Lost Empire: Part Six

By Brad Marsh


Kane, Grant, Domi, and Brigid entered the Prudential Center basement, their boot heels clicking on the concrete steps as they descend into the bowels of the building. The sound of water dripping and rats scampering off into the darkness greeted them. The only light in the hallway came from the tight yellow beam of Kane’s penlight, as he played it along the hallway, chasing the shadows away. The hollow sound of there boots heels and the shifting shadows that jumped and rolled with Kane's every step, put everyone on edge. Each member of the group could clearly hear rats squeaking and scurrying away from the light as Kane led them deeper into the complex. It was all familiar from their first trip through the underground complex upon their arrival in Boston.


When they had first exited the Gateway Chamber only hours before they had discovered that the only power in the complex was to the gateway and its control room. The building its self was not a military or government facility so it had not been tied into the nuke generator that powered the gateway. But for their purposes all they needed was the gateway to have power and Kane’s plan would work. The time had come to bring the battle to the Rulers, the Generals and the leader. The Gateway sat patiently waiting for their return, a low hum greeted them as they strode into the control room. The maroon walled chamber sat silent and a single bare bulb in the ceiling above the chamber cast the Gateway in a soft yellow light. Kane and Grant entered the control room with their SIN Eaters drawn, while Domi and Brigid waiting in the hallway outside with their respective blasters drawn.


The control room appeared to be empty and devoid of life. The only sound the two men could detect being the gentle hum of the gateway. It took a moment for Kane and Grant to realize the significance of the hum. But the coin dropped and the two men ducked back out into the hallway. Closing the door behind them.


"What?" Domi Snapped.


"The gateway is in use. It sounds like someone is jumping in." Grant replied. Having witnessed several incoming jumps to Cerberus from the outside of the chamber with in the control room he had the most knowledge of what an incoming jump looked and sounded like.


"The Rulers?" Brigid asked


"That's my thought. But how did they know we'd be here."


"That not important. How stop them is. Can't use cocktails control room, damage gateway." Domi announced as she nervously clutched her Desert Eagle tightly.


"She's right." Grant growled.


"Then we get whoever is in there to come out of the control room. At that point we can unleash hell without risking the gateway." Kane replied "It's the only chance we've got. Otherwise we damage the gateway and our plan is shot to hell. Not to mention having to trek half way across the city to the other gateway, which may or may not be operational since its not part of the network, in order to get home."


"Kane is right." Bridged replied. " Plus where out of time and options right now."


"Alright here's how where going to play it. Domi and Bridged, you two will go to the left of the door and around the corner. Grant and I will take the right. Stay out of sight behind the curve in the hall. Once Grant and I cut loose whoever's in there is more than likely going to try going left to put some distance between themselves and our blasters. You pick off anyone that gets around that curve and out of our sight. If it is the rulers use the two cocktails I gave you. Don't hesitate. Understood?"


Both women nodded tightly, drew their blasters and jogged off around the corner to the left of the control room exit. Kane flipped off his pen light as soon as the two women where out of sight, leaving Grant and himself to silently wait in the darkened passageway, for whomever jumped into the Prudential Center Gateway to make an appearance. They each held their SIN Eaters as they crouched on opposite sides of the corridor, hardly breathing, barely moving at all. Their Mag training and years of experience in the outlands had taught both men how to remain still and patient for hours, until their quarry came to them.


They didn't have to wait long. The door to the control room slowly began to rise up, flooding the immediate area with the weak light from the ceiling lights just inside the doorway. Kane and Grant tensed as the sound of boot heels clicking on the concrete floor reached their ears.  The tight beam of a penlight suddenly cut through the darkness, bouncing off the walls of the hall and illuminating the immediate area. One word popped into Kane's mind, Mag's. Which ville had sent them and more importantly why had these Mags had been sent to Boston via the Mat trans network. Kane didn't have time to contemplate any of those questions as the penlight zeroed in on Grant illuminating his features. Kane's hand swept up and the SIN Eater roared, belching out a dozen rounds in half as many seconds. The penlight winked out amid the sound of broken glass falling to the floor. A single piercing scream rent the air just before several copperheads unleashed there furry, driving Kane and Grant to ground around the corner and out of sight from the control room door. Just as Kane and Grant where about to slip back around the corner towards the Mags to return fire, the strip lighting above there heads flickered into life flooding the hall with fluorescent light. As Kane cautiously moved back towards the control room with Grant on his heels, he absently wondered who had brought the lights back on line.


Grant moved up next to Kane as they came with in sight of the control room. They cut loose with their SIN Eaters the moment they glimpsed the Mag squad caught out in the open under the harsh white lights. There where eight Mags, seven standing and one propped up against the wall near the control room door. His bloody fingers clutching his right hand. A shattered penlight lay in pieces near by. A bloody piece of cloth had been tied around the man's left leg. A puddle of congealing blood was slowly spreading beneath the wounded man. In the span of a few seconds all the Mags in the hall where cut down in wall of lead laid down by Kane and Grant. Leaving the man Kane had shot earlier as the only Mag capable of talking.


"Who are you and why are you here?"


"Names Jensen." The man husked out. "We where sent here to find you."


"Which Ville are you from?" Kane demanded




"Why did the Baron send you here to find us?"


"Told us to find the Traitor Kane and give him the disk."


"What disk?" Grant rumbled


"Code disk. Show you how to get into the Rulers HQ through the back door." With that the man sighed and slumped. Kane quickly check the Mag's pulse, and found none.


"He's aced." Kane confirmed "Go get Domi and Brigid, while I search these guys for this disk they brought us."


Several moments later, Grant appeared in the doorway to the control room just as Kane finished piling the Mag bodies into the Jump Chamber once more. With a lopsided grin he closed the door and activating the gateway. Having used the Last Destination command for the gateway Kane had intentionally sent the bodies back where they came from, minus the disk. He wanted Sharpe to know what happened to his Mags and who did it. Though the fact that Kane and Grant had aced eight Sharpeville Mags would not be the conclusion Baron Shape would come to. Kane had placed one of the captured Smith and Wesson blasters that the FBI men and Rulers seemed to prefer.


"I found the disk on the Sergeant's body." Kane informed his companions pulling a black square of plastic from an inside pocket of his coat." It's a comp disk far as I can tell. Brigid, you think you can do anything with it."


"Let me see. If it's encrypted its going to be all but useless until we get back to Cerberus. We don't have the time to spend trying to crack the code."


Kane motioned for Grant to follow him as he turned and strode out into the hallway amid the smears of blood, and glittering shell casings. "Do we know who powered up the lights like that? In one way it bothers me because whoever it was could be connected to the Rulers and leader. In another way I'm glad our mysterious benefactor flicked the lights on when they did otherwise those Mags would have cut us to ribbons with their copperheads."


"I don't like it." Grant rasped "Whoever brought the power back on line had to have a reason for doing it. From prior experience, when someone does something with an ulterior motive it's the four of us that usually end up flat on our collective asses."


"Watch, and listen for the time being. According to Brigid who ever brought the power up had to be somewhere in the levels above us. So that leads me to conclude that the person responsible saw us come in the front door, and they where watching our every move the entire time we've been down here." Kane whispered.


"How do you know that?"


"The lights came on at the exact moment that would benefit the four of us the most. Like you said if not for the lights we would have been cut to ribbons or forced to retreat deeper into the complex. Either way it would have been a drawn out firefight that would have wasted far to much time and maybe gotten us chilled in the process." 


Before he could answer Brigid voice rang out from the other room " Kane, I've got something!"


The town men slipped back into the control as Domi silently stepped out into the hallway to cover their backs. The look on her face told Kane she had heard the discussion he'd had with Grant and that she agreed or at least excepted the possibility that they where right in there assessment of the situation. Grant nodded to the small white haired girl as she slid past them wordlessly. They found Brigid seated behind a large console with a brightly lit computer screen pulsing away in front of there. The ambient green light hung in the air around her like a heavy London fog coming in off the Thames. She looked up as the two men approached.


"Look at this. " she stated indicating the comp screen in front of her. What they was a single line of text and a string of numbers in the center of the screen. The text read Unindexed DOJ gateway for project Fidelity. Kane slowly read the single sentence three times trying to make some semblance of sense from the words.


"Anyone want to hazard a guess as to what the hell that all means?"


"DOJ is the abbreviation for the old Justice Department with in the US government. They where the department that ran the FBI back when there was a US government and a FBI. I've never heard of project Fidelity but if I had to make a guess I'd say Baron Sharpe sent this to us because its connected to the Rulers and the Generals in some way."


"Well those numbers are obviously the code for this unindexed gateway. But is it the gateway we want? There also begs the question why would Sharpe help us?"


"Protect Ville and throne." Domi replied from just inside the control room doorway


"Makes sense." Grant agreed "But even if this is a back door into the Rulers HQ they're not going to let the four of us just jump into their back yard."


"Take time to recover jump." Domi pointed out "Sitting ducks until recover."


"She's got a point." Brigid replied "We'll jump in there disorientated and weak. If the Generals have stationed guards on the gateway and it's more than a possibility then we could be just jumping into there hands."


"That's a chance we're going to have to take." Kane declared "I don't see that we have all that many options here." Kane glanced at Grant who just nodded his agreement.


Kane shifted his gaze to Domi who was now leaning against the doorframe, arms crossed over her chest. She smiled, her ruby eyes glowing mischievously. "Like good fight." She simply announced with a soft chuckle.


That left Brigid and the moment Kane's eyes fell on her he knew one of their frequent disagreements was coming. "What?" he demanded after a few seconds of silence.


"How do we know Sharpe isn't setting us up. We could very well be walking into a trap. Has it occurred to you that Sharpe is crafty enough to have made a deal with the Generals to save himself."


"If we where dealing with Baron Cobalt I'd would be the first to suspect that. But as crafty a bastard as Sharpe is I don't think he has the brains or the balls to pull off a deal with the Generals or this FBI freezie. The Rulers and the Generals care about nothing but find their lost empire. This FBI freezie is an unknown quantity, we still don't know who he really is or what his ultimate goal is. This may be our only chance to stop him. I for one do not want to be running a containment war with this guy, we have our hands full as it is fighting this war for dominance with the Barons."


"This is just like you." Brigid snapped as she got to her feet. "Your answer to everything is to shoot first and maybe ask questions later no matter what the odds or who might get caught in the crossfire. You've always done more thinking with your blaster than you brain."


"My answers have gotten us out of some fucking tight spots Baptiste."


"That's true but they got Domi shot, and the rush of us beat up and bloody one more occasions that I care to think about."


"Its keep us alive this long." Kane spat his temper flaring as it often did when his plans where questioned. "You're an academic Baptiste, leave the combat planning to Grant and myself." With that the discussion was over and Kane turned his back. To Grant and Domi he said, "Weapons check, we jump in half an hour." Then he was gone having slipped out into the corridor.



Brigid, Grant and Domi where standing by the gateway when Kane returned half an hour later. He caught Brigid's eye and nodded a silent apology for his outburst earlier. "I did a recon of the area from here to Copley Square. No rulers. I did hear distant gunfire coming from the direction of the common. It didn't last long. But if Ferret and his pals are stirring the pot down there we may be able to slip in the backdoor and catch the Generals with their pants down and hope ferret and his boys come through on their end of things."


"Lets go then." Grant replied leading the way into the jump chamber while Kane punched in the code and closed the door as he brought up the rear. Kane slowly lowered himself to the floor between Domi and Brigid, his Copperhead across his lap and the bag of homemade cocktails next to him. They could now near the whine of the gateway beginning to cycle up as wisps of fine white mist began filling up the chamber. Kane's last thought as the darkness took him in its embrace was to hope he was not making a mistake that would turn out to be fatal to them all.


For what seemed like several hours Kane sat with his back against the Armor Glass wall of the jump chamber his eyes closed. He could hear his companions slowly moving back towards the land of the living, even if they felt like death itself. He crack his eyes, bracing himself for the bolt of pain behind his eyes that often greet him when he first opened his eyes after a jump. But not pain greeted him this time. He slowly scanned the room, noting that everyone had come threw the jump ok. His eyes moved to the gold colored walls of the chamber, with little specks of black. The Maroon walls of the Prudential center where gone and they had arrived somewhere else. But what it the right place? He could see movement beyond the doorway, where the control room was. He quickly got to his feet adrenaline suddenly surging into his blood stream. He nudged Grant and Domi with his foot.


"Get the Fuck up! " He hissed "Now! We've got company!"


Grant was the first one to his feet, seemingly going from lying flat on his back to standing on his feet with no intervening stages. His Sin Eater was instantly in his hand. Domi was only a few seconds behind, her Colt combat master cocked and ready in her hands.  


"Get Baptiste up." He told the albino girl. "These clowns on the other side of the wall look as if they're ready to throw out the welcome mat."


Domi nodded tightly and went about waking Brigid up. She had Brigid up and on her feet in a matter of moments. Her blaster was in her hands and ready to go. She looked weak and confused, under other circumstances they would have waited several more minuets before attempting to leave the gateway but with an unknown number of enemies lurking outside they didn't have that luxury at the moment. Kane pulled a cocktail out of his munitions bag, nodding as Grant did the same. They moved towards the door, with the women in tow. Domi produced a pack of self-lights from an inner pocket of her jacket, and lit both cocktails. Kane grinned wolfishly as he yanked open the gateway door and plunged over the threshold with Grant right on his heels. Both men let fly with their cocktails, the moment they cleared the anter room. The two flaming cocktails sailing through the air to impact near the middle of group of eight rulers that where bunched up near the main door, instantly engulfing six of the eight rulers, before anyone in the room other than Kane and Grant could move. The remaining two rulers skipped away as the flames licked at their navy blue suits. They instantly began burning off rounds from their .40 caliber Smith and Wesson blasters, forcing Kane and Grant to take cover back in the anter room. Their bullets cutting through the air and slamming into the door frame to the chamber, whining off in all directions.


"Kane." Domi's voice snapped. Causing him to look up just as his copperhead arced through the air towards him. Catching it one handed, Kane leveled the sub gun and held down the trigger running the blaster's magazine dry, and hosing the control room with hot lead in the process. The two remaining rulers fled back through the main door leaving the vanadium steel sec door open in there haste to vacate the area. Kane motioned for Grant to cover him as he moved across the now empty control room and towards the open door copperhead held at the ready from his hip. He cautiously dropped to the dust covered concrete floor and peered around the doorframe and out into the corridor. Nothing was in sight. He slowly pushed himself up off the floor to a standing position, his Sin Eater gripped in his hand, a copperhead slung over his shoulder.


Kane slowly led the way out in to the hallway, his Sin Eater moving out in front of him tasting the air like a hunting cobra. As they moved along the corridor, the only sound in the hall was their boot heels clicking on the dusty concrete floor. They moved along the corridor, with Kane leading the way and Grant bringing up the rear. Slowly to a crawl Kane inched his way around a curve in the corridor, his back against the wall as the Grant and the women waited just out of sight for the all clear sign. He cleared the corner, catching a glimpse of the two rulers from the control room, kneeling in the middle of the hallway their Smith and Wesson blasters held at the ready. Kane instantly fired his Sin Eater catching both figures across the face and throat, catapulting the two rulers onto their backs. Before the echoes of his stuttering shots faded, a cocktail was in the air and sailing towards the two prone figures. The bottle impacted on the floor between the two thrashing rulers, instantly covering them in a blistering wave of heat and orange flame. The moment the fire touched them, the two rulers instantly shot to their feet, and ran flaming down the hallway. Before they could take more than half a dozen steps, Kane triggered his Sin Eater again, catching the two flaming figures across the back and dumping them both on the floor once more. They thrashed around for a few seconds more then became still.


He motioned for his companions to come forward and they continued forward. Several seconds later they reached a set of wide stairs that led up to the floors above. No one was in sight when they reached the stairs. Kane quickly led the way up passing several locked doors, before reaching the top of the stairs where a half dozen rulers where waiting. Moving back around through the doorway once more, Kane pulled several blocks of C-4 and timing pencils from his munitions bag, he handed them to Domi and Grant.


"We've got half a dozen rulers just beyond this door, and at least that many guarding the main entrance into the building. Set these up in the control room and along the hallway we came up through. Set the timers for twenty minutes. Baptiste and I will take care of these clowns out front and meet you back here in ten minutes."


Grant nodded and he and Domi disappeared back down the stairway to set the timers. Kane turned back towards Brigid handing her four cocktails. "Just follow me straight threw the door, cover my back. I'm going to flame two of these into the bunch just outside here. They have their backs to us so they won't know I'm there until it's too late." Kane whispered "You bat clean up, take out any I miss while I move towards the group by the main entrance. When I yell your name lob two more cocktails at the second group."


"That's insane." she whispered back


"You gotta better idea?" Kane demanded when Brigid didn't respond he growled "Didn't think so!" With that Kane lit both cocktails that he held in each hand. The two wicks were lit Kane sprinted across the lobby a flaming Cocktail in each hand. When he had closed the distance to the first group of rulers he tossed both cocktails into the air towards the group of rulers with their backs to him. His Sin Eater was in his hand even before the cocktails had begun to descend towards the rulers. Both cocktails landed amid the group of half a dozen rulers, instantly creating a firestorm, which was fanned by the breeze that was being channeled through the gapping holes in the lobby doors. Almost immediately it became apparent that the first strike from Kane had taken out the half dozen rulers in one shot. But the noise instantly caught the attention of the rulers guarding the lobby doors. Kane triggered his Sin Eater spraying the group with a wall of 9mm rounds that shredded and pulverized the suits that the Rulers where wearing, before the force of the impacts dumped them to the dust covered marble floor.


"Baptiste!" Kane shouted "Now!"

He dove to the side, as two cocktails sailed over head, trailing flames and heat in their wake. The rulers where still thrashing around on the ground trying to recover from Kane's assault with his Sin Eater, when the two cocktails landed among them. The gel like substance that made up the cocktails instantly spread out among the rulers, covering the remains of their pre-dark suits. Only two of the rulers managed to avoid being engulfed by the flames that the cocktails created. Kane, who was lying prone on the floor, triggered his Sin Eater dropping them back to the floor once more. He rolled an unlit cocktail towards the two downed rulers, waiting until it was just in front of the two rulers, before sending a 9mm round from his Sin Eater into the cocktails, splattering the cocktails contents all over the two figures. He pulled an unlit self-light from between his teeth, and struck it on the gray cement grout between two of the marble tiles that made up the floor. The self-light flared into life, and Kane smiled as he flicked the self-light towards the two figures. The golden and orange flame landed in the center of the puddle of hair gel and alcohol that the broken cocktail had left behind. With an audible whoosh the puddle flashed over the moment the self-light hit the pool, instantly enveloping the two figures.


Kane turned back to Brigid to find she had her own problems. Two figured that looked to be flesh and blood men where holding Bridig hostage. One figure stood just to Baptiste's left his Smith and Wesson pointed at Kane, his companion had his arm around Brigid's neck from behind his Smith and Wesson placed against her head. Kane smiled, as he shot the figure to Brigid's left in the head, right between the eyes, watching as the man's corpse slump to the ground. Kane's Sin Eater, which had appeared, as if from thin air, was now pointed at the second man's head over Brigid's shoulder. Even though he wasn't all that enthusiastic about risking Baptiste's life on a risky over the shoulder shot, the man holding her didn't know that. Kane's only hope, beyond taking his shot, was to stall Baptiste's attacker long enough for Grant and Domi to put in an appearance.


"Who are you?" the man demanded


"You know who I am." Kane snapped "I can see it in your eyes. Now let the woman go before I chill your slagger ass just because I can."


"You can't kill me." The suit clad figure lied


"Your human just like your pal. A 9mm will chill your ass same as it did your pal. Let her go before I decided to take things into my own hands."


When the suit clad agent failed to let Brigid go, a pal white hand shot out of the shadows, with a fleeting glimpse of close cropped bone white hair flaring into existence for just a moment. Then the barrel of a .45 caliber hand blaster was placed against the back of the agents head, the sound of the hammer being eared back was the only other sound that could be heard other than the agents harsh breathing. The agent froze in place, as an ice-cold voice filled with steel, whispered in his right ear. "Do Kane says. Maybe live longer." 


With those words ringing in his ears, the frightened agent dropped his Smith and Wesson to the marble floor, released his grip of Brigid and raised his hands over his head. Kane quickly stepped forward and pulled Brigid out of the line of fire. Kane's Sin Eater never left the man, not that he was going anywhere, with Domi's .45 digging into his head.   


"Ah, Kane." Grant rumbled




"Clocks ticking."


Kane nodded his understand. Right, the charges that Grant and Domi had set where slowly ticking away and if Kane and his companions where anywhere near Government place and the FBI building when the charges detonated they would not have much to worry about afterwards. "Two questions. Then you're free to go." Kane told the agent who was Domi's prisoner. "Where are the Generals and where is the Leader?"


"The Generals are with the leader right now, in the conference room, planning the destruction of the place you call Sharpeville."


"Where's this conference room located?"


The agent pointed towards a hallway that led off behind a vacant security desk. "Down the end of that hallway. Second door from the end on the right. You'll know it when you get there. Should have half a dozen Rulers guarding it."  


"Ok. Get the fuck out of here. I see you again I'll chill you, no warnings."


The agent nodded, scooped his Smith and Wesson up off the floor and slipped out the front door. Domi glared after him then demanded "Why let go? Now go tell friends, we risk not get gateway."  


"He's a recruit Domi. This isn't his war. He was here for the paycheck and power that came with the job. He wasn't prepared to die for the cause. He's not a ruler, he's a predark freezie, and he doesn't give a shit about the Lost Empire. He's not ready to give his life for something that means nothing to him."


Domi simply nodded. Having grown up in the outlands, the lands beyond the boarders of the villes, she knew what it was like to want nothing more than to survive from one day to the next. Looking out for yourself and those closest to you, leaving everyone else to look out for themselves. She still clung to those ideals, even now that she had friends that she considered family and the redoubt had become her home, providing all the things she needed, food, shelter, and clothing.


"Domi, you and Brigid stay here and guard our back trail. Keep this area clear. If Grant and I aren't back in five minuets head out for the common, meet us at the corner of Arlington street and Boyolston street. Wait one hour, we don't show pull back to the gateway and wait twelve hours. Then jump, with or without us." Domi simply nodded. Brigid look as if she was about to argue, then she simply nodded her understanding. Grant fell into step behind Kane and the two old brothers in arms, head off into the jaws of hell once more.  


The hallway that Kane and Grant found themselves in was roughly fifteen feet across, with oak doors lining the walls on either side as regular intervals, brass door knobs reflecting what little light there was from the dimly lit over head strip lights. They caught sight of the half dozen Rulers, only seconds before Smith and Wesson hand blasters opened up on the duo, sending a salvo of .40 caliber rounds through the air around the two men. Several rounds hammered into door jams, and pinged off of brass knobs. Kane was on the move even before the echoes of the shots died away and the sound of hand blasters being reloaded filled the hallway, a cocktail in each hand, the rags flaming and ready to create a lethal ball of flame. He tossed both cocktails into the center of the cluster of Rulers stationed outside the conference room. The moment the cocktails touched down, flames began spreading among the group, the flame quickly catching on the predark suits. With in thirty seconds all of the Rulers had ceased moving, reduced to smoldering, smoking piles of burned and charred plastic computer components.   


Kane moved to the conference room door, sending a short burst from his Sin Eater into the door, just above the knob, splintering the door jam, and door oak wood above the knob. One solid kick from Kane's Combat boot sent the door sailing off its rusted out hinges, tumbling into the room beyond. The door came to rest in the middle of a faded cherry wood conference table in the center of the room, as Kane stepped over the threshold and into the room. His Sin Eater sweeping back and forth. The generals where all present but a secret door in the far wall, was hanging open. From where Kane was standing he could see a metal staircase leading downward, but nothing more. He put odds of ten to one that the stairs led to the level below that housed the gateway. Without a word, Kane shot each of the generals in the head right between the eyes, finally giving the re-animated corpses a final release. He was about to move across the room to the stairway, when Grants voice stopped him in his tracks.


"Forget it Kane. We're out of time. The clocks almost ticked around to zero."


Kane followed Kane out of the room and side by side they sprinted down the hallway, and back into the lobby, Brigid and Domi where already moving out the front doors when they reached the lobby. Grant and Kane close on their heels. The Quartet had barely cleared the bottom of step of the building when Sin Eater fire raked the ground around them. Kane, Grant and Domi, instinctively fired back even before the first rounds began biting into the asphalt around them. Bridge was only a split second behind them. Sharpeville Mags where moving along the street to intercept them. They made it as far as the opposite side of Somerset Street before the charges that Grant and Domi had planted detonated. The blast wave over took the Mag force, leaving men burned and bloody in its wake, as the Quartet jumped into a dried up fountain on the opposite side of the street. Heat washed over them and debris rained down, but then silence returned to the street once more. The four companions slowly moved out of the protection of the fountain and out into the devastation that the explosion had brought about. There wasn't much left.


Kane stood amid the smoking ruins of what had once been Government Place, his smoking Sin Eater dangling from his right hand, forgotten for the moment. The cracked and pitted steps of the FBI building barely visible under the rubble, with most of the building was still standing with windows empty of glass looking down on the city like vacant eyes, silently placing blame with those who had brought death and destruction to their city. Kane's eyes fell on his munitions bag and his empty copperhead lying on the ground at his feet and silently wondered if it was all worth it. The smell of death hung in the air, like a memory of what had happened there in the heart of the city where America's bid for freedom began. After so many deaths and so much of an already fading past destroyed he wondered for the hundredth time if it was all worth it. Yeah, they had won but at what cost. Bodies of the dead and dying littered the cracked and stained asphalt of Somerset street, the smell of fresh blood and cordite masking all else, gleaming shell casings glinting in the sunlight, as a halo of gray smoke hung over street. Grant and Domi stood close together near a pile of burning debris that was all that remained of a Mag Sandcat, as Brigid slowly walked among the destruction and blood shed her eyes taking in every possible detail. She would remember every detail and Kane silently wondered why she would put herself through the experience of taking it all in. In his mind there was no point. He slowly walked to her, blocking her path. Her eyes fell on him, her face soot covered, spotted with blood; he could see the gleam of fresh tears in her eyes.


"Come on Baptiste its over. We have a promise to keep." With that he took her arm and guided her towards Domi and Grant. Then as one they left the field of death and fire behind. Moving towards the Common and the future beyond.




It was finally over, with so many lives lost, it had come to an end but it seemed so much like all the other hollow victories Kane and his friends had been a part of in the last twelve months. Now beneath the red and pink light of the setting sun, amid the ruins of the city where liberty had been born over four hundred years earlier, they stood in the middle of a dirt patch that was once known as Boston Common. A place where pirates and witches had been hung, where British soldiers camped during the American revolution, and where union soldiers pitched their tents less than a hundred years after. At their feet sat three freshly dug graves. The unmarked graves of those who had paid the ultimate price to ensure Kane and his friends crushed the Rulers and destroyed the Generals along with their strong hold in Bean Town. Ferret and those of his men who survived had long sense slipped back into the concrete shelters that they called home. But the feeling of a hollow victory was intensified when Kane laid his eyes upon the three graves, they had won but just barely and the FBI freezie had escaped Kane's wrath. Surviving to fight another day, it meant the possibility of fighting two wars on two separate fronts for two separate reasons. But he and his friends had come to realize that it was just what they did, and it was what their lives had become. For now they had held back the tide and they would live to continue to fight. It was just how things where. Silently he said a prayer for those who still called the twisted concrete and metal, that was Boston, their home. At least they would not have to live with the threat of the Rulers and the Generals. Whether or not they survived was up to them. Kane and his companions had only given them a chance to survive; it was their choice how they used. Kane gave the three unmarked graves at his feet one final look and then slowly led his friends down Boylston street towards the Prudential center and the gateway that would take them back to Cerberus.



The End.

August 2001