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K21 - Subterfuge Chronicles

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This article belongs to Khalael. Please do not edit this article without their permission.

SCCOVER

The Subterfuge Chronicles are a series of interconnected short stories written in four different styles (mostly because I was bored and needed a change). Oh yeah, and it provides a bit of backstory for a few characters as well, 25 years before the events of K21, in 2096.

Cast
K21LOGOV2.2

Part 1 - Retribution

WARNING
CONTAINS COARSE LANGUAGE, VIOLENCE, GORE AND GRAPHIC SEXUAL REFERENCES


A young woman walked purposefully along a crowded walkway, in the mellow autumnal evening. She jostled past pleasure seekers, those who had recently broken free of the confines of labour and the sullen commuters who knew what lay ahead in the nightshift.

The street was awash with colour: for while it was rather late, and the sun had already descended, the sea of neon provided ample light for those who had ventured out in the city for the night. She continued onwards, rudely pushing past anyone who got in her way. She was driven towards a set goal, and nothing would prevent her from achieving it.

She wore a simple waitress’ outfit that was clearly designed to be both tidy and reserved. It consisted of a neat light blue blouse that had a nametag attached, with the words “Sandra Mai” printed upon it, and a white knee length skirt. Complimenting this apparel was a pair of sky blue tights and fashionable white trainers. Her dyed light blue hair was kept in a manner befitting of a woman in her line of work, tied back for convenience, with cleanliness in mind when serving food. Upon her left shoulder was a large handbag.

Sandra made her way to a long stretch of road known as Javelin Street and changed her course accordingly. The cars were moving dangerously fast and she knew it would be suicidal to risk traversing it where the walkway met the road. She spied the entrance to a subway crossing further down the street, and made her way to it. Mirroring the rest of the luminescent city, the underground path was well lit by advertisements and directional signs.

The woman emerged on the other side of the road and began to asses her options. She had read a sign that indicated that continuing down the road was the quickest way to Nouveway, although she was aware of a short cut that involved moving through several backstreets and alleyways. She checked her watch, a cheap liquid crystal display bracelet. 22:42.

Sandra opted to follow the official route instead, as she didn’t like the idea of risking a wander down the side streets this late at night. Especially not when her intended destination was Nouveway. The district was, essentially, just a dressed up slum. She was thankful that this would be the last time she would ever have to venture there.

She set off left as the official route instructed and began to pick up the pace once more. She didn’t want to miss her most profitable clientele. Especially not when she was so close to having enough money to pay off her debts. She’d finally be a free and it would be a welcome feeling.

But Sandra still had one more service to perform. She knew that. She wished that her waitressing would be enough, but that had only been enough to cover for her day-to-day living costs. Ultimately she wished she had never had to take out the loans in the first place, but it was the only way she could afford to repair the damage that had beset her home.

She continued on further down the road until she met a junction. The traffic signs indicated that the Nouveway District was situated to her right, at the end of Nouve Avenue Sandra checked her watch again. 23.01. She was running slightly late. Nouve Avenue was distinctly quieter than Javelin Street but still bore a considerable mass of people. But these were of wildly different class. Sandra knew Nouveway well, and she was well aware of the kind of people it attracted. They were like flies to a bloated carcass. From rich slobs who trawled the streets for cheap whores and narcotics to thuggish, steroid fuelled brutes who worked menial jobs to carve out a pitiful existence in the slums they called home.

The young woman decided to pick up some more speed and broke into a light jog as she approached the border of the Nouveway District. A brightly coloured, and illuminated, green sign spelled out “Welcome to Nouveway” in large lettering. The fixture itself had been excessively defaced, but the neon tubes still defiantly displayed their message. However upon the top of the sign one of the more creative vandals had written the words "abandon hope all who enter" in fluorescent orange spray paint.

As she crossed into the slums, Sandra looked down at her current apparel and was shocked. She noticed her name tag was still attached to her blouse and quickly tore it off, startled at the revelation that she had just left it on. She had never been so careless before and she knew that Nouveway wasn’t the kind of place where you wanted people to know your name. She realised that she still looked very out of place and that she desperately needed to find somewhere to change.

There was a bar not far from her current location, and she decided that it looked relatively safe. For one, the neon signs that adorned the entrance were still working, which was always a positive sign in Nouveway. And, more importantly, it actually had a small notice which said it was open, a rarity amongst the majority of establishments in the district. It also looked familiar, almost as if it was one of her old haunts.

However, that is not to say that what Sandra had found was some oasis amongst the wastes. It was merely marginally better than what the rest of Nouveway had to offer, for when she entered the bar she could immediately detect the ambient air of unease. Everyone in the bar was either keeping to themselves or staying firmly within a close group. It was almost entirely silent, and only the bar tender dared look upon the newcomer.

"What’ll it be doll?" he spoke in a gratuitous, uncaring manner.

He then took another look at her, and his mood shifted to a less antagonistic and more jovial one, "Huh, well I’ll be damned, haven’t seen you round here for quite some time Candy. Life must be treating you good? Well stupid question, if it was treating you like it should, you wouldn’t be back here now whould’ya! Am I right boys?"

There was a slight murmur of agreement from the bar’s customers before it became deatlhly silent.

"Well, yeah, can I just use the toilets to change?" she piqued up

"Now don’t be silly, Candy! You know ma policy," he chirruped, "no matter how many times ya try it on with poor ol’ me"

"Fine, fine... I’ll have a double vodka," she said plainly.

"Why sure thing, you know where everything is? Right? So just pick it up before you leave," he spoke more gravely.

She motioned towards the back of the bar, where a pair of doorways lay. One with a clearly marked MEN plastered on it and another WOMEN labelled boldly upon it. Sandra entered the dank female toilet.

It was a squalid single room with a toilet bowl and a sink, and not much else. She locked the door and began to undress herself. She unfastened her blouse and bra before placing them on the toilet seat. From her handbag she retrieved a small black woollen top, that barely covered her breasts and left her stomach exposed. She then motioned to take off her skirt and tights. After fishing a short carbon grey skirt from her handbag, she stuffed her work clothes into it and zipped the bag shut. She proceeded to fasten the short skirt around her waist.

She removed a small container from one of the pockets of her handbag. Within it was a small make up kit and she began to apply deep red lipstick to her pale lips. She also took out a pair of fake eyelashes and attached them to her eyelids without second thought, before applying a liberal amount of eyeshadow. After deciding this would be adequate, she placed everything back into the container before shoving it into her handbag.

Sandra exited the bathroom, and the bartender gave her a stern look. He motioned for her to come over.

He spoke firmly yet softly to her, "Now Candy, please don’t do anything stupid. Be careful out there."

She laughed at the thought. The old man had said that line so often in the past, she was certain that it had become an unconscious mantra. His warning had become a cliché, she was always careful.

"Yeah sure Joe, I’ll be fine," she spoke confidently, "but can you do me a favour and look after my stuff?"

"Why of course, madam. I’ll guard it with my life," he said jokingly and winked at her, before giving a small bow, "just like I normally do."

Sandra handed over her handbag to Joseph and left him some money for the drink she’d ordered. She took the generous measure of vodka and downed it in a single gulp. She handed the empty glass to the bartender and he gave her a look of concern, before she proceeded to make her way over to the exit.

As she left the bar she noticed a scruffy young man enter the establishment. She pitied him, no one that young should have to live in a place as hellish as this.

Sandra began to walk further into the slums. It wasn’t a pretty sight.

The majority of the streetlights had gone, in part due faulty wiring but mostly due to reckless vandalism. The advertising boards were just as worse for wear. Some parts of the streets appeared to be pitch black, as the typically bright glow from the rest of the city was blocked by the massive skyscrapers that constituted the slums.

On the outside they looked rather appealing and the architecture blended Nouveway in well with the rest of the expansive Quebec metropolis, but each building contained apartments that shared more in common with a prison cell than a house. It was no place to live. The people here merely seemed to exist.

Sandra knew where she could find the best custom. A well-lit street corner that was frequented by businessmen and other wealthy individuals looking for a cheap thrill. It was often joked that the reason it stayed in such a good condition was that the people who visited it payed for any damage caused. That probably wasn’t so far from the truth.

It took her ten minutes to get to the spot. She checked her watch again. 23:57. She was still late, but she could already see that the custom was far from gone.

Sandra stayed on the edges of the illuminated area, and hoped that someone would pick her up. She waited for almost half an hour, watching other prostitutes ply their trade, before a fat young man in a high brand sports car stopped by where she was standing.

He motioned her into the car, and she entered the passenger seat. He began to drive away before uttering a word.

"So how much then, five hundred?" he asked, bluntly.

"Well if all you want is something simple, sure. But don’t you want to be more exotic?" she teased, hoping to squeeze some more money out of him.

He began to sweat slightly.

"No, I just want things to be simple," he snapped.

"So where do you want to do this?" she enquired.

"Anywhere. Anywhere that’s dark. And no cameras," he spoke, slightly on edge.

The demand seemed odd, but several of her past regulars had made the same request of no cameras. She could understand why, if they were caught then their lives would be ruined. But this man wasn't someone Sandra had done business before, and she was nervous to fulfil the offer. However desperation and greed got the better of her, for while she knew she only needed three hundred more, she liked the idea of a little extra money on the side. And the sooner she could leave Nouveway the better.

"Well if we just continue on this road we’ll end up further into the slums. And the lights are largely broken. Just find an alleyway and we can do it there." she responded.

They continued on slightly further, and the man stopped the car. Both of them exited the vehicle and he locked it. The pair began to venture up into a secluded nearby alleyway. The faint roar of traffic could be heard from the distant Javelin Street. Sandra knew this place well, and knew it was relatively safe, with a short cut back to civilisation if she needed it.

She found a place where both her, and her client, would not be visible from the road and pressed him up against the wall. However, just as she was about to unfasten his belt, she noticed a gun holstered underneath the man’s shirt.

Sandra instantly panicked, and assumed the worst. She lashed out to try and grab the weapon.

"WHAT ARE YOU DOING YOU CRAZY BITCH!" he yelled at her.

She kept struggling, and ripped open his shirt to reveal the holster and gun. She tried to pull it out but he knocked to the ground with a blow from his fist.

He grabbed the gun and aimed it at her.

"I really don’t want to do this... At least not now. Not until I’ve had my fun," he slowly pronounced

Sandra’s heart sank. She realised what he had intended to do. He would have completed their arrangement before killing her to avoid payment. She’d have expected such a base move from a labourer, but never from a more refined individual like him.

"Now up against the wall!" he commanded

She moved towards the wall in a heartbeat, and pressed her back against it.

"And lift up that little skirt of yours. Then place your hand above your head," a sickening grin etched itself on his face.

Sandra was scared. Joe was right, she should have been more careful. She knew she had been foolish and had put avarice over self-preservation. And now she was going to pay for the mistake with her life. She began to cry.

"Now don’t cry girl, it’s all going to be over soon," slime dripping from his voice, as he removed his belt, gun still aimed directly at Sandra’s head.

He pressed himself up against her and she closed her sobbing eyes.

She heard an odd sound, akin to that of a bone fracturing. Suddenly the man began screaming in agony.

"AAAAGGHHHH! WHAT THE FUCK HAPPENED!" he yelped, the supercilious tone exhumed from his voice.

Sandra opened her eyes and before her stood the grotesque pig, mutilated and butchered. Where it's filthy arms have been only two clean shaven wounds, where they were once connected to his shoulder, remained. Blood was rapidly gushing from these fresh wounds and he suddenly fell to the floor, completely overcome with pain. Sandra actually felt sorry for him, and turned away from the ghastly site. She deeply wished that his suffering would stop. It was at that exact moment the screaming halted. She opened her eyes again to bear witness to his severed head rolling across the concrete floor. She turned to look at her clothes and realised that she had become splattered with his dying blood.

Oh my god. What. What have I done, she thought to herself, utterly aghast at the scene which had presented itself.

She tidied up her appearance slightly, and knelt down before the decapitated corpse. Sandra searched through his trousers and found a small wallet. Within it was more than enough money to pay her, despite the fact he was prepared to just murder her. She slotted the wallet in between her breasts before removing the man’s car keys.

Everything will be okay. I’ve got all the money I need, and no one can prove it was me. I’ll be long gone. If police ask I’ll be truthful. I'll say that he attacked me and then that he suddenly ended up dead.

Sandra began to run down the alleyway when a noise startled her from behind.

She started running but was suddenly intercepted by the scruffy young man she had seen earlier at the bar. She opened her mouth to scream but was cut short by a quick scything cut to the throat.

She collapsed to the floor, staring wistfully at the orange sky. She could feel herself slipping away, as her consciousness began to fade into darkness.

Part 2 - Remorse

WARNING
CONTAINS COARSE LANGUAGE, VIOLENCE, GORE AND SEXUAL REFERENCES


I stood there, blood lightly splattered on my hands, staring down at the lifeless corpse that lay before me. The poor bitch didn't deserve it, but she'd got in my way. And I needed the money. I knew that I would find a better use for it than this cheap whore.

Better hide the body before the cops make their next patrol here

It didn't take much effort to lift her. She was fairly light, and it seemed that she had either been starving herself to look more appealing or had slim takings recently. Judging by the large amount of cash I had now procured, I was guessing the former.

I checked the street ahead, and could just make out the outline of a large dumpster. However, the street was full of people, and I was only just out of sight. I knew that if I moved towards it I would surely be spotted.

Seems I'm going to have to get creative

I dropped my victim to the floor, and began to scope out my alternatives. The other direction lead further into the depths of the slums. That would mean less people and less utilities, but that was a gamble I was going to have to take. I picked her up again, and noticed that she was still warm. Her skin was soft to the touch and I began to stare into her lifeless eyes. They were hauntingly beautiful, echoes of the life she had once enjoyed. Her form was akin to that of a masterpiece that had been cut down in its prime.

Stay focused

I could just make out a trash compactor a couple of blocks away. The lights had gone out further down the alley. Almost anything could be lurking there. If I was lucky it'd just be some hapless beggars whom I could quickly silence with a quick bribe or swift blow to the head. If I was unlucky... well, things could get messy. I slung her over my shoulder and ran further down the street, careful to see if anyone was around.

Odd, it's too quiet

It was just then that I could make out a two figures not far from my objective. One appeared to be masculine in appearance, the other more slender and much smaller. It was likely just a prostitute and her client. I looked for the nearest bit of cover I could find and spotted a pile of discarded crates. I carefully lay her down, with an odd grace that was unbecoming of the morbid situation. It was just then that a sickening feeling overwhelmed me, and suddenly I started to feel sorry for her. I'd been immature and selfish. I'd just taken what I wanted without even giving her a chance to fight back. I had merely cared about convenience and efficiency over human life. She hadn't needed to die. It all seemed so unnecessary.

She looks so fragile

I didn't like it. Every minute I wasted here was another minute that made me dwell on my actions. And worse, it increased the likelihood of me getting caught. I wanted to keep moving, but I knew I'd need to wait until the couple had finished their exchange of services. However, another option presented itself. They were in very close proximity to the trash compactor and I knew exactly what I was capable of. I grabbed her body once more and tucked it under the pile of boxes.

Now's my chance. They're both too distracted

I started to make my way further along the alleyway, slowly and silently, towards my latest prey. It seemed the client was lost in a world of ecstasy, meaning that he would be at his most vulnerable. The prostitute was moaning slightly as the large man continued to force himself against her. And then suddenly, he went limp. I had reasoned that subtlety was the key and had opted to cut the synaptic nerves in his brain. He was already dead when blood began to pour from his nose and eyes. The prostitute screamed but she was quickly silenced after I lunged towards her, forcing her to the ground.

This would be a more fair fight

She struggled as I forced myself on top of her and began to squeeze my hands around her windpipe. She tried to scream but the air couldn't reach her lungs. She kept struggling, more vigorously and I could see the absolute terror in her eyes. I smiled as she began to kick violently as distress gripped her body. There was a loud snapping noise as she thrashed her arms against the concrete ground, and her left arm broke. She tried to scream once more, but this time she went completely limp. The oxygen starvation had finally taken effect. I walked away, pleased with what I had done. I had been a fair hunter and used nothing but my superior reflexes and strengths to fell her.

The thrill of the fight... It's so empowering...

I checked both bodies for money and took all that I could find. It wasn't much, but it was a welcome reward for my noble actions. I had just rid the world of two more worthless scum. I lifted the client's body into the trash compactor first. It was a challenge as he was far heavier than I was anticipating, having probably become so enlarged due to excessive steroid abuse. I was barely able to slump him into machine, let alone lift him but eventually, after considerable effort he was firmly placed inside. I picked up the broken body of the prostitute. Seeing her torn like a pathetic rag doll amused me and I stifled a small laugh

"Oh how sad, to see a poor girl like you become the Devil's plaything... " I remarked in a supercilious fashion

I threw her gracelessly into the mechanical construct and closed the lid. I checked down the alleyway again, both ways. Nothing. No trace of a living being. I ran back towards my first victim, doggedly checking to see if anyone new had appeared. Nothing. I made it to the crates and carefully removed them from her lifeless body, gently lifting them from her delicate form. She looked so peaceful, and it seemed a crime to exhume her from her eternal slumber. As I began to lift the body, her light blue hair fell freely.

She looks so empty...

I slowly began to make my way towards the trash compactor once more. I knew that my earthly time with the mysterious woman was coming to a close and I couldn't afford her the funeral such a refined specimen deserved. But my survival was more important than respecting the dead. She had had her chance in life, even if I was the one responsible for cutting it shorter. So much more could have been done to prevent her pathetic fate.

As I walked towards my target I noticed another pair of footsteps echoing in the dark alley. They were slowly getting faster and heavier. I turned around and saw nothing, but the footsteps continued. It was then that I noticed a menacing figure approaching from the shadows. I checked my watch.

"Shit!" I blurted out loudly.

I knew what it must be. I'd taken too long.

"POLICE! DROP THE BODY! AND PUT YOUR HANDS WHERE I CAN SEE THEM!" the officer yelled loudly.

Rookie error.

He'd just given away his position, so I could aim my shot more readily. I hastily threw my victim's body to the ground and projected my hands clearly in front of me of before launching a beam of pure white light in his direction. While it just missed the target, the flash had it's desired effect and the police officer began shooting blindly, clearly now unable to see.

"AGHHH! You've done it now you fucking bastard!" he shouted furiously

I could have ended it there, for the beam had also illuminated his position, and I could have made a sure strike against the officer. But it seemed that the real thrill was only there when I physically extinguished the life of a target. I grabbed the woman's corpse and rushed him, bowling him over with the combined weight of me and my burden. I threw her on top of him and pinned him to the floor with my right hand, as an ungodly strength overwhelmed my body. The poor bastard was still swearing madly at me, screeching that I let him go.

He was squirming like a trapped rat so I took a domineering stance over him and took out a small switchblade. It had never been used before, but today it would taste flesh and blood. I crouched down beside him and pressed the blade into his stomach, slowly twisting it. He screamed in agony and began to cry like a wounded dog. I dug deeper as blood began to erupt violently from the wound as I punctured his internal organs. I kept twisting it, further and further until the entire weapon was fully embedded in the officer's gut. I then stood up and kicked full force onto the blade which caused his spine to become severed. The police officer stopped twitching. It seemed the shock of shattering his spinal cord was what finally finished him. My hands were stained a deep scarlet. They were so drenched on blood that they kept a red tinge even after I had wiped them on his unsullied trousers.

I stood up once more, my foot on his disembowelled stomach, savouring the kill.

I looked at my watch and realised it was getting late, deciding to run back to my first victim and gently pick her up, so that I could continue my original mission uninterrupted. I opened the lid once more and I placed her delicately into the disposal unit, like a flower upon a grave. I looked into her eyes again. There was a deep sadness in them.

The eyes are the windows of the soul...

It made me uncomfortable. I removed the knife from the police officer's body and with great effort shoved him into the trash compactor. I pocketed the blade before shutting the lid firmly on the machine.

I made my way towards the operating switch and flicked it on. The machine creaked to life and began to crush the load it had been burdened with. The sound of bones snapping could be faintly heard over the noise of the mechanical parts of the disposal unit churning my victims. Each of them nameless. Yet, despite that, my first still haunted me. I had never done anything like that before. Murder had never been my style, merely petty theft. It was careless and selfish. But it felt more natural than anything I had ever done before.

I checked behind me and could see a couple of whores coming down the alley from the main street. I decided now was the best time to run, and quickly bolted from the trash compactor.

I could just about hear the infernal device stop. As I ventured further into the darkness.

Part 3 - Reflection

WARNING
CONTAINS COARSE LANGUAGE AND VIOLENCE

An exhausted man pushed open the luxurious door that led into a large office. A weary look was plastered across his face, and reflected in his worn eyes. The room was rather tidy and well organised, a serious and officious man, resplendent in a business suit, was situated behind a large desk. The piece of furniture provided the central focal point of the office. It was a curious hemispherical design, with the finished product a round table that was balanced on a single point. The man sitting at the desk stood up as the stranger moved closer towards him. He suddenly took an official stance of attention and saluted the intruder.

"Commander Anderson!" he spoke rigidly.

"Please, enough of those formalities Chief Constable, " Anderson replied quickly, in an casual manner.

"Why of course, but still. It is always a pleasure to meet you," the Chief Constable said, "I take it you require my assistance?"

"You can read me like a book, Legrand. I require aid in apprehending a suspected serial killer," he spoke in commanding manner, without hesitation.

"I can provide anything within reason, Anderson," the suited man was fast to reply.

"I require a team of Q-SORT officers. I am expecting a high lethality engagement with the target. He has already killed five people in the last hour," the interloper relayed the information plainly.

"I believe I may already be aware of the man you are wishing to capture, and special forces are hardly necessary. We have received a report of a missing police officer and dispatched two armed lieutenants to locate and arrest the suspect," the Chief Constable spoke far more calmly, "there is no need to worry Commander, we have already sighted him on the edge of the Nouveway District, everything is under control."

"Eric!" Damien shouted, smacking his hand down on the desk at the same time, "that won't be enough! You have no idea who you are dealing with"

"What do you mean?" Legrand questioned, unease clear in his voice, "Armed police will be more than adequate regardless of who we are dealing with."

"I request that I am given a Q-SORT team as back up for the armed officers. Things could go badly," he spoke through gritted teeth, his aggravation was rising.

"Well then, give me good reason. Please, as much as I respect you Commander, I need acceptable justification to deploy our most valuable assets. It would reflect badly on myself, and our department, if they were deployed against a Class-3 Felon with no just cause. The target is not a high enough priority for such heavy handed action," the Chief Constable spoke clearly, the volume increasing as his own annoyance grew, "sending two armed response officers is all that is required. Unless you can relay all the information you possess, Damien."

Chief Constable Eric Legrand typically had a high tolerance for fulfilling unofficial requests to his former colleague, but after falling under great scrutiny during an investigation that uncovered his sympathetic ties to Ghost_K he had become rather limited in the support he could offer. He had already faced disciplinary action and suffered ridicule from his superiors for being affiliated with them. He was well aware of what they thought of the organisation his commander had been now ensnared by.

"Eric. I am not going to fuck around. I just don't have the time," Anderson spoke gravely as he retrieved a handgun from his jacket pocket and aimed it at the head of the Chief Constable, "you will order the dispatch of a Q-SORT team. You will put them on standby immediately. Do I make myself clear."

"What the hell is this Damien!" he exclaimed, "if I fulfil your request my career is over! It's that simple, you'll just have to shoot me."

Eric began to quake with fear, and placed his hands instinctively on his head.

"Well I guess I'll just need to shoot," Damien snapped

He altered the position of his gun slightly. Anderson pulled the trigger and the bullet hit tip of the Chief Constable's left ear. It slowly began to bleed

"Agh! Fuck! You've crossed the line... " Eric growled, trying to mask the pain, "you've gone too far... how can any good come of this... "

"This is not time for your moral bullshit," Anderson exclaimed, "ORDER THE FUCKING TEAM!"

"F-fine, I'll put them on standby... But please, you have to tell me what happened," Legrand spoke quietly, shaking violently, "what could have happened that would make you shoot a friend?"

"I shall. But for now, walk over to the phone," Anderson commanded, his firearm still aimed firmly at Eric's head, "dial it."

The Chief Constable slowly made his way over to the device. He picked it up and began to rapidly key in the digits. He waited momentarily for the dial tone. After four consecutive rings a woman answered.

"Now request deployment," Anderson ordered slowly and clearly, "don't try anything funny."

Eric spoke quickly and relayed Damien's command to the woman. She was initially confused by the request but obliged without question.

"Seven officers have been placed on standby. I also detailed that I was conversing with the team leader and so that an eighth uniform should be taken from storage," Eric said plainly, a look of betrayal in his eyes.

He stared directly at Damien Anderson. A man he thought he knew. A man he thought he trusted. He would have never expected such a heartless act from someone he once considered a friend. A rage began to awaken within him, now that he was no longer afraid for his very life, the amount of hate he felt towards his former colleague was immense. Simultaneously he began to appreciate that he had actually been shot, and brought his hand up to his damaged ear.

"NOW TELL ME WHY WOULD YOU FUCKING SHOOT ME!" he bellowed, blood dripping from his fresh wound, "YOU FUCKING MANIAC!"

"Because he killed her! The bastard killed her... " Anderson shouted, tears forming in his eyes.

"WHO?" Eric roared.

"I'd been tracking her for weeks... she was special like me... I was supposed to pick her up today... take her back to the order... " he lamented, his eyes sullen with sorrow.

"THAT DOESN'T EXCUSE WHAT YOU JUST DID! YOU FUCKING SHOT ME!" Legrand yelled, overcome with fury.

"She changed her schedule today... I missed her... " he choked, overcome by grief, "I was too late... she was already gone... "

"GET A FUCKING GRIP OF YOURSELF!" the Chief Constable rushed over and physically grabbed Anderson, "You've just had me order a Q-SORT squad because of a fucking girl."

He started to violently shake his former comrade, but his face remained empty.

"When I found her she was dead... crushed... defiled... " Damien spoke wistfully, "I failed. I couldn't even complete a simple task... "

Realising that his comrade was still unresponsive, Legrand opted to punch Anderson directly in the face.

"That's for ruining my career you selfish prick," Eric snapped. He was quivering again, although it was not with fear as before, but rage.

"I'll catch him though. Eric, I promise you that," the Commander spoke again.

"Are you even listening?" Eric snarled, "And you better catch him, it's the least you can do given all the crap you've just put me through. If you waste what I've just done for you, I swear I'll kill you myself."

"He's dangerous, Eric. That's why I need the Q-SORT," he spoke sullenly, "and I saw his broken body too... the young officer who went missing... and two others... "

"So he killed all of them together, at the same time?" Legrand mused, with less aggression in his voice and genuine concern.

"And she was one of us... she was supposed to be a Guardian... but this monster cut her down in cold blood," he lamented

"ARE YOU EVEN LISTENING TO ME!? That doesn't change my situation, Damien," Eric growled, "I'm finished. This is beyond a cover up."

"I can help though, I can vouch for you. You will have the backing of Ghost_K," Damien piqued up hopefully.

"Ha! Ghost_K is the problem. My superiors did not approve of our connections. They hold you in extreme contempt my friend," the suited man spoke far more calmly this time, "and they did not take kindly to having their star officer leave the force for some ridiculous band of merry men."

Legrand began to laugh to himself before facing his old colleague again. A small smile began to creep onto his face.

"Now it is best you should be on your way," he ordered, "the team will be ready for the brief."

Damien began to compose himself and looked into the eyes of his former colleague.

"Good luck," Eric Legrand cheerfully spoke, "but please leave your gun."

Anderson was filled with a feeling of dread as he placed it down on the desk.

"That will be all my friend," Eric spoke in a peculiar tone

It was already too late to stop him, as Damien closed the door.

Part 4 - Recollection

WARNING
CONTAINS COARSE LANGUAGE AND VIOLENCE


File:07931
Subject: Target Alpha
Date of Entry: November 18th 2116
Record: Worker 01

This document is authorised solely for reference by operatives of the Blessed Worker's Elemental Group in regard to the cyber terrorist Sleeping Teledu (alias of Claude Lasi-Faité [VERIFICATION NEEDED]). Any unauthorised personnel will be severely punished if caught with this document in their possession. Details of my own personal encounters are key in understanding the abilities and motivations of this individual. Most importantly it illustrates the true danger possessed by this man.1 For more detailed references of other displayed powers please refer to the appropriate files. 2

Aged five years, five months and twenty-one days I first encountered the individual known as "Claude" in the Quebec Region, within the Nouveway District. Research has failed to provide a conclusive real name for the suspect, but the man addressed by police officers on 15-06-2096 (approx. time: 0304h) in that manner. The target was clothed in dark blue jeans trousers; black shirt and black loafers. Each item of clothing was frayed and worn, particularly the trousers which sported a multitude of tears. Dark patches of red fluid (later confirmed to be blood) had stained the trousers, shirt and hands of the individual. The target sported unshaven stubble (colour: grey) and long grey hair (arranged in a pony-tail). Due to the darkness I was unable to make out the eye colour of the target.

The target first conversed with me at approx. 0257h. It initiated a transaction of cash to purchase my silence on the matter of his dubious appearance. Transcript of the conversation (as accurately as can be reconstructed) is as follows (between 0257h and 0258h).

Target Alpha: "Hey, you didn't see me, right? Here's one hundred, just lie low and don't get caught."

01: "Okay."

Target Alpha: "Good. You're a good little kid. Now, you better get moving. Shit! I can see them just behind me."

At that moment I turned to face the direction the subject had entered from. In pursuit were two Quebec Region Police Officers. Both officers carried a MP5 and were outfitted with full body armour. I followed the most logical option and took up a covered position behind a waste bin. Evaluation of the situation indicated that the target would have been quickly disposed of if fighting ensued. Following transcript details vocal communication between officers and target (accurately verified from police archives) that transpired between 0303h and 0305h.

Police Officer 1: "Claude Lasi-Faité! This is the police. Put your hands on your head. There is no escape."

Police Officer 2: "If you attempt to resist we are authorised to use lethal force."

Target Alpha: "It's okay officers. I'm ready to give myself up."

Police Officer 1: "You are under arrest for multiple homicide. You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say or do may be used against you in a court of law."

At this point, the second police officer approached the target with a set of handcuffs and placed them firmly on it. The subject.

Target Alpha: "The problem is, you really didn't send enough men to take me down."

At this point a bright light flash emitted from the target. I was unable to visually confirm what transpired immediately after, but when vision was restored the target appeared to be free from its bonds. Both officers appeared to have become visually impaired and had resorted to dangerous tactic of firing machine gun rounds wildly. They loudly exclaimed profanities that would be wasted in transcript.

It should be noted that it was during this time that the target demonstrated the abilities it possessed in full. Target Alpha proceeded to direct beams of pure light against the officers. Each was propelled backward by these blasts. The power which Target Alpha demonstrated was incredible.3 The target also utilised light as a means of projecting beams which were capable of searing flesh. I could see that one of the police officers had been severely burned after receiving a direct hit to the face.

However, Target Alpha proceeded to illustrate it had control over a secondary skill set. The target utilised an unknown (later identified to belong to the element of Shadow) power to disembowel the police officer which had been hit directly. This was done very slowly and appeared to be surgical in nature. Extreme precision was displayed, likely in order to pierce the armour, before making incisions into the flesh and organs of the intended victim. The police officer emitted loud noises of pain and terror before succumbing to his wounds

The second police officer, seemingly no longer visually impaired, targeted Alpha and proceeded to fire approx. 200 rounds at it. At this time I assumed that the target had been disposed of and began to leave my position of cover. Unexpectedly Target Alpha remained undamaged. Several bullets were littered both in front and to the side of it. Its hand has projected in front of it and an expression of contorted facial muscles resemblant of a smile had appeared on its face. It spoke once more, likely in an attempt to goad the police officer. Transcript as follows (verified from police records, approx. time 0311).

Target Alpha: "That was pathetic. You can do better than that. I just killed your comrade and you can’t even land a single hit on me. Come on, I’ll let you take the first punch at me."

Police Officer 2 (Into communications device): "This is Foxtrot-Eighty-Four requesting immediate dispatch of armed response team to converge on my current position. Hostile has proven-"

The police officer was silenced by Target Alpha. His throat was visibly slit, but no weapon was apparent. Blood spilled from the incision rapidly and the police officer proceeded to collapse to the floor. Excessive blood loss was the clear cause of death Transcript resumes (approx. 0312).

Target Alpha: "Oh, calling your little friends is rather unsporting, I was hoping for a nice clean fight from you. But if I must, I’ll be happy to play with them."

An armoured VTOL aerial vehicle (make unknown) became visible overhead and eight reinforced Kevlar ropes descended from it, each attached to heavily armoured Quebecois Special Operative Response Team (Q-SORT) officer. Each was geared head-to-toe in armour which protected the limbs, torso and joints of the individual. They were also outfitted with a helmet that offered limited vision. Four of the Q-SORT officers were armed with heavy duty assault rifles. Two were armed with RPG Launchers. One was armed with a shotgun. The final one, which had a slightly different uniform, appeared to be equipped with nothing.

The unarmed leader of the team (a large muscular man who appeared to be of Afro-Caribbean decent) walked towards Target Alpha (at this point the target had six lethal weapons trained on him). He opened up a dialogue with the target. The transcript of these events is unverified due to data being unavailable (apparently seized by Ghost_K). Approx. time 0314

Q-SORT Leader: "You've caused a lot of trouble for me you stupid fuck. Far more than you could understand. Now you can either come quietly or I’m going to just kill you myself."

Note: the leader took an aggressive stance with his right arm projected. The target began to laugh at this point.

Target Alpha: "With what exactly?"

Note: the Q-SORT officers cocked their weapons

Target Alpha: "Oh, is that supposed to scare me?"

Immediately after these words were uttered a pillar of earthen origin struck Target Alpha, throwing it backwards. It appeared that it had also caused significant injury, as the target began to bleed from his mouth. Transcript continues, approx. 0315.

Q-SORT Leader: "I'm going to make you suffer. You are going to pay for fucking up my operation."

Another pillar erupted from the ground. This time though, the target dodged the attack. A second pillar did, however, glance the left arm of the target. I remember hearing a cracking noise when it made contact. I assume a bone was broken in the limb. Transcript resumes approx. 0315.

Target Alpha: "Christ! That stings... but at least this is a proper fight!"

Q-SORT Leader: "Four... fucking months. I nearly had her. She would have been safe from vulgar little cunts like you. We needed her and you just gratuitously killed her."

Target Alpha: "Which one do you mean? I've killed so many. It's such a shame I never knew how much fun it was until today."

Q-SORT Leader: "You're a dead man walking. I don't care if they want you alive."

I was not sure to the reason for the anger demonstrated by the leader. To this day I have yet to uncover the root of this particular mystery, as record pertaining to Target Alpha's civilian casualties of 15-06-2096 appear to have been confiscated by Ghost_K4 and Target Alpha has refused to elaborate upon the subject. The anger of the mysterious man (likely Ghost_K Commander Damien Anderson: Verification Pending) appeared to feed his abilities.5 At this point a multitude of spikes erupted from the ground where the target currently was. I am certain one may have penetrated its foot as a loud scream of pain was audible.

The Q-SORT team held their position and did not fire (it is assumed this was ordered by their leader) although it seemed Target Alpha would soon be terminated as a result of severe injuries caused by the rocks that had struck him. However, the target was defiantly relentless in enduring the attacks, and continued to dodge several of them while even unleashing a few beams of light energy wildly.

The team leader appeared to be unphased by these attacks, likely due to anti-glare protection on the visor of the helmet that he wore, and thus he continued the barrage. It was at that point, the unexpected happened, as Target Alpha unleashed a tremendously powerful blast of raw energy at the entire Q-SORT team. The projected blast is nearly indescribable, the closest I can manage to explain the phenomenon as, is that of a spherical object completely devoid of light, seemingly not corporeal in substance. The aftermath, on the other hand, is something I will never forget.

It was a truly devastating site to behold and I would rather not dwell on the emotion it stirred up in me. Severed and contorted limbs of several of the Q-SORT team littered the area. Blood stained the walls and the floor. The buildings which enclosed the side street were cracked (I can only assume they had become heavily damaged as these structures were demolished 2 weeks after the incident occurred). Two of the members who had not been slain were firing their assault rifles blindly towards the last visual conformation of the target. The VTOL craft began to descend, likely with the intent of retrieving the survivors.

I began to run. It was illogical to remain in such a hostile environment. I do not think I was spotted as I sprinted away from the scene of the chaos. I can distinctly remember the leader forcing himself to stand, as I checked back the way I was running from. He had been at the epicentre of the blast, logically he should have been dead, but somehow he had survived when so many others had perished.

The last thing I remember was his loud voice shouting. I assume he was referencing to Target Alpha. The final unverified transcript is as follows. Time unknown (estimate 0320)

Q-SORT Leader: "You can run all you want! But the darkness wont protect you from my wrath. I! WILL! FIND YOU!"

1. Extremely high Shadow Elemental control. Proficient Light Elemental control.
2. See Files 00193; 01301; 01322; 02495; 03028 for more conclusive data
3. See File 03029 for complete list of reasons for preferred capture of Target Alpha alive
4. See File 04651 for occurrences of similar erasures of police records in relation to Target Alpha
5. Worth further research in near future, has been identified in several former BWEG members


VallarieCrest
Chronology
K21 - Subterfuge Chronicles · K21 - Deceit and Disloyalty · K21 - Forgiveness and Mercy · K21 - Aces High · K21 - Tarnished Perceptions · K21 - Shattered Endeavours · K21 - Decayed Moralities

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