Oscar up the Gog

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Editor’s Forward.


          I had little to do with this story except for encouraging Kyle to keep writing. What you see here is his work except for a few spelling mistakes I fixed up. The other change was that – on his orders – changed Joe Gray to Jo Gray. So for anything else, blame Kyle.







Chapter One


11:45, 2 June 2056. The Russian providence of Bernic, near present day Detroit,

          The well built, hulking man looked across the city with obvious displeasure.  For as far as he could see, there was nothing but despair, loneliness, poverty and crime.  Especially in this deserted end of town, life was a seldom-seen rarity; no one seemed brave enough to show a face. 

He grimaced at the state of this place, the place he called home. All earth was like this, stripped of its freedom and rights, and continuously pressed by the ever-vigilant thumb of the Soviet Secret Police.  How he wished for the freedom to do his own thing, instead of being forced into this life on the run, this life of continuous fear and danger.

            The man knew he would have to quit this walk soon, and return to his home, before he met with a patrol that would demand his registration papers and birth certificate, two papers he didn’t have.  Which would lead to a very messy situation indeed.

            The man turned to walk back, watching the empty and dusty streets and the deteriorating and crumbling buildings as a paper bag was blown aimlessly up the street. He was about to turn up the main street, when he noticed the young teenage girl accompanying him had not followed. Turning around, something caught his eye. What was it? The man started running over, and looked at the heap of smouldering iron and metal in shock.  What it what he thought it was?



13:04, 3 August 2007.  Reims, France

            The war had raged three weeks now, and the once-distant boom of arterially fire was getting closer by the day. A steady flow of demoralised German and NATO troops as well as the fleeing civilians had flooded to the airdromes and barracks in the Reims region, and after having some rations, they all marched on to Paris. Although some German and Dutch soldiers were flocking to the region, in the hope of making a last stand against Russia before they entered Paris, most were making out for southern France, where they could be evacuated to somewhere safe.

The whole of Europe was in flames. To the outside world, Russia had been a poor, backwater country, a glimmer of its former self.  But even though Russia had been experiencing tough times, the Cold War dream of conquering the world had never died.  Even though in 2003 NATO had forced every country in the world to slow down the production of nuclear weapons, Russia had been secretly re-equipping her armed forces over the last 10 years, and had also made a secret alliance with China. Now, in just a few weeks they had captured all of Germany, Scandinavia, the Middle East, and Japan.

The rumours flying around the airdromes in Reims were apparently as numerous as the amount of Russian soldiers currently pillaging Germany. Most of them, however, talk about great amounts of Russian infantry being dropped down as they attacked cities. Then the tanks would brake through the defences as the Russian bombers rained down bombs on the inhabitants, sadly followed by a full scale slaughter of anything alive or dying, nothing being saved.

            Captain James Blackstone stroked his unshaven chin in though.  What could possibly be done to stop the Russians?  James could think of nothing.  Germany had fallen in three days despite being fully prepared and American protection by a garrison of 100,000 troops, and 10 aircraft carriers in the Baltic.

            France had no chance. There were only 75,000 troops protecting the German border, and the re-enforcements from America were a day and a half away.

“A day and a half to long,” speculated James. His tank division had arrived from where they were normally situated in southern Portugal, just as Berlin was falling. Within hours the place was filled with German and Swiss refuges, Switzerland’s neutrality had done them no good. No Polish or Czechs had crossed here yet, to James’s worry. If none had escaped…

            James back looked at his computer screen. His commanding officer, General Kellie Black, was requesting him to join some Internet conversation with some French dude. Interesting. James picked up his microphone and said, “What may I do for you?”

“No, Mr. Blackstone, its what you can do for us.” A heavily accented voice said.

“Who is this?”  Questioned James suspiciously.  Kellie Black had not left him any information, and had timely dropped out of the conversation.

A pause.  Then “I am a member of France’s glorious intelligence network. Since 1941 we have done our business and not once has anyone had any idea of our existence.  Alas, France is almost lost, but we must try everything to stop this!!”

            “Listen, sir, there is nothing I can do to help you. I am in command of only 200 tanks; Russia has 1000’s!  Pray for a miracle, dude.  But I can’t help you.”  Dealing with sleazy French secret agents was not something James enjoyed.

            “NO!  You listen to ME!”  The Frenchman yelled angrily.

            “Hey, don’t get your balls in a knot, man.”

            The Frenchman sighed. James’s reputation as one of the rudest and outspoken men in the army was true, unfortunately. “We have been working on a new variety of tank over the last 15 years, one that might give France a chance. We need your men to drive these tanks, because ours will all be needed to protect Paris.”

            James ignored the temptation to say something about how any man or tank within a bomb-blast of Paris was toast and instead asked “What type of tank?’”

            “A new tank, with, shall we say, chromosphere technology.”

            Chromosphere technology? James felt like laughing but held it off. Seriously, no tank could just, at the flick of a button, end up on the other side of the world! Or, could they?

            “What?  So these tanks can zip from one area to another in seconds?” James was curious now.

            “Yes!  There have been a few minor problems with the testing of the technology, but the tanks themselves seem to work fine.”

            “That’s refreshing to know.” James quipped. Chromosphere tanks?  These Frenchmen really had lost their heads.

            “Look, I am uploading a map onto your screen as I speak. The yellow dots are supply trains. The red clouds are Russian troop build-ups.”

James looked at the map of Europe. Half of Germany seemed full of Russian troops. Coming through Poland and Austria were 20 or so supply trains, nearing the troops in Germany and Italy.

            “As soon as those supply trains reach the Russian forces, they will advance on France.  Without those trucks, the attack will be delayed. We must stop them!”

            James was no fool; he realized the problems in such a plan.  “As if that is going to work! Most of their supplies will be airlifted in, or already brought in.  Surely those trains must be carrying something else. You need a way better plan, man”

            “Listen!  Our intelligence reports show these trains are carrying revolutionary new weapons, like the “Colossus Artillery” and the “Sentinel Machine Gun. They are going to battle-test these new weapons, as well as some high energy drink, on the war in France, before they move on to America.”

War in France?  What war? It will be over in a few days!

            “Screw all these new technologies, what the hell does this have to do with me?”  James basically yelled into the microphone.

            “Our only chance of saving France is to delay the attack by a few days, and the only way to do that is to stop these trains getting through!”  The Frenchman yelled.

            Darn, he really has lost it, James thought. “You are saying that without these new technologies, or whatever is in these trains, they won’t attack?”

            “Yes, that is exactly what I am saying!”

            “Lets put this down to inaccurate intelligence then, okay?  James was getting fed up here. Sooner or later he would have to go into combat against these menaces the Russians, and the last thing he needed was a break in his concentration.

            “Mr. Blackstone, we need your help. We believe whatever is in those trains is of great, great importance.  Please, if your men do not drive these tanks for us, nobody will. Then France will be lost, and, sooner or later, America will as well.  One way or another you will not be returning to the U.S without one heck of a fight, and trust me, I fancy our chances of winning this war much more with 500,000 more American marines on our side.  Now, please, join us!” The plea from the Frenchman was totally from the heart, tugging at the heart of James’s national pride.


            “The freedom of 100 million people rests with your decision.”  The Frenchman said passionately.

            Yeah right, James thought at the same time as he said, “Sorry, I did not realise the situation was that desperate. I will be happy to help.”

Oh heck, what have I got myself into? James thought desperately as the mysterious Frenchman logged off.



14:26, 3 August 2007 Outside of Reims, France

            James sat himself down inside the tank, strapped himself in, and put his infrared goggles on his head. The tank looked exactly the same as his old one, besides the fact that there was an extra panel stuck to the side saying ‘Chromo,’ in French with a little blue button and a red light on it. James was itching to press the button, but something warned him against it.

            “Now men,” the same Frenchman said, addressing the men of James’s squadron, who had entered the 50 tanks. “There are 15 trains to destroy, and you will all hopefully be chromosphered to within twenty yards of the nearest crossing they are approaching.  Hide if you can, but destroy the trains at all cost.  We must leave at once.  The blue button you must only press when told. The red light will flash if all is going well and will turn off when you reach your destination.  I suggest wearing goggles till you make the other side and that red light is off. If the red light stays on you have been zapped somewhere either out of this world, into the future, into the past, or God knows where else!” 

            “Oh brother…” Complained Justin Parkes, one of the tank drivers in James’ group.

James tapped his joystick nervously. He needed a smoke, something he hadn’t had in years. “How do we get back?” He asked.

            “Hopefully the chromosphere can work reverse…” The Frenchman said.

            “Hey, before you zap me off to woop-woop, I would like to know what your name is so I can sue you after.” Simon Grass, another of the tank drivers, joked.

            “My name is Ryan S. Kohn. But you will never find me after this, I can guarantee it. Goodbye, and Godspeed.”

            “Hey, wait one moment!” Grass yelled.  “Don’t we at least get to say goodbye to our families?”

            A computer countdown had already started. “10, 9, 8…”

            “Dammit, man I want to speak to my little girl before I save your stinking soul, Kohn!” Grass yelled.

            “7, 6, 5…”

            “Get me my girl! And my wife!”  Grass bellowed.

            “Place your hand on the button and press when told to, or we have no control over where you end up.”

            “Place your hand on the button, Grass!” James ordered over the speaker.

            “3, 2, 1, press button down now!”

            “We have been RIPPED OFF!” Grass hollered.

            James ignored Grass and pressed the button…


            James lost all feeling of gravity, time, and space.  He felt as if he was floating, and could only imagine what was happening. If only the Frenchman Pastur had of had enough time to explain this to him.

            This was like a roller coaster worse then the one at Disneyland, worse then anything James had never felt before.  It reminded James of what it would feel like to be stuck in a washing machine, randomly being spun around and around.  Without hitting the sides of the machine, you wouldn’t be able to tell you were moving if it wasn’t for the knot in your stomach and the splitting headache.

            James suddenly felt the urge to take his goggles off, and have a look around. He realized that could be dangerous if he was travelling faster then the speed of light, but he ignored his brain’s warning, a bad mistake.

            “AHHH!!!!” He screamed in agony, all he could see was brightness, a blinding, piercing brightness. Suddenly pain flooded into his eyes, and he winced them closed, but the brightness was still stabbing him. He thumbed with his goggles, and eventually pulled them on, but to late.


            When was this going to stop?  James could see nothing except that little red light, which had stayed pure red!

            “Heck, what on earth has gone wrong?”  James asked himself.

            The rotations were starting to slow down now, he could almost make out the world around his tank, it was still a blur but at least he could see something now.

            He was going to be sick… “Oh God please not now…”

To late, he suddenly spewed and was instantly covered by it, from head to toe, and his back as well.  James felt a knot larger then his home state of Texas in his gut, and spewed again. He could really feel the rotations slowing down; it felt like it was killing him. The last thing James remembered was the fact that the light was still glowing consistently red.


14:56, 3 August 2007.  Outside Bern, Switzerland

            Grass rubbed his chin… Where was he? It seemed just one second ago that he had pressed that cursed blue button, thinking he would never see his little three-year-old daughter again, now, he was in his tank, behind a barn, with his turret facing straight at a train track.

            Suddenly a voice crackled over the microphone.

            “Well done, you men are the first men to ever travel faster then the speed of light.” The Frenchman’s voice said.

            “Wow. Really?” Asked Grass.

            The Frenchman ignored the question.  “The trains will be coming through, so be ready. We went through with only two causalities, your leader Captain Blacktone and Lieutenant Parkes.  When you have destroyed the train we will attempt to get you back here. Understood? Excellent!  Godspeed!”

            Grass could feel his spirits lifting.  He might see his family again after all! He never liked James Blackstone, and he would pop up somewhere anyway. “Here comes that train!” Yelled Grass. “Lets get it!”



            James felt sick. Very sick. Something in his stomach wanted to come out, and… it did. The spinning had stopped, and he was sitting inside his tank, but he had the most incredible headache imaginable, and his head was still out at sea.

            “Gosh, what happened?” James asked himself.

What had happened?  James tried opening his eyes, but couldn’t. Suddenly an incredible pain seared through his eyes, as if every square inch of his pupils had just had acid dropped in them.

            “Arghhhhh!” James screamed, the pain too much to bear.

He closed his eyes in fury and the pain subsided slightly, and he took a few deep breaths, trying to remember what had happened. That red light, was it still on?

            “Ahh crap.” James exclaimed as light hit his open eyes. James snapped them shut. The pain was still there. Great, now he couldn’t see at all. Great.  Just Great. How was he supposed to fight the Russians and save the world if he couldn’t see? That was, if he was in the right place. Worse, his right arm’s pain sensors were responding, it felt like it was dripping blood fairly regularly.  With no sight and a possible broken arm, things weren’t looking great.

            “What had that Frenchman said? What has happened?  Where the heck am I?”  James said to himself.

            Think, James.

            What was that SMELL?  Never mind smell, he had to get his other senses into gear.  What could he hear?  Just the crackling sound of burning, nothing else, he was locked in a tank. Ah, now he could smell the suffocating smell of smoke! And he could smell a gas leak as well. He was getting somewhere! Touch? James began to feel around. A cold breeze, a few controls, the side of the tank, a massive hole, around one metre, in the side of in the tank next to where he was sitting. No wires seemed to be protruding from the edges. How did a hole get in the tank?

            “What on earth has gone wrong?”  James despaired, frustrated at himself.

            “Why can’t I make sense of a stupid hole in the tank?”

James’s brain refused to work. Why couldn’t he think?

            Calm down and assess the situation rationally.

James smiled as his military training started to take control.

            “There’s a hole in the left side of my tank, the edges are sharp and even, and no wires were hanging out.  Why? I can hear something burning, I can smell gas and smoke, and everything seems warmish.  Why? Fire!

            James scrambled for the exit.  He felt for the lever, but his hands found nothing.  Where is it? James madly bounced around the tank, bashing into the walls in a desperate attempt to find the lever. Eventually he kicked it, the lever was sticking out from the floor!  On close examination James found the lever and the door were on the bottom, and the door was un-operatable because it was pushed up against something, or … maybe the door was on the ground!!

            James took a whiff of the air.  More smoke. He had to get out; otherwise he would be burnt to death! He couldn’t find an exit!

The last thing James remembered was the helplessness of knowing there was no way out, and he would soon suffocate to death.


Chapter Two: 2056


14:02, 2 June 2056. Eastern Bernic, near present day Detroit


            Rachel wiped the dust and grime from the man’s forehead, and then put a patch on the cut on his check. Poor man, she thought. He was just another one of the people who preferred to live on the streets and dumps instead of work, but why Uncle Abe had chosen to bring him home, to her father’s house, was beyond her.

She could hear her father and Uncle Abe talking in hushed tones in the next room. 

            “…A tank? Where would this man get a tank from?” Uncle Abe protested.

            “Come on, Abel. He is just another homeless person. Who gave you the right to bring a homeless man into my house?”

            “Rachel did, Marcus.” Abe replied.

The voices started to be raised further.

            “Look, Abel, you find a man screaming and hollering in something you think might be a tank of all things, you save him from the fire, and then you decide you also have to give him a home and a bed for a night?”

            “Look at his clothes. Have you ever seen anything like them? The tank we rescued him from is nothing like I have ever seen.”  Abe protested.

            “It couldn’t have been a tank, Abe!  I go past there two times a week and I have never seen a tank!”

            “It wasn’t there the other day, it just appeared!’

            “I don’t care. He’s of no use to us. What if he’s a thief, and he finds something he shouldn’t?”  Marcus yelled.

            “Look, I am sure El Lider would like to speak to him.” Abel commented.

            “Why waste his time with this homeless person?”  Marcus argued.

            “I am telling you this person is not a homeless guy!” The look in Abe’s eyes informed Marcus there was no point arguing with his headstrong little brother.

            “If you think Abe…” Marcus sighed.

            Rachel sighed. Uncle Abe and her dad always fought, and always about unimportant things. Rachel and Abe had been walking through the deserted end of town when they had come across a burning scrap of twisted metal, and had found a man screaming and yelling inside.  Uncle Abe calmly pulled the man out, who took one look at Abe and fainted.

            “I’m not that ugly, am I?”  Abe had commented, and then had gone to inspect the metal he had been caught in.

            Rachel was shocked wordless when Abe asked her if it was okay for him to take this man home to her house.  Rachel agreed, she loved her uncle Abe and thought the world of him, but this was very unusual. Weird things happened on the west side of the city, and although Abe normally just ignored them, today seemed to be different. But what this man had to do with El Lider was beyond Rachel.

            El Lider (the Leader) was the leader of the revolutionary group that Abel, Marcus, and Rachel belonged to.  As courageous and clever as he was charismatic, El Lider had lead the revolutionary movement for as long as anyone could remember there had been a revolution. Before El Lider had come along, nobody gave a thought to the oppression the government forced the people, but El Lider saw what the government was doing, and realized there had to be a better way. 

            El Lider had courageously defied the government, and everyone who had come into contact with him immediately caught his infectious disease; the yearning for freedom. Although nobody knew what freedom would be like, El Lider presented it as something honourable and fantastic, and all the revolutionaries were prepared to risk their lives for it.


            James still couldn’t see a thing.  He desperately wanted to see everything, the hard bed he was laying in, the ceiling, the view out the window that was letting that chilly breeze in, and the girl who had brought his meal in yesterday. He had been awake for a few hours, but he had no idea what the time was. He calculated by the temperature and sunlight pouring in through the window that it must be around 11:00 am.

            Man, his throat was dry as the Texas desert!  He needed a drink desperately.

            Someone was walking past!

            “Help!” James croaked. “I need some water!”

            “I’ll be right with you.”  A voice said. James recognised it to be the girl who brought his food in yesterday.

             A few minutes later she was back with a cup, which she handed to James.

            “There you go, comrade!”  She said.

            “Comrade? You think I’m Russian?”

The girl ignored the question, and instead reached into his shirt pocket and pulled out his wallet.

            “Hey that’s mine!” James exclaimed. “Give it back!”

James couldn’t see what the girl was doing, but he could imagine what she was doing.  He had a few hundred dollars cash, his credit cards, and his dog tag.

            “Wow!” Rachel exclaimed. “Plastic!”

            “Get out of my credit cards!”  James threatened in vain.

            “James Blackstone, Rank Sergent, Serial Number 0009145634, B.O.D 13\04\81, United States of America.”  The girl read.  “What does all that mean?”

            “Name, rank, serial number…” James started.

            “Oh ok. So you are Mr. James Blackstone?”

            “That’s what it says.” James replied. “May I ask, on what grounds have I been arrested?

            “Well, seeing I know your name you should no mine.  I’m Rachel Jessup.”  The girl informed him, totally oblivious to his question.

            “Why have you imprisoned me?”  James persisted.

            “Imprisoned? Why, do you really want to be out there? Rachel asked disbelievingly.

            “Listen, Ms. Jessup, I don’t know why I am here, but could I possibly be told where I am and on what charges I am being held here!” James exclaimed passionately.

            Rachel refused to answer.

            “Please, who won the war?” Why am I here?  Where is here?”  James started to plead. 

            “I must go, comrade. But I will be back later, someone wants to meet you.” Rachel answered diplomatically.

            “Wait!”  But James’s cry was of no use.  He could already hear Rachel walking softly down the corridor.

Why? James asked himself. Why won’t they answer me?


19:46, 11 June, 2056

            There was a knock on the door. Rachel jumped up from the table, dropping her spoon on the ground in the process.  She peered through the keyhole, and seeing the man on the other side, she flung it open and fell into the arms of the man on the other side.

            “Hey, Tahi!” Rachel exclaimed happily to the brawny man, who even Abe was minored by.

            “G’day all!” Tahi exclaimed.

            “Howdy, comrade!” Abe replied.

            “What brings you into town?” Marcus asked.

            “Just here on ‘business’, if you know what I mean!” Tahi laughed.

            “Ah, yes.” Marcus replied thoughtfully.  “Did He send you?”

Tahi’s tone became more circumspect.  “I got your message about the man you found the other day. He sent me here to pick him up.”

            Tahi was one of the Revolution’s strongest and bravest men, and was one of Marcus and Abe’s personal friends. A faithful servant of the Revolution, who was always ready to throw a punch for his friends, Tahi made up for his lack of brainpower and intelligence with his obedience and eagerness. Marcus, however, had doubts over Tahi’s responsibility in the Revolution.

            “I warn you, he’s delirious!” Marcus warned. The whole business of this weird man Abe had found had bemused Marcus so far, but why El Lider had sent Tahi over was beyond him.

            “What about the things he had in his wallet?” Rachel protested. “People just don’t carry plastic around like that!”

            “Come, we don’t have much time.” Tahi said, changing the subject. “I could have been followed, I’m not sure.”

            “Are you sure you have to take him away? Why, what is wrong with him staying here?”  Rachel persisted obstinately.

            “Little girls should not be concerned with the business of men.”  Marcus ordered, he himself baffled by the situation. “Now, show Tahi to the poor man’s room.”

            Rachel was still annoyed at her father, and sullenly showed Tahi to James’s bedroom, where the sound of contented snoring met their ears.  Rachel tiptoed in and tenderly gave James a gentle shake.

            “James, sir! Wake UP!”

The call was unnecessary.  Tahi walked after Rachel and roughly yanked James to his feet.

            “What...?” stuttered James.

            “Be careful with him!” Rachel exclaimed.

            “Yeah, yeah.” Tahi grunted, and threw James over his shoulder like he was a rag.

            Before he knew it, James had being pulled out of his warm bed and into the street. James tried a muffled yelled but a strong hand was rudely holding his mouth closed, and James did not have the energy to fight.


            Rachel watched as at the moment they walked out onto the streets, a car raced around a corner a block away, and quickly skidded to a stop right out front.

            “Toss him into the car!” Marcus yelled.

            “Were you followed?” Tahi yelled at the driver as he threw James into the back seat.

            “Yes!  Hop in quickly!”  The driver yelled, and Rachel recognised the voice to that belonging to Andy, El Lider’s person driver.

            Suddenly another car pulled around the corner, the sound of machine gun fire startling everyone. Marcus and Abe hit the ground, while Tahi pushed Rachel into the car and slammed the door closed.

            “Go!”  Tahi screamed at Andy.

            Andy was equal to the challenge. He slammed his foot down hard and veered off down a side street.  A bullet smashed into the rear vision mirror, but Andy quickly pulled away. The shooting continued for a long while, but Andy’s skill and knowledge of the road was unparalleled, and he slowly but surely lost the attacker in the streets of Bernic.


            All James felt was the hard interior of the car and the odd slight movement of the car, plus plenty of braking, yelling, and shooting.  If he had of seen the amazing chase through the narrow streets of Bernic, he might not have been so tired when the car pulled to a halt 45 minutes later outside a seemingly innocent warehouse not ten miles from where they had started.

            James was hustled out of the car straight away, and was immediately taken, with Rachel, inside. James was taken to a room and sat down in a comfortable leather chair.  James tried to imagine what was happening, but could not.  He strained to hear the voice of something, someone, close by, he strained to recognise the sound.  That’s what it was!

            James couldn’t see the man in front of him but could here him breathing heavily, so he said, “What do you want me for?”

            Talking seemed the best thing to do at this present stage; it was the only thing he could think of that would get him anywhere. For a moment the idea of escape seemed possible, but he was still blinded, and that big dude Tahi was around somewhere.  He would hate to get into a blind fight with him.  James was kept waiting a couple of seconds for his answer.

            “Nothing, just answers.” A kind, well-spoken male voice coolly replied.

            “Answers?  Funnily enough that’s what want as well. Why am I here?”

            Again a pause, then the man spoke up. “I would like to ask you that question!”

            “What?  Me? I am here because I was brought here against my will!”  James shot back.

            “Listen, do you have any idea where you are?” The man asked him.

            “Not unless you tell me!” James yelled indignantly.

            “No idea?”

            “That’s what I said, isn’t it?” James replied rudely. Rudeness was his style; he always talked like this under interrogation.

            “Take a guess, James.”

            “Prison camp? Torture chamber?  Russian interrogation centre?”

            “None of the above.”

James was getting annoyed at the cryptic way this man was talking. “America?  Home? Eye surgeon? That’d be good!”

            “America?”  This surprised the man.  “What do you mean, America?”

James wasn’t one for cheap talk, and this guy was driving him crazy.

            “What the heck do you mean, America?” This guy was almost as annoying as the Frenchman, even more annoying, perhaps, because he couldn’t see him to hit him.

            “Most people don’t know America ever existed.” The man’s voice trailed off in thought.

            “What?  As if! I come from America!” James argued.

The man shuffled as he spoke.  “Are you sure the tag said “05\04\81”, Rachel?”

            “Yes, sir” Rachel replied from the left of James.

            “That’s my birth date.” James informed them.

            “James, the date today is the 11th of June, 2056.” 

            James was momentarily shocked, but quickly realised what that fool was trying to do. “No WAY!!”  James shouted.  “I don’t believe you. What do you want from me? I will never divulge anything!” It suddenly occurred to James that the Russians could not possibly need any information he had. Or were they interested in those crazy French tanks, which obviously had not worked.  But if they didn’t work, why did they want to talk to him?  The man seemed to read his mind.

            “We need your help. I am sorry you are being put into this against your will.” He paused. “But we are not who you think we are, if that is if you are who we think you are. Come, I have much to tell you.”

            Understatement, James thought as he was being led off into the warehouse.


            The next few days for James were a blur. The Russians did not, as he had thought, capture him.  The man he was talking to was named “El Lider.” He was the leader of a revolutionary group who desired freedom from oppression.  The oppression was coming from the Global Communistic Network, the group who controlled every aspect of daily life all over the word. The group had secretly taken control of Russia in 2004, and by 2008 they had overrun almost every country in the world. The Global Communistic Network then removed every mention of freedom, rights, or America. 

            The oppression of those who resisted the Network, especially in the first ten years after the war, was quick and cruel. Many people were brutally murdered, any American with military experience was sent to labour camps, and anyone who the Secret Police remotely suspected of anything was eradicated.

            The flame of freedom had almost burnt out when the man called El Lider came to prominence. The Secret Police immediately went to exterminate him, but something went wrong and El Lider escaped alive. The Secret Police assumed he was dead, and left it at that. El Lider had now devoted his life to trying to restore freedom to the world, although at times it did seem hopeless.

            The present state of the world had a major impact on James.  Everything he had loved in America, everything he joined the army to protect, had gone.  Freedom, liberty, rights, and choice were words unused, and the only way to get food was to spend hours in lines waiting for new stocks of food to come in. When there was food, there was very little variety, and all food had been genetically modified so the people did not suffer from malnutrition. The Revolution was able to smuggle food in, but for everyone else, food was a government-controlled and regulated substance that could only be bought with food slips, which took the place of money.  All of this left James feeling empty and hollow, until he realized he could do something major about the problem, as El Lider was already doing.

            How James was tied into the Revolution baffled him till he explained he was a tank driver who might possibly have been whisked away to the future.  Fate, destiny, luck, or something greater, had allowed James to be rescued by a Revolutionary

            James’s military training and knowledge of weapons was just what the desperate, but under-equipped revolutionaries needed. El Lider had high hopes for James.


Chapter Three: A Mission


11:56, 24 June 24, 2056.  The Russian providence of Rickter, near present day Chicago.


            James looked down through the scope of his sniper rifle.  His eyes had received major treatment, which had helped him drastically. He was now squatting down behind a pile of rubble with Daniel White, one of El Lider's most trusted hit men.

            “What are we intending to do exactly?” Daniel asked suddenly.

James was annoyed at the interruption to his concentration.

            “Look, hold on a second. Let me think.”  James ordered.

            Daniel shook his head. They had been hiding here for five minutes, open and exposed from all but the target’s direction. Daniel had an Urtzi, and James had a seemingly brand new sniper rifle. The changes in guns throughout the last 50 years had not been major, if anything at all, or so it seemed to James.

            Daniel poked his head out from behind the pile of rubble.  What he saw was not refreshing. This neighbourhood was totally colourless.  Just dull buildings and dusty streets.  No children played in the street, no adults lazily walked dogs, and no old ladies carried heavy shopping bags home from the markets.  It was almost noon, yet the sun refused to shine, matching the gloomy atmosphere of the streets. 

            Daniel was used to this spectacle, but it felt eerie to James. 

            “Where is everyone?” James whispered.

            “Most people are either at work or sleeping or waiting in queues to buy bread and rice.” Daniel answered plainly.

            “People work? Why don’t you?  None of you Revolutionaries seem to, come to think about it.” James questioned. 

            Daniel thought over this for a second. “All people are required to by law. We simply make it seem as if we are dead, and the government will bother us no more, but as you know, we need identification cards to get food slips.  Our hackers fix this problem easily.”

            “Hackers?   I haven’t seen a computer yet!” 

            Daniel ignored this comment and instead focused on his weapon. 

            James glanced at his watch. 11:59.  The guards at the patrol station directly ahead were about to change. The guards there would check all incoming traffic, of which there was little at the moment, but in ten minutes an important shipment of files on Communist leaders was about to be smuggled into safety by the revolution. 

            12:00.  There, the guards were changing!  Through the scope, James could see a soldier sit down the seat next to the road. Now was the time.

The plan was to shoot the guard, cover the area, see if there was anything of value in the check post, then take off with the truck carrying the files.

            “What are our tactics?” Daniel questioned.

            “This is easy. We just shoot them off from a distance, rush in, and take control. Easy as rain.” James told him

            “Um, that’s not quite the way we do things here, actually.  We normally just have a massive gun battle.”  Daniel commented.

            “Well, that’s not the was I do things.” James said briefly.

            Daniel was starting to get annoyed. James had never fought a battle, at least in this world anyway, and he had only been in the Revolution a little while, and already he had won the trust and favour of El Lider. A seed of resentment towards James started to dwell within Daniel, but he ignored it for the moment; there was work to be done.

            “You think it will work? What if you miss the first shot?” Questioned Daniel.

            “I won’t.” James replied absently.

            “Won’t they get suspicious if their men just drop dead?”  Daniel persisted.

            “Sure, but we’ll be long gone of course.” James reminded him.

            “That wasn’t what I mean.” Daniel commented doubtfully.

            “I know.”

            Daniel sighed heavily.

            “Ok, its time!” James exclaimed, and he pointed the gun at the soldier on guard.



            It was an ordinary day for Dion Helmucher. He awoke at 6:30 when his alarm clock started violently ringing.  He got dressed in his military uniform, kissed his wife Asha goodbye, and arrived at the barracks just on time, just like he always did. He had just started his 12:00 shift on the corner between St. Peters Street and the 27th Lenin Avenue, just like he always had done. Just like he hoped he always would do.

            Nothing seemed out of place. No people walking the streets, which meant no crime whatsoever. No cars were driving around, which meant he didn’t have to check any boots for drugs or weapons. Not that anyone would do that anymore, not after a man was discovered with a semi-automatic last year, and the army came through and blew up half the neighbourhood in revenge. The damage of that tank rampage was still evident on the sidewalks and buildings even now.  Pity, it used to be a nice looking street, untouched by the army. Oh well.

            He heard the noise of someone ringing the phone, and picked it up.  It was Simon McBevrage, his commanding officer.

            “Be careful, Helmucher.” MrBevrage warned.

            “Everything alright, sir?” Dion asked.

            “Be careful, Helmucher.” McBevrage warned again.

            “Everything alright?” Dion asked again.  This time Dion caught the air of warning in his superior’s voice.

            “Look, a massive load of contraband was stolen from a depot a few miles away. We have good reason to believe it might be coming your way.  Be ready. We also have an unconfirmed rumour that there might be an attack.”  McBevrage warned.

            “Yes, SIR!” Dion barked, then went back to thinking about Asha. He lived for Asha; he never got her fully out of his mind. Which wasn’t good for a soldier but he didn’t care.  Anyway, he was always being warned about possible attacks and other dangers, but they never happened.  So why would it happen today?

            Now, what could he do for Asha’s birthday? Hmm, something big!

Maybe a ring? That’s what he gave her last year. A bottle of wine? Dumb idea, how would he ever get any wine? Hey, that was it! Maybe a….

            He never had time to complete that thought as a bullet coming from behind a pile of debris ripped though his chest.



            “Good shot!” Daniel exclaimed.  “Come on, lets go flush out the area!” 

            “Wait!”  James yelled, pulling Daniel back into cover. “We want to draw any other soldiers out into the open!”

            “What?  Why?” Daniel exclaimed, but as he spoke two soldiers rushed out into the open, looking surprised and shocked. James raised the gun again, and pulled the trigger. Because of the advancements in silencers, nobody, not even Daniel, heard the gunshot. But all of a sudden, one of the soldiers dropped to the ground. The second soldier immediately dropped to the ground, and started looking around, trying to seek out the shooter.  He saw nothing.

            James had ducked back behind into cover, and Daniel followed his lead.  James slowly poked his head out. 

            “What are you doing, idiot?” Daniel cried.

            “Shut up. I’m waiting to see if anyone else is there!”

            Daniel anxiously gripped his trigger. He fidgeted nervously with his hold on the gun.

            “Don’t do anything stupid, man.” James warned.

            “Come on, shoot them!” Daniel exclaimed, an anxious bead of sweat trickling down his forehead.

            James looked around from behind the debris, and slowly poised himself to shoot again. The soldier had given up on lying on the ground was now running around like a chicken with its head cut off, going this way and that, not sure what to do.

            “Stay still, damn it!” James growled.

            “Just shoot!” Daniel yelled impatiently.

            “No, if I miss he’ll get us!”

            “Come on!” Daniel cursed under his breath. If he had been running this show, those files would be safe by now.

            After an eternity for Daniel, he watched as James jumped up and started running towards the checkpoint. Daniel quickly followed, and to his delight saw the last soldier lying on the road.

            “That’s what you get for panicking!” Daniel laughed.

            “Come on, let’s move this body!” James ordered.

Daniel picked up one of the men and dragged him off the road, while James picked up the dead men’s guns.

            “Get that other body off while I see what I can find!”  James commanded.

            Daniel kicked the door in, and rushed into the room that serviced the checkpoint.  He opened up draws; pushed over a filing cabinet, and kicked open another door. Daniel found nothing of interest anywhere.

            “Here comes the truck!” James yelled.  “Lets go!”

James and Daniel both opened a door and jumped in as the truck smashed through the barrier and skidded to a stop.

            “Come on, lads!” The driver yelled.  It was Andy.

            “You got the files?” James asked.

            “Yes, why else would I come?” Andy commented.

            James and Daniel glanced behind them as the truck started to accelerate down the empty street.

            “We got away with it without them firing a bullet at us.”  Daniel noted disbelievingly, gingerly touching his side where he had been shot in a gun battle with the authorities just a week earlier.  Not a bullet fired!  That was pretty impressive!

            “Not a bullet?” Andrew was shocked as well. “I do not believe it.”

            “Believe it.” James told him.



            McBevrage was maddened. Helmucher had not responded to his impatient calls in the last five minutes.  The Secret Police had just gathered information suggesting that a known criminal, Andrew Vasiv, was transporting the missing files. His car had been identified, and according to intelligence, should be passing through Helmucher’s checkpoint very soon.

            “Look, I want the Special Forces team to go down immediately to that checkpoint, and take out this criminal!” McBevrage informed his secretary, Eris Preene.

            “Immediately, comrade!” Eris said as she put down her coffee. She busily started typing out the order. She pressed <ENTER> and sent it straight to Headquarters of the Secret Service.  The Secret Service, (or, Special Forces) would have no problems with this case, and Eris picked up her cup of coffee again.


12:46, 24 June 2056. Headquarters of the Secret Service, Richter,


            Leigh DeDun glanced at the computer screen. His men were needed at checkpoint 304, at grid location H-87.  Whatever the problem was, DeDun was confident his brave men would extinguish it quickly and properly.  They always did, but he did not have second to think about his lengthy list of past successes right now, there was a criminal to be caught.

            “Men, into the jeeps, straight to H-87!” DeDun yelled, and watched as his men obeyed like robots.  DeDun ran out into the parking lot, sending a courier sprawling to the ground. The files he was carrying scattered everywhere, but DeDun was too always too busy to help. He jumped into the driver’s seat of his personal jeep, and watched in pleasure as four of his best men, Simeon Dobson, Jyron Locke, Jesse Ewes, and Scott O’Connor jumped in with him. All four men were drafted from the cream of the army, and were the best agents in the world.

            “Lets go!” Locke yelled gruffly.

            He needn’t have said anything. DeDun had his foot hard down on the accelerator. Just a mention of those secret files that had been stolen was enough for the whole army to join the chase; the honour of his crew being picked to deal with this was an almighty privilege! One he was not going to fail at, he was sure.  His jeep quickly picked up speed, and raced through the streets, making a beeline for H-87.



            “Faster, Andy!” Daniel encouraged as they raced through the almost-deserted streets. “They’ll be on to us in just a second.”

            James was puzzled. “You think?  “Why, we got away nicely, and we are travelling pretty fast, way over 100km!” James watched as block by block flew by in a misty haze.  They were almost flying, or so it seemed.

            Andrew couldn’t help but force out a laugh. “You call this fast? Dream on! If I had one of the governments cars, we’d be safe by now!”

            Daniel frowned. “Yeah, safety would be nice.” He said, worried.

            “Relax, guys. What could possible go wrong?” James said. 



            DeDun’s jeep pulled to a stop outside the checkpoint at H-87.  Out jumped Dobson, Locke, Ewes, and O’Connor, with DeDun a second behind. As DeDun watched as his men quickly swept the area for enemies, he went to examine three dead bodies.  Two soldiers carelessly thrown by the roadside, and one slumped over in his chair, both with just one bullet wound.

            DeDun plucked his radio out of his top pocket. “DeDun to Base, we need an ambulance here right away.  And further instructions, what we came to late to stop Vasiv. Over.” 

            “McBevrage to DeDun, send some of your men on to H-73. You, stay there and try to piece together what happened.” 

            “Yes, Sir!” DeDun replied, then yelled, “O’Connor, Locke, Dobson, Ewes! H-73, now!”

            He watched as his men dashed straight to the jeep, and take off, without so much as a second thought, just his order. DeDun liked having this power; all he had to do was order it and it would be done. He loved it.  While he carried out a battle analysis on the checkpoint, he started to dream about the day he would watch as the worlds highest commanders would obey him just the same as his soldiers obeyed him now.


Chapter Four:  The Chase


            A broken engine, that’s just what could go wrong.  They had been driving down an abandoned alleyway, trying to avoid the next checkpoint, when all of a sudden smoke started pouring out of the engine. After lots of swearing from Daniel and Andy, they had climbed out of the car, and were unloading the truck, which was stacked to the brim with paperwork, files, and books.

            “Hey, you want me to try and fix it?” James asked. He loved repairing cars; he had even taken an auto mechanics course before he joined the army.  Nobody answered; instead they started packing some of the files into backpacks.

            “Guys, you want me to take a look at it?” James asked again.

Andy and Daniel seemed to be a little to engaged in the files they were shoving into backpacks to notice.  Daniel had a pained look on his face, and Andrew seemed too preoccupied to give expression.

            “Fine.”  James thought, and went over to the bonnet. Cars still had bonnets, even in the 2050’s. James hoped what was under the bonnet was the same as 2007.

            He was about to be disappointed.


            Ewes was at the wheel of the jeep as it sped towards H-73.

            “Come on, wimp, drive faster!” Dobson demanded.

            “Lay off. You wouldn’t want me to put a dent in DeDun’s jeep, would you?” Ewes argued. The temper of DeDun was legendary throughout the army.

            “Come on, that’s no excuse for driving like a woman!”  Locke joined in.

            “Shut up.” Ewes snapped angrily.

            “Man, that truck me are chasing will be half way to Bernic by now!”  O’Connor complained.

            Involuntarily Ewes put his foot down harder. There was no way he was going to look weak in front of his workmates.  He was now travelling at well over 300 km’s per hour, and although these jeeps went much faster, there was no point in burning out an engine just to impress his buddies. 

            Ewes knew that engines in 2056 were little more then the element Protactinium, heated to a temperature that created plasma. The plasma created enough energy to power the car at an incredible pace and power the massive cooling system a plasma engine needed, so he knew getting the plasma too hot could cause a meltdown of the cooling system, making the engine extremely hot, causing the plasma to burn through and explode as it hit the cold air and rapidly cooled down.



            James, however, had no idea how much cars had evolved.  He tried to open the bonnet, but it seemed pressurised, and wouldn’t open. James finally pulled hard enough to let a little air in, and instantly the bonnet popped open and a wave of heat and smoke knocked his back and threw him onto the sidewalk.

            “What the heck are you doing?” Daniel exclaimed, seeing James lying on the sidewalk. He suddenly heard a hissing noise coming out of the engine.  “Come quick, grab a backpack, we have to run!”

            “What’s the matter with the engine?” James asked as he slowly picked himself up.

            “You opened the bonnet?” Cried Andrew from behind the truck.

            “Um, for a second, but…” James started.

            “Andy!  Run! He opened the bonnet!” Daniel screamed.

            Andy picked up three backpacks full of files, threw one to Daniel and James, picked up the Urtzi, and ran. Daniel was a second behind, with James tagging behind, for he did not realize the emergency.

            “Why are we leaving the truck?” James yelled at them.

            “Why did you open the bonnet?” Andrew spat back as he ran.

James was mystified. Why are they running? What could go wrong?

            As soon as they had made it around the corner, Andy stopped and grabbed a mobile phone from his pocket.

“I’m just dialling for backup.”  Andy told James.

            “Why don’t we just fix the truck?” James asked bewilderedly.

            A massive explosion coming from the truck answered his question almost immediately, as a cloud of smoke started surge from the truck.  The ground shook violently, and an incredible fizzing started coming from the truck.

            “Quick, the explosion will be like a smoke signal, let’s go!”  Andy yelled.

            “Why?  Who is after us?”  Asked James.

            “Quick, to Matilda!” Daniel ordered.

            “Who?  Why? What? Huh?  You lost me somewhere!”

His comment fell on dead ears as Daniel and Andy raced off into the nearest building.

“Wait for me!” James yelled.


            Ewes was approaching H-73, and he could see nothing.  Maybe he had driven to slow. Maybe risking DeDun’s car would have been worth it.  Ewes had given up all hope of ever finding Vasiv, when Dobson yelled, “Explosion to the right, Jesse!”

            Ewes skilfully swung the car into a side street, slamming on the brakes during the turn. They saw smoke issuing from an alleyway and a man ducking into an apartment.

            “In there!” Yelled an excited O’Connor.

            The hunt was on. Ewes, Locke, O’Connor, and Dobson jumped out of the jeep and rushed after the man into the building, intent on eliminating that criminal Vasiv.



            Daniel and Andy ran up the stairs, seemingly knowing where they were headed, while James followed a flight behind, not sure what to do.

            “Guys, wait up!” James yelled.  But they didn’t stop, and instead went faster.

            Andrew and Daniel ignored the next set of stairs and raced down one of the corridors. James would have yelled at them, but he could already hear people running up after them.

            Andy started banging on a door numbered 321.

            “Matilda!  Quick! Let us in!” Andrew whispered as loudly as he dared.

            Daniel joined in. “Matilda! Help!”

            The people running up the stairs were getting closer!

In the nick of time, a blonde girl flung the door open and whispered, “Get in!”
            The door was opened and closed in a fraction of a second. Instead of asking questions, the girl named Matilda rushed to a cupboard next to the entrance, and pulled out three guns. James was impressed at her quick thinking; she seemed to know exactly what to do.

            “Here, take this.” Matilda whispered, handing James a semi-automatic. Everybody else was standing a few meters away from the door, guns poised, ready to shoot if anyone should come through.

            “Where are we?” James whispered.

            “Keep quiet!” Matilda ordered.

            “What are we doing here?” James whispered again.

            “Shh!”  Andrew ordered.

            “What on earth are we doing here, in-, oh, yikes, sorry!”  James stuttered.

            Matilda was pointing the gun in his face. “Shut up.” She said simply.



            Ewes could hear the suspect running up the stairs, only a few flights above.  Locke and Dobson were even closer, and O’Connor was a flight above him. Why had he chosen this building? Did he know someone here? Or was he just running scared? Ewes had no time to think. He had to keep concentrating on the target. When he came to about the 18th story, he found Dobson, O’Connor, and Locke waiting for him.

            “Jesse, we heard something down this corridor. We’ll check here, you and Scottie go up to the top and see what you come up with. If he gives us the slip our reinforcements will deal with him.” Dobson told him.

            “Sounds good.” Ewes agreed.  “Remember, shoot him on sight.” 

            “Great, lets kick his arse!” Locke encouraged.

            Ewes noted the teamwork in this group. Without DeDun, they worked together perfectly, nobody was a leader and everyone was an equal. But when DeDun was thrown into the mix, there was always someone ordering them, telling them exactly what to do. Ewes loved working in a team like this, where everyone had the freedom to do things their way. It worked so much better, and they were about to prove it by taking out this criminal.



            Someone was coming towards the door! James was almost expecting it to be bashed in any second. 

            “Quick!  Into the other room!”  Matilda whispered.

            James could already here doors being kicked in up the corridor, and he wondered how he would ever get out alive.

            Only now did he take a look at Matilda. She was tall, blonde, and dressed in a dressing gown, and her hair has tied in a bundle like she had just emerged from the shower. She had dropped the gun behind the door and was now slowly opening the door.

            “What’s she doing?” James whispered.

            “Shhh.  She’s going to save us.”  Andy informed him.

            “Oh.  That’s nice.”  James whispered to himself.

Matilda stuck her head out of the door, and Dobson and Locke immediately pointed their guns at her.       

            “Don’t shoot, comrades!” She cried, in her best innocent voice.

            “Don’t you know you should stay inside during a police operation?”  Questioned Dobson.

            Matilda gave them both a wink, and pointed up the stairs. “If you are looking for a man, he went that way.”

Dobson and Locke starred at her for a few seconds, then Locke spoke up and said, “Thankyou, ma’am. We’ll see you later.”

Dobson and Locke rushed through the corridor and up the stairs to join Ewes and O’Connor.

            “Come on, let’s go!” Matilda exclaimed after she closed the door.

James, Andy, Daniel, and Matilda silently crept down the stairs.

            “There will be a guard at the front door. We’ll have to use the back fire exit.” Matilda commented. “They won’ t think of the back exit for another few minutes.” 

            The next few minutes were a nightmare for James. As they snuck out the back entrance and into a back alley, James kept on imagining a bullet in his back. Somehow they managed to slip away from all security that surrounded the building, and made it to a car that was waiting for them a few kilometres away. 



Chapter Five


15:17, The Headquarters of the Global Communist Network, Richter


            Enrik Rostonovic flicked through a small pile of files. Without giving any of them a scrap of attention he signed each one, then went back to his champagne.  Enrik looked out from his skyscraper, a massive building that dominated the skyline. As ruler of the Network, everything he could see, he ruled.  He just had to say something and everyone on earth had to obey. It was a great feeling. He, as ruler of the Communist Government that had complete control over everything, just needed to speak, and it would be done, and didn’t he love it!

            Nestled safely away from the world at the top of his tower, this colossal skyscraper in which all the dealings of the world were monitored, all he had to do was ask and he could get detailed reports and information on any area of the world.  

As he had complete control over the whole world, he could not expect to rule it all.  So he had split the world into 20 sections, and appointed prime ministers to oversee these areas.  All ministers split their section into councils, and appointed sub-minsters to oversee these councils. It was a system that worked well. The ministers handled the minor problems, the prime ministers handled the large problems, and all major problems were handed to Enrik, as well as the responsibility of creating new and grand plans so as to best use the world’s resources. Enrik’s own personal section, the area formerly known as ‘America’, was one of the better provinces, not that people remembered America any more.

Enrik’s grandfather was the one who had conquered the world for communism, and Enrik was just following in his father’s footsteps. His grandfather had systematically destroyed everything to do with America.  With America and her allies died freedom, and all those evil words Enrik hated and despised.  He had eradicated freedom, and it would never return, never!  He would continue to rule, just as always. Suddenly his secretary and advisor Emma Kuhn interrupted his thought process.

“Great sir, I bring news from your Section.” Emma reported, bowing low to the ground.

“Bother my Section.  Why I keep one I don’t know.”  Enrik moaned.

Emma handed Enrik a report from the minister of Rickter. It said:



            We have a problem in this section.

One of our checkpoints was brutally attacked by a deadly assassin. We believe this has something to do with a theft of a truckload of important <CODE 7> files. We are sending in a survivor and an eyewitness for you personally to question.

For Russia,

Steven Vassi


            Steven Vassi was one of Enrik’s most trusted minsters. Why he was sending in the eyewitnesses to him was interesting. Vassi knew Enrik did not enjoy being annoyed with cheap crimes like this, but there must be something important about it.

            “Take these witnesses to the interrogation chamber, Ms. Kuhn.” Enrik ordered.

            “Yes, SIR!” Emma replied, an immediately went to carry out Enrik’s order.  She always did everything Enrik said.  There was no other way she knew, unless she wanted to lose her head.



            Dion Helmucher was still alive, if only just.  The bullet that hit him did not puncture any vital organs, which was extremely lucky. He would have died from loss of blood if the ambulance had been a minute later. Soldiers who were shot normally didn’t get this much medical attention, so the nurse Jenna realised this man must have been involved in something important. 

            His wife looked totally devastated.  Jenna felt compelled to comfort her, but she didn’t know how. What was she to say? Ma’am, your husband is alive, but he will never be able to work as a soldier again, he will be questioned by the Secret Police before he has recovered, and might face negligence charges as he was on guard when two men were murdered? Yeah, that’s going to make her feel so much better!  So instead she went up to her and said, “Ma’am, your husband is alive, and on the recovery!”

            Asha almost jumped for joy at the news.  “Thank you so very much!”  Asha cried.

            “It’s fine!” Jenna told her, but already Asha was throwing a wad of food slips at her.

            “Here, buy yourself a feast for tonight!”  Asha offered.  “It’s just so good to know he’s alright!”

            “No, I couldn’t do that!”  Jenna told her politely.

            “Please, I insist!” Asha said convincingly, thrusting the slips into her hands.

            Jenna glanced at the food slips.  Three weeks pay.  She could afford so much with that!  But where did someone get all those food slips?  Never mind that!  She could maybe even buy some steak for her husband Brendan, and if things were going well she could bargain for a bottle of gin as well!

            “Thankyou, ma’am.  I hope it all goes well for you!” Jenna answered, and took the food slips. 

            “My pleasure!’ Asha exclaimed. As the nurse walked away, Asha nervously wiped the sweat from her forehead.  Those food slips could have caused so much trouble, Asha was just glad to get rid of them.



            Ewes and O’Connor had reached the top floor, with no signs of the criminal Vasiv. 

            “We are going to have to operate a sweep of the whole building.” Locke noted.

            “Yeah, unfortunately.” O’Connor moaned.

            “Not the whole building, only above the floor the eyewitness lives on.” Dobson corrected.

            “Eyewitness?” Ewes asked. This was news to him.

A sheepish grin came over Dobson and Locke’s faces. “Yeah, some woman told us to go up.” Dobson said.

            “Really? Can we get verification on this?” O’Connor asked suspiciously. It was never in the public’s best interest to involve themselves in police operations.

            “Yeah, if you want to…” Locke trailed off.

            “Of course they want to!”  Dobson exclaimed, nudging Locke.

            “This way.” Locke said, indicating a Crime Scene Investigator to follow as he lifted up the red tape on the main entrance to the building and walked under.


            The eyewitness was not in her apartment.  They had banged on the door for three minutes without an answer.

            “Look, nobody has entered or left this building since the time we arrived!” O’Connor exclaimed. “You must have the wrong door!”

            “No, this is the door, alright.”  Dobson informed him.

            “One choice lads.” O’Connor said, and landed a firm kick halfway up, and the door fell down with a shudder.  Dobson and Locke walked straight in and started looking for the eyewitness, but Ewes and O’Connor were more circumspect, looking around for clues.

            “Look at that!” Ewes exclaimed, pointing to a semi-automatic carelessly dropped by the doorway.

The CSI detective quickly started photographing the weapon, while O’Connor had found something of interest sitting on the kitchen table.

            “Jesse, it’s a floor plan for the entire building, including a fire exit we overlooked!” O’Connor reported.

Jesse hung his head in shame. “They got away, with the help of Dobson and Locke,” was all he could say. So much for the group proving itself without its fearless leader.

            “What now?” O’Connor asked. Nobody had ever escaped them before, and to be let down by their own friends made it feel even worse.

Jesse was about to shrug his shoulders when Dobson yelled, “Hey guys, we might have something here!”

            “What is it?” Jesse asked.

            “A street map, with a bridge circled!”  Dobson replied.  “They’re heading for this here bridge!”



            Matilda produced a map out of the glove box of the car and handed it to Andy. James had finished his scouting mission, and had returned to the car to find Andy, Daniel, and Matilda busily talking about their route back to Bernic. 

            “Look, we are on this corner here.”  She told him, pointing to a corner somewhere near the middle of the massive map. “If we follow the route we agreed on, then we need to get to here, where we can safely get you guys back to Bernic and El Lider.  This car is running a bit short on plasma but we should have enough to get us to Bernic.”

            James was not impressed. Daniel and Andy seemed to show a lot of faith in Matilda, but why?  Nobody had mentioned her when planning this mission, and they had thought of many backup plans that seemed safer then her. Anyway, Andy and Daniel seemed to trust her, and that was all that mattered.

            “Sure, Matilda. What about you? You won’t be able to go back home now!” Andrew asked.

            “No, probably not. That doesn’t matter though. The main thing is that we keep you guys away from the Secret Police.”

            “Secret Police? Those guys that were chasing us seemed military to me.”  James observed.

            “Listen, if I say the Secret Police are after you, the Secret Police are after you, okay?” Matilda told him.

            “Yeah…” Daniel started.

            “Last time I checked, the army wore army clothes and the police wore police clothes.” James interjected.

            “Leave it, James.” Daniel suggested.

            “Okay, okay.” Daniel and Andrew took Matilda’s word for truth for some reason… James was still suspicious of her, though.

            “So, which was do we take?”  Andrew asked.

            “Caution should prevail.”  Daniel commented. We cannot risk being caught or chased, as we still have some of the files.”

            “You reckon?” Matilda asked.

            “Yeah, I suppose.” Andrew agreed.

            “So, we drive this way here.”  Matilda said, wagging her finger over the map.  “And we enter Bernic via the river.”

            “Yep, lets go!” Andy said excitedly as he revved the car up.

            “Hey, why don’t we go straight down the main street right into Bernic. They can’t keep a diligent check on the main highway!” James suggested.

Andrew, Daniel, and Matilda paid no attention as Andrew veered off the main road and headed towards the river Matilda had spoken of.

            James was confused. Why didn’t they listen to his ideas? True, not many people liked answering questions here, but his point was legitimate from what El Lider had told him. James viewed the route Matilda was drawing onto the map.  Hmm, and by the looks of things, they had chosen on a very dangerous route! Surely one of them would be smart enough to realise that!  Suddenly the thought struck him.  Someone in this car was an informant!

            What, one of these people, an informant?  No, surely not!  Where the idea had come from, James did not know.  The sudden feeling just overwhelmed him, possibly he had seen a gleam in someone’s eyes, a nervous sideways look, but something had triggered the feeling! The more he thought about it, the more it seemed plausible.  James had no idea why, but it just fitted everything, but who? Matilda was the obvious pick, James hardly knew her, and from the moment he first walked into her apartment he didn’t trust her. But the others trusted her, unless they were informants!

            Daniel? He seemed okay, perhaps a little anxious in the shooting at the checkout, but that could be put down to nerves. Andy?  Andy seemed okay as well, and like Daniel he had earned El Lider’s trust. But he also seemed a little… James couldn’t put a finger what he was thinking, but he determined that he would.

            “So Matilda.” He tried in a poor attempt to start a conversation.  “What do you do for a job?”

            The question obviously annoyed her.  “I use my brain.”

            “That’s a start.” James replied, and immediately regretted having such a big mouth.  “What specifically?”  He tried again.

            “I help people who can’t help themselves.”  Matilda replied coolly, and James realised she was mocking him.

            “Yeah? That must be rewarding.” Right now James could have murdered himself over that comment.

            Matilda turned to Andrew.  “Is this guy always such a pain?” 

            “Dunno, I’m just the driver.”  Andrew replied.

            “Look, you don’t have to be so rude now.  James is a guest with us, lets give him a warm welcome while he’s here.” Daniel reminded them.

            James didn’t like the use of the words ‘guest’ or ‘us’. These people were getting on his nerves. He felt like the new boy on the block, the brainy kid in the class. He didn’t understand their customs, and they sure were grumpy for some reason. Oh well, if there was an informant, he or she would make a move before they reached the river.




            Amy Stingo shivered in her gloomy cell as the day turned to night. It wasn’t here fault she had seen three men getting shot up by an invisible assassin.  It wasn’t her fault she had stayed at the accident scene, she told them she was waiting for her friend to pick her up, which was true, but they didn’t believe her.

            Now the police had taken her here, to this cold, dark, and smelly cell. Amy could swear she could smell something decomposing under her prison bed, but her bed was the only place high enough to be safe from the rats when she slept. 

            She could here footsteps coming up the passage to her cell! What did they want from her?  Were they bringing her food or water?  She could do with some food; she hadn’t eaten in half a day.

            “Ms. Amy Stingo?” A soft female voice inquired.

            “Y-yes, that’s me!” Amy croaked through her parched throat.

            “Good.” The voice said. “Lets get you out of there.”  The lady ran a card through the lock, and the door slowly opened.

            “What am I doing here? Why are you letting me go?” Amy asked, a look of puzzlement on her face.

            Emma just had to laugh. “We aren’t letting you go! No, Enrik Rostonovic himself wants to speak with you. Follow me.” Emma led Amy to an elevator. Emma pressed a button, and up and up the elevator seemed to go. An eternity later the elevator stopped.

            “Come, Enrik will see you now.”

            Amy was shocked, but the reality was starting to set in. Enrik Rostonovic, ruler of the whole world, wanted to speak to her? A shiver went down her spine, and Amy knew it wasn’t her cold cell.  The very thought of meeting someone so important left her breathless, and very, very, fearful.



Enrik was now fuming. At first those missing files had seemed a novelty, and interesting test of his police force’s diligence, another excuse to throw a party and promote someone when the files had been recovered. But things were not going as well as they should have. The Special Forces unit sent to an apartment block had lost the target, now they could be anywhere. Two soldiers were dead, Conradus Roberto and Nickio Broughts, and although he couldn’t care less about their families, he was required to send one of his advisers to the funerals to grant his condolences.

Yes, whoever had stolen those important files would be destroyed, like a sitting duck in hunting season! At the moment, however, Enrik had few leads to go on. Private D. Helmucher was still recovering from his wounds, and an eyewitness by the name of Amy Stingo was being brought up for questioning, even as he thought. Without even a serious lead, besides the name Andrew F. Vasiv, he had no idea how he was going to catch the thief. He had already ordered the guarding of all exits from Richter; it was presumed Andrew F. Vasiv lived in Bernic. But what else could he do? 

This eyewitness was so important, he had to step carefully when he interrogated her. No, interrogation was the wrong word. Perhaps questioned was better. He mustn’t come on as if he was the enemy. He had to make this more attractive for her, so that she would tell him all she saw.  How could he do that?  He was questioning her in his personal office, a massive room with more luxuries and grandeur then possibly the rest of the world put together.

What would appeal to this girl? He had his personal bedroom. He could let her sleep there. Most people had never slept on a mattress made from the softest synthetic materials available.  Hmm, his ivory and crystal chess set was a good idea. Yes!  That was it!  A clever plan fluttered through Enrik’s brain.  The common people played chess, right?  He certainly did.  He played with disgraced generals sometimes, if the general won he kept his head, if Enrik won, he got a front seat at the execution. 

            Yes, it was sure to work!  Now, where was that chess set?



            Rachel glanced at her wristwatch.  9:34 pm. Where was James? Wasn’t he supposed to be back here by now? Rachel knew any small problem could keep them delayed for days, but James was only three hours late and already she was already anxious.  She had grown close to James over the last few weeks, and definitely did not want to lose him now.



            There was something about the antique door that haunted Amy. Big, cold, hard, and very grand, made out of some titanium-lithium alloy, it reflected light like a mirror but the numerous carved images of tanks, wars, and killings unsettled Amy’s stomach. What kind of person could have such gruesome sights depicted on a door?

            “Go in, comrade.” Emma beckoned.

            Every instinct Amy had was screaming at her to turn around and flee, but her legs wouldn’t move.

“I-I can’t.” Amy said finally.

            “Look, it’s alright, just push the door in! It’s not as if he’ll kill you!” Emma encouraged.

That’s what you think! Amy thought.

She slowly put her hand on the old fashioned handle. Why the ruler of the world didn’t have a carded lock like everybody else was beyond her.

            As she agonisingly pulled the handle down, someone from the other side suddenly ripped it down. Amy almost jumped out of her skin.

            “Why, hello.” Greeted Enrik in his thick Russian accent.

Not the kind of greeting Amy was expecting from the king of the world. Nor did he look like someone who ruled everything he could see either. To her surprise, Enrik was short, stubby, with evil eyes that spoke authority, and a demeanour that immediately made Amy uncomfortable.

            “Hello, SIR!” Amy barked, for she knew no other way to address someone of such importance.  All Amy wanted to do was curl up and die, her embarrassment and fear was killing her.

Enrik couldn’t help but laugh. “Do you enjoy chess, Ms. Stingo?” He asked, and Amy felt as if his eyes were cutting right through her.

            “Um, why, yes, of course!  Chess!” She stuttered, trying to sound relaxed but doing a poor job of it.  At least they had got over formalities already.

Enrik lead her though a corridor, the walls filled in tapestries and famous paintings, the corners filled with ancient artefacts Amy couldn’t identify.

            “This,” Enrik informed her proudly, pointing to a painting of a vase of sunflowers, “is one of the greatest pieces of art ever. And this here an impressive collection of all the constitutions the world has ever had, captured by my grandfather, Kurt Shepling- Rostonovic!

            Amy had no idea what a constitution was, but nodded her head in agreement. Whatever they were, they meant something to Enrik, and she was going to be as polite a humanly possible. 

“Wow.  You sure do have a lot of stuff here!”  Amy exclaimed, starring at a massive stone finger that dwarfed the corridor.

            “Oh, that.” Enrik noted in disgust. “That’s small finger off the Statue of Liberty. Enrik spat the word ‘liberty’ out like he was talking about a mass murderer or terrorist.

            “The Statue of Liberty?”  Amy questioned.

            “Never mind.” Enrik said, suddenly grouchily, as he opened the door and led Amy through to his office.



            It was almost midnight, and Andy had only just parked the car in a deserted alley, and now everyone was asleep except for James.  His suspicion about the traitor was worrying him to death. He didn’t trust any of these people. Hell, he only knew their names, nothing else.

            But what could he do? He had no way of finding anything out from El Lider, who would surely know if they could be trusted. El Lider had told James how important he was to the Revolution, how his military training and knowledge could be the thing that enabled the Revolution to once and for all free the world from oppression.

            The files they had tried to rescue were apparently very important, so important that El Lider had sent his three trump cards on a mission to steal them. No assassin was more experienced then Daniel, although he was to hasty in his actions, no driver knew cars better then Andy, and no one had the training quite like James.

            As James tried to sleep sitting down on his seat, he suddenly felt angry at the world. Before Russia had invaded, the world had been happy.  Not perfect, but at least they had reason to be happy. Okay, maybe the people back then didn’t know they were so lucky, but even the poorest person back in 2007 had a free will.

Economically, the people in 2056 weren’t better off at all. President L.R. Wolf, who governed America between 2004 and 2007, had introduced widespread economic reforms that had basically reduced poverty and third world debt all over the world. Under Wolf, people had all they needed to survive and had good reason to be happy with life, although all they could do was complain.  Now, the only way to get food was to line up outside a food distribution centre and hope the government hadn’t taken all the food or decreased the value of food slips again.

The world was everything James hated. A few wealthy people, and or course the military, had complete control over everything, while the common people couldn’t even control if and when they ate. James vowed that he would stop it, that he would bring down that Enrik Rostonovic, no matter what it took.  He couldn’t bare the thought of that girl Rachel having to live the rest of her life here.



Chapter 6:  Games of Chess


Enrik brought out a pricey bottle of wine and poured it generously into Amy’s cup. Amy sat on the other side of the table, watching everything Enrik did. Why is he doing this? She asked herself. Surely what I saw can’t be that important, can it? Obviously the information she held was very valuable to Enrik, otherwise he would have put an Interrogation Expert onto her.

Enrik is going to have a tough time getting information out of me, Amy decided. There was some deep grudge all people held against the government and military, there was something none of the common people liked about them.  A common person assisting a government operation was a rarity, and Amy was not going to give this man what he wanted easily.



1:09, 25 June 2056. Headquarters of the Secret Service, Richter,


            DeDun’s secretary, Gayle Kohen, picked up the phone.

            “DeDun?”  Asked a voice on the other end.  The voice was whispering over a bad line, and Gayle had to strain to here.

            “This is his secretary, DeDun is not on the job at the moment.”  Gayle informed.

            “Oh.  Well, tell him if he wants to reclaim some of those <CODE 7> files he has to send agents to B-45.”  The voice said.

            “Who is this?” Gayle questioned.  She was trained to keep track of DeDun’s files and make him coffee, and somehow talking with a some man giving her cryptic instructions didn’t fit in with her experience,

            “Look, I’m DeDun’s informant. I’ve got something very important here. Tell DeDun to take them all alive, and I’ll tell him what he wants to know.”  The voice demanded.

            “Where are you?” Gayle asked. 

            “I said before, B-45 on the grid, the second alleyway along Castro Street.  Be there.”

            “How do I know you’re for real?” Gayle asked. If only she knew about DeDun’s informants!

            “Fine, don’t believe me, and let the remaining <CODE 7> files get into the hands of terrorists.”

            He seems serious enough, Gayle thought. “Ok, I’ll pass on the message.”

            The person on the other end had already hung up without waiting for a response.



            Jesse couldn’t keep his eyes open. All he wanted was his warm bed right now. It was 1:30 in the morning for crying out loud! Jesse forced himself to listen to the mission briefing, there was nothing worse then being in a bad situation when you were tired and had no idea what the mission was about. An informant had just leaked information revealing the location if the criminal Vasiv, who had somehow slipped between the Secret Force’s long fingers just a few hours ago. Now they were being given an opportunity to redeem themselves.

            “Remember, we try to take them by surprise if possible. If they run, we shoot them with tranquillisers, if they fight back, we kill all but the informant and Vasiv.” DeDun ordered the four Secret Servicemen.

            “Just how many are we up against?” Dobson asked nervously. There has been a bad atmosphere hanging over DeDun’s men since Vasiv had gotten away the first time, and nobody felt like taking on this group again.

            “Any number between three and ten, we presume.” DeDun answered.

            “Darn.”  Complained O’Connor.

            “We can take on a bunch of terrorists, guys!” Locke encouraged.

            “Of course we can. Come on, let’s get them.” Ordered DeDun.


1:35, 25 June 2056. Castro Street, Richter


            James was having a nightmare. The informant had just dobbed them in! Now he or she was pretending to be asleep, ready for the attack from the Secret Police that he knew was coming.

            James leapt up in fright. The possibility of the dream being purely his imagination didn’t cross his mind; he was convinced someone was coming for him!

Everyone was sleeping soundly enough. What was the time?  He had no way of telling.  Moonlight shone into the alley, lighting it up, making the trashcans glow golden under its light.  If anyone should come pass, they were guaranteed to see the car! James would have to stand guard.

He picked up one of the machine guns Matilda had given them, and slowly opened the back door.  It made an awful creaking sound that sounded as loud as a bomb to James. Matilda wriggled uncomfortably in the front seat and Andrew moved his head slightly, but Daniel, who was in the seat next to James, didn’t move.  Taking this as a good sign, James silently slid out of the car, and inch-by-inch closed the door.  It again made the loud creak, but James was already too preoccupied with choosing the ideal place for an ambush to see the reactions of his friends in the car.

Now, a plan, he thought. Anyone attacking would presume the occupants of the car were sleeping, and would approach with less care then they should. James needed to find a place where he could shoot out at them without exposing himself to any risk. Getting a sniping position was out of the question, and without a scope or infrared glasses, shooting accurately at a long range would be almost impossible.

Maybe he could squat in the shadows. Nope, not practical, they’d spot him for sure. There was no ledge, nothing to climb up. He could of course duck behind he car, but he would be putting the lives of his friends at risk from retaliatory fire.

If you can’t conceal yourself, blend in with your environment.

The thought suddenly popped into James’ head. Where had he heard that before? Oh yeah, that was right. His commanding officer Kellie Black had told him that when she was explaining the importance of military uniform. James had to blend in, not hide. But how could he do that?



“So, Ms. Stingo, I believe you were a witness at an attack on one of our checkpoints.”  Enrik prompted suddenly.

Amy almost choked in surprise. She had not expected Enrik to be so forthcoming. They had been talking about material things for the last few minutes, Enrik’s gold-plated light that kept on flickering, Amy’s everyday life, and the quality of food Enrik was presenting to Amy. She had not expected Enrik to ask such a question so soon.

“Um, I was around at the time.” Amy said carefully, kicking herself that she didn’t have a cover-up story worked out already.  Even thought she just saw the crime, she still felt if she didn’t give Enrik what he wanted she would be in big trouble.

“That’s good.”  Enrik coaxed.  “Anything you think I should know about it?”

If Enrik was going to be bold, so was Amy. The knot suddenly left her stomach, and she found herself quite willing to talk.  “Why? What’s so important about it?”

It was Enrik’s turn to almost choke. Nobody had ever spoken down to him before, never. Instead of striking out at Amy or sending her to be tortured, he suddenly realized he liked it.

“Why don’t we play some chess?” Enrik asked slyly.

“Sure.”  Amy stuttered, Enrik’s calmness driving away her bravery. Anything that would get her out of this interrogation sounded good to Amy.



James took another look around the alley. Trashcans spread everywhere, rubbish scattered around, everywhere he trod he could here the rustling and crackling of papers and something breaking.  Any position where he had to walk would be a disadvantage. Trashcans.  Maybe they held the key.  If he piled a few of them, he could squat behind them and shoot out.

The words of his commanding officer Kellie Black came back. Blend in with your environment. If he made one pile of trashcans, it would draw attention to him.  If he made multiple piles, he could successfully trick whoever was coming into a false sense of security.

He picked up a trashcan full of something that didn’t smell pretty.  At least if they had sniffer dogs he’d be invisible from them as well. Now, he had to prepare the perfect trap.



The chess set was marvellous. Amy had never seen anything so beautiful. Each piece was hand carved out of white ivory or black ebony, and the board squares were made from silver and a black shiny substance Amy couldn’t put a name to. 

“Wow!”  Amy exclaimed.  “It’s … beautiful!”

Enrik started setting up the board. “My grandfather had this made by the world’s greatest craftsmen.”  Enrik stated proudly. “The value of each pawn is more then the average person earns in ten years.”

Amy ran her finger over the pawn sitting in front of her. She had never felt anything so smooth yet so detailed.  The pawn was a carving of a man holding an axe in his hand, and even on such a small figure she could still see the look of grim determination on his face and each individual piece of his armour.

“That’s an expensive prawn.” Amy commented, studying the detail with apparent interest.

“Pawn.”  Enrik commented.  “In this game, someone like you is just a simple, useless pawn.”

Amy didn’t know what to say. Being compared to a pawn didn’t seem flattering, and she got the impression Enrik was trying to tell her something figuratively.

Enrik was still setting up his side of the board. Placing the white king next to his queen and bishop, he suddenly smiled evilly. “I am the king, and if I want something, I get it.”

Amy knew he was threatening her, speaking to her using the chess set without exactly saying what he wanted. If she didn’t give Enrik the information he would probably kill her.  But giving into this creep wouldn’t be something she would choose to remember.

Enrik moved one of his pawns forward two squares. Amy cursed under her breath at her lack of experience at this game.  In fact, she had never won a game.  Her brother Abram had always beaten her, and she had never played anyone else. What did Abram do that made him so good?

Think, Amy, think!

Amy decided to move a knight out.

Enrik looked her up and down. “You always use that move?”

“Oh, no.”  Amy replied.  “I just can’t move my castle yet.”

Ha ha! Enrik thought, this is going to be easy! And at the same time he said, “Rook, not castle.”

Enrik immediately moved his queen out. “Being like the king, I have numerous resources I can use to destroy people who become enemies.”

Amy hated people who filled games with sarcastic comments. But Enrik was seriously freaking her. This guy was crazy, obsessed and consumed with his own power.  From what she had heard, he was also ruthless to his enemies, however few they were, and greatly rewarded friends. Amy did not want to get on his bad side, and telling him what she had seen couldn’t cause much trouble, surely. He might even give her a bottle of this great wine he was letting her drink.

“So, what exactly did you want me to tell you?” Amy asked hopefully as she moved the pawn in front of her rook out to spaces.

Enrik ignored the question and instead gave her another one of those annoying remarks.  “You think you can get away easy, perhaps even beat me, but you cannot.”

Yet another shiver went up Amy’s spine, and for the first time she was now genuinely scared and fearful for her life, not just freaked. Enrik’s finger hovered over his bishop, then moved over one of his knights. Enrik looked indecisively at the board, then at Amy. What was he going to do? He was acting as if he had the whole situation under control, but why wasn’t he moving?  After much deliberation, Enrik moved his knight forward.

“Decided not to use your whistly-thing?” Amy asked in yet another poor attempt at conversation.

“It’s a bishop.” Enrik corrected her.

“Oh, sorry.  So you like using horses instead?”  Amy asked.

“”Knights.”  Enrik again corrected her, and said no more, waiting for Amy to move. But Amy was having trouble thinking. Maybe it was all the wine Enrik had given her. Whatever it was, her brain wasn’t thinking straight.  Amy blindly moved her rook out next to the pawn. She needed an idea, a plan for this match. She just had to win; she couldn’t give this man the satisfaction of winning.  But what about what she had seen?  She would have to either tell him, or- she didn’t like to think about the ‘or’, but whatever he would do to her, she didn’t want to find out. She would have to tell him.

Enrik studied her move with little interest. “I’ll make you a deal.” Enrik said craftily.  “If you win this game, I’ll provide you with food, clothing, a decent home, everything a girl could need, I’ll basically give you a perfect life, and you won’t have to tell me a thing.”  He smiled warmly at Amy.  Suddenly his expression went cold again. “Tell me what you know before I beat you and I’ll give you food, clothes, money, anything you need to make your life slightly more comfortable. If, however, I defeat you and you haven’t told me what I want to know, I’ll make your life a living hell, and I’ll still get what I want out of you.”  Enrik clinched his fist threateningly.

Amy wasn’t afraid of what his fist could do so much as what his infamous torture chambers could dish up.

“I’ll think it through.” Amy told him.

‘Don’t think to long.” Enrik warned, and he moved a bishop out.


2:23, 25 June 2056. Revolutionary Headquarters, Bernic


Rachel still couldn’t sleep. Before, it was just from worrying about James. Now it was from genuine fear for his life.

Tahi had been the first to suspect that there might be a traitor in the Revolution.  At first it was just a suspicion, but the idea had grown into reality when one of the Revolution’s informants from inside the military, Rebecca Whitenight, had come across a report suggesting one of the Revolutions most trusted men was a traitor working with the head of the Secret Service, Leigh D. DeDun. And James was in great danger.

Rachel could not stand the agony, knowing James was in danger. She wanted to go rescue James, but she did not know where to find him, or what to do if she found him. She just had to get James away from the traitor.


2:24, 25 June 2056, Castro Street, Richter


DeDun, Ewes, Locke, O’Connor, and Dobson parked the jeep half a block away from the target.

“Here’s the deal.” DeDun ordered.  “We check the alley out for suspiciousness, then, if we can, we walk straight towards the car and tranquillise them.  Any resistance gets the same result.  Our informant won’t be asleep, but will be expecting us. Don’t hurt him.  In your guns, the primary fire is .34 AK platinum bullets; secondary fire is an immediate action tranquilliser.  We want to take these people alive.  Any questions?”

Ewes was nervous. This same group of people had humiliated them earlier, giving this, the most elite secret police group in the business, a tainted reputation. The failure to capture these criminals the first time was a black cloud that still hung over the group. A second failure, and the results would be unthinkable.

“Lets just get this dude.” Locke said without his usual enthusiasm.

“Alright.  GO!” DeDun ordered.



James has set up the alley nicely. He was sure if an attack came, he could stop it, unless there were too many soldiers, unless they were extra vigilant. Unless they spotted him in this pile of trashcans, unless… James couldn’t afford to doubt. He just had to believe he could pull this off.



The doctor handed the report to Jenna. Dion Helmucher was wanted for questioning. Although Jenna didn’t think Dion was fit for questioning, she was in charge of getting him ready. That meant unplugging all the wires and drips attached to him, and giving him a stimulating drug to help him recover quicker.

Jenna yawned.  This late night shift was awful.  She had not had any time to spend her food slips yet, although she had spent them a million times over in her head.  Yep, she was going to make an absolute feast for Brendan.



The arrival of the police caught James by surprise. He had not even started thinking of battle strategies when four men entered the alley. James had no idea what to do.

Keep a cool head. Wait for the perfect time, but do not wait to long.

He aimed the gun at the big, solid fellow.  He was pointing his gun right towards James!  James held his breath as one of the other soldiers, this time the smallest one shook his head and pointed towards the other piles of trashcans James has set up. James breathed a sigh of relief; his diversion had just saved his life. 

            The men, whether they were police or elite military, started edging down the alley towards the car where Andrew, Matilda, and Daniel slept. The first two soldiers were approaching the first surprise James had made for them. This would be a good time to shoot the two soldiers trailing towards the back.  James fired two shots. Both men crumpled down to the ground. James was impressed with his blind firing, and also glad the Urtzi had a silencer, something he had not checked for.

            Yikes, another soldier was entering the alley, and was about to see the two men lying on the ground. James shot a round in the newcomer’s direction without thinking. All shots missed, and the target jumped back to cover.  The fight had started.



Rachel felt like crying. There seemed no end to this fiasco. Rebecca had just reported that an elite body of troops had been sent out after a criminal by the name of Vasiv. That meant they were on the trail of James!

Rachel started to sob violently. James had to make it back!

Rachel felt her stomach start to knot up in fear. Why couldn’t she be brave like the rest of the Revolutionaries?  Rebecca had just risked her life to get important information through, knowing full well she would be tortured and killed if anyone found out she had passed on information, and all Rachel could do was fight back tears and try not to look too afraid in front of her uncle.

People had died before, good, honest men she had known all her life, and she had kept a brave face and held off the tears. Now she was a wreck, staring vaguely out the window.

There is no reason to cry! This is nothing I haven’t been through before!  Rachel argued with herself, and she wiped away the tears flowing down her check. But in her heart she knew this one was different.  She knew things wouldn’t be all right if James didn’t come back.



Jesse heard a thud behind him. He looked around but saw nothing. The nothingness bothered him. Something didn’t seem right.  Scott had followed Jesse’s glance, looked around, and kept on walking. Jesse, not wanting to appear hesitant, followed Scott.



James was furious! He had missed his target, and now his target would be back to get him. At least those other soldiers were about to walk into his trap.



Scott cautiously raised his gun. He was now standing only five metres from the car. Should he advance?

Jesse stopped next to him. “We should call out, see if the informant is awake.” Jesse suggested.

“Good point.”  Agreed Scott.

He called the informant’s name. Something moved inside the car!

“Be careful!  I don’t know where James is.  And he’s got a trip rope set up!!”  The informant whispered back.



James fumbled with his gun, aimed it quickly, and sent a round into that foolish soldier who had just stuck his head out from behind cover. James didn’t have time to watch and see if his shots had hit their targets, but turned around and tried to open fire on the last two soldiers who were perilously close to the car now.

James swore to himself, and pulled the trigger again to be sure.  He swore again, this time cursing everything he could think of. He had run out of ammunition, and the only way to get more was from the guns of the people who he had just shot, but to get to them he would have to run between his pile of trashcans and the entrance, a good ten metres.

James picked himself up off his stomach, left the gun sitting by the trashcans, and made a dash for the body his last victim.



“James?”  Scott asked the informant.

“Who is that?”  Jesse added.

“Look, there he goes!”  The informant yelled excitedly.

Jesse and Scott whirled around just in time to see James running towards the exit.

“Shoot!”  The informant yelled, but Ewes and Scott never got the chance. Matilda and Andy both unexpectedly jumped out of the car and fell upon them, attempting to bash both of them on the head with the butts of guns.  Matilda smashed Jesse across the back of the head, and he fell to the ground with a tremendous thud. Andy swung and missed at Scott, then tackled him to the ground, knocking his gun away. Scott used one hand to hold off Andy for one split second and reached into the pocket on his chest.  Andy saw the revolver in Scott’s pocket and punched him in the face in vain. Scott pulled the revolver out of his pocket and aimed it at Andy.  Andy took another swing and made contact in Scott’s stomach.

The blow did little to stop Scott. He raised the revolver and fired at the figure of Andy above him. The shot would have cannoned into Andy’s heart had Matilda not stuck Scott in the face with the butt of her gun. Scott, grimacing in the pain, moved his arms over to protect his face at he same time as he pulled the trigger.



Uncle Abe had watched Rachel staring out the window for the last half an hour.  It was 3:20 in the morning and nobody could sleep. There was a bad atmosphere hanging over the Revolution headquarters today, and without the inspirational El Lider around to cheer things up, things felt pretty helpless.

Abe walked over to Rachel.

“You ok?”  He asked her.

“Not really.”  Rachel replied honestly, blowing her nose. There was nothing she could hide from good old Uncle Abe.

“Listen, everything is going to be alright, I just know it.” Abe reassured, hoping he didn’t sound as insincere as he felt.

“How do you know? Anything could have happened!” Rachel complained bitterly. “He’s probably dead by now!”

Abe was shocked at the despair in her voice, and the fact that as far as Rachel was concerned Andy and Daniel had suddenly become irrelevant.

“Rachel honey, look, Andy, Daniel, and James are all coming back.”

“I hope so.”  Rachel snivelled.

“Of course they are!” Abe exclaimed.



The bullet smashed into Andy’s shoulder, and almost ripped it off.

The impact had thrown Andy back, and he lay there, moaning quietly.  Matilda rushed to his side. 

            “Andy, are you ok?” Matilda pleaded.

            Andy tried to get something out, but his mouth was filling up with blood. 

            “Andy, speak to me!” Matilda cried.  “Don’t die, we need you!”

            Andy spat out the blood. Matilda watched in horror as his face went white, his body limp. Blood was gushing out from his shoulder, and Matilda realized the wound was fatal.

            “L-look.”  Andy splattered, looking Matilda straight in the face. “Kill… kill that … that traitor. Do it for me.  And tell El Lider… tell him...” Andy could talk no longer. He closed his eyes and tried taking a deep breath, but blood was quickly filling his mouth and he did not have the strength to expel it.

            “You’ll be fine, Andy!” Matilda encouraged, but at the same time she watched as Andy slowly drifted off.

            Daniel, the traitor, rushed to his old friend’s side and put his hand over Andy's forehead.  “Andy, are you alright?”  He demanded.

            Andy’s eyes opened for the last time, and he swore at Daniel.

“Go to hell, Daniel.”

            Matilda fought back tears. Daniel did likewise, but Daniel was crying more from shame then pain.

            The whole fight had taken place in a fraction of a second, and when James heard the gunshot, he had rushed from the body of the last man he shot back into the alley.  Seeing Andy lying on the ground made James run even harder, but by the time he arrived Andy was already dead.    

            Matilda suddenly glared at Daniel, who was sitting next to Andy, crying and sobbing like a baby.

            “YOU!”  She exclaimed, her voice full of hate and rage.

            “No, not me!  I didn’t do it!”  Daniel protested. He stopped crying and looked straight into Matilda’s eyes.  All he could see was hate, pain, and anger. Daniel lowered his head.

            “YOU!”  Matilda yelled again, picking up the gun she had smashed Jesse with.

            “No, Matilda, look, I didn’t betray you!” Daniel argued, crawling back towards the wall, anywhere that would get him away from those hate-filled eyes.

            “YOU TRAITOR!”  Matilda exclaimed, jumping forward in a fit of passion.

            Daniel yelled in pain as Matilda started bashing into him. James turned away; he didn’t want to see what was about to happen. 

            James should have closed his ears as well. The sounds of breaking bones and pained screams from Daniel made James feel faint.  He ran away from the fight, scared and feeble.





Chapter Seven


2:59, 25 June 2056. Headquarters of the Global Communist Network, Richter.


            A messenger with bad news awaked Emma, constantly ringing the bell of her apartment inside Enrik’s main office.

            “What is it at this hour of the morning?” Emma exclaimed.

            “Ma’am, our squad that was sent to capture Vasiv was totally annihilated!”  The messenger panted.

            “What, those were our best men!” Emma exclaimed earnestly.

            “I’m sorry, Ma’am, but the situation is quite urgent. The military would like to carry out a sweep on their last location, but we need Enrik’s word to carry it out.

            Here was a dilemma Emma was going to have a tough time on. Enrik would hate being disturbed when he was questioning Ms. Stingo, if he was still questioning her… but he would like to know this!  Emma had to make a wise decision.  Enrik’s fury was something Emma could live without, but overstepping her circle of influence was punishable by death.  Enrik’s fury was certainly worse then the death sentence!

            “Order a sweep of the area!” Emma ordered. 


            “Do as I say!”  Emma snapped.  Emma sincerely hoped they caught that criminal.  Enough heads were going to roll because of the Andrew Vasiv fiasco, and Emma did not want hers to join in.

            Emma also knew more then she was supposed to about the <CODE7> files.  She knew Enrik would do anything, anything, to get them back, or at least make sure they did not fall into the right hands. Surely a handsome promotion would come out of this if it worked out.

            “Enrik’s word is needed first.” The messenger persisted.

            “Order a sweep of the area, NOW, fool!” Emma ordered.

            The messenger dropped his head in shame, or was it fear? “Yes, ma’am.” He sighed.

            “Good, now go!”  Emma commanded.

            She watched as the messenger bolted off to report to his commanding officer.  Emma slowly closed the door, and to her surprise she realized her heartbeat had doubled almost instantly.  As she walked back to her bedroom, she decided a drink would do her good.

Emma went into the kitchen of her apartment, looking for that half-empty bottle of wine.  This place seemed so eerie, even though she had been living here for years. All of Enrik’s senior officers and advisers lived on the job, with luxurious apartments only a few stories away from their offices.  It was a hard life; Emma had not left the building in weeks and she was starting to miss things like grass and the smell of the real air, not the filtered air pumped through this building.



“Three survivors.” Matilda informed him.  “We should shoot them all now.” 

James looked at the three men huddled next to each other in their car. 

            “We can’t shoot them.” James reminded her.  “I’m out of ammunition, and theirs is a different size.”

            “Use their guns then.” Matilda laughed, but how she could find humour in this situation was beyond James.

            “Look, to be entirely honest, there has been enough bloodshed for tonight.  Let’s take them in for questioning.”  James suggested.

            Matilda smirked.  “What use are they?”

            One of the men blinked his eyes before James could think of an answer to her question.

            “I-, I might be … of use to you …” The man’s voice trailed off.

            “And how?”  James inquired.

            “You guys, you’re revolutionists, aren’t you?” The man stuttered.

            “No, sorry.”  Matilda snapped fiercely, flashing her eyes at James, telling him not to answer.

            “Yeah, no comment!” James joined in.

            “IDIOT!”  Matilda exclaimed.  “No comment? That’s basically a confession of guilt!”

            The injured soldier laughed heartily. “That’s okay.  I don’t figure I’ll live long enough to tell anyone!”

            Matilda glared James into silence.

            “Look, my names Ewes. Jesse Ewes, mate.”  The soldier said.

            Still Matilda and James kept silent.

            “What drove you to it? Why?”  The soldier Jesse Ewes asked.

            “Drove us to what?” Matilda snapped.

            Jesse thought for a moment or two. “Why would you join a … revolution?”

            “Making a mockery of police just comes naturally.” James told him.

            “That’s not what I mean.” Jesse said, gasping for air. “Like, why?  What good are you ever going to do?  What do you hope to achieve? It’s not as if you’re ever going to change anything!”

            Matilda opened her mouth but hesitated. James didn’t know what to say either, so Jesse continued.

            “You are headed straight for a torture chamber.” Jesse informed them. “You know the punishment for associating with a revolution is death, or worse.”

            “Shut up, Ewes.”  Matilda ordered.

            Jesse persisted regardless. “Why?  Why risk your lives, for what?”

            James felt compelled to share what he knew with this man. “Listen, where I came from, people didn’t have to wait in a line for food the whole day. People were allowed to say what they wanted and do things when they wanted.  We got to decide on who would rule us, and sometimes we got to decide on the major decisions the rulers didn’t want to decide. I just want to give the people here a taste of that.”

            Jesse stared at him in awe. The idea was too weird to comprehend. The idea of the people making decisions for themselves had never crossed his mind.

            “So… wow, that’s weird.” Jesse commented finally.

            “No, I don’t think so.” James replied.

            “Say,” Jesse asked suddenly. “What happened to my friends?”

            Matilda spoke up immediately. “James here killed the two soldiers following you, and the soldier you walked in with took a serious blow to the head, while your leader is still breathing for the moment.  You just got knocked unconscious for a while.” Her voice was cold and icy, making Jesse feel more upset then he normally would have.    

            Before Jesse had time to cry, think, or even breath, Matilda was kicking him back into the jeep.

            “There’s a patrol coming, we have to leave, NOW!” Matilda cried.

            “Wait!”  Jesse cried, but the door was already being slammed shut.  

            All he could here was the roar of the engine, and all he could see was the seat in front of him, but he could sense two people lying next to him.



            Stupid game of chess, Amy complained to herself. Amy wanted so much to win this game, but she could see no way of doing it.  Still, she wasn’t going to give in easily. She moved forward her knight in frustration, she could think of nothing else to do.

            Enrik sneered at her, and immediately moved his knight forward as well, right into the range of Amy’s. Amy’s hand went straight for her knight, ready to strike. Something about the look in his eyes stopped her. His eyes shone of victory and pleasure.

            “Ms. Stingo, take that knight and you lose your life.” Enrik warned.

            Amy paused for a moment. “Why?  I thought we had an agreement?”

            “We do.  And I’m one move away from checkmate.”  Enrik told her.

            Amy took a deep breath. It seemed there was no way out of this; she was just going to have to give in to him.  She gritted her teeth and started thinking about what information she was going to leave out.

            “It’s your move.”  Enrik reminded her, pointing to the knight.

            “I was minding my own business, waiting for my friend to come and pick me up, then we were going to head down to the lines to get some food for her family.”  Amy started.  “I was standing on the corner just near the checkpoint when the soldier there got shot, then quickly afterwards two other men were shot.  We couldn’t see the assassin then, so we waited. A moment or two later, two men came running up. One broke into the little office thing, and the other man stood guard.”  Amy paused for a moment, studying Enrik.  He seemed unimpressed.

            “Look, sir, I’m telling the truth!” Amy pleaded desperately.

            “Continue.”  Enrik ordered, oblivious to her pleas.

            “Then, a truck came up, they talked about some files, the man in the office dropped something, and they drove off. I swear that’s all I know!”

            “I’m not sure.”  Enrik replied.   “You have lied to me once before.”

The comment caught Amy off guard. Was she really that bad an actor?

            “You tell me you were alone when the attack took place, yet you say ‘we’ as if someone else was there at the time!”

            “Ah, yeah, my friend arrived half way through, sir.” Amy lied through her teeth.

            “Hmm.  Then why didn’t you go to get the food as you said you were?”

            Amy had been caught in a trap. She had no way out but to tell the truth.

            “Sir, look, I lied, to save my friends, and me. One of the patrolmen had some food slips to give to my friend.  I was waiting for her, she arrived, the attack happened, she made an excuse to leave, and told me to wait around for the food slips, sir.  My friend… and one of the dead soldiers… they deal in illegal food slips!”

            Enrik glared at her. “You would deal in illegal food slips!”  He bellowed.  “Why? This is punishable by DEATH!”

            “Sir,” Amy cried meekly, “I had no other choice. We are all starving, and we have no way of getting food slips ourselves.  We would have died if we didn’t get those food slips! And I have some idea where they make them!”

            Enrik’s eyes lit up. A chance to catch anyone dealing in illegal food slips was a major breakthrough. Obviously Amy had no idea where the food slips were being printed, but her friend must surely know!

            “All will be forgiven, of course, because you have told me what I wanted to know.”  Enrik informed her.

            Amy didn’t know what to say. She opened her mouth but words deserted her. Such a display of mercy was not expected from this man.

            “The only reason you are not in a body bag right now is because I think you are very, very, pretty.”

            Amy gulped for air. What did this madman want?



Half an hour later, Amy was asleep in one of Enrik’s private rooms, and Enrik was already reading through the reports from the Vasiv case with his council of advisors.

            “As I thought, the revolutionists have captured some <CODE7> files.  Most of them were destroyed, but the revolutionists still have a few of them.” Enrik told his council of advisors. “With these files, anything could be possible.  These files are basically all our records, our assassinations, files on our high-ranking officers; everything we have done and are planning to do is in those files.”

            “Everything?  Even our experiments on genetically modified people? Our plan to feed the people excessive radiation through their food?” One of Enrik’s advisors asked.

            “What about the real truth behind our history? What about our takeover off the world in 2007? What about America? Information like that shouldn’t be allowed to get into the public’s hands!  If they find out what we really do to them, they would start a revolution!” Another advisor voiced.

            “Those remaining files must be destroyed immediately!” The first advisor cried. All the advisors yelled out simular lines.

            “Peace, men!”  Enrik cried.  “There is a problem. The revolutionists, if they get the files to their leaders in Bernic, will immediately start plans for a revolution. Even if we do destroy the remaining files, any number of revolutionists could have read them by now, and if one person, just one person, knows the truth, we are lost. The files are now irrelevant. We need the revolutionists dead, NOW!”

            The advisors hushed. Capturing a hiding suspect was never an easy task, and with their only informant just found dead only minutes ago, the task became much more harder then anyone had anticipated.

            “Three of our elite men, Scott O’Connor, Jesse Ewes, and Leigh DeDun, were captured by the revolutionists.” The Head of Secret Operations Minister spoke up. “They were fitted with personal locators, which means we can track them wherever they go, unless they take the locators out. We should be able to follow them until the revolutionists realize.  I have sent a team out to chase them.”

“A team?”  Protested Enrik.  “What on earth were you thinking?  These people have avoided arrest and beaten our armed forces three times now! We need something bigger then that!”

“Trust me.”  Coaxed the Head of Secret Operations.  “The locators will lead us straight to their base.”

“You had better be right.” Enrik remarked as he left the room, leaving his advisors and ministers still doubting their ability to recapture the files.



            James certainly was glad to see the bridge they had been driving for.  Only a small, stone bridge with only two lanes for traffic, the bridge looked like something out of the 17th century, and it seemed an unlikely place to cross back into Bernic.            “What’s the plan?” James asked Matilda, while thinking, funny how I had started off as leader but I’m now following Matilda.    

“We are going to drive across bridge if possible.” Matilda told him. “But if they have a guard set up we’ll just have to swim across.”

            “What about the prisoners?” James asked.

            “They are disposable.”

            “Wait!”  Argued Jesse.  “You guys, you want me? I can be a revolutionist!”

            “I doubt it.”  Matilda said coldly.

            “It’s a ‘revolutionary’, man.” James corrected.

            “Sorry.”  Jesse replied

            “I can get you across the bridge!” Jesse argued.

            “We can swim.”  Matilda snapped.

            “A live prisoner is better then a dead one!” Jesse pleaded. He needed to give Matilda a reason to keep him alive.

            “Look, there is no way I am carting around three soldiers who would kill us in an instant, the risk is just not worth it!”

          “But how about it?” Leigh DeDun opened his mouth for the first time since being captured.   “Surely I could be of use! I know lots of people on the inside of the military, we could have a joint military-peoples revolution!”

            “DeDun!”  Jesse exclaimed, shocked.  He hoped DeDun hadn’t heard him talking with these revolutionaries!

            “You want to help us overthrow Enrik Rostonovic?” Matilda asked suspiciously. “Why?”

            Leigh DeDun gasped for air. The bullet wound James had inflicted on his leg was still bleeding. “Look, can I have something for this?”

            “I don’t buy your crap.”

            “Look, what reason would I have to lie?”

            “Oh, I can think of a couple.” Matilda started.

            “Matilda, wouldn’t El Lider at least want to question them?” James interrupted.”

            “IDIOT!!”  Matilda exclaimed.  “Who the hell do you think you are, saying his name like that?” She slapped out angrily, hitting James across the face.

            “They are dead men for all we care.” James reminded her, humbled from the blow. “Anyway, last time I checked I was the man in charge here, wasn’t I?”

Matilda ignored the question and pulled in to park a block away from the bridge.  “They have placed a guard on the bridge.”

            “Ok, easy enough!”  James exclaimed, motioning for Jesse to climb over and hop in the front. Jesse did so, and Matilda moved out of the drivers seat.  James pointed a captured gun into Jesse’s face. Jesse realized instantly what James wanted, and unenthusiastically nodded his head.  He would have to make up a story for the guards at the bridge or face a bullet in his back.



            “Hey, you want to know something?” Jesse asked suddenly.  Matilda shook her head in annoyance.  They had passed the guards, and were only twenty minutes from the hideout of El Lider, and she had more important things to think about.

            James did not share her irritation. “What is it?”  James asked.

            “Just remembered, we were fitted with personal locators.” Jesse replied. Matilda swore and slammed on the brakes. “Why the heck didn’t you tell us sooner?” She yelled, her face glowing in anger.

            “Don’t know.”  Jesse replied coolly, much to Matilda’s anger.

            DeDun’s head fell.  James noticed the sudden change in his body language. Obviously he must have been counting on the locators.

            “The locators are strapped to our ankles with elastic.” Jesse informed them. “Just pull them off, and throw them away.”

            DeDun glared at Ewes. How could he betray the army like this?

            “Thankyou, Jesse.”  James replied, and ripped the boot off the still-unconscious O’Connor. Finding the locator, he ripped it off. James held the locator in his hand. The locator was only about the size of a fingernail, with a tiny wire protruding from its smooth, black surface.

            “This is the locator?” James asked suspiciously.

            “Yeah.  It’s only a small thing, really.  Does a good job, too.  Runs off body heat, if it gets taken away from a body with a beating heart for more then five minutes it will send an emergency signal out to Headquarters, showing us as ‘dead on duty’.  The little wire is the aerial which sends or signal back to Headquarters, and that little gizmo is so smart it can detect abnormalities in our blood-flow caused by a bullet wound.”  Jesse informed them.

            James was impressed. “Wow, cool.  But that means we’ll have to leave you three here if we don’t want to be followed.”

            “No we don’t, we can leave the dead one here with the three locators.”  Matilda decided.

            “But he is still alive, and …” Jesse started

            “Just be thankful it is not you we are leaving, man.” James told him.

            “If I had my way…” Matilda started.


Chapter Seven:  Supplies


            Dawn.  Rachel had never actually sat up and watched the sun rise before. It was beautiful watching the dark sky slowly turn to red, watching as the first rays of sunlight hit the street, watching as they immediately set about warming up the sidewalks. Rachel decided watching the fog rise from the early morning road was very soothing and peaceful.

            For a moment the pain seemed to subside, leave her for a moment. It like an injection of hope had just been pumped around Rachel’s body. James was going to be just fine. She knew in her heart James would come back for her. He could be back at anytime now.  She would be waiting, but for now she needed sleep.



            James, Matilda, Jesse, and DeDun arrived at the secret hideout of El Lider at around 7am.  DeDun and Jesse were immediately taken to an interrogation room. Jesse bitterly complained about the treatment of O’Connor, but Matilda was despondent to say the least.

            El Lider immediately wanted to know about the files, and was shattered to find the vast majority had been burnt, but the news that a senior officer was willing to join the revolutionists soon turned his mood.

            But, could the man be trusted? If he was trustworthy, the Revolution itself could be over by the end of the month!  But if DeDun was lying, he would be risking the lives of every single person he had strived to free.

            El Lider sat down on his chair. His office was a great place to think. It was the only place he could be himself without needing to be the so-called fearless leader everybody looked up to. El Lider shook his head in regret. He was not the man to lead the Revolution!

            The Revolution, which had started just eleven years ago, had originally been composed of just twelve people. Out of the founders, only El Lider was still alive, and the leadership was automatically handed over to him when the original leader had died.  But El Lider knew inside the revolution would never succeed with him as leader. He realized he was just too hesitant and unwilling to do it himself.

            Perhaps James was the man of the future. He was young, talented, smart, and had already proved himself a great leader and tactician. All that, or he was just a very lucky guy.

            El Lider knew what he had to do. The Revolutionaries would be jealous, they had been fighting this battle for years, but the sooner James was given control, the better.




            James had found Rachel slumped up against the window over looking the street, but decided to leave her asleep; there were more important things to do immediately. DeDun was presently being questioned by Abe, and already had shown willingness to co-operate, perhaps, he claimed, he could even organise a military coup if the soldiers were given a reason. 

            James was sitting squashed up in the back seat with Tahi and Marcus, in the front seat was Tim, another revolutionary, and Matilda was driving.

            “Where are we headed?” Tim asked.

            James eyed the big man in the front seat. “Some weapons dealer.”

            “He’s more then a weapons dealer.” Matilda commented. “His name is Hamic Gonfisin, he’s the number one dealer of illegal weapons and other contraband in the city. We need weapons, real weapons, and only he knows where we can get them.””

            “Then what do you want us for?” Questioned Tim, addressing the comment towards James.

            “Just in case.” James replied craftily.



11:34, 25 June 2056. Hamic’s Second Hand Dealership, south Bernic


            The sign on the door said Hamic Gonfisin: Second Hand Dealership.  Tahi kicked it in with an almighty grunt, and the door fell straight in. Marcus and Tim charged in, guns in the air, screaming.  People dropped to the ground, their hands help above their faces.  The site was not one of a second hand store.

            Card tables were randomly thrown everywhere as the players ducked to the floor.  Money, gambling chips, and food were sprayed all over the floor, and everyone fell to the ground crying for mercy.  A radio that had been playing some gentle music was dropped to the floor.

            James and Matilda coolly walked in.

            “Why are they so scared?” James whispered, his eyes trying to adjust to the murky light. .

            “Gambling is illegal, they are expecting to be shot.” Matilda replied.

            James immediately felt a wave of pity for these poor wretched souls, reduced to gathering in places dirtier then refugee camps on fear of their lives, just to have fun.

            “We come in peace. We are looking to do business with one Mr. Hamic Gonfisin. Does anyone know where we can find him?”  James spoke up, addressing the men lying on the floor.

            A wave of disbelief swept over the gamblers. They had assumed the interruption to their party would mean instant death, but all the intruders wanted was the owner!  A couple stood up quickly and pointed to a corridor leading out of the gambling room. Everyone else was too shocked to move.

            “Sorry for any minor disturbances, we did not mean to bother you, and we will buy a new door for you.” James said to the group, and he handed a couple notes to the man next to him.  The man eyed the notes suspiciously, then suddenly threw them into the middle of the only card table that had remained standing, and started sorting cards.

            “Um, that money was for the door, not to be gambled!”  James whispered.

            Matilda ignored the comment. “Come, let’s see Mr. Gonfisin.” Matilda ordered.  Tahi and Marcus started helping the gamblers up, while Tim picked up a couple of chairs.

            The same routine was used for the office of Mr. Hamic Gonfisin.  Kick down the door, watch as Mr. Gonfisin spilt coffee down his shirt in panic, and the man sitting next to him ducked under the desk.

            “FREEZE!”  Matilda barked.  “We come in peace.”

            Hamic, seeing the gun James was handing, immediately regained his composure.  “Ahh, hello…  and by what business do I owe the pleasure of your business?”  James and Matilda just stared.  Hamic saw they were not impressed by his tongue-tied speech, and tried again.

            “My name is Mr. Gonfisin, and this is my business colleague Mr. Funn.”  Hamic pointed under the desk.  The man known as Mr. Funn stuck his head out from under the desk, and gave James a discontented grunt.  Mr Gonfisin ignored his partner’s rudeness and carried on. “And, we were in the middle of a very very important business deal for Mr. Funn, and seeing as you do not have an appointment, could I possibly ask you two fine men to wait outside for just a moment while we sign the paperwork?”

            James pointed the gun at Mr. Funn. “Come out were we can see you, Mr Funn.”

            Mr. Funn grunted again, then Matilda took a second to survey the room. It was a small, uninviting room, dark and shabby, with filing cabinets covering the walls and paper work scattered everywhere, along with the odd semi-automatic and a couple switchblades.

            Mr. Hamic was a short, plump, balding man in his fifties, with bright red checks and a warm, worn, but surprisingly innocent and honest face.  The confident look on his face, his old suit, rough beard, and dull tie gave Matilda the impression of someone of importance who did not want to be known. Normally cool and collected though out his shifty dealings with the underworld, but he did look a bit flustered, perhaps.  That might have something to do with that fact that he had just been taken at gunpoint by two masked men.

            Mr. Funn looked at the barrel of James’ gun in fear.  His smoothly combed hair, expensive suit, and clean-shaven face made him look like an ordinary businessman. What had brought him to Mr. Hamic was something Matilda did not need to know.

            “We are here on business, Mr. Gonfisin.” James started.

            “Well, well, well. What could possibly have brought a couple of businessmen to my humble lodging?”  Mr. Hamic Gonfisin asked, glancing at Mr. Funn.

            “We need weapons, lots of weapons. The best you can get us.” James ordered sternly.

            Hamic let out a nervous laugh. “Weapons… why? What makes you think I can help you? All I do is try to run an honest business, and next thing I know people are bursting in here demanding weapons! Weapons don’t grow on trees you know, and even I if I could help you, I wouldn’t know where to get them!”

            James was not impressed. “Mr. Gonfisin…”

            “Hamic, please!” Hamic pleaded, bitting his lip nervously. That gun meant business.

            “Hamic, certainly a dealer like yourself would know how to get the weapons we need. And certainly businessmen like us, who have already shown ourselves eager to get what we need, are also ready to pay a fair price for your service.”

            Hamic’s leg started to shake nervously. He was used to being in charge in his business deals, but these two masked gunmen seemed to have the upper hand, and seemed to know a lot about his contacts, otherwise how else would they know he was the man to get weapons from?  But guns were worth a lot of money, and there was an incredible profit to be made from this deal, so he decided to go along with the flow.

            “I might be able to find something for you, if you are lucky and have enough money. What exactly were you looking for?”

            James handed Hamic the list on a notepad. Hamic stared at it in disbelief.

            “Why, there must be hundreds of guns here that you want!  And all new army models! With latest technology! Why, where do you honestly I can get all of this stuff?  Guns don’t grow on trees you know!”  Hamic stuttered. “This lot could take months to get!”

            “We need this lot by 12:00 tomorrow. If we are pleased with your work, we will give you another lot.  Of course, we will pay very reasonable prices for all of this. And maybe even a rather large bonus IF the job is done well. Are you agreeable?” James asked.

            Hamic was about to protest, and tell James he was a madman, but he eyed the price tag on the bottom of the order list. “Umm, well, of course, seeing you asked so politely, and are of course willing to pay for a replacement door, I would be honoured to help a good friend like you.”


            Rachel was distraught to find she had missed James, and waited patiently near the main entrance of the warehouse, looking out the window at the road, again waiting for James to return.

            That was how Abe found her three hours later.

            “Hey, Rach. What are you doing here?” 

            Rachel didn’t seem to hear, and paused a while before answering.  “I am waiting, Uncle Abe.  What else can I do?”  She said sullenly.

            Abe thought about that for a second. “Starring out the window is not going to help the Revolution.  Why don’t you come and help me with some paperwork. We need to write to our friends in Dieua, (Russian province incorporating modern day France, England, Spain, and Germany.) We will need their help for the upcoming battle. Why don’t you help me, please?”

            Rachel slowly picked herself up. When her uncle said please, she could not refuse him. The upcoming battle was the talk of the Revolution at the moment.  All revolutionaries were flocking to Bernic for an attempted attack on Enrik Rostonovic. But Rachel didn’t care anymore. All she could think of was that brave, courageous man, James Blackstone, and how much she wanted to see him again.



            Tim pulled the car into a deserted alleyway a block from the warehouse. 

            “Well, that went well.” Marcus commented.

            “Yeah.  That businessman, we are really going to make his day tomorrow when we ask him for twice as many guns.”  Tim added.

            “We’ll have to double the money as well.” Matilda added. “It’s not as if it’s real money, of course. We know a guy who forges money and food slips, so it all works out well.”

            James stepped out of the car. “Lets go back to the warehouse, one by one, using a different entrance as well, okay?”  He said suddenly, although such a high level of security was not necessary.

            “Ok… sure…” Matilda was not convinced.

            James quickly headed for the main entrance. He knew Rachel would be waiting for him.  He ran his fingers through his hair, and dusted off his dirty jeans. He wanted to look his best when he walked in.


16:22, 25 June 2056. Revolutionary Headquarters, Bernic


            The guns had arrived without troubles. Revolutionaries had flocked from everywhere, and more guns had been ordered. DeDun had offered to organise a joint army/peoples revolution, but the thought was on hold for the moment. After they had ousted Enrik, they would think about getting the military onside, but for now, they had just one goal.

            The remaining <CODE 7> files that had survived had been studied and analysed, and some conclusions had been reached. There was very little fresh water left on earth, and there was a giant evaporating machine somewhere in the area James knew as the Middle East, which provided most of the world with drinking water.  This presented many complications, it was altogether possible that they would overthrow the government only to dehydrate and die!  Then the revolutionaries found more files concerning experiments the central government had been running, and all they had to do was publish these reports and all people everywhere would rebel against their governments.

            Everything was looking good. All they had to do was take over Richter and everything would be all right.


16:24, 25 June 2056. A deserted alley, Richter.


            Amy awoke with a vicious snort.  She wasn’t in the warm, soft bed she was in last night… no, she was lying in a gutter somewhere! Amy picked herself up, shivering uncontrollably. What had happened last night? She felt her head. Across her forehead was a large bump, and her brain was still spinning from a little too much alcohol.  What had happened last night? 

            Slowly thoughts started to come back to her. A large stone finger, a nice warm bed, a crackling fire, and some fine wine, and that was all she could remember. It all sounded very romantic… besides the stone finger bit. Then she remembered those cold, hard, piercing eyes, and the night before became a nightmare of fears and delusions. As the memories of the night before came flooding back, Amy sat down to properly digest them.  Something was bugging her, something she couldn’t remember. Yes she could!  A guy had walked into her bedroom and had stuck a needle in her leg!

            Amy felt her head. Whatever was in that needle, it must have knocked her out for a while.



16:27, 25 June 2056. Headquarters of the Global Communist Network, Richter.


            If Enrik was furious before, he was murderous now.  He flicked through the report, tearing at the pages and cursing under his breath. The group sent out to capture Andrew Vasiv had been destroyed, two had been captured and the rest carelessly thrown by the roadside, and the locators had produced no new leads, just a dead body. The informant, Daniel, had also been killed, leaving the perpetrators basically untraceable. Enrik picked up an empty tin can and squeezed it with his fist. Emma frowned. Lets hope he keeps his anger on the cans, she thought.            

            “This is pathetic.” Enrik eventually said when he had finished reading the final page.

            Emma stayed quiet. She knew better than to talk right now.

            “Why haven’t we captured them?” Enrik was glaring right at her now, and is he decided she was to be blamed…

            “I don’t know, sir.” She said honestly. “I am, however, sure that we will bring these vicious criminals to justice.”

            Enrik smiled sarcastically. “We shall see, we shall see.”

            Another one of Enrik’s minor messengers, a younger girl by the name of Melany Vassi, a cousin of the famous Steven Vassi, brought a message in. 

            “Great sir, I bring social security new from your province!”  She proclaimed.

            Enrik glared at her. “Stupid province.  I don’t care.  Give it to Emma, and run along like a good girl.”  Melany was shocked by his sarcasm.  She had only been on the job a few weeks (and some say only because of the influence of her illustrious brother) and had yet learnt what Enrik was like.

            “Sir, I really think you should read them, these reports have some really important information!” She persisted, but Enrik wore her down with such a glare she almost left crying. 

            “Emma, see to these reports.” Enrik snapped, pointing to the pile of papers sitting on his desk where Melany had left them. “And, make sure that girl gets some ‘training’ before our next visit”

            Emma nodded. As Emma read the reports, a thought started to form in her mind. A stack of guns had been misplaced from a factory, there were multiple of reports from nearby sectors of odd people movements, someone had accidentally ordered three times the usual amount of fresh water, and one of the computer security experts from Enrik’s computer lab had noticed a hacker had been visiting their mainframe, and there had been an unconfirmed report of a gang shooting on the streets. What happened if all these events were somehow connected? What would happen if they were, what would it mean if… no, possibly not!  The thought was unconceivable, and Emma discarded it as a thought proving this job was drawing her to insanity.  But the thought struck a chord in her brain. What would happen if someone was planning something?

            “Stopping thinking like that, Emma old girl!” She said out loud. “It is impossible, incomprehensible!” Emma tried re-reading the report to ease her mind, but it only made the problem worse. In desperation she jumped on one of the computers to check her schedule for the next day.  She had forgotten about the speech she needed to give to the body of advisors, and before that a visit to Enrik’s new dinosaur park! How wonderful!  She could hardly wait.


Chapter Eight:  Plan


13:04, 26 June 2056. Revolutionary Headquarters, Bernic


            “Sir!”  Tim barked to El Lider from the doorway. “I bring news from our secret agent!”

El Lider looked up from the building plans on his desk. James and Marcus, who had been peering over his shoulder, jumped back as he leaned forward to talk to Tim.

            “What secret agent? You don’t mean Rebecca, do you? Is she alright?”

            Tim gave him a blank look. “Rebecca?”  Obviously his superiors had decided not to tell him about her, whoever she was. “No, not Rebecca, Alex.”

            El Lider gasped. “Alex?  Alex the skilful?  I thought he was in a body bag last time we checked.  If he is alive, this is a great piece of luck!”

            “He was in a body bag, though not dead.” Said a Chinese man who pushed Tim out of the way and walked in to the planning room. He took a look around. Three or four building blueprints were scattered over El Lider’s desk, a young girl quickly worked a photocopying machine over in the corner, and two computers had been quickly set up in the other corner on the dusty floor, and two men were quickly typing away amidst the flashing modems. A short man in military clothes looked on from a chair to the side, taking notes on a writing pad.

            James surveyed Alex the ‘skilful’ in suspicion. Alex was a short Chinese man with jet-black hair and the average almond-shaped eyes. He was wearing a long leather jacket almost like a trench coat, and he looked very neat and well dressed for a secret agent. What made this Chinese guy so skilful? He didn’t seem like much, he wasn’t tall or powerful in stature, he seemed the kind of guy it would be great to have a joke with, shout a beer for, but him, a real secret agent? James already had grave doubts.

            Alex continued talking. “I found some interesting stuff out last night. I was having a drink in a pub near the headquarters of Enrik Rostonovic, and in walks a dude in all military clothing, probably works as a guard or something.  So of course I start a conversation with him. In ten minutes he’s flat drunk and I start asking him questions, ‘what do you do’, ‘what did you do today’, do you know any secrets,’ ‘do you want another drink’, etcetera.  Eventually he tells me some common girl was allowed in to the building yesterday, even got to go into the personal quarters of our good friend Enrik Rostonovic.”

            El Lider let out a sigh at the ‘good friend’ bit.

            Alex continued un-phased. “And I say, ‘what happened to her?’ And he gives me some long story about how he got the honour of dumping her somewhere, so I tell him if he doesn’t show me where he dumped her, I’d report him, seeing of course it’s a crime to be in a pub or place where alcohol is served.  So he takes me out through some corner streets and points me to a girl sitting on the sidewalk looking into space like she’s dazed, and says ‘that’s the one.’ So I tell him to scram, threatening to report him – though not before completely picking his pockets - and I went and spoke to the girl.”

            “What did she have to say?” Marcus exclaimed.

            “I’m getting to that. Now our friend turns out to be a security guard, and in his pockets I found all sorts of keys and cards, including a card that opens just about any door, besides the doors leading directly to Enrik. I believe you want to get in that building, perhaps to stage a revolt, and I can, of course, help you… for a cost.”

            El Lider got out of his chair and stood up. “How did you know what we are planning to do?”  He growled.

            Alex laughed. “You guys aren’t the only people who know how to hack! Building maps, large amounts of weapons, not to mention lengthy discussions with forgers and other revolutionaries… what am I, stupid?”

            “Don’t worry, I didn’t show any one else that stuff.” Alex added, noticing the desperate and worried looks of the people in the room.

            El Lider walked over to Alex. “Son,” he said. “If you can get us into the building, you can name your price.”

            Alex grinned. “My price is this:  That I get to lay out the plans.”


            El Lider wiped the beads of sweat off his brow. James, Jesse, Alex, and Rachel were off in another room, planning an assault on the building. El Lider was in the middle of interrogating Amy, but she seemed too scared to say much, although she had gone into great detail about the night before. 

            “Mrs. Stingo.” El Lider started. “I am going to show you a floor-map of Enrik’s living quarters.  Could you please try to pick out anything that is different from what you saw? Maybe a door that’s on this map that wasn’t up there, or a door in the house that isn’t on this map, anything!”

            Amy looked at the map in front of her doubtfully. “You have to be honest with me too! Why do you want to know this? What are you planning to do?”

            El Lider paused a moment. It was very doubtful this girl was a spy, and even if she was, she would have no way of getting any messages out before it was too late. “We are planning to overthrow Enrik Rostonovic, for the good of the people. We don’t want people to have to lie and steal to survive, or spend all day in a line hoping to get a crust of bread. That’s no way to live.  We want people to have a choice, a free will to make their own choices. And if we have to topple the most powerful man in the world, we will!

            “So we need your help, Amy. No one else has ever been able to get inside his building, let alone to the top floors.  But thanks to you, and our friend Alex, we have a security card that will open any door on all but the top ten levels, which are the offices of Enrik himself, as you know.  Now we do not have any way up from there, but, when studying the building plans, we noticed that there was no fire escape.  We have gone through all records on Enrik, and it seems to us as if he is meticulous, he thinks of everything. So, obviously, there must be a fire escape or other form of emergency exit! And seeing it isn’t on these blueprints, we were thinking you could help us.”

            Amy sat back in her chair and eyed her empty glass.  El Lider quickly poured her another glass of the cold, pure water. Amy smiled thanks and took a sip, then started thinking.   El Lider watched as she studied the blueprint with intense interest. 

            “Alright, here’s the thing you’ve been looking for.” Amy proclaimed suddenly, pointing to the blueprint.  El Lider looked.  It was a map of Enrik’s private bedroom, with only one entrance, leading out towards the corridor and then out into his sitting lounge. 

            “I stayed the night there. Enrik had to go somewhere, and I was escorted to here.” She pointed to the bedroom. “But the blueprint shows four massive beds, while there was only three.  And there was a bookshelf there, in the corner, but it’s not in the blueprint either, although it was inbuilt into the wall. And the room was larger than this shows, by around a metre.”

            El Lider clapped his hands together in a rare show of emotion.  “Thank you very much, Mrs. Amy.  There will be great rewards for you very soon.”

            Amy was enjoying feeling so important, and was about to stretch her new academic side a little further. “Okay, so you have the entrance to the fire escape, which will be your exit, but you don’t have the exit, which will be the way you get in.  How does this help you?” El Lider smiled at the question.

            “Kings, have you finished?” He asked the man lying on the ground typing away at the computer.

            “Why, yes, sir, almost!” He answered. 

            Amy had forgotten all about the two guys typing on the computers.  They seemed almost robotic, typing furiously away, turning neither to the right nor the left, and not stopping once to clear their eyes or grab a drink. She wondered what could ever be so important to these men, that they would waste their lives away staring at a screen, never seeing their fingers as they moved in perfect unis, never looking out of the window to see the sun trying to shine out from behind the endless clouds of smoke and dust.  She was about to find out.

            “I’m Rodger Kings, otherwise known as Kings. Anyway, what we have here.” Kings started. “Is an entire three Dimensional building plan, with, as far as I can tell, the most accurate data we have on the building.” Kings laughed sheepishly. “It has taken me a while, but I’ve managed to construct this to exact scale, but at the same time I’ve programmed a little routine into the data, so that if go like this…” Kings fiddled with a few buttons, bringing up a computerised blueprint of Enrik’s bedroom. “And change a few things like so…” Kings changed the bedroom to look like Amy had described it.

            “Now, if I run the routine, hey, presto!” Kings pressed the button, and the computer started to make a deep throbbing sound. In a few seconds, hundreds of pages started popping up one after another, filling the computer screen.  “Those are all the possible escape exits he could have built in without compromising any of the other operations on other floors.”

            “But there are hundreds of them! How will you know which one he built?” Amy questioned sarcastically. What was this guy on?

            Kings turned around to look at her for the first time.  His eyes were red and inflamed, his eyelids grey and droopy, and he was in desperate need of a shave, or deodorant.  Coffee, that’s what he’s on!  Amy thought.

            “I also created this routine here, which allows me to scan all these computerised proposals for escape routes against accepted architectural standards as of the time of the building’s completion.” Another deep grunt and throbbing from the computer, and suddenly three quarters of the windows disappeared.

            “Wow, cool.” Amy said.

            “So, there are still almost fifty proposals left on the computer!  How do we know which one it is?”

            Kings laughed. “It gets easy here.  To build a building so large and still have people living, even close to the top, you have to get water and power through.  There is a water-feature, a fountain, on the ninety-forth level, which must be able to pump out a rather large amount of water per second, so obviously there must be decent water piping.  If I upload all the water maps into the database like this… and hey, presto! Now, if I scan all these water-piping charts against these left over computerised proposals, I should be able to eliminate some.”

            Kings started madly clicking, but Amy and El Lider were both confused about something.

            “How?”  El Lider asked.

            “Easy, look for pipes were we think there is passages.”

            “Why would a water pipe make such a difference?” Amy asked.

            “You don’t break a water pipe just for a fire exit! No, you plan it differently. But, the thing is, if there are any secret passages where there are walls, don’t you think they would have water spraying devises in case of fire?” The computer started to grunt and groan tremendously.          

            “No!  Enrik wouldn’t want to get wet!”  Amy exclaimed.

            “Hmm… she’s got a point there, Kings.” El Lider agreed.

            The computer made a beep, and a message came up: No matches found.

            “Great… we’ll try lights then. No self-respecting king of the world would walk around in the dark!  We are looking for low voltage lines, not the lines that service the building, no, just lines feeding light bulbs.”  Kings informed them.

            Kings clicked a couple of buttons, and a message popped up.  One Match Found! “Aha! I’ve got it!”

            El Lider was sceptical. “How can you be so sure?”

            Kings missed the question. He was already surfing through the data. “Okay, we can get onto this passage on the 73rd floor.  Ah! I should have known! A few years before the takeover, there was a massive terrorist attack somewhere in America.  The builders soon learnt to stop these kinds of attacks; they needed to build a safety level in case of a building collapse. This level would be made so it would bend and twist but not instantly collapse, so if the top of the building came down upon the bottom of the building, all the people below would have a chance to escape. And that level is on the 74th floor! Also, Enrik keeps his private helicopter on the 72nd floor.  He’s got an escape all worked out!”  

            “Are you sure?” El Lider asked.

            “Pretty much so.” King replied, his eyes still pouring over the data. “Okay, I might be able to print some things out for you, maps of our secret little passage, that shows us where the passage starts, ends, and opens.”

            “That would be good.” El Lider said.

            “So, what, this computer found it?” Amy asked.

            “Well, the computer and I. We’re a team, remember.” King informed her.

            Right… what a geek! Amy thought.  Still, he had managed to find what he was looking for.

            El Lider picked up the phone on his desk and pressed 4.  “Tim, I want James, Alex, Marcus, Jesse, Abe, Matilda, Tahi, and Rachel here, immediately!”



            Marcus paced nervously outside the second planning room.  Alex, James, Jesse, and his girl Rachel were still in there.  Why Rachel was an easy question to answer. Since James had returned the night previous, Rachel had not left his side. Marcus shuddered at the idea. His daughter, in love with him, of all people?  That James Blackstone was going to get himself killed one day, and Marcus did not want her getting too close to him. A bit too late for that already, he thought grimly. They’ll be married by the end of the month.



            James, Jesse, and Alex had their plan. If Jesse could be trusted, and it seemed assured he could, they might just be able to take down Enrik. James liked his group members. Alex seemed an absolute legend, and the stories of his bravery and skill flowed generously from the lips of all who saw him. Jesse was almost as well trained as he was. The fact that he was an ex-army man like himself won him almost instant acceptance, however, many of the revolutionaries were jealous two outsiders had quickly risen to take such roles of prominence. But everyone realised that the best people needed to do the hardest jobs, and there was very little complaining. Rachel was sitting patiently next to James, waiting.

            There was a knock on the door. It was Marcus.

            “Tim just told me El Lider is calling a meeting! I think we have discovered the fire escape!” 

            James jumped up immediately, almost knocking Rachel to the ground.  This was the news he had been waiting for!


Chapter Nine:  Arrested!


17:21, 26 June 2056. Stalin Hospital, Richter.


            Jenna walked into the shop set up for workers at the hospital, showed her ID card to the security guard, and started shopping. This small shop was specifically set up for the people who worked at the hospital, so they could spend their lives saving people, not standing in lines waiting for food. The good thing with the shop was that some very rich doctors worked at the hospital, and they had expensive tastes, so the shop was always stocked with fine foods as well as average run-of-the-mill foods.

            Jenna grabbed a basket and started walking around. She picked up an imported bottle of wine, found a juicy steak, and carefully weighed out a sparing amount of vegetables.  She figured that was all she could buy, but then she remembered Brendan preferred gin, so she put the wine back and picked up another bottle instead. That left her with a little spending money left, and her mouth started to water.  What if she could afford some spices?  Wouldn’t that be the nicest treat she could possibly give Brendan? She picked an inexpensive bottle, and went to the register to pay. She handed over her ID card again, as well as the food slips, and walked off. Brendan was going to love this!



            It was lucky for Dion Helmucher that he stayed unconscious for so long.  Suspicion as to the origin of the food slips had passed from him to a dead colleague of his.  And Asha had gotten rid of any evidence, so everything was going to be all right. Dion had even been reluctantly awarded with a medal for bravery and even more reluctantly been reinstated at his old post, when his wife determined he was fit to go back to work. His wife brought he dinner in, but he could only eat a portion of it. It would be a long time before he was back at work, a long, long time.



            After everyone had gathered in El Lider’s planning room, El Lider addressed his men. “I have led this revolution for many, many years. I have watched you live, and have watched others die. Many, many of my most dear friends have lost their lives – or worse - in this tireless war, and for many years it seemed we had been fighting a lost cause. Until recently, I never once imagined the people of the world would be free in my lifetime.  Now we have a chance to change everything.” El Lider looked at James. Was this a good opportunity to renounce his leadership and let new blood take over?  He was half considering it till he saw James, whispering into Rachel’s ear, who was sitting on his lap.

            El Lider continued. “This is out chance to prove ourselves, our chance to conquer, our chance, our one and only chance, to free the world of its oppressors.” El Lider was starting to wish James would shut up.  “And now, James, Alex, and Jesse are going to show us their plan, and we are going to talk about it, and discuss it like men, and decide whether or not it is workable.”

            Jesse stepped up. This was his moment to prove himself the revolutionaries. He felt like a little boy in front of a new group of friends, trying to prove himself brave enough to hang with them.

            “Alex, James, Rachel, and I have been working on our plan to oust Enrik.  We’ve thought pretty long and hard on this, and we have considered just about everything we know into our calculations, and we think this is our best plan of attack. We hope you agree! Our plan goes something like this…”

            “Well, I suppose that’s about it.” Jesse finally ended half an hour later.

            “That was fantastic!” El Lider proclaimed, and looked at the other spectators for approval.

            “Yeah… great work guys!” Abe chipped in.

            “Seems pretty good to me.” Marcus commented, now willing to give James to big-a-rap.

            Tahi nudged Abe and Matilda, who were standing next to him.  “I sure do like our role!” 

            “You won’t be thinking that when your heads blown off.”  Matilda commented sourly.

            “Of course, we are all going to be risking our lives tomorrow.”  El Lider spoke up.  He wanted every one to be sure they knew what they were doing.  “Even the people sitting here waiting will be at danger, our computer systems will be traceable for the duration of our attempt.”

            “A small price to pay for crashing their computer systems and destroying their electronic security.” King reminded.

            “What about me? Can I go home yet?”  Amy asked.

            Everyone laughed. “Stick around until after the fireworks, pal!” Abe chuckled.



            As night fell over the city, the mood in the revolutionary’s camp was bright and cheerful. Tomorrow they would risk their lives, and probably even die, but tonight was a night of celebrating and reflecting on the past eleven years. Towards midnight, El Lider, Marcus, James, and of course Rachel, snuck away from the festivities and journeyed half-way across town to deliver the three truckloads of guns needed by the back-ups from other sectors. 

            El Lider debriefed the back-ups, and gave them their orders, and Marcus found someone from Dieua to talk with. This left Rachel and James alone, and they climbed two flights of stairs and found a balcony. Below them, the hordes of eager Revolutionaries from Dieua slept in an excited and often disturbed sleep, above them a few stars managed to shine through the layers of smoke and smog surrounding the atmosphere, and all around them, the city. 

            Rachel looked away from James. “You stay safe tomorrow, you hear me?”

            “I can’t stay safe! I have to risk my life tomorrow, and I am only doing it for you! So don’t complain!”

            “For me?”


            “Why for me? What do you mean?”

            “Well, why else would I risk my life here? I should be trying to find a way home, but I wanted you to experience freedom.”

            “Aww… that’s so sweet!” Rachel exclaimed.

            “I’ll never be able to get home anyway.” James said, and Rachel mistook it for bitterness.

            “The plans for your crazy tank things might be in the building somewhere, apparently they have a library on everything. You never know, you might be able to go back.” Rachel encouraged.

            “No, you don’t see. I don’t want to go back! I am happy here.”  James told her, and Rachel turned around to face him again.

            Marcus, rudely shouting up the stairs, suddenly ruined the moment.  “Hey you guys up there!  Come down and meet Rebecca!  She’s been our one and only informant inside the tower!”

            Rachel sighed. “We’d better do as he says.”  

            Rachel started down the stairs. James took one look out over the city, and then followed, thinking, “I wonder what else is going on in this city.”


20:03, 26 June. Private home, Richter.


            Jenna and Brendan sat down for dinner. Brendan’s mouth was watering, he had never seen nor smelt such a feast, and if it tasted half as good as the smell, Brendan knew he’d be a happy man.

            “How did you pay for this?” Brendan asked in a hushed tone. Jenna placed a plate of steaming meat and vegetables in front of him. Brendan licked his lips. He could taste the spices already! Jenna then brought out a bottle of gin, his favourite, and started pouring.

            “Jenna, you didn’t have to…” He started, but as he spoke, there was a heavy bang on the door.      

            “Probably just the boys from next door.” Jenna commented, and she sat down and raised her glass in the air.  “I dedicate this meal to…”

            There was a giant bang on the front door, and the sounds of it falling to the floor was deafening.

            “What the…” Brendan exclaimed.

            A group of some five of six policemen, dressed in blue camouflage uniforms, wearing face masks and bullet-proof vests, and carrying semi-automatics, burst into the dining room and quickly and easily had Brendan and Jenna’s hands up.

            “What is the meaning of this?” Brendan asked weakly. “What have we done?  Leave us alone!”

            The officer obviously in charge stepped forward. Through his mask he was able to say, “Who dare deal in illegal food slips?”

            Jenna’s heart sank. Brendan glanced at the dish under his nose, and then glared at Jenna. The officer picked up the bottle of gin off the table. 

            “Yep, we got the right place! Arrest these two! And search the house!” 

            “We haven’t done anything wrong!” Brendan pleaded, looking at Jenna for support. Jenna could do nothing but start to cry. 

            “We haven’t done anything wrong!” Brendan yelled again, trying to worm his way out of his handcuffs.  He looked at Jenna once again, and the look on her face said it all. They both were in big trouble.


Chapter Ten:  Battle


10:33, 27 June 2056. Revolutionaries Headquarters, Bernic.


            James examined the weapons he had at his disposal. He picked up a trusty semi-automatic sniper-rifle with a telescopic scope, one of the advanced silencers, and a feature that allowed the gun to respond to the infrared goggles that were lying beside it. The gun was perfect in every way, just what he needed. He watched as Jesse and Alex picked their weapons of choice.  Alex had an automatic machine gun with a silencer, and Jesse had picked the standard army model machine gun, much like James’.

            Tahi, Tim, Abe, Marcus, and the rest of the group then came and picked up weapons.  El Lider, Rachel, Kings, and Amy were staying at base to man the computers and help with the security.  They were all set.  Everyone walked out of the warehouse, wishing El Lider and Rachel luck, and making jokes about the ways they were going to die. 

            Abe hugged Rachel, and then put her down carefully. “I’ll miss you, you know! I’ll miss you very very much!” Abe said.

            “You’re not going to die!” Rachel exclaimed.  “You can’t! And you have to keep him alive too.”  She whispered, motioning to James.  James started to walk over, but Marcus took a few steps forward.

            “Don’t distract yourself, mate.”

            “But…” James trailed off.

            “Keep your focus on the enemy, not the girl, okay?” Marcus pleaded.

            “Okay…” James agreed reluctantly.

            Matilda drove up with an army truck, their way of clearing initial security.  “Hope in, guys, we have an evil dictator to take down, and a heck of a lot of bullets to shoot before the day’s up.” 

            El Lider led Rachel away. This was going to be emotional enough without them having to wave goodbye.

            “Lets go!” Matilda said.  “We have Andrew to avenge.


12:03, 27 June 2056. Outside the Headquarters of the GCN, Richter.


            They were right outside the front entrance to the tower, and James was already scared. So many flights of stairs!  The tower was massive.  He wondered if it was too late to change plans. He motioned to Matilda.

            “Matilda, we need an excuse to get higher up in the tower before we start the bloodshed.” James declared.

            Matilda nodded. “I know.  I have this covered.  Kings is going to hack into the system and get the administrators on the levels below to believe we are coming up to Enrik himself. By the time we get off the first elevator, at the 33rd floor, they will have discovered we weren’t how we said we were. Then the bloodshed starts. That gives you from the 33rd to 87th floor to run up before you reach the secret staircase.”

            “Far out, you have the nitty-gritty stuff covered, don’t you?”  James commented. Matilda just shrugged.

            A voice came over the loudspeaker. “Has everyone got his or her microphones on?” El Lider asked.

            Everyone said yes. “Okay, its time to go.  God save you.”



            James surveyed his group as they marched into the reception room of the building.  Alex, Jesse, Abe, Tahi, Marcus, Tim, and Matilda stood in perfect military order, and James was impressed by the way they had suddenly fitted into their new roles.

            “Hello.  My Name is Blackstone.  We are wanted up on the 93rd floor, some sort of ceremony.” James told the lady working the reception desk.

            She eyed him suspiciously. “I didn’t hear about a ceremony. They are having a sort of party to celebrate their new Dinosaur Park, but I do not think they need you.” She said coldly.

            “Check, lady.” James ordered.

            Instantly a message popped up on the lady’s screen. It read: Send Them Up!  The receptionist was not convinced, but pointed them in the way of a corridor where a tough security guard took over.

            “Follow me.” He said roughly.  Inside the elevator, he asked James what floor they were going to. James told him 33rd. It was expected that on the 33rd, they would change to the next elevator.

            They had gone up three floors when James heard something in his headpiece.  It was Kings.

            “We’ve taken out their computers!” I’ll get some security cameras looking for our targets.”

            The Security guard was standing upright, looking out at the door.  James motioned to Tahi, who lipped ‘now?’ James nodded, and in a fraction of a second Tahi had swung the butt of his gun into the security guard, sending him sprawling to the floor.

            “That’s gotta hurt!” Kings exclaimed. 

            “Kings, this is James, get your eyes off the elevator and check out what’s above us!” James whispered into the mouthpiece.

            “Oh great, they know something is up already!” Kings exclaimed.



            Suddenly, all the computers stopped responding. Jo Gray, the head of Enrik’s computer lab, the heartbeat of the security system of the tower, started to panic. What was going on downstairs? She had been watching a party of army men being escorted towards an elevator, then they had boarded, then the screens had gone blank! 

            “We need to stop that elevator!” She exclaimed nervously.

            A laptop had already been set up, but it seemed the system had stopped responding at all.

            “Sir, we can’t stop that elevator!” Riahana Toms, one of the computer technicians, started to yell.

            “Sir, guess what? The security cameras are moving without us!” Added Kade Philips, another computer technician.

            Jo picked up the phone and pressed 5, and started praying she could reach the reception on the 92nd floor. “Hello, its Gray here, we have a problem, a technical glitch happening here, maybe a virus, or a hacker. Don’t let anyone up!” Jo slammed the phone down in frustration.

            “Sir, the phones are out too!” Kade added.

            “What was that about a technical glitch?” Riahana asked.

            Jo swore. “Get the military in this building down there, NOW!”


12:07, 27 June 2056. Floor 33, GCN Headquarters, Richter


            The elevator beeped at the 33rd floor, and the door slowly opened.  Two more security guards rushed on to the scene. They both got a bullet in the chest, but not before one of them managed to ring an alarm bell, and instantly the whole floor was up and arming themselves.

            James swore loudly. “Which way, Kings?” 

            “This is Amy, Kings is busy on the computer. Go to the corridor to the right. There are some dudes loading their guns, shoot them.”

            “Thanks Amy.”

            James led the group to the right, and Tahi quickly shot the two men.  Now where? Amy had the answer before he asked the question.  “The door to the right, use the card on it! And get set for a gun battle!” 

            James slipped the card into the laser-reading device, and the door swung open.  Instantly all the guns were pointing down the next corridor, the lasers jumping off the walls and creating a pretty sight on the cold marble passages.

            “This is no time to admire the scenery!” A large body of unprepared troops is running your way; the best place to ambush them is right where you are. Hide, then pop out and blow their brains out when I say so.” Amy ordered. For a girl who had did not know how to play chess, she sure could command troops well. 

            James passed the order on. “We stand on either side of the doorway, and wait will I say so to shoot, okay?” 

            Almost instantly there was a noise, a scampering of feet, from down the next corridor, then the sound of many heavy footsteps charging towards the elevator.

            James held of till what seemed like the last possible moment, and then yelled ‘shoot!’

            The flury of gun blasts cut the men, no less then twenty of them, dead in their tracks. James could not but help thinking this was becoming easier as they went.  He led the men through some more corridors, between numerous offices, and, after using the security card again, they opened the staircase.

            “Go UP!” Kings ordered, and James, followed by the revolutionaries, ran up the stairs.



            El Lider eyed Kings in absolute amazement. His fingers were working as fast as bullets, and his eyes were glancing in all directions at his computer screen. At the same time, he seemed to be watching all major points in this mission via security cameras, he was disabling and enabling certain pieces of the building’s security code to allow their men easy passage, he was closing and locking and reopening doors, where he could, and chatting away to Amy and telling her what to tell James. It was incredible; he had never seen anyone do so much at the same time. 

            Amy was talking away into the microphone: Go this way, go that way, open that door, be careful of that man.  Rachel stood by Kings, watching as his fingers flied and he watched the band. Rachel’s eye was always on James.


12:11, 27 June 2056, Floor 53, GCN Headquarters, Richter.


            Twenty levels of stairs later, James had reached a dead end.  They now had to cross the entire floor to get to the next staircase that would take them to the next levels.

            “Where do we go?” James asked. 

            The reply came in crackled and broken. “Go straight. Unlock door… guys ahead with guns… careful.”

            Great, James thought. That’s all we need now, a broken line. James led the group through some marble corridors, and under the direction of Amy and Kings, they always had the advantage, and were always shooting first.

            “James, the staircase is just twenty metres ahead. But you have to run, now! There’s a guy coming both ways from adjacent passages that veer off from this corridor, but I can’t tell which one. RUN!” Kings yelled.

            James immediately realised the urgency of their situation.  There were no passages they could hide in for at least twenty metres back, and if they stayed still, they would be caught in the open and slaughtered, much like what they had been doing to the Russian troops. 

            James yelled at his men. “WE NEED TO GET THROUGH THAT DOOR QUICK!” James started sprinting towards the door leading to the next staircase, his men following.  The passage they sprinted up was at least twenty metres long, with four corridors criss-crossing it.  The men could be coming out of any of those passages!     

            There was a voice in his ear. “It’s the last one, James.” James swore as he flung himself upon the staircase door, and pulled it open. To his horror, he turned around to see a puff of dust on the ground in front of Tahi. Tim, Marcus, Jesse, and Alex had already made it to the staircase, but Tahi and Abe were struggling, and Matilda was as always faithfully taking up the rear. 

            “Tahi!”  James yelled, watching bullets zip from all around him.

            Abe dived thought the door, but Tahi tripped on something, and for a fateful second he lost his footing. Matilda pushed into him, driving him through after Abe. But it cost Matilda. In the fraction of a second it took Matilda to regain her feet, two bullets, from opposing directions, slammed into her chest.

            “Matilda!”  Tahi yelled, but it was too late.  From a pool of blood on the ground, Matilda managed to wave her hand around, telling them to get up the stairs.  Tahi tried to push the door open, crying out to Matilda, but Marcus and Abe managed to restrain him.

            “Get up the flipping stairs!” James yelled.



            From the computer, Kings let out a groan. 53 floors, and already one down! El Lider put his head in his hands, but Rachel put her arm on his shoulder and comforted him. They needed him to be strong right now.



            The receptionist on Enrik’s floor put down her novel in thought for a second.  She had thought the disturbances in the computer lab had been related to a virus, a computer crash, or something like that. But now she was not so sure.  All three elevators servicing these upper levels had suddenly gone down at the same time, and only she was supposed to have control of them. She was tempted to check the problem out, but the hero in her novel was about to rescue the love of his life, so she decided against it.



            Jo Gray was fuming. Something was seriously wrong. From the computer lab’s lofty position on the 87th floor, she rarely got concerned in anything below her that was not on her computer screen. But today was different. She could have sworn she had heard a gun shot, and although her best computer experts were trying to fix this latest security glitch, they weren’t having much success yet. She would have sent Kade up to warn Enrik, but there was no way to get him up there.

            Jo punched his desk with vicious fury. This problem did not seem like it was going to solve itself anytime soon.  She could feel her hand start to bleed, but she didn’t care.


12:19, 27 June 2056, Floor 53, GCN Headquarters, Richter.


            The group ran up the second flight of stairs in bitter silence.  Matilda was dead, and that was all that could be said about that. Tahi seemed to be sobbing, and Marcus was trying to console him.

            Finally James and Jesse reached the top. Jesse had not even worked up a sweat.

            “Where are the others?” James panted.

            “Still coming.”

            “The secret passage is on the other side of the building, and there’s no way we can get through without the others causing a decoy.” James puffed.

            Jesse nodded. By now the group had arrived, minus Marcus and Tahi.

            “Men, this is the 87th floor. Jesse, Alex, and I are going to find the entrance to our tunnel.  You guys have to create a massive diversion near the computer room. If you manage to overtake it, do whatever Kings tells you to.  Good luck!” James shook the hands of the men, they were a great bunch, and after today was over, he hoped at least some of them were alive to enjoy their triumph with.   

            The staircase had ended at one corner of the building, and two corridors lead off at in the two directions.

            “Which one do we take?” James asked into the headset.

            “Okay, James, you need to go right. The others need to go left. Tell them to be careful, there are guards situated everywhere!”

            James passed on the orders, and then they all ran their separate ways.  Tahi and Abe ran in front, followed by Marcus and Tim.

            “Okay, there are going to be some guards around the next corner.”  Amy informed them. 

            They stopped running. Tim slowly peered around, and then opened fire. The first soldier fell instantly, the second had just enough time to throw his head around, and to his absolute horror, see a little red laser jumping around on his chest.

            “Shooting, Tim!” Abe whispered. 

            “Now where?” Tahi asked.

            “Obviously straight ahead, there is no other way besides back.”  Marcus noted.

            “Yeah, I didn’t think of that.” Tahi mumbled.

            Tim led the way forward. Suddenly he felt like the leader, the one in charge. So he took it upon himself to talk to Amy.  “Amy, we are walking up the corridor on the east side of the building. To one side we have the windows and the city, and on the other we’ve got a series of doors. We are ignoring them till we know where we are, but there’s a wall coming up.  Do we open the last door?”

            Amy’s reply came in crackled and broken. “Yes… go in. Then take the second right… first door… right.”

            “Okay, thanks Amy.” Tim replied.  Tim walked up to the door, motioning for backup. Tahi and Abe took up positions on either side of the door, ready to fire if there was any resistance behind the door. Tim put his hand slowly on the door, but instead of finding a knob, he found a carded lock.

            Tim swore loudly. Marcus joined in, using every word he could think of. Abe and Tahi started bashing the door in, but it was solid wood and would take a while. Tahi stared straight at Tim.

            “James has the card, doesn’t he?”



            Kings was furious. The computer had temporarily frozen, and he couldn’t execute the command to open all the doors in Tim’s way without first closing something down. He couldn’t turn off the maps because they would take precious minutes to re-load. HE couldn’t exactly turn off the firewall he had running, otherwise his computer would be completely open to attack, leaving the operation in peril.  Reluctantly he turned the communication software off.  Everyone would just have to survive without his help for a couple of minutes…



            “This door is going to take forever!” Abe complained, smashing the butt of his rifle into it.  Chips of wood went flying everywhere, one jumping up and splintering in Tim’s arm.      

            “OUCH!”  Tim yelled savagely.  The chunk of wood was about three centimetres long, and had gone through his clothing and buried itself deep within his skin. This was no time to pluck out splinters.

            “Move aside Abe, let me have a go.” Tim said, almost growling. Ouch, The pain was so intense! Tim started to take his frustrations out on the door. He clutched his gun in his right hand and swung as hard as he could, but the aim was poor and it hit the doorframe, instantly splitting it.  Tim aimed this time, and the gun wedged deep within the wood.

            “Shot!”  Abe cried in excitement.  “Go get it!”  Tim swung again, hitting the same place. 

            “I can see light on the other side!” Abe whopped. “Go Tim!”


Chapter 11:  Shooting Gallery


12:25, 27 June 2056, Floor 87, GCN Headquarters, Richter.


            James, Alex and Jesse snuck down the corridor at a slow but stead pace. There were no signs of life besides a guy opening a door, but he was to busy talking to another person in the office to see the three of them duck into a corner.

            “Hey Amy, is anything coming up in front of us?” James spoke into the headset. There was no reply. “Amy, do you hear?” Nothing, not even static.

            Jesse had a worried look on his face. “What is it?”

            “Looks like we are on our own now, boys.” James replied.

            But there was no time to be spent chatting. Ahead was one of the checkpoints on this level, and they would be expecting something at any second.

            James looked down the cold marble corridor. If his memory served him correctly, the checkpoint was just around this bend. It was probably situated here because it was the place the three elevators all stopped on the floor, and because it was only a short walk from the computer lab, although that was not the way they were intending to go. The computer lab was protected at all times by no less then thirty soldiers, or that was what the building plans seemed to indicate.

            James slipped on the infrared goggles and peered around the corner.  James instantly could see the six army-men slowly patrolling the elevators and the entrance to what was he presumed a hallway leading to the computer lab.

            James whispered hoarsely to Alex and Jesse. “Look, I want you both to stick your heads out, pick up a target, and shoot. There are six of them, so we have to kill two each. Two of them are just out of sight behind the wall near the elevator.  If we knock the four off quickly, we should have a fraction of a second before the next two are onto us, okay?” Jesse and Alex nodded.

            “One thing, James.” Jesse said.  “These upper levels are protected by crack troops, guys who have been through even more training then I have.  They sure aren’t idiots, unlike the dudes we’ve met on lower levels. If they see their comrade drop, they’ll immediately pick the direction the bullet came, duck for cover and start shooting in the same action.  We have got to kill them outright and get on to the next target if we want to get them all.”

            Alex nodded in agreement, which made James even more curious about his role in the revolution, but this wasn’t an ideal place to get to know people.

            “Are we ready?”  James asked, and accepting the two nods, he turned, pointed his gun and eyed up a target through the telescopic sight, and shot. Jesse and Alex shot at the same time. James watched as two targets crumbled the ground, while another jumped in fright as a bullet clipped through his hair and cannoned onto the wall behind him.  Alex grunted in annoyance, he had missed his target. 

            A fraction of a second, as Jesse said, was all it took. Both remaining men aimed down the hallway.  Jesse shot again before the first could pull the trigger, but the second managed to fire a round. The shots smashed into the marble wall at the end of the corridor, ricocheting and missing them all. James and Alex both shot, but the second man had already ducked to cover, and their shots fired into the marble.

            James swore under his breath. He was watching the three men, safely protected by the wall, leaning over in a huddle brainstorming on what to do. One of them left the huddle, and started running back somewhere. The shades of red and yellow had disappeared; obviously he had gone for reinforcements. The two men seemed to be strategising on how they were going to jump out and shoot. 

            “Jesse, get up hard against that wall. When they stick their ugly heads out, fire a round or two.”  Jesse smirked. It seemed a risky position to take, all alone and without protection.  “NOW!” James whispered.

            Jesse reluctantly took three steps towards the wall, then threw himself against it when he realised what James was trying to get him to do.  Through the goggles, he could see the two men getting ready to throw themselves around the corner and shoot. 

            “Here they come!” James yelled.

            The two men did exactly what James anticipated they would do.  The both aimed chest-height for the corner where the initial shots had came from. James was lying on the ground, and both shots whistled over his head.  He had already aimed up where they he predicted they would appear, and all he had to do was fire two shots and the first man fell, clutching his neck. Neither man had any clue Jesse would be where he was, and he fired on the two open targets, sending the second to the ground.

            “Nice shooting!” Alex proclaimed.

            “That was one heck of an idea, James!” Jesse agreed.

            “All in a day’s work.” James mumbled.  Then, almost in desperation, he whispered into his mouthpiece. “Amy?  Kings? Rachel?” Can you hear me?”  There was no response.

            James sighed reluctantly. “We have around fifty metres to go before we can get into the passage, so lets GO!”



            Tim had almost finished bashing a man-sized hole in the wall when suddenly it unlocked and swung open.

            “What the…?” Tim stuttered in disbelief, staring at the remaining piece of door that swung open by its hinges, just about the only part of the door not chopped to pieces. 

            There was a voice in his headset. “This is Amy. Sorry about that, we just had to unlock the doors. All the doors should be open now, and there is no threat till you reach the next corner.  When you reach it, make as much noise as you can; get the enemy to follow you, shoot them, and lead them down, okay?”

            Tim nodded and self-consciously put his hand on the splinter, which was now throbbing and aching. “Yep.  Operation ‘Kill us, Not Them’ is underway.”



            Kings’ fingers were flying twice as fast as normal. Now that the doors were unlocked, he had a new problem!  Somehow, there was someone organising resistance on the 87th floor. No contact could be made as yet with the lower levels, where many of the troops lived, but almost fifty troops were coming down from the upper levels, the levels of Enrik’s personal guard. And they were expressing their extreme dislike of being spied on by shooting the security cameras wherever they could!   Still another problem, Kings could hear James breathing and panting into the microphone, and even whispering to Jesse and Alex, but James couldn’t here him!



            “Blast this headset!” James exclaimed.

            Jesse looked at James like a sheep looks at his shepherd.  “What do we do now, sir?”

            James thought for a second. They had just passed the elevators and the hall leading to the computer lab, no sign of any more military, but there were doors at regular intervals of the corridor, and any might have had men behind. “We need to go straight ahead, quickly, and without making too much noise.  The fire hose we are looking for, that we pull open up, should be around the next corner.”

            James and Jesse started walking quickly, and Alex followed along behind.  Something didn’t feel right, and Alex could sense it. It was as if at any second someone was going to burst out and …

            BANG!  Two doors directly in front of Jesse and James opened together, and two soldiers jumped out.  If Jesse and James had been a foot slower, they wouldn’t have walked right into them, but would have been shot instantly.  Alex heard the same noise behind them and realised they had been ambushed. Without thinking, he slid back, extending his legs, pushing them back and out as far as they would go, using his arms to propel him back further, almost doing the splits in the process. As if by clockwork, two more men jumped out from behind the second set of doors, but instead of shooting, they were knocked over by Alex’s quick thinking. Alex was now lying stomach-down on the ground, and the two soldiers regained their feet quicker. Alex shot his arm out at the guy to his left, knocking his gun out of his hand.  In the same motion he grabbed a fistful of his shirt, and pulled viciously down, sending the man to the floor.

As he fell to the ground with the soldier, he managed to kick out at the next lowered gun, sending it falling from his second attacker’s hands. Alex found his feet, dodged the punch he knew was coming his way, and landed a spinning karate kick on his second attacker’s head. 

There was no time to admire his handiwork. When James and Jesse had been given a chance when they had walked into the attackers, and were lucky to still be alive. Jesse and a soldier were both fighting over a gun, trying to kick each other while still holding tightly to it.  James had been wrestled to the ground and his attacker was currently trying to throw a punch in between the rolling around on the floor. 

Alex landed a karate kick into the stomach of Jesse’s attacker, who let go of the gun, and Jesse made him pay with his life. Alex then dived onto James’ attacker, getting him into a headlock. James finished him off.

Alex was already grabbing James’ gun. “We have to go, now!”  Alex exclaimed.

James looked at him in bewilderment. “Where did you learn those moves?”

Alex laughed.  “The don’t call me Alex the ‘Skilful’ for nothing.”

Jesse pointed down the corridor. “Come on, let’s go!”

“It’s been a long time since I saw a decent Kung Fu movie.” James said dreamily.



Jo Gray couldn’t believe her luck. The reinforcements from the upper levels had come, and Jo had sent them to deal with the new threat, that group of four people that was causing all the problems.  She had dispatched a group to ambush and kill the group of three, but they should have been back by now. With most of her forces being used in eliminating the group of four that was presently heading straight towards the computer lab, she had successfully drained all of the resistance on the top floors.  If those three madmen found a way up another level or so…  But Jo didn’t have enough time to think about that. She was busily typing, trying to find a way, any way, to stop the hacker.


12:37, 27 June 2056, Floor 87, GCN Headquarters, Richter.


Tahi shot a volley into the unsuspecting soldier, and quickly ducked under cover again.  Another gone, but so many to go!  Marcus was trying to patch the gushing wound on Abe’s arm, so that left just Tim and Tahi to defend them for the time being.

The group of four had opened fire on an unsuspecting guard, and ever since then they had been besieged by at least forty troops. Thanks to Kings, they had been able to resist most of the attacks without much hassle, but the army men had the presence of mind to start shooting the security cameras, and now the group was fighting blindly.

The group had basically taken possession of a group of some seven or eight corridors, and spent their time patrolling and shooting. The floors at the other ends of the corridors were already covered in blood and bodies. 

Kings was speaking to Tim.  “Tim, you have to lead the people away.  Create a diversion.  Raid an office and start killing people randomly, or just make them follow you.”

“We’ll head for the staircase then.” Tim decided. 

Tim started walking over to where he thought he would find Marcus and Abe, but the sounds of a gun battle broken the eerie silence. Tim ran blindly towards the sound, leaving himself open to anyone who was coming down either of the corridors. Finding Abe and Marcus shooting down another of the criss-crossing hallways, he quickly loaded his gun and started firing.

“Gosh, there must be at least thirty of them!” Abe declared.

“Tim, we have to get out of here!” Marcus cried.  But there was a problem.  Bullets where being randomly fired towards their group, and although they were hitting the back of the wall at absolutely no danger to them, Abe and Tim were on the other side of the doorway from Marcus, and no one was going to be foolish enough to try and cross the doorway. If Tim’s memory served him correctly, the way to the staircases was three doors past Marcus, to the left. Then all they had to do was follow the opened doors. But Abe and Tim were never going to be able to cross under such heavy gunfire!

“Abe and I are going to have to find a different way, you find Tahi and get down the stairs, okay?”  Tim yelled. “C’mon, Abe, we have to go quick!”

Tim and Abe dashed off.  Kings had bad news for Tim almost immediately. “There is no other way back to the staircase! You’re going to have to find a place to hide wait!”

Tim’s heart sank.  Would he ever get out of this building alive?



A secret passage!  And they had found it!  James had yanked the fire hose back, and there was a hole in the wall. Jesse jumped in and helped Alex up. James pulled the fire hose in behind him. They were now in absolute pitch darkness, but they were here!

James reached for the torch in his jacket. He flicked it on.


“Far out…” Jesse agreed.

Alex laughed.  “This guy is so stuck up, he needs marble, red carpet, and expensive ornaments in his fire escape!”

For a fire escape, it certainly was impressive. The carpet was made of some fine carpets, famous paintings decorated the walls, and the staircase itself was made of fine marble with more red carpets.  James recognised one of the paintings on the wall.

“It’s the Mona Lisa!”  He exclaimed, looking into the Mona Lisa’s haunting eyes. He let out a shiver. “Up we go!” 

In the near-darkness they started climbing the staircase. They found it very steep, and by the time they had reached the top, they were all tired.

“Can we stop for a break?”  Jesse asked.

“No, we have an evil dictator to kill!” James replied.  “And besides, we are going to be entering right in his bedroom. Do you really want to stay here too long when he could hear us?”

Alex thumbed around with where they presumed the door was. He found a handle, but accidentally flicked a switch. Instantly the cavern was filled with a bright light.

“If we come back this way, remember where the lights are, okay?” Alex told them.


12:42, 27 June 2056, Floor 87, GCN Headquarters, Richter.


Tahi stood still as a rock.  A false move here and it would all be over. He was lurking in an office room just off the main corridor, and they were searching for him.  Three men were currently ravaging the office next door, trying to find where he was hidden. The banging and crashing had stopped now, and they would be coming into his office now!

Tahi ducked under the table.   If they came in here, they’d get a mouthful of lead before they ended him. The door was kicked down, and three men jumped in, guns poised to shoot.  For a second it seemed as if the room was deserted, and for a fraction of a second the men lowered their guard and their weapons.

            Tahi shot two rapid shots into the first guy, moved his gun onto the second, and was about to when a round of shots fired into the desk.  Tahi swore and shot anyway. The last thing he remembered was a fierce pain in his stomach, and the realisation he was about to die.



            Marcus thought he could hear the sound of guns blazing, but he couldn’t be sure.  He had made the staircase safely; apparently all the attackers had followed Tim and Abe. Which wasn’t good. Tim and Abe would know be running, trying to lead the soldiers in a circle so they could make the stairs too.

            Marcus wished he could find a window. He was sitting shivering at the beginning of the stairs, waiting for Tim and Abe, but he didn’t have the heart to leave this gloomy tunnel to find a window.  He could only imagine what would be happening in the city right now.

            The people from Dieua were supposed to, in one fluent move, knock out all communications, bomb three separate barracks, and make sure no soldiers could enter the tower till Enrik had been killed. He wondered how they were going.


12:37, 27 June 2056, Floor 93, GCN Headquarters, Richter.


            James, Jesse, and Alex snuck through the private quarters of Enrik.  It seemed so easy!  Here they were, three men, creeping around the very rooms where Enrik ate, relaxed, and slept.

            James’ memory of the upper levels was starting to wear thin.  “Okay, somewhere up here, we find a corridor, and that takes us straight to the room Enrik will be meeting in today.  There will be some guards, actually I think there was a checkpoint somewhere, don’t remember where. Actually, this might not be the corridor!”  James had led Jesse and Alex straight into a brick wall. 

            “Great, you haven’t forgotten where we’re supposed to go, have YOU?”  Jesse taunted.

            “Hey, look here! You’re the one who shoots like a girl!” James laughed.

            “Big call!” Jesse challenged.

            “We took the wrong left back fifteen metres ago.” Alex confirmed. He stood there, staring at the wall around the passage.

            “What is it?” James asked.

            “It’s a wall-map!” Jesse exclaimed.

            James stared intently at the map on the wall. It was a map of the entire level, with things like ‘water bed’, ‘pantry’, and ‘coffee machine’ labelled. James pointed with his finger at a room called the Boardroom.

            “That’s where we go, and that’s where we meet the resistance.”  James said.

            Alex pulled his sleaves up, and Jesse buttoned the top button of his jacket up.              “Lets make this quick, smooth, and simple.” James said.



            “Kings, can you see us yet?” Tim asked as he ran.

            “Not yet, Tim. They’ve done a great job of destroying our eyes.” Kings replied sorrowfully. “Just keep running, you’ll make it.”

            Tim shook his head. “We have to turn around now. We can’t allow ourselves to get too far away from our only exit.”

            “No, don’t!” Kings jumped, but it was too late. In the background, he could hear Tim telling Abe what to do, where to stand, and when to shoot.  Blast the fool, Kings thought.



            James kept the gun steady and shot another volley at the defender.  Jesse’s volley took out three men running to reinforce the guards, but all Alex’s shots screamed past the remaining troops, striking the ceiling and sending sparks flying.  Another well-placed shot or two by James and the rest of the guards lay dead.

            James, Jesse, and Alex crept around the doorframe. Board Room was inscribed in golden letters on the door.  The door seemed sturdy, but James had no doubts that one decent kick would send it flying. 

            James could already hear the sound of heavy boots coming from the opposite direction, and from the way they had just came, men were yelling and giving chase.

            James glanced at Jesse. “It’s now or never, buddy.”

            Jesse and Alex nodded in agreement. “For the Revolution, and Freedom!”



            Emma’s report on the new dinosaur park quickly bored the Board members.  The Genetics Minister was mildly excited at the prospect of programming dinosaur DNA so they could be trained for use in the military, but the Security Chief was almost asleep, and the Head of Secret Operations was no where to be seen, and his seat remained vacant, but a speech like this would have bored him too.

            Emma then moved on to her assessment of the park. “Although we had a minor security breaching, where a Tyrannosaur Rex broke lose and managed to eat five of Enrik’s security guards who cowardly were taking a coffee break, I believe the new park is fully safe and secure, and I would strongly suggest it a new place for important dignitaries, and of course ministers, to hold parties and be able to entertain.”  Emma proclaimed. “That is, after we repair the hole in the T-Rex fence.”

            A few people clapped at the idea of another place for dinner parties and such, but for the most part they just stared bored at Emma. 

            Enrik stepped up, motioning Emma back to her seat.

            “People, I have just received word that our computers are experiencing some technical difficulties, and there is a rumour of a security breach, so instead of showing you a video of the T-Rex escape, which was really quite hilarious, until the dinosaur dropped one of the security guards on the ground near my car, we will have to go to a report on the latest developments on the <CODE 7> case, which will be delivered by the security chief, seeing the Head of Secret Operations is on an extended holiday.”

            As Enrik took a step or two to the right to allow the security chief to make a way through, suddenly the main door burst open, and for a fleeting second Enrik noticed a little red dot on his chest, but, somehow, the security chief, who was in the process of standing up, suddenly cried in pain and dropped to the ground. Enrik saw the gunman too, and he dropped to the ground and started crawling towards the entrance.


12:45, 27 June 2056, Floor 93, GCN Headquarters, Richter.


            James swore. He’d had Enrik lined up perfectly, but that idiot had stood up as James pulled the trigger!  Jesse and Alex jumped in next to him and opened fire on the bewildered Board Members. James saw the evil Enrik Rostonovic duck under a desk.  He was crawling for the exit!  Jesse and Alex had almost finished the Board Members off, but by the screams and yelling just outside, the army was about to burst in.

James started running after Enrik, but for a second he lost his footing, and slipped.  He almost immediately regained his footing, but in that fraction of a second, Enrik had managed to get out of the door, and away.  James pursued, and Jesse was at his heals, but Alex chose to stay by the door.

“I’ll hold them off!  Get him!” Alex yelled.

James kicked open the door, and found yet another corridor, with the usual red carpet and marble walls with famous-looking paintings hanging from them. Enrik was just ahead, running like a fox almost cornered by the hounds. James fired blindly, shattering a light bulb above Enrik’s head.

“GET HIM!”  Jesse yelled excitedly.  Enrik flung himself through a door at the end of the passage, narrowly missing two more bullets fired from Jesse. 

James could here some excited yelling and gunfire coming from back in the Board Room.  Alex had probably just met his death, and they would soon, too. James bashed the door down with his shoulder. Enrik had just gone through another door. If James was going to die, so was Enrik.


12:49, 27 June 2056, Floor 87, GCN Headquarters, Richter.


Where was Abe?  Why had he let them get separated?  Tim was desperate, running, panting, about to cry. Where was Abe?  They had split up after the initial attack, there was no chance of holding off those numbers, but Tim had hoped he would have found Abe by now. A deep moan cut the silent air. Who was making the noise? Why couldn’t he find Abe?

His thought pattern was broken by a twisted scream and more gunfire. That was Abe! Abel, no, heaven no, not Abel, why did he have to die? Why did Tim have to live? Where was the staircase? Tim’s brain was a mess of emotions and memories, memories of Abel, missions they had done together, and good times they had spent together. But more importantly at this present moment, the memories of the last time he had travelled this route. Ahead was… yes, ahead was the staircase!

God be thanked, he had found the exit, the only way to get out of this hell!

Tim flung the door open, and was half surprised to see Marcus, sitting on the first stair, his head in hands.

“Where’s Abe?”  Marcus asked without emotion.

Tim forced the words out in between his attempts at swallowing to keep his tears in.  “Dead.”

Marcus rose to his feet, seemingly without emotion. “Tahi is dead too.”

The words shocked Tim almost as much as Abe’s last cry had. Tim fell to his knees and clutched his face. Why, for what point?

Marcus started down the steps. “We have to go.  When we are alive, then we can cry.  Now, we have to get out.” 



Chapter 12:  On Top of the World


Alex was lying on the ground clutching his arm. Around him laid the bodies of at least seven soldiers, all of who had received a trick or two from the ancient book of Kung Fu. Five soldiers had gotten through, and were pursuing James and Jesse. 

Alex knew his leg was broken, he could even see the bone sticking out. He was in the process of landing another karate kick when he met the full force of one of the soldier’s gun on his leg.  The idiot received a chop across his forehead for his troubles, but it had just about broken his arm as well. There were more voices coming!

Three soldiers burst in, and Alex, even with his broken leg, managed to take down two of them before the third managed to get an accurate shot.


12:53, 27 June 2056, Floor 95, GCN Headquarters, Richter.


James could hear the voices behind him getting closer, but at the same time, Enrik was slowing down.  James took a shot at Enrik, but the bullet thundered into one of the stairs they were running up.  James calculated they were now on the 95th floor. If Enrik persisted in following this course, they would be on the roof in a minute.  James could hear the heavy footsteps of their assailers behind.  There was no leaving this tower alive, and he knew it. But if they managed to kill Enrik, maybe this would all be worth it, maybe he could give Rachel the freedom he had grown up with.

“Go, keep going!”  Jesse yelled from behind them.  “I’m gonna hold them up!” 

James paused.  “Why?” Why was Jesse doing this, what madness was happening, to try to take those guys on was suicide!

“I’d prefer to die knowing you lived then die knowing we killed Enrik.” Jesse said simply, and threw something at him.  James caught it in his hand, looked at Jesse in thanks and awe, and continued up the stairs. He reached the top to see an open-air duct leading out to the sky. 

James jumped out and saw to his utter amazement that he was standing on top of the building, a flat concrete square the size of an American football ground.  He looked nervously over the edge.  Yikes, he was standing on top of the world.  Where was Enrik?  There he was, running towards the far corner.  James raised his gun and followed.  He was going to bring him down, but first he had something to deal with. He clutched the microphone in his hand and charged after Enrik.



Amy awoke from her semi-sleep with a voice in her ear. James was talking!

She threw the receptor to Rachel, and Rachel shoved it on instantly. She could hear James speaking!

            “… about to get him, I don’t think I’ll be making it back. I just want to say, if anyone can hear me, I want you to tell Rachel… tell her I loved her.”

            Rachel broke down in tears. “I love you too!” She yelled passionately, forgetting James couldn’t hear her.

            James yelled something at Enrik, and then spoke into the microphone again.              “Rachel, I’m on top of the world here. And I’m about to do it. Bye.”

Rachel couldn’t stop crying.  Why, why did James have to die?  This was no time to ask questions or weep though. She pressed her ears hard into the headphones, in the chance that she might be able to hear something.


12:56, 27 June 2056, Floor 96, GCN Headquarters, Richter.


Enrik knew this was the end.  He was one step away from the edge, and that madman with the gun was only a few metres away.  Enrik could feel the heat of the laser on his chest.

“Fool!”  Enrik snapped. “What do you want to achieve from this?”

“Freedom, mate.”  The gunman said calmly.  “Many years ago, your country attacked my country, and the rest of the civilised world. You idiots thought you could stamp out the past, and just make people forget. And maybe you could make people forget; maybe you could stamp out freedom, for a while.  But I say, too bad.  In the name of America, I sentence you to death for crimes against the basic human rights of the people of the world. Burn.”  James set his finger on the trigger, but Enrik jumped in. 

“America?”  Enrik spat the word out, and he cringed as he spoke it.

“Yes, I come from America, I am an American.” James’ finger was now resting on the trigger.

James could hear footsteps coming up the stairs. He knew this was the time. He pulled the trigger and watched as the impact threw Enrik Rostonovic, ruler of the world, off his lofty tower, sending him spinning towards the ground 95 stories below.

James immediately spun around and aimed the gun at the air duct entrance, shocked to see, not a soldier… but Jesse!


23:34, 29 June 2056, Stalin Hospital, Richter.


El Lider rubbed his hands together in glee.  Although he had lost some of his most brave and respected men, things were looking up.  Enrik was dead, his tower razed to the ground. The people, eager for freedom and liberty, were currently destroying his institutions around the globe, and perhaps soon, the world might be ready for democratic elections and stable governments. It would take years, but El Lider was an ambitious man, and he could see it happening. 

At a more personal level, El Lider, now a public hero, was standing in the waiting room of the hospital. Tim had been treated for minor injuries and shock, James had suffered minor cuts and bruises as well as dehydration from carrying Jesse over his back for 95 stories, and Jesse himself had received five or six bullets in his arms and legs, and one in his chest, but somehow he had lived, and saved James as well.  Marcus had cried for three days straight at the conformation his brother was dead.

El Lider was tempted to focus on what he had lost; Abe, Tahi, Matilda, Alex, thousands of the rebels from Deiua, and after 11 years, his life goal had been fulfilled. 

El Lider was led to a window looking in on a patient. James lay on his bed, a drip coming into his arm, bandages covering his head, and thousands of flashing lights monitoring his vital signs.

            Rachel was sitting on a chair next to him.

            “I heard what you said, before you killed Enrik.” She said, looking into James’ eyes.

            “Really?  I thought I’d never see you again.”

            Rachel nodded sadly. “So did I.”

            There was an awkward silence as they both looked at each other. 

            “So, James, tell me what happened, how did you do it?” Rachel asked nervously.

            James told her the whole story from start to finish, then slowly pulled apart the last few seconds on top of the tower.

            “Yeah, you said you was on top of the world.” Rachel remembered, reaching out and taking James’ hand.

            James looked at his hand. “I don’t know if I was on top of the world then, but I sure am now!”



23:48, 2 March 256,000,000 BC


            Where was he? Officer Justin Parkes looked around in earnest. Was his brain really playing tricks, or was he… in the jungle?

            Justin drove his tank forward a couple feet, his turret pushing away a fern.  He could now accurately see where he was. He was in a giant valley somewhere, and although the valley was grassland, he could see palm trees and ferns, as well as some tall towering trees he could not put a name to. 

            Justin stepped out of his tank. Where the heck was he? This wasn’t Switzerland, no, this area wasn’t even civilised! There was a noise from the jungle behind him, and Justin leapt around.  Justin rushed back to the tank and grabbed a gun. At least if the Russians found him, he’d be able to put up a little resistance.  But Russians, in the jungle, somehow he doubted.

            There was that noise again, a harsh shrill, like a yelp of pain or a war cry, coming from the forest behind him again. Justin thought nothing of it, although it was pretty scary, and went back to his tank.

            From in the forest behind Justin’s tank, there was a rumbling in the bushes, and something huge stepped out. It stood on two giant legs, had a strong body, and its knife-sized teeth glistened in the sunlight. From its great height, the creature looked down hungrily upon the small tank and that small little mammal seated inside. Such an easy feed was getting harder to find these days, and this massive beast licked his lips in anticipation.


Kyle B.