|THE SENTENCER: MONSTER MASH
Author: BLAKKSTONE PM
When a new breed of terror strikes down innocents, THE SENTENCER, and allies, must stop them...at any cost.Rated: Fiction M - English - Adventure/Sci-Fi - Chapters: 5 - Words: 24,498 - Reviews: 3 - Favs: 3 - Published: 01-19-08 - Status: Complete - id: 2464975
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Once upon a time in Harlem, there was a young boy, Luther Jones, standing over the shattered bodies of the man who raised him and the girl he loved. Both killed by loan sharks who just wanted to set an example.
That boy looked at the bloody, broken remains, his soul burned to ashes, his heart full of pain and rage.
Fueled by those emotions, that boy decided he would dedicate his life to defending good people like his fallen loved ones and became a soldier. But somewhere along the way, he lost himself in the bloodshed and left the Army. Soon after that, though, he saw evil take place and decided to fight it, head on, and disregard laws and rules. Rules were for games, this was war.
This young boy became a soldier. A man. And then, an avenger, a punisher, an executioner.
A Sentencer. Male, black, 6'5., 260 pounds of pure muscle. A scourge of the underworld.
The most wanted man in USA. A vigilante. A hero. A killer. A crusader. A terrorist. A force of good. A mass murderer.
But it all started with a young boy, scarred forever by the sight of his loved ones laying in boneless heaps at his feet.
Just like the boy, no more than 10, who just watched his mother being torn apart by an eight foot creature who can only be described as a wolf man.
Jones was a split second two late to save the mother, but fired a burst of 12 gauge rifled slugs from his USAS-12 automatic shotgun at the monster's upper torso and head. It exploded in a crimson mist and the decapitated, freakish corpse crumpled to the ground.
The Sentencer ran to the boy, scooped him up and ran for it.
In some short moments, the Metropolitan Museum of fine arts became a slaughterhouse. There were severed, torn limbs everywhere. And blood, ponds of blood.
Screams of terror and agony came from everywhere at once. Victims calling out to Jones, demanding retribution. Civilians, security guards, cops intercepting desperate radio calls before Jones caught it on his police scanner. Holding on to the child, Jones ran outside, put the child down near a patrolman on the sidewalk. The cop had just gotten out of his cruiser. His partner was not far behind.
"Hey, wait-"The cop shouted.
"No time. Take care of the boy. Call Tactical." Jones said rushing back inside, holding his assault shotgun, hearing screeching tires and slamming doors behind him. Rushing back into the sheer grotesque madness of the situation.
He stood face to face with three men whose bloated muscles made them look deformed. Without a second's hesitation, Jones fired the rest of the 20 round drum on his 12 gauge auto shotgun. 16 rounds. A mix of shredders, rifled slugs fired at chest level at men with no armor.
They should have died instantly.
Put it aside. Get the job done.
They were barely slowed down. The wounds were beginning to heal instantly. And they ran faster towards Jones. Jones dropped his empty rifle and released his pistols, twin .45 acp Glock 21s. He half emptied them if rapid fire, firing over twenty rounds in all. All the hits scored in the legs, feet and knee caps of his would be assailants and the fell down, without a sound or a cry. They also seemed impervious to pain. While they were on the ground, Jones gave them the rest of his mags in their craniums.
That seemed to do it.
He reloaded his Glocks, holstered them, picked his USAS-12 gauge, replaced the empty 20 round drum with a full one and went deeper into this nightmare.
As he charged into another room, Jones noticed a man in dirty overalls, wearing a hockey goalie's mask raising a machete towards a couple of terrified teenagers. The Sentencer fired a rifled slug at the wrist holding the machete. The remains of the amputated hand and the bladed instrument fell on the marble floor. The…slasher, for lack of a better term, turned towards Jones. The Warrior fired two rounds at the murderer's neck, cutting the head clean off. The body fell like a broken puppet.
"Get out of here!" Jones told the traumatized teens.
They got up and ran past Jones.
More screams, some human, some not.
Something yanked the shotgun out of Jones' hands and at the same time, The Sentencer felt more than saw and winged creature slashing at him with razor sharp talons. The claws almost gutted the vigilante, but only tore through the Kevlar vest as though it were mere tissue paper and cut deep into his flesh. The half Eagle-half man swooped away as something kicked Jones in the back. He crashed through a glass display of a medieval armor and fell down in a shower of shattered glass and several pounds of metal.
Jones saw what kicked him: a…man-toad, complete with a giant tongue which was what had disarmed him earlier. As Jones struggled to bet to his feet, the toad jumped at the lone gunman feet first into his chest. Jones flew back several feet, hit the ground, and skidded across the ground. Again, Jones struggled back to his feet.
Lock away the pain, get back some offensive. Nevermind what they looked like. Focus on killing them.
Soon, it was a concerted attack. Toad and Eagle were rushing him both at once.
Toad went in again for the kick. Jones ducked and rolled beneath the freak and grabbed the monster by an ankle, then went back on his feet and Jones swung the Toad like a baseball bat with all of his strength at the Eagle. The two skulls connected with concussive force. Jones kept swinging towards a nearby wall and the Toad's skull shattered on impact as Eagle man flew through a glass display.
The Sentencer picked up his weapon and ran towards his remaining adversary and fired.
A split second too late, the freak swooped up, dodging Jones' fire and with blinding speed, he flew at Jones and swung his arm, cutting the shotgun in two and shredding the remains of the Kevlar vest in the same movement, cutting into his flesh. The monster went for a backhand punch that connected and the following uppercut swing sent Jones flying across the room and through another glass display. Jones hit the floor hard.
Jones vision was blurry, he saw the creature swoop up all the way to the ceiling and it was going to come down and tear The Sentencer limb from limb. Luther Jones was going to die, killed by an enemy he would never understand.
Suddenly, the skylight imploded and SWAT men slid down their cables firing fully automatic bursts at the Eagle and several bursts connected with the head and the headless monster crashed to the ground.
"What the fuck was that?" A cop asked.
"Worry about that later! Secure the area!" He heard one man say and the others took control of the scene. He heard more screams and gunfire.
Four SWAT men in full gear aimed their HK MP-5 subguns at Jones, still on the ground, battered, bruised and bloody and barely able to move.
"Freeze, Jones! Don't move!" A SWAT man shouted.
"Should be easy…enough…" Sentencer groaned.
"Jesus Christ, what the fuck happened here! What did we just kill?" Another cop asked.
"I was just…wondering that…"Jones said and passed out.
6 HOURS LATER
John Watkins, once again, was ready to brief his team. The middle aged spook was
Tired. It seemed to be a permanent state for him, reading reports, remaining in contact with various intelligence offices and law enforcement agencies around the world for any news that were out of the ordinary.
Paranormal. The occult. Science gone bad. All that goes bump in the night.
The kind of things Chris Carter and Stephen King wrote about. But that Watkins has faced often.
The knowledge of the existence of such things was the reason behind the creation of Exodus Group. A team of specialists from different branches of the military whose job is hunt those things and make sure that the general public knows nothing about it.
The team he was about to brief has been under his command for a few years now. It wasn't the first of its kind. And Watkins had also a few more special projects to make Exodus even more formidable.
Watkins sat down at the end of the conference table, rubbing his eyes. This Metropolitan Museum incident had been a close call. Watkins had to be the typical spook, which he hated. He had to send guys and suits to recover all of the evidence of the attack. He had to snatch the stuff away from the cops who'd lost several of their friends in the carnage. That stuff just couldn't be made public. There were still suits trying to spin this into something less extraordinary, while other suits snatched away bodies and video surveillance.
Typical spook/suit crap. But necessary. The widespread panic started by the rumor that vampires, werewolves, witches, zombies, aliens existed would be hard to contain indeed.
Soon, the team walked it. Watkins stood to greet them.
Tom Gellar, team leader. White male, tallish, around 6 feet tall, lean, solid build, former SEAL, demolitions expert.
Luis Walker, team sniper. Half latino, half anglo. 6'2", muscular build. Marine Force Recon.
Chris Perry, former Ranger. White, tallish, lean. Electronics and communications.
Crystal Robbins. White, athletic frame. former member of the United States Marshall Service.
Vinson Gibb, former member of the United States Air Force. Black. Resident flyboy.
And Paul Moreno. Former Delta Force member. Trained in many asian Martial Arts, including swordsmanship. Also trained with a Chinese assassin cult, though it is not brought up that often.
Seeing his team always gave Watkins a jolt of energy. Just what he needed to start the briefing.
"Ok, lady and gentlemen-"Watkins started.
"Lady? Where?" Moreno started.
"Oh, fuck you, Paul" Robbins said.
"You keep saying it, but never doing it." Moreno said.
"You're right. I should change that." Robbins said. "Go fuck yourself, Paul. That better?"
"Well said, babe." Perry said.
"Thanks, honey." Robbins answered.
"Christ, guys, how old are you?" Walker asked.
"Yeah, man." Gibb said. "This sandlot bullshit is gettin' old"
"No, YOU are getting old, brotherman." Moreno said.
"Ok, guys, secure that shit, all of you." Gellar said.
Watkins allowed himself a smile. He knew the sophomoric humor helped ease the tension in the team. With the sort of threats they deal with, they do need to let out steam any way they could.
"Listen up, people." Watkins said. "6 hours ago, the Metropolitan Museum Of Fine Arts was attacked in the middle of the afternoon."
"You mean robbed." Gellar asked.
"We goin' after Catwoman? I want me some of that." Moreno said.
"Nothing was stolen, but over 40 men, women and children were killed." Watkins said in graveyard voice that chilled the room. "Over twice that number were seriously wounded, and those who walked away will have nightmares for the rest of their lives."
"Who's behind the attack?" Moreno asked, deadly serious.
"Just look at the screen." Watkins said.
And they did. For what seemed to be hours, everyone watched as monsters were ripping people apart. They watched dozens of faces locked forever in horror and agony. The saw these freaks shrug off 9mm pistol fire. Then they saw something even more amazing.
"Someone's…someone's fighting those ugly fucks." Perry said.
"Yeah…Isn't that…"Walker said.
Then recognition hit them all at once.
"Luther Jones." Moreno said.
Watkins didn't know what to expect from his team. Exodus has met Jones before. Watkins had been manipulated by crooked Company Men into killing Jones. Jones had gone as far as breaking into this very room to take them on until all realized that they'd been tricked by dirty spooks dealing dope to fund black ops.
"He's going right at them." Gellar said.
"Ain't got no fear." Gibb said.
"Bastard's got balls, give him that much." Perry said.
There was more footage of Jones fighting, then SWAT storming in, several of them killed by the remaining aberrations, some of which escaped.
"What happened to Jones?" Moreno asked.
"He's in Rikers. He got messed up pretty bad." Watkins said.
"Lucky to even be alive." Robbins said. "What were those…things?"
"Preliminary reports think maybe some genetically modified specimens." Watkins said. "Some asshole out there playing Doctor Moreau. Some twisted fuck played with human and animal DNA."
"Any leads?" Robbins asked.
"No." Watkins said. "Could be some other bullshit super soldier program gone wrong or something. I can ask around, dig for intel. You guys can't do much without that."
"Christine is already in New York?" Gellar asked of his significant other, Special Agent Christine Burchette, FBI.
"Yeah, she's acting on my behalf. We're trying to get Jones out." Watkins said.
"What? Why would we let that lunatic out at all?" Perry asked.
"That was Burchette's idea." Watkins said.
"What kinda-"Perry started. Gellar glared at him. Watkins knew that Perry was one of those the most shook up by the fight with Jones. Perry bit down his words.
"The way Burchette looked at it." Watkins said. "Everything in Jones' profile points toward the following. 1)Jones breaking out of prison. 2)Jones wanting to know what killed all those people. 3)Jones wanting to go after the bastards responsible. 4)Jones having fought those freaks and walked away and his discretion about it. I agree with her. The guy is at least a witness and an extra gun. We could use him."
Perry nodded quietly. He didn't like the idea, but kept his mouth shut.
"I still don't get it, why, attack a museum?" Walker asked.
"Luis, it's simple: to send a message." Moreno said. "It's the beginning of a terror campaign. Whoever our Dr. Moreau wannabe IS, he's pissed about something. This was his way of sending a message to whoever pissed him off."
"So…"Gibb said." We gotta expect more of this horror."
"We have to find our Dr Moreau, and stop him. Termination with extreme prejudice." Watkins said.
NEW YORK CITY,
NOT FAR FROM RIKERS
Luther Jones had bandages on his face, around his cut chest and arms. But was out his shackles. He was freed by people with a lot of clout.
The woman in front of him was all business.
"Mister Jones." She said.
"I'm Special Agent Christine Burchette, FBI, speaking on behalf of John Watkins. Do you know who I'm speaking of."
It came back to Jones in a rush of violent images. Exodus. Dirty CIA men dealing drugs.
"Yeah," He answered.
"We need your cooperation."
"You want my help to catch those monsters. Anything I can do."
"Thank you, Mr Jones. Anything you want in return?"
Jones paused. He thought about that young boy who watched his mother being torn in half by a wolf man. He sat up and bent over towards Burchette.
"Just give me crack at whoever is behind those monstrosities, Agent Burchette. I'll be happy with that."
WHEN JONES SPOKE THOSE WORDS, SHE CAUGHT A GLIMPSE AT HIS EYES. Burchette has faced her share of enemies, from this world and the next. She's never seen such an intense, coldly enraged look. The ice cold calm of Jones' voice made it even more…She understood why criminals around the world feared this man.
"Agent Burchette." Jones said.
"Yes, Mister Jones."
"You and your group face these kinds of…threats on a regular basis?"
Burchette paused, unsure of what she could disclose. She went with a judgement call.
"Yes, Mister Jones, we do."
"We barely deal with any other type of threat as you call them, Mister Jones. It's our job."
"Any idea what I came up against?"
"We have people trying to work that out. You'll be briefed along with Exodus. Do you remember what you faced? How they were?"
"I'll never forget what happened in there, Agent Burchette. Never."
Jones' tone was different this time. Before she heard cold determination, this time was different. Pain. Guilt.
"How many people died during the attack?" Jones asked.
"We don't know yet. That will be part of your debriefing."
Jones went silent again.
Burchette knew this man by reputation and by what Tom had told him about his skill and ruthlessness. She didn't feel frightened by this man. She felt some empathy, if anything. And admiration.
"I've seen some of the surveillance tape from the museum." Burchette said. "You did everything you could."
"It obviously wasn't enough."
"What do you think you should have done?"
"Stay on my feet and kill all those monsters before they harmed other people."
"You weren't trained for that kind of situation."
"They were armed aggressors. I've dealt with armed aggressors all my life. I should have been able to stop them."
"But they were stronger, faster…impervious to bullets, to pain."
"Then we have to be stronger, faster. And smarter. And have better equipment. They have to be stopped. No matter what the cost. It's our job to protect innocent people. From human predators…and everything else."
"On that, we both agree."
There was a pause. Then Burchette pulled out a digital recording device said:
"We have a bit of a ride before us, why don't recount the incident?"
Jones took a deep breath and talked.
When Jones and Burchette made it to the HQ, they met with the team. Watkins was out, "following a lead" he said.
There was a tense moment for several seconds. The last time Jones and the members of Exodus met, they tried to kill each other.
Gellar was the team's field commander. He had to cast the past aside and set the example. He walked over to the vigilante.
"I saw what you did for those people at the museum. We all did."
"You faced those freaks and I suspect you wanna piece of the bastards behind this horror."
The man Gellar was looking at was wounded and tired. He was bandaged up and banged up. But his voice and eyes turned ice cold when he said:
"Yes. I want a piece of them."
"We could use your help."
Gellar extended his hand: "Welcome aboard."
Jones shook it. "Thanks."
Gellar turned to the rest of his people." From now on, you guys treat him as a member of the team. Understood?"
Gellar couldn't say he felt the love in the room, but most of the team accepted his terms. Perry was the one with the most hostility in his eyes, but he kept his mouth shut. That was something for the hot-headed Adirondacks native. Perry had his issues with Jones but would have to be a pro about the whole thing.
"Tom." Christine said. "I have Jones' report here." She said showing her recording device. "Very detailed."
"John sent us the detailed autopsy report on the freaks. Let's head to the conference room."
The Exodus team leader felt the tension in the silence during the short walk to the war room. He really hoped this…truce would hold long enough to end this mission.
Once in the room, he hooked up his mini-computer to a projector.
"Our lab people autopsied the tangoes Jones put down. They took pictures. It's…Just watch it."
Everybody saw the "Y" incisions on several corpses and what they revealed.
Gibb spoke first: "Daaaamn. Look at the rib cage on these mothers. Bones look thicker, tougher."
Moreno: "That other guy, he has some kind of protective shell around his heart, that's besides the reinforced ribs."
Walker: "You'd need some serious fuckin' ammo to shoot through that."
Perry. "How about the skulls? Were they reinforced?"
Gellar.: "Looks like the skulls had average thickness and sturdiness. We suspect to avoid brain damage. Increasing skull thickness and volume would mean less room for the brain. You guys liked the bones, you're gonna love the blood work. There was all sorts of crap in there. Criss-crossed DNA, growth hormones, steroids…Also, something in the blood that accelerates cellular regeneration."
Robbins.: "That would account for the fast healing. So, now we know for sure we're dealing with some asshole with an army of genetically mutated terrorists."
Perry.: "We handled worse than that, babe."
Gellar.:"We don't know how bad this is until we know who's behind it, his motives and his whereabouts."
Jones.: "And how many of these…freaks are stashed away."
Gellar. "That too."
Jones looked coldly at the screen. He actually got up to get closer. Gellar could feel the controlled anger radiating from the vigilante, eyes sharp and cold as swords.
"Those men." Jones said. "The men who accepted to be turned into that. Do we know who they are?"
"Hard to tell. DNA's such a mess on these guys…" Gellar said.
"They enjoyed it." Jones said. "They enjoyed being all powerful and invincible. They enjoyed ripping people apart. Whoever your mad scientist is, he's recruiting sadists. Men with a taste for blood."
"Go on." Gellar said.
"They had strength and speed." Jones said. "But little skill. And some of them dressed like Hollywood horror movie bad guys. To them, it's some kinda sick dress up game. They get to act out their fantasies. And they don't care who the kill as long as they get to kill."
"Your point?" Perry said, not without showing some annoyance. Gellar gave Perry a steely look. But if Jones was himself annoyed, he hid it well. He went on:
"Serial killers. Soldiers who were discharged because of improper conduct. That's the sort of cannon fodder that's being recruited here."
"Insane, blood thirsty and hopped up on all sorts of shit." Moreno said.
"Yeah." Jones said.
"A lotta fuckin' good that is." Perry said. "We need to know about the guy behind these fuckers. How does that help."
"Jesus, Chris…"Robbins said.
"No, we're wasting time listening to this guy! We should be out there hunting these pricks, not listen to this guy's bullshit! Bad enough he even got clearance, for crissakes! I thought Burchette was the team's profiler, anyway." Perry said. " What are you, a shrink now, big man, huh? Like you even care! Stick to killing drug dealers in the ghetto and leave the monster hunt to experts."
Moreno: "You know, Chris, you don't have to work so hard at reminding us that you're a dick. It's a given. So, sit back, relax, and enjoy a tall glass of shut the fuck up juice."
"Fuck you, Paul." Perry said.
"Snappy comeback. And original, not to mention clever." Moreno said.
"Bryce Howard." Jones said.
The argument stopped before Gellar could order the team silent.
"Bryce Howard. Ten years old." Jones said. "The boy I evacuated during the museum attack. He watched his mother being torn to pieces and he bathed in her blood."
Jones turned and focused his eyes on Perry.
"I saw that boy's eyes." Jones went on. "Beyond fear. Beyond shock. That child may never be right in his head again. And I fought amidst severed limbs, gutted women, dismembered old people. I will take that with me. Forever. No one in this room wants to kill the people responsible of this more than me. No one. And nothing will stop me from avenging those victims and making sure the people behind this are all dead. Nothing."
The room was dead silent after that. Even though Jones' voice and vow were chilling, Gellar felt some sympathy for the man. He truly felt like he failed those felled by this madness. Perry shifted uncomfortably in his chair.
"And I don't know about you, Perry." Jones said. "But I like to know what's I'm dealing with before charging in. How far will my enemy go? What drives him? Greed? Hate? Bloodlust? If we capture one, could we break him? Make him turn on his buddies? That's what I'm trying to figure out."
Jones stood, facing the team. He wasn't intimidated at all.
"But maybe your comrades think like you. So, if you guys want me out, I'll be out." Jones said. "Say the word."
There was an awkward silence. Burchette spoke up:
"I, for one, think we need your input. We even have the possibility of a lead: if some convicts were released from death row or from insane asylums…There might be something there. Plus it says something of the sort of man who would recruit such people and unleash them against innocent people…"
"Like Moreno said earlier, we could be looking for a pissed-off scientist." Robbins said. "We could start looking at experts who recently fired. Experts in genetics. See a connection there, it's slim, but it's something."
"Yeah, whatever." Perry said.
Gellar sighed. And was about to say something when an incoming call came in from John. The former SEAL took it.
"John. You're on speaker."
"Guys, we have a name on our mad scientist." Watkins said.
"What?" Gellar said.
"Look, I have someone with me you wanna talk to. Not the guy but…. You're gonna love this." Watkins said.
The members of Exodus Group and Luther Jones saw Watkins show up with a grey haired man in an expensive navy blue suit. Everyone could tell that this man was used to being in charge.
He obviously wasn't this time, and it made him feel uncomfortable.
He cleared his throat and spoke.
"My name is Richard Logan, I'm with DARPA."
"Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency." Watkins said. "Scientific research and technological development branch of the Department Of Defense."
Gellar sneered.: "Let me guess. You used to fund our freak maker. Put him in charge of some super soldier program."
Gibb went on.:" But now, your boy is out of control, and you need us to clean your mess. That about right?"
Logan spoke up again.:" His name is Herbert Lawrence Shelby. And yes, you're both right. He was a brilliant scientist. He was a medical doctor, also an expert in genetics, a deep knowledge of pharmacology."
"And the man responsible for the death of 40 men, women and children in New York City." Jones said with a graveyard voice.
"Yes. He…was going too far in his experiments. When we tried to reason him , he called us cowards and weaklings. He was killing too many test subjects during the creation of those abominations. He…just went too far. And a few months ago, he disappeared…Since then, we tried to continue some of his work, but couldn't…"
"So…"Robbins said. "If you guys aren't funding him, who is? This ain't a comic book, he can't just rob a few banks to cover his expenses."
"We don't know." Logan said. "But whoever is helping him, they are extremely wealthy…"
"And willing to buy an army of super freaks as goons." Moreno said.
"Could be anybody." Walker said. "Terrorists, mobsters, enemy governments…"
"How many of these monsters has he created, Mister Logan?" Burchette asked.
"I saw about twenty of them, myself." Logan said. "But with right funding and facilities, he could make an army of these. An army."
"What was the goal, huh?" Perry said. "What was the fuckin' point of all this? Replace us with these ugly bastards?"
"If we could reduce the number of American soldiers tortured, killed, crippled, poisoned by biological weapons and nerve gas, isn't our duty to do so? We wanted to created stronger and more resilient soldiers for the kind of warfare we have to deal with. Imagine, troops walking away from injuries that would have fatal before. More soldiers coming home safe from abroad! Listen to this: we injected several of our subjects with ebola virus and they shrugged it off, like a little cold. Imagine the medical progress we could have made for civilians! AIDS, cancer, cured! Isn't that worth a try?"
"Depends how many volunteers got killed by your experiments." Burchette said.
"Sacrifices have to be made sometimes for the greater good. " Logan said coldly.
Before anyone could move or respond, Jones was on Logan, on hand around his neck. One second, Logan was standing tall, confidently defending his research, the next, Logan was a foot off the ground, back against the wall.
"Sacrifices for the greater good." Jones said, his voice a low growl. "I've heard those words from Neo-Nazi scum and corrupt spooks dealing poison on the streets. I'm SICK of people like you, I'm sick of power hungry bastards trampling on innocent people for their own gain. I'm sick-"
"Jones!" Watkins said.
The Sentencer was choking Logan with one hand. Logan was struggling from Jones's grip. Rage radiated from him and everyone felt it.
"Luther…"Burchette said. "Let him go. You won't avenge Bryce that way. Let him go. He can lead us to Shelby, he's the one we want." She put an arm on Jones' massive bicep. "Let him go." She said softly.
The vigilante slowly lowered the man and slowly let go of his throat. Logan fell on the floor and coughed, trying to suck in too much air at once. Jones looked at him and then left the conference room.
"That is one. Intense. Mother. Fucker." Walker said.
"Good job, honey." Gellar said, approaching Burchette.
"Yeah. I got to ride with him." Burchette answered. "I…think I understand him a little."
"Jesus…I thought he was gonna fuckin' kill him right in front of us." Gibb said.
Watkins walked over to Logan and helped him to a chair.
"You have to forgive Luther." Watkins said. "He faced some of Shelby's masterpieces. He doesn't mind being hurt as much, but he has this…thing about innocent people being killed. It…aggravates him when it happens. You understand. I think it would be best if you told us everything you knew."
"All…in..here…"Logan said, handing a USB card. Burchette took it and hooked it up to the computer. "It's… decrypted."
"Very thoughtful of you, thanks." Watkins said.
Moreno left the room after Jones.
LUTHER JONES WAS ANGRY. HE WAS USUALLY VERY GOOD AT CONTROLING his emotions, but a lot of his anger was directed at himself. He should have been able to stop those freaks. He should have saved that boy's mother.
He was too weak. Too slow.
He needed to let out some steam and let all the negative energy out. Ruminating the past never helps.
Jones found a training room in the facility. He sent a spinning heal kick into the heavy bag. The chain snapped and the bag flew halfway across the gym.
He started doing some katas. Quick, powerful strikes. He needed to work out some aggression. He felt his wounds. The deep cuts, the bruised ribs. Lock away the pain.
Soon, he stopped. He was covered in sweat. His breathing and heartbeats were regular.
"Impressive." A voice said from behind.
It was Moreno. The team's swordsman. He was holding a cup of something.
"Have some of this." Moreno said, handing Jones his cup.
Jones sipped it. It was some kind of tea. He finished it.
"Good, huh?" Moreno asked. "An old Lin Kuei blend. Good for the nerves, and they will help with your wounds, the pain and your strength. Those same herbs, if applied on your wounds will disinfect them and help them close up more quickly."
"Look. With what happened last time we met, things will be tense and awkward sometimes, but hopefully, that will come to pass. We're not enemies anymore."
"Except for Perry."
"The mountain boy needs to work that out with you. We need to work together on this. For that, we need to trust each other."
"Fair enough. And Logan?"
"He's giving us all he's got on that ugly-fucker-maker."
"Look. You weren't trained for that kinda shit. Can't blame yourself for being outclassed by genetic freaks. Christ, you did pretty damn good. You took out a few of them and never panicked. Not even sure we could have done better."
"Wasn't good enough." Jones went on weight machine. He heard Bryce Howard's cries once again. The boy, sprayed by his mother's blood.
"In the end, the ones you killed won't kill again. You gotta remind yourself of that. Despite your best efforts to prove the contrary, you're only human."
Jones remained silent, kept pumping iron.
"I've faced a lot of ugly shit as a member of Delta." Moreno went on. "I faced a lot of ugly shit training with Lin Kuei. But, nothing prepared me for my first job in Exodus: facing honest to goodness zombies in South Africa. You keep shooting these people. Seeing limbs exploded and they JUST KEEP COMING with empty, dead eyes. You have to be humble and admit to yourself. 'Ok. I haven't seen it all. That was some fucked up shit and I was scared or at least shaken.' Then, you move on to vampires, aliens, cyborgs, werewolves, mutated vampire bats and ancient Gods, shape shifting demons…Soon, they're just another breed of tangoes in your gunsights. Just another group of bastards that need killing. And you do your job. Spill scum-fucker blood so that innocent blood isn't spilled. But that first time…"
Jones kept pumping.
"You didn't kill that boy's mother, they did. We can't bring back the dead, but we can sure as fuck avenge them. Don't burden yourself with guilt, it doesn't solve anything. But stay pissed. Stay pissed and take it out on all the fuckers responsible for this shit. Beating yourself up is useless." Moreno said.
Jones didn't answer.
"Fine." Moreno said. "I tried. See ya around." And he began walking away.
"Moreno." Jones said.
Moreno looked back. "Don't mention it."