine,” Marshal assured them. “I’ve got a slight headache, but that’s to be expected, I guess.”

Adelia laughed. “You’re such a goof, you know that?”

“Yeah, I guess,” Marshal admitted. “But at least I’m your goof.”

“Touching reunion, guys,” Walker said quickly, “but we still have a problem. Savage is still out there destroying the world, and if we don’t get out there and stop it, we’ll be in for even more trouble than last time.”

“We also have a promise to keep,” Serena said to Marshal and Adelia. “We lost someone in our last battle.”

“That can’t be right,” Marshal said, confused. “Everyone’s here. I did a head count. In fact, it looks like we have an extra.” He looked directly at Forrest, who stared back at him as if he were trying to initiate a contest.

“Squad Four is present and accounted for, as well as the addition of Forrest Albinson,” Walker remarked. “However, a certain traitor who redeemed himself in his final moments was unable to make it back with us.”

Marshal contemplated what Walker had said for a moment, and finally pieced it together. “Jack is dead?”

Everyone nodded in solemn silence.

“He stopped Savage from getting all of my mana,” Serena said, “but Savage got angry and drained away all of his mana. He asked us to save his family for him before he died.”

Marshal sat quietly for a moment before getting up out of bed. “I can’t believe that cocky shit got himself killed before we had a chance to fight one more time. Hardly seems fair to me.”

“Marshal,” Adelia said, looking concerned.

“The fact remains, though,” Marshal went on, “that Jack Martin sacrificed himself to save Serena, and also save me because of that. I owe my life to Jack, whether or not I’d like to admit it. The least I can do is fulfill his last wishes.”

“So?” Walker said, trying to wrap his speech up. “What do you plan to do?”

“It’s time I met with Savage again,” Marshal announced, looking at his swords resting on the wall. “It’s time we end this once and for all.”
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