[h+] Investigations: The Man From Hades

Set in the year 2031, the story focuses on Sam King, a former soldier who, after having been in an accident, was implanted with several high-tech mechanical prosthesis.

After a stellar career as a Navy SEAL and later a CIA operative, Sam chooses to use his skills for in a more profitable way, so he gets a job as a 'fixer' for the private military company, Olympus Security Services.

But Sam has barely begun this new job before his skills are put to the test, as he has to stop one of the company's - and the world's - best assassins.


Sidenote: I usually spend a lot of work on what I write, and not just the text but also the layout. Unfortunately, Movellas' interface doesn't let me display that properly, so I strongly urge you to download the pdf version of The Man From Hades from the link below. Thank you.

http://www.4shared.com/office/sDwwIToc/01_-_The_Man_From_Hades.html

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2. A Meeting with Zeus

 

Chapter #01

A Meeting with Zeus

 

 

 

 

 

Accessing file: S_King:\memory_files\1st_February_2031.avi

Fast forwarding to: 10h03m24s

“This is an impressive resume Sam” Mr. Vail said.  The man had served in the marine corps during the Second Gulf War and after a stellar career with an honorable discharge, the man had gone on to found Olympus Security Services, the largest Private Military Corporation in the US. Now in his 50s and well beyond his prime, he had switched out a Kevlar vest with Armani suits, an M4 with a laptop and a battlefield with one of the most expensive properties in New York.

“Thank you Mr. Vail” I politely answered.

He looked into the folder with my resume for a few seconds. “Entire right arm?” he asked, referring to my prosthetics.

“Yes, and a large area of my chest cavity, part of my left arm too along with a part of my left lower flank, my lower left leg and both my eyes.”

“Aha. But originally you were outfitted with regular prosthetics. Who paid for the upgrades?”

“The Agency” I calmly said.

Mr. Vail tried to contain his excitement, but I didn’t need my FER enhancement (Facial Emotions Recognition, a small neurological enhancement chip that reads and analyzes facial tics and supplies the user with real-time information on what other people are feeling) to see that he was overjoyed to have an asset like me.

“What neurological enhancements did they outfit you with?” he asked while smiling.

“Well, it started out with an Audio/Video Communications-link and Ocular prosthetics with tactical zoom, night- and heat vision. But later they upgraded me with a wireless hack module and an EPR enhancement.” I couldn’t help smiling when I saw his surprised expression.

Mr. Vail lifted his left eyebrow and threw me a crooked smile. “So I guess there’s no point in lying to you?”

“Not unless you’re really good at it” I said while grinning.

The old marine stood up and smiled. “Want something to drink, Sam?” he asked while walking the short distance to a cabinet filled with several bottles of cognac, single malt and various other alcoholic drinks.

“Sure” I answered. “Just what you’re having” I said when he gestured for me to make a choice. He then grabbed a bottle of whisky with an old label and poured it into two glasses.

I reached out for the glass with my mechanical hand, and I remembered all the glasses I had broken in the first few months after I got my new hands. At some point the nurses at the military hospital got so tired of sweeping up the broken pieces of glass, so they decided that I was only allowed to have things made out of metal.

I let a sip of the scotch, and the taste was good. Not too ‘spirity’ and not too woody. It was definitely the top shelf stuff. I couldn't help but letting a crude compliment escape my lips. “Damn, that’s smooth, if you don’t mind me saying, sir.”

“How old would you say that is?” he asked.

“If I had to guess by taste alone, I would say 19 years old.”

“And if you had to exclude the taste?”

I smirked. “20 years, Mr. Vail.”

He looked down at his own glass of liquid amber. “What makes you say that?” he asked before he also took a sip.

“The label on the bottle says 2011” I said while nodding towards the table besides the cabinet where it stood. “Are you testing me, Mr. Vail?” I bluntly asked.

“Am I wrong to?” he simply asked as a response.

“I would’ve been disappointed if you didn’t” I said and took another sip. “But before you start testing me for the job, would you mind telling me what kind it is? The woman I was contacted by was very… Vague.”

“Certainly” he said and got up. He walked over to the big panorama window in his office. “The job I have in mind is a sort of security gig.”

“You brought me up here and serve me 20 year old scotch so you can offer me a job as a rent-a-cop?” I asked with sarcasm in my voice.

The old man laughed. “No, Sam, not quite.” He turned around to face me. “I want you to be my fixer.”

“Fixer?” I stood up and walked over to the window myself.

He took another sip of scotch. “What do we do if a hacker or a thief breaches our security measures in the R&D? Or if one of our covert assets is stuck somewhere in the world with no way out? What do we do if someone goes rogue?” The old man took another sip and stared directly into my cybernetic eyes. At that exact moment, you could see the mountain of problems and worries that was coming down upon his shoulders, as if he was Atlas himself.

“The answer is the same. You send a fixer” I calmly said and looked out at New York’s skyscrapers.

“Exactly” Mr. Vail said and pointed at me. “And up until now, this company hasn’t had anyone who operates in that capacity.”

“Sounds like hard work” I said and smirked with my left side so he couldn’t see it.

“Oh it is son. Olympus is a big company.”

I took another sip of my scotch. There was something that the old man wasn’t telling me. I was a good operator, but not so good that he would just hire me out of the blue. There are plenty of operators who would want a gig like this, which meant there probably were several operators who had gotten the opportunity to get this gig.

“Am I wrong if I assume I’m not the only former Special Forces operator you have in your scope for this job?”

All of his white teeth were showing when he started to smile this time. “The fact that you have realized that means you’re already in front of all the other applicants.”

Closing file.

 

“That’s not your only advantage” Cassandra proclaimed while looking at my memory playing on her flat screen. She was standing tall, like always, in her designer suit. Today’s choice was a white one with skirt and grey pinstripes. Her blonde hair was artistically set up and for purely cosmetic reasons, she wore glasses.

I helped myself to some suspicious looking beverage in her fridge. “Do tell Doctor Rouse. What does your keen psychological training tell you?”

“Hmm…” she simply said. She didn’t even say it, she just made the sound. I put the bottle down on the kitchen counter and began to untie my tie.

“What does that mean, Cassie?” I asked and took a sip of the bottle, only to regret it the moment after I had done so as it tasted like rotten wood. “Jesus Cassie! What is this shit?” I spat it out into her sink.

“That is an extract of several different African fruits” she said while still staring at the frozen screen. “That mixture cleans out the arteries, strengthens your heart and increases the effect of REM sleep.”

I spat out again, grabbed a glass and started to fill it with water. “You remember that op in Siberia, where we needed to take out that Irish arms dealer?”

“Sure. What about it?” She was still focused on the screen.

“Four guys, and after the first two weeks of recon, we were forced to eat whatever we could find in the mountains.” I drank a big gulp of water to wash the ugly taste away. “I’ve had roots that tasted better than this… Whatever you call it.”

She finally turned around to face me. “What is it about covert operatives?” She was smiling, “Always complaining.”

“Maybe it’s because it’s us that are always running the risk of being shot, or dismembered, or ‘forgotten’?” I asked.

“Please. There isn’t one operator that’s in the field without wanting to be there” she was still smiling while walking towards me with one hand on her hip.

“Fair enough” I said after having gulped up a second glass of water. Then I leaned in over the kitchen counter that separated the kitchen from the living room in Cassandra’s penthouse. “Now work that profiling magic like you used to back at Langley.”

She looked back at the screen. “Well, he’s definitely excited about you. He is telling the truth about the others. None of them know that there are other applicants.” She turned her head towards me for one second and said “At least he doesn’t think they know” and then she turned back towards the screen. “And if they don’t know that there are others, then they don’t realize that it is also a test of time.”

I started to unbutton my shirt. “The half that thinks they have the liberty of time isn’t the half I’m worried about. Can’t you tell me something that neither I nor my lie detector knows?” I asked as I walked into the bathroom so I could change.

Cassandra then suddenly turned towards me with a fake surprised look. “Oh! That’s right! You have a FER…” She looked like she was considering what that meant. “Well, I guess you don’t need me then.”

I leaned out of the bathroom door. “Come on Cassie, you know that no enhancement will ever be able to replace a trained psychologist.” I then ducked back into the bathroom and found some mission appropriate clothes in my duffle bag: a black Henley shirt and matching cargo pants.

“Did you get anything from his computer?” she asked from the living room.

“The computer? No, too strong software encryption. His monitor however…” I said as I walked back into the living room. “What most people forget is that the last ten minutes on a modern computer screen is left behind inside the holographic projector” I said, flaunting my computer knowledge. “And it is rare that you find people that are knowledgeable enough to know that, and at the same time paranoid enough to run a program that deletes it every second.”

“Okay professor. So what did you find on there?”

Earlier, we had downloaded the memories from the day onto Cassandras computer. I went to her desk and by the push of a few keystrokes, screenshots from Vail’s computer appeared on her television.

15 dossiers (including my own) appeared on the screen.

Cassandra walked closer to examine the people displayed. “These must be your competitors” she said while reading closer up on the other 14 applicants.

“I know. Look at those guys. They’re really heavy hitters.” I pointed towards one of them. “Special Air Services,” then I pointed to another, “Danish Frogmen Corps,” and another “Mossad.”

“All Special Forces operators” Cassandra cautiously said, “And they’re some of the best, from the looks of it.”

“I’ve even been on a joint operation with that guy!” I exclaimed and pointed at the Dane.

I rolled up my sleeves and looked at my mechanical prosthetics. My entire right arm was a removed in the surgery after the accident. Only half of my upper left arm was left.

The prosthetics had armor plating to protect the inner mechanics. The plating’s colors were a mix between silver, teal and marine blue.

Some high-end military prosthetics were even designed so a hand could be transformed into a sub-machine gun. That was a little too flamboyant for me. Mine were able to produce a blade that ran on top of my forearm and extended itself 15 inches further than my fist.

“Are you ready?” Cassandra asked.

I reached for my black baseball cap that was lying on a lamp table next to the couch. N7 was stitched on front of it. N7 was an elite Special Forces group in a video game called Mass Effect from 2007, one of my favorite games ever.

“Now I am.” I smirked.

“Really?”

I looked around, checking of I had forgotten something. “For God’s sake, have you seen my M4?”

“Under the couch” she said and turned around to her computer. “Soon, we got to talk about this living arrangement with you living in my apartment!”

I checked inside the bag. Yes, there it was: my M4A1 assault rifle, currently equipped with a silencer and an assault scope with a Nano technological lens that can switch between normal, night- and heat vision. My eyes could already do that, but it doesn’t look right when the effect is applied before I look through the scope.

In the bag was also a few other things: a Five-seveN handgun with a laser sight and silencer, and of course a 5 inch combat knife.

“I’m ready now. Be sure to be on coms when I get there” I said before I left the apartment.

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