It's only been a month, but I can still remember the attack just like it were yesterday. I can hear the screams, I can see the blood. It's all too much. So many of us died that day, and not just those we lost either. The rest of us died inside, including me Corporal Justin Church, or at least that's who I was before Commander Williams gave me the unholy death stare and told me the AMF no longer needs me.
Yeah that's right. I've been let go, discharged, kicked out. And on top of it all, I wasn't even allowed to attend Sergeant Dickerson's funeral. But then again I don't think I could even stand being in the same room with his family, with the others. It just wouldn't feel right. No it wouldn't. After all it's my fault he died that day. Mine and Will's. I still remember his last words to me. He said he forgave me for everything, and now I wonder why? What was there to forgive? I was more than willing to take the blame but it just wasn't in his nature to hold a grudge. Chris was just plain good hearted. A true hero in every sense of the word and I miss him terribly. We all do.
We almost lost Captain Grant that day too, but miraculously the blade missed his heart and didn't puncture deep enough to cause any permanent damage, but he still lost a lot of blood and if it weren't for a blood transfusion, he would've been a goner for sure. I haven't even seen him since that day, but Will has kept me updated on his status, over the phone anyway. Will's on probation and not allowed to leave the base at all. Yeah, the commander decided to make his life hell too. Can't say I blame her either, after all we had it coming.
But life has only been hell for me because it meant I had to move back in with my father. Yeah I hate the bastard and all he does is drink, just like old times, and oh yeah whine about things that don't even matter anymore. But rather than waste my time arguing with the man I just stay out of his way. I spend most if not all my time gambling. I'm addicted and it's pretty much all I do now, but the best part? I don't have to wear a disguise anymore! Yeah I can just come and go as I please until I either get thrown out or bored of the scenery and leave to find something better. Lather, rinse, repeat.
Do I miss the AMF? Sometimes. I miss Will and I miss Stan. I haven't seen much of Stan lately either. He claimed he was badly injured and had to spend a few weeks recovering from his injuries. Apparently they were internal, or at least that's what Will relayed to me. Will misses him too, but most of all he misses Victoria. He knows she's probably wondering what happened to him, assuming he died since he hasn't sent her a letter since that last time. That's got to be hard on her I'm sure. But that's the choice he made. He just feels so much guilt over what happened, he doesn't even believe he's worthy of her anymore. It's sad. And to think he was just slowly starting to come around and become more confident. But that's how the story goes.
Hell I feel empty myself. Like I'm just a shell of my former self just trying to get by. After all, I had to kill two Tjatey warriors that day. The first one was difficult and I had to force myself to do it, but when it came to Naeem, it was easier. I just felt so much anger inside; it was unlike anything I have ever felt before. I just wanted to kill him, to see him die and I did. In fact all of those other traitors are dead too, cause we soon realized we couldn't allow any of them to live. And so we went back and found all the sleeping warriors that had been knocked out by my smoke bombs, and we stabbed them. Every single one.
And afterwards, Commander Williams also requested that all their weapons be confiscated and destroyed completely. So she had all their blades melted down, even the weapons of the Tjatey who refused to join Naeem's war. Their loyalty didn't matter anymore. Lynne doesn't trust them now, end of story. Which I might add is probably for the best since we don't want or need another uprising in the future. Hell we don't even fully understand why this one happened to begin with. Not even those who remain loyal like Dendera or Sebak can give the answers.
Speaking of which, after the death of Onuris, Sebak ended up being a great replacement for him over at Atlantech. I hear Artis and him get along great and it didn't take him long to learn the ropes either. Although I do know that Artis is still unhappy that I'm no longer a part of Atlantech's development team. In fact I know he's still trying to get the commander to allow me back, but so far no such luck. But Maybe I'm not meant for that kind of life and instead am meant for something much more. Makes me wonder you know?
Oh who am I kidding? Life just isn't the same anymore. I can barely even sleep now. I'm just haunted by what happened and I know it's the same for Will too. I just can't get my head around it either. Why did this have to happen? And why did the Tjatey turn against us like that? And what was that strange liquid I found that night? You see? We have all these questions and no answers, that's what. And all I want is for everything to go back to normal. I want it all to be the same again. But I know it can't. No matter what, we're never going to be the same.
Justin opened his eyes now staring mindlessly at the slot machine in front of him. He felt bored and dejected as he tried to ignore the chattering and clinking of wine glasses he heard coming from behind, along with the sounds of snickering and snobbish whispers, reminding him that he was a nuisance who didn't belong in this part of the city.
Only it was something he had grown quite accustomed to these days, but rather than fight against it as he used to, he decided he would embrace it instead. After all, he knew he looked young for his age and unmistakably silly looking in his oversized green plaid coat, which happened to be the same coat he used to wear over his AMF uniform in order to hide and walk freely amongst the rest of the crowd.
But despite the fact he didn't need to hide anymore he still chose to dress a little inconspicuous in order to keep a low profile, especially if he planned on making it out of that casino alive anyway.
After all, Justin was in Morane's territory now and he knew this place like many others was probably crawling with his goons and the chances of one of them seeing his face and reporting it back to the man himself were extremely high.
In fact Justin had a feeling one of Morane's goons were watching him this very moment as he reached up and pulled on the slot machine's lever, then watched anxiously as the wheel inside began to spin around and around when suddenly three matching images popped up on screen and declared him a winner.
The other patrons behind him gasped in awe as Justin slyly looked over his shoulder at them and smirked.
"Not bad for a little chump like myself eh?" Justin remarked causing the majority of the bystanders to walk away, while a few stayed behind to observe this mysterious young winner as Justin kicked a bucket up against the machine right before it started spitting out coins, nearly filling the receptacle to the top.
"And that will do for today!" Justin announced to his small audience which he began to shoo off with his hand.
"So go on, scram! Justin huffed irritably as they all began to leave. "Go find somebody else to badger!"
However, one curious older man had chosen to stay behind in hopes of learning this young man's secret and even walked over to congratulate him.
"It's not every day a kid like you hits the big one." The man in the pale gray, cheap looking business suit commented as he gave Justin a hard pat on the back as though he were a long time friend. "Now what are you gonna do with all that dough huh?" The man nudged. "You got a special girlfriend you gonna take for a night on the town?"
"Not really." Justin shot him a look of annoyance while at the same time wondering if this man was one of Morane's.
"Besides, I don't even have a girlfriend," Justin said as he knelt down and began scooping some of the coins into his hands then letting them rain back down on top of the pile. "And what part of scram didn't you understand? You think I didn't hear all that gossip about me and how I have no business being in a place like this? Yeah, that's what I thought." Justin quipped.
The man blinked in disbelief. "Well then what you gonna do with all that money, kid? You look a bit too young to be laundering it ya know what I mean?"
Justin rolled his eyes as he stood back up and straightened his coat. "What I choose to do with it is my business," he snapped. "Now buzz off already will ya?" He shooed him away with his hand.
The man grumbled as he stormed off, leaving Justin by himself again.
"The nerve of some people." Justin shook his head then knelt down again beside the machine, but not before taking a moment to make sure the coast was clear before he reached up and grabbed a hold of a transparent looking magnetic strip sticking out of the coin slot, then carefully pulled it out.
Justin smirked as he looked down at the strip, feeling proud of himself. And that's how I did it you morons. He chuckled to himself as he stuffed it back into his coat pocket. But you people are nothing but a bunch of simpletons who're too naive to catch on. In other words, I played you all like a fiddle.
Then as Justin looked down at his bucket of coins he realized he had a lot more than he had originally intended on.
Hmm. Wonder if I might have gone a little overboard this time? He scratched his chin then shook his head in disagreement. Nah. Although I do wonder if that one guy could be reporting me to Morane this very minute? He worried as he rose back to his feet and scanned around the room to see if anyone was watching him.
But it looked as though the other patrons were minding their own business now, so Justin picked up his heavy bucket and began making his way over to the coin counting machine to cash in his winnings.
"Well if it ain't another one of Atlantech's greatest inventions," he remarked to himself as he set the bucket down then pressed the large button to activate the machine when all of a sudden he noticed something very curious on the wall next to him.
"What's this?" Justin lifted a brow as he gaped at the wanted for murder poster which featured the police sketch of a strangely familiar looking face.
Creepy looking guy, Justin thought in that moment as he eyed it with curiosity. But why do I have this crazy feeling I know him from somewhere?
Just then the machine beeped aloud, snapping him back to reality and alerting him that it was ready to accept his deposit.
Perfect timing, Justin mumbled as he began dumping the coins down the pit of the machine, seeming to have forgotten all about that wanted poster as the coins clinked and clanged very loudly as they made contact with the metal walls inside. Unfortunately this caused a lot of racket which could be heard throughout the casino and annoyed the other patrons nearby.
But at that moment Justin appeared too distracted by the glaring screen in front of his face as he quietly counted along with the machine, unaware of all the negative attention he was drawing to himself when the casino owner, a man who reminded him a lot of Maxwell Graham, soon made his way on over to scold him for disturbing the peace.
"Pardon me, but do you think you could possibly keep the noise down over here?" The owner narrowed his eyes at Justin, wondering what a kid his age was doing in his establishment in the first place. "You see, I'm trying to run a respectable business here, and well you're kind of ruining the atmosphere."
Respectable, Justin thought sarcastically as he turned around to face the man head on now.
"Well I am, very, very sorry!" Justin raised his voice, trying to speak clearly over the loud racket of the coins as he continued dumping them out. "In fact, as soon as I cash my winnings I will leave right away!"
The owner appeared very annoyed now and was even clenching his fist. "There's no need to shout at me," he snapped when out of the corner of his eye, he caught a glimpse of the total amount of Justin's winnings on the screen which immediately raised suspicion.
"I must say your winnings are most impressive," the owner commented while stroking his chin and squinting his eyes. "Perhaps a little too impressive?" He glared at Justin who was busy waiting on the machine to print the currency notes.
"Why how nice of you to notice." Justin replied mocking the inflections of the casino owner's British accent, triggering a dirty look from him as Justin picked up his empty bucket and set it down next to his feet.
"How dare you insult me?!" The owner exclaimed in outrage as his hand shot forward and nabbed Justin by the wrist right as he made a grab for the newly printed currency sticking out of the machine.
"Now I know you cheated!" He accused Justin as he tightened his grip. "And I demand to know how!"
"Come again?" Justin blinked with stupor as he tried tugging himself free.
"Don't play dumb with me!" The owner hissed. "I know you cheated, as there is no possible way a kid your age could win that much, and from a single machine alone, so you best come clean and tell me exactly how you did it, and then I'm going to kick you out of here for good, you hear?"
"Okay fine, you got me," Justin sighed as he yanked his arm out of the man's grasp. "It's a pretty complicated method, so it might take a few minutes to explain."
"Balderdash!" The owner griped. "Just get on with it!"
"Okay, alright," Justin huffed as he reached down and snatched up his bucket and looked down at it. "Well you see, I used this here bucket to cheat the system." He raised it up to his face and looked down inside. "Because this isn't just any ordinary bucket," Justin explained. "In fact it possesses one remarkable ability when it comes to gambling."
"You can't be serious?" The casino owner scoffed. "But carry on. Do tell what remarkable capabilities such a contraption as that does possess."
Justin then turned the bucket upside down in his hands and held it out as if to show the man something engraved on the bottom. "Can you see the marking?" Justin asked as he lifted it closer to the man's face. "It's right there smack dab in the middle, you can't miss it."
"Where?" The owner leaned in for a better look.
"There!" Justin shouted as he suddenly threw the bucket over the man's face, snatched up his currency, stuffed them into his pocket, and then made a beeline for the revolving door.
"Ummph!" The owner uttered as he threw the bucket off of his head then called over his security guards to hunt down and detain the young thief. "After him! Quick! Before he gets away!"
But by the time the guards made it outside the building, Justin was nowhere to be seen.
"Drats," one of the guards quipped shaking his fist. "We're gonna get fired for sure now!"
Meanwhile as Justin continued making his escape out of Gambler's Strip, he accidentally bumped into a lone flapper who immediately began beating him over the head with her silver sequined coin purse.
"Why don't you watch where you're going?" The woman chastised as she continually hit him. "You good for nothing clumsy ox!" She snarled at Justin as he pushed himself through the rest of the crowded sidewalk, making his way down a nearby alley where he stopped to catch his breath.
"Jesus, what a night," he remarked tiredly as he rubbed his sore head. "Now I know why I only come here on specific nights," he sighed as he slid down against the wall then pulled out the cash to revel in his success. "Well at least I got away, but I have a feeling my luck will be running out soon. Don't know if I can keep this up forever."
Then he suddenly remembered that wanted poster he'd seen on the wall and began wondering why that police sketch looked so oddly familiar. I must have seen that man before, he thought now. But where and when? That's the question...
But while Justin had appeared to forget all about the angry casino owner, the man hadn't forgotten about him. In fact at that very moment the man was in his office grabbing for the phone and dialing quickly.
It rang a few times until someone on the other end finally picked up.
"Morane, this is calling. I'm afraid we've got a serious problem here."
Elsewhere at the AMF's base, William was sitting in his living area wearing a white t-shirt and dark blue sweat pants while reading a book about tragedy and loss when a feeling of sadness overcame him and he couldn't read any longer.
He sighed deeply as he closed the book and tossed it onto the coffee table then leaned back against his couch and stared up at the ceiling. There was nothing to see but he felt desperate to escape the painful memories that have haunted him since, but not even the nothingness above could make him forget. Then as he crossed his arms against his chest he could feel his scar beneath his fingertips on the right shoulder where it was barely covered by the sleeve of his shirt.
It was the worst reminder of them all, because it was the one thing that reminded him the past was real and not a bad dream he could awake from. And now as he sat alone with nothing but these memories he began to feel as though he were reliving them all over again.
Why did this have to happen? He asked himself. Why did it have to be us? Why?
He frowned and closed his eyes as he began to doze off a bit when he suddenly heard Lynne's bitter angry voice chewing him out, uttering the same words she'd said to him when he had arrived in the infirmary with Justin to check on Grant's status.
"If he dies I will never forgive you! Do you understand me?" She threatened him tearfully.
William remembered the choked up feeling in his throat. He couldn't speak but he felt her pain and quietly accepted.
"And you!" Lynne pointed right at Justin. "I want you gone! You're too much of a risk anymore and the AMF can't afford it. So pack your belongings and leave at once!"
Her words had been harsh but William knew that this anger was only a manifestation of her own pain and guilt, and rather than dealing with it she decided to take it all out on him and Justin.
"And don't even think about trying to stop me, Corporal Sterling!" She glared at William who gave Justin a sorry look. "You can't save him this time!"
William lowered his shoulders and hung his head in submission. She had made up her mind so there wasn't any use in trying to argue or tell her she was wrong because no matter what, it wouldn't change her decision.
What about Stan? William had to ask next. "Are you discharging him too?"
Lynne glowered in response until Justin suddenly spoke up.
"Stan didn't know about the attack until after I released him!" He explained. "You can't kick him out, the man is a hero. He saved me and many others just to get badly injured. He left before me and Will could find him. For all we know he didn't make it either."
Lynne appeared stunned by Justin's words but that look of blame was still evident in her eyes.
"He's right," William added in agreement looking at Justin. "Stan is a hero and he had no idea because Justin and I kept the secret from him too, but you never gave me a chance to tell you."
Lynne clenched her teeth. "That'll be enough out of both you. You're dismissed!"
As Lynne turned her back on them Justin shot William a silent brokenhearted look then he turned around and exited the room.
William felt his sadness but also felt powerless to do anything about it when he suddenly wondered about his own fate in the AMF and had to find out.
"So then what about me?" William asked her. "Where do I stand in all this?"
"Probation." Lynne answered coldly without even bothering to look at him. "I'll fill you in on all the details later, when I feel like it."
"Fine then," William gave a careless shrug before finally walking out like a dog with its tail between its legs.
Then once he spotted Justin waiting in the hall for him, he didn't know what to say.
"Don't worry I heard it all," Justin said. "I'm sorry, Will."
William frowned and lowered his head. "So is this the last we're going to see or hear of each other then?"
"No," Justin shook his head as tears filled his eyes. "I promise I'll keep in touch. You call me and I'll call you, alright? And when you see Stan, tell him the same goes for him, wherever he lives."
"I will," William promised.
"Well I guess I better start packing," Justin sighed sadly. "Gotta move back in with the alcoholic."
Then William suddenly gave him a hug. "You take care of yourself you hear? I know this is going to be rough but you're strong and I know you'll make it."
Justin smiled and hugged him back. "Thanks, Will. You really are the greatest friend I've ever had."
"So are you," William replied gratefully.
Then in that moment of remembrance, William wiped away the tears from his eyes and sat up again. He looked around the room, reminded of the simple days when he and Justin used to bicker or get caught up in the same old shenanigans. Life was better then and he missed it more than ever now that he was alone in his bungalow left to dwell on the past.
And even though it seemed Justin had received the worst punishment, he was at least free to go wherever in the city he wanted to. He could escape his father and gamble to his heart's content. While on the other hand, William couldn't even leave the base let alone his own residence, and so it appeared that Lynne had saved the harshest sentence for him after all. But it was something he should have expected after the way she'd warned him in the elevator that day.
It didn't even matter after all that talk about forgiveness because it seemed that Lynne was never going to let things go now.
"Remember what I said to you that day in the elevator?" Lynne mentioned as she glared back at him. "I told you that if we survive this I was going to make sure you both regretted your decision. Well this is it, Corporal Sterling. I hold you both responsible for every single man and woman that died, including Sergeant Dickerson."
William frowned in response, knowing there wasn't a single thing he could say now to change things.
"They're all gone because of your foolishness." Lynne lashed out at him. "You chose to protect the Tjatey over your own people! And for what I ask?"
William sighed and lowered his gaze to the floor as he could no longer face her icy stare.
"I once said you were loyal," she continued, feeling agitated over his refusal to look at her. "But I couldn't have been more wrong. But then again I thought I knew you too."
"Just stop it!" William suddenly snapped as he lifted his head back up and looked her in the eye.
"Excuse me?" Lynne clenched her teeth and furrowed her brow.
"I said enough!" William repeated himself in a harsh grating tone. "I'm sorry for everything that happened and I know Corporal Church and I fucked everything up, but I cannot listen to you any longer because it hurts too much! So please just let it go!"
Lynne scoffed at him but he could hear the tightness in her throat knowing it obviously hurt her too.
"You have a lot of nerve to talk about pain," she snarled. "You want to talk about pain? Alright, then. Well how about the fact that Captain Grant is lying in a hospital bed right now in critical condition? And if he doesn't heal properly I could lo—we could lose him. So how's that for pain, Corporal Sterling?"
"I'm sorry," he apologized.
"Not sorry enough," she glared back causing him to grit his teeth.
"You wanna know something?" He suddenly growled raising his voice. "You like to act all high and mighty about this, as if you wouldn't have done the same thing and I know you would have!"
"The hell I would!" She snapped back. "And how dare you raise your voice to me, Corporal!"
William furrowed his brow and continued. "If you had the choice to save Captain Grant's life over everybody else here, you would've done so in a heartbeat and don't tell me you wouldn't! I made a promise to Dendera because I didn't want her to lose the one person who meant everything to her. I knew there was a risk, Church and I both did, but we didn't sit by and just let it happen. We prepared for it! And if we hadn't done shit, then a lot more of our men and women would have died! Can't you at least try to understand why we did what we did?"
Lynne was silent now, looking as though she were feeling regretful but he knew she wouldn't admit to it, certainly not now.
"Look, I'm sorry you lost your father." William sighed solemnly. "But blaming the rest of us isn't going to bring him back, and neither is it going to save the captain's life. You just need to accept that."
She stared him down once again and for the moment he was prepared for another rant about how he was wrong and she was in the right when she suddenly just walked away.
Even now that argument was still fresh in William's mind, but he knew back then someone had to say something and it had to be him. And all the while he felt bad about the way he talked to her he couldn't help but notice that feeling of relief it had given him. He was tired of being blamed over and over again despite the fact he had already accepted the consequences and told her as much. But it didn't seem to be enough and he was tired of feeling miserable.
And as far as he was concerned she had succeeded in making him feel like a complete failure and he wondered how the two of them ever had any kind of relationship at all. But then he remembered she used to be a much different person before she chose the AMF over him and became cold and distant.
It reminded him why he later found solace in seeing Victoria's films and daydreamed about that perfect romance he could have with her instead. But of course in his last letter to the woman he made a promise that he wouldn't hide from her anymore if he survived the attack on the base. But even though he did survive he wasn't allowed outside the fences and so meeting her at all seemed to be out of the question. Still he had the option of writing another letter but already a month had passed and he knew by now she probably thought he was long dead which had him wondering if it was better that he stayed dead too.
I got my own people killed, he thought then. What would she think about that? Then again what reason could I possibly give for not bothering to write her after all this time? He frowned as he leaned forward with his left hand resting under his chin. I owe her something at least. His eyes drifted off to a single blank sheet of paper sitting on the coffee table. He stared mindlessly at it for a while before he finally decided it was a bad idea then continued to sit there in silence.
Once more he thought about his last fight with Lynne and wondered how she was doing since they hadn't spoken in a few weeks. He assumed she was probably as upset as he was and that's why she was keeping her distance, but little did he know that she'd been occupied with something else lately and it had occurred right after their fight when she walked away.
And while William assumed she probably went straight to her office to stew over everything, she had in fact left the base and walked right to the Card Shack to have her first drink. She remembered how numb and indifferent Abraham had reacted to conflict or bad news whenever he had been drinking and she wondered if perhaps it could do the same for her.
However, she did seem a bit disgusted with herself as she walked inside the building and headed for the bar where the young bartender happily greeted her.
"Hello there I'm Enrique." The black haired green eyed bartender smiled. "What can I get you?"
Lynne didn't even return the smile as she took a seat at the very end of the counter. "I'll have whatever you recommend," she replied tiredly. "I've never been here before, nor have I ever had a drink in my life, so what do you suggest?"
Enrique appeared a little taken aback by her response but felt glad to help nonetheless.
"Well it all depends on what you're in the mood for." He answered. "And it looks to me as though you had a pretty lousy day so I suppose I would suggest a couple shots of vodka to lift your spirits."
"Thanks I suppose that will do," she sighed as she slouched over the counter top, when she suddenly spotted a suave looking dark haired man in a dark gray business suit heading on over just to take a seat right next to her.
Lynne looked him over for a moment before the bartender interrupted her silence.
"Here's your two shots of vodka." Enrique announced as he set the two shot glasses down in front of her. "Careful though," he added. "There is a bit of a burn at first."
"Thank you." Lynne accepted as she picked up the first shot glass and stared at it for a second before downing it quickly, feeling that burn Enrique had warned her about as it made its way down her throat.
She winced a bit, triggering a look of intrigue from that mysterious man next to her.
"Atta girl." The man commended her with a nod of his head. "Let's see you down the second shot too. I know a woman like you can handle it." He chuckled.
Then without saying a word Lynne picked up the second shot glass and downed it as fast as she could, scrunching up her face immediately after.
"It takes some getting used to it for first timers." The man commented taking her by surprise.
"And how do you know it's my first time?" Lynne asked him.
The man smiled at her. "Your reaction, Miss. By the way the name's Mortimer. What's yours?"
"Lynne," she answered a little nervously while wondering why a man like him was even bothering to talk to her. Can't he see my uniform? Doesn't he know where I'm from?
"So you're in the military I see," he mentioned then eying her uniform. "What's your rank?"
"I'm a commanding officer," she answered. "Does that intimidate you at all? It does for most men."
He smiled softly and shook his head. "No it doesn't. In fact I have to say I find a woman in uniform to be very attractive, and you are indeed, Miss Lynne."
Lynne's eyes widened with surprise and she blushed a bit. "Oh, well uh thank you I suppose."
"Think nothing of it, dollface," he replied. "So how's about I buy you another drink eh? Do you accept?"
Lynne felt a little speechless but still couldn't help this strange feeling of attraction she experienced as she gazed into this man's dark eyes. He's just like those charming men you see in the movies, she thought. But what could it be that he even sees in someone like me?
"Sure I accept," she nodded in kind even though she wasn't sure if she could handle any more of that vodka for now.
"Two more shots for the pretty lady here, Sir!" Mortimer called over to Enrique.
Lynne couldn't help but blush again as the bartender set two more shot glasses in front of her.
"There you are." Enrique said. "Let me know if there's anything else I can get you. We also carry snack foods if you're feeling a little peckish."
Lynne couldn't help but smile now. "Thank you kindly but this will do for now."
"So why don't you come here more often, Miss?" Mortimer suddenly asked, catching her off guard now.
"Usually too busy." Lynne answered forcing herself to chug another shot. "Never thought in my wildest dreams that I would ever set foot in a place like this."
"So I see," he noted. "Well perhaps you are here now, Lynne because of a little something I like to call fate."
She suddenly froze inside, unsure of how to respond. Fate, she pondered for the moment, wondering if this mysterious man could be right.
"Fate does lead us in many directions," she mentioned then. "Some good and some bad."
"And what would you call this?" He asked. "Good or bad?"
"Good!" Lynne answered impulsively as she chugged the last shot then looked at him.
"That's the right answer," he smiled looking her over. "And I'm not very good at this kind of thing, but would you care to take a walk with me, Miss Lynne? That way we can clear the air and get to know one anothers a little better." He offered her his hand. "By the way you can tell me whatever you want. I'm not here to judge."
Lynne felt a little hesitant for the moment, despite the fact she knew her judgment was obviously clouded by alcohol and this man's charming smile but she just couldn't help herself.
"I accept," she answered as she placed her hand into his. "Let's take a walk."
In the meantime after Stan had made his escape from the AMF base that night, he managed to walk all the way back to City Hall, leaking more fluid along the way, and struggling to maintain his disguise. He had already been discovered by one person so far, Private Mick Situp, whom he killed right away, but as he shambled along down a dark alley he soon happened upon something he wasn't the least bit prepared for which turned out to be a wanted poster with a sketch of what he assumed was supposed to be a likeness of his face.
He glared at it for the moment, wondering just how many of these were plastered all over Atlantis City before he suddenly reached up and ripped it off the wall, crumpling and crushing it in his grasp before dropping it on the ground and continuing on his way.
I can't allow them to catch me, Stan worried as he staggered on while the neon green fluid continued dripping from his left hand onto the pavement. I have already failed before and must not fail again. I have to protect my identity, that is my mission.
He flinched a bit as his human face flickered in the darkness of the alleyway when he came to a stop and looked down at his flesh wound. I'm running out of serum fast. He panicked. I have to make it back. I can't afford to shut down now. Not here where I will be discovered.
But not long after Stan exited the alleyway, he finally made it back to Morane's headquarters where he threw open the doors of the office and stumbled inside where he saw Morane seated at his desk, sipping a glass of wine.
"What the fuck, Stan?" Morane's eyes widened with shock as he quickly put down his wine glass and rose up from his chair while the android shambled on over until it suddenly collapsed onto the floor.
"Stan?" Morane asked again sounding more concerned than angry once he rushed over and noticed the fluid leaking out on the carpet. "Answer me you shit!" Morane snarled as Stan struggled to lift himself back up.
"What the fuck happened to you?" Morane demanded to know.
"There was a war." Stan answered weakly in a distorted voice.
"A war?" Morane repeated as he reached into his front pocket for a cigar when he soon remembered the explosion he witnessed from his limo earlier. "So that's what all that shit was about huh? A war. And don't tell me, it was the Tjatey wasn't it?"
"Yes," Stan replied.
Morane scoffed as he lit his cigar. "Oh Grant, what have you gotten yourself into this time? So tell me, were there any other survivors of this war?"
"Yes," Stan answered, struggling to hold himself up. "But there were many casualties."
Morane appeared more intrigued by the news than horrified. "I see," he puffed on his cigar.
"And was Captain Grant one of these casualties, Stan?" He asked then.
"Yes," Stan replied while holding himself up on Morane's desk. "I saw a Tjatey warrior stab him in the chest, presumably in the heart as I was making my escape. I heard the cries of the others, a telling sign that he did not make it and must have bled to death."
Morane couldn't help but smirk now. "Well then, that's just too bad now isn't it? So what happened to you then? Were you attacked as well cause you look like shit, Stan."
"I was attacked," Stan replied. "But they weren't strong enough to bring me down. In fact, killing them was just too easy."
"Good to know," Morane smirked. "But you're leaking serum all over the place, and I couldn't help but notice that your imagery is all fucked up, which brings me to the next question. Did anybody see you?"
"Just one," Stan answered to the best of his knowledge. "But I ended him quickly."
Morane nodded in approval. "Good."
"But there is something else you must know," Stan continued.
"And what would that be?" Morane narrowed his eyes.
"I'm wanted for murder now." Stan replied.