A year ago, Deus Ex began something here on ATS that eventually led to the publication of his book, The Bunker. We were all enthralled by his
My ATS Story and I was happy to be given a chance to add to it. This shall be the final chapter for my end of the story, after a year's delay.
It doesn't fit anywhere within the realm of what was posted here, but instead follows Pyres, Chapter 41 of The Bunker.
I wanted to give everyone a chance to read the book before I did this, so I waited a bit, and then I got away from things here.
Hopefully this will be worth the wait.
Blaze of Glory
Each night I go to bed
I pray the Lord my soul to keep
No I ain't looking for forgiveness
But before I'm six foot deep
Lord, I got to ask a favor
And hope you'll understand
'Cause I've lived life to the fullest
Let this boy die like a man
Staring down a bullet
Let me make my final stand
The outcry of the dead pierced my brain, leaving my psyche battered and my brain bruised. I sat on the floor of my private quarters, facing the
pictures of my Horsemen, of Heather, and of my dear friend Lindsey. It was all I could do to take a deep breath and try to clear my mind, desperately
seeking the tranquility of thought, the serenity of senses I'd surely need now if we were to have any success when the carnage came calling later.
For today was the day I'd long feared would come.
Today was Judgment Day.
I felt a tiny hand rest on my shoulder, giving a slight squeeze -- the first time I realized that Lindsey was there in my quarters all this time. Then
I felt her body against mine, as she sank to the floor, her arms wrapping around me from the side. "You know, DH, this is the day Death and the
others wanted you to be ready for," she spoke softly, almost uncharacteristically so. I hadn't heard such tenderness in her voice since long before
I hadn't heard such sadness since the day she'd told me her family was dead.
Kinda weird for me to admit she was dead though. I still couldnâ€™t determine whether she was there only as part of some paranoid delusion, a
psychotic episode that grew in influence everyday. Or maybe I was as psychic as Iâ€™d always believed, and her spirit just wouldnâ€™t let me go.
The kid was right though, as much as neither of us wanted to actually say it. Today was Judgment Day. One last ride for the last of the Four Horsemen.
One last fight to preserve the peace we'd all given so much in vain to keep a reality. That's what today came down to.
I turned to face her and put my arms around her, the two of us holding each other a few moments, just trying to to keep the other from shaking. A soft
kiss to her forehead and then I pulled away.
I just needed a clear mind. I couldn't let my feelings run free now. I needed to save up all of that pent-up emotion for later. I needed to keep hope
alive for my people. I needed to be of clear mind for the sake of the volunteers who were joining me for one last shot, one last blaze of glory.
"Kid, you don't have to come along on this ride," I said, my voice rasping as I choked back the torrent of emotions that threatened to creep into
my consciousness. My long black shirt slipped over my head, covering the thin foam and composite riding gear I wore as limited protection. I looked
into her eyes, and Lindsey smiled sadly.
"You saved me a long time ago, DH. I might get to save you today." She turned away, pulling her sword and utility belt from her foot locker by my
desk. It was followed closely by her black, soft, leather moccasin boots, a match for the ones I wore.
We continued our personal preparations in silence, knowing that things had changed a lot for both of us since that night so many years ago when I'd
first met her -- the night I'd talked her out of suicide.
I pulled my black utility belt around my waist, checking the magazine pouches for the ever-rarer clips for my MAC-10. Black kevlar gloves, covering up
past my elbows, slipped on for yet another level of protection. I needed to make sure I wouldn't take any "stupid" wounds -- the kinda stuff that
doesn't hurt you much but will slow you down from nagging problems when they add up.
I'd been holding my body together with chewing gum, bailing wire, and willpower for a few months, so I couldn't afford anything new added to the
mix. Once more I donned the lightning charm with itâ€™s red and black cord for a necklace, kissing the lightning bolt before dropping it down the
front of my shirt.
Once the two of us were ready, Lindsey looked me in the eye and smiled again, the look of sadness still tainting her otherwise angelic features. Then
she nodded her head toward the door, signaling that she knew we were both as ready as we were going to get.
The door swung open, and I waved Lindsey into the chaotic hallway, closing the door behind us. We made our way through the people carrying supplies
and equipment down into the tunnels, to the command center, where Springer was supervising the grand escape.
Seeing Springer for what I knew would likely be the last time, I made my way across the room and shook his hand. Our eyes met, silently confirming for
him that I knew he was up to whatever task was needed to safeguard our people and their escape. All he could say before turning back to his work was,
â€śItâ€™s been a privilege, TDH. Thank you.â€ť
I nodded silently as I made my way up the main house, Lindsey snaking through the traffic behind me. There were only five men waiting for us top-side.
There had been so many faces to pass through the bunker over the last few months that I didnâ€™t even recognize them all.
One of them though was a reporter and anti-globalization activist named Mitchell. I didnâ€™t know if it was his first name or his last, and at this
point, I didnâ€™t have time to care. I just knew he was among the few volunteers who could be spared for the suicide squad. He loaded up a camera
along with the gear theyâ€™d scavenged from what was left of the armory John Bull had overseen.
Deus Ex, Gothique, and Intrepid made their way across the room as I moved to intercept Mitchell.
â€śSorry there, chief, but the camera is a big no-no,â€ť I rasped. â€śYou may wanna document this for posterity, but youâ€™re not gonna see much
without a decent flash on that camera, and last time I checked, weâ€™re relying on surprise, so letâ€™s just drop that idea, okay?â€ť
Mitchell was less than pleased with the idea, but he removed the camera anyway, just as the Devils arrived at my side. DE extended a hand and I
quickly took it, pulling him closer to whisper in his ear. â€śRemember Thermoplyae, Chris.â€ť I stepped back, still grasping his hand and looked him
in the eye, hoping heâ€™d gotten my meaning. We nodded to each other, a grim expression crossing both our faces before I turned to face the volunteers
â€śOkay boys and girls,â€ť I called out to no one person in particular. â€śWeâ€™ve got a job to do here. I donâ€™t expect perfection, but I expect you
to give all youâ€™ve got. You all know your assignments, so letâ€™s gear up and move out.â€ť
Lindsey chimed in, â€śYou heard him, people! Get a move on. Move like youâ€™re not stuck in molasses.â€ť I tell you, the last thing I wanted to listen
to was a dead teenager barking out like a drill sergeant, but I couldnâ€™t help but break a smile. Sheâ€™d gotten me to loosen up yet again.
After a few minutes and some final gear checks, we made our way into the darkness. Lindsey fell in at my side as I was the first one into the tree
line. I had the point once more. Some habits die hard. This time around, I was hoping that my habits werenâ€™t the only thing that wouldnâ€™t die.
Creeping through the woods for what seemed like an eternity, the snow crunched under our feet. We soon came across the bend where weâ€™d planned out
ambush, just a couple miles out from the bunker. My men fanned out in all directions, splitting up to cover both sides of the road. Our only hope was
to stop these corporate goons before they could get to the house. Just needed to buy some time.
Lindsey and I settled in side-by-side in a tree that overlooked the small service road to the bunker, preparing for a final onslaught. We exchanged a
knowing glance just as she pulled a mask on. Something about the way she looked was eerily familiar but I couldnâ€™t place it. Like Iâ€™d seen that
before from her. Couldnâ€™t place it though.
And then came the sound of engines getting closer.
This was Judgment Day.
â€śOkay kids, letâ€™s get this right,â€ť I mumbled under my breath, more to myself than to anyone in particular.
â€śRelax, TDH,â€ť Lindsey whispered in my ear, â€śthese guys know the plan.â€ť
Something didnâ€™t feel right though. Something was wrong. Something was going to go very wrong, I just knew it. â€śIâ€™ve got a bad feeling about
And then the first vehicle in line rolled into view, a Bradley armored fighting vehicle. A few molotov cocktails flew from the darkness, crashing onto
the roof. The fire spread across the armored surface, leaving me in a bit of disbelief. They were supposed to wait for the first explosions to force
Then came the flash of light from the darkness. Son of a bitch must have sneaked a camera out here.
The gunfire that erupted went dead on in that direction. â€śItâ€™s an ambush! Fire at will! Fire at will!â€ť That was the command I heard ring through
â€śOh #â€¦.â€ť I mumbled with a sigh. â€śSo much for everyone knowing the plan, darlinâ€™.â€ť
Swords in hand, we leapt onto the second Bradley as it reached us. As the hatch opened in the back, I threw myself behind the vehicle, letting a
grenade fly into the opening, rolling to my feet just in time to leap off into shadow once more. Lindsey was nowhere in sight, and I could only hope
she was still with me somehow.
â€śGotta keep moving,â€ť I told myself as the vehicle erupted in smoke and flame. Wounded men staggered out, desperately clutching their weapons, only
to be cut down by automatic fire from the rest of my squad. Maybe this was going to work after all. Weâ€™d slowed one of the Bradleys, took out
another, and just had to keep moving. Had to hit and run in the darkness to keep these guys off-balance.
If this was Judgment Day, I was willing to send as many of these guys to Hell as it took.
Things rapidly went wrong though. One of my men was cut down by small arms fire as another squad of corporate goons swarmed out of the next Bradley. A
flamethrower belched out a stream of fury like a dragon unleashed, taking out the brush around the man whoâ€™d just fallen. So much for retrieving him
to get medical attention.
Another death on my conscience. Another person Iâ€™d failed. I couldnâ€™t let another death be for naught.
It fueled the fire that was building within me, as everything slowly turned to a haze of red in front of me. Had to ride that rage, seek the fury of
the storms to guide my hand as I spun away from a hail of lead, using the wreckage of the second Bradley to gain cover while moving against the first
one. Had to use the madness as it consumed me, wearing it like a suit of armor as blood stained my blade.
Two more fell to my katana, and I rolled away to the side of the road, just in time to see two more of my men fall as more troops climbed from their
The Bradleys were split in the convoy it seemed, with a contingent of Hummers mixed in. All I could think of was how we had to hold this pass. I had
lost three of my original six â€“ seven if I counted Lindsey. This was going bad in a big way.
My MAC-10 barked out at my targets, spitting at them from the darkness as I leaped into a crowd of goons. Not the best idea Iâ€™d had all day, as one
of them grazed me with a shot as I killed his squad mates. And here I thought they wouldnâ€™t shoot if I was in the middle of them. â€śSo much for
that idea,â€ť I thought as I eviscerated him, spilling his organs out onto the road. I was lucky that it wasnâ€™t serious, but this was one of those
things I couldnâ€™t repeat too many times.
â€śFire in the hole!â€ť I heard the scream and recognized it as one of my own, but couldnâ€™t place who. After a moment though, any voices were
drowned out by the explosions. Seemed like we were making some progress after all. Then I rounded a corner and saw another of my men cut down before
The gunfire was constant, with various positions firing on me at all times. Not good. And I was almost out of ammo for my MAC-10. Not good at all. I
snapped out from what little cover I had and let loose another burst from the submachine gun before it sputtered and clicked to tell me it had not
fight left in it.
Suddenly everything was a blur. The red haze of my blood lust was rising up to consume the man whoâ€™d held his emotions in check for so many months.
The animal inside wanted to be free, and I wasnâ€™t in much of a position to stop the descent into madness that it would bring.
With a roar of anger and frustration I threw myself into them as they advanced. My sword was lost in the melee, stuck hopelessly into the ribcage of
the third target it found in the swarm. Without missing a beat, I spun away from it just as a shower of bullets perforated the fallen soldier, pulling
two knives from my belt as I moved. I whirled into the path of a dozen more, slicing my way through them, stabbing whatever I could.
The snow turned from virgin white to the crimson of gore as I blazed a path through the oncoming horde. I felt a few shots hit my legs and shoulders,
but still I pushed forward, frothing like a rabid dog. The growls escaped my lips like the venomous proclamations of a wounded animal, for thatâ€™s
what Iâ€™d become. I had nothing left to lose but my life, and I planned on making every last breath count if it was going to be lost here and now.
From the corner of my eye, I saw Mitchell staggering off into the trees, clutching his belly as his camera dropped from his hand. So much for the
story heâ€™d wanted to tell. Everyoneâ€™s attention was focused on me now, giving him the chance to escape for himself. I just hoped heâ€™d make it
back to the camp to give them a progress report.
Finally the weight of sheer numbers slowed my advance first to a crawl and then stopped me dead in my tracks. I wasnâ€™t able to keep moving forward,
but I knew that weâ€™d slowed them down a bit. It wasnâ€™t enough though. I hadnâ€™t taken out nearly enough of them.
A blow to the back of my head finally dropped me to my knees, and I felt the ground come rushing up to meet me. After a few minutes' struggle, I was
dragged down the road in the direction of the rear vehicles in their convoy.
Thatâ€™s when I saw him.
Mr. Morden was there, climbing from a Hummer. Our eyes met, and I knew then and there that I wanted just one more thing in life. I wanted his head,
separate from his body, torn to pieces in my bare hands. I didnâ€™t see much opportunity though.
â€śSo Mr. Hunter, still insist on playing this game?â€ť He looked like the cat whoâ€™d eaten the canary. I just wanted to get my hands on him. My lips
pulled back, baring my long incisors.
With a grin taken straight from the devil himself, I looked up at Morden. â€śHereâ€™s the catch, bub. Youâ€™ve got me right where I want to be.â€ť
Grinning like a madman, I found myself spitting blood as the laughter came out.
â€śYour hopeless bravado means nothing, Mr. Hunter. Youâ€™re all alone now, with none of yourâ€ť his voice trailed off, failing him completely before
he could finish his sentence. Thatâ€™s when Mordenâ€™s face went ashen, his eyes fixed on a spot well above me.
A very familiar voice called out just then. â€śYou know, Morden, you talk too much. You give me a really big headache, so shut up for a while,
Morden pointed to the top of the Bradley behind me, screaming out orders. â€śKill her! Just kill her! I donâ€™t want to hear her comments anymore!â€ť
Maybe I hadnâ€™t been so crazy after all.
Everyone else followed the line of Mordenâ€™s gaze, trying unsuccessfully to see what had him so rattled. It gave me the opening I needed. I whispered
softly, â€śThanks, darlinâ€™. Thatâ€™s the opening I needed.â€ť
With a roar of anger, I was able to throw off my captors, drawing one of their sidearms as they scrambled in confusion. I got a few shots off and then
tumbled forward into the wall of men who blocked my path to Morden. Howling like an animal, I charged into them, my fingers squeezing off one shot
after another. The ones I didnâ€™t kill werenâ€™t going to be part of the fight for a while.
I just kept pushing for Morden. â€śI like this kinda party Morden! You and me, weâ€™re gonna dance!â€ť
It wasnâ€™t meant to be though, and once again I saw I was going to come up short. With one final push of desperation, I pulled at the pins on a few
grenades Iâ€™d pulled from my thigh pockets and dove head-long into the wall of humanity that lay in my path.
This was Judgment Day, and I was taking them all to Hell with me in a blaze of glory.