Deus Ex: The Interactive Fanfic
Chapter 1: Liberty Island
The boat speeded through the river. Once, this very passage had been used for tourist boats headed for the statue. Now, they were used solely to transport heavy materials and soldiers. He wondered what part of that he'd be under.
"Final stop," said the Private at the helm, "Liberty Island. Welcome aboard UNATCO, agent."
JC grabbed his pistol and riot prod and stepped out onto the dock. The remains of the statue loomed overhead in the moonlight, like some kind of giant that had been destroyed by a god. Rats scurried to and fro along the wooden planks, desperate for any scraps of food they could find. JC saw a UNATCO trooper and a Security Bot patrolling ahead; something big was going on. He began to walk forward, but suddenly, a voice rang out in his head.
Alex Jacobson: Your brother Paul is waiting on the dock for you. Terrorists have holed themselves up in the statue. He'll brief you on the situation further.
JC was surprised not only by the voice in his head, but by the person he mentioned. Wasn't Paul on another mission?
His answer came running to him; Paul himself made his way past the bot to his younger brother.
"Paul?" asked JC. "I thought you were in Hong Kong."
"I shipped back early," he said. "Think I'd miss my brother's first day?"
"Didn't think you'd really have a choice," replied JC, now a bit more nervous. "What's going on?"
"The NSF," began Paul. JC remembered that name. It was the number 1 terrorist organization in the world, consisting of former members of the State militias that had refused to give up their guns when firearms were made illegal. They were not very well-financed, but still considered highly dangerous. Paul continued. "They attacked a shipment of Ambrosia and pulled back into the statue."
JC was now VERY curious. Ambrosia...the one cure for the Grey Death, the plague that was killing off so many around the world. A small vial of that was worth its weight in gold, and yet...
"What are we waiting for," JC finally said. "Looks like a textbook assault."
"The NSF have taken one of our agents hostage. We were able to hold the enemy back, but we've received orders to send you in alone. I think someone high up wants to see how you handle the situation."
"All I've got with me is a pistol and an electric prod," said JC, now a bit annoyed. "I don't mind a test, but UNATCO'd better issue some hardware."
"Remeber that we're police," said Paul. "Stick with the prod; a non-lethal takedown is the best way to deal with a situation. However, I have been ordered to provide you with another piece of equipment; either a sniper rifle, a GEP gun, or a mini-crossbow."
"I like to pick them off from a distance," said JC. "I'll take the rifle."
Paul cautiously handed JC a slender sniper rifle and two clips of 30.06 rounds. "Remember this isn't a training exercise, JC," he said. "Your targets will be living, breathing people. Keep that in mind."
"I will," said JC, slinging his new toy over his shoulder. "What's the rest of the briefing?"
"We have an informant waiting at the back of the island," said Paul. "His name is Harry Filben. Look for a bum. He has the key to the Statue doors. He responds to the phrase 'iron and copper'. You could avoid a lot of fighting if you found a back way into the statue."
"What do I do when inside the statue?" asked JC.
"Find and interrogate the leader," said Paul. "We don't yet know why they would risk an open assault. And don't forget about Agent Hermann. We believe the terrorists are holding him somewhere in the first floor of the statue. Dismissed." The two brothers saluted each other, then JC made his way onto the actual island.
JC ducked behind a bush as two NSF members strolled into view. They were dressed in black ski masks, with simple black camouflage clothing. One was armed with a simple pistol, while another was armed with a mini-crossbow. JC activated his riot prod, then snuck up behind one while his partner wasn't looking and knocked him out. He found a baton on the NSF member, as well as a pistol.
Grabbing the baton, he snuck up behind the other one and smacked him along the base of the neck. He took the crossbow, delighted that he hadn't taken the one his brother had offered him. He then made his way to the front of the statue for reconnaisance.
He found several more NSF members, armed with pistols and mini-crossbows. However, they also had a small, tan-colored, two-foot high security bot; the type used by businesses and private buildings for security, but still armed with high-powered machine guns and radar. He could easily take out the NSF members, but the bot...
He slowly snuck his way to the back of the island, dodging several more NSF members and thugs along the way. Finally, he made it to a large dock, where his Infolink went off.
Alex Jacobson: Look out for Harry Filben. Remember to look for a bum. He responds to the phrase, "Iron and Copper".
JC snuck onto the dock, took out two harbor thugs, and made his way to the back. Standing in the doorway of a small shanty was a fat, balding bum with ragged clothes. "What do you want?" he said.
"Iron and copper," said JC. "The statue is made out of iron on a copper frame, right?"
"Just the password's enough, rookie," said the bum, identifying himself as Filben. "Don't act like you know more about the statue than I do. My pop used to do tours out here, you know."
"Paul said you have a key to the statue," said JC, more than a little bit annoyed at Filben's arrogance.
"Yeah, I have something like that," he said, "but I want you to promise me something. I'm friends with the NSF leader here and I don't want to see him get hurt."
"You can trust me," said JC.
"Fine," said the reassured Filben, handing JC a small, cylinder-shaped object. "This will open the front door in a snap. Just remember your promise. Here's a photo so you don't make a mistake." He handed JC a small photograph, which showed a dark-skinned man with blonde hair. JC inserted the cylinder into his nanokey ring, which emitted a small beep of comformation.
As JC left the dock, he spied a series of crates. He also saw a ladder, which could be reached from the highest crate. Pulling out some binoculars, he saw a small doorway on the top of the platform the ladder lead to. It was probably a back entrance to the statue. He also spied even more NSF over there than before, and knowing the NSF, they had probably booby-trapped every entrance. Still, it might be easier than tangling with the bot...
JC thought about it for a minute, then decided to take the roof. He climbed up the metal crates, then jumped onto the ladder and made his way onto the roof. Carefully watching the guards, he made his way up several ramps, and through an opening, disarming a gas gernade mere seconds before it would have exploded.
He slowly snuck his way through the area, keeping his eye on the guards. Finally, he reached what he was looking for; the lobby. Searching his pockets, he found a multitool, as well as that half-eaten Kit-Kat he had been looking for. He disarmed the camera, then made his way down the stairs leading to the lobby. He shocked one gaurd into submission using his riot prod, then snuck to an air duct and crawled into an office.
He slowly opened the door, then snuck into a security alcove. He knocked out a guard with a strike from his baton, then took out another one in the same fashion. He then snuck through, until he found a holding area. Someone was in the detention cell, although it was hard to see who exactly. JC pulled out his sniper rifle and shot a sitting guard in the back of the head, killing him instantly.
JC ran to the security terminal. Using the computer skills he had gained in the academy, he was able to hack into the computer and disarm all the cameras, as well as open the cell door. Believing that the captured UNATCO agent was inside, he entered.
What he saw before him was a towering mech, nearly seven feet tall. He was completely bald, and his remaining human body was nothing but pure muscle. Like all mechs, his augmentations were all external, making him look like something out of a mid-20th century movie. He looked at Denton with a sense of immediate disdain, if not hatred.
"Agent Hermann," said JC, a bit nervous about the behemoth in front of him, "you have orders to pull back."
"They told us to retreat!" said Hermann, his thick germanic accent making him sound even MORE threatening. "We do not retreat. They fall back, but Agent Navarra and I do not retreat. Please give me a weapon and move out of my way."
JC thought about giving him his pistol briefly, before realizing that such an action would be foolhardy; he had promised to keep the leader alive, and if Agent Hermann got his way...
"Please leave the area," said JC. "I'll handle the rest."
Even with the emotion blockers all augmented agents had, JC could tell that Hermann was now far beyond pissed. "Forgive me," he said, the sarcasm in his words apparant, "for forgetting about your brother and the worders of nanotechnology."
"I just cannot spare any arms right now," said JC, trying his best to stay calm in the face of this tyrant. "Please retreat to a safe location."
"Fine, very well," said Hermann, surrendering at last. "The stairs leading to the leader are in the lobby. I, Gunther Hermann, will just sweep my outdated bones into the junk pile." He then pushed JC aside and strode out of the cell.
JC could understand his rage. Mechs had to give up everything; lives, families, social ambition, all in the name of being better agents. Now, with nanotech augmentations, agents could be made better without so much as altering their physical appearance, save for no emotion. Mechs everywhere were not happy with this, but still, Gunther was nothing more than a jerk. Putting it aside, JC went on his way.
JC walked out of the cell and crawled back through the grate. He then snuck up some stairs, barely crawling by a security camera. After a while of searching, he found another staircase, leading higher into the statue. As he climbed up, he got another infolink.
Alex Jacobson: You're going the right way. We just recieved contact from Agent Hermann; he said you helped him escape. Good work.
JC started to crawl when he heard voices from above. He could make out two NSF members, their heads turned towards the stairs. He took out his prod, but then remembered that he had forgotten his spare chargers; the prod was dead. The guards couldn't be taken out from the front with a baton, so he had no choice but to use brute force.
Pulling out his sniper rifle, he carefully aimed at the first guard's head and fired. The guard went down, but the other was alert, and to make matters worse, two more guards ran into the room. Putting away his sniper rifle, JC pulled out his pistol and ran forward.
One guard, armed with a mini-crossbow, fired at JC, but the agent dodged, sending the dart straight into his fellow terrorist's crotch. Needless to say, he went into a very painful sleep. JC hid behind a pillar, waited for the guards to stop firing, then jumped out and shot one twice in the body. The dead terrorist fell onto his nearby partner, who's shot missed JC's head by about three inches.
JC fired again, but the terrorist used his dead friend's body as a shield. He threw it at JC, knocking the agent backwards. He then jumped forward and prepared to shoot JC, but the agent regained his balance, threw the body away, and fired. The terrorist went down, his finger almost finished pulling the trigger.
Shrugging the combat off, JC pocketed his pistol and went up the stairs, finally reaching the command center. In front of him was a man matching Filben's photograph. The moment he saw JC, his eyes flashed wide with panic. "I surrender!" he shouted.
"Where's the shipment?" asked JC.
"You're too late," he replied, triumphantly. "It's going back to the people, and there's not a damn thing you can do about it."
"Answer my questions, and I'll turn you over as a prisoner rather than a corpse," said JC.
"Ask away," said the leader, "we've already won this round."
"Where are you taking it?"
"We're just giving some ordinary people as much of a chance to survive as the beurocrats in Washington."
"You'll have to unload in New York because the choppers could spot you at sea."
"I think the government made the plague on purpose to control the population growth."
Now JC had enough of this guy. What was it with these terrorists and crazed conspiracy theories? "Just answer the question," he said.
"Don't believe me?" asked the leader. "It's all in the numbers. For a hundred years, there's been a conspiracy of plurocrats against ordinary people."
"Can you give one fact to back that up?"
"One: In 1945 corporations paid 50 percent of federal taxes. Now they pay only 5 percent. Two: In 1900 90 percent of Americans owned businesses. Now it's about 2 percent."
"It's called consolidation. Strengthen governments and corporations, weaken individuals. With taxes, this can be done imperceptibly over time."
"I guarantee you that the interrogation staff at UNATCO will not be as forebearing as I am."
"Yeah, the secret police. You're just bullies for a completely illegitimate government in Washington."
"We WILL locate that shipment one way or another."
"The entire executive branch is hand-picked. Nineteen of the last twenty-three presidents have been members of the Triateral Commission. The Triteral Commission is financed by the Rockefellers and the Rothschilds. Don't tell me-"
"That's a think-tank. Anyone can be a member."
"But not everyone is. That's why they call it the secret government."
Finally, the UNATCO troopers arrived. JC calmly turned him over and left the statue, but not before grabbing a strange blue canister that was sitting next to the leader. Somehow, he thought he'd need it.
JC made his way down to the base of the statue. After calmly walking out the front door, he was greeted with the smell of gun smoke and blood. He saw nearly a dozen NSF members lying in pools of blood, their bodies punctured with hundreds of bullet holes. He also saw UNATCO troopers looting the bodies. He felt sorry for them briefly, then remembered that they had brought this upon themselves.
Shrugging it off, he made his way down the brick path, to a large sign that read "UNATCO Headquarters. UNATCO Personnel Only." At last, he was going to be entering the fabled UNATCO HQ. Ever since he began his studies, throughout his childhood, even when his nano-augs were being installed, it was his only dream. At last, he would become a full UNATCO agent.
The front of the HQ was bustling with activity. Troopers were bustling to and fro in the panic following the NSF leader's capture. The only one not running around was Paul; he simply walked up to JC.
"Looks like Manderly's happy," said Paul. "You passed with flying colors."
"I never expected to see this much action before," said JC, pleased with his results.
"You showed restrainable force out there," said Paul. "That's always the best way to go. Anyway, Manderly wants to see you in his office for a debriefing."
JC quickly moved pass Paul and entered the fabled front doors of UNATCO HQ.
"Good to see you," said Lloyd, the new UNATCO receptionist and a classmate of JC. "It's my first day, too, you know."
"Yeah," said JC. "Good to see you got in. Wouldn't know it after that accident on the shooting range." Lloyd laughed, then went back to the paperwork. JC simply walked past him and down a winding, carpeted hallway.
He then reached a large, reinforced steel door with a retinal scanner. "Don't worry," said a trooper from behind a bulletproof glass window. "The machine can read straight through your glasses." JC adjusted his sunglasses, then submitted to the scan. The doors opened with a loud beep.
The inside of the HQ was far different from what JC had imagined. It bore more of a resemblance to a carpeted, furnished bunker than the headquarters of all anti-terrorist activity. After walking down a flight of stairs, he found a nameplate that read "Joseph Manderly." Walking through, he saw a lovely secretary.
"Hello," she said. "You must be Paul's brother, JC. My name's Janice Reed. Our little family just keeps getting bigger."
"I was told to see Manderly," said JC. "Is he available?"
"Yes, Mr. Manderly will see you know. By the way, your network account is ready. Login JCD, password bionicman."
"Thanks, I'll remember that." With that, he walked into Manderly's office.
Manderley himself was a short, fat man with snow-white, neatly-trimmed hair. He wore a grey suit and tie, making him look more like a politician than the leader of UNATCO. He looked at JC with a sense of eagerness. "Ah, the man himself," he said. "Welcome aboard, JC."
"It's an honor to be working here," said JC.
"Yes, yes," said Manderley, as he pulled out a credit chit. "That's 1000 for the capture of the terrorist leader, and an extra 250 for rescuing Agent Hermann. We reward our people here." JC took the credit chit and pocketed it.
"Now," continued Manderley, "we have learned that the NSF is hiding the shipment in the warehouse district in Hell's Kitchen."
"Give me a gun and some ammo and I'll clear the place out," said JC.
"I'm sure you could," said Manderley, chuckling a little, "but your brother is leading up the recovery team. You'll be working with Agent Navarra. Return here after you've been checked up by Jaime and recieved your equipment from Carter."
JC left Manderley's office, then made his way to the break room for a quick soda. Inside, he saw Gunther talking to a female mech. She had black hair, pale skin, and more mechanical parts than Gunther.
"Are you sure you pressed the right button?" she said.
"I wanted orange," said Gunther. "It gave me lemon-lime."
"The machine would not make a mistake."
"It's the janitor. He knows I like orange!"
"So the staff has a conspiracy against you?"
"Yes! They just want to annoy me!"
The woman mech turned to JC. "Ah, my new partner, JC Denton. Please don't tell me you're wearing dark glasses on a night mission."
"My vision is augmented," said JC.
"Better to look good than to have distractions like another agent that needs backup," said Gunther, still eyeing JC with great dislike.
"I'm prepared to fulfill my duties," said JC, completely unfazed by Gunther.
"I do not expect you to perform as well as Agent Hermann," said Navarra, "but it takes more to defeat the NSF than wearing coats that make us look bigger than we really are."
"No problem," said JC. He then left the break room, sans a soda, and went to the third level medical lab. Sitting on a stool, just by the entrance, was a hispanic man, with a small mustache and wrinkled face.
"Hey, JC," he said. It was Jaime Reyes, all right, JC's old doctor from the academy days.
"They actually let you operate on people?" asked JC.
"Just fixed Gunther's knee, in fact," said Jaime. "A stick actuator. So far I feel more like a mechanic than a doctor. They actually let you point a gun at people?"
"We can catch up later," said JC. "Can you send Manderley what he wants?"
"Right away," said Jaime. "Now, about your augmentations. You do know they're going to roll out the program worldwide, right?"
"As long as I don't turn green and grow a pair of attenas, as I understand it," said JC.
"Yeah, well, the design's pretty modular, which means you'll soon be able to install upgrades from 'augmentation canisters', like that one you have sticking out of your pocket," he said. "You can use the medical bot to install it. Some canisters upgrade specific systems, while others require you to make important and permanant decisions."
"Thank you," said JC. He then entered another room of the medical lab, where a small medical bot was moving around. He approached it and inserted the augmentation canister. On a small screen, he saw two choices: Microfibrial Muscles and Combat Strength.
JC pushed the button under Microfibrial Muscles. The medical bot's needle went straight into his arm. JC felt his muscles tighten, while his whole body began to ache. His stomach felt quesy, his vision became blurry, and he nearly threw up his last soy meal. Finally, the needle removed itself, while a computer voice in JC's voice said, "Microfibrial Muscles installed."
JC stood back up and exited the medical lab. However, his Infolink went off almost immediately.
Alex Jacobson: You're getting warmer.
JC stepped through another door, this one leading to the network control room. Sitting at a large computer was a small, thin man with thick glasses and suspenders. He looked more like an amatuer hacker than a member of UNATCO.
"I see you found me," said the nerd in an all-too familiar voice. It was Alex Jacobson, the man talking to JC through the Infolink. "You're quicker on the uptake than your brother was."
"So, we meet each other in the flesh," said JC. "By the way, is there any way to turn the Infolink off?"
"Don't worry," said Alex. "We turn it off when you go off-duty. You'll get used to it eventually."
"Okay, thanks," said JC. "Keep in touch."
"Don't worry, I will," laughed Alex as JC was already stepping out of the room.
He then walked to the armory. On the other side of the desk was a tall, aged man. One eye was missing, and his face was covered with various scars. JC recognized him immediately.
"General Carter, sir," said JC, just short of bowing.
"Just Carter, sir," said Carter. "You're a part of UNATCO now."
"I was told to pick up some munitions by Manderley," said JC.
"I figured that," said Carter. "I'll get what I can, but just as a word of warning, items have been dissapearing from the armory. Alex has been complaining that items have been dissapearing from his office, as well."
"Someone at UNATCO's a thief?" asked JC.
"Don't worry about that right now," said Carter. "I'll give you a Stealth Pistol and another piece of hardware."
"I guess a 'smart' lockpick will do the trick," said JC.
"A man of tactics," said Carter. "I like that." He then handed JC a nanotech lockpick and a strange pistol that looked vaguely like a 20th-century staple gun.
"By the way, I heard about your service record in the academy," said JC. "I'm sorry about your wife and daughter. It takes a lot of bravery to live after that."
Carter just looked at JC, his face showing little emotion. "You had to grow up without your parents. That takes even more bravery."
"My parents died in a car crash," said JC. "Your family was killed by the NSF."
"Enough small talk, soldier," said Carter. "Report back to Manderley for a briefing." JC then returned to Manderley's office, where Paul was waiting for him.
"That will be your brother's job," said Manderley, just as JC was entering the office.
"Excuse me," said JC, "but what's my job?"
"The NSF moved the shipment through the subways in Battery Park," said Manderley. "You and Agent Navarra will take out the terrorists that have boarded themselves up in Castle Clinton, right next to the park. We believe that some of the shipment might still be in the castle. After that, you are to join your brother in Hell's Kitchen."
"The NSF have boarded the shipment up in a warehouse protected by an EMP field," said Paul. "They must have an EMP generator somewhere."
"Your mission is to take out the generator in Hell's kitchen," said Manderley. "Once that is done, Paul, you go in and go in hard."
"I'll use my discretion," said Paul.
Manderley's face conveyed a general sense of being pissed off. "If you screw up," he said, "I'll be sending your ass to the mayor to explain why his daughters won't get their pills this month!"
"I'll complete the mission," said Paul.
"All right, you're dismissed," said Manderley. "JC, Agent Navarra will meet you on the ship in the docks."
JC returned to the dock and boarded a waiting UNATCO speedboat. Navarra was waiting impatiently onboard. "I hope you are quicker during our mission, agent."
"I'm prepared to fulfill my duties," said JC. He was glad he could no longer show emotion; Navarra would kill him on the spot if she saw how much he hated that bitch. The boat quickly speeded off towards New York City.
The boat docked at a small harbor by Battery Park. "Our target is Castle Clinton," said Navarra. "The NSF has holed themselves up inside, along with the Ambrosia. My orders are to send you in alone. You are to find the Ambrosia, then report back to me so I can send a recovery team inside."
"The NSF probably has the front entrance pinned down," said JC. "Is there a back entrance?"
"That would be useful," sighed Navarra, "but I do not know about any such thing. The rest of the team will be waiting inside Battery Park." She then ran off, along with a few UNATCO troopers.
JC began to follow her when he felt something tug at his coat. He looked down, and saw a small child, his face and body thin as cloth. "Hey, man," he said, "do you have anything to eat? I'm starving."
JC pulled out a candy bar from his coat pocket and handed it to the child. "Thanks, mister!" he cried. "Just for that, I'll tell you something about the NSF."
"I don't think a kid would know that much," said JC, "but go ahead."
"They were moving some boxes through here a while ago," said the kid. "They were using the secret passage, behind the soda machine." The kid then leaned up and whispered the combination into JC's ear and ran off.
JC thought about what to do. If he went in through the front, he could probably find the shipment much more quickly, but the NSF would be able to catch him easily. If he snuck in through the back, like the kid said, he could avoid a lot of attention, but would also have to probably look around more to find the shipment.
JC walked to the soda machine and examined the wall nearby. He found a keypad, half-hidden by false cobwebs. After entering the code, he made his way down a small series of metal stairs. When he was almost at the bottom, he recieved an Infolink from Alex.
Alex Jacobson: This seems to be some kind of hidden tunnel under the castle. I can't find it on any of my maps, though.
JC snuck down the stairs. He spied a NSF member walking around at the bottom, armed with a heavy-duty flamethrower. He thought about knocking the guard out, but also heard the distinctive sound of a security camera above him. When the guard was out of the way, he snuck around the bottom of the camera and climbed through a ventilation duct.
He reached the other side, where he snuck around a few more guards. He then found a small armory room, where a guard was sitting, his back conviently turned to JC. Needless to say, JC smacked him across the back of the head with his baton. He then picked up some 10mm ammo and darts.
"WHAT THE HELL?!" shouted a voice from the side. JC turned, only to see a NSF member aiming a gun at his head. JC pulled out his stealth pistol, but suddenly felt a stabbing pain in his arm as a bullet passed through. He struggled to aim properly, but the pain was interfering.
The guard ran towards an alarm panel. JC finally got a clean shot and fired, blasting the guard through the back of the neck. The dead guard fell on his face.
"Damn terrorists," muttered JC. He pulled out a small medkit and bandaged his arm injury. Almost immediately, he began to feel relief. He then walked through a small storage room, then finally reached a metal walkway overlooking a bunch of water. Tucked in a dark corner was a large barrel of Ambrosia. He then received another Infolink message.
Alex Jacobson: Agent Navarra will send in a team to recover the shipment. Good job. Report back to Agent Navarra in Battery Park.
JC then snuck his way up a series of stairs, where he found a locked door. Pulling out the lockpick he had received from Carter, he picked the lock, then passed through. He was now at the front entrance to Castle Clinton.
He made his way to Battery Park, only to find a brutal shootout between some NSF members and Navarra's UNATCO group. The UNATCO troops quickly put down the entire NSF group in the park, except for one member, which was wounded critically in the leg. Navarra stood over him.
"Please, help me," he whimpered. Navarra shook her head, then raised her assault rifle and plugged an entire clip into the man's skull. JC was sickened initially, then shook it off. They were just terrorists, after all. They deserved to die.
Navarra then made her way to JC. "You were a bit too nice to the NSF," she said, "but you did accomplish the mission. Good work."
"You mechs may have your routers programmed to remove fear," said JC, "but I've got nerves of steel."
"You're just another coward, Agent Denton," said Navarra. It looked like even her routers were going on overload just trying to hold back her emotion. "You are afraid to kill, just like Paul."
"Let's leave my brother out of this," said JC.
"Do you have ANY idea what it's like?" asked Navarra. "The pain, the misery, the hatred..."
"Don't give me a sob story," said JC. "Just give me the next mission."
"Very well," said Navarra. "Several terrorists have taken refuge in the subway. They have taken hostages, and have also set up a kind of trap. If you touch the laser wires on the entrance, the station will explode."
"Sounds tough, but I'll do it," said JC.
Navarra handed JC two small blue devices, similar to UNATCO's standard LAM explosives. "These EMP gernades will disable the laser wires," said Navarra. "Just activate, then throw. Don't get too close to the explosion, however, or your circuitry will be fried, as well."
"Thanks," said JC, taking the gernades. He then examined the subway entrance. Peeking over a corner, he saw three NSF members, each one armed with a pistol. However, behind the laser wires, he could make out one NSF member with a flamethrower; no doubt stolen from the US government.
Then he spied a grate just across from him. If he could get in from below, he could surprise the NSF and take them out. Either way, he had to be careful; innocents were in there, and if the NSF was alarmed, they would not hesitate to kill them.
JC pulled out his Sniper Rifle and inched closer to the entrance. Raising the gun, he quickly took out the three NSF members. He then threw a EMP gernade at the base of the stairs. After it exploded, he pulled out his Stealth Pistol and ran to the platform.
JC walked pass the Underworld Tavern and began to follow a small alley, which led to the back of the 'Ton Hotel. That way, he could get into Paul's room much more quickly.
The NSF was already preparing to kill off the hostages. Aiming at the member with the flamethrower, JC fired. The terrorist slumped onto the ground. JC grabbed the flamethrower and quickly took out the remaining four members, then threw the weapon away.
"Thanks!" said one of the hostages, a dishelved, diry bum. "You saved my life!"
"Why were the NSF holding the station hostage?" asked JC.
"They were moving something using the subways," said the hostage. "Some kind of barrels."
"Ambrosia," muttered JC, before turning back to the hostage. "Any idea on where they were headed?"
"I think they said something about a warehouse in Hell's Kitchen," said the hostage. JC thanked him, then boarded the train.
After about a half-hour, JC stepped out onto the Hell's Kitchen platform. At the top of the station stairway was Paul. "I heard about the Battery Park situation from Navarra," he said. "A little too violent, but you handled it at least."
"What's the situation here?" asked JC.
"My group's closed off the area around the warehouse," said Paul, "but we can't get through the EMP field the NSF has raised. The generator seems to be in an adjoining warehouse, but our orders are to send you in alone."
"Any other info?" asked JC.
"The NYPD helped us move all the civilians off the streets," said Paul. "They're in either the free clinic or the Underworld Tavern. Also, you can pick up some equipment from my room in the 'Ton Hotel. Remember, the keypad is behind the painting. Also, take this charger for the riot prod; we don't need another Anna Navarra shooting spree." He then handed JC a riot prod battery.
JC then made his way to the streets, where he began to contemplate his next action. He could check out the clinic, and maybe get some healing. He could pick up a drink and talk to some more people in the Underworld Tavern. Or he could go right to Paul's room and get some equipment.
As he was walking past a shady area, though, he heard a heavy voice from around a corner. "What I'm TELLIN' you, girl?"
He took a few steps back and looked around the corner. He saw a medium-sized man, dressed in flashy, if not flatout ridiculous clothing. He was cornering a young woman, who was wearing only a pair of torn jeans and half of a ripped tank top. He then realized who she was: Sandra Renton, the daughter of the 'Ton Hotel's owner.
"You said I don't have to do it," whined Sandra. "Make Jamie do it."
"I already took their money," said the man, "and when it's JoJo and it's somethin' he wants, you got to do it. You and me both baby, we're helpless."
"We were just going to hang out tonight," said Sandra.
"I told you I don't want to deal with this unprofessional bullshit!" shouted the man.
"Johnny..." said Sandra.
"If it's business, it's business," said Johnny. "If it's us two hanging out, it's hanging out. Right now, it's business."
"I want out, Johnny!" shouted Sandra. "I had no idea it would get like this!"
"Put it this way," said Johnny. "You in it..." JC then saw his hand slowly slide down his side. Then he saw the butt of a shotgun under his coat. "You want out like it's a gang; you beat it out!"
JC ran to him. Johnny turned around and eyed JC coldly. "What do you want?!"
"How about I take her off your hands for a while?" asked JC.
"Sure thing," said Johnny. JC handed him a few credit chits, which Johnny then pocketed. "Too bad this bitch had to talk back..."
He turned around and raised a sawed-off shotgun. JC quickly grabbed his neck and threw him to the ground. Johnny fired at JC in panic, barely missing his head. JC pulled out his knife and slashed Johnny's throat, killing him. He then pocekted his credit chits.
"Are you all right?" he asked Sandra.
"Oh man!" said Sandra. "You shouldn't have taken out Johnny! When JoJo hears about this..."
"Who's this JoJo?" asked JC.
"He runs this neighborhood," said Sandra. "He hides out in that warehouse the NSF uses; I wouldn't be surprised if he's a member."
"Maybe I'll go cap his ass too," said JC.
"You shouldn't talk like that," said Sandra, "but you can get there through the old Osgood and Sons warehouse."
"Thanks," said JC. He then made his way through the alleyways, until he reached the fire escape on the back of the Ton Hotel. Strangely, a UNATCO trooper was stationed there; normally, they were patrolling the streets.
"What's going on here?" asked JC.
"Some NSF have holed themselves up inside," said the trooper. "We have reports that they've taken hostages, as well. We're waiting for a specialist."
"I'm your specialist," said JC rather spontaniously. "Where are the NSF?"
"They seem to be on both floors," said the trooper. "Make sure they aren't alarmed, or they might kill the hostages."
JC began to think about his plan of attack. The fire escape could allow him to get through Paul's window, and allow him to get the drop on the NSF on the second floor, but would make it much harder to take care of the terrorists on the first floor. The only other entrance to the hotel was through the front door, but that posed the exact opposites of the problems the first choice offered.
JC jumped onto the fire escape ladder and climbed up to the metal platform, then climbed another flight of metal stairs. He then opened his brother's window and climbed into the kitchen. After quickly grabbing a small bag of soy food, he made his way to the painting in the living room.
He moved the painting aside, revealing an electronic keypad. JC quicky punched in a combination, and part of the nearby wall opened, revealing a secret, hi-tech room. JC grabbed some handgun bullets and LAMs, then closed the entrance and snuck to the room door.
JC readied his stealth pistol and slowly opened the door. Two terrorists were standing nearby, their backs turned to JC. Each one had a junkie-like civilian at gunpoint; they seemed to be expecting a full charge. JC aimed his pistol and fired at one of the terrorists, taking him out. The other quickly turned, but JC fired a few shots into his chest, sending him crumpling on the ground.
"Are you all right?" asked JC.
"We're just a little shaken," said one of the hostages. "Did you get the one on the first floor?"
"I'm headed that way," said JC. "You two should take cover."
"We will," said the other hostage. The two then ran into one of the nearby rooms. JC snuck to the balcony and peered over the edge. He saw one desperate terrorist holding a balding man in his mid-50s at gunpoint. JC quickly recognized the hostage: it was Mr. Renton, the owner of the hotel.
He made his way to the stairs and snuck down; fortunately, a wall blocked the terrorist's range of sight. JC then snuck around the side wall. The terrorist remained oblivious to his presence, until JC brought the baton onto the base of his neck.
"Thanks," said Mr. Renton, "I owe you my life. Did you get the ones upstairs?"
"They're dead," said JC. "None of the hostages were harmed. I've seen your daughter; she's been having problems of her own, it seems."
"Listen," said Mr. Renton, "if you see her hanging around that drug-infested bar, tell her to please come home. No more lectures; I just want her home." JC bowed his head in response, then left through the front door.
He had ignored the bar when he first reached Hell's Kitchen, but he might be able find some answers there. All types of people were to be found there. Then again, he might be able to take the entire warehouse by himself...if he could find it.
JC made his way to the bar. Even more UNATCO troops were moving through the streets; the situation seemed to be getting worse. He had to find the warehouse, and fast.
He finally reached the entrance to the Underworld Tavern. An old neon sign was on the side, while another neon light portrayed a demonic face. JC couldn't help but think of how inviting this place looked. Breathing in one last gasp of air, he entered the tavern.
The building looked like it had been hit by a small army. The walls were cracked and torn beyond repair. The entire interior was filled with the stench of puke, cigarrete smoke, and illegal drug residue. The denizons mostly seemed to be hopeless drunks and druggies, the kind JC wouldn't have dealt with normally.
Finally, JC found Sandra. She was sitting at a small table, drinking an entire bottle of hard liquir. "Good thing you made it out all right," he said.
"Yeah, whatever," said Sandra. "Thanks for helping me with Johnny. It'd be better if you stay away from JoJo, though; he's nothing but trouble."
"Your father misses you," said JC. "Maybe you should head on home."
"My old man doesn't care about my life," said Sandra, dowing another gulp from her liquir bottle. "I'd rather he didn't run me like he runs that cheap hotel."
"Maybe you should cut your father some slack," said JC, rather pissed at Sandra's attitude. "Be thankful for what he's done."
"Fine, fine," said Sandra. "I'll head on back. By the way, do you know about Smuggler?"
"Smuggler?" asked JC.
"I figured a big guy like you would be a big customer," said Sandra. "He lives down by the hotel. You have to give him the password 'bloodshot' or he won't let you in."
"Thanks," said JC. Sandra got back to her feet, picked up her bottle, and left the bar through the back door. JC began to leave, but felt a tug at his sleeve.
"Hello, there!" said a rather loud voice. JC turned, and saw a man in a green business suit standing by him. He had the appearance, personality, and general feeling of a used car salesman.
"What do you want?" asked JC.
"The name's Joe Green," said the man. "I'm a reporter. Tell me, do you have any idea what's going on here?"
"Sir, this is an official UNATCO operation," said JC. "I'm not allowed to tell you any more than that."
"Tight-lipped, I see," said Green. "That must mean you're with UNATCO, too."
"Sir, if you do not stop asking questions, I will be forced to use physical force," said JC.
"Sure, sure," said Green. "I just hope this gets sorted out." JC felt like punching the reporter's eyes out, but wisely decided to control his temper. He then went to the bar for a drink.
"Hey," said a man next to him. It was a rather tall man, with a black suit and silver hair. His eyes were completely hidden behind thick black sunglasses, similiar to the ones JC had. "I could spare some info."
"What's it cost?" asked JC.
"If you buy me a beer, I'll tell you about the Smuggler," said the man. JC sighed, then bought a beer. He handed it to the man, who downed it down in one gulp.
"Smuggler's a real paranoid nutcase," said the man. "He stays about five stories underground, in an old parking structure. He has electronic traps, gun turrets, the works."
"Thanks," said JC.
"Hey," said the man, "if you buy me another beer, I'll tell you about Area 51. You know, the Roswell Incident was nothing more than a cover-up; we really did find aliens in there. I know; I worked there once."
"No thanks," said JC. He then slipped out of the bar as quickly as he could.
JC made his way to the front of the Ton Hotel, where a small stairway led down to the basement of a large apartment building. He walked down the stairs and tried the door, but it was electronically locked. He then spied a button on the right-hand wall. With nothing better to do, he pressed the switch.
"Password?" asked a voice from nowhere.
"Bloodshot," said JC. The door suddenly clicked open, revealing an early twentieth-century elevator. JC stepped onto the elevator and pressed a small switch, which lowered the elevator down several stories. As he stepped off, his Infolink went off.
Alex Jacobson: Our files show that the Smuggler is completely paranoid. Be on the lookout for booby-traps.
Standing in front of JC was, strangely, the only visible booby-trap: a large set of laser tripwires. He stepped into a nearby booth and, using a multitool, disarmed the lasers. He then calmly stepped through the hallway and opened a nearby wooden door.
Inside was a large storage area, filled with various crates and shelves. A tall, black-skinned man was standing at a desk, typing on a computer. JC began to walk down the steps, but one of the boards creaked.
The man turned around instantly, drawing a pistol. "What are you doing here?" he asked.
"I'm here for some business," said JC.
The man stared at him for a few seconds, then lowered his pistol. "All right, I believe you," he said. "Now, I have some Tech Goggles for 1250, a weapons mod for 850, and a Bioelectric Cell for 600."
"Those are some pretty steep prices," said JC.
"I can't meet with my suppliers," said Smuggler. "There's a bunch of guys in the sewers, where we usually meet."
"Terrorists?" asked JC. "Maybe they're the NSF."
Smuggler shaked his head. "These guys are military-types, definately government-funded," said Smuggler. "Tell you what. They've captured a friend of mine and are holding him in their base down there. If you cfan rescue him, I'll give you a discount on the goods."
"I'll think about it," said JC, "but you should be a bit more careful with what you say about the US Government."
"You'll need this key to unlock the sewer manholes," said Smuggler, handing JC a nanokey. "Be on the lookout for soldiers and booby traps." JC added the key to his keyring, then left Smuggler's hideout.
When he reached the street level, and passed through the doorway, the door insantly slammed shut. JC now had to decide what to do. He could go look for the warehouse, but Smuggler had mentioned government-funded troops in the sewers.
JC made his way to one of the manholes and unlocked it with his nanokey ring. The dank smell hit him the instant he slid the cover off. Grabbing his nose, he climbed down the ladder into the ankle-high sludge.
He examined the area around him, and found nothing out of the ordinary...until he found a dead body on a platform. He then spied a strange crack in the wall, as well as a nearby electrical box that seemed to connect only to that part of the wall. He opened the box and used his multitools to bypass the electronics device.
The wall opened, revealing a clean, electronics-filled hallway. JC looked over the side, and saw several armed guards, wearing black uniforms and carrying assault rifles and assault shotguns patrolling another room. A camera protected the hallway, and a security computer was nearby.
JC snuck his way under the camera, which was far enough that the guards would be unable to see him. He then opened the security computer and hacked his way in. He quickly deactivated the nearby camera, then examined the rest of the computer.
Whatever doubts he had about Smuggler's story were soon dashed. The other cameras revealed an entire network of soldiers, gun turrets, and weapons. Not even the highest funded terrorist network was able to access this kind of equipment.
"Hey!" shouted a voice. JC looked up, and quickly dodged a hail of bullets. One of the guards had wandered into the hallway and saw him hacking the computer. The other guards ran into the hallway and opened fire as well.
JC ran back the sewers and crouched against the wall. He grabbed a nearby crowbar and stood in wait. The first guard walked into the sewers, his gun raised. JC slammed the crowbar into the back of his neck, then grabbed the guard's assault rifle and aimed at the approaching guards. He fired until the gun was emptied, taking down about three more guards.
The others wildly began to fire, but JC easily dodged back to the wall. He pulled out his stealth pistol and fired at the guards, killing all but one of them. As he scrambled to reload, the guard fired one more shot, hitting JC straight in the shoulder.
JC grabbed his shoulder and fired, hitting the guard in the groin. The guard whimpered, then crumpled over. The blood began to run through JC's fingers. He rested himself against the wall and pulled out his only medkit. Inside, he found a small roll of bandages.
After wrapping his wound, he disarmed the other cameras and snuck into the next area. Inside was a long hallway, with one guard patrolling. JC readied his baton and hid behind some crates. When the guard walked by him, JC brought the baton down on him, sending him sprawling to the ground.
He walked to the next door and opened it slightly. He recognized the room from the security computer; it was the most heavily guarded area of the secret base. He had to plan his next move carefully.
JC opened the door slightly and peeked in. When the guard's back was turned, he slowly opened the door and snuck behind him, then brought the baton down on his neck. He then snuck down the stairs and hid behind a pile of crates. When the next guard passed by, he knocked him unconsious.
The other guards were making small patrols, allowing JC to pull a headshot on them both. Finally, the entire room was cleared, allowing JC to open the cell door.
Inside was a raggedy bum, looking even worse than before. "Who the hell are you?" he shouted.
"Relax," said JC. "Smuggler sent me in to bail you out."
"He did?" asked the bum. "Why didn't he come here himself?"
"I don't know," said JC. "Tell me, what was going on here?"
"They were running some kind of experiment," said the bum. "They already killed off everyone else they caught."
"Are these members of the NSF?" asked JC.
"I doubt it," said the bum. "These guys carry the best weapons, armor, and equipment. They have an entire security network here. The NSF couldn't afford this much shit on their best days. Anyway, I'll get myself out. Tell Smuggler I'm all right." He then ran off before JC could stop him.
JC made his way back out of the sewers and returned to the even worse streets. Time was running out; he had to get his mission done, and soon.
JC returned to Smuggler's hideout, only to find the booby traps back in place. Sighing, he turned off the traps, then continued to Smuggler's room. Smuggler was sitting at a computer, with several mirrors on both sides. He turned and aimed his pistol at JC, then grumbled and put it away.
"Your friend's all right," said JC.
"You're true to your word," said Smuggler. "I still don't trust you, though."
"You were right about the sewers," said JC. "I found a small army of terrorists down there, with enough equipment to fight a civil war."
"They're the CIA," said Smuggler. "They capture people and use them for medical experiments down there."
"You're going a bit too far with this," said JC, "but they definately aren't NSF."
"The government is pulling people off the streets and using them for lab rats," said Smuggler. "There's a conspiracy going on, behind every official and corner. You just don't want to see it."
"You promised me a discount," said JC. "Just give it to me already."
"All right," said Smuggler. "I can give you a scope for 700, a bioelectric cell for 250, or some light amplification googles for 1125."
"I'll take the Bioelectric cell for 250," said JC.
"Thanks," said Smuggler, handing JC the cell. "Also, I think I know where the NSF are hiding."
"You do?" asked JC.
"There's been a lot of EMP disturbance around the old Osgood and Sons Warehouse," said Smuggler. "That wouldn't be too wierd, except that the warehouse has been abandoned for years."
"Thanks," said JC. He then left Smuggler's hideout and returned to the streets. Already, the UNATCO troopers were marching along. Two of them saw JC and walked up to him.
"You're Paul's brother, right?" asked one of them.
"What about it?" asked JC.
"I don't want to sound rude," said the second trooper, "but your brother's lost it."
"Excuse me?" asked JC.
"Look what he's giving out!" said the first trooper. He showed JC a handful of Gas Gernades, the kind used to dispel large riots.
"Listen to this," said the second trooper, reading the back of the gernade. "'Warning: May cause damage to the lungs during long exposure.' It's like we're giving them cigarretes or something!"
"I'm sure Paul knows what he's doing," said JC.
"I don't think so," said the first trooper. "Say, would you mind swapping some ammo for these gernades?"
-"Sure. Here are some handgun bullets."
-"Keep them. Those things save lives."
"Sure," said JC. "Here are some handgun bullets." He handed the troopers a few clips, and got two gas gernades in return. The troopers returned to formation, snickering about how stupid JC was.
Paying no attention to them, JC snuck through the side alley leading up to the Osgood and Sons Warehouse. The front was guarded by a few NSF members, and the door was naturally locked. However, in such an old neighborhood, the door's lock would be old and worn; it would thus be much easier to pick.
He then saw something on one of the guard's belt. It was unmistakably a nanokey. If he could kill or knock out the terrorists, he could grab the key and unlock the door.
Finally, he saw a third way; an unbarred window on the side of the building. He could smash his way through, and thus bypass the front entrance entirely. However, it would also alert the guards, and make things much harder for him.
JC readied his combat knife and snuck up to the guards. Just as they were about to turn, he slit the first guard's throat, then stabbed the second guard before he could respond. A third guard raised his mini-crossbow, but JC quickly drew his stealth pistol and fired, hitting the guard straight in the forehead.
He quickly grabbed the nanokey, added it to his keyring, and opened the door. As he continued through the warehouse, he found two possible ways of getting to the generator.
The first was to go through the streets and alleys around the warehouse. There would most certainly be NSF, guard dogs and traps, so he would have to fight his way through.
The second was to go across the adjoining rooftops. It would involve some tricky manuevers, and there would most likely be NSF snipers up there, but it would be possible to reach the building where the generator was housed. Also, since nearly every building in the area had a fire escape, he could use one to go down to the streets if things got too complicated.
JC made his way to the elevator, which rose to the highest rooftop. He cocked his pistol, then snuck to the edge. Like he thought, there were several snipers on the various roofs. From the distance, he could make out about seven or eight terrorists. He raised his sniper rifle, aimed at one of the terrorists, and fired.
The bullet passed through the terrorist's skull, sending the body flying off the side of the building. The other snipers turned towards JC, but he quickly picked off two more. The others took cover behind the walls, however, so JC had to continue on.
JC saw the next rooftop, just next to the one he was on. He jumped down, landed on a pipe, and climbed down. Three snipers converged on him, but he quickly took them down. He grabbed the ammo from the snipers he killed, then saw his next passageway: the platform on nearby billboard. He climbed on, ran to the other side, and jumped onto the next rooftop. He finished the last group of snipers, then received an Infolink message.
Alex Jacobson: You're getting close, JC. Look for the building with attenas on the roof.
JC looked around, and saw what Alex was talking about: a nearby warehouse was covered with attenas. The buildings were from the 20th century, so it was likely that this did not stand out too much. However, the most likely place for the generator was at the bottom floor, so he would have to plan his next move.
The most obvious route was to continue through the roof. That would take him to the warehouse rooftop, but that would also mean he had to fight through all of the other floors to get to the generator. Also, there was a fire escape on the side of the building; JC could climb down and head directly to the warehouse. However, this would also mean that he had to deal with whatever was on the ground.
JC climbed down the fire escape, and snuck past a nearby guard. An attack dog waited nearby, but a bullet through its brain got rid of it quickly. He snuck through the darkened alley, until he reached an old wooden doorway. He quickly picked the lock and snuck inside, and found himself right in the generator room. Checking for guards, he walked to the control computer and hacked through the security system. With one press of a key, the generator was shut down. He then shot the computer, destroying any chance of reactivating the generator. Finally, his Infolink went off.
Alex Jacobson: All right, we've landed Gunther and the troopers on the roof. There's a chopper waiting.
Suddenly, the alarm went off, and NSF swarmed the area. JC ran to the stairs, and armed a Gas Gernade on the wall about halfway up. Several terrorists followed him, but the gernade exploded the second they got close, slowing them down. He tore through the many floors, dodging the NSF in order to save the small amount of ammo he had left. Finally, he reached the troopers; they were slowly cutting their way through the NSF on the top floor. Gunther ran by JC, blasting terrorists left and right with his flamethrower, but did not speak to JC himself.
At the roof was a stealth helicopter, as promised. "Ready to take off?" asked the pilot.
JC recognized the voice. "You're the guy from the bar. What are you doing here?"
"You don't want to fly one of these all wound up," said the pilot. "Are you ready to go?"
"Yes," said JC. "Let's get out of here." He climed into the helicopter, and it quickly lifted off.
The helicopter landed at the UNATCO helipad, just outside the main entrance. "My name's Jock," said the pilot. "I'll be flying you to your next mission, so we'd better get used to each other." JC simply climbed out, and made his way to the entrance. However, there were two others waiting for him: large, mechanical-like men in black suits. They looked more like bodyguards than anything else, and were most certainly modified.
"JC Denton," said one of the Men in Black, "please report to the briefing room. Mr. Simons requests that you do not approach the cell block during his interrogation."
"Simons..." said JC. "Are you guys the Feds?"
"Please report to Mr. Manderly's office," continued the Man in Black, his voice the most mechanical thing this side of Gunther, "then continue with your mission. Do not interfere with Mr. Simons." JC simply walked by, and got another Infolink call.
Alex Jacobson: You did a good job on the generator; the only good news from the operation, I'm afraid. Report to Manderly for a full briefing.
JC made his way to Manderley's office, only to find Navarra waiting inside. As he headed towards the door, Navarra pushed him away. "I was here first!"
"Mr. Manderley is in a meeting, JC," said Janice. "You'll have to wait here."
"I was told to report for a debriefing," said JC.
"Do not worry," said Navarra. "I will tell him that I was satisfied with your performance." JC was glad about that, but he was still curious about the meeting. He snuck close to the door, and heard a conversasion between Manderley and a tall man wearing a blue coat.
"Fire the arrogant son-of-a-bitch."
"You don't understand. He's our best agent."
"We don't need him anymore. We have his brother, and there are more where he came from."
"He knows nothing."
"I think he knows everything. You should never have sent him to Hong Kong."
"We have to look at the whole record."
"I understand. He was your pet project, but it is out of your hands now. Because of him, we lost the shipment..."
"I know, I know. I'll comply with the order."
"That's all I ask. Now, I'll be going downstairs to interrogate the prisoners."
JC backed away from the door as the man left Manderley's office. Their eyes meet momentarily, and JC saw several distinct markings: streaks along the face, glowing eyes, and an armored vest. This was another nanoaug.
"You must be Agent Denton," he said. "You have proven to be a most valuable asset."
"Forgive me," said JC, "but I'm afraid I don't know your name."
"You will know it, when the time is right," said the man. "Just keep your nose to the pavement. You will be rewarded. Trust me." He then headed downstairs. JC sighed, then entered the office. He stood in front of Manderley, who seemed uncomfortable for some reason.
"Clerical tasks first, JC," said Manderley. "Your op bonus is split between the Castle Clinton and warehouse objectives: 500 each. That makes a total of 1000, plus an additional 200 for how well you handled the hostage crisis in the Battery Park station. Good job across the board."
"Thank you, sir," said JC. "Who was that you were just meeting with?"
"Politics, bureaucracy, mismanagement," mumbled Manderley. There was clearly something wrong. "JC...I've got some bad news. The mission failed."
"What happened to the shipment?" asked JC.
"I'll tell it straight this time: your brother screwed up," said Manderley. "We've got nothing, and he's taking the heat for it this time. The Coalition is letting him go."
"What happened?" asked JC. The news was still troubling.
"We don't now," said Manderley. "He hasn't reported back yet. The rest of the strike force say he lost his nerve."
Now things began to make sense. "I think he was trying to prevent civilian casualties," said JC. "Instead of handing out bullets, he was giving the troops tear gas."
"Damn gas gernades," mumbled Manderley. "Why do we even bother making them anymore? You're the first one to find a single use for them in the last twenty years!" He then sighed deeply. "Well, whatever the case, it's your turn now. We have one more chance to retake the shipment."
"Has it been located?" asked JC.
"Get your equipment from Carter, then report to your pilot," said Manderley. "We know the NSF is planning to fly it out of New York, but we don't know which airfield they'll be using."
"Where should I start?" asked JC.
"If I were the NSF," said Manderley, "I would be using the subways, through the abandoned parts of the infrastructure."
"I'll leave right away, sir," said JC.
"Oh, and Denton," said Manderley, "please stay away from the press this time. Do I need to quote the manual? 'Secrets are Lives.'"
"Yes, sir," said JC. He then remembered Joe Green from the Underworld Tavern...and was beyond pissed.
JC made his way to the armory, where Carter was waiting. "I've got some gear," said Carter. "Here's an accuracy modification tool, some 7.63 mm rounds, and a couple of multitools."
"Thanks," said JC. "Anna was not too pleased about me letting the NSF live."
"She's like that," said Carter. "Just remember, we're a peace-keeping organization. Just concentrate on your objectives first, and your body count second."
"I will, sir," said JC. He then left the armory, but heard something down the hall, near the prison cells; it was a tortured scream.
JC made his way to the detention area, which was actually behind Navarra's and Gunther's offices. In one of the cells was the NSF terrorist leader he had captured at the statue, along with the government agent from Manderley's office.
"I have one question," said the man.
"Go to hell," snapped the terrorist. It just seemed like a standard interrogation at the moment.
"One must admire a man who can keep a secret," said the man, "because he has value. What you know more than others makes money and gives you a measure of power."
"You think I can be bribed, Simons?" asked the terrorist.
"Margaret Forsythe," began Simons. The terrorist's face suddenly showed an expression of pure horror. "Under NSF protection in Queens. Your son, Richard, attending Bronx Science. You see, I have a few relevant facts myself. Care to make a trade?"
"You wouldn't dare...," said the terrorist. JC now realized what Simons was threatening. This didn't sound like FEMA at all.
"I'll give you two seconds to decide," said Simons. "Now, where are the NSF taking the Ambrosia?"
"I told you!" shouted the terrorist. "I don't know!"
"Need I remind you," continued Simons, "that in the case of a national emergency FEMA has a list of six million people that will be transported to detention centers? Your tabloids call it RX-84."
"Yeah," said the terrorist, completely unmoved by what Simons was saying, "including the President, Congress and the Supreme Court."
"I'm in a position to add your name to that list," said Simons. "Now, where is the Ambrosia?"
"Go to hell," said the terrorist. Simons suddenly punched him across the face, knocking a good deal of teeth and shattering bones all across the terrorist's head. JC was surprised Simons hadn't knocked his entire head off.
"The United State's government has had "emergency powers" since World War II," said the terrorist. "We've never left a state of war."
"Speak for yourself," said Simons. "We're just responding to a threat."
"A government should be about more than self-perpetuation," said the terrorist.
"You WILL confess, by the way," said Simons. "I don't like to get my hands dirty with that sort of thing, but you will confess. Now, certain intellectual properties, aside from the quantities of vaccine, concern me deeply. Has the NSF made any attempt at reverse-engineering?"
"Leave me alone," said the terrorist.
"I am a patient man," said Simons. He pulled a pistol out of his jacket and shot the terrorist six times in the head, just to make sure he was dead. "But not that patient."
He turned, and saw JC staring at him. "You saw nothing, Denton!" he said. "Now, report to the helipad!" JC quietly turned and left the detention center.
As he exited the compound, the two Men in Black approached. "Get on the helicopter, Mr. Denton," said one of them. "Simons did not appreciate your interferance."
JC simply passed by them and got into the helicopter. Jock let out a quick "Let's go," then piloted the chopper back to Battery Park.
(to be continued)