Young CIA Agent Harris Black was recently sent to the American-Mexican border under a top-priority directive to retrieve Decker’s Hatchet. First it was the atom bomb, then nuclear reactors, and now the greatest of WMD is Decker’s Hatchet, capable of leveling cities with each blow and constructing invulnerable monuments with every swing. It’s even said that with the hatchet one can control and create the seven reborn elements. Teenager Nicodemus Decker, the original protector, of the hatchet failed in securing it across the border. It had been passed down to him from generations of Deckers and now is in the hands of a true BLK descendant. Yet, Decker’s forces merely blink in its absence, seeming to have other plans and projects in effect to essentially replace the hatchet and more…
Harris is on his way back to BLK HQ with the hatchet, but he might find that this hatchet is only the beginning of a long path through destiny, betrayal, and vengeance.
Damien Washer is the CEO of the whole Base of Operations. He started out in the marines at 20, but under an alleged death he went to start his own division of Black-ops and Magic. After the president’s assassination, he’s been our commander and chief for four years, protecting us from Decker’s waves of attacks. He’s basically the reason there’s still a BLK Resistance, though only once have I heard him respond to some guy as “sir”, like the man was his superior… Though our Resistance is strong, Decker’s Empire has almost won all regions in the United States and Confederate States of America.
I know what you’re thinking. How can the Confederate States still exist? Well, in Bioverse things have changed. For instance, the entire world, that blue planet we once knew, has been a second Mars for about the past four years—a second Mars in that our oceans have dried up leaving our surface in a shade of red and brown. So the President of the United States ruled one side, and Nicodemus Decker and his father Remus Decker, the King, rule the Confederate States.
Now, let me clear things up. I’m a human of the original Earth, the pretty blue one, but this new planet is called Avium, means ‘desert’ in Latin. When two worlds merge together, this is the result, a dead world. When two civilizations mesh together you get distorted history, people that never existed suddenly changing the beliefs we had. In our world, sure, Black and Decker were tools of construction and household appliances, but on their world, Fatum, Demetrius Black and Caligula Decker were two great philosophers who mastered the arts of Magic and Technology. They wanted to live in peace at first. But the Black and Decker WWI began. Decker gained power and he slaughtered all BLK members. Anyone that could harness Magic was killed.
No one intended for our two worlds to merge together so we had to deal with it. There was no going back. Our Universe is dead; we’re lucky to be alive here in Bioverse, but many of us… I thought I had no connection to them; we live on different planets so how could I be Black’s descendant? Decker only continued killing BLK members. Now I’m the only one left. That still doesn’t explain how I was born on Earth, but originally from Fatum…
Anyway, Damien called me to meet him before returning to my quarters. Man, has it been a while since I’ve been home. First thing I’m gonna do is hit up the kitchen, see if Buster made any of his famous deep dish pizza. Heck yeah. It’s Friday too. Might as well cash in. What about my family? Parents? Hometown? To be honest, I can’t really remember my past. I like to say that I was born 16 years old right here in the BLK hospital. The BLK Resistance has been more a home to me than anything. But my name is Harris Black. So that means I did have a family. Not just any family. A family of Wizards. No, not the ones with wands. These wizards used the seven reborn elements of Water, Fire, Earth, Metal, Lightning, Gravity, and Light from their own minds and hearts. But that’s all I know right now.
I’ve only been with the Resistance for four years, but I’m important to them. I just happened to be their last great hope for winning the Black and Decker WWII. And this hatchet. We both mean a great deal. Before our world’s merged, I was a nobody, just a kid driven to become a cop someday.
You know, being an agent is easier than I thought. But I guess since we’re the only agency standing between Decker and total anarchy that’s what makes us so united. No conspiracies, not much bickering, or betrayals on our side. We’re lucky. I can’t imagine how poisoned Decker’s side is. I’ve heard so much about them. They’re pure evil.
Still, I can’t shake this strange feeling… Why would the Prince of Technology let us have this hatchet so easily? Damien’s gotta know something. There he is, atop the bridge.
That bridge is glowing with laser, the same Laser that powers my hoodie. It’s a source of heat and light. We aren’t as big on inventions as Decker’s forces; we’re the side of Magic after all, but Laser was a great invention. It’s sort of our trademark. Its incandescent blue glow can be seen from any distance. It instills fear in the heart of opposition. An easy way to recognize an ally is if they’re wearing some kind of Laser in their apparel, if it’s a hat, a tie, a hoodie, etc. Phillips has a blue hoodie too, and a hat.
He’s probably having his fill of food, or back on the training grounds hitting the chin-up bars, or free-running. He taught me everything I know, things even the BLK Resistance couldn’t teach.
I glance down at Decker’s Hatchet as I approach the stairs. I hadn’t looked at it again since I got it. It’s almost like it’s stuck. What I mean is it’s almost like it’s connected with my hand, like it doesn’t want to leave; alive. If that’s not a pulse I feel throbbing in the handle, I don’t know what it is. I reach the last stone stair and gaze out over the bridge under the moonlight.
I see him wearing his fashionable trench coat and his famous fedora. None of us can sport a fedora like he can. I could try, but I rather a hood over my head and a gun in my hand. I make my way to him. He’s facing the east, leaning over the rail.
“You made it,” he says. He always knows who each of us is, even without a spoken word. If it were Phillips approaching him, he would’ve said something like, “Finally thought you would stop by?” Damien has a phrase for each one of us.
I stop near his right side and face the west. The night’s young; it’s still warm from the sun that set half an hour ago. I lean back on the railing, “Well, Nicodemus Decker didn’t seem all too prepared. I thought he was supposed to be the Prince of Technology.”
“So they say,” Damien replies. He’s still looking out yonder over the East parking lot. He hasn’t even asked about the hatchet.
I glance at it humming in my hand. “Then why wouldn’t he try harder to protect this?”
Damien blinks. “Are you complaining?” he says lowly. “Are you complaining about how easy it was to obtain the world’s greatest WMD?”
“Well,” I start. Something does feel odd so, “yeah.”
Damien expected my response. Hey, what can I say? I’m not one for sitting around through passive and unchallenging missions. I like the action.
“We got lucky,” he says quietly. “He’s young, stupid—lust for power.”
I laugh. I’ve never heard him insult the enemy before. It’s kind of funny. I guess he’s right. “We got lucky.” I agree aloud. It’s quiet for a moment. If Phillips were here, he’d keep the silences at a minimum. Speaking of which… “Hey, where’s Phillips shouldn’t he be back by now? You practically divided our family when you split us up.”
Damien, for the first time this evening, glances at me. He opens his mouth to say something, but he refocuses on the parking lot.
I squint at him. “Hey, what’s wrong?”
Damien opens his mouth again, “You two weren’t always so close. Remember training? The arguing, the competition?”
Training. Yeah. Those were the days. Hey, come on. All teenagers are cocky, competitive, and ‘invincible’.
“…It’s what made you two the strongest of the Olympus Unit.”
He’s right about that. I always hated how calm and composed he was in the heat of any situation. It’s like he always had the answer. I couldn’t figure him out. Still can’t at times. He’s the more agile between us. He’s older, so that makes him smarter I guess.
But why are we talking about this? “Damien, what happened to him?”
His gaze is unbreakable. “You remember how patient he could be, how he took great care for every action he took. Every step he took, you could tell he planned it, beginning to the end.”
“Yes,” I hear myself say. He’s a patient dude. Not even Damien can beat him in chess. Definitely thoughtful about everything.
“You also recall that I sent you after Decker’s Hatchet and Phillips after a DKR war criminal known as Flat Head?”
I look at him. The name rings a bell. He’s some colonel that serves under Nicodemus Decker. “Flat head,” I nod. “Yes.”
Damien takes a breath through his nose. “Phillips was captured.”
Captured… Captured… Captured? Captured?! Phillips? Captured? The two don’t even mix properly in a sentence. One as thoughtful as Phillips? I can’t even… Captured? Who could outsmart Phillips? Who is this Flat Head?
I feel a hand on my shoulder and realize I’m still here. Damien continues.
“I know he was your best friend.” He leads me in the northward direction across the bridge toward the living quarters. “We haven’t heard back from him yet, but according to Sam his last known location was sector NY-9.”
New York. What’s left of it. Some of us call it Reclaimed New York. After what Decker has done to make the city littered with his command posts, it’s considered enemy territory, the heaviest of it. I’m surprised they kept its name the same.
“New York, That’s where I’ll find him.” I don’t care what type of territory it is. Phillips is the guy responsible for me. He’s saved my skin so many times.
I can see Damien shake his head slightly. “He did recover some information on Flat Head.”
“Tell me everything I need to know about him,” I demand.
We’re approaching the heated entrance corridor where it’s bright with lights. The glass windows reflect my Laser hoodie and the two strips of Laser that run below the railing from the South corridor to the North.
“He’s a sociopath bent on destroying BLK forces, our government, our way of life.” He stops when we’ve passed under the stone ceiling. He turns to me and points at my right arm. “Your genetic glove has the uplink.”
Genetic glove? I haven’t been wearing any… Oh, I guess I have. That’s pretty cool. It feels like my hand has gone to sleep. The beam scanning my hand feels like a row of tiny spiders making their way from my fingertips to my wrist.
Instantly, my consciousness has been separated, left to roam through a digital world of black space and Laser-blue grids. Planes of numbers and coordinates countdown. No, not counting down, just scrolling. There’s no order. The numbers increase and decrease. 3D disks and beveled surfaces, a keyboard, and screens start forming from the grid. The first image that elevates from the grid is of a man in a marine uniform. The text below the footage reads: Nicholas Calcutta, Green Berets, 2009. He’s shooting his rifle along with other troops. The patch on his shoulder is the DKR ensign. Damien starts speaking.
“Secretary Calcutta, Flat Head’s father, coordinated a peace effort by sending his wife an ambassador into neutral territory where peace was thin.” His voice is louder in here; the ambience of outside can’t reach in this digital world. This is awesome. “When she got captured by war criminals, he wouldn’t grant aid to her.”
Now the image fades out. I can’t tell if I’m flying or if this world is moving itself around me, but I’m brought to the next image. I think it’s him again, Nicholas…Flat Head that is. He’s shooting someone. From the angle of this footage, I can’t tell who he’s shooting. The text below reads: Mother and brother killed in extraction, 2011.
Damien continues, “His sons instead sanctioned their own Black-ops extraction. In the process however, Flat Head’s brother and mother both were killed. When the terrorists shot Nick pointblank, the bullet ricocheted off his head and the bullet then killed the shooter. He earned the name “Flat Head”.”
There’s a factory ahead of me now. The smoke chimneys are many. The image is replaced by footage of their newest development Magic-Ops Augmentation: A breakthrough in genetic mutation. Magic… Is that possible? Maybe I misread it.
“But the effects of that injury caused his dual personality. Years later, after Flat Head killed his father, Decker’s forces discharged him from an asylum to head the technology development. They’re currently working on Project: Olympus.”
The program ends with total darkness.
I’m back in the corridor, the bridge is to my left and Damien facing me, stone walls around us. “Olympus?”
“It’s a division of Technological advancements in the dynamics of magic.”
“Magic?” How could they? They’re technology could never reach our magic…could it? “They’ve been trying and failing to simulate magic for generations.”
Damien turns away slightly to lean on the railing behind him. “With Flat Head at their disposal, they’ve harnessed Magic-Ops.” He scoffs. “Means you don’t have to be a BLK descendant anymore to produce supernatural elements.”
What?? “That’s not possible.”
“It wasn’t supposed to be possible that the B.L.K. bloodline lived, but here you are.” He’s almost lackadaisical about it.
I feel the need to push along this conversation. “What are you saying? Are you giving me permission to extract Phillips?”
Damien takes his arm off the railing. “There will be no extraction. By now, he’ll have folded. We have Decker’s Hatchet, that’s all we need to tip the balance of this war.”
I can’t let Phillips down. I have to get him somehow; I have to defend his honor. “Damien, are you out of your mind? He’s not dead, and I won’t… I won’t leave him behind.”
I remember our meeting place was at a park at the edge of his old neighborhood. That wooden bench there below the tree. That’s where we finally decided to drop our grudges against each other. That’s where we became Olympians. I remember his words like it was yesterday: “No one gets left behind in Olympus.”
Damien glares at me just the way he did when I made my first mistake in training, treating me like a child. “Harris, you are one agent. You have no training in Black-ops, you have no idea how far the enemy is in manufacturing these Magic-Ops. You would be outmanned and outgunned.”
I don’t need this! “We have the hatchet now. You and I both know its power in the hands of a BLK.”
“Up until a few days ago, you didn’t even know who you were.”
I look away. The hatchet vibrates I don’t know why. It’s true though. I didn’t even know that I was a descendant of the Great Master of Lightning, Yokai Black. That means somewhere in me, I have the power to harness electricity and lightning. I just haven’t found out how yet. Samantha and the other FaithBringers crafted gadgets for me like Laser-knuckles to help utilize small fragments of my genetic power. But alone, I’m just human.
Damien steps closer to me. “You have no idea how to harness your power. We can’t risk losing you and the hatchet to our enemies. You step foot on their territory and return and you will be held in the highest penalty of the law. Under no circumstance are you authorized to go inbound to retrieve Phillips, do I make myself clear?”
My heart is pounding in my ears, or the hatchet is. It’s unclear which pulse is stronger and filled with disgust toward Washer.
He gets closer, eye-to-eye. “I said, do I make myself clear?”
I glare at him. “…Sir.” I walk out. Not a “dismissed” or “join us for dinner”. I don’t even go inside to sleep or relax, or chat with Samantha. Something heavy in my hand beckons me to leave. I could’ve said ‘I’m going to the training ground’, but he didn’t ask. I know what I’m doing and where I’m going. I’m going to rescue Phillips…
Three MANA are guarding the third floor. They’re the toughest dogs of this party. They’ve got the skills of Mercs without the need for payment. I remember the rumors. MANA Mercs are genetically enhanced, twice as strong as a champion weight-lifter. MANA Mercs were ground zero for Magic-Ops Augmentation. They can bench-press vehicles. Each MANA can slay twenty SWAT officers before going down. They normally always wear hoods. Three SWAT officers are sweeping the lower floors. The one named Jack Hammer guards the entrance. Bull Dozer is making his rounds on the second floor, occasionally dropping to the first floor for chit-chat with Jack Hammer. And Hack Saw is patrolling the stairways. CCTV cameras are perched at every corner except for the stairway… It’s my only option.
I happened upon an Olympian Data Disk; it has to be one of Phillips’…breadcrumbs he left to lead me to him. The data is partly corrupt, but I watch it. It’s meant for me. I know right away when his voice begins with my name:
“Harris, no one else knows of this recording. You must keep it a secret. Don’t let ^@&!&* ^@$%#& find out. There’s more to him than meets the eye.”
Don’t let who find out?
I can see him there, sitting before a vehicle. He’s wearing his Laser hoodie, which means he was on his mission while he recorded this. He looks into the camera. I’ve never seen him so serious. He’s always been calm, but he would still be funny. I wonder what’s up.
“Damien Washer sent me after Flat Head. I discovered him. I fought him and I learned something. Something so deep and poisonous that you’ll have to find out for yourself.”
There’s footage of a metal wire jungle-like substance coiling up and turning red from the core. I don’t know what it is. He mentioned ‘poisonous’. Is he speaking of treachery?
“Everything I tried failed. Everything I knew was a lie.”
He’s eyes are starting to water. This isn’t the Phillips I knew. He must have seen something.
“The very foundations of our organization are based on false facts.”
American money is burning in a pile.
“They say we’re fighting for good. It’s a war.”
The footage is glitchy but I see shattered glass falling, airplanes falling from the sky, a new city. What do these things mean?
“Nothing is good. When they sacrifice your children, murder in the streets, it doesn’t serve any good. Every democracy, every government is blasphemy. That’s when I decided to go my own path. That when I decided to become %@^&#.”
Become who? Who did he become dang it!? The recording ends. There’s more in the message but it’s too corrupt. I see someone!
There’s an unidentifiable mercenary standing guard, if he hadn’t turned his head to look my way I wouldn’t have seen him at all. He’s wearing all black. The trench cloak reaches down to his shoes. His face is covered by a cannibal-prevention mask, and tinted goggles. But on his head… Could it be? On his head is a Laser hat. Laser? I’ve never seen red Laser before. Phillips had a Laser hat. This punk must have taken it as his prize for beating Phillips and modified it.
No sign of Flat Head yet, but this facility is big. I can’t begin without a confirmation. If I can capture Flat Head while rescuing Phillips we could interrogate him together and find out their plans.
I figured out a way to summon things when I need them. I think it’s my ancestor’s ability flowing through me. With greater concentration I can take out or put away the hatchet almost like teleportation. Thinking about Phillips the Olympus Data Disk appears to my hand. I look down at it. Almost there, Phillips.
Goons and Gauge
Bull Dozer nods at him, looking over his shoulder. “Hey, did you know Gauge is coming tonight? I didn’t.” He looks disappointed. “No one ever tells me these things.”
Jack Hammer stops punching buttons at the sound of the infamous name. “Gauge? For real?” He turns to face Bull Dozer. He’s not kidding. “Hah, I know how you feel.” He’s used to being kept out of the loop. He prefers it that way. Makes him less likely to spill secrets if interrogated. He’s heard enough secrets to write a book. He just wants to do his job and get home safely, show his wife that he actually makes descent money so she won’t leave him. Bull Dozer on the other hand has a sweet spot for information.
Jack Hammer goes back to inputting the codes.
Bull Dozer dwells on the subject with genuine interest. “I heard some pretty interesting things about him,” he begins again. He’s only heard the basic reputation, but this is his way of getting his colleagues to say more.
Jack Hammer finishes the security code sequence. It gives a long beep to confirm the security measures for the next fifteen minutes. He leans on the wall, hands on the collars of his uniform proudly. “I heard he eats his victims,” he brags.
“As you do,” Bull Dozer responds cynically.
Jack Hammer’s eyebrow goes up. The remark left him confused. He has to remember that Bull Dozer has a unique sense of humor while at times sadistic.
“Alright,” Bull Dozer says, “imagine being a grade-A schizophrenic, being a pyromaniac, being mute, and being a cannibal. Man, that freak must’ve had one rough childhood.”
Jack Hammer doesn’t want to get involved with any more information. He makes it known. “Hmph, well, just keep your eyes open.”
And with that Bull Dozer goes on his way to leave Jack Hammer guarding the entrance.
The one called Flat Head
Glaring out into the night skyline, he reaches down for his phone and dials a number. Everything needs to be in order for the pick-up. If the driver arrives three seconds later than he wished, Flat Head has the right to end him.
Flat Head puts the phone to his ear. “Where are you?” he demands calmly.
Trying to hide his nervousness, the man on the other line replies, “I’m about two minutes out.”
Immediately, Flat Head’s expression changes. His eyebrows curl. His red eye glows fiercer. With ability of his eye, he foresees and plans ahead. He takes two steps ahead of any enemy and so he asks by habit, “Were you followed?”
“I took care of it,” replies the driver. He’s on edge. He knows that Flat Head doubts his skills as a driver, which irks him, but Flat Head is the boss.
Flat Head nods. “Meet me on the fourth floor.”
I take a breath and get ready to move, but a silver SUV approaches and I reconsider. Good thing too. I overhear the driver and Jack Hammer speaking.
“What’s your business here?” Jack Hammer asks, gun drawn but aimless. This guy must another big captain like the masked menace named Gauge.
“I’m here to see Flat Head,” Crew Driver answers. It’s all he needed to say. If someone else had come for the same reason, Jack Hammer would be obligated to silence him.
“Alright, fourth floor,” Jack Hammer says and steps out of the way. The vehicle passes him and out of my sight. So, his back is exposed now. Hmm.
Crew Driver arrives at the fourth floor and pulls into the empty space behind Flat Head. Before turning off the ignition he thinks back to the reason of his appearance tonight.
“If crap hits the fan, take the victim and get out of there,” an ominous deep voice orders.
He nods. The orders given to him supersede even those of Flat Head’s. He twists the key and the headlights switch off. He steps out of the car. His hair covers his right eye beneath a veil of black. His leather motorcycle jacket is his trade. He’s looking down at his cell.
I jump through the square hole in the wall and upon touching down I strike his through Jack Hammer’s throat! Now he can’t yell for help. Stunned, his grip on his gun is loosened. I use his heavy machine gun against him and bash him into the concrete. One down seven to go. Bull Dozer’s next.
Some of the fluorescent lights flicker along the way. Pipes are interlaced into the stone grooves of the low ceiling. It makes everything bright even at night. Cover is crucial here.
He’s just standing there in front of the parking bars, ready to fall at my hands. I creep up behind him, bring him to his knees and swing a blow to the back of his head. He hits the pavement out cold. I walk over his body going up this ramp toward the second floor.
I hate that there’s no cover inside except for vehicles, but there aren’t any on this floor. This sucks. I’m a wide open target. I wonder where Hack Saw is—
“Harris!” My name is called out. Speak of the devil. He runs toward me from the stairway and raises his submachine gun. Dust spews out of the wall behind me! He missed. Stop walking! Return fire! He’s hiding behind that red pillar now. He peeks! The recoil is all that my arms feel, but after the third shot, his body goes down. I continue to the second floor.
An alarm blares!
I didn’t pass any motion-detectors.
No cameras in sight.
So much for stealth.
Everyone knows I’m here now. Time to up my game. I need my Laser knuckles.
I set my back against the red pillar and catch a breath. With concentration the blue rings appear on my fingers. One by one I activate the lights and my entire hand hums with amazing energy. My hand looks like a blue blur. I suddenly feel so confident in my ability. I run out from behind cover only to see the three MANA Mercs waiting for me. The hooded figures load their guns. Pistol to the left, submachine gun to the right, and minigun in the middle.
The rain of gunfire spears through the cool air of the garage. Golden and brass bullets spiral towards me, but I rotate to avoid them. The bullets bite through the cement, and vehicles far behind me. A vintage police car absorbs the bullets and exerts a behemoth explosion from the fusillade. My footsteps are loaded with bullet holes as I scramble to get behind a car.
They’re approaching at a uniform speed, side by side. I see the one to the right reloading. I fire only once and he hits the ground. I take cover, focus and fire again. The one on the left stops shooting. Maybe I missed. No, he’s bending forward. Drops to his knees and hits the ground flat. The third MANA stops firing. I do too. He’s proposing a different battle. And after taking out his buddies, I’m sure he wants nothing less than to pummel me into the concrete.
I run out to meet him. He swings the muzzle of his minigun with titanic force for my torso. One hit from him and I’m done. I slide and duck. I can hear the force of his sweep in a low whoosh. I see the sediment around me move in the direction of his swing. I don’t doubt that that move would’ve split me in two across the waist. Stop thinking! Take him down!
He faces me and splits his gun in two as if it’s made of plastic. I charge him. He makes another swing at my head with the trigger part of the gun. I block. I thought my arm would shatter, but I felt the knuckles absorb the blow with a flash of blue lightning. The humming vibrations went down through my bones but didn’t hurt me. He swings the barrel at me but I catch it with another flash of blue lightning. I elbow his ribs and snatch the barrel from him. It weighs a ton! But my glowing knuckles allow me to lift it and hammer down into his stomach.
A ball of electrical energy embosses his stomach and sends volts of lightning in and out of him. The impact alone stops his heart. I felt something awakening inside me, something beyond the power of these Laser-knuckles. The knuckles disappear. I guess I no longer need them. I drop the barrel and continue to the third floor.