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Town Vanishes


iamthey
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*Internal*

“What?” Thomas was speechless.

“They are gone sir, all of them, dead.”

“An entire town… how, when?” The messenger was nervous.

“Eh, it looks about two weeks ago. And we don’t know how, there is no sign of pain, struggle, they just...fell down. Tests--”

“Enough.” He cut the kid off, his mind was spinning. “How could this have happened- better yet how could we have not known.” He looked up to the rest of the upper government. It had only been a few days since the new government had taken over but he still thought they needed his guide. Across from him sat the new Magistrate from parliament and on either side the two executive committees.

“Ambrose, one of his teams and I will go to the site... I imagine a personal visit will turn up in some insight.” Kaine said.

“Right, In the mean time have the military evacuate individuals from the local villages and towns to the major cities where our security is highest. I don’t know why I even allowed those towns to remain but that isn’t important now. Also for the time being keep any word of this from reaching the international community. We need to figure out what happened there before anyone else does.” Devereaux replied, as he stood to dismiss the meeting. Something wasn’t right about this... he knew it.

Edited by iamthey
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The winters of province IV(Siberia) were hazardous in their own right, twenty four hours of freezing temperatures, constant snowing, frequent blizzards and so on. Enough to make even the hardest of Alliance soldiers fear for their survival. By contrast though the summer was temperate, and comfortable. The Alliance through its strict land use laws generally speaking concentrated its population into its municipalities, and left nature to itself, however in sibera this wasn’t entirely the case. The Alliance never really intended to fully transition the territory, they figured they’d build a few cities in the place of those that were destroyed and offer the people in the region homes there, those that refused would simply be left to their own designs. The town was set up in a plains area and its surrounding forest, a sort of enclave set aside from the rest of the Alliance. This separation was exemplified by the shear lack of the Alliance’s technological prowess. The town looked fairly turn of the century, modern, but not advanced. It also had a very suburban feel something very foreign to Kaine and his men. Entering the central… and only road into the community to town began to take on an unnatural feel. Cars sitting idle in the road manned by corpses, others through the walls of local establishments, on the sidewalks, or turned over entirely. As the LRV’s moved deeper into the the community they passed a local park, at first it seemed empty but soon the unmoving silhouettes of diseased park goers became visible. Some appeared to be sleeping, laid out on the benches, while others simply collapsed on the ground where they were standing. “Alright, take us to ground zero.” Kaine ordered.

As the small caravan of LRV’s approached the site a group of soldiers were waiting their arrival. Mathew was some what surprised at the physical manifestation of the site, it was an old church, by the looks of it eastern orthodox. Religion was pretty much absent entirely in the alliance. Why this one had been spared he didn’t know… Upon disembarking the group saluted Kaine as he approached. “Alright colonel give me an update of the situation.”

“Well the bell tower appears to be ground zero,” He said pointing at the spire across the property. “The tower is the highest point in the town, so placing the canisters there created a plume, and series of clouds that spread across the town. From there it gets pretty grim. Follow me.” Kaine followed the colonel into the church to its security office. Once in the control room Kaine approached the screens with the colonel as Ambrose and his group began examining the bodies. “Replay last entries starting 160 hours previous to final entry.” He commanded the voice activated systems. “Here you can see the main offices twenty minutes prior to release. Fast-forward nineteen minutes and thirty seconds.” Kaine watched as the people in the office continued to go about their business. “Its fairly interesting, the gas once released has no odor, color, or taste. Its more or less invisible, as it saturates the environment the people within it are almost totally unaware. It appears fast acting…” Kaine watched as the people in the room appeared to freeze in place. “Initial symptoms appears to be disorientation, followed by…” the woman in the camera along with her co-workers collapsed, “death. I’m not skilled in the medical field so I couldn’t tell you what happened… Ambrose stood up from the body he was examining.

“It appears to be some kind of nerve agent. I’d have to run further tests but by the looks of it, it appears that all synaptic activity and neuron firing ceased. In layman’s terms immediate brain death. A fairly odd phenomenon; generally speaking a person incurs brain death as a product of some other trauma, but in this case their brain died before their own heart stopped, by milliseconds but even so.”

“That isn’t all, it gets worse,” the Colonel said, “Fast forward two hours.” He told the computer, the screen went black.

“Is it..” Kaine asked,

“No, the feed is fine, that’s the… substance. After about two to three hours of exposure to the atmosphere, the gas becomes opaque, visibility is reduced significantly. Basically anyone who was protected from the immediate exposure is now lost, even with some advanced HUD system, thermal imaging or what not it wouldn’t matter you would be utterly lost. Perhaps a person could be guided out of the cloud via radio, but an entire population…probably not. The feed continues like this for another four days until it finally clears. I guess by then the substance breaks down. However take a look at this.” He said walking over to one of the tables in the back of the security center. “This room… is sealed, its air filtered. This is the filter on the air system.” He said tossing Kaine the filter.

“It ate threw it?”

“No, the filter naturally broke down with use, its normal. A filter that size might last about two to three days. However, this man didn’t live two to three days.” The Colonel removed a table cloth covering another corpse.

“Fun…” Matthew replied in almost a sarcastic tone.

“This man asphyxiated, notice the color of his skin, the look in his eyes; I am sure if you let your doctor do some tests you would find the blood stream heavily depleted of oxygen.”

“How? Were the filters corrupted? I don’t understand.”

“No, filter was fine, the seals on the room were in good condition, the filtration intake system was in working order. No… this man did not die because of a system, he too was a victim of this agent.” Ambrose approached.

“This is really bad Matthew… the gas flushed out the normal atmosphere, it pushed it out of the way. Perhaps not completely but it made it so the filters that protected this room were more or less useless. We need to find whoever has this weapon and stop them.”

“Alright, Ambrose you and your team collect some bodies as samples, also get the canisters from the bell tower, perhaps there is some specimen of the substance we can acquire from there.”

The Colonel drew their attention once more, “There is one more thing sir…” he said handing the leader a sheet of paper, “This was taped to the canister”.

The two stared at the sheet, both some what taken aback. “Oh my…”

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OOC: Glad to see my writing is better than my flag making :P.

IC:

”Begin”, the words stared back at the young engineer. He had known that the message would come but he had dreaded the thought of it. Sighing he refolded the parchment the lengthy letter had been written on, and dropped it into his apartment’s incinerator. taking a deep breath he turned his attention to the box. The box that sat on the table, the one which held the paradoxical key to his predicament, the one which would lead to his own demise and his missing family’s salvation. He didn’t want to admit it but he now knew he would never see their faces again. Cutting open the box he found a leather brief case, removing the case he placed it in his small cleaning cart, it would be adequately hidden there. Slowly pulling on his kaki coveralls he placed the small silenced pistol into the large pocket. It wasn’t his… he had never liked guns. It had been mailed to him, by the same people who had mailed the case to him now. Leaving his small apartment he ascended to the top floor, as with many buildings the air intake, and the water reservoirs were located at the top. Entering the mechanical room he found himself among the familiar inner workings of the building he had serviced for the last ten years. Approaching the Central Air control box he unlocked it, and began preparing the building as his previous correspondence had instructed him. Adjusting the system in just the right way he reversed the pressure of the building and ensured an unnoticeable, yet effective negative internal pressure existed. Replacing the box and relocking it he took the brief case from his cart and removed the air intake’s cover. The large vat had the appearance of a typical air duct, though it was much larger than normal distribution ducts. He opened the brief case. Inside he found a complex network of wires and tubes. There were two resovoirs one held a dark blue liquid and the other a dark red, between them was a third container which appeared to be empty. On top of this was a small computer keyboard connected to a screen mounted in the smaller “top” of the case. He set the case in the duct, and slowly removed the glass casing surrounding what appeared to be an arming button. He paused. He didn’t want to do this… then the images of his family flashed in his mind. Shaking his head he pressed the button. The screen came to life, and appeared to be written in a language he couldn’t understand. Closing the case as instructed he replaced the cover to the duct and walked across the room. Pulling up one of the wooden stools pushed into the corners of the lonely room he took a seat… and began to weep, he wept for his family, his life, and for all the friends and clients he was about to condemn to death.

Edited by iamthey
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The office of internal security was probably the single most powerful office in the entire Alliance. Its main office, or rather its nerve center was situated on the third floor of the Interior Ministry’s Headquarters. Common place in the Alliance’s mammoth bureaucracy were what was known as “op rooms”, “blanks”, “generals”, excreta all basically meant the same thing, a unassigned room which could be used for any major project, or in the intelligence and military communities any operation. The rooms generally composed of a large open space the center of which was occupied by a long table, multiple chairs, high quality video equipment, a pair of phones, and a serious network connection for any number of uses. Today the most pertinent matter at hand was what was the matter of the attacks in Siberia which rapidly unfolding into a much more serious a rogue terrorist operation.

“Alright, we’ve all read the file; what does this mean?” Kaine ask gesturing to a digitally represented image of the note taped to the canisters. ‘”This, is, hell…” tell me what that means, anyone?’ The room was silent. “Ok… the number, the ten digit number.”

“A phone number?” Someone offered.

“Yes that possibility has already been established. He means what is it.” The director corrected.

“Right, who knows what is on the other end of that. It could be a person, or a detonator to another set of canisters.” Matthew continued.

“What about an IP address, or a code?” Another man offered.

“Possibly, though the way it was written suggests a phone number. Any lead on that?” The executive inquired.

“Yes actually… it turns out the line is connected to a phone that was stolen; or at least that is what the owner said when questioned on it. The GPS chip was unfortunately removed from it so we have no way of tracking it.”

“Hmm… call it.” Kaine said.

“But sir.”

“Do it.” Slowly picking up the phone the Director called the number. Two rings in it clicked.

“Hello, who is this.” The voice was scrambled.

“James Patterson, Executive of Alliance Internal Security.”

“Ah… Mr. Patterson as your Quarry, it is a pleasure to hear your voice. I was once like you… a servant, to a master that I hardly understood. Unfortunately, I have no desire to deal with, or use… for slaves. Bring me your master.” The line went dead. The men looked at each other.

“Give me the phone.” Kaine said. Dialing the number it again rang twice.

“Hello, who is this.”

“No more games.”

“Ah, Mr. Kaine, it flatters me that you would call personally. You are powerful man indeed… but a servant none the less. I have no desire to deal with, or use… for slaves. Bring me your master.” The line again went dead. Kaine swallowed.

“You don’t suppose he means---“ Patterson asked before Kaine cut him off.

“Yes.”

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Devereaux sighed, he had hoped to not get drawn into this matter… as of late his own detached station of Regent had caused him to grow more and more contemptuous. He of course never showed this. His life had been reduced to that of a mask, something he masqueraded as. In life he was the calm and extroverted leader of a great nation, in reality he was... bored. Now sitting at the head of the table located in the op room dedicated to the current crisis, he listened to the briefing his advisers were offering. Once they had finished he stared at them for a moment, and slowly responded. “Ok… so you think he wants me to call then, correct?”

“Yes.” Patterson replied.

“Alright…” Devereax reached for the phone. Dialing the number the room awaited in silence. The phone rang twice.

“Hello, who is this?” The scrambled voice again asked. Deveraux paused taking thought to the question, and considering what the briefing had revealed. At first he thought it was silly... but soon he found the words coming out of his own mouth.

“It’s the master…” Devereaux Replied.

“Ah Mr. Devereaux, and by what name am I to call you, what is your… true name?” The voice asked. Deveraux chose to ignore this.

“I have questions—“ The voice cut him off.

“And I have answers. But I can’t really speak of them if I don’t know what to call you.” Devereax raised his eyebrow and gave a shifting glance at his colleagues. Pausing he flatly replied,

“Thomas.”

“Hmm, well I am sorry to say but it seems that you were not... entirely honest. I suppose that’s to be expected… you are not the master at all. You are just a servant, while you may not serve any person you are no less bound to your own persona. I have no desire to deal with, nor do I have a use for slaves. Bring me your master.” The line went dead. Devereaux coolly set the phone back on its cradle. He smiled.

“That was a waste of time…” He said before slowly laying his own head in his arms on the table.

“Indeed…” Kaine sighed. Then Devereaux’s eye’s slowly widened, bearing the obvious mark of epiphany.

“Alright, Patterson put your forces on standby.”

“You know figured it out?” Kaine asked.

“Perhaps, but in either case…” he paused, “now I need a wired burst transmitter…” He looked around the room seeming to be in another place entirely. “Now!” He ordered. The group was taken aback. “Lets try calling him… one more time.”

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OOC: No the comments are perfectly fine; and thanks :D.

IC:

The young doctor stared at the words before him. He re-read the letter several times and shook his head. His family had already gone missing a week ago… but now whatever sick game was being played had gone too far. The words before him were not threatening, in fact they were devoid of emotion all together. "Hello Lawrence, for your entire career you have worked to save the lives of others. Your job has been a careful balance deciding who or what to save in order to maximize your effectiveness. Now you must do this once more. In the box before you lies a case with twenty syringes. Administer their contents to twenty of your hospital’s patients, or the hospital you work in will become a crypt for all within it. I leave the decision of who, to your own wisdom." The doctor sighed... “This can’t be happening.” he mumbled to himself. Taking the letter he shredded it, and removed the syringes from the case placing them in his own lab coat pocket. He had never been one for medically assisted suicide… but he supposed he would at least try to make the best of the situation… twenty people who are going to die anyway, or the hospital. It was late in the evening and most of the staff had already left, he supposed if he moved quickly he could administer all the syringes without anyone noticing.

Entering the ward for terminal illnesses he stepped into the first room. On the bed he found a sleeping child, a boy. Picking up the chart at the bottom of the bed, he read the description of the illness. It appeared to be a degenerative brain disease which slowly atrophied the brain by removing lipids overtime. In short the kid would slowly lose brain function until his involuntary brain functions no longer were capable of operating. It would be slow and ultimately horrible death. Pausing to consider the matter; he who valued his mind so intensely couldn’t imagine the thought of having to live as it was slowly stripped from him. “Yes… this would be merciful” he thought to himself. He approached the array of monitors and set them to loop, as well as muted their function. Any cursory glance wouldn’t take note of the repetition. Taking the IV he removed the cap of one of his syringes and inserted the needle into the tube. He stared down at the sleeping child as he pressed the plunger. Thinking of his own child he wondered what sort of effect this would have on the parents… what if the child himself wanted to live…. A tear rolled down his cheek as whatever was in the syringe moved closer and closer to the end of the IV; then it entered into the body. At first there was nothing just a continuation of the same sleeping. Lawrence was somewhat relieved, then at once the child’s eyes opened in a look of utter shock as the toxin moved throughout the body halting all neural activity finally imbedding itself into the brain. The doctor shook his head, staring into the now blank eyes of the innocent kid. When he couldn’t take anymore he reached to close them. Hanging his head he wasn’t sure he could do it again. Then he remembered… the letter… his family; he had to. Taking a deep breath he left the room.

Edited by iamthey
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OOC: No, but knowing his instant messenger and talking to him about it is the next best thing.

OOC: You don't know everything, just a bit of the ending ;).

Edited by iamthey
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Again phone in hand Devereaux dialed the number. Everything had been set up, he would call, the transmitter would send a burst through the line on his mark, and Patterson’s team would be able to track it to the other side. The phone rang twice. “Hello, who is this?”

“The Master…” He replied as he Signaled Patterson. The burst was sent down the line.

“Ah Mr. Devereaux, and by what name am I to call you, what is your… true name?” He again replied… ignoring the obvious burst as it transmitted. Devereax glanced at the note that had been taped to the canister ”This is hell.” He paused before responding…

“Lucifer”

“Ah yes, you have now realized the delusion that you were under to ever have believed that the Alliance is anything other than that. And as you are its master, why not claim your rightful name; good… you are a slave no more.”

“I have questions…”

“And I have answers, please hold a moment.” Devereaux looked at Patterson.

“The teams are moving into position around the location. They will move in when they are ready.” Putting the phone back to his ear Devereaux was surprised, instead of the familiar voice, and its familiar answers he heard a flurry of static and random tones.

“What is this?” He said hitting the button for the speaker phone. One of the associates stood and walked over to the phone, unplugging the line from the receiver he inserted it into one of the network jacks.

“Its information, a data transfer.” He said as an image materialized on the screen.

“Thomas troops are moving in.” Devereaux didn’t respond but was instead staring at the image. From the looks of it was a picture of a brief case located in some sort of air duct.

“Hello, Mr. Devereaux. You have questions and I have answers. But first a matter of business.” One of the attendants looked up face in alarm.

“Sir, we just lost communication with the contingent.”

“Son of a !@#$%…” Kaine said burying his head in his arms.

“What?” Devereaux asked as the scrambled voice resumed.

“As we speak your officers draw closer to the location your burst transmission produced; rather than detaining me and coming home successful; they will find a short and… messy death. That is unless you alert them. Unfortunately that brief case on the screen before you is not what threatens them, instead it threatens the lives of a few thousand others in another building. So I give you a choice, allow them to proceed ignorant of their impending deaths, or tamper with my connection to your systems and alert them condemning thousands of others to an equally gruesome death. The choice is yours.” Kaine stood and turned his back to the group and walked to one of the corners.

“We were idiots…” He said to himself, devereaux was confused.

“What do you mean? What do you know?” Kaine looked up, “we didn’t even realize it…” he said to himself.

“The call was staged.” He said turning to the rest of the group. “It was a computer responding with pre-recorded answers, they knew who we were, based on our voices. Think about it… it always answered after the same number of rings, it always began the same way, his responses were always the same when posed with the same information and so on. We traced the line to the source of the call… but he definitely isn’t there…” Devereaux swore under his breath. Pausing…

“Ok… let them die.” He whispered his head resting on his palm. “Just get me this !@#$er!”

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The small contingent made their way up the dingy steps of the run down apartment they had traced the line to. Construction in Switzerland was presently only partially complete when things were finished places like this would no longer exist. “Lieutenant we have lost contact with command.”

“Proceed under present orders, it’s probably only a minor problem, with construction tearing things up stuff goes down all the time.” The group pressed on coming to the third floor. Approaching the door they took note of the structure’s decrepit condition. Approaching the appropriate door they gathered outside. Their demolition expert crouched and moved to forward to rig the door’s hinges and lock with small directed explosive charges. Backing up the group gave the charges room. Raising their weapons they stormed the room as door blew off its hinges. As they moved it, it became abundantly clear no one was there. The apartment was totally devoid of furniture or appliances of any kind. The only exception was a small card table set up in the center of the main room. On top of it was what appeared to be a wireless router, attached to it an unattended laptop computer. Turning the Lieutenant looked to where the door had been blown. To one side was a broken away piece of dry wall, to the other some kind of wire hung from the wall. “!@#$” he mumbled.

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Devereaux looked back up at the screen now displaying a silhouette with several other figures. “See if you can enhance that… get a picture of our guy.”

“Now that that is concluded… I can answer your questions, and then you can answer one of mine. Is that fair?” The voice replied, still scrambled. Devereaux sighed…

“Yes.”

“Very well, ask.”

“Who are you.” Deveraeux asked. The figure didn’t answer for a moment.

“I suppose your culture would call me a scientist… others might call me an observer, others a witch doctor. Find out what they have in common that will answer your next question…”

“What do you want.”

“That would be telling…”

“Answer the question.”

“No I don’t think I will...” Devereaux looked at his aid.

“Then where do we go from here?”

“Hmm… perhaps a deal.”

“What?”

“Yes… Here is my offer. I will give everything on the substance that has been used against your nation, the gas, the liquid, its synthesis, my notes, excreta… as well as the neutralizing agent. In exchange I want five hundred million in alliance credits. A fair price to pay for all the work I have done for you wouldn’t you agree?”

“You expect me to pay you after what you have done?”

“Absolutely. I’ve developed and researched it on my own budget, conducted extensive tests, both animal and human, and have so far run two field tests. Its incredibly potent, a vial of the liquid could toxify a city district’s water supply, a canister of it can wipe out a town. Its effective against both protected individuals, hardened positions, and soft targets. What I am offering you is one of the best chemical weapons one can offer. Of course… I could always take it to your enemies, or I could continue to use it on you. But this is your decision right?”Devereaux paused… he really didn’t get it. One moment this man was hiding his motives, now he wants to sell his weapon. A moment he’s a crazed terrorist, and another a simple mercenary. The aid approached.

“Sir, we’ve managed to enhance the image.”

“Oh good.” He said, though once he saw the look on his face immediately turned into a frown. He wasn’t looking at his enemy, just a mirrored silhouette of the room he was in. He was looking right back at himself. He sighed… “Very well.”

“Excellent, here is how it will be done. Your people will be contacted thirty minutes before the deal and will be given a location. One of my… associates will meet you there he will carry with him a standard brief case containing my notes and samples of the substance. You will bring with you a brief case containing the entirety of the money in the form of unregistered barer bonds. We will swap, he will leave and you will not make any attempt to track follow or stop him. Once I am satisfied that he was not tracked, and that your payment is sufficient I will give you the number and location of a safety deposit box containing an equally substantial package of research on both forms of the substance’s neutralizing agents. Are the rules clear?”

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*Internal Memo*

To: Leutinenate Colonel Avers, Samuel of the Royal Marine Corp
From: Office of Imperial Regent

BEGIN//

Due to your previously existing experience as an internal investigator with the SoS, I am assigning you to lead an investigation into the recent terrorist activities, hence referred to as the "Orange Event". Please compile a full report on the subject and submit it to my office, if possible do all that you can to apprehend the individual in question. You will be operating under my independent authority therefore unless it is of my office no other entity should obstruct your investigation. A set of credentials and a series of contact numbers legitimizing your position as an independent investigator are enclosed. This should ensure you the needed latitude to conduct the investigation as well as ensure you have access to the proper resources. That being said you are hereby charged with the duty of investigating events related to Orange, compiling dual reports on said subject one to remain classified and one to be released to the public, and the tracking and longterm goal of apprehending the individual(s) responsible for the event. Your position is hereby further granted limited rights to detain, and interrogate individuals who are either directly involved or material witnesses to activities of the group. Crimes committed in the field of duty will be forgiven. Anything related to your work is classified and compartmentalized to only be shared with my office and your own team, the security of information surrounding Orange is of the utmost importance. 

//END

To: Lord Marshal Stephens, Marc of the Royal Marine Corps
From: Office of Imperial Regent

BEGIN//

Samples of the substance relating to Orange will be transfred to your office along with copies of all information related to Orange. Please set up an internal committee to beging investigation of potential military applications.

//END

Edited by iamthey
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