Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Assault on Kastle Klingon

Assault on Kastle Klingon

"I've got to meet with your commander," Ellie announced, interrupting my story. "We've got to get a mission underway. Sitting around here jacking off is bullshit. Park could set off one of those Zombie Waves at any time, and we'd be chewing each other to death. I think we also may be running out of time. She's been planning something, and I don't think she's wait much longer. If that ship starts moving, they're going to go after it with everything they got. And I mean everything. No matter what the cost."

"They can't, Ellie. If they attack that ship, and sink it...we're not just talking about collateral damage. One of two things could happen from what I can tell. One is a runaway nuclear reaction. If the contents of this harbor were converted to energy, the resulting explosion would knock the Earth out of orbit. The other scenario involves the Earth shrinking to the size of racket ball."

Ellie regarded me with a penetrating gaze. "Then I really need to speak to someone in charge here."

I could see the hard look in her face. The full moon bathed the harbor in its cold glare. Ellie stood up with a look of determination in her face. It was a look I'd learned not to cross. "Don't you think the Marines will capture you?"

Ellie smiled coldly. "I think they'll want to listen to me. After all, you and I are the closest people in the world to Park, except that pirate she's hanging with. We know her better than anyone."

"And we know what she's capable of. I'm really sorry, Ellie, we really tried to stop her. A lot of people lost their lives trying to stop her, and it looks like a lot more people will die still."

Ellie pulled me close. "Listen Alex, you did what you had to. I've been cut out of the loop. What's done is done and we need to move on. Now let's head over to the base, and finish telling me your story."

Security became tighter than ever before. Our dorms had gone into full lock down, everyone confined to their floor. None of the British agents lived on my floor. Fortunately I could see the women's dorm from the bathroom window vent, and Misty and I had set up a signaling system to convey messages if we were separated. We had made small colored clothes we could hang outside to communicate with. We could hang them so they weren't readily visible from the ground, only from the respective windows. Every hour or so I wandered over to the vent and looked out. Around 11PM, I spotted a red and two white cloths: assault at 0200.

I threw up the green acknowledgement cloth and almost ran back to my room. I thought of packing, but I had absolutely nothing of value in the entire room. All I could do was turn off the lights and pace in the dark. A million thoughts raced through my mind...what would happen to Misty? Could we stay together? Would she want to? Could I ever return to America, or could Misty help me to go to England? And could we stop Carrie? I could sense that she came in as a hired consultant, but knowing her she would stop until she controlled this entire organization.

After only a short time of contemplation, I heard the rumble of diesel engines firing off. I rushed to the window, and saw that the entire camp had come to life. Had our plot been discovered? They were hurriedly packing everything up and getting it all back onto trucks. I tried the door to the stairwell but I found it securely bolted. I ran back to my room, and tried the bars. I couldn't budge them. I had a rendezvous in just over two hours, and I was trapped.

For an hour I frantically searched around for escape. As I watched, they packed away all the servers and hardware and of course the Matrix. In the courtyard, a number of the guards assembled, all holding automatic rifles. In front of them stood General Kanaan. He addressed them in Chinese for a while. They saluted and split into several groups. One of the groups unlocked the bolts and entered the first floor of my building. I heard shouts and yelling.

Then came the gunfire. My heart almost dropped out of my body. It was an execution! We were being eliminated, floor by floor, building by building. I heard screams of terror, a burst of gunfire, and then nothing. I heard a similar chorus from another building, perhaps the women's dorm. The other men on my floor gathered in the hall, yelling and screaming as well. The entire camp erupted in panic.

"Come on, we've got to get out of here," I screamed. I led them into the bathroom. "Grab whatever you can, we've got to bust out a window." A few of us tore off the sink, some others snagged the toilet as water gushed everywhere. "Over here," I led them to one of the corner rooms. As one we charged the window and busted the bars clean out.

I hear the struggle on the floor beneath us. The men had caught on and barricaded themselves in their rooms, forcing the guards to bust down the doors and execute them one at a time. It at least bought us some time.

"Up to the roof," I said. "From there we might be able to make it out of camp." That wasn't my goal, but it would keep them motivated. I doubted any of us would survive the night. I helped them one by one to climb up. The gunfire from the second floor ceased, they would be up here in a moment. I helped the last man up when the door to the room we were escaping from burst open. I literally jumped for the hand extended down to me as the window frame exploded from the fusillade of bullets. They tried to shoot through the roof but it thankfully absorbed the onslaught.

"Run for it," I yelled over the din. Air-raid sirens screamed and anti-aircraft guns came to life. The sky filled with tracer rounds, giant streaks of light and smoke seeking out potential attackers. Artillery detonated in the sky like spastic fireworks. I headed towards the gym, hoping to catch a glance of Misty or any of the British agents in the fracas. I ran to the edge of the roof. Beyond me lay the roof of the gymnasium, ten feet away and ten feet down. A guard fired at me from the ground and I dropped onto my belly. Another prisoner caught a bullet and tumbled off the roof.

"Shit!" A squadron of what I think now were RAF Tornados passed overhead. A moment later the entire camp shook as the anti-aircraft batteries blew up in a tremendous roar, shattering all the windows around me and nearly lifting me off the roof. Needless to say the guards stopped shooting at me and started looking for cover. I have no idea where the jets could have come from, we're thousands of miles from any bases and deep inside of China.

I took a deep breath and a few steps back. With everything I had, a racing heart, a gallon of adrenaline, I ran off the roof. For a moment I flew through the air, and then landed heavily on the roof of the gym. My ribs ached, my elbow and knee bled, but I had made it. I quickly ran to the edge where a roof-access ladder stood and practically slid down it. A moment later I slipped inside the building. The thunder of the artillery had been replaced by the popping and thumping of gunfire and helicopters. The assault had begun!

The electricity had been cut, so I walked around by feel. "Misty," I whispered. "Misty!"

"Over here," I finally heard. We embraced tightly as tears streamed down her face.

"Where is the rest of the team," asked Bethany, who listened on a headpiece to the oncoming assault. She lit a small glow stick so we could see a little bit.

"Everyone from the first two floors of my dorm is dead," I replied. "I don't know about the other dorms."

We heard a rustling and Ben walked in with a stricken look on his face. "I'm sorry," he muttered, and fell on his face. A knife protruded from his back. A half-dozen flashlights lit up, sitting on the barrels of a half-dozen rifles. Into the light strode General Kanaan. We backed up against a wall.

"You're friend Ben told us a great deal. British agents indeed. You're the worst agents I've ever seen."

"Fuck you," scream Bethany. Kanaan took out his pistol and shot her right between the eyes. Bethany slumped against the wall, her eyes staring straight ahead, her blood and brains dripping down the wall behind her.

Misty screamed and clutched my arm. I admit I felt like screaming at that moment.

"Feisty one, you," he said, leering at Misty. "You Korean girls are tigers in bed. You make good love." He brushed a hand up against her arm while she shivered and shrank against me.

"Leave her alone," I muttered.

"What? You say something, Hero?" He pulled Misty away from me and pushed his pistol against my temple. "You want to say something to me?"

For a moment I closed my eyes and my strength left me. I felt more fear at that moment than I had ever felt before. But it wasn't just fear for myself. Without really knowing how, my eyes opened and I looked directly at the hulking man.

"Leave...her...alone," I said with a strong voice.

Kanaan grinned at me for a moment, then slammed the pistol against the side of my head, slamming me across the room to land among the gym equipment. My senses swam, I saw stars, and my body would not respond to my brain.

"Strip her down," ordered the brute. "Let's make this quick."

"No!" screamed Misty. "No! No! Stop! Please..."

I couldn't move. I couldn't help her. I felt wetness running down my cheek. I probably had a bad laceration, if not an entire skull fracture. I felt my life ending right there. My pathetic, meaningless life. I had been a failure every step of the way, a failure to my family, a failure to Ellie, and now I was a failure to Misty. They would rape her then kill her, and Carrie would destroy the world.

Somehow I managed to flip over. I reached out and my hand closed on something cold and hard. The grip of a ten-pound hand weight. Misty screamed. Good, she still fought them. With strength I didn't know I had, I rose to my wobbly feet, the room spinning and the blood dripping down my face. I saw the hulking monster with his pants off, facing a naked girl held down by his cronies. With a scream, I launched myself, bringing down the entire weight of the weight straight down on Kanaan's brain with a wet thwack.

The guards yelled and jumped up to grab their weapons, but the room erupted in bright flashes and sharp pops. Each man's chest seemed to explode into a spray of blood. One of the attacking man aimed right at me.

"Get down," he yelled. As I could barely stand it didn't take much effort to flop down. The man fired, killing the last guard.

The soldiers rushed up to me. "Alex Ross? Hold still sir. Medic!"

"Help! Get this guy off me," cried Misty in her British accent.

"Misty! Alex! Oh my god, Bethany! Ben!" Rod followed the soldiers in. He knelt down next to me and turned his back as the Royal Marines helped move Kanaan's body off of Misty and helped her get dressed. A medic shined a light on my head and prodded my wound.

"Waa...what.." I mumbled incoherently. I'm surprised now that I remember as much as I do from that night.

Rod grabbed my hand. "I just barely missed being executed. When the AAA batteries exploded, it blew out part of the wall. I got here late, just in time to see Kanaan grab Ben and force him in here. I ran to get help, but it looks like I was too late."

I squeezed his hand, and in a moment Misty came into focus. "Oh my god, Alex. Is he going to make it?"

The medic nodded. "Yes ma'am. We'll patch him up proper."

I grabbed the medic. "Get me an officer. Hurry."

The medic spoke into his radio and in a moment a burly man walked in and kneeled down. "Mr. Ross, I'm Lt. Williams, 45th Commandos Royal Marines. We need to get you moved to safer ground."

"You've got to stop Carrie. She's stealing the...she's... she's stealing the Singularity Matrix. You've got to stop her."

The man looked down for a moment. "We tried. The squad passed out, and when they awoke they attacked each other. We put them in cuffs until they calmed down, but something strange happened to them."

I tried to talk, but the words came out all garbled. "Gobba stob..gob..stob..."

Misty told me later what happened next. They secured a landing zone for the helicopters and lifted me and bunch of other wounded marines out of there. Then they tried to chase down the convoy, but every time they got close, they passed out, and their electronics began to fail. Aircraft sent against them were downed, along with everything else. Satellites watched them load the equipment on a transport plane which then took off. The couldn't chase it.

I spent a day at a field hospital. Fortunately my injury was very superficial, I lost more blood than anything else. They tracked the plane to a harbor, where they offloaded the equipment onto a freighter which then sailed to its present location. I've been here ever since, trying to help figure out what to do next, a "guest" of the Royal Marines.

Ellie looked at me in the moonlight. "That's a hell of a story, Ross. It's going to be my special pleasure in ripping Carrie Park apart limb by limb. I've saved some special techniques I've learned for some special, and I think she's going to be it."

Posted: Wednesday, November 12, 2008 @ 10:58 PM

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