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The Insurgency: S3 #5 Blackout (GC)
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Part 5 in Season 3 of my Insurgency series. My entry for May's GC. For the Marauders. Please comment, rate and enjoy!
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1st May 2096: Present Day


Yet again I found myself sitting in a small jail cell.


This one was no different to the others that I’d spent time in. Small, dark and with absolutely zero to do! God, it was so boring!

I’d been in here for nearly a month now. After being arrested on Rerador, I’d been kept in a holding cell for around a week, before being transferred back to Qoter and I’d spent the time since then, here.


I had no idea what was taking so long. All I knew was that there was a lot of organisation and debating going on. A guard had told me it was ‘complicated’. I didn’t even know what had happened to Tracks! Or the Viper for that matter!


So once more, I was stuck here. Waiting to see what was going to happen. I hadn’t actually be charged with anything, but for some reason, they weren’t allowing me to go.


So here I lay, staring up at the blank ceiling, absent-mindedly wondering how long it had taken them to build this facility.


My important thoughts were interrupted however, by the sound of my cell door being opened. I frowned. I didn’t usually get visits. Some news on my situation maybe?



The door opened and to my surprise, Judas stepped through.
Judas: “Hello, Tank.” He greeted, his usual grin on his face.
Tank: “Judas!” I exclaimed, grinning in return, pleased to see a friendly face. “What are you doing here?”
Judas: “I,” he began. “Am here to release you.”
Tank: “What?” I couldn’t believe it!
Judas: “Come on. Let’s get out of here and then I’ll explain everything.” He smiled and put his arm around my shoulder.
Tank: “You’ll get no arguments from me!” I joked as he led me out of the cell.



A short time later and I had retrieved my personal effects, re-dressed and then been flown with Judas in his private speeder to the Senate building and from there we had walked to his office. We had chatted along the way, but had not discussed my current situation.


I took the seat I normally took on the near side of the desk and Judas made his way round to the opposite side.


Judas: “Well!” he began, reaching into the cabinet behind his chair and retrieving two glasses and a bottle. “Here’s to freedom!” he smiled, pouring brightly coloured liquid into both glasses and then handing me one.
Tank: “To freedom.” I repeated and we ‘cheers’ed. The wine was good! I was no expert, but it certainly tasted nice! “So, are you going to tell me what’s going on?”
Judas: “Indeed.” He confirmed as he sat in his desk chair. “You have been released for good. The charges against you, for the destruction of government property, have been dropped.”
Tank: “Government property?” I asked, confused.
Judas: “That factory you blew up was government owned.”
Tank: “But it was a drugs lab!” I protested.



Judas: “Now, yes. But it was built by Raydon Engineering who were later bought out by the Reradorian government. That factory was shut down two years ago, but it was so out of the way that they couldn’t be bothered to demolish it. It seems that Mr. Bowen took that as his opportunity to set up base there. It was, however, still government owned.” He explained. “But, as I said; all charges against you are being dropped.”
Tank: “Well, that’s great news.” I replied, smiling. However, my smile was a front, because once again, my thoughts had returned to the makeshift jail inside that drugs lab and to Amando, who I’d had to leave behind. He had asked to be left there. He said he was dying anyway. But I still couldn’t shake my feelings of guilt and sorrow at what I had done. I’d left a man to die. To be blown up.


Judas: “Hey!” Judas’s greeting brought me back to the present and I looked around to see Riley coming in.
Riley: “Hey. Hey, Tank. It’s good to have you back.” She smiled warmly, placing a hand on my shoulder and instantly, my sorrows melted away.
Tank: “Hey. It’s good to be back.” I replied with a grin and placed my own hand on hers.



Judas: “Did those Los’char’tos reports come in yet?”
Riley: “No, not yet. I just heard Tank was back so came for a chat.” Riley answered and sat on the chair next to me.
Judas: “Ah, fair enough!” He smiled. “So, anyway, as I was saying, all charges against you have been dropped.”
Tank: “Yeah, that’s great to hear.” I repeated, a little confused as to why he had repeated himself, but he was grinning so hard, I felt like the reason was about to burst out of him anyway.
Judas: “No, you don’t understand. ALL charges, Tank.”
Realisation dawned on me and my eyes began to widen. Judas reached into his jacket pocket and pulled out a sealed envelope.
Judas: “A full pardon. All crimes under the name Chain Rockwell have now been erased.” He grinned and passed me the envelope.



Riley: “That’s amazing!” she grinned.
Judas: “I know!”
I had torn open the letter and was now reading through it. I couldn’t believe it! He was right! I was a free man! After all this time! No more was I going to be hunted by the authorities and have to run away and hide every time they spotted me!


Tank: “I… I don’t know what to say!” I stammered, hardly believing it.
Judas: “You don’t need to say anything. You’re free to do whatever you like!” he joked.
Riley: “Oh, Tank!” she cried and flung her arms around me in celebration. She held me for a few, amazing seconds, but to be honest, I was still so shocked by everything that I barely even noticed. I was still staring at the piece of paper in my hands.


But then my mood dropped dramatically. The letter was for Chain Rockwell. Not Frank Foster. I was still a wanted man after all. They were still after me for my parents’ murders and presumably for escaping during the Shift and then again when The Brain broke me out.


But, I consoled myself, this was a start! In fact, it was still a huge success! The fact that the majority of my crimes had been wiped away was amazing!


I smirked to myself at the thought that, of the three crimes I was still wanted for, I’d actually only committed two of them and that the rest of the crimes, the ones I had actually committed had been wiped away!



Tank: “But… but where did it come from?” I asked, almost to myself as I scanned through the rest of the document to find the authorisation.
Judas: “Me, of course, you numnuts!” he laughed, just as I found his signature at the bottom of the page.
Tank: “Judas….” I began, but didn’t really know what to say. “Thank you!”
Judas: “I’m sorry it took me so long.” He explained. “But I had all sorts of hassle trying to arrange for your release with the Rereadorians. They were refusing to drop your charges. The only way that I could get you out of there was with a full pardon. So, that’s what I got you.” He smiled and took a swig from his glass. He motioned with the goblet to Riley, silently asking if she’d like a glass.
Riley: “Please.” She nodded, still grinning at all the happiness in the room.


Judas poured her a glass and handed it to her.
Tank: “This is amazing!” I grinned, still not fully capable of putting my gratitude into words.
Riley giggled at my obvious emotional state and Judas, grinning from ear to ear stepped up onto his desk chair.



Judas: “FREEEEEEDOOOM!!!” he bellowed, messing around and as the three of us burst out laughing, I felt tears of joy roll down my cheeks.


It had been a long, long time since I’d been this happy.


And then we were plunged into darkness.


Riley screamed and instantly our laughing stopped. Judas stepped down from his chair and looked around, baffled. From the adjoining offices we could hear mutterings and a general confused babble of voices.
Tank: “What’s going on?” I asked, but nobody had an answer.



Judas slowly walked over to the windows and looked outside.
Judas: “My God…” he breathed and Riley and I joined him. There were no lights on anywhere. Qoter had gone dark.


Riley: “What’s happened to the backup power?” she whispered, clearly frightened and I wrapped my arm around her comfortingly.
Judas: “I don’t know.” He replied, striding over to the doorway. “Archie, what’s going on?” he shouted up the corridor.
Archie: “No idea, boss!” called a reply from somewhere out of sight.
Judas: “Where’s the backup power?”


But no sooner had he asked, out of the window, I saw whole sections of city light up again, getting closer to us. Just a second or so later, with a whir of power and electricity, the lights and all of the equipment turned back on again.



Judas came back into his office, frowning.
Tank: “Well, that was weird.” I commented, trying to lighten the mood again.
Judas: “Very.” He replied, returning to his desk chair. “Qoter’s never lost power like that before. Not that I remember anyway.”
Riley: “I didn’t think it could. I thought the systems were set up so that there would always be emergency power, no matter how many power plants went down?” she asked, also returning to her chair. I did likewise, pocketing my pardon letter.
Judas: “They are. That’s why it’s so strange.”
Tank: “Maybe it’s a complete systems failure?” I suggested, not really having a clue what I was talking about.
Judas: “No, as Riley said. If that were to happen, there would still be emergency lighting.” He replied while typing away on his datapad, presumably sending messages to various figures to try and get to the bottom of the issue.



He continued typing furiously for a minute or so and Riley and I sat in silence. I could see she was nervous so I placed a, hopefully, comforting hand on her knee. She smiled slightly in silent thanks and together we waited for Judas to finish.


Several minutes later he did so.
Judas: “Right, sorry about that.” He commented, business-like.
Tank: “Don’t worry about it.”
Judas: “I’ve arranged an emergency session for first thing in the morning to discuss what happened. Hopefully somebody will have some answers for me then.”


I nodded in understanding.
Judas: “Now, where were we?” he continued, his contagious smile returning. “Oh yes, I believe we were celebrating your freedom!”
Tank: “Indeed.” I smiled back. “Um, what happened to Tracks and my ship?”
Judas: “Oh yes! Of course! Your droid was held in custody for the first week, but being non-sentient, he couldn’t be charged with anything and so they let him go. Your ship was impounded, but that was one thing I did manage to arrange pretty early on – its release. I believe Tracks flew it back here and they’re both waiting for you at your apartment.”
Tank: “Thank you.” I said again, nodding.



Judas: “Now, moving on to our second matter of business. Bowen.”
I frowned.
Tank: “What about him?”
Judas: “During the investigation, he revealed that you assaulted him… again, don’t worry, that charge has been dropped along with the others, but you assaulted him, demanding to know about a man named Stripe? Is this correct?”
I hesitated before answering and glanced at Riley, who seemed a little surprised. Shocked almost. I assumed she was still worried about the power outage and so I decided to answer truthfully.
Tank: “Yeah, but…” Judas held up a hand to silence me.
Judas: “Thought so. So, I got curious. I had no idea who this man was or why you wanted to know about him, but I figured it was one of your jobs for your mysterious employer. Anyway, long story short, we interrogated him and found out everything he knows about this Stripe fellow.”


My heart raced.
Tank: “Really? What did he say?”
Judas: “Unfortunately, not an awful lot. He’s pissed, by the way. Both at the fact that you blew up all of his lovely drugs, but also that you apparently murdered his brother?”



I hung my head in shame, not knowing how to respond. Riley looked on, concerned.
Tank: “He… I didn’t murder him. He asked to be left behind. There was no way I could have saved both twins and I needed the information his brother had. He said he was dying anyway.” I explained, trying to justify it to both of my friends, but also to myself. I knew that this was something that was going to stay with me for a long time yet. Possibly the rest of my life.


Judas: “I didn’t ask.” He replied, and I knew that he was being sympathetic. Riley reached over and gave my hand a squeeze.


Judas: “Anyway…” He continued. “Apparently, he did know Zeth, but quite some time ago. He said that they only worked together once, back in 2094, just after The Shift. Zeth started working for him as a smuggler, transporting his drugs, however, apparently he stole a shipment. Bowen tracked him to a warehouse on Etrion and sent men after him, but they never returned. When Bowen himself went to investigate, he found no sign of any of them. And that was all he knew, I’m afraid.”



I had listened attentively, taking it all in, but at the end, I realised that once more, I’d hit a dead end. No direct lead on Stripe. The warehouse was a possibility – in fact, it was my only clue.


Tank: “Thank you. I don’t suppose you got the warehouse address did you?”
Judas smiled lopsidedly.
Judas: “Unfortunately, he didn’t give it. But I’m sure we can wheedle it out of him.”
Tank: “Thank you.” I repeated.
Riley: “Tank…” she started quietly. “I don’t know why you’re hunting this man; I don’t know why you do most of the jobs you do, but please… be careful.” she warned.
Tank: “Always am.” I smirked in reply, but underneath I was a little confused by her concern.


Qoter: Antillio Region…


Antillio was one of the more beautiful regions of the capitol planet. It was where the rich and the famous had their residences. Ranging from towering skyscrapers closer to the centre, to huge, luxurious mansions further out, all of it was expensive and only available to those with power.



It was in one of these such mansions that Joseph Blanko sat, in a comfy leather armchair, watching the TV. On the nearby sofa, his good friend, Samuel Rostenkowski, was doing likewise.


That was, until the front door was blown inwards by a single blow from a giant hammer.


It crashed to the ground and the pair leapt to their feet as five heavily armed men stormed in.
Joseph: “Who are you?!” he demanded in a mixture of fear and anger. “Are you raiders?”
Woldhide: “Hah! Do we look like raiders?” he responded, as they marched towards the civilians.
Darblade: “Samuel Rostenkowski, you’re under arrest.” He announced, grabbing the escaped fraudster by the neck.



Samuel choked as the black, gloved hand restricted his breathing and he attempted to hit it away, but his attempts to free himself barely phased Darkblade.


Joseph: “Let him go!” he demanded but Jaws simply stepped in front of him and barred his huge, white teeth in a monstrous grin.


Darkblade: “You have the right to remain silent. The rest doesn’t matter.” He told him and tossed him aside like a rag doll. The convict crashed into a side table and lay spluttering on the floor.
Darkblade: “Bind him.” He commanded and Ranger moved in with a set of electro binders.



Darkblade started heading for the door.
Wolfhide: “And where are you going?” he demanded.
Darkblade: “I need to visit somebody nearby. Don’t leave without me.” He commanded and with that, turned and vanished into the night.





A short while later, not far from Joseph Blanko’s mansion, Darkblade stood in a darkened room, surrounded by filing cabinets, computer monitors and office equipment, speaking to a man…



Darkblade: “…and I know you’ve been looking into this too.”
Man: “And what if I have?” the man, seated at his desk, replied.
Darkblade: “And so I suggest we pool our resources. Why have two separate people looking into the same thing, trying to achieve the same goal? Why not work as one? With my resources…”
Man: “What resources?!” he scoffed. “I know who you are. You’re part of that Government-sanctioned team of rogues, hunting down escaped criminals. Now, you’re obviously aware that I am a man of incredible influence, otherwise you wouldn’t have gone to, what I know must have been extreme lengths, to find out my HOME address and come here to see me, so you really think I wouldn’t know who you are?”
Darkblade: “On the contrary. I couldn’t care less whether you know who I am or not. All you need to know is that I will very soon have the resources I speak of. And when I do, I believe it would be beneficial to both of us if we shared them.”



Man: “So, what? You want me to work with you? Work together to look into this?”
Darkblade: “No, my apologies,” he began. “I want you to work for me.”
Man: “You’re insane. You do know who I am, yes?”
Darkblade: “No, I’m not and yes, I do. My resources, my equipment, my rules. I can tell that you’re itching to find out what goodies I have that you can get your hands on; what I have that you could possibly use to gather evidence on the Fosters.” Darkblade smirked under his helmet, knowing that the other man was hooked.


The other man stayed silent and stared into the visor of Darkblade’s helmet, seeing if he could get any reading on the man at all… but nothing. However, the intruder was right. He so desperately wanted to find that information. It wouldn’t take much, not much at all and then their legacy would come crumbling down. But he’d been struggling recently, nothing was coming up, but he knew it was there, he just had to find it. So with additional equipment and links….
Man: “What do you want?”



Darkblade: “So, here’s the deal; You work for me now. Carry on as you were, find out what you can. Continue looking into how the Foster family gained their wealth, dig up any dodgy dealings, pull down the walls of their legacy and let the woodworms come crawling out. Continue looking into their finances and when I get my hands on the equipment I need, you can use it to your heart’s content to further our goal. BUT, as soon as you have found anything, you come to me, okay? You let me know, so that I can be the one to bring that house crashing down.”


The man at the desk smirked sinisterly.
Man: “You sound like you have something personal against them?”
Darkblade: “Their son took everything from me and now I’m going to tear his life apart, piece by piece.” He replied. “Although I assume I’m not the only one here with something against them, otherwise why would you be looking into their finances?”



The other man simply nodded.
Man: “Indeed.”
Darkblade waited for him to elaborate, but he didn’t.
Darkblade: “So, we have a deal?” he asked, stepping forward and holding out a black-gloved hand.
The other man thought momentarily before extending his own hand and grasping the squad leader’s.
Man: “Deal.”





BONUS PICTURES



The set of Beta Squad bursting into the house.



An unused lighting test shot for the mysterious man's office.



As my series is going to be jumping around though time, I will include a date on each episode and add it to the timeline at the end of each episode so that you can follow it.



TIMELINE




Comments

 I like it 
  May 31, 2016
Great builds and story! I like the blackout plot device too, and the way it's helping to link across the various TI stories this month.
 I like it 
  May 28, 2016
Sweet! Nice connection to IAD's with the Blackout...and a pretty good way to get Tank out of his trouble from last time. And the Super Squad!!!
 I like it 
  May 28, 2016
great job! I also like that office at the end!
 I made it 
  May 22, 2016
Quoting Indy Beetle Intriguing, definitely your best mix of atmosphere and writing I've yet to have seen; Chain being legally free but still being forced to face his actions, the lighting in the computer room. Great to see it all come together!
Thanks Indy! --Blast--
 I like it 
  May 22, 2016
Intriguing, definitely your best mix of atmosphere and writing I've yet to have seen; Chain being legally free but still being forced to face his actions, the lighting in the computer room. Great to see it all come together!
 I made it 
  May 22, 2016
Quoting Marley Mac I was think maybe it was Brain, i don't know why but it just seems like it might be him. :P
Interesting theory, which I shall neither confirm nor deny. However, if you think it through, it was the Brain who broke Tank of of jail and who Tank now works for. Why would he want to help Darkblade destroy the Foster's legacy? --Blast--
  May 22, 2016
I was think maybe it was Brain, i don't know why but it just seems like it might be him. :P
 I made it 
  May 22, 2016
Quoting Marley Mac Very nice, I like how you integrated the blackout into your story. I also really like that office model with the awesome lighting. I might also have an idea on who that mystery man is.... ;) Keep it up! :-D
Thanks! + Feel free to guess, although I'll neither confirm nor deny anything you say! Haha. Who are you thinking? --Blast--
 I made it 
  May 22, 2016
Quoting Isaac AD Ooh, good one! I liked how the blackout was included, and seeing Darkblade go to visit that guy was very interesting! [IAD]
Ta! --Blast--
 I made it 
  May 22, 2016
Quoting Werewolff . Another great episode! Well built as ever, with a lot more secrets worked in. Awesome work, and I'll be looking forward to the next one (and getting some more answers :D )
Haha Thanks! --Blast--
 I like it 
  May 22, 2016
Very nice, I like how you integrated the blackout into your story. I also really like that office model with the awesome lighting. I might also have an idea on who that mystery man is.... ;) Keep it up! :-D
 I like it 
  May 22, 2016
Ooh, good one! I liked how the blackout was included, and seeing Darkblade go to visit that guy was very interesting! [IAD]
 I like it 
  May 22, 2016
Another great episode! Well built as ever, with a lot more secrets worked in. Awesome work, and I'll be looking forward to the next one (and getting some more answers :D )
 
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