Chapter 6

The sun had taken its rest beneath the horizon and the moonlight took its respected place in the night sky. In First Earth, the town of Denzalton was quiet and resting for another day as everyone was asleep. The streetlights illuminated the sidewalks. A vehicle or two would occasionally pass down the streets. Only one soul stirred on the sidewalks.

Jake Bridge walked the lonely streets of Denzalton of New Victoria Province. It was a humble town that took pride in its moderate but ideal size. Jake was walking for a few hours now. He was having trouble coming to terms with his predicament. He had to face facts. He figured he might as well be stranded on a lifeless planet with no signs of escape.

"I'm a lieutenant in the Earth Federation," he said aloud to remind himself. But to the world, Lt. Jake Bridge died on Sinile. The thought made him want to laugh. Though, this was not a laughing matter.

To Prometheus, the private covert military organization, he was dead all the same. He was supposed to be killed on the grounds of the raik stronghold in the Anubis Galaxy, Venile when the C4 charge exploded and destroyed the photon jumper machine. He could easily return to the organization, but Jake felt better off. He never agreed to join Prometheus in the first place.

When they so swiftly covered up his death, Jake wasn't given a choice in the matter. They had no place to take him and use him as a tool. A simple blunt tool they would discard once it served its purpose. And the former lieutenant knew the implications that would be issued if he did something they did not approve. Desertion in the military was prison. Desertion in Prometheus was death. Or so said Paradox, Jake's old mentor.

At last, he was free! Though, at this point in the junction, Jake didn't quite appreciate it at all that much. He felt so alone on First Earth. His parents lived in Fourth Earth, New Hemberg. His ex-wife resided there as well. He felt a faded sting at the though of Jessica. Another woman came to mind to ward away the ill emotions and thoughts. Angelina Vaananen lived in New Hemberg. But Jake couldn't be certain of his love. There was no telling how she would handle the feelings of loss a second time. Wasn't the first time awful enough?

As for cash, the only person, a kind person at that was so kind to leave Jake with a few ten dollar bills to help him on his way. Jake remembered her expression upon his farewell to Lena Higgins. She was sad to see the young man leave, but it made her feel better that the money would bring him comfort on his travels. Wherever that may be, he thought.

Bridge walked into the first business that was still open at this late hour. It was a tavern of all things. He smiled. He swore he walked through the entire town and the only tavern in town was still open. And to his luck, the tavern was also an inn. In a small town as Denzalton, it was prudent for the owner to include lodgings for those wandering around at this late hour that seek a place of rest.

The door shut behind him. It was dim with a dark red hue that gradually changed to black in the deep corners. It was as he expected. There was soft music playing in the background. To the right of the entrance were several tables. There were a few filled with empty cans and spills. To the far back was the bar and a woman bartender, to Jake's surprise.

Bridge noticed a few men and the odd woman occupying a table to themselves. They were a sad bunch by the looks of it. But the young ex-soldier quickly turned his attention at the woman bartender who was busy restocking the shelves and drink dispensers. Bridge took a stool at the bar and cast a friendly glance at the surprisingly attractive bartender.

"How's this for my first day back?" He reiterated.

The bartender took a moment to notice Jake at the bar smiling at her. She returned the smile. When she set the last whiskey bottle on the shelves behind her, she looked to Jake. "What will it be?" She asked.

"A tall glass of bourbon," he answered with impeccable timing.

She was surprised by the response and with the manner it was delivered in. She was far too stressed to utter a response, Jake noted. "A busy day?" He offered innocently.

"You don't know the half of it," was her response as she readied the drink.

Jake's expression was a mixture of a smile and surprise. "Only if you knew of mine," he muttered to himself.

She would never believe Jake spent a year in another dimension with a wise and noble race far more advanced that the humans or raik could not pretend to fathom. And in the gloomy moments before dawn on this fine day, he was granted passage back to his own dimension. "She would never believe," he whispered to himself.

Finally, she set the glass down in front of him. He grasped the glass and lifted it. "Cheers!" He uttered. He held a smirk as he took a good sip of his glass. He felt the alcohol deep in his body. How he missed the burning sensation circulate through his body. "Its been too long," he whispered softly.

When he glanced at the bartender, she hadn't heard. She was far too busy preparing the tavern for the close that would come any hour, Bridge thought. He took a large gulp out of his glass and glanced around the tavern. The act caught the bartender's eye. She dropped what she was doing. She stood stunned as she saw half of the glass of bourbon gone in one shot.

Jake turned back to see the bartender appearing to be shocked. She was gazing at his glass. "What? I like my bourbon," he answered with a smile on his face.

"I can see that," she replied.

It was time to be serious, Bridge thought. "Madame, who do I speak to for a place to sleep?" He asked in all seriousness.

She stopped and saw in his eyes that he was being serious for a moment. "Madame? Who uses that word anymore?" She blushed. "But that would be me, sir knight."

Jake chuckled at her small joke. "I definitely need a place to sleep," He explained at length. "I'm new to Denzalton. I just got in this evening. I am a tired and I'd appreciate to be shown to my room."

The bartender was caught off guard by the man's plea. She took a moment to gather herself. The tavern was closing in minutes as she considered her loyal regulars who still were seated at the tables. She was more than happy to provide the traveller with a room. She moved down the bar and reached deep into the shelves. She walked to Jake and dropped a key into his palm he set out.

"Just down the halls, room 145," She said.

Jake smiled widely. "Thank you."

He took one final shot of his glass. It was half full. When he set it down, it was empty. Again, the woman bartender took a moment to stare at the empty glass in amazement. When she turned her attention elsewhere. She caught of a glimpse of the young man turning down the halls.

Bridge made no note of the bare hallway. He was more concerned for sleep. Jake was deeply tired and needed sleep. It was a long and trying day. It was like the first day in basic training! He stopped when he saw his room numbers. He moved to drive the key home. Inches from the doorknob, his hand jerked left as he stumbled backwards a bit. "Must be the alcohol," he admitted with a sloppy smile.

In a moment, the door swung open and he stepped inside. He was moving to take off his shoes. When he looked down he realized he never was wearing shoes. He broke out in laughter as he shut the door closed and locked it. In his drunken state, it didn't occur to him that the room was pitch black, but somehow he found his way to the bedroom and dropped flat on the bed.

During the fall, he already made his transition into his dreams.

The blinds were flicked open and the sun shined painfully bright into the bedroom. Jake's happy expression immediately changed to an angry look and he jumped out of bed. He stumbled backwards. The bedsprings made it hard to balance. His back leg dipped so low, he fell flat on his back. "What the hell is going on?" He shouted from behind the bed.

It was at that point, he realized he wasn't alone in his room. "Nearly a thirteen hour sleep," came a voice from the other end of the bedroom. "So you can understand my rash act."

"Do you understand my hangover?" Bridge shouted angrily again.

Jake was indeed not happy to have his delightful slumber rudely interrupted. He rose to his feet to see who dared disturb his precious sleep. When he set eyes on the man in the room, he was at ease. He had feared it was an agent from Prometheus ready to take him back to the organization. He was lucky it was some person he had never met in his life.

He saw the man wore casual clothes. A beige pants, black belt, beige coat, and a white shirt that was uninteresting in every way, Jake thought. He was about Jake's age or a bit older. He had blue dull eyes and a short sandy blonde hair. More notably, Jake knew the man sitting across from him was carrying some manner of firearm.

"Aren't you wondering why you have a stranger in your room uninvited?" The man asked.

"Don't care, don't plan to find out," He answered. "As long as you're not here to kill me, we'll get along fine."

The man was breathless at the insult, but he waved it aside. "Please, Mr. Bridge, your co-operation will be appreciated," He explained.

"I'm sure it would be," He retorted.

Jake was walking fast into the living room and turned to the kitchen. He went straight to the fridge and grabbed a carton of orange juice and chugged it till there was no more. The strange man walked slowly into the living room and saw Jake busy in the kitchen.

"Mr. Bridge, I come hereby the 17th Circle," He explained.

Bridge stopped in his tracks and turned his glance towards the strange man. He smirked when he saw that he finally caught Jake's attention. "My name is Kirby Tero," he said at length. "Do you think we forgotten about you?"

Bridge was too stunned to even give a response. "Our order has been watching your progress, Specter," he went on, he took a seat at the table in the kitchen. "We know of your exploits in the great city of Athen and the untimely death of four government senators. Your participation in the fight for Tora Space Station in the Anubis Galaxy, and we know they saved you from certain death in the spire of Venile in your fight against the vile raik, Zanon."

The uttered words of "Specter" and "they" echoed in the mind of Jake. Specter was his nickname in his days as an agent with Prometheus. And they were a mystic race from another dimension that he had spent at least a year in earth time. It took the words from his mouth to learn that they have been watching him from his days in the being's dimension and knew the day and the location on where he'd arrive in.

"We've been awaiting your return," he added. "Now come, I have clothes you'd prefer along with a few items that you will appreciate to lay eyes on again."

At that moment, Kirby sat up and made way to the door. "Wait," Jake called.

The man of the 17th Circle stopped to regard the ex-soldier. "What about cost of the room and my drink last night?" he asked.

Kirby offered a smile. "That has been taken care of," he answered. "Now, come along, we have much to do!"

They were outside in the bright hot sun. Jake stood by Kirby outside on the sidewalk. The ex-soldier noticed the town of Denzalton was alive during the daytime! The sidewalks were cluttered with people all going to and from place to place. Vehicles zipping by consistently. "Mr. Bridge, take a peek," Kirby asked.

The man caught Jake's wandering attention. He caught a glimpse of a rare vehicle that was a shiny smooth red paint. This car was a relic! It was a rare Dodge Charger 1970! But more shocking was what lied in the open trunk. He moved close to take a look inside. Kirby watched as Jake's eyes went wide in the moment he set eyes on the contents of the trunk.

First, he picked up an old military jacket that was set in the desert camouflage from his missions on Arius, in the Anubis Galaxy. It was the last uniform he wore before he was forcefully recruited into Prometheus. On the right shoulder it was stitched, "Lt. Jake Bridge of the Special Forces Unit-1614." He set that article of clothing back into the trunk.

The next thing he pulled forth was his finely crafted sword. It was his katana given to him upon his private graduation to usher him in as a fully-fledged member of Prometheus. He remembered the moment Paradox handed this glorious prize for his inception. Even though, Jake detested the fact he was affiliated with Prometheus, he couldn't deny his appreciation of what they taught him.

He set it back and took one more moment to look upon the other items. There were a few assault rifles, sniper rifles, and pistols. Along with several different combination of clothing that he assumes was for him alone. And more importantly, his Prometheus uniform he wore on his mission to the city of Athen. As he loved the suit, there was bitter taste in his mouth on what he done there.

His happy and smiling mood changed into a sad facade.

"I killed them all," he whispered breathlessly.