Chapter 15: MarchEdit

A siren plays almost melodically through Reefwater. The townspeople stop, the terror and panic slowly spreads like an infection through the town. Each individual’s face is slowly distorted into fear.

Two Soldiers sit inside Mort’s tavern. They slowly look at each other. “It’s time.” A pet sat with a beer in his left hand, a dark polished helmet was in his other hand. “I know...” Another pet, with a turquoise jacket hung over the back of his dark oak chair. “Where you stationed?” “South Frontline. You?” “I’m on an AA North side, first defenders, next to the farm on the hill.” “Your the ones holding off at the hillside farm?” “Yeah.” “... Good luck, I hear you guys are going to get the worst of the air strikes.” “I heard that too, the main force is coming from the east and south though, so the guys at farm have been pulled back and they’ve built barricades and a shiny new AA on the eastern side of the lighthouse area for them to use. They’ve dotted bunkers south of the main Village, the south-eastern trench will be ready for use in an hour or two.” “I understand that. But... well, we best get moving. We’ve got an hour.” The soldier put his dull steel helmet on, it had a soft glow in the dim light of the setting sun which came through a nearby window. He then slipped his arms through a turquoise leather jacket. “Yeah, your right.” The other pet said, placing his black polished helmet on his head.

The pets both stood up, finished their beers, and walked to the door of the dreary bar room.  “You got a name?” The pet in the jacket asked. “... They call me Lace, used to run the bootshop in an outpost east of here. Outpost was destroyed, I and three others were the only survivors.” Lace shrugged. “Yeah? They call me Wulf. I don’t sleep much, and I’ve got these.” Wulf smiled, he had two steel canine teeth which were larger than they would be if they were natural. “Good luck Wulf.” “Good luck Lace, maybe we’ll meet again when this is all over, we can even go for a real beer!” “Amen to that.” And with that, the two soldiers separated, departing for their posts.

20 miles away. A lonely jeep plunders through the coming darkness.

Zeroed, Zach, Metroid and Thorn were all in a jeep. Speeding in the opposite direction of Reefwater they were around 20 miles away from where they needed to be. But they knew their mission. Matrix had told them what they needed to do, they were doing it. Thorn was still a little groggy. Metroid was nervous and Zeroed and Zach were quietly muttering. It had begun raining, clouds had completely enveloped the sky, making the landscape even darker. The jeep sped through muddy track after muddy track, nothing around the tracks were visible, just fields and mud for miles. The rain was striking the mud and making it jump into the air, pelting the ground, the entire jeep's contents, including the pets, were soaked within the first few minutes of this rain. Zeroed was driving, yet he did not complain about not being able to see anything. It was his mission. 

A few minutes later, Metroid pointed at a light in the distance, blurred by the rain, but definitely there. The light steadily grew closer, until the entire building was visible. It was torn up, it barely had a roof, it's walls were mostly missing, but one corridor remained with walls but no roof. The party disembarked from the jeep, wading through the knee deep mud surrounding the building. They had all been here before. It was the hospital that Delta had used to hide their helicopter beneath. It was obviously not like this when they were last here. Through the rain, an old pet could be seen sitting on a bench. He didn’t move, he was completely silent. He was dead, his flesh was ripped and slit and his face was not recognisable as animal. 

Zeroed took a few moments to realize what the dark shape on the bench was, but after he did, he was sick into the mud. Zach, Metroid and Thorn waded on, while Zeroed was forced to crawl a few steps before he could stand again. When they all arrived at the entrance to the least destroyed corridor, they saw another body, this time it was splayed out on the ground before their feet. It had a large blood trail, behind it. This woman had obviously tried to get out of the building. A knife was placed in her back. As the group were all recoiling, footsteps could be heard echoing through the corridor. Zach looked up. “Hello.” A pet stood in a dark coat, half his face was covered by a black leather mask, and his eyes were covered by triangular sunglasses. His hair was free and falling down over his face and the back of his neck.

The rest of the group looked up. “... Hi?” Metroid's voice went higher at the end of this single word. An awkward pause followed. “Erm... who are you?” Zach said. “They call me the Wanderer.” “Ok, wanderer, what are you doing here?” Zeroed stood to his full height and asked this question in the Wanderers face.

“I’m doing what I can, for the DA, and for Reefwater.” Wanderers visible side of his mouth broke into a semi-smile. “We’re looking for our friend.” Metroid said. Thorn stepped forward for the first time in a while. “He’s obviously not here Met, he’s dead. Look at this place, even that guy outside died.” “What happened here?” Metroid asked the Wanderer. “Hell.” “Hell? What do you mean?” Thorn said... “A new SAWAT weapon codenamed Hell. Its part of their new weapons scheme, this one is particularly nasty. It's a gas bomb. Dropped from a plane, anyone or anything that comes into contact with the gas and breathes it in loses control.”

“What does ‘loses control’ mean?” Zach asked. “Well, aggression levels are sent into an extreme, an urge to beat and smash and kill arises. Turning any living thing nearby into a Predator in any way it can be one. An animal's mind only knows how to kill with weapons, so it will. It only promotes aggression, it does not make an animal less of an animal. The effects wear off in an hour or so, in which the animal realizes what he has done.” The Wanderer eyed the knife in the womans back with disgust.

The whole group shuddered in realization.  “I did however manage to save myself from most of the effects,” he brought out an old gas mask from behind his back. I tried to escape this place, I ran to the nearest window and tried to climb out. I couldn’t quite manage, but then I saw a face I recognized in the same room I was in, he was in a coma, another pet ran in here with a scalpel. He began trying to cut me anywhere he could, but I kicked him into a wall and ran him through with a rusty pole which I pulled off of the patients bed. I then put the patient on my back and ran him into the secret passages of the hospital. Underneath it. Which one of the nurses told me about before, just ‘in case.’ Then as soon as I got there I remember who the pet on my back was, he was a Delta. I remembered after seeing the sign on the floor. The big Delta symbol. I’ve met Matrix before, this patient was with him when I met him. I figured I should save him and wait for someone.” “Well, we’ve come for that guy.” Thorn stated.

The rain pelted Wulf’s steel helmet. It tore up the mud around him, and it soaked his clothing through. His whole unit was stationed around him. They stood in lines and rows, guns held diagonally across their bodies. An ominous glow could be seen in the distance, SAWAT was coming. The glow stretched from the south to the east. A huge army. A few minutes later, the first SAWAT's who were actually visible came over the horizon. Spotters looked through their binoculars, trying to count the SAWAT's for DA High Command, so that they could form some kind of plan. “Soldiers!” The sergeant shouted. “To your stations!” He continued, pointing his hand directly forward.  Wulf and his comrades moved forward into their bunkers. 

The road sped past ridiculously fast, it was just a blur, Striker sat in the back, dizzy. Hawk drove the car, Matrix sat beside him, Striker behind him and Blitz behind Hawk. Doctor manned the rear MG. In the other jeep, Vector drove, Flash sat at his side, Scorch on the MG. 

“Squad, Lock ‘n’ Load!” Matrix shouted. “Yes Sir!” They all replied in unison, arming their weapons. “OOH-RAH!” Matrix shouted with his Squad.

The lights of Reefwater grew closer, and as they did. The sights of war came into sight, overturned tanks, burning buildings, burning pets, gunfire lit up the ground, and artillery tore up the ground around Reefwater. But the Delta Squad turned away. They had to make a detour.

The time for battle was almost upon them. Upon them all. Fear, Power, Destruction. Tools of war, which one would decide their fate?

The fate. 

Of the Twenty Third.

End of chapter 15: March!

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