FHD Remix Chapter 50
Previous: FHD Remix Chapter 49: Operation Tatakai
Chapter 50: A Desperate Dictator
[You might have noticed already that "intermediate dimension" is what Id Software really stands for; don't believe that stuff about Sigmund Freud's psychology concepts ;)]
"You're lying," Gordon Atlas snorts, pacing around his prisoner, drumming fingers that are perfectly intact, with no clue that they were cleanly sliced off six years earlier. Twenty-second century medicine is obviously up to the task.
"No, I'm not," Yaiba says, "Once you know the language, it's clear as day that these things lead to an intermediate dimension called hell, and that whether something that goes through one end comes out the other is largely a matter of circumstance. Objects sent through are even easier to steal by the enemy than radio messages are to intercept."
"A lot can change in five thousand years," Gordon says.
Yaiba responds softly, "I know who I'd ask if they have."
"Really?" Gordon asks, leaning over her, "Doctor Bradford, I'd love to hear this."
"Jack and Devon Campbell," she says flatly, "They were on Mars when this thing blew, and my guess is that it didn't actually blow, but that these things," she points at the pictures on tablets recovered from Site 2, what Tatakai would recognize as hellknights and revenants, "suddenly started flooding out of the portals and invaded the base."
"Anything substantial to rest that conclusion on?" Gordon asks, frustrated at Dr. Bradford's softly persistent personality.
"Only that these four tablets," she points elsewhere in the room, "say that is exactly what happened to the ancients on Mars. Six hundred million of them. And they were far better armed than we are right now."
"They won though, didn't they?" Gordon asks.
Yaiba laughs, "If you'd call it a victory. There were only about 160,000 survivors, and that includes the 144,000 in this object," she points at the cube on one of the tablets. "Now, I'm not sure why you have an imprisoned medical doctor working against her will as an archaeologist."
"You're honest," Gordon says, "Everyone else tells me the same thing, but they pad it like it has to be a fairy tale. You're sure about all this, aren't you?"
"Absolutely," Yaiba says, "It's been a mystery since the 1960s how the atmosphere of Mars was lost, how did it lose all that water? Just looking at the planet it seems almost like a huge icecap melted down at the south pole and flooded most of the planet in a matter of days. I think it has something to do with this war, and I'm afraid that, because," she waves her arms around the room, "we've been forewarned in so many ways, that if we continue to fiddle around with this unitary hellgate stuff, an even worse fate awaits our planet."
"Do you think that's why those terrorists are doing what they are doing?" he asks.
"Wouldn't it make sense?" she offers.
Yaiba, then known as Dr. Vanessa Bradford, is probably the most securely held prisoner in history. Her cell and guards were constantly changed, and her current guard was Hallwell, a tall fellow who looked at first glimpse like he'd rape her if he could get away with it. He comes with her meal, and with it a tiny piece of paper that he thinks is blank. She thanks him, and he goes away.
You won't believe this, but Hallwell didn't just come through, he came all the way through. He wants to attempt removal. We haven't had any success in the more recent models, but he's serious. This means you'll probably never see him again.
In return, she sends information about the Ep6_12 enemy mentioned in the tablets. She's identified the four major commanders of the war against the ancients, each of which held different types of hosts, and had different specialties in terms of capabilities and physique. Maledict, master of the Batwing flying creature. Erebus, master of integrating the flesh and the machine, bred the revenant, mancubus, and worst of all, the cyberdemon, which was so large that only the Soul Cube could penetrate its armor. Saboath was also a machine expert, but not as proficent. It tended to concentrate on vehicles. Lilith could enlarge the flesh, and from earthly materials, seemed to concentrate on the feminine mounds, especially in the Vagary Spider Queen. The reality was that it enlarged just about everything, and not only can make the enormous truck-sized Guardian, but can mass produce them. Once UAC had figured out how to mark their tracks, they could be seen from orbit in delta traces. Their scientists were mystified, but Yaiba knew that a few hundred Guardians could easily account for those delta traces.
There's a rumble, then a blast, then the flashes of plasma firearms. Yaiba observes and suddenly the lock block on her cell sparks and melts. The heavy latch block in the floor can be lifted clear, and to her amazement, it rises from the floor easily when she grasps it, and she is able to push the door open.
"Doctor Bradford?" Nick calls.
A huge muscular red-haired woman, both heavily armed and armored, appears in front of Yaiba. It looks like this giant is equipped with some sort of sharpshooter variant of BFG, since it has a small barrel protruding off the far side. Yaiba's so startled that she squeaks. The mercenary turns to notice her, then looks back at her friend Nick and in her characteristic drawl, calls out, "Fawnd her!"
"Nice work, Juice," Nick says, getting around the corner.
"These guyz are chiiiiiiiickan," Juice says, then marches away, "I'm sure you'll be fine, proceedin' to objektive Brawvoe."
"Well don't cross her," Yaiba says in admiration, wondering if that's the mighty Devon everyone seems so afraid of.
A much smaller, nimbler man approaches, his Enforcer rifle looks up, down, left, right, back everywhere his eyes look. Yaiba's almost surprised when his head turns to face her without the rifle swinging along in synchronity. This one also has a plasma barrel protruding from just under the ballistic one, smaller than the one on Juice's weapon.
"Nick Stafford, Operation Tatakai, you're one of our primary objectives," he says sharply, "Hallwell's out already." He drops a Triple-Six implant, "How Devon does that, I have no idea."
"I'm not going with you," she says flatly, "Thank you for your efforts."
"So we figured," Nick says, "You're an example to Saviour-spawn everywhere." Pressing his radio mike, he says, "Nick to Echo, Alpha's a no-go, proceeding to Objective Gamma." He hands Yaiba a PDA.
The face of Tatakai appears on it, the only and closest contact she would have as a human, "I'm Devon Campbell, if you're not coming with us, we could really use just a couple of answers. Do you have any contact with Gordon Atlas?"
"Yes," she says quickly, "he comes here at least once a month, presses me for information about the artifacts. I think he's anxious to gain contact with the enemy."
"I figured," Devon answers, "We're going to give you files and tablets. The tablets will be really interesting because the device that made them is going to cut them right into the artifact room walls. Nothing you haven't seen before unless they're withholding, but you'll still get a kick out of them. Do you know anything about how the teleporters work?"
"A little," she says, "But I'm a medical doctor, not an engineer. Mostly, I know about delta radiation. Do you have wings?"
Tatakai raises an eyebrow, "You know?"
Yaiba reaches behind a post on her bed and grabs a MicroED chip and searches the PDA for the proper slot.
Tatakai gets to enjoy a camera view that randomly explores the room while Yaiba looks for the port. "I know of the wings. I can see them in the tablets, and one of your kind gave me stuff to use for secret messages. I've come up with an herbal recipe you can use if you're ever exposed to delta radiation based on the information in the Site 2 artifacts. It tastes worse than Buckley's, but it might save your butt one day."
"Thank you," Tatakai responds.
Once the chip with her delta vector files and remedy are plugged into the PDA, Yaiba says, "I'd love to work with your team, but I'm saving more lives here, I still have hope even for Gordon himself, and no doubt this prison break will shake him up. Once again thanks for your help."
"Devon, we are done, UEAF fighters detected!" Jack says from elsewhere in the Skyvan, Yaiba can hear him over the PDA.
"I have to go, can you return the PDA to-"
Juice, deliberately stomping in the hopes that Dr. Bradford and the other prisoners refusing to leave with them would hear, catches the device as Yaiba tosses it to her. "Thanks Dokter," she says, stooping to pick up the implant Nick left behind, "I miss you already," she finishes warmly. Once on her feet, she says into her radio, "Nick, you at Hotel, yet buddy?" She races away, far quieter and faster than Yaiba had expected.
"Nice to meet you, Doctor Bradford," say many voices at once. Yaiba is stunned to see the Soul Cube hovering in front of her. "We hope to see you again someday." And with that, it takes off down the corridor after Juice.
Yaiba sits down on her bed and cries. Her last hope of discovering that it was all just a fiction has just been dashed.
"I'm not seeing that lunatic again," Gordon snorts from his office desk.
"I'm telling you, sir," his intelligence specialist says, "These carvings are real made last night just after you were there. I told you that Tatakai's motives are bizarre. I think they wanted to show you personally that they still have the Soul Cube."
"Like I care!" he screams, "That thing cut off my fingers first time I saw it."
The minister listens to his wireless communicator. "That's just great, thanks," he closes the call. Clasping his hands he says, "There was nothing in the wreckage of the Skyvan we shot down except for plenty of good shock harnessing. No bodies, no weapons, and worst of all," he laughs, "No damn Soul Cube."
"And how can they be doing this to us every other week!" Gordon screams, "You're fired! Get Oppie in here!"
Oppie arrives after he's calmed down, "Oppie, please tell me that the Manchester deterrent operation has gone ahead as planned."
Oppie, short for Oscar Powlen, Gordon's political stability expert, is the only other person who's as frank with Gordon Atlas as Yaiba, "The weapon malfunctioned, boss. The initial implosion charges apparently worked perfectly, but it delivered no atomic yield at all, we're still investigating. But it gets worse," he huffs.
"Great, my day sucks enough as it is," Gordon snorts.
"We disassembled the spare, and it looks as though the fissile package has been replaced with some sort of hardened non-fissile alloy that produces the same neutron and gamma spectrum. Someone or something went into our nuclear stockpile and put a carefully designed counterfeit plutonium into our bomb, possibly during that raid by Tatakai that we repelled two months ago. I'm pretty sure that's what happened to the one we tried to detonate. If this has happened to all of our weapons, we might not have a single operational nuke left."
"You're probably right, Oppie," Gordon says, "Do me a big favor and do not try to confirm that this has happened to the rest of the warheads. Don't try to use them either, but stick with conventional deterrent operations. If the public finds out we don't have a nuclear deterrent force anymore, we don't have a government."
"My thoughts exactly," Oppie confirms.
"I'm glad the demons are on our side," Gordon sighs.
"You sure about that boss?" Oppie warns.
Next: FHD Remix Chapter 51: Bride of The Saviour