The fall of Rome

An explosion ripped through the northern tower of the "Invincible Fortress". It was smaller then I wanted, but big enough to cause the necessary distraction that was needed. (I don't know much about this group that I'm with now, but they paid the price. After all, I'm just a gun for hire. I like to think of myself as an odd jobs man. They tell me that hundreds of years ago this country was a democracy. Now an evil despot rules it. The first part I'm not too sure of, but I know the second part to be fact.)

"Hurry it up."

The flat, almost lifeless voice of this group's leader. A tall man maybe 6 feet, but built like a swimmer. I think I could wrap my fist around him. He has an easily forgettable face though, but somewhat familiar. He goes by himself Romulus. I always wonder if he's killed his brother yet, but no one else gets it.

"Yeah, yeah I'm coming."

This small group of five people ran towards the fortress. "So now what?" I asked.

"Now we get what we came for," Romulus said.

"Wanna clues us in on what that is?"

This came from another in the group. Stronginthearm, he went by. A massive mountain of a man.

"No."

No one argued the point. We came to the entrance, met the guards, and knocked them out. But the gate is heavy, and now I understand why Stronginthearm is here. When we got in there was nobody around. You'd be surprised how empty a hallway is when the building it's in has been bombed. As we marvel at the emptiness, Romulus searched for something here, I decided to take a good look at the people who might get me killed. Romulus, Stronginthearm, a short guy who looks 15, a beauty of a woman, and me.

"So what's your name, kid?" I asked.

"I'm called Hack," the teen replied.

"So.why are you here?"

"My skills go to the highest bidder. Apparently that was Romulus over there."

"Skills?"

"I'm a super-hacker," Hack slyly commented with a nasty grin.

"And you?" Turning my attention to the beauty.

"I'm here as a favor to Rommie"

"And what's your name?"

"Crystalline."

I felt I should have just left it at that but."How exactly can you be of help?"

For the answer she just held up a hand. Slowly light energy gathered around her palm, forming a crystal.

"I've heard of things like that, gene splicing and engineering, psychotropic experiments, but."

"And what might we call you, O' inquisitive one?"

"Call me. A. C."

"A. C.? The famous mercenary? I thought you came with a high price."

"I do."

Silence filled the halls until Romulus decide that he couldn't find what he is looking for in here.

"Let's go to the main tower."

It seemed to me that Romulus has a flare for speaking without any emotion. (What kind of a person has billions of dollars to throw around? And what is he doing seeking to get rid of our "beloved" tyrant? If you ask me, most of the people are idiots and the rest don't care who rules them, because either they're getting rich or they're working too hard just to earn enough to eat.)

As we made our way to the main complex, I spotted some guards running over to 'greet' us. I pulled out two reasons I am so famous, and aim.

"Aren't those illegal?" implied Hack the techno wiz.

"Only if they can take 'em from me."

White Ion Blasters. I fired and two white beams, 6 feet in diameter, erupted from the twin barrels of the gun in each hand. Too late for the guards. They are obliterated and leading to their direction is now a ditch "There's a reason why they're illegal." I observe and not for the first, or last, time, as I let the blasters slide back up my trench coat sleeves.

"It's amazing what you can hide in a trench coat," Hack stated.

"Keep going!" Romulus interrupted.

Inside the main complex, the first thing we saw was a multitude of computers. I took a look at one of the screens to figure out the date, it's been a while since I stayed in one place to really care. 8-11-2361. (Why does that date seem familiar?)

"Hack, log in. I want you to see if you can find something for me," orders Romulus.

Hack meandered to the nearest computer and pulled something from his neck. I look closer and see that he had pulled a wire out of his neck and is literally plugging in.

"I want you to find a file. It'll be under the name 'Project: Remus',"

"Searching. found it! Project: Remus, experiment in the production of a high-energy psychic, gene-spliced for perfection in all physical attributes and abilities. The project was shut down after the production of a single specimen, which has been cryogenically frozen; all other records have been sent to storage or destroyed."

"Where is the cryogenics lab?" Romulus demands in a slow voice.

"Basement level 2."

"Let's go"

Romulus left with the other two members, leaving Hack and I alone.

"Hack?"

"Yes?"

"See if you can pull up a 'Project: Romulus.'"

"Okay. searching. I found something, but it's all either been destroyed or is encrypted beyond my skills. sorry."

"It's okay. Hurry up and plug out we need to stay with them."

"Sure." he almost pulled out his wire but."Hey I found an accessible file."

Hack's face glazed over and began to twitch.

"Hack.?"

"Gleblenblelbekenbje," Hack mumbled.

Hack was twitching wildly on the floor and a smell of burning flesh (and for some reason plastic) was wafting from him.

I knew there was no way to save him. I pulled out a pistol with a silencer and put him out of his misery.

I return to the group.

"Where's Hack?" inquired Crystalline.

"The terminal was booby-trapped. He's dead." What did I care? I didn't know him.

We piled into an elevator and rode down.

"Romulus, were did you get the money to pay for me?" I asked

Silence emanated from Romulus. So, I stopped the elevator. "Answer my questions or we don't go on."

"Questions?" Romulus says, drawing out the "s", "I thought you only cared about money, A.C. It's old family money. I inherited it."

"Fine. Good. Okay, next question: who are you?"

"I'll answer that later, for now I'm just someone who seeks to ride this country of tyranny."

I started the elevator again, but the tension in the elevator isn't going down with it.

We arrived in Basement level 2. Only a single chunk of ice was sitting there with some monitoring equipment hooked up.

"I guess this must be Remus," I joked.

"It is," Romulus, stated in a flat voice. "Crystalline, unfreeze Remus."

Crystalline placed her hands on the ice, and it seemed that the ice is being slowly absorbed into her. I walked up to the beautiful lady. "What does the tyrant look like?" I asked.

"Well. he's tall and skinny, with a face that you can't quite remember or forget, if that makes sense," She replied, "now let me concentrate." She went back to the ice cube.

I decided to try my luck with Romulus again and walked over to him. "What's so important about this Remus character anyway?"

Romulus looked me square in the eyes for a moment, "He is a replacement for the leader of our country, there may be a plot within the government to kill our ruler and use Remus as a puppet. After all, the tyrant doesn't know everything and this could surprise him."

Minutes later Remus is free

"He looks just like you, Romulus." Stronginthearm said, voicing what's on all our minds.

Suddenly, without warning Remus struck out at Stronginthearm and killed him by ripping his throat out. Remus then incinerated Crystalline with a psychic fire blast.

"A.C.?"

"Yeah, Romulus?"

"The last part of your job is to kill him. Then you get your payment."

"Fine."

I pulled out the pistol and fired. But, Remus is an incredibly fast man. I emptied an entire clip and he avoided every bullet.

"Fast little F'er, aren't ya? Well I'm pretty fast, too!"

I pulled out an 18-inch-long blade and ran after Remus.
Slash. Slice. I miss with both attacks. But Remus gets in a swift kick to
my ribs. (This guy is fast!)

(Well, if you can't win fairly, cheat!) Concentrating, I lifted him off the ground and held him immobile with my mind. It's nice to have psychic abilities sometimes.

I walked over to Remus and reload my pistol. Pointed the gun at his forehead and fired.

BAM.

I released his body from the psychic hold and let it fall to the ground. Then I fired three more shots in the head. (Can't be too sure.)

"Job's done, now my payment."

"What is it, 300 million? 400? Name your price."

I walked over to Romulus and kneed him in the stomach. He fell to his knees. I grabbed his head by his hair and jerked back so I could see into his face. I pulled out the knife and brandished it in front of him.

"My payment is your life."

I drew the knife back for the killing blow.

"Why?" pleaded Romulus.

"Because this country will never be free with a tyrant like you. That, and I was hired to kill you before this job. Your reign is over."

Slice.

Romulus falls over dead without a sound.

In ancient times, Romulus killed Remus. Today, I killed both. Rome has fallen and a new empire will emerge. Maybe I'll stick around.