A word from the author.
Draft 2 is Uploaded and is Available here - https://getinkspired.com/en/story/28957/delirium-2nd-draft/?ref=dashstoryprofile
EDIT: I see a lot of people jump to a wrong Chapter. Please be careful not to select "7. Chapter 6 (part B)". Select this instead "8. Chapter 7 (part A)"
The sky was grim with a promise of a rain. Killiam Krov was marching up the hill, with other soldiers in a line, stretching along the green uprise as far as he could see. All armed to the teeth. Proudly wearing black combat uniform with bold O.W.O. letters on the back and a serpent logo on the heart. Fierce faces, ready to execute their orders.
Reaching the top, Krov could see the forest stretching far. Enemies' outpost, towers, and holes in the ground with mounted machine guns. Even though the enemy looked armed, they were all running for their lives. Seeking shelter in the forestry. Not one was fighting back. Krov acts, aiming down the sight of his gun, he fires. Single bullet, single kill.
A woman, wearing a long dress, is running down the hill, seeking safety. She falls as the bullet reaches the back of her head. Nothing to stop the momentum of her body as she rolls down the hill, hitting and bouncing off of rocks and roots. The sight of such abuse, rushes blood through Krov. Bloodlust takes over him as he begins raining bullets in to the forest.
Moment later, Krov realizes he was the only one to fire. Looking around, seeking other soldiers, he realizes he truly was the only one . He was the only one there. Krov begins frantically looking in all directions, hoping for a sign or some sort of explanation. Not seeing anything that gives him hope, he bows his head and closes his eyes.
A scream came from where Krov has shot down the fleeing woman. It was a man's scream, it was filled with agony and grief, and later boiled with bestial rage. Thunder struck the ground in the distance. Then again. And again. More frequent and closer each time. Krov now alarmed, finger on the trigger, ready for anything.
Krov turn around. The skies releases its brightest lightning yet. The flash illuminates the dark forest where he sees this monstrosity, charging up the hill at him. It was easily over three or more meters in height, its head is tiny compared to its muscle ripped body, its arms were as thick as tree trunks and the skin was sickish-green tan. It reached Krov in no time, grabbing him with both giant arms and pulling him apart...
The train doors slid open and Krov woke up in terror. There were many other passengers on the train, but only few even glanced at him. One little girl, peaking from behind of her mother's worn long skirt, was examining him shyly, while cupping her electronic pendant that she had tied on a string around her neck. It was old and battered with one blue line, and Krov could guess their social status by the look of it. In this world, the pendants aren't bought. They are assigned to each person.
Krov was wearing a civilian version of the Order uniform, and people knew the lengths Order Soldiers go through to keep them safe. Nightmares have become a frequent occurrence for Krov, especially in the last four months. Krov knew there are good souls that would offer him help and comfort, even on this train. Yet still, there was a stigma present, that they should all leave him deal with his demons alone. A community that shares the joy, but none of the sorrow.
People were pouring out of the train past him. Krov remained sitting, gathering himself before stepping out in to the day light, where he knew a drone would be hovering in the air, watching every direction, watching every movement. Krov stepped out in to the warm rays of the sun, and just allowed himself to bask for awhile, enjoying the sun before heading down underground. He couldn't help but notice how incredibly soothing and calming it was to feel the warm sun on his face after that nightmare. Krov heard an increase in buzzing noise and opened his eyes. The drone was losing altitude and slowly getting closer to him. He must have stood there for too long. Krov was now only hoping that Larry was watching the monitors alone, without the commander. Such hesitation could provoke questions. And so Krov began walking in the opposite direction to where everyone else has headed. Walking back through the train tunnel and around the bend, Krov comes to a door. Reaching in to his pocket, he retrieves his electronic pendant. A brushed silver, hexagonal shaped device with two red lines around the base. It holds everything a person owns, and is himself, in this world. It fits nicely in the palm of a hand, and has a slightly upraised oval shaped surface for controls. Krov swiped his finger up, 1 out of 6 corners lit up with a tiny blue dot, and his contact lenses displayed something that only he could see
Monday 2nd. April.
Holding the device up to the door, it clicks and opens ajar. Red light pours from the cracks of the door. Krov swings it open. It's a tiny room with paint flaking off of the walls. For two to three people at most. With another door opposite, two cameras in each corner and a speaker. As Krov entered and closed the door behind him, it clicked locked and lights flipped from red to regular buzzing fluorescents. Krov expected to be greeted by Larry by now, but this time it took the voice much longer to come on and Krov began wondering if his little sun bath got noticed. The speaker finally crackled and voice said, 'Yes, Captain Krov. Welcome back. Report to Commanders office right away.'
It wasn't cheerful and it wasn't Larry. A Door in front of him opened and Krov stepped out of the tiny room, in to a room with 4 elevators. One elevator was already ascending. It must have been sent by someone from below, commander must want to see Krov immediately, so he stood in front of the ascending one, waiting.
A thought crossed Krov's mind, he hasn't felt sun like that in... it was hard to remember him ever feeling the gentle fall of a warm sun ray like he did just now. He couldn't help to keep thinking of it as odd on his way down. He has just returned from home, with his wife and a 4 year old daughter. Krov remembers them at the sandy beaches and green fields filled with flowers, enjoying what life has to offer. He remembers the sun, the warmth.. But it didn't feel the same, he thought.
Krov has reached commander's office. No need for further hesitation, he knocked and was called in. The room was dimly lit, the biggest light source being the screen on the wall behind commander which had O.W.O. letters prominently displayed, with a triangle behind the letters and intertwined serpent. Commander was standing behind his desk, smoking a cigarette and reading a file case. The long window on the left that looks out on to the loading deck, had partly closed blinds. Sparks off of mechanic's wielder, would sometimes cast a sinister shadow on his commander, Alexander Norwell.
'Commander Norwell.' said Krov as he stepped in.
'Captain Krov. Welcome back.' Commander dropped a file case on his desk and walked up to Krov, shaking his hand he continued, 'I hope your time away was pleasant as always. I trust the family are doing good.' He said in the most strict and powerful voice.
'They are very good, sir. I cannot thank you enough for taking care of them.'
'No need.' commander walked back behind his desk, 'You do a whole a lot more, for everyone.' he said, before gesturing to a chair across from him. Commander waited for Krov to position him, 'How are you feeling?' he said quickly with an examining look.
Krov clenched his fists. 'Very good, sir. Ready to serve the Order.', he said in the monotone voice, sitting up straight and looking dead ahead. Feeling his hands drenched with sweat.
'Why the hell am I nervous?'
'Mhm. Ok, good.' said commander after a short pause, and quickly switched topic, 'Reason I called you down right away is because you'll be catching a Maglev to Collins city at o-nine-hundred, after your check up.' commander focused his gaze on Krov.
'A transfer, sir?'
Commander reached for the file case, 'No, and yes. I need someone who I know I can trust.' Commander has always been a straight to the point kind of man.
'You can count on me, sir. What is the mission?'
'You've done a fantastic job during your last contracts.' he picked up one file case, '56 camps destroyed, 16 enemy officers captured alive. All the info, all the data alone has allowed us to crush that scum in so many locations. Truly outstanding record. Your parents would be proud.' Commander paused to put out the cigarette and dropped the file case on the table. 'But Intel has it that The Faceless after all these years are finally working together. I'm sure you see now how this changes everything. Now there is a considerable threat outside the walls. And the Serpents aren't doing a great job on the ground in Fortcities, your squad is actually now affected by it, but more on that later. First, the good news,' Commander was watching Krov closely, slightly leaning over the table, he said, 'It is my understanding this would be your last contract with us, and to reward you for your outstanding efforts, the Order has decided to shorten your new contract. You do this one last mission, complete it, and you will be able to retire. Go home and be with your wife and daughter forever.' The flashes of light pouring in from the window only highlighted commander's already sharp face features. It made him look sinister, and deep inside Krov, a feeling stirred up. A gut feeling.
After a pause, he continued, 'You have two missions. One of said missions, you will be briefed on in Collins. And the second mission, captain, is off the military record. It's a mission from the Order itself.'
Krov remained sitting unmoved and up straight, but the mind began racing. It is not the Order mission that worried him, or the promise of going home earlier... But the sudden realization of how long he has served. 3 contracts of 4 years each. The realization of how much he has destroyed. How many he has killed. The numbers hung heavy on Krov. Memories began flooding his head...
'Captain Krov! Are you with me?' Norwell was starring him dead in the eye while handing him the file.
'Yes sir. Two missions. One mission is from the Order.. Sir.' Krov said with a straight face. He felt thankful for his Commander's interruption.
'Good. Once there, you will be under command of Robert Green. Do as he says, but also watch him. He is your mission, captain. We have a suspicion he is working with the Faceless.'
Commander reached into a drawer and retrieved a black box. Opening it, he took out one tiny black chip with one silver side. 'I'm sure you understand you have to be discreet about our communication.' Krov took the chip. Pressed down on one side of his pendant which flicked opened on one corner hinge, and inserted the chip in to a slot.
'Yes, sir. Helping Resistance is a crime against the Order. Punishable by...'
'Yeah,' commander interrupted Krov, 'I need him alive.'
Keeping a traitor alive? That has never been how the Order handles such individuals. Decades upon decades of executions of traitors, whistleblowers and other Antiorderial individuals without much of a trial, have struck fear, even into the hearts of the most courageous man. No one speaks out. Perhaps, the Order has something else planned in mind, and even if they do, neither Norwell nor Krov could possibly know what and why. They all just follow orders and all orders come from Majestic 12, the capital Fortcity.
'One last thing, Captain. Only Gordon Frey will be coming with you'.
Krov felt the urge to question this move. 'Sir, I'm not sure that's a good idea. We have--' he began in a firm voice.
'You are, objecting?' commander interrupted while cocking an eyebrow.
'No, sir. Merely concerned of the motives. Going in to unknown territory, and even more so; to spy for the Order. Results would be more guaranteed if I had my people with me, sir.'
Commander paused, studying him. 'We need good man with actual experience to keep the ground safe at home. Our Serpents need all the bodies they can take. You remember last Gate Close Day riot, don't you? That shit still haunts me.' Commander's eyes gazed in to nothing for a moment. 'Your squad is one of the best and we need more of that best. Scott and Mors are getting new squad members, too. Which leads me to this. I need to promote one of them to captain. No one better to ask than their Captain.' commander gestured to Krov with both hands.
Krov thinks for a moment, 'Where will they be stationed?'
'Why do you ask, Captain?'
'Bradley Scott, weapon and explosion specialist, he knows the wild, the open space. If it's outside missions, against the Resistance, he is your choice. Evan Mors, hardware genius and a the best driver to ever live, he would be a better leader for domestic missions.' said Krov like a the good soldier his commander expects him to be.
Commander seemed satisfied with the answer, nodded, rose up from his chair, and said, 'Thank you captain. This will be all.' Quickly gesturing to a door and soon returning to the files on his desk.
Krov rose, bowed his head quickly in respect, and made way to see Doctor Frank Oaken.
Merci pour la lecture!