It ended with thunder and lightning. The whole compound was left in ruin. Brian sat on the hill looking down at the wreckage. It was a total loss. No survivors.
Well that's done then, he thought to himself. He picked up his bag as he stood and slung it across his back. He walked away from the smoking ruin that had once been Compound 67B. He had destroyed five of them so far. It got easier as he went.
The first one had left him with nightmares and the shakes. He had never taken so many lives at once before. As a sniper in that god-forsaken sand dune overseas he had hardly even known the people he killed. This was different.
These were his people, his countrymen. People he had once sworn to protect, except they weren't anymore, were they? They had sided with those... things. they had opted to become a part of the collective. To escape the dying world they had worked to destroy. They weren't really escaping. they were becoming cogs in a machine hell bent on killing them all. They didn't know. How could they?
He had learned about it the hard way. He had almost become one of them. Escaping Compound 86Z had not been easy. He wasn't even sure how he had come back to himself enough to get out. All he remembered before waking was walking into a big white room and sitting down with 19 other people. The view-screen in front of them had snapped on and words began scrolling across it. He didn't even remember what the words had been.
"Collins" He could hear his commander from far away. "Collins you have to get up".
he felt so heavy, like he was still sleeping.
"Collins get the fuck up man., they're going to fucking kill you."
That wasn't right though, because Commander Wolfe had been killed in Kabul. the truck had exploded. It was why he was home now. He was home. He should go back to sleep..
"NO MOTHERFUCKER GET THE FUCK UP RIGHT NOW YOU ROTTEN LITTLE SHIT!"
Brian's eyes peeled open. He was laying in a dark grey room on a matching dark grey slab. He felt the needles in his arms, the cold steel against his back, the warm blanket covering him. He was completely naked. Groggily he rolled his head first left and right just barely registering that he was alone. There seemed to be nothing else where he was. even the tubes trailing down from his arms disappeared into the slab he was stretched out on.
He sat up and curled his knees to his chest resting his forehead on them. Knees, Plural. Suddenly he was wide awake. He whipped back the blanket covering him and stared at his left leg. It was complete, whole, human. The last time he had been conscious it had been a biotech prosthetic. Some new piece of machinery from their benevolent visitors.
He had lost the whole leg from the mid thigh down at the same time that Commander Wolfe had lost his life. Returning home he had been wheel chair bound until THEY had come. Offering medical miracles and galactic peace. Now it looked like he had grown a new leg.
It was paler than his right leg, the muscles less defined. He swung both legs over the side of the slab they dangled without touching the floor. He looked down and realized this was sized for THEM. They would be able to stand next to it without bending over. He would have to hop down. It wasn't far. A couple of feet, maybe.
The needle in his arm was getting warm. He knew the warmth of a sedative. Carefully he removed the needles from his arm. He didn't have anything to stop the pin pricks of blood that welled up, he was just going to have to bleed a bit. Sitting on the slab he watched his arms until the clots formed and his life's blood stopped seeping out. He didn't want to leave a trail of blood.
He knew as soon as he saw his leg that he was going to have to get out of there.
hours later he was wandering the halls of Compound 86Z there were no doors, you could walk into any room silently. Of course anyone could walk out of them silently too. in every room there was a person on a slab. Every single one of them had needles in their arms. Every single one of them in some sort of repair or worse; disrepair. One room had nearly been the end for him. A woman was laying on a slab, from between her legs an umbilical cord kept her attached to the placenta that held her child. They were both still alive. the unborn baby and placenta were floating in a container next to the woman. The rest of her organs had been carefully removed from her body but not detached from it. Miles of intestines had been piled on a a cart next to her. Her heart was suspended above her, beating out a gruesome rhythm. he backed slowly out of the room and ran.
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