Part I: The Vagrant
The air was electric. The hair on his arm stood up like never before. The room buzzed with white noise. Personnel with lab coats and fatigues
danced and intermingled, like worker bees. The analogy finally made sense.
"Five minutes, sir." A voice that seemed miles away. "Are we still green, sir?"
"Yes, Major." Another voice offered. "I would assume so, Mr. Suncrest has not given order otherwise."
"Roger, sir. Four minutes, sir."
It was hard to follow the life changing events that had brought Colonel Gabriel Suncrest to be in charge of "The Genesis." It wasn't hard to
pinpoint what started his journey to the cusp of "The Project". Compartmentalization was mission critical. What started off as a somniferous U.S. Army
career, by any infantryman standards, exploded in 2007.
The "Triangle of Death," surely a name only the media could love. He had killed, and enjoyed most of it. The hardest parts to digest were the
entire villages that required cleansing. Women and children never sat easy with him. It was part of the job, and sometimes it was the job.
The battle at Zarqa was intense, and the Soldiers of God fought harder than any enemy he had ever seen, but victory was so relatively swift
and without coalition loss that it was proclaimed a massacre by Al Jazeera, locals, and other propaganda. The five-hundred pound bombs destroying
whole families never left his memory, they lifted him from his sleep almost nightly now as swiftly as they had lifted him from the ground then. He
thought the terrorists the lowest scum on the earth to entrench themselves in a village in such a fashion. They had assumed that the United States
Army wouldn't penetrate their ditches, level an entire city, or easily overcome their battalion sized element. With mortar emplacements tucked away
inside eight foot trenches that created a spider-web of jihad across the city, they hoped to surprise their enemy. Their strategically placed RPG
warheads, ammunition depots, and bandoleers were enough, in their minds, to hold back the infidels. They had to, in order to protect their coveted
Allah had granted them a weapon that harnessed his very will into a device that could finally turn the tide of the war toward the SOG. The
weapon was so complex, and exuded so much power that the soldiers said they heard voices around it, that most steered as clear as they could from it
without appearing weak. The look on a brother's face was enough, when he had to report near the monstrosity, to cause a rift among the group that
spent the most time around it and those that had the privilege of avoiding it. A few brothers broke down mentally around the device, and had to be
prostrated in front of it and executed.
It took almost two years to figure out what had happened to the downed Apache and pilots. They were easily found and recovered, but there was
zero evidence of damage to the craft or the personnel. Of course, the fall had killed them both and the helo was damaged from it's fatal meeting with
the earth, but there was no evidence leading to why the bird fell from the sky. The artifact was, of course, not recovered. It was more than likely
found inside the lungs of the living and dead alike, vaporized into dust or smaller particles. The only thing that remained were trenches, craters,
dead enemy, body parts, women, children, and weapons. There were initial reports from the Specter gunship of a strange thermal reading, but the
solution was to bomb first and ask questions later. A five-hundred pound bomb ended those readings, replacing them with a much larger thermal reading
It really didn't dawn on, then Major, Suncrest until early April 2010 that he had been close to something that should not have been there. The
strange readings from the Specter gunship, the FBCB2 being on the fritz, the radio's not working correctly, it was all due to something being there.
On that scorchingly hot day, sitting outside the chow hall waiting on to-go plates for his staff as was always his way, filthy from the early mornings
ventures into Sadr City, he had an epiphany that would forever change his life.
He mouthed the words...
"There is more to this."
One of his aides, First Lieutenant Watkins spoke up, "What was that, sir?"
"Nothing Watkins." He replied distantly. "Just realized this life is FUBAR. It's not for me anymore."
"Can't hack it, sir?" The 1LT replied, jokingly. "There's that cushy job opening up in G3, you could go there and get fat!"
"No Watkins, I want more." He grew despondent. "This can't be all we've got, I want more, I want to take things no one's dreamed of and kill
people with it. I'm sick of all this ROE and hearts and minds crap. I'm sick of all these cooks and their whining about our uniforms, and the battles
waged in the chow hall over being able to sit down because we're to dirty. I'm sick of the POG's and their endless complaints and endless lines to the
PX. I'm sick of civilians making my salary to sit in SUV's and laugh at us. I'm sick of fighting with one hand tied behind my back, and always having
to be the good guys."
"Well sir, I saw that the ODA's are short on manpower." He was hesitant. "I already put in for it, and I wanted to tell you but the mission
tempo has been insane lately. You should go down with me after chow, sir."
"Watkins, that's the best idea you've ever had. I don't think that the ODA's would do it though, I want to go for CAG. Maybe even more, I want
the world in my hands so I can crush it."
Part II : The Rebirth
It's hard to say what it takes to pass SFAS and QCOURSE. It assuredly takes a complete man or woman in spirit and determination. It requires
an individual and a collective all the same.
"Watkins is all of these things," Lt. Colonel Suncrest thought as the graduation ceremony carried on, "and I am none of these. I am a weapon."
SERE school was the first time the LTC was challenged. He carefully crossed what was once a small stream, now cresting at the roots of
surrounding trees and possibly four feet deep or more with debris traveling down it infrequently. He was naked except for a poncho and a rucksack that
contained all of his gear, neatly waterproofed inside. The water siphoned strength from him every second he remained in it, and it was growing more
difficult to cross as he reached the center. His mind began to wander to separate his physical body from the pain, a common tactic for those who have
had need for such skills.
"Watkins is all of those things, and I am none." He retraced his thoughts. "How could I have been selected? How could I graduate?" His lips
were quivering and his teeth chattering, only causing him to redouble his efforts in spite of this physical 'tell'.
He was growing wary of an instructor, Lt. Colonel Settons. Apparently she had chosen him in advance, along with a list of other candidates,
for her brainchild project. It was her ticket out of training, and his ticket into black ops, if everyone played their cards right. He didn't really
care for her cynical nature, obnoxious attitude or her project. He wasn't going to brown nose her, and he would do his best to avoid her. The last
thing he needed was anyone, including himself, thinking that he had graduated with help.
He grit his teeth and finished traversing the gushing stream and took a break to dry the mud he had caked on his body before putting his
fatigues back on. The rain was getting worse, and he wasn't in the mood to be recalled due to inclement weather when he was so close to his mission
being complete. It wasn't often that the Special Forces canceled due to weather, but this felt more like a monsoon than a rain storm. Maybe it was
just his nerves, he hadn't had this much adrenaline coursing through his veins since Iraq.
It was early in the morning at COP Rattlesnake. He wasn't sure if he had heard the first mortar, or the second. It could have easily have been
several salvoes into the attack before his mind became privy to the situation. It was standard for this COP to come under indirect fire, the weekly or
so RPG attack, and sporadic sniper fire. It wasn't the best place to rotate out of, and pulling QRF duty here was grueling, since every single time
something like this happened, he was expected to suit up and roll out to find the assuredly empty mortar site, and do a follow on clearance operation
before returning hours later. This abandoned mall had to be given credit, however. It had withstood more attacks than it was designed for, and though
whoever designed the layout to be so compact as to have the city directly overlook it should be shot, it did help with the hearts and minds aspect.
The citizenry could see what the soldiers had to deal with every day and thus were less crabby about their own situations.
As he walked down the same six flights of stairs, a round impacted the building and penetrated the outer wall. The cooks had been offloading
some MRE's, and the round had killed at least two instantly that were handling a palate. There were certainly more wounded, so he ran past them to his
vehicle and ordered his element outside the concertina wire gate at the fastest speeds allowable.
They blazed a path into the city and almost immediately began taking fire. His M2 .50 cal gunner went down with a chest wound. He immediately
ordered a herringbone maneuver, and engaged the enemy which seemed to be attacking from all sides. Surely this was an ambush, and there was only one
way to combat it.
"All Dagger Elements. This is Saber Six, dismount and suppress. Viper Element, take up high sight with Scabbard Element supporting. All other
elements, hold position, How Copy?"
"Dagger Six, copy."
"Viper Six, copy."
"Scabbard Six, copy."
That plan would be a temporary fix, at best. He needed to call for support. Indirect fire was not an option, due to the civilian population.
He hated the civilians. They would scream murder, or massacre if any died, while they housed and fed the insurgents.
"Cobra Six, come in Cobra Six. Do you copy?"
"Cobra Six, Lima Charlie."
"All Cobra elements form a defilade. Prepare for Dagger to maneuver to your six, come around and flank the enemy from the south. How copy?"
"Saber Six, will form a defilade to allow Dagger element to flank from south. Lima Charlie, over."
"Sergeant," he screamed over the fire and his ringing ears, "get an AT4 on that building, now!"
"Watkins, get the RTO to call in Apache.. oomfh." He looked down briefly before passing out, just in time to see the blood soaking his
He hated letting his mind drift. Especially when focus was key. He was near his goal, he could see the flares. Rescue was finally here. The
scenario felt so real, or was it his drifting mind that reassured him that this was reality in order to escape the past? He was just glad to be done
with all of it. The broken bones would heal, he knew that well.
He had successfully gained the trust of the local militia leader, and gained all the information and support he could from him. His mission
changed the day before he was supposed to leave. Higher wanted him to assassinate the leader, and make it look like the opposing faction had carried
out the murder in order to incite violence as a smoke screen for future operations. This is the kind of work that Suncrest was made for, and he
excelled at it. None of the locals suspected, or even followed him back. Had they tried, he would likely be moving too fast for them anyway. He had
stolen enough intel over the course of the weeks he was with them that he could barely fit his own gear into his ruck, and it was not pleasant
carrying it all to the rescue point.
As he neared the flares, he felt a fleeting sense of hope, and then it was ripped from him immediately and fiercely. He didn't see the person
who had hit him, but felt the object and determined it was wooden just before he blacked out. He had felt the grooves of the wood, its stiff fibrous
structure defeating his skull and sending him into slumber.
He awoke bloodied and confused. The last thing he remembered at first was crossing the river. He simultaneously pieced together the events
leading up to his blackout, and his current situation. He was tied to a pole, that was stuck about two feet deep into the ground and about one foot in
diameter. It weighed more than him, that was certain, and his head hurt as he tried to lift it. He could smell excrement, sweat and dried blood all
around him. Definitely too old to be his, but too fresh for the owner to be too far gone. He could expect not to be here long. That was reassuring, if
this were reality he would assume that meant death but here it was all fantasy.
"He's awake, sir." A blurry figure spoke, and another approached.
"Good, how are you Mr. Gabriel?" A well dressed woman approached him, and smiled warmly, from what he could make out with his blurred vision.
"I hope my colleagues have treated you well?"
"Fantastic," he had tried to say, though between the drool and headache he wasn't sure what actually came out.
The woman stared at him seemingly sympathetic. "I can see you are not quite with us yet, let me assist you."
The woman stepped forward, closing the gap, and grabbed the smallest digit of the LTC's hand and applied a pair of pliers between the middle
joints. The bone easily cracked multiple times and jutted out of the skin. The LTC let out a loud, blood curdling scream.
"I hope that you are awake now, Mr. Gabriel Suncrest. I am Major Settons. Welcome to "The Project".
Chapter III : Revelations
"The Genesis" was Colonel Suncrests responsibility. It was the culmination of all data mining and mind control technologies. It was part of
what is now being called "Operation Endgame". It is the culmination of all efforts on behalf of "The Project", which started as the brainchild of Mrs.
Settons, who has since retired from the military and resides in an underground base without a semblance of civilization somewhere in Alaska. Even Mr.
Suncrest, as he is now widely called by his colleagues, could only speculate as to her whereabouts at any given time. "The Project" was outside
speculation as well, and Mr. Suncrest had little to do with its inner workings. He was compartmentalized, in every sense of the word.
His job was simple. He was given two years to utilize the framework already present in the information grid to intercept all traffic to be
analyzed, recorded and finally returned to it's original destination by a massive computer system. The first generation was called Echelon, naively
named because Mr. Suncrest thought it would be the final product. It worked well, for a time, but quickly negated itself by finding the very
information that would lead to its demise.
Genesis Team discovered a new type of data miner, the web bot. This workhorse worked independently of one another, much like Mr. Suncrest.
They would seek out treasure troves of information that was made public over the internet, and return with their bounty to deposit it into Echelon for
breakdown and analysis. This system was called Echelon II.
A startup company had been under the watchful eye of the Genesis Team since its inception. The company quickly began to assume a monopoly
control of the internet within a matter of very short years, and on the eve of December 2012, the Genesis Team prepared to unleash the third
generation of Echelon, Echelon Omega. This was more than a data mining program, more than web bots, it was almost sentient. It predicted the future.
It had data computation rates faster than the entire current knowledge of man in a second. For the first time in years, Mr. Suncrest was nervous.
They were traveling into uncharted territory, and though there were concerns before, most were easily assessed. There is no risk management here,
because this program will predict any actions taken to mute it preemptively and take action accordingly. It will become the grid. It will become the
"Three minutes, Mr Suncrest." A voice barely above a whisper called behind him. "Everything we've worked for is arriving. Shall we name her?"
"It's amazing that you think this thing will want a name, or even presume that it belongs to us." Mr. Suncrest was growing angry and
"One minute, Mr. Suncrest." Louder this time, and more defiant. "She will be beautiful. We will offer ourselves to her. We have created the
capability to download our consciousness into the system, like a transplant, and she will either accept or reject the data."
"Operation Endgame, what is it?" Mr. Suncrest's voice trembled.
"God." She replied simply.
edit on 2011/1/23 by sbctinfantry because: (no reason given)