This story, Conversion, was written by Angel Commando and acquired from fanfiction.net
Case File: 001: Classified ContentEdit
"I don't know what I want to be yet. But I can show that I need to see this. No time for lies and empty fights. I'm on your side.
Can we live a life of peace and happiness? I don't think so."
- "You Fight Me" by Breaking Benjamin
I hadn't wanted this. I tried to tell those bastards over and over again that I wanted no part of this.
Did that mean that they actually listened to my pleas? Of course not. Hands grabbed me roughly, and restraints began to lock over my body. Cries rose and died from my throat as I tried to call for help, but there was nobody around to hear. Fear rose in me, making my stomach twist into knots and my hands clench and unclench. Having successfully locked my body into the heavy restraints, the doctors released me and stepped back; one of them turned away from me and flipped on harsh, bright lights. I hissed in pain and fear as I recoiled away from the sight. This wasn't how I was supposed to die. I was supposed to die on the battlefield, in a fantastic blaze of honor and glory.
Panic made my heart stop and my body freeze as I spotted the needle. Mounted onto what looked like a large, metallic hangun. Hooked into the body of it was a transparent glass cylinder. Although the liquid inside of that cylinder was clear, I knew exactly what it held. My death. I was a grown man, nearing the age of thirty-three, but the sight of that needle made my body start to shake. My mouth moved, and words came from my throat, as I tried another desperate attempt to plead for my life.
"I didn't agree to this," I stammered nearly incoherently, "You can't do this. I have rights."
Nobody replied to my accusations. Latex hands grabbed for my arm, and years of military training had me thrashing about again. I prayed desperately for a moment, hoping that just maybe, somehow, I could break free and subdue the soldier supervising the whole event. With me jerking my arm around wildly, they piled more people onto my limb. A man grunted as he tried to contain me, and that provided just a small sliver of satisfaction. At least I'm not going without a fight, I thought to myself.
"If you do not calm down, we will not hesitate to sedate you!" A doctor hissed into my ear, sounding very angry. Rage boiled in my blood in half a second - he wasn't the one laying strapped onto the table all in the name of science, was he? Regardless, his words stilled my struggles, and hope fled from my body.
They were really going to do it. I was just going to be another body added onto the tally of this war. My dignity and pride kept me from crying, but I felt like breaking down and sobbing. I was supposed to be strong, and be a man, but this. . . It went beyond cruelty. I couldn't believe that people could be so heartless. Like a sword to the grief came fury. If any one of them got close to me, I wanted to free my hand and break his face. Watch him bleed and cry from the pain and humility as others watched.
Hands grabbed at my arm again, tentative and almost gentle. It was all a charade, I knew. They just wanted to know if I was going to snap and try to escape. Although it was useless, I tried to speak once more. My eyes focused on the needle, the frightening instrument that would surely cause my death.
"I never consented to this. . . Y-You're breaking the law. You have to stop." My voice was weak and horse, but I didn't care. I could barely hear myself speak.
"Yes you did, sir," A doctor finally responded, staring at me with calm and aloof eyes (he didn't want to use my name, because not having a name would dehumanize me), "you signed all the consent forms when you agreed to be a part of this."
"No, I didn't, damnit! I didn't agree to this!" I hissed, not bothering to consider I had made a mistake in appearing aggresive. Now one of the five doctors was laying his hand carefully on another needle, surely holding a promised sedative.
The larger needle holding my death was now ready and prepared. I felt a cold wetness being rubbed over the inside of my elbow, and the sharp sting of alcohol drifted up to me seconds later. Nobody replied to me again, because now it was time for judgement. Now I was going to die, and nothing I said was going to stop them. Raw fear rose inside of me, making my muscles clench as I felt the sting of the needle as it slid into my skin. My lips moved, and I closed my eyes, a disjointed prayer for mercy escaping me. God would not let me die like this, would he? Half-mutated into some kind of monster, my body burned later to hide the evidence. Of course he would, some half-insane part of my mind hissed at me, because God doesn't exist.
A cold feeling began to rush up my arm, and moments later I felt another sting as the needle was withdrawn. I closed my eyes tightly and fisted my hands roughly, body shaking once more. I could feel the doctors in the lab staring at my body, waiting for the imminent death. My senses sharpened, I swore I could hear the soldier reaching for his gun, ready to draw it on the monster he was bound to see. I tried to relax, attempted to disconnect my mind from what was happening. I thought about my family, and about the times of my childhood that seemed so far away. But I couldn't. For the next moment, a pain began to build inside of me, making me groan.
Images began to flash in front of my eyes, as though I were watching a movie. Voices began to speak to me, but I couldn't understand the words that were being said. It sounded like a garbled and muted mess. As impossible as it was, I could hear whispers, too, and even though I could not understand what they were saying, it was comforting and beautiful. I tried to focus more on the whispers than the garbled voices. The pain began to escalate, moving from a dull throb that I felt everywhere to sharp pricks. I felt myself wince, although my muscles seemed to be burning. Suddenly it felt like I was laying on a bed of hot coals, the heat beginning to sear my skin. I was hot, I realized, although I couldn't seem to grasp the reason why. The whispers and the voices began to grow louder, rubbing against my too-hot brain.
The pain began to intensify, and I felt the desperate need to escape the bed of hot coals I was laying on. The images began to flash before my eyes faster, more disjointed and brokenly. This added to the pain that began to spread everywhere. I think I tried to scream, to escape whatever was holding me to the bed of flames, but I couldn't hear anything. I called out to God, and begged for him to end this agony tearing at my flesh. It felt as though I were being ripped apart. I couldn't breathe, I couldn't think, and I couldn't move. It was all too much to take.
Blissfully, my mind shut down, and the embrace of unconsciousness greeted me.
Dr. Altman stared at the. . . Man that lay before him.
His body was beginning to twist and mutate into one of the monsters. . . But which one? He didn't look like a regular Chimera, what with his body beginning to swell and expand, looking inflammed and infected. Bands of bruises covered his skin, as if his bones were pushing against his body and itching to burst through. All the while, he laid in a comatose, completely unaware to the changes occuring with his body. Of that, Dr. Altman was glad. At least these horrifying and painful changes were taking place while he could not feel them. With a sigh, the weary doctor turned and grabbed the clipboard placed by the patient's bed. Jotting down a few quick notes, he stepped outside of the observation room and softly closed the door behind him.
"Dr. Altman?" A young voice asked, and as he turned his head, he found himself staring at a nurse they'd picked up sometime before the beginning of the program. Altman could see the paleness of his skin, and he acknowledged the man was probably still unused to the sights of the labs.
"What do you need me for?" Altman finally managed to make himself reply, shaking himself from his rousings.
The nurse looked at the ground sheepishly, and then back up to Altman, "I was wondering sir. . . If what the patient said was true. . . ?"
Altman heaved a small sigh and thought carefully before he answered. While it was true that the patient had signed all consent forms admitting him to be a part of Project Abraham, the chairs had pulled a nasty trick. The soldier knew he would be recieving the agent and (theorized) cure for the cause for Chimera conversion, hopefully building an immunity to the virus. He had agreed to the procedure somewhat reluctantly, and not without a sliver of fear in his eyes. However, the higher ups had wanted to test a new strain that Dr. Malikov had recently engineered. So when the soldier had entered the procedure room, and laid onto the table, Dr. Altman had broken the news to him. News that informed him that he would not be recieving the intended strain, but something more concentrated. . .
It was then that the soldier had proceeded to resist and combat the doctors.
Dr. Altman stared at the patient eyes of the male nurse, and finally he heaved a small sigh.
"It isn't our place to wonder, sir. We just do what we are told. Speaking of which, I need you to locate Dr. Malikov for me and tell him I need to have a word with him on the patient."
The nurse nodded his head, face carefully arranged and impassive, and walked away. Altman watched him walk away, body giving away his emotions. His hands closed into fists, revealing the anger at Altman's evasive statement. You'll learn soon enough, my friend, Altman thought to himself, that I've relieved you of a painful burden. You do not have to carry the guilt of killing a man, one at a time. Giving one last look to the door, Altman felt the all-too familiar well of guilt build up inside of him. On the other side of that door, Private Jordan Adam Sheppard was slowly dying.
Just another tally on his record of deceased victims. All of which were men, serving under the classified Project Abraham.
Case File: 002: Unclassified ContentEdit
"Hold it together, birds of a feather, Nothing but lies and crooked wings. I have the answer, spreading the cancer, You are the faith inside me.
No, don't Leave me to die here, Help me survive here. Alone, don't remember, remember.
- "Evil Angel" by Breaking Benjamin
He breathed deeply, attempting to calm the emotions raging about inside of him. As a military man, he couldn't afford to lose control - ever. Especially not if he was a part of the Sentinels. . . He'd be sedated and restrained quicker than he could blink. Of course, he'd probably manage to knock two or four of them out before he went down. That, unfortunately, was fact - it wasn't in his nature to brag.
Nathan Hale closed his eyes, fighting against the nausea that was churning in his stomach.
He knew that he was feeling sick because the Chimera inside of him was beginning to win. He had been warned of this at first; way back when he'd been introduced to Malikov. Back then, Hale had suffered from the same odd sickness he was feeling now, although at the current moment, it was much more intense. . . Like a severe stomach cramp that wouldn't go away. "That would be your metabolism, Nathan. Your body is demanding more food to compensate for the changes." Malikov had told him that once, and he'd absorbed the information in a disconnected way. Back then, he'd been in denial over what was happening, and what would happen. . . Hale gave a mental shake of his head, willing his focus back onto the mission.
He and the Sentinels were on a VTOL to Iceland, to go shut down the tower that. . . monster had turned back on. Whatever the hell those towers were for, it wasn't good. At all. Leaning back against the hard metal shell of the giant machine, Hale expelled a slow, cautious breath. A small quirk of amusement raced through him as he felt Capelli's scorching glare burn into the side of his head. One would think that the entire situation was ironic - Capelli was, by nature, a completely aggressive and furious man. Violence ran through him just as thick as his blood. The doctors had all been honest with Capelli, saying that his anger might very well trigger the Chimeran virus inside of him, turn him quicker than the others.
As per the norm, Capelli had shrugged it off with a nonchalant, "Whatever."
Yet here Hale was, fighting against a mild sickness, and turning into one of them faster than any Sentinel.
Hale clenched his hands as he felt his stomach revolt, and the nearly sickening sensation that something was inside of him, crawling underneath his skin and twisting his insides. . . Shaking his head after a moment, he dispelled the image. He was running hotter now, internal body temperature raised by a few degrees, so it was making him a bit disoriented. That was it. . . Closing his eyes, Hale felt exhaustion pulling at him. When did I sleep last? He wearily wondered, but he couldn't remember.
For a moment, he thought that he heard one his comrades say something to him, but sleep claimed his mind before he could decipher it.
. . . inside of him, crawling, twisting, burning. . . his hands scraped uselessly at his skin, and he screamed as he felt pain spreading to every part of his body. . . His arms were all bloody now, reminding him of some coke addict that felt the bugs, too. . . And then his body was going weak, the pain turning into a dull throb, and a pleasant warmth began to steal throughout his muscles. He felt so tired, so scared and alone and exhausted. . . It wouldn't hurt to close his eyes - just for a moment, right? His body collapsed onto the warm soil beneath him, and with one last, shaky breath, he finally closed his eyes and let the warmth take him.
Come to me.
His body. . . Why was it so hot? It felt as though he were burning up. . .
The voice floated over his mind again, but the words seemed broken. Hale couldn't process exactly what the voice wanted from him - he just wanted to rest. After the monsters, and the bugs. . .
Become one with the Chimera.
Images flashed through his sleep-fogged brain, and he saw the monsters they'd shot in York. It was wrong, but he felt a thrill crawl through him as one of the monsters gunned down a human. The images changed again, and Hale saw his unit standing in the riverbed, and he saw the bugs sweeping over them like locusts, crawling inside of them. Yellow then, flashes of a deep golden color, and he was stronger, not human, but better in every way.
Rise and become one with me.
Hale wanted to. He wanted to obey this voice, have the voice help his body from the fevered state it was in. . . That power, it was so beautiful and tempting. . . How could he deny such an act? He couldn't disobey the voice that was commanding him, and he reached out towards it, attempting-
Hale snapped awake from the sleep he'd fallen into, mind and body disoriented. It took a moment, but a foreign part of his mind suddenly had him on red alert, as there was something nearby - and it was attacking him. Feeling as though he'd been punched in the gut, Hale sucked in air as his hand made a lightning-fast grab for his gun. There was an enemy attacking him, but was it human or Chimera? He couldn't tell. Undiluted fear lanced through him as his hand curled around empty air - where was his gun? Tamping down the emotion, Hale reached for his knife to lash out, but something stopped him. A voice - a human voice.
"Sir? Sir, you're on the VTOL." Hawthorn, his mind placed. It was Hawthorn who had woken him up.
Forcing his body to relax, Hale finally found the surrounding environment coming into focus. Hawthorn was standing in front of him, Warner somewhere to the side, and Capelli looking as though he wanted to deck him. All was normal. Murmuring an apology, Hale bent over and scrubbed his hand over his face, rubbing his temples. He hadn't had a dream about his first conversion in the UK for a while. Worse yet, he'd had flashbacks about waking up, but never actually embracing the Angel's request.
"It looks like you need a medic, sir." Hawthorn said gently, earning a confused and slightly worried look from Hale. Had he really been that bad? He'd just been sleeping. . .
"I'll be fine, Hawthorn. What's going on?" He said gruffly, ignoring the aches and pains as he leaned forward. Scrubbing his face with his hand, Hale tried to come back to reality. He also amended he would never sleep in a VTOL like that again. Ever.
"We had to stop and refuel. They gave us an hour before we took off again, sir." Warner answered, and Hale nodded his head.
Still, he couldn't get the images of the dream out of his head. Biting back a groan, he rose and stepped out of the VTOL, onto the military base. Stretching lightly, he took a small walk around the place. It doubled as a survivor camp, apparently. SRPA forces and medics ran to a fro, treating the wounded and the sick, while guarding those who were jumpy and wanting to escape. It was a repeated behavior with all survivors of the war - they ran. It was likely the only way possible to survive, because staying in one spot meant getting hit by Spires, or getting gunned down by a Hybrid. Stopping on the edge of the entertainment area (for the soldiers who lived on the compound), Hale gazed at the three large tents erected for the refugees.
Sadly, there weren't enough survivors to fill the tents.
"You're different from everyone, aren't you?" A quiet, feminine voice penetrated his thoughts. Turning, he found there was a teenage girl seated on one of the many wooden tables dotting the area. Her clothing was standard of a civilian, although she looked worse for wear.
She wore jeans that were frayed, ripped, and stained with blood and mud. Her shoes were all but ruined, along with whatever blouse she'd been wearing. A soldier had been kind enough to give her a jacket, it seemed, as she clutched the ends together to cover herself. Haunted brown eyes stared at him, somewhat glassy, and not without shards of fear. Hale didn't say anything, as he wasn't sure how to respond. Red hair lay in dirty, matted strands around her face.
"It's okay. We're all different, anyway." She might have murmured something else, but it was inaudible and he couldn't understand it. Hale felt awkward - he hadn't affiliated with any civilians, and especially not those who were survivors.
"Where are your parents?" He finally asked, unable to conjure up anything actually worth saying.
The haunted brown eyes stared at him again, and she almost whispered the word, "Dead."
"I, uh. . . I'm sorry." He said awkwardly. Hale was not a man who knew how to deal with kids - he couldn't even handle his own emotions. . . So he tamped them down. As a Sentinel, he couldn't afford to let frustration, anger, and sorrow cloud his fury.
The girl's eyes turned to the ground, and Hale noticed her body tense, how her knuckles turned white as she gripped the jacket closer to herself. She didn't hide the pain that she felt, and Hale felt very much like an intruder as he gazed at the scene of emotion. She closed her eyes and expelled a shaky breath, hands shaking as her fingers turned a white shade as well. Hale shifted his weight, and contemplated leaving her. There was nothing that he could do for her - and that was the cold truth.
Some human part of him (probably that long-dead conscience) rose and screamed that what he was doing was wrong. He did not live without emotions. All she had done was try to talk to him, and what that such a crime? Her reward for trying to reach out to him was to be shunned. How pathetic. He would murder Chimera and monsters alike without batting an eye. . . Yet, when this girl displayed open emotions of fear and grief, he turned away like some coward and hid behind his emotional wall.
Nathan Hale knew how to deal with his troops, how to keep them alive. . . But dealing with teenagers was something beyond his control. He'd been in the military for so long, that his grip on younger generations had slipped considerably.
"Wait!" The girl called out to him again, and he heard her sneakered feet running over the asphalt, catching up to him.
Hale turned, curious, and hoping she wasn't going to rage against his behavior. Luckily, however, the only thing he saw was tears shining in her eyes. Scrubbing her face with the back of her hand, she sucked in a few deep breaths and then smiled up at him. Hale felt a pang of pain travel through his heart at that smile. It was happiness touched with heartbreak.
"I wanted to say thank you," She said through small hiccups, wiping more tears away with the sleeve of the oversized jacket, "You're doing so much. . . And I want you to come back alive."
The request was so odd. Hale knew that this girl knew absolutely nothing about him, and yet here she was, making a request that made it seem as though they were lifelong friends. Still. . . He wanted to branch out, if only a fraction of an inch. People needed to have faith that no matter what, the Sentinels and SRPA forces would save them. So Hale lifted his hand and placed it on her shoulder, squeezing her too-thin frame gently. He tried to smile, but what came out was something slightly twisted and half-hearted.
"Don't worry. I always come back alive."
She nodded her head and something akin to relief flooded over her features. She stepped back and gave a small wave with the sleeve of her jacket, before turning away. By far one of the strangest encounters I've had with today's youth. He thought, before he turned away as well. Striding back over to the VTOL, Hale found that time had elapsed quicker than he'd thought - and it was time to go again. Boarding the aircraft, he took a seat on one of the benches and gazed about the cabin.
No, he wouldn't lose. He would come back from this mission very much alive. The Chimera (and Daedalus) had to be stopped at all costs. As America's last defense, SRPA and the Sentinel forces would do their absolute best.
Mankind would not lose this war.
Case File: 003: Unknown ContentEdit
"Crowded streets are cleared away, One by one. Hollow heroes separate, As they run.
You're so cold Keep your hand in mine Wise men wonder while Strong men die."
- "So Cold" by Breaking Benjamin
Blearily, he found the strength to open his eyes. Everything around him was blurry, as though covered in a fog - it was all moving, as well. How could the area around him be moving if he wasn't running? He pondered this stupidly for a moment, fogged brain refusing to fully comprehend what was going on. After a moment, another increment of control returned to him, and he could feel again. He felt a warm wetness spreading over his stomach, and along with that - a horrible, jolting pain. Pain lanced through him, hot and blinding, causing him to cry out and struggle at whatever was moving him. Arms suddenly tightened on his frame, pressing the injury that made his blood feel like fire.
With whatever was left of his strength, Hale lashed out at his captor. The Chimera half of him growled somewhere in his mind and lended him strength, allowing him to finally break free and collapse onto the ground. Pain rocked through him in the next second, sapping all of his inhuman strength and leaving him there, writhing on the ground. Hale tasted the coppery, bitter uniqueness of his own blood - before he threw it up. He rolled to the side and vomited blood, coughing as he gagged on it. Hale felt hands on him once more, flitting over his injuries and roughly picking him up once more, a low voice cursing at him.
Who was it? Groggy, his mind took a while to process who was picking him up and running like a bat out of hell.
Warner? No, no. . . Warner was dead. As was Hawthorn. Both of them, ripped apart by Daedalus, as though they were a small girl's play thing. The memory provoked emotions of rage, sorrow, and grief. If only he'd gotten there quicker. If only he'd manage to push his own men out of the way. If only they hadn't separated. If only. . .
". . . I'm getting us out. . . Stay, sir. . . Don't fall. . ."
Hale couldn't help it - Capelli. The man was a ticking time bomb of aggression, but he had a good heart. It was funny, because Hale always imagined that he would be the one to carry Capelli out of one of these towers. . . Guess not.
Black began to eat at Hale's blurry and spinning vision, but he knew he had to stay awake. He would die if he fell asleep. So he sucked in pained, sharp breaths as he dealt with Capelli running, holding him on his shoulders and running. Obviously the man had bandaged him up some (he could feel the bandage abrading the wound), but he could tell that it wasn't going to hold long. Even with the Chimera part of him doing its' best to heal the wound, there was no way that it was going to be able to survive this one. . .
It's a wasted effort.
This was the very last thought that echoed through Hale's mind as his eyes closed and darkness overtook him.
White surrounded him, forming a room around him. Hale became aware of himself inside of this room quite suddenly, although he was infinetely confused about it. Never before had he had a dream that was this vivid. He was dressed in his Sentinel uniform, minus the weaponry and communications headpiece. There was no floor, yet he stood upon some unknown surface, no walls that his hands brushed over as he reached out with his arms, and no ceiling that he could see. He was just stuck in nothingness, formed up of white. Hale took a few precautionary steps forward, and found that his boots hit more of the invisible white flooring.
Hale turned, looking around him at the empty space, but all he saw was endless, mind-numbing white.
If this was heaven, it sure as hell sucked.
Hale took the time to explore (even though there was nothing to see), going this way and that, listening to his footfalls in the large, empty space. There was truly nothing for him to see - just white. Giving an aggravated sigh, Hale turned around yet again, only to feel something stir. It was like a wind that brushed over him, invisible and warm, making his skin break out in goosebumps and anxiety build up inside of him. Suddenly the white was gone, and scenery flashed around him.
It was sickening as everything just flashed into place, disorienting him and making him stumble. He fell onto his knees, hitting the dirt that suddenly appeared there. Bits and pieces of shrubbery poked at him, reminding him to take place of his surroundings. When he looked up, it took a moment for him to remember where he was, but then it snapped into place, just like the environment had.
Yorkshire. The riverbed. Why was he here again? Wasn't he dead?
No, no. . . There he was. Walking with his unit. They were talking, confusion and fear lacing their voices. Hale's own expression appeared disturbed and scared. That was when they first found out about the monsters - something the government had negelected to tell them. His unit crept into the riverbed quickly, trying to escape the carnage of the town.
"What the hell were those things?" Somebody - Johnson, his memory supplied - hissed, jumping into the riverbed and standing there, a grim expression on his face, "If they attack again, how the hell are we supposed to keep up? We're almost out of clips."
"We'll find a way, Johnson," Hale's younger voice spoke (what a disconcerting emotion, to hear and see himself like this), "For now, we're going to get to the rendezvous point."
They all strode further into the river bed, unknowing of the fate that awaited them. Hale lurched himself up to his feet, breathing becoming deeper and quicker. It's a memory, he thought to himself, I can't do anything. Still, his body ached to move into action and lead them away from the Crawlers. Save himself from the fate of becoming something inhuman.
He saw the Crawlers as the swept over the riverbed and onto the men. Panicked cries and a fearful scream polluted the air for only a moment before the Crawlers got inside of them. Everything choked off with a small wheezed gurgle, and then they were collapsing on the bed, eyes open and glazed. Hale's younger self struggled for only a moment longer before his spine went rigid, and he fell with his men.
Hale's hands clenched into fists and he breathed in deeply, closing his eyes and willing the memory away. He hated how he had gotten infected. He'd let his unit down by not seeing the threat sooner, by not waking up earlier-
"Now, now. There's no reason to beat yourself up over it, Hale."
That voice. How could. . . No. Hale whipped around, searching for him, and he found a man standing directly beside him, staring back. Calm green eyes mocked him as they smiled with a facade of sympathy. A strong American build, with slightly graying hair. Hale knew without a doubt that even though it was not the monster he'd seen, the man standing before him was Jordan Sheppard.
"Really. You and I shared something in common about our infection. . . We were unable to do a damn thing about it."
"You're not real. None of this is real." Hale hissed through clenched teeth, attempting to will the shrubs and rockey river bed away. Even the man that stood before him. If he had a gun, that man would have a hole in his head. Instead the figure laughed, green eyes alight with an evil sort of maliciousness that made Hale's spine crawl.
"I'm as real as you, Nathan. Unlike you, however, I am not a larvae unable to control my own mind." Sheppard stated matter-of-factly, waving his hand. Quick as a flash, the Yorkshire landscape faded away, replaced once more by the mind-numbing white. Hale stood there, unable to determine if this was some seriously messed up dream, if he were dead, or if he. . .
"Would that be beautiful? If you had join my forces, I mean. So much promise. . . I could have shown you so much."
Hale's careful control over the situation snapped, and he launched himself at Sheppard, rage curling inside of him like a cobra. He drew back a fist to try and punch the other man in the face (that's what you get, you sorry son of a bitch), but instead he found himself lying on the floor, Sheppard's hands around his neck. Hale felt the crushing sensation at his throat, and the burn in his lungs as his body cried out for oxygen, but all Sheppard did was smile.
"This is not your world, Hale. It's mine. Here. . . Here is where I'm going to convert you to the Chimera."
Hale felt a sudden pressure spread over his entire body, like somebody was laying a weighted sheet over him. Sheppard smiled smugly, watching Nathan as he writhed about underneath him. Hale tried to claw off Shepherd's hands, tried to breathe, but all of his strength was being sapped out him. Everything began to grow fuzzy and black, clouding over the mind-numbing white room.
And then. . . And then there was pain.
Hale knew he could breathe, because he was screaming. He was clutching at his head and writhing on the ground, wanting the pain to stop. Somebody was pouring acid on his brain, raking nails down his skin and slicing him open with scalpels all at the same time. He could feel the invisible hand of Sheppard inside of his mind, digging around and causing the horrible agony that left him winded on the floor. Distantly, he could hear Sheppard laughing at him.
Before him was a mirror. Hale stood before the mirror and looked at the reflection of himself. He looked tired, slightly dirty, and he hadn't been able to shave in a while. All in all, however, he looked like the human he always believed himself to be. A weary smile slipped over his features. Inside, he was still human - he knew this. He was able to think, care, and feel like any other person could.
No, larvae. Look again.
And he did, finding that his features were slowly changing and morphing. His eyes went from a docile brown to a harsh liquid gold, giving an eerie contrast to his face. His teeth slowly elongated, appearing vampirish and dangerous. The Hale in the mirror began to twist and pop, Sentinel outfit ripping as his body became larger, muscles, more like. . . Like Daedalus. Hale watched in horror as the transformation completed, and he looked like the exact copy of the monster, hovering in the air and staring back at him.
This is one of the many true faces of the Chimera, larvae. Beautiful. . .
And the Hale-Daedalus creature reached through the mirror and stabbed him, like Daedalus had. Bloos instantly gushed out of the wound and gurgled in Hale's mouth, leaving a disgusting coppery taste. The appendage wrapped aorund him again, holding him as though he were a baby. Lifted so he could stare at the Hale-Daedalus abomination, he wheezed as his lungs burned and he struggled to breathe.
One day, you and I shall become this way, the creature spoke, sounding like him and Sheppard, and I will show you everything the Chimera have shown me.
A smile spread over it's features, and molten gold eyes stared into his own.
Can you hear them? They are calling to us. . . It is beautiful.
Hale felt the Chimera part of him suddenly purr in satisfaction, awakening. His human half struggled through the pain and the blood of the wound the Hale-Daedalus monstrosity had given him, but the Chimera half - it thrived. It took the pain and the blood and the anguish and fed on it, growing stronger and wrapping around his mind. It growled in excitement as it finally noticed the Hale-Daedalus hybrid, and then laughed at him.
Open up to me, Hale. Become one with me - one with the Chimera.
The invisible hand of Sheppard reached inside of his mind again, making him scream. Hale tried to wriggle free from their grip, but he was unable to move a muscle. Sheppard brushed the human side of his mind aside, as if Hale's consciousness were a ragdoll. The Chimeran part of Hale greeted Sheppard's mental grasp with open arms, rushing forward and embracing the bloodline it was destined to become one with. Sheppard twined with it, mixing with his DNA and his soul and all of his muscles. . . Becoming a part of Hale. Controlling him and twisting his thoughts and desires. . .
The Hale-Daedalus hybrid released him, dropping his crumpled body onto the floor. Sheppard withdrew from his mind, but Hale could still feel him inside of his body, like some horrible perverse rape, and he heard Sheppard laugh.
I told you, Hale. This is my world, and you are merely a part of it. Ready to join with me again, let the Chimera part of you experience the rapture a second time?
Hale barely heard it. He was bleeding, laying there, will broken. The Chimera inside of him attempted to heal his wounds, tried to force him to stand again. It wanted what Sheppard wanted - the complete annihilation of his human half. So Hale gave it what it wanted, unable to fight back against the strength of Sheppard and his own corrupted mind. And slowly, the pain began to seep away, fading into a pleasantly dull euphoria that filled his entire body like a pleasurable drug.
Every second that passed murdered his human half more and more, spilling the blood that was tainted with the Chimera. Hale let it all happen, will and mind all broken. Still. . . Another second passed, making the conversion more complete, making Shepherd's hold on him stronger. But. . . No. He was still human, and he would not let this happen. Pushing himself up, Hale stared at Sheppard's shocked eyes, and he smiled.
There was a knife in Hale's hand, a knife that Sheppard had missed. Hale looked at Sheppard, and didn't think about what he was about to do, he couldn't or else his Chimera half would win. . .
Without a thought, Hale plunged the knife into himself, right into his heart. His Chimeran half screamed, Sheppard grew suddenly furious, but Hale felt none of this.
Hale was dead.
Case File 004: Classified ContentEdit
"How did we get this far How did this come to be Why does fear dominate When all we want is peace We've got to find a way to heal The wounds that we have bled The empires fall And rise again
Save us, save us from ourselves Now."
- "The Great Divide" by In This Moment
". . . . I can't get. . . Do you. . . Me?" The comm call came in, disrupted by static and gunfire and God-knew-what-else. Malikov stared at the radio communications center with a apprehensive, slightly scared look. Blake took notice of the SRPA man operating the station and hastily walked over, flipping a switch before leaning over and speaking into the built-in microphone.
"This is SRPA command, Blake responding."
All was silent in the command center as every man present stared at the tiny speaker, waiting for the response. . .
"This is. . . I need a. . . Shit!" An explosion rang out over the speaker, coupled by more static. Blake turned to another man and gestured to the radio desk.
"When was the last time Echo Team radioed in?" He barked sharply, every inch the commanding officer. A soldier instantly turned to written-down numbers and scanned over them briefly before looking back up at Blake.
"Over two hours ago, sir."
"Shit. What the hell happened? Try to raise-"
"Blake! This is Capelli with Echo Team." The microphone blasted, finally free of static. Malikov would be lying if he did not say that he heard an enormous amount of gunfire, coupled with the odd buzzing from Capelli's energy barrier.
"Capelli, what the hell is going on over in the tower? The other Sentinels have not radioed in-"
"Can't talk about that right now, sir. Get me an emergency dust-off. Complete with a medic."
Blake's expression mirrored Malikov's as they both glanced at one another, and Malikov couldn't believe that Capelli had just said such a thing. A Sentinel? Requesting a medic? An injury that severe must have been very grave indeed; perhaps something akin to amputation-worthy.
"VTOL closing in on your position. You've got some explaining to do, Capelli."
Malikov watched the lab reports print out of the ancient computer with wary eyes. His physical and mental self was exhausted, and many a medic had told him to get some sleep - but no. Not with so much at stake. . . Not with so many people dying. Swallowing against a thick lump in his throat, Fyodor Malikov stared at the rough ground that made the intelligence tent. It also served as his little hub to report and print out lab results on his latest patient. . . His greatest hope. How could so many souls have died? Nathan Hale was supposed to have been the one who proved all of his theories and conclusions wrong; Nathan Hale was supposed to have fought against the odds and become the hero. Malikov felt his hands fist at his sides as anger consumed him once more. Was it foolish to place all of his hopes into one young American man? No, no. . . His hope had not served a lost cause.
Humanity was not a lost cause.
When Capelli had finally arrived, Malikov had been shocked to discover that Nathan Hale had been near death, virus running rampant throughout his body and changing him into one of the Chimera. Malikov had instantly set to work, doing everything that he could to stop the bleeding and patch up the horrible wound, but. . . It had not been enough.
Sighing, the man leaned against one of the many tables as the report finished. Taking a brief glance over the readings, he found them unchanged and unsatisfactory. Still. . . Folding it up neatly, Malikov placed it inside of a folder to give to Blake at a debriefing. Many times had he spoken with Blake about the conditions of various Sentinels, and while the man knew his jargon, Malikov could leave him in the dust with equations and chemical reactions. This was no different. Closing his eyes, he pulled his glasses down and scrubbed his face briefly. Malikov could not. . . Was not able to understand how one as strong as Hale - how could Hale give in?
Sleep began to pull at his body, and Malikov shook his head somewhat forcefully to dispel it. Not yet - no sleep yet.
The man snatched the folder up and tucked it neatly under his arm as he strode from the intelligence tent. He walked through the camp with slow, tired footsteps. . . There were so many faces here. So many tired people, grieving and fearful and furious. He could hardly blame all of these American people - the Chimera had just exterminated eighty million people.
The largest genocide to happen in history. Eighty million.
Eighty million souls, gone in a flash as Chimera swept over the land.
The lucky ones died.
A small portion of that eighty million were converted to surplus Chimeran forces.
Averting his eyes away from the faces of despair and exhaustion, Malikov shuffled over to the medical tent, where Blake was waiting. The Sentinel commander was already heavy in his work, dictating commands to the remaining teams scattered across the US. Some of them were intelligence officers. Others were guerrilla warfare squads. More were defensive lines around the Baton Rogue Protection Camp. Speaking of Louisiana, Malikov was unable to believe how incredibly hot it was. Humidity pressed over his skin and made him sweat, and while he longed to splash his face in some cold water, the thought that Furies would eat him turned the idea into a sour one.
Blake peeked up from his paperwork and waved Malikov to an empty seat. Malikov managed to convince his tired body into the not-so-comfortable chair as he waited, folder placed on his knee and eyes concentrated on Blake. The man was currently speaking to a soldier behind him, and automatically signing a piece of paper. Before folding it up and passing it behind his shoulder, he finally turned to Malikov.
"How's he doing, Malikov?" Blake queried instantly. Malikov could hardly blame him.
"Still comatose. I'm doing my best, Blake, but I'm afraid that it is not looking well." The words felt like stones leaving his mouth. Malikov did not need to admit to the failure that loomed over the horizon, striking deep into his pride and caring for Hale.
Blake gave a brief, sad sigh. The man stared at his desktop for only a moment before looking up at Malikov once more and gesturing for the folder. Malikov offered it, switching to his doctor mode in order to explain the newest results.
"Nathan's immunity is not helping to stifle the virus. When I took blood samples, I discovered that it had somehow mutated and progressed to a level that I had not imagined before." Malikov didn't want to say that, either. It was another failure to add to his profile.
"You mean. . ." Blake looked up slowly from the documents, "Daedalus created a stronger version of the virus in Hale?"
Malikov offered a light shrug, "It is what I suspect, but. . . I cannot be certain. Nathan was overdue for Inhibitor treatments, yes, but he was only on the seventh series. The eighth - my strongest - would have held the virus in submission."
Blake pinned Malikov with a hard stare, "What does this all mean?"
"When. . . If. . . Nathan awakens, he will only have a few hours to live before conversion. . . If we are lucky."
Malikov shuffled off towards the tent that held the unconscious Hale. Perhaps his condition had changed, and he was no longer comatose. He was the charismatic and brave soldier who had saved his life several times. . . But no. Upon entering and parting the doctors who constantly watched the Sentinel, there was no change. Hale remained on the bed, veins turning an ugly black color and distorting the vision of the man. Restraints were locked firmly over his body, making sure that when he next tried to thrash around, he would not injure himself.
Speaking of which, Nathan was currently shaking and writhing, as though he were under the grip of some horrible nightmare.
Malikov ushered out a few of the more exhausted doctors to rest, and to clear out some room. Nathan moaned, a sound that was filled with both pain and fear, before he lay still once more. His vitals dropped to a range above normal for most Sentinels, and the electrodes hooked onto his head reported abnormal brain activity.
Malikov could only guess that Daedalus was inside of Nathan's head, urging the man to wake and kill them all. . . Shaking his head again, Malikov stepped forward and began to check the IV feeds and restraints holding Nathan down. Everything was normal and unchanged. . . No, that was untrue. Eighty million people died because of failure. Nathan's failure was not his fault; the fault of this horrible genocide was squarely rested on Malikov's shoulders.
He should not have let Nathan go without treating him. He should have demanded the Sentinel remain behind for a few hours and then set off for the Holar Tower. But no. Too prideful in his own skill, and too arrogant in his beliefs, he let Nathan go. Even at the beginning, he believed that Nathan was too powerful and strong (due to Malikov's influences) to be knocked down. Because of Malikov's emotions towards the matter. . . Nathan was going to die. Not right away, and definitely not alone, but in vain. Everything that the American had been fighting for was now gone - friends, family. . . If he had any.
The entire nation of the United States was nothing more than a heap of twisted metal and destroyed buildings.
Malikov stared at the closed eyes of Nathan Hale, and he wished. He wished that the man would awaken and save them, somehow find a miracle ending for this mess. . . But no. Nathan remained sound asleep, lost in his nightmares. The young man grimaced, as though pained, and Malikov watched as it faded as quickly as it had come.
"Do not give in, Nathan," Malikov murmured to the both of them, uncaring if company overheard him, "Fight him. Do not let Daedalus take you."
For a moment, Malikov's heart faltered as he saw Nathan opening his eyes. There was no gold in the slits, just the brown he was known for. There it was! There it was!Nathan was going to be alright! He was waking up, he was- a hand on his arm caused Malikov to turn. Another doctor regarding him with an insightful gaze.
"Dr. Malikov, you'd best get some sleep. I'll report if there are any changes with the Lieutenant."
But there was! Look at him! His eyes. . . Were closed. Still sleeping. Still fighting his demons. Malikov gave a weary sigh and stepped away from the table, nodding his head. He walked to an ajacent tent, filled with cots and sleeping military personnel. His tired body dropped onto a cot gratefully, and sleep claimed him easily. He was glad for it too, for he could not bare to face his failures.
Hope truly did seem lost.
Case File 005: Unknown ContentEdit
"Dead as dead can be," my doctor tells me But I just can't believe him, ever the optimistic one I'm sure of your ability to become my perfect enemy Wake up and face me, don't play dead cause maybe Someday I will walk away and say, "You disappoint me," Maybe you're better off this way
Leaning over you here, cold and catatonic I catch a brief reflection of what you could and might have been It's your right and your ability To become…my perfect enemy…"
- "Passive" by Aperfect Circle
You won't 'mount up to nothin' in this world, boy. Not 'till you learn to be a man.
His father had always told him that. When he was six, his father, worthless bastard he was, took to the bottle and told him all sorts of degrading things. Some nights had been more violent than others, and even more had been simple blows to his self-esteem. Back then, he'd swallowed back all of his hateful words and taken it, silently believing everything his father had told him. Back then, he had always wondered: what did it mean to be a man? Be head of the house? Take care of a woman?
All of these thoughts blended into his teenage years, where the frustration slowly turned to rage and hate. His father didn't understand him, didn't help him deal with his life. The man was too busy drinking, too broke to drink and too drunk to work. To this very day, Capelli honestly had no idea how in the world Jacob Capelli managed to drink as much as he did back then. It was as if the man could simply conjure alcohol bottles out of thin air.
When Capelli had turned thirteen, he had made the mistake of asking where his mother was. Jacob never spoke of her (except in his dreams), and the youth was curious. He had not seen her, had not recieved a call or a letter. . . There was only a single picture of the two, kissing and smiling and looking radiant.
Asking Jacob Capelli had been a huge mistake.
The man had gone on a rage, actually going so far as to hit his son. . . Several times. All the while, he cursed and raged and said vile things about the "bitch" that was his mother, how the "tramp got up n' left for no damn good reason."
That night had been one of the worst nights with his father. Over the next few days, Jacob Capelli constantly asked his son what he had done. . . As he couldn't seem to remember. Joseph, hating his father all the more, always responded with the same statement:
Then came the time where his life turned upside down. He hit adolescence, not understanding what he wanted or what was going on, and nobody was there to help. So Capelli dealt with it on his own, shoving aside the raging emotions and just going about the years of his teens. Jacob Capelli had been no help, and Joseph did not expect him to be. The so-called father simply dove back into his bottles of inebriety, ignoring the world around him. During the entire time of his youth, Capelli finally found the answers to all of his questions.
Like a beacon in the light, it promised him salvation and retribution.
As soon as he came of age, he signed up. He was aggressive; every face that he saw was his fathers'. He was reprimanded, locked up for getting into fights, forced to see shrinks to try and diagnose why he was such a loose canon. They all jotted down notes and pretended to understand his problems. So Capelli gave up on trying to fit in with the military. He was a man; survival of the fittest. If you couldn't keep pace with him, then you were shoved to the back of the pack, where you'd die. If you couldn't fight, then you had no place in this world.
When the entire shit with Project Abraham came up, Capelli met. . . Met Hale.
Hale had been one of those people. The kind that everybody was attracted to and wanted to confide in. Not that Hale did anything about it; he would listen, and comment, but he didn't really seem attatched. At first, Capelli had hated him, but time began to erode away that malice, and adding onto the fact that he had monster running through his body. . . Well, hell. It just made the two of them brothers.
On top of all of that, Hale knew how to handle himself out on the field.
It was all Capelli needed.
Groggy, Capelli stifled a groan as he felt himself coming to. His head had probably bashed up against the panel after making their rough landing. Jesus Christ. Hale was horrible at flying. Who would have thought that the leader of Echo Team sucked at flying? Some great leader he was.
"Just once I'd like you to. . ." He found himself growling, but to empty air.
A small gust of wind feathered over his shoulders, and he twisted around to see that the back of the aircraft was open. Had Hale already gone outside? Why? To make a perimeter? To attack some stray forces? His body was weak and wobbly as he got up (and he cursed his muscles over and over for it; weakness was not acceptable - ever) and made his way to the hangar door. Dust swirled against the Chimera-crafted ship, and disgusting red light filtering into the back.
Using a hand to steady himself as his mind finally got back into order, Capelli stepped outside of the aircraft. The ground had a deep rut where they'd crashed, and the dust swirling around them almost looked as if they were in a desert. Add onto that, with the red sky and the. . . Oh, sweet Jesus. Hale was standing in front of the aircraft, head tilted back and looking at the same sight that Capelli saw before him now.
"Hale. . . What the hell is that?" he snapped, trying to hide the pang of fear he felt in his gut.
Had they failed? Had the fission bomb not been enough to take out the damn fleet? Rage coiled inside of him like a rattlesnake, threatening to poison anything it touched. He was glad for the handgun that lay on his hip, but it wouldn't do much if there were ground forces flooding around everywhere. . . He hoped that was not the case. Honestly, true-to-God did not. Sentinels were strong but. . . Not strong enough to take on waves of endless Chimera.
"Can you hear them calling to us?. . . It is beautiful."
No. No. . . NO! FUCK NO!
But it was true. The man that Capelli had come to grugdingly admire turned slowly, eyes completely gold, veins bulging against his neck and a sick black in color. For a moment, Capelli honestly thought that all of his skin would burst, and out would come the monsters that they had been working to eradicate. Spurred by the horrible thought, Capelli drew the handgun at his side and levelled it with his commanding officer's head.
Capelli vehemently lied to himself, saying that his hand had not trembled. He was not swallowing past some lump in his throat, and his stomach was not cramping up tightly. He was staring at the man he'd taken orders from, and had told him when the time came, he would put the bullet through his head.
He thought it would be easy. Hale would stop being Hale. The man he came to know and respect would no longer exist. . . But no.
It wasn't that easy at all.
"Stay back." Capelli growled, stepping back to counter the few steps that. . . the thing stepped forward. Hale's face twisted into something of a mocking smile.
"This is just the beginning."
His throat went dry as he felt something in the back of his mind tickle. The doctors had once told him that some of the Sentinels were more prone to obeying Angels or their Chimeran halfs, but that had never been a problem with Capelli. He'd squashed the bug inside of him, reaped the benefits, and never looked back. But now he could feel the stirring in the back of his mind, as though something were crawling up the nape of his neck and breathing in his ear. . .
"Forgive me sir. . . It was an honor."
Without any pretense, Capelli pulled the trigger and watched as Hale's head turned into a matter of gore.
The body of his commanding officer dropped to the ground, dead. Capelli breathed in, breathed out, and slowly lowered his arms as he stared at what was left of Hale. How could this man have given in like that? It was. . . It was sad. Capelli had actually liked Hale, for no other man had actually stood up to him, grabbed him by the neck and thrown him down to the ground. As hard as it was to admit, Capelli had wanted to call Hale his. . . What? Comrade? No, no. His friend. Kin. Brother. He'd been considering that in his mind for months, when he had been alone.
He had always shrugged it off and gone to whatever sleep he could get.
Thinking soft was a weakness. In the Sentinel program, there was no room for weakness. So he had ignored the urge and simply locked it up and thrown it away. But now, staring a the body before him, he could honestly see why he regretted it. Hale had been a great guy, as stoic as he was, and an even greater man to have guarding your back. It was also thanks to this man, that the entire human race was still alive. . . Or was it?
Tearing his eyes away from the blood, Capelli looked at the planets that now circled in the outer atmosphere of the planet. The red sky, the dust. . . It was too much to take in. Most of the men he had known and fought alongside with were now dead. Blake and his crew had been killed on the ship, he was the only survivor of Echo Team, and less than three million people in the United States had survived the Chimera encounter.
Locking away the deep sigh inside of him, Capelli turned to survey the landscape. There were no Chimera in sight, and although he still felt the annoying tickle on the nape of his neck, he could ignore it. Right now, he needed to load up the body of his commander and see if that hunk of junk behind him could still fly. . . If it hadn't been damaged in the crash. Turning back to the body, Capelli gave it one long, hard stare.
A burst of static interuppted the decision on what to do with it.
"Capelli!" Malikov's voice came over his headpiece, "We need you." He could hear gunshots in the background.
Ah, so the rogue forces had already made contact with the remaining survivors. Capelli turned back to the Chimeran craft and climbed inside, finding that it could still fly. . . For a short period of time. He didn't give Hale's body another thought as he started it up. It was honorable as well as horrible in the same breath. Better he be left there than at the mercy of the doctors, to be dissected and examined. As the Chimeran craft launched into the air, Capelli grit his teeth.
This was only the beginning of the genocide.,