Chapter 14

Three thousand chin ups, Five hundred sets of squats and bench press one and a half tons. That was the daily warm up for Derek Swift. Every morning he woke up at 5 a.m. on the dot, where he didn't need a beeping alarm clock or the faint glint of the rising sun. He body shocked him awake, his fatigue from the night vanished, his eyes no longer heavy as bricks. He got up and put on his sweat proof athletic clothes. He walked down to the gym and went to special area that was customized just for him. They constructed a treadmill that could spin as fast as he could run. They had weights so heavy only he could lift with his bare hands where people would need a forklift to pick the pieces of metal from the ground. Every morning he would spend his time training, making his physical movements easier to perform, making him quick on his feet, and able to summon his strength easier than his counterpart.

There were some days he didn't want to wake up at five in the morning, where he wanted to sleep and dream of a life that seemed like a paradise. He would dream about being in a house, filled with people that didn't look nothing like him, but they smiled at him like he was their child. He would dream of a large room, filled with over a hundred people. The room was flashing with different colors, and he was surrounded by cables and large boxes. He would remember a girl: auburn hair and dazzling green eyes, with a smile that made him float in the air.

Every time the girl would show up in his dreams and looked into her green eyes, she vanished. The green eyes would still be staring at him, but the owner of the eyes would be a boy. He had brown hair, and an identical physique. The eyes no longer looked at him with bliss, but with fury, and then he was flooded by an ocean of maroon energy.

That's when Derek would wake up in the middle of the night, the face of his nemesis imbedded into his mind. Derek was trained to be better than Project Spartan, but ever since that fight in the research facility proved to him that Lab 13 didn't do anything wrong with Spartan. Spartan almost killed him in a deadly blast that Derek himself conjured up, which gave all the motivation in the world to hunt him down, and kill him with one wav of his hand.

Whenever there was a day he wanted to relax, where thoughts of wanting to sit down and read the comic books Blaze always reads, or the horror movies Frost watched every Friday, something in him snapped. He didn't get angry or upset, but something in the back of his head whispered to him, telling him to do what he was meant to do. Train, lead a team, strategize attack formations, and obey every order that was given to him.

The strange part of his life was that half the orders that were given to him, only he was the one who could hear the orders. One day when Commander Rourke was debriefing the Striker Squad on the hunt for low level threat Alphahuman, he was ordered to kill the Alphahuman and cut a finger off the Alphahuman and to keep it for further studies. On the mission he shot the Alphahuman point blank and then sliced a finger off with his Photon blast. Animus, the telepath, was outraged and asked why he cut the finger off.

"We were given instructions to kill the runway, and cut the finger off for preservation of further studies on its ability." Derek said flatly.

"Rourke never gave us those orders, Derek." said Animus, rage blowing through her nostrils.

Derek would turned to his fellow members and confirm the order that was given. They never recalled an order to kill and cut a finger off the runaway Alphahuman. Derek was curious on why he was the only one who heard the order, but shook off his doubt and led the Squad back to headquarters. When Derek went to Commander Rourke and gave him the finger as well as the confirmation on the kill of the Alphahuman, he merely nodded and told him good work.

Clearly Rourke gave him the order, and his foolish teammates didn't recall or just want' paying attention. Then it happened again in various other missions, and every time when he came to Rourke to brief him on the mission, he always was pleased with the results, even when he didn't give the order on all the objectives Derek sought out to do. At first he thought he was going crazy, but he came to the conclusion that he had an instinct of a true operative, knowing what exactly what to do when it needed to be done. That certain ability must be something he acquired while he was training to be a prime Alphahuman.

That's why every morning he did his daily training routine, no matter where he was stationed. The bunkers he went to were given five days' notice that the Striker Squad would be going there, even when the Squad didn't. By then the custom made section of Derek was already constructed, having access to it the moment he set foot in the bunker.

It's been 18 months since he's been leading the Striker Squad on covert missions. He's done it all: assassinated terrorists, from eco-terrorist to the ones fighting the war on his homeland. He's sabotaged any corrupted member of any cabinet in the country, either framing a murder on them or exposing documents of them not using the government's tax money for the senate, but so he could have a special night with a beautiful woman. He would go out of the country to cut the loose ends of any foreign consultant that would expose Lab 13, leaving the branch open for attack. Out of all of these things he would go on missions that only the Squad could do successfully: Capture runaway Alphahumans.

Lab 13's elite task force known as Security was a joke to every Alphahuman ever made. Every Security soldier was just a human, who either was a slacker in the military and needed a job, or a CIA agent who was upgraded to guard and protect the nation's best kept secret. Either way, every Alphahuman was trained and possessed abilities where a Security soldier was practically a dime a dozen. That is how much money you would need to convince an Alphahuman to kill a dozen Security members.

Derek didn't remember much about his time with Security when he was training. Every Alphahuman he's worked told him stories on how much damage they did to a soldier. Derek could not recall any Security war stories. In fact, he didn't remember much of his time being tested on. The only thing he remembers is waking up in a white room, and was examined and was explained to on what kind of abilities he had. Riley, the scientist who treated him, told him he was the new ideal experiment for Lab 13. He was called "The general of the Alphahumans".

Derek didn't know what Riley meant by that, and he never will. Derek killed him before Riley ever got a chance to explain why he would be a general.

Derek was just finishing up his fifth set of bench pressing seven hundred pounds of steel and going on to nine hundred when he heard the gym door swish open. He placed the rod down gently, because the last time he just dropped it, the steel weights almost went through the floor. He did his breathing exercises to calm his heartbeat; otherwise he could lose control of his energy levels.

"Good morning agent Trojan," said Commander Rourke. "The morning warm up easier this time?"

"More and more every day, sir." said Derek.

"How is the energy control?" he asked, without a hint of concern.

Derek looked at his wristwatch, indicating that the time was a just a little bit after six. Not only did his watch could tell him time, but was a Photon energy stabilizer. The back of the watch had small needles go into his skin, sending a mix of electrical energies and chemicals that would not only control his blood pressure and adrenaline, but the Photon energy matter that flowed through him like the blood in his veins. Ever since Derek started training he didn't have much control over his Photon levels, where if his adrenaline was spiking bolts of energy would lash out of him, destroying everything near him. The watch was able control that chaos, and so far it worked well for him.

"Same as the usual, sir," Derek replied. "Is there a mission you want us to debrief the Squad in sir?"

Commander Rourke quivered his lip down and said "Yes and no, Trojan."

Derek seemed confused. "I'm afraid I don't understand sir."

Rourke went over to a computer, which had records or statistics of Derek's progress of his training. He tapped the screen a few times, and saw the bars go up, showing that he has improved over the past six months.

"As you know, Animus is in Los Angeles to assist the West Coast division on a problem at hand. I was believe that she was needed and gave her permission to transfer. When I went to go check up on the bunker in Los Angeles, they told me they didn't have Animus with them, in fact she never set foot in the station. A few days later we had reports of Animus attacking a Security scavenger unit. She wasn't alone but she was aided by a rogue group of Alphahumans who like to call themselves as "The Zulu Unit". You've heard of them, haven't you Trojan?"

"Not only have I heard of them sir, but I briefly quarried with them in the Research facility." said Derek in his flat tone, but he couldn't control the sound of anger come out when he mentioned the research facility.

Rourke briefly flashed anger and resentment when Derek replied, and his expression returned to his stern look of authority. "Yes, I do recall that. There is more to the report of that conflict in Los Angeles though. It turns out Security was able to get a shot off one of the tangos, but was then confirmed it was a civilian. Shortly after the conflict became a car chase. The whole unit was confirmed KIA in a matter of seconds. The body count is twelve agents."

"You want us to apprehend the Zulu Unit, sir?" asked Derek.

"Yes, but this mission shall also be your number one priority." said Rourke.

"I thought I already had a number one priority sir."

Rourke smiled, but it was not one of happiness, but a smile that was conniving as a snake stalking a small mouse soon to be his meal. "We looked at our satellite images of the last known location of the scavenger unit, and these are the pictures we were able to capture."

Rourke handed Derek a smartphone, and Derek saw the slideshow of satellite images. They were images of a young man, next to the cars Security uses in operations. Not only did he see the cars next to him, but he saw that he was pushing them away with the swat of his hands. The one thing that made Derek's heart leap is when he saw the flashes of maroon light that caused the cars to explode. The same maroon light that nearly brought him to death's door.

"These images give us reason to believe that Project Spartan is once again involved with the rogue group of Alphahumans." said Rourke firmly.

Derek handed back the smartphone to Commander Rourke, his eyes flaring with vengeance and bloodlust. "When are we scheduled to depart, sir?"

Rourke smirked, his eyes glinting with satisfaction. "In one hour. Pack up your things and wake your Squad. Your objective is to investigate the last known whereabouts of Animus, and see if it can lead you to Project Spartan. Once he is found, you terminate him. Are we clear?"

"Yes sir," said Derek. "Permission to ask a question, sir?"

"Request granted," said Rourke.

"The Zulu Unit, is the objective to terminate them as well?"

Rourke turned his back on Derek, walking his way out of the gym. "The result of the Zulu Unit is optional, Trojan. Capturing them for further studies or terminating them as well as Project Spartan is your choice as team leader. What you see fit, I give you permission to do so."

"Thank you, sir." said Derek, a smile fit for a dragon being formed on his face. Rourke left without a word to leave Derek with his thoughts. He went to go grab a towel, where the mirror was in front of him. The mirror was large and wide as the wall it was attached, so clear and spotless it was like looking at an extension of the gym, a wall blocking you off from the extra equipment. Derek thought about the mission at hand, how he's been waiting for over a year at this mission to come.

You know what to do, Derek.

Derek looked around, and saw that there was no one in the room that was talking to him, yet he heard a voice directing him.

Over here Derek.

Derek looked at the mirror and saw his reflection only the reflection didn't match the expression on his face. He saw himself standing stiffly, his expression dark and vengeful instead of the confused look he felt on his face.

You know you only have one option in this mission.

The voice was coming from the mirror where his reflection was moving his lips, talking. The strange part was in that Derek didn't move his mouth, not saying a word. The reflection was talking to him, and Derek had no idea why.

The Zulu Unit has been trying to destroy this branch, Derek. They've been sabotaging us for over a year. They've killed men, men with families, men trying to protect our country. They don't deserve to live. You know you must not only kill Spartan, but you must kill the Zulu Unit. You must kill them all. It needs to be done. Break the back of boy with lightning, crush the bones of the one who grows stronger every time he moves. Snap the neck of the diamond skin whore. Rip the metal and the flesh of the armored one. Eat the heart of Black Knight. Have Spartan's head on a plate. Show no mercy.

Derek's reflection was staring at him, and at first Derek was at disbelief. Then something inside him told him that he was not going crazy, but in fact more sane than he ever was. He was able to see his conscience talk to him, the logical side that always knew what to do. It was something that gave him the edge from other Alphahumans. He has the ability to understand himself better than anyone else. He had the ability to show himself what was the choice he had to make.

"Yes," he said to himself, his reflection moving when he was, "That is what needs to be done,"

He walked out of the room, having the mindset of a determined Lab 13 operative, and the heart of a cold blooded killer.