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by Matt Dempster
"What is this!?"
Wes slammed down the hard copies of the files he had obtained from his raid on the Dynamax mainframe onto Brenda Washington's desk. He had spent the night reviewing the files, and he didn't like what he had found. Dynamax and SIRECOM were intimately connected. He didn't know how, and he didn't know who, but he was by god goind to find out.
Brenda looked at the files, and asked calmly, "What are you talking about?"
"These files! These files say that SIRECOM has been shipping Omegas to Dynamax for 'research purposes.' Like they were lab rats or something. Some of the reports I found were pretty explicit. Especially about vivisections and lobotomies! Now I repeat; what is all this?"
Brenda said "I need some time to look over these files. Be assured, Wes, that if what you say is true, it hasn't been under my authority. I will start a full investigation into these reports. Fair enough?"
"It'll have to do."
"Wes, when was the last time you slept? You look horrible."
"It's been a while," admitted Wes, rubbing the back of his neck. "I've been busy you know."
"Get some rest. I'll contact you tomorrow with any info I dig up."
"Roger that, sir."
Wes sank back to the floor of the foxhole, cursing the officers who had put him and his unit into such a fouled up op. As he began inventive explorations of his superior's family tree, the radioman, Mendoza looked up and yelled, "Sarge!!! We got somethin!"
Wes crawled over and took the mike from Mendoza. He said "This is Sergeant Wesley Hickman. We are in a bad situation here. Heavy shelling. Need reinforcements ASAP. Over."
"Understood." came a static filled voice, "Wait for further instructions."
"The situation is impossible! Request permission for withdrawal" Wes said.
"Negative," came the reply. "Maintain position."
Wes shouted, "We need to move now! We need..."
The voice from the radio cut him off. "Negative, Sergeant. Maintain position. Over and out."
Wes stared at the dead radio in his hand. Unbelievable. They were being left out here to die. Un-fucking-believable. He sat there for a minute, and then rose to his feet. On the platoon net, he said, "Attention boys and girls. This place is too hot for the likes of us!! We are leaving!"
The platoon waited for a lull in the shelling, and then made for a rendezvous point at the base of one of the surrounding hills. As they were making a break for it, with Wes and Mendoza the radioman carrying the wounded man, a distinctive whistle was heard... Time seemed to slow for Wes. He turned hhis head and saw the shell coming for him. He knew what was about to happen. He started to turn back to his radioman, started to complete the sequence of events that had been completed years ago, and as he did so, he caught a glimpse of a ghostly blue figure running towards him.
The figure leaped into the air, colliding with Wes and knocking out of the shell's blast radius. When Wes raised his head next, he saw the broken body of Mendoza, his comrade for 8 months, lying 20 feet away. He could not cry. The tears for these men had long since been cried, and there were no more left. The spectre stood above him, and extended it's hand. Wes took it, expecting to pass through with no more contact than if he had grabbed air. Instead, he felt the warm pressure of human flesh as the 'ghost' pulled him to his feet.
"Who are you?" asked Wes. It seemed very important to himthat he know who his savior was.
"My name is Danny." replied the figure.
"Is this my dream?"
"Yes. I am visiting."
The figure didn't respond. He turned and surveyed the blasted landscape surrounding them. He said, "The shell. It should have killed you. How is it that you are alive?"
Wes thought. This didn't feel like a dream anymore. This felt like he was talking in a room somewhere, relaxing and recounting a story that had happened to someone else.
"The shell landed and exploded. Mendoza and the wounded man we were carrying were killed instantly. I was thrown clear of the shell crater, and landed 20 yards or so away. When I came to, I realized that my arms hurt. I looked down at them. Or what was left of them. My right arm was gone at the shoulder, and my left was hanging by tatters. I was bleeding, and I must have grayed out, because I remember hearing the rescue party coming back for me from the helo.
"The rest of the men made it out with no casualties. The army discharged me. I had disobeyed orders, and had ordered my men to leave our post. But since I had saved them, and the rescue crew backed us up by agreeing that the hill couldn't have been held by as few men as we had, they didn't slap me with a dishonorable discharge.
"The docs didn't know how I had survived. I had essentially lost both arms. I should have bled to death in seconds, but I didn't. In fact, the blood vessels in my arms had closed off and sealed themselves. I didn't even get an infection. They couldn't explain it. They can now.
"I'm an Omega. My injury triggered my change. Turned out I have tactile telekinesis. My subconscious mind took over when it realized my body wasn't the same as the specs it had upstairs. It used my teke and it sealed off the blood vessels and such, and I suppose, if I wanted to wait seventy or so years, it would eventually grow new arms back.
"Instead, this agency called SIRECOM picked me up. A disabled vet, discharged, and basically unskilled, they gave me a job, and started training me with my Omega. They sent me to this place called Dynamax labs. These folks made me this pair of metal arms. Turns out my TK could operate those arms as soon as they were atached, so we didn't even need any mechanical parts.
"Well, SIRECOM had this big plan. They were gonna get more Omegas, train 'em, and send 'em out to find even more Omegas. For their own good, ya know. I mean, they could hurt themselves if they weren't trained properly. So they set it up where I was gonna be the first in the program. They called it Seekers. Cheesy name, but then that's the government for ya.
"Well as time went on, turns out I had another part of my Omega. I could talk to computers. I don't mean like sitting down and typing. I mena I could get inside them somehow, and communicate with them. Well, the folks who were running this program thought that would be mighty useful, so they had Dynamax redesign my arms. They stuck all sorts of computer gear in there, and SIRECOM upgrades it every so often. I got computing power to equal a Cray on board right now."
The figure listened to all of this impassively. As Wes finished he story, he bowed his head for a minute, and said, "So you work for Dynamax too."
Wes stared. "Hell no! I found out all sorts of nasty stuff about Dynamax. I don't owe those guys anything. I hear they're killin' Omegas over there! That ain't something that's s'posed to happen in America. You got a bone to pick with them, count me in."
"Do you mean that?"
The figure seemed to smile. "Thanks. That means more than you know. I have to go now. I will see you again soon."
"Good bye! I..." The figure vanished. Wes shook his head, and the dream (?) began to break up around him...
...Wes awoke in his own bed, for once having slept the whole night without waking up to his own screams. He had the strangest feeling, a warm feeling, as if he had just made a very close friend, a friend for life.
"C'mon Jay!! It'll be fun, you'll see."
"A trip to Mew York, to go check out the night scene with a whole lot of your old friends from the brokers house? Gee, let me think... nah, I'd sooner have a lobotomy with a backhoe."
Michelle sighed in exasperation. She was bored. The team hadn't done anything in two weeks. Not even training combats were allowed. And she had gotten a letter from a good friend of hers, over at the old broherage firm she worked for. There was a great new club opening up, and her friend knew the manager. They could party all night.
But she didn't want to go alone. Jay was the closest guy to her own age around here. Chris would have been sort of embarassing, and Don and Wes were just too old. Besides, Wes didn't pass for a civilian to well.... and she didn't want to go with Terry. Terry was no fun out at the clubs. She knew that from prior experience. Ever since she had kicked that guy in the head after he hit on her, then made some sort of advance, Michelle had decided that Terry wasn't such a great companion to hit the clubs with. Jay was her last hope.
And he was balking!! A healthy twenty-two year old, recovered from all his injuries, and easily bored, and he didn't want to go out clubbing! Michell simply couldn't understand.
"Jay, look, it'll be cool! Ya can see the big city, be part of the action..."
Jay looked at Michelle tiredly. He had only recently recovered from his injuries, and still had a relatively short energy span. He didn't need this.
But the thing was, he wanted to go. It wasn't that he particularly liked going out to nightclubs, or hanging out with a buch of strangers. Far from it. But it was Michelle asking him to go. Michelle, the woman he had been subtly pursuing on and off for two and a half years. He had tried every trick he knew to get close to her, and none of them had worked. Now here she was, practically begging him to go out with her.
He knew it wasn't that she wanted to be with him. He knew it wasn't that she had any feelings for him. But still that brief glimmer of hope rose to the surface, took a quick look around, and then quickly buried his common sense.
"All right. I'll go. When do we leave?"
Michelle laughed happily, gave hima swift peck on the cheek, and vanished through the doors of the rec room.
Jay shook his head, and looked up at the ceiling. 'How do I get myself into these things?'
"Much better, Chris. Your hand to hand skills are improving."
Chris turned from the holographic image of a man that the computer put up as a practice dummy to regard his instructor. Teresa looked back at him with a smile. "Your accuracy still needs a little work, but for speed and power, I think you have almost mastered that manuever."
"Why do I have to learn this anyway? Nothing can get through my field, and I can just run into things with my bounce. I don't need all this martial art stuff."
Teresa looked steadily at Chris, the smile no longer on her face. "You feel you know all there is to know?"
"Well... mostly," said Chris, a bit uncertainly.
"Would you care to put that to the test?"
"No problem." Terry walked to a commpanel set into the training area wall. She pushed a couple of keypad controls, and then spoke briefly into the intercom. She turned and walked back to Chris. "He should be here in a minute or two."
"Who should be here?"
"An old friend of mine. He and I studied for a while when I was living in San Francisco. His name is Bill Walker."
The main door slid open then, and in stepped a tall lean man, dressed in a blue and black jumpsuit. He waved to Terry and Chris, and began stretching.
Terry continued, "He's part of the Seekers program, another combat instructor. The project code named him Sonic."
Bill walked over and stuck out his hand to Chris. Chris took it, and as he did so, he could feel a mild vibration coming from the man.
Terry grinned and said, "Say hello to your new sparring partner."
Wes and Don sat in the rec room on Sublevel 4 watching the evening news. It had become sort of a ritual for the two of them to grab some dinner, and then catch up on world events. Most times, for public type info anyway, CNN was far ahead of the intelligence service they worked for.
"...and the congressman has said that he will not step down, and that he intends to remain full term, despite the charges of being an Omega leveled against him. In other Omega news, two fugitives, an older man and a young woman, were spotted yesterday at the town of River Junction."
As the announcer spoke, a shakily shot piece of videotape came on the screen. It showed the two Omegas beating the hell out of five truckers. One looked telekinetic, and both looked strong as hell.
"Federal and state authorities have declined to comment on the situation, other than to comment that the two are wanted in connection with several crimes, assault, battery, and attempted manslaughter among them. Authorites are urging citizens to avoid these two people at all costs. They are also offering a reward to anyone with information leading to the capture of these two rogue Omegas. In other news..."
Don picked up the remote, and turned off the television. He turned to Wes, and said, "So? What do you think?"
Wes grimaced, and said, "I think we're being kept out of something. This is the sort of thing this team was designed to handle. Someone upstairs is cutting us out of the loop."
"I don't think so. She seemed surprised as anyone when I showed her those files. I'm supposed to meet with her later tonight to go over what she learned."
"Speaking of those files," said Don, "Have you dug up anything on them?"
"Well sort of." Wes replied slowly. "The code used to issue the authorization to the Dynamax squad didn't belong to anyone on active duty with the agency. So I did some checking. Ever hear of a guy named Cornelius Owen?"
"Yeah, he ran the agency for the longest time. That was a while back though. He retired, oh, ten or so years back, I think. What about him?"
"The code that I ran through traced back to his account."
"That isn't possible. No one except top agency officials are supposed to have access to that control level!"
"Looks as if our friend Owen has been keeping his fingers in the pie. And then there are those Dynamax Omegas. I did a lot of checking on them. care to see what I found?"
"Do I really have a choice?"
The two men walked over to the wall commpanel. Wes jacked in, and a graphic of the Dynamax Omega he had designated as Torch came on screen. "This is a graphic I got out of Trax's headset camera. The individual you see projects high energy bolts of plasma. He can control the energy pyrokinetically, forming simple objects with the 'flame'. Hold on, let me blow up his face here..."
The picture zommed in on the face of the Dynamax security agent. "All right. Now I went back, and I did a search of all the Omegas listed in the MPD. I found squat. Then I thought to myself, who has the only trained Omegas, not necessarily listed in the MPD?"
"SIRECOM. The Seekers project."
"You win the rubber duckie. The original agents in the SIRECOM project were never listed. The MPD only came into being about 5 years ago, and the project has been around for 15 years. I ain't in there. You ain't in there. And neither is this bozo. So I went into the old archives of the Seekers project. By the way, there are some BIG mother rats down in those paper arcives...next time I go down there remind me to take my .12 gauge."
Don smiled and said, "Don't keep me in suspense. What did you find?"
Wes pouted. "You take all the fun out of my life. Ok, here he is."
A line drew itself down the screen, and the picture of Torch shited to the right half. In the left half, a picture of a young smiling face appeared, along with personal info. "Tom Belmont. This is our Dynamax agent. He trained with the Seekers project for two years, and then is listed as having transferred to another satellite base for further training. My guess is that Dynamax got him. And i'll give you three guesses as to who was running SIRECOM at the time."
"I can name that asshole in one note, Pat. Owen."
"Correct yet again. My, you are good at this game."
"Thanks. We aim to please."
"Anyway, the upshot of all of this is that Dynamax has been getting Omega talent from SIRECOM. I want to know how, and I want to know why. I think we need to start interviewing the members of the project currently on station."
"Gotcha, chief. I'll get right on it."
Chris leaped out of the way as a shimmering cone of sonic energy flew his way. He shot high into the air aiming for a platform about thirty feet up. >From there, he thought, he should be able to drop this guy.
Bill smiled. He reached around to the back of his belt and extracted twin metal batons. He tapped the batons together, and they began to ring. He looked upwards at Chris' perch, concentrated a moment, and then flung one of his batons at the platform.
As the stick hit, the platform shattered. Chris was knocked off, and fell the thirty feet to the floor. His own uncanny reflexes allowed him to land on his feet, but he had no chance to catch his breath. Sonic was already running towards him.
Chris swept low, a blurring kick that no normal man could have avoided. Sonic simply leapt over it, grabbing hold of Chris on the way over, and pulling him into a judo throw that catapulted him across the room. Sonic leaned over to pick up his thrown baton, and moved in on the downed student.
"Be glad I wasn't vibrating then, little buddy. Something like this could have happened to your head."
Sonic squatted down, and touched the metal floor for a moment. He then drew back and punched it lightly. A 5 foot square piece of the floor exploded into powder. "Metal, glass, concrete, bone...I can do that to any solid. Want me to test it on you?"
Chris stood, and said, "You can't hurt me that way. My kinetic field would protect me."
"Oh yeah. The same way it protected me from launching you across the room. Real good protection. Let's just see how good, shall we?"
And with that, Sonic came barrelling in, both batons humming as they swung for Chris' skull.
Chris watched as Sonic's attack seemed to go into slow motion. He raised his arms in a crosswise circular block. The two batons deflected off his KE field, but the vibration in them actually cut a little into Chris' skin. As he backed away, he had twin lines of blood trickling down his forearms. With dismay, Chris began to realize the truth of what Sonic had said. His field was only good for impacts. Not for sustained damage, like a slice with a knife...or a vibrating baton.
Chris decided that he needed a little space to manuever. He leaped upwards towards the high bars provided for gymnastic exercise. As he left the earth though, a hand shot out and wrapped itself around his ankle. 'Impossible! No one is that fast, not even Trax...' Then he was flying across the room again to skid to a stop at the far wall. 'I can't evenm get a bounce effect out of this guy! It's almost like he's sucking the KE out of my field.. wait a second. He is taking my KE! That's why he's moving faster every time he touches me! But if his powers are KE based..then I should be able to use the same trick, right?'
Chris got to his feet once more, and gauged the distance to his opponent. Sonic circled left, trying to come in on Chris' flank. Chris rolled forward, and then triggered off a burst of KE that sent him flying towards Sonic. The two fighters collided, and Sonic was hurled backwards. He landed, skidded, and rolled to his feet. Chris had already sucked a little juice from his opponent, and they were beginning to level off and equalize. "Not bad, kid. You learn quick. Let's see how you deal with this little trick."
Bill concentrated for a second, and then quickly bent to the ground and launched a double handed punch into the metal flooring. A bluish wave of power flowed along the floor, ripping up the metal covering as it tracked unerringly towards Chris.
Chris instinctively leapt high, and snagged one on the high bars. He redirected, and came down at a horrendous speed. Bill simply watched until the last second, and then dodged left with impossible ease. Chris hit, and started his upward bounce, but as he did so, he found his flight redirected by a side kick to the ribs. He flew backwards, to crash into the wall for the third time today.
"All right, boys. Playtimes over. I think I made my point."
Chris looked up dizzily (dizzily!! such a thing had never happened to him!) to see Terry walking down the steps leading to the control booth. "Thanks for your help Bill. Are you available next week?"
"No prob, Terry. This here boy gave me a pretty good workout. Shows a lot of potential. And I think I have some ideas how he might put his powers to even better use."
"Great. Then we'll see you next week."
"You bet. Bye Chris!"
Bill walked out of the room, and Chris groaned. Another session like that? Oh God.....
"Still think you know all there is to know?" asked Terry with a grin on her face.
Michelle and Jay hit the Big Apple!
RIG VEDA hits the Seekers team!
Vacuum cleaner salesmen make the rounds at SIRECOM HQ!! Don't miss it!
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