Here is my entry for April's monthly challenge for the Marauders. Please comment, rate and enjoy!
About this creation
Corresponding text underneath each picture.
13th MAY 2086
Policeman: “Frank Foster, you’re coming with us.”
Frank: “What’s going on?”
Policeman: “You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say may be used against you in a court of justice.”
Frank: “But I didn’t do anything! MUM! DAD!”
26rd DECEMBER 2094: PRESENT DAY
It was three days after I’d escaped from prison. After crashing on Etrion and then stealing the viper, I had received a holo-message on the dashboard from the mysterious guy who’d broken me out of prison. He told me to head to Earth and find somewhere to hide until he contacted me with further instructions.
I made my way to Earth and landed on the continent that used to be known as America. I had no idea whereabouts I was, but I landed on the outskirts of a ruined city and then after securing the ship, made my way into the ruins.
I spent a little while finding a suitable hideout and then made camp. I’d broken into an old office block and headed up several floors until I reached what I decided was a fitting location to make myself comfortable. The office itself had floor to ceiling glass windows offering panoramic views of the surrounding streets, making it easy for me to spot anybody heading my way. There weren’t many other high-rises around so my view of the surrounding area was mostly un-blocked. There was a private office off of the main room which offered a bit more shelter and it was in there where I set up my bedroll.
I was vaguely aware yesterday of the passing of Christmas but took no interest in the festivities going on elsewhere. There was nothing happening in the ghost town surrounding me and I have no reason to celebrate a centuries-old festival that lost its meaning long ago. Instead, I took a wander through the deserted streets to find myself some new threads. Shops had been left unlocked in the scramble to evacuate and so it was easy for me to simply walk into each clothes shop I passed and see if there was anything I fancied. The choice could have been better, but I found myself a leather jacket and a black Stetson that was similar to my old hat. I made do with a black t-shirt and some denim jeans for the rest.
I was currently sat by the window, propped up against the wall in the corner just looking out at the deserted city below, my mind floating back into my past, searching for any clues I might have missed before. I did this regularly but as usual, nothing new came up. My thoughts were interrupted by a faint beeping sound and I reached into my pocket and pulled out my holo-communicator. I activated it and a tiny blue flickering image of my mysterious saviour appeared.
Figure: “Good morning Frank.”
Tank: “Will you please stop calling me that.”
Figure: “Well then what would you prefer to be called?”
Tank: “Tank would be fine. Even Chain would be better.”
Figure: “Tank it is then.”
Tank: “Thanks. I still don’t know what to call you though.”
Figure: “Hmm…” he thought for a moment. “How about simply, Mr. Grey?”
Tank: “Mr. Grey it is then.”
Mr. Grey smiled and nodded once.
Mr. Grey: “Good. Now, we have business to attend to. I have your first assignment.”
Tank: “Oh yeah?”
Mr. Grey: “You are to travel to what remains of New Jersey. There you’ll find a factory making arms for the Galactic Imperium.”
Tank: “What do you want me to do?” I asked, standing up.
Mr. Grey: “I need you to go and ‘acquire’ something for me.”
I waited for him to continue.
Mr. Grey: “They have been working on a new form of laser weaponry which they are about to put into production for the GI. I need you to steal that prototype before they can start making more of them.”
Tank: “Done.” I assured him and started walking towards my ‘bedroom’. “Anything else?”
Mr. Grey: “Of course, feel free to take anything else that takes your fancy while you’re there. And any stock that you destroy as well will be a great help to the war effort.”
I picked up my equipment; my binoculars, my satchel and my hat, which I placed on my head.
Tank: “What about guards and workers?” I asked, placing the holo-communicator on a table top as I slung on my coat.
Mr. Grey: “Production is robotic. Guards will therefore be minimal. They rely on their remote location for security.”
I nodded my understanding and picked up the communicator again.
Tank: “Even better.”
Mr. Grey: “Contact me when it’s done.”
Tank: “Will do. Tank out.”
Mr. Grey nodded and then I closed the link, the hologram fizzling out of existence. I slipped the communicator back into my pocket and then checked I had everything before setting off.
It didn’t take me long to reach my ship and set the navi-computer with the coordinates for New Jersey. A minute later, I was in the air and heading North-East.
I took the ship above cloud level because as Earth was the homeworld of the GI, being spotted here would mean instant death. While I was flying, I did a little research using the on-board computer and discovered that the city I’d made camp in was what used to be known as Birmingham in Alabama. I got a little worried at that because I now knew why it was deserted.
When the shift happened back in January, a fissure appeared in the centre of the city and released some sort of gas into the air. Scientists decided that it was unsafe and so the whole city was evacuated. So I’d probably unknowingly breathed in a whole load of poison gas,
It took me several hours to reach New Jersey and then I came down from the clouds and started heading towards the GI weapons factory. I flew fast to hopefully avoid being seen and when I reached my destination, landed a few clicks away to the West.
I got out of the ship and after checking the coast was clear, set off at a jog towards the factory.
I was right in the middle of nowhere with lots of trees around and it was only after a minute I realised that this was the first time I’d seen trees since I was 9!
Within the quarter-hour, I’d arrived at the factory; a large, metal looking place that was so loud it sounded like the building itself was breathing.
I snuck around the side and broke the lock off a back door. I poked my head inside to see if anybody was around and after deciding it was safe, slipped inside.
I was in the main production area of the factory. There were conveyor belts everywhere and huge robotic arms adding parts to new weapons as the rolled along the belts so that when they reached the end, fully assembled guns were loaded into crates by another robot, who then transported them through a door at the far end of the room.
I glanced around to make sure there was nobody about and then dashed to the end of one of the lines. The robot didn’t seem intelligent and remained unaware of me so I reached into his crate and snatched up a freshly-finished weapon. It was a standard Imperium rifle, not my weapon of choice but it was better than nothing.
This was all very interesting, but half-made weaponry wasn’t of much use to me, so I moved on. I snuck around the edges of the room until I reached to doorway where the robots were taking the crates. I looked through and saw that it was a storage room. Stacks upon stacks of crated guns. As one robot rolled in with a new crate, another would roll out so that they continuously swapped places. A new crate seemed to go into the storage room every couple of minutes.
Suddenly, human voices caught my attention. I slunk back into the shadows and waited, the voiced getting closer. I was crouched in the darkness under a metal flight of stairs and a few moments later, two men, neither of them guards, walked through the door from the storage room. They were deep in conversation and didn’t see me as they headed up the stairs, walking straight over me. I watched them go through a door at the top and heard a third voice greet them from inside.
Meeting room? Office? Security room? Robot control room?
It could be any one of those things and more! But at the moment, it was the closest I had to finding the prototype I was here for.
I was about to move out but at the last moment spotted a security camera pointing at the stairs. Hopefully, nobody had spotted me yet but just to be on the safe side, I decided to take it out first. I crept out from under the stairs and dashed over to a box of broken parts that I’d spotted. After a quick glance inside, I pulled out several items and dashed back under the stairs again. A minute and lots of fiddling later, I’d created a small disruptor. I pointed it at the security camera and fired. A small sticky blob with an electro-pulse emitter buried within stuck itself to the side of the camera and the device went limp.
I waited for a moment in case it was the security control room above me and guards were about to come out to investigate the disturbance, however nothing happened so I breathed a sigh of relief and swung around on to the stairs.
The door at the top of the stairs had a window in it and so I knelt beneath it, then carefully peaked inside.
Inside appeared to be a multi-purpose room. There were banks of control boards around the edges of the room, in the centre was a large meeting room style table and chairs, the far wall contained a large, long viewing window and looked out into the storage room and along the wall to my left, coming up to the door was a row of filing cabinets.
There were only three men in the room and they were all stood at the far end having a conversation. I glanced quickly around and spotted another security camera inside. I tried the door handle and was relieved to find it unlocked. I turned it and thanked the maker it didn’t squeak. I crawled inside and quietly shut the door behind me. From my position, I fired another sticky blob at the camera and it too drooped uselessly.
Man #1: “Well I’ll contact the boss and let him know, then.” I heard one of the men say and beneath the table could see legs moving my way, towards the door.
I knew I had to act now.
I shoved a chair out from under the table and it slammed into the walking man who gasped and fell back. I leapt to my feet and brandished my gun at the two remaining men.
Tank: “Gentlemen!” I greeted pleasantly as they stumbled back against the window in shock.
Man #2: “What do you want?”
Man #3: “If you’re after money, there’s none here. Not a single dollar.”
Man #2: “We’re unarmed, pleased don’t shoot us!”
Tank: “Unarmed? In a gun factory? Seriously?”
I slowly walked around the table on the opposite side to the man who had been hit by the chair, keeping my gun on the other two men.
Man #2: “Please…” He started to beg again but I interrupted him,
Tank: “I want the plans and the prototype for the laser rifle you’ve been working on.” I demanded.
There was a pause and the two men glanced at each other.
Man #3: “You… you can’t.” he stammered.
I aimed the rifle at him and he backed up right against the window.
Tank: “Now.” I demanded again.
Man #2: “No… you can’t. You can’t…” he started babbling and I glared at him.
Man #2: “The boss would kill us!”
Tank: “Your choice. Either he does, or I do.” I threatened. I’d rather not have to kill them, but they didn’t know that.
Tank: “And right now, I’m the one holding the gun to you.”
Man #2: “Noooo!”
Suddenly the fool turned and leapt at the window. Before I had time to react, he smashed through the glass and dropped like a stone to the sound of a huge crash. I rushed to the hole and looked down, the other man doing the same next to me. Below, the second man’s body lay unmoving amid a pile of fallen, smashed crates and scattered guns. Was he dead? Not my concern right now.
I turned my gun back to the man next to me.
Tank: “Give me the prototype and the plans.” I said again calmly.
After a moment, the man nodded, scared, and muttered,
Man #3: “Sure… sure.”
He walked over to the filing cabinets and I went with him, keeping my gun to his back. He opened a draw and a few moments later pulled out a file with ‘CLASSIFIED’ stamped across the front. He handed it to me and I thumbed through to check he’d given me the correct file, which he had.
He then walked to a cabinet I hadn’t noticed until now and type a code into a pin-pad. There was a click as the lock undid and then he opened a drawer on the front of the unit.
The drawer was filled with a moulded foam protector and in the centre was the strangest looking gun I’d ever seen.
Tank: “That’s it?” I asked incredulously.
Man #3: “That’s it.” He confirmed.
He reached in and picked it up. It was a small gun, more of a pistol than anything, rounded and with numerous ridges running around it.
He held it out to me and I was just about to take it but suddenly there was a gunshot and he jolted to the side, a bloody hole in his head, crashing into the cabinet and the gun clattered to the floor. I stumbled backwards and saw the man I’d rammed the chair into had recovered and was armed.
He fired at me but I dropped to the ground and rolled away.
Tank: “S**t.” I muttered aloud. I looked up and saw the prototype laying on the ground a few meters away. I needed to get to it!
I was about to make a run for it when the man fired again.
Man #1: “Thievin’ b*****d!” he shouted at me and I flinched as another bullet hit the door behind me.
Man #1: I’ll kill ya!”
Tank: “No you won’t!” I called back matter-of-factly and made my move.
I leapt up and ran for the prototype. My rifle in my left hand, I fired wildly over the table as I ran, more covering myself than trying to kill the man, who I clearly didn’t hit. I scooped up the prototype and kept on running towards the window. The man fired several shots at me, all of which missed as he staggered after me.
Beyond the window, I could see a large electrical cable dangling down and swaying side to side, obviously pulled loose when the second man had leapt through the glass.
Another shot narrowly missed me but then I was at the window and I jumped.
I turned as I leapt and smashed another hole in the glass, now falling backwards. I raised the prototype as I fell and fired it at the man who had chased me to the glass. The laser struck him in the chest and he was blasted backwards over the table.
I turned just in time and managed to grab hold of the swinging cable and stop my fall. I gripped onto it and slowly slid down to the floor. Once my feet touched down, I released it and stopped to catch my breath.
I felt bad for killing that man, but he had after all been trying to kill me and so I consoled myself with that fact. I glanced up at the office but there was no sign of movement behind the smashed window. I looked around the storage room but there was nobody in sight. Relaxing slightly, I decided to take a quick stock check.
Examining the crates I discovered that the factory not only made rifles and pistols but also grenades, rocket launchers and sniper rifles.
I broke into several crates and from them stole, two pistols, a sniper rifle and a bagful of grenades. As Mr. Grey had said, ‘Feel free to take anything that takes your fancy’. So that’s exactly what I did.
I also remembered what he said about destroying stock and so after taking another bag of grenades started throwing grenades around the room.
Crates exploded and guns and crate pieces alike were strewn across the room.
I began to make my way back out of the factory the way I’d come in, still distributing grenades generously. The stairs were destroyed. Several of the conveyor belts were destroyed.
With every explosion, more and more weaponry was destroyed. Every explosion was a blow to the Imperium.
Every explosion was a setback in the war.
The office where Tank made his hideout.
And again from another angle.
The outside of the factory.
The production lines set.
The control room set.
As my series is going to be jumping around though time, I will include a date on each episode and add it to the timeline at the end of each episode so that you can follow it.