FHD Remix Chapter 33

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Previous: FHD Remix Chapter 32: It's Up To You Now

Chapter 33: Jack and Devon Campbell

[Features the songs Featherwings of Love and Fly Away written by the author. Location names have been changed from the in-game originals so as to be consistent with Sergeant Kelly's dialogue from the fifteenth stage of Doom 3 as quoted in Chapter 22. The ancients' hero remains unnamed in Doom 3; your humble author named him after the hero of the Doom movie by Universal Pictures, 2005]

[Doom 3 twenty-third stage]

Sarge, in his new tank form, slithers around the pillars in the big logistics lobby between Central Processing's Server Bank and Cooling Unit, the latter of which is accessed through "Secure Service Tunnel 1". The three Secure Service Tunnels are accessible only through an enormous smooth-walled chamber with a bridge crane suspended from the middle, which provides physical access to only one at a time. Anyone who wants to get there has to ride the bridge, unless he can fly.

Jack, running low on ammunition for his weapon, decides the best option is retreat, since Sarge has a chaingun on his right shoulder, a rocket launcher on his left, and in his claw, a shotgun he can pump so fast it's like a semi-automatic. The rocket clips hanging from his shoulders and flanks act as reactive armor, rendering Jack's BFG shots ineffective, a problem that will be fixed long before his final battle.

With only one plasma cell left to spare, he makes it to the transfer chamber. The Sarge bellows loudly after him as he gets into the transfer chamber, "Why did the chicken cross the road?"

Inside the transfer chamber, Jack collapses onto its control panel, exhausted from all the running around, and hurt from the bits of debris that scattered at him.

"To get away from the Sarge!" the walls vibrate in unison.

Doom 3 twenty-second stage

Jack gets back to the Server Bank side of the transfer chamber, then points his weapon back in the direction he came. That's when two revenants, the skeleton type creatures, drop in behind him. This fight finishes off the plasma cell in his weapon. He loads the last one just as Sarge emerges from the transfer chamber.

"You can't escape this time," he growls as he charges the weapon for a full four-count blast at point-blank range, which knows he can't survive.

The Sarge had discarded his shotgun, and with his bare claw swats Jack Campbell, freeing his BFG, which lets loose a two-count discharge harmlessly in the wrong direction. Campbell bounces off one wall and rolls to the edge of the flesh growth crawling along the floor and the other wall.

"Greenborough is next," the Sarge growls as he rolls back into the transfer chamber with Jack's weapon securely in his claw.

On the third level, well above, Tatakai is keeping her BFG stowed with its last charge, cutting through with dual Enforcer Rifles. She's almost totally out of ammunition for everything else, even her shotgun. During the long elevator ride down, she checks all her weapons, barely a full magazine for each, except for her plasma rifle. She gives the empty rifle a final caress and abandons it in the elevator, hoping that there is another one in the armory at the other end of Secure Service Tunnel 2.

"Grimm Rieper," she laughs as she emerges from the elevator.

"I'm serious!" Gillie replies from the Soul Cube following her, "That was really his name!"

She arrives at Jack's side very quickly.

"The Sarge, the Sarge! Gotta stop him!" he coughs.

"I know, Jack," she sighs.

"My gun, he's got my gun!" he gasps, then loses consciousness.

The Sarge's distorted voice reverberates through the structure as Tatakai works quickly to stabilize Jack using her spare medkit, "I killed that pathetic bodyguard, and now I will kill you."

"Can you help him?" she asks the Soul Cube.

The Soul Cube explains with a feminine plural voice, "Not unless-"

Tatakai holds up one finger, having scanned the room for eyes and cameras.

"NOOO!!" she screams in agony, "You- you monster! I was going to marry him!"

The Sarge laughs as Tatakai raises her shotgun to the Soul Cube and winks.

"You won't get your chance at me, you- you piece of [beep]!!" she screams.

The Soul Cube nods at her.

BOOM! At that instant she deploys her wings.

The Soul Cube hits the floor with a fleshy splat sound.

Tatakai must exert all of her discipline to override her reflex to cycle the action on the shotgun. Slowly, very quietly, she holsters it. Then she pops up a floorboard and sets it aside, returning to Jack. She removes his boots before dragging his body to the crawlspace, wings covering him to hide him from the room's simple motion sensor.

"Your hero is gone, Praeleanthor," Betruger's voice reverberates, "Your war is lost, in thirty-seven hours, the fleet from Earth will be here, and the last of your kind will be wiped from its face along with all humanity. Hahahahaha!"

Now alone in the corridor, the Soul Cube, sitting on the floor, answers, "We still hear our Father, Maledict. You have only won the battle."

First Jack's boots, then Tatakai, then, still unconscious, Jack himself, emerges into the room, which is strewn with open medkits and ammunition boxes, but no bodies. No cameras, no eyes, no growth, no enemies.

The Soul Cube emerges from the hole in the floor and whispers, "We take it back. You are a better warrior than our Grimm Rieper."

"That's an interesting response to a shotgun blast," she snickers, "Thank you very much."

"The enemy thinks you are both dead, and that we now lie helplessly on the floor in that tunnel with no one left to wield us," the Soul Cube twinkles, "It is a brilliant ploy."

A few minutes later, Jack slowly returns to consciousness. "-arge. The Sarge," he moans softly, "Greenborough be careful ... he's got my gun."

Tatakai has her weapons sitting on a crate. She finishes the reassembly of her shotgun, with a round loaded into the chamber. It was quieter for her to strip it down to reload it, than it would have been to cycle the action. Her BFG lies next to Campbell, who reads its display. Ammo count, one. Passive sensor mode. Fire mode: Safe.

"Devon?" he whispers, realizing that he has been reduced to his tank top and boxers, lying on a sleeping bag inside the otherwise steel-lined room.

"It's Tatakai."

"Who said that?" Jack gasps.

"Meet the Soul Cube," she says. "Quiet," she orders, "The enemy thinks we're both dead and I'd like it to stay that way for a few hours."

She kneels beside him, dressed similarly, wings furled; perfectly human. Her blue camisole has splits all the way up the sides.

"Wait, wait," he says, "You ... should put something on ... You're very distracting dressed like that."

"I warned her," a female voice says from the Soul Cube, whose big eyes are open and green, "My daughter has something to say."

The smaller pair of eyes open on the Soul Cube, a pretty light blue. It says, "Thanks, mom."

Campbell stares in total disbelief at the milk jug sized object as it starts singing, in the soft voice of a little girl:

"Share your wings with me, my eternal love
I want to fly with you, in the skies above
Please let me stay with you, on our wings of love
Eternal featherwing, featherwings of love."

"The rest of the kids want to sing too," the mother's voice says.

"Okay," sighs the the daughter, and all four eyes on the Soul Cube close. All of the girls start singing.

"Share your wings with me, my eternal love
I want to fly with you, in the skies above
Please let me stay with you, on our wings of love
Eternal featherwing, featherwings of love."

The second verse is sung by the boys:

"Let me carry you, my unstable mate
Teach you how to fly, learn the feather's love
The wedding in the sky, our family in the air
Eternal featherwing, featherwings of love."

The Soul Cube starts to wobble as all the kids sing their pat-a-cake dance:

"Featherwing, featherwing, fly away with me
Fly away, fly away, new heaven you will see
Featherwing, featherwing, fly away with me
Fly away, fly away, share your wings with me."

"So you guys are the talk of the town," he gasps.

"Hardly," Tatakai sighs, "They were totally silent until Betruger used his telekinetic powers to take them from the scan matrix in Delta Sector 2, and force them through the gate in Sector 4, at zero-nine-four-five and forty four seconds, just over eight hours ago. Before that, they were quietly biding their time, trying to be as normal an object as possible."

"We should have practiced more while we were in that cave for four thousand five hundred, eighty-five Earth years," it says, "Oh well."

Jack groans as he tries to sit up.

"Take it easy, you're still a mess, even though you're as fixed up as I can get you," Tatakai explains.

"But you, you're in better shape than when I saw you about to go into Sector 4, how-?" he asks.

"And I've been in worse shape since," she responds, "Thanks to them," she gestures the Soul Cube, "I'm in perfect shape again."

She deploys her wings, startling him. She tries to keep the front half of her camisole from flying up in the sudden breeze. "Sorry," she says, "That happens in places like these."

"Your wings," he weeps, "They fixed them too?"

"Yes," she nods. "The Soul Cube was built by my kind. It contains a proper teleporter. Unlike ours, their version teleports one subatomic particle at a time, each object is broken down and reconstructed by quantum computers using tachyon processing for speed. Unlike ours, what is sent doesn't have to be the same as what is received. It can break down the flesh of an enemy and use it to heal us."

"Are you going to do that with me?" Jack asks.

"Yes," she smiles, "but unless you're a featherwing," she says with a tear in her eyes, "the process will erase all your memories of those with wings." She caresses his cheek, "including this one."

"No," he cries quietly, "don't do that." He relaxes as best as he can with his injuries. "Devon," he sighs, "I- I have to tell you something ... Something I could never tell you before because as your instructor in the Marine academy, it would have been-" he hesitates.

"Frowned upon?" Tatakai asks.

"I love you, Devon," he weeps, "If you weren't an angel ... I mean, how could we ever-?"

Tatakai nods, tears in her eyes, "I love you too."

"How could God match us up?" he weeps, "I mean..."

"First," she says, "I'm not really an angel, but a featherwing being. In the same way, the creatures were fighting against, they aren't really demons. It is the spirits within them that are truly evil. Our battle is not against flesh and blood," she explains.

Jack finishes, "But against principalities, and powers, and spiritual forces of darkness," he remembers from Sunday School. [Ephesians 6:12, from which is derived the codeword for this enemy, "EP6_12"]

"Second," she weeps with a smile, "the wings can be shared. The featherwing has to be careful because she can only do it once, and that once is for life."

"I forgot it on the ship," he cries, "I can't believe it ... I left it on the ship. I've been waiting two years for the chance," he smiles, "I guess I'll just have to do without it."

Tatakai smiles, "It's okay."

Jack Campbell takes one of her hands in both of his. "Devon ... Tatakai," he sighs, "Will you marry me?"

Tatakai slowly spreads on of her wings around his back and nods, "Yes, Jack. I'll marry you."

After wiping her tears, and his, using the tail of her camisole, she taps on the Soul Cube, "A hundred and fourty four thousand of you in there ... there has to be a pastor or magistrate somewhere."

"Let's do it together," it offers.

"Right now," Jack gasps

Tatakai nods.

"You scare me more than the Sarge!" he says with wide eyes.

"I have no doubts about this at all. My life might be long or short, peaceful or violent, but in any case," she grabs his hands in both of her own, "I want to spend it with you, Jack."

"Okay," Jack smiles, "let's do it."

With the Soul Cube leading the simple ceremony, they both say, "I do."

"Jack and Devon Campbell," the Soul Cube quietly intones, "In the name of the Saviour and the sight of the Father, the two shall become one in featherwing love. You are now husband and wife."

They kiss for about three ... make that four minutes.

"Uh fellas," Tatakai says to the Soul Cube.

"We'll keep watch," it answers, "Call us if you need anything." The Soul Cube slides silently through the air into the crawlspace, but comes back a moment later. "The enemy will probably pick up your heat signature," it warns, then leaves again.

"So," Jack says, "I'm almost afraid to ask. How exactly are these wings," he strokes one, realizing very quickly that the proper way is towards her body, "shared?"

Tatakai leans down and whispers the answer into his ear in far less time than it took for him to ask.

"Thought so," he smiles. "I'm not exactly in the mood, but I think- ... I think I can manage."

After sharing the wings, they fall asleep in each other's arms.

Next: FHD Remix Chapter 34: Retreat!

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