shichahn: (cool city~)
[personal profile] shichahn
Uhh, so, I don't have much time, exactly, to talk about this much, I have to get off the computer in a minute. But. I am working on a big multi-chapter thing which hopefully will someday be finished. So as a teaser, I will give you this. Enjoy!



Private Derek Mills, 405, 8th Squadron, had never been assigned guard duty before. Hell, he'd just come out of boot camp, but he was ready to see some action. He was proud of the United Federation and all it stood for, so when the Republic of Aran declined the offer to join up and then bombed their UF embassy, he was mre than happy to sign up for GUN service and show the Aranese why the UF was the largest and most powerful country in the world today. He wasn't a malicious man, he just believed in democracy, liberty, freedom, and all those other concepts his parents had raised him to respect.

Honestly, he was a little disappointed that he'd been chosen to guard the Fort Edwards supply depot. Couldn't he instead serve at the front lines? This was like being given a desk job, if not worse, because at least desks had those nice comfortable office chairs. Instead, he was expected to stand for hours in the chilly desert night and look menacing with his imposing armor and his semi-automatic assault rifle. He and about fourteen others had been asked to cover all the bottom floor entrances, and by his estimate there were at least twenty more soldiers in the area.

What did GUN need with all this security? Sure, Edwards was a fairly large place, but it didn't usually have this many men stationed at it. They'd increased their personnel at most of the supply depots recently, and Private Mills could only assume that it was because of the recent attacks. Not in Aran, but on home soil. Three weapons warehouses had been demolished in the past two weeks alone, and any could be next. As a result, the military had expanded the ranks of its soldiers at its bases, and Private Mills was among the many who now had to stand awake all night, waiting for an attack that, statistically speaking, probably wouldn't happen anyway.

"Hey man, got a cigarette?" Mills looked over at saw Robertson approaching. Private Kevin Robertson, 418, that was. He and Mills had become good buddies over the pool table in the rec room during basic training. Mills knew he was lucky they'd both been stationed here; this job would be hell if he hadn't had someone to talk to.

"Catch," Mills said, tossing a pack to Robertson, who took one out and handed the rest back. He fumbled with the lighter, which was difficult to use with those thick gloves on, but soon enough he'd lit a neat ember on the end of the cigarette.

"Thanks, man." Smoke emanated from his mouth at the words. "How much longer we gotta be out here?"

Mills checked his watch. "Six hours."

"Fuck."

"Time goes by slow out here."

"No kidding."

Mills took a moment to light a cigarette for himself, then stuffed the pack back into his vest pocket. "How's Isabel?"

"She's good. It's funny, though, you know. Says she's glad I'm here at Edwards, 'stead of Aran. It's safer or something."

"Yeah, but fuck safer. It's boring. I didn't sign up to stand around in front of a building." Mills frowned.

"Seriously."

Before Mills could reply, the radio crackled on. "All units, this is 401. Alpha target approaching from East. Projected intercept in five minutes. Fire at will; target is to be neutralized on sight."

Mills and Robertson looked at each other and grinned. The Alpha target was the one who had been destroying the weapons depots. Mills and Robertson were on the East entrance. Maybe tonight wouldn't be so boring after all.

Rifle at the ready, Private Mills kept his attention out toward the horizon and watched for any movement in the darkness for what seemed like an eternity. From what he'd been told, Alpha target was a GUN agent who had gone renegade. If he and Robertson managed to take the guy down, there would be no end to the honors they received.

Judging by the sudden burst of distant gunfire, their chance was quickly approaching. The soldier on the mesa turret must have seen him.

The shots grew rapidly closer as other sentries took fire, and Mills recalled that he'd been warned about Alpha's speed. Five minutes to intercept indeed; it had felt a lot more like two, tops. He knew that there was a small handful of individuals in the world capable of these inhuman speeds, but he'd never witnessed it firsthand. He could tell that he was about to, though.

What was taking everyone so long? Mills looked back over his shoulder, seeing soldiers finally emerge onto this side of the depot from their posted positions. It was only a quick glance, but when he returned his gaze to the horizon, he found that he no longer needed to look so far into the distance. The creature was already upon them. It was little more than a streak of black, darker than the night sky but only just barely. It would have been impossible to follow if it wasn't for the jets of red-gold light that followed in its wake. Mills mareled as it darted around them in an arc, but his awe turned to horror as one of his fellow 8th squad members, no more than a hundred feet in front of him, crumpled and was reduced to little more than a red smear across the barren ground.

Wishing once more that he'd been sent to the front, though now for a very different reason, Private Miller sighted his target down the barrel of his rifle, and fired just as another of his companions fell.

The creature's arm, still clutching the now-dead soldier by his snapped neck, blew backward sharply on impact and released the body, which sailed to the ground with a heavy thud. The Alpha target snapped its head around to face him, and for a brief moment, time seemed to slow down. Was that thing a hedgehog?

Suddenly, it all came together.

Shadow.

Private Mills didn't have time to think. He switched on his radio, and the hedgehog disappeared in a burst of blue light.

He forced himself not to panic, and switched on his radio. "Command, this is 405, Alpha target has been shot. Target no longer in view." Had it fled? Mills realized it was something of a miracle that the bullet had hit at all. He only wished his aim had been better.

Still! His shot was a hit! Suddenly exhilarated by the minor success, he turned to grin at Robertson. "Didya see that? Got him!"

Wide-eyed, but laughing with him, Private Robertson nodded. "He didn't even-"

Robertson's eyes grew wide, staring straight past him, and Mills turned around. A pair of the coldest red eyes met his, and then suddenly he saw no more.

-----


Gripping the bandage in his teeth at one end and his hand at the other, Shadow cinched the knot tightly around his forearm and gave a soft grunt of pain. Already, the wrap of white cloth had a bloom of deep red emerging at its center, where a bullet had lodged itself for a short time. The shot had probably been fired by a rookie, or some pathetic individual who thought he felt a shred of sympathy for the hunted hedgehog. Who else would have a poor enough grasp of his own weaponry to hit him in the arm?

Luckily for the soldier, he'd actually managed to hit the hedgehog. Not many others could attest to that. But his luck was short-lived, and he would never learn from the mistake he'd made.

The wound hadn't healed as quickly as it should have, evidence of the reason for the kid's fortunate hit. Shadow was the best there was when it came to combat, but not even he could go on forever, and after several days of fighting through endless troops, both human and otherwise, he needed a night to recuperate.

Shadow hadn't wanted to get involved in this war. Humans had started it, and they could end it themselves. He'd told the Commander that to his face, and stared right into those mismatched eyes, noting the flux of emotions they displayed. Anger, fear, perhaps panic? It was obvious that he'd been counting on using Shadow as their secret weapon. He should have known better. In desperation, the man had threatened to fire him if he didn't comply, and Shadow had almost laughed. He'd given the older human a slightly bemused look, and was ordered to leave the office until he'd thought over his response. Shadow had walked out willingly, and hadn't returned since.

That was a month ago, now. Shadow had gotten involved after all, but not as the GUN commander would have wished. He was of half a heart to just ignore the fighting, which was the result of some political issue that probably had begun a petty conflict some decades ago but had finally boiled up into war. Something that the humans probably thought was meaningful, but only because they were too caught up in their own little melodramatic affairs of the now to see how pointless their fighting was. But other nations were starting to take up sides, and other species were joining in as well, and the last thing the world needed was a third world war, in these days of nuclear weaponry and who knew what else. The old Doctor was probably making a killing off weapon sales right now.

Nuclear bombs aside, however, the Earth's two greatest weapons were now officially a neutral party. Among the memories he'd regained after the attack by the Black Arms were the Professor's instructions on the use of the Eclipse Cannon, including instructions on its safety protocols. The day he'd left GUN, Shadow returned to the ARK for the first time since he'd used the Cannon to destroy the Black Comet. He locked the massive gun down completely, rendering it unusable to anyone besides himself. GUN couldn't be trusted to leave it alone.

His communicator beeped suddenly, jarring him from his thoughts. Maneuvering his injured arm somewhat clumsily, Shadow managed to hit the speaker button.

"Yes?"

"Where are you?"

The concerned voice on the other end was one of only two others who had access to his communicator number. GUN had, of course, taken him off their network when it became clear he'd quit. But he and Rouge and Omega had, together, figured out how to use one of the ARK's old systems as a relay satellite and set up their own private three-way network. Rouge called him more frequently than Omega ever did; she was far more prone to checking up on him than the robot was.

"ARK. Why are you asking?"

There was a slightly exasperated sigh. "I thought you said you weren't going to go there any more. You know what they'll do if they find out you've reactivated parts of it..."

"What, you'd rather I bleed all over your nice white carpet?" He rolled his eyes.

There was silence for a moment. Then, "You did get hit."

"I didn't see you there."

"I wasn't. But Private Mills radioed it in right after he shot you. They're going to promote him two ranks at the funeral, you know. He's being treated like a hero already."

"Funny how quickly they've all turned against me."

"It's easier for morale." Rouge sounded slightly distant, and he wondered if she pitied them. She probably resented that she still worked for the organization. She had wanted to quit after he had, but he'd persuaded her to stay. He needed someone on the inside.

She continued, then. "Anyway, are you alright?"

"I'm fine. I'll be back down in the early morning to hit the next target."

"Which is where?"

"I'm sure you'll hear all about it when you wake up." He couldn't tell her where he would be in advance. Shadow trusted her, and knew that she would never let on what his plans were. She was an expert actress and liar, and so even if it was somehow discovered that Rouge knew where he wold be next, they would never get the information from her. But he couldn't risk it, all the same. It would be best if only he knew ahead of time which weapons depot he would destroy next.

Destroying the weaponry of either side wouldn't end the animosity between them, he knew. But it would make it much harder for them to kill, and if they couldn't kill each other, there was no point in having a war. Security around the supply warehouses had increased tenfold since he'd started, but not even that would be enough to stop him. He wasn't like Sonic, who was probably spending all his time trying to save people right now, who would avoid hurting others at all costs. No, Shadow had a goal, and if someone stood in his way, they wouldn't remain standing long. If he did nothing, people would die anyway. But if he stopped the fighting sooner than it would have ended otherwise, the net gain in lives saved more than justified his destruction.

Rouge sighed. "Good luck. If anything changes, I'll let you know."

Shadow switched off the communicator and pulled up a chair at one of the main computer terminals. To him, the old colony was little more than a workstation now. He had no time to reminisce about his past here, and even if he had, he wasn't interested in doing so. Besides, Rouge was right. The less time he spent here, the better. As far as GUN knew, the ARK was still shut down. If the Commander got word of its reactivation, he would send someone up to try and take command of it once more. And if he heard that Shadow was using it regularly for a number of purposes, he would have the colony taken out of the sky. The outer hull and some of the lower corridors were crumbling already, from decades of disrepair; it would be easy to dismantle it and crash what remained in the ocean, claiming it was a hazard to satellites and shuttles. Which was probably completely true, anyway.

Typing with a gunshot wound in one arm was awkward, to say the least, and Shadow hissed in pain at a few of the keystrokes. It seemed one of his tendons had been torn, and it was making movement in his wrist a bit of a trial. What a night to get shot, when he had so much to accomplish in only a few short hours.

The large map of GUN bases came up on the monitor. Today had been Edwards; tomorrow would be Breckenridge, in the southeast. Breckenridge was a storage facility for nerve gas, primarily. It would be tricky to dispose of - the gas weapons were stored in bunkers underground which stretched for miles, and the gases had to be completely burned off before they could disperse or he, as well as the thousands of civilians who lived just outside the base, would suffer. There wasn't much time to strategize, either. Tomorrow morning at 0700 hours, a convoy would come and pick up a shipment of the gas for delivery to GUN's base camp in Aran. If he destroyed all of the canisters before then, it would save him a lot of work.

Anyway, he didn't need a plan. Sometimes the best strategy was just to move forward and move fast. With speed and surprise on his side, they wouldn't know what hit them until it was too late.

But until then, it was time for some sleep. Shadow switched off the terminal, leaving only the satellite relay on, and headed for bed. With any luck, his arm would be healed before it was time to get back to work.
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May 2014

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