Blood dripped onto the ground from Derrick’s chin. The blows he’s taken from the bludgeon that was similar to a baton have formed streams of the crimson liquid down his face. His vision was blurred, and he was dizzy. He could barely see the figure in front of him, who was delivering the attacks.
A dim light glowed in the center of the room. The interrogations have gotten worse and worse since his capture, but he still said nothing.
Khan spoke for what felt like the hundredth time “I’ll ask you again, where do the higher ups meet to discuss their plans”
With another swing from the metal stick Derrick felt everything start to go black. He welcomed it happily. However, Khan wasn’t done with him. Khan grabbed his face, claws puncturing his skin. He suppressed a cry of pain.
"I think it’s time to use… different means of getting information out of you."
Khan pulled out a needle, with a handle at the back of it, with a dial. Derrick tried to struggle slightly. He hated needles. As it punctured his skin, he bit his lip.
"You going to talk?"
"As soon as you stop looking like a fucking death metal iguana." If Khan wasn’t enraged at his attitude, he would’ve laughed and asked what those were, but he just slowly started to turn the dial.
Derrick soon knew exactly what this needle did. He felt pain shoot through him as electricity spouted into his arm.
It’s been one week since the reconquering of Boston, and the Red Cloaks have already gotten a new set of trainees. There are already 202 physically active Red Cloak members.
Derrick has been replaced by a new squad leader, not nearly as competent, in Mason’s opinion, but acceptable.
Mason has ordered the Red Cloaks to train twice as hard in preparation for the mission that he doesn’t even know what they should be preparing for.
"I… I was wondering if you could spar with me. You know, teach me?"
"Why not spar with your teammates?"
"I want to learn from the best, and kill all of those bastards…"
Mason finally looked up from his work. “Lots of us do, I don’t think I would be the best mentor. Ask Jessica, she is excellent at hand to hand combat. Tell her I sent you.”
"Y-Yes sir" He dropped into a firm salute and left.
As the day of the meeting approached, the Red Cloaks’ skills were put to the test. Almost every soldier worked until they literally collapsed from exhaustion.
The dinners were usually full of talk as everyone ate and caught their breath. The night before they left, however, was abnormally quiet. The clatter of silverware was the only noise to be heard. Jaylen would’ve been full of talk, but he was at a meeting with the rest of the squad leaders and Mason.
Finally, Joe decided he had enough of this. ”Alright, guys, we shouldn’t be so quiet and sullen” Everyone just looked at him “Look, for some of us, this will be our last night together. We should spend it happily together.”
"Why should we be happy?" David croaked, staring into space "Some of us are going to end up like Sarah… I don’t want to act like there isn’t death looming over us."
"Do you think that Sarah would’ve wanted you to act like that?" Joe’s words pierced David. Even if David brought her up, the mere mention of her causes David to become especially irritable.
"You have no right to talk like that” David’s jaws clenched, and he balled his hands into fists.
"David, we all miss her. Even if we didn’t know her as well as you did, we can tell you that she was a relatable and down to Earth person." David could feel the grief boiling in him.
Joe continued “If she knew that she was going into so much danger, I bet you she would’ve made every moment count. We were all naive, and Sarah paid an unnecessary price. It’s terrible, but we know now.”
David broke into tears, and put his head on the table. Troy put a hand on his shaking shoulders to comfort him, and gave Joe a glare.
"All I want is for nobody to end up regretting not saying something now, before it’s too late, and end up filled with regret…"
Everyone knew he was right. The truth hurt, but it was the truth. Unfortunately, no one said a word. After almost a minute, Joe lost his patience.
"Fine, live in your lies. Just don’t regret it if anyone doesn’t make it tomorrow." with that he stalked off, leaving the young soldiers to silently lament that they don’t have the courage to say a single word.
As morning came, still no one said anything. Not even Jessica and Maddie talked into the night like they normally do. Joe simply gave everyone a look of disgust to everyone in the car ride.
When they arrived, they were greeted by the local National Defense security. There were relatively more soldiers due to the fact that they were in Penn District, near the border.
Mason instructed all the Red Cloaks to wait outside, except the squad leader, who would come with him to the meeting.
"Good luck" Maddie called as Mason entered the building, who waved behind him in recognition.
the 8 soldiers walked into the meeting room. They were met by roughly 40 other people.
"You’re late" growled the president.
All major military figure heads were there. Commander Hutchinson with his advisers sat at the left side of the table. The leader of the Air Support was there too, Commander Lauren Singleton. She was an extremely competent leader, very professional, and Mason respected her, for her experience in battle.
"My apologies, Mr. President" Mason replied, more politely than he wanted to be.
The President stared down Mason angrily. Commander Singleton broke the stare down “Well, why don’t we begin, shall we?”
All of Mason’s team, except Joe, who stormed off as soon as they got out of the car, was sitting outside the building. It was tough to ignore each other’s presence, but it seemed that none had the courage to do so.
Carla watched them intently. She remembers when she was like them. She remembers the fear of not coming back next mission. She’s learned to not rely on people talking about their emotions, but instead reading the look on their face, the way they talk.
Who they are.
It’s still not gone, it’s just that there’s not much for her to lose now. Though she does admit that she cares for each one in her team… And possibly even…
"Carla, we need you for a moment" David’s words interrupted her thoughts, and she left her team to walk with Jacob.
Maddie was thinking about what Joe said. He was right. Joe was unfortunately right, he was full of inconvenient truths. Maybe she should say something.
Soon, everyone’s blood ran cold as they heard gunshots in the distance and a war cry getting steadily closer the direction of the border of Penn District.
Carla bounded to her team. She arrived and said in a panic “WE need to go to Mason, now.”
Maddie’s eyes went wide “What’s wrong?”
"Khan is leading an attack, there are too many for the Red Cloaks to fight on even ground, we need to go now!"
Derrick wore a look of utter shame on his face as he sat restrained next to Thaldon, who cackled in his throne as he watched the screen that projected the field above where Khan was.
Derrick watched as the outer parts of the Red Cloak line get shattered and swept up by the wave of silvery green.
"Are you enjoying the show, Derrick?" he hissed into Derrick’s ear.
"Oh, you’re just sour that we got you to spit out the information"
Derrick was filled with regret as he watched the Red Cloaks desperately holding back the Kalen. He would not let that moment of weakness happen again. He must not say anything anymore.
That is, if there was any more need for him.
The Red Cloaks were retreating, and they were getting surrounded at the meeting building. The higher ups probably would not survive the attack.
"This war is over if the king of your country is killed, correct?"
Derrick shut his mouth.
"I’ll take that as a yes"
He lowered his head in defeat. All he could do now was pray that the Red Cloaks can help everyone escape.
"Ma’am, you’re not allowed-"
"MOVE" Carla yelled, as everyone burst through the door.
Everyone immediately stood up. The Red Cloak alert, Mason already had his sword in hand, Commander Singleton had a pistol aimed until she saw they were Red Cloaks. Commander Hutchinson. simply had his hands on the table, alarmed.
"Mason! The Kalen are coming!"
Mason’s eyes widened. The president yelled “What!?”
"They’re coming towards the building, by now we’re probably at surrounded."
"What happened to the border patrol!?" Commander Hutchinson questioned.
Mason didn’t have time for his nonsense “Most likely dead. Carla, get everyone in this building, Commander Singleton, can you get any and all of your helicopters out here?”
She only nodded. Mason started thinking quickly.
"Wait, shouldn’t we get everyone out of the building and escape? That’s much more pract-"
"With all due respect Commander Hutchinson, shut up"
Singleton repressed a chuckle as the president shot Mason a look.
"Don’t give me that Mr. President, I’m saving you’re ass. Now, Hutchinson, get your soldiers and hold the ground floor”
He nodded and sprinted out the door.
"Alright, I have a plan"