(PR outpost, somewhere in south America..., 4:05am, Sunday 13th august, 2102)
His eyes opened wide, he couldn't see anything, his eyesight was as blank as his mind. He could feel himself lying down, looking straight up, but he only saw white. He felt his spine dig into the ground beneath him. His ears vibrated, picking up chatter of voices all around him, male and female voices. "He's gaining consciousness" He saw people surrounding him, difficult from the dwindling flames and darkness that filled him. All the sudden, his eyesight was clear, he saw people standing around him, towering him, in thick armor and plates that made their appearance colossal. But the most noticeable thing about them were the iconic helmets each one was wearing, very advanced and each one had an animal face replicated on the visor and metal carefully carved, representing fangs, claws, flames in extremely detailed paint jobs to give them a terrifying gesture.
Alec sat up quickly and gave a shout of surprise. He tried to crawl across the floor, his back against the wall in fear. The figures did not retaliate, they slowly approached him while he was unable to escape and just sat in terror. One of them came barging through, wielding a pistol, it was as big as its arm, Alec wondered how it can move so quickly while holding it. The person bent down to reach eye contact level with Alec, a big pause before grasping his neck with a forceful grip. The gun pressed up against his forehead, out of the corner of his eye, he saw its finger lay upon the trigger. He looked at the mask of the figure, he saw that this mask adapted the shape of some sort of falcon or huge bird of prey. The roof of the helmet curved down and morphed a beak shape, so the did the chin piece of the helmet, it created the beak of the bird, and patterned plates representing the feathers rolled down from the other side of the helmets roof to the back.
Inbetween both beaks, was a thick piece of nontransparent glass, he could see anything in it, but all he could hear was heavy breathing, and then a female voice, the sound was shrouded and intimidating. "Who are you, give me a reason not to pull this trigger". Alec shaked, trying to break free from her grip, so he could speak. The visor in her helmet began to glow, Alec, could do nothing but stare at her, while the glass glowed slightly brighter, he could make out a pair of eyes through the glass staring at him, the eyebrows narrowed down, an angry mood stained her face. The moment was dark and tense until a voice shallowed behind her. "Nikita, that wont be necessary" The person grasping Alec, a woman supposedly, turned and looked at who said it. Another figure stood there, he was wearing vests and armor like everyone else, but this time, Alec noticed he was wearing metal pipes, mechanisms and rotors across his arms, legs and down his back, some sort of exo-skeleton armor, it made his size alot more bulky, Alec was in awe of it. He looked down at "Nikita's" arm, she had the same suit on, with metal functions and cables going down her arm, with fuses attached to each of her knuckles. The design was streamlined and comfortably responded and moved with her body's movements
The man had a different helmet, it had two huge fangs going down both sides of his visor, and two more gripping his chinpiece. Alec watched as the helmet began shifting its shape, the scales that decorated the surface represented a viper, the visor slided upwards, and the fangs shifted aside, revealing a male face, the woman did the same, her beak chinpiece displaced and slided upwards, the visor disconnected into two and slided sideways on each side of her helmet."He is an outsider, he shouldn't be here, we've already taken care of his dog, but I don't like this one, there is something about him that makes me wanna pull the trigger, Barret" Alec coughed up a bit of blood, it spewed on Nikitas arm as he murmured under his breathing "Nebula.." Nikita looked down at the blood, her arm vibrated as her body filled with stress and temper. She stood up, throwing Alec's back against the wall. "Whats your name!?" Barret approached her to remove her gun as she pushed him back . "Don't interrupt me! She said and turned back to Alec. "What is your name?"
Alec looked at her, he looked at his chest, the scar was gone, so was his armor, he was left half naked wearing only boxers. Looking at his body, he noticed he had no more scars, but few bruises to replace what was once there. He looked back up at Nikita, he gun staring in between his eyes. "Alec............Alec Shard". A huge silence broke throughout the room, Nikita's facial expressions were blank, he wrist shaking on the trigger. Barret stood behind her, he said nothing. They all looked surprised. Barret tried to speak, it was silenced by the noise of a huge thumping noise coming from above them. Its intensity shook the room around them, dirt and pebbles falling from the ceiling. The thumps became repetitive, and sounded more like footsteps. Alec looked around, wondering what it was, Nikita and Barret both looked at each other and looked back at the soldiers behind them, they all looked at each other worryingly, as the footsteps continued.
The noise continued onto a staircase, going down on their level, the soldiers all stared, Alec attempted to lean to get a better view. It was another figure, his footsteps echoed the room in heavy resonance. He walked towards Alec in a straight path, everyone moved aside as he walked straight. Alec uncanny about what was gonna happen. The figure was much larger than everyone else, his armor was different...so was his exo-skeleton. Alec looked down and saw all the weight transferred into his sluggish footsteps, as they created dents in the ground, and the sound of gas exhuming and metal clanking ached his ears. The figure stood right in front of him, very slowly bending his legs down. Alec stared into his helmet. Again another visor he was unable to see through, but this visor had a skull printed on the face. A very sinister and decayed skull, it look deteriorated from combat. Around the visor, the helmet had mandibles and metallic teeth all around the outside. The skull design didn't look human, it seemed more familiar to a Skruall.
Whoever was wearing it, their face was completely covered, his breathing fumed through gaps and filled the room like gas. Alec held back from looking away, he was waiting for something to happen, then the colossal man spoke. "Alec Shard....its good to meet you at last". Alec stuttered in shock and surprise. "Surprised? You probably don't know us, but we know you.....more than you think..." Alec was speechless, he stared at the blank emotionless skull in front of him...then it started to move. The teeth and shards shifted inwards away from sight, the breathing module where he breathed lifted upwards around his head. the skull integrated mask rotated upwards inside the helmet, Alec could see him for the first time. Only his face was showing, his hair, ears was and back of his head was away from sight. He had a slight brown tone to his skin, it matched his hazel eyes, deep into his retinas, a fizzing blue like an electric spark.
Alec found his tendancy to speak. "How do you know my name?" The hulking juggernaut sat down with his legs crossed. "We know a lot about you, because we are part of you, I hope I can be friends with you.......like I was with your father..." Alec shuddered, he felt the need to wrap his hands around the figure and strangle him into submission. "How do you know me? who are you people?" The figure stood up back to his crushing height. "I am Dominic, or Dom for short, I lead Phoenix Rising". Alec stared at him in plain confusion. "Phoenix Rising?"
"We are an organisation, we devote our lives to protecting innocents, our goal is to cleanse what remains of military cooperations on this planet, like Phanix".
"Whats about phanix?"
Barret interrupted in between the two of them. "They are corrupt, they don't care for the citizens at new London. It wont be long until the city crumbles apart, unless we do something about it".
"Crumbles apart?" murmured Alec. "Yes, a notorious man is in hiding, he is the most powerful man on the planet right now, and we've spent years hunting him down". Alec loosened his back from the wall behind him. "Who is this man?" Barret leaned down again to talk. "We believe you are familiar with.....Alan Blakeway?" The moment he heard the name, Alec began to flinch, and twitch at the feel of electrodes in his brain fusing out of control.
"Alan......he tried to kill me many years ago.." Dom pushed Barret aside. "He shot you because he saw you as a wall between him and his goal for power, he felt the same way about your father". Alec looked up at Dom, he almost got up right to his feet. "Are you saying Alan killed my father?!" Dom looked down to the ground. "I have no idea what happened to your father, i don't know if he got killed or is missing, but he used to fight here with me in Phoenix Rising, and thats something to do with why we want you here."
"Why do you want me here?"
"Your father use to fight for Phanix, I remember the first time I met him, I was close to killing him, since we fought for different sides, he was in my debt, and I offered him a spot to fight for us, he accepted. He was by far one of the best members we had, he never failed in our heists, always one chapter ahead of everyone else".
"But why do you want me here? What do i have thats value to you?"
Dom laughed with a deep tone before replying back to Alec, who was unwittingly quiet. "Its not what you have, its you, we have fallen apart for the past 2 decades, you have your fathers blood, his genes, he helped us fight our feuds with rival clans and came close to hunting down Alan, but that was when your father was never seen again, and we need you, the remains of his legacy".
Alec stood up, but he looked around him, all the the soldiers stood aside Dom in unison before Dom began speaking again. "We need you, and fast. We believe he has a plan to overthrow the remaining cities, and he is under control of a counterpart company called Project Hydra, this may be some form of secret weapon, and he is not afraid to use it against the world, and if we don't do something fast......bad stuff is gonna happen".
Alec looked around, behind the miscellaneous scenery and people crowding him as an exit, he thought wisely to himself. "I ...really don't know, the only reason i did this job for Phanix was for a bit of money and go back to life but..."
Barret stepped forward to interrupt. "How can you not accept? We have food, drink, shelter, and trust me, our real lounge and bedrooms look a lot nicer than this shit hole of a bunker"
"Hush Barret" Dom looked back at Alec. "You will be safe with us, we are brothers and sisters of PR, we have everything provided, and we can even suit you up in an exo-suit". Suddenly a robotic syn th of clicking and rhythmic pulses pulsated through the room. From a dark corner, a small flying drone flew over to where Dom and Alec were talking, and jutted in between the two of them. The drone was long and sentiment its body suited the shape of a spine with small limb attachments to it. Dom pointed out to the flying bot. "You see, our exo-suits are living things, they provide us nutrients and boost our natural capabilities and feral instinct". Alec looked at the robot, it hovered off the ground and look quite impressive. "If you accept, we can surgically implant him into your spine, you can receive upgrades for your arms, legs and head, but the higher state tech you have to earn.
Alec stared at Dom in shock. "Wait? you all had this?!" Dom nodded and slowly turned around, Alec stared at the exo-spine run down his back, as the other soldiers copied and showed off their different spines, all with ridged armor plates and accessories. "Indeed, you are missing out on being part of the most anticipated equipment, we have higher state tech than entire governments, our weakness is our numbers, and you make a big difference to that". Alec took another glance at the drone, it looked very tempting. Dom spoke up. "How about this, we fit our basic level 2 gear on you, you can go outside and test it out, if you want to join, come back to us if your alive, if not, then don't come back.."
Alec stared at Dom in plain confusion. "What the hell is level 2?" A huge smirk of pleasure met Doms face. "Thats for you to find out, you'll enjoy it more than anything you've ever tried, and its only just level 2". Alec looked at the drone once again and he nodded. "Fine, lets do it." He said shortly and snappy. Everyone approached and surrounded Alec, Barret went up close. "By the way, You probably already know now, Im Barret, the big guy is Dom, our leader, Keegan and Mathias are sleeping somewhere, you can meet the later, oh and this is...Nikita". Alec stared blankly at Nikita, her blue eyes were bright but her expressions dark. She growled under her closed mouth, then approached and punched Alec in the cheek, before storming off. "Gah!!! What the hell is her problem?!" Alec exclaiming in pain. "I dont know, you must of done something that pissed her off" Barret said as he walked off into a dark corner.
Alec turned towards Dom, with a table set up, tools on the table and the same drone by his side. He felt an uncanny feeling pour down his back, he stroked it, thinking about if this is the last time he'll ever feel the same again. He gave a slight squint, his eyes avoiding the sharp tools and pointy objects, a slight irrational fear struck him. "What if.......I don't want to?" He said directly to Dom. A briefing of laughter filled the room. "You don't have a choice, you want to reject my offer from joining a superpower with all the qualities any man or woman cant withstand? You cannot leave, if you try, you die, therefore you have no choice, once you bond with us, you stay with us, you become us". Alec felt a chill in Dom's words. He cannot face the horrors of the outside world alone, the wildlife would claim him before he could even escape radiation, there was practically no variety of options for him. "You know you cannot survive out there, no without this". Dom said, gesturing towards the drone and hunks of metal and glowing counterparts.
"But once you do this, you cannot leave, we stick together, we don't simply give away this for free, but your a shard, this is a different occasion". Alec felt unsure, looking down at the ground, feeling Dom's noisy footsteps approach him, a huge metal arm twirls round his shoulder. "We need you, Alec, I feel something about you that makes you have great potential, and this is a great opportunity, but we need you more than you need this, and trust me, this equipment is what's going to keep you alive out there. Giving a loud grunt, Alec paced quickly towards the table, and slid over and laid his back down roughly, a group of people in white coats and facemasks surrounded him, with Dom looking over them. Alec looked up at Dom. "Besides, I don't see the big deal in all this equipment, I handled myself pretty well out there". Dom looked down at him with slight fixation. "Oh you mean that forest near Wolverhampton? Barret told me you did some pretty good defending, but urm....this is not Wolverhampton anymore, no more little monsters and fairies to deal with here........WELCOME TO BOLIVIA!" Dom implied loudly.
Alec rushed and raised his head quickly in shock, the surrounding people backed away in sudden fright, as Alec stared straight at Dom. "WAIT WAIT WAIT......since when were we in BOLIV....." He felt something thin and sharp pierce his neck, something fast and fluid diffused through and entered within him. His shouting suppressed to yawns and groans as he felt his head smash against the table, all he could see from his impaired eyesight, everyone came closer, their tools at the ready, Dom leaned forward overlooking him. "Since we took your sleeping corpse to Africa, then Asia, then here, sweet dreams"....