The shopkeeper's bell rang once as John swung the door open. John stood in the doorway not allowing the door to close and the bell to ring again.
He called from his position.
"Ellias needs a ride."
Jane paused her search momentarily. She turned to give John a quick shrug.
She quickly returned to her search.
"C'mon Jane, my ass is worn from sitting all that while."
"I'm sure that's the reason"
Jane gave her friend a quick wink before returning her attention to the counter.
John continued to stare at her for a time after she had withdrawn her attention from him. He sighed when he finally shifted his gaze.
"You know forensics is supposed to get that right?"
John said referring to the search she and Smith were on.
"We find more this way."
John couldn't argue with that, he knew most of the critical information was found hours after a raid.
John asked. Almost on queue a section of wall that Smith had been tapping reverberated a low pitched hum. The silence that followed was interrupted by the splintering of wood as Smith punched straight through the hollow wall.
Smith stared at the metal gate on the other side of the door, two other faces soon joined him.
"What is it?"
Smith asked to no one in particular.
"Looks like some sort of bomb shelter, built in the 50s maybe.."
John guessed out loud.
Jane was the first to break from the trance of the door, though her eyes were still fixed on the it.
"Huh...Well one of us has to go pick up Ellias.."
Smith's dismayed expression was the most pronounced although all three were somewhat disappointed.
It was an unspoken truth that most agents that had joined after the 80s, did so for the chance at adventure.
"Play you for it?"
One of the three said.
A single bell rang out as if in defeat as Jane exited the shop, she had put out a scissor when she should have done a stone. Jane felt a little disappointed but felt better at the prospect of talking personally with Ellias.
She couldn't help but feel he was a lot smarter than he let on. Promising traits for an agent, she thought.
A soft buzzing sound was coming from the vehicle as Jane approached it. It sounded like a bee at first, but soon it became clear that it was the Van's vehicle mounted radio.
"This is TF Johnny Delta who is this? over"
Jane asked after having just entered the vehicle.
Ellias yelled particularly shrilly at a 19 year old as he propped open the hood of George's Van. The teen quickly closed the hood and retreated when he saw the look of fury on Ellias's face.
Inside the vehicle, Ellias swore and hissed.
"You really should have payed more attention to your fuel gauge.."
Ellias spat not looking at George, he didn't expect an explanation from the catatonic man.
Without fuel, Ellias knew he couldn't do much inside the vehicle. He sighed as he realized what he would have to do.
Ellias cautiously stepped out from the van. For the most part the crowd allowed him, it was clear it was George they were after.
"Everybody calm down"
Ellias politely asked after having stepped out from the vehicle. The crowd failed to acknowledge him, with only a few members addressing him directly asking him to let them into the car. To which Ellias would shake his head and repeat his request for them to calm.
"Everyone shut the fuck up!"
He tried. The crowd remained unresponsive.
The crowd's movement was gradually pushing Ellias into the crowd, unwilling to wait a pair of hands grabbed and pulled him into the crowd.
Ellias stopped inches from Bob's saliva spewing mouth, it was clear he was trying to say something but Ellias had no intention of listening.
With the situation quickly escalating, Ellias decided to take measures to regain control of the situation.
Recalling his training, Ellias quickly reached for the pistol in his coat. He aimed to use the pistol's butt to immobilize the man currently grabbing him.
Bob saw through this however and grabbed the slide of the gun as soon as he could. The barrel of the weapon tilted downwards as Bob pulled the weapon down and towards him, the opposite of his opponent.
The weapon swung high and low before Ellias managed to get the weapon above his head strike it down onto Bob's balding cranium. Bob's head now profusely bleeding continued to stare into Ellias still maintaining his grip on the pistol.
The gun started to raise for another strike.
The pistol was just above Ellias's waist level when Bob managed to gain control of the weapon. In his last moments of control, Ellias fired a shot.
Bob immediately fell to the ground with an inhuman yell of pain. Copious amount of blood leaked from the eviscerated arteries still in his leg.
Soon Bob's crying was the loudest and only sound in the suburb.
Aside the unexpected casualty, the outcome of Ellias's expedition was ideal. The crowd had now formed a circle around the vehicle with at least six feet between them and the Van.
Bob's wife was the first to cross that gap, sobbing as she grabbed Bob by the collar of his shirt dragging him back into the crowd.
Bob continued to wail as his wife and several members of the crowd tried to staunch the bleeding, they were failing. The rest of the crowd stared dead eyed at Ellias.
They continued staring even as Ellias stumbled into the van and activated the radio.
"TF John come in"
Ellias whispered as if the crowd couldn't see what he was doing.
There was no response.
He spat hitting the dashboard. Ellias attention soon trailed out of the car's window to Bob and his wife.
The wife kept pressure on Bob's gaping thigh as blood spurted out from it onto her face. The wailing had stopped, replacing it was the crying of a woman in shock.
Ellias soon turned his shell shocked expression back to the van.
"Come in TF Johnny"
Ellias repeated. His eyes darted from the radio to the outside as he repeated his words. Bob was still alive, but just barely.
The crowd seemed to understand this, their dead eyed glare seemed to reaffirm what Ellias already knew. If Bob were to die there would be swift retribution.
"Come in TF Johnny"
Ellias repeated more desperate each time.
He had squeezed shut his eyes by this point, the glare of the crowd had become overwhelming.
Ellias repeated his words another five times.
"This is TF Johnny Delta who is this? over"
A familiar female voice sparked through the radio his twentieth try. Ellias couldn't help but moan in relief at the voice.
"TF Johnny. This is TF Johnny Alpha. Requesting immediate evac from AO. Please"
"Roger. Stay put Alpha Johnny help is on the way. Over."
Ellias pretended not to hear the sound of the vehicle's engine just starting.
He leaned back and stared out into the crowd with a still expression.
"What was the plan?"
Ellias kept his eyes fixed on the residents as he spoke to George.
"You weren't just gonna sit here after you got the case were you?"
George remained silent.
Outside Bob had breathed his last breath.
Having seen no reaction from George, Ellias proceeded to pry open the briefcase. To his surprise the case snapped open on his first try.
Ellias adjusted the rear view mirror to see George staring back at him, a grim look on his face. Ellias turned his attention back to the case.
A array of switches and vials of colored liquid lay inside.
"Is it a bomb?"
Ellias asked turning his focus back to his passenger. George sighed as he nodded his head in agreement. Ellias continued to stare even after George had finished his gesture.
Outside the crowd was once again closing in on the vehicle.
"You're a bad liar, Mr Lacky."
With that Ellias flipped a random switch on the board.
Ellias first saw the crowd flinch and fall to the ground before he heard the deafening screech himself. Blood oozed from Ellias's ear when he had recovered from the staggering sound. He had done so before most of the neighborhood, most of who were still on the floor clutching their ears in pain.
"What was that?"
With the ringing in his ear Ellias wasn't sure if he would understand George's answer. When he didn't get a reply he turned to face his prisoner.
Ellias stumbled back at what he saw.
A strange garbled static sound burst through the radio grabbing Jane's attention. She cupped the ear closest to the painful sound.
Then as quickly as it had come, the sound was gone. Cautiously she removed her eyes from the road to match the dials on the Van's radio.
Using her free hand she carefully adjusted the dials on the radio.
Ellias's voice came through dangerously statically warning Jane to remove her hands from the dials.
"Is something wrong?"
Jane asked though the radio.
Although Ellias was silent, Jane could hear crying and shouting in the background as Ellias held down the input trigger of his microphone.
"Ellias, what's going on?"
The voice on the other side finally replied.
Ellias struggled to form the words.
"Lacky isn't human.."
Jane straightened against her seat as she waited for Ellias to continue his disjointed sentence.
"He's green and tall...oh god his eyes...The machine it must have hid this, it-"
"Stay calm Ellias. Stay on the radio, I'm coming to get you."
On the other side it sounded like Ellias's was starting to calm. Although Jane had her own ideas of what Ellias had seen, only one thought seemed relevant.
"Ellias...how many witnesses"
Jane asked grimly. Ellias stopped breathing.
Ellias said shortly after breathing. Jane began frantically trying to calm her corespondent again.
"Its all of them!"
Ellias said after a long duration of gasping noises. Jane kept silent.
"The whole neighborhood, Jane! We have to tell Omega-"
"I'll handle it"
Jane quickly cut him off.
"Just stay calm, Ellias."
Ellias breathing remained erratic as Jane pushed her mind to come up with a solution.
There had been many cases where civilians would simply forget or suppress their memories of a sight sometimes more bizarre than this without agency involvement. Would this be one of those times? Jane thought.
The regret of not bringing either Smith or John was now pushed to the back of her mind. The only thing that mattered now was a single decision.
Call Omega or not.
"A hard choice isn't it?"
A familiar voice came from the seat next to Jane. Although Jane had convinced herself of her artificial nature of the man beside her, she could not help but feel relief that she was not alone.
"You don't have to make that decision yourself, you know?"
Jane furrowed her brow but did not meet Jason's staring eyes.
"I suppose you're going to make that decision for me?"
"If you let me."
Jason replied without hesitation. Jane slowly turned to meet the eyes of her oldest friend.
Despite the situation he just looked happy to see her. This in turn made Jane feel happy.
"Pass me the microphone?"
Jason asked commanding and gentle at the same time. Jane obliged.
"VR Omega. This is TF Johnny actual. Come in. Over"
Jane could only stare at the distant suburb in front of her as Jason spoke in a voice nearly identical to that of John.
"TF Johnny this is VR Omega. What's the situation? over."
Jane caught Jason's sad smile before he continued.
"VR Omega we have a code green. Situated X500Y600 from the town of Lake acre. Over."
There was an expected silence on the viceroy's part.
"Are you at Lake acre?"
"That's a negative VR, code green was reported by one of my men. Johnny Alpha. over."
"So you're far from the blast?"
"Affirmative. About fifty miles from AO. over"
There wasn't fifty miles from the store to the town Jane thought, but Jason had a plan. That was more than what she had.
So she kept her silence.
"Where was the code green again?"
"X500Y600 from Lake acre's TV station. over"
Jane heard scribbling on the other end of the radio followed by a sigh of relief.
"I'll see you back home John...I love you."
"I love you too. TF Johnny out."
Jason handed the microphone back to Jane.
"What happens now?"
Jane asked, absentmindedly placing the microphone back with the rest of the radio set.
Jason asked jokingly.
"You might wanna look away."
Jane slowly turned to meet Jason's glossy blue eyes. He looked real, like the last time she saw him.
A flash of light erupted from the town Jane was just looking at.
Even as Jane stared away from it into Jason's eyes she could feel the intense light breech through the blast proof window of the Van and into her artificial eyes. She screamed in pain as she ripped the chromium glasses from her eyes.
Miraculously the Van stayed on course even after Jane had removed her hands from the steering wheel.
This was short lived however, soon the shock wave of the atomic weapon caught up with the vehicle and sent it flying several feet into the air.
All two hundred of the vehicle's crash proof measures activated when it landed, including a inflated safety bag.
The fireball that followed consumed the van along with the road it had traveled on.
When all was done, only the van remained. The Green ultra refined alloyed asbestos of the Van had mostly melted off leaving the titanium alloy of the Van below mostly unharmed.
Jane didn't try to get up, not for a while after the explosions had ceased. After which it was just Jane and her thoughts, her vision had not returned since the initial explosion.
Jason's muffled voice broke the long silence.
Feeling relief Jane turned to face the owner of the voice before realizing that he was long dead.
"Are you okay?"
The voice said anyways. Jane could only shake her head as she conversed with her imaginary friend.
"Was that a nuke?"
Jason replied casually and immediately.
Jane had thought so. Now she had nothing more to ask, she could now only point her fleshy eye sockets where she imagined her converser was as she waited for him to continue.
"You're lucky it was one of the older versions. The new ones make glass out of the area nearby."
Jason said impressed apparently at Jane Doe's luck.
"Can you help me find my glasses?"
Jane finally asked.
A familiar sharp inhale followed Jane's question. Jane could almost picture Jason's disappointed look.
"You won't need those where we are going."
Jane gave him a confused look, the lack of eyeballs or eye lids made that somewhat difficult she imagined. But she managed.
He commanded suggestively. Without a better plan, Jane obliged.
Just from her sense of touch, Jane could tell there was something very wrong about the vehicle she was in.
Soft cushion chairs lined the side of the walls to her right, to her left Jane could feel Jason watch her through what felt like the mostly intact windshield.
Once Jane had to get on her hands and knees just to get past the blockade the driver seat had become.
Her hands eventually felt something remarkably similar to that of a door albeit horizontal. Jane was able to exit the husk of the vehicle through the unusual door, having to get on her stomach just to pass through it.
"Well done Jane. Sorry I couldn't be of more help."
"You need a hand?"
Jason asked realizing his greeting had been a tad premature.
Jane sighed. To her surprise, she stayed calm as she felt two hands help her up from her knees. "Thanks" she said politely.
"You ready to hear that thing now?"
Jane nodded in absolution.
"Then you have to meet someone very special."
Jason took Jane's hand in his.
The air felt hotter and smelt more chemical the deeper into the suburb they traveled. Jane could feel Jason's palms start to sweat, this gave her some amount of comfort after all ghost don't sweat.
Jane's thoughts were interrupted by a particularly harsh cough from herself. Jane heard the cry of an infant shortly after, but it dissipated into the air as soon as she focused on it.
"Its just the radiation."
Jason comforted after Jane had finished her fit.
Jane felt something wet plop onto the hand she had used to cover her mouth. She stared at the hand for a moment, not knowing what had been ejected onto her hand.
Jason said tying to help.
"That's fine Jane. This is only a small hindrance where you're going."
Jane did not believe she would be okay in the end. Still she felt a grim sort of comfort knowing she got to spend her final moments with a friend.
"My name isn't Jane Doe."
Jason asked sarcastically. To his surprise Jane found something smile worthy with his demeanor.
"No. I wasn't born in Belgium either."
Jason curled his lips.
He remembered his first words to her, "i'm watching you commie".
The two let themselves chuckle away at nostalgia for a moment before Jason's wheelchair creaked iconically to a stop. Soon after he released Jane Doe's hand.
Jane heard her companion say. She heard the creak of his wheelchair as he descended an incline.
"Get up George."
She heard the name George repeat a few more times before the another voice responded.
A deep male voice said.
"All of it...all gone...For what?"
She heard the figure shift. It sounded big.
"Don't let despair overcome you, Dimitri. Your work for the motherland almost completed."
The other voice let out a long sigh before continuing.
"Are you the one?"
Jane Doe couldn't help but reply.
"Pfft...okay..Jane Doe, on behalf of the people's board of manpower I want to request your help. But first I will endow you with the vital knowledge that is a right of the people that your government has hidden away from you."
The voice said without inflection. He paused to collect his breath.
"Our story starts in the 40s, Russia where it was common knowledge among soviet officials that extraterrestrial have and continue to visit the earth. But after world war two after uncovering the knowledge that Hitler was in contact with one of such alien entities, the soviet leadership came to a consensus. No more aliens. As such they began immediately trying to close the wormhole that the majority of these aliens appeared from. After much research the soviet union uncovered the best way to close said wormhole. Prayer. To appease the gods that have created the wormhole. When the CIA found out the soviets were doing in the 50s they decided to nuke Washinton and hence lay the ground work to strike Russia and most of Eurasia. To this day alien entities continue to visit earth and cause destruction. But there is a way to stop them, to close their alien portal."
Jane's expression had changed a few times during Dimitri's speech.
She had stared off confused but was now looking ever so put together.
"So I'm fucking crazy is what you are saying"
She said chuckling softly as she pulled at her hair. Her hands soon returned to her side after having pulled away a chunk of her hair. Jane's chuckling had ceased after that.
"Don't do that"
Jason said pleadingly.
"All he wants is for you to close the wormhole."
"Even if everything he said is true why would I want to help the soviet union? What does this have to do with anything?"
"Its got to do with everything. There is no Soviet union anymore or KoA Jane. It us humans versus them Aliens, sorry Dimitri."
"Why can't you do it then? Or Dimitri or whoever."
"Because you're fucking crazy"
Dimitri interrupted Jason just as he was about to speak.
"Its why the agency hired you in the first place. Think about it Jane, who ordered the nukes Jane? Who brought you here, to me?"
Jane said looking to where she thought Jason was. Though she heard his sharp inhale, he kept silence.
"I've been trying to find the wormhole here for eighteen years...for all those years I never imagined I was missing a part of the puzzle. I thought there was no shortcut but then you come along talking to me as if we've known each other for years...hehe."
Dimitri halted his laughter abruptly as if he suddenly had thought of a question.
"What is that in your hands?"
There was a strange pause in reality before Jane slowly peered at what her arms were cradling.
Jane could see him and the ashes on her feet were planted in but the weight of the chromium sunglasses was absent on her face. She looked up again.
An insect like head attached to a gangly mass of spindly green limbs stared back at Jane. Beside it, Jason Amara stared back looking proud as ever.
Dimitri the alien asked.
Marcus giggled at the title Jane had given it.
"That's it then. Your map and compass..."
Dimitri said. He always felt like he was missing something and this was it.
Dimitri said revitalized. He raised a briefcase towards Jane, gesturing for her to take it.
"We use to have a full on teleporter. But the others took it when they left."
Cradling Marcus, Jane cautiously descended into the mini crater Dimitri was it. She took the brief case from him.
"I suspect you won't need it anyways. The zone has a way."
Jane nodded ascending the incline out of the crater.
"Thank you Dr Lacky"
Dimitry started laughing. He shook his insect like head.
"Lacky was a friend. A shit friend more but still."
He said between laughs. Jane smiled to be polite. Though her attention was quickly moved to Jason.
He slowly scooted towards her.
"I can't come with you too slow and all..."
The two exchanged smiles.
"This little fella is going to have to guide you now."
Jason said giving Marcus a tickle, despite being on a wheelchair he was still more than half of Jane's height.
"I know. I just want to say goodbye"
Jason gave her a sly smile.
"I never took you for the sentimental type."
"Well...today is an exception ain't it?"
Jason nodded his head.
The two exchanged smiles before Jane turned to leave.
Jason said when she was a considerable distance away. Jane turned to face him.
"You said your name wasn't Jane Doe"
"No, its not. I'm Carolina. Carolina from Missisipi"
Carolina and Marcus walked for what seemed like days.
Following the voices of the zone as Dimirtir put it. Sometimes it would manifest as a dead love one, other times Carolina couldn't recognize the appearance of the individual only their names.
They were late relatives, boyfriends, friends and aborted children. If Carolina had believed she had lost her mind it didn't stop her from following their directions.
Ellias called. He gestured for the frail looking and rapidly balding woman and her son to approach.
Carolina said when she though she was close enough for him to hear her.
"I'm so sorry"
Ellias immediately rolled his light green eyes at her apology.
"Pfft...You know none of us here are actually dead right?"
Carolina tilted her head in confusion.
"The dead can't speak, Jane. You killed Ellias and that's that. He can't hear your apologies, he can't forgive or hate you. He's dead."
Carolina slowly nodded as she turned away from Ellias.
"That makes sense"
She sighed. Ellias continued to eye her for a while longer before guiding her to her final destination.
"Right there. That's where you'll enter into the portal."
He pointed to a diner with a chromium interior in between two large sand dunes.
"What will we find there?"
"Don't know. Might be a new start for you and the boy"
Jane nodded her head. She quickly waved goodbye to her former squad mate and approached the diner.
"Might be for just one of you."
Ellias said under his breath as he watched the pair.
A large unpowered sign above the diner read "Denny's bar and laundry". The diner was situated in the middle of the Nevada desert far from any roads which Carolina thought was weird.
She entered the building anyway. Marcus giggled as the two entered the diner.
Jane flared her nostrils being to weak to smile. She turned to give Ellias one last nod before disappearing into the darkness of the diner.
She knew where she was going however.
In the darkness a single light seeped from under one of the doors in the diner's back. "Laundry room" was written just besides the door.
Marcus and his mother braced themselves as they opened the door. A swirling abyss of light lay on the other side.
Carolina knew what she had to do. She had to step into the light.
Loud jazz music blared when Carolina finally awoke, but by then she was too weak to do anything but wait.
Marcus now stood over his mother.
He said scared.
Behind Marcus, a calendar behind her read 1974.
Jane didn't know what that meant but she knew she had done her part.
All that remained now was to choose her last words to her boy.