Op. Lighthouse: Nexus (Chapter 20a and updated with b)

So… it’s like this. I’ve reached my self-imposed deadline, and surprise surprise the chapter isn’t done. But, I’m posting what I have. Here is the first 5 or so pages of chapter 20. I’m trying to change my writing style a little, so tell me what you think. Also, it’s likely that there are a lot of errors, so feel free to point them out. I’ll keep writing the chapter, and post on this thread as I finish parts (possibly divided up by scene changes).

So, anyway…

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Operation Lighthouse: Nexus
Chapter 20a

Lucine didn’t hurry back to her room that night. She didn’t have anything else to do, and it was getting less and less likely that Aile was going to chase her down and ask her to spend the night with him. She just didn’t want to go back to her quarters. To do so would be to quit, and she wouldn’t be so easily satisfied. Somehow, she felt if she stayed out long enough, something good would happen. At best, it was a fleeting hope.

The residential area was one floor down from the surface. There weren’t any windows, and outside sounds didn’t penetrate the reenforced ceiling. As such, it was very quiet in the hallways, the only sounds of the florescent lamps buzzing overhead. The boorish, sterile hallway was doing little to curb Lucine’s feelings of loneliness, but even so she could not bring herself to leave them.

As she continued to wander, something broke the silence. Approaching footsteps caught Lucine’s attention, and a moment later a man appeared from around a nearby corner. He was wearing an orange vest, and Lucine recognized him as being one of the controllers. Lucine recalled his name was Darrington, but she didn’t know him personally.

“Arlette!” Darrington called when he saw her.

“Uh… yeah?” Lucine replied, unsure of what else to say. Darrington stopped and caught his breath.

“Found ya. We got a call holding on the line,” he held up something. It was a wireless receiver for the base’s phone system. “He wants to talk to the kid, says it’s urgent.”

“The kid? You mean Aile?”

“Yeah, him,” Darrington nodded in affirmation.

“Who is it?” Lucine asked as she tentatively took the receiver from him.

“Calls himself Lang. Says it’s very important,” Darrington shrugged. Lucine brought the receiver to her ear.

“Hello?”

Broyson Toy Wreck? That’s a dumb name,” Aile quipped. Tyrek smirked, apparently unaffected by the slight. It was only natural; he was in control of the situation, and it was obvious that Aile’s joke was only an attempt to mask his own fear. After all, anyone would be afraid to come home to find a large, hungry looking man waiting for them in the dark.

“Cheeky,” Tyrek responded sarcastically. For a moment time seemed to stand still for Aile. He was in a bad situation, and there weren’t many options. Aile was really not much of a soldier, a fact that he was keenly aware of. Tyrek, on the other hand, was a trained killer. Even in his small movements, in his gaze, Aile could see this. Not that it mattered. A man that large could easily rip him apart with his bare hands.

Clearly confident, Tyrek just sat there quietly. It seemed as though he were waiting for Aile to make the first move.

Aile involuntarily glanced to his left, toward the bedside table at the opposite end of the bed. There was a loaded Walther automatic pistol in the drawer. He then glanced to the right, at the doorway some distance away. Shifting his gaze back to Tyrek, Aile weighed his options. Fight or flight?

Tyrek seemed content with patiently waiting for Aile to make a decision. He was completely calm, while Aile was doing his best to keep control over his nerves. Aile stared at him, looking into his eyes for anything that could help him. Many thoughts crossed his mind in the span of a second. Could he negotiate with him? Maybe make some kind of a deal? No, there was no way. He had already said he was there to kill him. Maybe he could buy some time; stall him until someone showed up. That was silly; no one was coming. He was on his own. At that moment, he desperately wished he were up in the clear blue sky.

Wait…

Aile knew he wasn’t a soldier. He was, however, a combat aviator. At the very least, his training and experience allowed him to think calmly in tense situations. Realizing this brought him back to his senses; allowed him to see the situation objectively. Tyrek was there to kill him, and no one was there to save him. He was on his own, so he would have to save himself.

With a renewed sense of purpose, Aile waited for an opportunity. All he needed was a moment, and he could turn the situation in his favor. Tyrek, however, wasn’t giving him any quarter. He just stared at him, into him. It was an extremely long, tense moment. And then, Tyrek blinked. Aile knew it was the best chance he would get.

In that narrow moment while Tyrek’s eyes were closed, Aile sprung into action. Jumping with all his legs could give him, Aile dove toward the bed. He hit shoulder first, immediately rolled, and landed on the opposing side. It only took a moment to reach down, yank open the drawer, and thrust his other hand in. He reached for his pistol, and grasped… nothing.

“Looking for this?” Tyrek’s voice, extremely close, boomed in Aile’s ears. In that moment it took Aile to get to where he was, Tyrek had also moved. He closed the distance in a remarkably short amount of time, inconceivable for a man of his size. Aile turned, and immediately saw his pistol in Tyrek’s hand. He wasn’t holding it by the grip, however. He was just palming it tantalizingly. Aile made a grab for it, but Tyrek brought up his knee and delivered a solid blow to Aile’s midsection. The young pilot staggered back, choking.

Tyrek released the full magazine from the Walther and caught it in his other hand. He took the two objects and flung them in opposite directions. The pistol hit the wall with a crash and fell to the floor, while the magazine landed on the air conditioning unit on the opposing wall. The first round became dislodged and was flung from the magazine. The other fourteen followed, scattering in all directions.

Aile didn’t even have time to recover from the blow. Tyrek grabbed him by the neck with one arm, and in an incredible display of strength, flung Aile across the room. To Aile, the room turned end over end, and then turned dark when he landed with a tremendous crash. His head, shoulder, back and legs all screamed in pain, but try as he might, Aile couldn’t cry out. His breath had been knocked out of him by the impact. Gasping like a fish out of water, Aile struggled to get back to his feet.

“Stupid kid! You were out of frame!” Tyrek said. He stopped a moment to check his carefully set up camera. Aile stumbled and staggered toward the door. Tyrek took notice, and in a fluid, effortless motion, threw out his arm. Had Aile been a half second slower, he would’ve been killed.

There was a thud, and Aile’s vision was obstructed by an object. A moment passed, and he felt a sharp pain near the bridge of his nose. A large combat knife was stick in the drywall right in front of his face. It had passed so close that it superficially cut his nose. A thin trickle of blood made its way down his face.

“Going somewhere?” Tyrek said, stepping toward him. “Oh, we are just gettin’ started.”

It took a moment for Aile to recover from his shock. By the time he came back to his senses, Tyrek was again right on top of him. In desperation, Aile threw a punch. It actually connected, but it was like punching a cement pillar. No, Tyrek’s jaw was probably even harder than that.

With a toothy grin, Tyrek reached out and took Aile again by the neck. Lifting his arm, he picked Aile up off of the ground like he were weightless. Tyrek’s grin widened as the crease in his brow deepened. Aile’s perception became a blur as Tyrek spun around, taking Aile along for the ride. With tremendous force, he slammed Aile into the wall. At the moment of the blow, it felt as if his organs were all being pressed against his back. His joints ground, and his bones felt as if they would break apart. Still, Tyrek held him there. Hovering over the ground, supported only by Tyrek’s vice grip around his neck. Aile’s vision began to blur and darken as Tyrek literally squeezed the life out of him. He gasped and fought, but he couldn’t breath, much less escape.

“So, this is how it ends,” Tyrek said. His face was so close that it was all that Aile could see. The face of a madman; of a monster. Aile didn’t want it to be the last thing he ever saw.

“After all you’ve put us through, you’re going to die so easily. I wonder what your dear little girlfriend will think of this when I show her the tape.”

Aile’s eyes widened. Tyrek actually planned to show the tape of his demise to Elise.

“It’ll be grand. Big screen, popcorn, the whole nine. I can’t wait to see…” his thought trailed off when he heard a knock at the door. Aile was losing consciousness, but somehow he was still holding on. A regular person would be dead already. But Aile, in a final act of defiance, used the remainder of his strength to kick the wall.

“Aile?!” a panicked voice of a girl called from the other side of the door. “Aile, are you alright?”

Aile felt like his head would explode from the pressure. Grating his teeth, closing his eyes, he mustered the strength to kick the wall again a second, and then third, time.

“Company, eh?” Tyrek said, “I’ll be sure to tell your girlfriend you were cheatin on her too. No matter, you’ll be long dead before she gets…” Tyrek’s speech was cut off for a second time. The distinct sound of a key being inserted in the doorknob had caught his attention. A moment later, the door swung open and the shillouette of a girl appeared.

“Aile!” Lucine cried in alarm. A normal girl would’ve probably run away, or been glued to the spot by a combination of surprise and fear. But, lucky for Aile, Lucine was anything but a normal girl. Without hesitation, she rushed headlong at Tyrek. Letting out an angry shout, Lucine barreled into the large man with all she had. It wasn’t enough to hurt Tyrek, but he was knocked off balance. His grip on Aile slackened, and the young aviator fell to the floor.

Lucing regained her footing, and immediately kneed Tyrek in the crotch.

Auohhhgg,” Tyrek groaned as he doubled over in pain. Unfortunately, it only slowed him for a moment. With a quick movement, he grabbed Lucine by the arm.

“Bitch!” he bellowed as he flung her with all his might.

“Ahh!” Lucine cried in alarm as she went flying. She his the headboard of the bed, rolled, and disappeared over the other side.

“Hah! Serves ya right!” Tyrek said, his voice an octave or two higher. Turning back to Aile, Tyrek was astounded to see the young pilot on his feet, albeit resting heavily against the wall. With his free hand, he was pulling Tyrek’s throwing knife out of the wall.

“Nice try,” Tyrek said, punching Aile in the stomach. Choking out some curse, Aile crumpled to the ground, falling onto his side in the fetal position. Tyrek proceeded to kick him once, and was about to repeat when suddenly a blaring alarm filled the halls of the residential wing. Eyes wide in surprise, Tyrek instinctively turned toward where Lucine had landed. Hunched over the side of the bed, Lucine held in her hand the room’s phone. She had punched in an emergency code that activated the fire alarm. It also alerted base control, and the security force, that something was amiss in that room.

“You didn’t,” Tyrek growled. He took a step toward Lucine, then immediately felt a tremendous pain in his foot. This time it was Tyrek’s turn to cry out in pain.

“Going somewhere?” Aile choked out. Tyrek’s face contorted in pain as he looked down. The handle of his throwing knife was sticking out of the top of his boot. It was in so deep that it was actually pinning his foot to the floor. Aile’s hand still grasped the handle.

Without even so much as a witty comeback, Tyrek took another knife from his belt. Angrily, he grasped the knife in a stabbing grip. Still on the floor, Aile had a dark smile on his face. Tyrek saw a determination in his eyes that was totally uncharacteristic for a boy his age. The look of defiance only served to anger him further. He raised the knife threateningly, but before he could do anything else, an alarm went off in his head. Someone had just arrived outside of the doorway; a member of base security.

The surprised young man brandished his FN P90 submachinegun in Tyrek’s direction. Wasting no time, Tyrek rushed the man. Aile tried to stop him by holding the knife but it was no use. Tyrek ripped the knife from the floor, and Aile lost his grip. Closing the distance in no time, Tyrek crashed into the security guard like a tsunami. The young man was floored, and the P90 went flying. It hit the opposite side of the hallway, and clattered to the ground. Tyrek lunged forward and took the weapon. He knew he didn’t have a lot of time, but it would only take a second to fire a burst into the room and finish his mission. He turned and brought the weapon to bear, but was surprised to see the girl leveling a pistol at him. There was a flash, immediately followed by a tremendously loud bang. Tyrek felt a pain in his shoulder, inches above his heart. It was only one shot; the girl had managed to find the empty pistol and manually load a single round into the chamber. Tyrek stumbled back and nearly dropped the P90, but by sheer force of will pointed it in their direction. The girl dove for cover, but Aile couldn’t move fast enough. Tyrek’s finger graced the trigger.

In that same moment, a hail of gunfire erupted from somewhere down the hallway. Tyrek only barely managed to avoid the shots, diving out of the way. He hadn’t even managed to shoot one bullet. Two more security guards had shown up, and immediately began firing. Tyrek got to his feet and broke into a run, all while returning fire. The security guards took cover around the corner as Tyrek fled, laying down suppressing fire.

“Damn it all! Ah well, live to kill another day…” Tyrek said while running.

Re: Op. Lighthouse: Nexus (Chapter 20a)

Thanks, great as always ;D Looking forward to the complete chapter;)

Re: Op. Lighthouse: Nexus (Chapter 20a)

Still looking forward to the full chapter ;D

Re: Op. Lighthouse: Nexus (Chapter 20a)

The wait between updates is not nice. :frowning:

Re: Op. Lighthouse: Nexus (Chapter 20a)

Guys, you shouldn’t necropost.

Dah… I mean. Umm. Crap.

Honestly, how much do you guys want an update? I can go ahead and post what little I have, which is about 4 pages worth. I could even offer up an excuse as to why this takes so much longer than it used to, if anyone cares.

Chime in. The number of comments I get is directly proportional to my motivation for writing. Really, scientists have observed the correlation.

Re: Op. Lighthouse: Nexus (Chapter 20a)

Your sense of humor is as good as ever I see.

If we did not want an update, I am sure we would not have responded.

I also do not think that posting three months after the last update is excessive.

Those of us who have been following the story know that you also have other commitments, but we are only responding to find out if the story has been abandoned.

Re: Op. Lighthouse: Nexus (Chapter 20a)

dooooo it! this story is amazing and badass

and explanations make me feel involved and appreciated!
i also like behind the scenes type jazz where you comment on the process of writing the chapers

Re: Op. Lighthouse: Nexus (Chapter 20a)

Rest assured, good sir, I will never abandon this story. Time constrains, lack of motivation, combined with difficult to write chapters have all contributed to the slow down of late. Truth be told, I’m not that experienced a writer. When the story was simple, it was easy to write quickly with some semblance of quality. Now, I have multiple threads, far more characters who I’m desperately trying to keep unique and interesting, and a plot that gets more complicated by the word. I can’t just sit down and start pounding the keyboard anymore… now I have to think. I suppose this is what it means to be a writer.

I can’t deny that some amount of laziness has contributed as well, of course.

Really? I mean, really? I stopped doing those cause I figured no one cared… but now. Now I’m gonna write so much commentary it’s gonna be like a whole extra chapter.

Thanks for the encouragement, guys. I’ll see what I can put together tomorrow. Maybe get some kind of update going.

By the way, I got a random, out of the blue phone call from Ambivaalense the other day. Yeah, that’s right. Us authors all exchange phone numbers and conspire against our fans. Seriously though, he’s doin’ well. Moved clear across the country - some 3,000 miles. He’s got a full plate right now, but even so he’s been talkin about his story. I’m looking forward to what he comes up with.

Re: Op. Lighthouse: Nexus (Chapter 20a)

How long do we have to wait for the commentary then? ;- )

Re: Op. Lighthouse: Nexus (Chapter 20a)

RT, if you want a pat on the back then come on over and I will be happy to do it. I have a very nice whip that needs some work if that will help you write? ??? ???

Op. Lighthouse: Nexus - Chapter 20B

Chapter 20B

The security guard let out a sigh of relief.

“You two okay?” he asked, still trying to catch his breath. Even then, intermittent gunfire could be heard in the distance.

“Yeah, I think so,” Lucine said as she stumbled over. Aile remained silent as he sat with his back against the wall.

“Just don’t let him get away,” Lucine advised, wincing as a sharp pain coursed through her shoulder.

“Right,” the guard said as he quickly and methodically checked over his P90. Satisfied that it was ready for battle, he took off down the hallway and out of their sight. Lucine sighed and leaned against the wall. Ignoring a considerable amount of discomfort, she slid down the wall onto her rear next to Aile. After collecting herself a moment, Lucine turned to him.

“You alright?” she asked in the way that a man would ask another man. Aile didn’t return her gaze.

“Yeah,” he paused, “yeah, I’m good.”

Lucine scrutinized his features.

“Are you sure?” she asked, a little more cautious this time. Aile took a deep breath.

“Yeah,” he forcibly turned his head to look over at her and offered a weak smile, “thanks for the save. I can’t wait for word to get out that I was rescued by a girl.”

Lucine wanted to say something spiteful like “it’s not like it’s the first time,” or “yeah yeah, what else is new,” but she couldn’t bring herself to do it. She was overcome with a great amount of sympathy for the boy next to her. Time and again Aile had faced difficult situations all by himself. Ever since he was a child, he had just gotten used to having no one else he could truly rely on. He was alone in the world, and it was something that he simply accepted. Lucine felt so badly for him that it was overwhelming her, and she felt herself on the verge of crying.

“Aile,” she said evenly, then swallowed back some tears, “you don’t have to face everything by yourself.”

At this statement Aile’s smile faded away. He returned to looking ahead at the ground before him and concentrated very hard on it. Lucine reached out with her good arm and placed a hand on Aile’s shoulder. He was shaking.

“Aile…” she said, swallowing again, “everything’s okay. You’re okay.”

“I know, I just need a minute,” Aile replied, shaking his head. Lucine could momentarily see the glistening of something wet in his eyes. Lucine knew that if she tried to talk she would lose her composure and start crying, but at the same time she knew she had to do something. She scooted closer and put her arm around Aile’s shoulders. His body tensed at her touch, but as she pulled him gently toward her he relaxed and gave in. It wasn’t a romantic sort of gesture. At that moment, it was a gesture between friends, perhaps even family.

Aile leaned into Lucine’s embrace and let out an uneven sigh. His body quivered, but he didn’t cry. He just relaxed and breathed.

Kaden wasn’t really surprised when Kolman called him into his office that evening, but he wasn’t sure what it was about. Arriving at the office door, Kaden was stoically greeted by the gold placard that said “Dyson Kolman – Chief of Operations.” Kolman wasn’t one to waste time. It wasn’t like he would ask Kaden over for tea and crumpets. If the Chief of Operations was taking time out of his busy schedule to talk to him, it was certain to be serious in nature.

He rapped on the door three times. Without even a second’s delay, he could hear Kolman’s brusk voice telling him to enter. Kaden took a deep breath, forced his nerves to their calmest state, and opened the door. Game on.

“You wanted to see me, sir?” Kaden asked. Though he said ‘sir,’ his voice was casual and uncaring. This was completely deliberate on the part of Kaden.

“Sit down,” Kolman, always business, said without looking up from his paperwork. Kaden approached the large desk, pulled back the chair, and sat.

“What did you want to see me about?” Kaden asked whilst looking around. It was actually the first time he had been in Kolman’s office. It was very sparsely decorated; only the essentials were present. There were one or two pictures on the walls, but Kaden got the feeling they had come with the office and Kolman simply hadn’t bothered to take them down.

Kolman didn’t reply. Instead, he finished reading the paper he was looking at. Eventually, he raised an expensive looking pen, signed the document, and closed the folder. Once that order of business was complete, he turned his full attention to Kaden.

“It’s been brought to my attention that you have been interfering with the research.”

Kaden raised an inquisitive brow.

“How so?”

“One of the security guards reported that you prevented him from escorting Subject 152,” Kolman said. “A second guard confirmed his story, and it was also corroborated by several security cameras.”

Again, Kaden wasn’t completely surprised. He knew that his threat on the security guards probably wouldn’t hold. It did bother him a little, but despite that he kept a calm demeanor.

“Subject 152? Which one’s that?” Kaden asked, even though he already knew the answer. Kolman regarded him a moment, then replied.

“Yuki Matsumoto.”

“Oh, Yuki,” Kaden replied with a nod. “Yeah, I did happen to be walking by when there was a small disturbance in one of the labs. Two of the guards were having difficulty getting her to cooperate.”

Kolman didn’t say anything, so Kaden continued.

“It looked like they were about to resort to force, so I stepped in.”

“You’re a hired gun,” Kolman stated bluntly, “it’s not your place to worry about the test subjects.”

Kaden cocked his head a little and narrowed his eyes.

“Even if someone is going to hurt one of them?”

“The security guards wouldn’t have killed her,” Kolman said. Kaden felt his chest tighten in frustration. Kolman didn’t care one bit for Yuki or Elise’s well being.

“Wouldn’t have killed her…? Is that all that matters?”

“As long as she is alive we can continue the project. There’s no need to be gentle.”

Kaden blinked a few times, unsure of what to say. He wasn’t an especially naїve person, but at the same time he couldn’t fathom how Kolman could treat those girls like objects. Even though he was feeling this, he forced himself to remain calm and composed.

“I may only be a mercenary, but it doesn’t take a brilliant scientist to realize that if you treated your test subjects with a little respect, they’d probably be a lot more cooperative. Beside that, I don’t see the problem with at least keeping them content.”

“I don’t want them content,” Kolman said sternly. “And I don’t need them to be cooperative. As long as they are uncomfortable and tired, they will do what they’re told. From now on you are to leave them alone. I don’t need bleeding hearts like you jeopardizing this operation.”

As he spoke, Kolman opened the folder on his desk started looking at another form.

Kaden nodded in comprehension, took a breath, and replied.

“What is it you’re so afraid of, Kolman? You think giving those girls a little hope will make them a threat? Are you honestly afraid of two little girls?”

Kolman stopped reading and looked up into Kaden’s eyes. Kaden, not one to be easily stared down, returned the icy gaze.

“Dirk,” Kolman said evenly. “Do you have any idea what a mature Optimum is capable of?”

“I have an inkling,” Kaden replied, keeping his poker face.

“Then you know they aren’t to be taken lightly. At the very least, them gaining hope and confidence would be troublesome. At most, deadly. From now on, you are to leave them be. Is that clear?”

Kaden knew he was pushing it at this point. He gave a slight nod.

“Fine, I understand,” he replied.

There was a pause. It seemed like Kolman was about to say something when the intercom on his desk beeped. Tapping the button, Kolman replied.

“What is it?”

“You have a priority message coming in, sir,” a stern sounding female voice said.

“Very well, send it through.”

“Guess I’ll be g…” Kaden began.

“You’re dismissed,” Kolman interrupted without even looking up. Kaden stood up, turned, and headed for the door.

“See ya,” he said with an over the shoulder wave as he left.

Leaving the office, Kaden shook off the unpleasant urge to put a knife in Kolman’s face. Even though he knew the type of person Kolman was, it was still extremely difficult for Kaden to keep calm when dealing with him. Working under him was almost intolerable.

As he walked toward his quarters, Kaden went over the discussion in his head several times. Confidence… he doesn’t want them finding confidence, having hope… he thought to himself. At that moment, he looked up and saw a guard escorting a girl down an adjacent hall. That blonde haired girl, Elise Laraway. Kaden had only met her once before, but he knew of her for quite some time before that. At the same moment Kaden looked up, so did Elise. Their eyes met, and in that fleeting moment, the young girl offered him a warm smile.

Beautiful… Kaden couldn’t help but think. He returned the smile as they passed each other, and even though no words were exchanged, they both knew what the other was feeling.

Looks like it’s too late for you, Kolman, Kaden thought with a smirk as he watched Elise disappear around the corner.

During the conversation between Kaden and Kolman, many miles North, another exchange was taking place. Bryson Tyrek wasted no time with stealth. It had taken patience and cunning to get in undetected, but it would take speed and agility to get out alive. Even as he plunged through the dense forest on the edge of the island, he could hear the security force behind him. Every now and again they fired in his direction, and even though countless branches and leaves were torn apart, not a single bullet found Tyrek’s back. As far as he was concerned, he had gotten shot up enough already for one day.

Even though he was fast, the security force personnel knew the island better, and were gaining ground. Not a moment too soon, Tyrek arrived at his destination – a rocky outcropping about twenty or so feet above the crashing tide. Hearing the security guards breaking through the last of the forest barricade, Tyrek wasted no time in diving off the small cliff into the water beneath. Just under the surface, gripping the rocky surface and hovering in silence was an assault frame. It was a FF-24 Firefly aerial frame, the model commonly used by the United States military. However, this particular Firefly had been outfitted with a ‘Maritime Operations Kit.’ The added equipment allowed it to operate underwater, while still being capable of flight. Fireflys equipped with such equipment were often designated FF-24MOK, or the Waterfly. It was the only machine that could get Tyrek so close to the island without being detected.

Reaching the cockpit, Tyrek actuated the external entry handle. The hatch popped open, but no bubbles were produced. The inside of the cockpit was already filled with water. The machine automatically did this to prevent bubbles from being released and possible giving away the position of the frame. Tyrek slipped in, closed the hatch, and waited patiently for the water to be automatically drained by the internal pumps. Usually, the Navy SEALs who made use of this type of frame wore specialized lightweight SCUBA gear. However, in his haste Tyrek hadn’t the time to don his.

As the water receded, and the cockpit was pressurized, Tyrek resumed breathing. The frame was on standby, and it only took the push of a button to reactivate all the systems. The underwater engine came to life with a deep hum, and the power level began to rise. It only took a few seconds before the instrument panel showed all green. Wincing at the pain in his shoulders, Tyrek operated the controls and made the frame move.

As the frame stood to its feet, the upper half broke the surface of the water. Straightening its back, the frame appeared to stretch its muscles as the sound of the turbine whirring up filled the area. The security forces all stopped in their tracks at the unexpected sight of the giant standing before them. Tyrek saw them looking up in awe at him, and even though he knew he could easily dispatch the lot of them with the Vulcan cannon, it would serve no purpose other than to hold him up. No matter how many of the security forces he killed, he still failed in his mission. It angered him that a teenager had managed to thwart him again, but it was of no matter. Of course he had a backup plan.

Adding throttle, the engine noise grew in pitch. Draining gallons of water from it’s joints, the frame lifted from the surface of the water, promptly turned one hundred eighty degrees, and sped off away from the island with a roar. With the turn of a dial and the push of a button the maritime kit was ejected from the frame by the power of explosive bolts. As the equipment fell into the ocean below, the frame gained a substantial increase in speed as it took off toward the heavens, drawing two sharp contrails from it’s wingtips as it accelerated. Passing three hundred fifty knots, Tyrek locked the frame into High-Speed-Mode, set the autopilot, and set about his next order of business: informing the boss of yet another failure.

The call was bounced off a satellite and sent back to Isla de la Juventud. Being directed through the switchboard, Kolman picked up the call in his office several seconds after it was placed.

“This had better be good news, Tyrek,” Kolman greeted warmly.

“Sorry boss,” was all Tyrek needed to say. It wasn’t the first time he had said it. In fact, it had become his catchphrase ever since the first failed kidnapping of Elise Laraway back at Lighthouse Academy.

Tyrek could hear Kolman’s brow wrinkle.

“Tyrek, I’m beginning to question my previous decision to employ your services.”

“Aww, come on, boss. I got you that Laraway kid, didn’t I?”

“What have you done for me lately?” Kolman replied. Tyrek actually had an answer for this. His frown turned into a grin.

“I found out the location of a persistent thorn in yer side.”

“Oh really.”

“Oh yeah, boss. It turns out that little island… is a fortress. Underground hangers, missile launcher, and all kinds of advanced fighter planes. It’s not just some small enterprise airstrip like that operation at Icarus. No, this one’s the real deal.”

“Interesting,” Kolman replied, his tone much calmer than before. “What do you suggest we do about it?”

“My opinion?” Tyrek began, “well, I think we should wipe that little place off the map before they cause any more trouble. The Phoenix kid is still there, so it will be like killing a whole lot of birds with one big stone.”

The line was silent a moment.

“Very well,” Kolman replied. “Adjust your course to rendezvous with Task Force 33. I’m sending the coordinates. You are to take command and eliminate that base with extreme prejudice as soon as is practical. Is that understood?”

“You got it boss,” Tyrek replied.

“I’ll send word that you’re on your way. Get it done this time, Tyrek.”

“Aye, no problem,” Tyrek replied. Without so much as a good bye, Kolman severed the connection. Tyrek sighed.

“Tactical missiles are so impersonal,” he lamented. “I wanted to kill that kid with my bare hands.”

Elise really wasn’t in the mood for any more tests. She had already spent the majority of the day laying inside a large metallic tube while strange noises resounded all around her. Even despite the tiring day of examinations, and the evening hour, she was being prepared for yet another round of tests. This time, however, it was another session with Doctor Shealey. Elise never thought she would have a nemesis in her life. Before meeting Aile, such thoughts never crossed her mind. However, she had become certain that Doctor Shealey was her’s.

With no regard for her comfort or modesty, Elise was once again bound to the cold table in the sterile looking laboratory. After the large orderly had her secured face down, he left her alone to contemplate her disdain. Lately, as she had been mercilessly toyed with in that facility, Elise had started to question her belief in people. She remembered a conversation she had had with Aile during what seemed like a lifetime ago.

Interrupting Elise’s thoughts, Dr. Shealey briskly walked into the laboratory. The woman, who was most likely in her late twenties, looked worn out. Elise quickly surmised that it probably wasn’t going to be the best day.

By then, it had become routine. The doctor checked Elise’s vitals and drew blood. During this procedure, Elise remained quiet. When the needle entered her arm she didn’t wince anymore. The most reaction she gave was the slight narrowing of her eyes. After the preliminary tests, the doctor went on to whatever agenda she had for that day. Usually, what followed consisted of one or more things out of the ordinary. The previous day she had more of her cerebrospinal fluid, as well as some synovial fluid, taken. Today, Elise could only see the doctor prepping what looked to be a much larger needle. She wasn’t looking forward to where that was going to be put.

After what seemed like an eternity of waiting, Doctor Shealey approached with the large needle in hand. Elise mentally prepared herself, but her body was reacting differently. Maybe it was the anxiety and nervousness she was feeling, or perhaps her bladder was simply full. Whatever the case, Elise could feel that she was wetting her diaper. It was a bit of a strange sensation, wetting while on her stomach. If she were free to move she would’ve promptly got onto her back so as to allow more padding to absorb the accident. However, she was currently stuck. Thankfully, however, it didn’t feel like it was going to leak. Even though her accident was contained, the doctor still took notice. Elise found it strange that the only way to get the doctor to speak to her was to have some kind of an accident.

“That’s so disgusting,” the doctor coldly commented. For a moment, she halted her advance, instead just staring at Elise with a look of contempt. Normally, Elise would’ve remained silent, but for whatever reason, that time she took offense.

“It’s not my fault,” Elise said in her defense, her voice only a squeak. Even though she had wanted to sound more resolute, her little voice betrayed her. Still, she continued, “I can’t help it. It’s all because of a car accident when I was little, okay?”

Doctor Shealey laughed a little. Elise’s features tightened. She wanted nothing more than to wipe that smile off of the doctor’s face. After a moment, the doctor stepped closer. She hesitated a moment, then reached down and carefully prodded the very top of the back of Elise’s diaper. Elise began to feel nervous. The doctor always avoided touching her diaper.

After a moment more of prodding, Doctor Shealey pulled the top of Elise’s diaper down a few inches. She poked and prodded the area at the right side very top of her rear, then upon finding the bone she was looking for, forcefully inserted the large needle – right into the bone. The insertion produced an audible crunching sound.

Unprepared, Elise’s body recoiled sharply as she yelped in pain. Tears quickly found their way to her eyes.

“Is that what your daddy told you?” Doctor Shealey asked in a condescending voice. Elise didn’t reply. She was currently doing all she could to keep from crying out in pain. Doctor Shealey began to extract a thick, deep crimson substance.

“What a weak cover up. A car accident? Hah, you really have no idea what he had done to you, do you?”

“Wh… what are you talking about?” Elise managed to ask with a broken voice.

“I guess I’m not surprised he didn’t tell you, what with the possible political ramifications and all. I could tell when I met the man that all he cared about was his career.”

Doctor Shealey chuckled coldly again. Elise swallowed back a lump that was forming in her throat.

“Sticking this needle into your lliac crest has put me in a good mood, so I’ll level with you. The truth is, your mother was a heavy drinker. She wouldn’t even stop when she was pregnant with you. Do you have any idea how much damage alcohol can cause to an unborn baby?” She paused and waited for a reply. Elise didn’t say anything, so she continued. “No, of course you don’t. Well, suffice it to say you were born broken. A mentally and physically handicapped baby. It was a wonder you even survived at all. I’m sure your father would’ve rather you died, though. But no, since you survived he was stuck with you,” she paused to let the weight of her statement sink in. Elise winced at the painful words, and her tears were renewed.

“You know what his solution was? An experimental – and very illegal – procedure to try and fix you, give you the body and brain of a regular, healthy baby. Well, it went mostly well. You were given the cognitive and physical abilities of a regular child, no, much more than that. But, they made a mistake. During the procedure your spine incurred some damage when some of the nanobots malfunctioned. The resulting nerve damage wasn’t safely treatable. Thanks to that one imperfection in an otherwise very successful procedure, you were cursed with a disgusting habit. Congratulations.”

Elise wasn’t sure why the doctor lady was being so forthcoming, but at that point she didn’t really care. Was the doctor’s story really true? It certainly was far less believable than a car accident, but at the same time Elise felt that it carried the weight of truth. She had never really believed in the car accident story since she couldn’t remember it at all.

“So, instead of being stuck with a retard, your dad was stuck with a girl who wears and uses diapers. To him, it wasn’t much of an improvement. I suppose I should be grateful, though. It it weren’t for his information, we would’ve never gotten a hold of you. You are certainly a valuable asset to our company. The methods used in the Post Birth Optimization – that lost, controversial technology. Your body is like a set of blueprints.”

By then Elise wasn’t even listening anymore. She felt dizzy and confused. It was all too much for her to process at once, and the throbbing pain in her backside wasn’t helping any. The room began to rock back and forth, then spin. As unconsciousness approached, the last thing she heard was the cold laughter of that witch of a doctor.

Elise awoke some time later to a dull pain in her lower back. As she became more lucid, she realized that she was no longer on that damn examination table. Rather, she was laying on a somewhat softer surface – Yuki’s bed. It was already dark, and finding herself in total blackness wasn’t the way she had wanted to wake up.

Forcing the urge to panic to the back of her mind, Elise took deep, deliberate breaths. In the darkness, a voice spoke to her.

“You’re awake?” the small, timid voice of Yuki was loud in the otherwise silent room. The only other sound was of the ever present hum of the machine in the ceiling that kept Yuki from using her telepathic capabilities.

“Yuki?” Elise asked, then tried to sit up. The pain she felt inspired her to remain on her back.

“Don’t try to move, okay? You don’t have to move.”

Elise realized that Yuki was right. There was no pressing need for her to get out of the bed. Even her diaper had been changed, as she could feel neither the sogginess nor heaviness she expected. Elise briefly wondered who had changed her.

“What time is it?” Elise asked. There was a pause.

“Time?” Yuki asked. “Umm… dark time?”

“Oh… right,” Elise realized her mistake. They didn’t have a clock, so it was impossible to tell.

“That doctor sure is mean,” Yuki said a moment after Elise had fallen silent. “She took your marrow… without even anything to make it hurt less. She must really not like you.”

“I wouldn’t be surprised,” Elise said, then sighed heavily. “To tell the truth, I don’t much care for her, either.”

“She’s mean,” Yuki reiterated.

“Yeah,” Elise said. She recalled her previous thoughts. The people at that facility, specifically that doctor, were really mean people. In fact, Elise couldn’t see any good in them at all.

“Aile was right all along,” Elise said calmly.

“Hmm?” Yuki inquired.

“He once told me that some people had no good in them… at the time, I thought that was really depressing and wanted to cry. I actually was convinced that he was wrong.”

Elise sighed again, took a deep breath, then continued.

“It turns out he was right. Some people are no good. There isn’t any good in them at all.”

Yuki contemplated on Elise’s statement for a moment.

“And what… what does that mean?” Yuki, clearly confounded, asked innocently.

“It means that if those people were to die,” Elise paused for a moment and collected her resolve. “If they were to die… the world would probably be better for it.”

Re: Op. Lighthouse: Nexus (Chapter 20a and updated with b)

Thanks ;D Nice to se some progress 8)

Re: Op. Lighthouse: Nexus (Chapter 20a and updated with b)

Thanks for the appreciation, Eliah.

The chapter isn’t done yet; I still have to finish up part C. Then I can do stuff like commentary and whatnot.

Re: Op. Lighthouse: Nexus (Chapter 20a and updated with b)

This was a good update, RT!! But, Alie & Elise, together again soon?

Re: Op. Lighthouse: Nexus (Chapter 20a and updated with b)

Why thank you, Icey. :slight_smile:

And yes. Very soon(ish) :stuck_out_tongue:

Re: Op. Lighthouse: Nexus (Chapter 20a and updated with b)

So how’s chapter 20 part C coming along? ::slight_smile:

Re: Op. Lighthouse: Nexus (Chapter 20a and updated with b)

Four months in the making - it’s about due?

Re: Op. Lighthouse: Nexus (Chapter 20a and updated with b)

I know, guys. But I have been seriously busy with school. I’m into the technical portion of my program, and it requires a lot of attention - near constant. On the plus side, I am learning some wicked awesome stuff about electrical systems. On the downside, my creative time (2 am) is now used for sleeping because of early classes.

I’ve also been seeing a girl… but it kind of went south just recently. So, there’s that.

Re: Op. Lighthouse: Nexus (Chapter 20a and updated with b)

Hey, as long as you promise to not forget us i can wait a bit longer :wink:

Re: Op. Lighthouse: Nexus (Chapter 20a and updated with b)

Sorry about the going South. Fingers crossed for you, man.