Review this story
Stories # - L | M - Z | Authors
Too Close to the Sun
Part Two: Archimedes Project
by: David McFarland
Ryan Tanter hung up his assault rifle on his wall.
Designed for heroes, the thing was rather large and bulky, but strong.
Multiple attachments, including a flamethrower, a high caliber barrel
and chamber for sniping, and, of course, the always-needed grenade
launcher. His own modifications made the main portion of it look much
like a Heckler & Koch G-36C Assault Rifle, designed for the German
military and rarely used by Americans.
Turning his back on his weaponry, and the box below
it that held a great deal of ammunition, he took off his camouflaged
A-Grade Titanium Armor, with mixed ceramics and spider-silk lining. The
armor, while having weight, was generally comfortable, though not
something you thought about much when your adrenaline was pumping in
the middle of a fight. Last, but not least, his wrist cuffs he had
taken from Sky Raiders, which had originally belonged to the late
Captain Indomitable. Irony was, Sky Burn was trying to save that hero
when he had been killed... so much for indomitable. His reddened
eye-monocle and black bandana, which he tied around his head like a
sweat-band, resembling a ninja band of sorts, came last. All of these
heroic, military style clothing articles he put into a closet within
his clothing closest, which he locked with a key, even though it was
Ryan Tanter slid into a white t-shirt with navy
blue, faded letters reading, “YOU’RE UNIQUE … JUST
LIKE EVERYONE ELSE.” Along with a pair of jeans. His well-toned
biceps were hidden beneath the arms of the shirt, but that wasn’t
a major problem, he didn’t need to show them off. Besides that,
he had a thin layer of strong metal under his skin, which was
surprisingly flexible but durable. A little reminder of his days on the
planet of Zodia. He hadn’t liked that planet much, and so was
glad that Earth had been his home of origin.
Smelling himself, he realized he still smelled like
salt and sea. That would have to change. Taking his engagement ring
with him, he went to the bathroom, which thankfully his roommate
hadn’t taken occupancy of. Zodians were so unpredictable, with
their odd habits and intellectuality, but much like humans in other
Undressing just as soon as he had dressed, Ryan
stepped into the shower once again. He was sick of the water. Peregrine
Island had much new Malta activity, to the point that some of their
leaders were claiming it to be their island in a step of arrogance, even with the Rikti and Carnies still there.
Climbing back out of the shower, one could smell the
very faint scent of “Axe Body-wash,” their
“Phoenix” version. While he was pretty much indifferent to
scents of cologne, deodorant and the like, his fiancé preferred
it when he smelt of “Axe” brand products and almost every
cologne he had in his possession. Ryan looked through the medicine
cabinet quickly – ironically, aspirin was the only medicine
stored in it- and decided that since he and Kathy hadn’t planned
a date for today, he would go sans-cologne.
It was midday, since his patrol had started at the
ungodly hour of 4 o’clock. That had been Chillbain’s idea,
or more of a joke, really. Sky Burn wasn’t too fond of such
things, as he was a night-owl, not a morning-bird. ‘Early bird
gets the worm, he says,’ Ryan thought, ‘I’ve got
super-speed, I don’t have to get up early to be early!’
Sitting down to a cold-cut sandwich that his roomie had made for him to
make up for the early rise, the hero mulled over how to get his partner
back, obviously forgetting who had made the not-so-bad sandwich that
was easily satiating his hunger and fatigue.
The “hero” finished off his meal
quickly. Sitting on the back of the couch in their living room, which
was directly adjacent to the kitchen, he rolled backwards towards the
cushions, pivoting himself as he fell backwards to land perfectly on
the soft cushions and his heads on the pillows. Instead he was awarded
with a little “oof.”
“What tha?” Ryan continued rolling off
of the awkward object, which finished with his head getting smashed
into the coffee table. “Nathan? What the
he-“ He stopped as his vision was filled with stars.
“…woah…” While his left palm rested on the
ground, propping him up, his right went to his forehead in instinct.
Finally, he managed to clear his head and continue his sentence
coherently. By this time, the groggy Nathan Greyte was awakening.
“Nathan… what are you doing, its almost one p.m.!”
“Uhhh… mmmmhhmm… whatev-
mah.” The other hero said in a slumber-induced stupor. The head
of his friend fell back to the pillow, which was cold. That
wasn’t odd. Most of the stuff around here was that way.
Everywhere Chillbain went, cold followed. He was, after all, a
manipulator of ice, and his body temperature was quite frequently below
that of the freezing point of water.
The trick of sticking his hand in warm water to make
him wet himself wouldn’t work, and neither did the shaving cream
or whipped cream on the hand, which he had tried before. Basically,
revenge for the early rise was currently out of the question. It
could wait. Ryan had proven himself to many military men as more than a
helicopter pilot of his former years, and one of those was being a
sniper; he could be patient when the need arose.
What to do now? He pretty much had the day off.
Another patrol, this soon, was out of the question, and taking a nap
right now would screw up his day, and with gas prices up right now, so
was a drive. Honestly, Ryan didn’t even have, or need a car.
Their perch in the middle of Steel Canyon was right in the center of
all monorail and bus traffic, so getting to work like a civilian
wouldn’t be that hard. That was, if he wanted to. Or if he wanted
another job. Working off Commission for the Paragon security forces
paid well enough, as long as you were a certified “Hero of the
City,” a title which Ryan sometimes flaunted around his roommate
who didn’t have that little badge of honor.
It had its perks. All of the villains had at least
heard of Ryan, and some had actually seen him on T.V. Some of them
thought they could actually beat him, but that lessened after the
footage of Sky Burn energy-thrusting a Hellion Blood-brother over one
hundred and fourteen yards, a personal record.
Ryan left the resting ice-wielder to his couch and
exited their two-person apartment. In his civilian clothes
he’d have to be a little more discreet, even though he
didn’t really care. It was a flourish of arrogance on his part,
that he wasn’t the slightest big cautious about his identity,
except doing shopping, going to ATMs, et cetera, in his civies. Once
again, it didn’t matter. The only people close enough to him
could protect themselves well enough.
As he walked down the stairway of the building
– elevator music was annoying – he actually used his
super-speed. People these days always used the elevator. America was
getting lazy. He swore to himself, that the only reason why anyone was
skinny at all was because of the same corrupt society that demanded
good looks, and at the same time pressed fast food joints. And
oxymoron, it was.
Leaving the building, he mingled with the others on
the crowded city streets. Heroes flew overhead, sped by amongst traffic
– something many drivers had petitioned against – vaulted
over buildings in a single bound, and appeared in one place, only to be
whisked away to another in a flash of light. It was chaotic, to
say the least. Chaotic, yet safe. And Ryan thrived in it. He smiled to
a hero whom he thought he recognized, but the name escaped him, and
obviously the hero didn’t recognize him, as he flew overhead,
because he gave back a smile and a wave that said, “Hello you lowly citizen. I pity you for your weakness, but I’ll pretend I’m happy to see you.” Ryan Tanter knew it all too well. Ashamedly, he had given it on a couple of his bad days.
Not too far off, he noticed a few Outcasts romping
around in the streets. No cries of help were yet going out, so no one
paid attention. But Ryan did. He also noticed their noticing an
unnoticing young lady, who was coming down the sidewalk at Ryan, but
still several hundred yards off.
A few of the Outcasts, one Lead Brick in their
ranks, along with a pair of flame wielding ones, took up flanking
positions on opposite sides of the sidewalk to stop her when she came
to pass. Ryan quickened his pace. At this rate, he wouldn’t get
there in time. The girl, a brunette, carried a bag of groceries in one
arm, and a purse in the other. Typical. The ones that needed saving
always seemed to carry groceries. That always made a mess, and he hoped
she didn’t carry eggs with her.
“Hey, lady, you got something in that bag for
me?” the tallest and largest, the Lead Brick, said. Ryan fumed as
his pace quickened ever more, as the thug couldn’t seem to keep
his eyes off her curvaceous body.
“Pig!” She yelled at him, voicing
Ryan’s very thoughts down to the infliction, volume, and the very
tone itself, as well as the convicting quality. Trying to push past,
she still didn’t notice Ryan Tanter, who was nearly running at
“Ooh, we gotst ourselves a feisty one,
don’t we?” One of the Torches reached in the bag and pulled
out a large glass bottle of Tabasco Brand Hot Sauce. “Ooh, and
she likes hot stuff! Good news for me…” He reached out to
grab her arm, and probably a little past that.
He was met by a sharp, quick slap that left a
burning sensation in his skin. “For your information, that is for
my boyfriend, and he wouldn’t appreciating taking that.
He’s very sentimental about that Tabasco.”
The Torcher slapped back, leaving an equally red
mark on her arm, then grabbing it, pulling her to him as his partners
ravaged through her purse. “Does it look like I care?! Just for
that, I’m going to be the first one to-“
This time, a fist cut him off. However, it was
misplaced, coming from behind him. The energy-latent fist crashed down
on the bottle of hot sauce, blasting glass and red-pepper juices
combined with only salt and vinegar, everywhere. The mere three
ingredients of the incredibly spicy sauce splashed into the
Torch’s eyes, burning them as they filled his vision. A sharp
crack on the back sent him to the ground instantly.
A kick to the face ended the crime spree of the Lead
Brick, sprawling him on his back. As he regained his footing and shook
a piece of glass from between the fingers of his right, his left struck
out to the last of the three Outcasts, likewise throwing him to the
ground. The Torch who had made the crude remark to the girl, the only
one of the trio still conscious, was met by a sneaker to the groin.
“That’s for sexually harassing her.” Ryan said as he
retracted his foot. “Morons these days…” he trailed
off, then kicked him in the solar plexus, and the combined pain
rendered him unconscious as well.
“I’m sorry, ma’am, are you
hurt?” Ryan asked, walking over to the woman, in her early
twenties, who was gathering her things, sans-Tabasco, of course.
“For your information,” a classic,
completely unoriginal line, “I could have handled that
myself.” And another equally unoriginal one.
“That’s not the usual ‘thank
you’ I always get.” Ryan said, leaning over, kissing the
twenty-three year old on the lips, putting his hand on her shoulder.
Instead of slapping him, she kissed back. “Sorry about your hot sauce.”
“My fault, Kathy.” He spoke to his
fiancé in loving tones. “Besides, I’ve got at least
three more bottles at home.” Putting his hand to his mouth, he
licked off some of the spicy, orange-red liquid that still remained on
his right fore-finger.
“The way you go through the stuff, it
won’t last you until Friday.” Kathy gave him a one-arm hug,
then returned her belongings to her purse and slung it over her
shoulder, leaving the unconscious thugs to be picked up by the Paragon
“This an outrage!” The ambassador
slammed his fist down in the large conference room, semi-circular.
“The Rogue Isles will not stand for this! We demand reparations
at once, or we will be forced to take drastic measures!”
“Just what, exactly, do the
Rogue Isles stand for? Anything at all?” The British ambassador
made a small remark, which created a chuckle among his peers, and his
countries allied ambassadors.
They were seated near the front of the conference
room, at who’s head stood an imposing figure, the leader of the
council in session with a blue flag on the wall behind him, which was
embroidered with white stenciling of a globe and two olive branches
“Silence! The Rogue Islands did not join the
United Nations to be ridiculed! We wanted respect in this world!”
The ambassador of the Rogue Islands said.
“Gentlemen! Be calm!” The leader of the
council remarked. At that, the Rogue Isles ambassador took his seat
again, still glowering at the American and British ambassadors.
The angry man spoke up again. “How can I be
calm? The countries these men belong to have committed an act of war by
attacking Arachnos Military installations! They killed out men! My Lord
has deemed this unacceptable and requests that the UN intervene on our
behalf as a sanctioned nation!”
“Might I remind you, ambassador, you have no
proof of American nor British, nor Cuban, Venezuelan, French, Iranian,
nor Venetian incurrence upon your islands, apart from the fact that two
sites of nearly completed forts were destroyed?” The council
leader spoke calmly as ever, as if a father to all of these unruly
children. It came off in a lecturing tone as well. “Need I also
remind you that the Rogue Islands barely made it into the United
Nations, and we would just as soon expel you?”
Sky Burn exited the movie theatre, with Kathy in
arm, walking towards a small alley. “I need to be getting
home.” She said. They were still in civilian clothes and dusk had
long set in while they were inside the cinema. “I’ll see
you tomorrow, sweetie.” Kathy said, stroking the engagement ring
on her finger, glancing down at his, smiling greatly. Before he could
respond, she had already jumped off from the ground, as they were in a
secluded alleyway and lept from building to building, hundreds of feet
Long minutes later: “I thought she’d
never leave.” A voice said, appearing from the shadows.
“Who-“ Ryan turned toward the figure. He
wasn’t in a fighting stance yet. The man wasn’t appearing
hostile, so they wasn’t needed.
“We need your help, Mr. Tanter.” Dressed
in black suit and black sunglasses, his head cropped short, like some
CIA or Secret Service agent from James Bond movie. No sidearm was
visible on him, but that wasn’t too hard to hide.
He reached in a pocket, which Ryan jerked his hand
at, but realized it was only a paper, not a weapon. The man, still yet
unidentified, handed over the document. “The United States
National Security Agency has reason to believe that Arachnos is working
with Malta on high-tech weaponry developments. With that field, we
suspect Crey as well, but that is just a presumption.” Agent
Smith, as Ryan mentally named him from appearance due to lack of the
man’s actual name, handed over the document. Ryan scanned it with
a glance. “Archimedes? What?”
“Indeed. The NSA has assembled a team of
soldiers to assault this coupling of groups. Should they finish
whatever they are working on, it may be not just a threat to National
Security, but it could develop into a full pandemic.”
“That still does not answer what Archimedes is.” Ryan glanced over the paper more.
“’Just it. We don’t know either.
Which is why we want you. Superspeed, flight, combat skills, minimal
invisibility, tactical mind, and you work the way we do. You were the
perfect candidate for the job.” He held out another paper.
“Armed Reconnaissance and Hazard reMoval. Better known as ARHM.
You’ll be working with them. We’ve got supers in with them,
but not many. This is the sixth incarnation of the group,
originally founded under the British as the British Intelligence
Special Forces during World War One. Since then, they have been
continuously disbanded and reformed, usually under knew names, to act
in new wars and conflicts with a new name each time. Not until now did
we ever use supers. And by the way, you never heard any of this.
I’m sure you know the drill.”
It was too much like Hollywood for Sky Burn to
believe. To randomized in local. He must have swept the place long ago
for bugs, and had several men walking around to make sure no one
“Sure. I’m in.” Sounded good.
“The standard save-the-day kinda thing, or do I get paid
extra?” Ryan asked. A little extra pocket money would have been
nice, but it wasn’t a necessity; he didn’t need incentive
to do the right thing and mitigate crime.
An eyebrow rose to this question. “I thought
you were one of them noble super heroes. No need for cash.” Ryan
assumed he had to say that on behalf of the group.
“Honor doesn’t often put bread on the
table.” Ryan said blatantly. It was hard to say, but truth be
told, honor and wisdom really didn’t get as far as it used
to. The media had long made sure of that, making it seem like the
world was evil and all honor was false. In some cases, it was true,
“Oh, yes, but of course. Sorry, but I
can’t do anything about that. Though, I’m sure your monthly
paycheck from the Paragon City Security Department, Hero Division, will
get a little boost.” Winking right now, as one might
normally do with a little under-the-table help, would be highly
unprofessional. Besides, this whole arrangement was under-the-table
already. ‘Agent Smith’ didn’t look anxious at all,
even with the length of the talk. “Anyway, we can’t exactly
tell you what your overall goals are. That is for us to know and you to
figure out on your own.” Ryan noticed he hadn’t said
‘find out,’ rather ‘figure out.’ “Though,
that shouldn’t be too hard at all. You’re a smart one,
I’m told. Don’t let me down.”
“Thanks… what is your name again?” Ryan questioned.
“I never told you, and don’t count on it
happening anytime soon.” The man starred through his shades. That
bothered Ryan, who couldn’t see what the man’s eyes were
looking at, whether it was something behind him, checking Ryan for a
weapon, or staring straight into his eyes. Maybe that was supposed to
make him feel more powerful… must have been, because the suited
man was a half-foot shorter than the hero. “If you will excuse
me, your orders will be delivered to you tomorrow morning.”
Ryan returned home, still thinking over the
“proposal” the man had made. “Man, did that guy have
it wrong.” Grabbing a carton of milk from the fridge, hoping it
wasn’t too old. “I’m not exactly as noble as he
thinks.” Drinking straight from the carton, he took a few gulps
before realizing it was perfectly fine.
“Sky… what the h-“ Nathan
appeared from his room, catching Ryan surprised, whom, accidentally
sprayed milk from his mouth, all over the ice-hero, whom was in a
t-shirt and shorts. Once the milk touched the man, it instantly froze.
“Oh, come on!” Chillbain looked down at the frozen,
pasteurized mess all over himself.
“Looks good on you.” The joke came amid
a hysterical laugh. “You needed a new look
anyway.” That was hardly true. Nathan –
Chillbain – had at least four different costumes composed of
white and light blue fabrics, wrappings, boots, etc. Likewise, Ryan
– Sky Burn – had many uniforms, but many of them looked
quite similar to the last just a new paint job, a few extra gadgets, a
helmet or lack of one, et cetera, all of military genre.
“Bullcrap!” Chillbain spouted, flicking
off frozen milk from his cold shirt. “I never need a new look! My
look is always good. You don’t beat my style, and you can’t
make it better. You are lucky it solidified before it could moisten my
clothes. In one swift motion, he swatted the milk carton with a
backhand, causing most of the remaining milk to slosh all over
Ryan’s shirt. “That will teach you to drink straight from
my milk carton. I was just planning on getting a glass.”
“Hey!” The gun-slinging hero looked down
upon his newly wet shirt. “This is my best shirt!” Ryan
yelled. It was no use, the damage was done.
“Shows how good of a fashion sense you have.”
“Kathy liked it.”
Ryan awoke after a good night’s fasting; the
alarm was annoying. Rising from his bed, he cleared the cobwebs and
walked into the shower in the adjacent room. Eyes still only
capable of half-opening, he let the warm water loosen his muscles and
stretched. He reached downwards to pick up a used washcloth to
wash himself briefly, and upon rising, he started feeling dizzy.
Vertigo. Within seconds his vision was closing in, the edges appearing
in plaid, slowly moving towards the center. Ryan could feel himself
start to loose his balance, and steadied himself by putting a hand on
the wall. Odd… the wall usually didn’t feel like…
paper? Once his vision cleared again, he squinted. A sticky note?
The note came off with a little suction-like sound
as the sticky substance pulled away from the tile. “Talos Island.
100 yds NE Ferry-PI. ASAP. Bring your pajamas.” He whispered
aloud, his squinting eyesight barely making the hand-written text out.
“Flush it.” Was on the bottom of the note. At first, he
didn’t get it. Then he jumped out of the shower, memorizing the
Nathan/Chillbain walked out of his room just as he
heard Ryan’s toilet flush, followed directly by the shower
turning off. ‘Odd’ he thought, ‘Ryan just started his
shower a couple of minutes ago. It usually takes him at least
ten.’ Moments later, the superspeeder and flyer was already out
of his room door, in full hero-costume, still putting on his eye
monocle. Nathan spun on his heel as his roommate sped through to
the kitchen, a red-orange streak of energy following close behind.
“Can’t talk, gotta go!” Ryan said as fast as a
teenage girl on her phone, and caught out of the corner of his eye that
Nathan was going to speak up. As he grabbed a Pop-Tart, he cut him off
before he could say anything, “Breakthrough on the Trolls.”
And he was gone, leaving a whirlwind of dust, paper, and loose objects
in his wake.
“But we weren’t even after the
Trolls…” Nathan Grey realized he wasn’t talking to
anyone but himself. “Man that guy is rude sometimes… and
why am I still talking to myself?”
“Good. We were afraid you would actually come
in your pajamas.” One of the twelve men said. They all stood in
civilian clothes of varying type next to a warehouse. Vehicles nearby
varied just as well, parked off the street. Two of them looked like
businessmen; Ryan guessed they had come in the Porsche, as they had
evidently come in seven different vehicles. One of them was a black H2.
“We always assumed supers weren’t that smart.” The
“I know the lingo.” It was more of a
guess, really. That, and additional logic. Sky Burn had guessed they
didn’t actually want him to come in boxers and a shirt. His
camouflage armor really set things off with the group. Thirteen men
dressed sporadically. Such a thing was sure to attract attention.
Then again, this was Paragon City. If they all dressed in suits, a hero
might go after them thinking them to be Family. All dressed in punk
clothes; Freakshow, or Freak wannabes. T-shirts and shorts or pants;
drug dealers, a new gang, or worse. Then again, knowing what these guys
did for a living, the hero would sorely loose, and none of these men
had super powers. He wondered were their pieces were. “What
now?” Ryan noticed one of the men looked at him strangely.
“Nothing. Your voice just reminded me of
somebody.” He shook his head. “Anyway, here we are.”
He motioned to all of the men. “You will get to know us later.
Now for your briefing, at least what we can tell you here. You
know that freighter out there in Talos Harbor that never moves, but
stays out at sea all the time?”
“We own it.” The man smirked. Ryan
thought he recognized him from somewhere, too. But his face
didn’t ring a bell. Such a thing was odd, as he usually
remembered the face of most people he met. “Inside we’ve
got all of our gear. We liked the fact that the cargo ports are made to
open up. Makes for an easy transition for equipment, and its remote.
Anyway, we go out there from here, via a couple of small boats. We
leave our cars here. Let’s go.”
“Oh, yeah, about that. I was just wondering, who’s car is
that?” Ryan questioned of the Hummer. None of them seemed to fit
the profile of your average Hummer –2 owner. He knew
that any average Joe might have one, but they all seemed to fit the
profile of one of the other vehicles, for example two of them wore a
delivery uniforms, and sure enough, one of those seven was a delivery
truck for UPS.
“That? Yours.” One of the others tossed him a set of keys,
with “H2” printed on the finger-grip. “You’re
on of us now.” He started off towards the docks, following behind
the man who had done most of the talking early, the one Ryan Tanter
thought he recognized.
Ryan’s face said ‘Awesome!’ as the keys connected
with his fingers, but his lips whispered, “If you only
knew.” A mutter from under his breath, in tow behind the
officially initiated twelve. It wasn’t long before they
reached the three small boats, several dozen yards apart. All were
obviously pleasure craft, two a small speed boats, and the other a
speed boat more designed for fishing, with swiveling chair on the back.
They entered into the boats, not caring whom saw, and started them
within five minutes of each other. The first to leave the area
was set to go on a longer course around Circe island. The fishing boat
made a direct path to the north of Talos Island at a slower pace. The
boat Ryan was in also took with it the seemingly leader of the group,
whom had done most of the talking earlier, as well as two of the others
in the back. This speed boat took them on a faster pace trip down south
Talos Island, under several bridges, then towards the freighter they
“By the way, I’m Christopher Kierson.
First Sergeant.” He held out his hand, his other on the wheel.
This was the one Ryan recognized the voice of. Shaking his hand,
something else seemed familiar. The man’s build also complied
with the memory of his voice somehow. On his arm was the tattoo of a
globe, eagle, and anchor. That wasn’t familiar.
“Ryan Tanter. Ex-Major, U.S. Army,
One-oh-first Airborne. Helo pilot.” Ryan retracted his hand. He
hadn’t gotten a tattoo for his unit, but he remembered the patch
of a Screaming Eagle well enough.
Kierson scoffed a little. “Looks like they
bumped you down to an El-Tee. Our files never mentioned you being
ex-Army. When you said Army, I was a little worried. But the Airborne
ain’t so bad… I guess.”
Ryan shook his head, “Look,
leatherneck,” he said – two things screamed
‘Marine’ about this guy, the tattoo on his arm being the
obvious crest of the United States Marine Corps, along with a feeling
of superiority over the same country’s Army, which border-lined
the cockiness of a fighter pilot. “If they thought I wasn’t
good enough – regardless of being ex-Army, they wouldn’t
have put me here alongside a few ex-jarheads and bell-bottoms.”
“What do you mean ex-jarheads?” He piped
back, looking towards Ryan with a raised eyebrow, then turning to a
friend in back of the boat. Chris Kierson received a smile back, and
both eyebrows raise; the look melded with the term
“devious.” Their other comrade also in the back, shook his
head and rubbed the bridge of his nose.
In unison Chris and the man in the rear seat yelled,
“Once a Marine, always a Marine!” They laughed a little,
not noticing the other rolling his eyes. This one didn’t look
like Army either. Rather, he had a tattoo of a seal on his arm,
identifying him as a squid, Navy. SEAL, no doubt. Ryan had expected a
few people from the Sea, Air, Land division of the Navy to be in this
outfit, and he had speculated correctly. He must have been one of the
ones to have gone from Navy to SEAL, though it wasn’t at all
uncommon to find someone from the Marines in a SEAL team.
“Don’t mind them,” said the
ex-SEAL. “They’re at little too prideful. You get used to
them once you learn not to listen to things. Master Chief Petty Officer
Hail Briggs, at your service.” Hail wasn’t sure whether or
not to say, “sir” to Ryan, but decided not do as his
hero-uniform wasn’t obviously United States Military issued. Or
maybe it was. Regardless, there was no insignia, but the cape was a
rather nice touch, and the entire thing must have been camouflaged by a
professional, not just meaning the cape.
Ryan looked at all of the three. Hardcore bunch,
they must have been. Or at least easily carried with a crowd of
buddies, either of those two could be proven with the ink imbedded in
their skin for life. Turning back again, the freighter loomed ahead,
enhancing in size by the second. Chris looped the boat around, and
slowed. A vertical, straight crack appeared in the bow of the ship.
More horizontal slits stemmed from that, and it became obvious what the
front of the ship was – A bay. The doors opened, and a small
current started circulating. There was already water inside. As the
small watercraft slipped into the guts of the ship, it became easier to
see inside. Ryan’s eyes adjusted in less than a couple of
Kierson motioned to one of two angular looking craft
inside the ship. Both had a double-M style hull, and looked stealthy as
they sat in the internal bay, their hulls touching the water with a
draft of only a few feet, despite their size. “That’s an
“M-80 Stiletto. I’m familiar.”
Ryan cut him off. He didn’t like being lectured or instructed
much. “Cool place you have here.” His last few words were
almost drowned out as the speedboat gently collided with one of the
mini-docking ports inside the cargo freighter. They all jumped out, and
a single rope was used to hold it in place, as there wasn’t
nearly enough water movement to move it much. Moments later, the last
boat entered; the fishing boat. The other speedboat was already docked
alongside where they had just parked their vessel. After the third and
final entered safely, the doors started closing in, filtering out all
un-artificial light. The artificial stuff was brought in from the
ceiling via the ships main power source. Probably a nuclear generator,
“Alright, Cape. Lets go check out the rest of
the ship. We’ve got an hour to kill before we start getting ready
for our next mission.” And it wouldn’t even begin then,
Kierson didn’t tell him, as he probably didn’t have to.
They’d run simulators for it, how to deal with worst-case
scenarios. Most of their strikes would wait until nightfall.
Review this story