Part 8 in Season 3 of my Insurgency series! A freebuild for the Marauders! Please comment, rate and enjoy!
About this creation
Corresponding text underneath each picture.
5th May 2094
The sound of numerous gunshots bounced back at us off of the rocky face of the hill in which we’d made our home, as I fired round after round at cans thrown by Jarred.
Jarred: “Yes!” he cried, pleased as I hit the final one and sent it clattering away across the rocks. Of the ten cans he’d thrown, for the very first time, I’d missed none. I’d been okay at shooting static targets for a while now, but moving targets had proven more difficult. He laughed and I grinned, pleased with my own progress. “I said you’d get there!” he beamed as he punched my shoulder boisterously.
Tank: “I knew I would!”
Jarred: “You liar!” he laughed again before sighing. “All that throwing is thirsty work! Drink?”
Tank: “I think we’re nearly out.” I replied, deflated.
Jarred: “Well, then we’d best go into town! We can’t celebrate your progress if we have nothing to celebrate with!” he grinned.
Roughly an hour later and we were making our way through the market area of the local settlement. We’d already bought a sack of fresh fruit, one of which Jarred was currently munching his way through. We didn’t have any problems affording our supplies any more. Not since Jarred started going out with his ‘friends’. I didn’t like it but it was either this or starve to death.
We stopped at the stall we bought our bottled water from and purchased a full crate.
Jarred: “Cheers, pal.” He grinned, passing me a bottle and holding another, his own, out. I clinked mine against his.
Jarred: “To progress!” he joked and I laughed. “Progress, and friendship.” He smiled.
Tank: “Progress and friendship.” I repeated and we both drank.
16th June 2096: Present Day
I was stood on the balcony that extended from the quarters that Tracks and I had been given inside the Namorian High Priestess’ temple. Leaning on the railings I looked out over the beautiful city below.
It had taken longer than I’d expected for the Namorians to check their records and see if there was any mention of Zeth Stripe. I’d been here for two weeks now, but to be honest I could think of worse places to spend a fortnight! The Namorian city was the most beautiful place I’d ever been. So calm. So relaxing. And the people were so friendly!
Especially Aurora! The High Priestess’ daughter was just a delight. I’d spent at least a few hours with her every day. She normally had official duties to attend to but she always made sure to come and visit me at least once a day, and whilst I enjoyed just exploring the ancient city’s streets, her visits were always the highlight of my day.
Although, at the same time as being the highlight of the day, it also always made me feel guilty. She was such an attractive woman, I couldn’t help but feel drawn to her. But every time I thought that, Riley’s face popped into my mind. We hadn’t exactly been together long, but I’d fancied Riley ever since we were kids. We’d spoken several times since I’d been here but she was pretty busy with work at the moment, so we hadn’t had any great amount of time to talk.
My thoughts were interrupted by a knock on my door.
Tank: “Come in!” I called. The door opened and Aurora poked her head in.
Aurora: “May I enter?”
Tank: “Of course! You can do what you like! I’m the guest here!”
Aurora: “A tempting offer.” she smirked as she walked out and joined me on the balcony.
Wait, was… was that flirting?!
Tank: “So… I, uh… I think I’ve remembered all of that prophecy the old woman told me.” I said, moving the conversation along.
Aurora: “Yes? What did she say?”
I tried to remember it all.
Tank: “One as a brother, blamed and chained. One as an enemy, enslaved once again. One to know truth with their final breath. By the other’s own hand, they bring their death.” I recited.
Aurora frowned, thinking.
Aurora: “Do you know what it means?”
Tank: “I have no idea. I have no brothers or enemies, as far as I’m aware! And ‘by the other’s own hand, they bring their death’? Yeah, I don’t like the sound of that part!”
Aurora laughed musically.
Tank: “Is that… is that my death?” I asked, worriedly.
Aurora: “I don’t know. The mystics know a lot of things that one wouldn’t normally think possible, but I’m afraid to say that I am not privy to their ways.”
Tank: “The other part I’m concerned about is the whole ‘know truth with their final breath’ part. That better not be about me. I mean, I want to find out the truth about my parent’s deaths, but I’m not sure I want to die for it!”
Aurora silently placed her hand on mine on the railing.
Aurora: “It may well be about somebody else. It does not specify you. The mystics do not know everything. Prophecies have been wrong before. They’ve been proven false or have been misread. It happens.” She smiled, trying to cheer me up. “I wouldn’t worry about it.”
I smiled in return. I loved the feel of her hand on mine, but…
Tank: “So… finished your duties for today?” I asked, sliding my hand out from under hers and moving the conversation along.
Aurora: “Unfortunately not. I’m here on business.”
Aurora: “My mother has finished searching the records.”
Tank: “Really? And?!” I asked, excited.
Aurora: “She wishes to speak to you herself.”
Tank: “Okay. Lead on.”
A short while later and Tracks and I were stood back in the great chamber, before her grace, the High Priestess.
High Priestess: “… and found no record of him whatsoever.”
My heart sank.
High Priestess: “I can therefore confirm that we have not passed our judgement over Mr. Stripe.”
That was it then. Another dead end.
High Priestess: “However…”
My heartbeat picked up again.
High Priestess: “We also keep records of known criminals whom we have yet to sentence and upon checking those records, I did indeed discover Mr. Stripe’s name.”
Tank: “You did?!” I asked excitedly.
High Priestess: “We have known of his crimes for quite some time now, however, they have been deemed unworthy of our scrutiny.”
Tank: “Wait, ‘unworthy’?!” I asked, feeling an anger bubbling inside of me. I saw Aurora frown pointedly at me, telling me not to raise my voice at the High Priestess, but I couldn’t help my feelings.
Tank: “Unworthy?” I repeated. “So you’re telling me that the murder of two innocent people, my parents is not enough?! Not bad enough for you to sentence him?” I started to shout.
Aurora: “Tank…” she warned.
Tank: “He killed my parents!” I shouted. “How is that not worthy of punishment?!”
The High Priestess remained silent and simply frowned at me.
Tank: “Where is he? Do you know where he is?” I demanded. “Tell me where he is and I’ll pass judgement myself!”
Aurora: “Tank…” she repeated, but I didn’t listen.
High Priestess: “We do not keep track of those who’s crimes are too insignificant for our judgement.”
My mouth actually fell open in rage and I tried to think of something to say, but couldn’t. After opening and closing my mouth silently several times, I turned my back on the two Namorian women and stalked away.
Tank: “Come on, Tracks.” I growled to my companion.
A short time later and I was in our chambers, just finishing off packing up the last of our things, getting ready to leave, when there was a knock on the door.
I didn’t answer it and a minute later, the knock came again. Once more I didn’t answer, but I saw Tracks head over and open it. I didn’t bother turning around to see who it was.
Aurora: “Tank.” She greeted and I sighed. Normally I enjoyed her company, but not right now. I needed time to get over my anger.
Aurora: “Tank. Please. Do not take it personally…” she tried to comfort, but that just made it worse.
Tank: “How can I not?” I asked, whirling round to face her. “He killed my parents and your mother said his crimes were ‘insignificant!’”
Aurora: “I understand your frustration. But what you need to understand is that my mother, our people, know of millions, if not billions of criminals throughout the system. She has to judge them across the board. To you, the murder of two people may seem atrocious, but compared to some of the other criminals in the galaxy, it is nothing.”
Tank: “Nothing…” I scoffed and turned back to packing.
Aurora: “I truly am sorry, Tank. I’m sorry that we couldn’t give you the information you came looking for.”
Suddenly my mind flashed back to what the ancient woman had said on the mountaintop when I’d first arrived here. ‘What you seek… you will not find it.’ She’d been right! I had passed her prophecy off as nothing more than fortune telling, but what if she was right about that too? What did it mean?
Aurora: “I promise though, I will search for you. I will do all that I can to track down this Stripe man. I can tell it means a lot to you and… well, then it means a lot to me.”
I took a deep breath and sighed before turning back to the white-skinned beauty.
Tank: “Thank you, Aurora.” I said with a small smile.
We stood there looking at each other for several seconds in silence.
Aurora: “Stay. Stay here with us. I’m sure that together we could easily find out where Stripe is.”
It was a tempting offer, but…
Tank: “I’m sorry, but I can’t. I have things…. people, that I have to get back to.” I replied.
Aurora: “Oh… I see.” She said, sounding disheartened. “Well, I promised to help, and so I will. If I find anything, I will be in touch.
26th June 2096: Present Day
Somewhere in one of the many dark alleys of one of the Qoterian cities, the same, mysterious man whom Darkblade had gone to visit was deep in conversation with a policeman…
Man: “…and you’re sure about the validity of this information?”
Cop: “Absolutely! I work in archives! I filed it myself back when it came in!
Cop: “Yeah! I’m tellin’ ya’! The exact co-ordinates of where they re-captured the Foster kid on Iapra! I think it was some sort’a cave he’d been hidin’ out in. It’s all in the mission report.”
Man: “Good. Okay, here’s your payment.” He said and an exchange took place.
Cop: “Say, why’d you want this anyway? What’s it to you?”
Man: “Somebody I work with wants dirt on the Fosters. I’m hoping there might be something there I can use.”
Cop: “Wow. What’s he got against the Fosters?”
Man: “No idea.”
And with that, there was a small flash and a pop as a silenced bullet was fired and the crooked policeman dropped dead.
The other man bent down, reached inside of the policeman’s coat and retrieved the money he’d given him.
Without another word, the suited man straightened up and walked away from the scene.
28th June 2096: Present Day
I had gotten back to Qoter yesterday and, feeling guilty, had tried to get in touch with Riley to see if we could meet up, but for some reason, she wasn’t answering her com’.
Currently, I was sat on my sofa, trying to not fall asleep – eleven days of flying was quite tiring! However, my rest was not to last as my comlink started beeping. Hoping it was Riley, I scrabbled to pull it from my belt and activate it. To my mild disappointment, Judas appeared in my palm.
Tank: “Oh, hey.”
Judas: “Hey Tank. Um, I was wondering if you could do something for me?”
Tank: “Um, sure.” I replied, intrigued. “What’s up?”
Judas: “Could you drop by the office in a bit and I’ll explain it to you in person.”
Tank “Yeah, sure!”
Judas: “Cheers mate.”
A couple of hours later and I was walking into the Governor’s office.
Tank: “Hey.” I greeted as I entered.
Judas looked stressed, reading a datapad with his elbows on the desk and his hands on his head. He glanced up when I spoke.
Judas: “Oh, hey, Tank. How are you?” he asked, but I got the impression he was too distracted to actually hear my answer.
Tank: “I’m alright thanks. How are you?” I asked, concerned as I plonked myself down on the red leather sofa. “You look stressed.”
Judas laughed and finally sat back in his chair.
Judas: “You can say that again!”
Tank: “What’s up?”
Judas: “Oh, just the usual running the entire planet scrim!”
Tank: “Yeah… but more stressed than usual! Where’s Riley, anyway, I didn’t see her on my way in?”
Judas: “She’s taken a few days off. She’s helping her dad with something apparently.”
Tank: “Oh… okay then.” I responded, a little deflated. “So… what’s the matter?” I asked, moving on.
Judas: “Oh, just… everything!” he joked downheartedly. “I’m still trying to sort out this bloody mess with that Collective temple that dropped on Etrion. And of course things haven’t been helped by the disappearance of her Grace, the Archmage! It’s just all a nightmare to sort out! We have no idea how many were killed and sending in relief teams is proving almost impossible. Some merc’s called ‘The Claws of Etrion’ have been spotted in the area as well, which is worrying.”
Tank: “Yeah, I saw on the news that they were struggling.”
Judas: “Mmm… And on top of that, there’s these blackouts. They’re getting more and more common and nobody can tell me why.”
Judas: “Yeah. None of the electricity companies, none of the engineering firms… nobody has a damned clue what’s going on! They say they’ve never seen anything like it.”
Tank: “Do they know why the backup power failed?”
Judas: “Nope. They have no idea about that either. They can’t find anything wrong, anywhere!”
Tank: “Strange.” I agreed.
Judas: “Yeah, and that’s not the only thing. I’ve been getting reports of robots going haywire all over the planet. Just ordinary robots that go berserk and start attacking people.”
Tank: “Oh okay? Odd.”
Judas: “But not just ordinary ‘bots. There have been reports of ‘junk’ robots attacking people too. Just out of nowhere, ambushing people in the street.”
Tank: “Really? Why? Did they take anything? Are there any connections?”
Judas: “It doesn’t seem so, although it’s a little unclear at the moment.”
Tank: “Is it connected to the power outages?”
Judas: “We don’t know anything at the moment, Tank. But, this is actually why I’ve asked you here. My top people, the men and women who are supposed to know their stuff, can’t figure out what the heck is happening. So I was hoping that you’d be up for looking into it all for me?”
Tank: “Really? Why me?”
Judas: “I was thinking that a fresh set of eyes, a new brain, might be able to see something or figure out a link that those guys who deal with that stuff day to day, can’t.”
I nodded in understanding.
Judas: “So, what do you say? You up for a challenge?” he asked with a slight smirk – a hint of his usual bravado shining through his stress.
Tank: “Sure.” I agreed. “I’ll look into it. See what I can dig up.”
Judas: “Perfect!” he grinned. “Thank you so much! I owe you one!”
Tank: “I’d wait and see if I find anything first!” I joked and the pair of us laughed.
Several shots rang out, accompanied by cries of pain and the last two guards dropped dead. Just as all of the others had done.
A final shot to the lock of the nearby door and it swung inwards, allowing Darkblade access.
It was all his!
He made his way into the darkness of the warehouse interior and scanned for any life signs – there were none. Walking over to a nearby bench activated the motion-sensing lights and all along the ceiling, the fluorescent tubes ‘dinged’ on.
Now fully lit, Darkblade took a few minutes to explore the warehouse. It was small, but that was okay. He didn’t need his base of operations to be massive. This was in fact his second base. The first, he'd had to trigger the fail-safe on when some merc's led by a woman called the Iron Maiden had somehow tracked him down.
Looking around, there was hardly any technology installed, just one ancient, battered terminal covered in dust. That wasn’t an issue though, he thought to himself. It shouldn’t be too hard to ‘acquire’ some more up to date tech. After all, it hadn’t been too hard to ‘acquire’ this warehouse.
But a new computer was going to be essential for planning his next steps. Now that he’d gotten away from that useless rabble who called themselves a squad, he could finally set about getting on with the only thing that had kept him going during his time in jail and since – the thought of finally getting revenge on Tank!
He’d spent many, many hours, thinking about what he’d do when he finally got his hands on Rockwell again.
Sitting down, Darkblade thought it all over.
There was no way that he was going to go straight after Tank. That would be too quick. Too easy. Killing him without him knowing why would be pointless. No. He needed to draw it out. Make it last.
He was going to bring everything Tank loved tumbling down around him. He already had someone working on the Foster family’s finances – one little dodgy deal and their legacy would be in tatters. That was only a matter of time.
Then he would move on to those the kid cared for. Darkblade didn’t know if there was anybody ‘special’ in Tank’s life, but he must have made friends in the time since he’d gotten out of jail.
And those friends would pay.
They all would.
Anybody, in any way associated with Frank Foster or Chain ‘Tank’ Rockwell, was going to suffer.
Then, after all of that, Darkblade would tell him the truth. Once everything had been taken from the boy, once he had nobody and nothing left, once the truth had been told, THEN he would end him.
The marketplace set.
The guest suite on Fuyoria with the forced-perspective forest.
The entrance to Darkblade's new hideout.
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.
Good one! I especially liked all the Darkblade bits! [IAD]
I like it
Ron L. Mitchell
June 29, 2016
Best installment yet!
I like it
June 29, 2016
Nicely written episode! I've gotta say, I've seen a lot of villains, but Darkblade outshines a lot of them through sheer determination to completely obliterate anyone in his way... kinda unnerves me just how far it looks like he'll go to achieve his ends. I also really like how Darkblade is this masked, unknown character, but the reader thinks they've seen him before. I have my suspicions as to who he is, but I get that feeling I'm wrong...
Perfectly written and built as every one if your builds is! Lots of nice hints, mystery's and questions thrown about, and you've got my curiosity bones aching! And, as Blizzard said, Darkblade is s really great villain, one whom is thought to be one character, but is probably someone completely different. I'm looking forward to the next one!