Soldiers of the Damned
Author: Garrett R. Kirby

Chapter 6

Chapter 6:

"Oh crap." Jerry sighed. All of us were freaking out. Nobody was expecting this, and nobody had reason to.
Jack was very good about keeping his helmet on, he made sure nobody could get to him. He always woke up in the middle of the night screaming, having nightmares about his car accident, and this exact moment. Jack was maskless and his scars were so very visible. This was one of the things I hoped I would never have to see.
"Give me back my mask!" Jack screamed. Something sounding like a bear growling came from Jack. He picked up his rifle and aimed it at the woman that was holding his mask. He stepped towards her, his gun pointed at her head. The growling continued, and it slowly became louder as time passed.
This was not the Jack I knew, not even close. This was some kind of cold blooded killer.
"Who do I take out?" Steven asked. I looked back at him, seeing that his rifle was pointed towards Jack, and he pointed it between him and the lady.
"This ain't good." Neal muttered.
I quickly ran at Jack. He could hurt somebody if we didn't take action, and if action involved me tackling him down, I would do it.
With each quick step I took it seemed like my legs became  heavier and heavier. I didn't think I would make it. Jack looked over at me and lowered his gun for just a moment. That was my chance, and I took it. I tackled Jack to the ground and held him there.

When I looked up I noticed the people were staring down at us. "Oh crap." I frowned.
"Get both of them!" a voice screamed from the mob.  The yelling and chanting started up again and I was ripped away from Jack. I tried to shake them off but it was no use. My hand reached out towards Jack, and he reached back towards me. Just before I could grab his hand we were completely separated in a wave of people.
Guns were shooting off, but I wasn't sure in what direction they were coming from. I was, however, assuming it was Jerry, Neal, and Steven who were shooting.
"Rip off the armor and kill 'em!" another voice yelled. This time it was a female voice.
I kept trying to shake the people off. My eyes were closed tight, and I didn't want to open them. I could feel blows from baseball bats and lead pipes hit my armor, but they didn't hurt to much. I was beginning to feel extremely sick and claustrophobic from all of the people surrounding me. I could hear Jack trying to scream something over the mob,  but there was no way I could make it out with all of the other voices. It sounded like he was shouting my name, trying to crawl back to me. Hands were grabbing at my helmet, trying to rip it off of my head. I fought back and hit at the hands. Finally, I decided to open my eyes. My eyes flashed around at all of the angry faces surrounding me. Each face different, yet all were mad and evil looking.

I was becoming dizzy, and was almost at the point of passing out. The bright sun shined through a small opening in the center of the mob.  More gun-shots echoed, but I didn't care. I could only think about surviving, and that was something that sounded extremely unlikely. For some odd reason there were red flashes of light, but I couldn't see what they were coming from. The mob seemed to be getting smaller, almost like the people were... running away?
More red flashes.
Suddenly one of the few remaining people that were beating me was hit by a bright red beam of light. It went all the way through his head, leaving a smoking hole where it traveled. I stared in shock at the dead man as he fell to his knees, then went limp completely.
When I looked up from the dead body I saw Neal and Jerry standing over me. Jerry extended his arm and held his hand out towards me. I sighed and took his hand. Jerry pulled me up and examined me for a moment, then looked over at maskless, bleeding, knocked out Jack.
"You think he'll be alright?" I asked. My voice was weaker sounding then I thought. I felt winded, and I was still dizzy.
"I don't know. Let's get him back to the base." Jerry frowned as he removed his helmet and knelt down beside Jack.
"Right." Steven nodded. I looked back and saw that his gun was red hot, literally, and red smoke was coming off the end of it.
"Is that a laser sniper?" I asked, examining it as I walked closer. Lasers were extremely rare in the U.S. China had them all, so if we were ever sent against China and we happened to kill somebody with one of the laser guns, we kept it as a trophy.
Steven looked at his sniper, then back up at me. "Sure is." He smirked.
"How did you-" I began, but was cut off.
"You remember how my team was completely slaughtered over in China? Well, when we were there, I came across another sniper who had this old girl." He explained, his voice monotone. He sounded as if he had said this a thousand times now at least.
"Oh, well that's cool." I kind of smiled, even though I was no where near the smiling mood.
I looked back at Jerry, who was holding Jack in his arms.
"Steven and I will take him in my car... this mission is over for the day." He sighed for a long moment, then looked at Neal and I. "Where's Tank?"
Neal and I looked at each other and shrugged. Tank wasn't here when we arrived, and he never contacted us over the radio. Jerry sighed and put his index and middle finger on a very small button on the side of his helmet, which activated his microphone.
"Control, do you read me?" He asked.
"Jerry? Thank god... I heard the news! What happened?" Jane's voice replied.
"People are just mad. Jack's out at the moment, and Randy was nearly beat to death. We are heading back now, inform the General that we are now going to be taking the next few days off, and we will be staying on leave."
"And if he says no?" Jane asked.
"Tell him I don't care." Jerry nearly growled into his microphone.
"Right, I will have Bree tell him. Hurry back before it happens again, please?"
"You got it." Jerry said, then took his hand away from his helmet.

Jerry and Steven took Jack over to Jerry's slim, black car, and loaded him in the back. I sighed and looked at Neal. "We should try to find Tank." I frowned.
"Yeah, you still able to do that connection thing?" He asked.
I nodded. Along with my life support, I could connect directly to a certain team members microphone, even if they were on the other side of the earth.
"Activate communication mode." I said in a low voice. In the lenses on my helmet bright green computerized letters appeared that read: "Loading..."
A female voice spoke inside my helmet. "Communications mode activated." It said. "Please choose a connection."
"Tank." I replied to the voice, then waited for a moment while it loaded up my verbal command.
"Connection found: Tank" The voice said.
I waited a moment to see if I could hear anything, but I just heard the sound of heavy breathing. "Tank?" I asked. "Are you there?"
"Yeah!" Tank yelled, panting. He was out of breath.
"What's wrong?" I asked.
"Can't talk! Chasing the dude that wrecked Jack's truck."
Crashed Jack's truck? I spun around, seeing the large, smoking red Hummer. Jack loved his ride, and if he had the chance, the person that crashed it would have been shot on sight. Upon close examination I noticed that there was a man digging through Jack's stuff. He looked a little taller then me, but he looked extremely muscular. I couldn't see his face, or his whole head for that matter. His whole top half was still bent in the Hummer.
"Hey!" I yelled, aiming my gun at him. "Get out of there!"
"What in tarnation is that kid doin'? Neal wondered out loud.
"I have no idea..." I whispered, running towards the guy. "I said get out of there! What are you doing?"
The man looked back, and I noticed that he really wasn't that old. He looked about the age of sixteen or seventeen I would say. His hair was blond, like mine, and spiked up over his head. His eyes were orange like fire, nearly a bright red. I assumed the cause of these strange eyes was just some orange contacts he was wearing. He was smiling sort of scarily, and I could see in his hand was Jack's skull mask. My eyes widened when I noticed it, and I could feel my teeth suddenly grind together.
There was somebody on the other side too, but I could not see them very well passed the strange looking kid.
Suddenly, without warning, the blond kid jumped straight through the back seat of the Hummer, tackling the other kid, and running. He ran at a super-human speed... faster then even us.
Neal was already racing after him, firing his gun a little, but missing. I joined the chase and sprinted passed him. I was just a little faster then Neal was, but that was only from his older age.
"Come back here!" I yelled, chasing the boy into a ally way. He didn't slow, of course. We ran through the crowded streets, only to wind up in more ally ways. Finally, I caught up with him. He had slammed into a brick wall.
"Dead end." I said, my breathing extremely heavy. He looked at me, then down at his leg. He was bleeding. "So one of Neal's bullets did hit y-" I stopped in the middle of my word, seeing that his blood was not red, but, in fact, an odd black color. It looked like... tar?

I stepped back, not quite sure how to take this. He stared up at me and his lips pulled back, revealing what looked like very sharp fangs in his mouth. He reached into his wound with his thumb and his index finger, then pulled out the bullet.
"Ouch." His low, calm voice muttered.
I quickly aimed my gun at him as he began to get up. My eyes were wide with fright under my helmet. "You stay back..." I said. He simply laughed a little and flicked the black bullet away, into the wall. His wound was already starting to close up on it's own.
I felt the need to shoot, and seeing that this boy was pretty threatening, I did just that. My index finger lightly pulled back on the trigger, my rifle jerked back, and little lead bullets flew towards the boy. He quickly rolled out of the way before he could be hit, then jumped up at me, his fist out, and punched me in my gut. I flew up into the air and, before I could hit the ground, I felt a cold hand grab my neck and slam him into the black concrete below. I screamed and watched as the figure literally ran up the brick walls, and put on Jack's skull mask. Just as the figure darted out of sight, I rested my head on the ground and heard Neal calling for me.
"Randy?" Neal yelled.
"Over here..." My weak voice groaned.I held a hand up, as if to make myself stand out.
"What happened to you?" Neal asked as he ran over to me. "You look like you just got hit by a train, son!"
"I feel like it too." I sighed, moving my hand out towards him. "Help me up, I will explain everything on the ride back. That kid was very... strange."
Neal nodded slowly and grabbed my hand. He pulled me up and we walked back towards his jeep.

-3 Hours Later, The Base-

I sat on the couch in the living room, not completely aware of everything going on around me. Neal and I went to get Tank on the way back here, and then I told Tank to go on home without me. I felt like letting him be with his family for the night.
Jack was up now, and he insisted that we give him some of his medical tape. He covered up his face as fast as he could. Ok, so Jack's face was bad, and I mean bad, but still, we were his best friends and we wouldn't care about that.
Drake was coming early tomorrow morning, so I did not have much to do until then. I was up for anything!
"You should show her around." Jack's voice cut in my thoughts.
I blinked and looked over at him. He stared back at me from under the wraps and gestured towards the kitchen. I looked over and saw Bree standing in the door way. I looked back to Jack like he was some suicidal bomber. "Like... a date?" I asked, my face turning slightly red.
"If that's how you want to look at it, yeah, go for it. She's pretty cute, and I think you would like her." Jack smiled.
"Jack..." I groaned. "For the fifteenth time now, I don't really think there is a woman out there for me. I'm quiet, and I'm not some bad-boy biker like most other guys."
He looked at me with puzzled eyes. He stared into my eyes, almost like he was searching for something. I noticed his eyes completely glaze over, but I was not sure why. When he blinked and his eyes cleared he looked at me in wonder.
"What?" I asked.
"Huh...? Oh, nothing... nothing at all." He said, his voice fading as he spoke. He suddenly jumped, as if he was hit in the back, and looked back at me. "Well, I um... where were we? Oh, right. You should really just get to know her and stuff. See what it's like."
"Jack!" I exclaimed. "Please stop this."
"You won't regret it." He replied, staring off into space again.
Jack kind of creeps me out when he gets like this. We used to have this one member, Claire, and one day we went out on the field and Jack looks at her and says: "Watch out for landmines, ok?". He only said it to her. And what happens? She steps on a landmine and she dies!
I sighed and looked at Jack. "Maybe..." I said. He just rolled his eyes and went back to watching the TV.
I looked down and thought for a long moment. Taking her out didn't HAVE to be a date... it could be as friends. I mean, I hardly knew the girl yet!
I looked up slowly to Bree and then to Jack, who winked at me. "Go get 'em Rand-Man." He said. I grumbled something even I did not understand, then stood and walked into the kitchen casually.
"Hey Bree?" I asked, feeling a little blood rush up to my face. She turned and smiled at me.
"Yes, Randy?" She asked in a sing-song voice.
"Well I, um, I was just wondering if you would like to maybe... I don't know... maybe, um, go out for dinner with me? If you haven't eaten, that is." I stumbled over my words, embarrassment rushing through me. My heart was pounding. I never talked to a girl like this before in my life.
She smiled widely at me and nodded. "Yes Randy, I would like that very much."
"Really?" I asked, feeling my own smile sneak it's way out on to my face.
She nodded again. "Just let me go get some shoes on and then we can go alright?" She asked.
"Of course!" I said, feeling excitement now. She walked off towards her room. "Ok... that was odd..." I whispered when she was out of hearing range. "I never felt like that before in my life."

I put on a jacket and my shoes. Jack looked over at me and smiled. "You can take my Hummer." He smiled. I stared at him for a moment and waited for him to remember. He frowned suddenly. "Oh... right."
"Don't worry Jack 'ol buddy." A muffled voice said from behind us. I turned and saw a tall man standing there with a black motorcycle helmet on. The man removed his helmet, revealing the face of Drake. "I got him covered."
"Your early." I said.
"I know." He smirked. "Because I am still awesome."
"Hardly." Jack fake-coughed.
"So heard that." Drake laughed.
"So meant it." Jack smiled.
Jack and Drake always got along real well. I wasn't to sure why, it just seemed like they knew each other for a very long time. We were all sort of like brothers in a way. Well, I mean, all of us were like family... but Drake, Jack, and I all had something different, something stronger then that. Like we had been through everything together.

"Hey Drake!" Jerry smiled from the hallway. He had his arm wrapped tight around Jane. She just smiled slightly and waved at him.
I suddenly remembered what Drake said and looked back at him. "Wait... I am not taking the bike Drake..." I sighed. That thing was fast and out of control, it was hardly legal.
"Why not?" Drake asked, fake sadness in his voice. "You know chicks dig the bike man!"
"How did you even know I was going out with a girl?" I asked, wondering if Drake had mind-reading powers.
"Oh, I was standing in the doorway." Drake shrugged like listening in on conversations was no big deal. I frowned, but smiled suddenly as I saw Bree approaching.
Drake smiled at her and took her hand. "Hello my lady." He said, leaning down to kiss it.
I smacked him quickly on the side of the head. "Ow!" He yelled, stumbling to the side. "I was just joking!"
"I know." I smirked. "Still doesn't give you the right."
I could see something flying at me from the corner of my eyes and, thanks to SSP, I caught it with my hand before I could even see what it was. I opened my hand and looked down at the small, dangling metal keys in my hand. I looked up at Jerry and smiled. "I can take your car?" I asked.
"She's all yours... but if you crash it your paying for a new one." He said with a smile, but his tone was very serious
"Got it." I nodded.
I turned to Bree and half smiled. "Shall we?" I asked.
"We shall." She replied, grabbing my hand suddenly. I felt blood rush to my face, but I could not help but smile. She laughed at me slightly, like I made some funny face as a reaction to her hand.

We walked out to the car and got in. I looked over at her and sighed.
"What is it?" She asked.
I frowned and looked over at her, completely embarrassed. "Well it's just that  I don't really know you a whole lot. And I mean, I am supposed to be taking you out to eat... but I have no idea what kind of food you like!" I looked away from her after that, feeling my face grow even redder then before. It was silent for a moment, then she touched my hand. I looked over at her and she was smiling at me.
"It's alright, that's what this is for right? To get to know each other."
"I suppose." I replied, starting the car.
"I like Italian by the way." She winked.
"Oh? I know just the place!" I smiled, remembering a place I would always go to when on leave.
"Really?" She asked as I pulled out of the large lot in front of the base.
"Really." I replied with a small smile on my face. I drove towards the place, and tried to keep things interesting with some music. "What kind of music do you like?" I asked.
"Anythings fine really, I listen to pretty much everything."
"Alright." I said, putting in one of my many Cd's.
We were both quiet for a moment.
"What exactly happened out there today? I heard you got it bad..." She asked after a minute.
Flashes of evil faces flashed through my head. The feeling of being shot in the chest, though it only knocked the wind out of me, sent a shiver down my spine. I remembered being mulled to what felt like near death, if it wasn't for my armor anyways. I shook my head and sighed. The last thing I saw was a pair of red eyes, and then I jumped back to reality.
"People are angry Bree." I said slowly. "People think we are bringing more harm then good... like we are going to start a war with the city. But the thing is, we can't take on a whole city."
"I think you could." She smirked. "But I mean... what happened to you personally?"
"Today?" I asked. She nodded in return. "Well, I was trying to stop Jack from shooting somebody, who stole his helmet, and I tackled him down into the mob. They pulled us apart and tried to beat us to death."
She nodded, frowning. "That's not good."
"No, it's not. You know what's even worse though?" I asked.
"I think there is somebody who is taking the early versions of the Red. You know, the prototype from years ago."
She laughed. "No, it was destroyed. The only remaining red is the one that created you and the others."
"How do you know that?" I asked. "I have heard these stories Jack would tell about some old inventor back around 2013. Jack said he was trying to make the Super Soldier drug, but it started turning people into these... vampire-like beings. They had amazing strength, agility, they could run up walls, and even rip whole cars in half if they wanted."
"Whoa now... what exactly did you see?"
"There was this kid... he stole Jack's skull mask. I chased him, but he was running in some sort of super-sprint. He was strong, very agile, and he ran up a wall. All of this can point to only one thing: Vampire."
She looked out the window, pondering the idea for a moment. Even though I was the driver here, I had just now realized we were already in the parking lot of the restaurant.
I opened the door and walked around and opened hers. I held my hand out to her and smiled. She returned the smile and took my hand as I helped her out.
"Mmm... how very nice of you." She said.
I nodded and went inside with her. We were seated on the roof, under a full moon. I chuckled.
"What is it?" She asked.
"It's about the time the wolves come out." I smirked.
"Ohhh scary." She replied sarcastically.

We ordered our food. She ordered Chicken Alfredo, and I ordered some sort of pasta thing that was filled with cheese. It was pretty good. We talked about a whole lot of things. Movies, music, our likes and dislikes. By the end of the dinner I found myself realizing something: she was just like me. When we were finished I payed the bill and took her out to the car. I opened her door and let her get in before closing it.
"What are you getting yourself into Randy..." I whispered to myself. I sighed and looked up. There, on top of the gas-station across the street, was a man in black jeans, a black hoodie, and Jack's realistic looking skull mask. I made eye contact with the man for about a whole minute, though it felt almost like hours before Bree finally rolled down the window and asked if I was ok. I looked in the car and frowned. "Just fine." I muttered, opening the door.

I took one last look at the gas-station, but the man was already gone.
A cure that will keep people from getting sick? Super Soldiers and a Vampire loose in New York? Something bad was on it's way, something I knew none of us would be ready for. That was the one thing I was sure of, but what it was and when it would hit was still unknown.
I let out one last, long sigh, and I got in the car.


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