Federation of America
50 States United As One
FACILITY: ARKANIS LABS
SECURITY LEVEL: TOP SECRET
DATE: ONE YEAR BEFORE APOCALYPSE REBORN
Dr. Joseph Church slammed his fist against the keyboard. He screamed into his digital voice recorder. "Failure!" Shaking his head, Dr. Church hit the proper sequence code to flush the serum and reset the program for the next test. "Test Subject 117, no change. Readings indicate mutated cells are still active."
Church operated the rotating syringe holder and took three syringes out of storage. He attached the needle, tapped the vial and squeezed to plunger until the air bubble shot out the needle head. "Injecting test subject 118."
There was a chirp on the intercom. "Doctor Church?"
"Subject showing signs of energetic motion. He's clawing at the glass. Eyes dilated, more quickly than the other tests."
The chirp sounded again. "Doctor Church?"
Church continued speaking into the DVR. "Clawing... It looks as though he's trying to break out. Test Subject 118 showing violent reaction to serum. Eyes are rolling back into his head, tail swaying like a snake charmer's pet, fangs...elongated? How is that poss--”
“Oh, Christ’s sake! What is it? I’m right in the middle of some--”
“Doctor, there’s been an, uh, incident.” The electronically filtered voice stated.
Dr. Church turned away from the intercom speaker and back to the first rat, Test Subject 117. “Dead?” He spoke into his voice recorder. “Test Subject 117, fatal reaction to the serum. Swelling indicates his heart expanded and arrested.” He turned off the voice recorder. “Poor little guy. Didn’t have the heart for the work.” He giggled at his own joke. “Heart for the work.”
Church turned the DVR back on. “Test Subject 118 still aggressive. He seems to have, whoa! he’s clawing out his own--”
“Doctor Church! You need to come with me! Open the door, please.” The loud banging that came across the intercom emphasized the soldier’s frustration.
Dr. Church was shocked, having forgotten the soldier was there. “In a minute. I’m right in the middle of--what’s this?” Church leaned closer to the glass cage. Smears of blood and pus half obscured the rat. The visible parts of the rat made the scientist gasp. “Those markings, those tumors, and what’s that? Good Lord, it can’t be. Oh no! Abort! Abort!”
Church pounded buttons frantically trying to stop the computer from analyzing the traumatic information. “This can’t be. We have safe-guards. How is this happening? That rat shouldn’t grow. It shouldn’t be scratching itself bloody. What was different? What?” Church moved to a bookshelf. He leafed through months of research and testing results, notes of the work he’d done in this lab, work that should be beneficial to mankind and medicine. Not...this. “Impossible!”
“Doctor,” the intercom said, “I’m coming in!”
“No, no. You mustn’t. Critical research!” This can’t be happening.
The electronic door lock sizzled. A loud pop of the airlock used to keep out unclean air preceded the heavy door being kicked open. The sterile white lights turned blood red and the alarm screamed.
“What do you think you’re doing, soldier?” Church shielded the glass cage with the mutating rat with his body as if the act would keep all contaminants out of the room, and maybe the soldier wouldn’t notice the horror unleashed by the serum. Underneath the scientist the lab rat, now fully four times its original size, was hissing and began shrieking with what sounded like an attempt at speech. Blood and fur were splattered against the interior of the glass cage and the rat was oozing black, oil-like fluids from several self-inflicted wounds.
The soldier quickly marched toward the doctor and grabbed him by the arm. The soldier’s grip was strong as an oak. It matched his green camo that all the soldiers wore while guarding this secret forest base. “We need to go. Now.” He tugged at the scientist.
“Wait,” Dr. Church said. “My work! I can’t just abandon it. I have to test...do more tests...the reaction was monumental! I need more time time to--”
The rat collapsed, twitching and oozing in the glass testing cage.
“No. No! I need to run another test. The serum--”
Yanking the doctor practically off his feet the soldier said, “We have to go, now! The base is under attack. The Patriots are all over the area. Intel’s down. We’ve been breached.”
Stray pops and cracks of gunshots were heard, echoing through the lab, confirming the soldier’s report. Church shook his head and pleaded, “I can’t. I can’t leave now. I’m almost there! Don’t you know what this research means?”
“No,” stated the soldier. “And I don’t care. We leave.” More gunshots, followed by distant screams and explosions, filled the base.
Church said, “Wait! In this state the serum is dangerous. If I don’t figure out how to isolate the biometric assault genome it could, it could become strong enough to wipe out the entire state! I need more time. Right now this serum, if mixed with the proper chemicals, could potentially become the next Black Plague.”
The soldier just glared at Church with eyes hard as steel, showing no sign of fear even though his life and career was threatened by the invaders. “Well let’s just hope it doesn’t ever mix with the proper chemicals, then, shall we?”
Smoke began slithering into the lab through the open door. The alarm sirens from the whole base were wailing. Shots fired in the hallway made Dr. Church jump and the soldier go rigid. The soldier lowed the visor of his helmet to help prevent the smoke from disorienting him. He checked to make sure his weapon was off safety and clear to fire. “We’re too late, Dr. Stay low and work your way to the left. I’ll send a volley into the first group that enters. Keep your head covered and down. When the lab gets quiet run like mad!”
But the serum...Dr. Church had to keep it from becoming a weapon. Thousands, perhaps millions, would die.
Deafening gunfire ripped into the lab. Glass observation cages shattered, beakers blew apart, the once sterile, clean floor rippled and spat with automatic weapon’s fire. Something like sharp fire tore through the scientist’s calf. The wound felt like volcanic magma.
Dr. Church was screaming and covering his ears. He was wasting his time. The shots were too loud to make out anything else. Deaf with a horrible ringing, Church could feel the very air of the lab vibrate like a bass drum in erratic spurts. Deep in his chest he could feel the base guard blasting away at a hazy intruder in the smoke. Terror turned the scientist’s inside into fluttering liquid and his muscles tightened in fear. He was paralyzed! Wait, no, he could move, he just couldn’t move. “Run, you idiot. Run,” he yelled at himself.
“Go, you idiot. Go!” The soldier’s voice finally penetrated his fog of fear. “Get out of here!”
Church ran as fast as his weak, trembling legs would carry him...the wrong way. He’d run toward the observation glass, his immediate research miraculously unharmed by the spray of bullets and hail storm of ricocheting rounds.
The soldier shot a controlled three round burst into the smoke. Church noticed the entire lab had filled with the thick smoke, he just knew his way around so well that the dense smoke was not as big of an obstacle for him as the others. The smoke didn’t smell like a fire. It had a chalk-like smell to it.
The soldier’s voice cut through the smoke and hit the doctor. “The other left, Doc. Your other left!”
Dr. Joseph Church, in a vast act of courage, steeled himself, grabbed a handful of the Test Subject 118 serum vials and leaped to the left side of the room. He crawled through the dense smoke.
He abruptly stopped when he ran into a pair of khaki trousers decorated with ammo magazines, knives, and another smoke grenade canister.
The scientist shoved the vials of serum into his lab coat pockets and raised his hands in surrender. The doctor’s gaze traveled upward to glimpse the face of his killer. His gaze ended when he noticed his face was inches from the smoking business end of an ugly weapon. Behind the gun a muffled voice spoke from the depths of a visored helmet, “Live free or die!”
Dr. Church closed his eyes and waited for the shot that would spill his brains all over his lab.
He heard two shots...and didn’t die. Amazed, he slowly opened his eyes. On the floor in front of him lay his would-be killer, face mask cracked with a small, smoking hole where the bridge of the nose would be. In the red emergency lighting the blood leaking out of the visor looked like someone spilled an old fashioned ink well. The EXIT sign beckoned from behind the dead intruder.
But there were two shots, right?
His soldier/protector lay in a blood-pooling heap a few feet from the intruder. Dead. He died protecting me.
More shots in the base caused the doctor to jolt to his feet, hold his breath, and plunge through the exit and then down the hall and then through the carnage and mayhem that the secret forest research facility had become.
In fact, when Dr. Joseph Church finally stopped running, after his wounded leg cramped so badly he vomited, after he was many miles away from the nightmare, the doctor’s eyes widened, his mouth opened in shock, his rapidly beating heart skipped a handful of beats, he realized with a plunging, icy feeling of dread, “The computers! All the information is on the computers.”
He cried to the heavens, “My God, they’ll know the chemicals to mix, where to get them, how to kill so many...what have I done...”
We Must Fight Back
I used to live by four words: One shot. One kill. Those four words have changed.
I can still see their faces, you know, dozens of confirmed kills, many more unconfirmed lying and baking in some unnamed stretch of desert or boiling in some forsaken jungle. I always wondered what thought, if any, filled their heads as my single lethal bullet tore through their brain and shattered their skull. Did their criminal lives flash before their eyes? Did they feel regret at the eleventh hour for the poisons they stuffed into kids’ veins or the souls they destroyed with drugs and violence?
It hardly matters, though. I followed orders. I squeezed the trigger. I ended their evil lives. One shot. One kill. End of story, game over, one life to save millions.
Am I a hero? I never thought of myself as a hero. Just a soldier. Just an American.
Now, I’ve been called a rebel, a “Patriot,” and my tan camo designates me as a traitor, or a terrorist. I’m to be killed on sight. There’s a beautiful irony there. I killed whatever was in my sight and now...well, not so beautiful, I guess. Disgusting, maybe, like when I returned home from overseas, still finding sand in ominous places.
I was told by my wife that she’d had to get rid of my gun collection...some nonsense about gun safety. Guns don’t kill people. I do. Even my grandfather’s Smith and Wesson! And if this bullcrap wasn’t enough to have me reeling, our baby had a serial number inserted in his arm. My wife told me it was to “help find him if he got lost or abducted, and it was to keep him safe.” Safe? Why did it remind me so much of a Nazi war camp? My son is not a number! He’s an American, like me, like my father, and his father before him. This was just too much.
I admit I raised my voice that day. Who wouldn’t? You dodge mines and bullets and mortars and come home to find the lives of those you love have been changed. The lives, the only thing that a soldier thinks about all day to keep himself sane and alive, the lives he can’t wait to get back to, have been...corrupted. So, yeah, I raised my voice. I may have yelled a little. I complained about the government’s complete disregard for the Constitution--that piece of paper that holds this country together like concrete and steel. What about our rights? Our freedom? So many brave men and women payed the ultimate price for us and now the powers-in-charge are dancing and spitting on the fallen heroes’ graves!
My wife quickly hushed me, saying that the new anti-terrorist technology can pick up and record my words through wireless devices, like cell phones, computers, radios, video game consoles.
So now the government is spying on their own?
It turned out someone else was spying on me that day--that day a year ago when my life changed forever.
The next day I bought a six-pack and after whining about the excessive price and the sky-rocketed taxes being inflated, sat at my worktable in the garage to drink them. I still had a few weapons stashed in the garage that my wife didn’t know about and I began to clean and check them. It usually calmed me, the cool steel, the rhythmic motions, the care, the respect for the guns was therapeutic.
Halfway into my domestic beer six-pack (none of that foreign urine water for me), the automatic garage door opener started raising the door from the outside. I felt guilt about breaking a gun law and tried to hide my gun parts, then I felt angry that I even had to hide what’s mine.
A man in decorated tan camo stood in my driveway. I must have made a “who are you and what are you doing here” face because he raised his hands and said, “Not here.”
He motioned toward the car, and the GPS and said, “It’s not safe to talk. Come outside.”
Perhaps both the smartest and stupidest thing I’ve ever done: I went outside with him. He kept his eyes covered by dark sunglasses. I saw him remove the battery from his cell phone. I may have seen aluminum foil lining his pockets. Maybe it was a trick of the sunlight and the beer.
“We’ve been waiting for you,” he said in a cryptic “I kill kitty cats” sort of way. I noticed my hands had balled into fists. “Don’t be alarmed,” he said. “I’m a friend.”
“Friends don’t creep around outside their buddy’s home,” I said. “What do you mean, ‘we’ve been waiting for me?”
He smiled a mysterious smile, shook his head and said, “I can’t tell you everything. Not here. I can only tell you we need good men. Men like you. Soldiers. Patriots. My organization has been watching you. We knew when you arrived back in the States by your airline purchase. We heard you yesterday, knew you bought a six-pack, know you still have your sniper rifle and a couple of handguns. We can track you like them. Your credit card, your GPS, your phone, your computer--”
“And here I thought I only had to hide the porn from my wife,” I said, my guard up. “You’re spying on me? If this is about my overdue library book--”
He chuckled. “No, and in case you’re wondering, your library fine is up to three hundred dollars. It’s not about spying. That’s what they do,” he said.
“They? Who’s they?”
“The government. Congress, the Administration, hell, even the IRS. All of them. They’re herding the American public, brainwashing them, making the average citizen overspend on gas, food, any trinket they can force down America’s throats as being necessary to survive. Big Business is buying out all the ideas, shutting up the true thinkers that could actually help.
The economy is shot. Washington molds the lower class into dependent sheep, sheep that will do anything their politician tells them to do to keep the “check” coming. Make the public hunt for jobs that don’t exist until Joe Q. Public gives up, discouraged, and falls into the system of unemployment, welfare, and government aid. It’s not aid: it’s control.
In the past it’s been subtle--cameras on street corners, in banks, ATMs. Lately the government has been becoming more aggressive. Gas prices tripled in the last ten years. Taxes raised on products that only working class people are eligible to buy, with actual money leftover from incredibly high mortgages. Bailouts to the companies that sleep with the politicians while the average American goes bankrupt and has no “big brother” to help them. Unemployment rate soars, dependence on the government rises. Can’t pay the mortgage? Banks can. They’re happy to foreclose on you and force you into low income housing, low income that they supply.
It goes so much deeper, but I can’t tell you all of it. Not now.”
“What’s this got to do with me?” I asked. “I still work. I can still afford baby food and diapers. I pay my taxes.”
Another strange smile crossed his face. It sent a cold shiver down my spine. “We know,” he said. “How is your son’s arm? Is the infection gone yet?”
How did he know? “How do you know about that?”
“Simple. We can trace all medical records, too. Just like them. By the way, there never was an infection. Pharmaceutical companies are in bed with the government. They claim all babies are infected so you spend more money on medicine. The needles are full of salt water. It goes so deep...”
“Wait! What are you saying? That there’s some huge cover-up and the government’s turned on its own citizens?”
“That and much more. You’ll be briefed at this address.” He handed me a business card. “Since they’ve outlawed the right to assembly this information must remain secret. If you choose not to go, and, yes, you can choose, please burn the card. If, and I hope you will, you choose to come, I will see you there.” With that he walked away, whistling the Star Spangled Banner.
I could have left it alone, could have chosen to remain ignorant and kept my head in the sand, stayed status-quo and in the dark.
I am not a mushroom.
I went to the meeting, all members wearing tan camouflage. I learned how the government was making a weapon under the guise of a medical breakthrough. The weapon was not a cannon or a missile. I learned it was some kind of chemical, dirty bomb or something. I learned the truth--that our freedoms were being stripped from us.
And yes, it went deep, deeper than I could have imagined.
In the months that followed our army grew. When soldiers learned what I learned at that meeting--the truth--they flocked to our cause. We became known as the “Patriots,” a name meant to demean us, but which actually praised us and our cause, and the cause of our forefathers.
My training was intense and extensive. The army was made from all walks of life, all branches of the service, all joined for one noble cause--Freedom.
And on that fateful day when our plans came to fruition, as I watched my brothers-in-arms charge the castle-like base cloaked as a science lab from my sniper God position, I felt pride. Proud to fight alongside this brave group, proud to shoot and kill the green camouflage wearing true traitors.
It was easy to charge into the smoke and death when back-up was needed. The screams of my brothers and the smell of blood and ozone, powder and death accompanied me into the heart of the base--to the lab where the dirty chemical was being made.
When I shot the soldier guarding the scientist, the brilliant and evil Dr. Joseph Stemcell, I killed for the cause.
When I got shot in the forehead and lay dying on the cold lab floor my life didn’t flash before my eyes. I did have a thought, however. My final thought lingered on my new motto.
I used to live by the four words: One shot. One kill. My new four words, the words I take to the grave, are: Live free or die!
In Dedication To
Our Storyline was written by late published author, Andy Pete.
"Andy, Other World Milsim is what it is today in part, because of all the time and effort you gave us. As we dedicate this page on your behalf, a part of you will always be with us as you live on through our storyline and through each player that attends our games.
May you rest in peace Andy. You will be missed but never forgotten."
In Loving Memory of
1973 - 2019