Almighty- Chapter 2- Memento Mori

Almighty- Chapter 2- Memento Mori

A Chapter by SpaceKnight
"

To learn more about Vesuvius, head over to:

"
I see three blobs of red heat signatures inside the warehouse through my IR scope. If my deductions prove correct, they are three costumed clowns ripe for the slaughter.

This parking complex served useful as a vantage point; five stories of concrete and darkness, masking my location and presence. I heave up a small pistol-shaped device and point it at the metre square window on the warehouse, on the other side of the street. With a cough, it sends an adhesive mic soaring through the air.

As soon as the bottle cap-sized device hits the window, it gives me a live feed. "--find others. M-Maybe they can help." Speaks a trembling voice. As silence follows, I vault over the concrete railing of the parking complex and fall three stories.

I land with a crunch on solid ground as another voice answers "You want to go back out there?! Are you f*****g serious?!" I stride across the pitch black street, pulling a pack of breaching charges from my belt.

A young woman's voice chimes in "Aaron, stow it! We're sitting ducks here; we don't have any supplies and we're not experienced enough to hold our own. We have to leave eventually."

By the time she's done, I've got a breaching charge on three sets of doors leading into the rather open warehouse. They have no cover. Like fish in a barrel. I ascend the drainage pipe like a spider as the coward starts talking once more. "...but h-how? How do we find them? They're p-probably dead already."

"We have to try, okay? It's our only chance." The young woman is the mediator. Kill her first, and the rest will panic.

I peer into the warehouse from a glass window on the roof. I know them now, after seeing them. They are greenhorns, I've never met them but I've read the files. Fresh meat. The weak one is Orion, the hot-head is Kickback and the fearless leader is The Guard. They're sitting on three crates arranged in a rough triangular formation in the clear side of the warehouse; the other side is stacked with crates and boxes.

Orion is, so far, a major disappointment. His reaction to this situation contradicted his file. He was illustrated as quiet and mysterious...there's nothing mysterious about a coward. His suit is pale metallic silver, with a single glowing blue circle in the centre of his head.

Kickback was formidable, as I've heard. His abilities allowed him to detonate anything as if it were a stick of dynamite. Nasty sounding, but he's had enough of this war, just like Orion.

The Guard is a fit, athletic specimen. Blonde hair as bright as the sun, sheet white skin and a pair of intoxicating emerald eyes beneath a black domino mask. Her costume is one of those overused 'nods' to the American flag. Red, white and blue. The poster girl of young American superheroes; she'll be the most problematic, but to me that's still just one move.

They're relaxed. That means that they're dead.

My hand squeezes my detonator and ignites the three charges. The rookies below are fretting like startled cow...

Without hesitation, I leap at the glass, billowing through it instantly. I land behind The Guard and clutch her left breast as I drive my combat knife down into her chest over and over with my right hand. Blood spews from the wound and she stares down in silence, watching my left subdue her whilst my right pokes her full of bloody holes. I drop the knife as Kickback screams "V-Vesuvius?!" He picks up an empty drink can, charges it with volatile energy, and tosses it at me without a care for The Guard at all.

I hurl the bleeding girl to the ground, gracefully scoop the can through the air, twirl with it's trajectory and send it back to its thrower. As soon as it hits, the ensuring 'boom' shakes the warehouse and sends splintered bone, cooked meat and red blood flying backward from where Kickback once stood. His severed head hits the floor.

"S-Stay back!!!" Orion squeaks.

I pull my pistol from my leg and pull the trigger three times. A chunk of the coward's head is blown to pieces from the three rounds and he falls, lifeless.

My attention is drawn back to The Guard.

When I gaze back at The Guard's face, she's still alive amazingly. Her eyes are staring at mine, her hand covered in her own blood as she tries to stop the bleeding. Fear of death opens the box of a person's exterior and reveals their true form. She is afraid, tantalisingly so, but she doesn't scream or plead. She stares at me, her eyes encrusted with burden; she knows that she will die right here, having done absolutely nothing to save herself or her friends.

In life, I see nothing of a person. But when they die...I see the beauty. That is when a person is meant to be touched, during their death. I stride over to her, and watch as the life pours out of her wound. My hand runs across her face gently, just as the green eyes fill with peace...as still as they are meant to be.

These capes weren't trained, but I've killed worse. They were basically teenagers, they've been dealing with petty crimes and burglaries. A cape is a cape, I say. They're all the same, doesn't matter how much they've seen. Thank god for this war, it is an effective distraction for me to silence as many capes as I can.

I tap on my wrist-mounted PDA and speak "Status update for objectives Orion, Kickback and The Guard : deceased."

"James Darren, alias: 'Orion'; Aaron Steele, alias: Kickback, and Joanna Holland, alias: The Guard are deceased." It barks at me.

Lowering my arm, I carefully survey the abandoned food warehouse that these jokes locked themselves in, pistol in one hand and machete in the other. Towers of crates and crisscrossing steel beams present many hiding places for prey. The only sound I hear are my heavy footsteps and the shifting of my fatigues and body armour as I twist and peer down countless aisles.

The sudden 'clang' of an empty can on the concrete floor ushers my attention.The acoustics and sound bouncing could fool an amateur, but not me. I take two paces forward and turn left.

There's a can of baked beans, ripped open and rolling upon the floor. I can smell it still; freshly cooked but no signs of heating devices here...hopefully it's wasn't just Kickback who heated this up. I want another kill.

I stroll down the seemingly empty aisle to the can and stand above it for a few seconds, staring around me at the various crates and boxes, listening and sniffing. That's a smell I recognise...it's definitely not baked beans. "Silhouette." I mutter.

A gasp leaps from the dark corner ahead of me as a patch of shadow melts away from the wall and walks toward me. The shadow moulds itself into the shape of a woman with the smokey shadows dancing above her head like free-flowing locks of hair. Two ghastly blue eyes appear where the face would be and a soft, feminine voice emanates from it "Vesuvius... What are you doing here?"

"I could ask you the same thing." I say, not putting my weapons away.

Silhouette crosses her arms and sighs at me. "Orion locked me up a lot. I wanted to kill him. When I heard the bangs, I thought it was the soldiers."

I finally holster my pistol and sheath my blade on my back. "You're afraid of some normal people with guns?"

She nods. "Look...I'm no soldier. You might be, but I'm not."

"You're just a plain murderer."

The woman c***s her head and replies "And you're not?"

"I fight for a purpose, you don't. I know you came here for food. I saw the can." I press, stepping to the side, so her eyes caught the sight of the empty can.

Silhouette stands silent. She walks closer to me and whispers with a shaky voice "...I didn't do that."

The silence-shattering bang of a man slamming through a door throws my instincts into action. Without thought, I sprint toward the sound like a mad dog. I hear desperate footsteps as I round the corner of crates and head into the smashed door.

Silhouette...she pulled my senses off track. I'm getting tired...making mistakes.
I push hard, trailing the escapee up a set of concrete stairs. His breathing grows louder and closer, and mine stays the same. I was engineered to be better than any human being and whoever I'm chasing isn't even among the fit. I'm right behind him now. Before his hands strike the door, I leap at him. Using myself as a one hundred kilogram projectile, I tackle the coward to the ground and through the cheap wooden door.

Splinters scrape at my fatigues before the whiplash of gravity slamming the pair of us onto a concrete floor shuffles my skull. I twist and roll to my feet, pulling my sawn-off from my back and pointing it at the runner with one arm.

I take a good look at the...woman. She's wearing a mask with some sort of tech display over her eyes, like a pair of glowing green goggles. Her body is sheathed inside a red and silver baggy jumpsuit, strapped with various gadgets and wires. There. On her arm is an improvised heating device; I see microwave parts and a plate of metal attached as a heating surface,

She's very young...no powers. Hasn't seen much action either, as her fearful panting tells me. "How old are you, girl?"

Her shimmering green lens spies up at me. She does nothing but shake. I take a moment to stride toward her. Her breathing accelerates with each of my steps. I halt a step before her and ram my foot into her gut. She screams in pain and doubles over. "They call me Prophet! I...I was operations over watch for the Protectors. I-I'm eighteen."

A Protectors asset, beautiful. She's as green as grass too; she'll fold. "You know why they call me Vesuvius don't you?"

Her visored face is fixated on the ground. "Y-You use Roman execution methods...on your prisoners."

"Good. I'm sure you'll have no problem settling in when we return to The Arx."

When I spin on my heels, Silhouette is already right behind me. "Who's this?"

"Rachel Mathers, known as the Prophet. She's the technology and intelligence specialist for the Protectors." I tell her.

Silhouette c***s her head and chuckles "Your hunt isn't going to be that hard after a little talk with her."

The idea of working alongside someone so unrefined sickens me, but it's a means to an end. Silhouette seems to have increased morale after finding out this is the most trusted handler of Protector data. She'll know everything; secret IDs, HQ locations...maybe even the location of the Citadel. Silhouette's abilities could also be incredibly beneficial for recon purposes...I will let her tag along for now.

Prophet pants and curls into a ball as I begin to speak. "She'll be a burden if we let her go; she's too intelligent."

The young girl begins to sob. "She comes with us. But first..."

I descend onto her like a hawk, peeling her mask back with one hand and bearing a knife onto her neck with the other. Her bright blue eyes tremble and leak with tears as she screams at me. I say "I don't want to hurt you, little one. But if you give me reason, I will have you mounted on a spike and fed to the birds. I do not exactly need your help; it will just hasten my hunt. Let me make it clear; you are not essential to me, so do not try me."

The girl was horrified for the entire trip back to The Arx. In order to cancel out her sense of direction, Silhouette suggested I blindfold her and strap her onto a spinning chair. Suffice to say, it worked.

The APC smoothly and quickly rolled down the road, which had red sands bearing down upon it on either side. The road itself was littered with empty cars and occasional dead bodies. The land was completely flat, save for great crimson stone monoliths carved by nature that seemed to stand always beyond reach. The Arx slowly slid into view as I guided the APC along the broken concrete path, keeping an eye on Silhouette as I did.

"...That's your HQ? It's...gigantic." She whispers. Her eyes scrape upon the ten metre tall walls and the battlements that sit atop. On each set of battlements is a pair of my personal mercenaries, the Legionnaires. One in each pair bears a high-powered sniper rifle and the other an assault rifle loaded with armour-piercing rounds. The central portcullis begins to groan with a steeled growl as the titanium gate rises.

I don't lift my foot from the gas, and the vehicle scrapes through underneath the gate, then the latter drops heavily to the ground with a sudden 'bang'.

Inside the outer walls is the main square, a clear patch of maroon dirt and sand, surrounded on three sides by the outer walls and the last face by the inner-keep's entrance. My foot slams on the brakes and the APC pulls to a halt.

Kicking the door open and leaping outside with the severed heads of The Guard and her two friends gripped tightly in a sack, I see a pack of Legionnaires approach the vehicle. "Strip the girl and throw her into a cell. The transhuman can be taken to a bed chamber immediately." I call.

Without a sound, the squad draws to the back of the vehicle, all but one. "Father, you've returned."

I slam the door behind me and stride over to the one that spoke, turning to face the APC once at her side. "I obtained something far more useful than kills, Thera." I tell her, shoving the sack into her arms. We both watch as the squad of mercenaries pull the screaming girl from the APC and drag her to the inner-keep's open gates. Silhouette compliantly walks with her escorts, still mesmerised by the walls.

"Prophet. A fortunate find." Thera starts. "While you were absent, some of the invading forces attempted to take The Arx. We eliminated all of them, save for the commanding officer as per my orders. He is prepared for your...'company', in the dungeons."

Her helmeted head and armoured visage reminds me of myself. Her helmet is painted pitch black and her blue eyes shine through them very easily; a very dead giveaway for a trained eye if spotted in the night. She is a woman now, nearly as tall as me and stronger than the strongest man of the Legionnaires. Her form is powerful yet light and slender, encased in a black stealth suit lined with pouches, sidearms and a sniper rifle slung on her back; I made her the perfect knife in the dark. I give her a curt nod and say "I will make him talk."

"You always do, father." She quips.

I stride down to the dungeons, my daughter Thera trailing by my shoulder. All but two cells are devoid of life, the empty simply adorned with bloodied stains upon the floor. The final cell on the left holds the commanding officer of the hostile attack. I pull the steel barred door open and step inside, as Thera stands by the gate in waiting.

I stop a centimetre from his naked body and stare into his eyes. His arms are chained to the wall, forcing him to stand. The man before me is scrawny and covered in his own men's blood, his face morphed with hunger, pain and dehydration. I begin to speak, in Alstren "You are from Alstre."

His empty eyes meet mine and he spits. "...You do not scare me...American." he replies in his native tongue. I take a single step back and glance down at my boots. "I don't aim to scare you."

With a single movement, I raise my foot and force all my weight forward. My boot lands on his groin, with one hundred kilograms of weight behind it. The squelching and crushing of organs is music to my ears, but my friend does not share the same taste. He screeches like a weak coward. Thera glances over her shoulder at me, then refocuses her gaze onto the hallway. I lean my head to his and whisper "You are lucky I don't cut it off and feed it to you. You are lucky."

I pull back and send my bloodstained foot to the ground. His manhood is a mangled mess of flesh and blood, indiscernible from a bloodied hole. "Answer me, or I will change your luck. Why are you attacking America?"

He instantly breaks like a little boy. "Y-You have the people! The men with the strength of gods!! The world will be enslaved i-if you stay strong!!"

This war...is about all the capes running around? I refuse to let them all be slaughtered by damn foreigners with no interest in this country. Their heads belong to America and I, not dirty foreigners. "Thera, feed him to the man-beast."

Screaming seemed to be the music of the dungeon for the next few minutes as Thera dragged the pathetic man out. The dungeon once again plunged into silence, although the man's death cries could be heard in a distant chamber. I slither over to the other occupied cell, its prisoner unchained but withheld inside three stone walls and one of steel cage. Two Legionnaires stand guard at the cage's gate, one per side. I peer into the cage and spy today's achievement.

Prophet is curled upon herself in the far corner of the cell, her bare skin gleaming with sweat and encrusted with dirt. "You aren't here for punishment. You are here for a lesson."

Without being told, my Legionnaires pull the door open and seize the girl thuggishly as she screams and resists. Almost effortlessly, they chain her arms to the wall, as every prisoner before her was. When the iron locks together, they each fall out and resume their posts. I step inside, gazing up and down her in silence.

She begins to sob again, her hands not free to mask her face. She turns her head away from me, tucking her chin to her right collarbone as I come closer. "You are nothing. You are less than nothing. If you defy me in any way, you will die. If you help me, I will free you from this pit." My hand hovers over her breast and nudges it, pulling a ghastly scream from the girl's throat. "No! N-No...please..."

I turn to the Legionnaires "One week. Be sure to feed her; I want her healthy, understand? If any harm comes to her I will have your heads."

My eyes meet Prophet's once more as I whisper "You have one week in this cell to decide. I could always let my men have you if you decline...it has been a while since any of them lay with a woman let alone seen one."

With that, I storm out of the cell and pull the gate shut firmly. Thera strides into the dungeon and speaks with her voice soaked with pride "The officer died like a coward. The prisoner seems to have enjoyed it more than his usual meals."

"We will continue to give him human flesh then. Excellent work." I say to her. She stands a little straighter after hearing my compliment and replies "Of course father, you deserve no less."


© 2016 SpaceKnight


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Added on July 16, 2014
Last Updated on February 18, 2016
Tags: super, hero, war, thriller, action


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SpaceKnight
SpaceKnight

Sydney, NSW, Australia



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