"Jeez, Mikeyway, could you move any slower?”
Mikey rolled his eyes. “I had something that needed to be taken care of, Pete.” He leaned against the wall, noting that, once again, he was the last to arrive. Lately, he had been lagging when it came to coming in for missions. He wasn’t really sure why, but he was sure it had some Freudian explanation behind it. “Let’s make this quick. The sooner we can get out there, the better.”
Gerard nodded, pulling up a map on the large screen. “According to Toro, we have reason to believe that the CALM in currently experimenting on humans in an attempt to create the ideal super soldier. It’s like Captain America, only these aren’t volunteers we’re dealing with.”
Five pictures appeared on the screen. Gerard began to drag them to various places on the map. “Matt, you and Dallon will take the heavy artillery and create a distraction. Make it seem like you’re after something else. Kitty, Mikey, and Pete, you three will sneak in and find the hostages. Toro doesn’t know the exact location, but he does know that they’ll be in one of three areas- the cellblock, the lab, or the labor area. Citizens, primarily women and children, are to be evacuated before any members of the Collective that may have been captured. As always, Shannon and I will be on standby, should you need either of us.”
“Matt, are you and Dallon in position?”
“Affirmative, Mikey. Dallon and I are ready and waiting.”
“Perfect,” Mikey said, sighting. Things, so far, were going according to plan. “Stay on standby. Once we’re in position, I’ll give you the signal.”
Mikey landed the fighter plane in the clearing, which was surrounded by large trees and clouded by fog. The CALM wouldn’t dare to set foot in this area- the woods was where they released failed experiments, many of which were obscene monsters with a great memory. It provided great cover for missions like these, provided that anyone in the Collective traveled in a group.
Kitty and Pete jumped out of the plane as Mikey contacted Matt once again. “Attack in three minutes. Don’t be afraid to show off.”
“Well, you don’t need to tell me twice. And, before I forget, there’s something I need to tell you, Mikey.”
“I know why you were late. So, make sure you watch your back out there. That kid is hoping to see you alive again.”
“I will, Matt. You and Dallon be careful out there.”
“Will do. Over and out.”
With that, Mikey jumped out of the plane, taking his weapons with him. “Let’s go. We have a very limited frame of time as to getting into the palace.”
Pete, Kitty, and Mikey ran for it, timing their approach just right. They now stood behind the CALM’s fortress, where the large, deep trench separated them from their goal. Waterfalls roared, nearly overpowering the metallic sounds of machines of mass destruction ripping apart the Coalition’s forces.
Mikey took out his crossbow tied one end of a rope to an arrow and the other to the tree. He then took careful aim and fired it, where it landed above a platform.
“Go,” Mikey said, “We don’t have much time.”
The trip used the rope as a zip line, landing on a small platform. Pete began to pick the lock as Mikey cut off the rope, watching as the end of it got lost in the waterfall. Pete soon had the door unlocked and they entered the suspiciously vacant fortress.
Mikey pulled up a small holo-map, projecting the castle’s blueprints. He zoomed into the security region. “Toro’s intel was right on the money- we’re only a few feet away. Once we get in there, Kitty and I will do a quick check for any hostages with the cameras. Pete, you implant the virus.”
A nod came from the other two before they set the plan into motion. Mikey took out his pistol, prepared for any troopers that may have been in the security room. Pete kicked in the door, revealing a relatively pudgy man eating a box of sweets.
“Ahh! Don’t hurt me! I was just-”
Mikey kept his pistol trained on the man, but it was obvious that he didn’t believe what he was seeing. “Just… just get out of here.”
The fat man started to run. “Aren’t you afraid he’ll bust us?” Kitty asked.
“Nah,” Mikey sighed, putting the pistol back in its holster. “He’s probably not going to get far.”
Mikey and Kitty began to alternate from camera to camera as they searched for hostages in the area. To their surprise, there were none. Of course, that probably meant that they had undergone a horrible, terrible death or something, which didn’t really make Mikey feel any better.
“How far along are you in transferring the virus, Pete?”
“Nearly finished,” Pete replied, “We’ve got another minute left.”
“Perfect,” Mikey said, “Now, just watch, something is going to happen…”
“Way to be a negative Nancy, Mikey,” Kitty quipped.
“Nothing goes this smoothly, Kitty.”
“Well, that’s because very few people plan things out.”
“It’s done,” Pete said. “C’mon, let’s go before something goes wrong.”
As they were running out of the security room, Mikey informed his teammates that they needed to get to higher ground in order to successfully zip line out of the CALM’s fortress. They ran up one of the towers, ending up about two stories higher than where they entered. The balcony was on the other side of this door, and it was a seemingly easy escape-
“Oh, you have /got /to be kidding me!”
As luck would have it, the door was locked.
“Yeah, I saw that coming,” Mikey sighed. While Pete began to pick the lock, Mikey kept an eye on the stairs, waiting for any signs of CALM security. Just as Pete successfully opened the door, Mikey could hear footsteps in the distance.
“Really? They couldn’t have just attacked us while we were working?” Kitty asked.
“Things are never that simple, Kitty.”
“Well, we don’t have much time. We need to get out of here.”
“Cover me for a second.” As Kitty took out her revolver, Mikey found his crossbow. Like earlier, he tied a rope to the arrow, tied it to the balcony railing, and shot it, hitting a tree. “Kitty, you and Pete go! I’ll hold them back!”
“There’s only two, Mikey,” Pete observed, “It shouldn’t take you long.” As Kitty zipped across the rope, Pete added, “Be careful, man.”
“I will. Now, go. If I’m not down there in three minutes or less, I’m probably in too deep.”
Pete nodded and proceeded down the rope. Mikey found his trusty pistol and aimed it at the security guards. “Let me guess- fatso reported us?” There was no answer from either CALM trooper, so Mikey assumed he was right. He aimed at the leg of one of the troopers and pulled the trigger, sending a bullet through the kneecap. A sickening crunch was heard and, had Mikey not have heard it so often, would’ve caused him to throw up. The trooper fell back and down the stairs. One down, one to go. But, as Mikey knew, things were never that simple.
“Humor me here,” Mikey sighed, “At least say something. If I’m going to die, I’d rather not be killed by some silent weirdo.”
No reply. Mikey sighed again and pulled a small, round object out of his pocket. “Okay, I really can’t stay much longer than this. We’ll continue this next time.” Mikey threw down the object, which exploded, causing a thick white fog to engulf the stairwell. Mikey ran out to the balcony and began to zip down the rope. He was beginning to think that the mission was a success when he felt a sharp pain in his shoulder.
It took all of Mikey’s strength to not let go of the crossbow that he was using to come down the line. He could feel the warm blood dripping down his skin, but he’d inspect it as soon as he landed.
As soon as Mikey’s boots hit the ground, he finally let go. He hissed in pain as he glanced down at his shoulder- it was bleeding profusely, but from what he could tell, it hadn’t hit an artery, nor did the bullet get stuck. It got through cleanly, but he wouldn’t be the one to fly the plane back to base.
“Mikey, are you-”
“We have to go, Kitty,” Mikey said, cutting the rope. “Don’t worry about me.” He proceeded to apply pressure to the wound, hissing a bit in pain.
As they made their way to the plane, Mikey felt himself growing dizzy from the blood loss. He had to stay awake, though, at least long enough to get to the plane. He had to keep his guard up, too- relax for one moment in this forest and you were as good as dead.
Once they arrived at the plane, Pete and Kitty helped Mikey keep his balance as he stumbled into one of the back seats. He strapped himself in, slowly feeling himself slip away.
“Gerard? This is Pete… we’ve installed the virus, but Mikey’s injured. It’s not too serious, but we’ll need a medic on standby…”
Darkness finally took Mikey, pushing him into a sea of unconsciousness.
“Mikey, look out!”
Mikey’s heel dug into the stomach of a CALM trooper, forcing the air out of his would-be attacker. He then kicked the soldier’s kneecap, earning a sickeningly satisfying crack in response. He turned to his companion, a slightly shorter male with dark locks and black-framed glasses.
“Justin, when I get my hands on the CALM’s informant, you can be sure that he’ll be unrecognizable,” Mikey commented, cracking his knuckles. At the moment, all was quiet, but they both knew that another fleet was coming.
“We need to get out of here,” Justin said, “Y’know, while we still can.”
Mikey nodded and proceeded towards the castle doors. He opened them, only to see that the drawbridge was in the process of being raised.
“Damn!” Mikey breathed. He then glanced up, where he saw a small platform. Mikey carefully examined the cobblestone for footholds before climbing up.
“Mikey, what are you-”
“Just follow my lead,” Mikey said, “I have a plan.”
The two managed to get up onto the small platform. Mikey found his trusty crossbow and tied a rope to the end of an arrow and a parapet before shooting it at a tree.
“We’ll use this as a zip line,” Mikey said, “We have to move fast, though.”
Mikey went down the line first, using the crossbow to help him down. His boots hit the ground and he landed shakily. He stood and turned, seeing that Justin was about halfway down the line.
However, something was wrong. Mikey saw someone at the parapet, working at the rope.
“Justin! He’s cutting the rope!” Alas, the roar of the waterfalls completely drowned him out. It wasn’t until the rope snapped that Justin finally noticed.
Mikey woke with a start, gasping for air. It took him a moment to realize where he was and that his shoulder was injured. Groaning softly in pain, Mikey glanced at his shoulder, which had been carefully stitched and bandaged.
“Mikey? Are you okay?”
Mikey looked over to his brother, who was sitting at his side with a concerned look in his eyes. Mikey nodded, sighing softly. “Just a nightmare, Gerard… I’m okay.”
The concerned look didn’t leave Gerard’s face, but he nodded anyway. “How’s your shoulder, Mikes?”
Mikey moved it a little, wincing lightly in pain. “It’s a bit sore, but it could be worse.”
“Good.” Gerard gently pushed Mikey back down, lightly kissing his forehead. “Go back to sleep. You and Jimmy have to start training the new recruits tomorrow.”
Upon being reminded of his duties outside of being a field agent, Mikey asked, “Shit, JT told me to be careful!”
“And you were. JT’s a bit worried, but really, he knows that it could’ve been a lot worse. Y’know, he was in here a few hours ago, right up until curfew.” Gerard chuckled lightly, amused by the teenager’s actions. “I can tell that he’s going to make a great addition to the Collective.”
Mikey nodded, “Yeah, he will. I can see it, Gee.”
“Agreed.” Gerard gently began to pull the soft blankets around Mikey. “Now, really, go back to sleep. You need to rest.”
“This… this is going to sound really childish,” Mikey sighed, “But could you sing to me?”
Gerard gave Mikey a small, loving smile. He kissed his brother’s forehead and murmured, “Of course, Mikey.”