Lost Empire Part Three

By Brad Marsh


Kane, Grant, Brigid and Domi exited the gateway to find Lakesh and Brye looking intently at a map of the old United States covered with little colored lights that represented the locations of each gateway in the Cerberus network. Most of them were dark, the few that where lit represented the working Gateways in the network. The first thing that Kane noticed as he approached the two figures was that one light located in eastern Massachusetts was flashing. When a light flashed it meant that particular Gateway was either in use or had been used in the last few minuets. “ That must be our welcoming committee reporting home. “ Kane stated dryly. When Lakesh looked up questioningly Kane quickly added “ Give us half an hour to clean up, then we’ll meet up and explain it all to you. “

Lakesh nodded. “ Very well. There is much we need to talk about. There was an attempt by Baron Sharpe to rescue his Mags while you where away. It failed before it had barely begun. We intercepted several Comm reports after the attempt failed. I will have them ready for you to listen too in short order. Mr. Brye is downloading them on a comp disk as we speak.“

Kane nodded and he turned leading the way out of the control room. They passed DeFore the Redoubts resident Doctor on the way out. She nodded when Grant informed her that none of them had received any serious injuries.

“ It’s a pleasant change not to have to patch any of you up.” She replied

 “ It’s a little early to throw a party, the op ain’t over yet.“ Kane muttered. As he pushed past DeFore and out into the Redoubt’s main hall. Domi and Brigid said nothing as they moved around the auburn haired doctor, following Kane. Grant just shrugged as DeFore slipped into the Control room behind him.

Half an hour later Kane strode through the double doors of the Redoubts dinning hall, to find Grant, Domi, Brigid, Lakesh and Defore waiting for him. He was mildly surprised to see Defore, as she did not normally take part in the planning of Ops. He silently moved to a long counter near the quartet, where two pots of coffee sat, along with containers of sugar and fresh milk. He poured himself a cup of the hot steaming black liquid, taking a cautious sip of the bitter brew before turning his attention back to the four figures at the table.

“ Ok. “ Kane said to Lakesh “ I have no desire to run this circus at the moment so it’s your show for the time being. “

Lakesh nodded “ Things have started to move forward slightly faster than I had expected while you where gone. I have asked the good doctor to join us do to the nature of our enemies. “

“ Before we go to far with this. “ Defore stated “ I’d like to hear about what you dug up in North Carolina about the make up of these thugs or whatever you want to call them. “

Brigid looked at Kane who nodded his indifference. “ We found out that these drones, are more like cyborgs than anything else. They combine a human spinal cord and nerva system with an advanced robotics system. The drone in the end is about ninety-percent Machine and ten-percent human. There skin is made up of a silicon-based membrane that is similar to the Kevlar coats that Kane and Grant wears. With the exception being nothing short on a tank Missile with even scratch it, much less penetrate it. “

“ Did you find out anything about who they are and what they want? “ Lakesh asked

“ They call themselves the Rulers. They were part of a sub-division of Excalibur called the Aurora project, which sprung from the Genesis project.  There looking for a place they call the Lost Empire. It was once called the New Empire, and was to be there home before Skydark. But all that like so many other things was brought to a screeching halt when the bombs fell. The FBI freezie that we met in Maine has become their leader. It seems as if they do his bidding and follow his orders, with the understanding that he will lead them to the Lost Empire.“ Kane informed him

“ Can they be stopped? “ Lakesh asked

  What about EMP grenades? “ Domi demanded “ Rulers seem scared of them. “

“ It’s only a theory I have. “ Brigid replied “ I need to do some research to see if its possible before we get our hopes up. “

“ Domi’s right though. “ Grant stated “ Those Ruler guys were didn’t seem to like the idea of EMP grenades. “

“ That brings me around to the most pressing question. This Aurora project was there any indication that it was connected to the Barons or to the Hybrid program? We have come across this aurora reference before. Case in point being the ship you shot down in New Mexico, it was named the Aurora. “

“ I agree, the pre-dark white-coats had an affection for naming multiply things Aurora. But from what we learned there in North Carolina these Rulers aren’t looking to do more than find their way home. Not to mention their Cyborgs, not genetically engineered humans using alien DNA.” Brigid replied “ I don’t see these guys or this FBI freezie working for or with the Barons. The attack on the Sharpeville Mags in the Plaza seems to support my theory. “

“ I agree. There is one thing that still bothers me about this situation. We know where the Ruler’s fit in to all this, they’re just looking for a way home, that makes sense. What does this FBI freezie get out of the deal? It has to be connected to this Lost Empire. “ Kane said.

“ If we only knew more about this Lost Empire. “ Grant replied “ Maybe we could figure out where it is and beat them all to the punch. At the very least it might give us some idea of what is really going on.“

Before Kane or anyone else could reply Brye strode through the double doors, a comp disk in his left hand. He stopped next to Lakesh handing him the disk. “ All the Comm reports we picked up are on here. “

“ Thank you Mr. Brye. “

Without a word Brye turned and headed back out the way he had come in. From the look on Brye’s face something was wrong. He was normally a happy out going person who liked everyone and was liked by all the exiles, but since Kane and the others had returned from North Carolina he had barely said three words. Kane had a feeling the source of Brye’s mood shift was on the disk that Lakesh held in his hand.

“ Grants got a good point. Maybe there’s something on that disk that might help us. “

Lakesh nodded, grasping a small gray square shaped object that lay on the table and pulling it towards him. Kane having seen min-disk players in the Ville knew what the object was immediately, as Lakesh popped the dick compartment open and slipped the disk he had been given into the player. The moment the compartment was closed the sound of static began coming from the player, then a voice suddenly began panting a picture of the bloody defeat that had been inflicted on it’s owner.

Boston Common: Six Hours Earlier.

Captain Henry Seaver, exited the Deathbird helicopter, the battalion of Mags that he was in command of stood near by their eyes raking the piles of rubble and dirt that stood just beyond what was left of Boston Common where streets once carried cars and people to their destinations. They had all read the reports of Beta Squad’s encounter when they had come to Boston to investigate reports of a FBI freezie having made his headquarters there. None of the three dozen men who made up the battalion wanted to be caught off guard like Beta had been, mainly because none of them had any wish to die in a forgotten city that had died over two hundred years earlier. They had come to Boston to rescue there friends and fellow Mags, so once Seaver had exited the Deathbird they all formed up and the battalion began moving forward towards Somerset street and Federal Plaza.

They had just turned onto Somerset Street, heading towards the area where Beta Squad had been attacked when it happened. They were all spread out in an extended squirmish line, with Captain Seaver in the middle, as they snaked there way along the rubble-strewn paths. The first Ruler crested a large pile of concrete and steel, a .40 Caliber Smith and Wesson gripped in his right hand, an implode gren in his left hand. Before anyone in the line of Mags could react they were surrounded by a dozen Rulers all dressed in black business suits, complete with ties and their .40 caliber Smith and Wesson hand blasters.

“ Slaggers! Take Cover! “ Seaver shouted above the sudden crackling on blaster fire as the Rulers opened fire on the battalion of Mags. As they took cover the sharp reports of Mag Sin Eaters returning fire filled the rubble-covered street. Just as his men began to react, the hollow explosion of an implode gren detonation filled the street. Seaver quickly realized that not everyone in the Battalion was going to get out of the city alive when all was said and done. This though came to his in a flash of surprise as globs of flesh and dozens of body parts rained down around him. He had brought some of the Ville’s best marksmen to Boston, and they hit the rulers with round after round, but no matter where the 9mm bullets impacted the rulers simply kept coming and Mags kept being chilled. Not to mention many of them had been killed by the single implode gren at the beginning of the attack, they weren’t much good dead. It was just like in the reports of Beta Squads mission to Boston, that they had all read before leaving the Ville. Unstoppable, unknown person’s dressed in black business suits with semi-auto hand blasters. In a matter of moments to Seaver’s shocked horror two dozen Mags were dead, their blood mixing with the dirt and dust in the street. His quick count confirmed that two thirds of his force had been slaughtered in the first moments of the battle. As he sat crouched behind a mound of dirt and steel that had been cleared from the street he counted four wounded Mags, leaving eight standing and able to return the blaster fire of the Rulers. Eight heavily armed Mags against a dozen Slaggers armed with Semi-Auto hand blasters. Normally he would have back eight of his men against three dozen ordinary slaggars, but it was becoming increasingly more obvious that they were not facing ordinary slaggers. “ Pull back!” he shouted as he fired his Sin Eater at the closest ruler, hitting his in the head and dumping him over on his back atop a pile of concrete. But even before Seaver had begun his retreat the ruler he had just dumped on his back stood up and began a halting gate down the side of the pile, moving towards Seaver’s position. That was when he realized he that he knew the face of his attacker, he breath caught in his throat at the realization that he was looking at Sergeant William Thorp the man who had lead the Beta Squad. One of those he and his men had hoped to find and rescue on this particular mission.

Knowing that bullets would not save his comrade, Seaver turned and began a headlong sprint towards the end of the street, were a large skyscraper on the corner would offer cover and take him out of site of his pursuing attackers. William Thorp was dead, Seaver kept telling himself, as he ran, the thing behind him had Thorpe’s face, but it was not Sergeant William Thorpe. He hurdled over the still forms of his men as he raced down the street. But there was no time to think about that, no time to think about anything but escape and survival. There was no time to even think about recovering their wounded. It would take to long and from what he had already seen would more than likely get those left standing killed. Two more of his men where cut down before he and the four remaining members of the Battalion made it around the corner and out of sight. But Seaver did not stop running, and neither did his men. He knew that they, like him, were more scared than they had ever been in their lives. Mags were the enforcers of Law and Order in the Outlands, they were suppose to be fear, they were the one’s who had the power to make others whimper and run like scared little rabbits. They had all hoped to rescue their comrades and he heroes. Instead they had encountered something they could not intimidate. Something that seemed unstoppable and unkillable, something that stole the faces of there friends and comrades. Something that had made them recognize their own mortality for the first time in their lives. Now they were running for their lives along rubble filled, glass covered streets. Many of them wanting nothing more than to crawl into a deep dark hole somewhere and hide from the world. But they were SharpeVille Mags, they were Ville born, and they knew nothing else. If they all reached the safety of the Deathbirds they would be alive to fight another day. Another Bloody defeat. He would radio the Baron on the way back to the Ville. But he and the remainder of his force would have to make it back to the Deathbirds first.

Cerberus: Seven Hours later.

Lakesk reached out and stopped the disk from playing as the voice of Captain Seaver faded away and the scratch of static returned. None of them spoke a word, the implications of the Mag Captain’s words weighing heavily on him. It was one thing when a Squad of Mags where defeated, but it was a whole knew ball game when an entire Battalion was slaughtered with an implode gren and Semi-Auto hand Blasters. To find out that the survivors of the first attack had been used to construct more Ruler thugs for the FBI freezie was an unpleasant surprise unto its self. It was clear that the Lost Empire had to been found and the FBI freezie had to be stopped no matter what his plans.

“ Ok this is just getting weirder by the minuet. “ Grant grumbled “ Shit I mean a Battalion of Mags defeated that’s totally unheard of. How are the four of us suppose to stop this. Because we all know it’s just a short step from a battalion of Mags to wiping out an entire Ville. “

“ Why stop. Villes bad and Barons Bad. FBI Freezie could do job for us. No more Hybrids humanity free again. “ Domi replied

“ Yeah but that still leaves us. This FBI freezie sees us as a threat so if we wait until he wipes out an entire Ville he and his Ruler buddies made be to powerful to stop. I for one would rather be fighting the Barons and their Mags, than an army of these Rulers. I dropped one off a six-story catwalk and he got up and walked away. “

“ Our only chance seems to be these EMP pulses the Rulers seem so afraid of. “ Brigid stated  “ I’m just not sure if its going to work and like Kane said a battalion of Mags couldn’t stop these guys. Which means we have to be almost one hundred percent sure whatever we plan is going to work or none of us are going to be back. “

“ This Lost Empire is the Key. “ Lakesh replied “ To stopping them as well as figuring out what this FBI Freezie has planned. Did this Ruler you encountered in North Carolina give any indication of where it might be located? “

“ All he said was that they where to be the rulers of the New Empire. Whatever that means, and know it’s become the Lost Empire. Does that mean anything to you? “

“ Yes and it should mean something to all of you. I’m surprised Brigid did not pick up on the reference. “ Lakesh replied “ As you know, those that supported the Archons seemed to want to create a New World.  “ But more over those with here in the United States wanted to restore their country to its former glory. A New Empire that they themselves would rule once the Archons controlled Earth. But it was all a lie, and then SkyDark came, and changed it all. These Rulers are pawns in the Archon lie, there left over from an age when those in power saw Skydark coming and had begun preparing for it. They’re looking for their promised piece of this once great land. This FBI freezie I believe has the same idea Domi had, he’s going to string along these rulers, create an army of them and use them to wipe out the nine villes, the Barons, their mags, everything. “

“ And we’re the most immediate threat to his plans. He knew all about us when we met him in Maine. He knows we’ll try and stop him. “ Kane growled, until he saw the look on Lakesh’s face. “ There’s more isn’t there. You think he’s after something else. “

“ Yes, and I think Baron Sharpe has whatever he’s after. He’s let himself be pulled into two confrontations and he’s lost both, along with more than a third of his Mag Force. “

“ What could Baron Sharpe have that this FBI guy would want? He has the rulers, along with blasters, ammo, grens, and a gateway. What else is there? “ Grant asked

“ There’s whatever Sharpe has that this FBI freezie wants. “ Kane replied “ Which means it’s only a matter of time before this FBI freezie ends up on Sharpe’s Doorstep. “

“ Which begs the question, do we warn him or do we try and head things off before they go that far? “ Brigid stated

“ I say let Sharpe fry, Ville and all. Why we care? “ Domi spat venomously

“ Again there’s the question of our safety. “ Lakesh spoke as if he was addressing a stubborn child he was trying to convince to do something they did not really want to do.    “ As tempting as it maybe to just sit back and watch this strange Freezie destroy our enemies for us we can’t afford to let him gain even more power than he already has. Mr. Kane is right in his view that we have to stop these Rulers and their FBI leader once and for all. This EMP theory Brigid has maybe our best and only chance of doing it. “

“ Then we need to start planning for a jump to Boston. “ Kane replied “ How long will it take to research this EMP theory of yours? “ He asked addressing his to Brigid.

“ A few hours tops. Its not the research that will be time consuming, its coming up with and then building a weapon using what I dig up. I’ve already discarded the grenade theory, if would need to be tested and that take's time. Time we don’t have. “

“ Then what did you have in mind? “

“ I was thinking along the lines of something like a Tazer except only it would use EMP pulses instead of Electrical currents. “ She replied” But I think if we find out how these guys are made then we could find a weakness. “

“What like an off switch? “ Kane replied “ Ok, just for a second lets say we find the off switch for these Ruler guys, then what? A battalion of Mags just threw everything they had at a dozen of these guys and they had their fucking balls handed to them on a silver platter. A Squad of fifteen Mags couldn’t stop two of these Ruler guys. How are the four of us suppose to stop a dozen or more of them? I drop one six stories onto asphalt and he just shakes it off like it was a love tap from god. “

“ I don’t know. “ She snapped “ If I knew the answer to that we wouldn’t be here like this, we’d be in Boston mopping things up. All I know is we’re resting the lives of an entire Ville, not to mention our own lives, on a lot of what ifs. You work on figuring out where this assembly plant for these Rulers is and I’ll work on finding a way to stop them.“  With that she stood, and pushed her way past Kane and out through the set of swinging double doors. Kane turned to go after her but Grants voice behind him stopped him in mid-stride. Defore nodded to him as she stood and slipped out the doors after Brigid.

 “ Kane she’s right we have to focus on the problem at hand. You two can work out the problems of your dysfunctional relationship later. I think I know where this assembly plant were looking for is. “ That made Kane turn back to face him, once more. Grant took a breath and continued “ I remember Brigid and you talking about how Baron Cobalt is shipping something out of the ruins of Seattle. I also remember you telling me that the whole area around the city was called Silicon Valley, do to the comp industry that flourished there before Skydark. There’s a Redoubt there is there, along with a Government facility. An Army Robotics research Center to be exact. I did a little research of my own with Brye’s help before this little get together. What I found out was that this center was a facility where the US army core of Engineers was working on creating androids, along with applications for Man/Machine integration. “

“ Did you dig anything up that would indicate at there was a center like this in Boston? “

Grant Smiled “ Yes. A robotics firm turned up on Boyelston Street. Not far from Federal Plaza and Somerset Street, I have a feeling this is where our FBI Freezie is creating his Army. Brye seemed to agree. “

“ There’s a Gateway under the Prudential building near what was the city public library. Where is this Center located in relation to the Gateway?”

“ Its in a place called Copley square, it took up the floors five threw ten in a building called the John Hancock Tower. It’s a little over four blocks from the prudential building. “

“ What about People? “ Domi asked suddenly. “ Lots living in New York City. What about Boston?  Every city got people, everyone needs place to live. “

“ She’s right gentlemen. “ Lakesh stated “ There were over a million people living in Boston before Skydark. There had to be survivors, and as young Domi said, everyone needs a place to live. As long as there are buildings standing, there will be people or at least habitation with in the city. Maybe even a form of civilization of sorts.“

“ Muties? “ Grant asked.

“ We know New York City was once over run by armies of what was commonly known as Scalies. In the ruins of America’s once great cities anything can happen and anything does. Look at what happened when the four of you went to New York City. Mr. Grant almost didn’t make it back. “

“ Don’t remind me. “ Grant rumbled “ I’ll never going to eat fish again.”

“ Then we just step slow and careful. “ Kane replied “ All that’s left is Brigids end of the deal. “

“ Then we’re jumping to Boston. “ Brigid said from behind them, having slipped in unnoticed sometime during the discussion. “ I have the answer and it’s right in our Armory. When I found it I was surprised by it. I discovered Implode grenades admit a medium level EMP pulse when they detonate. One of the Rulers used one on the Mag Battalion earlier. The blast coupled with the pulse must be what does them in. “

Kane looked over at Lakesh and asked “ How many implodes do we have in the armory?”

Lakesh was silent for a moment before answering “ A few dozen at the most. When I raided the armory in the anthill I got what I could, but I made multiple trips over a period of months, it was hard to determine what was going to be needed by those who were exiled here.“

Kane nodded “ Grant and I will do a count, we’ll assume that we’re going to need all we the implode grens we have. Its dark outside which means its going to be dark there too. Lets recharge and meet in the control room in twelve hours from now. “ Brigid, Domi, and Grant nodded. A jump to Boston was only twelve hours away. They were jumping into the unknown, with a theory that implode grenades were going to take out the Rulers and enable the four of them to get to the FBI freezie behind the search for the Lost Empire. Twelve hours, it was a lifetime unto it’s self Kane though as he followed the other out into the main corridor and towards there quarters. He needed to clean and repair his Sin Eater, and then he planned to get some sleep before the jump. If all went as planned the four of them would be back to Cerberus this time tomorrow. But they all knew things in the Outlands never went according to plan.

To Be Continued

November 2000

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