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Demon Hunter's Side Story From The Bunker

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posted on Mar, 21 2004 @ 06:22 PM
Thanks for compliments from both of you. This has definitely grown as we've settled into a groove here.

posted on Mar, 24 2004 @ 10:08 PM
Note: These events immediately follow Chapter 22, Midnight Driving, of Deus Ex's My ATS Story.

A basket case. That’s what Intrepid had called me. I guess he didn’t know that I had the vehicles bugged. I’m sure everyone would view that as paranoia – a sign of my waning sanity.

Maybe he was right. Maybe I had gone too far round the bend. Maybe I just had let my true self out for all to see. Now that’s a laugh. I rarely let anyone in the bunker see anything that I didn’t want them to see. Maybe that’s half the problem though. Too many secrets.

I’d been walking through the shadows of the compound, just to get some air and clear my head, when I overheard what some of the others thought of me. Now it wasn’t the first time someone had questioned my sanity, and it surely wouldn’t be the last. I’ve been used to that for a long, long time now. But for some reason this time it bothered me a little more.

I wasn’t surprised that some of the people I’d taken in would find me a little eccentric, in fact I had prepared for it. I was always dressed in black, only occasionally showing some red that wasn’t a blood stain. My long hair and dark eyes, the mustache and goatee, it all made people look at me a little differently. The rumors of a supernatural background added to the air of mystery I was once happy to cultivate.

But this was a different time, a different place.

I needed to win these people’s trust. My usual dark and dour personality had resurfaced in a big way once Lindsey was killed. I guess in some ways she was what tied me to my humanity. I just felt detached after that. Maybe I was just afraid of getting too close to someone else again. I lost too many people so far -- too many people that were close to me.

But everyone here needed to be able to see I wasn’t insane or anything. Not even if I was losing faith in that idea myself.

As I slipped along the trenches, I shook some hands, thanking the few left to stand guard for their courage under some terrible circumstances. It was important to me that these people, the ones who were spending their time and risking their lives to safeguard the bunker’s existence, know that they were appreciated. It always had been, and I hoped it always would be that way for me.

Suddenly the roar of an engine brought us to alert though. Headlights were shining at us dead-on as we readied ourselves for another assault. Guns were drawn as I gripped my sword, ready for anything. We were in no position to fend off another frontal assault, but there was no way in Hell we were going out without a fight.

I clutched at the lightning bolt pendant hanging around my neck as I dropped to one knee, quietly asking the storms to grant me the fury of their thunder and the speed of their lightning. Just my personal superstitions, I guess, but the lightning had always been my personal totem or symbol. Now I was counting on that to give me strength to defend myself and those around me.

I was about to radio to the bunker to bar the doors and keep things locked down when someone screamed out, “Devils are incoming! That’s Deus!”

“Hold your fire! Hold your fire!” I called out, looking for some sign of who they were as the truck skidded to a stop inside the compound. Then I saw Gothique’s lithe form as she lowered herself from the bed of the battered Ford pickup into Deus Ex’s waiting arms, the two of them nearly collapsing from the effort they’d given.

As I rushed to their side, they straightened up, gathering their composure to give their report. “We’ve got the supplies Parrhesia asked for,” DE stated as he tried to catch his breath. “I’m taking Gothique down to the infirmary, ese.”

“Get that truck unloaded!” I called out to anyone who would listen before turning back to Deus. “Great job, DE. You’ll have your own Galaxy if you keep this up, ristar.” I slapped my hand on his good shoulder as I helped the two of them across the compound to the house. DE let a rare smile escape, cracking the rough and tumble façade he’d shown to most.

“So how could you be sure it was us, TDH? Have the truck bugged or something?” Intrepid joked as he caught up to us.

Glancing back over my shoulder, I replied with a grin, “A basket case like me wouldn’t have the smarts to think of that, Intrepid.” I paused to let the words sink in for Intrepid. “Someone else ID’ed the truck on your way in. I just okayed it.”

Later I went back to the trenches to salute whoever made the identification under those conditions, only to hear time and again that nobody there had made the call until I gave the cease-fire order. I knew the voice was familiar, but nobody was willing to take the credit for what happened.

Maybe I was just hearing things. I guess basket cases like me do stuff like that.

[Edited on 3/25/2004 by TheDemonHunter]

posted on Mar, 24 2004 @ 10:51 PM
Excellent work. The walls are beggining to close...look out for our next story arc, starting within the next 3 chapters!


posted on Mar, 25 2004 @ 06:43 AM
And also look out for the battle in my next chapter, comming as soon as I dig out of all this homework and write it!

posted on Mar, 25 2004 @ 09:08 AM
Excellent as usual, Demon Hunter.
As for the Pisky's story, with the plague inside the castle, things are certainly about to get interesting.

posted on Mar, 25 2004 @ 09:11 AM
good work demon hunter, I reread the whole saga from the beginning and it's turning out to be a great story.. look forward to reading more

posted on Mar, 25 2004 @ 09:58 AM
DH, nice work, bro. Are you insinuating that I might be paraniod? That was a vicious rumour. Hey, wait a minute, forgot to check out my phone to see if it's bugged. Honestly though,

posted on Mar, 25 2004 @ 10:58 PM
Thanks again to all of you for your compliments. The world may not be a better place in this timeline DE has created, but it certainly is a stranger one. I love to deal with strange.

posted on Mar, 28 2004 @ 10:38 AM
Note: Sorry for another delayed posting everyone. This chapter takes place after Chapter 24: The View From Here from Deus Ex's My ATS Story.

Silence at last.

A moment’s respite from the chaos and carnage of the last few days had been earned by all, yet it seemed as though we’d never have the opportunity to collect. But for one fleeting moment, a calm had arrived. Perhaps we had merely arrived in the eye of the storm, but I knew we needed to take full advantage of this time to regroup and reload.

I sat in quiet meditation, legs crossed before me as I cradled my sword in my hands across my lap. My head hung low as I tried to sort through all the thoughts and emotions that swirled through the tempest that was my mind. Inner peace was something I’d never been able to find, and now more than ever my thoughts were racing from one possibility to the next.

Deep breaths, in and out, was all I tried to focus on, yet the losses we’d suffered kept pouring back into my mind. I’d seen so many of my own fall in this conflict, so many of those who trusted me to keep them safe, and to say that thought wore on me would be an understatement.

My internal turmoil was interrupted by a voice through my quarters’ intercom setup, snapping me back to the moment at hand. “TDH, we’re ready when you are.” RANT sounded almost annoyed that I hadn’t made my presence known upstairs yet. Looking at the clock, I could see that I was running a little late. Must have lost track of time.

Rising slowly to my feet, I attached my sword to my belt once more as I moved to the panel to answer. “Yeah, on my way.” Taking a deep breath I walked out the door and began the long walk to the surface.

And now another round of memorials would begin.

The crowd had already gathered at the makeshift graveyard as I walked across the compound. A hush came over them as I approached, the buzz of conversations cut short as I made my way to the head of the assembled residents of the ATS bunker.

“I thank you for joining me to honor these fallen comrades-in-arms, the courageous men and women who have given their lives to protect the life we have here.” I looked out across the many familiar faces, seeing their gaze fixed on me. “We have all felt the terrible sting of loss, as friends and family, allies and comrades, have fallen prey to the wounds of battle as they have raged across our area. No one is immune to these terrible losses, my friends, and though the pain is terrible, we must not let their deaths be in vain.”

“We shall remember each and every one of them as we carry on where they left off. Now more than ever we must keep in mind the achievements and sacrifices of our fallen friends, using those memories to push us forward as the days grow more and more difficult for us.”

So many faces were teary-eyed as I continued. This was going to be a long, long day, and not one I’d want to ever have to repeat. But as I continued, I knew that we don’t always get what we want. And as I continued, I could hear the voices of the dead calling out to me, asking for my help, asking me to save them. I needed to filter all of them out as I continued, and the strain was murderous, but I got through it.

It would be a long time before I’d find silence again.

[Edited on 3/29/2004 by TheDemonHunter]

posted on Mar, 28 2004 @ 12:15 PM
That was a very emotional chapter. Nice eulogy too

posted on Mar, 29 2004 @ 08:15 AM
Thanks, Pisky. I had felt like this chapter probably wasn't quite up to par, particularly in length, but it's always good to get feedback.

[Edited on 3/29/2004 by TheDemonHunter]

posted on Mar, 29 2004 @ 11:03 AM
Note: This chapter immediately follows the events of Chapter 25: The Ragged Edge of Deus Ex's My ATS Story. And yes, I posted a day early this time.

I walked through the forest surrounding the bunker compound as I often had, trying to clear my head once more. Things had taken a big turn for the worse with Saucerat’s attack during the interrogation of the prisoners, and my lack of action could have cost someone their life. I can’t say I knew anything else that I could have done under the circumstances though. I’m just glad Deus showed up when he did or it would have gotten ugly. Well, uglier than it turned out, at least.

It seemed like every waking hour was a new lesson in chaos these days. I just needed someone to help me sort through it. Someone I could trust. Someone I could confide in. Someone who knew me before all this began.

That’s when I heard the familiar girl’s voice behind me. “You don’t look happy.”

I turned casually to the source of those words, like I expected her to be there all along. “Lindsey, things are goin’ south in a big way, kiddo. I think I’m in over my head on this one.” I took a deep breath as she stood and watched me, waiting for me to continue. “Sauce almost killed someone in there, and I couldn’t do anything to stop him. I feel like I’m losing what little control over myself I had and like we’re all losing what little hope we had.” Dressed all in black, she wore the same gear I did, just as she always did. She’d always wanted to make me proud of her. Just seeing her brought a smile to my face, albeit a weak and weary one.

Her shoulder-length blond hair fluttered around her angelic face in the breeze as she stepped up to me, wrapping her arms around me for a much-needed hug. It had been so long since I’d let anyone close enough to touch me. “You’re scaring me here, DH. I’m the one who’s always thinking that there’s nothing to live for, remember?”

I had to chuckle at that one. It seemed like just yesterday that I’d found her in a chat room, crying about how some idiot boy she had a crush on had broken her heart and how it made her want to die. I’d talked her back to reality that night but now she was trying to console me. Things changed in the last four years. It felt like more than a lifetime had passed.

As she pulled back from me, I looked her in the eye. “Lindsey, I knew it could get rough, but this is far more than I ever planned on. Lysergic is dead. Saucerat’s lost his face and his mind. Deus looks like he fights a Cuisinart in a slaughterhouse after every patrol. Every move I make sends more of our people either to the infirmary or the graveyard.” I took another deep breath. “They’re going to close in on us soon, darlin’, and it’s not going to be pretty when they show up.”

“So what are you going to do? Surrender when the next attack comes? Somehow I don’t see you doing that.”

“I’m not looking to surrender, but I’ve been looking at options, kiddo.”

She looked up at me with a strange look on her face. “Are you thinking of having a group this size just ‘ghost’ into the wild? Please tell me you’re kidding.”

“Not everyone. I plan on staying for as long as we can hold the house, but I don’t want anyone to feel obligated to stay since we’re a known target. I can’t ask them to do that. We’ve got a few vehicles they can use to get out of the area.”

“Wait a minute,” she said, holding up her hand. “Where do you expect them to go? It’s not like they can just leave and check into a Holiday Inn. Last time I checked, the only place they could expect to wind up was one of the internment camps. That’s not like a trip to summer camp, you know.”

“So what do you expect me to do? Ask everyone to die with me because we know an attack will have to come sometime? This is a losing battle right now. At the moment, it’s a slow loss, kiddo. Every win costs us more than we gain.”

“So pull whatever high-and-mighty wanna-be Sith Lord bull# you have out of your ass and put it to use. It’s not like you’ve always walked the straight and narrow, and it’s not like you aren’t more than justified in pulling the Darth Vader routine out of storage in that creepy cobwebbed brain of yours.” She had a sinister grin on her face when she said it. She knew what she was talking about, whether I wanted to admit it or not. I just needed to find that nastiness I’d been hiding away for so long. “You know I’m right.”

She paused to let that sink in before adding, “You know you want to feel the rush of the thunder and lightning. Find that feeling inside yourself. Use whatever memories you have of your darkest secrets, and use that against these people. We both know you can be one seriously devious bastard when you want to.”

I had to crack a smile at that comment.

“I know you’ve worked so hard to get control of yourself and your so-called dark side, but what has it done for you?” She frowned a little. “You led with your heart and not with your head, and it let you get hurt by everything happening around you. Bad call, Empathy-Boy. The first thing you taught me was to learn how to block out the distractions that the gifts we have can cause. It’s like the teacher becomes the student, DH, because I can see why you’re drowning in the emotions of everyone around you, but you can’t.”

“Find what makes you burn, what makes you breath, what makes you alive. Really alive, not just this going-through-the-motions bull# I’ve been watching. You know it’s what you want. You know it’s what you need. Stop thinking about what you can do to protect these few civilians you have at home and imagine what you can accomplish with the fighters you have. You’re thinking too much about defense and not enough about regaining your strength. You need to live. And we know what makes you live.”

I was a little scared, but I had to admit she knew me better than I thought she did. I guess she really was paying attention all that time. I looked down, trying to find the words I wanted to say. “I’ve been holding back that dark edge of myself for so long, trying to keep everyone happy. I guess I can’t worry about that right now. We have a war to win. And if we can’t win, we’d damn well better make sure we live up to the promises I’ve given to avenge the ones we’ve lost.”

She was grinning like the Cheshire Cat as she told me, “So saddle up the Horsemen, stock up on six-packs of whup-ass, sharpen the swords, and….” She paused before surprising me with a quick kiss on the lips, then whispered in my ear as she put her arms around my neck, “Play Angel to my Buffy.”

“Huh? Uh… Lindsey…..” I was in absolute shock. Maybe even terror. I mean, she was cute, but I’d known her since she was thirteen or fourteen. I really didn’t have time to deal with a schoolgirl crush, if that’s what it was.

“Just teasing!” she giggled. “Ooops! Company’s coming.”

I glanced over my shoulder, eyes still wide from shock, to see Springer emerging from some brush.

“Damn, DH, when you head off to parts unknown, you really….” Springer’s voice trailed off as he looked around with a puzzled expression. “Hey uh…. who were you talking to? And uh…. why do you look like you’ve seen a ghost?”

“Oh I was just talking to….” I couldn’t tell him that I was talking to a girl from his squad who he thought was dead. That wouldn’t work too well. “Myself. I was talking to myself, that’s all.”

I could tell from the look on his face that he didn’t quite believe that one, but he didn’t seem too sure about calling me on it either. “Yeah…. uh…. Parrhesia asked me to look for you. Something about you being late for a follow-up on an injury?”

She apparently wasn’t going to let go of her problem about my having problems with my knees.

“Alright, Springer, let’s go see what she wants.”

Springer looked around a few more times, still seemingly a little confused before mumbling to himself, “I know I heard someone else up here….”

[Edited on 3/29/2004 by TheDemonHunter]

posted on Mar, 29 2004 @ 11:22 AM
Exellent brethren. And on my day off too. Thanks. Well, unleash the fury, I'm looking forward to that. Also the Lindsey bit....

posted on Mar, 29 2004 @ 02:14 PM
Excellent lead in, TDH. Work what is the great! I'll try to post by tonight, myself...


posted on Apr, 5 2004 @ 05:27 PM
Note: This chapter immediately follows the events of Chapter 26: Lines of Communication of Deus Ex's My ATS Story. Complaints about delays, as always are welcome via u2u, e-mail, IM, etc....

I couldn’t believe the words as RANT repeated the report from upstairs. From the look on his face though, I could tell this wasn’t a joke. His Mossberg was slung low against his hip as he waited for me to acknowledge that I heard what he’d said and believed it.

I looked up, somewhat puzzled, from the overseas report from Genya I’d been reading. “Let me get this straight. There’s a Mercedes-Benz limo topside, with some guy in a silver suit who wants to talk to the man in charge. He jumped the trench but seems perfectly relaxed despite standing amidst an armed guard of Deus’s Devils.” My voice was pretty well dripping with sarcasm at this point.

“That’s how DE called it in, chief.”

“Gee, RANT, I don’t know why you thought I’d have a hard time believing this one,” was all I said as I rose from a terminal in the command center. Things were getting stranger and stranger around here, it seemed.

As I made my way to the door leading up the steps, Lindsey fell in stride behind me, a step ahead of RANT. “What do you think this guy wants? Is he looking for a new spokes-model for one of their corporate ad campaigns? If he asks, I’m not interested, DH.”

I let out a deep breath and stifled a laugh. “I doubt it’s going to be that pleasant. We’ll talk about that later, but for now, I need to focus on what’s going on,” was my reply to her question.

RANT took his usual post at the door, trying to figure out what I was talking about. “Uh… yeah…. we’ll talk later, TDH.” He just shook his head a little and checked over his Mossberg as I continued up through the house, Lindsey right behind me.

Stepping cautiously through the front door, I looked to Deus. “Okay boys and girls, what do we have here?”

Before any of them could speak however, the man in the silver suit extended a hand and began to speak. “Hello there. I’m…” He was cut off by the sound several of the Devils moving to level their weapons at him as they got between us. “Now is this really necessary?”

“Deus, have his briefcase checked, please.” I motioned for the man to hand over his briefcase, which DE took, heading for a small building at the other end of the compound. Mr. Morden smiled calmly, perhaps too calmly, as Deus made his way to the far end of the compound. Maybe I was just paranoid though.

“Now as I was saying,” he said, “I’m Mr. Morden, and I am here to negotiate with you for a peaceful settlement to the hostilities, Mr. Ri…”

“Hunter,” I interrupted harshly, while his hand extended once more. “I’m The Demon Hunter. We don’t use names here, Mr. Morden. We use what we all know. Nothing more, nothing less. Are we clear on this point?” I needed to let this guy know that yes, I am the one in charge here.

“Of course… Mr. Hunter. I’m here to help get you what you want.” He smiled, trying to be rather charming, as I let out a deep breath, trying to be patient. Just what I wanted to deal with – some slick corporate snake in a three-piece suit. This was going to be a long day.

“Step into my office, Mr. Morden,” I said, walking into the main house. I gestured for Mr. Morden to take a seat at the kitchen table as he and several of Deus’s Devils followed me in. This wasn’t quite what I had planned, however. Turning to face them, “Sorry, guys, but I need the room alone with Mr. Morden for a little bit.” A few of them looked at me, seemingly a little frustrated. “This talk isn’t for everyone. I’ll have to ask you to wait outside and return to your posts. You’ll be briefed on anything that comes of this.”

Lindsey, standing along the wall near the door, chimed in as the Devils started to turn back to the outside, “Yeah everyone has to go back to work, so we can talk to….”

“Everyone,” I said quite firmly, “and that means all of you. No exceptions.” I looked right at Lindsey as I added the last part.

Saucerat stood completely still, just staring at Mr. Morden. I looked to Gothique, who took that as her cue to gently tug at Saucerat’s arm. “C’mon baby…. DH needs the room.” Sauce pulled his arm away and backed out of the room, just staring at Mr. Morden. As I nodded toward her, Gothique smiled weakly and backed out, following Lindsey and Saucerat, closing the door behind them.

Taking a seat across from Mr. Morden, I looked into his dark eyes. “Okay, slick, let’s get down to business here. What are you offering and what do you want in return.”

Smiling like the cat who ate the canary, Morden replied. “A man who gets right to business, I like that, Mr. Hunter. What I’ve been sent here to discuss with you is a peaceful settlement to hostilities between your private militia here and the American Corporate Council’s Internal Security Forces.” He paused a moment. “I know that this hasn’t been easy for you here – for any of you. You and your people could be wiped out at any moment if they chose to do so. But I’m here to help change that. All you need to do is lay down your weapons and surrender them to ACC Security. I’m here to find out what it will take on your part, and then give it to you. We have some time to work out the agreement. I’m sure you’ll agree that a bloodless solution is best for us all.”

A knock at the door signaled another interruption.

“Yeah,” I called out, still looking at Morden.

The door opened and Deus walked in, briefcase in hand. “Briefcase checks out, omae.” As he set it on the table in front of Mr. Morden, their eyes met. Morden’s expression never changed from the same calm demeanor he’d exhibited since his arrival, despite DE’s readily apparent disdain for him.

“Thanks, Deus.” DE nodded and started toward the door, but never made it before I reluctantly added, “Deus, please ask RANT to set up a detail for a secure room up here for Mr. Morden. He might be our guest for the night.”

Morden’s smile seemed to grow as Deus Ex made his way to the bunker doorway. Looking up to the outside door, which Deus had left open, I could see Lindsey, shaking her head in disapproval as a tear rolled down her face. This was clearly going to be a long, long day.

posted on Apr, 5 2004 @ 05:34 PM
dont trust him DH

(sorry, I was so into the story i got carried away)
great additions to the story

posted on Apr, 9 2004 @ 07:35 PM
Note: The events in this story immediately follow Chapter 28: A Day In The Strife of Deus Ex's My ATS Story. Due to the length of what I've been writing, I broke it into two postings. The second half will go up tomorrow.

One o’clock in the morning came and went, and my mind reeled with the possibilities. I’d been talking to Mr. Morden for three days and I wasn’t looking to go for four. I had to make a decision on how we’d proceed from here, and I knew that this choice would be what determined our fate from now until the end. The thoughts and options kept whizzing through my brain, over and over. This was going to be the biggest decision I’d faced since I sent out the invitations.

I gave up on sleep after a while, seeing no way of success on that route. No sense in wasting time in bed if I can get something accomplished, I guess. Maybe a midnight walk around the compound would help clear my head and let me think this through more easily.

As my hand reached for the black sweatpants laying by my bed, I hesitated. I needed to get to a different place in my mind, a different line of thought and being relaxed and laid back wouldn’t bring it. I needed a different kind of comfort.

I needed to gear up, pull on the old union suit and feel the wind in my face. I needed to feel like it was the hunt again. I needed to get back to what made me set up this place to begin with.

As I pulled on my boots, I knew I’d reached the right comfort zone. I was dressed all in black, donning the uniform that I’d designed so many years earlier and worn so many times since. Just as I had done for the trip to the internment camp, I felt like this was what I needed.

As I go to the door, I had a thought and stopped, turning to open a drawer in my desk. I pulled out a couple cigars and a lighter, securing them in my belt’s pouches before departing the sanctuary of my private quarters. I looked to the knee brace Parrhesia had insisted I wear and decided against it. Just wanted to be quick and quiet tonight, like a walk down memory lane.

Making my way through the house, I saw Worldwatcher and Agent47, who were serving guard duty. “How’s our guest tonight?” I knew that this had to be grating on their nerves, playing babysitter, but I wanted to have my best people watching over Morden.

Worldwatcher looked to me, seemingly somewhat surprised at my appearance, and shook her head. “Not a sound, DH.” She paused a moment before asking, “Are you expecting trouble tonight?”

“Just out for a midnight walk to get some air.” From the light showing under Mr. Morden’s door, I could see he was probably awake. I patted Agent47 on the shoulder, smiling as I passed them. “Keep up the good work and uh… stay alert, okay?” I added as I glanced back over my shoulder.

Agent47 just nodded, doing a dismal job of concealing his boredom. I knew how he felt. The Devils needed action, and sitting in here had to be making them all a little stir-crazy. They were used to being in the middle of everything, but here they were, babysitting a negotiator from the ACC.

A brisk breeze hit me as the door opened, and a few leaves blew past me as I stepped onto the porch. The night was alive, with crickets and the wind giving sound to the otherwise silent backdrop of the moonlit sky, full of stars. There were hushed conversations in the trenches amongst Springer’s people, with only occasional bursts of laughter breaking the tranquility of the darkness.

If everyone wasn’t armed, it might have almost felt like a friendly camp-out or something – a convention for the ATS faithful, as it were.

Springer saw my approach and called out, “Kind of late to be out, isn’t it DH? You look like you’re expecting trouble tonight.” He smiled, confident that his people could handle the night watch as they had done for the last few days.

“Now when was the last time it was too late for me to be out and about?” I grinned as I reached his position, reaching out to shake his hand. “I’m just out for some air. No need to worry.”

“You want an escort? I can spare a couple people to go….”

“Nah,” I interrupted. “Don’t worry about it. I’m just looking for some personal time. I’ll be around out there.”

“Yeah but what if you run into….”

“If I run into anything, you’ll hear me. Trust me on that one.” I laughed a little, knowing that I could be plenty loud when I wanted to be. With that said, I left the compound behind.

Lindsey was waiting for me as I broke through the tree line, looking at her watch as her hair blew in the breeze. “You’re late.”

She was dressed the same as I was, which made sense as that was how I’d always remembered her from her arrival at the bunker. I’d been wondering since her first return, out in the woods, if she was an illusion -- my mind playing tricks on me -- or if she was really here to see me. I was hoping it was really her, but I’ve never been known for mental stability. Just had to play along and see where it took me, I guess.

“Late? For what?” I had no clue what she was talking about, but this wasn’t the first time. The kid always confused me, from day one when she first contacted me in an online chat room. She always kept me guessing and always had a question I didn’t expect. I’d learned since then to try to anticipate that I wouldn’t understand her. I just had to accept it, and I guess her death hadn’t changed that. Of course if this was a hallucination, she’d be acting just how I remembered, so maybe this was making more sense than I thought.

Of course, I could be the next Pope, too, but that was just as likely as any of this making sense right now.

“They’re waiting for you. Follow me.” She simply turned and started down a faint trail that led away from the compound. After a few yards, she glanced back. “Uh… hello….. earth to Demon Hunter. Your party is waiting.” She waved, beckoning me to follow her.

No sense questioning it now, I guessed. If I was just imagining this, maybe it would at least be a fun delusion. I shrugged and fell in stride behind her as she made her way down the path silently, just as I’d trained her to do.

“You know, kiddo, this was not why I came out here tonight.” She picked up the pace a little as the trail began to slope downward, bounding over one rock to another as she moved like a deer down the wooded hillside. Trying to catch my breath, and failing miserably, I called out to her. “What the hell is going on?”

And then I saw who was waiting for me.

posted on Apr, 9 2004 @ 08:35 PM
who? who? how can you leave me hanging like that
just kidding. looking forward to the next installation

posted on Apr, 9 2004 @ 09:02 PM
An interesting and intriguing episode yet again, DH.
I am definitely looking forward to the next one.

posted on Apr, 11 2004 @ 06:12 PM
Note: This is the promised second half of the chapter I'd been working on, picking up immediately where my last one, After Midnight, left off. Hopefully the rest of you think it's both worth the wait and worth spreading over two postings. Feedback, as always, is appreciated.

My Horsemen stood at the bottom of the hill, in the very spot I’d given them the final respects of a warrior’s funeral. Decked out in their full battle gear, they looked like they were ready for war, or at least a meeting with War. Pest was cleaning his rifle, smoking a cigarette as always, his beloved Marlboros of course. Famine and Death had just lit up cigars while they checked over their own equipment. Behind them, a roaring campfire blazed in a circle of stones.

Death was the first to speak up, a big grin visible from the shadows of the face under his hood. “Well look who’s here! Nice to see you could make it. I didn’t think Lindsey was going to get you to follow her, but I should have known you’d follow the kid anywhere.” He was tall and lean as always, almost skinny. As he’d grown up, there were times he’d taken an almost skeletal appearance because of his thin, wiry frame and bony joints. That was part of how he got to be Death, I suppose.

That and the fact that he was a well-trained killing machine, even before his Special Forces experience.

Famine looked at me, his cold blue eyes and rounded face the same as always. “Smoke ‘em if you’ve got ‘em, man.” He offered his lighter as I pulled the cigar from my belt, but I held up my zippo as the cigar reached my lips.

Pest just stood there, cleaning his weapon, checking over every part. His stocky frame gave him the rugged look of a linebacker, only shorter. In truth, he wasn’t much taller than me. He looked up from his work only to glance at Death. “Are you going to tell him?”

“Tell me what?” was all I could say as I looked to my teammates, and then to Lindsey, hoping for some hint of an answer.

“Lindsey,” Death said, “Thank you for bringing him. We need him alone now.” His tone had turned rather harsh, and it was clear by the look on her face that Lindsey was less than appreciative of the way she was suddenly being treated. Apparently she didn’t feel a need to express that though, as she turned on her heel and stormed off, muttering to herself, cursing under her breath.

I watched as she disappeared back up the trail before turning back to the others. They had each taken a seat on logs around the fire, leaving me a spot of my own just as we’d always done. The four of us sat with our backs to the four winds, unafraid and oblivious of anything beyond our circle. Famine reached into his vest and pulled out a silver flask, taking a sip before passing it to Death, who sat at his left, across the fire from me. He took a swallow and then handed it to Pest as his left.

“So this Mr. Morden has made you quite an offer,” Death began. “Offering to save your bunker refugees if you disarm, right?”

“Something like that. He’s very…” I searched momentarily for the right word as Pest handed the flask to me. “Persuasive, Death. I’m not sure how to proceed. I’m torn between my duty to the people I’m trying to protect and my duty to those I swore to avenge.” I puffed on my cigar a moment, savoring the taste as I sat amongst old friends.

Pest looked to me and replied, “That’s why we’re here, fearless leader.” He took a long drag from his cigarette, as he stared into the fire. “He asked what you wanted.”

Famine, his face more sober and somber than usual, added, “And you didn’t say it, but you thought it. You wanted us back.”

Death pulled back his hood and stared right into my eyes. “That’s why we’re here. Your unspoken request opened the door.” He waited a moment before continuing. “You don’t really need us anymore. You want us there to help you feel more secure about what you’re doing. But in the end it wouldn’t matter anyway. You always had different methods than we did.”

“I don’t know if I can do it alone anymore, guys. If I had you by my side once more…” I started to say, but I was interrupted by Pest.

“The days when we could ride out of the shadows and wipe out the nameless, faceless hordes are over, War. You’re fighting a different kind of battle than we ever could have.” He took a long drag from his cigarette. “You’re fighting the good fight. You’re not just trying to do the typical seek-and-destroy stuff.” The smoke spiraled upward as he exhaled.

Famine added, ”And that was never what we were about. You need to find a way to add some of what we were to the business you’re taking care of now. But our ways aren’t what you need.”

“What you need,” said Death, “is to get off your ass and be a little more proactive. Hit them before they can hit you. Use everything you learned as one of us.”

“And everything you taught all of us,” Pest interjected.

Death finished, “To do your job now.”

Famine looked at me, visibly frustrated and showing a little more anger with each word. “You know why we always fought with you all those years? You started this, founded the Horsemen, and never stuck around to finish it, to see it through to the end. You let it blow up and then left us to fend for ourselves.”

“Finish what you’ve started, War,” said Death. “Finish it or you’ll place them all in peril. Doesn’t matter whether you accept that leech’s offer or not. Do what you always told us to do. Follow your instincts. And your instincts should already tell you what you need to know.”

We were all quiet for a few minutes as the fire crackled in front of us. I finally chose to break the awkward silence. “I guess I was too busy thinking of what I wanted instead of what I needed, gentlemen. That goes for the past and the present.” I looked to each of them. “We were brothers, and I failed you all at the worst possible time. I’m not looking for forgiveness, but I want you to know that I’ll try to do better from now on.”

Death pulled his hood back up over his head and said, “Then you know what you have to do.”

I looked down into the fire for a moment, watching the flames dance and crackle. The light flickered and flashed as the heat rose to my face.

When I looked up again, they were all gone. It felt somehow different than when I’d lost them though. I guess I knew that we’d cleared the air a little. And without actually rejoining me, they’d given me the advice I needed.

I felt a tiny hand on my shoulder and then a lithe body pressed up against me from behind, arms slowly snaking around me. “DH,” said Lindsey, “I’m sorry that I didn’t tell you who was waiting. And I’m sorry that they couldn’t stay.”

I placed my hand on hers, giving it a gentle squeeze. “It’s alright, kiddo. I got what I needed, if not what I wanted.”

“Let’s go home, DH.”

I agreed and followed her back up the trail to the bunker.

The next morning began early.

As Mr. Morden exited his room for another morning session, I was waiting in the hall for him, Deus Ex and Gothique at my side.

“Ah, Mr. Hunter,” he said with a smile, “an eventful evening for you, I presume. Are you ready to begin?” His eyes met mine and neither of us blinked as I replied, staring deep into his eyes, perhaps into his soul.

“Deus, Gothique, please escort Mr. Morden to his limo once he’s finished packing. Negotiations are finished.”

“Finished, Mr. Hunter? Does this mean we have an agreement?”

Lindsey called out from down the hall. “Sic ‘em DH!”

“No.” My voice grew deeper and somewhat rougher, as Morden’s gaze shifted momentarily from my eyes to the end of the hall.

Lindsey chimed in again. “Uh-oh, Morden, now you did it! He’s using the bat-voice now! Sounds nasty when he gets worked up, doesn’t he?”

Morden was visibly thrown but quickly recovered his composure. I couldn’t help but wonder if he could hear Lindsey. “Excuse me? Mr. Hunter, perhaps you forget that the American Corporate Council and the surrounding security forces know the location of…”

“Mr. Morden, I haven’t forgotten anything. In fact I’ve remembered quite a bit the last few days. And last night, thanks in part to you, I’m sure, I received the last bit of advice I needed about these discussions. It gave me the insight I needed to live our lives in freedom.”

“Mr. Hunter, the man in your infirmary….”

“Good day, Mr. Morden.” I turned on my heel and walked through the house to the doorway leading down to the bunker.

Lindsey fell in line behind me and patted me on the back as I passed through the vault door into the command center. “That’s tellin’ him, DH!”

I looked to RANT, trying not to laugh as I stepped into the room. “RANT, make sure your security team has the bunker locked down until he clears the full range of the grounds. After that, please have someone alert the senior staff that I need a meeting.”

“Lock-down it is, boss man.”

As I entered my quarters, I looked across the room to a picture of my Horsemen – all four of us together in younger days. “I’ll finish this one, boys, I promise.”

[Edited on 4/11/2004 by TheDemonHunter]

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