Janik shifted uncomfortably in his seat. The hum of the photon
accelerated projector modules filled his ears as he tried to relax
about his next mission. Sitting next to him was a slender
man in his late twenties, an unshaven face staring intensely into
a laptop. Díngar opened the top flask on his Pneumatic Assault
Rifle and checked the calibration of the clip. Everything
is fine, he told himself. Donít be so nervous. Youíve
completed dozens of missions simpler than this before.
I supposed to do once we get inside?Ē the man next to him asked,
not letting his strained eyes veer from his laptop.
havenít briefed you yet?Ē Díngar asked, slightly surprised.
didnít pay attention. I was too busy rewriting the hexadecimal
code for this security system so I could bypass ÖĒ
up,Ē Díngar said rudely.
man with the laptop, the ďhackerĒ, as Díngar called him in his mind,
pulled out a pack of cigarettes and placed one in his mouth.
Díngar knew that it wasnít PC to use outdated 20th century terms
like ďhackerĒ anymore, but he really didnít care.
isnít allowed on this shuttle,Ē Díngar informed the hacker.
I care,Ē the hacker said smiling, as he lit his cigarette, still
not looking away from the screen. The glow gave his haggled
face an eerie quality.
snatched the cigarette out of the hackerís mouth, simultaneously
stomping it out as he crushed the rest of the pack.
once Iíve secured the outer perimeter of the facility, itís your
job to access the main terminal. They want you to copy all
the information on the development of their new missile, transfer
it to our network, and the delete all their files,Ē Díngar informed
play,Ē the hacker sneered. ďWhy do they even waste my time?Ē
* * *
transport carrier glided down to a grassy field like a bird returning
to its nest. The shuttle doors opened and Díngar and the hacker
stepped out into the pale, red, sunset. Díngar barely had
time to strap his NAR to his arm before the shuttle took off, as
stealthily as it had arrived.
my only escort?Ē the hacker shouted in disbelief.
more than the necessary two would make us more obvious,Ē Díngar
informed him. ďBesides, Iím all the protection you need.
led the hacker through a ventilation duct through the side of the
facility. They stopped to hold their breath as they heard
guards talking below them, and then moved on with careful precision.
Díngar stopped above a grate, checking his holo-map. It showed
that the hallway below them would lead to the terminal they needed.
Noticing the solitary guard below, he unsheathed his xylo blade,
and removed the grating. With the silence of a cat stalking
itís prey, Díngar dropped down behind, the guard, quickly feeding
his wrist around his neck. A quick twist of his wrist deprived
the guard of the one-inch of space he needed to breath. The
guard twitched once as the xylo blade entered his abdomen, tearing
apart soft tissue. The poison entered his cerebral cortex
almost immediately, leaving him dead on the tiled floor within seconds.
an inhuman strength aided by the steroids injected through his veins
periodically, Díngar lifted the body into the duct to hide it, much
to the hackerís disgust. They both dropped down into the hallway
this time, and continued on. Díngar signaled to the hacker
to switch on his Sound Wave Frequency Re-distributor.
It was discovered
during the late 20th Century that sound waves could not be destroyed,
but could be nullified by creating a wave exactly opposite to the
one being made, creating silence. It was a practical stealth
tool for about twenty years until deviceís that would reverse that
process, rendering attempts to nullify sound waves useless for soldiers.
Using the SWFR, they could be redirected from the outside environment
into the userís eardrums. The result was a horrifyingly loud
thumping of feet falling on tiled floor and heavy breathing for
Díngar and the hackerís eardrums. This created complete silence
for all others. The effects of the SWFR could drive any normal
civilian insane, possibly kill them, but Díngar and the hacker were
trained for the effects of this highly useful but dangerous device.
his holo-map once more, seeing that the terminal was but a few short
rooms away from their current position. Grabbing the hackerís
dirty uniform and yanking him close to the wall, Díngar crept down
the hall towards the destination point.
* * *
metallic, sound of the doors sliding opened made the five scientists
in the terminal room glance toward the door for a seconded.
Most expected to see the guards making their routine checks coming
in, but unfortunately for them, it was the Para Military Trooper
Díngar. With pure silence, his PAR unloaded a spray of shrapnel
and hollow point bullets on the west corner of the room. Two
scientistís bodies spun violently as the searing hot metal tore
away at their tender flesh, underused muscle falling to the floor
in bloody clumps. Their bodies lay on the floor, still twitching,
but Díngarís precise and trained aim left all the delicate equipment
Two of the
remaining scientists made a dash for the rear door. A thin
blade connected to a razor sharp wire sprang forward from the gauntlet
on Díngarís right arm like a cobra striking at its prey. The
scientist didnít even feel the bones in his face shatter against
the wall. Detaching the wire from his gauntlet and leaving
the poor scientist splattered against the wall, the deadly whine
of the PAR charging up led the second scientist to wet his pants
before his upper half flew three feet in front of his path to the
to need an industrial sized spatula to clean up this mess!Ē the
hacker said. He realized that Díngar did not laugh because
he could not hear the hacker due to the SWFR, but he wondered if
that mattered anyway.
surviving scientists leaped for the alarm button on the console
to his left. He stared in horror as his hand levitated, inches
from the button that would bring his rescue. Díngar slowly
twisted the scientistís wrist, shredding the forearm tendon, until
it snapped like a twig. His neck broke even easier.
the hacker turned off their SWFRís so that they could communicate.
Díngar showed the hacker the terminal that corresponded to the one
on his holo-map. Within seconds, the hackerís fingers flew
across the keyboard, the prosthetics in his fingers giving him unfathomable
speed. As Díngar peered down the hallways carefully, he noticed
the hacker stop momentarily, stick his fingers down his throat,
and then proceed to cough up a pack of cigarettes, free of stomach
acid and bile.
hell are you doing?Ē Díngar demanded
Peptide they gave us to ward of nausea allowed me to smuggle in
a pack of smokes in my stomach,Ē the hacker smiled. He lit
the cigarette off of a small Zippo he pulled from his pocket.
ďI get to tense if I donít have my nicotine, you understand.
Canít concentrate well without my cancer stick.Ē
him as he continued his observance of the two halls leading to the
room that they were in. There was no alert yet. Thank
god for SWFRís, he thought to himself. Díngar glanced around
the room, noticing all of the advanced machinery surrounding him,
used for analysis of minerals and compounds used in the production
of weapons. Then he noticed something on the wall next to
the door. Something small, white, and square. A sign.
On it was a red circle, with a line through it. His heart
began to pound and he saw the small, flaming, stick, pictured inside
of the circle. His heart sped up like a cheetah sprinting
after its prey. A "NO SMOKING" sign.
cigarette out you moron!Ē Díngar shouted at the hacker as he felt
his adrenaline rise.
It was too
late. The smoke alarm went off, and the lights dimmed red
as the sirens wailed throughout the base. The intercom near
the door crackled to life.
the intercom buzzed. ďTeam 12, respond! Put out that
cigarette immediately, youíre endangering the specimens!Ē
looked wildly at Díngar, then at the intercom, and back again.
He threw the cigarette out on the ground and started to panic.
weíre going to send a guard to find out why youíve violated the
no smoking rule, if you will not respond,Ē the intercom buzzed.
we do?Ē the hacker cried out.
to them!Ē Díngar ordered.
Team 12,Ē the hacker squeaked into the intercom. ďEverythingís
is this?Ē the intercom demanded. ďThe scanner does not recognize
your voice! State your ID number, immediately!Ē
they were in deep trouble now. The hacker mumbled something
in response, but Díngar was busy reloading his PAR. A new
alarm went off this time, obviously an emergency alarm. The
door flung open and the enemy poured in, firing at the hacker the
second they saw the dead bodies scattered about. The horrified
look on the hackerís face was only temporary before three quarterís
of his head burst violently onto the monitor behind him. His
brain left a gray streak as it slid down the screen.
cover behind some terminals, popping up to return fire every few
seconds. He could feel the computerís that were shielding
him start to give way under fire. Suddenly, the gunfire halted
and he thought he heard someone mention not damaging the equipment.
The next thing he heard was the clink of a small, steel, orb bouncing
next to him. The muscles in his legs sprang into action as
he tried to roll out of the way. He didnít even hear the explosion.
* * *
Slowly, his eyes opened. Darkness still. Díngar tried
to move, but soon realized that he was in a very cramped space.
A concussion grenade, he thought to himself. Didnít do anything
to the computers, but it knocked me into next week. Then he
noticed the smell. The horrible, overpowering, stench surrounding
him. He felt something ooze past his face. Something
hot, and wet. And sticky. Blood. He would have
vomited if not for the Anti Amino Acid Peptides. He realized
with horror that he was in a cadaver pit. A wide, deep, pit,
filled to the top with rotting bodies. Desperation and panic
over took Díngar. Then he heard the whirring of the incinerator
motors. The bodies around him began to heat up.
As the smell
of dead, burning, flesh invaded his nose; Díngar closed his eyes,
and tried to whisper to himself. Someoneís half rotted hand
pressed against his mouth, however, so he decided against trying
to speak to himself. If only, he thought to himself, if only
that stupid hacker hadnít lit that stupid cigarette! Iíd be
home by now, with my wife. The flames began to lick at his
back like whips. The heat was oppressive and overwhelming.
He felt his own, still living, flesh start to sear with red-hot
pain. Dammit, he said to himself. I really hope he enjoyed