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).
Operation Lighthouse: Nexus
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.
“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.
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.