Soldiers of the Damned
Author: Garrett R. Kirby

Chapter 4
The meeting


Chapter 4:

You know, if there's one thing I like about being on leave, it has to be sleeping in. Sure, when we are at the base we don't really have a set time to get up... but Neal usually plays his Banjo first thing when he gets up.
Then there is the loud tv when Jack's in the living room, Tank's stereo blaring rap music, Jerry talking on the phone, all those little things that you hate to wake up to. Well, at least I hate to wake up to it.
Last night at the bar, it was pretty interesting. After the cops arrived they actually congratulated Tank for taking out a very dangerous killer, who they had been searching high and low for.
When we got back from the bar Tank got to see his wife and daughter.
But now it's just time for sleep. Nice, relaxing sleep.

"Yo Randy!!" Tank yelled from downstairs.
My eyes flew open and I jumped up out of bed. I was still at least half asleep, so when I found myself on my feet, I simply fell over and face-planted on the tile floor. I heard Tank's loud foot steps as he ran upstairs. He must have heard me fall.
Tank stood in the doorway and starred down at me for a moment. I looked up at him with my half-closed eyes and frowned. He was smirking at me.
"What's with the smile?" I asked sleepily.
"You can take guys with guns, but the floor still beat the crap out of you?" He asked, shaking his head and walking off towards his room.
I stood and shook off the pain in my nose. "Your real funny." I called sarcastically after him.
"Funny is my middle name!" He yelled at me from his room. "Now get dressed, the meeting is in one hour!"
I sighed and walked over to my dresser. I opened it and looked for some clothes to put on. I wanted to look nice for who ever was there.
"What are you gonna where Tank?" I asked.
He appeared back in front of the door in his boxers. His arms were... huge. That's the only word I could use to describe them.
"I think I'm gonna where a suit, you know, something fancy." He replied, then walked off again.
"You mind if I use the shower?" I asked.
"In other words: 'Do I want my friend to be stinky like a hobo in front of the General?' Heck no." He called from downstairs.
I grabbed a pair of jeans and a button-up black shirt. It was the best I had.
"Have to admit, he is pretty fast." I whispered to myself, seeing Tank in the kitchen.

I walked to the bathroom and started the shower. When I got in I noticed there was no soap, and of course I wasn't just going to use the hot water.
"Tank!!" I yelled.
"What?!" he called back.
"I need a bar of soap!" I yelled. "Will you get one for me?"
There was a long moment of silence before suddenly a bar of soap came flying into the shower.
"Whoa!" I jumped as it flew over my head and hit the wall.
I picked up the bar of soap and started lathering up the rag. I quickly showered and took a few moments to just stand and relax in the hot water.
When I was finished I stopped the water and opened the shower door. When I went to step out I starred in fright at Tank, who was standing over the sink brushing his teeth. He glanced over at me and jumped back.
We both screamed for a second and I slammed the shower door shut. I grabbed the towel and wrapped it around my waist, then I opened the door back up.
"You trying to kill me kid?" He asked, his eyes still somewhat wide with shock.
"I didn't know you were standing there! I'm sorry!" I yelled.
"What ever." He frowned. "We never speak of this."
"For the rest of out lives." I agreed.
Tank nodded, then turned and walked out of the bathroom to leave so I could get ready.

-Later, SSP base number 79-

"Dang traffic." Tank said in a low voice as we pulled into the parking lot of the base.
"Tell me about it." I said, glancing at the red van that sat outside.
When we parked I got out of the car and walked inside quickly. I was afraid they had started without us.When I entered the building, I heard voices coming from the kitchen, but wasn't able to make out what they were saying yet.
When I walked out to the kitchen, everybody looked over at me.
There were more people then I had thought.
First there was General Reece, one of our commanders. He wasn't wearing any armor today, just a normal army vest and pants with black boots. He was older, his hair was grey and face was wrinkled, though not as much as Neal's.
Then there was some guy I didn't even know. He had a straw cap, some what like Neal's, but at the same time different in shape. He was also wearing a blue shirt with "SSP" printed across the front, he had blue jeans and green camouflage boots. His legs were up on the table, and he was leaning back in the chair lazily with his arms crossed behind his head.
Of course, there was Jack, Jerry, and Neal among these knew people.
Then there was this girl. Her hair was long and fairly red, and her eyes were green like Drake's. She was smaller then I was, but only by a inch or so.
"Hey." Tank's voice said behind me. "What did we miss?"
"You ain't missed a thing." Neal replied. "We were just waiting for you to show up, so nothin' happened yet."
Jerry looked at me, then his eyes flashed up to Tank. Jerry looked stressed and worried, something I didn't quite understand. After all, wasn't it Jerry that said they couldn't do this?
"Hey Tank..." Jerry sighed.
Jack was wearing, instead of his skull mask, some sort of medical tape around his head. His only visible features were his eyes and mouth. One of his eyes was a bit messed up. It was all white, though the iris was just a bit darker and more visible, they were white.
Jack looked back at the table, he was sitting across from the new guy. "Hello." He said in his slow and calm voice.
General Reece stood from his seat at the end of the table and half-smiled. "Let's get down to business shall we?" he asked.
"Sir, before we begin..." Jerry began. "May I just state my opinion on this whole thing?"
"Permission to speak." General said, nodding towards Jerry.
"Sir, I know that we may not be needed so much right now, and I know that New York is filled with criminals and druggies... but, with all due respect, you can't do this."
The Generals eyes seemed to brighten a bit at Jerry's words. He smiled. "And what makes you think that?" He asked.
"Well," Neal cut in. "We were pretty much made to shoot n' kill our targets, not take hostages. You have other teams trained for that sort of thing. I think that's what Jerry is tryin' to get at."
General Reece looked over at Jerry and he nodded slowly. Next it was Jack's turn.
"He's got a point with that. I don't remember a single mission where we took a hostage." Jack agreed.
A good reason not to kick us out. Jerry did make a great point. We were not cops, we did not take hostages, and we did not hesitate on pulling the trigger.
I thought this would change the Generals views on the matter... hm, I must have been high.
"You guy's don't get it." The General said. "We want you people out there for the exact reason you think it's wrong we put you out there. We don't want to take these people to jail."
Jerry blinked a few times. "What...?" he asked.
I was just as confused as he was. They wanted us to kill people? That changed everything.
"Your joking." Jerry said, shaking his head slowly. He raised his finger up slowly and pointed at the General. "Your telling me you want us to kill our own kind?!"
"No, I want you to start killing these druggies and murderers. Only until the others are too scared to show their faces in this city again. You'll be doing New York a huge favor."
Tank stepped forward, his eyebrows raised and fear in his eyes. "So that's it?" He asked. "Your just kicking us out?"
"I wouldn't say that." The General frowned. "Is that why you don't want to be put out there? Your afraid we are forgetting you completely?"
"Well... yeah." Jerry said. "That's kind of the reason everybody came."
"Well shoot!" The General laughed. "You guys don't got anything to worry about, your still going to be working for us. You get to keep your base and all that, your just on a bit of a longer mission is all."
Jack and I looked at each other. We had thought they were going to kick us out of SSP completely, if they were just doing this then there was always a chance that we could be called back into action.

The General pulled out a white piece of paper and put it down in front of Jerry. The page was filled with small text, which looked more or less like scribbles from the distance I was at.
"Just remember..." Reece said, leaning down to get eye-level with Jerry. "Your doing New York a huge favor."
Jerry starred down at the paper. He had a look of sadness on his face, something you don't see much from him. "I know." He nodded, his voice filled with defeat.
General Reece handed Jerry a pen and Jerry signed his name on the dotted line. We were now suffering our biggest defeat ever. No, our only defeat.
"Crap..." Tank whispered.
After Jerry finished the General took the paper and handed it to the new girl that was with him. "Make a copy of it, would you?" He asked. She smiled slightly and nodded then went off to our copying machine.
The new guy stood up and took off his hat. He cleared his throat and General Reece quickly looked over at him.
"Oh, I completely forgot to introduce you." He smiled. "This is Steven-"
"Number 792." Steven interrupted. "Looks like we are gonna be partners for quite a bit, so get used to me being around."
"Partners?" Jack asked, looking from Jerry to Steven.
"Yep." Reece replied. "He's being moved out into the city with you guys."
"Whole team got killed on me." Steven smirked. "I guess you and can relate to that, eh Commander?"
Jerry looked up, his look of defeat now replaced by anger and hatred. "Do not talk about that. Ever."
"Yes sir." Steven's cocky tone said with fake innocents as he threw his hands up into the air.
"Uh... I hate to interrupt this moment but, the girl is Bree. She's here to help with tech. support. Jane will have a bit of company while you guys are out." The General frowned, looking between the two staring each other down.
"What's the use in that?" Neal asked. "We ain't gonna need no support when we're just roundin' up criminals."
"Wrong." The General replied. "They are going to be able to help you with things like telling you where crimes are and that kind of stuff."

I sighed. I hated every bit of this. There was just nothing I could do now. Tank turned and walked out, Jerry followed behind him. Neal looked up at me and frowned, then looked over at the General. "Care for a drink sir?" He asked.
"Sounds good." The General replied.
Steven left the room and walked towards the empty bedroom. "Guess I better get settled in." He said to himself.
I followed behind him. "Welcome to the team." I fake-smiled.
"Thanks a lot kid." He said, not looking back at me.
"So what are your armor powers?" I asked.
"Super-speed. I got a fast finger, a sniper rifle, and I am quick on my feet. I'll be up on the buildings all ninja-like following you guys around."
"Sounds lovely..." I frowned. Call me crazy, but I wasn't to fond of a sniper following us around. Especially one who was the only survivor out of all of his team, what does that say? Red alert.
See, I have a few rules when it comes to getting to know somebody. Worst-case scenario, and might I add most likely case, he sniped all of his team.
"So, what happened to your team?" I asked.
"We got in a fight with a large group of Chinese, they shot us down." He replied. Irritation was starting to show up in his voice, and I could tell I was starting to get on his nerves.
"A likely story." I whispered.
"What?" He asked, turning around.
"Huh? I didn't say anything." I shrugged.
He starred at me for a few moments, then turned and started unpacking his bags.
I could tell this conversation was over, so I went to greet the new girl. I still didn't know to much about her.
When I reached the room Jane was just showing her where everything was.
"And this is the- oh, hey Randy." Jane smiled when I entered the doorway.
"Hey." I smiled back. "Just here to welcome the new girl."
"That's nice of you." Jane replied.
I nodded, then looked at Bree.
"Very nice." Bree smiled.
"Oh, uh... welcome to the team..." I said, knowing it was a bit late to say it now.
She laughed and I turned and walked out. "Whoops." I whispered. "That's two screw ups today!"
I sat in the living room and watched the TV. There wasn't anything else to do really, so I just flipped through channels, looking for something good.
After a while Tank and Jerry ran in the base from the front door.
"Get your armor!" Jerry said, jumping over the couch and running for his room. Tank was less graceful, so he just charged towards his room.
"What? What's going on?" I asked.
"Riot outside!!" Tank yelled. "They're getting violent."
I stood and ran to my room. I reached for all of the pieces of armor, which were located on a shelf in my room, and slipped into my gear.
When I walked back out into the living room I noticed everybody was already outside. I ran as fast as I could to the back of the base. This was where the "closet" was located. It's a small armory we fixed up.
I picked up a rifle, which was loaded with rubber bullets, and dashed outside.
Everybody, except for Jane and Bree, were standing in the street. They were watching as hordes of people were gathering around. The people were throwing things like beer bottles, food, etc.
"What the heck are they doing?" I whispered through the mic in my helmet.
"Check the sign..." Tank replied.
I looked up and, on top of a building, was a bunch of people holding up a huge banner that said: "MAKE PEACE NOT WAR!"
I could hear faint gunshots over the screaming of the angry civilians. Why were they doing this? I thought they wanted us to help...

It was only a matter of time before the gunshots became louder, and the bullets started to make contact. Luckily Tank was the one who got hit, because he was the one with the heaviest armor.
Tank jerked back a bit, then pulled out his rifle and started shooting up in the air.
"Next person to shoot gets filled with the rest of my clip!!" He screamed. "Understand?!"
People slowly backed away. There were a few though that stepped forward, the ones with weapon's. They were both wearing hockey masks for some reason, I wasn't sure why. One had a shotgun, the other had a pistol. One was tall, the other fairly short.
"Did you not hear what I just said?" Tank asked, stepping forward.
"We heard you big guy." The taller, stronger looking one said. "I could take you any day with just my bare hands."
Tank quickly aimed his gun and pumped the big guy full of rubber bullets. The man screamed and fell over. The smaller guy quickly looked up at Tank, then down at his friend, and ran away.
"Anybody else? I got a gun too." Jack said in a care-free tone.
Everybody slowly backed off and started to walk away.
"Glad that's over." I heard Jerry say. I wasn't really paying much attention after that. Instead, I was watching a little girl who was standing far away from the crowd. I assumed the building she was standing outside of was her apartment building. She was looking back at me with a scared expression. When the crowd cleared she walked over to me, and I knelt down in front of her. She had light brown hair, deep blue eyes and freckles on each side of her face. She looked like she was only about nine or eight years old.
"Are you ok?" I asked.
"Yes..." She replied hesitantly. "Your not going to hurt me are you?"
"Hurt you?" I asked, frowning.
She nodded. "My friend said your monsters..."
I removed my helmet. "Do I look like a monster?" I half-smiled.
She shook her head in response.
"See, we aren't that bad."
"That's not what mommy and daddy say." She frowned.
"Well... that's their choice. If they want to believe it then that is up to them." I replied.
She nodded again, then held up her old doll. It was sewn together, and it looked like it was about ready to fall apart. "You can have my dolly for good luck." She smiled.
I shook my head and smiled back. "No, no... you keep it." I said.
"Your sure?" She asked.
"I'm sure." I nodded. "You need it more then I do. Now run along, your parents might be worried about you."
"Ok." She replied. "By mister!"
And like that the little girl was gone, running across the street to her house.

I turned to walk inside, then stopped as a large white object floated down slowly in front of me. It was a large paper with huge red letters painted on it that said "MAKE PEACE NOT WAR!"
I sighed, and walked back inside...


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