12
Nov
12

Seattle Side Mission 06: Heart of Darkness – Part 4

SEATTLE SIDE MISSION 06 – HEART OF DARKNESS – PART 4
Written by: Marius           Played on: 02 Nov 2012
PREVIOUS: Side Mission 06 – Heart of Darkness – Part 3
NEXT: Side Mission 07 – The Bleeding Edge, Chapter 3

“So now you are down to only two,” Bear points out as he reaches for a chicken wing, he looks down and gets a slightly disappointed look as there are none left. “John, what else is as good as those chicken wings here?”

“I’ll be honest, not much. I do keep a small stock of real vegetables that we grow in the basement. My chef can whip up one hell of a salad, but the gear to run that stuff is spendy, so the salads are also spendy.”

“Real vegetables, how expensive are we talking about here?” Marius asks.

“A side salad, which is romaine lettuce, spinich and tomato is 30¥. A dinner salad, that includes broccoli and real cheese, is 50¥.”

“Fucking worth it.” Bear says. When the waitress comes over he orders a side salad.

“Do you have anything big, with alot of meat on it?” Jade inquires. She settles on a hamburger called the Big John, three ½ lb synthbeef patties, soyham and one slice of real cheddar cheese, topped with 3 real fried eggs. The bun was about ten inches across. It was normally served sliced into four, meant to be shared by a table. The burger cost 50¥. Real cheese and eggs were hard to come by.

“John, how is it you can get ingredients like these at a place like this?” The elf asks.

His human friend replies in the same way he answers a lot of questions “It’s not what you know, it’s who. An acquaintance of mine knows some people who run produce into the metroplex from the Tir Tangier, good farmers those elves. They don’t usually like to share. Getting a salad like this at one of the finer restaurants in town would run you tripple, but I got a good deal on the seeds so I pass the savings on. Of course if the local authorities found out I was growing unregulated crops I could get shut down, which is why you will not see the good stuff on the menu. The real eggs and cheese are things I substitute only for my close friends and preferred customers. As much as I like to fill the bar, I would appreciate you not telling folks I have access to this type of stuff.”

“For real broccoli, I will tell people whatever you want,” Bear says.

“We move to the EVO tower. We manage to avoid confrontations. Scattered around the EVO tower are hundreds of UCAS troops. In the center of the square is a 87 meter tall statue of a woman holding a sword. I tell Chill we should just skip this and get the fuck out of here, but he is not having it. ‘Marius, Get to the top of that tower and kill that mother fucker,’ he says. And like that, he was gone. Sprinting into the fray. I just stood there for a few moments. Then I started sprinting around the outside of the square headed for the tower.

“Catching a glance back I could have sworn it was you sprinting, Bear. The soldiers were too shocked to even return fire, they just stared. They began to yell, but still no one fires. He begins to scramble up to the statue. Tank shells crack into the base of the statue, it erupts in debris and starts to topple at the ankles. I look back forward, jumping a small barricade, headed for the doors. The rumbling starts to build, as the statue crashes to the ground crushing tanks and troops. Sprinting along the statue, the dwarf kills any target that presents itself. Both empty pistols are tossed after the rounds are fired into troops. A tank commander opens the hatch and is killed with the silver flash of dual wrist blades.”

All a reference to the fact that Bear’s player was controlling Chilling. They were remarkably similar characters which was totally unintentional.

Bear interrupts, “He had wrist blades?”

“No,” Marius continues, seeming to be confused for a moment. “Why do you ask?”

“You said he beheaded a tank commander with two wrist blades.”

“No, he used a tomahawk, I did not say wrist blades.”

Bear’s salad arrives, as does Jade’s Big John. Marius and John both snag a piece of brocolli. “Dang, that is good,” Marius comments.

“You totally said wrist blades,” John confirms.

“Meat.” Jade says, taking a bite of one of the burger quarters. She would say very little for the next several minutes, Marius guessed.

“Weird,” Marius states “Anyway this crazy dwarf leaps into the tank, taking command he unloads bursts into the other tanks and ground rigs. The other tanks give chase and begin firing, both at each other and the dwarf’s vehicle, they are so confused. This has left a big gap for me to reach the doors. As I take one last glance, the tank rolls into the center of the fuel depot, as the gun belches one last time Chill turns to look at me from the open hatch, our eyes lock across hundreds of feet. The fuel depot, and two blocks around it are destroyed. The front doors shut as I enter the lobby. It was one of the most awesome displays of bravery and self sacrifice I have ever seen; that it came from a UCAS mercenary is even more surprising. It’s as if he was possessed by the spirit of another warrior.”

And that was SPC Chilling’s Narrative Sacrafice moment. We had picked up the pace of the game overall as the night wore on, and the soldiers outside the building were the last major battle before reaching the tower.

The elf continues, “Injured troops litter the lobby. None of them move to stop me.

“Where is the Colonel!?” I demand.

“Top floor,” one says back. One of the wounded gets up and approaches. He has no weapons. He stands up straight and salutes me.

“If you are here, that means it’s over. The 173rd, we surrender”

“Whats your name soldier?”

“SGT Brasco.”

“I accept your surrender.”

“The colonel is waiting.” He turns and leaves.

I board the elevator and press the top button.

“Welcome to my humble home, Marius. The very seat of those who tried to undo us. They failed, we survived. The storm tried to end us, it too failed. Congratulations, Hero. You have done what the alchera, what EVO Corp, what the very government could not do… you have destroyed the damned 173rd… I suppose you should be proud. Come upstairs. I would like to look upon your face and for you to gaze upon mine.”

As I hit the 70th floor he continues to spout off. Asking me what I think of him. A madman, a hero who failed? I let him off easy, stating he just made some mistakes.

The elevator doors open, onto the 128th floor. The lights are dead. It’s difficult to see.

“Sir?”

“Come upstairs Marius, I am waiting.”

There is a second floor to the suite. The windows have one hell of a view. I can see the power plant burning in the distance. As I reach the 2nd level there are art supplies scattered about. It appears the Colonel has been painting.

The first painting shows the white phosphorous attack that killed the civilians. I catch movement and think I see Colonel Kurtz.

“No matter how hard I tried I could never escape that happened here. That was my weakness. What was your downfall?” The Colonel asked.

“Wrong place, wrong time,” I replied back.

There are many paintings, all depicting scenes of horror. There was the sarge, being torn apart by chopper fire. Lt. Nightingale was there, hanging. Chillings, his face resolute, yet sad and empty. I see Catherine Westmoore, dead in the streets of Denver. I see Justin Darien, dripping blood above a crowded market place. There a chair near the window. Someone is staring out. There is a pistol on the floor. An old dead man with a name tag that reads ‘Kurtz’ sits in the chair. At least two months worth of decay.”

Both Bear and John stare, Marius steals a piece of cheese from Bear’s plate. “This is good stuff, John.”

“Damn the cheese, what the fuck? How was he dead? who was talking to you?”

Marius answered “It was the Colonel. I checked back through my comm loggs, there were no transmissions other than the radio blasts and the text messages from the rebel leader. But I heard him and he made a radio transmission out of the Alchera. Many others heard that, the voice was the same. Anyway, let me finish the story. I am almost done I promise.”

“Fuck, why not, it can’t get any weirder,” John says.

Marius continues “So the Colonel continues…

“The reports of my survival are exaggerated, You know it had to end this way. Your world burned, your friends dead, “

“Where does it go from here?”

The fucker says nothing. I fire a three round burst through the nearest window, And I push the chair out of it.

“It takes a strong man to deny what is right in front of him. Don’t be to hard on yourself, you can still go home. Lucky you.”

All of the paintings have moved, none of them show what I saw moments before. Going through the Colonels items, I find his unlocked comm. He has interviews with the DJ and why he chose to stay behind. He learned of what EVO and the Russian government had done. Using the UCAS to keep the civilians in line while evacuating the rich and powerful; leaving the poor to die.”

“That is fucked up,” Bear adds, as he mops up the last bit of ranch dressing with a carrot. John never mentioned carrots.

“I know. From there I left. I could not think of anything else to do. I just walked through the Alchera wall. I don’t remember making it out, but I awoke in the recovery center back in Italy. They debriefed me for weeks. I was finally allowed to go back “home” to my corporate apartment near the London base where I was stationed. I fucked off back to the Seattle Metroplex under an assumed SIN at my first opportunity.”

From there the conversation turned to what John had been up to. The four spent the next few hours at the bar, until finally Jade, who’s sizable frame allowed for her sobriety, drove them home.

PREVIOUS: Side Mission 06 – Heart of Darkness – Part 3
NEXT: Side Mission 07 – The Bleeding Edge, Chapter 3
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