FEAR Chapter Ten: Apropos to Salvation

Ancient Research Facility
Offshore, West of Ossyria
24th April 2042
0515 Local Time

Lavender. That was what he could smell. He sniffed again appreciatively and in curiosity. Why would there be flowers in here? The gun mounted flashlight washed the room in a diluted light, vainly trying to break the unnatural darkness. Somewhere behind him to his left, he heard the rest breach another room. He inhaled the scent, closing his eyes briefly. His initiative saved him. His wings jerked and propelled him into a dive as the force spear lashed out from the darkness.

Private Jason swore as he was inverted by his wings, using all his reflexes to avoid being slammed against the side of a cogitator. His supernatural wings might have saved him from the initial attack but somewhere –
Jason flipped high onto the ceiling as the same unreflective blade impaled the cogitator he had just landed against. Feth, if he could just get a moment to think. A moment to call out for –
He dropped back to the floor and rolled, microseconds before the force spear traced the air behind him. He felt his microbead jolt out of place as he slid across the floor. He only needed a second to set it –
There was a rush of air and Jason felt pain lance up one of his wings. Crying in anguish, Jason gripped his carbine and aimed the light directly ahead of him, finger poised on the trigger. But there was nothing. Except that smell of lavender. He glanced at his wing and saw there was a clean tear in it, exuding a pale turquoise fluid. Setting his microbead, he panned his weapon around.

“Sergeant, this is Jason. I got contact. I’m hit.”
Ganzicus whirled around, the mana canister on his back gurgling. The rest of his squad had dispersed in the annexes around him, searching for a way up the building. His fingers tested the trigger of the Prometheus, eager for use.
“Squad, assault stance three, just like on VDM.”
The torch rigged up on his webbing illuminated the path from which he came as he sprinted back. He got a bunch of hasty replies and saw the weak beams of torches begin to converge on Private Jason’s room. He was about thirty metres away as Private Tyler reached the doorway, the picatinny rail on his shotgun mounting his flashlight. He disappeared in and moments later, he was hurled back out through one of the windows, crumpled up against the wall with glass shards flying everywhere. Ganzicus slowed and stooped down, reaching the shaken soldier.
“Private, you good?”
The soldier looked up and that is when he realised it was Jason and not Tyler. He had not noticed at first because the man’s wings had been absolutely shredded. There was straw coloured fluid running out of his nose, accompanied by the ugly dent in his helmet. That was bad, the fluid was coming from his ruptured brain lining. At the very least he had sustained brain damage.
“Medic! Anni, patch him up as best you can.”
A light flared up in his face and he adverted his eyes. Anni reached him and lowered her light. She fumbled with her medikit as the rest of the team took their stations around the room. There was an resonating roar followed by two high powered shotgun blasts. Private Tyler had engaged the enemy.

Level Ninety-Six: Personnel Quarters

“I don’t get it.”
Fox repeated for the umpteenth time. Wolf resisted the urge to roll his eyes. Along with Wolf and Coyote, they were all in full gear, standing inside the common room with their equipment and other paraphernalia laid out on the couches. Sometimes he wondered how Fox ever qualified to be a chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear operations specialist in the first place. Actually, he had a good theory formulating that her Clan Etsuko had bought their way in. Or beaten their way in. Or maybe he just thought that because his clan hated the living daylights out of hers.
“What is it you don’t get?” Coyote asked gently, as if this was the first time Fox had mentioned her cluelessness. She looked over from a nearby desk, reviewing a revolving holographic projection.
“I don’t get what we’re supposed to do.” She whined. Wolf looked away and rolled his eyes.
“Okay, one more time.” Wolf began, turning back. “We’ve been locked out of the main system by somebody or something so great that even the uber pro Jackal can’t break through so we’re going to have to finish this manually.”
He stabbed a finger at the glitch holograph that Coyote was manipulating.
“We’ve managed to identify specialist terminal points that should hopefully allow us to access the information through independent routes. Capisce?”
Fox nodded meekly and resumed adjusting her webbing and vest. Wolf sighed and checked the edge of his Dragon Kanzir before sheathing it. There was an awkward silence only interrupted by the humming sounds of the holograph. Coyote cleared her throat.
“So… anything else?”
Jackal flew in and leapt onto a couch, sending mountaineering kit and special forces devices clattering noisily on the tiled floor. He grinned mischievously, his customised data slate clutched in one hand.
“OMG, who saw that? Finished block puzzle in forty-five seconds!”

Level Seventy-Five: Command Module and Workstations

“Back to hell with you, you unholy, bloody savage.”
The muzzle flash revealed Tyler’s face as he fire again and again at the approaching beast. He could see the thing clearly now, it was some variant of the taurospear, a massive bipedal beast encased in unreflective, semi-camouflaging armour. It was as though the light was bending around the material, giving a distorted figure but not total invisibility. The taurospear was wielding a dangerous looking force spear. Force spears were close combat weapons designed to channel the psychic energies of the wielder, thus energising the weapon and augmenting its potency. Essentially it uses the psychic power of the user to erase or annihilate it on a molecular level, rendering recovery impossible.

The beast grunted as it assaulted Tyler with a frontal charge. The blade, crackling with empyrean energies, cut a scythe through two chairs and a desk as it sought for Tyler’s flesh. The soldier dived backwards and fired another blast from his shotgun. Before the shell had scarcely touched the ground, the taurospear attempted three more slashes and one well timed thrust that atomised part of Tyler’s shoulder plate.
“I’m still alive, you fething dumb nut! I’m still alive!” He screamed out insanely, rushing forwards. He sensed that the taurospear was taken by surprise by his defiance and that accounted for his faltering attack. The taurospear lashed out at him again. Tyler sidestepped the telegraphed blow and slammed his shotgun into the beast’s chest, denting the armour. The blow actually halted the beast and he took the opportunity to fire point blank at its head region.

The shotgun blast roared in the confines of the room and Private Tyler felt the creature’s foul blood splatter all over his uniform. The taurospear lurched back, arms attempting to shield its face. By the light on his gun he saw that he had blinded the taurospear, for the helmet had absorbed most of the pellets except those that went through the eye slits. As he moved back for more range, his mind cleared and that is when he noticed that his microbead was chirping in his ear.
“…back! Fall back! We’re roasting the joint. Tyler, get the feth out!”
The soldier’s eyes widened and he acted immediately, cutting left and zigzagging his way to the backlit doorway. He could see the shapes of the rest of the unit covering behind the broken windows. He heard a roar behind him. Just ten metres to the door. His heart thumped heavily in his ribcage as he half expected to be impaled on the force spear. Suddenly he was clear of the room and he crashed into the corridor wall, stumbling off to the side before sliding down in exhaustion.

Sergeant Ganzicus and Private Dark’s promethium tanks gurgled as they raised their gauntlets through the smashed windows. The flickering glow of the monster’s force spear betrayed its location and the Sergeant smiled briefly. The rest of the Lambda Unit save for Anni, Jason and Tyler were poised behind them, in the event that the taurospear was still alive after the engineer’s handiwork.
“Fat blue, wide wash, low against the ground.” Ganzicus told Dark, adjusting his mana feed valves and watching the Private do the same. There was a dull ringing clatter of metal as the taurospear trampled around in the room, blind.
“Fat blue, wide wash, low against the ground.” He repeated before summoning his magic up. Twin searing lances of fire engulfed the room, so bright that one could have mistaken the scene to be in daylight. Some of the unit shielded their eyes but they could start to smell burning hide, cooking flesh and bubbling fat. Ganzicus nursed the mana through him, smiling as he saw the room was becoming a venerable inferno. Dark was not sure if it was the roar of the flames or the roar of a dying beast but he was too lost in the moment like his commander.
“Now that’s real nice.”

Private Jason gurgled incoherently as he lay slackly against the cold metal of the corridor wall. Fluid was trickling down the back of his neck, staining his fatigues. Anni had had her worse fears confirmed just minutes before; there was no doubt that Jason had extensive brain damage. Sure, magic could fuse and grow bones, replenish blood and fix organs but it could not replace a personality. It could not repair memory or intelligence. Not that Jason himself was truly concerned.
Bright. Light. Funny. Haha. Swirls. Grins.
His clouded eyes gazed dully at the members of unit Lambda, strung out against a wall. Not that his mind registered the wall, or the faces of friends he had just begun to know. Just the volumes of fire and the glow it created amused him. In all the commotion, a figure broke off from the group and headed towards him, his face in the shadows of the hungry flames.
Teehee. Dark. Man. Fire. Haha. Darkman. Walking.
Jason’s head rolled to one side and his arm started to twitch involuntarily. The figure stopped above him, putting both of them in shadows. The thought of this brought a goofy grin to Jason’s face. The figure crouched down and snorted in disgust.
“We don’t have time for slackers.” He informed him in a hush tone, his eye piercing into Jason’s. The wounded man just gurgled again and his right foot convulsed. The figure sniffed and leaned over to Jason’s side.
“You seemed like a good fellow, sure as sure.” He whispered before clamping his hands around the soldier’s nose and mouth. Jason could not really struggle, he managed to jerk his head around twice before he stilled and went limp.
“Just can’t have a dead weight in the party I’m afraid.” The figure reasoned to the dead man before removing his hands and standing back up. The cadaver’s head flopped back down, eyes still open, tongue still goofily hanging out of the mouth. Smothering left no obvious traces, so the rest of the squad would pin the cause of death as Jason succumbing to his injuries.

Level Seventy-Six: Administration Sector 2A and Maintenance Block Ten

Sawyer led the Maple Special Navy Detachment 303 down the poorly lit side corridor, hands mana-cuffed in front of him with the squad a good several metres back just in case he decided to do anything stupid but close enough in the event that he tried to bolt for it. The Shadow stopped at an inconspicuous doorway and turned back to face Gemina and the rest. Fey stepped aside as the Lieutenant made her way towards Sawyer, his rifle still trained on the man.
“Problem, Sawyer?”
“Not really, I just telling you that I am going to disable the synapse mine rigged on this doorway, so your friend there doesn’t hose me with bullets.” Sawyer replied, nodding at Fey’s direction.
“I’ll make your mamma weep.” Fey deadpanned in response. Gemina nodded and stepped back to Fey. Sawyer smiled and then bent down and fumbled around the doorway in the stagnant light. With his arms bent at an unusual angle, he grasped at something behind the frame. There was a look of concentration on his hardened face and after a few minutes his hands reappeared with the mine. He juggled it from hand to hand to show it was safe before tossing it to Gemina.
“Synapse mine, eh? Military grade I suppose?” She mused, turning it over in her hands. It was about the size of a small dinner plate and in a gear shape. The centre of the mine was convex and probably held the mana charge. The spokes contained chemical spores, which tell the nervous system to shut down, effectively paralysing the opponent.
“From the industries of Masteria.” Sawyer glanced back through the doorway, scratching his scalp with his bound hands. “Let’s keep moving. I told the Captain we’d be at the rendezvous in five minutes.”
Lieutenant Gemina slid the inactive mine into her webbing and gestured for them get moving. Watching the back of Sawyer’s head through her helmet visor, she let him gain some distance before moving herself.

The Captain. That is what Sawyer always said when mentioning his leader. That is what he said when informing him of contact with the MNSD minutes earlier. It was never a name. The Shadow had requested his vambrace claw and curious firearm back, which Gemina curtly declined. She sensed it was merely a formality that Sawyer was going through and that he really did not expect them back, or at least not at that moment. Straggling behind Gemina was Fey and Aliyah; Nezzy was bringing up the rear and between them were Joseph and the technician Neil. The medic had given the traumatised man a shot of all cure potion and elixir to calm his nerves. Now Neil was in a strange stupor, as if drunk. Joseph had assured her that it was a side effect to such an extreme recovery and that it would wear of soon.

The Lieutenant had a sudden moment of clarity. A epiphany. She paused midstride and gripped her weapon tightly.
“Sawyer, why are the lights on?”
The armoured man did not even look back as he made his down the corridor.
“We managed to reconnect some of the generators, some nice jury-rigging. You can ask all your questions in a minute. We’re here.”
The squad stopped outside a oversized bulkhead door. It was bathed in the red glow of a console set in the middle of the door.
“It’s locked.” Fey stated in a matter-of-a-fact manner. Sawyer tapped the underside of the console. They crouched and peered at a conspicuous device mounted on its underside.
“We overrode it.”
With that, Sawyer punched in the code and gripped the cold steel handle tightly. His milky grey eyes stared into Gemina’s own and she got a weird tingly feeling dancing along her spine. Her helmet sensors pinged softly as it recorded another pulse jump.
“You ready?”
And with that the Shadow heaved open the door.

Level Seventy-Five: Command Module and Workstations
Landing Pad

Outside the storm continued in earnest, as if desperately trying to gain the attention of the occupants inside the ancient research facility. Lightning split the sky in fury and thunder howled in anger as monsoon rains maintained their assault against the solid structure defiantly emerged from the ocean. Waterfalls of rainwater gurgled as they spilled over the sides of the landing pad, streaming placidly down to the midnight seas, sliding over the reinforced framework and following the contours of networks of beams and girders. Yet amid the jungle of steel and water hung something human.

A sharp inhale.
The darkness receded agonizingly slow; a canvas of black viscous paint oozing back behind his eyes, accompanied by waves of blood red. An omnipresent pain hammered into his skull with such intensity that he almost fell unconscious again.
For a minute he could not remember who he was, or where he was. All he could think of was the excruciating pain dancing in his body, jumping at every breath. For a minute he thought the pain had overtaken his senses but then he could feel dozens of impacts against his self, if only ever so faintly.
Rain. It was rain. Suddenly everything came rushing back to him so fast and hard that his memories caused his head to physically hurt more than he thought possible. But then it was over, the last fragments of memory locking into place. He could hear the rain and the thunder but what was most clear was the beat of his heart.
Slowly, he rotated his head around but all he could see was a blitz of grey, black and blue. The pain loosened its grip on his body as he waited for his eyes to adjust to the oppressive darkness. That is when he noticed that he was hanging off the underside of the landing platform.
His initial thoughts caused him to writhe in panic, bring about nothing but more agony, before logic kicked into action. He realised he was suspended with his lower body almost thirty degrees above him with his upper body slanted down slightly and arcing left. Ignoring the pain, he twisted his head around and saw that his webbing had snagged on a protruding finger of steel, with his right shoulder plate hooked over another beam.
He tried to move his legs but could not feel anything. In fear, he whipped his head around to check and saw them jerk up, but he could not feel them. The icy rain had taken care to that. Focusing his mind, he using his numb left hand to rummage in his webbing for a roll of cable, a metal reinforced climbing line of narrow gauge, a standard issue part for every soldier’s kit. He fiddled with it for a moment before waving his hand over it repeatedly, in one direction.
Thankfully his skills as a ice/lightning wizard were becoming of use. The end of the cable, now magnetised, was gripped tightly in his left hand. He took one more look behind him, trying to assess distance and location of the framework above, before awkwardly flicking the magnetised end of the coil up into the dark.
The coil jerked to the side as it leeched itself upon an unseen rafter. He tugged on it to make sure it was secure before wrapping the other end as tight as he could around his left arm. Writhing profusely he managed to unhook his armour from the steel and felt the coil start to take the weight of his body.
With his dwindling strength, he hauled himself up over his legs, swinging dangerously amidst the slick metal jungle. He reached for his survival knife hidden away on his vest but only felt an empty scabbard. Groaning, he stared down at his lower half and tried to shake it off the same way he shook his shoulder off but to no avail.
He watched as his right hand scrambled over the webbing, like some alien creature not connected to him. He had to rely on his sight for he had no feeling at all in his extremities, it was a wonder pneumonia had not killed him already. In the dim light he watched it struggle over the straps caught on the beam.
Gritting his teeth he thought he had the clasp and yanked hard. He legs abruptly fell from its position and pain flared through his left arm as the coil took all of his weight. He was sure he was cutting the circulation to his arm but he concentrated on hauling himself up through the network of steel.
Reaching a joint in the structure, he paused and slid himself wearily into the junction, leaning against the smooth surface. Demagnetising the coil, he looped it back into his webbing and glanced upwards. The platform just a metre away, taunting him. Would he have enough strength to climb to it?
His hands burning from the previous ascent, he applied the slippery metal, watching in anguish as they slid off without friction. Summoning the tendrils of power inside him, he coaxed out his ice magic, weaving frozen handholds on the sides of the metal, creating an icy ladder to freedom.
He struggled, increasingly fatigued, up the ice ladder reaching the lip of the landing pad. Water surged over him, intent on pushing him back down to his watery grave. With a weak roar of defiance, he pushed himself through the water and landed heavily on the platform.
Resting there for a few minutes, he slowly and shakily stood up, a smile creeping upon his lips. He had lost his helmet, service pistol and knife but he was alive. Petty Officer Naz was alive.


Dialogue Transcript taken from Lt. Gemina’s helmet
Time code: 1325.24.03.41
[Lt. Gemina] This will be as easy as falling out of bed.
Prior to Eleveth Annual War Games against Maple Strike Units.

Thanks for reading. Comments appreciated.

FEAR Prologue: Ambient Wonder
FEAR Chapter One: Trace Amounts
FEAR Chapter Two: Opening Suite
FEAR Chapter Three: Dust and Echoes
FEAR Chapter Four: Perchance to Dream
FEAR Chapter Five: Blow Me Away
FEAR Chapter Six: Lament for Pvt Imppala
FEAR Chapter Seven: Under Cover of Night
FEAR Chapter Eight: Dread Intrusion
FEAR Chapter Nine: Antediluvia

8 thoughts on “FEAR Chapter Ten: Apropos to Salvation”

  1. You put in too much effort in these series of yours axiom.
    It’s so outstanding that I can’t click I likes in all of your series

  2. Holy ****, you completely took me off guard by the awesomeness of this chapter! Yes it’s so awesome I swore . GO NAZ!

    -=The Nazgul=-

  3. Quack said: “You put in too much effort in these series of yours axiom.
    It’s so outstanding that I can’t click I likes in all of your series

    I’ll assume that’s a compliment. Thanks!
    That’s right Naz, back to kick some evil butt

    ~Lily x33.

  4. zomg too much awesomness!

    -is blinded but manages to find the ‘like’ button-


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