86, Irvine Part One
Posted By: Vinziah Arcus<firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: 20 September 2006, 4:53 am
This is the first part of a series about a rebel Spartan. Part One tells the story of his escape from the complex on Reach. I hope you all enjoy it. Constructive criticsm please!!
Spartan No. 86, Irvine, lay unconscious on his bed. All over him cords monitored his heart rate, body temperature and neurological patterns and displayed the information on a series of screens. A male nurse in a nuclear protective suit ambled in to the area that was merely a room designated by thick plastic curtains. The nurse picked up a clipboard off the end of the bed and, noting the numbers on the display screens, wrote indolently on a chart. Having finished his rounds at last, the nurse pushed a gap between the curtains and exited the room, pulling the screen shut behind him.
Irvine was dreaming. He was dreaming of his training there on Reach of course, he knew of nothing else in his life. All of his memories had been wiped away. But he was different to the rest of the Spartans. He was the only one, it seemed, that wanted a real life. They had all been denied the chance to lead real lives but he was the only one that couldn't accept it, the only one that wanted out. Sure, he was as fast and as strong and as intelligent as the rest but he wasn't like them. He didn't work well as a team member either. He was dreaming of a task the Spartans had been set to do as a team.
He had disregarded the advice to work together and was edging along a cliff face with his back hanging over a thirty-five-metre drop on to jagged rocks. The width of the path he had taken was about fifteen centimetres.
"If you drop, who will catch you?!" Mendez was spitting into his ears from above, spilling dust and small stones over the Spartan's head. "If you fall, who will save you?! I sure as hell won't!" he had screamed. As he said this, thoughts of how that man had influenced the ruining of his life crept into the front of Irvine's mind. He leapt up into the air, propelling himself off the cliff face and somersaulting backwards towards the rocks below. His hands shot out as he fell and, at the last possible moment, gripped the edge of the pathway. His bodied caught up with his hands as it swung into the cliff face, bruising his hips and lungs.
Needless to say, Mendez was unimpressed as Irvine slowly slid his hands along the edge of the cliff back to his team holding the objective combat knife in his teeth.
As unhappy as he was with Irvine's constant disobeying behaviour, Mendes knew the boy would make too good a soldier to pass up and so, along with the rest of the Spartans, No. 86, Irvine, underwent gruelling surgery for technological augmentation.
Irvine's eyes fluttered open. His body didn't move but his eyelids flicked suddenly open. All the Spartans were capable of waking very quickly. The whites of his eyes were bloodshot and blood was pooled just below his tear ducts. Irvine blinked several times and the blood cleared. His eyes burned and everything was a just a blurry haze of colour, mostly white. He couldn't see much but he could definitely hear. He could hear everything in the square kilometre hospital ward, conversations between doctors, doctors briefing nurses, nurses swinging jackets over their shoulders and walking briskly towards the doors.
It was a lot to hear and came as a shock for the fourteen year old. Automatically his hands flew up to his ears and nearly crushed his skull. His eyes widened and slowly everything came into focus. Everything. He focused on a convex mirror about a hundred metres away suspended in a corner of the complex. In the reflection he could see another Spartan, 17: Tommy, lying unconscious in his bed, distorted by the mirror. Everything that had happened to him was becoming obvious: improved reflexes, eyesight and hearing, reinforced bones, everything. Well, almost everything. He looked up to a chart posted beside his bed. A list of augmentations had been ticked off with notes scribbled beside each one. He ran down the list silently. Nothing surprising, and then
" he swore under his breath as he read the last line: 'Suppressed sexual drive.'
He flung himself out of the bed angrily, clumsily falling to the ground. Then, just as quickly took refuge back under the sheets having realised that he was completely naked.
The Spartan scanned the room quickly, taking in everything with unnatural ease. A pile of clothes, a black training uniform, lay folded and pressed on a ceramic white bedside table. His arm flew out and clutched the clothes.
Half a minute later Irvine's crew cut head stuck out between the curtains and surveyed the hallway. Clear. He stepped out for barely a second before diving back under the sheets at the sound of footsteps rounding a corner. Soon he realised the owner of the footsteps was several blocks away.
Irvine put his head back, closing his eyes, and thought hard about what to do. Now would be his best chance to get away, to escape from the Spartan II program - and he had to do all he could to take advantage of it.
"But how to get out?" He muttered aloud opening his eyes. And then he saw it. The low roof was supported by old fashioned beams and girders in a triangular pattern, perfect for climbing. He sprung instantly into action, leaping onto his bed, then pulling his head up over the curtain bar with ease to watch that no-one was looking. Once he was sure that all of the staff were busy he pulled his knee up onto the bar and then his entire body. He was now perched above his section and had a view of the entire complex. He stood straight up, balancing effortlessly on the pole which began to quiver beneath his weight. He jumped straight up and curled his hands around the lower beam, flinging his legs up and landing in one fluid movement face down on the beam. He winced at the dull pain between his legs and began to crawl and climb amongst the beams towards the closest door.
He was about halfway there, ever vigilantly monitoring the activity below when he struck gold in the form of a fire hatch up to the roof. The Spartan positioned himself under the metre square trapdoor and fiddled with the latch. It was unlocked of course, per fire safety regulation. He pulled the latch loose and it swung freely. Now he put his feet to the trapdoor. It was heavy and the Spartan knew that without the advanced hormonal muscle growth he would never have been able to push the door open, but he did. In fact he did with such ease that it flung right open, hit the roof and nearly managed to slam shut again.
Unfortunately, the event was noisy and attracted the unwanted attention of several people below. Irvine scrambled quickly out the hatch and pulled himself onto the roof, kicking the hatch closed behind him. He was ogling the stars and the dark cloudless sky, realising how amazing stars looked at night when one had better than 20/20 vision and could practically see in the dark, and therefore didn't notice the several figures that had been waiting for him on the roof until it was almost too late.
What felt like a sixth sense kicked into action and Irvine spun to see a handler in a military uniform fire four tranquiliser darts at him, emptying his pistol. The darts moved incredibly slowly and all around him Irvine could see everything like a dream. Not surprisingly Chief Mendez was there, so were two handlers, the first of which was still holding his gun aimed at the Spartan having not yet registered that he had even pulled the trigger back far enough.
The darts rifled towards Irvine at what seemed like about ten km/h. He felt himself moving, also in slow motion but faster than anyone else, bending this way and that to dodge the darts. Something thudded on his side. Not one of the darts he knew. As he turned to check he saw the second Handler had stepped closer and also held a dart gun. Things returned to normal time. The nearby Handler grabbed Irvine's arm before he could protest and swung it behind his back, slowly pressing up and holding the gun to his head.
"You want to know something, scum?" whispered the Handler menacingly. Irvine struggled and moaned in reply. "At this range, a dart from my gun would kill y-"
Irvine struck out, his elbow ploughing into the Handler's midsection, his hand firmly gripping the gun and pulling it over his shoulder, dragging the astonished Handler with ease behind it. As the man hit the ground on his back Irvine wretched the gun from his hand and shot each of the Handlers in the neck. The first, the one that was still armed, fell to the ground, pulling the dart free and writhing on the floor as he fought of unconsciousness. The second was already under, the dart just prolonged his reawakening.
Irvine spun on the spot and aimed the dart gun unmoving at Mendez. Mendez unclasped his hands from behind his back and began, of all things, to clap. "Well done, 86. You passed the test." Irvine didn't move but glared icily at the Chief Petty Officer.
"A bit predictable perhaps, but I can't say I would have acted any different."
"So if you had been abducted from your family at the age of six and raised to be an unnatural super soldier you would have attempted to escape as well?" There was a long pause and Mendez only watched Irvine patiently, "You know, sir, that I will get out of this place tonight, if it means incapacitating every handler, or stepping over your dead body, I will get out."
"I doubt that, 86," replied Mendez coolly, "Not with that thing jutting out of your leg."
Irvine looked down to his thigh at the dart. It's poison would be well and truly injected into his bloodstream by now. All he could do was take the Chief with him. He looked up, and as his vision began to blur and the image of Mendez wavered, he shot the Chief in the neck. The pair dropped to the ground. Irvine threw aside the gun and pulled the dart out of his thigh. Its tip was coated in red.
"Listen, if you want out, I'm not going to stop you," Called Mendez, his voice still strong and rugged, "Take this, it's the antidote to that poison, it should at least keep you awake for another half hour." He threw a packet of pills to Irvine, "I can hardly promise you that the guards will stay off your back though
" Irvine looked dumbfounded at Mendez who chuckled, "I'll see you later, kid
" Mendez' head dropped as he hit unconsciousness.
Irvine clawed his way to the rapidly vanishing image of the pills. He popped one out of it's packet and threw it into his mouth, swallowing it in a wave of spit, and lay back onto the ground. After a minute he still felt tired but wasn't getting any worse. After two minutes his vision began to clear and, three minutes after taking the pill he felt as healthy as ever.
The Spartan threw himself up off the ground realising that that pill he had just taken could have been anything at all, that it could have killed him.
He robbed one of the handler's of his boots and combat knife and loaded his gun with ammo from the unconscious men. He stepped slowly towards the edge of the roof and peered down. Luckily he had been on the ground floor in the medical lab so the drop was only about three metres. He lowered himself over the edge with his hands to further shorten the jump and dropped to the dewy ground with a barely discernible thud. Irvine knew the layout of the complex well after eight years of early morning jogs around it and therefore knew where he was and where he had to go.
The Medical Lab was positioned as far from the only entrance gate as possible so that in the case of an invasion the most vulnerable people would be furthest away. The entrance gate itself was in fact a building with one floor above and one below ground. A ramp led out from the underground section and the topside gate was a massive wall that rarely ever opened. The underground route was Irvine's only choice, though it was heavily guarded by handlers with live rounds.
Irvine snuck along the length of the hospital's concrete walls, invisible against the black shadows in his equally dark uniform. There was a large building up ahead around which the rest of the complex was built, it was the gym of course and it was lit from every direction by tall stadium lights. The only windows in the building were ten metres up, edging along where the roof started. Upon focusing on the windows, over forty metres away, Irvine could clearly see the reflection of two handlers chatting, lighting up, taking a puff of smoke. They were standing in front of the hospital, the north side, while Irvine had dropped off the safest side, the west side. The hospital was about eight metres from the next building, a barracks apparently. The young Spartan would have to either take his chances stepping out of the shadows past the smoking guards, or move anticlockwise to the next building. He chose the Barracks: though it would take him longer to reach freedom moving in an arc towards the exit, he wanted to prolong contact with any adults for as long as possible.
There were small alleyways between each building from two metres to eight metres wide. The hospital's shadow didn't reach all the way to the barracks so Irvine was exposed for half a second as he sprinted toward the barracks and leapt into the air. His hands caught the edge of the roof and he easily swung himself on to the top of the building.
He had successfully made it to the top of the building, with more ease than he could ever have had before, but now he stared down in horror. He'd managed to fling himself onto a skylight and was now staring down into the inhabited bunkroom. Two soldiers in singlets and khaki trousers were playing poker over a round table and now there was a humanoid shadow cast over that table.
One of the men, with a wide neck and a heavily chewed cigar, looked up slowly towards the window but of course the boy had disappeared by then. The man swore, shoved the table over and hurried for the door. He burst outside and began scaling the wall of the barracks with stunning agility. The soldier reached the roof and pulled himself up. The shadow-caster was gone from the roof.
A flash of movement from the depths of the man's peripheral vision. It was there and then it was gone. He turned his head. Amazingly the escapee had already made it a quarter of the way around the complex, sprinting across roofs and leaping unbelievable lengths. The man yelled out to one of the guards who was now standing below him looking puzzled. This guard in turn made a motion to the second guard who turned to the hospital's north wall and pulled down a lever.
Irvine had never felt the same way before: Weightless, perfectly balanced, automatic, almost invincible. The wind skimmed softly over his face as he soared from an equipment shed to a solitary confinement cell. He landed perfectly, dipping his head forward without any loss of balance or sense of vertigo. He lurched forward, putting on speed and almost laughed at his incredible, unnatural abilities. He was lost from the world where he had been so long captive. He wasn't thinking why he was running, or where he was running, but how he was running, with what freedom.
Suddenly a shrill alarm sounded and Irvine was wretched back to the real world. He looked back over his shoulder where people were already filing out of buildings, guns in hand.
"The roofs!" Irvine heard one yell. As he reached the end of his current building, he jumped early so that rather than land on the roof of the next building he smashed into the side wall of it.
He hit the wall with his boots, having rotated backwards through the air as he fell. His body caught up with his shoes in the split second before he fell to the ground and with his gloved hands the Spartan pushed off the wall so that he jumped backwards, straightening his body out and finally landing crouched in the shadows, his back against the previous building. There he waited, in the shadows, for no more than forty seconds. After this time a confident looking guard appeared with an assault rifle peering into the darkness of the grass floored alley. He stepped forward slowly. Irvine heard every noise the man made. From his slightly unsteady breathing, to his fingers loosening and then tightening their grip on the end of the rifle, to the grass flattening itself beneath his boots.
The soldier stepped slowly forward. One more step. The guard looked about, obviously not noticing the motionless shape in the shadows. He turned to step back when Irvine kicked the ground. The man turned back to the alley, and took a step
Irvine launched himself out of the shadows swiftly. He wrapped his arms around the man's head, covering his mouth and his eyes tightly. As he swung right around the soldier's body he brought the man down into the shadows. Smacking his head solidly onto the wall. The guard was knocked unconscious instantly.
Irvine dragged the limp body further into the shadows. He hoped the man would be alright he didn't really want to kill anyone. Hopefully the guy would be fine but maybe sent home for a short while on leave anyway. So really, Irvine told himself, he was doing the man a favour.
He emerged a minute later with the man's military uniform pulled on over his own training gear, the cap pulled down over his face and the assault rifle over his shoulder. He would probably pass as a short guard as long as no one looked at him too closely. He walked around the gym stiffly, keeping his head down and staying in the shadows as much as possible.
A guard called out to him from a couple of metres away, "Hey, mate, you got any clue what we're supposed to be looking for out here? Probably one of the freaks escaped, eh?" The man chuckled. Irvine turned his reddening face away and shrugged before continuing hastily on his way.
After two minutes Irvine finally reached the entrance gate. He walked down the ramp to a thick door with a monitor and keyboard on it. He swore to himself and checked the uniforms pockets for a key card to slide down the slot. He finally laid his fingers on a card in his breast pocket and activated it. The monitor flashed on.
Irvine swore to himself again and looked around pointlessly. The card had an ID number. If the soldier used that as his password he wouldn't have trouble remembering it. He typed in the number and after a few painful seconds the monitor reworded it's message to:
There was a click as the door unlocked itself and Irvine stepped into a wide hallway. Each side of the room was lined with three guards and another guard stood in front of the second door, his last boundary. Irvine strode awkwardly towards the end of the passage, keeping his head aimed at the floor. The guard at the end of the hallway spoke up, "Listen, Pal, if you're planning on leaving this place I've got bad news for ya': The whole complex is on complete shutdown, nobody gets in and nobody gets out. Lost one o' the kids I heard 'em say. And I don't knock off for another two hours, so you'll have to wait for at least that long I'm afraid - Hey, man, you alright? I mean you look kinda' uncomfortable is all-"
Irvine leapt forward at this point, sweeping his left arm around the soldier's neck, and pulling himself behind the man, as he did so he pulled the Assault Rifle around his back with his right hand and unloaded at the soldiers down what was now the left side of the passage way. The soldiers were already reacting but were all at the same level so that a quarter of a clip fired down the hall at centre-mass level incapacitated them all. He spun back around the left side of his human shield to fire at the guards on the opposite side of the hall. Using the same tactic he eliminated two of the guards but the third had dropped to the ground and began unloading his pistol at the escapee. But Irvine was too fast and shifted the guard in the way of the bullets before swinging around one final time and emptying his clip into the mans shoulder and chest.
His human shield was still conscious, though shot in the left arm, so Irvine hit him in the back of the head with the butt of his rifle. He dropped the body and turned to the door, his final obstacle. The card key slid down the reader and the password was entered as before. Once again the lock clicked and Irvine turned the door knob. With a heart stopping feel of freedom, the door swung open.