Author's Notes: Sorry for not updating sooner. I can only imagine the suffering you are going through on part of my actions. I now present you with the next chapter of this story.
Chapter 11: The Black Box
Double D, May and Van continued down the hallway. So far, everything was going according to Double D's plan. They hadn't met any resistance… yet.
"Where is everyone?" Van murmured, scratching his hand that was holding his shotguntar.
Ay shoved the barrel away from her. "Watch it!"
"The inspection can't last much longer. We had better get to this data room fast." Double D thought, turning to Van. "Do you know where we're going?"
Van nodded and started running down a hall. "Keep up if you can!" He was faster than most people Double D had met, but keeping up wasn't a problem for him. May, however, was having difficulties keeping up. Luckily, Van noticed this also and slowed down accordingly.
"Why is it that I have to work with kids?" He groaned.
Sudden anger flared in Double D. "Why is it that you have to be such a damn asshole?"
The rebel leader nearly jumped out of his skin from the chills Double D's voice gave him. "W-O-W, touchy."
"My apologies." Double D answered half-heartedly. He really did mean what he said; he just didn't mean to say it. Despite what just happened, the three continued on. Van lifted his shotguntar up and ready to fire while Double D had both of his bladed guns drawn out of their holsters.
They turned a corner and suddenly Double D heard a steady repeating sound. Immediately he stopped the troupe with a lift of his arm. It was light taps, probably made by heavy shoes.
"Someone's coming." He said, forcing the other two back a few steps and back around the corner. A uniformed man, probably one of the administrative staff, walked right by them. Van lifted his weapon, but Double D forced the barrel down and didn't speak until the sounds of the man's feet were gone.
"Do you want to announce that we are here?" Double D nearly screamed.
Van shrugged. "I thought he saw us. I was going to make sure it wasn't going to become a problem."
"Why do you have a shotgun in a guitar anyway? I thought armies used machine guns."
"It has personal value, you bastard!" Van yelled. He turned and started storming off. "Now let's just go!"
Double D raised an eyebrow, turning to May before following. "And he thinks that I'm touchy?"
"So you've lost the esper?"
Eraser, kneeling before a chair that was turned away from him, slowly nodded. He looked sullen, in a most disgraceful way. "I'm afraid so, sir. I underestimated her. I would like to note that it wasn't my usual type of mission."
"Yes it wasn't. Perhaps it was a miscalculation on my part? It some piece of emotion cloud my judgment?" The voice said in bitter wonder. His bitterness only grew as he raised his voice. "Gather the others. Bring her back. I must have her back in order for the plan to succeed."
A smile appeared on Eraser's face and only grew wider and wider. "But of course, Dr. Metchel."
"The data room should be just up ahead!" Van said as they ran through the hall. They were in a hurry now. Whatever last minute inspection that could be done was probably reaching its middle point by now.
"We had better pick up the pace." Double D said. "We need to be out of here before the inspection ends!"
"How long do we got?" May asked.
Double D grimaced. "I'd say forty five minutes at the most." It wasn't nearly enough time. If there wasn't a Black Box guarding the data room, he knew they might be able to make it in, get the data and get out before the main base became flooded with personnel. But if there was a guard, then Double D couldn't be certain they'd even get out at all.
Van led them around a corner and into a hall that lacked any places to enter, save for the blue door at the hallway's end.
"There it is!" Van exclaimed.
Double D sped ahead of Van and May, quickly gaining speed. "The door is bolted shut and locked." He said, looking through the door with his x-ray vision. He saw no one inside the room. "The room is empty. I'll get us in." With one huge burst of speed, he disappeared just as the door flew off its hinges into the room. Double D then reappeared in the data room.
Double D aimed his gun into all corners of the room. The room was large, with several rows of computer monitors all connect to a larger monitor almost taking up the entirety to the far wall. A server, shaped like a large and shiny box, sat at the base. An elevated white floor with railings, which Double D stood on, lead to it.
Double D waved May and Van, who had his shotguntar raised up, into the room. Van stayed by the door to act as a look out while Double D and May approached the server…
Then Double D heard it. The sound of metal sliding against metal as a magnetized device de-activated. Double D reacted as quickly as could.
"Get back!" He yelled, pushing May down as he jumped back.
A figure, in a black full body suit, fell from the ceiling. He had a katana-like sword in hand and slashed at the as he dropped. He strike missed the two teens, but only barely. He quickly rose from his crouched position in lazed way, apparently using minimal energy for every movement, and put the katana back into its sheathe which was built into a big black box on the suit back. Covering his head was a black helmet, which seemed to lack eyeholes but instead had a purple jewel just below the forehead.
"Intruders identified." He said, his voiced muffled. He pulled a contraption from his shoulder and attached it to his forearm. It seemed to be part shield and part gun. "Engaging the targets."
Only one word could come to Double D's mind. "Shit."
He grabbed May and brought her close just as the Black Box came at them. Double D rolled backward ad pushed May into Van's unexpecting arms before coming back up and firing a few rounds at the opposing super soldier. The Black Box dodged the rounds with ease as he initiated a burst.
"What do you want me to do?" Van yelled as he put down May and picked up his weapon.
Double D turned his head to him. "You seriously need to ask?" The Black Box jumped and came down on him. Double D blocked by holding up his blades. The gun-shield made contact with the razor sharp edges of the blades, covering the fighters in a small shower of sparks. In the light, Double D could see the glint of sharpened edges on the shield.
"So it's a three-in-one weapon?"
The soldier laughed. "Very observant." Apparently using another burst, he kicked Double D back a good few feet before raising his weapon and firing. Using his lighting fast reflexes, Double D rolled in mid-air. Though none of the rounds hit him, a few did tear through his cloak, leaving good sized holes behind. To close a call for him.
After landing, Double D raised his guns. The Black Box fell for his feint, raising his shield in front of him to block. Instead of firing, Double D dashed forward. His first strike was block by the shield, but the soldier couldn't stop two simultaneous blows. The second gun's blade cut into the man's left arm.
The soldier immediately jumped back, seemingly ignoring the added damage it did to his arm. "That would have hurt, if I still felt pain."
Double D, with some help from his x-ray vision, quickly figured out what the soldier meant. "The suit emits an electronic pulse that dampens your nervous system. That why each move you make is so calculated and flawless. Am I right?"
"You're quite smart." The soldier said. He came forward again, following up each of his swings with another. Finally he came down with a mighty blow, intent on cleaving the bladed shield into Double D's head. "But not smart enough to beat me!"
Double D raised his guns and fired a couple of rounds into the man's chest. Though the soldier felt no pain, the force of the blows forced his body back enough for Double D to moved away and get behind the soldier. It was only then, since he was preoccupied by the battle, that he noticed May and Van. They had not moved an inch.
"Get moving. Now, preferably, while he's stunned." Van nodded and began to guide May, who looked slightly dazed, over to the server.
It did not take long for the soldier to take notice. Not taking long enough to recover, he lurched forward to attack. Double D quickly moved in-between and raised his guns to block. When the guns and the shield made contact, he pushed back and sent the Black Box reeling into one of the computers.
Double D checked his guns hastily. The block was not the best as it seemed the blades did not meet. Rather, it seemed that the shield's blade had sliced deep into his guns, rending them unusable. Angry welled up in him as he holstered he guns and walked toward the soldier in a noticeably dark manner.
The Black Box slowly rose from the floor but stopped when he realized Double D was standing over him. The boy's gaze froze him on the spot.
"I don't care if you have nerve dampeners…" Double D said in cold anger. He grabbed one of the monitors, an older boxier model, and lifted it up. "You are going to feel this." With all the force his arm could provide, he brought the monitor down on the super soldier's head. The screen broke into pieces on contact and the force of the blow sent the man's head reeling into the table. Dazed from the blow, the soldier tried to get up. Double D, with a new monitor in hand, sent him back down with another blow.
This time, he did not get back up.
"I liked those guns." He said, throwing the monitors remains on top of the soldier's unconscious body. He walked over to the server, where Van and May were. "Any luck with the documents?"
May had already wired in her hacking equipment and was apparently hard at work. "Hold on a sec. Most of this will just be getting past all the security they put in place. The download itself will be a cinch."
Van walked over to the door and looked out into the hallway. "Well you might want to hurry it up." He held up his shotguntar to emphasize his point. "We can't have much longer until someone shows up." He immediately turned and aimed his shotguntar as he soon as he heard the sound of heavy footprints and nearly pulled the trigger when he saw Kevin round the corner.
Double D noticed just in time. "Stop, he's with me!"
Van lowered his gun and looked from Kevin to Double D with a raised eyebrow. "Really? No joke?" He took one hard look at Kevin. "You have a lieutenant for an ally? So you're the one who got rid of the guards for us, I guess?"
"Yeah, no joke." Kevin answered as he entered the room. He looked at Van's shotguntar as he entered. "Cool gun."
"Thanks. At least there's someone who appreciates it."
Kevin redirected his attention to May and Double D. "Are you guys done? The inspection's gonna be over with soon."
"Not quite." Double D sighed. "May is giving it her all, but the security codes are tough."
Kevin smiled and cracked his knuckles. "Let's see if I can't fix that." He joined May at the server, looking over the stream of numbers and letters. "Whoa, this is tough." He kept looking over the coding, shaking his head slowly and unhappily. "This is not standard encryption or security codes." He walked over to one of the computers and began typing. "With a little luck, I'll be able get through the security codes. You'll be able to download the files to your drive but you'll need to decrypt them later."
"Good, because I have the feeling that we're going to have-" Double D heard the slow taps of feet moving on the hard tile floor. But they were far off, so he was the only one who could possible hear the sounds. "Scratch that. We probably only have a few minutes, so you might want to get cracking."
It took Kevin, with a few of May's suggestions, a minute or two to hack the security system and get the files ready to download. May looked to Double D and glanced toward Van. No words were needed, he understood. They still had a plan.
"Van…" Double D said, pausing for a little longer than he really should have. "Could you check the hall, make sure no one's coming."
"'K." Van said, holding his weapon over his shoulder. While he was momentarily distracted, May quickly inserted both flash drives and downloaded the documents. One she stuck in her pocket. Once he had turned around, she threw the other one to Van.
"Thanks." He said, actually sounding grateful. "We should team up more often." He entered into the hall.
No one felt the need to overstay their welcome, so Double D, May and Kevin followed Van out into the hall.
May made a quick glance to Kevin, suspicion lining her face. But, in that quick moment, Kevin noticed and gave her a glare that either meant that he was hurt by the action or irritated at her for looking at all.
"So is he coming back with us?" She asked Double D in a hushed whisper. She was not there when the old hideout was raided, but she heard the story enough to know only the details that the others knew. Not what Double D knew. Not the truth that, hopefully, wouldn't burden him much longer.
"If he wants to." Double D said, making sure that with that one line Kevin knew what was going on. "I sincerely hope you do."
"No worries." Kevin said. "I'm tired of this place anyway."
Van looked back just as they reached an intersection of the halls. "This is where we part. We'll take different routes out of the complex to confuse them." He turned left, but stopped and looked to them once more. "Also, don't die. You are actually pretty nice and I look forward to seeing you guys again." He waved to them. "Bye." Then he was gone.
"Let's go." Double D said about to continue but then he stopped. "Wait a moment. Van has the van! How will we get back without getting caught?"
Kevin grinned as Double D and May stared at what he held in his hands. "We'll take my ride."
"Hey you!" The three looked back down the rear hall and saw several uniformed men running toward them. Behind them was an armed Black Box, probably the same the one that was in the data room.
"Run!" Double D yelled the order. He almost pulled out his guns before remembering that they no longer worked. Reluctantly, he turned his back and ran, just as the men opened fire. No bullets hit him, but in a narrow hallway, all the shots were near misses. That is what had him worried.
"How much further?" May shrieked out as a piece of the wall exploded near her head.
Kevin pointed to a door. "Not far, through that door." The door led to the outside into some sort of parking lot that was behind the building. It was rather open, in Double D's opinion it was bad for their situation, but it seemed Kevin had planned ahead and parked right outside the door.
"Let's hurry up!" Double D said. He held a hand out to Kevin, who nodded and handed his gun over. "I'll get on the roof of the car and try to hold them off. Kevin, you drive like hell."
"We were outta here yesterday." It was amazing that he could joke in light of the situation. All Double D could hope for now was that Amy was set up and ready to give support fire.
He turned and began firing. He must have taken out at least five or six of the pursuers. Having lost about half their group, the remainders slowed down considerably, but not the Black Box. He rushed past the rest and most likely initiated a burst because he became a blur. Not even Double D's eyes could fully track him.
"Damn!" Double D aimed and fired, but each shot did not even come close to its target. The Black Box came closer still and, though not clear, Double D could see him draw his sword. Double D moved back as fast as he could, but the katana's tip cut through the front of his shirt.
Thinking quickly, Double D lifted his leg and kicked into the soldier's chest. It sent him backward and probably knocked the wind out of him, but Double D knew that the effect wouldn't last long. He quickly turned and ran for the door. Kevin and May were already in the car. Double D exited the building and jumped on top of the car's roof. He turned and started firing at the Black Box, who had apparently recovered from the blow.
Again the Black Box dodged the shots effortlessly, but Double D kept firing until the completely unexpected happened…
The gun ran out of ammo.
Now useless, Double D let the gun fall out of his hands. The Black Box approached the car now. Though Kevin was pulling away from the building, the Black Box jumped up and was coming down on Double D with his bladed shield.
"No place to dodge without getting left behind! I am going to have to take the hit!"
Double D braced himself but a loud bang drew his head up. One moment he saw the Black Box attacking, the bladed shield lightly cutting Double D's arm, and the next he saw a spray of red come out from one side of the man's head. He fell to the side and landed on the pavement.
"Amy." Double D thought gratefully.
As Kevin speed away from the military building, more men came pouring out. But as the came, Amy sniped, picking away at the force like a heron spearing fish. She must have been using a silencer because the soldier's seemed confused as to where the shots were coming from.
Double D crawled from the car roof and into the car itself. Kevin was driving with May in the passenger seat. A large container, labeled 'Project Achilles', occupied the back seat so Double D was forced to sit atop it.
"You okay?" Kevin asked.
Double D checked his arm. The bleeding had already stopped and Double D could see new skin thread itself across the wound. "The cut is not that deep, so it should fully heal in a few minutes or so."
Everyone in the car jumped when a loud metal denting thud resound on the roof. They all sighed in relief when they saw Amy, with Eddy's rifle in hand, climbed through the open window.
"Van got away okay, but you guys cut it close. Getting out just when I got there." She said.
Double D's eyebrow rose high. "Really? What was the hold up?"
"Wes and some other guy stopped me." She sighed, her face turning impassive. "He was an X-ian, a fast one at that, named Edwin, but he kept calling himself Eraser. He attacked me."
"Why would they attack you? I thought you were on their side." Kevin asked.
"Eraser said that my uncle sent him to get me. But I'm not on their side, not anymore." Amy said. "But Wes didn't attack me, he left. In fact, I think he tried to warn me about Eraser." A chill ran up her spine as she remembered the fight against him. "There was something definitely wrong about him."
"I see." Double D did not sound confident. He could tell that there were things that his radar couldn't register. But that could all change with what he had gotten today.
After a few minutes Kevin looked out his window and saw the many warehouses of the Niche. Kevin looked back to them. "We'll have to ditch the car at some point, might as well be at the entrance to the Niche, we can walk back to the café from there. Double D, could you help me carry that box? It's kinda big and really heavy."
"Sure." Double D said. He looked down at the box. He didn't know what Project Achilles was, but if Kevin felt that they needed a box with its label, it must have been important. "I'll ask Harriet to take the car in. He won't tell anyone who owned it previously."
"Master Metchel?" Wes called out. He entered a room that served as one of the doctor's many science laboratories. Out of all of labs that Wes checked, this was the last one Metchel was usually seen in. But, sure as sunshine, it was here the doctor was. He quickly hid whatever it was he was working on.
"Why are you here? You know how sensitive my work is." Metchel said somewhat bitterly.
Wes nodded. "Yes sir, I know how these past few turn of events has disgruntled you. But I have good news. Double D and Van's mission into the military base was a success. However, there are also reports that Project Achilles has been stolen."
"Bah." Metchel spat while flinging his arms up. "Achilles is such an outdated old thing. Hardly a concern of ours."
"I have more good news." A voice said. Wes and Metchel looked around before their eyes settled on a ripple in Wes' shadow. Slowly, like a person emerging from a pool of water, Eraser emerged from the shadow and stood in front of Wes. "The capture of your niece is proceeding well. She is still with the New Dawn mercenaries."
"Excellent." Metchel said. "Soon Van will deliver to us the data. Now, the capture of Amy and the other rogue is all my plan needs now." Though it was quick, Wes could see Metchel glance his way.
"Understood." Wes said. "I will get Amy back to HQ-"
Eraser cut in. "Actually, I would like to handle her. I think it would be best if you handled the other one. You let him escape last time anyway." He looked to Metchel. "Is this arrangement alright?"
"Yes." Metchel said. "I believe you, Eraser, are better prepared to fight Amy."
With a deep, sadistic, maddening chuckle, Eraser disappeared as he came. Through Wes' shadow.
"Do not let him trouble you." Metchel guide Wes over to a console, where a hologram of some sort of schematic was shown, if needed. "I need Amy in one piece; no harm will come to her."
"She's my only friend."
"I know." Metchel activated the console, and allowed Wes to look at the designs in front of them. "What do you think of this? I hope it will accomplish all of our goals."
Wes looked at the holo-file, labeled 'Project Hydra'. "It's most certainly a step forward."
Double D, Kevin, May and Amy entered into Café K. Double D and Kevin were sore, having towed the crate in Kevin's car all the way from the Niche to the Garage. Oddly, they found the door there locked and so they had to come in through the front door.
Now they know why the door was locked. The café looked no different than any other day. Lee was behind the counter serving drinks. Nazz, Jimmy and Sarah were in the kitchen cooking and cleaning. Meanwhile Ginger, ever restless, weaved around everyone's legs until she found Double D's. Everything looked normal…
Except for the six police officers.
One thought ran through Double D's mind. "How could they figure out who attacked the base so quickly?" One man stood up. His uniform was slightly more decorated than the other officers; he was also older and sported a two piece mustache. Double D had seen him before and recognized him as Police Chief Theodore Peterson.
"Well, hello, Mr. Eddward." Peterson said, sipping at a cup of tea. "Hmmm. Licorice spice, my favorite. I may just become a regular costumer." He set the cup down and began walking over towards them. "I'm sorry to bother you but I need you to answer some questions about the death of Jackson Taylor…
"Or, more specifically, his murder."
Author's Notes: Dun Dun Dun Dah! The kids caught off guard! Projects Achilles and Hydra! Double D's growing ferocity! What could this all mean? And what will it lead them to? I hope to update sometime soon!