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Espionage, the spinoff


Dante

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"Whee! Bang bang, happy boom!" Jared grinned as he sent a few more missiles back down their own silo chute thingies. He didn't actually have anything against the people he was killing, and actually didn't really care about the retribution that he was sending the way of allies of the Pelican. He was a small child again, having fun as he blew up the enemy from his computer.

He pressed another key, and watched as a little blip went out. He was having such fun!

* * *

Lilith Parker stumbled down the snowy streets of Moscow. She slipped constantly, and her glasses were skewed. Her black hair was completely awry, and she sniffled occasionally, blowing her red nose. Her brown jacket was clearly unwashed.

She passed behind a parked van for a moment, and disappeared.

Vivian Frey emerged from behind a parked van, and strode comfidantly down the snowy streets of Moscow. Her eyes glared out against the snow, daring it to try her. She was immaculately turned out, her blonde hair cascading down her shoulders and her red coat billowing out behind her. She carried a briefcase, inside of which was her unique laptop. She had done her job, and was now heading back.

She was the eldest of the six siblings. Five, she corrected herself with a momentary pang of loss that was quickly sealed away deep inside of her. She had always been the most proficient at the jobs, getting things done quickly and efficiently. She hadn't been caught yet.

But she worried now, for the first time in years. Her position had always been secured because she worked for herself, always betraying those who could not pay her enough. Now that she was more or less allied to a specific group, she was finding her job more and more difficult to carry out. And this war was not helping. Her duty was assassination, little else except maybe thievery.

She was irked to think of Jared's talents going to waste against minor casualties. She was fond of her youngest brother, and wished he would get with reality. He could break into anything if only he would see the point.

And then of course there was Alexei. Always Alexei. She had hunted him for years at one time, seeking to kill him in revenge for his own betrayal of Elisa, leaving her at the mercy of a ruthless vigilante group.

Of course, being her brother, he had found a way to worm out of it. And now he was somewhere in Japan, slowly healing from the bullet wounds he had recieved.

Still, he had gotten to the Pelican at least. Vivian smirked to herself; her family were indeed the best of the best. Of course Alexei was not the master of poisons and venoms that she was, and has chosen a woefully inadequate mixture to kill the man.

On the other hand, Vivian grinned openly until she caught herself and stopped, if the Pelican survived the death then the side effects would be more than amusing. She was comforted in the knowledge the somewhere, he was suffering from flatulance, impotence, rashes, a fishy smell that attracted mice like iron to a magnet, and blindness every second Tuesday between the hours of 2pm and 7pm.

Er... more coming when I think of it.

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  • 4 months later...

General White sat at his desk.  It had been a while since the attacks started and so far everything was panning out well.  The diner had gone as was foreseen, but not as planned.  The shooting of Alexi was planned, dead or alive, as long as they scored a hit it would spice up the situation.  Within hours he was on the plane and out of Nagasaki, although where he was heading was unknown.

[On the Plane]

"Sir, are you sure it is safe to fly?" Asked White

"Of course it is my dear fellow.  They will try and follow, but it is impossible.  Firstly, this aircraft cannot be picked up on radar as they are not working.  No Air Traffic Controller is going to know if it is going to land or not, no one will know where we will be going." The voice was certain

"Sir, is it not dangerous?  This virus may affect our navigation controls?"

"I have full faith in this baby.  We have top class computer scientists on this thing, it cannot be affected.  Remember who I am Mr White."

"Of course.  So what is our next course of action?"

"Well it seems that Justin isn't just going to lie down and this may take a while.  The Russians are up in arms, it seems that they don't like it when their missles explode.  But alas, they have no evacuated all their silos and no-one it seems is going to get hurt.  All controls have been severed so them missiles aren't going anywhere."

"And the Americans?"

"They can fend for themselves.  Although I do need to give our old friend a phone call.  What was his name the CIA guy?"

"He died sir....well he is MIA.  There is a new guy in charge."

"Oh, whats his name?" It was inquisitive

"It hasn't been announced yet sir...no one seems to know."

"Oh ok, well find out.  And find out quick.  I need to know what he is like."

"Of course"

"Relax Mr White.  Everything is going to be ok.  Trust me."

He pulls out a Mars Bar from his pocket and unwraps it.  He bites into it and flashes a smile.

"Everything will be ok.  This isn't about Nuclear Weapons anymore.  It's about love."

[Exterior of plane]

The unmarked aircraft jets through the sky.  Below, Japan moves out of site and the ocean appears.  The plane is heading East, over the ocean and towards America.  Where it was going, everyone was unsure.

{On the Plane]

He was enjoying his Mars Bar.  And was nearly finished.  By this time a Camera had been set up and was pointing directly at him.

"Ven you are ready" The camera operator

The Mars Bar finished, he moved seats and sat on a large Beige Armchair.

"Ok go."

"Cam-e-ra rolling."

"Hello, I have tapped into the TV system (as I know this virus has knocked them all out) and am expecting that Justin will be picking this up.  So I have this to say.  Nice work.  Unfortunatly, your little assassination attempt didn't work!  Needless to say I am still alive.  However, I am not who you think i am [takes a sip from a glass of water].  So then who am i?  Well you will soon find out.  But I suggest we stop this war, these innocents need not be brought into it.  What was ever achieved via war?  Iraq is now a mess, Afghanistan as well.  When the Americans invaded Columbia a few years ago, what happened?  They were obliterated, a fine country now gone.  So I say this.  Stop the bombings, stop the missile war and start thinking with your head.  Oh and when you want to catch up Justin, you will know how to contact me."

The red light on the camera flashed off and the message was done.

[Meanwhile.....]

"He's waking up." The voice echoed around the room

"Take the bandage off, let him see."

The doctor unwrapped the bandage and the face peered up.  THe eyes slowly opened and glanced around the room.

"Can you hear me?"

A nod

"Can you see me?"

A shake

"Do you know where you are?"

A shake

"Doctor, he's losing conciousness he's going back un.........."

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"You have to admit, it's more money than we're likely to get elsewhere at the moment." Julia commented, changing her brother's bandages.

"I've earned more than that in less than eight weeks." Alexei scowled. He had lost count of the number of times he had been shot, but it still hurt. Lying on a cold medical table with his trousers down was doing nothing for his temper. Why couldn't they have shot something important, like his chest? No, they had to aim for his legs...

"'Earned,' Alexei?" Julia asked pointedly, pulling a strip of linen too tight.

"Yowch! Would 'obtained' make you feel better?"

"Yes." Julia stopped, something occuring to her. "Hang on a moment, Alexei, I'll be right back." So saying, she got up and walked over to the laptop screen on another table nearby. Alexei fumed at the indignity. Julia typed a few simple commands into the laptop, searching for the right line... "Gotcha." She muttered. A thin line of green text ran across the screen.

...<&@//State name and Identity code{%$>...

<Knock it off, Jared> Julia typed, <Tell me, these viruses of yours, they affect banks, right?>

<Yes. No data has been lost, I should make that clear. But for the duration of this crisis all electric money storage is complete inaccesable. Why, do you need a loan? >_< ...Wait...>

<Yes. We'd better hope our newfound ally has a Fort Knox hidden away under that nice house of his> Julia typed.

"Are you going to be much longer?" Alexei grumbled from the table.

"Hush up, or I'll knock you out and tell the Japanese doctors that you need an enema." Julia muttered. <We're alright, aren't we?>

<You are> Jared's letters spelt, <Vivian made preparations a long time ago. Of course my favourite hobby has just gone out of the window...>

<Which one would this be again?>

<Seeing how much money I can steal without being noticed, and then putting it into the account of some famous person or other. The scandels can be quite amusing. Of course I always skim a little off the top first. When it's really fun is if one account rejects it and then the first one does, and I end up playing tennis with millions of pounds as the ball. Great fun>

<...I'm sure it is. Thanks Jared>

<Any time>

Julia signed off, and turned back to her other brother. "Well, seems that for the moment at least, your little accounts have gone bye-bye..."

* * *

"Oh, you think you're soooo clever, don't you, Mr Pelican?" Jared smirked, watching a little blue *bip* travel across his screen. He patched in to Midgar. "Midgar..."

<Yes?>

"I don't remember you ever telling me about a Redlak observation platform..."

<Possibly because I didn't. I'm quite surprised that you seem to have found it, however>

"I'm using it to track the Pelican's aircraft."

<Me too. The only aircraft that size currently in the air; what does he take us for?>

"Idiots..." Jared muttered, watching the *bip* head towards America... "As if those Russians jamming their own silos wasn't bad enough..." He brightened, "But there's still the American ones!"

<What exactly are you blowing up now?>

"Military structures, mostly. I figure this is as good a time as any. That and if I blow them up, it stops someone else launching them at a target I might not like."

<Mostly?>

"Alright, maybe a few other bits and pieces."

<Such as...?>

"Do you mind? I'm browsing mouse mats on Amazon."

<You have a mouse?>

"I have mice." Jared smirked at the aptness of the statement, watching as one of the rodents scuttled across a fungus-infested pizza slice on a screen to his left somewhere. He heard a *snap* and a brief squeak. Things could have been better... but they could have been a lot worse, too. With Vivian removing the Pelican's Russian influence, man by man, and he himself removing the possibility of anyone else ever daring to play ICBM Ping-Pong (;D), as well as making sure tabs were kept on the Pelican, he was confident that sooner or later the army in Redlak manor would have something to do. The only problem was... How would he spend this money with all the banks jammed? He wondered how the Pelican's flatulance, impotence, rashes, a fishy smell that attracted mice like iron to a magnet, and blindness every second Tuesday between the hours of 2pm and 7pm were doing.

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"Is it time?"

"Yes it is.  Go tell the pilot."

Mr White moved moved through to the cockpit and fed a few words to the 3 pilots.  They each nodded and donned parachutes.  Mr White moved back through.

"Now what?"

"Send a message to our friends.  Tell them to start the next phase."

"Yes sir."

Mr White brought up his computer and typed in the message.

[hide]Ready for the next stage.  The target is Rio.[/hide]

By this time the plane was over Brazil (it's a fast plane) and heading for Rio.

[On the ground]

{Translated}

"There it is.  Get it ready."

The three men hoisted an RPG on their shoulders, loaded it and fired at the plane.

[On the Plane]

A bang and the plane jolted, by this time the pilots were long gone, and the plane headed down.  Mr White headed to the controls and steered the plane towards Rio.  He stared back at the cabin where his colleague was waiting.  He smiled as he saw the nuclear device sitting there all ready to explode.

"What a rush!" Was his final words

[Rio]

THe carnival was making it's way through the city centre everyone in high spirits.

A kid looks up at the burning plane heading towards them

"Mother..........."

[From a distance away]

A great flash of light as the nuclear weapon exploded, decimating Rio.  The final weapon was gone...

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"Bad news." Jared sighed into his microphone. He was getting tired of saying that.

<Understate much?> Midgar's text flashed onto a different screen this time. <I've already informed Justin, I think he's implementing some plan or other to get the civilians out of the area, move the survivors to safety>

"Safety? They are the ones who'll be unsafe, Midgar!"

<Meaning?>

"Meaning we can't touch them! Do you have any idea how much radiation those people will have soaked up? They're like little Chernobyls on legs! Nuclear death-zones with Brazilian accents! Do you have any idea what bringing people like that close to us would do?"

<Firstly, yes. Secondly, they do not need to be close to us. We just need to get them away from the radiation-area>

"Oh, I see. And then create another. You'll be killing even more people for the sake of one or two survivors who will mostly die anyway. Risking the lives of hundreds for the plague-rats of the leukaemia variety."

<...You really don't have any qualms about leaving hundreds of people to die cold, sick and alone in a nuclear wasteland?>

"I learned to treat people as statistics a long time ago."

<...I guess that's a no>

"Look, I'm not trying to be cruel." Jared sighed, "The idea of hundreds of people dying in a painful way would have very different effects on the rest of my family. I know that Alexei would laugh and Elisa would cry, Julia would most likely just feel sorry. Vivian and I are practical, we know that we could do something, but it would be expensive and untimately pointless."

<Saving even one life...>

"At the cost it would take to do that? One person who would most likely survive because of a natural resistance and thus wouldn't need us anyway?"

<...I'll pass on your advice to Justin. Whether he helps or not is his decision>

"So that wasn't the Pelican on that plane?"

<It might have been. Three figures exited the plane before it crashed, he might have been one of them. If so, they were caught in the radiation cloud and, much to your brother's glee, will probably die soon. Nobody else exited the plane, so if the Pelican was on it he is either dead or likely to be soon. If he wasn't on the plane...>

"A least we know where that last nuke went."

<Ever the practical one... Justin still wants to disable the one you're storing here>

"That's not my decision to make, if you're hinting. Besides, it's our backup."

<In case of what?>

"You never know when you might need a thermonuclear device handy."

<I dread to think>

"Leave it to me then. By the way, I've been told to pass this on, is that Ten million for all of us, or just me?"

* * *

"Russian Generals, Russian Generals, there must be a box-ski where they keep them all..." Vivian muttered to herself. She was in a bathroom, a personal bathroom for one of Russia's apparantly endless supply of important but easily dispatched Generals. She picked up the soap. It was green, and about the size of two fists. Carefully withdrawing a syringe from her boot, Vivian plunged the needle into the soap and injected it full of frog venom. The sound of the liquid reacting with the soap, as well as the bubbles of trapped air, caused a quiet moaning sound to fill the room for a few moments.

When the hypodermic was empty, Vivian sheathed it again, and put the soap down carefully. She didn't know why she bothered really. By Wednesday there would be another Cold War relic in the office and it would be up to him whether to assume his eighteen predecessor's choice of working with the Pelican's other agents or not... Vivian sighed again, and slipped out of the window and onto the roof.

Below her, Moscow burned. It was a large city, and the looting had begun very early after the first bombs went off. In fact, the city had hardly been damaged, but it was the thought that counted. After years of fear of terrorist attacks, most of the citizens had snapped. Vivian sauntered across the roof, not needing to hide from the jammed security systems. Moscow's elite had either fled or barricaded themselves in. She herself had reinforced her safehouse here, just in case. She couldn't wait to get out. It was getting monontonous. All these Generals...

* * *

"Limp" Julia smirked. "You'll have to limp for a few weeks." Alexei glared at his younger sister.

"I swear, if you tell anyone..."

"Batman."

"No!"

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Jared sighed slowly. His chest felt constricted, like he wanted to jump, run, and shout but couldn't work up the energy. He was... depressed, that was it. With a pang of remorse, he switched off the first screen. He had never turned any of his huge and complex machine off before. Sure, he had added to it over the years, but always keeping part of it running. He couldn't afford  to shut off his programs, not even for a second. He wiped away a greasy smear, and unplugged something. Another screen, Midgar's, went off just as the words <What are y-> started to appear across it. He took off his glasses and wiped his eyes. They stung after staring at the screens for so long. They always did. Then, as Midgar tried to patch into him, he unplugged and removed his headset. It felt like he was tearing some vital organ out of himself.

He proceeded around the many rooms in his 'home.' Some he had last visited years ago, and were thick with dust, which rose in clouds were he trudged. He switched off screen after screen, transformer after transformer, motherboard after motherboard, they all went down. Off went the faxes, off went the printers and scanners. Off went all of the keyboards and cameras. He unplugged connections, severing all of his many ties with the internet, and various other systems that were generally forbidden to him. He found some wires that had been in place for so long that they had fused. He just left them, too tired and emotionally drained to bother. The end was coming, and he knew it. Jared had always been a manipulator of data, an expert at conclusions, strategies, mindwork and guesswork. He didn't know that the end was coming; but he felt it all the same. With a sigh, and maybe a tear, he unplugged the four master cables that powered his entire opperation. The remaining systems, those that he had been unable to remember, locate, or reach, finally fell silent as their fans died. For the first time in years, the dark rooms were silent. Completely and utterly silent. Jared was... afraid. And then, he heard a noise.

A shuffling above. He hadn't ordered pizza. So this was it. Jared walked slowly back to the room that had served as his control centre, bedroom, and kitchen. He changed his underwear. Then he reached down, under the bed, and withdrew a sleek, black rectangle. It was paper-thin, and he unfolded it with reverence. The dust just fell off. Jared switched on the laptop for the first time.

It booted up immediately, doing exactly what it had been designed to do. He tapped the keyboard, listening to the shuffles above. They would find him, but not yet.

<#> Target 1  [X]

<#> Target 2  [X]

<#> Target 3  [X]

<#> Target 4  [  ]

<#> Target 5  [X]

<#> Target 6  [X]

<#> keyinformula finality_4

<#> keyinformula ending_2-9 @ a11

Finished, Jared switched off the laptop and calmly snapped it in half over his knee. Dropping the pieces onto the floor, he walked over to the wall and slid aside a shelf of computer bits that had been wired up until recently. He reached inside to retrieve the only weapon that Vivian had been allowed to give him. He had reasoned, and still did, that anyone wanting to kill him would have to find him first. And anyone capable of finding him would be more than cabable of killing him. Still, she had absolutely refused to leave him without a firearm of some kind. He pumped the shotgun.

Jared walked slowly back through the darkened rooms, taking his time. There was the dark hallway that he hardly ever saw... He stepped over a dead mouse. Here were the stairs that led to the house above... He stood at the foot of the steps, listening to the eerie quiet. Then he pressed a button on the wall, and the stairs crashed away into the floor, leaving a gaping hole filled with shards of glass and other nasty things, tilted upwards. Jared smiled humourlessly, it was the end, but he wasn't going to make it a happy one.

* * *

"Shit-ski!" Vivian swore as she read her own laptop. An emergency code from Jared. The last one. It meant... it meant he was dead. Searching all of her channels, Vivian couldn't find him. She found traces in all of his usual digital haunts, but he wasn't there. She found Midgar and soared past, searching. He was gone. Severed. So their base in Scotland had finally been found. She folded the laptop shut and bowed her head to hide her tears. She was certain that she was hidden, but you could never be too careful... Her family was dying, one by one. But Jared's message was clear. He had implemented the Final plan, with a capital F. Formula finality_4. That meant he had known, he had known and he hadn't called for help... Vivian's shoulders shook. She hadn't cried in years, and those years were coming back to her. Jared had always been the most sensible, the most practical, the most like her... Not always in the real world maybe, but of the six of them, she admitted that her soft spot had always been for her youngest brother. Who was dead now, the news brought to her in lines of code and numbers.

"The best of us die..." Vivian murmured, looking up through her blurred eyes. She focussed on a face. A Russian face. It held a gun at her. Vivian blinked. Then she frowned. Her mental processes were slowed by the sorrow she was succumbing to; in fact she was not only grief-stricken, she was teeth-gnashingly, vein-poppingly, ear-steamingly furious. She stared at the man for a moment longer. He said something in Russian, but his voice was drowned out by the sound of Vivian's own heartbeat, and the blood rushing in her ears.

She whipped out a hand, slapping the gun from the man's grasp and sending it flying across the room. Her other hand came up just behind, grabbing the man's throat and crushing his larynx. With a squeeze and a twist, she broke his neck. Ignoring the body as it crumpled to the ground, Vivian stood up and glared at the doorway. Between her and the way out was an entire convoy of trucks, bound for Redlak. Russian, she knew. She had hitched a lift here with the commander, another man she had been asked to remove. Never ordered, always asked. She stood in the storage space of the largest truck, disguised as a man. Well screw that. Screw everything. She tore off her jacket and unwrapped herself before donning it again. She shook her hair loose and removed the pair of socks from her underwear. The things these soliders got up to... Finally, she re-armed herself with all of her hidden weapons, that had been slotted into compartments in her laptop. She strode to the back of the truck, and flung the doors open. In front of her was the very surprised driver of another truck. Behind him was another truck, and another, and another, and then... Vivian set her jaw, stepped back, and leapt into the air.

She somersaulted gracefully before landing on the top of the next truck. Unlike in the movies, the driver did not swerve in an attempt to knock her off, or even send someone up to kill her. He lifted his radio and started the jibber frantically. Vivian ignored him, and walked purposefully along the roof. She jumped several trucks before she finally reached the one she wanted. She did not smile when she got there. She had other things to think about.

She removed a knife from her boot, and cut the first pair of ropes, followed by the second. Nobody disturbed her, though shouts were going up. The wind whistled above her as she finished her work. She slashed the lock, and climbed into the cockpit. She activated the console, pulling the controls towards her. State of the art military technology.... She did smile, nastily, as the helicopter lifted into the air and sped towards Redlak...

* * *

"Waah!" Julia screamed as she fell, landing on the floor with a bump. As she looked up, the hole in the narrative closed.

"We're... we're back in Redlak!" She exclaimed.

"You don't say..." Alexei grimaced, sitting up next to his sister, where he also had landed. Looking across the room, he spotted a most shocked-looking Elisa.

"Er... I have some bad news..." She whispered. It was only then that Julia noticed the tears in her eyes.

* * *

"The time has arrived." A figure said. "The signal has been sent, the subjects are to be 'read to' now."

"Yes, Ma'am."

"Oh, and get me some more ointment, will you?"

"Yes Ma'am."

"And don't call me Ma'am."

"Yes, M'lady."

"See this cattle prod?"

"Yes, M'la- Ma'- Sir?"

Zzzzzzzzt!

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"Sir, there is a convoy of Russians heading our way." said Dirk calmly.

"Yes, I know." Justin grimaced.

"There is also a helicopter." Dirk added.

"Indeed." Justin agreed.

"And Jared appears to be dead." Dirk continued.

"So it would seem..."

"Your toast is ready, too." Dirk said without a change of tone, handing Justin a plate of toast with jam.

"Thank you." Justin said, taking a bite.

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"STOP!" Cries the Pelican.  The taxi comes to a complete stop.  The Pelican exits and runs, with the driver shouting "Hey my money."  Over the brow of a hill, a missile comes and the Pelican dives down into a ditch as it hits the taxi with a mighty boom!  He gets up and dusts himself down.

"Ah shoot. Mud on my suit!"

He quickly gathers his bearings and heads up from where the missile came from.  It wouldn't be long now.

[Meanwhile]

The mighty Russian Army drew ever nearer.  They seemed to be moving frightingly fast, and somehow knew exactly where they were going.  They didn't really care that they had lost a helicopter, since it wasn't theirs in the first place and had no one to operate it.  But you never know, the fact that it was stolen might come in handy!

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"They're coming." Julia murmured, staring at the screens in Redlak. Without the ability to hijack commerical cameras anymore, the images were limited. They still showed the occupants what they needed to know; the army was on the march.

"They're coming this way." Elisa sighed next to her sister. "What do we do?"

"That's a stupid question." Alexei growled from the other side of the room. Turning around, Julia noticed that he was packing a bag.

"What are you doing?" She asked.

"I'm leaving of course." Alexei told her, "D'you really think I'm going to stay and fight an army that big for someone who offered only a measly Ten million? Ha, right. No, I'm getting out of here right now." He picked up a pistol, checked the ammo, and put it down on the table next to his bag.

"You mean, you're just leaving?" Julia asked, wishing that she could be surprised.

"You have a better idea?" Alexei asked. "As has been said many time before, we are survivors. When we are beaten or when the situation looks bleak we cut our losses and live to fight another day." He was cut off by the quiet sound of something going *click.* He turned around at the familiar noise, looking at a revolver pointed directly at him. Elisa held it steady.

"You, are saying, right here." She gulped, her voice shaking while her hand remained fixed in position. "You left me once before, left me for years at the mercy of that, that monster! Well not this time! This time you'll stay and you'll fight! If it comes down to it you'll die with us, but I will not let you run again." She raised her chin defiantly. Julia stepped back, making it clear to Alexei that she was not going to interfere.

"You wouldn't shoot me." He said confidently.

"No?" Julia tilted her head, "Keep packing and watch me." Alexei stood there for a moment longer. Finally coming to a decision, he turned aside and continued packing. Out of the corner of his eye, he saw his sister hesitate. She made to shoot, and then stopped. He did not stop packing the things that weren't his. Elisa made to brandish the gun again, but stopped. She sighed, though it sounded more like a whimper, and started to lower the gun slowly.

"There you se-" Alexei started. Then she shot him in the foot.

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The Pelican traped over the hills, he was incredibly fit and seemed to know these mountains like the back of his hand.  He sat on a ridge of one, and from far away he could see dust.  He knew exactly what it was - The Army he had sent to attack Redlak.  He could also spot a road that seemed to lead into nowhere, however he knew it as the road to Redlak.  The army would get there first, but the Pelican went on.

[Meanwhile]

The army marched on, solid never stopping.  They knew where they were going and so far had not come up to the bridge that was destroyed.  However they had a way to get past that.  In a few hours they would be there, and the final last battle would begin.  Some would die yes, but hopefully they would be triumphant.

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It was a wide passage, metal plated on all sides and completely featureless. Square lights shone brightly down on the many dark figures as they made their way down the passage, making for the inside of Redlak manor. While their comrades fought the defences above ground, this reasonably large party had swept the area for hidden ways in, and found one. They moved as quietly as possible, but still their boots clanged loudly on the metallc surface of the corridor. They could only hope that the passage was far enough away from the main workings of the manor. They suspected so. They had already walked some distance, and expected to meet a way into the manor soon. There to fan out and disable the security, man or machine, allowing the rest of the force in.

They might only find a spare generator of course. In which case they would destroy it, and find another way in...

"Hello boys."

The lead figure looked up at once, raising his gun. He saw... nothing. The passage ahead was black and featureless. He glanced behind him, looking for reassurance from his subordinates. They looked about themselves as well, looking for this voice that had echoed among them from no apparant source.

* * *

"Dammit, why aren't the guns working?" Julia hissed to one of the many interchangable Redlak staff. He shrugged, while frnatically typing onto a the console. The series of muscular spasms that followed this complicated procedure would have been quite amusing had the siutation not been so dire. He recovered quickly.

"I don't know, they must have cut the wires or something, they should be bullet-riddled corpses by now!"

"Automatic gun bust. Whee." Julia muttered, looking around. She left the man typing; he hardly noticed her as she walked across the room, only looking up at the sound of a katana sliding down from its place on the wall.

"What, er... what are you doing?"

"Without the guns they have a direct route to this room." Julia answered. "It would take them a long time to break through the doors, but they could do it, and the rest of the defenders are busy elsewhere." An explosion overhead signalled the truth of this statement.

"I, I could call for backup..." The nervous man suggested.

"Don't." Julia ordered him, "I'll take care of this lot. You just lock the door after me, alright?" The mad paused, but nodded. He keyed a code into the console, and a section of the wall slid aside, to reveal two five-inch thick metal doors sliding aside. Julia stood up straight, put her shoulders back, and strode through the doorways.

The doors slid shut behind her, and she heard the sound of them locking again. In front of her the wide corridor stretched. She stood between the only two automatic guns that were visible. Experimentally, she waved the katana in front of one of them. It didn't even twitch. She sighed, and walked on. She could hear the sound of the men ahead, clumping noisily while she herself walked quietly on bare feet. She reached the only bend in the passage, and waited, pressing her back against the wall.

* * *

The leader of the group was spooked. First the voice from invisible speakers, then the hissing sound from ahead of him, and now this eerie silence. He crept as quietly as he could, and still made a lot of noise. He reached a corner, and held his hand up for a stop. Behind him, his men halted. He indicated for one of them to come forward, and turn the corner at the far side. The man did so, clinking with military technology. He leapt around to point his gun into the passage, and hesitated.

That hesitation cost him dearly, as a silver arc slashed through his throat, sending him sprawling. In a blur of movement, someone whipped around the corner and plunged a blade into the chest of the leader, withdrawing it and moving on before he could even raise a hand to defend himself. As he slumped, his life flashing before his eyes, he was aware of the silver, slashing thing moving away behind him while cries of confusion and fright echoed along the passage.

Alexei growled, peering through one of the boarded windows of Redlak Manor. His foot was bandaged but still in excrutiating pain. It was too late for him to run now, and so he was fighting. He couldn't run, jump or dodge anymore, what with the multiple injuries in his legs, and so he leaned on the boards, waiting for people to get close enough to be shot. Next to him, Elisa picked off single targets with a sniper rifle. Alexei glowered at her. If he survived the night, he vowed, someone most certainly would not...

Jared smiled as a trickle of blood ran down the side of his mouth and onto the floor. He lay slumped at the end of the corridor, the shotgun only loosely held in one hand. His glasses slipped and fell off his face, cracking as they hit the dirty floor. For some reason Jared found this funny, and a half-hearted gasp escaped his lips as a laugh tried to make itself felt. A wave of pain spasmed through his chest, and he collapsed sideways, groaning. He didn't know how injured his was, he wasn't a biologist and he probably had a low pain threshhold. Still, he knew enough to realise that blood from the mouth and chest pains were not good. He couldn't move his legs either, something had shot one of them...

His defence had been more or less successful. The invaders had piled into his trap, killing nearly all of them. It was only when he fired that blasted weapon that they had stopped at the top and started shooting from a distance... Jared assumed that they had left now, as he couldn't hear them anymore. Left him for dead... He smiled, and a tooth cracked.

The battle at Redlak raged, explosions and the sound of firing filling the air. The tank squatted in front of the defences, blasting its shots at the Manor. Bullets ricocheted off its metallic hide, occasioanlly hitting someone nearby. With the Manor so far away, the tank looked like it would have an easy way of it... Until a steady *whop-whop-whop* filled the air...

"I don't think so..." Vivian hissed, as the helicopter soared over the Russian ranks. She banked sharply and came in again, tilting the nose down and firing a spray of bullets into the attackers. "Ha HA!" Wheeling around for another pass, the helicopter was peppered with ineffectual bullets. It tore over again, firing rapidly, before turning around to face the tank.

"Bye bye." Vivian grinned nastily, as a missile shot from the bowels of the helicopter...

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I finally have time to particpate in fan fic again, and this seems like a good pick. Thanks to Dust Scout for the summary on events. If I post something that doesn't fit in the current storyline, please IM me with the details so I can correct it.

A few days ago

Louis opened the taxi's door and stepped into the rain. The driver loudly insisted that Loui paid the taxi fair even though he didn't show any sign of running away. Because almost all financial traffic was frozen at the time, most people were short on cash and often in no position to pay even a cab fair. Louis handed the driver a 50 euro bill and told him to keep the change. The driver closed the window without saying thanks and drove off speadily, splashing the gutter's rain water all over Louis' coat.

Ingratefull sons of bitches...

The letters on the building were in French, wich could be translated as "Special Civil Administration of France". The building wasn't particulary modern or suspicious in any way, but at the entrance Louis was put at a halt by 2 soldiers carrying assault rifles. That wasn't particularily strange thing though, as soldiers were on the streets everywhere in this time of turmoil. Louis showed his ID, and the soldiers backed off. He entered an elevator wich was reserved for authorised personel only and pushed the button for the 7th basement level- though the building was only 4 stories high, it had at least 8 basement levels, wich was rather odd for such a trivial government institution.

On the 7th basement level the interior was vastly different then at ground level. The most peculiar was that manned computerised working stations were everywhere, while almost all computerised systems world wide were down. There weren't any soldiers at this level, but there were guards: men and women dressed in black suits and wearing earplugs stationed at every door, holding vigil of everyone who was coming in. Louis entered a double-doored room.

"Special investigator LeBrun" said an old man at the head of a conference table.

"Please take of your coat and have a seat." Louis complied. The table was surrounded by neatly dressed men, all having an aura of sternness and proffesionalism around them.

"I'll begin by informing you of the situation in Europe, our own country in particular" the old man said.

"Chaos reigns everywhere. As almost all computerised systems have been rendered completely useless most countries, including us, have declared a state of emergency and are using most of their military recources to supress riots and order keeping. The worst off is Spain, who has officially declared martial law and postponed all parliamentary meetings until further notice. Madrid is relatively under control, but most of the country is in anarchy. The government leaders of the European Union have gathered for a special conference to decide what to do about the situation.

As for France, the situation here is probably the best of all. The bombs that went off in Paris are currently being ivestigated by the local police. The government has taken measures to nationalise all key industries and get them running again.

As for the cause of this global disaster, I give the word to general Philippe."

The general, dressed in full military uniform and decorations, scraped his voice and began.

"The ones responsible have spread one or possibly more advanced viruses through the internet and several closed networks that were believed to be secure- until now. We don't know who is behind, but we have a pretty good idea why they did it. All of our ICBM silos are offline, and our air force is nailed

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The first few russians dropped, but there were plenty more heading down the tunnel.  The opened fire with their american made M4 Carbines, and Julia made impressive work.  A blur of the sword and it cut the bullets in half, none hitting here.  However, there were too many, and one struck her.  She lurched forward and sliced the heads off some more Russians, then another bullet hit her.  And another, and another.  Still she persisted forward slicing arms, heads and legs off the russians.  Then she fell on to her knees.

"Please, make it quick.  Let me die honorably."

The russian put his handgun to her head.  Suddenly, a voice appeared from nowhere.

"Julia, I have the guns back online."

Julia looked up and smiled.  The Russian swore and pulled the trigger, Julia was dead before she hit the floor.  Then a whir as the guns opened fire and quickly cut the screaming Russians to pieces.

[Meanwhile]

The battle rages, the Helicopter was proving rather annoying.  A small platoon took a RPG and fired one at the helicopter.  It found its mark and the chopper began spirling out of control.  It headed out to some mountains, where a loud bang and smoke could be seen.  The Russians then continued their assault on Redlak.

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The Helicopter had taken out the first tank, but the Super Tank was still on the go.

The occupents were wondering why the turrets were shooting at the air conditioning unit?  It was no where near the fuel tank.  THe fuel tank was infact buried inside the tank and couldn't be hit from the outside.  So it kept firing.  However, the Russians were dropping fast.

THe tank fired and a large hole appeared in the side of the wall.  A few troops went through, but were easily cut down.  Soon, only about 50 troops remained.  Then 40, then 10.  Then it was only the tank.  A large shell came towards the tank and it exploded, the force of it through the tank on its side with its underneath exposed.  All at once, the turrets shot at it and it exploded in a nice fireworks display.  The troops were beaten.

The Pelican watched this from his safe haven on the hills.  He had watched the helicopter go down and followed it, he maintained he stayed out of the way as he saw the occupent crawl out, dazed and confused.  He then sensed a presence watching him, he could see a camera trained on him and so he started waving and shouting.

"Come on Justin, a last stand.  To the death.  Me and you"

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"Looks like we won." Alexei said casually, leaning away from the window. Elisa smiled, turning away,

"There's still one more loose end to tie up, it seems." She noted.

"How right you are." Alexei growled, pointing his gun directly at the back of her head. He pulled the trigger.

With a small explosion, the gun went off. Simmultaneously, Alexei felt an inexplicable tugging on his ankle. It had been shot earler, it hurt! He found himself toppling over backwards even as the bullet left the barrel and continued happily into the ceiling. He crashed onto his back, and lay stunned.

"You betrayed me once." Elisa sighed, though Alexei could no longer see her. "Betray me once, shame on you, betray me twice..." She shot him directly through the heart. And then she did it again, just to make sure.

Vivian growled to herself. She crouched where she had landed from the spiralling helicopter, testing her limbs one by one. Nothing broken, nothing strained. She smiled grimly, and stood up. The battle seemed to be ended. Still, she drew her crossbow and stalked back towards the Manor.

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The bullet went deep into Alex and he sighed.  It was over.  He looked at Justin deep in the eyes and said

"It aint over....fucker...."

With that he collapsed...he was dead.

By this time Francis had broken free and brushed by Justin (actually knocking him to the ground) and ran to be by Alex's side.  She dived on to her knees and started screaming.

"ALEX..ALEX..Wake up you idiot.  Wake up"

Her eyes were full of tears.  She didn't know what to think, and all she felt was anger.  She saw his handgun and picked it up.  First she pointed it to her head and squeazed the trigger, but she couldn't do it.  She then heard Justin picking himself up.  She turned and pointed the handgun at him.  Under her breath she muttered.

"You will pay for this, you bastard."

He saw this and turned away.  He started to walk.

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Vivian reached the scene just as Francis arrived. She stood nearby, watching the scene, her crossbow at the ready. She kind of regretted that it was over, and she had been unable to fire a single shot at the man responsible for the death of at least two of her brothers. She sighed, and resisted the urge to cast the weapon to the ground in disgust. It was a good crossbow, after all. She watched Francis whimper over the Palican's body and felt vaguely ill. Death had never bothered her, but soppy blubbering did. She slumped, but looked up just in time to see the pointed gun...

Justin was in the way! She couldn't get a clear shot at Francis! "Justin, duck! Get out of the way!" She shouted, raising her crossbow and gesturing urgently. Justin looked up at her, the glow of the small fires around the Manor making his tears glitter slightly.

"I know." He murmured, and stood still.

The gun fired, the bullet impacted, and Justin slumped slowly to the ground. Seeing movement to the right, Vivian reasoned that Francis would be taken care of, and rushed over to see what she could do for Justin.

*

"You bitch!" Elisa growled. She had snuck out from the mansion, and now watched as Francis fled the scene, apparantly quite senseless with grief. She still held the smoking gun, but seemed quite oblivious to its presence. Elisa raised her rifle, and took aim...

It was a wild shot. A hit so incredibly unlikely that calling the chances 'astronomically against' would have been putting it mildly. Perhaps sensing something, perhaps still not thinking clearly, Francis whirled on the spot and fired five shots in quick succession, not aiming at anything. They all flew wild... but one of them just happened to fly wild in the wrong direction. Elisa felt a pain in her chest, and knew no more.

*

"Justin is dead." The cry went up. As Francis ran into the night, the survivors slowly came to.

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And so it comes to an end. Dragoon, EWS and I have been planning the end of this thread for a while now (you may notice that our posts changed slightly near the end...) and it has finally come. We've each written something of an epilogue for our characters, and it's fallen to me to post them.

Dust Scout

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