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Chapter 17: Into the Rabbit HoleEdit

“So, Wanderer, do you have a real name?” Metroid asked.

“I probably did.” He replied slowly, provoking strange looks between the others. The now heavier rain was coming down hard. It was actually painful to be hit by it, especially whilst travelling fast in a jeep. All was quiet, except for the sound of the rain. Metroid was driving, Wanderer was next to him. Thorn and Zeroed were in the back, Zach was sitting on the back end of the car, holding on, and the patient, Vulcan; lay across Thorn and Zeroed’s laps.

“Why are you called the Wanderer?” Thorn asked looking towards the wanderer, then towards Metroid whose eyes met with his. He then felt in his dark grey coat pocket for his bottle, and, drawing it to his lips carefully took a sip of whiskey.

“They call me that because they don’t know who I am. One day I just ‘wandered’ into that place, I couldn’t remember who I was, how I’d got there, where I’d come from. I still can’t."

“Darn.” Zach said.

“Yeah, so I stayed in the Hospital, hoping for them to help me, they called it amnesia, said I would recover. Five years, and nothing. One day a pet wearing a mask walked in, I went and asked him what the mask was for, and he said it was to forget. I explained my situation to him, and he simply answered that I was lucky, that he’d rather be me.” 

“And that was Matrix” Metroid stated.

Wanderer smiled.

“I never really notice Matrix’s mask. It’s just something you get used to.” Metroid said.

“Yeah, well, a few days after I met him, a parcel was delivered to the hospital for me, it contained this.” Wanderer tapped his half-mask. 

Another awkward silence ensued. 

“Sir! Engines are online!” Doctor shouted.

Matrix turned around, nodding at him. He had a welding mask on and a blowtorch in his hand.

“Matrix, we’re going to start loading up the the bombs and shells.” Flash said.

“Alright, get on with it.” Matrix replied as he turned back towards his welding.

Hawk and Striker were all busy with an assortment of paints, painting a large emblem on the side of the airship. Flash and Blitz were beginning to load ammo onboard, and Matrix and Vector were strengthening some of the joints around the outer surface of the vehicle. Eagle sat with Scorch and Ranger, watching on the horizon; the town of Reefwater, the sky lit with fire and the sirens splaying all kinds of warnings. Ranger had a guitar in his hands, strumming away at it a kind of slow-hard-metal song, inside the hangar a hammer could be heard beating against steel. It made a lone drum beat that Ranger played to, his playing and the sirens and the hammering all triggered emotions in Eagle. This was it, all or nothing, very soon to now, Eagle would be in the midst of the sirens, and the fire. Tears fell from his eyes, he couldn’t see past the next hour, walking into the unknown, gun in hand.

“Three... Two... One.” 

The pet next to Chief pressed the detonator. The lighthouse erupted into fire, it creaked and waned. The metals used to make it were giving a final shriek of defiance. Then another set of explosions went off, toppling the lighthouse. As it fell the lower part of it slammed into the ground, the rest of it fell off of the cliff, crashing into the ground and rolling bouncing and smashing a hundred meters until it made a gigantic splash into the sea.

“Good job.” Chief whispered into the radio.

The SAWAT had landed on the beach, and Chief was one of the first ones off. They’d expected at least a bit of resistance, but not one shot was fired. Chief and the passengers on his boat and another boat were all slowly crawling their way under the bridge, trying to sneak up on the remaining resistance near the lighthouse, follow through and meet the main force in the middle of the town.

As Chief came over the top, he raised his gun, ready to shoot anything that moved.

It was like a ghost town, strong winds made bits of ash and very small pieces of debris rattle along the floor. Chief slowly began walking, his left foot first, then his right foot at a ninety degree angle, gving him a stance that enabled him to quickly spring into cover and crouch, if he ever needed to; Chief walked in this stance for about ten steps before a flood of SAWAT came from behind him, running normally. He joined them, and began to run. When they turned the corner for the town, a short distance away, sat upon some crates, where the SAWAT who were supposed to meet them in town. 

“...Hello Sir.” Chief said, as he approached the Major.

“Welcome to Reefwater!” He said, stood up, and shook Chief’s hand.

“Looks like you didn’t need us then.” Chief continued, gazing at his surroundings.

“Heh, the DA retreated as soon as we broke through their frontline, our spotters saw a huge amount of people running into the lighthouse. Not just Soldiers, civilians too. I’m not an expert, but I’d say you could fit about 100-150 pets in that lighthouse. The spotters estimated about two thousand pets, over a period of thirty minutes, entered the lighthouse.” The Major said, still standing, staring at where the lighthouse used to be.

“They must be underground.” Chief stated.

“Thats what we’re thinking, but we haven’t got around to clearing the rubble from the lighthouse yet, so we can see if there is an opening.” This time a pet to the left of the Major spoke, in a strange accent.

“Let’s get going then. All of our pets are off taking their spoils and searching for survivors, so we’ll have to take the backup force to shift all the debris.” The Major slowly began to walk in that direction. The others followed and picked up pace with him.

“C’mon Lace, we’re almost there.” Wulf said, as they climbed down into the elevator inside the lighthouse. Wulf had to help Lace, because he could only crawl on his own. Wulf pressed the button. As soon as he did, the whole elevator rattled and threw Lace and Wulf in separate directions. 

“What the...!?” Lace shouted as the tremors came to a halt.

“They’re attacking the lighthouse, c’mon damn it!” Wulf shouted as he slammed his fist into the buttons once more.

Again the elevator shook, ferociously this time. After about ten or so seconds of the violent shaking that threw Wulf and Lace into multiple surfaces, the whole elevator began to become almost weightless for a few seconds, as if it was falling...

“Is this supposed to happen?” Wulf shouted over the creaking metal.

“Uhh...Don’t think so... “ Lace said.

A very loud sound, like a dying monster, came from above. Wulf and Lace both looked up, to see a slowly opening hole above them, they were getting further and further away from it.

“The lighthouse is falling!” Lace formed a cup with his hands around his mouth, projecting his full shout towards Wulf.

“But we’re not in it anymore!” Wulf did the same.

“Then I guess it worked!” Lace bellowed back.

A hissing sound could be heard, and the falling slowed down. The elevator slowly came to a standstill and the double cage doors opened. Wulf and Lace fell out, in front of a dozen DA soldiers, all weapons pointed towards them. 

“Hold fire!” The one at the front said.

“Don’t shoot, don’t shoot!” Wulf and Lace put their hands in the air, they were still sprawled on the floor. 

“They’re on our side, relax.” The pet lowered his gun, as did the others. 

“Welcome to Base 17, 500 meters underneath Reefwater. As of now, the last safe place in Reefwater.” The pet continued, and then looked at the elevator. It was slanted in its shaft, ridiculously so, and parts of it were on fire.

“There it is...” Zach said and pointed with a rigid finger.

The hangar stood on a large hill a mile into the distance. To the right of it, about another few miles away the town of Reefwater was ablaze with sound and flames, which could be seen and heard even from a long distance. As the hangar grew closer, Zeroed and Thorn began to wake Vulcan. Three pets could be seen standing in front of the large hangar door, jumping and waving with both arms high in the air.

“Repeat... is anyone left up there?” The pet who had been at the front of the soldiers after the elevator crash spoke into a large microphone, placed inside of a desk. Wulf and three other pets stood around him, they were in the main control room for Base 17, where another fifteen or so DA pets were busy calculating their low chances of survival at a large array of complicated looking machines and large computers, most looked rusty and underused. Lace had been taken to a medical center somewhere in the base.

The pet sighed, “Is anyone there?” he said again into the microphone. They’d managed to project his voice into all devices capable of playing sound within a 30 mile radius.

“Leave it for a while.” Wulf said, putting his hand on the pet’s shoulder.

They all got up and walked into a room nearby, it had a set of seats, and they each took one.

“So... you two got names?” The anonymous pet said.

“Yeah, they call me Wulf, and the other guy is Lace, and you?”

“John.” He said.

“So, John what are we going to do?” a pet to the left asked.

“I don’t know. We can’t wait here forever; sooner or later they’ll find their way in.” John replied, taking his hand and putting it so that it supported his head.

“We better go speak with HQ.” The guy on the left said, coughing afterwards, clearing his throat.

All the pets then stood up, Wulf last. They started walking in single file through several rooms, the first was a steamy kind of kitchen. They seemed to be hurriedly making food. The walls and ceiling were a sickened green and on the floor were dirty white tiles. The next room was a long corridor with the same kind of style; green walls, brown scratched floor. It had several iron doors lining its walls. At the end of the corridor was a large black vault-like door. John walked up to it and pressed a green button on some kind of radio attached to the wall nearby. 

“Identify yourself.” The radio said, with slight interference.

“Sergeant Sharp, and a few of my squad.” John said whilst holding his finger on the button. 

The radio made a loud buzz sound. John nodded and then twisted the cold black handle to open the huge steel door. Behind it there was another corridor, wider this time, and cleaner, even the doors in it looked shinier. They walked through a door two doors down from the end. The room they were now in had one wall made completely of glass, it was about twenty to thirty meters long, and it had a double door in the middle and at the other end. Through the glass, a massive hall could be seen; full of people. The huge din of sound slowed and stopped when the soldier walked through the glass corridor.

“What is this!?” Wulf said, startled.

“This is Sector 3 of Base 17, one of five sections of the base designed to house civilians in a time of crisis.” John replied, as they walked on.

“Wow.” Wulf stuttered. The pets were all watching them walk through the glass; any soldier they saw now was probably just a sign of hope. When Wulf, John and the others reached the end of the room, and through the door; the sounds picked up again and the hall was full of speech.

Through the doors, another vault-like door was seen. Exactly the same as the first except this one was silver. John did the same procedure, pressing the button speaking to a woman on the other end, identifying himself, this one took longer and had more questions. After a minute or two, John received permission to open the door, and as the buzz sound came; he did so. Through this door was, what looked like, a cage. John and the other got in it, through a large opening in the front. Wulf hesitated, to John’s amusement. 

“It’s another elevator.” John said, smiling. Then remembering his situation, and remembering Reefwater, his smile faded.

“Right.” Wulf said, stepping in.

End of chapter 17: Into the Rabbit Hole 

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