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View Full Version : Altaer (Alphaeus) vs. Riley (IgnusBurns)



IgnusBurns
04-07-2017, 12:51 PM
Welp! This was a fun and difficult battle for me to write, gotta admit. But I think I had more fun than pain. In the Blue Corner, weighing 298 lbs and standing 6'3", we have the wRHG of Yours Truly, Riley Sanders!

And in the Red corner, weighing an even 220 lbs and standing a more even 6', we have the wRHG of Alphaeus, Altaer!

As always, please vote squarely and fairly after reading BOTH stories, CnC is appreciated, and most of all, enjoy!


Los Angeles was out of Riley’s comfort zone, both physically and mentally. He had been raised in the Northeastern corner of the United States, specifically Vermont, and as such was used to long, cold winters and mild, rather lukewarm summers.

The cities up in Vermont weren’t all that big either, they were actually quite rural in their appearance and calm in the people’s demeanor.

Now, strolling down the streets of LA, with thousands of people and cars milling about, as well as the unrelenting sun beating down on his head so hard he thought he would collapse from exhaustion, Riley couldn’t help but grin.

Levi Strider, who walked next to him, saw his smirk and looked over, “What’s up?” He asked, flicking some hair out of his eyes.

The former CIA took off his ball-cap and waved some air into his face, trying to stay cool. He shook his head in dismay, “Really hot.”

The Hunter tilted his, “Why should that be a problem?” He said, looking confused.

Riley slapped the cap back onto his scalp and shaded his eyes, looking up at the intense sun through his shades. “I grew up in Vermont, on the East Coast, where there was way less sun and way more snow. I’m not exactly used to this type of heat 24/7.”

Levi shrugged, “Well I guess that makes sense, I grew up the West Coast, but it was outside of somewhere rainy, Portland I think? It’s been awhile since I last thought it over.”

The Operative shrugged and continued strolling along, the two of them having stopped to look into a store window. Riley whistled as the duo walked away, “Whoo! You see the price tag on that duster back there?” He asked, looking over his back at the outlet again.

Levi scratched his chin, which had grown a bit of stubble over the last month or so, then shook his head, “Not really no. How much was it?”

The larger of the two smiled a baffled smile, “Five hundred and twenty dollars! That’s crazy for just a jacket!” He exclaimed, eyes wide behind his sunglasses. He tugged his cap over his forehead a little further, shading his face a bit more, and sighed.

“I wish I could go shopping with my family.” He stated, more to himself than anyone else, “I don’t want to be a fugitive.”

Levi nodded towards him, seeming sympathetic, “I know the feeling pal, I wish I could go back to my family, but doing that would be a mistake.”

Riley looked over at him, raising an eyebrow, “How’s that?” He questioned, curious.

As the Hunter prepared his response, Riley did a quick scan over the once immature and cocky young man that had since become a friend, and one of his only trusted allies. When he had first met Levi that night, down in that underground boxing ring, he knew something was special about the kid.

For one, he could fight, that much was clear as soon as Levi’s first blow connected with Riley’s ribcage. It hurt. A lot more than the Operative was used to, and considering how scrawny Levi was compared to himself, Riley knew he couldn’t have been entirely human.

The situation took off from there, with Levi meeting up with the Agent every week or so to have a cup of coffee as he explained his story.

Back then Riley saw him as nothing more than an adolescent kid with revenge issues. He didn’t realize how wrong he was until he actually did some digging and found out what he was being told was true. That didn’t really jar him, just opened his eyes was all. Once he realized he was already knee deep in with Levi’s current position, he knew there was no way back.

That had been a long time ago, exactly how long, Riley didn’t keep track. He just knew it had to have been at least a year ago that he’d met Levi.

These thoughts were interrupted as his friend spoke up, having finally found his words, “By going back to the future, I would basically be giving up on my family. The Precursors would get their way, and I can’t allow them to have it.” He answered, lifting a hand and flexing its fingers.

Riley thought it over, then nodded to him, “I guess you’re correct on that matter. We’re both out for vengeance, right?”


Levi grinned up at him, “Right!”

***
David MacBeth sat behind his desk, ruffling through a stack of papers.

The room he resided in was small, unlike his usual office back at the Clinic. This new branch of the Coils, located precariously in the middle of Los Angeles, gave him doubts.

He had been asked to come check up on some things at the designated sector, and he’d happily obliged, but as soon as he got there with Altaer, he’d found this tiny, ancient brick building that stood out like a sore thumb in the steel jungle of other buildings.

As he ran the thoughts over in his head, a sudden creak made him jump in his seat. Looking up, he spied Altaer struggling to open the door.

“Speak of the Devil…” He muttered, slamming the papers back down onto the desk.

“What was that?” Altaer asked, running a hand through his shaggy black hair.

He was wearing one of his more common outfits consisting of canvas pants, a cream, fitted v-neck and a pair of knee high combat boots. He was a bit sweaty, suggesting he had been working out.

David threw a hand up into the air, “Oh, nothing, don’t worry about it pal. What do you need?” He bellowed back, glancing down at his papers again.

The Fixer, MacBeth’s longtime friend and ally, trudged to the back right corner of the room and leaned up against the wall, crossing his arms over his chest. “If you say so.” He ran a hand over his jawbone as he glanced at the pile of papers on David’s desk, “Your work going well?” He asked.

The Doctor sighed and shook his head, “Not very, I can’t focus in this tiny place. I work better back at the normal Clinic.”

Altaer nodded, “I hear you. I miss the Clinic too. This town is disgusting too, it hasn’t been making a good impression on me.”

David laughed outright. “Too true. America’s cities aren’t too concerned with their cleanliness, only one of several problems plaguing the country.”

Altaer shrugged, “Whatever you say Doc, I’m just gonna hang out around the facility for a while so… Call if you need me alright?” He replied, preparing to exit.

As he reached for the knob, the door was thrown open, hitting him in the face and sending him stumbling into the wall.

A young man of around twenty came rushing into the office holding a small file tightly in his grip. Altaer came out from behind the door, holding his bruised forehead, “What the heck man!? That hurt!” He exclaimed, groaning.

The intruder paid him no mind as he marched right up to David’s desk and thrust the file up under his nose. “Sir! Sir!” He yelled, sounding ecstatic, “We found him!”

The Doctor snatched the file away from him and thumped the man on the chin, “Alright, thank you, you may leave now...” He muttered, waving Altaer over.

After he was gone, the two of them gathered behind David’s desk as he opened the file. Altaer stood over him as a single packet of paper and photo fell onto the wooden top. He picked up the photo as David picked up the parchments and looked them over.

“What’s it say?” The Fixer asked, leaning down for a closer look. Inscribed on the pieces were a mess of words, jumbled together in indecipherable bunches that made almost no sense to Altaer.

Almost…

He managed to make out four words at the top, seemingly the title of the document.

“The Dead Man Walking?” He said aloud, “What’s that?”

David held up a palm, silently asking for the photo, to which Altaer quickly set the picture into his friend’s hand and let him look it over. Now, gazing at it in more detail, the Fixer noticed a thick black outline highlighting a pair of men walking down the street.

One had to be six foot three, the other four inches shorter than that. The tall one had short, perhaps two inches, of neatly trimmed, sand colored hair. The former wore his blonde hair long, falling to just over his hairline.

The tall one seemed to be raising a cap to his head, and his face was covered with a pair of sunglasses. He wore a black long coat, keeping the collar up high. It was buttoned up as well, concealing his other garments underneath the coat.

The shorter one wore a long sleeve, light blue shirt along with a pair of brown jeans. His eyes were a vibrant, almost sky-like blue, and he had a stupid-happy looking grin plastered on his face.

David pointed to the larger of the two, “That… Is the Dead Man Walking.” He declared, his finger creasing the photo.

Altaer tilted his head, “So? Why is he important?”

The Doctor abruptly stood from the desk, causing his friend to stand away quickly. He strode over to a small filing cabinet tucked away in the right corner opposite of them.

He flung open a drawer, beginning to flip through files until he came upon a thick piece of paper, cut from a newspaper. David pulled it out and brought it back to the desk, setting it carefully on the wooden top.

Altaer went behind the desk and sat down, snatched up the paper and kicked back, resting his boots’ heels on the wooden frame. The Doctor looked down at his shoes with distaste, “Please, my friend, careful on the desk, this place may not be as well suited for us as the Clinic, but it is still not the bottom of the barrel.” He announced, interlacing his fingers.

Altaer nodded respectfully and pulled his feet from their resting place, letting them fall onto the floor with a distinctive clomp. He read the title of the paper slowly and clearly as to let David hear it as well. “CIA Warrants Arrest for Middle Aged Fugitive, Reward for Civilian Who Finds Him.”

The Doctor listened silently while he paced the room, then came to a halt when Altaer stopped, “Well? Continue on…”

He nodded again, “Riley Adam Sanders, formerly CIA, has gone AWOL from the organization and is currently in hiding. It is believed that he fled with classified information and is going to sell this information to enemies of the United States. He is highly trained, and therefore dangerous. He was last seen in the Seattle Metropolitan Area, but has probably since moved on. A reward is being offered for his current whereabouts.”

The room fell silent once again, and David strode over and picked up the article, Altaer now being finished. The Fixer shrugged as his friend took the paper away from him, “I’ll say again, so what? Why should we care about him?” He asked, holding a hand up for pause.

The Doctor looked down at him and smacked the paper down, causing Altaer to flinch in his seat. David took out the photo, which he’d been keeping in his pocket, and pointed back at Riley, “This picture... Was taken today in downtown Los Angeles. At most three blocks away from our current residence in this Clinic.”

Altaer's eyes widened at the explanation, “You don’t think…”

David interrupted him swiftly, “Yes, I believe he intends to seek us out and request our aid.”

The Fixer shook his head, “But, he couldn’t know about us! Not even the CIA could... Right?”

David shrugged helplessly, “I do not know my friend, I only have a suspicion of his intentions as of right now. If he should happen to show up on our doorstep, we will deal with it then. For now, we should focus on more important matters.”

Altaer, still incredulous, nodded silently, “Alright…”

***
The sun, now beginning to set over the Los Angeles skyline, cast a warm orange glow onto the sidewalks and trees. Riley and Levi stood side by side in front of a small, brick building, one story high, with twin glass doors as an entrance.

The latter looked at his bulky companion, “Uh… Is this the right place then?” He asked, glancing back at the building.

Riley shrugged, “Dunno, the files the group had on MacBeth can’t be wrong.” His right eye flashed red and brought up the said document in his HUD. “It says…” He began, “He never actually lived in a housing complex of any kind, rather a set of facilities positioned all over the country where he did his work.”

Levi tilted his head at him, “Really? Seems like a stressful way to live, moving around all the time.” He stated, grimacing, Riley shrugged again with indifference.

“I don’t really see anything wrong with it, I moved around the place all the time when I was with the CIA.” He thought for a moment, “I guess I still do, considering we’re on the run from the government.”

The Hunter grinned slightly, “That’s how I lived for three years while I hunted down the Precursors…”

Riley looked over at him, “In the future?” He asked, Levi nodded, and the Operative rubbed his chin, “Welp, let’s hope MacBeth will sympathize with us, could sure use the help.”

They strolled forward and pushed open the doors, striding, with confidence, and a slight hint of tension, into the building. Their first steps were met by the the blue, soft mats covering the floor. Riley took a glance around, finding a neatly kept and simple dojo, with the previously mentioned mats covering the entire floor space, along with stark white walls coming up into a vaulted ceiling.

Tucked into the back right corner sat a small office, painted the same bright white as the rest of the building, that took up a space of around fifteen by ten feet.

Riley took a chance and called, “Hello?”

The two stood silent for a few moments, waiting, before the door to the office opened and a man, appearing to be in his early twenties, stepped into the main room.

This man was tall, not as tall as Riley persay, but at least two inches taller than Levi, around six foot one. His skin was darker than the Dead Man Walking’s, Arabian perhaps, with long black hair tied into a tight bun. He was handsome, with a rather regal face, including a soft smile, brilliantly white teeth, and strangely luminous, gold colored eyes. He looked to be around twenty-two physically, rather young.

The first words that came to Riley’s mind were ‘Prince of Persia’, and his face certainly fit the bill, but not his current location or clothes. A combination of flip-flops, shorts, and a striped t-shirt, along with the dojo, he concluded, didn’t fit this man. He looked like he belonged in a throne room in Arabia, not this backwater building outside of LA.

The man, who Riley immediately began running a facial scan on, looked them over with his eerie irises and smiled a bit wider. “Yes? May I help you?” He asked.

Levi stepped forward, putting himself between the two of them and smiled back, tugging down on two of his belt loops. “Uh, we’re looking for someone, we found out he lives on this street… If I may ask, what’s your name?” He questioned, keeping a warm grin.

The man looked around, then back to the two and raised an eyebrow, “Al-Abbas, you can me Al if you want. Now… If I may have a question... Who is it you’re looking for?” He asked, a slight Arabic accent coming through.

Riley, his facial scan now coming up with results, kept the surprising find to himself as he answered, “A guy by the name of David MacBeth.”

Abbas shrugged, “Sorry, can’t help you there, haven’t heard of him.” He replied, looking genuinely sorry as he frowned. Levi shrugged back, looking disappointed but otherwise content.

“Alright then, thanks for the help, we’ll let ourselves out. C’mon Riley.” The Hunter started back towards the door, but the Operative kept a sharp gaze towards Abbas, almost boring through his lanky but muscular form.

Eventually he left to go after Levi, catching up to him in a few brisk strides. “I got a hit on facial recognition with that guy…” He said quickly, turning slightly pale.

The Hunter looked up at him and adopted a serious attitude, “Yeah? What about him?”

Riley breathed heavily for a few moments, then continued, “No Al-Abbas came up in the CIA’s data banks, so I went into the Precursor’s files… And guess what I found?”

Levi scrunched up his eyebrows, the truth dawning on him, “He was in there? In the Precursor’s database? Why would that be?” He asked, dumbfounded.

Riley shrugged, truly confused himself, “It’s not that that I find interesting, the file they had on him says he got assassinated by one of their sects, in 2234…”

The Hunter’s eyes widened, “What?! That would mean that guy back there lives for another two hundred years! That can’t be right, can it?”

Riley brought the files back up again, scanning over more of the info this time, “Couldn’t be impossible, you’ve practically stopped aging yourself, Levi, maybe this guy has some type of immortality thing going on?”

They both stopped for a moment and thought it over, finally Levi replied, “Can you get more info on him?”

Riley pounded a fist into his opposite palm, “Sure thing…”

The sun had fully set by then, and the Operative looked down the sidewalk, “Let’s just find MacBeth first.”
***
Altaer sat quietly in the lobby, his eyelids beginning to sink as the stars, barely visible in the polluted sky, rose into the night. The moon was waning, and only a crescent was visible that evening.

As soon as his eyes closed, the door’s bell jingled, causing the Fixer to try and force open his eyes, his vision blurry and unfocused. Blinking a few times, he saw two forms, still hazy, entering the Clinic. He was able to make out a long jacket, along with some blonde hair.

Instantly, realization hit him, and Altaer’s eyes shot open faster than a mouse trap can close. Now trying to listen in on what they were saying, the Fixer caught a single phrase, which confirmed his fears.

“We’re looking for a David MacBeth?” The taller of the two asked. Altaer jumped up from his seat and walked up behind them, silent. He looked them over in more detail, picking up various factors that even further confirmed who they were.

The one on the right was tall, taller than himself, with wide shoulders, a muscular physique, and sandy hair.

“Riley Sanders…” He muttered, a bit too loud.

Almost immediately, before the Fixer even knew what was happening, they had both turned, a strong hand gripped his neck, and a knife and gun barrel were shoved under his chin.

The two men had fierce looks plastered on their faces, and Altaer gulped hard, his adam’s apple bumping against the weapon’s edge.

The tall one, who he assumed was the Dead Man Walking, spoke up in a voice that reminded Altaer of a cornered animal, panicked, angry, and afraid. “Who are you?” He said quickly, his grip tightening on the captive’s throat.

Altaer swallowed again, this time more calm, “I work with MacBeth, I can take you to him…” He replied, trying to pry Riley’s fingers off. No dice. The guy had a grip like a vise…

The smaller, blonde accomplice pulled his knife away and patted Riley on the shoulder, “We’re in the right place, big guy, you can let him go… No need to make unnecessary enemies…”

“Too late…” Altaer grumbled, his breath starting to escape him.

The Dead Man Walking grunted, puffed out his nose and loosened his grip, allowing Altaer to slip out of his hand.

The Fixer clutched his throat, feeling an indent around his neck where Riley had been grabbing him, and silently made a note not to cross him, even if the guy ticked him off. After being released Altaer got a distinct feeling that the arm of that man wasn’t what it seemed.

The blondie walked up to him and straightened his duster, which he’d put on a few minutes ago, and wiped his hands across the shoulders, flicking some dirt off. “Sorry about my friend,” He whispered, “He’s a bit wired these days.”

The apology didn’t make Altaer stop glaring at Riley, who sneered right back, though he nodded to the young man in response, “No kidding, the guy’s got a temper.”

Blondie smiled, stepped back and extended his hand, “Name’s Levi by the way, I doubt you know who I am anyway.” He said, shrugging slightly.

The Fixer sighed and tore his glare from Riley, giving the kid a firm handshake, “Call me Al.”
***
The Dead Man Walking rolled his eyes and walked past the pair, clapping the associate on the shoulder, “Alright ‘Al’, mind taking us to see David?” He asked, to which the man leered at him out of the corner of his eye.

Riley grunted, retracting his hand. “Fine, I’ll keep my distance there big guy.” He stated, sarcasm dripping from each syllable. Al’s eyes squinted and he bared his teeth.

“Careful there pal, you got no idea who you’re talking to…” He spat.

The Operative smiled back, not a happy grin, but an angry one, “And neither do you…” He growled, getting up in the man’s face, almost nose-to-nose.
Levi got between the two of them and shoved them apart, “Whoa now! Calm down!” He turned to Riley, poking a finger in his chest, causing him to step back, “We’re just here to see David man!” He exclaimed, sounding worried.

Al sighed, then began walking away, throwing a hand up in the air along the way, “Better listen to your friend there Riley, wouldn’t want get into a fight you can’t win…” He called back to them.

They chased after him, taking long strides behind the Fixer as he led them through the halls of the small building. They passed several small rooms, all occupied with office like desks crammed into one corner. File cabinets took up over half the open area in each space.

Levi watched a person working at their desk as they passed yet another room. He looked forward back to Altaer, “Yo Al!” He called, curious, “What is this place anyway?” The Hunter asked, taking quick steps to keep up with the two larger men.

Altaer glanced over his shoulder, then shrugged, to which Riley sniffed, “Nice people skills…” He snarled, making Levi roll his eyes.

The latter slapped Riley on the shoulder, “C’mon man… We’re looking for help, not a fight…” He grumbled.

The Operative snorted indignantly but kept walking, stuffing his hands into his pockets along the way. Levi clenched his own fists, frustrated by Riley’s indifference, and wished the talk with David would go swiftly.

Eventually, after walking for another half a minute in tense silence, the three of them arrived in front of a large, simple wooden door. Altaer stepped to the side and, with a sinister sneer on his face, gestured to the door and bowed.

Riley walked past him, pushing the Fixer further away from the entrance as he strolled in along with Levi. Al grinded his teeth behind his jaw as he pursued the pair, anger seeming to seep off of him like heat off of an oven.

Slamming the door behind the guests, Altaer walked over to the left corner closest to the door and sat down, slumping against the wall while sending a puff of dust up around him.

The former CIA stood ramrod straight in front of the man behind his desk. Levi stood trying to look proper, but failed, still looking a bit sloppy as he slouched ever so slightly.

The desk was occupied by none other than David MacBeth…

He stood up from his seat, rising to just under his full height, which Riley concluded to be around six four. He looked well toned in every region of his body, muscular, but not overly so. He wore a fitted black and white suit, with gold and crimson trim, over his physique, along with a pair of dress boots tucked underneath his trousers.

His face was kindly-looking, that is, not threatening like Altaer’s. His mouth conformed into a mature, wise appearing grin, showing off his perfect teeth. “Ah! Riley Sanders I presume?” He asked, the words rolling off his tongue like a waterfall; Deep, powerful, but melodious.

The Operative returned the smile, extending a hand out, “Yes I am. You in charge of this place?” He replied.

David grinned wider and reached across his desk, gripped the hand, and gave it a firm shake, “Indeed, I am Doctor David MacBeth! How may I help you?” He answered, releasing his hand and reclining back in his chair.

Riley nodded and stepped back beside Levi, who looked up at him nervously, all the while fingering the edge of his kunai. He assured him with a quick wink, and the Hunter smiled, clasping his hands together behind his back.

David sat behind the desk, arms crossed over his chest, awaiting a response, but with a happy grin still plastered over his face.

Riley held both palms face up, “We need your help…” He stated, to which MacBeth frowned and shook his head.

“I’m afraid I don’t completely understand Mr. Sanders.” He replied, arching his eyebrows.

The Operative continued, more in depth, “We’re currently on the run from the government, after finding out a certain doubt was true, me and Levi here had to go into hiding. Not a fun lifestyle to live so… Using some files about you we came looking for your he-”

Altaer cut him off mid sentence, appearing by David’s desk and smacking his hand down hard onto the wood, “That’s impossible! No government in the world has any information on us!” He exclaimed, glaring at the two of them.

Riley glanced over at Levi, “Not the world he’s from…” He replied, still trying to stay calm, causing the other two to tilt their heads in unison. He continued, slowly growing in his tone, trying to convince them, “A group from the coming two centuries, the one my friend here was tracking in present day, followed him and brought back files that they have recorded of who opposes them in the future.” He explained.

Stopping for a second, MacBeth held up a hand, the words playing off his lips, “And you have access to these files? How, may I ask?” He questioned, leaning forward to rest his forearms on the desk.

Levi spoke up, “Riley here hacked into their mainframe and stole the files.”

Altaer bared his teeth and interjected, “If they’re from the future, wouldn’t they have some sort of tracker to find whoever hacked into their systems?” He asked.

Riley kept his cool at the Fixer’s doubt, grimacing as he explained, “Well, for one, the group is embedded in the CIA, probably planted there when the entire thing was established, and now they pull the strings behind everything. Whenever I access the CIA’s files it sends out a small ping of where I currently am, and I managed to find a way to deactivate that effect.”

David ran a hand over his chin, looking puzzled, “So, you want a place to live while you try and take down this group within the CIA?” He asked, and Riley nodded.

“It’d be helpful, I can delete the files they have on you and make sure they never find any of your operations, I can send them back to when they didn’t have anything on you.” He bargained, slightly shrugging.

The Doctor thought it over, seemingly weighing the ups and downs, but eventually shook his head, “I’m sorry Mr. Sanders, I truly am, but we simply can’t trust you…”

The pair sat or stood silently behind the desk, while Riley and Levi stood equally so in front. The Hunter, baffled, exclaimed loudly, “But… We need your help MacBeth! You’re our last chance! If you turn us away we’ll get hunted down like a couple stray dogs!” He cried.

Altaer sneered at the duo, “Please, two deaths compared to the couple hundred if this group found us? By taking you in we’d be painting a big fat target on our backs!” He spat, exasperated.

The room fell silent again, almost deafening as the four men stared each other down. Eventually David spoke, his voice quiet but having the impact of a bullet, “Besides, how do we know you two are not the ones sent to destroy us?” He asked, and Riley stepped back, the question shocking him.

“Are you serious?!” He screamed, “WE’RE RUNNING FROM THEM!!!”

Altaer walked around to the front of the desk, putting himself between Levi, Riley, and the Doctor.

David spoke again, this time more stoic and steely, “I’m sorry, but we can’t let you leave here alive…”

In the blink of an eye, the Fixer rushed forward and grabbed Riley by the jacket, heaved him up, over, and through the right side of the room, punching a hole in the brick frame.
Levi gasped, “Sanders!” He called, but was cut off as Altaer kicked him in the throat so hard he went flying into the opposite wall.

As soon it was clear that the Hunter wasn’t getting up for a while, Altaer leapt out through the newly made entrance after Riley…
***
Once the dust cleared, and the Operative could see again, he was on high alert. He hadn’t figured Al was that strong, but now he didn’t have any doubts that the guy was some type of meta-human.

He hadn’t read anything about this guy, he’d done tons of research on David, but not him, definitely not him…

Struggling to stand, Riley managed to plant his left foot and brace himself. He pushed up and managed to remain upright. Being thrown through a wall, even for a man like himself, hurt, a lot…

Looking around, the Operative found himself in a large, dirt courtyard between the building he had just been launched from and the next, with a building to either direction, cutting the space off from any onlookers.

He activated his right eyes mechanics, a HUD coming online quickly. Holding steady, he heard something to his right and lashed out, catching another forearm on his own. Altaer stared into his eyes, a fierce, warrior like glare against Riley’s own savage, animal like leer.

The Fixer smirked at his display, “Let’s boogey tough guy…”

Moving quickly, he hooked his arm under Riley’s shoulder and swung his left in a strong hook at his opponent’s face.

Riley countered with deft skill, dodging the blow and hooking his own arm under Altaer’s. Rearing his head back, Riley slammed his forehead into the opponent’s nose.

The Fixer released his hold, as did the Operative and jumped back, holding his face with one hand while reaching into his duster with the other.

Recognizing the move, Riley reached down and picked up a handful of dirt from the ground and threw it at his adversary, the debris splashing across his eyes, blinding him. Altaer frantically pulled his hand out of the duster, now holding what looked like an M1911 and fired in Riley’s general direction.

He rolled to the right, trying to avoid the shots as best he could. A few bullets whizzed past his face, and one slammed into his right shoulder, causing him to wince. “Lucky shot punk…” He growled, popping back up onto his feet. Rushing forward, Riley reached up with his opposite hand and felt the area of impact. His arm was still functional, but the bullet had pierced through his artificial skin and had exposed the internal workings.

The Operative would have to be careful…

By then Altaer had run out of ammo and didn’t have time to reload and was instead rubbing the rest of the dirt out of his eyes. Just in time, he managed to reach down and catch Riley’s first strike, a sharp jab at his sternum, but wasn’t fast enough to counter his second, a vicious low flying hook that slammed into his ribs.

Riley reared his fist back to punch again, but Altaer, trying to gain the upper hand, let go of the Operative’s left arm and smashed his palm into his chest, sending him skidding back in the dust.

Taking advantage of the opening, Altaer took a new clip out from inside his coat and began reloading, all the while running forward to keep Riley busy. Seeing his opponent attacking again, the Operative stepped back, keeping one foot in front with the other back, and raised both fists to just below his cheeks.

Altaer rushed with a flurry of jabs, a few landing, most being blocked. By the end of the consecutive punches, the Fixer had reloaded his weapon, and began to integrate firing his gun into his punches. Riley adapted to the strategy, batting away the weapon from his important areas.

Counting each shot, Riley made seven, then went back on the offensive before the Fixer could reload. Swiping from the right, Altaer blocked the blow, only to have his opponent backhand him in the face.

He stumbled backward, keeping a grip on his pistol, but Riley rushed forward, leapt into the air and slammed his knee into Altaer’s chest. He was sent flying, losing his weapon along the way, and hit the south wall, cracking the stucco as he impacted.

The Operative stood tall, still in the center of the courtyard, then hunched over, sucking wind.

After a few seconds of rest, with his tongue stuck out, Riley began strolling over to where the Fixer lay embedded in the wall, his eyes fluttering in pain.

“Gotta say Al, you’ve given me quite the hassle.” He growled, clenching his fists.

The Fixer blinked a few more times, then fixed his gaze back onto Riley.

Grimacing, he ripped his limbs out of their confines and stepped back onto the dirt. “I’m good at doing that. For the most part though, I’m usually winning a fight. You’re winning, I’m not gonna let that continue…” He replied, shrugging off some rubble.

Riley sighed as his adversary flexed their shoulders, “Really? You’re gonna keep fighting? You must realize you can’t beat me at hand to hand right?” He asked, raising an eyebrow.

Altaer huffed and cracked his neck, “Without a weapon? Definitely not, but, lucky for me, this jacket has more than guns…” He replied, smirking evilly.

Reaching into his jacket again, the Fixer pulled two long, straight edged knives from their pockets, the steel flashing in the moonlight. He rushed forward and slashed at Riley’s right arm so fast he could barely dodge, and the metal scraped across his shoulder. He didn’t cry out, he didn’t need to, the limb was mechanical, but the knives did cut through his jacket, revealing his synthetic skin.

Altaer slashed again, upward this time, straight towards Riley’s nose. The Operative fell backwards, the blades missing him by a thread, and hit his back to the dirt. Instinctively rolling to the right, Riley barely avoided another strike, a knife plunging into the ground where he’d been a split second earlier.

The Fixer freed the weapon from the dirt and struck again, stabbing at Riley’s neck. Continuing to roll, the former Agent looked for a opening to counter.

As Altaer continued his onslaught, showing no hint of stopping until he had his knife in Riley’s forehead, the Operative kicked his legs up into the air, slamming them into Al’s chin, sending him off the ground a good few feet.

Planting his palms to the dirt, Riley pushed up for all he was worth and flicked his feet back to the ground, landing with ninja-like speed. Looking up, Sanders saw the Fixer had recovered from the blow and, now back on the ground, was rushing forward with a stab.

Thinking faster than lightning, Riley thrust his right, mechanical arm and intercepted the point of the blade, its steel running up and into his limb. The Operative could hear the synthetic skin tearing and the knife scraping against his carbon-titanium bones.

As the weapon sunk further into his arm, Riley managed to wrap his hand around Altaer’s fist, who looked more shocked than triumphant. Sanders grinned cockily and tightened his grip.

The Fixer didn’t get the chance to react, as Riley twisted his arm down and behind his back, probably dislocating it along the way, and Altaer screamed in pain. The Operative swept his foot across the opponent’s ankles, causing him to fall flat on his back. Holding a tight grip on the man’s fist, Riley reached into his jacket with his left hand and brought out the only weapon he’d cared to bring, his IMI Desert Eagle.

Altaer tried to lift his free limb, but Riley slammed the sole of his shoe into his forearm, pinning it to the floor.

In a split second, the Operative made a decision. He lowered the barrel of his weapon…

And unloaded the clip, straight into the Fixer’s chest.

Each bullet sent an explosion through the air, the .50 caliber ballistics ripping through the surroundings and then into Altaer, skin wrenching apart and blood splashing up and onto the surrounding dirt.

Every shot made the Fixer have a small scale seizure, sending convulsions through his body as the seven rounds burst from the barrel into his sternum.

Riley stopped after his weapon clicked, signalling it was empty, then let go of Altaer’s arm and stepped off his chest. As soon as the Operative released his limb, it went limp and fell swiftly onto the ground.

Al coughed, gasping for breath, sending a spray of blood into the air and onto Riley’s sweats. He grinned up at the Operative with a half serious smile, “Never expected you to fight as well as you did…” He sputtered, choking on some of his blood.

The former Agent laughed, his right arm having now gone limp as well. “Well, if it makes you feel any better, you may have permanently disabled my arm here.” He replied. Riley flexed his fingers, but found he was unable to lift the appendage. He pried the knife out and tossed it beside Altaer, who looked at it with distaste.

The Fixer looked back to his victorious adversary and sneered up at him, “I’m not done you know…” He declared, sounding sure of himself.

Riley tilted his head and curled a lip, “No way. You just took seven fifty caliber bullets to the chest cavity, there’s no way you’re walking away from this.” He pointed at the blood starting to pool around Altaer’s body, “I’d guess you’ve already lost at least a pint.”

He giggled, a rather sinister snicker, then smiled up at him, “You got no idea of the types of things David can do. He’s helped me survive worse than this…” He retorted, craning his neck.

The Operative rolled his eyes, returned his own weapon to its place, and began walking away, “Whatever you say Al…”
***
Strolling back through the hole he had made, Riley instantly put a fist over his mouth and wretched, a plume of smoke clouding his vision. He activated his eye and tried to peer through the floating chemicals. “LEVI?!” He called out, and, almost instantly, the smoke began to condense, eventually forming into a human.

Levi blinked a few times and smacked the side of his head, some smoke pouring out his right ear. “I’m here…” He replied, smirking, “You take care of Big Al?” He asked, sighing.

Riley nodded, “Yeah, he’s drowning in his blood out there.”

The Hunter raised an eyebrow, “Really?” He poked his head out the hole in the wall, nodded to himself, and turned back to his comrade, “Alrighty then, nice job.”

Riley huffed indignantly, “He’s not gonna die, I could see it in his eyes.” He started, “Not only that, but how he said it. I wouldn’t be surprised if he comes after us in the future.” He grumbled, wiping some sweat off his temple.

Levi frowned, “So what’s our move now?” He questioned, looking back out the hole. Riley shook his head.

“Don’t know.” He replied. Looking around, the Operative eventually gazed at the desk, now long empty, “Where’s David? Is he gone?”

The Hunter shrugged, “Don’t know. I’d guess he’s still in the compound somewhere, but I doubt we could find him.”

Riley sighed, “So much for getting his help.” He stated, irritated. He scratched his nose, the smoke tickling his nostrils, “Probably best to get out of here. C’mon…”

The duo ran back to the front of the building, rushing past people until they finally burst out the twin doors. Back on the streets of Los Angeles, Riley ran towards downtown.

Noticing the direction they were heading, Levi called from behind him, “You don’t think he’ll help us right? He said it himself he can’t guarantee us help again.”

Riley shrugged, or sort of half-shrug, as he could only lift his left shoulder, “He’s our only choice now, we may be able to convince him.”

Levi grimaced, but continued to sprint after him, the kunai jingling on his belt.
***
A few minutes later, perhaps fifteen minutes, the two of them arrived in front of the dojo, sweating and tired.

Levi looked worriedly at Riley’s right arm, noticing how it hadn’t moved, “What happened?” He asked, pointing to it. The Operative raised an eyebrow in confusion. Following his comrade’s gaze, he got his answer.

“Oh! That… Yeah, Al did a number on it back there.” He replied. Gripping the functionless arm with his left hand, Riley lifted his palm up for the Hunter to see.

Levi cringed at the sight. Though no blood spilled from the wound, the fake, but very real looking skin, which had been torn apart by Altaer’s knife, almost appeared human. Tensiles hung loosely from the carbon-titanium frame that held it together, and the “bones” themselves fidgeted erratically, without consent from their owner. The wound seemed to run up from beneath his wrist and all the way to his mid-forearm, a clean cut creating a seam in his limb.

“I can control the fingers but that’s it. Nothing else works.” He stated, flexing his hand weakly.

The Hunter breathed heavily, nervous smoke pouring off his blonde hair. “Can you fix it?” He asked nervously, twiddling his fingers.

Riley nodded half-assuredly, “I think so, I was taught how to keep it in working order and how to repair it if it was damaged behind enemy lines and stuff like that.” He replied, glancing down at the torn skin.

Levi put on a brave smile, “Well alright then! If this other guy can give us someplace to hide, then you can work on that!” He stated, his grin widening.

The Operative smiled back, then looked at the twin glass doors to the dojo, “Let’s hope so…”
***
Entering the building, the two unlikely fugitives again found themselves standing on the azure colored mats of the dojo.

The vaulted ceiling loomed over them, a rich white color along with the walls, and the office sounded quiet, exactly the way they had left it.

Levi squinted and called, “Abbas?”

Just as last time, the room stayed quiet for a few moments before the door to the office quietly opened and closed, letting the Arab step into the room.

His attire had changed, now seeming to fit his ethnic background better than the previous set of clothes. A beige tunic, long enough to be considered a robe, garbed his upper body, with two slits down the sides to allow more unrestricted movement tied around the waist with a thin belt.

Underneath the tunic he wore a pair of baggy, cloth pants that were tucked into a pair of shin high, brown colored leather boots. A large, dark beige scarf was bunched up around his neck, and his shirt, having long sleeves, were tucked into a pair of leather gauntlets covering up to his elbows.

His hair was now tied into a long ponytail, falling just past his shoulders, and the same warm smile was plastered on his face. When he saw them however, the grin dropped and he adopted a serious look in both his posture, as he stood ramrod straight, and his eyes, which he squinted. “You’re back…”

Riley laughed, “What? You thought you wouldn’t see us again?”

Levi laughed with him, “Yeah, especially not now. Not after we figured out who you are Abbas…”

The man’s lip twitched, showing signs of being nervous. “What are you talking about? I’m simply a teacher and trainer…”

The Operative stared him down and took a step forward, “Please, you can drop the act, we know you’re Immortal. We have files on you not only from two hundred years in the future, not only that though, but a report describing how you defended the French line from the Germans, in World War One…”

Abbas’ twitching lip turned into a snarl and he clenched his fists, “So what? Why should you care? I’m not that important am I?”

Levi raised an eyebrow, “Oh no, you are, the files we have say you lead an early rebellion against the corrupt rulers of the Eastern World in the future. They had you killed to help quell the uprising.” He explained, sliding a finger across his throat.

The Arab cocked his head, clearly miffed, “Well? What do you want then? Were you sent by this so-called group to kill me early or something? Go ahead and try, I will kill you both without even trying…”

Riley shrugged, “You do that, and you lose your one chance to prevent your death.”

Abbas’ vicious growl dropped from his face and became a serious frown, “How?”

Levi gave him a confident, but malicious, smile, “The big guy here said he has access to the files right? He can also get rid of them, preventing the group after us two, and you, from finding us.” He replied, resting both hands on the back of his head.

The Immortal rubbed his chin, pondering the thought, then looked back to them, “What would you want in return?”

Riley grinned, hoping he would say that, “We need someplace to hide, can you find us somewhere?” He asked.

Abbas nodded, “You’re standing above the most secret and secure bunker in the world. I built it when I bought this place…”

The duo looked down at the blue mats, then back to the Arabian, “Really?”

He nodded, “Indeed, you can stay there for now, unless you would want to live somewhere else.”

Riley waved the statement off, “No, no, it will do. But we have one more thing to ask you.”

Levi stepped forward and slapped his partner on the shoulder, “Sanders is in something called the RHG, he took my place when I left a few months ago…”

Abbas raised an eyebrow, “And you want me to..?”

Riley nodded, “Uh-huh, you willing?”

The Arabian again pondered the question, then adopted a proud and confident smile, “I accept!”

Gdocs Version (https://docs.google.com/document/d/184WFMbMLmFAFfuyMAnTPXhBQrrtpLhNR8A9XzNWC6Zc/edit?usp=sharing)


Altaer swore, grabbing the man’s skull with his free hand and smashing it hard enough on the wall to rupture in a starburst of crimson. The body sank down to the ground with a soft thump as The Fixer spun around the desk chair and sat down at the computer. Damned fool just had to play Mr. Hero. He pulled out his phone, and hooked up Spectre – his A.I. – to the security firm’s mainframe. The screen sprang to life, flashing through code systems as lightning speed. Al stood up slowly and stretched, slipping a flask out of his back pocket. He made a point of not drinking much around his daughter, but there was no reason to deprive himself of the pleasure now. The rich, complex flavor of The Macallan 64 Year Old in Lalique brought a smile to his lips. One of the old fluorescent lights buzzed annoyingly. He lowered the flask and fired a single shot into it. The lamp exploded in a shower of glass and sparks, shrouding his part of the room in shadows.

It didn’t really matter to him much. Darkness was as familiar as the light to him. Spectre finished raiding their files, Altaer pocketed both his phone and the flask, and proceeded to head home. Kathryne would be getting out from school about now, and he had promised to take her out for ice cream…

Riley smiled as a man with a little girl walked past his street side table. He tossed her up in the air, catching her deftly in one arm as she giggled, burying her face in his shoulder. A set of long scars ran down the side of the fellow’s face, and Riley sighed. This man had seen his share of hard times, but was now able to enjoy his family. Riley desperately missed his, but knew that for their own safety he could not come out of hiding. Threats must be eliminated, and he didn’t want his family getting into the line of fire. Riley Sanders glanced up from his burger as the diner’s TV flashed onto the news. An attractive young woman in a crisp tan suit spoke to the camera in a serious voice.

“CNN brings you this breaking news announcement. The multi-billion dollar international security firm – Killarn Security – has just been destroyed.” The camera panned across a massive business complex crawling with investigative teams. Riley took a couple bites as the woman continued. “This morning started as any other for the firm’s headquarters. Over five hundred employees work at this facility, in addition to the barracks and training facilities that house another three hundred. The workers had just returned from their lunchbreak when coroners suspect that the first kill was made.

“This was not just an assassination, it was a rampage. In the space of forty minutes every single person that was on site died. Their mainframes were hacked and then destroyed. Though there have been no facts released yet, we do have a statement from a government investigative team suggesting that the speed, brutality, and efficiency of the operation match only one individual currently known – The Fixer. Stay with us as we follow this story.”

As it went to commercial for some new SUV, Riley shook his head. The Fixer. That name was known by every single agent in the world. The man had appeared on the scene a little over a decade ago, and proceeded to leave a trail of deaths larger than anyone was able to calculate. He struck, he killed, he left. What made him even more mad, however, was the fact that this man was so damn arrogant. He was an open and popular member of the RHG system, and moved around SP City without the slightest fear of retribution.

Riley was not necessarily a vigilante, but the fact was that he had been trained to fight for what was right. He finished his meal and flexed his mechanical right arm. Rumor had it that The Fixer was a ghost – no matter how public he made himself, no matter how much surveillance was done, no one had any identification of him on record. Ghost or not, his day was about to come.

He stood from the table abruptly and tossed several bills on the table before leaving. He slipped out to his old Ford Focus, driving to the RHG Administration building. There was more than one way to skin a cat.

__________________________________________________ ______________________________

The notice popped into Altaer’s phone over dinner. He read the message silently.

“Altaer, your RHG profile was viewed at 15:47. Classified material was accessed starting at 16:12. ~Spectre”

He heaved a sigh, and cast a meaningful look at David, who sat across from him. Since Altaer did not have a suitable house at the moment, he had been living at the Clinic. Considering the recent attacks centered around his daughter, Altaer enjoyed having the extra protection their home base provided. David wiped his mouth with his pristine white napkin, then folded it on the table beside his osso bucco. Valera, David’s daughter and chief medical assistant, was dining with them and would keep watch over Kathryne.

The two men stepped out of the room, and shut the mahogany door behind them. David was the first to speak. “I’m guessing your A.I. sent you an alert. Is it about Kathryne again?”

Altaer grimaced and ran a hair through his thick black hair frustratedly. “I can’t know for certain, but we’ve had two attacks involving my daughter so far…not to mention the fact that her mother and sister were abducted. It was my RHG profile that was viewed first, so that make me hope they are more concerned with me right now…but classified material was involved as well, meaning I’m dealing with a professional.”

David’s face hardened. “Shall I come with you? Valera can more than take care of the Clinic, particularly with our newer security measures you’ve designed.”

Altaer’s hesitated for a moment. He was a father now, and though the feeling was still somewhat strange, he was adapting quickly. Kathryne needed him…and he needed her. As the wall clock ticked away the seconds at the end of the dimly lit hallway, he realized that he could become someone new. He had money enough to live ten lives, and could still pursue his role as the clan technician and inventor. He shook his head grimly. There were too many chains that bound him to his past still.

In response, he strode decidedly to the door of his apartment and grabbed his massive leather combat cloak. “Kiss Kathryne for me David, and tell her Daddy loves her.”

He moved silently down the darkened stairwell. He flipped out his phone and did his usual tactical check. Time was 20:14. Weather was overcast, a storm front approaching. Winds at 16 mph from the southeast, gusting up to 30 mph. It was cool outside, but not cold.

He stopped at the front door, remaining just behind the angled swaths of light that streamed in the front windows of the Clinic from the street lamps outside. The edges of twilight were receding from the sky like dissolving dyes. His trained eyes scanned the world outside. He had no idea who he was facing, or how many his enemies were. Eyes would be watching him the instant he stepped into the light. The high of adrenaline lent him its touch of power. It was familiar…so familiar the feeling was one of comfort to him instead of tension.

He drew back from the doorway and headed downstairs. The ICU chamber was quiet at this time of night, except for a few machines running automated tests for one of the Doctor’s research projects. He slipped up to the emergency doors and flipped off the security panel’s cover. A few taps and the unlatched, allowed him to dissipate into the night like the twilight. He reached his Lykan Hypersport in a matter of seconds. This was what had made him so successful – he knew well how to hide in plain sight, how to make cover out of nothing but the night itself.

His car was armored, and he suspected that whoever was tracking him most likely knew that by know. This was his signature vehicle, and its multitude of custom enhancements were nearly as infamous as himself for foiling capture attempts. He sped off through the night. His mind spun through the patrol patterns of the SP City Police he had memorized and he adjusted his route accordingly. This was not their affair, and the police would merely make his enemies retreat.

He deliberately made his course erratic. He was no fool, and knew that he needed to look like he was trying to shake whoever was tailing him. The fact was, however, that he made sure he did not lose them. Every so often he could glimpse a dark sedan following at a distance. He was drawing them to a shopping center that was under construction, a place where whatever happened, no one would be hurt, and no other parties would get involved.

He floored the vehicle as he raced across the muddy terrain, then jerked open his door and rolled out of the car, grabbing a weapon bag from behind his seat. Balling up inside his jacket, he let himself be tossed like a rag doll by the momentum. It was painful, but wouldn’t leave more than scrapes and bruises when done properly. In haste he regained his footing and dashed off at a flat run for one of the nearest piles of concrete blocks and tunnels, diving into the dark mass. The car’s safety measures kicked in and it ground to a halt in a cloud of dust, inertia slamming his door shut. From his vantage point, he could see as the other vehicle stopped as far as possible from his car, and its single occupant headed for an office complex that was being built.

Altaer grinned a predatory smile. Whoever it was had smarts – they took a route that would have been entirely out of his sight if he was still in the car. They were large…a good deal larger than Altaer…and moved with the fluid grace of a hunter. They were doing everything right so far. It had been a long time since a professional had hunted him down. The thought was tantalizing. He slid further under the concrete materials and opened his weapon bag. It was flexible, but contained modular reinforced cases for his primary weapons. His pair of Colt m1911s were already on his hips, as usual – those he never went without. These, however, were some of his many favorites – weapons he had engineered to make as lethal as possible.

__________________________________________________ __________________

Riley settled into the corner of the glassless window behind his Remington 700 Bolt Action. Laying on his stomach, he gazed through his night scope with his mechanical eye. He sighted in on The Fixer’s car. When he had ambushed him at his clan headquarters, Riley had realized too late he had been using rounds that were too light to pierce the armor on his car. Now, though, he had changed ammo, and just needed one good, clear shot. The car’s windows were tinted, but he had been watching it ever since the vehicle had stopped moving, and no one had exited it. His night scope could only do so much, but his eye was able to track motion with extraordinary precision…yet he was not seeing even the slightest movement inside of the vehicle. Not even the wavering that would come from The Fixer’s chest rising and falling as he breathed. The windshield was not tinted, and would give him a clear look...but moving to see in would risk blowing his cover.

Just as he was weighing his options, the eerie green glow of his night scope when blinding white. Riley instantly processed what was happening – he had been spotted by another scope. In a fraction of a second his mechanical arm flung himself backwards as his scope exploded into a spray of shrapnel right where his eye had been. He staggered as the shockwave of a light explosion took him off balance. He swore under his breath.

The man was using concussive rounds and an auto-sniper rifle.

Before he had time to think a series of steady shots pounded into the side of the window, blasting apart the concrete and plowing past his head into the girders behind him. Riley dropped to the ground and crawled back from the outside of the building. The shots stopped the instant he drew back far enough to keep himself out of the line of fire. Riley froze, listening with his ear to the floor beneath him. He could hear nothing, and was uncertain what The Fixer was planning to do. Obviously, he had either set up an ambush, or had somehow slipped out of his vehicle unseen. The agent thought back to the incident reports he had read that afternoon, and recalled one of the key traits of The Fixer – he was a master at closing distances to perform close range tactical combat.

Four feet behind him the floor exploded upwards as a series of shots split the concrete from below. Riley swore and lunged towards the ladder he had used to climb up, readying his pair of M9s. The Fixer must have heard the footsteps, because before Riley could reach the ladder it was blown apart. Instead of stopping, however, Riley flung himself down the hole and broke his fall with his mechanical arm. He rolled behind a steel strut as the rounds smashed into it with enough force to make the metal flex. Riley turned to move out, but was instantly pinned down but another shot that sang past him and smacked into the ground.

Riley waited, then flung himself out the other side as far as he could jump, firing with both pistols systematically. The Fixer, however, wasn’t there. Riley’s eye caught the movement from his side and he dropped just in time to escape a pair of shots that would have turned him into a pulp. Instead of a third shot, however, Riley only heard a click from the auto-sniper. Without even bothering to stand Riley fired off his shots in quick pairs at his target, but The Fixer was no fool either. He tossed the hefty rifle out in front of his torso, letting it take the first two shots as he spun down and to the side, letting the next pair thump harmlessly into the mass of his combat cloak. He landed on his shoulders while reaching into his cloak, then kipped up onto his feet like a break-dancer. His face was split into a fiendish white grin as his hands extended with a pair of customized PP19 SMGs.

Riley fled. A couple of tactical pistols were not going to help him against the immense firepower The Fixer was now letting loose. A bullet ground his ribs and the agent rolled to the ground. The bullet had only managed to crack one of his enhanced bones, but the pain was enough to bring his danger into focus. Desperately searching for cover, he realized too late what his target had done. Though each floor was made of concrete, as well as the outside walls, most of the bottom floor still consisted of steel girders and exposed rebar. With two weapons pouring out bullets like lead rain from massive capacity barrel type magazines, The Fixer was almost guaranteed to deal ricochet damage. The entire floor was a death trap. Riley stood and ran, weaving around the largest girders he could find as he challenged fate with each step. The Fixer was close behind him, and gaining quickly.

As he approached the outside wall, Riley slipped one of his M9s back into his right arm’s holding slot, leaving the other still clutched in his left hand. As he jumped through a doorway, he grabbed onto the overhanging ledge and used his mechanical arm to swing himself upwards. As The Fixer slid to a halt under him, Riley let himself drop back down on top of the man. The two SMGs went flying as Riley’s nearly 300 pounds dropped onto him, crushing him to the ground. Riley brought down his pistol, but had underestimated his opponent’s strength.

The Fixer leveraged his body and flipped Riley back over his hand, spinning onto his feet deftly. Riley leveled his M9, only to have its barrel split in two by The Fixer’s Colts. Riley closed the gap swiftly, blocking the next pair of shots with his carbon-titanium arm. The Fixer wisely dropped his guns and locked hands with the much larger agent, bracing himself. To Riley’s surprise the man did not topple when he bull-rushed him, instead holding his ground and nearly spinning Riley off his feet instead.

When it came to strength, however, Riley knew he possessed the advantage. Slowly, he forced The Fixer down onto the ground. He braced over top of him, his mechanical arm grasping for the man’s throat. The Fixer grabbed his wrist to resist, but could only do so with one hand, while his other held on to Riley’s free hand. The agent pressed down with all his might, but suddenly realized that his arm was slowly being pushed back as The Fixer ground his teeth. Perplexed, he pushed harder, and although he managed to stop The Fixer’s progress, he could not press further down.

Riley found his weakness – no matter how intense the battle, his mechanical arm could never be affected by adrenaline. The Fixer was fighting for his life right now. Already remarkably strong, this threat had given him just enough strength to pull Riley’s hand off his throat. The Fixer let go of Riley’s other hand to place both hands on Riley’s wrist. Taking the opportunity, Riley smashed his fist into the side of The Fixer’s head. The Fixer let go of Riley’s wrist with one hand, but at the same time Riley noticed that his target’s ears were plugged with tactical insulation…

As The Fixer closed his eyes with a grin, his free hand brought a small object up to Riley’s face and let go. Before he could react, the flash-bang detonated. Shrapnel dug into his mechanical eye and face as his head seemed to explode with the light and noise. He found himself being flipped to the side, and struggled to regain his footing and orient himself. His mechanical eye was filled with static, but he could still barely make out The Fixer. He fumbled with his arm, trying to open it up to draw his other M9.

__________________________________________________ ______________

Altaer leapt to his feet as soon as his attacker was off of him. The grenade had torn and burned his right forearm, but adrenaline had deadened him to any pain from that. He glanced to his side and grasped a concrete foundation block. Heaving it to one side, he crouched and lifted it up onto his shoulders, carried like some kind of massive club, and charged his attacker. The man lifted his gun at point blank range as Altaer let go. The impact hit the man’s extended mechanical arm and smashed him down to the earth. The concrete split in two, but Altaer smiled as he saw the arm bent and mangled. The man was clearly enhanced, but not without his enhancement or any weapons, the battle had been won. Altaer strode over as the man struggled to get up and smashed the heel of his boot into his opponent’s head until the man went limp.

Relieved, he spent the next several minutes retrieving his weapons. His pistols and SMGs were fine, but the rifle would take a bit of work to clean up. Thankfully nothing critical had been damaged, so it wouldn’t take long to restore. He walked back to the man and tore several strips from his shirt, using them as bandages for his own wounded arm.

“Well, let’s see what you have to show for yourself, bastard.”

Altaer filtered through the man’s pockets until he found a wallet. He opened his phone to use as a light, and checked the info. He squinted, then tossed it aside. Altaer could tell a false ID when he saw one…hell, he had made enough of them himself over the years. In a few minutes he located another wallet, this one concealed in a secret pocket on the man’s thigh. He filtered through it.

“Riley Sanders, CIA. Well well well, how fascinating.”

Altaer’s face fell, however, when he saw the pictures behind the ID. A woman was smiling with two kids, and Riley was standing beside them. The relation was obvious. He frowned, unaccustomed to being struck by his conscience. With a roll of his eyes he snapped a picture of the CIA ID and activated Spectre.

“Spec, I need you to bring up what you can on this ID.”

The AI showed a load screen for all of a few seconds before coming back with his results. “Really, the CIA needs to upgrade their security. Your last patch for me allowed me to get into that faster than I can access Ebay. Riley Sanders is almost thirty, father of two, and married. He worked for the CIA, but is strangely listed as dead after an incident involving Derrick Ozer, although there is a note that indicates at least someone suspects he might have gone AWOL and faked his death. Apparently he did nearly die several years ago, and was initiated into one of their ‘Black Project’ programs.”

Altaer grunted and sat down on the edge of the broken concrete. “Well, what’s his track record? Also, any clue why he went AWOL?”

Spectre hesitated a moment. “Well, sir, it seems he’s a rather up-standing agent. A number of noteworthy cases, all handled professionally. Well educated, etc. As for why he went AWOL, I can’t do much, but it doesn’t look like it is from anything he did wrong. That’s a rather generic search, and I might find that info anywhere, so it would –“

“Alright, I got it. Good to know. That’s all I need.”

Altaer shoved the phone back in his pocket and sighed. Derrick Ozer had been recruited for Nehushtan. David trusted him, and Altaer himself had done a butt-ton of research on the kid. The guy might be somewhat young and foolish, but he was also smart and good-hearted. He wouldn’t have helped this man somehow go AWOL unless there was a reason. Altaer looked at himself and swore.

“How the hell can I judge you for attacking me, when I’m the kind of guy you were trained to destroy?”

He hoisted the man up onto his shoulders, and carried him to his Lykan Hypersport, situating him in the passenger seat. Searching the console brought up the medic kit David had personally designed for him, and he gave the fellow a one over. He had a bullet wound on his back, but it hadn’t gone deep and the bullet wasn’t in there, so he merely treated it and slapped a butterfly clip and bandage on there. The guy’s face looked bad, but as Altaer looked closer he realized that the only eye he had damaged was not a human eye at all. Just mechanics.

After a few more minutes of cussing and shoddy bandaging, Altaer had Riley looking at least somewhat better. His mechanical arm and eye were things he would have to take care of later. For now, he buckled him into his seat, went around to the driver’s side, and drove off.

__________________________________________________ ___________

Riley awakened to find himself inside of a strange vehicle. The holographic interface and red HUD made him think he was having some kind of strange dream until he looked to his left. He jerked, making his head throb.

The Fixer chuckled. “Do something stupid, Riley, and I’ll show you some of my less pleasant gadgets in this car.”

Riley paused, registering that The Fixer had called him by name. “Wait…how do you know my name? Was this some kind of set-up?”

The Fixer shook his head as he turned a corner. “Nope. You’re the only person who did any setting up. I’d just advise that you keep your real identity somewhere else if you intend to play dead with the CIA.” He held a hand up as Riley started to speak. “No, I’m not explaining how I know that, either. You’ve got one arm and one eye, so you’re going to have to fucking deal with it. I didn’t waste my time hoisting your heavy-metal ass into this car and fixing you up for you to ask questions like some toddler. Oh, also, since you probably know me as The Fixer, call me Al.”

Riley glared at Al. His one good eye went bloodshot as his target was just casually bossing him around. “Excuse me?! I can ask you whatever I damn well please after you put me through hell tonight. If you think you’re going to get any kind of –“

Altaer flipped him the bird. “Shut up, twat. I don’t need some random-ass AWOL gov dickheads to get info or money. You’ve got a fucking gift horse, so pull your head out of its mouth and stop looking at it. I’ve got plenty of bullets left. Now, I’m getting a fucking bucket of Fried Chicken because I fucking want it, and you’re coming in with me.”

Riley just left his mouth hanging open in bewilderment as Altaer pulled the handbrake and performed a powerslide off the main rode and into the parking lot of a KFC, then hopped out. He walked over and popped open Riley’s door. “Out.”

Riley stood as he was told, contemplating taking action to escape right now. Altaer must have noticed, because he smacked Riley on the back of the head as he shut the door. “I could fucking HEAR you thinking about doing something stupid. Like I said, just don’t. You interrupted my fucking dinner, and I’m not staying up the rest of the damned night hunting down some Bucky-Barnes-Wannabe.”

They walked up to the KFC, and Altaer found the door to be locked. He grabbed it and jerked it open, snapping off the lock. Riley started to protest, but Altaer’s stomach growled loud enough to silence him. They to the service counter together, and the teenage cashier just stared at them. Both men were covered in dirt and concrete dust, and their clothes were torn. Altaer’s arm and Riley’s face were wrapped with rather sloppy bandages soaked with blood. Altaer carried a pair of pistols on his hips, and had his SMG and dented auto-sniper protruding from his massive, beat-up cloak. Riley’s right eye was occasionally sparking and giving off little puffs of electrical smoke, and his arm was crumpled like some kind of strange steel can.

The kid backed up slowly. “Uh, sir, I’m sorry but we’re clos –“

Altaer glared at him. The kid fainted. A girl heard the thump and ran out from the back. Altaer glared at her, and she fainted too. A portly lady emerged from the bathroom, gasped, then locked herself back in the bathroom. Altaer rolled his eyes. “Fucking service these days ain’t what it used to be, bub.”

He swung over the counter deftly, and smacked the register’s computer for a moment. He stood there, glaring at it until the display finally opened. After a few taps he looked up a Riley. “What do you want? I was gonna get a couple of twelve piece meals myself, but we can do one of the party packs if you want something too.”

Riley just stared at him, not sure what to make of the fellow. “Uh, yeah. You can get something for me.”

Altaer raised an eyebrow. “Who the fuck said I’m buying? You’re the one who ambushed me, you skin-flinty jackass. You ambush a dude during dinner, you pay for the dinner. Deal with it. Didn’t dating teach you anything?”

Riley tried to cross his arms, but ended up only swinging his good arm around like some kind of ape. “I’m not fucking dating you last time I checked, Al. And most dates don’t involve ambushes, either. So, no, sorry, I didn’t know that rule of etiquette.”

Altaer smirked waggled his eyebrows. “Hey, you never know. It’s the twenty-first century, after all…”

Riley flatlined him. “No. Don’t even. WAIT, IF YOU SAVED ME SO THAT –“

“IT’S A FUCKING JOKE YOU SON OF A BITCH,” Altaer interrupted irritatedly.

“Well that was a damn lousy joke.”

Altaer made a mock-surprised face. “Deal with it and give me your card. Oh, nevermind, I already have it.”

Altaer swiped the card and handed Riley his receipt, then turned and headed back into the kitchen. Riley barely was able to make out someone else briefly scream, and then heard them thump to the floor. The Fixer returned with his arms full of food. “Damned gun-shy kids these days. Play war games and watch horror movies but drop like stones if you look at them too hard. Grab a jug of sweet tea, will ya?”

Riley, still dumbfounded, did as he was told. They carried the food back through the door, which was still stuck open, and set it in the trunk. Altaer drove back carefully, singing along with the radio the whole way. He was a pretty good singer, Riley admitted to himself. They parked in Altaer’s usual spot at the Clinic and went into the breakroom. Al flicked on the lights and set their food on the table. Riley could not believe the amount of wealth that was surrounding him. In a CLINIC of all places.

“Ostentatious little cuss, isn’t he?”

“No, this is what is called fine taste. I suspect you have had little reason to move in such circles, however, and will overlook that statement.” Riley whipped his head around as Dr. MacBeth walked into the room.

“How the hell did you just come into the conversation at the perfect time?”

David shrugged and nodded at Altaer. “I’m guessing everything went reasonably well?

It was Altaer’s turn to shrug. “Yeah, I mean, I didn’t die for a fourth time, so yeah. It went well. Did discover that I make a shitty medic.”

David walked over to one of the hand-tooled oak cabinets and produced a set of feather-light china. “Yes, I noticed as much. I’ll see to getting you fixed up a bit better, Riley.”

Riley looked from one man to the other, and just shook his head. “Wait…alright, how do YOU know my name now?!”

David nodded to Altaer after setting the table, and waved Riley to a seat. “Altaer designed an AI. He used that AI to research you, but that same AI is linked to some of my devices. So, I found out too. Derrick Ozer will be glad to know you’re one of us now, Mr. Sanders.”

Riley rubbed his face, wincing as he immediately regretted doing so. “One of WHO?! And how the hell is Derrick involved in this now?! I thought I…he…but then…I…uhh. Fuck.”

Altaer raised an eyebrow at Riley, but said nothing.

The three of them sat there for moment in silence, then began to eat.

Gdocs Version (https://docs.google.com/document/d/1WkSUix4zjsnqPJ0F3g0hWrZArqEB_i_x30S2JmmzZ4U/edit)

Alphaeus
04-07-2017, 08:20 PM
Awesome work, man! That was a well written battle. Congrats on the story.

My only critique would be that the conflict with David seemed a bit forced, considering he is an empath and would be able to, in general, sense their attitudes and motivation. I think you portrayed Altaer well, however. Yes, Altaer would hunt down Riley again if your story becomes canon.

Except this time he would be carrying more gear. :stickpage:

Urako
04-08-2017, 09:08 AM
Alright. This one was extremely difficult for me to decide. Alphaeus's story was easier for me to read in comparison to many of the single lines in Rileys (No offense but it's a good idea to work on that) and its story, as Alphaeus pointed out, had a better motivation between the two and the conflict seemed to flow more naturally. However, I do feel just a tad like he's trying to "win me over" when I really don't want to send a message that i'll become biased if you mention my character a couple of times. Ultimately I voted for Alphaeus because of the first two points and I'm not sure what his intent was anyways so I can't really deduct points for that.

On another note Alphaeus, Altaer seems to be acting a bit differently than he did in his past battles. Is this intentional?


Part of me wishes this fight had been David+Alphaeus versus Riley+Levi. I'm not disappointed or anything because that wasn't what you agreed to. It's just an opinion.

Alphaeus
04-08-2017, 10:16 AM
@Urako

As the last person David and Altaer fought, Derrick would be in their thoughts. I typically tie in my battles to the preceding ones as best as possible. In this case, Riley has extremely strong canonical ties at this point in time to Derrick, in light of his AWOL/assumed-dead status. You, frankly, did not enter my mind while I was writing :P. So, no influence on that point.

As to Altaer, yes. He's changing, to a degree. He's died three times by this point (that has an effect on a guy). He's human again, so that has a big influence as well. Lastly, he's got Kathryne (his daughter), which is suddenly forcing him to cultivate a side of himself he had locked away for years.

Thirdly, yes...that would have been an awesome battle, but since Levi and David aren't technically gladiators I'm not sure how that would have worked out. I think it would have gotten WAAAAAYYY too complicated, also, because while Altaer and Riley are straightforward, both Levi and David are rather complex characters to write.

Urako
04-08-2017, 11:59 AM
@Urako

As the last person David and Altaer fought, Derrick would be in their thoughts. I typically tie in my battles to the preceding ones as best as possible. In this case, Riley has extremely strong canonical ties at this point in time to Derrick, in light of his AWOL/assumed-dead status. You, frankly, did not enter my mind while I was writing :P. So, no influence on that point.

As to Altaer, yes. He's changing, to a degree. He's died three times by this point (that has an effect on a guy). He's human again, so that has a big influence as well. Lastly, he's got Kathryne (his daughter), which is suddenly forcing him to cultivate a side of himself he had locked away for years.

Thirdly, yes...that would have been an awesome battle, but since Levi and David aren't technically gladiators I'm not sure how that would have worked out. I think it would have gotten WAAAAAYYY too complicated, also, because while Altaer and Riley are straightforward, both Levi and David are rather complex characters to write.

I guess i'm being a tad too self-centered then lol. I actually don't have a response for your second and third comments though because I would change too if I were Altaer and yes, the 2 vs 2 fight would be awesome but complicated. (I need to do that some time).

IgnusBurns
04-09-2017, 03:41 PM
Alright, now having read your half of our battle do I now realize what your title meant. Very funny, it actually made me laugh a little. But all in all dude, very nice fight, I thoroughly enjoyed reading it and I'm glad that Riley got to fight Altaer as his last battle.

And YES, I'm changing my wRHG soon people, so be expecting Riley to retire soon.