I made corrections to the chapters, some might be important in the end =)
Outcome five was resting. Well, at least he was lying down an uncomfortable cot, unmoving. He was never really resting, an Outcome never rests, never fully sleeps: that would imply being in a secure location, alone. Trust no one; never let your guard down. That little sentence had kept him alive all this time, so he was lying on his back, eyes closed and seemingly asleep.
It never ceased to amaze him how the chem worked. He, once, was a normal, average man without any chance of doing anything exceptional with is life until they recruited him. Why him, that much remained unclear, possibly because in case of an untimely end no one would come looking for him. He had always been a loner, not always by choice, but the fact remained: he had been a nobody. Technically speaking, he was still a nobody; actually he no longer existed in any database, any embassy, nor country. He still remembered his old name, but it had no real meaning to anyone except him anymore, it was merely a souvenir of long passed life. So he had been select to become a kind of expensive guinea pig in project Outcome. A such, he had given at least a pint of blood in blood test in the last few months along with a huge amount of other tests he could not even name. He had been undressed, scrutinized, scanned, X-rayed and virtually cut open a few times. His breathing pattern had been studied along with his metabolism and his sight. Once he had been deemed worthy, he had been asked to present himself every week at the labs where he would receive pills. Some lady doctor in white lab coat had explained to him, as she would have to a potted plant, that he would have to take one blue pill and green pill every day for a time period of one month. Each week, he would have to submit "blood work kit" properly completed and pass about five tests so that they could track the progress made.
The month had come and gone and many others had followed. After a while, he stopped counting. At least, he had stopped to do it consciously. He could actually tell exactly how many times he had come to the labs, how many blood work vials he had filled, how many pills he had taken, how many people were in a crowd, how heavy was a certain piece of furniture, how long he could run at a precise speed at a precise altitude... This was how the chem worked and it amazed him. He had been sent files and files to memorize, technical videos to master, logical puzzles to solve and it had been so simple! He had never been that bright. In fact, he had been below average before the chems, and he could never have mastered so many new techniques and memorized so many facts in so little time. These pills did not only affect his brain! No, they had changed is body to. At first, he thought it was the prescribed training program that worked wonders, but it soon appeared to be impossible. His bone structure had changed! He had always been fit, but since the lab he had become Olympic! It had been painful, but his shoulders, wrists and ankles had broaden, he had taken about 3 inches and his muscle mass had tripled. Yes, the chems were amazing.
If he was now faking sleep in this terrible little cot, it was because it had been his final month at the labs. He had been informed that the chems worked just fine, that he showed no sign of adverse effects (not that he had been informed that he could suffer from any) and that he was ready for field training. He had reported to the lab at 0600 and had been sent to some kind of bunker underground in a forest far up north.
There, he had been equipped with a basic survival kit, fatigues, winter gear and a knife and informed that he would be dropped in an unknown location from which he would have to come back to base. Should he encounter any other human being en route, he was to avoid detection and if impossible, he was forbidden to engage in any conversation. The doctors in the bunker had given him a day of rest before the mission. He suspected it had something to do with the cut that had been made in his tight before he left the labs. Probably some tracker, he thought. They weren't about to loose such a precious experiment at it first outing!
He must have dozed off, because he woke with a start at the sound of keys unlocking his room's door. He was instantly on his feet, in combat stance, all sign of the night's sleep gone from his face, except for his sandy blond hair that struck out at awkward angle. A nameless doctor greeted him with a brief " 'morning" and handed him a black cowl. Apparently, the location of his drop was to be very unknown...
From the sound of it, he had been dropped from a helicopter. No his cowl had not been removed prior to him being kicked out at about 10 meters from the ground and he landed gracelessly with a grunt in the snow. Immediately he took the cowl off, only to see the helicopter fly away in direction of a mountain. He had absolutely no way of knowing if the base was that way or if he was being mislead. There was absolutely no way he could relate anything he was seeing now to any maps he had studied in the past months. He would have to get to a high point to identify his surroundings. Considering he was in a forest, climbing a tree would not do, he would have to climb the nearest mountain. According to his chem enhanced mapping capacity, he established he would need about 6 hours to get to a good viewpoint. From the sun's height he had about 7 hours of light before him. It would be a close timing, as he had to set up a camp for the night once he arrived. Without waiting a minute more, he began his walk. He chose to alternate between light run and walk to save both time and energy, there was no way of knowing if he would encounter any wild animal in the woods.
He arrived without too much trouble at a good viewpoint just as he had estimated. From the sun's place in the sky, north was at 2 o'clock, south at 8, east and west at 5 and 11. There was a large empty space between 1 and 3 that could be a frozen lake, but it was hard to say at this distance. There was no sign of a path or any man made outpost or installation. He was presently standing in the lowest part of a little 3 mountains chain that went from southeast to northwest. According to the maps he had studied and if the "could be lake" was indeed a lake; he was close to the Alaska frontier with the northern territories. As such, the base he had to return to should be due south for about 3 days until he arrived at a river, than he would have to walk for about 2 days against the stream and he would be close by. Considering he had dried food packed for 3 days at best, he came to the conclusion he would have to hunt or starve.
For the moment, though, the sun was going down and he still had to find shelter and possibly light a little fire for the night. It was risky at best for it would undoubtedly raise attention if anyone was close by (which he doubted) but it was probably -25C and there was no way he would live through the night without it. He would have to be extra careful tonight, he thought.
Extra careful. He should have been, but he hadn't. He was in mission; he could not afford to become distracted, yet he had let her catch his eye. Damnit, he knew better! He had survived for days alone in the wild, he had tracked criminal, he had killed more than he cared to count and yet, he had made a rookie mistake. Trust no one; never let your guard down.
She had come to him one night after a nasty fight. He was wearing a dark grey hoodie underneath a leather jacket with the hood up to cover his bruised face and obviously badly hiding a limp to avoid attracting attention. He did not normally end up like this after a fight, but he had faced a heavily trained man (another asset gone rogue he had thought at the time) and had ended up getting thrown down a 3rd floor window after being almost knocked out by his opponent. Of course he had terminated the mark, but it had been a very close call.
- I'm sorry sir, but I can't help but notice you seem to be in a lot of pain. Could I do something to help? She asked so politely.
At first, he thought he should refuse the help she offered him, but it had been a long time since he had been spoken to as a human being (yes it sounded pathetic to him as he reflected upon it later, but at the time, it made perfect sense), so he replied.
- Yeah, I'd like that, he managed to mumble through swollen lips. Though I'd rather avoid hospitals.
- Your life, your choices! She relied a little doubtfully. Do you live close by or should we go to my flat?
She could not be allowed to enter his place. It contained 3 guns (one in the nightstand drawer, one in the shower and one in the fridge), 2 knives (one under the bed, one in the bathroom), a secured computer with very secret files in it, pictures of his marks, maps... No, she could definitely not go to his place.
- Your place would be best, he answered quickly.
So she guided him to a little apartment in a tiny street and invited him inside.
It was cozy looking if a little messy. There were books and papers on every flat surface, two empty glass (one on a book shelve and another near the sofa) and soft music classical music was playing.
- Sorry for the mess, she hastily apologized, I never have anyone over and my cat does not mind the books, she finished with a quiet laugh.
Outcome five was busy locating the exits and potential weapons in the rooms as he always did. When he did not offer any kind of response, she went to get her first aid kit in the closet near the bathroom.
- I can offer you tea if you like, or water, or juice, he spoke from afar.
- Water, would be fine, he answered while looking quickly through he kitchen door.
He was searching for hidden weapon over the bookshelves when she came back with her arms full of bandage boxes, chlorexidine bottle and elastic bandages. To avoid suspicion he almost jumped in a sitting position in the sofa, wincing when his hip made contact with the armrest.
- I almost forgot the painkillers, here, take these. It's acetaminophen, but I'm afraid I don't have anything stronger at the moment. I'll get you a glass of water. You might want to take your coat off while I do that, she told him while placing all her material on the carpet in front of him, obvious to his sneaking around.
While she was not looking at him, he sniffed and examined the pills, more out of habit than real suspicion and removed his leather jacket and hoodie. Underneath, he was wearing a black t-shit a little tight around the shoulders with jeans and black walking boots that had obviously seen a lot of action going by the state of the seams.
When she came back with the water, he thanked her and gulped it down along with the pills.
- It won't do much, but it might numb the pain a little, she said while looking at his face. They really gave you a beating! You're lucky to be alive you know?
He scoffed lightly. Yes, he was lucky to be alive except she seems to be the only person with him to care about it. That little remark made him feel a little more human, a little less like the engineered killer he was.
- I'm Arianne by the way, you?
There was a little delay before he gave his answer.
- I'm Aaron.
It was against all protocols to give his real agent name, he should have used Ryan, his alias for the mission, but his guard was down. After almost 5 month tracking his mark, avoiding all human contact, depriving himself from his most basic needs, he needed this little break. She could not be dangerous, she had much too nice a smile for that. Wait, what was he thinking!
- Well Aaron, let's get you washed up. I think those cuts will need stitches, but it could look worst than it really is. You never know with the face, it bleeds so much, she said while bringing a warm, wet cloth to his brow.
He did not even utter a sound when she wiped the blood away. He tightened his jaw and focused his attention on her face.
It was beautiful, slightly round but not childish, she could not be more than 25. Her eyes were large and hazel framed by long eyelashes. She wore no make-up. At the moment her pink, full lips were slightly parted in concentration for she was cleaning his left eye that was purple and swollen. She had a very pale complexion with short dark brown hair. She was kneeling between his legs and had placed one hand on his right arm to steady herself while working. Her hand radiated a comforting heat trough his sleeve. He sighted lightly; it was so pleasant to be taken care of.
- Sorry, Arianne said immediately, removing the cloth from his face, did I hurt you?
She was scrutinizing his face for any sign of hidden pain or discomfort.
- No, not at all, I'm just tired.
- I'll try to hurry up. If you want, you can sleep here tonight. The sofa's all yours. It's nearly midnight and I would feel guilty to kick you out after what you've just been trough.
- Thanks, Aaron said. You know, you should not apologize so much. You're incredibly nice.
- Sor..., she chuckled and smiled at him. I haven't stitched your face yet, you might change your mind.
- I won't.
As he said that, he looked at her dead in the eyes with as much sincerity as he could muster. She shivered under his gaze and broke eye contact to get the needle and tread.
- I have no xilocaine, this is going to hurt, are you sure you don't want to go to the hospital? She said, still avoiding his gaze.
- Yes, quite sure. You can do it, I won't move.
And so she proceeded.
It is not the end! Another chapter will come someday :D
I would love to have feed back, it won't take long, please. Also if someone could be so kind as to point out my mistakes I would be very grateful.