Author Topic: 2d Lt Aaron Walker  (Read 3666 times)

Josh

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2d Lt Aaron Walker
« on: October 30, 2012, 07:08:22 PM »
Walker sank into the deck-chair, exhaling a plume of thick white smoke as he did so. He had been warned about indulging in what the NASA flight director had termed "a detestable habit borne of adolescent notions of revolt that has no place in this, nor any other respectable American agency". Walker had reminded Edwards that smoking had never stopped Grissom or Shephard. Edwards hadn't had an answer to that.

Walker his modest, but well-kept abode: the white picket fence, the pastel-blue front door, the immaculately-mowed lawn and the crimson Corvette. It was his own little piece of space-race suburbia, and he loved it.

"Aaron, you know how the director feels about that," came a gentle voice. His wife Theresa.

He half-turned to look at her, dragging heavily on his Lucky Strike. An ex-underwear-model, Theresa was as attractive at 32 as she had been in her prime. The magazine she worked for had felt differently of course - their idea of 'attractive' was an up-and-comer barely sobered up from her sweet sixteen. "I've outdone myself," he thought with a wry smile.

She wrapped an arm around his shoulder and gracefully sat on his lap, her carefully-coiffed bob remaining so. She tilted her head as she spoke:

"Besides, I worry about what it's doing to your lungs. One day, we'll be raising a little fighter pilot of our own, and I'm not having him learning bad habits from his daddy."

"Come on Theresa, with my work schedule it'll be years before we have the time for a kid."

Theresa leant back, her brow furrowing as she spoke."Work schedule? All you've done for two weeks now is sit on the lawn and smoke yourself stupid"

"I told you, I'm waiting on a call. Edwards has been trying to secure funding for this Titan voyage and I really think-"

"You think what? You think this is the best way to prepare for that? Not at the gym, training? If Edwards could see you now he'd laugh at the thought of hiring you for this mission."

Theresa rose abruptly from his lap and disappeared into the house. Seconds later, she emerged with a handbag slung clumsily over her shoulder, rifling around for her car keys. Finding them, she slammed the door and crossed the lawn to her 1976 Volkswagen Beetle, before reversing it with such vigour that the tyres gave a squeal of distress. Aaron stood to watch her disappear down the street, the trees eventually blotting the ugly little car and the beautiful woman inside it from view.

"Of course, there is that temper..." he said aloud, flicking out the cigarette, folding the deck chair against the wall of the house and retreating indoors.

She still hadn't returned by the time the sun had set. Nor by the time he'd finished a bottle of wine, a lamb casserole and followed it up with a quarter of a bottle of whiskey.

He replaced the whiskey in the cupboard clumsily, and trudged up the stairs to his bedroom.  No sooner had his head touched the pillow than the phone beside him began to ring. It was Edwards.

"The Titan mission is going ahead as planned. We need you here to run some simulations."

Aaron sat in silence, trying his best to believe what he was hearing through the haze forced upon him by the alcohol.

"NOW, Walker. We need you here now."

"Erm, right, let me just... I'll be there in an hour." He slammed the receiver in its cradle and began hastily to pull on the jeans he had spent a full five minutes attempting to take off.

Two days later, Theresa received a visit from the police, who informed her that her partner had been involved in a road traffic accident. He had not survived.

Josh

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Re: 2d Lt Aaron Walker
« Reply #1 on: November 06, 2012, 06:38:08 PM »
Half an hour into this post and I just clicked 'Ctrl + R' instead of 'Shift + R'.

Fuck you world.

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Re: 2d Lt Aaron Walker
« Reply #2 on: November 06, 2012, 06:59:03 PM »
*Hastily scribbled Attempt #2*

“Wake up,” came a voice through the haze.  “I said wake up!”

Theresa opened her eyes, only to have them blasted shut again by the lightning-white glare of the sunlight from between the drawn curtains.  She hadn't left them that way.

“I won't have it,” began her mother.  “You don't return my calls, you don't answer the door; you've got half of the Amazon rainforest piling up on your doormat and you lie here in a linen cocoon pretending like it's all going to go away.”  As she spoke, Mary began to wrench her daughter from the mattress, undressing her with a practiced ease.  “How are you going to pay all of those utility bills if you won't even go to work Theresa?”  Mary paused, standing over the skeleton that used to be her daughter, with her hands on her hips.

“No, I simply won't have it”.

An hour and a half later and the pair were on the road.  It had taken Mary some effort to shower and dress her daughter - not to mention pack her into the passenger seat of the Prius – but she was determined to get Theresa to the sea-life centre. There had been an author on Oprah talking of the positive mental effect that swimming with dolphins had had on her during her deep depression.  Mary knew better than to believe everything a midday talk-show fed her, but it was worth a shot.  She was tired of watching her daughter waste away before her eyes.

Mary pulled into the parking spot a little too hastily and slammed the brakes on to avoid hitting the family saloon parked in front.  She glanced guiltily at her daughter, but Theresa hadn't seemed to notice.

Theresa peered up at the sign, grotesque in both size and vibrancy.  Then, sighing “I'll go get the tickets,”. 

Mary turned to her daughter, beaming.  “Are you sure, Theresa?”

Theresa said nothing; she simply opened the door and slid out silently, before crossing to the ticket booth.

Fifteen minutes later and Mary was still sitting in the car alone.  She bit her nails – a nervous twitch, and a bad one at that, so her late husband had told her.  She missed Ernest.  He'd know how to fix this.  She turned in her seat and glanced over at the ticket booth. 

A crowd had gathered, and in the middle of it, slumped on the concrete, was Theresa.  Mary flung open the door and pottered as quickly as her aged legs would allow toward the crowd.  She elbowed her way through and knelt beside her daughter, wrapping her arms around the girl's shoulders.

And there she sat as Theresa coughed and spluttered, coughed and spluttered...

...coughed and spluttered as the liquid began to drain from his lungs.  He felt more nauseous than he ever had done before. More nauseous even than after his session in the centrifuge.  The centrifuge: where had that memory come from.

Before he had time to recollect and further details, the glass panel in front of him slid away, and Aaron collapsed onto the cold tile floor, coughing and spluttering, coughing and spluttering...

Josh

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Re: 2d Lt Aaron Walker
« Reply #3 on: November 20, 2012, 07:16:42 PM »
Aaron placed the cargo trousers on the worn wooden fixture with a care he rarely afforded his own clothes. Granted, his wardrobe consisted of the same tired, bland and ropey threads he had been 'gifted' by the revival chamber attendants on his Awakening two months ago, but he was sure to go about his work carefully nonetheless.

“Walker!”
   Aaron turned to the front of the store, where Schmidt – his employer – was waving animatedly. Aaron obeyed the command with a sigh, leaving behind a three-foot stack of unfolded merchandise.
   Schmidt motioned to the two women fidgeting excitedly in front of him.  “Got a couple of lovely ladies wanting to question you about your exploits in Iraq.”
   Aaron tipped his head at Schmidt. He hated it when the old man introduced him that way. He knew Schmidt couldn't understand the nature of that particular conflict, what with America now holding hands peacefully with the rest of the world, even whilst it kicked itself in the balls. But his attention was quickly drawn – as was so often the case with Aaron – to the attractive girls stood beside him, who looked up at him from beyond the rims of their camouflage-spotted baseball hats. Their being attractive was no real surprise to Aaron; in the weeks since his revival he'd come to learn that plastic surgery was as easy stepping into a booth and choosing the face you always wished you'd had. What was surprising was that they were choosing to spend their time in a backwater military surplus store. He suspected they had no real interest in the Iraq war of long ago. Which was a good sign...
   As Aaron launched into his epic, half-imagined tale of explosive dogfights and brutal interrogations at the hands of the enemy, he noticed out of the corner of his eye that Schmidt was leading his co-worker Tom – another Revival – into the back room. It was quickly forgotten when one of the girls gasped at one of the nastier images he was conjuring. He took it as a sign to ramp up the gore-factor, and with renewed energy, began relaying the events of that dreadful war to his enraptured audience.
   Seconds later, and an explosion rattled the foundations of the building.

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Re: 2d Lt Aaron Walker
« Reply #4 on: December 04, 2012, 06:53:41 PM »
(Part 4 of my "Why the Hell Am I Turning This Into a Novel" Novel)

Aaron and Tom exchanged a knowing glance. The imposing figure they had just waved out of Schimdt's shop was of a familiar build. A literal build. Augmentations exposed, flayed skin giving way to metallic bone; this man was connected to the kidnapping they had witnessed outside the 'hostel' they called home.

Schmidt finally emerged from the room behind the counter. Aaron and Tom weren't to go in there, so they'd been told, and they weren't about to put their jobs in jeopardy by questioning Schmidt's one-and-only order.

“About time you boys got yourselves home,” spluttered Schmidt, wiping the last of the stubborn smoke from his clothes.  His employees turned an inquisitive (and enduring) stare in his direction.  “Smoke grenade,” he sighed. “An own goal of sorts. Don't worry about the customers, they'll be back tomorrow.”

Aaron and Tom grabbed their coats – military garb from a bygone era – and turned to the door.

“Say,” called Schmidt, before Tom could get his foot out of the door, “I don't suppose you boys fancy joining me on a little excursion I've got planned later tonight.”

Aaron answered, which was usually a bad thing. “Awh listen man, I know we Revivals are a big hit with those swingers down on fifth but I'm really not that kind of-”

“Brrf!” spluttered Schmidt, shaking his now flustered face in disgust. Tom winced at the pilot.

“What?” retorted Aaron. “I notice these things Tom. It's called Spatial Awareness Training,” he continued, putting extra emphasis on every other syllable and pointing at his own head as if it were explaining things better than it actually was.

Schmidt broke the ensuing silence. “I was simply going to suggest that if the two of you were interested in the political shitstorm this city is currently enduring, then you might like to join me to the Republican rally that's happening this evening. I can't say I agree with all of the man's policies, but it's a chance to meet some interesting people and, more importantly, to educate yourselves in the excesses of the modern campaign trail. I imagine it was a pretty meager little affair back where you're from,” Schmidt grinned, clapping the pair on the back and leading them out of the now abandoned shop.

“If only you knew,” Tom remarked, without a trace of irony.

In a few hours time, he'd come to realise the bitterness of that sentence, and thank God he was alive to know it...

Josh

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Re: 2d Lt Aaron Walker
« Reply #5 on: December 18, 2012, 06:09:34 PM »
“Brace yourself,” he had remarked, before they had wormed their way through the throng.

And so the trio stood, ten metres away from the stage, hands in pockets and eyes locked beneath furrowed brows on the dictatorial figure that stalked the ground in front of a thousand jeering fans. Schmidt's brief words of warning had failed to prepare either of the Revivals for the scene that now surrounded them.

Aaron leant towards Tom, hoping not to distract the two apes behind him from their frenzied hollering. “I guess the Republicans finally shook themselves free of those shackles we call 'subtlety'.”

Tom, no timid figure himself, spoke down to Aaron as quietly as he could. “With so many minorities to rally against these days I suppose efficiency overcomes tact.”

The Republican on stage let loose another barrage of abhorrence.  One of the goliaths behind them roared, beating the chest of his red baseball jacket with a closed fist. Aaron winced, but dared not look around, lest a look of disdain be mistaken for one of hostility. His focus instead was drawn to the man standing quietly at Tom's other shoulder.

He was a well-groomed, if simply dressed gentleman, but his eyes betrayed a sense of horror at the spectacle unfolding before him.

Aaron gave Tom a nudge, and motioned to the stranger with his chin. “Revival?”

Tom risked a sideward glance. “Most definitely,” he nodded, before offering the stranger a hand to shake. “Name's Tom,” he started. Then, with a gentle wave toward each: “Aaron, and Schmidt”.

“Vaughn,” came a friendly reply. He shook Aaron's hand, but Schmidt was too engrossed in the performance to notice the welcoming of a new member to his party.

“Good to know there are others here that would prefer to make conversation with someone than pummel him into the ground.” said Vaughn.

“You're in no danger as long as we're here, Sir” replied Tom without a trace of irony.

Vaughn looked momentarily stunned. “Er, yes, well... that's also... good to know.”

Aaron cut in. “What G.I. Joe here is trying to say is that you're in good company.” He lowered his voice a little. “Revival, right?”

“That's correct, how did you-”

“Hey, how about you show a little respect?” came a shout about six semitones lower than any Aaron had ever heard before. He turned around to see two mountainous men bearing down on him. Several more were eyeing Tom and Vaughn.

One of them gave Vaughn a shove, sending him clattering backward into other members of the crowd. These, too, turned to face the intruders with a look of barely contained rage. Tom began to eyeball the gang's mouthpiece, who returned the favour.

“You ain't dressed like any Republican I ever seen,” snarled the antagonist.

“A compliment I'll cherish to my dying day,” retorted Tom.

Aaron knew what came next, but failed to react in time to stop Tom's fist cracking the orbital of his aggressor.

Chaos ensued.

Schmidt, his grim trance broken by what he later swore was the sound of the meathead's skull giving way, gabbed Aaron by the scruff of his jacket and began dragging him backwards out of the melee. Tom swung with frightening power at the baying crowd, that had become so caught up in the combative atmosphere of the night that pockets of republicans were now breaking away to fight each other. It gave Vaughn just enough time to slip out of the brawl under the cover of his jacket. Tom followed suit, pulling the collar of his desert scrubs up over his now bloodied head, and following the group out of the auditorium.

The four of them sat in Schmidt's army-issue truck outside, panting, but otherwise silent.

Schmidt clutched his chest, waiting for the pain of exertion to fade from his aging body. After a couple of minutes, he started the engine. “Home?”

The three Revivals gave a meek nod. Schmidt sighed a guilty sigh, before slamming the old girl into first, and heading towards the Revival Centre.

Josh

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Re: 2d Lt Aaron Walker
« Reply #6 on: January 08, 2013, 07:08:21 PM »
"There. Park it there, by the alley."

“Alright, alright! I'm going,” hissed Schmidt.

Aaron hunched forward in his seat, peering out of the windshield at the cumbersome-looking Mitsubishi truck that blocked the entrance to the Revival Centre. Cloaked in black and emitting a deep, rumbling growl despite sitting in neutral, the vehicle was designed for intimidation, not discretion.

Aaron turned to Tom, whose enormous frame perched precariously on the Landie's minimal rear seat. “You flank through the alley on the right, I'll sidle the front of the building and get a better look at what we're dealing with. You know, a... er, 'Pincer' movement.”

Tom's reply was a silent nod, and a remarkably graceful exit through the open window beside him. In reality, it was to prevent him having to open the door and risk giving their position away. Aaron figured he was just showing off.

Schmidt clapped a hand on Aaron's shoulder as the pilot made to leave. “You'll be needing this.” Schmidt opened the glove compartment and produced a pair of walkie-talkies. “Go get a good look and relay what you're seeing to us. Need-be, I can cut them off with Marie here.” The old man gave the steering wheel a firm pat.

Aaron winced. “You named your truck Marie?”

“No, you jackass, your boys did when they took her out to the desert in '91. Guess it got pretty lonely out there, heh.”

Aaron left Schmidt to chuckle to himself and stalked towards the enormous Mitsubishi, briefly pausing beside the bonnet to inspect Marie's cleavage. Sure enough, her name was scrawled childishly next to her bare thigh. “Wish me luck, Marie” he whispered, kissing his fingertips and pressing them against the wheel-arch. Schmidt shooed him from beyond the glass.

“I'll just... sit here and... yeah,” sighed Vaughn, clasping his hands in his lap.



Aaron was just over 20 metres away now, his heart beating in his ears. It was them. The robotic window-shoppers that had given him a visual interrogation in Schmidt's store. He could see a jutting metallic jaw reflected in the wing-mirror. The door to the Revival Centre was thrown open, bouncing off the wall and creating a startlingly violent snap in the quiet of the street. Aaron flinched. Out came another Metallic Man, this one dragging a docile-looking sacrifice – clearly a Revival – towards one of the Mitsubishi's rear doors.

“We've got hostiles! Schmidt, intercept!” Aaron screamed down the talkie, alarming the kidnapper. “Tom! Break cover!”

Tom did so with enough ferocity to force a nervous rev from the Mitsubishi's engine. Aaron stood up and began to sprint toward his target, not entirely sure what he'd do when he got there.

There was no need to worry. The rear door popped open, and a third man stretched out to grab the hapless victim. His friend followed him briskly into the truck, which had already begun to pull away.

Schmidt was too busy swearing as the key twisted fruitlessly in the temperamental ignition to hear Aaron give the Mitsubishi's registration number over the talkie. Vaughn however, made sure to make a mental note.

Then, as the pilot made his way back to Marie: “Call it off guys, they're gone.” And the talkie went dead.

Josh

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Re: 2d Lt Aaron Walker
« Reply #7 on: January 15, 2013, 07:04:24 PM »
(Sorry guys, just a short one this week, got a gig to practice for. It's not like I'll ever catch up anyway...)

He thought about her.

Theresa.

The way she'd wake up earlier than he would, just to make his packed lunch before he set off for work. Ham and cheese, with some graham crackers on the side. The 'healthy option' he'd never eat. She must've assumed he threw them away while he was out. In reality, he was handing them off to Jessica, the girl in admin who'd had her eye on Aaron since the day he started. They'd slept together at the Christmas party, and he'd never eaten lunch in the cafeteria again. He'd eat the crackers himself after that.

Then there was the way she'd fold his clothes. 'Arms together, belly under', she'd sing daintily to herself as she went. Then she'd scrub the surface with enough force to rattle the sideboards. She'd stopped doing that after Sammy.

Theresa had always wanted a baby. The pair had met beneath a full moon at one of NASA's night-time 'stargazing' events, which saw astronauts and Hollywood celebrities drink the finest champagne together at a predetermined NASA obsevatory, in a weird coming together of geek and beauty. Even then she'd uttered some superstitious nonsense about the relationship between pregnancy rates and the moon's pull on the earth. And he'd fallen in love with her for it. He'd taken her number down, told her he'd give her a call. Then he'd had a bottle of Bollinger to himself and gone home with Catherine.

Through a toxic haze, Aaron whispered.  “I'm sorry.”

The two neanderthals gripping him beneath the arms stopped for a second, glancing first at Aaron, slumped between them, and then at each other, before continuing on toward the pile of bodies in the centre of the room, where they dropped him.

50

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Re: 2d Lt Aaron Walker
« Reply #8 on: January 15, 2013, 11:55:07 PM »
Thing is.. Whilst this is an in game meaning piece I guess?.. an I'm missing stuff cause I don't know context maybe? I'm still loving this story! :)

.. I've said it b4.. your damn good at this writing stuff! ;D

Josh

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Re: 2d Lt Aaron Walker
« Reply #9 on: January 29, 2013, 07:18:37 PM »
Yeah there's a ton of context I've missed out, but I'm pleased as punch you're reading along anyway. Cheers buddy!

“Wake up, sleepy head.” Aaron nudged Tom's shoulder with his boot. The anaesthetic was beginning to leave the pilot's system. A failed low-level bombing run and four weeks in and out of an Iraqi interrogation cell now looked to be serving him well; he recognised the effects of the drug almost as soon as consciousness had returned, but it would be another half hour before his body would become truly sympathetic to his brain's commands.

Until then, he would continue his attempts to revive Tom, whose face jutted with a ghostly pallor from the black sack he had been dragged here in – wherever this was.

Twenty minutes passed, and Aaron found himself able to move his limbs with surprising deftness. He heaved himself into a squat position, before rising steadily to shaky feet. The lingering influence of the drug forced him to the ground on two occasions before he was able to stand with relative stability.

The only light in the room dripped slowly from a lamp that swung with a steady lethargy overhead, causing his stomach to churn. Composing himself, the pilot cast an outward glance to what he considered to be the northern end of the room. He had made a mental note of the direction from which the neanderthals had dragged him. He couldn't be sure of course, but any notion of bearing in an almost entirely darkened room was important.

His eyes came to rest on a sliver of artificial light that was spilling in from beneath a doorway – the only exit in the room as far as he could tell. He crept slowly towards it, casting a frequent glance back at the mound of plastic and flesh that still lay motionless on the cold concrete floor.

Voices. A flittering shadow passing briefly in front of the door. They were still here. Aaron sought out a weapon, and came upon a shard of wood broken from one of the many enormous crates that now made themselves known. He continued his silent march towards the door.

As he approached, he noticed an old-fashioned lock-and-key handle set into the door's metal panel. He crouched down to the keyhole, supporting his trembling legs with his free hand. His eye drew near to the hole, and he saw nothing. That meant the key was still in the lock.

A spluttering from behind him made him jump, causing the fracture of wood to fall from his hand and splinter on the floor.

Aaron froze. Tom moved.

The pilot began an unintentionally diagonal roadie run to the downed marine, clamping a hand over his comrade's mouth. “Shh!” he indicated with the finger of his other. He released his grip, and Tom began to frisk the room with his eyes.

“Where the hell are we?” he asked.

Aaron fixed his eyes on the door as he spoke. The voices outside had faded. “I have no idea, but we need to find a way out quickly.”

“Those crates.”

“Shipping containers, I'd reckon.”

“And we're...”

“That's right,” nodded Aaron. “Now come on, I need you combat ready.”

Tom drove himself to his feet with a resolve that inspired a sense of awe and envy in Aaron.

Another voice, much fainter this time, made both of them jump.

“Help m...” gasped a figure lying on the ground beside them.

“Vaughn!” the pair recoiled. Aaron would later feel a certain guilt at the annoyance that bubbled up inside him at that moment. Annoyance that the situation had just become a lot more complicated. At that moment though, a shout from outside the room alerted all three to the fact that time was running out very quickly indeed.

“They're awake! Jesus, how are they awake already? You! Get the key!”

“Fuck!” started Aaron. “Tom, you grab Vaughn, I'll look for another way out.”  He snatched up another broken plank and held it to the shell of the overhead light, before clumily directing the beam toward the darker corners of the room.

Seconds passed, and any hope of finding an alternative route was fading quickly. Then, a glint in the far corner.

“Holy shit, it's a grate...” he thought aloud.

“What about this situation seems great to you?” mumbled Vaughn, slumped over one of Tom's shoulders.

“Tom, drop the jester and help me pull this open,” called Aaron, skittering towards their shot at freedom.

The pair wrenched the grate from it's bed with a groan. Once it's edge was over the lip, they began to heave it away from the hole beneath.

At that moment, a 'click' from the door behind them preceded an enormous crash, as the attackers breached the room.

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Re: 2d Lt Aaron Walker
« Reply #10 on: February 05, 2013, 07:11:22 PM »
Their exhalations reverberated around the concrete tunnel as they ran.

“Slow down,” gasped Vaughn, still clinging desperately to Tom's shoulder. Tom replied with a hand around the scruff of Vaughn's neck, and an increase in speed.

“Tom!” came a call from further down the corridor. In the near total darkness, the trio hadn't realised that one had become separated from the others.

Vaugn replied with an urgent whisper. “Aaron! Where are you?”

The distinctive sound of rasping flint pierced the ensuing silence. An amber glow followed. Tom scrambled towards it, keeping Vaughn within arm's reach. He rounded a crook in the piping to find Aaron clumsily lighting a crumpled cigarette.

Vaughn took a moment to compose himself. “It's bad for you, you know,” he said, jutting his chin towards the cigarette.

A crash some distance away told them their pursuers had also freed the grate from its bed.

“True, but it just saved your life,” Aaron retorted, before heaving himself to his haunches and stomping onward.

It was another sixty seconds – a lifetime to them - before they saw any sign of life above ground. Early morning sunlight cut into the pipe through another grate, this one seemingly leading out into the street. Aaron turned to his companions.

“Tom, hand Vaughn to me. We need to get this grate out of the way, quickly.”

“Air Force afraid to get their hands dirty?” smiled Tom as he squeezed through the tunnel ahead. Aaron rolled his eyes.

The enemy was getting closer. The volume of their footsteps grew to painful levels around them. Mercifully, and with one enormous upward heave, Tom popped the steel out of its moss-addled frame, providing the escapees with a route to freedom.

Tom went first, before turning to offer Vaughn a helping hand. Aaron assisted with a heavy-handed lift of Vaugn's feet, sending the man cartwheeling into the street above, just as the neanderthals rounded the final corner. Aaron froze, raising his hands into the fresh air in surrender. One of the chasers levelled his gun at the pilot, before a pair of hands appeared from the skies above, clamping around Aaron's wrists, and lifting him clear.

Aaron was still trying to piece together exactly what had just happened when he turned to thank Tom. Instead, his words of gratitude were cut short by the sight of both Tom and Vaughn reaching to the sky. He followed their gaze to five suited men – CIA if Hollywood was to be believed – each with a semi-automatic rifle trained on the trio.

Aaron peered over his shoulder and into the pipe, where the gun-toting kidnapper was now emerging, before sighing heavily and raising his hands.

“Shit.”

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Re: 2d Lt Aaron Walker
« Reply #11 on: February 19, 2013, 07:21:48 PM »
A bullet broke the stand-off. Aaron had wondered how many times the Suit was going to repeat the order to down arms. His guess was one too many, and the Suit's lack of patience startled the pilot, causing him to duck instinctively.  Beside him, Tom did the same, but with enough forethought to take cover behind one of the cement blocks from which the overhead lamps protruded.

Vaughn was scared enough to drop an enormous square of steel on his own toe. No one ever asked why he'd picked it up in the first place.

A short-lived shootout rattled the corrugated metal doors around them, and left behind it a silence just as loud.

“Get up!” the Suit ordered.

“Just once I'd like a 'please',” Aaron muttered as he rose groggily to his feet.

The Suit was not obliging. “You'll keep your mouth shut if you know what's good for you. And you, behind the lamp-post. You obviously ain't as skinny as you used to be.”

Tom peered around the lamp-post, bemused. He moved away from it, raising his hands and glaring accusingly at the steel pole for failing to provide adequate cover.

Vaughn hadn't touched the concrete in the first place. His legs were locked, his hands frozen, his gaze far-away.

The three of them faced an army of four: the Suit with the mouth, and three Stooges with the semi-automatic heavy-caliber pistols.

“Now just what the hell is happening here?” said the mouth.

“Kidnapped by the guys leaking all over the road,” replied Aaron. “Thanks for that by the way.”

“Welcome,” grunted the Suit. With a simple raising and lowering of the hand, he ordered the Stooges to lower their weapons. They obliged.

The suit stepped forward, offering a hand to the men.

“Name's Peterson. It's good to know you,” he said with a practice smile.  Aaron and Tom relaxed, suddenly understanding their company well. Vaughn was a little more hesitant.

“You're a politician,” remarked Tom.

“A keen eye, but not quite. I'm a campaign manager of sorts. And you boys...” he paused for effect, “-are ex-military, am I right?”

“A keen eye,” smiled Aaron. “But not quite.”

Peterson looked pleasantly shocked at his own imperception.

Aaron continued. “Revivals. Seems like the past gets forgotten when that label's attached.”

“Too true, boys, too true. And there are those who'll take advantage of such sad stories.” He motioned to the kidnappers, their blood knowing running in rivulets towards the tunnel from which they had emerged.

“But you boys...” Peterson began excitedly, stabbing the air as an idea began to take shape. “You boys just unearthed a trafficking ring. Revivals, taking a stand against the scum of the City, funded by a party that cares.” He began to walk back towards the gargantuan truck he had arrived in, replete with an oily black paint job and tinted passenger windows. “Yeah, that'll sell... Get in boys!”

Tom, Aaron and Vaughn stared back dumbly.

“Or would you rather be left here with the rats and the robots?” he laughed.

The three exchanged glances and forced a decision between them.

With a nod, they head for Peterson's car.

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Re: 2d Lt Aaron Walker
« Reply #12 on: February 26, 2013, 06:42:18 PM »
“Hi! I'm Ed Winchester!”

The greeting came before Aaron had even had the chance to close the car door behind him. He stared vacantly at the carefully-coifed suit proffering his hand from the middle row of seats. Aaron raised an eyebrow toward Tom and Vaughn, who were huddled in the rear seats beside him.

“Ed,” came Peterson's voice from the front, “I'd like you to meet your new associates. I'm sorry boys, I never did catch your names.”

“Aaron. Aaron Walker,” replied the pilot, nervously accepting Ed's handshake.

“Rackham.”

“Vaughn Donovan.”

Ed smiled at the three in turn repeating his name to each. “Great to have you on board! Let me fill you in on the plan as it stands-”

“That's not necessary for the moment Ed,” interrupted the campaign manager. “I think these boys have earned a little rest.” Peterson nodded to the driver beside him, and the car was set in motion.

After a few moments in silence, Peterson piped up. “It was all thanks to Ed here that we ever found you in the first place.” Aaron saw a smug smile flash across the face of Winchester in the rear-view mirror. Peterson continued: “He's a Revival, like you. And the Revivals are an untapped market, as far as these elections go. A rich vein of votes, and one that the Democrats want to tap into.

“That's right!” It was Ed's turn to interrupt. “Problem is, the Revival Centres that supposedly care for folks like us are being run by some of the most corrupt, amoral, callous, disgusting, INHUMANE-”

“That's enough Ed!” Peterson coughed awkwardly. “What I mean to say is that Mr Winchester found proof that some of the area's Revival Centres are linked directly to a human trafficking ring that targets the weak and sells their only real 'assets' to- well, I'm not legally allowed to implicate a specific corporation, needless to say that a fairly major augmentation clinic is currently gathering its legal resources in the vain hope that they can worm their way out of this god-forsaken mess.

“You, as my personal workforce, will be responsible for the targeting and subsequent neautralisation of any undesirable elements that may be housed within the institution of sociohistorical rehabilitation.”

Vaughn turned to Tom with a crooked top lip and a furrowed brow.

“We're going after the bad guys,” smiled Tom.

Vaughn spluttered, and began to paw at the door handle. "No. No! I don't like this. Not at all." He stopped his frantic escape attempt and turned to seize Tom, who remained remarkably calm, by the collar. "You've seen what the bad guys are like, what they want to do to us!"

Tom released himself from Vaughn's grip and returned his gaze to the view beyond the windshield.

“So much for a 'little rest',” muttered Aaron.

Peterson moved to bribe the three into submission - the only method he knew. “Fear not; there are perks. Given everything I've just told you, we obviously do not expect you to reside in that hellhole you've called 'Home' for the last few months...”

No sooner had the words been spoken, the truck rounded the corner of the neighbourhood's fifth up-market restaurant and revealed a beautifully maintained apartment block replete with wrought-iron fencing and a sizeable parking lot in front of it.

Twenty minutes later, and Peterson was giving the men a tour of their not-so-humble abode. A communal living area branched into six separate bedrooms, as well as a spare room occupied by a device that looked to Walker like a washing machine with a conveyor belt stuck to the front of it. This, Peterson explained, would provide the apartment's residents with enough food to sustain them for a month, provided it was replenished with matter on occasion (litter, food waste, old clothes-the machine was not a fussy eater). Peterson even gave it a scientific title, but that was quickly forgotten by the excited party.

Another ten minutes and all five were sipping fresh Colombian coffee (for all they knew) in the main area.

Peterson set down his cup, and raised himself from his seat with a groan of exertion. “Gentlemen, now that you've become well acquainted with your new home, I'm afraid I must take my leave. Tonight will see you all getting some well-earned rest. Your first task will arrive for you in the morning, though I'll tell you now that it involves little more than a few television appearances. This story will make for excellent publicity.” Peterson began to make his way to the door, before turning to face the group. “Before I go though, I should mention that this living arrangement comes with a caveat.”

At that moment, the front door slammed shut behind him.

Peterson stepped aside. “Flux, right on time...”

Josh

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Re: 2d Lt Aaron Walker
« Reply #13 on: March 05, 2013, 07:13:06 PM »
“If you'd like to empty your pockets for me madam,” said the doorman, blocking the convention centre's security barrier with his baton.

Flux paused, decided (incorrectly) that this was more of a request than an outright order, and replied with an amiable “no, thank you.”

The security guard snatched her by the shoulder, and Aaron and Tom, who had been waiting anxiously behind her, made a move towards him.

“Gentlemen, stand down.” Peterson's tone was notably more relaxed than the situation seemed to warrant. “I'll not have you blacking each other's eyes before the conference.”

One of the five photographers that had jostled their way into the building behind Peterson elevated his lens and snapped the scene. The PR man whirled, his face now a portrait of fury, which was a little more comforting. “Didn't I tell you to save it for the speech!” he raged.

The journalist stammered. “I... I'm sorry, I-”

“Security!” Peterson turned to face the guard, who still had a hand on the oblivious girl's shoulder. “Get this man out of here!”

The guard attempted to finish his reply before Peterson interjected: “Sir, we have reason to believe that this girl has more than one improvised explosive device about her pers-”. He was unsuccesful.

“Do you really think I'd be bringing anyone in here that posed any kind of security risk, let alone put them on stage in front of the City's press?” He didn't wait for an answer. “Of course not you moron. I'm the one signing your payslip today, and I order you to remove this man!” He jabbed a finger at the accused, who was already making a move to the exit. “No, damn it all to hell. All of them! I want all of them gone! It's pre-approved scoop or no scoop at all.”

“Yes sir,” conceded the guard. He released his grip on Flux. She skipped away and into the foyer as though none of the events unfolding around her were penetrating the bubble in which she lived.

Tom and Aaron exhaled simultaneously, shaking their head at the girl. Over the last two weeks she had exhibited two contrasting behaviours: the first, an inability to meaningfully interact with anyone or anything to such a degree that Aaron suspected her to be a sufferer of autism; the second, an altogether more talkative but deeply sinister personality with a destructive bent. Strange, nonsensical writing had begun appearing within the apartment, scrawled hastily on doors and walls, and the group had come to a collective – though unspoken – conclusion regarding the perpetrator. Peterson's apprehension about introducing her to the group two weeks ago was well-founded.

“That's right, come back when you've learned a thing or two about real journalism you... hoodlums,” goaded Winchester ineffectually behind Tom and Aaron as the journalists were escorted from the building. He flinched as one of the journalists turned rapidly to cast a stern eye in his direction. “Yeah, same to you... buddy,” he spat, though only after a thick glass door stood between himself and the recipient.

Vaughn rolled his eyes from the back of the queue. He'd witnessed the charade a hundred times in the last fortnight. Winchester was all talk, which, Vaughn supposed, was why he made such a good reporter. There was a flair lacking in the man's monologue though, a flair that Vaughn had prided himself on. He cast his thoughts back to his previous life. The cheer of the crowd, the warmth of the spotlight, the rush of the-”

“Door!” called Aaron from beyond the security barrier.

The Magician was brought back down to earth just in time to see the glint of the revolving door's glass pane as it swung violently towards him. A tenth of a second later, and the glint was gone, replaced by a crimson streak offered up by Vaughn's broken nose.

Peterson stepped briskly back through the security barrier. “For fuck's sake...”

Josh

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Re: 2d Lt Aaron Walker
« Reply #14 on: March 12, 2013, 07:05:16 PM »
Walker cringed. Peering back at him from behind a plasma screen and the last pair of aviators Schmidt's store had was his own face. There he was, standing awkwardly at the back of the stage in a baggy flight suit, trying desperately to avoid the attention of the two-dozen journos that had gathered at the conference centre. In front of him was Tom Rackham, casting a stern gaze into the crowd, almost daring someone to ask him the incendiary question the marine was clearly dreaming to punch them all for.

Flux bounced anxiously stage-left. Walker had to admit that she'd been far more restrained than any of them had dared hope for. There had been an awkward moment involving a fairly innocent question and an apparent confession of homocide, but Peterson had done a valiant job in dismissing Flux's ravings as an unfortunate side-effect of the Revival process.

Standing front-and-centre, and surprising absolutely nobody as a result, was one-time reporter Ed Winchester, who insisted on fielding most of the questions, and responding with not-so-subtle references to his heroism. Walker was impressed at the man's self-belief, because the majority of it relied on lies. No, that was harsh. Winchester was a far braver man than he when it came to public speaking, and that was worthy of credit. Still-

“Can we turn this shit off now?” Aaron asked.

Winchester and Peterson turned in synch: “No!”

Then Peterson, from the television: “I'm afraid that's all we've got time for today ladies and gentlemen. As you can see, my colleagues here...” -Aaron hated that he had referred to them as such- “...are in need of some hospital treatment.”

Television Peterson motioned to Vaughn, the only one of the group that had been sitting, his nose still gushing into the tissue pressed half-heartedly against it. His face was a mixture of boredom, embarrassment, depression and extensive bruising.

Peterson had continued: “But rest assured that they are now officially under the employ of Senator Anders, who expects, and will be given results. Results like we have given you today. I thank you for your time.”

The Peterson on the couch lay back with a satisfied smile on his face, the legs of his fitted silk trousers riding up to reveal what appeared to be novelty birthday socks. The man was brash enough not to care.

“Damn fine job out there boys,” Peterson sighed. He turned his head to Flux, who was scribbling something at the kitchen table. “And lil' lady.”

Flux paid him no attention.

Peterson shrugged it off. “Well, the rest of the week is yours. Do as you please. I'll come calling this weekend.”

“Wait.” Tom sat forward. “What about the investigation. We need to get out there. Tomorrow, if not sooner. Every bad guy in the neighbourhood is going to be packing up shop after everything we've just broadcast.”

“Relax big man,” Peterson sighed as he got up, tapping Tom on the knee. “We've got this all under control. What? You didn't actually think we'd hand over the entire investigation to a bunch of Revivals did you? You're the faces of this movement. We've got a lot riding on you. And after Vaugn's little foray into the world of danger today,” he winked sarcastically at Vaughn, “I don't think it's safe for you guys to be leaving the apartment right now.”

“This is bullshit!” roared Tom, kicking over a kitchen stool. Peterson took it in his stride.

“Listen, you've got a cushy apartment in the middle of the closest thing the City has to a suburbs. Free food, free TV. Make the most of it.” He crossed the room, pointing to the group in a false show of comradery, before snatching a grape from the kitchen counter and exiting the apartment.

The group were silent.

Then, it was Aaron's turn to head for the exit.  He paused at the door and turned to face Tom.

“What are they going to do? Shoot us at the gates?”

And with that, he left.

Moments later, Tom followed. Then Flux. Then Ed.

Vaughn sat alone, nursing his throbbing nose.

"For fuck's sake," he muttered, before leaving too.