AN: Really sorry for the long Hiatus, but I almost lost my mojo on this story so I had to take some time to recover that. Also I am currently trapped in the game called Borderlands 3 and Monster Hunter World: Iceborne!

(The Tower: Rooftop) (Crane's POV) (9 am)

I quickly made my way to the rooftops, probably where Rahim is always at. But I can't help the gut wrenching feeling I'm getting, I already know that Rahim already heard of the C4's and will more than likely run off with them and take care of the Nest himself, yeah, I can already picture it and the end result isn't pretty. He either gets eaten alive, or Jade beats him within an inch of his life when she gets her hands on him. I don't know, I kinda like the latter better, at least he's still alive, barely.

As I reached the rooftop, I can already see Rahim shaking in excitement. Oh boy, I can already picture the scenarios.

"Crane! Sa'id told me about the explosives you guys found! How perfect is that?! Jade gave them to him – Sa'id used to be on a bomb squad, so he knows about that stuff." Rahim says in one breath. I just gave a brief sigh, not really looking forward to this conversation.

"Yeah, kid, that was a lucky find. Would've been better to turn up some more Antizin, though." I said, and I wasn't really lying about the Antizin. It would really hurt Rais if we took some of his hoarded Antizin, heh, I'd kill a Volatile to see his reaction.

"My buddy Omar's making sure Sa'id's putting good timers on those things. We have to be able to get our asses out of there before they blow." Rahim says.

Oh great, now they're trying to reactivate those things already. This might be a new record for Rahim. And a new record for pissing Jade off. The rewards' probably a sock to the face and possibly more.

"Whoa, 'we'? There's no 'we' in this. I mean, yeah, that nest needs to go. And now it's possible. But if it gets done, I'm doing it on my own."

"But… it's my plan!" Rahim retorts. Yeah, more like a death wish buddy.

"And I will execute it perfectly. I promise."

"But… ah, shit. There's no use arguing with you, is there? Fine. I'll contact you as soon as Sa'id's finished with the charges." Rahim finally relents. Good, at least there was some good that came out of this.

"Rahim, do we have a deal?"

"I guess…"

"Do we have a deal?" I strongly emphasized the last one just to be sure. Rahim just sat back at his usual spot and bows his head.

"Yes, we have a deal." Rahim finishes.

"One more thing… I keep seeing this bizarre kind of infected. Is Dr. Zere out at his trailer? I'd like to talk to him about it."

"Yeah, he's back at his trailer. Strange thing was, a few hours later when you guys went to Rais supply depo. Mr. V brought in something in his trailer and Zere was really looking excited about it." Rahim explains.

"Thanks kid, I'll see you later." I finished as I went to the elevator and headed down.

'I talked to Rahim. I admire his determination, but he's too damn young. Plant explosives and blow up a Volatile hive for his first mission? I hope I got that stupid idea out of his head. Now I should ask Dr. Zere about that weird infected I saw in front of the school… maybe it might help him figure out a cure for the virus.' I gathered my thoughts as I stepped out of the elevator and headed outside.

As I stepped outside I took off to Zere's trailer. When I just hopped over the fence I saw Zere's trailer door open and it revealed V. We had a bit of a staring contest for a few seconds before V went in for a handshake. I tell you, his handshake has enough force to crack my bones to dust.

"What are you doing here V?" I asked, seeing that this was the first time I saw him in this place.

"I just came to deliver a gift to the doctor and see what he can do with it. I'm sorry to cut this short Crane, but I have some errands to run." V finishes before running off. He still has his voice modulator I see; I wonder what his real voice sounds like. More often than not, sometimes I wonder what he really looks like under all that covering, nevertheless I'm pretty sure he has his reasons… just like mine I guess…

Either way I shook my head and went for the trailer door. I stopped and paused for a split second when I heard the familiar sounds of an infected inside. Without wasting another second, I quickly opened the door and readied my weapon. And right in front of me is a bewildered looking Dr. Zere holding a surgical scalpel and the very same type of infected that I saw in the school just a few hours ago, strapped into an operation table.

"Uh?" Was the only thing I could sound off?

"Ah, Crane! Come in, come in! What can I help you with?" Zere said in a real excited tone, like a scientist that just won the Nobel Prize or something.

"I… uh… Thought there was an infected here, but anyway, that's like the same zombie I saw running away from the school when it saw me." I pointed out at the still struggling infected trying its best to get the hell out of here.

"Ah, yes! Our friendly benefactor Mr. V has just delivered this to me just now. He said that this one is different than the rest of the infected. One thing is that it shies away from any non-infected and that it appears to have developed a taste for my experimental meats that I placed all around the city." Zere says as he cuts a piece of flesh from the infected.

"So... anything that V said that we may need to know?" I asked, still puzzled at the bound zombie.

"Nothing much to say, Camden and I were just talking about him and you as well." Zere says as he placed the infected flesh into a microscope. Camden's voice sounded off at Zere's laptop.

"Hello, Mr. Crane. Glad to have you and Mr. V working with us. You two sound like impressive individuals- "

"Interesting stuff, what passes for blood in this creature. Photosensitive. Quite deadly if used on a weapon, I'd wager. But I digress!" Zere's talking interrupted Camden. I looked over and see him putting something on the piece of flesh.

"My last bit of reagent here… and a reserve vial of… Oh my word! This tissue! It's testing positive for the recombined virus! Camden! DO YOU KNOW WHAT THIS MEANS?!" Zere's exclaims like he found a cure for cancer… which isn't really that far from the truth. And not a bad sign either.

"The meat experiment worked!" Camden followed Zere's excitement.

"When I dosed the meat samples with the altered strain? It's HAD AN EFFECT! This could explain all the different mutations! But I can't. Camden could… he has the equipment… but we have no way to get the research to him." Zere's says in resignation, like he's already giving up when this could be a huge breakthrough in curing this.

"You can talk to him on the radio. Why not share info that way?" I said.

"There's too much data, Crane. It would take years. We'd both be dead and gone before he finished" Camden pointed out.

"Water, water, everywhere, and not a drop to drink." Zere quoted. I think I have an idea.

"What if I delivered this stuff to you, Dr. Camden? By hand? The data and the tissue samples both?"

"Crane… getting from there to here would be insanely dangerous." Camden says. Heh. If only he knew that I was made for this.

"But it could mean a cure, right?" Zere stands up when I said that and held my shoulder.

"You don't know how much this means, dear boy! To me, to all of us! I'll contact you when everything's ready! You must go now! Much to do! Much to do!" And I lost him… I stepped outside and took a deep breath. I wouldn't worry about Zere and the infected inside. Given that it's scared of Zere more than he is scared or lack thereof of it.

'A chance for a cure… I just hope we'll find out in time before it's too late.' I gathered my thoughts, but my radio cuts me off my thoughts.

"Hey. Crane. You there? Omar and I went to blow up that nest." Rahim's voice came out and all I can think of is.

'Ugh… Jade is gonna kill me…' I groaned inside my head.

"You what?! Fucking hell, Rahim, that was my job!" I shouted at him. If the biters won't kill him, then Rahim would pray they would've after Jade's done with him.

"Oh, right, cause you're more qualified to handle explosives than I am! You're just a goddamn tourist! But listen – we messed up. Messed up bad." No surprise there Rahim.

"What happened? Where are you?"

"On the overpass and it's all going to shit."

"Head to the train yard! Find a place to hide! I'm on my way!"

"Omar! Behind you! BEHIND YOU!" God I hope I'll make it in time.


'What the?' Was the last thing I heard before the radio cuts off.

"Rahim! Rahim! Goddamn it!" No time to lose, I ran as fast as I could towards the train yard.

"Brecken! Brecken, do you copy?" Please pick up Brecken.

"Yeah, I copy. What is it?" Finally, something good for a change.

"I'm on my way to get Rahim."

"Rahim? He's here in the Tower." Oh boy, I'm basically adding fuel to the fire here already.

"No, he's not. He and Omar went to blow that nest, and now they're in trouble." I didn't need to wait for another second until Brecken explodes.

"THEY WHAT?! Fuck! Where'd they get the explosives?"

"I… look, I stole them from Rais."

"Oh, Jesus H. CHRIST!"

"I'm close. I'll get him to safety, Brecken."

"You damn well better. You save him, you hear me? You save him, so I can kick his fucking ass… Does Jade know about this?" Oh boy, and that's the million-dollar question ladies and gentlemen.

"No, she doesn't" I said, and before Brecken could reply back someone else replied first.

"I do now Crane." Jade's calm voice went on the radio. I stopped dead cold in my tracks, luckily I was standing on a rooftop. Jade's voice was like a woman scorned and hell hath no fury like that kind.

"Are they safe now V?" Jade said, and speak of the devil he shall be heard.

"Copy that Jade. They're right here, safe and sound. For now, I believe." V's voice echoed through, and I can only shiver on what will happen next to Rahim.

"Dammit! Let me go V! Urgh!" Rahim's struggling voice went through the radio. Dammit kid, just make this easier on yourself. You'd be wishing you were dead when Jade's done with you.

"You damn right they are! RAHIM! I know you can hear me. When V brings you two back here, I'm gonna make you wish you haven't done this! And EVERY STUPID DECISION YOU EVER MADE IN YOUR GODDAMN LIFE!" I can hear Jade cracking her knuckles. And I can only pray that Rahim would still be able to eat solids and not through a straw after Jade's done with him.

That problem's solved. Now, I better get back to the Tower and watch the show, maybe I'll scavenge for a few minutes and see if I can find some popcorn. Hey. I feel sorry for the kid but I know when a good show is about to start.

(10 minutes later) (Location: The Tower)

Bad news. I couldn't find any popcorn. But the good news is that I made it and still early. I can see Brecken glaring at the ledge that leads to the gate, just waiting for Rahim and Omar. Amir was looking at Jade with worry in his eyes, either he's worried about Jade or Rahim's health is a complete coin toss. I guess that's why Lena's here with a medkit at the ready, hopefully Rahim would still be recognizable after this.

I was about to say something when we heard the sound of running. And there he is, the big V himself with Rahim and Omar tied up under each arm. Jesus… He must be really working out to carry those two and get here at the same time.

"Special delivery. Two soon to be dead meats, fresh from the overpass." V says as he tosses the two in front of everybody. Rahim takes one good look at Jade and I can hear him gulp in fear. Omar was picked up by Brecken and headed for the elevator. Amir gave a breath of relief seeing Rahim safe and sound. Jade though, not so much.

"You and I are gonna have a long talk with what you just tried to pull." Jade said with gritted teeth. She dragged Rahim by his ear, painfully I might add. Judging from his really loud whining. I turned to look at Amir and can see he was relieved to see the kid alive and maybe not so well after Jade's done with him.

"I'm just glad those two didn't get bit while they were out there. Thank you again for what you've done for us Mr. V." Amir thanked our mysterious benefactor. Who just nodded his head and he looked down on the floor and spotted the explosives from the school.

"You know; I would be more than happy to do the deed myself. If you would allow me…" V asked, although it was more rhetorical than anything else. Rahim's right though, taking that nest out will probably make night runs a lot safer. Amir and I looked at one another and gave each other a nod. That was all V needed as he picked up the explosives and rushed towards the nest. Already knowing the outcome of that nest, Amir and I went to tell the others the news.

(15 minutes later) (Location: The Nest) (V's POV)

I just arrive at the Hive Nest and the sun is right on top of me. Jeez, even with my entire body covered it still feels like I'm in an oven. But right now I wasn't focused on the building itself. But what's underneath it. I remember in the game when players did this quest, there wasn't a single Volatile inside the entire site. So in my spare time I did a bit of digging, a bit literally, and I found a broken barricade that leads to an underground parking lot and that's where the real nest was.

I was never sure if we really destroyed the nest in the game, it felt like we just buried it at best or blocked it off at least. So now I'm going straight for the source, maybe this time it will change the night runs for good.

As I entered the Nest I froze mid step. Because standing right in front of me was an Alpha Volatile, the game didn't really do the real thing justice, because now that I'm seeing it first hand, it's a lot more horrifying. It's carapace like armor covered it from head to toe, the only visible spots that I can see without armor are the joints that keep it mobile, and its face is a lot scarier with all the spikes protruding out of it.

However, that wasn't what made me freeze. It was the fact that it's staring intently at me, along with the rest of the Volatiles within the Nest.

"Oh shit…" I muttered.

I slowly reached into my coat for my Magnum before all hell broke loose. Literally.

"GRRRRRRRROOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!" The Alpha roared as it pointed its claw towards me. About 4 Volatiles charges at me. I threw away the C4 and pulled out my Magnum and shot one dead in the head, I was about to aim for another when one swiped at me, knocking my shades clean from my face, then another one slashed me from behind. Luckily the heavy coat was thick enough to take the attack but the result was a claw slash mark behind it.

I grabbed the nearest one and shot a few bullets in it. Two down three to go. I didn't have time to think about anything else when another Volatile pounced at me, knocking my gun away from my hand. It began to fury swipe my face. I grabbed its arms and head butted it and kicked it away from me. Using my enhanced body, I quickly grabbed it by the head and split its head open just like Doomguy did in DOOM 2016.

The last Volatile was now circling me, wary now. I did the same. Both of us were waiting for the right time. Sadly, for him, I was smarter. When it charged at me, I grabbed it, and did a full body slam. The concrete below cracked into a spider web pattern stunning it, just enough time for me to snap its neck like a twig.

"Phew, now all that's left is, OOMPH-" I was cut off as the Alpha pinned me down and started to pummel me. I used my arms to guard, but I can only hold out for so long, the difference in strength between me and it was noticeable and its hard carapace only strengthened its attacks. I peeked to my left and saw my Magnum, hopefully it has a few more shots left. So mustering all the strength I have, I grabbed its arms and threw him off me, just enough for me to crawl towards my gun.

It recovered fast as it pounces on me with its jaws wide open, but waiting in its mouth wasn't the head, but the end.

"Bye bye." I said as I unloaded everything in it, blowing apart its brain. It fell down dead and I can finally get a breather.

"Gah, hah, hah, hah… Hehehe… I guess Volatiles really do have a pack mind…" I breathed out, now knowing that even with my body being a Volatile, Alpha's can still tell the difference… That's just great… Oh well, now I can least know what to expect the next time I see one. Still, it is a bit concerning. It proves that Alphas and regular Volatiles operate like wolves, with it as Alpha it can command them at will and I can guess that they see me as a Lone Wolf so to speak, meaning I was an outcast at least and an enemy at worst.

These were thoughts best saved back at base. I checked the damage they did on me, nothing broken just bruised thankfully. Unfortunately, that attack on me earlier broke my shades.

"Damn, I was staring to like those shades." Oh well, I can easily find one later, right now I have a mission to finish. So putting my hat on I went to where I threw the C4.




"Uh, oh." I mumbled, and I quickly rushed to where it was coming from. I found it under the Volatile that I shot earlier and looked at the timer.




"OH SHIT!" I panicked as I began to place them on the load bearing columns around the parking lot. Then without thinking anymore. I RAN LIKE HELL!

"Oh shit, oh shit, oh shit!" I chanted in my head as I just ran past the exit of the building and then…


I dove right into the sewer pipe that lead out of the train station.

"Quest Complete!" I exhaled as I sat down and finally get some breathing room…

AN: And finished! Finally, I'm really sorry for the long wait, I hope this makes up for it. Anyway, V has now Alpha's that can tell he's different to deal with and some other surprises in future chapters. The next ones gonna be the Zaed kidnapping incident and I have plans on how to do it. I hope you guys like this chapter, if you did send your comments in the reviews.