This story takes place in the Project Freelancer: Rebirth storyline, one week after York's death. A rival group to Project Freelancer: Rebirth is working on experiments to create a Supersoldier for the UNSC. They make a deal with the Director of Freelancer: Rebirth that, in exchange for using York in the experimentation, they would be the first program to use the Supersoldier. But York died before the experiments began. However, a relative of York's, one with stronger genes and greater growth capabilities is chosen instead, and the deal is revised; in exchange for obtaining this relative, the Director of Project: Freelancer Rebirth will get to use the Human Weapon upon its completion. Now, Agent South Carolina must fight to protect and retrieve his late friend's family, even if that means turning on his Freelancer brethren.
It was the middle of a dark room; it was blank, mostly metallic with a stone ground, with a room overlooking it, watching the progress. Inside the room was a man; six feet and two inches in height, with pitch black, carbon-like hair, crimson red, blood colored eyes, with a physique that was lean but powerful, geared more toward speed than strength; he had no shirt or shoes, instead only wearing baggy, torn up pants with the ends rolled up to the middle of his shins. His skin was ghostly white, so white that it almost glowed in the middle of this shadowy room. His chest was bare and had a large scar on his sternum, circular with little points around it, with six branches, two going toward his collar, two toward his arms, and two toward his hips. The scar was discolored, a slightly darker tone than the rest of his skin. Beads of sweat rolled off of his arms, head, chest, and back like waterfalls, his breathing heavy, to the point of collapsing a titan under its own weight; his shoulder length black hair covering his eyes, letting one through, this eye filled with rage.
He was surrounded, three monsters from three different directions; three Elites, each one distinctive; the one directly in front of him was dark blue in color, with a dark red helmet that seemed to be stained, with light skin the color of grass. The second, the one behind the man’s left arm, was similarly built, with dark green armor and an orange helmet with crimson stains in little raindrop patterns; its skin was a bright brown color. It had a large battle rifle in its hand, roughly twice the size of a normal battle rifle; twice the size, twice the power. The last, behind the man’s right arm, was significantly larger than the other two, almost twice as tall, standing at almost nineteen feet, with a significantly larger, body builder-like muscular build; its skin was hidden behind the blood and mud stains covering its flesh, its armor a white coloring. It held a large gravity hammer, with a significantly larger gravity generator at the top, large and powerful enough to shatter a small house. The last one wielded a large combat knife, the length of its forearms and with half the broadness of its chest.
The large alien creatures lunged at the man, attempting to take his head in one shot. In one stunning motion, however, the man kicked off one head, threw another across the room, shattering the wall, and got into a short skirmish with the last. He managed to rip off the Elite’s arm and whip it at its cheek, knocking it in the other direction, breaking its neck. Then, as the last Elite recovered from being thrown, the man threw the arm at it. The clawed hand embedded itself into the Elite’s brain, splitting it in two, fracturing the brain stem, killing it instantly.
“Excellent work, Dick,” a voice stated from a speaker coming from the room overhead, “You’ve progressed nicely these past ten years. It is clear to me that you’re ready for the outside world.”
The man remained silent, simply looking at the overhead room as his breathing, sweating, and general equilibrium became more stable.
“I’ve finished your first armor enhancement,” Professor Maya Hertz told the man as he put down a chip and slid it across a counter to him. The doctor was a middle aged man with dark brown hair and gray-blue eyes, wearing a blue and black turtle neck sweater underneath his lab coat, with baggy cargo pants and black combat boots. He also had a short beard. “It’s a little unstable, though, so use it carefully.”
“In what way is it unstable?” Dick asked as he picked up the chip and looked at it.
“It’s powerful; its power output is greater than any other armor enhancement I’ve ever seen; how well it works will depend on how wisely you use it.”
“Let me guess, it’s so powerful that you don’t know whether or not it will destroy its user before it performs its intended purpose, right?”
“That’s right; for a normal person, a one hundred percent output would destroy the user’s central nervous system within five seconds; given your regenerative properties, I’d give you about twice that.”
“So keep it on a low power output, then?”
“Yes, until you’ve adapted and can handle higher power levels.”
“How will this affect my regeneration?”
“Right now, if you’re careful, it’ll do nothing. But, once you’ve adapted and you can handle the highest power setting, your regenerative and immune systems’ efficiencies will multiply by roughly ten times what they already are.”
“So fifty times that of an ordinary human at that point?”
“What about my other attributes?”
“Physically, your speed and reflexes will be the things that will primarily be boosted; your sprinting speed should be well enough to overwhelm most Olympic athletes and your reflexes will, in theory, allow you to block and dodge even point blank bullets.”
“Dodging isn’t the same as outrunning, though.”
“Don’t complain; with what I’m giving you, you already have the potential to be the strongest fighter there ever was. Besides, I can’t boost your speed to that of a bullet. That’s just impossible.”
“I’m afraid so; you’re quite the romantic."
“That will change once you’ve joined the program; I’ve already signed you up, the tests I gave you are enough to get you through boot camp without any trouble. Now all you really need to do is perform the field test in order to join.”
“Alright, recruitment day is almost over,” Agent York stated as he leaned up against the wall, crossing his arms over his chest. He possessed a medium to large muscular build, which was noticeable under his armor, with a particularly thick chest and abdomen. His armor was tan colored, with a detail color of light blue; his armor was the standard Mark VI MJOLNIR armor with the visor in particular being black. “Now we just need to pick the ones to recruit.”
“It’s not that simple, York,” North replied. He had a similar though noticeably light muscular build than York. He wore similar armor, only his variant was a complete set of Scout armor. His armor color was completely, solid brown.. “We can only pick from the best.”
“That pale guy seemed pretty good,” Washington noted as he looked at the recruits below. He wore the Mark VI MJOLNIR armor just like York; his armor was dark gray while his detail color was yellow; his visor was the default orange. “He didn’t seem fazed at all by the field tests.”
“I don’t know,” North noted as he looked at him, “What’s his name?”
Washington looked through the profiles on his clipboard and found the man with the pale skin but something was odd about it. “It doesn’t say.”
“I found his profile but his name isn’t listed. Someone doesn’t want us to know who he is.”
“Doctor Hertz is the one hiding his name,” the Director stated from behind them. He was a short man, shorter than York at least, with a scrawny build with a little bit of belly fat noticeable beneath his shirt, which was skin tight, along with the rest of his outfit, which was dark gray with navy blue shoulders. He wore black dress shoes and wore glasses. His hair was a dark red and his eyes were dark brown, almost black (Note: This description is merely a placeholder and will be changed once the Director gets a profile).
Dick was standing in a room with Agents North, York, and Wash, along with their director.
“So, what shall we call you?” North asked somewhat politely though there was apparent venom in it.
“Well, I’m very dense, I’m strong, I train a lot, and I kinda look like a girl, so call me Jennifer Walters,” Dick noted very sarcastically, seemingly responding the venom he noticed in North’s voice.
“On what planet is that acceptable?” North asked irritatedly.
“On Earth-616,” Dick replied, still very sarcastically.
“Do you realize how disrespectful you’re being?” Wash asked, though without any emotion so his true feelings on the matter are obscured.
“It doesn’t matter whether I’m being disrespectful or not because this meeting is going to end the same regardless of how I act.”
“Do you realize you could get court-martialed for this?” North asked angrily.
“Do you realize how little I actually care?”
“Okay guys, let me handle this,” York finally stated, ending this conversation, “Now, what would you like us to call you?” York asked this with as much politeness as possible.
“Call me whatever you want, I don’t really care.”
“Okay then, Private, do you believe you’re qualified for this?”
“The fact that we’re having this conversation at all proves that I’m more than qualified.”
“Okay, what are your specialties?”
“I’m good at every type of combat position. Knife fighting, sniping, assassination, hand-to-hand, frontal assault, infantry, there’s no type of combat that I’m not good at.”
“So front-line fighting then?”
“Okay, what else are you good at?”
“I’ve been trained in lockpicking, hacking, infiltration, information gathering, and most other jobs. What I’m not any good at, though, are driving and piloting.”
“Well then, I guess I don’t have to worry about you taking my job.” York laughed a little at his joke, as if to lighten the mood, though no one else seemed to be lightening up. “Okay, moving on. Okay, how good are you on a team?”
“I’ve never been on a team before so I wouldn’t know.”
“Uh-huh, we’re gonna have to work on that. Do you have any weaknesses that you know of?”
“Curves and busts.”
"Okay, I think we’re finished here. Wait outside and we’ll discuss the terms of your recruitment.”
Dick walked outside to allow the Freelancers to talk out the deal.
"Okay, I’m not recruiting him,” North stated with some irritation, “I don’t care how skilled he is, someone as insubordinate as him could destroy us from the inside.”
“Would you rather have him destroy us from the outside?” York asked.
“York, we can’t let someone like him into the program. We just can’t trust him.”
"We let Wash into the program and there’s not much trust on any end involving him.”
“Leave me out of this.”
“Besides, he’s just sarcastic.”
"He’s disrespectful; if he joins, the rest of our recruits would be tempted to rebel.”
“Is that why we let Tex and Maine do and say whatever they please? I’m sorry but you know they do.”
“York, you’re my friend, that’s the only reason I’m even considering him.”
“Just give him a chance. It’s not always about respect in our line of work.”
North sighed. “Alright, fine but if he continues to be insubordinate, I will have him discharged.”
“That’s not going to happen.”
Agent South Carolina was currently in his room, which was pretty plain, with a normal bed and metallic walls. The only thing odd about his room was his door, which had a pressure sensor on the left-hand side. Carolina wore his black armor with red trim consisting of the Rogue helmet, Hayabusa shoulders, and CQB chest. He was polishing a katana that possessed a guard that looked like some sort of chip with a hilt that was red in color.
Suddenly, he heard two knocks. “Hey, Caro, open up!” The voice was female and was very light, not squeaky but very far from deep.
“Hang on,” Carolina replied as he pulled out a combat knife and pulled on the end, revealing a severing wire, which he tied to the end of the hilt. He then threw the end of the hilt at the Pressure sensor, which hit and opened the door, though the sound was a large cracking sound. Carolina then pulled on the wire and caught the sword, removed the wire and put it back in the knife. He then put away the knife and continued working on the sword.
“You seriously need a new method of opening this door,” the woman noted as she walked in. She was of average height with a lean build, wearing the standard Mark VI MJOLNIR armor. Her armor color was yellow with a detail color of black. Her visor was the standard orange.
“What’s up Nev?” Carolina asked as he continued working on his sword.
“The Director read York’s will,” Nevada told him.
“And he sent you to rub something in my face?”
“No, he sent me because I’m the least likely person on this team, other than Ark, to start a fight with you and you’re not very likely to attack a woman.”
“Fine, what’re you here for?”
Nevada then held up an implant for his armor. “It was stated in York’s will that you get his healing unit.”
Carolina took the Healing Unit, though he also stated “I don’t really need this, though.”
“The will also mentioned that you’ll find some use for it.”
“No prob.” Nevada walked out. Immediately coming in after her were a man and a woman, though they were not likely a pair. The man was of average height, wearing an entire set of recon armor that was dark gray, with a sniper rifle on his back, along with what looked like jet boosters placed over his shoulder blades, an SMG held on his back in with the end on the other shoulder, and two kukris sheathed on his lower back. The woman was five feet and five inches tall, with long brown hair tied in a high ponytail, dark brown eyes, a somewhat tanned complexion, and a voluptuous figure. Her breasts were of a notable size and were what Carolina would sometimes focus on when awkward silence began to befall them. She wore a red suit with a skirt that hugged her body, red high heel shoes, glasses with a chain on the ends, and a red tie to go with it.
When the door closed, the woman lost her composure and jumped at Carolina, screaming “Dick!” She glomped Carolina.
The soldier behind her was oblivious and asked “Uh, Carolina, what did she just-?”
“My name, Ark,” Carolina replied as he hugged her back.
“Oh,” was the response of Agent Arkansas, “I knew that.”
“So, Dick, it’s so good to see you!” she told him.
“Um, Carolina, are you going to introduce me?” Agent Arkansas asked with eagerness.
“Right, Sharon, this is Agent Arkansas, Ark, this is Sharon Brown. She’s York’s wife.”
“Oh, okay, yeah, now it makes sense,” Ark replied casually.
“So, Dick, how are you doing?” Sharon asked him solemnly.
“Are you sure? I mean, since James died, you’ve hardly returned any of my calls. You haven’t even spoken to Katie. And when I asked Maine where you were, he just said ‘Last time I saw him, his fist was colliding with my face. Apparently he’s angry.’ Seriously, if you have something you want to say then say it. I won’t think any less of you, no one will.”
“Well, actually, Maine will,” Ark noted, “And so will North and Wash and Tex.”
“You’re not helping.”
“Don’t worry,” Carolina told her, “I’m doing just fine. I created a new weapon and it’s gonna be a lot of fun to use so everything will be just fine.”
Sharon looked at him with dissatisfaction.
“Dick, take off your helmet,” Sharon ordered.
“Ark, look away.”
“Got it.” Ark turned around but peeked through his visor as he turned his head somewhat.
Carolina took off the helmet, revealing pale, ghostly, chalk white skin with crimson, blood red eyes. His carbon-like pitch black hair was still neck length. However, he had several bulging nerves on his face, starting at his nose and spreading to the rest of his body.
“Promise me that you’ll come to me if you ever need my help,” Sharon told him seriously with a very accepting expression upon her face.
“I promise,” Dick replied solemnly, with much care in his voice.
Sharon was at the front of the base, getting ready to depart. She was in front of Arkansas and Nevada, getting ready to leave.
“Before I go, I want you two to promise me something,” Sharon stated, “Promise me that you’ll stay with Carolina and help him. He needs interaction but he won’t willingly seek it out. And, knowing him, he’ll do something drastic to make himself feel better if it comes to that. He’s a nice guy, he really is; he just tends to smother his kind side with aggression at times.”
“Don’t worry, you can count on me,” Ark replied.
“Same here, just try not to go looking for rebound ass,” Nevada noted playfully.
“Don't worry, I’m not the one who needs rebound ass,” Sharon noted with a slight giggle. She then walked toward a Puma to get a ride home.
“Now, Agent North,” The Director of Project Valhalla stated as he stood in front of the Freelancer, “I would like to make a request of you and I would like you to run it by your Director.”
“I’ll see what I can do,” North replied as he stood, joints locked, his arms behind his back.
“I would like to request a friendly match between members of my program and the most dangerous member of your program.”
“I’m the highest ranked, I’d be more than willing to do it.”
“I’m sure you would but that’s not what I’m referring to. While it is true that a sniper such as yourself would be very dangerous, a sniper can be beaten once they’re caught. I’m referring to a member of your program that would be a hindrance in a complicated situation.”
“You mean Agent Carolina? He’s always been a hindrance to us and he’s very dangerous, even if only to our newer members.”
“Yes, I would like to bring him up against three of the members of my Project Valhalla.”
“Who did you have in mind?”
“How did you get to be as strong as you are?”
“My situation’s complicated.”
“I see.” Agent Nevada walked with her hands locked together behind her back as she looked toward the ceiling, walking forward next to Agent South Carolina. “Do you think you can beat anyone in the program?”
“What makes you think that?”
“Simple: no one else in the program has what it takes to be an absolutely indestructible killing machine. . . They don’t have what I have.”
“I give up, what is it?”
Carolina gave her no answer. He simply continued to walk forward.
Dick walked through an urban environment during the day, his red eyes and pale skin glowing in the sunlight. His bulging nerves were all the more apparent in this bright sunny day. He was wearing a dark red shirt with short sleeves, revealing more nerves bulging on his arms; along with blue jeans that were loose on his body, and black combat boots. He looked around, trying to figure out where he was.
“Pardon me sir,” a man stated, “Do you need assistance?” He was elderly, with gray eyes and hair but with a kind and assisting personality.
“You look like a reasonably smart man!” Dick yelled angrily as he shoved his shoulder, “I want information! Where the hell am I?”
“Ah, you are in Queens, a marvelous city within New York,” the man replied, “It is a wonder of the world.”
“Yeah ‘cause the gang violence, the rape, theft, and turf wars make it all that much better than a war zone,” Carolina noted sarcastically, almost bitterly.
“It makes no difference where it takes place,” the old man noted, “Everyone fights battles.”
“Sorry about my friend,” a man stated as he walked up to the old man. He was a well muscled adult male with mildly tanned skin, which looked dark in comparison to Dick, with brown hair and eyes, and a square jaw. “He’s new to the whole conversation thing.”
“Oh, don’t fret, James,” the old man replied, “He just needs some assistance.”
“If you want, I can help him in your place.”
“Thank you very much. Have fun you two!” the old man told them as he walked off.
“Let me guess, York?” Dick asked.
“Yep, it’s good to see you, Carolina,” James replied, “What’re you doing in Queens?”
“Doctor Hertz gave me a Falcon for me to test drive and I crashed just outside the city. I’m looking for a phone.”
“Why don’t you come stay at my place?” James asked, “I’m sure you’ll get a lot of help there.”
“Fine,” Dick replied as the two walked.
“So, what should I call you outside your armor?” James asked, “I can’t call you Carolina, since we shouldn’t be giving away our identities as Freelancers.”
“My name’s James Brown. What about you?”
“I don’t feel like I should tell you.”
“Suit yourself; I’ll just call you my friend.”
James and Dick walked inside of a large, two story building with a red roof, a dark brown coloring on the walls, and windows on all sides with violet curtains covering them. Inside were modest though somewhat extravagant housing conditions; including a large TV, a couple of couches, tile flooring, granite countertops, and so forth.
“Honey, I’m home!” James yelled.
“Oh, good! Dinner’s almost ready!”
“Do you have extra?!” James asked.
“Why? Do you have a visitor?”
“Okay, bring him over!”
“Okay, come on,” James stated as he and Dick walked toward the kitchen. Inside was more of the same, with generally pleasing living conditions. Inside the kitchen was a young woman, standing at five feet and seven inches with long brown hair tied in a high bun, with lighter skin than her husband but a darker tone than Dick. She was wearing tight jeans and a black tank top. From behind, one could tell she was curvy, a very pleasing, model-like build to her that was fit and healthy but still lean and generally easy on the eyes. Along with the tank top, she had an apron over her front side.
She turned around, revealing dark brown eyes with a twinkle of joy, with a gentle smile on her face; her face was round, giving off an air of cuteness.
“Hello!” she stated with much joy but that joy, smile, and twinkle soon left when she laid eyes on Dick; his ghostly, glowing white skin sparkling in the fluorescent light, his crimson eyes sticking out in her mind as beautiful. However, his handsome appeal was reduced by the nerves on his face, arms, and chest, which gave him a somewhat demonic appearance.
Despite the joy leaving her expression, it wasn’t replaced by fear; it wasn’t replaced by shock or anger, or sadness; it was replaced with confusion: indeed, she had never seen a man quite so unique in her time, and she’s seen all types of people; the meatheads, the leaders, the irritants, the dark jokers, the emotionless, the happy, the jerks; but never had she seen a man with quite that look in his eyes; they weren’t the eyes of a killer; true, killing intent and rage were behind them but it was something else that peaked her interest; it was loneliness, solitude. She felt that it was as if he had never felt anything other than solitude.
“Sharon, this is a fellow operative of mine, Agent Carolina,” James stated, “Carolina, this is my wife Sharon.”
“Hey,” he replied somewhat apathetically, as if disinterested by this development. Despite that, common courtesy compelled him to hold out his hand, willing to shake her hand; however, he did feel that it was a pointless gesture and it seemed to be confirmed when she stood there staring into his eyes. “Okay, maybe not.” He dropped his hand to his side, keeping his other hand in his pocket.
“Huh?” Sharon finally came back to attention, “Oh, I’m terribly sorry!” She walked over to him and held out her hand, “It’s nice to meet you, I’m Sharon Brown. What’s your name?”
Dick shook her hand without answering.
“Well?” She was adamant about getting a name.
“I can’t tell you. It’s a secrecy thing.”
“Oh, okay, cool. Well, I have plenty of food so go ahead and eat with us once it’s ready.”
“I need to use your phone.”
“Okay, it’s over there,” James stated as he pointed toward the wall, revealing a cordless payphone. Dick walked over to it and picked it up, dialing a number.
“James, can I talk to you?” Sharon asked him.
“Sure,” he replied as he walked over to you.
“Do you know what happened to him?”
“What do you mean?”
“Think about it: his skin is white as a sheet, he has nerves bulging throughout his body and red isn’t exactly a common eye color.”
“Wait, those are nerves?” James asked as he looked over at Dick, “I thought those were veins.”
“Right, sorry. Well, he is a close operative of Doctor Hertz so he’s very secretive. He’s always had the white skin and the red eyes but he gained the bulging nerves recently.”
“Do you know anything about him?” Sharon’s concern for both her family and the visitor were growing to alarming levels.
“Only what Doctor Hertz wants us to know.”
Nevada walked into the room overlooking the training room.
“Hey, did I miss it?” she asked as she found a place to sit.
“Not yet, it’s just about to start,” North replied as he looked on, arms crossed over his chest.
“Carolina’s got this,” Tex stated; he was a fairly tall man, standing at five feet and ten inches with a medium muscular build, wearing the Hayabusa helmet, Recon chest, and the EVA shoulders.
“What makes you say that?” Ark asked in somewhat venomously, though he did agree.
“Nothing surprises him,” Tex replied, “He takes everything in stride. I doubt they can bring to the table anything he hasn’t seen before.”
“Yeah, plus hardly anything can hurt him,” Maine noted; he wore the EVA helmet, CQB left shoulder, scout chest, and EVA right shoulder. When Maine stated this, it wasn’t a compliment; it sounded somewhat sarcastic.
North just stood and watched as the match was about to begin, growing somewhat irritated with the bragging of Carolina’s skill and power.
Carolina walked toward his three opponents in the training room; the one on the left was a woman and the shortest of the group; she wore an ODST helmet with a black visor and dark blue color with a large white stripe going down the top. Her chest plate protruded somewhat, and her armor in general was black. The one on the right was man, the tallest of the bunch, with a lean muscular build, wearing a similar ODST helmet, with a modified visor, thinner, making room for his eyes but only enough to see through the sides. The one in the middle was man with a medium muscular build and average height, with an ODST helmet with a regular, silver visor, a red stripe down the middle, with similar armor, only without sleeves, revealing tanned muscles. Also, his gloves were fingerless.
The one without sleeves held out a hand as he said “Best of luck in this match, Carolina.”
Carolina looked at his hand, then at him, and slapped his hand away, stating “Fuck off!”
Round 1, Hand to Hand combat in 5, 4, 3, 2, 1.
“Well, I’d better get moving.” Dick walked out of James’ house, ready to finally dig out the Falcon that he crashed ten feet into the ground.
“Hey, I can come with you,” James noted.
“No, I need to dig up the Falcon.”
“We can call some excavators to take care of that. Why don’t you stay with us for a while? How many more days off do you have?”
“I have the rest of this week.”
“Okay, well then, stay with us. We can have a talk, share our hopes and dreams, maybe get that three-way Sharon’s been begging me for.”
“Sharon’s been begging you for a three-way?”
“Well, begging me, getting a suggestion implanted into her mind to make a couple of guys happy, who cares how it happened?”
“No, I couldn’t possibly do that.”
“’Cause she looks too much like my mother, it would be creepy.”
A five second pause.
“My mother was an AV model and very young before she died.”
“Oh, well then, I guess that’s okay.”
The three soldiers in front of Carolina quickly went to surround him, making a triangle formation, making use of their numbers to overwhelm him. The three soldiers then went into attack mode, charging in, ready to take his head.
All three soldiers attempted to punch Carolina; one at his stomach, one at his face, the last at his back. Carolina bent forward, dodging the punch to his face, while knocking his leg up in the opposite direction, kicking the one behind him, immediately after picking himself up with his back muscles and leaning backward to maintain balance as he kicked forward at the one in front of him, then leaning to the side so that he can kick the last one, all with the same leg. He then rolled onto his hands, followed by kicking up on the chin of one of the soldiers, kicking himself into the air in the process, and then kicking the man’s head into the ground, cracking his visor and misshaping his helmet, while Carolina flipped off gracefully.
“Something’s wrong,” Tex noted.
“Yeah, he’s usually faster than that,” Wash noted.
“And that attack would usually crush someone’s skull,” Maine added.
“Wait, you mean he’s not fighting in peak condition?” Ark asked with a somewhat alarmed expression. “What’s going on?”
“Tough to say,” North noted, “But, if I had to guess, I’d say he’s still broken up about York’s death and it’s getting to his head. The only one that’s good at psyching him out, after all is him.”
“So, what’s going to happen?” Nevada asked.
“He’ll fight with less attention than normal, eventually slip up and leave himself vulnerable,” Maine noted.
Carolina stood with a solid stance waiting for his enemies to make a move.
Cut it out, Dick, he mentally ordered. Go to your happy place. A place filled with curves and busts and the occasional punch to North’s arrogant face!
Carolina then woke up and, just as he had, a fist was three millimeters from his visor. Carolina leaned backward, rolling and kicking the soldier across the room, followed by getting into a quick fist fight with the remaining two. Carolina deflected their attacks as well as he could but he couldn’t focus; the deaths of loved ones circulated throughout his mind; he saw his best friend, York, burning to death in the middle of that wasteland, just up and dying; he saw his mother face up on the kitchen floor with a cracked skull and a bleeding forehead. All he could do was watch as they died; he couldn’t heal people, he couldn’t revive the dead, all he could do was protect them and he didn’t even do that right.
Carolina managed to dodge most of the attacks and even countered; as the one behind him kicked, Carolina kicked his shin, breaking it in two, causing the foot to fly up to the leg, making use of centripetal force; Carolina then kicked up his jaw, crushing his visor in the upward direction, with teeth falling out of the helmet along with blood and bone fragments. He then blocked a punch aimed at him, which he then turned around into a pin around his back, his arm bent, to which Dick twisted it, dislocating it at the elbow; he always loved going for the joints. After this, he kicked him away while ripping his arm off, which was easy due to the weakened ligaments.
However, the sleeveless guy managed to kick Carolina to a wall and pin him to the ground using his foot.
“Oh Carolina,” the man noted in a Norse warrior, Marvel Comics Thor-like voice, “You could’ve done so well on our side. You would’ve even gotten to use the weapon.”
“I can always turn,” Carolina noted, “So, what’s this about a weapon?”
“Oh, we were going to turn York into a living weapon to use against any threats to the military. However, he died so we’re going to have to find a replacement.”
“Thanks, that’s all I need to hear,” Carolina noted. He then smashed his fist down like a hammer onto the man’s ankle, breaking it, followed by doing the same to his knee, bending it backward, then punching his face, leaving a huge dent in his helmet and cracking his visor, breaking his jaw and dislocating it, nearly making it fly off of his head. He flew in the other direction as Carolina stood up and dusted himself off.
The other Freelancers ran down to the training room and checked on the fighters. Ark and Nevada immediately went to Carolina, while Wash, Maine, and C.T. ran straight for the other three. Tex stayed back entirely and North confronted Carolina after a little bit of time passed.
“Are you okay, Caro?” Nevada asked concernedly.
“I’m fine, I didn’t take any significant damage,” Carolina replied, “Hey Ark, you wanna test out a few weapons later?”
“Uh-?” was Ark’s initial reaction before being interrupted by North.
“Carolina, what were you thinking?” North asked, demanding an explanation as he stood in front of the soldier.
“We had this sparring match to test my abilities; these guys needed to know how strong I am for some reason and I decided to stop holding back so the Director of Project Valhalla would not underestimate me.”
“Do you realize that you have nearly blown an opportunity to make amends with a rival group?” North asked angrily.
“Do you realize that the Directors of both Programs are up to no good?” Carolina asked accusingly in return, “Or did your mother drop you on your head a couple of times while you were a baby? Because no person in any world should be as stupid as you are.”
“Carolina, if we get attacked by these people or we get suspended from our work, I’ll have you court-martialed.”
“Go ahead and do it, North. All that’ll do is allow me to take my time in doing what I’ve always wanted to do.”
“And what’s that?” North asked this challengingly.
“Ripping your head right off your neck.”
“Okay, calm down, you two,” C.T. stated as he got between the two soldiers, “Now I realize we don’t always get along but-!”
“But, nothing, Connecticut!” Carolina interrupted, “North’s just afraid to learn what’s really going on here! I’ve already learned and as a result he’s intimidated! If you two want to go down with your ignorance, then fine but don’t drag the rest of us down with you!”
Carolina then stormed out angrily.
“Angry son of a bitch,” Maine noted out of the blue.
“I would like to apologize for what Carolina has done to your recruits,” The Director of Project Freelancer: Rebirth told the Director of Project: Valhalla, “I will see to it that he is punished severely.”
“Now don’t be so hasty, Director,” he replied, “Those soldiers are powerful, yes, but their power and skill were merely that of the average soldier; ultimately expendable. However, your Agent Carolina managed to severely injure my soldiers. True, they weren’t particularly strong but they were by no means fragile. Is Carolina your strongest soldier?”
“I doubt it. As you know, he is not the highest ranked, that honor goes to my favorite operative, Agent North.”
“I realize North is the highest ranked and quite a skilled soldier. However, ranks are a frivolous subject; ranks are subject to change due to new information and the adaptation of soldiers in harsh environments and a ranking system is not always accurate to a soldier's skill, merely the work they've accomplished. Who is your physically strongest soldier?”
“I would like to think that it is Agent Maine. However, Agent Texas is very strong as well.”
“So, not Carolina?”
“Why on earth would it be Carolina?”
“Well, it’s just that I asked for the most dangerous soldier to be pitted against my soldiers. Strength does play a factor there. However, I do admit that there are other factors to consider. Who would be the most skilled in infiltration?”
“Prior to his death, it was Agent New York. However, I believe Agent Washington is good in that department as well.”
“They are all powerful fighters.”
“What about gunmanship?”
“Personally, I view North as our greatest gunman. However, most of my soldiers are adept at gun fighting.”
“I see.” The Director of Project Valhalla turned around, beginning to walk away. “Oh, by the way, Director; I would like to ask something of you; it is imperative that you do this for me and I won’t take no for an answer.”
“Hey, Caro, can I come in?”
“Sure, hang on!”
Carolina throws a training weight at the pressure sensor on the wall, which accompanied a loud, dull thud that opened the door, revealing Ark, who walked in somewhat frightened.
“Does the door open by you hitting the pressure sensor?” Ark asked in a somewhat comical manner to incite a positive result.
“No, it’s just arrogant and needs to be taught its place,” Carolina replied sarcastically. Carolina then picked up his sword, which is now wrapped up in cloth tied closed by small string and hung it over his back.
“Carolina if you’re trying to deal with York’s death there are plenty of ways like jumping in front of a bus or picking a fight with Tony Jaa."
“I assume you think those things won’t kill me,” Carolina noted as he walked out with Ark following.
“Well, I’ve seen you get run over by a Scorpion tank; all that did was make you mad. And Tony Jaa is a martial artist of yesteryear so I don’t think you’d lose to a corpse.”
“What’d you think I was doing?"
“Oh, I thought you were going to go on a pilgrimage. Wait, what are you doing?”
“The Director is forcing me on a two weeks paid vacation.”
“Two weeks? Paid? Why?”
“The Director told me it was none of my business so I proceeded to shoving my foot up his ass. The Counselor rectified the situation by telling me that they need time to build up funds for my next paycheck.”
“How much do you get paid?”
“Well, I get paid one hundred thousand per base I take out and fifty grand for every army so my average would be close to twelve million dollars a year.”
“Really? Why do you get paid differently than us?”
“What do you mean? Don’t you get paid similarly?”
“We get paid for every job, not every accomplishment, and we don’t get paid ten grand per job.”
“Well then, I guess all that means is that I’m richer than you.”
“So, where’s the vacation spot?”
“I didn’t take it.”
“What? Then where are you going?”
“I made a compromise. Instead of two weeks paid vacation, they just pay me what they were going to spend on my vacation and I do what I want for two weeks.”
“Oh, so where are you going?”
“Sharon and the kid have gotten lonely since their man died.”
“Her name’s Katie. Sweet girl, she likes chess and checkers. I play those with her whenever I have time.”
“So, what’s your record?”
“In checkers, 100:50, and in chess, 75:76.”
“Really, that close?"
“Her IQ’s 210.”
“Oh, okay. What’s yours?”
They passed by Nevada who looked at Carolina and said “If you’re trying to deal with York’s death there are plenty of ways like jumping in front of a bus or picking a fight with Tony Jaa.”
“I already told him that joke,” Ark commented.
“Hey, I called dibs on that one!”
“Yeah, so did I and South broke the tie.”
“Why did you tell it? You didn’t even know who Tony Jaa was until I told you last week.”
“And you didn’t know until I told you that and that joke the week before that,” Carolina commented.
“Okay, where are you going?”
“To hang out with Sharon and Katie.”
“I’m going on vacation.”
“Because the Director said so.”
Alin, Ark, and Nev walked toward the docking bay. Alin walked over to a Pelican and said goodbye to Nev and Ark, promising that it’ll only be two weeks.
Meanwhile, another soldier walked by. He got out of a nearby Pelican, wearing the standard Mark VI MJOLNIR armor colored white.
“Carolina, if you need help dealing with York’s death, I can always give you a couple of my jokes,” he noted.
“Okay, I don’t really feel like dealing with this three times in the same day so Ark, Nev, you deal with him. Wyoming, pay attention to them. You might learn something if you quit running your mouth for a minute.”
Carolina then got into the Pelican, with the hatch closing, as Wyoming asked “What’d I do?”
Meanwhile, inside the Pelican, Carolina sat next to Sharon, who had a little girl sitting next to her: she was youthful in appearance, seeming to be no older than three years old, with an average build, wearing blue cargo shorts, a shirt that is lightish red with short sleeves, and white and black tennis shoes. Her dark brown hair was long and tied into a high ponytail and her dark brown eyes seemed maroon in this red light.
“Mister Hertz!” the little girl yelled excitedly as she jumped up and down in her seat.
Carolina put his hand on her head as he asked “What’s up, kid?” Carolina then took a seat across from them as the Pelican took off at high speed.
“Katie, dinner time!” Sharon yelled as she moved a large pot to the kitchen table. Sitting at the table were James and Dick, ready to have dinner. “I hope you two like chilly!”
“As long as it’s not crap, I’ll eat it,” Dick noted.
“Well, I can assure you that my cooking is never crap.”
“Good because it’d be stupid to waste that much time getting waste somewhere when you could just get fresh ingredients.”
Sharon opened her mouth to say something as she lifted a finger, then dropped it as she closed her mouth and got ready to eat. As they got ready to eat a young girl ran over to the kitchen. She was about two feet tall, with two pigtails made out of dark brown, moderate length hair, with dark brown eyes that reflected the light in the room and the innocence in her heart. Her pink cotton blouse was larger than it should’ve been which let it fall past her waist and her short sleeves past her elbows, along with a pair of shorts that were black.
“There’s my little girl!” James stated happily with a large smile on his face, “Come say hi to your daddy.”
The little girl looked at Dick, completely terrified. She saw how the bulging nerves on his body, his glowing pale skin, his crimson eyes, and his long black hair all made him look like a monster.
“Daddy, who’s that?” the little girl asked as she tried to hide behind the wall.
“Oh, this is a friend of mine from work,” James replied, “We call him Alin.”
“Do I scare you?” Dick asked as softly and as gently as he could.
“Why do you look like that?”
“Katie!” Sharon yelled frantically, “That’s not something you ask people! He can’t help the way he looks.”
“Sharon, don’t help,” Dick requested.
“Sorry.” Sharon then immediately hid behind James.
“I look like this because my father’s a scientist and because he wanted me to grow up with a better life than he felt he would have been able to make it if he didn’t make me look like this.”
“Are you a bad guy?” Katie asked innocently.
“No, the bad guys are the ones that force lies down our throats as we are left to question what they’re really up to.”
“Oh, okay, so you’re a good guy!” Katie smiled.
“Sure, why not?” Dick asked somewhat sarcastically.
“Okay, yay!” Katie then ran over to Dick and said “Please be my friend!”
“Sure,” Dick told her with a smile as he held out his hand, to which she grabbed it and held it.
Carolina walked into Sharon’s home with her and Katie.
“I’ll get dinner started, Dick you get changed and play with Katie,” Sharon stated as she put her coat on a nearby nightstand.
“Okay, Katie wait down here,” Carolina told her as he walked upstairs and got changed.
“Mommy!” Katie yelled as she ran over to her mother, “How long is Mister Hertz going to stay with us?”
“Two weeks.” Sharon was setting things up in the kitchen to prepare dinner.
“Aw, two weeks?”
“Yes?” Sharon turned to look at her daughter as she asked “Why?”
“Can’t it be longer? I wanna play with him!”
“Don’t worry, two weeks is more than enough time to play with Mister Hertz.”
Carolina walked into the upstairs bathroom where he found some clothes waiting for him on the counter. He took off his helmet and looked into the mirror. His nerves had become more prominent, thicker as they spread out like a spider web. His hair wasn’t as long but it was a lot messier, almost as if he hadn’t been grooming himself.
As he changed, he looked back on his life. He remembered his time in grade school, where he would keep to himself, avoid other students. He was a lot smarter than them and knew what they would do before they did it. And he never gave them the chance. The second a girl would walk up to him and ask to be his friend, he would say “Get lost, you’re not worth it.” When a guy would go up to him and ask him to play one of their sports, usually baseball, he would say “I would much rather stick your head in a dry blender and turn it on.”
Dick wasn’t a very aggressive person at heart. In truth, he was always very kind and sweet: he would always do what he could to make sure his friends and loved ones would be happy. The problem was he didn’t think that anyone would want to be his friend. He had seen how kids treated others that they hadn’t talked to before, it was always the same. It started with an invitation, then a conversation, then they’d make a smart remark, and then they would pick a fight. Dick decided he wasn’t going to deal with it. He decided that, if they’re going to just chew him up and spit him out, he would smash their teeth in so they couldn’t chew.
He didn’t very much like his family life either; his father was nice, sure, but when his father would take him to science symposiums or demonstrations or get-togethers with his friends, they would always compare the two of them in a negative way. His father would always defend his son but it meant nothing because he would always take him back to those places continually. In truth, he hated his father just as much as those other kids because he would always humiliate him to no end just by doing that. At least if he didn’t go, they’d still make comparisons but he wouldn’t have to listen to them.
The only one he did love was his mother. His mother would always take him out shopping with her girlfriends, which he liked because, though he didn’t very much like socializing, if he had to pick between becoming depressed by his father’s ignorance, becoming hateful toward his classmates for offenses that they hadn’t even committed yet, or becoming the center of attention among a myriad of attractive, voluptuous models, it was clear to him which he wanted.
On top of socializing him in a positive way, Dick’s mother would also teach him how to cook, how to take tests, how to take care of his body, and so forth. She would read to him at night and play with him during the day. She was always very kind to her son. She knew he was going to do big things but she also tried to keep her expectations low so he could never disappoint her. It made it easier for her to feel proud of him. While Dick felt that it shouldn’t have been hard for her to be proud of him, he did realize that it was the constant, unnecessary comparisons between him and his father that really annoyed her.
Back when she was alive, he would always look forward to being with her; no matter what they did, it wasn’t hard for him to like being around her. In truth, he loved her more than anyone else, he valued her life more than anyone else’s, even his own. When she died, there was an unbearable feeling in his heart; it wasn’t hatred, it wasn’t sadness, it wasn’t anger, it wasn’t anything he had felt before; it was emptiness. He didn’t feel anything: he felt like his soul had been forcibly ripped out of his body, that his mind had been wiped clean of any sentient thought, he was rendered catatonic.
Even after recovering from his month long coma, he felt nothing; no reason to live, no reason to feel, no reason to socialize, no reason for anything; he had officially become a nihilist.
When he made it back home, he noticed that there were no more pictures left of his mother anymore. His father had told him that her modeling agency had confiscated most material with her image as theirs. The rest was either taken as evidence to the Police station or burned by his father to prevent Dick from letting it linger on in his mind.
That was it. That was everything he could take: not only did they take away the only person that he loved but they also took away whatever closure he would’ve had had he kept just one picture or video for himself.
He decided that that was it, everything was set in stone; he would finish his training, become an indestructible killing machine, a monster, a demon, and then he’d make them pay, he’d force upon them the monster they had created in their selfishness.
As this decision was made, he remembered his father welcoming in a woman. She was Asian, Japanese, with a similar body shape to his mother, though she was smaller and slimmer. She had a similar hair and eye color but her hair was longer and tied into a high ponytail. She wanted to speak to Dick. Though he never met her before and wondered why she knew his name, he dismissed it, thinking that she was probably a friend of his mother’s from her modeling career.
She had told him how she understood his pain; how his mother was the one person that he wasn’t ashamed to be around and that he was hurt, that he felt dead inside. She told him of how he had lost the one he loved most and that it hurt worse than anyone else that lost their mother. She spoke in a very understanding manner, almost as if she was the one whose feelings she was speaking of.
She told him that it may not be the most appropriate way to help him but she gave him a disc with no markings inside of a case with only a label that said Memory. She gave him the disk and told him to watch it if he ever wanted to see his mother again. He would always watch the video every year on the anniversary of his mother’s death. He felt that was the most appropriate thing to do.
That disc was the only thing that kept his sanity in tact through all of the tests, the experiments, the battles, the wars; everything that could make him suffer was kept at bay by this last memento of his mother.
One day, he was just about to break down. It was an inspection day and all memory storage devices, discs, drives, computers, anything that could hold data was to be turned into the Director and North to check for anything info that could be used for or against them. It was Carolina’s turn to give up his device, which was nothing more than that disc. North and the Director were adamant about getting that disc from him, wanting to protect their secrecy but, more than that, they also did it to make him suffer. It was only logical; Carolina wanted to keep the disc and these two, North and The Director, hated Carolina more than any other soldier in the program. It had escalated to the point that Carolina had bent the Director’s arm backward and was getting ready to crush North’s skull inside his helmet with his fists. It wasn’t until York got involved that they had all decided to make a compromise: York would see what’s on the disc with Carolina monitoring so the data wouldn’t be tampered with.
As York watched it, Carolina became antsy; he was expecting York to ask him a lot of questions, to pry into business, to pass judgment on him, to make him feel like less of a man, the way North or C.T. would. But York did not: he did not pass judgment; he did not pry into Carolina’s business. All he did was nod as he said “Okay, nothing suspicious here,” followed by getting up and walking out.
“Are you really not curious?” Carolina asked somewhat suspiciously before he was completely gone.
York just stopped, turned his head and said “You’ll explain it to me when you’re ready.” He then walked out.
Carolina didn’t believe it; someone that would not pass judgment; someone that would not attempt to make him miserable; someone that he could really and truly call a friend. He hadn’t felt this accepted by anyone since his mother died. He was finally able to open up to someone: he could finally put trust in someone the way he could put trust in his mother.
As time passed, Dick became more open with James, Sharon, and Katie, confiding his feelings in them for a whole year and not feeling bad about it in the slightest, a major improvement, given that not so long before he had attempted to rip off the head of almost any Freelancer that so much as looked at him the wrong way.
When York burned to death in that wasteland, Carolina wanted to save him but he couldn’t. By the time he noticed what happened, York was already on fire and Carolina had nothing to put him out with. He felt that, if he couldn’t stop his suffering, he at least shouldn’t witness it. However, he was paralyzed: he was reliving his mother’s death all over again: he watched her bleed on the floor as resuscitation was impossible. All Carolina could take from York after his death was his dog tags as something to remember him by.
For the following week, he didn’t have any sort of social contact. He didn’t answer his door when someone would knock on it, he didn’t answer any phone calls, and when called on for a mission, all he would say is “Have Ark do it, I’m busy.”
As Dick changed into his casual clothes, all he could think was Never again. He decided that he would never allow anymore harm to come to those he loved ever again. He walked out of the bathroom with this conviction.
Dick was sitting at the kitchen table across from Katie, playing a game of checkers; Dick had seven pieces, while Katie had four. Out of all of the pieces, Dick had four kings and so did Katie.
“I’ll beat you this time!” Katie yelled as she moved one king forward. Dick then triple jumped three of her kings with one of his, leaving her with only one.
“On the field of battle, show no mercy,” Dick noted as he leaned back in his seat.
“Aw!” Katie yelled as she looked at her last piece, which was basically cornered behind two kings. “Why’re you so good at this game?”
“I played a lot of checkers growing up,” Dick noted, “I would always play with my mother and her friends.”
“What were your mother’s friends like?” Katie asked.
“Well, they were all sweet, kind, and very caring. They never cared that I wasn’t as smart as my father and were just glad that I was healthy and intelligent. They also claimed that I was handsome and that I would grow up to be a lady killer.”
“Am I a lady?”
“Not yet. You need get older and develop a bit more.”
“When I become a lady, are you going to kill me?”
Dick and Sharon laughed at that sentiment.
“Katie, you are going to have one hell of a boyfriend,” Dick told her.
“What will he be like?”
“He’ll be strong and sweet, he’ll treat you well, he’ll make enough money to support you, he’ll make you feel special, and then he won’t be your boyfriend.”
“Why not?” Katie put on a look of dissatisfaction as she heard this.
“Because he’ll be your fiancé and then your husband.”
“Oh, cool!” Katie began to become giddy with joy, the entire conversation exciting her and not in the creepy way.
“Okay, now you probably didn’t have to mention that last part.”
“Who’re you talking to?” Sharon asked.
“Not important,” Dick replied.
Suddenly, they heard sirens.
“What’s going on?” Sharon asked. Dick looked out the window and saw two falcons parked outside. He knew right off the bat that that wasn’t a good sign. Dick immediately turned out the lights and told Sharon and Katie to hide under the table. Dick immediately ran to the backyard and climbed around to try to find any beginning intruders.
“Hey, you sure we should do this?” Wyoming asked, armed with a sniper rifle.
“Don’t worry, we’re not gonna hurt her,” Connecticut replied, with his combat knives in his hands.
“What if she struggles?”
“Don’t worry. Nothing gets past me.”
Suddenly, Dick came through the window and shot his foot right at Connecticut’s head, knocking him out instantly.
Wyoming just looked at Connecticut as he asked “You were saying?” He then looked at Dick and said “Uh oh.”
Dick punched him in the face, breaking through his visor, knocking him out with the force of the punch. Surprisingly none of the bones in Wyoming’s face were broken. . .The cartilage in his nose was shattered, though.
Dick heard that scream coming from the kitchen and immediately ran over to meet her. Sharon was on the ground flat, barely conscious. Dick ran up to her and asked her if she was alright.
“Maine. . . Katie. . . Gone.” She passed out.
Dick looked outside and saw that the two falcons were beginning to take flight. Dick immediately jumped out the window and followed the one on the right.
Inside of a Falcon in flight were three soldiers: Agents Maine, Washington, and Utah. Utah had a bright gray armor color. He wore mostly standard Mark VI MJOLNIR armor, except he had an ODST helmet, and Recon shoulders (Note: This appearance is a placeholder and will be changed once Utah’s profile is made).
As Maine and Wash sat inside the Falcon, Utah looked outside. He then turned to Maine and Wash and yelled “Heads up, we’ve got company!”
“How many?” Wash asked as he stood up and prepped his battle rifle.
“Looks like just one!”
“Mode of transportation?”
“He’s on foot!”
“What?!” Maine and Wash were both confused by this. They all looked out and down and saw a man running in their direction on foot, kicking up so much dust and rock that it actually caused a great many cars to crash, burn, flip and spin out of control.
Dick was on the ground, running after the Falcon, preparing his combat knife and magnum for his next stunt.
“Pilot, fly us over the Ocean,” Wash ordered.
“No problem, Capitan!” the pilot replied as she skewed off in another direction out toward the ocean.
“Nice, let’s see him catch us now,” Utah noted as he got on the turret and waited.
Dick ran toward them, not stopping for anything. In fact, he seemed to be speeding up, as he separated the bottom of his combat knife from the rest of it, revealing a severing wire connecting the two.
As they came over the ocean, Dick didn’t stop: he realized that he needed as much momentum as possible in order to get close enough to catch them and momentum equals mass multiplied by velocity.
Dick then made a great jump, three stories into the air.
“Oh shit!” Utah yelled.
“Fly higher!” Wash ordered.
The Falcon flew higher, escaping his reach: not only did Dick expect that but he was planning on it. He threw his combat knife at the Falcon, keeping hold of the severing wire. He then shot the bottom of it with his Magnum four times, propelling the knife into the Falcon’s bottom and straight into the floor where Maine, Wash, and Utah were, with the knife’s blade nearly stabbing Utah’s foot.
“Whoa, that was close!” Utah yelled as he moved his foot.
“What the hell?” Wash asked. He then looked outside, but didn’t see the man that was following them.
He had previously yanked on the wire, which caused it to reel him in to the knife. Dick was able to grab onto the hole inside the Falcon, which allowed him to swing over to one side and pull Utah out of it, causing him to fall into the ocean, where Wash and Maine went over to check. Dick then propelled himself to the other side and flipped into the Falcon, kicking Maine in the back while he was doing it, shooting him out of the Falcon as well.
Wash immediately aimed his battle rifle at Dick. However, Dick instantly neutralized him, kicking the battle rifle out of his hand and out of the Falcon, followed by pinning him to the wall by his foot.
“Where’s the girl?” Dick asked forcefully.
“Take a wild guess,” Wash replied irritatedly.
“Why did you take her?”
“I have no reason to tell you.”
“Okay, fine then, I’ll just break your neck, rip out your video logs, and watch those to get the info I want.”
“So, would you like me to tell you why we were sent after the girl?” Wash asked.
Dick then grabbed his throat and lifted him into the air. “Nah, my way’s better.” Elbow. Blackout.
Dick took control of the Falcon, having already thrown Wash and the Pilot into the sea. Dick made it close to New York Harbor but he was losing altitude. He pulled out his combat knife and leaped out to the harbor.
He extended the cutting wire over his head, which caused it to catch onto a beam, severing it, while bouncing Dick onto the transformer it was attached to.
Dick pulled out a little chip, which was Wash’s video log that he ripped out of his helmet. He put it in his back pocket as he exclaimed “This is not a good week to be one of my enemies.”
Dick then walked forward, heading back to Sharon’s house.
Dick put on his armor, starting with the black suit and then going on to the leggings and working his way up.
“Dick, please wait,” Sharon asked.
“We can’t. Katie is gone and we have to get her back.”
“I know but now isn’t the time to rush in and do reckless things.”
“Sharon, my best friend’s dead, I didn’t even get to see his corpse, his daughter has just been kidnapped, and his wife is making it seem like it’s not a big deal. If there was ever a time to rush in and do something reckless, this is that time!”
“Okay, maybe, but we don’t even know where they went or who took her.”
“Yeah, we do.”
“There are only two soldiers that The Director could trust with this type of mission, given that I’m involved; I already neutralized one, so that leaves the other. They’re probably already at the Mother of Invention by now.”
The Director of Project Freelancer: Rebirth turned around and saw Agents North, South, and Texas walk in, with the little Katie Brown slung over Tex’s shoulder.
“Excellent work, you three,” The Director stated, “Now, we’ve done what you’ve asked.”
“And you’ve done quite a fine job.” As he spoke, The Director of Project Valhalla walked out alongside his top Agent, Agent Odin, a tall, buff man with a hulking muscular build and colossal stature, standing at no less than seven feet and with arms and legs at least as thick as North’s helmet. He had very broad shoulders and a barrel chest; nearly his entire body consisted of nothing but muscle, bone, and skin. He was built just like the Norse God he was named after. Other than his helmet, which was an ODST helmet with a black visor, colored black with a large, white stripe going down the top, he wore no armor; surely a man with such mass and power should not require such things. He only wore a black muscle shirt with no sleeves that showed off his physique, with loose cargo pants camo colored, with black combat boots. He had a large combat knife held on his back at waist height, the knife itself being as large and broad as a small claymore. He also had combat gloves on, colored black, without fingers, that had titanium plating in the knuckles of each finger as well as his hand bone. His arms were held behind his back respectfully, as he stood intimidating even North with his great size. “Odin, take her.”
Odin did as instructed and took the girl from Texas, holding her by his side.
“And, as promised,” The Director of Project Valhalla continued, “You will be allowed to use the weapon once the testing is complete. We’ll notify you when we’re just about finished.”
With that, the Director walked off with his soldier, Katie in hand, ready to leave the Mother of Invention and ready to board the Original Sin.
“Okay, fine, things are bad and you want to jump right into the line of fire,” Sharon conceded, “But will you at least let me give you a ride there? You won’t make it very far on your own!”
“Alright, fine,” Dick noted as he picked up his helmet and put it on.
“Great but, first, we need to go meet someone.”
“Yes, just please trust me.”
“I heard that Project Valhalla is creating a weapon of some kind that we’ll get to use once it’s complete.”
“Yeah. What do you think it is?”
“I don’t know. I hope it’s a rifle of some kind; I kick ass with rifles.”
“Yeah; you’re not much good at other things though.”
“What things in particular?” Ark turned to face her.
“Nothing much.” Nevada then got up and walked away.
Ark finally got it and yelled “I’m not that bad, am I?!” as he chased after her.
Carolina and Sharon walked into Doctor Hertz’ humble abode, his fortress of solitude, his land of imagination; his laboratory, basically. Doctor Hertz was examining a chip under a microscope.
“Maya,” Carolina stated.
“Ah, Dick, I’m glad you’re here,” Maya stated as he pulled out the chip, “I have just finished analyzing the Nexus protocol.”
“And I’ve found how it works. It is actually very sophisticated technology. It is a mind control device that grants the user direct access and manipulation of the wearer’s mind.”
“Tell me something I don’t know.”
“Do you know how it works?”
“Then I’ll tell you that. You see, this device is not one that overrides free will and allows access to the person’s inhibitions. What this does is allows the user to implant verbal commands. These commands become suggestions in the wearer’s mind, entering their subconscious. The suggestions are so powerful that the wearer will act on instinct. This can only be stopped if the wearer consciously overrides their reflexes.”
“You mean like Spider-man reacting to his danger sense?”
“Yes, that is correct. Now, the reason it doesn’t work on you is because of your brain activity. Like with any chip, any surge of electricity can fry it. That’s what makes you immune to it. No matter what happens, it cannot affect you. That is the other reason I deem Project Nexus a failure.”
“Wait, if it can control people then why is it a failure?” Sharon asked.
“He deems everything with flaws in its design a failure,” Carolina confirmed, “Wyoming’s time unit, Maine’s capture unit, Connecticut’s wrist shields, even the Sangheili and Jiralhanae he clones for me to fight.”
“Wait, how’re those failures?”
“Irrelevant. The point is he calls nearly everything a failure.”
“Now, there is something I must tell you before you go and do what you’re planning,” Maya told him.
“I don’t think I like what the Director of Project Valhalla is going to do.”
“I don’t like him either but why don’t you?”
“He said he’d let us use a weapon but only after we got him the girl. You think maybe the girl is somehow connected to the weapon?”
“At this point, I don’t know what they plan on doing with anything.”
“We could go check.”
“Yeah, you think I’m that great at stealth?”
“I can teach you?”
“In the span of a few minutes?”
“C.T. stealth is your thing, busting skulls is my thing. Let’s not stray away from what we’re good at.”
“Fine, I’ll go check. I’ll phone in the verdict.”
Connecticut then stood up and walked away, ready to sneak aboard the Original Sin.
“Okay, so are we clear on the plan?”
“Yeah, you sneak in and find out what they plan on doing with Katie while I see if I can get help from Ark or Nevada. Should I get someone else?”
“No; Connecticut is deceptive, Wyoming isn’t serious, Washington isn’t loyal to York or me, North would attack me before listening to my side of the story, Texas would probably make use of this chance to get higher on the board, and I’m a little iffy on Maine. None of them can be trusted.”
“What about South?”
“You can ask for his help but the last time someone asked him for assistance, he walked away without saying a word.”
The Pelican landed on the docking bay of the Mother of Invention. Carolina walked out with Sharon.
“Alright, stay hidden.”
“Do you know where the Director might be?”
“Probably where he always is.”
The two ran off in two separate directions and began the mission.
The Wrong Man
It was out in the Lake Ontario. A Falcon was sitting on the surface of the water. Two soldiers were on it, searching for any survivors.
“Just great, just frickin’ great.”
“Oh shut up.”
“What? This day sucks. We get so many lame-ass missions. I mean, the last time I went on an important mission, it was to take out a military base with the Gravity Wave. You know what happened? I nearly got killed while he blew up the entire place with his bare fists. Fucking broke my legs and ribs in the process. And now that I’m finally on a mission again, I’m ready to prove myself and all I get is a rescue mission for some guys that may not even be alive!”
Suddenly, a hand popped out of the water like a zombie out of the ground. In response, the man fell on his butt and yelled “Oh shit!”
The hand grabbed onto the Falcon and pulled up its body, revealing it to be Maine, who then pulled up Utah, who was unconscious and had a few muscle tears.
“God damn it!”
“Are you alright, Agent Maine?”
“Yeah, I’m fine.” Maine got up and sat up against the wall as Utah lay on the floor of the falcon, alive; unconscious but alive. “Whoever did that was pretty strong. That guy nearly snapped my spine with that kick.”
“Only a little bit, that’s the messed up thing.”
“Where’s Agent Washington?”
“Don’t know. I was knocked off and out before he was and I didn’t see him at the bottom of the lake. He could be dead for all we know.”
“He could also be a hostage.”
“You think a guy that strong would need a hostage?”
“Probably not but it’s anyone’s guess.”
“Virginia, we found him!”
“Found who?” Agent Virginia asked as she got onto her communicator. She was tall for a woman, standing at five feet and eight inches, wearing Mark VI MJOLNIR armor with the Rogue Helmet, EOD chest, and EVA shoulders. She was currently wielding an assault rifle with a shotgun on her back.
“Agent Washington. He’s alive. But he’s in critical condition. He needs immediate medical attention.”
“How serious is it?”
“His main injury is a broken neck; most of the nerve endings in his spine are damaged, any strain could cause them to rip apart. On top of that, a lot of his bones are broken, most likely caused by the height of his fall. And, to top it off, he’s inhaled a lot of water, his lungs are full of it.”
“What happened to his helmet?”
“It’s dented and the visor’s completely gone except for a few shards of glass.”
“Can you identify the cause?”
“My guess is incredible blunt trauma.”
“Roger, over and out.” Virginia got off the communicator and turned her attention to Maine, “Alright, I want a full status report, Agent Maine. I want to know what happened from start to finish.”
Carolina ran through the halls of the Mother of Invention. He looked around for the Director, searching his way through. He decided to take a shortcut through the training room. In it were Agents South, North, and Texas.
“Greetings Carolina,” stated The Director from the overhead room with The Counselor standing next to him. “You have been a thorn in my side for the last time. I’m going to make sure this time that you do not screw up this opportunity.”
“Tell me Director,” Carolina asked, “Are you playing a character or are you just naturally stupid?”
“Watch your mouth, Carolina!” North ordered.
“Make me, Dogboy,” Carolina chided.
“This is going to be interesting,” Tex noted as he drew his Gravity Hammer.
“Just try not to die on us,” South noted calmly and bluntly as he aimed his sniper rifle.
“Funny, I was gonna say the same thing to you.”
“Stop arguing, you two,” North ordered.
“So, are you three gonna have an orgy or am I actually gonna get a challenge today?”
“I’ve been waiting for this for a long time,” North stated as he drew his sniper rifle from his back.
“Bring it then, bitch!”
North then fired his sniper rifle, as did South while Tex got in close to use his gravity hammer.
Agent Virginia leaned back in the Falcon, trying to process all of the information that had entered her mind.
“You okay, kid?” Maine asked from across the Falcon.
“Yeah, I’m fine.”
“Is it because we’re getting attacked or because you may have to fight your crush?”
Virginia looked outside, trying to view the surroundings as they flew to through New York with Utah and Wash in tow.
“Not really the open type?”
“I said shut up.”
“You know, I may have to fight my crush, too.”
“Is that a fact?”
“Yep. She trusts and understands me but she’s ultimately on his side. If we’re fighting him, she’s likely to be working with him.”
“Great then, I’ll take your crush and you can take mine.”
“You can fight Caro, too.”
“My crush is North.”
“Oh you’ve got to be kidding. With all that time you spent with Carolina, you mean to tell me that North is the one you’re hot for?”
“Time for you to be quiet, Agent Maine.”
Maine leaned forward in his seat, letting his elbows rest on his thighs. Crazy girl this one is.
The fight had not gone well in terms of The Director’s side: South had broken most of his fingers punching Carolina after his sniper rifle was cut in half. He had no major injuries but he didn’t know how much longer he could fight if he was just going to keep breaking bones.
Tex was even worse off; his gravity hammer was broken, shattered, as his head was stuck beneath Carolina’s foot. His right arm had been bent backward, his ribs had been crushed, with his sternum plunged right between his lungs, and his Achilles tendons were severed, most likely by his sword.
North was doing better than South and Tex but not by much; most of the armor and black suit beneath it on his left arm were gone, sliced off by Carolina’s katana, which is indicated by the scratches on his arm.
Carolina, however, had minimal injuries; his armor was pierced in different places by the sniper rounds that North and South had fired but none of the injuries were permanent or even significant. He merely held his katana in his left hand, ready to fight.
“Are you idiots done?” Carolina asked. “If you have any more attempts to make, I suggest you make them now so you can say after this fight that you really did give it your all.”
Carolina crushed Tex’s helmet beneath his foot before kicking him at North, causing him to have to roll out of the way as Carolina ran straight for South and cut him right down his chest. He then kicked South across the room as he went right at North, cutting his helmet at the side while slicing his sniper rifle in two.
The Falcons stopped by York’s house to get C.T. and Wyoming out.
“How are they?” Virginia asked the medic.
“Wyoming’s fine, just a busted nose, maybe a few scratches from the glass but nothing serious; Connecticut on the other hand has sustained a huge back injury.”
“Can you help him?”
“Get off me, I’m fine.” C.T. sat up and waved off the medic as he got into a more relaxed position.
“Greetings, Connecticut, grumpy as usual?”
“Yeah, says the woman who shot off the head of a political official for asking about her bra size.”
“Nice to see you, too, Edward.”
“How did that catch on?” C.T. turned to Maine as he asked that.
“Well, it was either that or Michael Myers and I didn’t want you to be associated with a horror movie villain.”
“Although, you would fit the role nicely.”
“Why is she here?”
“I’m here to save your sorry ass. If the Government finds out about this, it won’t be pretty for anyone.”
“Hey, C.T.” Maine got on one knee to talk to Connecticut in private. “What did you find out about Project Valhalla?”
“I’m not entirely sure.” C.T. grabbed his head as he tried to remember what happened.
It was on the Original Sin. C.T. had just snuck his way into a small, unlit hallway, most likely restricted. He readied his combat knives as he snuck into a restricted and well guarded laboratory.
When he made it inside, he found a number of soldiers staring at a large containment pod; it was constructed entirely out of a liquid that induces bodily development; it was held in a large, egg-like shape with a magnetic field generator.
Nearest to it were Odin and The Director of Project Valhalla, speaking to each other about something. However, C.T. was too far off; he couldn’t hear the murmurs the two were whispering to each other.
C.T. was shocked. He heard a voice, a woman’s voice; it was seductive, charming, and playful; it sounded innocent, and had a good deal of energy. C.T. slowly turned his head and saw a woman. She was smaller than him, standing at around five feet and four inches, with deeply tanned, almost dark skin, with brown eyes, and a generally fit, youthful appearance. She was slender but also curvaceous, having a larger than average bust and a generally voluptuous figure. She had no known muscle definition, being completely thin.
“You’re big.” She spoke with a large, energetic smile on her face. “But it’s all volume; no mass whatsoever.”
Who is this girl? Connecticut wondered as he blankly stared at the woman.
“But there’s still hope for you.”
What is she talking about?
“Maybe you’re built like an insect.”
What?! Why would I-?
“Maybe you’re tougher and stronger than your weight suggests, just like an insect.”
Who is this girl?
“Hey, do you wanna play with me?”
“I, uh, I have things I have to do right now.”
The woman began to pout. “If you don’t play with me, I’ll tell Odin what you’re doing.”
“Alright, fine, I’ll play with you, just please, don’t blow my cover.”
The girl ran off with C.T.
“Looks like Frigga found him.”
The woman dragged C.T. into the hall as C.T. tried to figure out his situation. There was no one in the hall other than them, which C.T. found convenient; convenience, however, doesn’t exist in a military environment.
“So, what’re we gonna play? Tag? Hide and seek?”
“We’re gonna play endurance.”
“I’ve never heard of that game.”
“It’s really easy and really fun! See, all we have to do is test each other’s stamina. Whoever has the most stamina wins!”
“Okay, so what, are we gonna race or-!?”
The woman kicked C.T. in the face, breaking the left re-breather and crushing part of the helmet, along with breaking his jaw.
“Your turn!” The woman smiled gleefully at him as she put her hands behind her back.
C.T. was struggling to stand, coughing up blood as teeth fell out of his mouth.
“Oh how Frigga loves to play.”
“Indeed. This time it’s good but we need to keep a better hold of her.”
“Uh, sir? If you don’t mind my asking, why do we need better control of Frigga? I mean, isn’t it good that she’s defeating our enemies?”
“Indeed, she is attacking our enemies but she’s completely out of control, she has no loyalty. She just gets bored and finds ways to deal with it.”
“Is there something wrong with that?”
“Indeed there is: when she gets bored, she wants entertainment; when she wants entertainment, she goes searching for entertainment; when she goes searching for entertainment, she finds someone to play with; when she finds someone to play with, she begins to play; and when she plays, people die.”
C.T. was unconscious on the ground covered in blood, his armor in shambles as it crumbled apart at the seams. No, that’s not right, he wasn’t unconscious; he was comatose. His breathing and heart rate were incredibly low, to the point that he could be mistaken for a corpse. His body temperature was dropping fast, his mind completely blank; nothing but black as he lay on the ground in agony.
Meanwhile, Frigga stood over him, a sad expression on her face.
“Oh!” she said exasperatedly. “Odin, I broke another one!”
Carolina vs. North
Connecticut was strapped to an operating table, his armor in shambles. Most of his bones were broken and he was comatose so the bindings were somewhat unnecessary but they were there nonetheless.
“Odin, can this one be mine?” Frigga asked as she looked over C.T.
“We’ll see.” Odin replied. “First, though, we need to apply the new measures.”
C.T. held his head as he sat in the attic of Sharon’s home with Maine sitting next to him and Virginia and Wyoming standing over him. Suddenly, an electric shock hit Connecticut, right where Dick kicked him. His back arched as the shock went through his back. Maine noticed the shock as well.
Was that electricity? Maine wondered. He then put a hand on Connecticut’s back, only for him to brush it off quickly as he said
“I’m fine.” C.T. stood up. “We need to find the girl.”
“The girl was already taken by North to the Director.”
“Then everything is fine.” C.T. sat back down. Maine put a hand on his chin.
Maybe everything’s not fine.
“Alright, everyone get up,” Maine ordered, “We’re headed to The Original Sin.”
Carolina stood and faced North, katana in hand. North’s sniper rifle had previously been destroyed. Now, he stands with an M6D pistol in one hand and a combat knife in the other.
“North, do you really think you can win?” Carolina asked.
“Why wouldn’t I? I’m number 1 on the board for a reason.”
“Think about it, North: I’m bullet proof. Your pistol is worthless against me. And your combat knife isn’t any good without enough strength to cut me. My katana, on the other hand, can cut with little more than the force of gravity.”
Carolina threw his katana at North, to which he rolled out of the way and shot his magnum. However, Carolina immediately got in close range and grabbed the Magnum by its muzzle. Carolina crushed it in his hand as he kicked North in the gut, sending him flying as Carolina soon followed. North attempted to swipe him with his knife but Carolina caught it between his fingers. He then twisted his hand, breaking the knife at its blade, and threw the blade at North, leaving it to embed itself in his left should.
North managed to regain his footing, only his left arm was dislocated by the implantation of the knife between his shoulder and arm.
“Let’s compare our experience length in years,” Carolina stated “How many years of experience do you have, North?”
“I’ve been in the program for a few years and I’ve been in the military since I was 18.”
“Oh, okay, so that gives you roughly twenty to twenty five years of experience based on the training you do,” Carolina noted. He then rushed at him and kneed him in the face, breaking his visor straight into his face. “I’ve been on suicide missions for three years now ever since I’ve joined the program. I’ve done so many of those missions that I lost count years ago. Do you want to know where that puts my experience level?” Carolina continued to beat him, breaking bone after bone in his body, breaking his ribs, some of his vertebra, and even fractured his legs in a couple of different places. “This puts my experience as the equivalent of 500 years. You can’t even compare to that.”
“You’re arrogance will be your undoing!” North yelled as he broke free of Carolina’s grip and attacked relentlessly, breaking through Carolina’s armor, shattering it to bits as he sent Carolina flying with one of his strikes. North shook his hands following this, trying to shake off the pain of punching the giant wall of crap that is Carolina.
Carolina stood up, seemingly uninjured as he stood strong and ready to end the fight. “Do you see how outclassed you are, North?” Carolina asked in a taunting manner. “You lose to me in fighting skill, you’re not tough enough to withstand my blows, and when I let you hit me, not only do your attacks do nothing but you nearly break your hands doing it.”
“You may defeat me, Carolina but you won’t win,” North declared as he fell on one knee, “Project Valhalla has a plan. They’re going to create a soldier that will end all wars, creating ultimate peace.”
“North,” Carolina began before pausing, “You are the biggest retard to ever come off the face of Planet Earth. There’s a big difference between making a soldier and making a weapon.”
“Call it what you want. What difference does it make?” North asked tauntingly, “Peace will still be ensured.”
“The difference is that peace brought about by a weapon only causes fear. You want the entire universe to live in fear of the weapon that Project Valhalla is going to make with Katie?”
Carolina lifted North and held him by his neck.
“You may think that you’re a better person than me because you don’t have what it takes to do what’s necessary. But you don’t realize that you’re so desperate for world peace that you’d be willing to sacrifice everything and everyone to make it happen. You’re no different than the tyrants and destroyers you claim to hate and bring to justice.”
Carolina dropped North as he fell on his butt and grabbed his arm, taking in everything he had heard.
“Kill me, Carolina,” North ordered, “If what you say is true, I no longer have any reason to live. Kill me, do the right thing and execute me.”
“I see, so killing people that want to die is all it takes to be a decent soldier?” Carolina asked sarcastically, “Let me tell you something right now. Weaklings don’t get to decide the time of their death.”
Carolina turned around, walking away as North began contemplating something.
Carolina leaped toward the overhead room and broke through the glass. He grabbed the Director by his throat and yelled “Where’d they go? Where’s The Original Sin?”
“You won’t stop them in time,” The Director stated condescendingly.
“Here’s how I figure it, Director,” Carolina stated threateningly, “I’m still deciding whether or not you’re worse than Odin and his Director. If you don’t tell me where they are, I’ll know which is worse and keep the lesser of two evils.”
“Carolina, I believe you are-!” The Counselor began to say before Carolina shoved him against a wall using his Gravity Unit. The crash broke most of his bones and rendered him unconscious.
“Stay out of this, Closet Pedophile.”
“They’re near the remains of Chaos,” The Director stated.
“Great, thanks for the help.” Elbow. Blackout.
Nevada and Ark were sitting in Nevada’s room.
“Hey, Ark,” Nevada began, “Who’s the sexiest girl you’ve ever met?”
“Well, you’re very attractive,” Ark replied.
“Yes but I’m not the most attractive. What about Sharon?”
“Yeah, she’s very attractive.”
“She’s York’s wife and, now that he’s dead, she’s gonna be Caro’s very soon, you shouldn’t be making remarks about another man’s woman.”
“Well, I’m still attracted to you.”
“What? Wasn’t that the right thing to say?”
“No. You’re hinting that all you want is sex.”
“What? No, no way.”
“So you don’t want to have sex with me?! What, am I not attractive?”
“No, you’re very attractive.”
“You jerk, I have other traits!”
Suddenly, they both heard a knock at the door.
“Oh, thank god,” Ark stated as he stood up and got the door, trying to figure out why Nevada’s mad. Behind it was none other than Sharon, with a Magnum in her right hand, held by her waist. “Oh, Sharon, we were just talking about you.”
“I know, I heard the screaming from three doors away.” Sharon walked in. “I need your help.”
“Me or Ark?” Nevada asked.
“Both, we can use any help that we can get.”
“Yes, me and Dick.”
“Long story short, Katie’s been captured and we think it’s because of Project Valhalla.”
“Okay, so you need us to help get her back?”
“Yes, will you help?”
“You don’t even need to ask.” Ark and Nevada walked out with Sharon.
“They’re really helpful,” Sharon noted as they walked.
Sharon, Nevada, and Ark met Carolina in the Hangar Bay.
“I’ve found their location,” Carolina stated.
“Great where is she?” Ark asked.
“You remember Chaos?”
“Yeah, you mean that really jacked up planet that you destroyed?” Nevada asked.
“They’re headed for its remains.”
“Oh, son of a-!” Ark yelled before being cut off as Carolina said
“Let’s just go!”
They all got into a Pelican and Sharon flew off with them.
The Original Sin
A Pelican was flying through space at a great velocity, with Sharon and her copilot. . . Wait, what?
“Dick, is anyone following us?” Sharon yelled at the back.
Carolina stood up and looked out the hatch. He saw that no one was following them but noted the debris and the large number of stars.
“It looks like everything is fine back here!” Carolina yelled, “But you may want to be careful of Chaos’ remains once we get there.”
“Caro, what’s so dangerous about Chaos’ remains when compared to an asteroid field?” Nevada asked, “Wouldn’t they have the same danger in them?”
“No,” Carolina replied, “You see, I used a gamma bomb to blow up Chaos. That means that a lot of its remains are bound to be radioactive. They’re degrading but they’re still releasing a lot of gamma rays.”
“I’m sure we can handle it,” Ark noted.
“Yeah, I’ve had a lot worse than radioactive rocks,” Nevada pointed out.
“Yeah, I know, his name’s Wyoming,” Carolina noted.
“That’s not funny.”
“I’m sorry, have you done it with someone worse than Wyoming?”
Nevada opened held up a finger as she prepared to say something but then put it down as she looked in the other direction.
“Hey, Caro, what do you think is going to happen on the Original Sin?” Ark asked.
“Um, well, did you read the comic by Marvel where Spider-Man fought the Incredible Hulk?”
Ark and Nev stared at him blankly.
“How about the video game Ultimate Spider-Man where Wolverine fights Venom?”
Ark and Nev stared blankly at him.
“Okay, what about when Superman fought Doomsday?”
Ark and Nev stared at him blankly.
“He’s trying to say that we’re hopelessly outclassed!”
“Oh, okay, that’s much easier to understand,” Nev pointed out.
“Yeah, seriously, what’s with all the nerd references?”
“What?” Carolina, Ark, and Nevada turned their attention to the door to the cockpit.
“Oh, he’s just being himself.”
“Just saying, I never thought a tough guy like him would have such nerdy characteristics.”
“Sharon, who’s in there with you?” Carolina asked somewhat suspiciously.
“You can’t tell by my voice?” The voice was female, seductive and playful, energetic and cheerful.
“Well, you sound like a woman and your voice is very gentle so either you’re my mother’s spirit or you’re another woman that I should know.”
“That’s Cal,” Ark noted bluntly.
“Oh, what, that’s Cal?” Carolina asked in a shocked tone. “What’s she doing here?”
“Good question, Cal what are you doing here?”
“I heard about your expedition from Sharon and wanted to help.”
“Cal, remember that, on this trip, I can and will throw you out the hatch if you do anything I don’t like.”
“Go easy on her.”
“Yeah, go easy on me! You’re always so rough with women.”
“I am not.”
“Yeah, Caro, you are. My insides are bloody and blistered from how rough you were the last time we did it.” As Nevada spoke, she spoke with a serious tone.
“Okay, now I know that one’s a lie!” Ark noted as he stood up and went to the cockpit.
“Was that a lie?” Carolina asked Nevada.
“That was not a lie.”
In the Falcon, headed straight for the Original Sin, Maine was ready to take on Project Valhalla. The rest of his crew, though, not so much.
“Let me get this straight,” Virginia stated, “We’re going to the Original Sin and fighting every Valhalla member we come across because of a hunch you have on them?”
“Yeah, that’s right,” Maine confirmed.
“Maine, you’re thinking too rashly on this,” Wyoming noted, “I mean they have an army of superhuman soldiers that could rival comic book-level gods. And what are we? A colossal fish bowl, a manly woman, a knocked out high school student, a conscious high school student, a goody-two-shoes with a broken back, a broken robot, and a bad joker.”
“Wow, that was even more depressing than what I was going to say,” Washington noted as he struggled to sit up.
“Okay, maybe we’re outmatched but we can still win.”
“Maine, face it,” Virginia noted, “Unless we get help from somewhere, we’re not going to win. We need someone to back us up.”
“Hey guys, I don’t mean to bother you but York’s wife is on the intercom.”
“What?” they all yelled.
“Yeah, she’s headed to the Original Sin with Carolina, Arkansas, Nevada, and California.”
“What luck,” Wash noted in his monotone voice.
“Can we meet up with them?” Maine asked.
“We’ll see but I’ll have to go high speed unless you want Wash and Wyoming to suffocate.”
“Alright, fine, just go!”
Before they could, however, they came across a Pelican. Maine decided to get up close to it to see what was on it.
It was near Chaos’ remains. In the middle of a hallway sat two of Valhalla’s most powerful members. The one on the left was wearing blue and teal armor, with a Hayabusa chest piece, Recon helmet, and EVA shoulders. He wasn't wearing any leg or foot pieces. The other was a rather handsome man with a slim build, slightly toned muscles, and a very persuasive look in his eyes with rather pale skin, uniquely notable pure white hair, and silver eyes, wearing a suit with a loose tie and unbuttoned coat, giving him the appearance of a cocky lawyer.
“Well, things are going to hell already,” the man with the helmet noted.
“Oh I don’t think so,” the lawyer replied, “I think this is a great opportunity for us to get some real perks.”
“You truly are an opportunist, Loki. I don’t very much like that.”
“You’re just saying that because you’re the one Frigga always wants to play with.”
“I wouldn’t be if you didn’t vanish every time she wanted to play.”
“I don’t vanish. I simply hide behind the largest thing I can find.”
Suddenly, Odin and Frigga walked up to them.
“Greetings Baldr, Loki,” Odin stated, “Frigga wants to play.”
Baldr looked to his left and found that Loki was nowhere to be seen.
“Oh goddamn it!” Baldr exclaimed in exasperation.
“Well Baldr, I guess you’ll be the one playing with Frigga.”
Despite what Odin said, however, Frigga was staring at the ground, pouting with her arms crossed.
Odin then turned around and walked away, revealing Loki clinging to his back by one hand as he used the other to wave at Baldr with a cocky grin on his face.
“Alright, Frigga, what do you want to play?” Baldr asked. “Endurance? Full Sprint? Face breaking?”
Frigga kicked Baldr’s balls in an upward direction, sending his head crashing through the ceiling, causing him to “hang around” so to speak.
“There’s a diamond underneath that pipe,” Baldr noted.
The Pelican with Carolina, Ark, Nevada, Sharon, and California boarded on the Original Sin.
“So, what’s the plan?” Cal asked as they all got off the ship.
“Okay, so here’s how this works, all of you have something to guard,” Carolina began, “Lavern, you will protect Sharon, Cal, you’ll protect Lavern, Nevada, you will protect Cal, and ship my good buddy, you will protect Nevada.”
“What’ll you do then?” Cal asked.
“I’m going after Katie. Chances are she’s with Odin.”
“What, that’s it? We come to help and all we get is to guard the ship?”
Carolina looked at her with a look of confusion, though one could only tell by the fact that he tilted his head.
“Is this your first mission with Caro?” Nevada asked her.
“Caro always gives his companions guard duty. One time, when he was sent to deal with a ring of cocaine dealers with C.T. and Maine, he ordered C.T. to guard his ovaries and told Maine to guard CT’s guard of his ovaries. He’s a very solo fighter.”
“Which is precisely why I’m putting you in charge of the guard duty, Nevada,” Carolina threw in just as soon as she was done, “The fact that you’ve memorized that makes you so much more qualified than either of these estrogen fountains,” Carolina noted as he pointed at Cal and Ark.
“I’m a girl, how original,” Ark commented sarcastically.
“Alright, now I’m going. If you lovely ladies need anything just call me over the intercom.” Carolina turned around. “Oh and don’t need anything.” Carolina then ran straight at the locked down part of the ship.
Frigga pulled Baldr out of the ceiling, which resulted in Baldr falling on his ass and holding his neck, which he thought was broken.
“Sorry, Baldr,” Frigga said innocently, “I’ve just been really sad.”
“And you decided to rectify that by kicking me into the ceiling?”
“Nobody’s perfect. I bet you’ve kicked your fair share of girls into ceilings before.”
“Not as many as you’re hoping.”
Suddenly, an alarm went off.
Intruder Alert! Intruder Alert! Project Freelancer has infiltrated our Original Sin!
“It’s amazing that we have an entire alert based solely on Project Freelancer.”
“I bet it’s Carolina! Come on, let’s go see!”
As they ran, they came across Odin.
“Greetings. I have orders for you two. Frigga, you are to go to the Hangar bay and find Connecticut; he’ll be arriving shortly. Baldr, you will intercept Carolina and test his abilities.”
“What’re you going to do?”
“I need to prep the girl for the final stages of the Project.”
“Odin, let’s be clear that I’m not happy about what we’re doing with the girl.”
“Someday, when you’re leading your own Special Forces program, Baldr, you’ll understand.”
The three then split up.
Inside of a recently boarded Pelican, Maine and his entourage were headed toward the Original Sin.
“Thank god for air,” Wyoming noted sarcastically.
“Hey, Joker, save the jokes for until after we get out of this shit hole,” Virginia ordered.
“My, who stuffed your panties up your ass?”
“Well, that’s original. Are you going to tell me next that someone bunched up my bra?”
“Girl fight!” Maine joked as he pumped his fist.
“And as for you, I hope you have a battle plan otherwise we’re fucked like my mother after two tequila shots.”
“That was wrong in like eight different ways,” Connecticut noted.
“Ah, cry me a river.”
“Ugh, what happened?” Utah sat up as he grabbed his head.
“You were fucked by your crush, I take it?” Virginia asked sarcastically.
“I wish. He wouldn’t even look me in the eye. Even in my dreams I’m not getting any.”
“That might be because your crush is straight,” Maine noted. Utah lowered his head but everyone else just looked at Maine in shock.
“Where did that come from?” Wyoming asked.
Seriously, am I the only one who noticed it? Maine looked at everyone in surprise as he thought he was the only one aware of Utah’s sexual orientation.
“Hey guys, I just found the Original Sin and it looks like they’re going to let us board.”
“I hope they know what they’re doing,” Virginia stated as the Pelican flew right at the Original Sin’s Docking Bay.
The Pelican managed to land on the Docking Bay but something was wrong: they were over five feet off the ground.
“Hey, why aren’t you landing?” Maine asked the pilot.
“It looks like I landed on something a couple of feet tall.”
“Frigga!” Virginia stated in fear. “Everyone, get out of the ship now!”
But it was too late. Frigga busted through the ground of the Pelican and grabbed C.T. before punching through the roof and jumping out and running off with him.
“C.T.!” Maine yelled in a panic as he ran straight after them.
“Damn it,” Virginia exclaimed as she sat down and grabbed her forehead.
“What now, leader?” Wash asked.
“Wyoming, you’re relatively uninjured so go look for Carolina’s ship. It has to be around here somewhere. Find it then report back to me.”
“Got it.” Wyoming ran out and started searching.
“The rest of us should get outside and wait.”
“Sounds like a plan,” Utah noted as he stood up and everyone left the Pelican.
As Carolina ran through the halls of the Original Sin, trying to catch up to Odin and Katie, he suddenly stopped, noticing Baldr, who was standing in his way.
“Are you going to get in my way, too?” Carolina asked with a venomous tone.
“Look, I don’t want that girl to get hurt either,” Baldr replied, “But I’ve got orders. You’re probably here on orders, too.”
“Yeah, I was ordered by Katie’s dead father to come rescue her from the Incredible Hulk and his idiotic subordinates.”
“Now that’s just insulting.”
“If you’re going to get in my way, I’ll kill you.” Carolina drew his sword as he spoke and got into a Jodan no Kamae sword stance: the hilt held at his head and at a forty five degree angle to the ground, with four inches of space between his hand and his ear, his elbows at ninety degree angles to his biceps. However, because Carolina is left handed, the stance was a mirror of the traditional.
“Well, I have to get in your way so sorry.” Baldr swiped his right arm, which pulled an energy sword out of his sleeves, which he then grabbed and turned on. The two stood ready to fight.
Carolina vs. Baldr
It was at the Hangar Bay in the Original Sin. Ark was standing outside of the Pelican they came in while Cal, Nev, and Sharon were sitting inside of it.
“I wonder what they’re talking about.” Ark spoke with a curious tone of voice.
Inside the Pelican, Nevada was stretching her muscles, while Cal and Sharon were sitting down, just waiting.
“I don’t get it. What’re we guarding the ship from exactly?”
“We’ll just have to wait and see.”
Meanwhile, outside, a man was watching that group, with a device in his hand that’ll make this battle quite an ordeal.
A katana crossed blades with an energy sword. Carolina ducked under a slash. Baldr stabbed at Carolina, only for Carolina to spin out of the way and kick at him. The space between them lengthened.
Carolina stood in a Jodan no Kamae stance, with his sword held by his head, pointed toward the ground, with a six inch space between his hand and his ear, his elbows at ninety degree angles to his biceps, while Baldr took on a general fencing stance.
“You’re strong,” Baldr noted, “Really, you’re easily the strongest person I’ve faced outside of Project Valhalla.”
“And you’re a better blade fighter than CT, I’ll give you that much.”
“Yeah, I could be the protagonist of an action adventure game.”
“Maybe a ninja?”
“Horseman of War?”
“No but that sounds powerful.”
“I’m already a soldier.”
“No, no, SOLDIER, an augmentation program that grants the participants power based on planetary life and alien DNA.”
“Would I be different from everyone else?”
“Eh, all of them use swords.”
“I’ll take that.”
The two then, the two dashed at each other. However, in a split second, before the two made it to each other, Carolina mentally noted I have to end this now!
Baldr slashed to the right, as Carolina ducked under it and slashed at his left leg, severing it, bringing him onto one knee. Then, swiftly, Carolina kicked Baldr’s head to lift him up, followed by stabbing him in the neck with his sword then slashing to one side, severing Baldr’s head from his collar.
Carolina looked at Baldr’s dead body. He then said aloud
“Sorry I had to do that to you. Believe it or not, I actually liked you a lot more than anyone else in my program, with some exceptions.” He then sheathed his sword and ran in a direction toward Odin.
Odin was in a laboratory with Katie and the Director of his program. Katie was upset but she was standing defiantly against Odin.
“Now, Katie,” Odin stated as he kneeled before her, “I would like you to do something for me. In exchange, I promise to give you whatever it is that you wish.”
“I don’t trust you!”
“You mean just like Mr. Hertz didn’t trust your father?”
Katie stayed quiet because she didn’t have a comeback.
“I promise, I’ll give you anything you want, anything: a vacation for any of your loved ones, a full college scholarship, toys, money, anything.”
“I want you keep Mr. Hertz safe!”
“Done and done. We will not kill him and we will not harm him more than necessary.”
“But that only applies if you do one thing for me, okay?”
“Good. Now, it’s really quite simple: do you see that giant egg over there?”
“All I want you to do is step inside of it and stay inside of it until I say you can get out, not a moment earlier, okay?”
“Good, then get to it.”
Katie ran over to the egg and stepped inside of it slowly. The liquid that made it up rippled as she stepped through it. The entire inside was composed of liquid but Katie could still breathe inside of it. As she stepped inside of it, she started floating to the middle of it, like someone would if they sat still inside of a pool.
“Good. Don’t worry. It’s only for an hour.”
Odin started typing on a computer terminal with someone standing at his side to assist him should something come up.
Frigga eventually stopped in the middle of a hallway with C.T. in hand as she said “This looks like a good spot.”
She set C.T. down and started messing with his armor as Maine ran by, panting heavily as he glared at Frigga behind his helmet.
“Give me back my friend!” he ordered.
“No!” Frigga yelled defiantly and venomously, “Odin promised I get to keep this one until he says I can’t have it anymore!”
“He’s not your property!”
“You’re right, he’s not; he’s my playmate. And I’m going to play with him.”
She pressed a button on the back of his helmet and C.T. stood up.
“C.T, are you okay?”
C.T. drew his combat knives and ran right at Maine, attempting to slice and stab him with various strikes. Maine was dodging but only barely: he knew that he had to stop C.T. but he didn’t want to kill him. The two were best friends; it would be completely and utterly tragic if he were to kill his best friend.
Maine attempted to dodge but he got cut at various places, including his arms, legs, the side of his visor, and grazed on the neck. Maine then punched C.T. and sent him flying back toward Frigga as he landed on his back, motionless.
“C.T?” Maine was starting to become traumatized; he was beginning to think he killed C.T. However, C.T. immediately stood up and threw his knife at Maine, hitting him right in his right leg.
“You can’t beat him that way,” Frigga noted with an innocent smile on her face. “C.T. is currently under the influence of a neural interface that completely shuts down his free will and the part of his mind that allows him to think. This way, he can be controlled remotely or with voice commands. However, we’ve input people into his memory banks that he shouldn’t like or hate, one of the people he shouldn’t like being you so he won't listen to your commands.
“The interface also shuts down all pain receptors inside of his body, making it impossible to incapacitate him or knock him out. If you want to stop him, you’ll have to kill him. But you don’t want to kill him because he’s your best friend. So, if you surrender to that ideology, C.T. will eventually exhaust you and kill you. Quite the conundrum: either you die or he dies; either way, one of you ends up dead and the other ends up traumatized. What will you do?”
“I am not! Odin says I’m well behaved.”
As that went on, Carolina ran by. He noticed C.T. confronting Maine as Frigga watched.
“I never thought I’d see the day.”
Carolina walked up to them.
“What’s the matter, Maine? Are you really gonna give up that easily?”
“Don’t start with me.”
“I’m not starting anything but I am ending this.”
Carolina walked in front of Maine and stood in front of C.T.
“Maine, go back to your party. They need you right now. You can’t help anyone if you die.”
“What will you do?”
“I’m going to finish what she started.”
“You can’t! The only way to-!”
“I know; I faced similar circumstances in the past. But here’s the thing, you’re more valuable than C.T. is. You need to survive. I personally don’t care whether C.T. lives or not, though.”
“No, you can’t!”
“Why not? Because he’s your best friend? Because you care about him too much? I cared about York, York was my best friend, he was better than C.T. in every single possible way and yet somehow York ended up dead while that Fake Preacher still gets to live. I’ve had too many hardships and you and everyone else in Freelancer have had too many happy endings. You guys are overdue for a tragedy.
“I’ve already killed one person on this station, Maine, would you like to be my second?”
“Virginia and the others need you right now. Just like Rachel needs you.”
“How do you-?”
“I spoke to her once. She was a good kid. We never saw eye to eye but I did like her smile. If you die, I won't ever get to see it again. Now, go and save your party!”
Maine clenched his fists and gritted his teeth. However, despite how much he hated Carolina, what Carolina had said made a lot of sense to him. Just like that, Maine ran straight back the way he came.
“Why’d you send him away?” Frigga asked, “Didn’t you say Freelancer’s members were overdue for a tragedy?”
“Maine likes to act tough and act strong but underneath it he’s a real softy. He’d let C.T. kill him before doing him that same honor. I, however, have no qualms about killing this pathetic excuse for a soldier and a man.”
“I see. C.T, give him a good match. I want him to burn off some of his aggression before he fights me and Odin.”
C.T. activated his wrist shields and ran straight for him. C.T. tried to slash, which Carolina dodged and kicked forward, causing C.T. to block with one shield. Carolina, however, held his foot there and jammed his hand into the generator, causing it to explode, rendering the shield useless as it separated C.T. and Carolina.
C.T. then ran at Carolina again, stabbing at him with his knife, only for Carolina to grab his hand without touching the blade, twisting it, then breaking the other generator, deactivating the shield.
Carolina then turned C.T. around and kicked him hard, right on his spinal cord. There was a large indentation in CT's armor where Carolina had kicked, the armor around it crumbling apart. Electricity started flying where Carolina had kicked. C.T. began to get up as he grunted in agony.
“Well, that’s new,” Frigga noted.
“Ugh, what happened?”
“You got your ass kicked,” Carolina stated as he walked forward, “If you can move, head back to your party and see Maine, he’ll be glad to know his best friend is back in full mental health. If you can’t move then just sit there and watch me kick the crap out of this woman.”
“Hey now, wouldn’t talking be better?”
“There’s nothing to say.”
Carolina got ready for battle as he got into a fighting stance, his knees bent, one foot in front of the other, leading with the left side, both hands up, elbows in, fists loose so he can relax.
“There’s lots to say. But, if you want to fight then I’ll fight you. I’ll make you calm down then I’ll explain the situation to you.”
Frigga got into a similar stance, only leading with the right side, as she prepared to fight Carolina.
Back at the Hangar, Loki walked up to Ark and his group, roughly ten feet away from their ship. He then pulled out a megaphone and yelled “ATTENTION, FRIENDS OF CAROLINA!! I COME IN PEACE!! PLEASE COME OUT SO I MAY SPEAK WITH YOU!!”
Cal, Nevada, and Sharon covered their ears as they screamed, while Ark fell over saying “Goddamn it.”
Um, too much.
Nevada came out as she yelled “WHAT THE HELL IS YOUR PROBLEM!?”
“I thought being loud and annoying would be a good way to make a first impression. The readers of these stupid stories seem to like the loud and annoying types. You know, like Montana and Arizona.”
“Who?” Cal asked as she stumbled out of the ship.
“Whoops, spoilers,” Loki replied calmly.
“Who are you?” Sharon asked.
“I am glad you asked. I go by many names; The Opportunist, The Coward, The Plotter, The Lawyer, but most people just call me Loki; Sigyn calls me cutie pie.”
Ark sat up holding his head as he asked “Are all Norse gods as annoying as you are?”
“Well, Frigga tends to be loud and playful, while Baldr tends to be just as annoying with his sense of justice. Sad, actually, it may actually be because of that that he lets Frigga play with him all the time. Or maybe someone's just messing with him.”
Cal looked at Loki’s hand.
“Guys, he has a detonator in his hand!”
“Oh, what, this?” Loki raised the detonator, “No, this isn’t a detonator; this is my plan B.”
“What’s the difference?” Ark asked.
“The difference is that, instead of making things blow up, it makes negotiations easier for me.”
“I’m not hearing a difference,” Nevada noted.
“Well, I’ll give you a demonstration if this talk doesn’t go the way I plan.”
“What’re your demands?” Sharon asked.
“All I ask is that you listen to what I have to say. It is imperative that you listen so I don’t get any crap from Odin later.”
“Fine, we’ll hear what you have to say.” Sharon noted this calmly.
“Not a wise move,” Nevada pointed out.
“How much harm could it do?”
“She’s right, you know.”
As they spoke, Wyoming came by.
“Oh, I see they’re in deep trouble.”
Loki looked over and said “Oh, hey, Wyoming, why don’t you come join us?”
“What? Why?” Wyoming asked as he pointed his sniper rifle at Loki.
“Because, there is a range that people fit on: there’s the part these four are on that makes me deal with them, then there’s the part that your party is on where Thor will deal with them. You, however, are unique in that you actually get a choice: you can either stay here and listen to what I have to say or you can go see your party and deal with Thor. And, I can assure you that Thor is a bit more, well, forceful in matters like these.”
“I do not like the sound of that,” Wyoming pointed out.
“Wyoming, go back to your party! They need you right now! I can handle this if things get out of hand over here!” Nevada ordered.
“Roger, leader lady!” Wyoming pointed out as he ran straight back to his party.
“Now, what do you have to say?” Nevada asked.
Loki put on a smile as he began talking. It was a genuine smile, leaving one to wonder what he was thinking or about to say.
At Virginia’s party, she was sitting with everyone else.
“Utah, how are you feeling?” Virginia asked.
“I feel like I have a hangover that I could only get by surviving alcohol poisoning.”
“That must hurt.”
“Not as much as I’m about to make it hurt!”
They all looked over and saw a man: he was nine feet and seven inches tall, with an incredibly muscular body: his muscles were so large and rippling that one could mistake a simple twitch as a flex. His biceps were each thicker than Virginia’s head; his chest was broader than Maine and Utah’s combined; each of his hands was large enough to hold small boulders in the palms; his legs were thick and strong enough to break free of a steel cage with a simple flexing motion.
His outfit consisted of a large, crimson red muscle shirt with no sleeves, with large rings on each finger that were used to protect his hands from his overly powerful punches, arm bands on each bicep, and large cargo pants and combat boots, all crimson. He also wore a helmet that revealed his eyes, nose, and mouth, revealing a gray coloring in his eyes, a thick nose, a strong mouth, and rosy pink lips. He had a fair complexion and incredibly defined features.
Everyone looked at this man, this juggernaut in terror.
“Oh shit, he’s even bigger than Odin!” Wash noted with some fright in his tone.
“This might seriously hurt,” Virginia noted with a calm tone of voice, though she was terrified.
“Or it could be painless,” Utah noted. Everyone looked at him. “Maybe he’s so strong that we’ll die in one punch before we feel any pain.”
“Sounds about right,” the man stated, “I’m pretty sure none of you are strong enough to even dent me.”
Virginia stood up and drew her shotgun and aimed it at the man. The man walked toward her quickly. When he was in range, she shot him with her shotgun, only for the round to bounce off of his skin and muscle flesh. The man then lifted Virginia into the air and threw her across the room, causing her to hit a wall, knocking her unconscious as she fell to the floor.
“Now that that part of the love triangle is out cold, time to do what I came to do!”
“Walk away and let us run for our lives?” Washington asked partly sarcastically but also partly genuinely.
“I’m going to crush you beneath my feet!”
“So you’re not letting us run away?”